EXCLUSIVE: Things are not looking very good right now for Tarzan, the re-imagining of the Edgar Rice Burroughs tale that has Harry Potter helmer David Yates preparing to make it this year, with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard playing the title character and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jessica Chastain circling the female lead. I’m hearing they’ve shut down plans to make the film this year, and are shuttering the production office. Sounds like it had to do with a high budget they just couldn’t reduce to the level that made the studio comfortable. Casting and timing could also have been an issue, as word is the studio had been courting Jamie Foxx to play the film’s third lead but hadn’t made a deal. This is the film that Warner Bros has tried to get going for years, even hiring scribes Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer to separately script their own visions for the franchise.
Nobody was commenting officially, but insiders at the studio tell me they are trying again for 2014 and that Yates is still in the fold. The studio hadn’t greenlit the film and did not have pay or play deals, so it wasn’t that hard to apply the brakes. Warner Bros is always voracious for franchises that can play on a global stage, but the studio also has been pretty bold about unplugging films that cost too much or don’t get the starpower. Recent examples include the David Dobkin-directed Arthur & Lancelot, scrapped because the film was going to cost at least $130 million, and Warner Bros didn’t want to spend a dime more than $110 million on a film to star newcomers Joel Kinnaman and Kit Harington. The studio also slowed the pace of Akira by shuttering the Vancouver production office, and letting lapse the test options deals it had with Dane DeHaan and Michael Pitt. Both actors had been competing for the lead role of Tetsuo, to star alongside Garrett Hedlund, Kristin Stewart, and potentially Ken Watanabe and Helena Bonham Carter. Neither of those films were greenlit, but they were close and so was Tarzan. Warner Bros is hardly alone among studios doing this. Legendary scrapped Paradise Lost, and Disney unplugged The Lone Ranger–until the $250 million budget was trimmed to around $215 million. That film regained its footing and is Disney’s big offering for July 3. We’ll see if Tarzan is able to come back together like The Lone Ranger or whether it’s the latest casualty in the struggle between creative ambition and fiscal discipline.
UPDATE: Director David Yates has confirmed his withdrawal from the helm of Your Voice In My Head, which Deadline revealed yesterday. He has issued this statement: “Unfortunately, due to conflicting schedules and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is negotiating to acquire Your Voice in My Head, the Emma Forrest-scripted drama based on the scribe’s memoir that is expected to be the next film by director David Yates. The film is shaping up to be … Read More »
My former colleague Adam Dawtrey had a good scoop about Harry Potter director David Yates helming a feature version of the long running BBC science fiction series Doctor Who. That’s going to take several years to get a script, … Read More »
The Art Directors Guild said today it will bestow its honorary Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award to the creative team behind the Harry Potter films during the 16th annual Excellence in Production Design Awards, set for February 4 at … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: At a time when organized crime films are back in vogue, Relativity Media’s Ryan Kavanaugh is wetting his beak. He’s acquired Ness/Capone, a Grant Pierce Myers script that made the 2010 Black Script and puts a new spin on the epic battle between Eliot Ness and Al Capone during the Prohibition Era 1920s. That battle was famously chronicled in the Brian DePalma-directed movie based on the TV series The Untouchables. Myers went back to the history books and came away with a much different version of Ness. While Kevin Costner played him as an incorruptible married choirboy who had to be taught to meet the mob on its own crooked terms, Ness/Capone’s Ness is a skirt-chasing 26-year old publicity hound who seemed to get an adrenaline charge out of courting danger, kicking in doors, smashing moonshine stores and rubbing it in the noses of Capone and other mobsters. He paraded confiscated bootleg trucks past Capone’s hotel, calling Capone in advance to suggest he look out the window. Deals are still being worked out, but the film will be produced by Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Jeremy Bell along with Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari and Virgin Produced’s Jason Felts and Rene Rigal.
This puts Relativity Media in another potential pic race (it has already gone to the mattresses against Universal over rival Snow White films). Warner Bros has its own Capone project, the Walon Green-scripted Cicero, an origin story. I’ve reported that the project has interest from David Yates when he resurfaces from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, his fourth and final Potter pic. Warner Bros also is going gangbusters on Gangster Squad, the Ruben Fleischer-directed pic that has Sean Penn negotiating to play L.A. mobster Mickey Cohen, and Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as the cops who try to bring him down. Read More »