Sunday, August 4, 2013

NEWS UPDATE: Avatar Sequels, Bourne Legacy Sequel, Ellen Degeneres Hosts Oscars and More

Avatar Sequels

James Cameron is providing regular updates regarding the progress on the "Avatar" sequels. Initially it was reported that Cameron is working on two sequels which would be filmed at the same time. Now, the director has announced that there will be not two, but three "Avatar" sequels. Cameron has enlisted the help of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" creator Josh Friedman ("War of the Worlds") to finish the script for "Avatar 2", and three other screenwriters have been brought in to work on the scripts for the second, third and fourth sequels and "help bring his growing Avatar universe to life and to expedite the process.". Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes"), and Shane Salerno ("Savages") are the ones who will collaborate with Cameron on the screenplays. The project is shaping up to become quite a massive undertaking and it seems Cameron cannot handle all the workload, especially since the release date for "Avatar 2" has been set for December 2016, "Avatar 3" for December 2017 and "Avatar 4" for 2018. The three sequels will be filmed simultaneously and production is expected to begin next year.

The Bourne Legacy Sequel

Universal Pictures is moving forward with the sequel to the Bourne spin-off "The Bourne Legacy". The new film will continue the adventures of Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) and the studio announced that screenwriter Anthony Peckham ("Sherlock Holmes", "Invictus") has been hired to pen the script. While the spin-off was not as successful as the Bourne trilogy films, it certainly did well enough to warrant a sequel, but it is uncertain if franchise writer Tony Gilroy, who also directed "Legacy", will return in any capacity for the sequel.

Ellen Degeneres Oscar Host

The host for the 86th Academy Awards has been announced. The Academy announced that Ellen Degeneres will be hosting the 2014 ceremony for a second time, after first hosting in 2007. "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane was approached to return as host, but he was unable to fit the gig into his schedule. The 86th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, March 2, 2014 on the ABC Television Network.

Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson has been cast as the villain in "The Secret Service", an adaptation of the graphic novel by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. The film will be directed by Matthew Vaughn ("Kick-Ass", "X-Men: First Class") and also stars Colin Firth and Taron Egerton. Here is the synopsis for the comic book:
"The world’s greatest secret agent is on the most exciting case of his career. But will the end of the world as know it take a back seat to training his street-punk nephew to be the next James Bond? Meanwhile, what’s the secret link between a series of kidnapped sci-fi stars, the murder of an entire town, and a dark secret from inside Mou-nt Everest? Under Uncle Jack’s supervision, Gary’s spy skills and confidence blossom–but when the duo learn what’s behind the celebrity kidnappings, the knowledge comes at a price. The conspiracy begins to unravel, but who can be trusted when so many prominent figures seem to be involved? "

Arnold Schwarzenegger
An update on "The Legend of Conan" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger has been provided by Paradox Entertainment President and CEO Frederik Malmberg. He recently spoke about the sequel in an interview at "The Arnold Fans". Here's what Malmberg had to say about it:
"We’re doing the script and it’s by the whole ‘Fast and the Furious’ team, which is great for a power position of the studio because they’re exteamily [sic] successful – it was the biggest movie and if anyone knows how to build a franchise, it is that team. It’s Chris Morgan and Jeffery Kirschenbaum, the head of Universal. Arnold is very excited. It’s just in the phase where it takes a lot of work to get the script just right … We have a great story. Everyone loves it. This is a role that’s perfect for him (Arnold) and he’s very involved with the whole Universal team. It’s the best team they have. Arnold has been very instrumental to being this together saying, ‘We gotta make a good Conan!’ I think if we do this right, we can do two more Conan movies right after. I think Game of Thrones also shows a huge interest in fantasy. I’m psyched about it.

[Regarding possible co-stars] There’s Sven-Ole [Thorson]…he’s a cool guy. I guess at this point, there’s definitely some room for that but it has to make sense and it can’t be cheesy. It has to be very believable and it’s also crucial to Arnold that this is not too much of a throwback and yet it pays homage…it should pay some respect to the original movies but there has to be a real reason for it.

[Regarding the plot] The idea is that this takes place AFTER Conan has been king. But this is the legend of Conan where he has been gone and people say, ‘do you remember the good ol’ days when Conan was around?’ And now it’s time for him to come back. In the stories and you can also see it when he’s sitting on the thrown and the narration on that last scene of the movie…”with a troubled brow” …you can tell he’s not really happy being king. So, it’s time for him to go out and do battle … The idea for this particular film is that he will be the lead, a lot of people ask if we’re going to introduce a son of Conan and passing the torch? The idea is to not. No, this is Conan’s movie. This is Arnold’s movie!

With today’s production values, we can probably do a lot more with what they were doing way back then. I mean we have seen what Peter Jackson has done. I think of course this is probably more grounded and less fantastical with less creatures and CG monsters. We want to have some of that fantastical world but we don’t want it to become a complete fantasy because what really set Conan the Barbarian apart from all the other fantasy movies is that this feels like our prehistoric earth. Still, we want to make it full of splendor … It’s on the table and it’s a big studio picture and a big event movie. I wouldn’t rule it out but right now, all we’re concentrating on is the story. It’s a working machine with everyone and marketing people. The president over there at Universal Pictures is Jeffery Kirschenbaum, and he’s one of the top two executive producers and he has a huge position there at Universal and he’s always been a huge Conan fan. ‘I want to make Conan,’ he’s said many times. And it was Universal who launched the first film with Arnold. Now the constellation is aligning."


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