Screen Talk: Warner Bros bank on Looney Tunes

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The Independent Culture

Hollywood is awash with people saying "now why didn't I think of that?" The latest idea to provoke such murmurs is a feature built around the ACME warehouse – the cartoon construct where many of the Looney Tunes characters, most notoriously Wile E Coyote in his quest to catch the Road Runner, bought their rockets etc. Kevin and Dan Hageman brought the project to Warner Bros as a Men in Black-style live-action/CG hybrid featuring the many outlandish devices of the ACME empire, but not the Looney Tunes characters themselves. The deal made in the mid-six figures for the writers and WB is hoping a franchise will explode from the idea.

Levy signs up for Goon show

Eugene Levy has signed up to be reunited on screen with his American Pie co-star Seann Willliam Scott in a movie simply named Goon. Levy and William Scott join Jay Baruchel, Liev Schreiber and Alison Pill in a stellar cast. Baruchel and Evan Goldberg have adapted the screenplay from the book Goon: the True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey by Doug Smith and Adam Frattasio. It relates Smith's own attempts to become a minor ice-hockey star despite only turning to the sport aged 19.

Roland Emmerich is in The Zone

Used car salesmen up and down the West coast of America are hoping that the whispers about Roland Emmerich's next project are true.

The film-maker who destroyed the White House and thousands of cars for his epic Independence Day is secretly – or what passes for secretly in Hollywood – returning to the aliens-are-coming genre. Emmerich is gearing up to shoot The Zone, a stealth project in the newly popular "found footage" genre, which purports to use genuine reels, tapes or files found after the person operating the camera expires. Think Blair Witch, Cloverfield and most recently both Paranormal Activity films. No plot details are known but sources say that Zone revolves around an alien invasion, will be improv-based and cast with relative unknowns. The French writer-director Guillaume Tunzini penned the script, which will begin shooting mid-November.

Jessica and the Art Machine

There's an emerging trend for movies made outside the studio system to look to the private equity sector to bankroll ambition in exchange for giving secretive suits a chance to rub shoulders with starlets and take a turn up the red carpet. Indie drama Art Machine is one such project. The picture has attracted Jessica Szohr and Joey Lauren Adams alongside Joseph Cross who plays a child prodigy painter who is on the verge of turning 18 and suffers from bipolar disorder. The director Doug Karr co-wrote the script with Nuno Faustino.

Alan Ball is hot property

The True Blood creator Alan Ball is a hot Hollywood property with friends in high places. Elan Mastai is one of them and has just sold a dark comedy to Paramount with Ball on board to direct. Ball will also produce, which makes the project his first solo-produced feature through his banner, Your Face Goes Here Entertainment. Mastai will write the screenplay; his original screenplay The F-Word is in development at Fox Searchlight while a break-up comedy with This American Life host Ira Glass is set up at Paramount. A powerful pairing.