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Rick Baker Retires

Fri, 29 May 2015 12:02:26 GMT

Rick Baker Retires

Special effects legend bigs farewell to Hollywood

First the garage, now the whole workshop. Rick Baker, the legendary Hollywood make-up and special effects wizard, has officially announced his retirement. Fresh from a sale of some of his career memorabilia, Baker shared the news with Californian public radio station KPCC that he was putting away the prosthetics for good.

"I said the time is right, I am 64 years old, and the business is crazy right now,” he explained. "I like to do things right, and they wanted cheap and fast. That is not what I want to do, so I just decided it is basically time to get out.”

Baker, of course, is the make-up artist behind some of the most memorable, marvellous and maquetted cinematic creations of the past four decades. He emerged as the heir apparent to Jack Pierce in the mid-‘70s, collaborating with fellow SFX guru Carlo Rambaldi on King Kong in 1976 and going on to work on An American Werewolf In London and Star Wars.

Since then, there’s been projects as diverse as Videodrome, Harry And The Hendersons, Ed Wood, The Nutty Professor, Men In Black, How The Grinch Stole Christmas and The Wolfman, and seven Oscars reaped for his troubles.

Disillusionment with the filmmaking process has been a gradual process for Baker, with the nickel-and-dime make-up budgets an increasingly stark contrast with mega-bucks VFX resources. "I could’ve done it in a garage basically,” he complained of his work on Maleficent.

For happier memories of Baker's finest work, head over to the Prop Store site or take a gallop through Empire’s celebration of his classic creations.








Podcast #163: Simon Pegg

Fri, 29 May 2015 12:02:26 GMT

Podcast #163: Simon Pegg

Manupmanship

Simon Pegg appears on the Empire Podcast for a record-breaking fourth time this week, talking about everything from his new Star Trek script (Star Trek: Beyond) to his latest, the Brit rom-com Man Up, which just so happens to be out in UK cinemas today.

Elsewhere, the team tackle The Rock - figuratively speaking - with his new disaster movie San Andreas crashing into cinemas, and come to terms with Tilda Swinton possibly playing The Ancient One in the upcoming Marvel movie Doctor Strange.

P.S. You can check out our podcast photo gallery here and subscribe to the Empire Podcast via our iTunes page or this handy RSS feed. You can subscribe to the magazine here if you like it in paper form, or here if you prefer things digitally.


Will Forte Signs Up For Keanu

Fri, 29 May 2015 09:27:29 GMT

Will Forte Signs Up For Keanu

Joining forces with Key & Peele and Method Man

That acclaimed dramatic turn in Nebraska clearly wasn't enough to make Will Forte stray from the comedy path. Following his hit TV show The Last Man On Earth (co-created with Phil Lord and Chris Miller) and a recent outing to the Wild West in Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six, he's joining the double-act Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele for Keanu.

Peter Atencio, who directs Key & Peele's sketch show and has also worked on The Last Man On Earth, is calling the shots on the story, which involves the comedy duo acting like gangstas to retrieve a stolen kitten. It hasn't yet been specified why the film is called Keanu, but we'd lay money on that being the kitten's name. Let's hope he's not too sad a Keanu if he's been kidnapped.

Forte will play a pot dealer obsessed with black culture, although Peele is actually the only black person he knows. Wu-Tang's Method Man will show up as a legendary drug lord who buys into Key & Peele's gangster line. And Gabrielle Union is also aboard as Key's wife.

Shooting starts this summer in New Orleans.


Fox Rounds Up An Urban Cowboy TV Remake

Fri, 29 May 2015 08:10:04 GMT

Fox Rounds Up An Urban Cowboy TV Remake

Bud and Sissy will mosey on to our smaller screens

Urban-Cowboy-TV-remake

The original film helped cement John Travolta’s reputation as a movie star and brought both country music and, er, bar-based mechanical bulls more mainstream recognition. Now 20th Century Fox TV and Paramount TV are hoping that a series based on 1980 drama Urban Cowboy will stay on the ratings bull for a while

Hustle & Flow’s Craig Brewer is attached to write and direct the pilot, and oversee the potential series as executive producer. It’ll chronicle the star-crossed relationship of Bud Davis and Sissy (played in the film version by Debra Winger), who meet in a Texas bar, fall in love and marry quickly. Yet their relationship is filled with the push-and-pull of their differing outlooks on life, which causes them endless emotional friction. 

