Screen Talk: Birth of a behemoth


Hollywood is abuzz with the latest hot coupling and it's not even talent bed-hopping causing the chins to wag.

Water-cooler speculation is currently all about rumoured merger talks between two of movie land's biggest independent producer distributors, Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate Entertainment. Summit brings audiences the Twilight franchise with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart while Lionsgate is about to unleash the first in The Hunger Games movie adaptations. Both companies are all about hot projects, young talent and box office money-spinners right now. And both have established overseas ops, so a merger would create an indie behemoth capable of sizing up to the established Hollywood studios. As long as the hits keep coming.

Unholy backing

Cinema loves its tales of riches to riches. For writer Seth Grahame-Smith (above left), Christmas has certainly come early. The author, who penned hot property Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, just struck a deal with Warner Bros. The studio paid an eye-watering $2 million to Grahame-Smith for the rights to his new book, Unholy Night. Of course he'll have to work for it as he's been brought in to write the script. Unholy Night retells the nativity as an adventure story centred on the three kings. In Grahame-Smith's version, the three kings are thieves on the run who are forced to help Mary and Jesus escape to Egypt. It is due to be published stateside in April 2012. The film will follow.

Pee-wee returns

Paul Reubens, creator of the Pee-wee Herman character, is upping efforts to get back on the Hollywood radar. He's signed with agency WME for representation in all areas. The actor is slowly but surely coming back into the public consciousness more than 20 years after being arrested in 1991 for indecent exposure in an adult cinema in Florida while taking a sabbatical from his cult creation. That was settled out of court but media coverage at the time damaged his standing in Hollywood and beyond. But now he is currently developing a new Pee-wee Herman film, which is being produced by Judd Apatow and is set up at Universal. Before 1991, the actor's iconic turn had been the subject of two films, Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) and Big Top Pee-wee (1988). Reubens relaunched Pee-wee in 2010 with a series of live performances in LA and Broadway. and his The Pee-wee Herman Show was broadcast as an HBO special in March collecting three Emmy nominations.

Beasts of Berlin

The US's reluctant and mild-mannered ambassador to Berlin in 1933 William Dodd and his daughter Martha, a vivacious socialite who had romantic affairs with a Gestapo official and a Soviet spy, is to be turned into a movie. Universal has optioned the movie rights to Erik Larson's nonfiction bestseller, In the Garden of Beasts, for Tom Hanks (above right) and Gary Goetzman to produce via the duo's Playtone banner. Hanks is eyeing the project as a potential starring vehicle. The book, whose full title is In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, hit US bookshops in May.

Sleepless in Seattle

John Hilary Shepherd, the writer behind Nurse Jackie, has been tasked with penning a film adaptation of Cherie Priest's period zombie novel Boneshaker. Priest's book, the first in a planned series, is part of a science-fiction genre dubbed "steampunk", according to opinion-makers in Hollywood. For the uninitiated, that's a sci-fi or fantasy story set during the Victorian era. Boneshaker is set in an alternate version of 1880s Seattle. The city has been walled in and a toxic gas has transformed many of the remaining residents into "rotters", otherwise known as zombies. A young widow searching for her teenage son must deal with the Seattle underworld, airship pirates and heavily armed refugees.

Arts and Entertainment
By Seuss! ‘What Pet Shall I Get?’ hits the bookshops this week
Arts and Entertainment
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after Enola Gray and her crew dropped the bomb
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Elliott outside his stationery store that houses a Post Office
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Film review Tom Cruise, 50, is still like a puppy in this relentless action soap opera

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'