Sam Mendes Will No Longer Direct Disney’s Live-Action Pinocchio Film

Sam Mendes is out as director for Disney's live-action Pinocchio

Sam Mendes is out as director for Disney’s live-action Pinocchio

Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, SPECTRE) will no longer direct Disney’s live-action version of their animated classic Pinocchio, according to Tracking Board. The director originally left the live-action James and the Giant Peach to take on Pinocchio. There is no word on whether or not Mendes’ departure from the film means that he’ll direct the next James Bond film. We’ll update you with any developments in that area.

RELATED: Sam Mendes in talks to direct live-action Pinocchio for Disney

The Walt Disney Studios film will center on the wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a “real boy,” and the relationship between a father and son, the ramifications of lying and creating stories and living in a fantasy world. The original Pinocchio, based on the 1883 novel “The Adventures Of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi, first debuted in theaters in 1940 and won two Academy Awards. There is no release date set for the live action Pinocchio.

Mendes is known for directing the 1999 film American Beauty, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director. He’s also known for films like The Road to Perdition starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman and Jude Law, the James Bond films SPECTRE and Skyfall. He’s also done musicals like “Caberet,” “Oliver!,” “Company” and “Gypsy.” He’s also the executive producer for the TV series The Hollow Crown and Penny Dreadful.

In the 1940 Disney-animated film Pinocchio, the lead role was voiced by Dickie Jones, Jiminy Cricket by Cliff Edwards and Master Geppetto by Christian Rubb.

So what do you guys think of a live action Pinocchio? Who would you like to see direct the film now that Sam Mendes has left? Who should play the lead role? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

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Phillip Noyce to Direct WWII Thriller The Devil’s Brigade

Phillip Noyce to Direct WWII Thriller The Devil's Brigade

Phillip Noyce to direct WWII thriller The Devil’s Brigade

Foresight Unlimited has announced that Phillip Noyce (Salt, The Giver, The Bone Collector) has been tapped to direct The Devil’s Brigade. Moshe Diamant will produce the World War II action-thriller, and Foresight Unlimited will handle international sales. Principal photography is set to begin at the end of this year in France, with casting currently underway.

The Devil’s Brigade tells the true story of how Davie Berman, the only Jewish member of the Luciano mob, is requested by the U.S. military to help turn the tide of events against the Germans in Italy. In organizing a team of Sicilian Cosa Nostra to work with the Americans, he almost single-handedly drives the Germans out of the southern region of Italy, and returns to America as a decorated hero.

Australian-born Noyce is known for his work across various action-dramas, most notably he directed Academy Award-nominated Salt starring Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber for Columbia Pictures. His previous work also includes the box-office smash hits Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games, Collector also starring Jolie and Denzel Washington for Universal Pictures, and the critically-acclaimed Rabbit-Proof Fence and The Quiet American.

Noyce is currently in production on TV drama series Reside, starring Emily VanCamp and Matt Czurchry. He most recently completed crime-thriller Above Suspicion for Bold Films starring Emilia Clarke, Thora Birch and Jack Huston.

Noyce is represented by WME, Cameron Creswell Agency, and Fireman Entertainment.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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‘The Shallows’ Director Jaume Collet-Serra Might Direct ‘Suicide Squad 2’

Suicide Squad 2 director

After a lengthy search, executives at Warner Bros. and DC Films may have finally found their Suicide Squad 2 director. Deadline reports that Jaume Collet-Serra, the Spanish filmmaker behind movies like Orphan, The Shallows, and the Liam Neeson vehicles Unknown, Non-Stop, and Run All Night is now the frontrunner to helm the villain-centric comic book movie sequel.

The report stops short of confirming that Collet-Serra is officially in the driver’s seat, instead saying that the “studio is focused on” him to take over from David Ayer, who wrote and directed the original film last year. So while it doesn’t sound like the ink is dry on the contracts just yet, it wouldn’t surprise me if an official studio confirmation comes down the pike soon; WB distributed Orphan, Unknown, and Run All Night, and Collet-Serra has proven he can deliver profitable movies operating with mid-range budgets.

Will Smith and Margot Robbie are reprising their roles as Deadshot and Harley Quinn (respectively) in Suicide Squad 2, which has been a priority for the studio. The first film, which centered on a group of imprisoned supervillains forced by a shadowy government agency to team up and save the world, made over $ 745 million worldwide but was critically reviled – largely because it’s a sloppily-edited story that reeks of studio meddling. It famously had a laundry list of problems, including the fact that Ayer wrote the script in just six weeks and, most problematically of all, there were such powerful clashes behind the scenes about the movie’s tone that the studio enlisted a trailer editing company to create a separate edit of the final movie, which ultimately became the final cut that was shipped to theaters.

Warner Bros. previously met with Mel Gibson to potentially direct the sequel, but considering the way many of Collet-Serra’s previous films have fully embraced B-movie silliness while still showing a strong grasp of craft, he sounds like a better pick to direct Suicide Squad 2. And with the overwhelmingly positive response to Wonder Woman, we know Geoff Johns and Jon Berg are looking to ditch the dark and gritty vibe of the DC Extended Universe and make the movies fun. But I’m still worried about this movie because it’s being written by Adam Cozad, whose only produced credits thus far include the forgettable Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and last year’s The Legend of Tarzan.

The movie could begin filming as early as next year, but it doesn’t have an official release date staked out yet. Perhaps this time the studio will make sure the script is up to snuff and everyone is on the same page about what kind of movie it will be before they get in over their heads again.

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Joe Johnston to Direct Narnia: The Silver Chair

Joe Johnston will direct The Silver Chair. Joe Johnston directed Captain America: The First Avenger.

Captain America: The First Avenger’s Joe Johnston will direct Narnia: The Silver Chair

Joe Johnston is headed to Narnia as Variety brings word that the director behind films like The Rocketeer and Captain America: The First Avenger, is set to take the director’s chair on the upcoming C.S. Lewis adaptation from TriStar Pictures, the literary-focused label of Sony Pictures. As revealed last year, TriStar has teamed with The Mark Gordon Company, The C.S. Lewis Company, and Entertainment One (eOne) to continue the Narnia story.

RELATED: TriStar to Reboot The Chronicles of Narnia with The Silver Chair

The script for The Silver Chair, Lewis’ fourth book in the Chronicles of Narnia, has been adapted by David Magee, the two time Academy Award nominated screenwriter of Life of Pi and Finding Neverland. Mark Gordon, C.S. Lewis’ stepson Douglas Gresham, Vincent Sieber, and Melvin Adams serve as producers.

The seven original novels that have sold over 100 million copies worldwide, and have been published in more than 50 languages. The Chronicles of Narnia began with the publication of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in 1950. Six more novels (including the prequel, The Magician’s Nephew, and the sequels, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle) followed over the next six years. The final title in the series, The Last Battle, was awarded the highest mark of excellence in children’s literature, the prestigious Carnegie Award.

At the box office, the Narnia franchise has taken in nearly $ 1.6 billion worldwide with three feature films: 2005’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, 2008’s Prince Caspian and 2010’s The Voyager of the Dawn Treader. The latter introduced Will Poulter as Eustace Scrubb, who is the central protagonist of The Silver Chair. It is believed that the role will be recast, however, and that The Silver Chair will serve as a complete reboot of the franchise.

What do you think of Joe Johnston taking on The Silver Chair? Is there anyone you would like to see star? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

(Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)

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Labyrinth Reboot Signs Don’t Breathe’s Fede Alvarez to Direct

Labyrinth Reboot Signs Don't Breathe's Fede Alvarez to Direct

Labyrinth reboot signs Don’t Breathe’s Fede Alvarez to direct

First announced in early 2016, TriStar PicturesLabyrinth reboot has at last found a director, which Deadline reports will be Evil Dead remake and Don’t Breathe helmer Fede Alvarez. His first two films were for Sony Pictures (TriStar’s parent company), and he’s currently working on the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo reboot The Girl in the Spider’s Web for Sony as well.

While Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman was initially brought aboard to supply the screenplay, Alvarez is bringing in his Spider’s Web scribe Jay Basu (Monsters: Dark Continent) to co-write the film with him. The Labyrinth reboot will not be a remake, but it will take place within the same universe as the original film, making it possibly more of a spin-off than a sequel.

“’Labyrinth’ is one of the seminal movies from my childhood that made me fall in love with filmmaking,” said Alvarez. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to expand on Jim Henson’s mesmerizing universe, and take a new generation of moviegoers back into the Labyrinth.”

Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy classic Labyrinth starred Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie. Scripted by Terry Jones from a story by Dennis Lee, the original Labyrinth was the final project from Henson. Connelly plays a young woman, Sarah, who accidentally offers up her baby brother to the Goblin King, Jareth (Bowie). To rescue the child, Sarah must navigate a fantastical world of creatures and magic until she can ultimately face off against Jareth himself.

The Henson Company‘s Lisa Henson will produce the Labyrinth reboot, which Nicole Brown will oversee for TriStar.

Back in 2013, it was reported that Walt Disney Pictures was developing their own film titled Labyrinth. Although that project is not connected to the Henson film, it is said to follow a similar storyline with the central protagonist being a princess who has to traverse a dangerous maze in order to save her father. The current status of Disney’s Labyrinth project is unknown.

How do you feel about a Labyrinth reboot? Is Fede Alvarez a good choice to direct? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Ron Howard to Direct Controversial Trump’s America Memoir ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

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Director Ron Howard may have found his next project, an adaptation of J.D. Vance‘s memoir “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” Imagine Entertainment acquired the book after producers Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins pursued it. They’ll both produce the film alongside Howard.

