EXCLUSIVE: Joe Cornish, who has been offered a ton of projects since his alien invasion breakthrough film Attack The Block, has been set to write and direct the Neal Stephenson novel Snow Crash. The book has just been reacquired by Paramount Pictures, with Kathleen Kennedy and Kennedy/Marshall producing.
It’s the second go around on the project for Paramount, which first developed the book back when it was published in 1992. It is a big bestseller and a seminal cyber-punk book that probably was ahead of its time. The book is set in the near future, when the U.S. exists as a patchwork of corporate-franchise city-states, and private enterprise and the mafia control everything. The plot involves a computer virus that is manifested as a drug called Snow Crash that is transmitted visually from computer screens to unsuspecting users, frying their brains. Hiro Protagonist – that’s the character’s name – a computer hacker/samurai swordsman/pizza delivery driver who investigates and tries to stop the takeover of postmodern civilization. It sounds wild, but it is steeped in its own mythology and has become a cult favorite among the cyberpunk set. Paramount dropped the project years ago and it went to Disney with Kennedy/Marshall and languished. Kennedy introduced Cornish to the book, he committed and it is now back at Paramount and is a priority. Cornish is repped by CAA and Independent Talent and the book was repped by CAA for the lit agency Darhansoff & Verrill.
EXCLUSIVE: After a long search process, 20th Century Fox and Bruce Willis have just chosen John Moore to direct Die Hard 5. The film will shoot in Russia, and the hope is to make it before Willis moves on to shoot a Red sequel for Summit Entertainment. In fact, Willis has just begun going through the same director search with Summit on a sequel to the 2010 hit Red. Robert Schwentke is busy helming Universal’s R.I.P.D. with Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. They’ve just begun casting the dragnet for directors on that film. Names like Breck Eisner are being floated, but other shooters are being considered.
As for Die Hard 5, Moore is in final negotiations and was in the running through the entire search as Fox tried to find a filmmaker that pleased Willis and the studio execs that have to shoot this movie in Russia and bring it in on a budget and a tight schedule. Fox has been looking for a new director since Noam Murro left the picture after he got the job helming 300: Battle Of Artemisia for Warner Bros. The studio started with a wish list of directors to helm the script by Skip Woods that included Joe Cornish (who directed Attack the Block), Fast Five helmer Justin Lin, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, and Moore. More recently, I’d heard Fox had conversations with helmers that included Gary Fleder, Paul McGuigan and 1408 helmer Mikael Hafstrom. Read More »
20th Century Fox is turning up the heat on Die Hard 5, even though its attached director, Noam Murro, left the picture after he got the job helming 300: Battle Of Artemisia for Warner Bros. I’m told that the studio has come up with a short list of directors who’ll meet to potentially helm the film scripted by Skip Woods. They are: Joe Cornish (who directed Attack the Block), Fast Five helmer Justin Lin, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and Max Payne helmer John Moore. The film brings the always-in-the-wrong-place cop John McClane to Russia. Bruce Willis is ready to reprise his signature role as early as this fall.
The surprise on the list is Cornish. While his feature directorial debut Attack the Block had a budget probably less than the catering bill on last weekend’s other alien invasion film opener Cowboys & Aliens, the movie has become a critical darling as it opened to $130,000 in eight theaters (it has grossed $4.3 million overseas). It would be a big jump to Die Hard 5, but remember the studio had attached Murro, whose debut was the 2008 character comedy Smart People.
Lin is hot off Fast Five, and is expected to do another The Fast and the Furious installment and is attached to the package to finish The Terminator franchise that was acquired by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.
Refn has much momentum for Drive, the drama that played Cannes and opens in September. Refn reteamed with Ryan Gosling for Only God Forgives, another action film that shoots late summer in Thailand, and which FilmDistrict acquired for U.S. distribution late last month. Refn is also booked to remake Logan’s Run with Gosling. Then there is Moore, the Irish helmer who has directed all of his features – Max Payne, The Omen, Flight of the Phoenix and Behind Enemy Lines — for Fox. A web report indicated that Moore already had the job, but I’m told that the filmmaker meetings haven’t started yet, so that might be jumping the gun. Read More »
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions picked up U.S. rights to Attack the Block, the Joe Cornish-directed Midnight Feature Audience Award winner from SXSW. The film will be released by Screen Gems. It’s basically Super 8 in an urban London setting, as … Read More »
The film Attack the Block makes its debut at South By Southwest at a March 12 midnight screening. It is produced by Edgar Wright and first-time director Joe Cornish (who worked with Wright on Tin Tin) and has an ensemble cast that features Nick Frost. Here is the new trailer: