It seemed improbable that arthouse fave Alejandro González Iñárritu would tackle a big studio tentpole, but last month that seemed to be the case when reports surfaced he was circling "The Jungle Book" at Warner Bros. But indeed, Iñárrituu won't be going blockbuster any time soon as he's bounced from the project, leaving Warner Bros. to find another director for the Callie Kloves-penned take on the public domain material. And WB will have to hurry as Disney has their own live-action reboot going with Jon Favreau attached to direct. [Deadline]
In other director news: Joe Johnston ("The Rocketeer," "Captain America: The First Avenger") will helm the alien thriller "Extinction." Penned by Spenser Cohen, plot details are being kept secret for now, but it will "involve a man trying to save his family with an alien invasion figuring into the proceedings." Sounds original. [THR]
That "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" sequel you've been waiting for is finally happening and auteur Andy Fickman ("Race To Witch Mountain," "She's The Man") will direct. Kevin James returns to star, obviously, with original 'Blart' scribe Nick Bakay returning to co-write with James, with an April start planned. [THR]
Lastly, "Sightseers" writer and star Steve Oram is going to make his directorial debut with "Aaaaaah!" (awesome title). Starring Oram, Julian Barratt, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Hannah Hoekstra and Tom Meeten, the movie will feature "no human dialogue but 'everyone speaking like monkeys' " and tell the story of a woman who comes between two groups of "marauding characters." Filming on this bonkers low-budget effort will kick off in April.
Oram is also developing a script he wrote entitled "Sweet Shadow," a "Billy Liar"-esque tale which he describes as about "a deluded dreamer from the Midlands who moves to London and finds it hard to fit in at this shit job he does...So he starts following people to make friends." [Chortle]