Screen Talk: Listen to the boys

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The Independent Culture

The role of the fan boy in Hollywood is a serious one. At least among studio executives who believe the vast pool of internet-savvy, movie mad, boy scrutinisers who analyse everything and criticise any slip-ups are worth listening to. Some studios even act on the intelligence gathered from this very specific movie-going geekdom. So part of the reason Jon Chu has been handed the mission of directing Paramount's sequel to G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra, is down to the young man's street cred among fanboys. The first outing for G.I. Joe was a commercial hit, but a flop with critics and fanboys alike so the studio is aiming to put that right next time around. Chu is adept at playing to that particular gallery. He is responsible for Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Paramount's hit documentary made for $13m that grossed over $53m in the US. The director also worked quickly to recut the Bieber movie for a director's "fan cut".

In the name of Zod

An internet war of words is raging over which baddie should be pitched against Superman in the latest plans for a return flight to the big screen. While Warner Bros, the studio backing the latest superhero reboot mulls over whom to back to go up against Brit hunk Henry Cavill's man of steel, insiders have already said his fight will come from the evil and super-powered scientist General Zod. And Viggo Mortensen's name is being bandied around town to fill those scientific shoes. But one internet activist immediately raised legitimate concerns. "I don't think he [Mortensen] is intense enough for the role. And most of the time he [Mortensen] is doing nude scenes. I don't think General Zod will be nude," came the cry.

There's something about Mary

Mary Parent, the former chairman of MGM's worldwide motion picture group, left the studio late last year after a year of stalled production operations as the studio's financial turmoil continued. Now Parent has found a home at Paramount and will start from scratch as the studio with a first-look production deal. She knows a lot of people in Hollywood having previously been vice chairman of Universal. And insiders say material is pouring in to her from writers because Parent nurtured a lot of goodwill after the turmoil at MGM. Parent bought scripts and put a number of features into production at MGM, but she was only ever able to release a remake of Fame in 2009 and the comedy Hot Tub Time Machine in early 2010 before the production apparatus was frozen by the company's bankruptcy proceedings. A remake of Red Dawn, the comedy Zookeeper and the horror flick The Cabin in the Woods were completed on Parent's watch and remain unreleased.

Teen talk

It's been quiet on the script pickup front for the past few weeks. But insiders say Disney is closing in on Something Cliqued, a teen comedy spec by Karen Bloch Morse. The script returns to the body-swapping genre and centres on a girl who after a terrible day wishes she was a "somebody" in her high school, specifically the most popular and most athletic who also happens to be the class president. When her wish becomes an unexpected reality, she lives through the girls' bodies and gets a chance to see how the other half lives.

Saved by the Pell

Saturday Night Live writer Paula Pell has penned an untitled comedy pitch, with Tina Fey attached to produce. Pell joined the SNL staff in the mid-1990s, worked on many of Fey's signature sketches, wrote several 30 Rock episodes and appears on the show as a recurring character named Paula Hornberger, so Fey knows her well. And the duo dynamic is working because Universal has already picked the pitch up, which is based on Pell's childhood diaries. Fey is not attached to star though.