It’s been a while since I got good leakage from the agencies (do with that what you must), so I was thrilled to run across Film Jerk proprietor Edward Havens’s list of 300 active and in-development pre-strike projects (link courtesy of Hollywood Elsewhere). The last time I saw this list, it was much shorter and nearly induced a heart attack, as it included Universal’s then planned remake of Slap Shot. As you should know by now, those projects hang around the studios like herpes, but, in this case, it appears the latest flame-up has subsided; George Roy Hill’s hockey classic is presently safe from a PG-13 reimagining starring, oh, Billy Bob Thornton and Jason Lee.
But if you take the time to peruse this list, you’re bound to find something to piss you off. Consider, for example, The Weinstein Company’s Seven Samurai remake, now titled Seventh Samurai and out to staid costume drama helmer Justin Chadwick and the hyperactive perpetrator of Running Scared (’06) Wayne Kramer. Sounds like TWC knows precisely what it wants out of the least necessary remake of all time (unnecessary because every audience imaginable has already seen Kurosawa’s story done before, whether in The Magnificent Seven, Battle Beyond the Stars or A Bug’s Life; if they’re hungry to go back to the source of the tale, they’ll rent or buy the definitive Criterion Collection release). And if you check out Warner Brothers’ proposed slate, you’ll see that Guy Ritchie is now onboard Joel Silver’s dubious redo of The Dirty Dozen. (At last, Guy Ritchie is the studio hack I always knew he’d be!)
There are some positive aspects to this list: though he swore he was making "the last serial killer movie" with Zodiac, I’m fine with David Fincher finally tearing into Torso, an adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’s graphic novel about Eliot Ness’s search for the Cleveland Torso Murderer (I’m praying that Fincher actually shoots in "The Mistake by the Lake"). And speaking of Zodiac, it’s good to see screenwriter Jamie Vanderbilt’s take on Richard A. Clarke’s Against All Enemies in the hands of Robert Redford.
Just remember that half of these movies will either fall apart or be shoved aside in favor of other projects over the next few months (notice, for example, that the Scott brothers are each attached to two films). But that shouldn’t stop you from emailing IESB and claiming to have the inside scoop on Nottingham starring Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, a coming-out-of-retirement Sean Connery and Natalie Portman as a mocap-ed Audrey Hepburn. Get to work!