Screen Talk: Toon time

The recent swoop by Sony to poach Michelle Raimo-Kouyate from DreamWorks Animation is the talk of Hollywood. Raimo-Kouyate, an executive producer and popular creative suit at DreamWorks, has been drawn in by an offer to be president of production at Sony Pictures Animation, a rival studio cartoon creator.

While at DreamWorks she was executive producing Shrek spin-off Puss In Boots. At Sony, she'll be charged with creating hits from the stable that brings both pure CGI features and hybrid productions like The Smurfs to the screen. Raimo-Kouyate will work closely with SPA's president of production Hannah Minghella as she transitions to her new role at Columbia Pictures.

Close to the Margin

A promotional reel for a movie starring Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Paul Bettany, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker and Mary McDonnell proved to be just the ticket to get closer to a green light. The glittering cast were touted to star in Margin Call, a financial thriller written and directed by first-timer J.C. Chandor. With the US still reeling from financial turmoil, the artistic community is clamouring to make movies about the dramatic downturn and the irony is thatfinancial backers are keen to stump up the cash to bankroll their endeavours. The project proved a popular one with buyers a week or so ago and has been extensively pre-sold around the world already. Which means it will be coming to a screen near you. Unless something happens to its moneyed backers. Like another downturn.

By the numbers

Much has been made of the so-called corporatisation of Hollywood. There are certainly fewer moguls with exceptionally deep pockets around these days. (Those that are buying £40 million plus vases or football teams, that is). And executives mostly run studios for shareholders rather than audiences. Viacom, the company that owns and runs Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and MTV, took the opportunity to slip in some movie plans to shareholders while announcing financial results, but it remains to be seen if the prospect of Michael Bay developing a screenplay with Iron Man writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway for a fresh Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie will keep up investor confidence. Just in case, though, there are plans for a return to the screen for male model parody Derek Zoolander. Justin Theroux is writing a script to direct himself and it's whispered that Ben Stiller could be back on the runway as the really, really ridiculously good-looking model sooner rather than later. Dance off at the ready.

Boldly going?

Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof are busy hammering out a script for Star Trek 2, already scheduled for release in June next year. But there is the little matter of whether or not J.J. Abrams, who is producing the sequel to the rebirthed franchise, will return to the director's chair. Word is studio backers Paramount really want him to, but Abrams is a busy man, currently working hard on Steven Spielberg sci-fi adventure Super 8, starring Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka and Kyle Chandler.

It's a kind of magic

Disney is one step closer to turning an entire theme park into a movie. Jon Favreau is set to direct Magic Kingdom, Disney's project centred on its Disneyland park. The original script by Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ronald D. Moore, is to be reshaped by a yet-to-be-named scribe, but it's sure to revolve around the park attractions coming to life. The studio has already seen the box office receipts garnered by Fox for the two Ben Stiller Night At The Museum movies.

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