Screen Talk: Apocalypse wow

Hollywood is embracing world concerns over future predictions of coming apocalyptic events by making movies.

Paramount is backing World War Z, a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Brad Pitt depicting a global zombie takeover a decade after the fact. Directed by Marc Forster, World War Z is an adaptation of a Max Brooks novel of the same name, and is looking to secure the acting chops of Bryan Cranston. Cranston is on the casting radar after starring in Breaking Bad, which features his character facing his own personal terminal cancer apocalypse. Cranston will join Mireille Enos and James Badge Dale in the Pitt starrer penned by Matthew Michael Carnahan and J Michael Straczynski. It is due to be released in 2012, before the long-touted Mayan prediction of the end of the world puts an end to box-office potential in December of the same year.

Short cut to success

A young Tennessee-based filmmaker who made a short film for $10,000 has secured Hollywood representation with ICM. Seth Worley, the film-maker behind short Plot Device, produces videos for everything from conferences to summer camps in Nashville at Lifeway Christian Resources. He wrote, directed and created the visual effects for Plot Device, a tale of a guy who buys a how-to device that magically transports him into different storytelling genres. When his video hit the web at the end of June, it peaked the interest at the studios and agencies and calls started coming in. Now the film-maker is hoping the calls continue. To ICM.

Gone with the wind

Peter and Bobby Farrelly have made Hollywood happy on many occasions with their big-screen bawdy humour and often off-colour comedies. So it is unlikely to come as a surprise that the duo behind such laughers as Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary and Shallow Hal, should be among the producers of a project named Walter the Farting Dog. The script has wound up on Paramount's slate after Twentieth Century Fox unleashed it from its slate. The Farrelly brothers were originally attached to direct the project. It is based on a series of children's books written by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray about a family living with an exceedingly flatulent dog. Now Hop director Tim Hill is in talks to direct the shaggy dog story.

Family business

Mimi Gianopulos may not have an especially noteworthy surname in Greece but in Hollywood it carries some weight. That's because the young actress is Fox chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulous's daughter. She has just landed a supporting role in the Lionsgate pregnancy comedy What to Expect When You're Expecting, joining Cameron Diaz (above centre), Jennifer Lopez and Anna Kendrick. It's a first studio movie role for the 22-year-old graduate. Last week, Screen Talk reported Cody Horn, daughter of ex-Warner Bros president Alan Horn, had landed a role in indie cop drama End of Watch. Rest assured sources say neither daughters rely on family connections.

Sporting strife

It's a serious business the business of film financing and everyone takes their responsibilities to make movies successful very seriously indeed. Take the case of the financiers of Free Style, a movie about a young man chasing a national motocross championship. It bombed at the box office stateside despite starring Corbin Bleu (above right) High School Musical. Now the film's financiers are looking to collect from producers and Bleu himself. Third Eye Capital and Strative Capital filed a $12 million lawsuit alleging fraud, breach of contract and misrepresentation against Samuel Goldwyn Films, Del Mar Entertainment, various other producers and Bleu. The actor is being sued because he purportedly failed to honour an agreement that called for providing interviews to support the film.

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