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Thread: Warren Ellis’ EXCALIBUR

  1. #1
    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Default Warren Ellis’ EXCALIBUR

    From WarrenEllis.com:
    EXCALIBUR/Untitled Arthurian Project

    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Ellis

    July 27th, 2009 | Work

    I was actually cleared to talk about this at San Diego, but all the press I did there was Japanese-oriented for the Marvel Anime deal… so I’m going to mention it here, to say I did, and to maybe make up for that by giving the comics news sites something to post post-SDCC.

    I’m writing a film treatment for Hollywood Gang, who co-produced Frank Miller’s 300. Hollywood Gang have previously optioned my graphic novel (with Chris Sprouse) OCEAN.

    On my desk, the treatment is called Untitled Arthurian Project.

    On their desk, the project is called EXCALIBUR.

    I’m working directly with Gianni Nunnari, Oliver Kramer and Craig Flores (whom I was delighted to bump into on the Warner’s lot the other day) and having a great time.

    So… yeah. Movie stuff. Other things to talk about soon. I’ve been sitting on that one for months.

    From Variety:
    Singer Sticks Sword into "Excalibur" Redo
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Fleming

    Warner Bros. has closed a rights deal to remake the 1981 “Excalibur,” with Bryan Singer producing and developing the picture as a potential directing vehicle.

    Deal comes as Singer gets serious about making the WB-New Line-Legendary co-production “Jack the Giant Killer” his next directing effort, according to sources.

    WB and Legendary Pictures have labored for months to pull together the rights to the film, which Singer will produce with Rick and Julie Yorn. Polly Johnson, who was Polly Cohen when she was the WB exec who presided over the Singer-directed WB/Legendary collaboration “Superman Returns,” will also be a producer. Deals with Legendary and Singer are still coming together, but gaining speed after the rights deals closed.

    Based on the Thomas Malory book, and scripted by Rospo Pallenberg and Boorman, “Excalibur” is the quintessential myth of King Arthur film, complete with the enchanted sword, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlyn the wizard, and the quest for the Holy Grail to save Arthur’s life.

    The original picture, directed by John Boorman, broke such talent as Helen Mirren (who played the evil Morgana), Liam Neeson (Sir Gawain) as well as Gabriel Byrne, Patrick Stewart and Ciaran Hinds. WB had some of the rights as a library title; the rest were secured from Boorman.

    Singer hasn’t set a writer yet. Matt Reilly is overseeing for WB, Eric Olsen for the Yorns, and Singer’s former partner Alex Garcia is overseeing for Legendary.

    Singer recently signed on to develop to direct and product “Battlestar Galactica” at Universal, a project he’d been eyeing since he originally made a deal to godfather a series revival in 2001. At the same time, Singer has been flirting with directing “X-Men: First Class,” a 20th Century Fox spinoff that got a first script draft by “O.C.” creator Josh Schwartz.

    It looks like his next directing assignment could well be “Jack the Giant Killer,” a riff on the Jack and the Beanstalk legend developed by New Line with scripter Mark Bomback and producer Neal Moritz. The story revolves around a young farmer who leads an expedition into the land of the giants to recover a kidnapped princess.
    From Pajiba:
    Exclusive: Guy Ritchie Attached to Direct Excalibur

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin Rowles
    You remember a while back when we announced that Bryan Singer was attached to direct a remake of John Boorman’s 1981 film, Excalibur? Yeah, that’s still happening, at least inasmuch as the movie is still in development over at Warner Brothers. But, to be honest, Bryan Singer has some other gigs with higher priority, namely X-Men: First Class and a big-screen version of Battlestar Galactica. Not to mention Jack the Giant Killer.

    So, get this: Warner Brothers also put a competing production into development. But this one is not a remake of the Boorman film, it’s a big-screen adaptation of Warren Ellis’ Excalibur treatment . Now, the fact that Warren Ellis is working on a Excalibur movie isn’t new — he announced it on his own blog last July. (Coincidentally, Ellis also had a run as a writer of Marvel’s Excalibur — a series that featured Captain Britain and a number of former X-Men members — early in his career).

    The news here, actually, is who is angling to direct this version of Excalibur: Some dude named Guy Ritchie. Yes. Ole Lock Stock and Two Holmes. Ritchie’s version is set up at the Hollywood Gang production studio (while Singer’s version is set up at Legendary). Moreover, the take is different. While Singer’s version is closer to a remake of the Boorman film, Ritchie’s possible take is more in the tone of Star Wars, and, as Ellis noted last year, his version “differs from the prior 751 King Arthur movies in many ways, but perhaps most obviously in that it is very specifically about the gathering of the Knights.”

