News Briefs

An interesting quote from an interview with JJ Abrams in AMC’s Sci-fi Scanner regarding William Shatner and the New Star Trek movie: Q: How do you react to William Shatner’s ire at not having a role in the movie? A: It was very tricky. We actually had written a scene with him in it that was a flashback kind of thing, but the truth is, it didn’t quite feel right. The bigger thing was that he was very vocal that he didn’t want to do a cameo. We tried desperately to put him in the movie, but he was making it very clear that he wanted the movie to focus on him significantly, which, frankly, he deserves. The truth is, the story that we were telling required a certain adherence to the Trek canon and consistency of storytelling. It’s funny — a lot of the people who were proclaiming that he must be in this movie were the same people saying it must adhere to canon. Well, his character died on screen. Maybe a smarter group of filmmakers could have figured out how to resolve that.

According to MTV the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel will be utilizing both live-action and CG based technology. TMNT co-creator addressed the rumors as well as some comments made by TMNT co-creator Kevin Laird to MTV; Peter Laird: I have to say that I don’t know why Kevin was talking about something with which he has no involvement. The blurb he put on his website was very inaccurate. He has not been involved with any meetings in Northampton, nor any others related to a new “TMNT” movie, as far as I know. That being said, I can confirm that we have had several meetings with very interested people, and I think we are pretty close to making a deal. As owner of the TMNT property, I want to be the first to announce it at a time of my choosing (hopefully soon). MTV: Why another live-action TMNT film, and why now? PL: As it stands now, there is no intention of doing another live-action film like the first three, with actors and stuntmen in actual Turtle suits, contrary to what was said by Kevin. We have pretty much decided that the next “TMNT” movie should be what we’ve been calling a “hybrid” — that is to say, live-action humans and sets combined with very realistic CGI Turtles (and possibly some other CGI characters).

Studio Briefing reports Fox Searchlight has paid $4-5 million for distribution rights to Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, which won the Best Film award at the Venice Film Festival over the weekend — and critical accolades for the performance of its star, Mickey Rourke. The deal was reportedly signed at the Toronto Film Festival, where the movie is also being screened, after what Daily Variety called “an intense wee-hours bidding war.”

Also from Studio Briefing, the Justice Department has hired former Disney vice-chairman and chief counsel Sandy Litvack to head an investigation into possible antitrust violations by Google in its growing control of advertising on online searches. The government is likely to oppose a deal between Google and Yahoo! who together reportedly account for more than 80 percent of the ads generated by online searches. Litvack, who had vigorously opposed Michael Eisner’s hiring of Michael Ovitz (and later famously remarked that he had walked behind Ovitz “with a shovel”), had been the Justice Department’s antitrust chief under Jimmy Carter before joining Disney. The announcement of Litvack’s appointment caused Google shares to dive 5.5 percent on the Nasdaq Monday.

Last weekend’s box office tumbled to its lowest gross since 2003 as the top-12 films grossed just $50.3 million, down 32 percent from the comparable weekend a year ago and down 23 percent from last weekend. The Nicolas Cage film Bangkok Dangerous from Lionsgate finished as the leader, but its $7.8 million gross was the lowest for any No. 1 film this year. Its per-screen average of $2,937 was slightly less than that of No. 11 on the list, Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which averaged $2,947 per screen in its fourth week.

The Hollywood News reports Wes Anderson (The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited), is to write a new movie for Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures. The movie is entitled My Best Friend, a remake of the French comedy “Mon meilleur ami.” Anderson is also looking at the film as a potential directorial vehicle following his success of this years ‘Darjeeling‘ and his upcoming take on The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which boasts George Clooney among its vocal cast. Variety says that My Best Friend, revolves around ‘a cranky antiques dealer who learns at a dinner with his closest acquaintances that none of them really like him because of his harsh manner and selfishness. When his business partner bets him a valuable vase that he can’t produce a best friend, the dealer tries to get an amiable cab driver to pose as his buddy.’ Brian Grazer will produce alongside Agnes Mentre.

According to Variety Johnny Depp will reunite with “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski on “Rango,” an animated pic that Paramount will finance and distribute.

According to Movie Score Media British electronica wizard Paul Oakenfold has written the original score for the upcoming Christmas comedy Nothing Like the Holidays, which is premiering on November 21 and tells the story about a Puerto Rican family who celebrates what supposedly is their last Christmas together. Alfredo De Villa (Adrift in Manhattan) directs an all star cast including Debra Messing, John Leguizamo, Melonie Diaz, Freddy Rodríguez, Vanessa Ferlito, Alfred Molina and Jay Hernandez. Music supervision is handled by veterans Budd Carr and Nora Felder.

E! says Julie Andrews will play opposite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in Tooth Fairy, a movie about a minor-league hockey player who, after spoiling a kid’s dreams, is sentenced to one week as a real-life tooth fairy replete with wand and tutu. Andrews is an administrator at the Tooth Fairy Dept. Ashley Judd also stars.

Guillermo del Toro has been tapped by Universal to helm remakes of Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, per Variety, along with a big-screen adaptation of Charles Dickens’ final novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood simply titled Drood, and a new take on Kurt Vonnegut’s cult novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. The Oscar nominated helmer, who is currently prepping the Hobbit films with Peter Jackson, will most likely begin with Drood, a murder mystery that Dickens never completed.

Disturbia is under fire for for its similarities to Hitchcock’s The Rear Window. According to the lawsuit, filed by the Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust, the basis for Hitchcock’s 1954 film was “Murder from a Fixed Viewpoint,” a short story by Cornell Woolrich. Hitchcock and actor James Stewart obtained the motion picture rights to the story in 1953. The lawsuit argues that Dreamworks should have done the same. “In the Disturbia film the defendants purposefully employed immaterial variations or transparent rephrasing to produce essentially the same story as the Rear Window story,” the lawsuit said. In reviewing “Disturbia,” the New York Times called it “a kind of adolescent ‘Rear Window.”‘ The Toronto Star newspaper called it “a rip off with wit.”



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