News: A male Ghostbusters, Lucy Lawless joins Ash Vs Evil Dead, Michael K Williams’ two shows + more

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  • Robin

    pedant corner: the Woody Allen cast is for his next, as yet untitled, film after Irrational Man. Check the story

  • Probably. I accidentally bought decaf coffee yesterday. As you can see, the granite-like foundation of truth and accuracy on which this blog is built is crumbling as a result

  • JustStark

    Channing Tatum to star in another Ghostbusters movie

    Oh no no no no NO!

    Can nobody do anything original any more?

    One re-make/re-boot/re-franchise/re-tread is bad enough but more?

    Aaaaargh.

  • But can you imagine? Such a huge property but only two movies in 30 years? Surely it should have had five sequels, spin-offs, a TV show, crossovers with other movies and more already. Clearly missed a trick there.

    More seriously, it's sad they felt they had to undermine their female version before it had even started filming.

  • JustStark

    Yes but still could they not have done an all-female supernatural comedy that wasn't based on a thirty-year-old movie?

    It's just so, so irritating. How hard is it to get a female comedian with an idea, let her recruit other female comedians, and say, 'You can do whatever you want, come up with a script,' instead of, 'Right now you must remake this.'

    I watched Bridesmaids. It was funny. It didn't remake anything. So clearly it's possible.

  • That's almost two separate questions. How easy is it to find some comediennes/actresses with ideas? Not hard. Certainly, US TV has come up with a lot of female-centric sitcoms over the past few years.

    But that's not really the question. The question is “Are movie studios prepared to invest anything up to and beyond $200m making and marketing a movie starring comediennes/actresses?”

    And that's a very different question because it's all about how much the movie industry is prepared to invest in people they don't necessarily regard as bankable stars, whether they think audiences will watch movies starring women and so on.

    More so, Ghostbusters is partially an action movie, and the perceived wisdom there is that people don't want action movies starring women. It's not true, but that's the perception. That's why we still don't have a Black Widow movie from Marvel Studios, despite Scarlett Johansson now being a very bankable female action movie star (thanks to Lucy outgrossing The Rock's Hercules movie) and there already being a script written before The Avengers was even made. That was abandoned when Elektra tanked because that 'proved' that people don't like action movies starring women.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

    Basically, it comes down to want to reduce the risk involved in chucking that much money around, and a proven format always trumps an unproven format, particularly if it's decades old and there's a new potential audience. Hence the idea of an Indiana Jones remake

  • JustStark

    That's why we still don't have a Black Widow movie from Marvel Studios

    I had heard that was to do with marvel being too cheap to pay Johansson's going rate for starring in a solo movie (as I understand it she got more than any other Avenger for Avengers Assemble except Robert Downey Jr.).

    As far as I know they haven't cast Captain Marvel yet, but what's the betting it's someone they can get for closer to the $300,000 Captain America got for his first movie than the closer to $20 million that Johansson takes for an action movie?

    But anyway, yes, I understand that the reason for all the remakes is that the studios are playing it safe, they know that anything with the Ghostbusters name on it will be a hit, while something original (with men or women) is a risk.

    I just don't have to like it.

  • AFAIK (and Googling seems to confirm), SJ signed a multi-picture contract just like everyone else's and a Black Widow movie would be another one of those already contracted movies (probably). Deadline certainly seems to think so:

    http://deadline.com/2013/05/ro

    Captain Marvel will probably be cheap, but I wonder how much Benedict Cumberbatch is getting to be Dr Strange?

  • JustStark

    And it really annoys me to see people objecting to the idea of an all-female Ghostbusters remake when what they SHOULD be objecting to is the whole idea of remaking a thirty-year-old movie instead of doing something original.

  • JustStark

    That says 'Much less so Scarlett Johannsen (paid to pop up in Marvel movie after movie)' which suggests to me a 'recurring cameo / supporting role' ('pop up') contract, and that a starring role would probably not be covered and would need to be negotiated separately.

    I wonder how much Benedict Cumberbatch is getting to be Dr Strange

    It's a good question. I'd actually hazard it's not very much, as he hasn't actually established himself as a bankable Hollywood star: Hollywood famously doesn't care about British TV, so Sherlock etc doesn't count, and at the time the deal with Marvel was signed (ie, before the Oscars hoopla for Turing, which will have upped his salary) his only major Hollywood roles were a voice performance and a villain in an ensemble cast.

