Howard on Arrested Development and Angels & Demons

Oscar winning director Ron Howard was in New York City today to talk about his riveting adaptation of Peter Morgan’s hit play Frost/Nixon, and ComingSoon.net was there to talk to him and the cast. Besides wanting to find out more about the workings behind the movie, we also had a few questions for Howard about some of the projects he was involved in.

Howard was the executive producer and the very “voice” of the inventive Fox sitcom “Arrested Development,” which was cancelled in the middle of its third season despite winning numerous Emmys. A few months ago, Jason Bateman said that creator Mitchell Hurvitz wanted to continue the story of the Bluth family on the big screen, Michael Cera while doing press for Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist wasn’t quite as confident, but then recently, Jeffrey Tambor said that it was happening. Not one to believe anyone but those directly involved with the financing of such a movie, we decided to ask the one person who would know EXACTLY what was happening with the show’s portal to film, Howard himself.

“I really hope we do it,” Howard enthused. “The reason there’s been so much back and forth is… well, for two reasons, is the business understanding coming from the studio side was not clear, so even though we were wanting to do it and said, ‘Yeah, maybe we could’ but things weren’t defined. I think that’s really come into focus in the last week or so. Mitch’s full-on commitment to not only write it but direct it is something he’s been wrestling with, he’s been launching a TV show at the same time, so he couldn’t let it really be at the forefront of his mind creatively. It is now. He seems very committed. We still don’t have a script. Yeah, he’s got some great ideas, and the cast seemed very excited about it and I certainly am. I’m very, very hopeful—more hopeful now than ever—that it’s really going to happen.”

Fans will probably rejoice if Mitchell Hurvitz can spend some time and get a script that Imagine Entertainment and Universal will want to make into a film, especially considering the success that many of the cast have found since the show’s demise.

Even though Dan Brown‘s novel “Angels & Demons” came out before his best-selling novel “The Da Vinci Code” and was always considered to be its precursor, Howard confirmed that his movie based on Angels & Demons, which just finished shooting, would instead be treated like a sequel to 2006′s The Da Vinci Code. Even though that movie grossed $750 million worldwide, which is nothing to scoff at, it was much maligned, almost reviled, by some critics, especially at its Cannes Film Festival premiere, so we wondered if Howard would be approaching this sequel differently.

“It is going to be different, but it has everything to do with the story,” he told us. “This literally is a ticking bomb story, and it’s very much about modernity clashing with antiquity and technology vs. faith, so these themes, these ideas are much more active whereas the other one lived so much in the past. The tones are just innately so different between the two stories. We also felt a lot more license to take liberties with this plot then we probably did, because this is a great movie story but it doesn’t carry with it the weight the ‘Da Vinci Code’ did for its readers. I’m hoping this is a really great entertainment.”

“We weren’t allowed to shoot anything there,” he said when asked about shooting at the Vatican where the story takes place, but he slyly confessed that it didn’t necessarily stop them. “Cameras are getting kind of small, but nothing sanctioned.”

As far as Tom Hanks’ much-mocked longer hair: “I think you can always see that Langdon got a little trim.”

Earlier that day, Howard’s production partner Brian Grazer, who likes keeping things closer to vest, made it seem like he and Spike Lee would be tackling L.A. Riots, the movie based on the famed Rodney King riots of 1992 rather than tackling a sequel to Inside Man. He said it would be a “360 degree view of what that is, an autopsy of how a riot works.”

Spike Lee has been trying to make the movie for a long time, and Grazer felt just as passionate. “‘Cause I grew up in Los Angeles, and I was six or seven miles from this riot. It was a fascination. It was threatening and a fascination, both. I’ve always wanted to make a war movie, I haven’t done that. The visuals of that would be interesting and this is a way of doing a war movie in a modern environment and one that I know really well.”

As an aside, he also mentioned that Ridley Scott’s Nottingham will probably be seen like the “Gladiator version of Robin Hood,” referring to Scott’s Oscar-winning epic, “an origin story.”

Frost/Nixon opens in select cities on December 5 and will likely expand wider over the holidays. Look for a full interview with Howard and some of the cast in the weeks to come.

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