Archive for January, 2016
Syfy has announced the premiere dates for the first season of Hunters and the second season of 12 Monkeys, both produced by Universal Cable Productions (in association with Valhalla Entertainment and Atlas Entertainment, respectively).
Hunters, which debuts Monday, April 8th, at 10/9c, follows Baltimore FBI agent Flynn Carroll (Nathan Phillips, Wolf Creek) as a search for his missing wife leads him to a highly-classified government organization – the Exo-Terrorism Unit (ETU) – who track and fight alien terrorists. Britne Oldford (American Horror Story) plays Regan, a valuable ETU operative keeping secrets of her own. The show comes from executive producers Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead, The Terminator Trilogy) and Natalie Chaidez (12 Monkeys, Heroes), and Emile Levisetti (Royal Pains). Chaidez will serve as showrunner. The series is inspired by best-selling author Whitley Strieber’s novel, Alien Hunter.
12 Monkeys returns for a second 13-episode season on Monday, April 18 at 9/8c. Aaron Stanford (James Cole), Amanda Schull (Dr. Cassandra Railly), Kirk Acevedo (Ramse), Emily Hampshire (Jennifer Goines), Barbara Sukowa (Katarina Jones) and Todd Stashwick (Deacon) reprise their roles.
Actor Alan Rickman, most known for his role of enigmatic Professor Severus Snape across the 8 movies of the Harry Potter franchise, passed away early this morning at the age of 69 after a bout with cancer, his family confirms.
Rickman created many memorable roles after arriving in Hollywood – and I mean RIGHT after. Two days after coming to Los Angeles, he was offered his first film role as the criminal mastermind Hans Gruber opposite Bruce Willis in 1998’s Die Hard, and forever made his mark off the bat. But he wasn’t an inexperienced actor, being well known in London’s West End, originating the role of Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1985 and carried that role to Broadway in 1987. Theater still remained his “first love”.
He followed up Gruber with another villainous role as the Sheriff of Nottingham against Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with such an amazing “love to hate” character performance – something that he seemed to excel at. His portrayal as the Sheriff was even parodied in the slapstick comedy Robin Hood: Men In Tights by Roger Rees.
Other roles that we remember him and his distinctive voice most for were Metatron in Dogma, Dr. Lazarus/Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest, and Harry, the husband who makes a mistake in Love Actually opposite Emma Thompson, whom he worked with many times and directed The Winter Guest, and they were good friends. Thompson was apparently with him and his family when he died.
Over at Collider they had a chance to talk to producer Mark Gordon, who has taken on the rights to the Chronicles Of Narnia franchise through The Mark Gordon Company, which acquired the rights in 2013. The film has not yet received a green light for production, but they hope to start soon.
But what he said is certain to raise some eyebrows. When asked if any of the original cast would reprise their roles, his response was, “No, it’s all going to be a brand new franchise. All original. All original characters, different directors, and an entire new team that this is coming from.”
First, it was clarified that “All original characters” means from Narnia, not that they are necessarily creating characters to avoid association with the prior Walden Media-produced films. But there are actually only three main characters that have previously appeared in the films – Aslan, of course, who was voiced by Liam Neeson; now-King Caspian, previously played by Ben Barnes; and Eustace Scrubb (previously played by Will Poulter), the cousin of the Pevensies.
Recasting Caspian is easy, considering 30 Narnian years have passed since The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so he’d be much older. Less so for Eustace, for whom only a year has passed – but at least 6 years will have passed for Will Poulter who’s definitely grown up, appearing most recently in The Revenant. And the voice of Aslan might easily be replaced, but not hearing Neeson will be a shock. So while the actors can be replaced, it would seem odd to replace the characters themselves, so I’m just assuming that he did not mean those three would not appear.
New characters include Jill Pole, a classmate of Eustace who joins him in Narnia; Puddleglum, A Marsh-wiggle who helps them; and Prince Rilian, the kidnapped son of Caspian. By the way, in the 1990 BBC miniseries of The Silver Chair, Puddleglum was played by none other than Tom Baker…
But calling this a reboot is odd – in typical Hollywood parlance, a reboot would be a retelling of a story…but The Silver Chair is simply the next logical story following the previous films. Thinking of it as a reboot of the franchise – getting the movies made after Disney and Fox (the previous studios) and Walden Media had passed on further movies – seems more correct.