Though the movie was praised for the depiction of the romance and the world around it, the series should offer possibilities to explore it even more deeply, and Fox will be hoping it could eventually serve as a companion piece to its successful show, Empire. But it’s still early days for the new project, which is just in the basic script stage as of yet. 








American Ultra Red Band Trailer Shoots Online

Fri, 29 May 2015 08:10:04 GMT

American Ultra Red Band Trailer Shoots Online

Jesse Eisenberg is a stone(r) cold killer

What do you get when you cross Jason Bourne with Pineapple Express? No, you do not get a pineapple grenade. You get American Ultra, which finds Jesse Eisenberg as a stoner with a slightly violent past. Check out the trailer, which is restricted largely thanks to some sweary language from the likes of John Leguizamo and Topher Grace.  

The film, written by Chronicle/Victor Frankenstein’s Max Landis, finds Eisenberg as Mike Howell, an easy-going stoner content to work a boring job in a convenience store and live a happy life with girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart). He’s so settled that he’s about to propose to her, but then his life becomes very complicated. As in bullets-flying-and-cars-going-boom complicated.

Mike, you see, is a government asset, a trained killer who has been in sleeper mode, but is now considered a liability and targeted for termination. Yet it’ll take more than a few government agents to wipe Mike out, especially when the nasty forces (led by Grace) kidnap Phoebe and incur our hero’s wrath. 

Boasting a great cast that includes Walton Goggins, Bill Pullman, Tony Hale and Connie Britton, American Ultra will be out here on August 28.








Joe Wright May Jump Into The Lifeboat

Fri, 29 May 2015 08:10:03 GMT

Joe Wright May Jump Into The Lifeboat

He's in talks to direct Anne Hathaway in a novel adaptation

Joe-Wright-Lifeboat

Anne Hathaway has been busy putting together a new starring role. She’s been a producer on the adaptation of a book called The Lifeboat since at least 2013, but is in the process of locking down a director, with Anna Karenina’s Joe Wright now in talks.  

William Broyles Jr., who knows a little bit about people stuck in difficult situations after writing Cast Away, is at work on the script. Charlotte Rogan’s historical novel focuses on Grace Winter, a young woman standing trial for murder in 1914. 

As part of her testimony, Grace recalls how she and her new husband survived the sinking of a transatlantic ship called the Empress and ended up stranded in a lifeboat. Trouble is, there were too many people aboard, and the survivors starting to think about getting rid of one or two of them. Was Grace part of a plot? Or an innocent victim of a whispering campaign? The truth, we suspect, is still submerged. Submerged! Because it’s a lifeboat! No? Fine. 

Wright is currently busy putting the finishing touches to Pan, which finds Hugh Jackman playing Blackbeard, Garrett Hedlund filling the role of a young Hook and Levi Miller as the titular Boy Who Would Never Grow Up. It’ll be in UK cinemas on October 16.`


New Ant-Man Poster Dodges Bullets Online

Fri, 29 May 2015 07:54:34 GMT

New Ant-Man Poster Dodges Bullets Online

Heroes don't get any bigger

Not content with starring on the cover of the current Empire, Marvel’s latest – and sometimes smallest – hero, Ant-Man, has decided that bullet-dodging seems like a fine hobby. Okay, so it’s all part of a mission, but it’s been captured for posterity on a new poster for the film. {Ant-Man Bullets Poster}

Michael Douglas stars as the super scientist Hank Pym, the man who creates the technology that powers the Ant-Man suit, while Evangeline Lilly is Hope Van Dyne, his estranged daughter. Paul Rudd's Scott Lang is the thief who Pym takes under his wing to become the new, modern Ant-Man. And they’ll need to act quickly, because Pym’s business and technology has been appropriated by the less-than-moral Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who has his own plans for the suit’s special abilities.

{Empire Superhero Issue Ant-Man Exclusive Stills}

With Peyton Reed calling the shots, Ant-Man also features the likes of Judy Greer, John Slattery, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Wood Harris and Jordi Mollà. It’ll be out on July 17 and for more on the movie, pick up a copy of the latest Empire, which features a set report and other access. 








Henry Cavill Exits Stratton

Fri, 29 May 2015 07:39:04 GMT

Henry Cavill Exits Stratton

Simon West's action-thriller needs a new lead

Are you fit, able to walk nonchalantly away from giant explosions, and available at very short notice? If so, you may want to contact Simon West. The director will be on the lookout for a rapid replacement for his Stratton lead Henry Cavill, who’s quit the production a week before shooting was scheduled to start.

