Screen Talk: Demon seed

 

No one ever said actresses trying to make it in Los Angeles live in the real world.

When they do make it, the real world often becomes even more distant. For Lily Collins, her role choices indicate a willingness to play outside the normal realm. The up-and-coming actress, who is establishing herself on role call lists after scoring her first major lead role playing Snow White in one of two rival Hollywood fairy tale fantasy adaptations Mirror Mirror, is in talks to headline a cult classic of an entirely other-worldly nature. Collins, the daughter of Phil Collins, is eyeing the lead in the remake of 1981's The Evil Dead, taking on demons rather than evil queens. Fede Alvarez is to direct the movie, which is being produced by Sam Raimi. The Evil Dead remake aims to take the property back to its serious and bloody horror roots, bypassing the comedic elements that crept in as the sequels went along.

Space is money

Image is everything and for the US film industry players, a glossy, high-end shop front is a must. But in these harsh economic times, even the most image-conscious corporation has to trim ambition and ensure monies are spent in product creation rather than keeping the product creators comfy at work. NBCUniversal's decision to shelve plans for a 1.5 million-square-foot production and office project that would have been built atop a subway station in Universal City, is being put down to sensible belt-tightening. Cancelling the plans still cost the studio parent a tasty $9m cancellation fee to the publicly traded Thomas Properties, who drew up the plans and would have built the $750m project for the studio.

Rocky marriage

So keen is Universal to say "I do" to a follow-up to the bawdy success of Bridesmaids that the studio is contemplating making a sequel without Kristen Wiig, the original's star and co-writer. Wiig, who wrote the movie that made more than $288m worldwide, having cost around $32m to make, is not writing a sequel, she says. Sources say that some of the six principal cast members (Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) were underwhelmed with the $100,000 bonus each received – the sum struck some as low given the film's outsized success. Sources close to the original's producer and film-maker Judd Apatow report that he's not keen to do without the original creative team. That said, Universal has form when it comes to franchise films with different line-ups. The studio is in production on The Bourne Legacy, a fourth Bourne film and the first without Matt Damon.

Memories of murder

The Canadian actress/director Sarah Polley is adapting the Margaret Atwood novel Alias Grace for the big screen. A recreation of a true-life 19th-century Canadian double murder, Atwood's historical novel takes readers inside the mind of Grace Marks, a 16-year-old housemaid who was convicted and jailed for killing a wealthy landowner and his housekeeper and mistress. Polley's debut feature, Away from Her, was a relationship drama adapted from "The Bear Came Over the Mountain", a short story by another celebrated Canadian novelist, Alice Munro.

Back to work

John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the screenwriters behind New Line's surprise workplace comedy hit Horrible Bosses, have closed a deal to write a sequel. It is expected that Jason Bateman (above right), Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis will be back to star in the movie, and the studio is talking to director Seth Gordon about a return to the director's seat. The movie, made for $35m, proved to be a surprise hit, grossing $117m in the US and $209m worldwide.

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