A few intriguing projects came to light in the film world this week, but TV is all about serial killers and pirates.
Jon Hamm Plays Ball with Million Dollar Arm
Hamm will star as sports agent J.B. Bernstein in Disney's Million Dollar Arm, based on a true story. Tom McCarthy (Win Win) will write the script. Burned out on his job and inspired by watching some cricket matches on TV, Bernstein started the eponymous reality game show in India, and brought two winners, who had never played baseball before, to America, where they eventually signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. It sounds like a fun fish-out-of-water story, and McCarthy is a good choice to find the emotional center of the story and keep things real. Hopefully he'll direct the film, too.
Jon Hamm (AP)
Wright, Pegg, and Frost Reteam for The World's End
Edgar Wright will once again direct Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 2014's The World's End. Working Title is producing the film, which will presumably be distributed by Universal, as with the team's previous successful films, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Pegg and Frost will star as two friends lured into an epic pub crawl to reach the legendary World's End pub. They soon learn that there is much more involved than nostalgia, as the fate of the world is at stake. These three are responsible for two of the best comedies of the past decade, so I am unequivocally excited for the next one.
Nick Frost (left) and Simon Pegg (Getty)
Juliette Lewis in Remake of Nights of Cabiria
Federico Fellini's Oscar-winning classic, which starred his wife Giulietta Masina as a naïve prostitute vainly looking for love in Rome, is being remade in Reno, apparently, by filmmaker Brad Michael Gilbert, with Lewis as the star. Mike S. Ryan and Gilbert are producing the independent film. It takes a lot of chutzpah, and maybe not so much brains, to remake a classic like this. Bob Fosse reconceived the film as a successful musical, Sweet Charity, starring Shirley MacLaine, but something tells me this update won't be quite as successful.
Juliette Lewis (Getty)
Kevin Bacon to Hunt Serial Killers for Fox
Television is all about serial killers and pirates these days, it seems. Fox has ordered The Following, a new series from Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries). Bacon will star as an ex-FBI agent on a hunt for a nasty serial killer (James Purefoy of Revenge) who has established his own cult following of, you guessed it, serial killers. An endless supply of serial killers is every entertainment producer's dream, isn't it? This show has a decent pedigree, and Bacon is certainly a draw. But seriously, will we ever get tired of serial killers? Even Dexter fans are starting to get sick of it all, aren't they?
Kevin Bacon (Getty)
Pirates, Pirates Everywhere, Soon at NBC
In the Fall, it looks like Starz is going to have Michael Bay's Black Sails, while FX is developing Port Royal with Martin Scorsese collaborator Graham King and Walking Dead/Terminator producer Gale Anne Hurd, but NBC may have the most intriguing pirate adventure with Republic of Pirates, based on Colin Woodard's nonfiction book. What intrigues me most about it is not just its basis in reality, but the fact that Neil Cross is in talks to write and executive produce the show. Fans of the BBC series Luther know that Cross is good with baroquely dark subject matter.
I'm worried that we may have reached "peak serial killer." Also, I tend to think of pirates as being strictly "young adult" material, but maybe that show will prove me wrong.