By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com March 2, 2011 at 2:13AM
Zoe Saldana Wanted For Ensemble Cast
From the looks of it, Ron Howard's going to be tied up for the next few years on the massive, multi-part adaptation of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower," which will span three movies, and two TV series. This will obviously leave a significant deficit of films directed by people with the surname 'Howard.' Fortunately, someone's stepping in, and it's none other than Opie's daughter, actress Bryce Dallas Howard.
Back in 2009, it was reported that Imagine, the company run by Howard Sr. and Brian Grazer had picked up a script entitled "The Originals" from Bryce and her co-writer Dale Charbeneau (who's now married to another of the Howard brood, Jocelyn), and it was thought that the veteran director was eyeing it as a follow-up to "Angels & Demons." He took "The Dilemma" instead, more fool him, and word's been quiet on the project ever since, but Showbiz 411 (via Empire) talked to Howard Jr. over the weekend, and she revealed that she's now hoping to make her directorial debut on the project.
As previously reported, the plot revolves around a group of twentysomethings who reunite in New York after a beloved teacher falls into a coma, and Howard now describes it as "a "Breakfast Club" for my generation," which is perhaps better than the other obvious comparison point, "Grown Ups." There's no firm word on casting, although we imagine Howard will appear in the film herself, and it's also revealed that one of the parts was written with Zoe Saldana in mind, although Howard admits that "there are so many good choices out there."
We liked Howard in her early roles in "The Village" and "Manderlay," but she's been adrift in recent years in the likes of the "Twilight" franchise, "Terminator: Salvation" and "Hereafter," so we're glad she's taking her destiny into her own hands (although things are looking up on the acting front as well, with "50/50" and "The Help" both getting good early buzz). The younger Howard, who's yet to turn 30, is certainly a better choice to direct a project revolving around twentysomethings than her father, and we're certainly interested to see how it turns out, even if it has the potential to be the kind of insufferable "Big Chill"-aping vanity project most recently seen in "The Romantics." There's no firm word on when it'll move forward, but we imagine it could be fairly soon.