1.) Lionsgate has confirmed that Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend) will direct The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Part 2. Lawrence is currently filming the second chapter in the Hunger Games saga, Catching Fire, due out November 2013. The finale’s two parts will be released in November 2014 and 2015, respectively.
2.) Simon West (Con Air, The Expendables 2) will direct Heat, which is actually NOT a remake of the 1995 Michael Mann modern classic, but the far less renowned 1986 Burt Reynolds vehicle. Jason Statham will star in the Reynolds role as a bodyguard with a gambling problem, forced to take on the mob after his friend is brutally beaten. Corey Yuen, who directed Statham in The Transporter is also attached as the fight choreographer with screenwriter William Goldman (Marathon Man, All the President’s Men) providing a modern update to his own original novel. [Deadline]
3.) Announced yesterday by Panorama Media and Samuel Hadida, Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction) will write and direct a feature film adaptation of the video game franchise Castle Wolfenstein. The story follows a young US Army Captain and a British Special Agent on a top secret mission to Castle Wolfenstein, where Hitler will be for the unveiling of a new secret weapon. After reaching the Castle, our heroes are confronted with Himmler’s SS Paranormal Division and must fight, not only for their survival, but for a mission that could alter the course of the War.
Avary hasn’t directed a film that’s hit theaters since 2002’s The Rules of Attraction, though he did have a hand in the screenplays for 2006’s Silent Hill and 2007’s Beowulf before he was involved in legal entanglements stemming from manslaughter and DUI charges involving a 2008 accident that occurred while he was driving and resulted in the death of a passenger in his car.
4.) Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender will star in Genius, with British theatre director Michael Grandage making his directorial debut from a screenplay by John Logan (The Aviator, Gladiator). The true story centers on 1930s novelist Thomas Wolfe (Fassbender) and his long-time editor Max Perkins (Firth). [Variety]
5.) When I saw Point Blank last year, I knew it wouldn’t be long before an American version was announced. Well, that day has come as Working Title and Mark Wahlberg‘s Leverage Productions are prepping a remake of the French nail-biter. The original starred Gilles Lellouche (Tell No One) as a male nurse and Elena Anaya (The Skin I Live In) as his pregnant wife, who gets kidnapped right in front of his eyes. This is quickly becoming a trend with director Fred Cavaye, whose previous film Anything for Her was remade by Paul Haggis as The Next Three Days.
No mention was made of whether or not Wahlberg plans to star, though the role seems right in his wheelhouse. As for the original, it’s a quick 80-minute thrill ride and it’s streaming on Netflix. So what are you waiting for?