Ford Joins ‘Cowboys & Aliens,’ Condon Close to ‘Breaking Dawn’ and Yelchin Up for a ‘Fright’

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Harrison Ford Confirmed for Cowboys & Aliens: Yesterday rumors began swirling that Harrison Ford had joined Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde in Cowboys & Aliens, Jon Favreau’s follow-up to Iron Man, and today the director confirmed via Twitter the rumors were true. Details on Ford’s character are as yet unknown, but the script was adapted from the Platinum Studios Comics graphic novel written by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley. The sci-fi Western explores what would happen if the traditional Old West enemies — cowboys and Native Americans — found the prairie attacked by aliens in mid-1800s Arizona. Iron Man and Children of Men scripters Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus took a first stab at the script, which was then worked on by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Star Trek) and Damon Lindelof (“Lost”). The film currently has a July 29, 2011 release date. [Twitter]

Mom and Pop Back for Transformers 3: Sam Witwicky’s parents will return for Transformers 3 as Kevin Dunn and Julie White will return as Ron and Judy Witwicky for what I am sure will be plenty of madcap parental comedy. Transformers 3 is in pre-production now for a July 1, 2011 release. A pre-vis scene is set to shoot at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Indiana on April 12th. [Variety]

It Only Figures Bill Condon Rises to the Twilight Top: When it was mentioned Summit Entertainment was reaching out to the likes of Gus Van Sant, Sofia Coppola and Bill Condon to direct the two-part The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn I’m pretty sure everyone understood Condon was the only one of the three likely to take the gig and now new reports say he is negotiating for the job after “several strong meetings.” Apparently Fernando Meirelles’s name got thrown in the mix as well, which means Condon was then fourth on the totem pole. Shooting will begin this fall with the plan to shoot both parts back-to-back. I will confirm with another post if the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Gods and Monsters is indeed named the director. [Deadline]

Yelchin Up for a Fright Night: Anton Yelchin (Chekov in Star Trek) is set to star in DreamWorks’s remake Fright Night for director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl). Yelchin will take on the role of Charley Brewster, a teen who discovers that his neighbor is a vampire. Gillespie will direct from an adapted script by Marti Noxon. [Variety]

Timberlake Attaches Himself to Friends with Benefits: Justin Timberlake has signed on to star in Friends with Benefits for Fired Up! director Will Gluck. The film centers on a headhunter who recruits a magazine editor and since each is too busy to find a mate, they agree to sleep together with no strings attached. Things get complicated when the guy falls for the girl, who’s dating someone else. Keith Merryman and David Newman penned the script. Of course, the story is getting the Internet masses all fired up (no pun intended) because Ivan Reitman is directing Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman in Friends with Benefits for Paramount Pictures and a January 7, 2011 release date all while NBC is working on a television pilot of the same name as well. Oh no, perhaps they’ll have to … change the names? Now that’s breaking news. [Deadline]

David R. Ellis Tapped for Shark Night 3D: I can’t help but think this will be arriving too late following Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D on August 27, but The Final Destination helmer, David R. Ellis, is hoping to bring sharks back into the 3D fold with Shark Night 3D with plans already to shoot this summer in Louisiana. The film will make use of CGI to be sure, but also animatronic sharks created by Walt Conti, who was responsible for the sharks in Deep Blue Sea, the super-sized snake in Anaconda and the whales in the Free Willy films. I am excited for Aja’s Piranha and this could be fun as well, I just hope audiences are prepared for more than one 3D fish flick. [Deadline]

Cartel is No More: I guess this is where the “Who’s Out” part of this article category fits in as Universal Pictures has pulled the plug on Cartel (some of you may know it as Waterbug) five weeks before the shoot was set to begin production in Mexico City on Asger Leth’s narrative feature directorial debut. The film was inspired by the 1993 Italian film La Scorta and set to star Josh Brolin playing Ed Marker as he journeys to protect his son after his wife is brutally murdered in the gritty world of Mexican cartels. Diego Luna and Catalina Sandina Moreno were set to co-star in the picture that was budgeted around $40 million. Brolin had a pay-or-play deal and will receive his full seven-figure salary and it is reported “the script needed to hit a narrow moving target, and missed.” It sounds like the difficulties bringing the story together cut too close to Universal’s 2009 misfire State of Play, and this time instead of pushing through they decided to cut and run. You can get the full details at the following link. [Deadline]

Scott Plots Potzdamer Platz: Tony Scott is said to be putting together a film titled Potzdamer Platz with Javier Bardem, Jason Statham and Mickey Rourke circling. The film is described as a drama about two soldiers in a New Jersey-based crime family who try to expand internationally. The title will most likely be changed and take the attached actors as temporary until officially confirmed, but “Potzdamer Platz” refers to a train station and bustling commerce center in Germany, and Deadline reports the venue is being changed to Puerto Rico. Buddy Giovinazzo wrote the original draft of the script, which has since been rewritten by Sexy Beast scribes David Scinto and Louis Mellis. Scott’s next film is Unstoppable with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine due in theaters on November 12, 2010 from 20th Century Fox. [Deadline]