Tuesday, 31 August 2010
I always took the view that I would only report on concrete things happening in Steven Spielberg's life, not the frivolous. So that means more stories like the ones about set pictures from War Horse* and less about the day Steven Spielberg went to see some piglets.
I'm sorry if the lack of updates is frustrating for some, I can only say that it's frustrating for me too because I want to read Spielberg developments every day but sometimes the news just ain't there.
What I can say is that I'm in the process of generating my own content for the site in the form of interviews with people connected with Steven Spielberg. I can't say too much at present, but of the two people I've asked for interviews, both have agreed. It's now just a case of working the chats into their very busy schedules.
So please keep checking back to the site because I'm not ignoring it. Believe me, when War Horse and Tintin start kicking into high gear, there will be PLENTY to talk about so expect daily updates.
* Incidentally, a barrage of film websites like Collider only just picked up on the War Horse set photos this week - almost a month after we had them. So on the one hand I'm happy we scooped the big boys, but sad on the other because I guess that means no one reads my site ... sniff.
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Steven Spielberg is re-teaming with his War of the Worlds screenwriter Josh Friedman to turn Joe Hill's comic book series Locke and Key into a TV series, according to a report on New York Magazine's website.
Hill's books "revolve around three kids who end up watching over a secret, spooky New England mansion filled with mystical doors that transport them to different worlds and give them special powers (like turning into a ghost)", according to the report.
Super-scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci - who have spoken in the past about how Spielberg's Amblin heyday has influenced the choice of projects they're developing - are also onboard.
Dimension had purchased the TV and film rights to the IDW Publishing series back in 2008, not long after the first installment came out (several installments have followed, including one released earlier this month). While there had been talk in the blogosphere of Kurtzman and Orci turning Locke and Key into a feature, the project is now moving ahead as a TV series, with Friedman on board to write and produce. Kurtzman and Orci recently signed a big overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV, so the studio will end up producing with Spielberg's DreamWorks TV (mirroring their current collaboration on Spielberg's fall 2011 Fox dinosaur drama Terra Nova). There's no broadcast or cable outlet attached yet, but based on the idea for the show and the fact that 20th is involved, the Fox network certainly seems like a logical home.
Friday, 20 August 2010
Games designer Bytemark have just released the official Jaws game for iPhone and you can purchase it now from the Apple App Store for £1.79 in the UK or $2.99 in the US.
Sadly it's not the type of game where you play the shark and get points for munching through as many swimmers as possible. You play Brody and it's your job to move the swimmers out of the path of the Great White. You do this by "flicking" the swimmers out the way.
Although not as much fun as I'd hoped, the swimmers do disappear under the surf in a satisfying spray of blood and, best of all, the 10 levels are set to John Williams' iconic score.
Here's the full press release announcing the game:
TORONTO - In 1975, just beyond the serene beaches of the summer resort town Amity Island lurked a terrifying menace: Jaws. Thirty-five years later, the timeless classic thriller is making its debut for the iPhone? and iPod touch? through a development partnership with Bytemark Games and Universal Partnerships & Licensing.
Chomping its way into the iTunes? App Store in August 2010, Jaws for the iPhone? and iPod touch? is a fun and challenging casual game. With familiar line-drawing mechanics paired with a few new tricks, Jaws challenges players with the task of saving stranded swimmers from the namesake Great White.
The game features:
Casual and intuitive touch-based gameplay provides an addictive experience for any level of gamer
Touch, drag and flick swimmers to beaches and boats out of the way of Jaws
Play through 10 increasingly challenging levels to make your way to the climactic final battle between man and shark
The Academy Award? winning theme from John Williams brings the intensity of Jaws to life
A terrifying 25-foot long 3-ton virtual shark"Jaws is one of the most recognizable and beloved movie franchises of all time, and it's been an amazing opportunity to interpret the thrilling film as a game," said Jon Walsh, CEO of Bytemark Games.
"We think it has everything that makes a great casual game – fun, easy-to-learn touch controls, along with exciting gameplay that ramps up quickly and keeps players challenged from beginning to end."
"It has been 35 years since Jaws terrorized the shores of Amity Island and now he has resurfaced in the realm of apps, ready to prey once again," said Calvin Lim, Director of Mobile Sales, Universal Partnerships & Licensing. "The combination of simple touchscreen mechanics, visually stunning graphics and the original theme score make for a complete game that will keep you playing over and over again."
Monday, 16 August 2010
Talking to Empire, Cary Elwes revealed how he managed to nab a part in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.
