By Mark Zhuravsky | The Playlist July 26, 2011 at 9:29AM
Ah Hollywood -- a magical place where a project can change hands a half dozen times before being locked down. In this case, Warner Bros. "Here There Be Monsters" is the culprit, and the studio is now in talks with Robert Zemeckis to direct, The Wrap reports. Paul Greengrass most recently took an interest in the project, but he appears to have moved on (hopefully to better things?). Brian Helgeland, whose two most recently produced credits were the underperforming "Green Zone" and the coldly received "Robin Hood", is set to write the film, which would follow a disgraced British Naval officer who is hired by a rich shipping magnate to investigate the disappearance of his merchant ships in the North Atlantic, only to discover a giant sea serpent is the culprit. We've got faith in Helgeland though, especially since the former Oscar winner ("L.A. Confidental") has turned in a "Cleopatra" script for Steven Soderbergh a while back, and more recently, found a home for his Robinson biopic with Legendary Pictures.
With his mo-cap "Yellow Submarine" remake, ahem, sunk, Zemeckis has been attached to a host of projects, most prominently the John Gatins (”Coach Carter, ” and the fall-bound Zemeckis produced Hugh Jackson starrer “Real Steel”) script "Flight", eyeing a fall start with Denzel Washington attached to play a drug addict commercial pilot who miraculously lands a plane. It remains to be seen whether 'Monsters' hits the backburner in favor of the Roger Rabbit sequel "The Animated American" (unlikely), the somewhat dull-sounding sci-fi "Replay" (which Ben Affleck reportedly passed on), or “Major Matt Mason”, a big-budget space adventure based on the once-popular action figure, starring and written by Tom Hanks and to be shot in 3D. It will be interesting to see how "Major Matt" develops, since with the recent failure of the Zemeckis produced "Mars Needs Moms" ($40 million worldwide against a $150 million budget), Disney is appropriately reluctant to take the director on and this project sounds right up their alley.
We've said it time and time again, we believe in Robert Zemeckis, and taking on a live action, dramatic project like "Flight" (he hasn't directed one since "Cast Away", more than a decade ago) is a positive sign. Whatever looms for Zemeckis in the future, as long as he stays away from motion capture, we might have a chance to feel even a morsel of the magic he once brought to “Back to the Future”, and to a lesser degree, "Forrest Gump". Hell, on a good day, we'll even take "Contact".