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Comic-Con Q&A: Guillermo Del Toro On ‘Pacific Rim,’ Japanese Movie Monsters, Lessons Learned From ‘The Hobbit’ & ‘At The Mountains Of Madness’

Mike Fleming

There is no chance the Comic-Con crowd will have forgotten him, but Guillermo Del Toro’s last directorial effort was a Hellboy sequel released in 2008. In the four years since, he collaborated on the scripts for two installments of The Hobbit, but dropped out as director. Then his fully realized 3D adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains Of Madness got abruptly unplugged by Universal. Del Toro is back at Comic-Con after completing the robots vs monsters saga Pacific Rim financed by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. While it won’t be released until July 12, 2013, Del Toro is at Hall H today to show footage at a Warner Bros panel that also includes The Hobbit. Some in the industry have seen the early visuals and said they are stunning and they predict Del Toro will make a stirring return that was informed by his setbacks.

Related: Comic-Con Q&A: Peter Jackson On His Return To Middle Earth With ‘The Hobbit’ And How 48 Frames Can Save Moviegoing

DEADLINE: You are finally here with a movie you directed. Describe your road here.

DEL TORO: Two years in New Zealand on The Hobbit, a year in L.A. and Canada developing Mountains. Luckily, during the year of Mountains, I started on Pacific Rim and when people ask me why I have four or five things in development, here’s the answer. … Read More »

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Legendary Ups Jon Jashni To President

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Legendary Entertainment chairman and CEO Thomas Tull has promoted Jon Jashni to president, a new post. Jashni, a veteran executive and producer who joined Tull six years ago, will continue to function as chief creative officer and has been a big part of Legendary’s evolution from a co-financier of Warner Bros films to an enterprise that is generating its own films that are released by Warner Bros. Legendary’s rise has been fueled by being partner in such films as The Hangover, Clash of the Titans, the Chris Nolan Batman trilogy and Inception, as well as the upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel. Tull’s company is generating its own tent pole films, including the Guillermo del Toro-directed alien-invasion film Pacific Rim that stars Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba, and a reboot of Godzilla. Jashni is a producer on those films as well as the Alex Proyas-directed Paradise Lost that will star Bradley Cooper and Benjamin Walker, and the Sergey Bodrov-directed The Seventh Son, which stars Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Ben Barnes. Read More »

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Top Exec Bill Fay Leaves Legendary Pictures

By | Thursday September 1, 2011 @ 6:45pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Bill Fay is leaving Legendary Pictures where he worked in physical production as president. Sources say its been in the works for a while as boss Thomas Tull and his chief creative officer Jon Jashni are ready to start production on several films in 2011 and thought the timing was right. Fay plans to move on to producing and may work with the company on its U.S.-China Legendary East projects.

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Mary Parent Producing Legendary’s Guillermo Del Toro-Produced ‘Pacific Rim’

Mike Fleming

In her first producing effort since leaving as chairman of the MGM Worldwide Motion Picture Group, Mary Parent has come aboard as producer of Pacific Rim, Legendary Pictures’ big-budget action film that Guillermo del Toro will begin shooting in November. Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day and Idris Elba star. Parent joins Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashini as producer, with del Toro also producing. Parent has been prepping the film for the past month. After exiting MGM, she started Disruption Entertainment and made a first-look deal at Paramount., But Legendary has plenty of movies prepping and they needed an experienced hand on the ground on location in Toronto. Parent’s Disruption execs, Cale Boyter and Luke Ryan, continue to develop projects, but Parent had the time and lends an experienced hand to a tent pole pic.

