- Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures is eyeing several actors for a reworked script of Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s six-volume graphic novel Akira, reports Deadline. Harry Potter franchise screenwriter Steve Kloves (also writer-director of The Fabulous Baker Boys) is working on the rewrite and Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli) is signed on to direct in August. In contention for role #1 ("Tetsuo") are Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy; for role #2 ("Kaneda"), there's Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake and Joaquin Phoenix. Our picks would be McAvoy and Fassbender, who will likely pass on this retelling.
The studio plans to break the novels into two films. Unlike Japan's 1988 film adaptation (directed by Ôtomo), this retelling will take place in a rebuilt New Manhattan, where bike gang leader (Kaneda) must rescue his friend (Tetsuo) from his entanglement in secret government project Akira. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran's Appian Way is producing with Andrew Lazar.
- Cleopatra has leading lady Angelina Jolie, but the director is still to be determined. We polled readers to see which director had support back in October, and while David Fincher lost out to Ridley Scott with only 12%, he is now the man being considered for the job, reports Deadline. It would be the first time Jolie and Fincher have worked together, which alone makes for an interesting project. Timing could be an issue -- Fincher may want to helm two more films in the Dragon Tattoo series (also produced by Scott Rudin, the first comes out December 21), and the in-demand filmmaker has several other projects in the pipeline.
- Screenwriter Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park, The Tourist) is planning an adaptation of Agatha Christie's post-World-War II era Crooked House to be directed by playwright/director Neil LaBute later this year in London. Fellowes tells The Independent: "I love the period, I love Agatha Christie and I love the idea of reinventing it. It will be exciting to work with a really vivid, contemporary director – he's one of the originals around at the moment." He adds: "I love Christie and don't think it's at all dated. It's one of those things that never go stale: murder in a genteel setting appeals to audiences in Britain and around the world." Here's more.
- David O. Russell tells MTV he thinks it "would be awesome," to give The Fighter the sequel treatment: "I just love those characters and I think we could do a lot of fun and interesting stuff." And he'd like to write the script himself (per usual). "I would do it whenever anyone says they're ready…I'm ready to write it." As far as the story goes, Russell says: "You'd go towards the Gatti fights and you could go into the history of the family more. I really like the sisters." He's in no rush. The idea is "in it's infancy" and he has other projects lined up. The risk in making a sequel: turning these already perfervid characters into caricatures.