By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com October 18, 2010 at 1:59AM
Oh, McG. Our favorite pteromechanophobic vowel-free director hasn't had the easiest time of things since "Terminator: Salvation" landed with a firm thud last summer -- his version of "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea," with Sam Worthington, fell apart, and despite circling a number of projects, including "R.I.P.D," "The Girl Who Conned The Ivy League", "Spring Awakening" and the teen comedy "The D.U.F.F," nothing's quite made it before cameras.
After courting nearly every male actor in town (and to be fair, finally landing two strong leads in the shape of Tom Hardy and Chris Pine) for the action-rom-com "This Means War," which will also star Reese Witherspoon and Chelsea Handler, filming's finally underway on that project in Vancouver, so those of you who've been missing your fix of hollow, idea-free action movies are in luck. And the helmer's not stopping there, as he's in negotations to direct another project, this time with relative newcomers Virgin Produced.
The label, set up by self-publicizing British billionaire Richard Branson as a joint venture with Relativity Media, is making its debut next year with the still-untitled R-rated comedy anthology that stars, among others, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Elizabeth Banks, Gerard Butler, Kieran Culkin, Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, Julianne Moore, Chloe Moretz, Liev Schreiber and Emma Stone. The McG project, however, is a little more ambitious, it seems; titled "Columbus," it's a new version of the story of Christopher Columbus and the so-called discovery of America.
The script, by newcomer T.S. Nowlin, has McG attached to direct and produce what's described as a "'300'-style" version of the tale. Words fail us sometimes, they really do. A deal's said to be close for Virgin to pick up the project, which presumably the helmer would move on to when he's done with "This Means War." The 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage, in 1992, saw a pair of films released on the subject: Ridley Scott's "1492: Conquest of Paradise," and "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery," neither of which did particularly well. But with 3D, green screen and slo-mo? That's a whole different story...
Tucked away in the story is news of another Virgin Produced project -- "Truth or Dare," which apparently Peter Farrelly has signed on to direct, and will star Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant (the latter, co-creator and co-star of Ricky Gervais' "Extras," has a supporting role in Farrelly's "Hall Pass" next year). It's a fairly odd combination, although we can see the comic potential there. There's no further mention of the project on Deadline, or anywhere else, as yet, but we're sure details will be forthcoming soon enough. We hope it's a shot-for-shot remake of the Madonna film. [Deadline]