¶ We haven’t been reporting too much on Hollywood of late; but it hasn’t been for want of activity.

200911051256¶ A while ago, the miniseries RED by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner— the tale of a CIA gent who’s called out of retirement for One Last Case™– was optioned. Since last we met, it’s been moving right along, Splash Page reports. Robert Schwentke (THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE) is set to direct. Bruce Willis has been signed to star (guess he enjoyed THE SURROGATES); and Morgan Freeman and now Helen Mirren have been signed on. The story is being changed to more of a light-hearted “Old timers vs newfangled lawn-dwelling kids” type thing — Grumpy Old Spies — so presumably Mirren will be showing what a cagey vet can pull off, and knowing Mirren, it could just be her kit.

Splash Page’s Blair Marnell has other casting rumors for RED — John C. Reilly and Mary-Louise Parker. It also helpfully runs down some other Ellis Hollywood projects, which we’ve augmented with news from Warren Ellis’s maling list for a snapshot.

BLACK SUMMER (Art by Juan Jose Ryp) — Superheroes must choose what’s right and wrong: Just optioned to Vigilante Entertainment.

GRAVEL (Art by Raulo Caceres)—Tough guy fights paranormal: Legendary has optioned; Ellis is writing the initial draft of the screenplay and has exec producer credit.

OCEAN (Art by Chris Sprouse)— the future, as UN weapons inspector must investigate orbiting coffins filled with doomsday weapons: in development at Warners.

According to Ban Signal, Ellis also has an animation project due to be announced any day now —

Also, I think details of my animation project are about to leak, since I got an email about it from a producer friend last night: but, since I haven’t written the first episode yet, I’m keeping schtum for the moment.

He’s also working on an “Untitled Arthurian Thing “—and probably other things we can’t recall or dig up.

¶ An unfinished version of Matthew Vaughn’s indie KICK-ASS was was screened last night to enthusiasm at AICN:

But the film truly belongs to Chloe Moretz who, as Hit Girl, tears through the film as the baddest pre-pubescent 4 foot badass ever committed to film. She totally owns every scene and provided the audience with at least three bandstanding crowd cheering moments. She’s funny, witty, knowing, hugely crude, and just massively ass-kicking, her Matrix lobby-esque scene at the film’s climax is just incredible, and again should propel her into the big time by just being one of the most incredibly cool characters in any comic book film ever. Badder than Wolverine, funnier than Deadpool, more athletic than Spiderman and cuter than that kid in Runaways. Just fucking awesome.

¶ Perhaps more ominously, just as Frank Miller sat at Robert Rodriguez’s learning tree and was inspired to direct a film, Mark Millar’s observation of Matthew Vaughn making KICK-ASS outside the studio system, has inspired him to go all auteur on our asses and he says he’s lining up a superhero project to direct and independently finance:

But this is one of several big surprises planned for next year and you’ll hear a bit more about this in February when we start to release details. What is it? Who is it about? Well, that’s all a secret for now, but I learned a lot from Kick-Ass and love having the same creative freedom I have with comics when I work in cinema. I never want to be a studio bitch and go in there pitching for them to love me. The closest I came to this was a couple of calls regarding Superman, but pretty much none of my plans ever revealed as I didn’t like the idea of anyone nicking them.

Similarly, I don’t like the idea of asking for funding and justifying scenes with the money-men so I’m doing what Matthew Vaughn did with Kick-Ass and just making it outside the system with private investors. The financing is all secured and the movie stands or falls on how good I can make it, doing what Matthew did and just selling it once completed.

¶ Solipsist Films has optioned ALMIGHTY, a self-published graphic novel by Ed LaRoche that concerns a female bounty hunter rescuing a young girl in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Rob Worley reports. The film version will doubtless star Gerard Butler. In a wig.

¶ On his Twitter feed, writer Jim Pascoe had a rather cryptic note about going to see a screening of Tokyopop head Stuart Levy’s first film. Levy was supposedly working on some kind of Borat-like mockumentary a few years ago, but we’re waiting for further details.


  1. IMDb has an entry on VAN VON HUNTER. Steven Calcote is the co-director; Yuri Lowenthal and Heather Marie Marsden are the stars. Some fans were invited to the screening via Facebook:

    HOT! HOT! HOT!: a limited number of free tickets have just become available for tonight’s cast and crew showing of TOKYOPOP’s first live action film, VAN VON HUNTER, starring Yuri Lowenthal (BEN 10, AFRO SAMURAI, TERMINATOR).

    RSVP right away, as this unique opportunity is only available for the first twenty fans who respond! [. . .]

    We look forward to seeing you for the reception starting at 7pm (drinks and hors d’oeuvre) and for the Vantastic screening beginning at 8pm!

    IMPORTANT notes on the location:
    1. parking is free after 6pm in the 5450 building. Regular rates apply before then.
    2. you may want to consider grabbing dinner before-hand at one of the many eateries across the street on Wilshire. Choices range from Marie Callenders to Baja Fresh.
    3. closest cross street: La Brea.

  2. “the miniseries RED by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner– the tale of a CIA gent who’s called out of retirement for One Last Case”

    It was nothing of the sort –

    “The story is being changed to more of a light-hearted “Old timers vs newfangled lawn-dwelling kids” type thing — Grumpy Old Spies — so presumably Mirren will be showing what a cagey vet can pull off, and knowing Mirren, it could just be her kit.”

    So beyond the name it’s got nothing at all to do with the original.