By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 18, 2011 at 10:12AM
Shawn Levy Second-In-Line To Direct, Wants Ben Stiller To Star
So, you may remember near the beginning of the year, word floated around the interwebs that Guy Ritchie was going to direct a remake of "Cannonball Run." At the time we put in some inquiries and were told by insiders at Warner Bros. that the project is “just an idea." Well, that idea is now germinating into something very real as Vulture reports that Ritchie is now in talks with the studio to direct the film.
If this thing comes together, it's basically going to be like "Transformers" but for grown men. Why? General Motors (who also donated a few toys to the Michael Bay robot franchise) apparently want to take on a bigger role with this film, putting actual money into the project in what would essentially be a big long commercial for their line of cars and trucks. Woo! Of course, we all know the U.S. government bailed out the automaker (they paid it back last year) and while they are still not seen as a solid investment just yet, putting their shiny new cars in a big Hollywood movie could be a way to boost their popularity. Oh but right, the movie. We almost forgot that Guy Ritchie actually has some kind of idea for it.
The helmer wants to take the cross-country race to Europe and he "envisions" the movie with Brad Pitt in the starring role. Of course, Hollywood executives, directors, casting agents, caterers, best boys, grips and janitors all "envision" Pitt in their movie, but whether or not that happens is a big leap as the actor is particularly cagey and choosy with his roles. Granted, he did star in "Snatch" so the door is partly open already, and they are both repped by the same agency, which also helps. But if this Ritchie/Pitt/Europe car movie doesn't pan out, GM and Warner Bros. already have a backup plan in place.
Word is that "Real Steel" helmer Shawn Levy has also been eyeballing the project, and is second-in-line and he'll want his "Night At The Museum" star Ben Stiller to take the lead role. We imagine his vision for the movie will be quite different than Ritchie's, but as long as GM have their cars zooming around, we're pretty sure the actual plot is secondary to making sure their vehicles are caught in crisp HD 3D or whatever. But Levy's involvement may also depend on timing as he's shooting "Frankenstein" next spring. Will WB want to wait for that to finish? We doubt it.
While we're glad that Ritchie is back from the directorial wilderness thanks to the smash success of "Sherlock Holmes" (and the sequel will probably do big business too) we would have hoped he would use his newfound clout to do something a little more personal or edgier. Guess not. His proposed remake of John Boorman's "Excalibur" got kiboshed over the summer as WB went with David Dobkin's "Arthur & Lancelot" as their fantasy tentpole instead. So we suppose that's why this moved up on Ritchie's list. But we hope he takes a moment to see what else WB can offer him, because this sounds as bland, dull and uninspired as tentpole movies get.