According to ScreenDaily, the Man of Steel had been unsuccessfully lobbying for changes to the shooting script. “[Cavill] told us he has decided not to shoot this script at this time,” said Guy Collins, co-founder of the film’s financiers GFM Films. "He had a different vision of what the film should be to us and the production team and wanted to delay production until September and shoot a different story and script.”

An action-thriller about an SBS special forces trooper co-opted into MI6 to tackle a global terrorist cell, Stratton was aimed as a potential franchise-launcher. It's based on the central character of eight books by ex-serviceman Duncan Falconer, John Stratton, a Special Boat Service operative who works with the intelligence services in Northern Ireland. He was also due to roam the likes of Kazakhstan, China, Europe and London in his duties.

Where this leaves the production, fresh from tying up distribution deals at Cannes, remains to be seen, but a delay seems inevitable. The project was set up by Promethean Productions, a new marque created by Cavill and his brother.

Cavill, meanwhile, is next up in Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E., out on August 14.


Andy Serkis' Star Wars: The Force Awakens Character Revealed

Fri, 29 May 2015 07:39:04 GMT

Andy Serkis' Star Wars: The Force Awakens Character Revealed

Meet Supreme Leader Snoke. Well, sort of...

Andy-Serkis-Star-Wars-Performance-Capture

No, this is not the final look for Andy Serkis’s gravel-voiced character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The picture, as you’ll have guessed, shows him in his performance-capture rig. But we do at least now know his character’s name thanks to Vanity Fair and the official Star Wars site: Supreme Leader Snoke.

We’ll have to wait to see what Snoke actually looks like once ILM have worked their industrial light-based magic on his performance, but it’s safe to say that Snoke is probably not the friendliest sort. It’s not mentioned in the piece on the site, but we’d wager a hefty bag of credits that he’s the top dog in the First Order, born from the ruins of the Galactic Empire. That's his voice talking over the original teaser for the film.

The image is a shot that was never published in the Vanity Fair issue, which saw Annie Leibovitz photographing the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, who J.J. Abrams compares to Marlon Brando, according to Leibovitz. 

We’ll have to wait and see exactly how Serkis fits into the continuing story in that galaxy far, far away, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be with us on December 18. 








Exclusive Point Break Featurette

Thu, 28 May 2015 23:23:52 GMT

Exclusive Point Break Featurette

Meet the daredevils behind the movie's scenes

The film itself features extreme sport enthusiasts who use their daredevil skills to plan and execute complicated, dangerous heists. So naturally, the new Point Break needed input from some experts in the field. Have a look at how the various athletes contributed to the film’s big set pieces.

Taking its cue from the original, this new action-thriller finds Luke Bracey taking over the Johnny Utah role once occupied by Keanu Reeves, while Edgar Ramirez slips on the wetsuit as Bodhi, formerly played by Patrick Swayze. Once more, Utah is an FBI agent in way over his head, working undercover the thrill-seekers who also like to pull off staggering crimes.

According to director Ericson Core, the people involved with making sure Bodhi and co look good while staying safe were all risking ther lives for the stunts. The experts include big wave rider Laird Hamilton (who consulted on the 1991 version, fact fans), rock climber Chris Sharma, and Jeb Corliss, who oversaw all the wing suit flying scenes.

With the likes of Ray Winstone, Teresa Palmer, Delroy Lindo and Tobias Santelmann in the cast, Point Break will be out in the UK on January 8, 2016. 


Vin Diesel Teases New York As Fast & Furious 8's Main Locale

Thu, 28 May 2015 23:08:21 GMT

Vin Diesel Teases New York As Fast & Furious 8's Main Locale

Big trouble in the Big Apple?

Fast & Furious 7 is still roaring away at the box office and the eighth instalment of the car-happy franchise has only just been announced. But it’s never too early for Vin Diesel to get the hype train rolling (and jumping its tracks, then slamming into reverse before driving through a mountain) for the new film, so he’s hit Instagram to offer a new tease. 

 

#TorettoTuesday

A photo posted by Vin Diesel (@vindiesel) on

Yes, New York, New York, the city that never sleeps will probably have more trouble getting a good rest with Dom Toretto and the gang tearing through its streets. And if they can manage to pull off car chases in traffic-heavy cities such as London and Los Angeles, they should be fine in the Big Apple. But what could that blood splatter on the eight mean? 

