Development on James Bond 25 is well underway with franchise veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade on scripting duties, while Yann Demange, Denis Villeneuve, and David Mackenzie are the top three frontrunners to direct Daniel Craig, who recently announced that he would reprise his role as the world’s most favorite MI6 agent earlier this month, in the upcoming action film, which is expected to be released in November of 2019.
In the midst of all this, though, is a bidding war brewing between what The Hollywood Reporter calls “a couple of unlikely suitors,” who are looking to nab the rights to the long-running franchise, which is worth an estimated $5 billion, from Warner Bros. in an effort to tap into much more than just film rights.
The trade reports that tech giants Apple and Amazon are now in the running to purchase the film rights from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after the studio’s deal with Sony expired after the release of Spectre, the 24th installment in the franchise, in 2015. However, Warners is not going down without a fight, and THR says they’re “pressing MGM hard to close a deal.”
Amazon Studios, the online retailer’s film and television development and production division, has seen quite a bit of success in the world of Hollywood, lately. The studio’s low-budget indie rom-com The Big Sick was a huge critical and financial success, grossing more than $49 million at the worldwide box office, while last year’s Manchester by the Sea was up for several Academy Awards back in February.
Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht left Sony Pictures Television for Apple this summer, and one could only imagine what kind of deal they’re looking to cut with MGM, especially since the original report claims that both Apple and Amazon are willing to spend the same amount, if not more, than what Warner Bros. is offering for the rights to James Bond, which could open up a whole new world of unmined television potential for Apple.
Taika Waititi signs on to direct ‘Thor 4’ as the live-action ‘Akira’ movie gets delayed indefinitely
In a move that will force him to put the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of Akira on the backburner indefinitely, Taika Waititi has officially closed a deal to direct Thor 4 for Marvel Studios, sources tell Silver Screen Beat.
The development is a rather surprising one considering Akira — which has been in development at Warner Bros. ever since the studio acquired the rights to the popular Japanese manga in 2002 — was as close as it ever was to getting made.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, pre-production on Akira had been moving along smoothly — despite some concerns with the script that were later resolved — and Waititi had been meeting with and testing young Japanese actors for roles in the film as part of a worldwide search for talent.
But now that the project has experienced yet another major setback, execs can only hope that Waititi will pick up where he left off once he completes Thor 4, which will once again see Chris Hemsworth reprise his role as the titular God of Thunder.
Waititi is currently prepping to hop on the fall festival circuit with his World War II-era satire Jojo Rabbit, which he wrote, directed, and stars in alongside Scarlett Johansson, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, and Sam Rockwell. Fox Searchlight will release the film on October 18.
Warner Bros.’ live-action ‘Barbie’ movie taps Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach as writers
As Greta Gerwig prepares to debut her sophomore effort Little Women on the fall festival circuit in the coming months, the Oscar-nominee has been tapped to co-write and possibly direct Warner Bros.’ live-action Barbie movie.
Gerwig will pen the script for Barbie along with Noah Baumbach, while Gerwig is also likely to helm the high-profile project, though negotiations are still underway and no deals have been finalized as of yet.
Margot Robbie, who is on board to star as the iconic Mattel toy, will also serve as a producer on the film along with Tom Ackerly for LuckyChap Entertainment and Robbie Brenner of Mattel Films. Josey McNamara and Ynon Kreiz are also producing.
Gerwig is currently in post-production on her star-studded Little Women adaptation for Columbia. The film, which is expected to be a strong contender in the forthcoming awards season race, stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep.
Baumbach, who last directed The Meyerowitz Stories, is also in post-production on his untitled dramedy for Netflix starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple who are getting divorced. The cast also includes Dern, Merritt Wever, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, and Azhy Robertson.
Damien Chazelle shops new project ‘Babylon’ to studios as Emma Stone circles lead role
Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning writer-director of the 2016 musical La La Land, has begun shopping around the script for his next project titled Babylon, which is yet another story set in Los Angeles that will this time focus on the film industry in the 1920s.
While multiple studios have shown interest in the project — including Paramount and Netflix — Chazelle is most likely to bring Babylon to Lionsgate, the same studio that distributed La La Land and ran its extensive awards season campaign that earned the film a whopping 14 Oscar nominations.
Although specific plot details are being kept tightly under wraps for the time being, the film is said to be a drama set during the Roaring Twenties that examines Hollywood’s transition from silent films to talkies and will feature characters both fictional and not.
Emma Stone, who an Oscar for performance opposite Ryan Gosling in La La Land, is circling the lead role in the film — which is rumored to be iconic Hollywood “It” girl Clara Bow — though talks are still preliminary and any type of formal negotiations have yet to get underway.
Despite the attention that Babylon has caught, though, studios are hesitant to move on the project given its rather lengthy 180-page-long script and estimated $80 million to $100 million production budget, which some execs feel might be too big of a risky investment for their studios.
Chazelle, who last directed the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man starring Gosling, is currently working on two other projects in addition to Babylon, including the musical drama series The Eddy for Netflix and an untitled drama series for Apple’s forthcoming service service.