Producer Frank Marshall’s Upcoming Projects

ON had a chance to talk to producer Frank Marshall recently, and he was gracious enough to answer our questions about some of the projects he has in various stages of development.

While filming continues on M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender, Marshall is actively moving forward with another major movie franchise, as they’re developing a fourth movie starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, although a lot of elements still need to come into place. “We’d like to shoot next year,” he told us. “It’s trying to get everybody’s schedules in the right place and getting the script right. We’ve done pretty well with these scripts that are pretty loosely put together, but I’d like the script to be really solid this time before we go forward. We’re spending a lot of time on this story.”

At one point, there were some thoughts that Damon might take on the role of Lance Armstrong in the biopic about the celebrity cyclist which is moving forward at Columbia Pictures, but Marshall said they’d be looking for a new up ‘n’ coming actor to take on the role instead. “The book really only takes Lance up to the first tour, so he’s only 21, and as much as Matt looks young, I’m not sure that he’s going to be able to do it.” He’ll be going to Europe in July to spend some time with Lance before starting work on Peter Morgan’s directorial debut The Special Relationship about the relationship between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, as played by Michael Sheen and Dennis Quaid. It’s being produced by HBO Films, so it may just debut on the cable station rather than going the theatrical route.

We asked the producing vet whether the recent disappointing showing for Universal’s Land of the Lost might hinder the development of a fourth “Jurassic Park” movie but he didn’t seem worried about that, even though that movie isn’t imminent. “I think ‘Land of the Lost,’ it was a comedy. We just have to see if they can come up with a story. We don’t have a story.”

It was also reported earlier this year that Kennedy/Marshall was in negotiations to produce a remake of The NeverEnding Story, and Marshall explained his interest in the project. “We love the book and we’ve always thought there was an opportunity (because) there were a lot of elements in the book that weren’t in the movie. It’s another one where we’re still working on the rights and it’s a huge thing to get it. Once we get it, we’ll bring on a writer, but that’s kind of off in the distance. But it’s a great story.”

“Talisman is percolating, too,” he said about the proposed TV mini-series based on the Stephen King-Peter Straub novel, though he was concerned about the recent reports of certain studios not having development money.

Marshall and his production company have a new deal at Sony, so they’re going through their old libraries looking for projects that have stalled out that might be worth revisiting, one of them being The Last of the Metrozoids, based on the New Yorker article about art historian Kirk Vanedoe and his decision to coach a football team before he died of cancer shortly afterwards. Kennedy/Marshall are also interested in developing a movie for Universal from Warren St. John’s book “Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, An American Town” which came out of his New York Times article about a soccer team made up of immigrants living just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.