While the original ending of Fast & Furious 7 was going to start setting up elements for the new film, the death of Paul Walker changed all that, so there will need to be some plot put in place, focusing (we’d guess given all the hints in the last movie) about the underground world of espionage hinted at by Kurt Russell’s character. It’s still early days for the new one, which doesn’t currently have a director attached. The development process is probably only at the stage where Diesel and, assuming he remains aboard, franchise regular writer Chris Morgan are throwing around ideas while crashing toy cars together.

Fast & Furious 8 is set for April 14, 2017.








Sam Neill Finds The Hippopotamus

Thu, 28 May 2015 17:12:11 GMT

Sam Neill Finds The Hippopotamus

Roger Allam also starring in the film of Stephen Fry's novel

Sam-Neill-Hippopotamus

Stephen Fry’s comic bestseller The Hippopotamus is the latest tome targeted for big screen adaptation and the producers are now rounding up a cast. Sam Neill and Roger Allam are both on board for the new film, which has John Jencks set to direct.

Blanche McIntyre and Tom Hodgson wrote the script, which finds Allam as disgraced poet Ted Wallace travelling to his friend’s country manor to investigate some unexplained miracle healings. There he discovers that the truth is slightly sleazier than anyone suspected: the perpetrator is horny teenager David Logan, who is styling himself as a sexual healer with an eager clientele.

To make matters more complicated, David’s dad Michael (Neill) has decided he should share his son’s gift with the world, blissfully unaware of what is actually going on. Can Ted debunk the “miracles” in time to save his pal from a raft of mockery? We’re going to have to find out, unless you’ve already read the book, in which case please don’t spoil it. But if Allam's character doesn't ask Neill "do you see? DO YOU SEE?" at any point, we're going to complain about a seriously missed opportunity for a tables-turning meta joke.

Metrodome has picked this one up for UK distribution, with cameras set to roll in August but no release date listed yet. 








Saoirse Ronan And Dakota Fanning Vie For Fantastic Beasts

Thu, 28 May 2015 17:12:08 GMT

Saoirse Ronan And Dakota Fanning Vie For Fantastic Beasts

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter spin-off hunts a cast

With Eddie Redmayne looking like a lock as lead, J.K. Rowling and David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is pitching its casting net again to fill some of its other major roles. According to The Wrap’s sources, Warner Bros. is now running the rule over a shortlist of actresses for the parts of Tina and her older sister, Queenie.

Being lined up to see who can do the best magic – we’re pretty sure that’s how it works – are Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning, True Detective’s Lili Simmons and Transparent’s Alison Sudol for the role of Tina, and Kate Upton, Katherine Waterston and The Great Gatsby’s Elizabeth Debicki for Queenie.

It’s a strong shortlist with a blend of newish faces, like Inherent Vice standout Katherine Waterston, and more established names like Fanning and Ronan. Warner Bros. remain tightlipped on the news but expect some movement with the film’s release date already set for November 18 next year.  

The first Fantastic Beasts film, adapted by Rowling from her novella, already has sequels penciled in for 2018 and 2020. That initial film and its follow-ups will be very loosely based on Rowling's universe-expanding textbook about magical creatures. It's set in the wizarding world and boasts creatures and characters both new and familiar to Potter, with Magizoologist and credited author of the book Newt Scamander (Redmayne, as and when confirmed) the focal point.


St. Paul's Explodes In New London Has Fallen Posters

Thu, 28 May 2015 14:52:43 GMT

St. Paul's Explodes In New London Has Fallen Posters

Someone call Christopher Wren

Lock up your valuables, Londoners, wrap the cat in cotton wool and retreat to the nearest panic room, cupboard or safe place because the unlikely Olympus franchise is heading your way. And by the looks of these two new posters for sequel London Has Fallen, it’s taking most of the tourist attractions with it. Click below for a closer look. {New London Has Fallen Posters}Whichever dastardly forces are at play in the Olympus Has Fallen sequel clearly have an even bigger, more nefarious plan in place than the North Koreans in the first instalment – and they basically blew up Washington.

Again, it’s left to Gerard Butler’s secret service guy, Mike Banning, to save the day, possibly with a little help from one of his MI6 counterparts (Charlotte Riley), when Aaron Eckhart’s President Benjamin Asher is targeted in London at the funeral of the Prime Minister. Other world leaders are also in jeopardy. Angela Bassett’s Secret Service director Lynn Jacobs and Morgan Freeman’s Speaker Allan Trumbull are both on hand to lend a hand/thicken the plot.

Radha Mitchell is back as Leah Banning, with Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster and Colin Salmon all aboard. Christian Gudegast, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt were on scripting duties.

