There are certain works in the history of cinema that are just insane; pictures that probably shouldn’t exist except for the fact that their creators birthed them through sheer will alone. Duke Mitchell’s Gone With the Popecomes to mind — a hodgepodge of ‘holy fucking shit’ that could’ve only come from the singular vision of one whacked out individual (and delivered to us via the hard work of one Academy Award winning editor). These are movies whose viewers are part of an elite club once they’ve sought them out, as the works never formally made their way to home video. It’s a rarity in the age of all-access digital media that any picture is relegated solely to celluloid, but they certainly still exist; “cult films” in the truest sense. Now another movie can be added to this exclusive list: Craig Denney’s 1975 work of wanton megalomania, The Astrologer. As Nicolas Winding Refn put it in his introduction to the film at this year’s Fantastic Fest: “it’s a movie that pushes ‘auteurism’ to a whole other level.” (more…)
The work Lustig has done in the arena of film preservation and presentation with his company Blue Underground (whose output has sadly slowed down to a halt recently) is top tier stuff, bringing us amazing exploitation gems that would otherwise be lost forever. It also helps that he’s made a slew of bonafide classics (fuck that condescending “cult classic” bullshit) such as Vigilante, Maniac, Relentless and, of course, the Maniac Copfilms. I got to meet the big man from 42nd Street a few years back (at a 35mm screening of Maniac, after which he gave one of the best Q&As I’ve ever witnessed) and was literally shaking with excitement to get my Vigilante blu-ray signed — to the point that wife actually had to do the talking for me because I was so nervous. That’s just who I am. If Tom Hanks were to start talking to me, I’d play it completely cool. But Bill Lustig? That man’s a goddamn knee-clack-inducing legend.
All of this is a long-winded intro to the news that Maniac Cop (yes, the Larry Cohen/Robert Z’Dar collabo.) is being remade. Now, most people would be mad that one of their heroes’ best films is being redone for a new audience. But when you tell me that Lustig himself is producing, along with modern exploitation auteur Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives, Valhalla Rising), my eyes light up like stars. Now they’ve added none other than Ed Brubaker (Captain America: the Winter Solider) to script the redux, and I am literally counting the days until I can watch it.
Well, it’s not something that many people want to happen, but Hollywood, in its mad frenzy to recycle absolutely everything, was looking to put out a remake of the sci-fi classic, Logan’s Run. But now it seems as if the whole thing is in the toilet. Whether this is a change for the better or not, however, depends on your point of view. This version would have been put together by the amazing director Nicolas Winding Refn (Pusher, Drive), but he has now dropped out.
In an interview with Twitchfilm, Refn had this to say about the demise of the remake:
Skyfall was maybe the most successful of the Bond movies, and some of that had a lot to do with the accomplished Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes being at the helm of the film. So it’s no wonder that the producers of the franchise might be looking at a director with similar vision, someone acclaimed by the critics.
If you just said Christopher Nolan, you’re close, but you maybe off. In an interview with Nicolas Winding Refn at Cannes, Alex Billington from First Showing got the Drive director to nearly admit that he was, at least, be courted to direct Bond 24. Billington asked straight up if Refn had considered doing Bond, to which the filmmaker responded, “Where did you hear that?” A little defensive, right? When pushed further, Refn then admitted, “I love Bond… I love him.”
But does he love Bond enough to direct him? And is he? Well why don’t you check out the video below and read between the lines:
But Refn doesn’t have this thing sewn up yet. In fact, there’s apparently a small list of notable filmmakers seemingly nominated for the directing chores on Bond 24 according to /Film, including Skyfall filmmaker Mendes. Ang Lee, Tom Hooper, David Yates, and Shane Black are also rumored to be up for the job. All are interesting choices, but each one comes with a lingering nag of doubt that might rule them out for the part.
