Since the 5th November 2007 members of the Writers Guild of America have not written, typed, engraved or sprayed any words down on whatever they would normally write, type, engrave or spray on. People have lost jobs, sleep and most likely, weight, due to all the protesting instead of sat on their backends writing. But most importantly, production on some of the most anticipated movies ever have been halted.
In most cases the studios have done what they can under the circumstances, such as storyboarding, thinking and possibly scribbling down those thoughts down. But no script means no filming. So now that the writers could be back at work within days, what movies can we now look forward to?
In no particular order…
Just over a month after the writers began their strike it was announced that Peter Jackson and New Line has sorted out their problems and Peter would indeed be involved with The Hobbit. As Jackson was busy with The Lovely Bones and Tintin, he would not be directing, but would be an executive producer and will have creative control, along with writing the script with Fran Walsh. It is thought that if Peter has finished with Tintin, he could then direct the second Hobbit film.
Recently Guillermo del Toro has been linked to the directors chair, with some saying he is a 100% lock, however Toro has said that even though he would love to direct, it is not certain yet. TheOneRing.net think that all will be well once the writers strike ends, and Guillermo del Toro will sit comfortably in the directors chair.
Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Andy Serkis, Viggo Mortensen, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood and Christopher Lee have all said they would reprise their roles should they be needed. Now that writing is no longer considered morally wrong, we will be going back to Middle Earth in 2010!
With Transformers being a hit for Paramount last year, it didn’t take a robot that can change into a stereo to realise what is going to happen next. A release date of June 26th 2009 was set two months before the strike and writers of the first film , Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, were brought on-board. Then the strike happened and things were put on hold. Director Micheal Bay did what he could to try and move the production forward, even saying he was writing some of the script himself.
“We knew from early on that the writers strike could get ugly, and this has got to bring a little sanity to the situation,” Bay said. “I can’t do the movie without my writers, but I have been prepping. I’m not in the guild, but I’ve been writing every day. This strike (is) insane, and a director’s responsibility is to the 50 crew members who depend on you for their livelihoods. We’ve got battle plans ready for the possibility of an actors strike. Somehow, you’ve got to keep the ball rolling.”
Now things can start rolling forward, with Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Peter Cullen and everyone else expected to return. Its is unknown whether the June 2009 date will stick, but they can damn well aim for it!
Marvel brought Matthew Vaughn on board to direct the thunder God after he expressed interest during his X-Men 3 days. I Am Legend screenwriter Mark Protosevich was also hired and the duo embarked on a weekend writing the script and eventually handed it in to Marvel. The good news was that they loved it, the bad news was that it would cost up to $300 million to make, so Vaughn and Protosevich would have to make some changes to get it down to $150 million. A month later the strike occurred so everything was put on hold. In December Mark Protosevich spoke about the films status:
“That project is as much a passion project for me as ‘I Am Legend,’” he said. “I was a comic book kid. Thor was my absolute favorite.”
Once the writers’ strike is over, production can start and Protosevich says audiences will be “pleasantly surprised” by this interpretation of the character. It’s much more rooted in the Norse roots of the character, he says.
“There used to be a segment in the Thor comics called ‘Tales of Asgard’ — and it’s much more akin to that,” he said. “It really is set in that world. It does deal with Earth. The primary focus we’re taking on it is really all about the Norse myths.”
Marvel signed a deal with the WGA a couple of weeks back, so things may very well be happening now. Matthew Vaughn has expressed interesting in filming at the end of 2008 in the UK, and says he has someone in mind to play Thor, but wouldn’t indicate whom…
The reason Peter Jackson wont be directing The Hobbit is due to this adventurous fellow. Jackson and Steven Spielberg have decided to make a Tintin trilogy, Jackson will direct the first movie, and Speilberg the second. But not only that it will be in 3D and they will be using similar motion capture technology to that of James Cameron’s Avatar. There is no word on who will direct the third, but that is years away so they have time to get someone. The only problem is that you have two amazing directors doing the first movies, so someone of equal greatness will have to take on the job and finish the trilogy, which will no doubt be a hard task.
In September 2007, Dr. Who writer Steven Moffat was hired to write the screenplay for the three films. Whether his Britishness helped the production as he could continue writing is unknown, but writing a trilogy would usually take someone a long time. Andy Serkis is the only cast member announced, and many suspect he will be playing Captain Haddock. Serkis has said that he has already done some work for Tintin in New Zealand, and filming is expected to begin in September.
The X-Men Trilogy rounded up back in 2006, so FOX decided to continue the X-Men world with spin-off’s. We have X-Men Origins: Wolverine currently filming now, but what happened to Magneto?
Back in 2004 Sheldon Turner was hired to write an X-Men spin-off, which ended up being Magneto. Turner’s intent for the film was to examine Magneto’s “psychological roots”. The plot would also deal with the character’s friendship with Charles Xavier which eventually turned sour. FOX waited to get X-Men 3 out of the way and in April 2007 they announced that Blade Trinity director David S. Goyer would be directing, with a 2009 release planned.