Find out if poor Aaron Eckhart manages to avoid spending this one handcuffed to a railing when London Has Fallen arrives on October 2.








St. Pauls Explodes In New London Has Fallen Posters

Thu, 28 May 2015 14:37:12 GMT

St. Pauls Explodes In New London Has Fallen Posters

Someone call Christopher Wren

Lock up your valuables, Londoners, wrap the cat in cotton wool and retreat to the nearest panic room, cupboard or safe place because the unlikely Olympus franchise is heading your way. And by the looks of these two new posters for sequel London Has Fallen, it’s taking most of the tourist attractions with it. Click below for a closer look. {New London Has Fallen Posters}Whichever dastardly forces are at play in the Olympus Has Fallen sequel clearly have an even bigger, more nefarious plan in place than the North Koreans in the first instalment – and they basically blew up Washington.

Again, it’s left to Gerard Butler’s secret service guy, Mike Banning, to save the day, possibly with a little help from one of his MI6 counterparts (Charlotte Riley), when Aaron Eckhart’s President Benjamin Asher is targeted in London at the funeral of the Prime Minister. Other world leaders are also in jeopardy. Angela Bassett’s Secret Service director Lynn Jacobs and Morgan Freeman’s Speaker Allan Trumbull are both on hand to lend a hand/thicken the plot.

Radha Mitchell is back as Leah Banning, with Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster and Colin Salmon all aboard. Christian Gudegast, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt were on scripting duties.

Find out if poor Aaron Eckhart manages to avoid spending this one handcuffed to a railing when London Has Fallen arrives on October 2.


Jesse Plemons And More Join Tom Cruise In Mena

Thu, 28 May 2015 14:06:15 GMT

Jesse Plemons And More Join Tom Cruise In Mena

Caleb Landry Jones and Benito Martinez among those boarding the drug drama

Jesse-Plemons-Mena

Doug Liman is now busy cranking his cameras on Tom Cruise-starring drug drama Mena and he’s been boosting the ensemble. Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones and Benito Martinez have all jumped aboard the film.

The title refers to Mena, Arkansas, the site of much of the action in the extraordinary life of Barry Seal, the focus of the film. Seal (Cruise) was a pilot for TWA in the 1970s that lost his job when he was caught flying plastic explosives from Miami to Mexico for an anti-Castro group. He subsequently went solo as an aviation consultant, and began a lucrative second career smuggling cannabis and cocaine between South and North America, eventually getting entangled with the notorious Colombian Medellin Cartel. 

When he was caught, he made deals with the CIA and DEA to continue his activities as an informant and spy. His adventures saw him encounter infamous names like Pablo Escobar and Jorge Luis Ochoa Vásquez, expose political corruption in Nicaragua and have no small part in kicking off the Iran-Contra Affair. Gary Spinelli has written the script based on his spec, with Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, E. Roger Mitchell and Jayma Mayes all in the cast. 

“I love stories of improbable heroes working against the system, and Barry Seal took the government, and our country, for an unbelievable ride,” says Liman.  “Interpreting his story has the makings for an entertaining film that is equal parts satire, suspense and comedy — and always surprising.” Variety reports that the film will land in the US on January 6, 2017 before making the trip here in time for January 20.








Jackie Earle Haley Joins Birth Of A Nation

Thu, 28 May 2015 13:50:45 GMT

Jackie Earle Haley Joins Birth Of A Nation

Playing a slave patrol captain in Nate Parker's drama

First announced last year with Nate Parker and Armie Hammer heading the cast, Birth Of A Nation has added two more to its roster. Jackie Earle Haley and Sons Of Anarchy's Mark Boone Jr. have both signed up for the film, which Parker has also written and is directing.

Birth Of A Nation is, for obvious reasons, not a remake of the notorious D.W. Griffith film - although that title is clearly no accident. Rather, it's the story of Nat Turner's slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831 and the events that made him one of the most controversial figures in America in the years leading up to the Civil War.

"It isn’t a story about a black guy that killed white people," says Parker. "This is a story about an American hero that fought for ideals that America was supposed to be built on: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, one nation under God. I can write a book about Nat Turner... but if I make a film about it, especially in this climate, especially on the heels of 12 Years A Slave and The Butler, when the conversation’s real, then maybe I can incite some kind of discourse amongst everyone."

Parker is playing Nat, with Hammer as his "owner" Samuel Turner. Haley, never one to shy away from an unpleasant role, will be "a slave patrol captain who takes pride in controlling the movements of the county’s slaves", while Boone Jr. will play "a crafty preacher".