This is a movie we’d really like to see done again (although we are often against remakes), but it has been over a DECADE that James Cameron has been trying to get a new adaptation of Fantastic Voyage off the ground – we first reported about it in 2002 – and though directors have come and gone over the years, Cameron apparently still wants it to happen. The latest report by THR is that Guillermo del Toro, who is apparently available with Pacific Rim 2 not likely to get made any time soon, in talks to take this project over. This would reteam del Toro with David Goyer, who wrote the treatment for the project and wrote Blade 2 for del Toro.
The original movie, written by Otto Klement and Jerome Bixby (and novelized by Isaac Asimov) was set during the Cold War, and follows the adventure of a group of doctors and crew who are shrunk down to microscopic size in a specially built submarine and injected into the body of an important scientist who was critically injured in an assassination attempt while attempting to defect to the U.S., hoping to repair damage to his brain from the inside to save his life. Why? Because while both the U.S. and Soviet Union have this miniaturization technology, it only lasts a short amount of time – but this scientist knows how to make it last indefinitely, and the military implications are significant.
BBC announced new programming today, which includes a green light on a new adaptation of Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and they will pick up the BBC Three Doctor Who spin-off Class.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is an adaptation of Douglas Adams’ (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Doctor Who) wildly successful comic novels, and is set in the unexpected world of its hyperactive, absurdist, eponymous detective, Dirk Gently. The straight-to-series order includes eight one-hour episodes. Penned by Max Landis — the mind behind cult classic Chronicle — the series is a co-production of AMC Studios, Ideate Media, and IDW Entertainment, with Circle of Confusion producing.
Sarah Barnett, President of BBC America, commented, “Dirk Gently is a very original series, fresh and unlike anything else. The novels have legions of fans, and with Max Landis’ brilliant and audacious take on this material, we are excited to bring Dirk to life for our BBCA super-fans.”
Dirk Gently is a serialized comedic thriller that follows the bizarre adventures of eccentric “holistic” detective Dirk Gently and his reluctant assistant Todd, as they wend their way through one big, seemingly insane mystery, crossing unlikely paths with a bevy of wild and sometimes dangerous characters, each episode landing them a few random steps closer to uncovering the truth.
In addition to show creator Max Landis, Executive producers include Ted Adams and David Ozer for IDW; David Alpert and Rick Jacobs for Circle of Confusion; and Zainir Aminullah and Arvind Ethan David for Ideate Media.
Class was announced in October by BBC as a spin-off to Doctor Who – although how it ties in is still a mystery. Done as an eight-part series, Class will be co-produced by BBC America marking the TV screenwriting debut of acclaimed author Patrick Ness, best known for his award-winning book [asin=0763660655]A Monster Calls[/asin]. Set in a school in contemporary London, it is executive produced by Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin, the team behind Doctor Who.
Produced by BBC Cymru Wales and filmed in Cardiff, Class will premiere in 2016.
By the way, I saw it again this past weekend in IMAX 4k Laser 3D. This is an awesome way to see it – brighter and higher contrast. For most of the movie it was shown in the standard aspect ratio, which meant that the full height of the IMAX screen wasn’t used. But for many if not all of the scenes on Jakku it was filmed with an IMAX camera, and the full IMAX aspect ratio was used on our screen – even though this was in a digital format, whereas only the 70mm film format generally could be shown so large. IMAX has finally figured it out and figured it out well. Alas, I believe there are only 7 such projectors currently in the U.S., and about 13 worldwide at this point. So if you do have one near you, GO!
And visually, while keeping some of the classic feel of the original trilogy, it at the same time felt more realistic with the location shoots in a number of locations, especially in the outside scenes on Takodana.
At any moment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will become the number 1 all time grossing movie in the U.S., taking in around $750 million after the 2nd-higest ever New Years Weekend box office draw of $219.3M. The current record holder is Avatar.
Globally the film is still in fourth at $1.536B, with Jurassic World ($1.669B), Titanic ($2.187B) and Avatar ($2.788B) still ahead of it. Third is likely and possibly second, but it is a long way from Avatar still. A big question mark will be China, where it opens this Saturday. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has reached it’s totals much faster than it’s predecessors though…will it have the steam to reach the top?