“It’s a funny story if you’ve got a second. Steven Spielberg came down to the set of A Christmas Carol because he’s friends with Robert Zemeckis and was there while I was filming a scene - no pressure! He came over afterwards and said, 'I’m shooting Tintin. It’s got Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis and it’s going to be a lot of fun.' And I said, '[Stutters] Mr... Mr... Spielberg, I’m a really big fan of Tintin. I have to be in it.' He did that Hollywood thing: 'Yeah, yeah, we’ll see.'"
"Then two weeks later my wife and I are in a grocery store, and my wife says, 'Honey, that’s Steven Spielberg.' I say there’s no way Spielberg is grocery shopping on his own; he has people to do that for him. But there he was, shopping for cereal by himself. So I went up to him and said, 'Steven... er, Tintin?' [Laughs] He said, 'You know what, I think I have one part left. Do you speak French?' and I said [adopts best Clouseau impression] 'But of course!'”
Read the article here
The first teaser poster for Steven Spielberg's The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn has been uncovered by the folks over at Collider.
The poster uses a piece of artwork from Herge's original so, frustratingly, we still have no clue as to the look of the motion-captured film. It was always doubtful that the character designs would be unveiled in a poster before the teaser trailer, but at least this shows that the promotional campaign is beginning to kick off.
So far the only images that we've seen from the movie (due out in late 2011) have been stills of stars Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis is their mo-cap suits on the set. Producer Peter Jackson once said that the film would look "film noirish and very atmospheric".
Written by Steven Moffat, Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright, The Secret of the Unicorn also stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Daniel Craig. It will be released during late October and early November 2011 in Europe, Latin America and India. Fans in the United States will have to wait until December 23, 2011.
Friday, 13 August 2010
A senior executive at Dreamworks has written to Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and described the move as "confusing". The exec, Steven Molen, also praised the UKFC for the help it received with Steven Spielberg's new film War Horse, which is shooting in England as we speak.
Spielberg, of course, has a long association with the UK film industry, having shot parts of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, Last Crusade, Empire of the Sun and Saving Private Ryan there.
A Treasury spokeswoman told The Guardian the chancellor had received the DreamWorks letter, but declined to discuss its contents. However, Ed Vaizey, the minister for communication, culture and the creative industries, defended the decision to scrap the council as part of a raft of cost-cutting measures.
"We've got a plethora of quangos, and I would question whether the Film Council is solely behind the success of film in this country," he told Sky News.
Criticising what he called "hysteria" surrounding the decision, Vaizey said film tax credits, lottery funding and a infrastructure for film production would continue to entice big film studios to the UK. He invited Hollywood figures to call him personally with their concerns rather than speaking through the media.
Steven Spielberg is not the first Hollywood figure to step into the UKFC controversy. Clint Eastwood, who just finished shooting his next film, The Hereafter, in London, wrote a letter to Osborne and spoke of his "great concern" that the UKFC was biting the dust. He also said that he would be less likely to choose the UK for a location now that the UKFC has been abolished.
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
The biggest development of the week is that Terra Nova is going Down Under to shoot. According to Queensland premier Anna Bligh, production on the 13-part time travel dinosaur series will begin in Australia in October.
The Hollywood Reporter has the quotes.
"Fox Broadcasting has today confirmed Queensland as the location of choice for 'Terra Nova' … and once again shows Queensland's ability to attract first rate productions to the state," Bligh said.
"My government provided considerable incentives through Screen Queensland to secure this production which, in turn, will generate in excess of AUS$54 million ($50 million) in economic activity and create thousands of jobs," she added.
Bligh said that around 80% of the cast and crew will be Queenslanders.
Production will be centered on locations around southeastern Queensland and at the Warner Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast.
“We wanted this ambitious series to look like no other on television and Queensland provided the best of all possible worlds," executive vice president of production, Jim Sharp added.
"Queensland had the right look, climate and terrain, a vibrant production community and attractive economic incentives. We are very excited to be shooting our first production there."
The only War Horse-related news of this week is of the type I don't even class as news. But, if you're interested in historic English villages or even pig farms, feel free to click the links.
I'll finish this update by directing you to a very entertaining interview with long-time Spielberg producer Frank Marshall.
Although the one-to-one with Scotland's Herald newspaper is to promote The Last Airbender, he does reminisce about his career, including the first time he met Steven Spielberg.
It was Rome, 1972. Marshall was there making Daisy Miller with Bogdanovich. A young Spielberg was on a publicity tour with Duel, and called in at the set.