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Ed Zwick To Direct Legendary East’s First Film ‘The Great Wall’; Marshall Herskovitz & Chuck Roven Also Attached

Mike Fleming

Legendary East To Raise $220.5M Through Hong Kong For Film Studio From China
BREAKING: Ed Zwick will direct The Great Wall, the first project for Legendary East, that Hong Kong-based stand-alone entertainment company that was started by Legendary Entertainment’s Thomas Tull with Asian partners. Zwick and his longtime partner Marshall Herskovitz will write the script based on a story about the mystery behind China’s greatest manmade structure as imagined by Legendary chairman Tull and World War Z author Max Brooks. Based in Hong Kong with Chinese management and international investors besides Tull, the new company wants to be positioned to produce content that is as commercially viable within China and the rest of the world. The Great Wall will be produced by Legendary’s Tull and Jon Jashni, as well as Atlas Entertainment’s Alex Gartner and Chuck Roven, who is a frequent producer on Legendary/Warner Bros films (currently in production on The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel), and Zwick and Herskovitz. The project will be distributed in China by Legendary East’s co-production partner, Huayi Brothers, while distribution in all other parts of the globe is anticipated to be handled by Warner Bros Pictures, which is Legendary Entertainment’s longtime partner on films. Read More »

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Alex Proyas Setting Benjamin Walker To Play Archangel Michael In ‘Paradise Lost’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures is negotiating with Benjamin Walker to play the archangel Michael in Paradise Lost, the action epic battle between good and evil that is inspired by the John Milton poem. Walker, who just wrapped the title role in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, will go mano a mano against Bradley Cooper’s Lucifer in what I’m told is the war that began all wars. After being cast out of Heaven, Lucifer mounts an army that battles the forces of good, and the film will have cutting-edge visual effects that will make these battles resemble 300 meets Lord of the Rings — but with winged warriors. While Warner Bros is finalizing a release date, I’m told Paradise Lost is likely to reach theaters in fourth-quarter 2013.

Production will begin in January in Sydney, which will give Cooper time to star alongside Jennifer Lawrence in the David O Russell-directed The Silver Linings Playbook for The Weinstein Company.

Paradise Lost is a sprawling fantasy epic that has taken seven years of development to get right. It was originally scripted by Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi, with subsequent drafts by Stuart Hazeldine and Lawrence Kasdan, and the latest draft by Ryan Condal. Paradise Lost is being produced by Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, and Vincent Newman (Red Dawn). The film’s logistics are still being worked out with Digital Domain, but the picture is likely to … Read More »

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Idris Elba Joins Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’

Mike Fleming

Idris Elba has closed his deal to play the lead role of Sensi in the Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros sci-fi action film Pacific Rim. Guillermo del Toro is directing as his next film and production gets underway in November. The film’s produced by Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni. Elba joins Son of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam, with Elba playing the role originally developed for Tom Cruise. While Elba has been knocking on the door of big things in Hollywood for some time, I think that his work in the British series Luther really helped show his considerable range. I’d watched the first season of that series in one sitting right as I was reading Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained script, and couldn’t help but have Elba in my mind as the lead character. He was one of the top names mentioned, but that went south when Tarantino went through a long and fruitless dance with Will Smith. I am persuaded that the role will likely go to Jamie Foxx, but Tarantino hasn’t finalized anything. Elba, who starred this summer in Thor, is currently shooting Prometheus for director Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox. Elba is repped by UTA, The Schiff Co and UK agent Roger Charteris.

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Legendary Confirms Guillermo Del Toro To Next Direct ‘Pacific Rim’

By | Wednesday March 9, 2011 @ 10:00am PST
Mike Fleming

Legendary Pictures announced today that Guillermo del Toro is directing the company’s upcoming feature, Pacific Rim, confirmed as his next film. The film has already entered pre-production and will begin principal photography in September 2011. Pacific Rim will be released during summer 2013 and will be produced by Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni for Legendary Pictures and Guillermo del Toro.

Stated Guillermo del Toro: “We started developing PAC RIM a while ago with the mad passion and enthusiasm of a project unwatched and unchecked by politics or comparisons. We designed and shepherded the movie we want to make. We start shooting in September and we hit the ground running because we are so in sync. My partnership with Legendary represents, both in scale and creative demands, a huge step forward for me.”

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