By PJ McQuade. Artist’s note: “Tatooine has been infected with zombie stormtroopers. Who you gonna call? Michonne from The Walking Dead of course! Pay attention JJ Abrams. Given her prowess with a samurai blade, I always picture her with a lightsaber. We all know she’s a total badass, but now she has interstellar credentials. She even has a pelt of decapitated bounty hunter heads – Bossk, Dengar and she’s about to collect IG-88’s tin noggin. Michonne has this cloak of mystery around her so I imagined her as a bounty hunter to muddy the Jedi waters. I see her as a mercenary of sorts, not always towing the Jedi line note for note (perhaps there was a falling out) but she’s on the side of good when the sugar honey ice tea hits the fan, I think… Designed as the debut issue of her comic, here’s to wishing.”
Jai Courtney has landed roles in two major actor-turned-director helmed projects in the form of Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ and Russell Crowe’s ‘The Water Diviner.’ He’ll start with ‘Unbroken,’ the film Jolie is directing that follows the epic life of Louis “Louie” Zamperini,
Set for December 25th, 2014, ‘Unbroken’ marks Angelina Jolie’s second turn behind the camera, after her critically-acclaimed directorial debut, 2011’s Golden Globe Award-nominated ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey.’ Based on The New York Times bestselling book ‘Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption’ by Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit: An American Legend), ‘Unbroken’ begins production this month. Jai Courtney will play Hugh ‘Cup’ Cuppernell, a WWII veteran pilot who gets caught in tenacious midair gunfight alongside Zamperini, who’s played by Jack O’Connell.
’12 Years a Slave’ co-writer John Ridley has come on board to write MGM’s new adaptation of the 1880 Lew Wallace novel ‘Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ,’ which in its time outsold every book but ‘The Bible’ until it was eclipsed by ‘Gone With The Wind.’ Ridley also directed and wrote the upcoming ‘All Is By My Side,’ the Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Andre Benjamin (Andre 3000).
Sean Daniel and Joni Levin are producing the film with Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) directing. Jason Brown will executive produce with screenwriter Keith Clarke. The project began taking shape earlier this year when MGM acquired Clarke’s script, adapted from the 1880 novel. That story focuses on the years prior to those portrayed the 1959 film, centering on the characters Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem, and his childhood friend Messala, who returns home as a commanding officer of the Roman legions and betrays the Ben-Hur family.
According to The Wrap, Will Smith is attached to star in the supernatural thriller ‘Selling Time’ for 20th Century Fox. Smith does not have an official deal in place but he is apparently in the process of coming aboard. Coincidentally, he was attached to star in ‘Selling Time’ several years ago before scheduling conflicts got in the way. Several A-list filmmakers are now circling the movie, though no decision has been made yet.
The story follows a man who is given a chance to relive the worst day of his life in exchange for seven years off his life expectancy. The script was initially written by former DreamWorks Television president Dan McDermott, who will rewrite the script as part of his original deal. Several other writers have taken a crack at the project including Spike Lee and brothers Steven and Derick Martini. John Davis is producing the long-gestating project through his Davis Entertainment banner along with Jennifer Klein. Will Smith, who last starred in ‘After Earth,’ is currently producing the ‘Annie’ remake. He’s set to star alongside Margot Robbie in ‘Focus’ and will soon be seen in Akiva Goldsman’s directorial debut ‘Winter’s Tale.’
Deadline bring word that Drake Doremus is casting up his next film ‘Equals’ for an early 2014 start, and is reportedly eyeing Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult to be the young couple that anchors this science fiction tale penned by Nathan Parker (Moon). Doremus talked up the project while doing press for ‘Breathe In,’ the most recent film he helmed that stars his ‘Like Crazy’ heroine Felicity Jones, Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan. Expect more news about ‘Equals’ shortly.
Lucasfilm has announced that ‘Toy Story 3′ and ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ screenwriter Michael Arndt, previously pegged to script ‘Star Wars: Episode VII,’ is no longer a credited writer on the project. Instead, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams will tackle the screenplay. Here’s Lucasfilm’s press release announcing Abrams and Kasdan as the ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ screenwriters.
As “Episode VII” continues pre-production, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams have assumed screenwriting duties for the film. Kasdan, who has been serving as a consultant on the film, is a veteran of several classic Lucasfilm productions, writing the screenplay for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and serving as co-screenwriter for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Acclaimed director and screenwriter Abrams’ credits include “Super 8,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “Fringe,” and “Lost.”