By now you must all know about J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars Episode VII, and the ensuing online dustup between Star Trek and Star Wars fans. Here is some less "controversial" news about what else Hollywood has in store for us.
Bradley Cooper's Post-Oscar Nomination Role
According to Deadline, Warner Brothers is developing James Renner's novel, The Man From Primrose Lane, as a starring vehicle for Bradley Cooper, fresh off his Best Actor Oscar nomination for Silver Linings Playbook. The book is about a true crime writer whose life unravels after his wife commits suicide. Investigating another death, he learns of his own connection to a string of crimes, and begins to question his perception of reality. Cooper was good in SLP, but I give director David O. Russell a lot of credit for that. Cooper has a kind of natural glibness about him, great for playing jerks in The Hangover and Wedding Crashers, but less compelling when he's playing someone we're supposed to root for. This sounds like an interesting project, so we'll see.
Bradley Cooper (Getty)
Tom Hardy Goes Red
Tom Hardy (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), soon to be seen in the long-awaited Mad Max: Fury Road, is in talks to star in a Soviet Union-set thriller, Child 44. Based on the novel by Tom Rob Smith, it's about a good Russian soldier who runs afoul of the powers that be when he tries to investigate a serial killer, because the authorities are loathe to admit that something like that could happen in their "crime-free utopia." Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) is directing, and Ridley Scott is producing. Noomi Rapace (the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), who is already starring with Hardy in the upcoming drama Animal Rescue, is in talks to join him in Child 44 as well. I like both actors, and Safe House was a decent thriller, so this one might turn out okay.
Tom Hardy (Getty)
Zac Efron Falls for Akiva Goldsman
Zac Efron is still trying to get his grown-up acting career started, and last year's The Paperboy didn't quite do the trick. He'll appear in the JFK assassination drama Parkland, and the romantic comedy Are We Officially Dating? this year, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, he's now agreed to produce and star in The Falling (working title), a science fiction thriller developed at Warner Brothers. The studio brought the project to Efron and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, and the plotline is being kept a secret. Goldsman won an Oscar for his adaptation of A Beautiful Mind, but to me, he'll always be the guy that wrote those two horrible Joel Schumacher Batman movies. He still has a lot to do to erase that stain.
Zac Efron (Getty)
D-Bags: The Movie
According to Deadline, Warner Brothers has greenlit the movie version of HBO's Entourage, which will be written and directed by Doug Ellin, who executive produced the show with Mark Wahlberg. No plot details are forthcoming, but I'm pretty sure the story will involve really cool parties and probably a fancy car or two. Beautiful women. You know, all the perks of success in Hollywood. I watched pretty much every episode of the series, so I feel qualified to say that it was one of the worst things ever, a consistently racist, sexist, homophobic and mean-spirited celebration of conspicuous consumption, unexamined privilege, and celebrity as achievement. In other words, I'm not really looking forward to a version that you have to go to a theater and pay to see.
Gilmore Girls Go A-Sleuthing?
ABC has picked up an hour-long dramedy pilot called Murder in Manhattan, about a mother-and-daughter detective team. ABC Studios will co-produce the show with the production company of actor Ryan Reynolds. Maria Maggenti, who wrote and directed the '90s indie sensation The Incredible True Adventure of Two Girls in Love and went on to write for the CBS show Without a Trace, has written the script. At best, maybe it's like The Gilmore Girls in New York City, investigating crimes. That could be charming. A lot will depend, as always, on who they cast.
Maria Maggenti (Getty)
Ken Burns Boxing for HBO
According to Deadline, the great documentarian Ken Burns (The Central Park Five) has signed on to direct a dramatic miniseries for HBO, based on the life of boxer Jack Johnson. Johnson, the Texas-born son of former slaves, fought the racism of the height of the Jim Crow era to become world heavyweight champion in 1908. His victories over white boxers sometimes caused race riots. Flouting the conventions of the era, he was also married to three white women. Johnson's life inspired the play and film The Great White Hope and he was the subject of Burns' acclaimed PBS documentary, Unforgivable Blackness, based on the biography by Geoffrey C. Ward. Johnson's is a great, quintessential American tale, and I'm eager to see this new project.
Ken Burns (Getty)
Are you looking forward to any of these? Which one sounds the most intriguing? Please let me know in the comments below.