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The Hollywood Universe – 2/25/08


 The Hollywood Universe – 2/25/08

1) Not much love for Sci-fi at the Oscars, but there were a few scattered Academy Awards:

Ratatouille from Pixar and Brad Bird won Best Animated Feature Film over nominees Persepolis and Surf’s Up, but Bird lost for Original Screenplay to the popular Diablo Cody for Juno, and the movie lost both in Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, as did Transformers, to winner The Bourne Ultimatum, and in Achievement in Music (Original Score) to Atonement. The Golden Compass won for Achievement in Visual Effects, beating out both Transformers and Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End, but lost for Achievement in Art Direction to Sweeney Todd. Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End also lost in Achievement in Makeup to La Vie en Rose. Disney’s fantasy Enchanted had three songs nominated for Original Song, but lost to the duet “Falling Slowly” from the romantic film Once. Peter & The Wolf won Best Animated Short Film. 

2) The Wachowski Brothers’ next film will be Ninja Assassin, set to film in Berlin in the spring and starring Korean actor Rain. James McTeigue will direct the film, with the Wachowskis and Joel Silver producing for Warner Brothers. Rain, otherwise known as Jung Ji-hoon, was also in the Wachowski’s up-coming film Speed Racer.

3) The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films has announced the nominees for their 34th Annual Saturn Awards. Graphic novel adaptation 300 has the most nominations with ten nods. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix racked up 9 nominations and Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd got 8. The Golden Compass, Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End and Spider-Man 3 each received 4 nominations. Enchanted, Grindhouse, The Mist, and Stardust received 3 nominations apiece. The Saturn Awards also reward television shows, including nominations for Lost and Heroes. Two special awards will also be given this year: Guillermo del Toro will receive the George Pal Memorial Award and author Tim Lucas will receive the Special Achievement Award for his 2007 book Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark. The winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony on June 24th in Universal City, California.

4) Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appain Way production company and Warner Brothers are turning anime legend Akira into a live action feature film. The story will be split into two films with Ruairi Robinson set to direct both movies. Akira started in 1988 as a manga and then as the famous animated film by Katsuhiro Otomo. Set in a post-nuclear war futuristic Tokyo, it told the story of a biker whose super-powers are unleashed due to a government experiment. The live action film will move the story to “New Manhattan,” a city rebuilt by Japanese money. A tentative summer 2009 release is planned.

5) Sony Pictures will be producing Roland Emmerich’s next big disaster movie, 2012, as a summer 2009 release. Co-written with Harald Kloser, Emmerich’s next flick focuses on the day the ancient Mayans prophesied would be the end of the world, and may have a budget of up to $200 million U.S. Emmerich’s current epic, 10,000 B.C., with Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures, opens March 7th.

6) Columbia Pictures has acquired the rights to indie comic book The Boys and will turn it into a feature adaptation. Originally created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson for Dynamite Entertainment, the comic book series follows a CIA squad known as “the boys,” whose job is to keep an eye on superpowered beings and if necessary, restrict or eliminate them.

7) David Fincher has signed on to direct the feature adaptation of Charles Burns’ graphic novel Black Hole for Paramount Pictures and MTV Films, replacing Alexandre Aja. Black Hole tells the story of a sexually transmitted “bug” passed from teenager to teenager. Roger Avary and fantasy author Neil Gaiman are writing the screenplay.

8) Toymaker Hasbro has announced a six-year partnership with Universal Pictures to produce at least four feature films based on some of Hasbro’s best-known games and toys, including Monopoly, Candy Land, Clue, Ouija Board, Battleship, Magic: the Gathering and Stretch Armstrong. This deal is independent of Hasbro’s partnership with Dream Works and Paramount for Transformers and G.I. Joe. The first film is tentatively scheduled to be released in 2010 or 2011, with a film a year following. Monopoly seems to be the first property in the pipeline.

9) Wanted, a new action film adapted from Mark Millar’s graphic novel series, will open at the end of June. It stars James McAvoy as a man recruited into a secret group of assassins with semi-mystical superpowers, and is directed by Timur Bekmambetov. The movie also stars Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.

10) Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantasy novel The Master and the Margarita is getting another chance at making it to the silver screen. Producer Scott Steindorf and Stone Village Pictures have optioned the rights. The story is set in Moscow before World War II, about the devil arriving on Earth and wreaking havoc in literary circles.

11) Writer-director Jordan Galland is helming the indie vampire comedy Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Undead, starring Jake Hoffman, Devon Aoki, Jeremy Sisto, John Ventimiglia, and Ralph Macchio. Hoffman plays an unemployed actor who gets his big break directing a strange off-Broadway version of “Hamlet,” only to find he has to deal with vampires, the Mob and suspicious detectives. Sean Lennon will write the musical score for the movie.

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