For instance, while Lee and Hooper are both Oscar-winning directors, Hooper only has two films to his credit and Lee isn’t British. Since being British is usually a condition for getting to be a director of a Bond, Black, and Refn for that matter, may also be out of the running. Yates is an obvious choice having shepherded several Harry Potter films, so he knows how to handle a big, damn, fictional, English hero right. As for Mendes though, it’s rare for a Bond director to have an immediate reprise, but that’s not to say it’s impossible.
So long story short, this hasn’t been sorted out yet. Stay tuned because it will be big news when we learn who will helm the next adventure of Bond. James Bond.
We’ve know that Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Bronson) is on board to reboot the Jean-Claude Forest created fictional french space heroine Barbarellafor quite some time. Really that is all we’ve known about the possible return of the sci-fi character made famous in the 68 sexplotation movie that stared Jane Fonda. Well, now we know more.
It looks like Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been tapped to write the TV adaption for Gaumont International Television. Wade and Purvis’ resume includes writing duties on not one but five James Bond movies, including the most recent Skyfall.
I have to say, this TV reboot is getting some impressive talent behind it already, which is interesting since I still question if the character is relevant now. It is 2013, she was created by Forest over 50 years ago, and hasn’t really been seen in the mainstream since the 1968 movie. It’ll be interesting to see how (if) this all plays out.
Fun Fact: The 80’s pop band Duran Duran actually named themselves after a character from Barbarella… who are also not relevant these days.
Barbarella, the fictional french space heroine created by Jean-Claude Forest and brought to the big screen by Jane Fonda in the 1968 may finally be making her return, this time on the small screen. As far back as the early 1970s there have been many attempts to reboot the scantily clad vixen’s adventures (most recently by directors like Robert Rodriguez and Robert Luketic,) yet still nothing materialized.
Until now, maybe. Deadline is reporting that Gaumont International Television are developing the property for TV with producer Martha De Laurentiis (daughter of Dino De Laurentiis producer of the original film) and Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive,Bronson), who will also direct.
Refn calls Barbarella ‘one of the ultimate counter-cultural characters‘, couple that with the his continued involvement with the long talked about Logan’s Run remake and it’s safe to say the Danish filmmaker has a love for that era of science fiction. It’ll be interesting to see how either of these remakes look, should they ever see the light of day.
My one question is how exactly are they planning to have this play on TV? Both the original comic strip and movie are very kitschy and kinky in nature and would have to be reeled in to play on network TV (as GIT is doing with their Hannibal series for NBC). Granted, Game of Thrones seems to be a bit dirty in parts, maybe it could have a home on cable? And while I am in a sea of questions, who would be a good choice as the titular character?
Producer Joel Silver has been spending the last several years of his career pushing for a remake to 1976’s Logan’s Run, in which everyone lives in a hedonistic society where you live till the age of 30. Bryan Singer , Carl Erik Rinsch and James McTeigue were names pegged to direct, but all three bailed. Bronson and Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn was eventually secured. He brought with him Drive star Ryan Gosling to play Logan 5, the “Sandman” turned runner in the 23rd century.
Now there is a new writer on the film: Andrew Baldwin
Baldwin, who gained notoriety with 2008’s Black List (the top film screenplays that went un-produced) with The West is Dead and wrote the still-unproduced Red Asphalt for Lionsgate, has been hired to pen a new draft of the script. Veteran writer Alex Garland had originally completed a draft of Logan’s Run and Will Beall worked on a rewrite shortly after Refn became part of the project, but obviously the script must not have been up to snuff with Baldwin being brought in.
Andrew will have plenty of time to develop this new draft since Refn is busy with his next upcoming project, the Thailand-set Only God Forgives, which Gosling also stars.
The Hollywood Reporter has stated there is no clear date on just when Logan’s Run will begin production, but Refn has expressed interest in moving forward as soon as next spring.
The original Logan’s Run, based on a novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, was released in 1976 and takes place in the future–2274, to be precise. At some point before the movie, there was a terrible disaster that forced the survivors of mankind to kick it biodome-style in Washington, D.C. In a clear case of taking the old adage, “Never trust anyone over 30,” the law states that when you turn 30, you get capped. And to keep you from lying about your age, at birth everyone is implanted with a little jewel-like nub in their palms. The Lifeclock, as it’s called, changes color as the person ages.
