The movie version of Mark Millar and JG Jones’ WANTED hasn’t been much heard of since the Eminem kerfluffle, but it is moving forward and James McAvoy, who played kiddie-fiddler Mr. Tumnus in THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE has been cast as the lead! Timur Bekmambetov directs from a script by 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS’s Derek Haas and Michael Brandt The film is expected to be an R, and is but one of a number of modestly priced nerd-friendly films coming from Universal:
The movie is a priority for the studio and is expected to go into production in first-quarter 2007 with a budget of less than $100 million. “Wanted” likely will be the first production under the studio’s new plan of making cutting-edge action movies that are reasonably priced yet have international appeal.
“With the convergence of new visions and new technologies, the genre is changing,” Universal president of production Donna Langley said. “We want to capitalize on it with filmmakers who have an affinity for working in these kinds of worlds. The model is reasonably priced action movies, movies that deliver, but look like they cost twice as much.”
The studio has quietly lined up some of the filmmakers it considers suited for such an approach. Last week, Universal hired award-winning commercial director Neill Blomkamp to helm “Halo” and this month added Guillermo del Toro and his “Hellboy 2” to its slate. It also has writer-director Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”) attached to “Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life,” which it hopes to make next year.
Meanwhile, ICv2 reminds us—and probably many others—about a comic book movie coming out later this year that had completely slipped our notice, Reny Harlin’s The Covenant, based on the Top Cow book by Aron Colette and Tone Rodriguez.
The Covenant, which is a dark fantasy saga involving five teenage warlocks whose bonds of friendship are sorely tested as they are about to come into full possession of their powers as they turn 18, is just the sort of film project that could become a “sleeper” hit in the theaters this fall when it debuts on September 8th, or, if it fails to get wide theatrical distribution (like A Scanner Darkly), it might find its audience on DVD. Either way it’s a project that retailers may well want to watch closely.
Speaking only for ourselves, we have been seeing trailers and ads for this movie incessantly on the kind of boy themed shows we watch, and had NO IDEA it was a comic book movie. Anyway, DEFINITELY something to keep an eye on.