    But yes: There are two Excalibur movies in development, and both are set up at Warners, and both are in the script stage.
    From Variety:
    Ritchie, Hodge at Warners table - Director, writer combo for King Arthur saga
    Quote Originally Posted by DAVE MCNARY
    Warner Bros. is launching a King Arthur project with "Sherlock Holmes" helmer Guy Ritchie attached to direct and "Trainspotting" scribe John Hodge scripting for Atlas Entertainment and Hollywood Gang.

    Producers are Hollywood Gang's Gianni Nunnari, Atlas' Charles Roven and Richard Suckle, with Hollywood Gang's Craig J. Flores exec producing.

    Hodge is working on the script with Ritchie. Project aims to be a re-imagining of the legend of Arthur, believed to have been a 6th century king who defended Britain against Saxon invaders. Key source material will be Thomas Mallory's "Le Morte d'Arthur," published in 1485 as a compilation of French and English tales.

    Jon Berg and Ollie Madden are overseeing for Warner Bros.

    Hollywood Gang and Atlas are also teamed on a futuristic Robin Hood project for WB.

    Warner Bros. attached Ritchie last fall to direct "Lobo," the live-action adaptation of the DC Comics drama about an alien bounty hunter, before "Sherlock Holmes" became a hit with worldwide grosses of $470 million. Ritchie also directed "Rocknrolla" and is attached to "The Siege of Malta" and "The Gamekeeper."

    Nunnari's a producer on "War of Gods" with Mark Canton of Atmosphere Entertainment and Relativity topper Ryan Kavanaugh. Nunnari and Canton partnered on 2007's "300" for Warner Bros.

    Roven is developing a "Gilligan's Island" feature for Warner Bros. (Daily Variety, March 3).

    Hodge's credits include "The Seeker," "A Life Less Ordinary" and "The Beach."

    Ritchie's repped by CAA. Hodge is repped by WME.

  2. #2
    Senior Member redqueenar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Warren Ellis’ EXCALIBUR

    Aw. the Love Swami strikes again! Good work, old man! :kiss!:
    "When you make something no one hates, no one loves it." - Tibor Kalman

  3. #3
    Senior Member HarryCanyon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Warren Ellis’ EXCALIBUR

    No need to remake Excalibur, it's a masterpiece of this day.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Warren Ellis’ EXCALIBUR

    Guy Ritchie reunites with 'Holmes' producer for a six-film 'King Arthur' franchise
    Warner Bros. seems determined to figure this one out


    Will Guy Ritchie Pull Sword From Stone After All And Make King Arthur Movie At Warner Bros?
    Quote Originally Posted by MIKE FLEMING JR
    EXCLUSIVE:
    After numerous attempts by Warner Bros to make a new version of the King Arthur legend, I’m hearing that Guy Ritchie is again looking to make the movie. This one is a tentpole fantasy retelling of the Arthur legend, meant to span six films. It was created by Joby Harold, who wrote the script for the first film. Producing is Akiva Goldsman through Weed Road, Harold and Tory Tunnell through Safehouse Pictures, and Ritchie’s partner Lionel Wigram. Ritchie and Wigram previously developed a version of the King Arthur saga based on a script by Trainspotting scribe John Hodge, but it lost steam when it looked like the one by David Dobkin was going to happen.

    Warner Bros got closest to a production start with Dobkin’s Arthur & Lancelot, with Colin Farrell most recently at the center of talks to revive the project as Lancelot, and they chased Gary Oldman for the Merlin role. Warner Bros paid $2 million to acquire Dobkin’s script, but unplugged the film the first time because its $130 million budget was $20 million too high, with Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harington to play Arthur and Robocop‘s Joel Kinnaman to play Lancelot. Those young upstarts were unproven screen commodities. Other projects previously considered by Warners was a remake of the 1981 John Boorman pic Excalibur that had X-Men helmer Bryan Singer attached; there is also a Harry Potter-style take being produced by Donald DeLine that isn’t really impacted by any of this.

    Ritchie, who’s been filming The Man From U.N.C.L.E. with Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander and Hugh Grant for Warner Bros, is repped by CAA.
    Guy Ritchie’s ‘King Arthur’ Set for July 22, 2016 Release
    Plot details are under wraps and no cast has been set.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Warren Ellis’ EXCALIBUR

    How Warner Bros.’ $175M Costly ‘King Arthur’ Fell Off Its Horse At The B.O. With A $14.3M Opening
    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony D'Alessandro
    Really, how does a major studio spend $175M on a potential new franchise, and completely go bust at the box office?


