UPDATE, 11:55 AM: Rian Johnson hasn’t commented yet on his monumental new task of mounting the next two Star Wars films. Even better, he has borrowed the spirit of another space film, The Right Stuff, that perfectly explains how he must be feeling as he processes the daunting task ahead of him. I think he’s up to it. Glimpse it below Deadline’s original scoop.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 11:16 AM: Rarely have I seen the revival of a film franchise stir so much fervor as Star Wars, among hot young filmmakers who grew up loving George Lucas’ original film trilogy. In a bombshell move, I’m told that Lucasfilm is making a deal with Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX. Essentially, that means that the intention is for Johnson to take the baton from JJ Abrams, who has gotten the space franchise off the ground and is right now helming Episode VII. I don’t know too much more at this point, but it is in keeping with Disney and Lucasfilm’s strategy of entrusting the venerable franchise to the best and brightest writers and directors, including the spinoff films that are being directed by Chronicle‘s Josh Trank and Godzilla‘s Gareth Edwards.
Johnson will take over the core film franchise, and he’ll get started quickly and this will be his preoccupation for quite awhile. Technically, he’ll write that second treatment but the intention on both sides is … Read More »
Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine.
What started out as a three-page script almost a decade ago has turned out to be writer-director Rian Johnson’s most successful film to date, Looper. The time-travel tale stars frequent Johnson collaborator Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, both playing the same character from different points in their lives. “It was less (about) taking 10 years to get it done and more kind of writing it and thinking it up eight years later,” he explains. Johnson recently spoke with AwardsLine about why it’s fun to work with friends and how he’s come to believe that directing is as much about listening as anything else.
AWARDSLINE: When you expanded your initial three-page script into a feature, you wrote with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in mind for the main character. What makes collaborating with a lot of the same people on your films work well for you?
RIAN JOHNSON: The main benefit of it is just that level of trust that’s automatically baked into working with someone who’s a friend of yours. What I hope that leads to is giving you the comfort level to take some risks or try some things you may be otherwise afraid to. Because you have leapfrogged putting a lot of energy into forming a new relationship, you can redirect that into just making the movie better. But our sets don’t feel like cocktail parties. Our sets tend to be really focused places. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A frenzied Saturday auction on the Croisette has ended with FilmDistrict in final negotiations for U.S. distribution rights to Looper, the Rian Johnson-directed science fiction film that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Bruce Willis. There were at least six bidders spanning major studios and independents, and it sounds like some serious upfront money was paid. But the intriguing part is that the deal orchestrated between CAA and FilmDistrict’s Peter Schlessel will likely end in FilmDistrict using an option with Sony Pictures, which would release and market the film through the TriStar label. That replicates the distribution structure of District 9, which Schlessel acquired while he was at Sony. The picture has a similarly brainy construct and is also reminiscent of the first Terminator.
Johnson wrote the script, about a contract killer who works for the mob of the future, and who kills victims that are sent back in time 30 years, so there is no trace of the crime in the future. It’s a great gig, until the killer (Gordon-Levitt) recognizes that one of his targets (Willis) is a futuristic version of himself. Piper Perabo, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels also star. The film was financed by Endgame’s James Stern, who produced with Johnson’s partner Ram Bergman.
CAA still has to paper the deal, but that likely gives Sony and Amy Pascal its second release schedule addition in the last 24 hours. As Deadline revealed early Saturday, the studio acquired the David Frankel-directed Great Hope Springs with Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell starring. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in talks to reunite with his Inception director Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight Rises for Warner Bros. I’m not sure what role he’ll play, but I’m told that he will be in the movie when Nolan starts production this spring. Gordon-Levitt will be done shooting the Rian Johnson-directed Looper with Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt by then. Gordon-Levitt has the indie Hesher coming out this spring, as well as Live With It, the Jonathan Levine-directed pic about a 27-year old who tries to overcome a cancer diagnosis. CAA-repped Gordon-Levitt established himself with indie films like Brick, the underrated Scott Frank-directed The Lookout, and the Marc Webb-directed (500) Days of Summer. Nolan keeps his films shrouded in secrecy, though he did lift the veil recently to disclose that Anne Hathaway would play Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and Gordon-Levitt’s Inception co-star Tom Hardy will play Bane. What role fits Gordon-Levitt?