“I had a plate of spaghetti,” says Marshall, “took two bites of it, said nice to meet you, asked Peter a question about the next shot and left.” Spielberg turned to the film’s editor, Verna Fields. “That’s the kind of guy I need, a guy that’s more interested in the next shot than lunch.”
Read the full interview with Marshall here
Thursday, 5 August 2010
Reacting to news that the Steven Spielberg-produced dino-drama Terra Nova has been pushed back to a Fall 2011 air date, Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly spoke to the TCA Press Tour and revealed his reasons for the delay.
iF Magazine has the quotes:
“There are two advantages to [air the pilot in the Spring],” says Reilly. “First, is to do pilot right, and on marketing side, recreate the same thing we did with Glee. Then we can give [the audience] materials over the summer. Secondly, this is a show that needs to be ahead in cycle. They can’t finish in one week and three weeks have a show on air”
Reilly also spoke about Steven Spielberg's work on the show, which fans will be pleased to hear is quite hands-on.
“He has been in town and immersed in every element of it from conceiving the world, to the script and characterizations,” says Reilly. “He loves it. When you get in a room with Steven Spielberg he’s Steven Spielberg.”
A recent Fox press release explained the plot of Terra Nova as such:
Terra Nova, an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making, follows an ordinary family embarking on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a massive experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149 the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped, overcrowded and overpolluted. Knowing there is no way to reverse the damage to the planet, a coalition of scientists has managed to open up a fracture in the space-time continuum, creating a portal to prehistoric Earth. This doorway leads to an amazing world, one that allows for a last-ditch effort to save the human race…possibly changing the future by correcting the mistakes of the past.
The series centers on the Shannon family as they join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony of humans in this second chance for civilization. JIM SHANNON, a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family – wife ELISABETH and children JOSH and MADDY – through this new land of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. In addition to blue skies, rolling rivers and lush vegetation, Terra Nova offers new opportunities and fresh beginnings to its recent arrivals, but the Shannons have brought with them a familial secret that may threaten their citizenship in this utopia. These adventurers soon discover that this healthy, vibrant world is not as idyllic as it initially appears. The areas surrounding Terra Nova are filled with dangerous dinosaurs and other prehistoric threats, as well as external forces that may be intent on destroying this new world before it begins.
Read the full article here
Jim Beller, co-author along with Matt Taylor of a new book on the making of Jaws, just got in touch to let me know that the 300-page tome has a new title - it's now called Jaws - Memories From Martha's Vineyard.
The book will be out at Christmas and includes never-seen-before photographs and interviews with islanders about that momentous summer in 1974 when Hollywood came to town and a movie classic was born.
Not only that, the coffee table-style book will also include a DVD of 8mm behind-the-scenes footage shot by local woman Carol Fligor.
Prices for the book will be revealed in the coming weeks, although Jim says that there will be TWO versions - a softcover and a very limited hardcover collector's edition, which will include a special surprise (to be announced soon). I know which one I want (hint hint)...
As I'm sure you'll all agree, this is shaping up to a monumental book about a monumental film and I for one can't wait to get my hands on it. In the meantime, a Facebook page has been set up to keep you in the loop on all the developments.
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
They're similar to the last lot I linked to, but these give a much clearer view of the set and actors. Can anyone spot any familiar faces? I assume Janusz Kaminski is the DP, but couldn't see him in any of the photos taken of the camera rig...
Visit the SWNS website to see the full gallery.
A photo gallery on the newspaper's website shows a relaxed-looking Spielberg chatting with crew members, along with photographs of a brown horse (is this the War Horse of the title?)
Monday, 2 August 2010
I'm not a big fan of polls, so I don't know why I'm posting this but it does definitely classify itself as Spielberg news.
The UK's Press Association has the news that ET has been named the greatest film of all time by TV listings magazine Radio Times.
Steven Spielberg's ET The Extra-Terrestrial was voted the greatest film of all time in a survey published today.
The story of an alien trapped on Earth trying to get home topped the poll of more than 2,500 people for radiotimes.com.
Movie expert Barry Norman described the sci-fi classic as "the perfect family film".
He told the Radio Times it was "a magical tale for children, a triumph of special effects, a chastening lesson to bigots everywhere and, as the director Steven Spielberg describes it, a simple and pure love story".
ET won four Oscars in 1983 but was beaten to the Best Picture award by Richard Attenborough's Gandhi.
The Wizard Of Oz came second in the online survey, followed by Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Toy Story.
Mirroring the same release strategy that helped turn Glee into the mega-hit that it is, Fox will preview the pilot episode (directed by Alex Graves) post-American Idol in May then the full series will run at the end of the year.
