The summer movie season is upon us and it's easy to forget that there are movies being developed at the major studios are aren't sequels, based on a comic or toy or spun-off a previous film or television show. In the works for years, the long-gestating space film by Doug Liman -- now titled "Luna" -- has been inching forward in fits and starts for the past while. Originally with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead, who later left the project, it sputtered back to life this past spring when a wealth of names were said to be contending for the open role including Andrew Garfield, Emile Hirsch and Chris Pine. And even longer list of actresses were tipped as possibilities for the female lead with Rosario Dawson, Megan Fox, Rachel McAdams, Eva Mendes, Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde all getting mentioned. And then -- we didn't hear much else. Well, the movie now looks pretty much certain to be Liman's next project and more info has landed.
Variety reports that Bradley Cooper -- who is having a great 2011 with big successes in both "Limitless" and "The Hangover Part II" -- and Chris Evans have been added as candidates for the lead role. The picture is about as high concept as they come following a group of renegade space employees, led by an Eastern European woman (though we’d guess the nationality might change depending on who they get to sign on), who are assembling a bunch of stolen space equipment to get to the Moon to steal an energy source, but there is one last thing they need to grab before they can leave: an ex-NASA employee.
Financing has been locked down with David Ellison's Skydance Pictures and New Regency helping pay the bills for the film that's set up over at Paramount. And while we're excited this is happening, we’re a bit worried about the battery of writers who have tackled this thing. Previously the project was under the pen of Liman and John Hamburg (”I Love You, Man”) before Mark Bowden (writer of the “Black Hawk Down” book) took a pass at it, and then Dan Mazeau (”Bruno”), followed by the film’s producer Simon Kinberg (”xXx: State Of The Union”). It looks the last draft polished by Kinberg is the one that is a go, so we hope it lives up to the great premise.
As for who will land the lead role, it's pretty wide open. Bradley Cooper is an interesting choice, but he's lensing "The Place Beyond The Pines" this summer so it will likely depend on scheduling and Chris Evans will certainly be a much bigger name after "The First Avenger: Captain America" hits in the next six weeks or so. More concrete details are expected to come very soon, so we'll see how this all plays. Our guess? With "Star Trek 2" looking more and more likely to get bumped to winter 2012, the studio needs to get a film in that June 2012 slot. "Luna" could be a cheap(er), popcorn picture that could do the job that could turn out to be a surprise hit. Don't be too surprised if that happens.