Screen Talk: Disney lacks seal of approval
Friday 03 June 2011
The Walt Disney Company is taking on the might of the US military. Disney moved swiftly to trademark the name "Seal Team 6", the counter-terrorism unit responsible for killing Osama bin Laden, shortly after the news broke.
But the US Navy counter- attacked the move, challenging Disney's attempt to trademark the name. The Navy applied itself seeking trademark status for "Seal Team" posters and clothing as well as "Navy Seal" goods and services, identifying the Navy squad as an organisation that "develops and executes military missions involving special operations strategy, doctrine and tactics", according to US reports. The trademark spat will take a while to resolve; the process usually takes at least three months. And in the meantime, no doubt, there will be a script waiting.
Motor racing, the 1960s and film-maker Michael Mann (above left) are being touted as a sexy package right now. 20th Century Fox is talking to Mann about bringing to the big screen the real-life story of the famous competition between the Ford Motor Co and Ferrari that led to Ford winning the Le Mans in 1967. Named Go Like Hell, the initial plans are for Mann to develop a script based on A J Baime's book of the same name – and then perhaps he'll raise the flag on directing it.
Not fail safe
No one in Hollywood likes to think of failure. It's not an option, after all, in the movies. But for the writer/director James L Brooks and the stellar cast of How Do You Know, including Reese Witherspoon (above centre), the ever popular Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson, the financial failure of the project was made uncomfortably public. Sony, the owners of Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures, posted losses of more than $3bn for the year ending 31 March, 2011. And in doing so, the corporation left nobody in any doubt about which movie failed it most, adding to the sea of red ink. Sony described How Do You Know as suffering from "theatrical under-performance" amid lower theatrical revenues generally and the appreciation of the yen. Brooks and co will be hoping that Sony's prediction – that it will be back in profit this year – comes true in the event of another green light being sought.
Legend in the works
Another day, another soon-to-be-published novel looking to be the next major young adult franchise. This month it's the turn of Marie Lu's forthcoming novel, Legend. CBS Films has hired up-and-coming writers Andrew Barrer and Gabe Ferrari to adapt Lu's book, not due to be published until November this year in the US, for a movie to be directed by Jonathan Levine. The story takes place in LA over a hundred years in the future, when North America is split into two warring nations. Legend focuses on a 15-year old Robin Hood figure, who happens to be the nation's most-wanted criminal, and the teenage prodigy hired to hunt him down. Barrer and Ferrari hit the Hollywood radar after writing Die in a Gunfight, a Romeo and Juliet-style action project that made the 2010 Blacklist, a Hollywood hot top 10 of unproduced scripts.
The romantic comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever hasn't had an easy journey to its shoot. It was set up at Fox Atomic and Overture Films, both of which closed in the last year, so might never have seen the light of day. But the director Lee Toland Krieger has secured Elijah Wood (above right) who joins Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Emma Roberts and Chris Messina in the cast. The film follows a couple in the midst of a divorce attempting to maintain their friendship while pursuing new relationships.
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