Here's the press release:
NEW EPIC FAMILY ADVENTURE “TERRA NOVA” TO PREVIEW IN MAY
PRIOR TO PREMIERING ON FOX IN FALL 2011
Series Executive-Produced by Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin,
Brannon Braga, David Fury, Jon Cassar, Aaron Kaplan, Katherine Pope,
Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Craig Silverstein and Kelly Marcel
Alex Graves To Direct Pilot Episode
With Series Set to Film On Location in Australia
Jason O’Mara Confirmed in Lead Role
TERRA NOVA, the new family adventure drama series executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Brannon Braga and David Fury, will preview in May 2011 on FOX prior to its series premiere in the fall.
Jason O’Mara (“Life on Mars”) has been cast in the lead role of JIM SHANNON, the patriarch of the show’s central family. As previously announced, Emmy Award winner Alex Graves (FRINGE) will direct the pilot, and Emmy Award-winning executive producer and director Jon Cassar (“24”) has joined the series as an executive producer and series director.
“TERRA NOVA will be one of the most visually stimulating and dramatically grand series to air on network television,” said Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “It deserves to have an equally unique launch to distinguish that the show is unlike any other, and the spring promotional platform will give us the perfect opportunity to introduce this bold show to audiences.”
TERRA NOVA, an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making, follows an ordinary family embarking on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a massive experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149 the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped, overcrowded and overpolluted. Knowing there is no way to reverse the damage to the planet, a coalition of scientists has managed to open up a fracture in the space-time continuum, creating a portal to prehistoric Earth. This doorway leads to an amazing world, one that allows for a last-ditch effort to save the human race…possibly changing the future by correcting the mistakes of the past.
The series centers on the Shannon family as they join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to TERRA NOVA, the first colony of humans in this second chance for civilization. JIM SHANNON (O’Mara), a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family – wife ELISABETH and children JOSH and MADDY – through this new land of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. In addition to blue skies, rolling rivers and lush vegetation, TERRA NOVA offers new opportunities and fresh beginnings to its recent arrivals, but the Shannons have brought with them a familial secret that may threaten their citizenship in this utopia. These adventurers soon discover that this healthy, vibrant world is not as idyllic as it initially appears. The areas surrounding TERRA NOVA are filled with dangerous dinosaurs and other prehistoric threats, as well as external forces that may be intent on destroying this new world before it begins.
TERRA NOVA is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, DreamWorks Television, Kapital Entertainment and Chernin Entertainment. Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Brannon Braga, David Fury, Jon Cassar, Aaron Kaplan, Katherine Pope, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Craig Silverstein and Kelly Marcel serve as executive producers. Alex Graves will direct the pilot episode.
Sunday, 1 August 2010
For the last few years Steven Spielberg has been talking up his long-gestating biopic of Abraham Lincoln, which was supposed to star Liam Neeson.
Well now it appears that Neeson is out of the equation. Speaking to the UK's early morning breakfast show GMTV, he said: “I’m not actually playing Lincoln now. I was attached to it for a while, but it’s now I’m past my sell-by date."
He may have a point - the 16th American president was 56 when he was assassinated in 1865, Neeson is currently 58 - but even so it's disappointing that Spielberg won't be re-teaming with his Schindler's List star.
Spielberg acquired the rights to Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of Lincoln, Team of Rivals, and John Logan took a first pass at the script. The last we heard was that Munich screenwriter Tony Kushner was commissioned for a re-write.
Just because the film seems close to dead right now, don't forget that Steven Spielberg first started developing Schindler's List back in 1983 - so never say never.
That's because tomorrow is Day One of War Horse. Yup, shooting officially gets underway in England on Steven Spielberg's 26th theatrical feature (if you include Tintin).
The World War One drama - starring Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, David Thewlis and TV's new Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch - is about a farm horse called Joey who gets separated from his owner (Irvine) and is sent to join the cavalry on the battlefields in France.
USA Today's Susan Wloszczyna spoke to Spielberg and he told her why there was a two-year work gap between this and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (not strictly true, because he also shot Tintin in between, but whatever).
"I spent the last few years putting DreamWorks back together," referring to the production company's new distribution deal with Disney. "It kept me busy and away from being a director. We now have six films in production," including War Horse.
The film, written by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) and Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral), is due for release in the US on August 10, 2011.
I'm expecting photos to leak out from the set in the next couple of weeks (it's England, so the paparazzi will be out in force) so keep checking back for further updates.