Hollywood is in a real space race. Juan Antonio Bayona has been set to helm the untitled space pic that Forrest Gump scribe Eric Roth has written for Warner Bros, with Kevin McCormick producing. This comes amidst other space pic developments: JJ Abrams switching off from Star Trek to an attempt to place defibrilator paddles on what is left of Star Wars; and as Marvel Studios prepares to launch the space-set Guardians of the Galaxy as its next superhero franchise. That latter movie is still in the casting stage for the lead character of Starlord, and Marvel is still searching after Joseph Gordon-Levitt said no. I gave you a short list of actors last year who were meeting, and they’ve widened the search.
Separately, a space-set version of The Odyssey just got launched at Warner Bros, and the studio has dated for fall the Sandra Bullock-George Clooney-starrer Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuaron. This is 3D and should be great.
Personally, I find it easier to get excited about the combination of the imagination of a great writer like Roth (The Good Shepherd and The Insider) and Bayona, who helmed The Orphanage and just directed the tsunami movie The Impossible, or even Guardians of the Galaxy, than the attempt to bring back Star Wars. A lot of people drool slavishly over the memory of the original first two films and how groundbreaking they … Read More »
Eric Roth, whose wide-ranging list of screenwriting credits include his Oscar-winning script for Forrest Gump, has been named the the recipient of the WGA West’s 2012 Laurel Award for Screen. The award, which honors lifetime achievement in outstanding writing for motion pictures, will be presented during the Writers Guild Awards’ West Coast ceremony February 19 at the Hollywood Palladium. Roth has been nominated for four Oscars, winning for Gump in 1995; his other nommed credits include 1999′s The Insider (with Michael Mann), 2005′s Munich (with Tony Kushner) and 2008′s The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (with Robin Swicord). He most recently adapted Jonathan Safran Foer’s 9/11 novel Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, just released by Warner Bros. Past winners of the Laurel Award for Screen include Horton Foote, David Mamet, Lawrence Kasdan, Robert Benton, Budd Schulberg, Barry Levinson and Steven Zaillian.
The Visual Effects Society, the industry’s organization of visual effects artists and technicians, today released a Bill of Rights designed to call attention to problems affecting its membership and Hollywood. The document follows an open letter to the entertainment industry by the VES, which cited a downward spiral of working conditions and benefits as well as earnings for effects pros around the globe. “In the VES open letter, we said it was time to step up as the voice of the visual effects industry by talking to all parties regarding their concerns,” said exec director Eric Roth. “At this time we have engaged in a vigorous dialog with key stakeholders at all levels and believe our Bill of Rights lays out the vital concerns of each segment of the industry. Our next step is to focus on bringing all parties together to seek solutions.”
Here is the open letter that Eric Roth, executive director of the Visual Effects Society, sent to its 2,400 members today. It is a real indictment of the movie industry’s terrible treatment of this vital creative craft:
An Open Letter to VFX Artists and the Entertainment Industry at Large
Visual Effects Society: 2.0
As an Honorary Society, VES has led the way in promoting the incredible work of VFX artists but so far no one has stood up to lead the way on the business side of our business. No one has been able to speak out for unrepresented artists and facilities – or the craft as a whole – in any meaningful way.
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that the state of the visual effects industry is unsettled. Artists and visual effects companies are working longer hours for less income, delivering more amazing VFX under ever diminishing schedules, carrying larger financial burdens while others are profiting greatly from our work. As a result, there has been a lot of discussion recently about visual effects and its role in the entertainment industry. Many feel VFX artists are being taken advantage of and many others feel that VFX facilities are operating under unsustainable competitive restraints and profit margins. There have been calls for the creation of a VFX union to represent artists’ interests while others have pushed to create a trade organization for VFX facilities to better navigate today’s economic complexities.
As globalization intensifies, the process of creating visual effects is becoming more and more commoditized. Many wonder if the current business model for our industry is sustainable over the long term. Indeed, multiplying blogs are questioning why artists are forced to work crazy overtime hours for weeks or months on end without health benefits and VFX facilities are forced to take on shows at a loss just to keep their pipelines going and their doors open (they hope).
As good as we are at creating and manipulating amazing and ground breaking images, VFX professionals have done a terrible job of marketing ourselves to the business side of the industry. In short, no one has been able to harness the collective power of our efforts, talents, and passions into a strong, unified voice representing the industry as a whole.
VES may not have the power of collective bargaining, but we do have the power of a voice that’s 2,400 artists strong in 23 countries — and the VES Board of Directors has decided that now is the time to use it.
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Kevin Spacey has come on board to star in and executive produce David Fincher’s drama series project for indie producer Media Rights Capital, House of Cards, marking a reunion of The Social Network director Fincher and executive producer Spacey. In his TV directorial debut, Fincher will direct the pilot for the project, based on the book and British miniseries of the same name. He will executive produce with Eric Roth, writer of Fincher’s previous movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Joshua Donen as well as Spacey and his producing partner at Trigger Street Prods. Dana Brunetti.
The political-thriller novel House of Cards, written by Michael Dobbs, former Conservative Party chief of staff, is set at the end of Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister and follows a British politician with his eye on the top job. In 1990, it was adapted by the BBC as a miniseries written by Andrew Davies and starring Ian Richardson. It went on to win a BAFTA award for Richardson and an Emmy for Davies.
Fincher’s adaptation, set in the U.S., was written by playwright/screenwriter Beau Willimon (The Ides of March). The project is yet to be taken out to TV networks.
EXCLUSIVE: After getting to within weeks of a production start in China on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not before pulling the plug in 2007, Paramount Pictures is taking another shot at turning newspaper columnist Robert Ripley’s life into an epic film. Oscar-winning scribe Eric Roth has come aboard to do a complete rewrite overhaul. Tim Burton, who had been set to direct that earlier incarnation, is gone. But Jim Carrey is still attached to star as Ripley.
The film is about Ripley’s search around the world for the most unusual people and places that he immortalized in his newspaper column. The locales were exotic and the sights were unbelievable, but the film is about Ripley’s journey to appreciate that the unusual people were more than just conquests to be cataloged. The film was green lit at a $175 million, with a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, but the picture halted when Carrey came up with some ideas for a major overhaul. While Burton liked those ideas, stopping the film’s momentum cost the film its director. Burton went off to do Sweeney Todd, and dropped out of the project. A new version was attempted with Chris Columbus and Master and Commander scribe John Collee, but that too stalled.
The addition of Roth to the mix gives reason to be optimistic once … Read More »
Warner Bros and Paramount are getting closer on a co-production of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the Eric Roth-scripted adaptation of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel that director Stephen Daldry and producer Scott Rudin have been working on for the last half decade. Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks have been circling the project, a lot of journalists knew it but agreed to wait, and then somebody ran it. Oh, well. The film is not just Paramount, as was reported. Warner Bros has been the lead studio on the project, and now they and Paramount are figuring it out together. I’m told and they are in the process of making offers to talent. The book is about a bright 9-year old whose father is killed on 9/11. He finds a key left behind by his father and goes on a mission to figure out what it unlocks. The novel was a literary sensation when it was published and not the easiest film adaptation, which is why it has taken so long. But it is superb subject matter for Bullock to potentially make her first project since winning the Oscar for The Blind Side.