Those who don’t want to willingly take a dirt nap are called Runners, who are hunted down and terminated by the Sandmen. Logan is one of them. Anyhow, it’s a real uplifting flick. I can see this being an exception to anti-reboot movement. Especially with Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling attached.
Every time the topic of Wonder Woman comes up, I am inclined to run down the list of why she sucks. I’m absconding, because I’d just preaching to the choir. We all love the idea of Wonder Woman (a symbol for female empowerment), but fundamentally, we all know that she’s a weak character that’s never had any real sense of quality or connectivity. Which is why a television show or feature length will never work. Yea, yea….it was cute int he 70’s with the Lynda Carter short-shorts hour, but those were different times. Since then, there has been two major attempts to realize the amazon princess on the big and small screen. The first being a failed feature-length movie by nerd deity Joss Whedon. It got canned because of conflictions with Warner Bros. interests. Neither party wanted to make the same movie. The second, and most recent, was the failed Wonder Woman pilot on NBC by David E. Kelly (Ally Mcbeal). A few piss-poor costume design choices and a bull-shit ‘woman struggling in a big city’ story had fans flinging da poo. It was axed before the pilot episode was even finished shooting. Point is, if two of Hollywood biggest writers can’t produce a quality product, then take it as a sign that this character is not workable or sellable. Leave the star spangled panty bitch in the funnys.
Regardless of all that, some people like to dream. Such as the case of writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn. He wants to make a Wonder Woman movie … and he’s put his career on a path to make it happen.
IndieWire quoted Refn as saying, “I have this dream concept: I want to make Wonder Woman as a feature. And I thought in order get to access to that I should probably become a bit more Hollywood-friendly.”
Refn, a Danish filmmaker who made a name for himself with movies about drug deals gone wrong, recently made his first American movie, Drive, about a drug deal gone wrong.
According to IndieWire, “Refn’s playing the long game on this one, confessing that he took Drive partly to boost his bankability with studios.”
As it happens, Drive won the 2011 Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Director, which gave him enough cred to be tapped for the reboot of Logan’s Run, currently in preproduction.
Logan’s Run will be a Warner Bros. movie … the same media conglomerate that owns DC Comics. If Logan’s Run performs well, Refn really does stand a chance at choosing his next project. And there’s no doubt as to what he would choose, saying, “Wonder Woman is probably something that, to me, would be not just a satisfaction, but almost a [catharsis], and I was born to make it.”
OK, as much I’d like to make fun of this guy for being delusional, I gotta say it’s nice to see a director who is enthusiastic about his career path, and who’s committed to a worth-while property. Though honestly, I think I may be a little biased, simply because of his choice of who he thinks should play Wonder Woman. If he had his way, he’d have ex Drive starChristina Hendricks (Firefly, Mad Men) play our Amazon princess. Refn was quoted saying “If I ever get to do it, she’s going to be it.”
Hendricks as Wonder Woman? I can see the cleavage now. oh god please let this happen. Boobage aside, her role on ‘Firefly’ is a fine indication of how she can pull off being a butt-kicking babe.
IndieWire wrote, “Hendricks seems to want to do the project as much as Refn, saying in an interview last year that ‘I’ve been wanting to wear that outfit my whole life … I had Underoos — I had Wonder Woman Underoos.'”
Bottom line, I like Refn’s passion and casting choice for the TITular character (see what I did there?). And, I like him as a director. Having seen ‘Drive’ and the under rated ‘Valhalla Rising’, his films are like gigantic pieces of abstract art. Pretty nifty stuff. As much as I hate Wonder Woman, a man like this might actually be able to give the character some justice. Will have to wait and see how the next couple years play out and pray to god Christina Hendricks face doesn’t fall a part from age, or that her boobs deflate.