    After arguably eight years of starts and stops through various iterations, Warner Bros. has finally opened King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the feature adaptation of a classic IP they’ve been so desperate to make, and to disastrous box office results of $14.3M stateside at 3,702 theaters and embarrassing reviews (27% Rotten Tomatoes rating). King Arthur is expected to fall third behind Disney/Marvel’s second weekend of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at $61.9M (-58% with 10-day cume of $245M, 39% ahead of GOTG at same point in time), and 20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s R-rated Amy Schumer-Goldie Hawn movie Snatched with $16.5M. Warner Bros. shares some brunt of King Arthur‘s cost here with Village Roadshow who has been having a terrible streak after its co-financing on Ghostbusters, In the Heart of the Sea and Passengers.


    In the current marketplace of haves and have nots at the B.O. where other studios envy Disney’s treasure trove of brands, Warner Bros. was determined to revive the King Arthur legend on the big screen, to the point of overthinking it.


    Audiences showed little interest in King Arthur the last time he was brought to the screen 13 years ago in Jerry Bruckheimer’s Disney production ($120M negative cost, $51.9M domestic, $203.6M global), so why even try again?


    It’s easy to blame King Arthur: Legend of the Sword‘s bombing on Warner Bros.’ overindulgence in classic IPs for the screen, and goodness knows, they haven’t won over moviegoers, i.e. Red Riding Hood ($42m negative cost, $89M global), Pan ($150M cost, $128M global), Jack the Giant Slayer ($195M cost, $197.7M global), etc. But King Arthur‘s failure goes far beyond being adapted from an antiquated tale, not to mention that old properties when intriguing and even sexy can work: Disney’s Oz, the Great and Powerful‘s near half billion at the B.O.


    Some would also like to point the finger at hiring fresh-face Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam in the title role of King Arthur, but still, in this day and age we know it’s the brands that are bigger than the stars, and great untested actors rise to the occasion of a great movie, i.e. Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out, Russell Crowe in Gladiator, and arguably Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games. In fact, 47% of those who bought tickets last night came out for Hunnam, giving the movie an A- CinemaScore, while 51% came out because they enjoy King Arthur movies, giving it a B+.


    But many sources tell Deadline that if there’s any blame to go around for Legend of the Sword’s disaster, it’s the post-Jeff Robinov era administration on the Burbank lot (preceding now president-chief content officer Toby Emmerich) who per one close source “didn’t care about storytelling and ham-fisted” this King Arthur together with Guy Ritchie, a filmmaker known more for flash over substance. In fact, given the number of versions that King Arthur went through, there were plenty of opportunities for Warner Bros. to get this right. At one point, higher-profile stars were considered: Colin Farrell as King Arthur and Gary Oldman as Merlin. Many say that King Arthur‘s fate might be different in a Robinov-led studio given the former boss’ razor-sharp filmmaking sensibilities and finesse in steering directors.


    While there are several credited on the Legend of the Sword script, many say it is Ritchie and Lionel Wigram’s version that made it to the screen. “He’s stylish and he needs to get a better producer,” remarked one insider on Ritchie’s second overspend here following his 2015 bomb The Man From U.N.C.L.E. ($75M negative cost, $110M global B.O.). “Who’s advising him?,” commented another. “Why would he go backwards with an old property like King Arthur? He’s very talented, they should hand him an established property like a DC movie.” (Ritchie’s next film is Disney’s live version of Aladdin). King Arthur‘s lofty costs began after an early cut of the film failed to test well. “It was a train wreck,” says one personal publicist with knowledge of the situation. This prompted reshoots with some post production departments working over the last two years on King Arthur.


    Sure, it’s always easy to yell at the studio marketing division whenever a movie goes sideways, but in the case of King Arthur, it was an uphill battle for the WB pros who’ve opened multiple DC superhero movies and Harry Potter films. Ritchie’s King Arthur is filled with imagery we’ve soon too often before from Lord of the Rings, Braveheart and Clash of the Titans. At times it’s a quiet, dialogue-driven PBS period movie with understated performances, then a confused mess of flashbacks, including cameos by Voldemort’s snake, the Lord of the Rings elephants, and a knight who looks like Immortan Joe from Mad Max. There were few assets here to hook audiences.


