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Development: Westworld co-creator's feature debut; Big Bang Theory guest stars; more
The co-creator of Westworld has booked big stars for her feature debut; The Boy 2 is kicking off production; a classic sci-fi short gets a director for its adaptation; and The Big Bang Theory just booked an epic party of guest stars, all in the latest development roundup.
Let's get to the news.
The Berlin International Film Festival is set to kick off next week, and various high-profile filmmakers are already preparing to make the trip to Europe to sell their upcoming projects to distributors. Among them is Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy (pictured above with husband and co-creator Jonathan Nolan), who's just nabbed two major stars for Reminiscence, a sci-fi thriller she scripted that will also be her feature directorial debut.
Deadline reports that Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson, who previously worked together on The Greatest Showman, are "finalizing" deals to star in the film, which focus on memory reclaiming technology in a near future version of Miami that's been ravaged by climate change. Joy's script for the project made The Black List of the best unproduced screenplays a few years back, and now she's ready to make an in-person pitch to major studios in Berlin. Joy's concept of the project is so clear and her pitch is so together that you can actually read a full version of it in her own words over at Deadline right now.
Jackman will play Nick Bannister, a private investigator described as "Wolverine meets Humphrey Bogart," whose investigative duties involve using a technology that helps people reclaim and re-experience their memories. His whole life is changed one day when he meets a mysterious woman (Ferguson, presumably) who offers him a job.
"One day, a beautiful mysterious woman comes into his office. And she has a very simple request. She lost a set of keys, and she just needs a quick nudge, to remember where she dropped them," Joy said. "That meeting is the beginning of a really epic romance, where they fall madly in love and you just watch the relationship evolve. And then one day the girl, suddenly, goes missing. Nick Bannister is completely bereft, confused and lost, at the loss of his love. He decides he has to find her. He has to get her back.
"It turns into a thriller, where, to get the girl, he has to unpack her past. And see different aspects of her personality that he didn’t know before, in order to find her again. This entire thing, the heart of it, is this love story."
Joy plans to begin shooting the film, working around Westworld's production schedule, in Miami and New Orleans this October.
After showing us the hidden story of the space race, director Ted Melfi is now heading into sci-fi territory.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures director is in "final negotiations" to direct Harry's All Night Hamburgers, an adaptation of Lawrence Watt-Evans' 1987 Hugo Award-winning short story Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers.
The short was adapted into a spec script by Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman, and is now set up at Warner Bros. under producer Andrew Lazar's (American Sniper) Mad Chance production company. The story revolves around a teenager who works nights at the titular roadside diner. He eventually discovers that the diner is actually a kind of parallel universe gateway, and decides to travel out into the multiverse to find the life he really wants, against the wishes of the joint's owner, Harry.
Melfi, who earned both Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture nods for Hidden Figures, is juggling a couple of other projects right now, including scripting an adaptation of Mark Millar's Huck, and directing the dramedy Froot Loops, which will likely be his next project. With that in mind, it's unclear when Harry's will make it to the screen, but the script is described as a blend of Back to the Future and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so definitely keep it in mind.
If it's horror sequels you're looking for, it's time to start gearing up for the sequel to The Boy, the 2016 chiller starring The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan and one very creepy doll.
Production on the sequel, The Boy 2, kicked off in British Columbia on Monday, according to a press release from STX Entertainment and Lakeshore Entertainment. The film was once again scripted by Stacey Menear, and William Brent Bell has also returned to the director's chair.
This time around we're following Liza (Katie Holmes), who moves into Heelshire Mansion with her family, including her son Jude (Christopher Convery). Liza and her family are, of course, unaware of the house's frightening past, and it isn't long before Jude begins to bond with the creepy doll we all remember from the first film.
The Boy 2 also stars Owain Yeoman and Ralph Ineson.
Over on the television side of things, The Big Bang Theory is continuing to raise the ratings stakes for its final season. The sitcom just announced a huge roster of guest stars for an upcoming episode that promises "an epic Dungeons & Dragons battle."
The show's announcement is mum on the details of how this battle figures into the plot, or even when exactly we'll see the episode, but the guest stars are quite something: Star Trek legend William Shatner, True Blood star and D&D superfan Joe Manganiello, filmmaker and professional nerd Kevin Smith, basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Star Trek: The Next Generation star and frequent Big Bang Theory guest Wil Wheaton.
Again, we have no idea at the moment exactly how all of these legends come together, so if you're a fan of the show, you'll just have to be on the lookout for the episode.