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God, this demo reel for Wes Ball’s ‘Mouse Guard’ movie makes me wish it was still happening

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Mouse Guard
YOUTUBE/WES BALL

Following the Disney-Fox merger earlier this year, a lot of cool projects that were in the works over at 20th Century Fox got the axe, one of them being Wes Ball’s adaptation of the comic series Mouse Guard, which had been described as “Game of Thrones with mice” and was going to feature a voice cast that included the likes of Andy Serkis and Idris Elba.

However, as Ball confirmed in a tweet late last night, Mouse Guard is officially dead. “Yes sadly, it’s true,” the director tweeted. “Seems it’s too big a risk. It’s a damn shame really. We had something special. To my hella talented cast/crew: I’m sorry I couldn’t push this one through. The past year with you all has been a blast. May the Guard prevail!”

Along with Ball’s confirmation of Mouse Guard‘s cancelation, though, came a bunch of never-before-seen concept art and even a 9-minute demo reel for the movie, which was rendered using the Unreal Engine developed by Epic Games and is meant to illustrate not necessarily how the movie will “look” but rather how it will “feel,” as WETA was set to provide “cutting-edge photorealistic CG” using their own technology.

You can check out the demo reel, Ball’s tweet (the video he included takes us on a tour around the Mouse Guard production office), and the concept art from artist Darek Zabrocki below.

 

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Weekly Tip #7: OWN IP VS COMMERCIAL WORK Hey guys! Are you ready for loads of brand new work I did in last +12 months? I got a lot stuff from sadly cancelled Mouse Guard, Love Death and Robots and many more! I also expand my personal IP lately and I started to value personal stuff much more since you can spend more time on them, research more and basically let your imagination go crazy! What’s your thought on it? Let’s talk on importance of developing own IP vs Commercial work. Here is a snippet of one of (hundreds) concepts I did for Mouse Guard directed by amazing dude Wes Ball. Thank you for all the constant support and good words it means a lot! #art #artoftheday #artistoninstagram #2d #conceptart #conceptartist #cathedral #design #digitalart #artist #darekzabrocki #illustration #fantasyart #focalpointschool #painting #photoshop #scifiart #scifi #sciencefictionart #starwars #scifimovie #fox #mouseguard #wacom

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Mouse witcher 🐭⚔ One of the very first concepts I did for MOUSE GUARD film. This project took us in total +12 months of constant concept phase overlapping with already in-progress world building. Around half of the time we spent on just pre-production and brainstorming with different concept ideas. At the beginning there was just me, @kenbarthelmey and Wes Ball the director of the movie. We had so much fun since the project was so free to interpreting that let us go crazy with world and look of it. Later the team grew tremendously and the whole production took a route that brought in a new level of animation, cgi and interaction between concept team and actual animators from Weta. Which was quite new to me since intensity and live interaction was obviously visible day by day. Honestly being on this project from the very beginning made me aware and pumped onto how important and inspiring is to create a new Vast world. For me it was the biggest, most elaborate and in depth full of freedom project I ever took part in. Sadly cancelled but hey whatever was done was golden and its gonna resonate through my works in upcoming weeks, months or even years? 💥😎🤩🤩🤩 in total I was responsible for the world building, props and a lot of action scenes. Cant wait to just spit it all out here! Stay tuned for more 😍 #art #artist #conceptartist #conceptart #design #mouseguard #art #artoftheday #artistoninstagram #2d #conceptart #conceptartist #cathedral #design #digitalart #artist #darekzabrocki #illustration #fantasyart #focalpointschool #painting #photoshop #scifiart #scifi #sciencefictionart #starwars #scifimovie #fox #movie #wacom

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Weekly Tip #8: FUNCTIONALITY AND BELIEVABILITY I went through a lot of important factors you have to take into consideration while creating successful concept artworks. Now it’s time to take a look a little bit deeper, into something that elevates your concept to the next level and makes your artwork something more than just art. In the production pipeline, while working on new environment designs and new worlds it’s not only about artistic brush strokes or beautiful colors/light. People tend to rely on it way too much (I used to do the same hehe) While I worked on the piece similar to the attached one I always plan ahead all the elements the location possibly could consist of. It was actually set extension to real life place so how do I make it fitting and functional to this specific project was all the design work behind that. What sort of props, functional elements(peer, lifting machines, bay for the boats, tree houses, watch towers, ladders etc) I could place and how to logically put them for the best believably depicted location. To support artistic and beautiful execution with something that actually matters to make the world iconic? What helps me the most is usually closing my eyes and imagining that place. If I were there. I immerse myself by doing that and it immediately brings more and more ideas to.make the design more interesting. The more I think, the more research I do, the more I am able to create a fully functional and believable environment design. I made loads (hundreds) of concepts for Mouse Guard film (sadly cancelled) directed by amazing dude Wes Ball. Based on epic comic book (@mouseguard) and it’s one of the examples showing what I’m talking about here. Also that in depth and more knowledge I will share during my online course later this year (more info soon). This I also teach at our @focalpointschool Find these tips helpful? Please share it with your art friends! #art #artoftheday #artistoninstagram #2d #conceptart #conceptartist #cathedral #design #tutorial #artist #darekzabrocki #illustration #fantasyart #focalpointschool #painting #photoshop #scifiart #scifi #sciencefictionart #starwars #scifimovie #fox #mouseguard #wacom

