The Hush-Hush News Report: 11.14.12: Star Wars Rumor Mill: Episode VII
Hello 411mania readers! I am Jeremy Wilson and this is the Hush-Hush News Report.
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Paranormal Activity 4
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Sometime in the next two-plus years, Disney and LucasFilm will hire a director for Star Wars: Episode VII. We neither have any idea who that will be, nor do we even have an inkling who they might be considering – even at this early stage. We know a few names who it WON’T be: Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Zack Snyder have already ruled themselves out and Quentin Tarantino was rather cranky in dismissing the notion, insulting the franchise, Disney and Simon West (Con Air, The Expendables 2) in his response.
One name that has popped up on the Star Wars rumor watch is something of a surprising one, a filmmaker many likely don’t yet know. Colin Trevorrow, director of the hit 2012 indie sci-fi comedy Safety Not Guarenteed,, is reportedly being considered to helm Episode VII and has already met with LucasFilm about the project, according to Celebuzz Trevorrow’s film evidently garnered a number of fans inside LucasFilm, notably George Lucas himself. It would be a HUGE step up for the relatively inexperienced Trevorrow, but studios haven’t been shy about turning over large projects to relative unknowns. Sony notably handed The Amazing Spider-Man over to Marc Webb following that director’s breakout indie hit 500 Days of Summer. A few other names have popped up in numerous circles – Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton, Matthew Vuaghn, Jon Favreau, among others – but perhaps the most intriguing proposed candidate is Captain America: The First Avenger’s Joe Johnston.
As Erik Davis of Movies.com argued in an impassioned piece, Johnston may be the guy who checks the most boxes for producers and fans alike. Johnston cut his teeth in Hollywood taking part in the production of the first three Star Wars films as a concept artist and effects technician. He is credited with creating the look of Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back. He was with Lucas in the editing bay, watching the filmmaker put the finishing touches on the original trilogy. Lucas even paid Johnson’s tuition for film school at USC. Johnson won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects for his work on Raiders of the Lost Ark. He’s worked with Kathleen Kennedy on Jurassic Park III, and has experience working on big blockbusters as well as family movies featuring fantastical elements.
Yes, he’s had some missteps and it could be argued he’s not the most accomplished possible choice. But there’s also no argument that Johnston is a filmmaker cut from the Star Wars mold and who not only owes a lot to the series, but has a deep love and appreciation for the story and characters. As Snyder points out, out of all the names being bandied about, none of them worked on the original trilogy like Johnston did.
As Johnston told The Huffington Post for their 35th anniversary tribute to Star Wars:
“What influence did “Star Wars” have on me? That’s an easy one. When I answered a handwritten ad taped to the door of the Industrial Design department at Cal State Long Beach in August of 1975, I had no idea of the personal and professional impact that single phone call would have. The ad was looking for artists, designers and model builders to work on a “science fiction space movie.” I had been working as an entry-level product designer for a couple of different companies in Southern California. My most engrossing assignment to date had been fiberglass bus seating. I started working on “Star Wars” with no knowledge of the film business, no sense of what a “storyboard” was and no ambition to ever be a director. But I was working for a guy who was generous with his knowledge of filmmaking, inspiring in his love of storytelling and endlessly patient with dumb questions from a kid who was just beginning to discover this new world of film. All the knowledge I didn’t have didn’t seem to matter, and his enthusiasm was infectious. Ten years later, George kept me on half salary and paid my tuition to the USC School of Cinema. My nine-minute black-and-white student film got me a directing gig on Disney’s “Honey I Shrunk the Kids.” (George might have actually put in a good word for me … hard to believe the studio would risk the dough on a first timer who’d made one 16mm film.) It’s pretty safe to say that without George Lucas and “Star Wars,” I might have been responsible for some very exciting bus seats, but I would not be making films.”
When contacted by HuffPo’s Mike Ryan about the prospect of directing Episode VII, Johnson was coy, but didn’t deny his interest:
” “A lot would depend on what ‘it’ is. I am very glad to see Lucasfilm cranking up to get productive again, regardless of who ends up doing it.”
Meanwhile, MTV caught up with Frank Marshall at the premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, who dropped a hint that LucasFilm might be closer to naming a director than we thought. Marshall is the husband of new LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy.
“I do (know) but I can’t reveal it, or I won’t be alive tomorrow,” he said. “I’m really excited about this. I didn’t grow up with it, but I was a big fan and have been since the series started. I’ll always remember seeing that big mothership go over the screen. I’ve never forgotten it. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Star Wars: Episode VII is scheduled for release everywhere sometime in 2015.
The only reason I’m not freaking out that Zack Snyder has been tasked with delivering the rebirth of a cinematic Superman is that Christopher Nolan is acting as dad looking over his son’s homework. Seriously, I have that little faith in Snyder, which is only neutralized in my faith in Nolan.
We’ve seen one teaser trailer, a couple still shots and a great deal of talk. That talk has done its best to try and assuage fans’ concerns and to convince us that, yes, this is going to be a “serious” Superman. Whatever that means.
As Snyder put it to The Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex blog:
“It’s a more serious version of Superman. It’s not like a heart attack. We took the mythology seriously. We take him as a character seriously. I believe the movie would appeal to anyone. I think that you’re going to see a Superman you’ve never seen before. We approached it as though no other films had been made. He’s the king-daddy. Honestly that’s why I wanted to do it. I’m interested in Superman because he’s the father of all superheroes. He’s this amazing ambassador for all superheroes. What was it about him that cracked the code that made pop culture embrace this other mythology? What we‘ve made as a film not only examines that but is also an amazing adventure story. It’s been an honor to work on. As a comic book fan, Superman is like the Rosetta Stone of all superheroes. I wanted to be sure the movie treated it respectfully.”
