Screen Talk: Hardy Times

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The Independent Culture

In the eternal quest to discover yet another franchise from existing source material, audiences are set to be treated to a comic riff on the "Hardy Boys" books.

It has been in development hell for more than 10 years but now "Men in Black" writer Ed Solomon has dusted off the old attempts and is trying to write a cooler, funnier version for 20th Century Fox. Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise remain lined up to star, with Shawn Levy ("Night at the Museum") attached to direct. The original Hardy Boys adventures detailed the mystery-solving efforts of Frank and Joe Hardy, amateur detectives who helped their father, a private investigator. Solomon's script, "The Hardy Men", explores the reunion of the estranged, grown-up brothers, who work together to solve a new mystery.

US keeps its eye on hot British talent

The US studios are staking out the makers of the comedy horror 'Lesbian Vampire Killers', directed by newcomer Phil Claydon, in the hope that it turns out to be this year's 'Shaun of the Dead'. The film stars James Corden and Mathew Horne of 'Gavin and Stacey', and MyAnna Buring and Vera Filatova. Hollywood is always on the lookout for the next humour team from the UK. 'Shaun of the Dead' cost less than $7m to make and went on to take more than $13m in the US, gathering cult status on the way. 'Lesbian Vampire Killers' will hit UK screens later this year.

Write again

Christopher Nolan is looking to shoot a sci-fi actioner for Warner Bros. Nolan has written his own screenplay, as he does for most of his movie work, including 'The Dark Knight' and 'Batman Begins' as well as 'The Prestige' and 'Memento'. The only film that Nolan has directed without writing it himself is 'Insomnia', his 2002 remake of the Norwegian thriller. Nolan is planning to go behind the camera this summer and will make 'Inception' with the blessing and backing of Warner Bros. This means two things. First, audiences will have to wait at least two years for another Batman adventure. And second, it remains to be seen if his big-screen adaptation of the British TV series 'The Prisoner' for producer Scott Stuber at Universal will wait for Nolan to become available or look for another director.

Boll's up

Director Uwe Boll, dubbed the world's worst film-maker, is looking online for backers for his next movie. Boll has been trashed by critics over the years for his video-game adaptations including 'Alone in the Dark' (right) and 'BloodRayne'. He is now looking to garner $18.5m – yes, $18.5m – from individuals willing to stump up $50 apiece to back his terrorist tale 'Blackout'. If the target is not reached by the end of March, Boll may elect to make the movie with a smaller budget. If not, he says he will return "most of the cash" to investors. The industry is watching with interest.