Below, learn more about the Hillbilly Elegy movie.

According to Deadline, Imagine Entertainment came on top following a bidding war for Vance’s New York Times bestseller. The book has struck quite a chord with people, for good and bad. Some viewed the book as a symbol for those in Rust Belt supporting Donald Trump, although Vance was not a supporter. Throughout last year’s presidential election, Vance was called the “Trump whisperer,” as he was often explaining the President’s supporters.

Vance, who’s now a political contributor on CNN, overcame economic and social hardships throughout his youth. The author grew up in Middletown, Ohio, before him and his family moved to the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. Growing up, his grandmother taught him the importance of education, which led to him one day graduating from Ohio State University and Yale Law School, after he served in the Marine Corps.

Here’s a part of Vance’s memoir’s synopsis:

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.

But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.

A screenwriter hasn’t been hired yet to adapt Vance’s memoir. In a statement to Deadline, producer Erica Huggins said she believes the author’s story, “with compassion and self-awareness,” illuminates “the plight of America’s white working class, speaking directly to the turmoil of our current political climate.”

This marks the second true story Howard has become involved with recently. The director is also considering a Zelda Fitzgerald biopic starring Jennifer Lawrence. The director behind Frost/NixonApollo 13, and Rush often gravitates towards powerful true stories, and more often than not, they make for his most inspired work.

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Sam Mendes in Talks to Direct ‘My Favorite Thing is Monsters’

My Favorite Thing is Monsters adaptation

After spending a few years of exploring James Bond’s personal demons, director Sam Mendes is considering adding another comic book adaptation to his filmography with My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. The director, who previously adapted Road to Perdition for the big screen, is in talks to turn Emil Ferris‘ acclaimed graphic novel into a movie for Sony. The story involves “B-movie horror and pulp monster iconography.”

Below, learn more about the potential My Favorite Thing Is Monsters adaptation.

Deadline writes that Sony won the project in a bidding war last week. Now, Mendes is in early talks to possibly direct and develop My Favorite Thing is Monsters through his production company, Neal Street. Ferris’ story is set in the 1960s Chicago and follows a 10-year-old, Karen Reyes, who’s trying to figure out who murdered her upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a Holocaust survivor.

Based on the graphic novel’s synopsis, there’s far more to the story than a murder mystery:

Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters is Ferris’ debut graphic novel. Previously, she worked as an illustrator and toy sculptor. The author was raised on creature features, which she cites as a source of inspiration. You can find some of her beautiful work at her website.

Here’s a page from the author’s graphic novel (published in February):

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

The last time Mendes took on a graphic novel adaptation, we got the wonderful Road to Perdition. Mendes has considered other comic book properties over the years, namely Preacher, which he thought someone could one day make work as television series (and he was right, of course). As for superhero movies, they don’t interest Mendes, as if that wasn’t obvious based on most of his work.

Following the long and exhaustive Spectre shoot, it’s not surprising to see the filmmaker taking on a movie smaller in scale. The only other film project he’s attached himself to since his last Bond pic is Disney’s live-action James and the Giant Peach.

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Robert Rodriguez Frontrunner to Direct Escape From New York Remake

Robert Rodriguez Frontrunner to Direct Escape From New York Remake

Robert Rodriguez frontrunner to direct Escape From New York remake

Robert Rodriguez (Sin CityMachete) is now the frontrunner to direct the upcoming Escape From New York remake, according to The Tracking Board. There is no finished deal yet, but Rodriguez is reportedly interested. John Carpenter, who was the director on the original 1981 film, will serve as an executive producer, and The Picture Company’s Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman will produce.

The script for the Escape From New York remake is from Luthor creator Neil Cross. The story will follow, “Col. Robert “Snake” Plissken during an 11-hour mission to find the villainous heir to an agrochemical and biotech corporation as a major hurricane approaches.”

Set in a dystopic future (1997 to be exact), the 1981 original stars Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, an eyed-patched convict sent into a maximum security prison (formerly the island of Manhattan) to rescue the President. Carpenter directed his own sequel to the original, Escape From L.A., in 1996, although that film is decidedly less-beloved by fans of the original. Production on the remake is slated to start later this year.

Rodriguez not only directs, but has worked as a producer, writer, composer, cinematographer and film editor. He’s known for his directing work on DesperadoFrom Dusk Till Dawn, the Spy Kids series, Once Upon a Time in MexicoMachete, the Sin City films and more. He is directing Alita: Battle Angel, which is based on Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita manga. The film is set to be released on July 20, 2018, and is produced by James Cameron.

Are you guys excited for the Escape From New York remake? How do you feel about Robert Rodriguez taking the helm on the film? Are you dying to have a Kurt Russell cameo? Who should play Snake Plissken? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @ComingSoonnet!

(Image Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

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