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Nicolas Cage to play Nicolas Cage in meta drama ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’

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Nicolas Cage
SASCHA STEINBACH/GETTY IMAGES

In a rather extremely unexpected development, Lionsgate is close to nearing a deal to acquire the rights to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a film that will find Nicolas Cage playing none other than Nicolas Cage, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film, written by Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten, centers on a fictionalized version of Cage who “is desperate to get a role in a new Tarantino movie while also dealing with a strained relationship with his teenage daughter.”

The plot only gets more bizarre from there, however, as Cage “is also under a mountain of debt and finds himself forced to make an appearance at the birthday party of a Mexican billionaire, who happens to be a fan of Cage’s work.”

It isn’t long, though, before Cage finds out that the billionaire “is actually a drug cartel kingpin who has kidnapped the daughter of a Mexican presidential nominee,” and that he will need to go undercover for the United States government to gather intelligence.

Gormican and Etten’s script reportedly features references to Cage classics such as Face-Off, Leaving Las Vegas, and Gone in 60 Seconds, and is tonally similar to JCVD starring John Claude Van Damme and Get Shorty starring John Travolta.

Cage is currently in talks to join the meta movie project, which has Gromican attached to direct and Kevin Turen to produce along with Cage and Mike Nilon.

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Taika Waititi’s ‘Next Goal Wins’ rounds out its cast as production gets underway in Hawaii

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Taika Waititi Next Goal Wins
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Fox Searchlight announced Wednesday that it has acquired worldwide rights to Next Goal Wins, writer-director Taika Waititi’s follow-up to his World War II satire Jojo Rabbit, which opened in theaters last month.

Production is currently underway in Honolulu, Hawaii on the film, which stars Michael Fassbender and Elisabeth Moss and tells the story of the American Samoa soccer team, who suffered the most devastating loss in World Cup history, losing to Australia 31-0 in 2001. With the 2014 World Cup approaching, the team recruits a down on his luck, maverick coach (Fassbender) to help turn their fate around.

In addition to Fassbender and Moss, the film’s cast also includes the likes of Oscar Kightley, Beulah Koale, Lehi Falepapalangi, Uli Latukefu, Rachel House, and Kaimana in their debut role.

“I’ve just started production on my next film Next Goal Wins,” Waititi said in a statement. “We have such an amazing cast and crew behind this film, and I’m stoked to be partnering once again with the lovely people at Fox Searchlight Pictures.”

Waititi wrote the script for Next Goal Wins along with Iain Morris, based on the 2014 documentary of the same name. Jonathan Cavendish, Garrett Basch, and Waititi are producers, with Andy Serkis, Will Tennant, and Kathryn Dean executive producing.

“Taika is an incredible talent and master at bringing honesty and humanity to the surface in any story. We are thrilled to be working with him again on such an extraordinary true story of perseverance in the face of defeat. He has brought together a terrific group of actors, craftspeople and sports players to bring this unique story to life,” said Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum, presidents of production at Fox Searchlight.

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Ben Affleck struggles with alcohol addiction, recovery in Gavin O’Connor’s ‘The Way Back’ trailer

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The Way Back
WARNER BROS.

Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for The Way Back, which finds director Gavin O’Connor reuniting with his The Accountant star Ben Affleck for what appears to be a heavier sort of sports drama that explores alcohol addiction and recovery.

Affleck stars here as Jack Cunningham, a one-time high school sports prodigy whose life is spiraling downward due to the alcoholism that cost him his marriage and any hope for a better life for himself.

However, Jack’s opportunity for a better life eventually comes when he’s asked to go back to his alma mater to coach the basketball team, which has been underperforming and desperately needs new leadership in order to succeed this season.

Slowly but surely, the team starts to get their act together and manages to start winning some games, proving Jack’s ability to coach, but whether that’s enough to help him cope with his addiction and set him on the road to redemption remains to be seen.

Brad Ingelsby scripted the film, which is produced by O’Connor along with Gordon Gray, Jennifer Todd, and Ravi Mehta. Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, Janina Gavankar, and Glynn Turman also star alongside Affleck.

The Way Back opens in theaters March 6, 2020.

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