Naomi King, Aunjanue Ellis, Colman Domingo, Dwight Henry, Roger Guenveur Smith and Gabrielle Union are also on the call sheet, and Birth Of A Nation gets underway shortly in Savannah, Georgia.


Patricia Highsmith's Ripley Heads For TV

Thu, 28 May 2015 13:50:45 GMT

Patricia Highsmith's Ripley Heads For TV

All five novels to get serial treatment

With this year marking the 60th anniversary of Tom Ripley's debut, it seems fitting that a significant new screen project should be in the works. Much filmed already, this time he's heading to television, with Television 360 and Endemol Shine Studios joining forces to adapt all five of Patricia Highsmith's macabre crime novels.

Not the alien-fighting kind, Highsmith's Ripley is a con-artist and serial killer, living the high life courtesy of a stolen inheritance, a wealthy father-in-law and a lucrative sideline in art forgery. Suave and sophisticated, he's completely without conscience and can't even remember his bodycount (it's actually a modest ten, with a handful of other deaths indirectly attributable to him). 

The books he appears in, published between 1955 and 1991, are The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley Under Ground, Ripley's Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Under Water. The first was adapted as Purple Moon with Alain Delon in 1960, and under its proper title with Matt Damon in 1999. Ripley's Game has been filmed twice too, first with Dennis Hopper (as The American Friend) and later with John Malkovich. And Ripley Under Ground starred Barry Pepper in 2005.

Television 360's Guymon Casady (Game Of Thrones) and Ben Forkner (Good People) will executive produce and have brokered the deal with Highsmith's estate. There's no channel or timeframe in place yet, but their intention is to take Ripley to cable or streaming (so an HBO or a Netflix or their ilk) in the hands of a name filmmaker. 

Todd Haynes' Carol, based on Highsmith's The Price Of Salt, has just gone over well at Cannes and should be out towards the end of the year. Andy Goddard's The Blunderer, based on her novel of the same title, is currently in post-production.








Woody Harrelson And Laura Dern To Meet Wilson

Thu, 28 May 2015 13:50:45 GMT

Woody Harrelson And Laura Dern To Meet Wilson

Co-starring in the Daniel Clowes comic adaptation

Nine years on from the last comic-to-screen adaptation of Daniel Clowes' work, things are finally coming together for Wilson. Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern are in talks to star in the film, which Clowes himself has scripted and Craig Johnson will direct. Sam Raimi is among the producers.

The 2010 graphic novel revolves around the titular misanthrope: an opinionated loner who loves his dog but finds people harder to get along with. He tries though, often haranguing total strangers on a variety of subjects. But when his father dies, leaving him completely starved of human relationships, he sets out to find his junkie ex-wife, learns he has a teenage daughter he never knew about, and tries for a last haphazard stab at family life. Harrelson will play Wilson, with Dern his ex-wife. 

Clowes' previous excursions into film were Ghost World and Art School Confidential, both of which had Terry Zwigoff calling the shots. Johnson's The Skeleton Twins, however, demonstrates that he's equally suited to the Clowes world view.

Shooting starts next month in Minneapolis. Wilson is published in the UK by Jonathan Cape.


Jason Reitman Finds Beekle For DreamWorks Animation

Thu, 28 May 2015 13:50:45 GMT

Jason Reitman Finds Beekle For DreamWorks Animation

He has an animated, 'Unimaginary' friend

Jason-Reitman-Beekle

He's had trouble with his recent films as a director for adults – both Labor Day and Men, Women & Children faltered critically and commercially – so Jason Reitman will be hoping for more success with a family audience, sealing a deal to write and direct Beekle for DreamWorks Animation

Reitman will adapt The Adventures Of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, Dan Santat’s Caldecott Medal-winning story of an imaginary friend who searches for a child to connect with. With luck, it’ll let him recapture the comic tone he showed to such successful effect in Juno and Thank You For Smoking, albeit with a PG or U rating. 

"I was book shopping with my daughter, when a little tooth-shaped character in a paper crown stole our hearts," Reitman explains. "His name was Beekle, and I'm honoured to now be adapting Santat's charming story into a feature film. I'm particularly proud to be working with DreamWorks Animation, makers of Kung Fu Panda, the first film my daughter ever saw on the big screen."

The director has several other projects jostling for his attention, including Kaui Hart Hemmings script The Possibilities and I Would Only Rob Banks For My Family, which Nick Hornby is adapting from a Texas Monthly article.