New Projects: ‘Robin Hood’, ‘Battle of the Sexes’, and ‘Russ and Roger Go Beyond’

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Untitled Robin Hood Adventure

There must be something fashionable to the idea right now of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Hollywood now has four Robin Hood movies in production, more than anyone really needs, perhaps even the poor. Tuesday Deadline reported that Warner Bros. had “quietly” put a new Robin Hood movie into production, this one being developed by the script writer for the upcoming Aquaman movie Will Beall. Deadline counts three others for it to storm the castle with: a family friendly swashbuckler from Disney called Nottingham & Hood, a Batman Begins style origin story aptly titled Robin Hood: Origins, and one from Sony that’s described as “Fast & Furious meets Mission: Impossible style reinvention of the tale.” With those four incredibly original ideas, anyone think this is the rich stealing from the poor?

Robin Hood isn’t the only Hollywood property currently with competing projects. A few weeks back, we told you in this column space that Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti would be portraying Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in an HBO movie documenting their famous Battle of the Sexes tennis match. Now a new project from Fox Searchlight, actually titled Battle of the Sexes, is on the fast track for 2016 with Emma Stone and Steve Carell playing Jean King and Riggs, according to Deadline. The two previously starred together in Crazy. Stupid. Love. The pedigree behind this one is incredible: Little Miss Sunshine‘s Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris will direct from a long in-development script by Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire) and Danny Boyle will produce. Apparently Battle of the Sexes is project number three, as Will Ferrell is to star as Riggs in yet another in-development story.

Russ_Meyer_and_Roger_Ebert_by_Roger_Ebert_large_verge_medium_landscape

Russ and Roger Go Beyond, a biopic about director Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert on how they together made the swinging, 1970 sexploitation film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, is getting increasingly interesting. Will Ferrell is already attached to star as Meyer in a script by Chris Cluess, and on Tuesday THR reported that Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart, The Killer Inside Me, The Trip) is now in talks to direct. With Winterbottom attached, it’s only a matter of time before the film secures an Ebert. Originally there were rumors that Josh Gad could take the role, but that didn’t pan out. /Film has the original plot description:

The film begins in the late ’60s just as the New Hollywood movement was really kicking off, and Fox was struggling in the wake of a series of flops. Richard Zanuck gave Meyer the BVD directing gig in the hopes that Meyer’s drive in success and cheap working methods could create a film that would make money for Fox. Meyer hired Ebert, and the two got on surprisingly well.

If you were wondering what Vince Gilligan had next up his sleeve following Breaking Bad, you’ll be happy to know that his next project involves the story of a kid who makes a bad decision and gets hooked on some magic beans, then gets transported to a mystical fantasy world filled with giants. Actually, Gilligan is working on a Jack and the Beanstalk movie with Disney. THR confirmed that Disney picked up Gilligan’s treatment to Beanstalk (I guess Breaking Beanstalk doesn’t have the same ring to it), and that Gilligan will produce along with Mark Johnson. This marks Gilligan’s first film treatment since 2008’s Hancock.

All the drama around the production of the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel is getting increasingly…kinky. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, two stars who notoriously hate each other, are negotiating for more money. The original’s director Sam Taylor-Johnson left the second film altogether. And author EL James is demanding more creative control over the script. In turn, James is turning over the reins (or chains if you prefer) to her husband, Niall Leonard, THR first reported. Leonard is behind two British TV shows, Air Force One is Down and Wire in the Blood, and even contributed in an uncredited capacity to the original’s script.

Finally, The Equalizer 2, the sequel to the Denzel Washington movie from 2014 directed by Antoine Fuqua, is a go, according to THR. Washington is expected to return, but no word yet on Fuqua or on co-star Chloe Grace Moretz. The original made $192 million at the box office worldwide.






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