STORIES FROM BEHIND THE SILVER SCREEN
I reported some months ago, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was in negotiations to play Hercules, but now it appears the strongman’s project will have competition. Millennium Pictures tagged Renny Harlin to direct “Hercules 3D”, and gave him a $70 billion budget to begin filming in May for a March 2014 release. This will put “Hercules 3D” in direct competition with, but several months ahead of The Rock’s version of Hercules, which is helmed by Brett Ratner for Paramount. The Rock’s Hercules is scheduled for an August, 2014 release.
Harlin claims the Millennium project had a green light since 2007. He further stated it is more in the vein of “Gladiator”, rather than a cartoonish approach with flying horses. He also feels both films can be successful, due to the different approaches, but will audiences be willing to sit through two films on the same subject so close in release. Previous box office histories show the answer is not favorable.
Harlin is expected to announce this week the stars of his “Hercules 3D”. Perhaps to heightened the tension he could cast John Cena or Brock Lesner as the Greek Demi-god; two out of three movies, in a steel cage.
NBC Network opted to trump the current vampire craze by creating a 10 episode mini-series on the King of Vampires, Dracula. Jonathan Rhys Meyers will take on the role made famous by Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. Victoria Smurfit, Katie McGrath, Nonso Anozie and Jessica DeGouw are already in the cast, providing Meyers a bevy of beautiful babes in which to sink his teeth. It’s good to be the King of Vampires. “Dracula” is bypassing the typical pilot episode to test the audience waters. NBC hopes to launch the series in the fall.
This version of Dracula is set in modern times, but will incorporate a theme similar to the Dan Curtis vampire epic “Dark Shadows” with the vampire finding the reincarnation of his true love in modern day LA. Everyone is looking for a product to combat and defeat AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. Certainly, Dracula is a character contender; however, this version may be too slick to combat the Dead’s grittiness and morbid themes.
Finally, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, recognized as one of the toughest law enforcement officers in the country, became concerned after the school shooting in Newtown, CT. He did not want a similar scenario to occur in Phoenix, and, rightfully, thought preparation by his force would be the best way to counter this type of attack. So, he enlisted the aide of Steven Seagal.
Seagal is helping train Arpaio’s men in close quarter and hand-to-hand combat, and alternative techniques for subduing an armed gunman with hostages.
Seagal is already a sheriff. He is also producing and staring in “True Justice” for the Reelz Channel. “True Justice” is currently carrying the network. Its attempts at other original programming have fallen flat, despite heavy promotional campaigns. The reason is Reelz programs are too immersed in liberal agendas and ideologies to gain a sizeable audience. “True Justice” is very pro-American in mien and one of the better action shows on TV. In addition to original programming, Reelz is showing heavily edited movies, which are not cutting it next to Fox’s unedited movie channel and the IFC Channel. To compensate, Reelz is playing Seagal’s movies in a heavy rotation.
He may not be at fighting weight anymore, and his movies may go straight to video, but Seagal is still one bad mamma jamma.
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.