    So given that his Hollywood profile wasn't much higher than Captain America's when he was first cast, and that that was for a reported $300,000, I'd be surprised if Cumberbatch was getting as much as a million pounds.

  • JustStark

    Whoops got the exchange rate the wrong way round (I knew that sounded wrong): I doubt it's as much as $600,000.

    Of course when I say 'not very much', I wouldn't mind being paid even just $300,000 to dress up in some funny clothes and stand on bits of tape.

  • It's tricky to know whether the writer was even considering whether a solo Black Widow movie was a possibility – it reads like an explanation of her perceived plot function, rather than a break down of her contract. Which isn't to say that she doesn't have a recurring contract only, but if Marvel deployed one of its standard six-movie contracts, it would be odd if from the beginning they didn't at least consider the possibility and build in the necessary terms for one of those movies to be a solo movie.

    Hard to tell, anyway.

    As for Bennie Cumbie, I suspect not much, but given the contract signing was recent rather pre-Avengers, it's entirely possible that Marvel might have been more generous. And for BC to sign such a contract, given how much work he was already being offered, I'd assume he wouldn't have settled for £50 and a packet of Rothmans King Size. So my guess would be higher than Evans and co signed on for but shy of proper money.

  • JustStark

    it would be odd if from the beginning they didn't at least consider the
    possibility and build in the necessary terms for one of those movies to
    be a solo movie

    True, but even if she's contractually obliged to do a solo movie if they ask, she would have to be paid a lot more for it than for her cameos and supporting roles — if nothing else she'd be filming for a lot more days on a solo project, and her time is very valuable. Also her name above the title would be a boost to box-office in a way it isn't if she's just 'one of the cast' (would anybody have even gone to see Lucy if it hadn't had her name over the title?).

    So it may be that clause is in there but Marvel haven't chosen to activate it because it would cost too much.

    given the contract signing was recent rather pre-Avengers, it's entirely possible that Marvel might have been more generous

    From what little one gleans form the press, that seems unlikely: their business model seems based on keeping tight contro of the purse-strings (which when making massive special-effects-fests is pretty much the only way to be).

    And for BC to sign such a contract, given how much work he was already
    being offered, I'd assume he wouldn't have settled for £50 and a packet
    of Rothmans King Size. So my guess would be higher than Evans and co
    signed on for but shy of proper money

    Yes, but remember the work he was being offered was stuff like the imitation Game, which while very good form a 'getting Oscar nominations' point of view, isn't going to buy you that island.

    And it's not like Captain America's career wasn't healthy when he signed up too.

    I suspect he's pretty much on the same deal, plus infiltration.

  • It might be quite expensive for Marvel, but presumably if they were sitting down negotiating a contract with SJ and her agent, they weren't thinking “Hey, why don't we put in a clause about solo movies but make it so expensive for us that we'd never actually activate it?” Otherwise, why bother, unless they've set it at “hideously expensive” rather than waiting until the possibility came up and going for “insanely expensive”. And, of course, it's not in SJ's interest to demand so much money that they can't afford it and don't make the movie, resulting in her not getting any money.

    So I imagine that it's simply something they don't want to do, rather than because of real costs.

    And as for SJ, until Lucy, it was actually common 'Hollywood Wisdom' that she couldn't open a movie, only be a supporting cast member. It's only post-Lucy that that's changed.

    As for BC, I'd be surprised if he'd be willing to rush around like a mad thing from project to project, having just got married and with a baby on the way. You never know, but I'd assume he'd want something that properly made it worth his while, rather than something that would only get you half a house in zone 4 of London.

  • JustStark

    presumably if they were sitting down negotiating a contract with SJ and her agent, they weren't thinking “Hey, why don't we put in a clause about solo movies but make it so expensive for us that we'd never
    actually activate it?”

    Why not? If they went to her saying, 'we'd like you to do cameos in six movies,' and her agent said, 'she'll do the cameos for $2 million a film, and by the way if you ever want her to be the star, it'll be $15 million' why would they not go, 'okay,' and put that clause in knowing they will never bother to activate it?

    Lots of contracts have 'just in case' clauses to cover eventualities that never get activated because the stars never align right.