As if he wasn’t taken seriously before (okay maybe not in III & IV)? Okay. I’m doing my best here and Chris Nolan really hasn’t led us astray before. But I have been – and remain – somewhat unconvinced about Zack Snyder and I continue to take the wait-and-see approach.
Man of Steel hits theaters June 14, 2013.
Django Unchained is coming and it’s gonna be off the chain! At least, that’s what they tell us. We’ve had plenty of looks at Quentin Tarantino’s new film, but you know you can’t get enough! New character posters and a new 60-second preview have been released for the upcoming Christmas release.
The full soundtrack for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is online and fully listenable over at Empire. Unfortunately, due to copyright concerns, we can’t embed it here and you can’t skip tracks, but you CAN listen to the entire thing through the link.
The ability to listen to the entire soundtrack comes one day after Neil Finn’s fantastic end credits number “Song of the Lonely Mountain” was released (you can listen to it here, if you don’t want to listen to the entire album). That song is great and Howard Shore’s fantastic soundtrack is a worthy follow-up to his three soundtracks for the original trilogy, which happened to be some of the best movie music of the 00’s.
The soundtrack for the film will be available in regular and special editions on December 11th. Peter Jackson’s cinematic version opens in 3D on December 14th.
The marketing for Oz the Great and Powerful is beginning to ramp up and has released several new posters and stills. The film, which stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz, is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and details how a small-time Kansas magician managed to wind up in Oz. The neatest of the marketing bit is the triptych poster, with the three released posters making up one giant banner.
The official synopsis for Oz the Great and Powerful reads as follows:
Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot–fame and fortune are his for the taking–that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity–and even a bit of wizardry–Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.
Oz the Great and Powerful is scheduled for release on March 8, 2013.
Is The Canyons Liundsay Lohan’s true rock bottom?
I ask that question in all sincerity, cognizant of the fact that we’ve been asking it for the better part of half a decade. I went through years where I simply ignored Lindsay Lohan, hoping she’d pull herself out (or be forcibly pulled out) of her ever-deepening self-made grave and show us all the talent she showed in the early part of her career (ala Drew Barrymore, Robert Downey Jr., etc..). Well, that’s not happening.
Far from it actually. If having to star in a Lifetime TV movie and make cameos mocking your own celebrity downfall and irrelevance – and have it be your career high-water mark of the past five years – wasn’t bad enough, Lohan is now slumming it in a new film written by provocateur and author Bret Easton Ellis. The film’s second trailer has been released and it…is…something.
You know that guy who crashes your small get-together, brings a keg and wants to turn it into a huge par-tay, all the while cracking jokes no one laughs at and drunkenly hitting on every girl around him? At this point, that feels like The Canyons.
Guys, all the clever, wink-wink marketing in the world can’t cover up the fact that your movie looks like the biggest piece of shit this side of I Know Who Killed Me.The film’s first trailer was cut in the vein of 1970’s exploitation/grindhouse films, while this one is made to look like 1950’s black-and-white pulp. Yet, The Canyons is actually set in modern-day Los Angeles and there is no real sense of what the film’s true style and tone would be, other than it being a sexual thriller revolving around the standard Ellis targets: the young, affluent and messed-up.
At least the film’s first trailer didn’t really feature any dialogue; we’re not as lucky this time around as Lohan and porn star James Deen actually open their mouths and say stuff. Which is kind of important in movies nowadays, or so I hear. The dialogue we do hear sounds like bad soap opera and I still don’t have much of a clue of what it’s about (youth…sex…glamour…and EVERYTHING else!). The film has yet to secure domestic distribution and one could infer from this trailer that they might skip a theatrical release altogether.
Look, I get it. These are gag trailers openly mocking their own movie. But there’s a touch of tone-deafness about it all and trailers – last time I checked – were still about trying to get people excited to see your movie. So far, there’s just nothing about any of the marketing for The Canyons that has me wanting to actually sit through this film, even with frequent Scorsese collaborator Paul Schrader directing.
And the continued decline of Lindsay Lohan rolls on, unabetted and showing no sign of slowing down. Playboy, Liz & Dick, Scary Movie 5, The Canyons…what could possibly be next?
THE CANYONS is a contemporary L.A. noir from director Paul Schrader, writer Bret Easton Ellis, and producer Braxton Pope about the dangers of sexual obsession and ambition, both personally and professionally, among a group of young people in their 20′s and how one chance meeting connected to the past unravels all of their lives, resulting in deceit, paranoia, cruel mind games and ultimately violence.
It’s that week of the year again. Yup…it’s Twilight Time again.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is – mercifully – the conclusion of one of the most divisive major Hollywood franchises in our lifetimes. It will do gangbusters and will undoubtedly be the biggest film in the franchise to date. Good luck gentlemen. (you too, discerning ladies).
Steven Spielberg’s well-reviewed Lincoln is expanding into a wider release this weekend, joining limited releases such as Oscar contenders Silver Linings Playbook and Anna Karenina as well as Bollywood import Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
What are you planning on seeing this weekend
Trailer of the Week – Part Deux: The Europa Report
Like I Need A Reason Video of the Week “50 Years of James Bond – The Movie”
That’s all for this week. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section. For now, this is Jeremy Wilson, off the record, on the QT…
…and definitely, “Hush Hush!”