Star Wars Spin-Offs Spinning Out of Control?
Disney apparently plans to milk the Star Wars franchise for everything it's worth. After Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed plans for spin-offs focusing on individual characters in an interview on CNBC, Entertainment Weekly broke the news that Han Solo and Boba Fett are among those planned for this treatment. This is in addition to the three sequels Disney is planning, and reportedly, screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) and Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes) are working on all of them. The Han Solo film would take place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, while the Boba Fett story would take place between the first two (or as I think of them, "the good") Star Wars films. Until I'm proven wrong, I'm going to assume this is all a bunch of, kid-friendly, digitized cartoony nonsense (and yes, get off my lawn). Ain't It Cool News, meanwhile, reports that a Yoda-based film may be in the works. Silly, that sounds.
Tina Fey Leaves One Nest for Another
30 Rock fans, take heart. Tina Fey's career continues apace. According to Deadline, she's set to star in The Nest for Universal and director Jason Moore, who had an unexpected hit with the perfectly watchable Pitch Perfect, is in talks to direct. It's the first feature script by SNL veteran Paula Pell. The story involves two thirtysomething sisters who return to their childhood home, which has been put up for sale, to bicker, bond and maybe grow up a little and learn to love each other again. It doesn't sound particularly earth-shattering, but I will give anything a shot at this point if Fey is involved.
Tina Fey (Getty)
Renner to Play Tragic Reporter
According to Deadline, Jeremy Renner plans to star in Kill the Messenger, to be directed by Homeland executive producer Michael Cuesta and distributed by Focus Features. Renner and his production partner Don Handfield are teaming with Scott Stuber (Ted) to produce. The movie will tell the true story of journalist Gary Webb, whose investigative reporting exposed the CIA's involvement with introducing crack cocaine to California. Webb was subsequently smeared and lost his job. He eventually committed suicide. Maybe not the feel-good hit of the summer, but this is the kind of challenging and important story I wish more filmmakers were willing to tackle.
Guillermo del Toro's Beast of a Project
According to Deadline, Universal has acquired the rights to a new adaptation of The Secret Garden. The great Guillermo del Toro (Mama) is helping yet another young filmmaker bring a worthy project to fruition. Del Toro is teaming with Beasts of the Southern Wild co-writer and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nominee Lucy Alibar is developing the film based on Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic novel. Del Toro is producing with Mark Johnson, whom he partnered with for Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, but he's too busy to direct this movie, so maybe Alibar will take the reins for her directorial debut? In any case, it's a great combination of talent and material, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all comes together.
Lena Dunham Goes Shopping
Young phenom writer-director-actor Lena Dunham is lining up her next project, and according to Deadline, HBO has optioned it. Dunham is working again with her co-showrunner/executive producer on Girls, Jenni Konner, to create a new sitcom about personal shoppers for the rich, pampered and famous. All Dressed Up and Everywhere to Go is based on the upcoming memoir by Betty Halbreich, whose worked with such stars as Meryl Streep, Joan Rivers, Sarah Jessica Parker and Katie Couric. This sounds like a decent premise, and it's certainly right in Dunham's comfort zone. It doesn't sound like the kind of thing that would necessarily win her new fans, but I think she's extremely talented and funny so I know I'll be watching.
In addition to their recent exclusive deal to stream Downton Abbey, Amazon is stepping up its production slate to compete with Hulu and Netflix. They recently signed the wonderful John Goodman to star in Alpha House, one of six comedy pilots they're producing. The show, about four senators rooming together in a rented house in DC, was written by Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau, whose last high-profile TV projects were Tanner '88 for HBO, and its sequel, Tanner on Tanner for The Sundance Channel. Goodman will play a North Carolina senator and former basketball coach. I don't know how many premium internet streaming services I'm willing to pay for, but if this is the kind of thing Amazon is going to be putting out, it sounds like they're on the right track.
Are you looking forward to any of these? Which one sounds the most intriguing? Please let me know in the comments below.