BIZZ BUZZ 5
Stories from behind the Silver Screen
Last week in this column, I reported on the tribulations confronting the new American version of “Godzilla”. In a powerplay move, Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers played a trump “pay or play” card, effectively booting producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee from the project. This week, the producers laid their cards on the table with a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The producers, understandably peeved over the studios’ attempt to dismiss them after their hard work secured the project, seeks not only to stop the studio from removing them but also is set to make an example out of any studio harboring similar notions. In the suit, the producers state they “seek substantial punitive damages to make an example of Legendary, so that it and no other studio will in the future, treat their producer in this outrageous manner.” Lin and Lee are suing for millions of dollars in damages. Hollywood insiders and pundits are claiming Legendary’s actions are most unusual.
The lawsuit may also explain why the original script was discarded. When the studio secured the project, they hired Gareth Edwards to direct. Press releases from the studio’s PR machine, claimed Edwards did not like the script and agreed to do “Godzilla” only if a new script were proffered. Now, the studios are saying Lin and Lee had nothing to do with the new script and could, therefore, be removed from the film despite earlier agreements.
Lin and Lee are seeking a cease and desist order against Legendary, which would prevent the movie from beginning production, currently scheduled for this spring.
Godzilla was placed on a ten year hiatus by Toho Studios, who own the monster’s rights. The decade of exile ends in 2014. Toho will remake its most famous monster in its own movie, but the new American version may never see the light of a studio set.
Famed thriller novelist David Baldacci has found a home on television. A pilot and ten episodes have been green-lit for the TNT Network, based on Baldacci’s characters Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. They have appeared in five of his novels. Scheduled to star are Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn.
Though he has penned over a dozen novels, only one of Baldacci’s tales was ever produced for the screen. It was “Absolute Power”, with Clint Eastwood. The interest by TNT in Baldacci’s writings is largely due to Fox’s wildly successful hit series “Justified”, with Timothy Olyphant, which is based on the Elmore Leonard thrillers.
Several projects took turns this week. Director Zack Snyder was rumored to be developing a STAR WARS film. The film was to be an off-shoot from the main storyline, dealing with a band of Jedi, much in the tradition of “The Seven Samurai”. The rumors went viral, prompting Snyder to release an official statement claiming the rumors are false and he has no Star Wars plans.
Additionally, the film version of the videogame “Assassin’s Creed” moved closer to production status. Michael Lesslie has been hired to write the script for the film. This will be Lesslie’s first full-length motion picture, though he does have several short films and stage plays on his resume. Lesslie will pen the script under the close scrutiny of the game maker, Ubisoft who has control over the character. Michael Fassbender will star.
“The Walking Dead” has a revolving door for showrunners. The hit zombie TV series caused a stir when originator Frank Darabont was unexpectedly fired from the show during season two. His replacement, Glen Mazzara, has been dumped and replaced with Scott Gimple. Apparently Mazzara wanted to take the show in a different direction than the AMC Network desired. The ubiquitous “creative differences” was utilized by the network to explain the firing.
For his part, Gimple joined the series in season two as a writer. That’s one hellava promotion. Must pay to be cozy with the boss.
The Bizz Buzz is a weekly posting of the latest news from behind the Silver Screen, culled from wire services, trade publications and top secret studio informers, all mixed with my keen deductive reasoning and sinister, snarky statements.