In August, Goyer said that they were busy scouting for filming locations, possibly in Europe and Argentina, and sorting out the budget. Then in September 2007 a list of ‘priority movies’ was released, with studios wanting to fast-track some movies due to the impending strike. Magneto was listed with a January start date. However, that date came and went and Goyer is currently focused on an ‘untitled supernatural thriller’. No doubt the strike meant that he could not de re-writes and FOX decided to put the film on hold. Now the strike is over they can either wait for Goyer to finish off his other projects, or get another director on board.
Jurassic Park IV
It all started back in 2002 when screenwriter William Monahan was hired to write the first draft, with an aim of 2005 for the film’s released. Then a re-write took place in 2004 by John Sayles, which focused on a new character called Nick Harris who is hired to train five genetically modified Deinonychus as mercenaries. By April 2005 the film was still not ready, with Steven Spielberg not happy with the script, saying “He felt neither of [the drafts] balanced the science and adventure elements effectively. It’s a tough compromise to reach, as too much science will make the movie too talky, but too much adventure will make it seem hollow.”
By 2007 Sam Neil said he had not been contacted to reprise his role as Dr. Alan Grant, however Laura Dern had been contacted regarding the film, as had Richard Attenborough. Now that the strike is over they can focus on finally getting the script ready and hiring a director with Universal still aiming for a 2009 release date.
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
Prince of Persia is being produced by super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who also is responsible for Pirates Of The Caribbean and is based on the video game, which follows an adventurous prince who teams up with a rival princess to stop an angry ruler from unleashing a sandstorm that could destroy the world. There were rumours floating around that Michael Bay was up for directing, however Mike Newell was eventually hired as director. Writer Jordan Mechner discussed the status of the film in January:
I wrote the first draft and several revisions over a period of about a year and a half. Two more years of development followed, in which additional revisions were done by (in this order): Jeff Nachmanoff, Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard. That sounds like a crazy number of writers, but the original screenplay structure, plot and characters have survived the whole process pretty much intact. It’s still very much the same movie John August and I pitched to Disney and Bruckheimer back in 2004 — it’s been streamlined in certain ways, souped up in others. It’s a good, solid story and I think it’ll be very satisfying on screen.
The movie is in pre-production. At this moment there’s no way to know how long the writers’ strike will last, or if the directors’ and actors’ guilds will strike as well. It’s a very insecure time for the whole industry. A lot of big movies that were set to go, now aren’t. I was really hoping that Mike Newell would be the one to direct this movie and I was ecstatic when he agreed, but it was bittersweet because I only had about 24 hours to rejoice before the writers’ strike began.
I support my guild and the writers’ cause, so until the strike is resolved I can’t meet with Newell and the Bruckheimer execs or contribute further to the development of the movie. It’s frustrating because I’ve been dreaming of a Prince of Persia movie, basically, for 20 years, and now at this key moment when the project has finally found the right director and he’s brimming with enthusiasm and excitement, I can’t even meet with him.
The film is aiming to start filming in June for a 2009 release date. It would be mighty useful to complete the script and hire some actors before then.
The greedy bastards at Sony have apparently got three more Spiderman films lined up for us, after the Trilogy took in nearly $2.5 billion worldwide. Director Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst have said that they would return if each other did, but it is for Sony and Marvel to decide whether they go in a complete new direction, or whether they carry on from Spiderman 3. Sony hired Spiderman writer David Koepp to write a script in January 2007. In October 2007, Raimi said that he and the studio were looking for a new writer that would have a brand new take on the Spider-Man series. Raimi would relinquish creative control of the sequel’s story and focus on either directing or producing the script. Zodiac screenwriter James Vanderbilt was eventually hired and spoke about writing and the strike.
“It’s sort of an odd process because you’re sitting down with the people who made the first three and going, ‘Well let me tell you what to do.’
“But I was lucky enough that they were interested in me and I’m a huge fan of those movies, so we closed that up right before the strike. Once the strike’s over I get to go to work,” he added.
There are also reports that producer Avi Arad spoke about making a movie based on the Spiderman 3 villain Venom. Apparently a number of ‘A-List’ writers have met with the studio to discuss the project, and will probably get down to work once the strike comes to an end.
World of WarCraft
WarCraft began is 1994 and has since become a gaming phenomenon with over 9 million people playing worldwide and over 15 million minutes of the game being played every day. However, the gamers shouldn’t expect storylines from the game being translated to the big screen as Blizzard feel it be too similar to Lord of The Rings. Instead, the storyline will follow events before the first World of WarCraft game as tensions between all of the different races of the universe grow, which will result in battles similar to those seen in 300, Braveheart and Alexander.
Legendary Pictures are aiming for an epic action movie that will be around 2 hours 30 minutes but as of now no director has been announced and the strike prevented the script from being developed. Designers of the game were collaborating with Legendary Pictures on the story and script and want someone of Zack Snyder calibre directing, which will hopefully please the gaming community.
Honourable mentions go to Justice League, Fantastic Four 3, Conan The Barbarian, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, Angels & Demons and all of the other movies that can now develop thanks to a deal being struck!