    And despite WB distribution jumping King Arthur around the calendar four times, the reality is that there isn’t any date that could be considered prime for this film. If anything you can say that the Warner Bros. development suite lingered too long on the movie to the point where it’s too late for its time. When the studio shelled out $2M after a bidding war for David Dobkin’s Arthur & Lancelot in June 2011, HBO’s Game of Thrones was nearing the end of its first season. Given how that series became the benchmark for solid medieval fantasy, why would fans of the genre leave their homes and spend $15 at the multiplex?


    Hindsight being 20/20, here’s how King Arthur‘s march to the big screen went down. In August 2009, WB and Legendary labored for months to get the film rights for John Boorman’s cult classic Excalibur so that Bryan Singer could remake it. That film never came to be. By June 2011, WB took to Dobkin’s take which he was poised to direct with Lionel Wigram, Richard Suckle and Charles Roven producing and Jeff Kleeman serving as EP. The pic was originally budgeted at $90M and was eyeing a March 15, 2013 release. Dobkin’s King Arthur was something that those under 25 could hang their hats on: About a younger generation sizing up an older generation. Arthur was a reluctant young hero in pulling the sword out of the stone in an oppressive kingdom akin to a 1942 Gestapo-run Warsaw. Arthur then becomes the most wanted man in the kingdom, with a group of rebels rallying around him to be king. The project was greenlighted and fell apart twice, during the Robinov and Greg Silverman administrations. Kit Harrington was to play Arthur with Joel Kinnaman as Lancelot. By December 2011, WB balked at the project: the pairing were unproven screen commodities and the film’s production cost surged to $130M. Three months later, the project was alive with Colin Farrell as Arthur and Gary Oldman as Merlin, but those talks dried up. Also in the mix at the studio during the summer 2011 was a Ritchie version of King Arthur with Trainspotting‘s John Hodge writing. That also didn’t materialize.


    Dobkin went off and made The Judge. By the time that film wrapped, Warners had changed its mind on his version, and fell in love with Joby Harold’s King Arthur pitch which was to span several sequels, each focusing on a different Camelot character in an Avengers-Star Wars universe-sense with all the characters ultimately coming together in one movie. One insider tells us that Warner Bros. executives were blown away by Harold’s vision; the project’s fantasy beast artwork was a cross between 300 and Clash of the Titans. Deadline was informed that Harold’s vision never materialized in Ritchie’s final cut. By January 2014, King Arthur was becoming a reality with Ritchie behind the camera and writing alongside Wigram. With all of these different versions of Arthur floating around, and producers hopping between projects, one source tells Deadline that the situation was “incestuous,” resulting in the Writers Guild auditing both screenplays, only to realize that the studio was folding one into the other. In the end, Wigram, Ritchie and Harold are credited as the screenwriters, Harold also received a story by credit and Dobkin earned story and EP credits. By August 2014, Ritchie selected Hunnam to play Arthur.


    “They wanted to corner the brand and own it,” says another insider about Warner Bros.’ hastiness to bring King Arthur to the screen. Given the entire headache that ensued from the various iterations of King Arthur, one can see why studios are now taking a writers’ room approach to franchises like Transformers, Godzilla vs. Kong and the WB Animation group. “The desire for studios to form these new brain trusts – they just want to get things done faster, everyone is so hungry to nail the brand,” says one lit agent.


    In the end, another executive informed us that the final test scores for Legend of the Sword were quite high. If that’s the case, it explains the pic’s glowing B+ CinemaScore tonight (however Screen Engine/PostTrak shows a lackluster 78% total positive). The one demographic who enjoyed the crowd were 18-24 year olds who gave King Arthur an A-, but they only repped 14% of the CinemaScore crowd. On PostTrak, there was a strong turnout by men at 57%, with 78% over 25. CinemaScore a similar skew with 59% guys, 77% over 25.


    The next shoe to drop for Warner Bros. among its risky, dusty old IP feature adaptations is The Jungle Book: Origins which arrives on Oct. 19, 2018, more than two years after Disney’s near $1 billion B.O. success with its live action remake of its Rudyard Kipling-sourced animated toon. And though logic prevails that WB should end its streak of classic titles, one producer says don’t blame the property, blame the filmmaker. Great films come from emotionally captivating scripts and characters.


    Says the producer, “I don’t buy that theory that old IP never works at the box office. Old IP is the most valuable sh*t in the world. Sure, God bless original stuff, but these classic brands are timeless. Just look what Jon Favreau did with The Jungle Book. It’s what you want from a Hollywood movie: The kid grows up before your eyes. Just when someone says you can’t make a great pirates movie, someone kicks down the door and does it, or Ridley Scott resurrects the sword and sandal movie with Gladiator. Of course, you can always go back.”

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Warren Ellis’ EXCALIBUR


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