By Christopher Bell | The Playlist September 9, 2011 at 4:15AM
What do you do when a sequel to one of the worst movies in a consistently tepid sub-genre regularly suffers from start-date delays? If you're James Mangold, you decide that helming a modern retelling of "Romeo and Juliet" is the best coping method.
Hot off the news that "The Wolverine" would wait until the Summer of 2012 to start shooting, the "Knight and Day" filmmaker has signed on the dotted line to direct the New York Times Bestseller "Juliet." The novel focuses on protagonist Julie who uncovers a family secret after her Aunt's death in a mysterious safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy. Turns out, she is the great great great GREAT great grand-niece of
Jesus Christ William Shakespeare's very own Juliet (here called Giulietta). The curse looming over both families is still intact, and she must connect with her generation's Romeo before it is too late -- but, gosh darnit, where is he?
While the whole "family curse" and "find him before it's too late" aspects suggest something a bit dark and thriller-ish, the book is apparently more concerned with the romance angles of the story. It honestly sounds rather daft and akin to fan-fiction, but it's not the first time something like this has been done. There are audiences that will be well-fed by this kind of premise, a classic love story modernized. If it ain't broke don't fix it, and hey, if they dig it so be it.
Mangold has dabbled in love stories in 2010's "Knight and Day" and 2005's Johnny Cash bio "Walk the Line" but hasn't shown his full blown amorous side since his first collaboration with Wolverine in "Kate & Leopold." Aside from frogging start-dates, there's a lot of pressure for the next adamantium-wielding mutant pic to not only do bank, but not be equivalent to bird shit. No start time is given for "Juliet" but given the Fox flick's track-record, it's not improbable that it could go first. Though "The Wolverine" won't be without its own romance, maybe a schmaltzy, warm picture could be a nice contrast to the more-serious Japan-set superhero/samurai pic.
But that's not all! Still in the mix for Mr. Mangold is the pilot for the CBS series "Ralph Lamb," written by "Goodfellas" and "Casino" scribe Nicholas Pileggi, which also doesn't have a concrete start date. So the "Girl, Interrupted" director is going to be a very busy man... theoretically.