    And, of course, it's not in SJ's interest to demand so much money that they can't afford it and don't make the movie, resulting in her not getting any money

    There are lots of things that I don't really want to do but would if someone offered me an insane amount of money. Starring in a Marvel action movie might be one of those for Ms Johannsen. It might have been a case of, 'We'd like you to do cameos in six movies and star in another one,' and she thought, 'Well, the cameos sound fun, but I don't really want to spend the time it would take to do a full starring role in a superhero movie when I could be driving around Glasgow instead, but on the other hand if they are willing to pay me a truly mind-boggling amount of money I'll find time,' so she asked for reasonable fees for the cameos ones but a massive fee for the solo; and then Marvel thought, 'Well, we don't want to pay that much for the solo, but the cameo fees are within budget, so we'll sign her up for those and whenever we want to make a female-led solo movie we'll just find some up-and-coming starlet who'll do it for peanuts.' So they either sign the contract without the massively-expensive solo movie clause, or they sign it with the massively-expensive solo movie clause in knowing they will never activate it.

    I don't actually know what happened, of course, just pointing out that these are all very plausible scenarios.

    You never know, but I'd assume he'd want something that properly made it worth his while, rather than something that would only get you half a house in zone 4 of London
    But pre-Oscar-nomination, was anyone going to pay him more than half a house in zone 4 of London? I don't think they were. Remember, this is a guy most people in America (not to mention China, which is more important these days) have never heard of, whose only big movie roles are a voice performance and a franchise movie where the spaceship was the main star.

    It's not like if Cumberbatch went, 'No, not enough money' Marvel would be scuppered: they'd just immediately get on the telephone to David Tennant, or Alan Tudyk, or Alexis Denisof, or any one of a couple of dozen mid-level actors (possibly with sci-fi cred, possibly not) who they could stick CGI Kirby lights around and the movie would probably gross just as much.

    Cumberbatch is not, at this point in his career (even with the Oscar win) someone studios are competing with each other to hire, and who therefore can pick and choose projects — in the way Johannsen was even in 2008, when she'd got a CV that included things like The Island and Girl with a Pearl Earring, a bunch of Golden Globe nominations, not to mention just coming off a period as Woody Allen's muse.

    If Cumberbatch wants the Hollywood career that eluded Tennant, he can't afford to turn down any and all chances he has to get his face seen over there, almost regardless of the money.

    (Marvel know this of course: that's why they pick for their stars actors who are just trying to break through, often foreigners trying to make a hollywood career, because they know that the exposure is going to be more valuable to them than the money and therefore they can pay them less.)

  • JustStark

    the Oscar win

    Sorry, got a bit carried away there…

  • “Why not? If they went to her saying, 'we'd like you to do cameos in six movies,' and her agent said, 'she'll do the cameos for $2 million a film, and by the way if you ever want her to be the star, it'll be $15 million' why would they not go, 'okay,' and put that clause in knowing they will never bother to activate it?

    Lots of contracts have 'just in case' clauses to cover eventualities that never get activated because the stars never align right.”

    Without seeing the contract, it's hard to know for sure either way. But I can't imagine Marvel would have gone in thinking “There's no way Black Widow would ever be popular enough to warrant a movie of her own. Even though we actually were planning one of those ourselves and even had a script for one. Let's not bother even thinking about that.”

    I deal with media contracts all the time and EMAP has one requesting an “exclusive, irrevocable, perpetual and unconditional worldwide license… in any and all media whether now known or invented in the future”. Yes, even if a medium hasn't yet been created, they want to have a licence to use your stuff in it an no extra cost and they want you to sign that agreement now.

    Media lawyers prepare ahead and I can't imagine, with millions of dollars and possibly the fate of what is still quite a young studio riding on it that Marvel's wouldn't have tied down in a sensible way anything with proper cash significance.

    And at the time, SJ didn't have a great amount of leverage. After all, she got the role in March 2009, so coming off the back of the less than stellar Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Spirit and The Other Boleyn Girl. She'd even auditioned for the role of Black Widow and actually lost out to Emily Blunt. The result was she got a really crappy contract:

    http://deadline.com/2009/03/an

    But without seeing it, I'm not sure we can say for sure either way.

    As for BC, my point wasn't about whether he can pick and choose between multi-million pound projects, but whether he wants to do them at all.