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WIRE Buzz: Beastmaster hunts for negative; One and Only Ivan featurette; Love and Monsters to PVOD

By Josh Weiss
The Beastmaster

Don Coscarelli, the writer and director behind The Beastmaster, is hunting for the original negative of the 1982 fantasy film about a man (played by Marc Singer) who can communicate with animals. Wanting to restore the feature for a new home release, the 66-year-old filmmaker is turning to the public for help via the website.

"The rights holder sent [someone] to pick up the negative and the guy put it in his vault in the San Fernando valley," Coscarelli told Entertainment Weekly. "Then he sold the house and now he [doesn’t] know where it is." Touching on the restoration, he added: "There’s a back-up plan, but it’s just not as good as the original."

While the director admitted that the six film cans could have been thrown away "never to be seen again," he voiced his hope that they'd been acquired by a "rabid" film collector. "A lot of times they gather up this stuff and it’s of uncertain lineage," Coscarelli explained. "A lot of them hang onto it because they don’t want to tell people they have it, or whatever. This would be an open license [to] be a hero to a generation of Beastmaster fans."

If you want to join the scavenger hunt for the 35mm negative print, keep an eye out for film canisters that say: "The Beastmaster OCN" (aka original camera negative). Coscarelli is currently developing a big screen reboot of the movie with co-sreenwriter Paul Pepperman. The two were able to reclaim the rights under copyright law. Tanya Roberts, John Amos, and the late Rip Torn co-starred in the original, which spawned two sequels and a TV show.

“We’re going to start taking it out and talking to companies and studios about doing a remake or a reboot of the original movie,” Coscarelli added during his chat with EW. "A lot of latchkey kids watched that movie over and over again. Now they’re adults, and, with luck, some of them are running studios. So, we’ll see what happens."

Go behind-the-scenes of The One and Only Ivan in a brand-new featurette from Disney+. Based on the children's book by K.A. Applegate (itself based on a true story), the film is not only about "how humans treat animals, but also how we should treat each other," says director Thea Sharrock.

"My daughter read the book in school and it was her favorite book. She asked me to it, I just loved it," adds producer Angelina Jolie, who also voices the elephant Stella

Sam Rockwell stars as the titular Ivan, a fully-grown gorilla, who performs in a circus at a local mall. Thoughts of returning to the wild begin to possess the big ape when a young elephant named Ruby (Brooklynn Prince) joins the show. Applegate admits in the featurette that she was inspired to write the book after coming across Ivan's story in a New York Times article (possibly this one).

Watch now:

Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Chaka Khan, Ron Funches, Phillipa Soo, Ramon Rodriguez, and Ariana Greenblatt round out the rest of the movie's cast.

"A blend of live action, computer animation and well-integrated motion capture effects (though the occasional boredom of the plot may inspire you to look for the seams), The One and Only Ivan ... brings a fair amount of heart to a generic story line," Ben Kenigsberg wrote in his review for the NYT.

"The film is torn between a tough-minded plea for animal rights and edge-free, PG family entertainment. But its advocacy of kindness to man and animal is indisputable," said Peter Travers of Rolling Stone.

The One and Only Ivan drops onto Disney+ tomorrow, Aug. 21.

In the latest coronavirus-related pivot, Paramount Pictures has decided to skip a theatrical debut for sci-fi/post-apocalyptic thriller Love and Monsters. The film (once titled Monster Problems), which stars The Maze Runner's Dylan O’Brien, will instead be released as a premium VOD offering on Friday, Oct. 16, SYFY WIRE has confirmed. Viewers will have the option to rent it for $19.99 (for a period of 48 hours) or buy it outright for $24.99.

“Given the demand for new, high-quality entertainment right now, Paramount has decided to release Love and Monsters widely on digital platforms,” Paramount COO Andrew Gumpert said in a statement. "While we eagerly look forward to the reopening of movie theaters, we wanted to make this original and imaginative film available for everyone to enjoy at home."

Here are some first look images:

Written by Brian Duffield (Insurgent) and Matthew Robinson (Dora and the Lost City of Gold), the project was directed by Michael Matthews (Five Fingers For Marseilles). Filmed on location in Australia, the movie takes place in a world dominated by gargantuan monsters. Humans have been forced underground, but one brave soul (O'Brien) decides to go looking for his high school girlfriend (Iron Fist's Jessica Henwick). Along the way, the main protagonist meets up with a loyal dog and a pair of survivalists (played by Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt).

The film was originally supposed to arrive on the big screen in February 2021. It was produced by Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen under their 21 Laps banner.