News Briefs

Variety has reported that Twentieth Century Fox is gearing up to continue its X-Men franchise with a younger set of mutants. The studio has tapped Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz to write X-Men: First Class. Schwartz, the creator and executive producer of CW’s teen hit as well as Fox’s youth-centric The Oc and NBC’s Chuck, is expected to inject a next-gen sensibility into the superhero series, which has earned $1.2 billion worldwide. The writing assignment has also included the possibility of directing the film, but so far Schwartz has opted not to take the helm. Lauren Shuler Donner, who produced all three X-Men pics, as well as next summer’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” is producing First Class alongside Mr. and Mrs. Smith scribe Simon Kinberg.

Screenwriting duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have been brought aboard to pen the script for First Avenger: Captain America based on the 1941 Jack Kirby and Joe Simon created comicbook superhero. Markus and McFeely both contributed to the first two Narnia films as well as the Ben Kingsley 2007 starrer You Kill Me. The news comes 9 days after director Joe Johnston was named as the film’s helmer, but there still remains no word on who is being considered for the lead role of Steve Rogers a man deemed too frail to enter the Army, but through a secret ‘Super-Soldier Serum’ he becomes a perfect specimen. Following his transformation he sets out as Captain America in a war against evil.

Fredrik Bond will direct and Mark Poirier is signed to write The Host remake for Universal Pictures. The Ring and Pirates of the Caribbean helmer Gore Verbinski, meanwhile, will produce. This will reunite Verbinski with the Ring producing team from Vertigo Roy Lee and Doug Davison. Bond’s background, according to Variety , is rooted in commercials. He’s known for his ads for Nike, Adidas and Levi’s. Poirer recently scripted Smart People . Based on Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean film, The Host finds a family uniting to rescue one of their own from a mutated monster. “It processes a few genres together, and visually it feels close to the stuff I’ve made over the last few years in commercials, the tonality of humor and the scale,” recently told Variety.

Universal looks to move forward on a third Nutty Professor movie reports JoBlo. The studio in currently developing the film and has put out an open call to writers to pitch them a concept for a third film. They were quick to caution that Eddie Murphy is not attached to the project at all in this early stage.

Frequent collaborators, director Dale Fabrigar (a semi-finalist on Steven Spielberg’s short lived On The Lot reality series) and writer Kurt Patino, have teamed up with actress Kelly Stables (best known for playing Evil Samara in The Ring movies) and visual effects wizard Michael Morrealle to produce a new horror/fantasy web series titled Soul Fire Rising. The show, produced by King Dream Entertainment, follows demon Lilith, played by Aimee Lynn Chadwick (Las Vegas, Trade) as she wanders through Los Angeles stealing men’s souls while searching for Eve (to be played by Stables in future episodes), a now mortal demon worth one million human souls. The first two chapters, running about three minutes each, are currently available on the show’s website and MySpace.

Devin Faraci at Chud has word of a remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes called Genesis: Apes that was written by Rick Jaffa (The Relic) and Amanda Silver (The Relic and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle). The film is something of an origin story centering on a baby monkey that is raised in a human household and shows signs of great intelligence and the ability to talk.

According to the trades Universal is in negotiations to remake the Korean film Die Bad, developing the drama as a potential directing vehicle for director Marc Forster, whose latest flick, Quantum of Solace, hit theaters this week. Brad Ingelsby is on board to write the script. Ingelsby is also scripting the Paramount Vantage drama Buried, with Todd Field attached to direct, Sleeper for Warner Bros and The Low Dweller, which Leonardo DiCaprio is slated to star in. Written and directed by Seung-wan Ryoo, the 2000 original consisted of four short films that told the story of the rise and fall of a gangster. The components are being combined for the English-language remake that will be set in New York. The original won the audience award at the Pusan Film Festival. The film will be produced by Forster and his Apparatus partner Brad Simpson, Vertigo’s Roy Lee and Doug Davison and Rick Schwartz of Overnight Productions.

Lake Mungo is being developed as a remake on American soil. Paramount Vantage is behind a forthcoming redo of the Australian horror film. The original, an Arclight Films production, was told as a faux documentary. The premise surrounds the story of a young girl whose apparent death sets off a series of paranormal events. Frightened by what appears to be otherworldly activity, her family discovers secrets about their daughter as well as what lurks beneath Lake Mungo. Vantage’s remake will drop the documentary style and simply be told with a straight-forward narrative. Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee and Doug Davison along with Adrian Guerra and Joel Anderson, the film’s original creator and director, brought the project to Vantage and are set to produce.

Ennio Morricone has finally accepted Tarantino’s request for collaboration. Variety reports that the composer will be writing the music for Inglorious Basterds, though he may not have time to score the entire film. “Tarantino will finish shooting the film in February and has to deliver it by the end of April in time for Cannes,” said Morricone. “That doesn’t leave me enough time to do the music. Either I start working on it before he stops shooting–after we discuss it together–or I just can’t do it.”

He’s still best known for making Turtle ‘toon TMNT in 2007, but director Kevin Munroe is planning to direct horror pic War Monkeys. While he’s about to be busy helming graphic novel-based pic Dead Of Night, he’s deep into negotiations to take on Monkeys, based on a script by Chris Nettles. “It’s kind of like if Quentin Tarantino did Gremlins, Nettles first told me. I read it and it was exactly that. The horror stuff was at a peak and the characters are really rich,” Munroe tells Shock ‘Till You Drop. The story finds two men trapped underground with military-trained simians out for blood. It’s apparently “an older, meaner brother of an Amblin production. It’s real horror with real scary elements. You’ve got real monsters here with the monkeys. But the characters are a modern day Abbott and Costello. In the same vein of Shaun of the Dead but scarier.”


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