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Andrew Stanton (Photo by Vyacheslav Prokofyev\TASS via Getty Images)

WIRE Buzz: Chairman Spaceman eyes Andrew Stanton; Children of the Corn remake sprouting; more

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May 19, 2020, 10:05 PM EDT

What would you do if you were a tyrannical CEO who woke up one day and realized there must be more to life than corporate takeovers? If you’re the star of Chairman Spaceman, you leave it all behind and go on a soul-searching space mission to do some good in the universe.

Chairman Spaceman, the 2017 short story about the guy who gave up all his wealth and comfort for the stars, is one step closer to blasting off. Deadline reports that Oscar-winning Pixar director Andrew Stanton is circling the director’s chair for Searchlight’s upcoming movie adaptation about a tycoon whose guilty conscience sends him on an ill-fated space ride.

Set to be adapted from author Thomas Pierce’s speculative fiction short story of the same name, Chairman Spaceman follows the redemption efforts of Dom Whipple, a reformed corporate raider who signs on for a 30-year space mission to help colonize a distant planet. Things become a blur after he takes off, and the next thing you know, he’s back on Earth 30 years later trying to figure out what happened — and he hasn’t aged a bit.

Chairman Spaceman got its start as a short story in the New Yorker, and Pierce reportedly is sticking around to adapt his story for the screen as part of the creative team. Stanton, who already holds a pair of Best Animated Feature Oscars for Finding Nemo and Wall-E, was also part of the writing team for all four Toy Story movies, and directed Disney’s ambitious John Carter, whose franchise hopes were dashed after a weak box office. His most recent directing credit is for Finding Dory, 2016’s successor to Finding Nemo.

There’s no early word on casting or a release date for Chairman Spaceman, so keep those boosters warm.

Talk about getting lost among the tall stalks. A story this week from the New York Times about coronavirus-delayed productions moving overseas to continue filming cited another story from The Hollywood Reporter about film crews practicing socially distancing, which mentions almost in passing that production on a Children of the Corn remake is underway Down Under.

Ultraviolet and Equilibrium director Kurt Wimmer has been filming a remake of the 1984 horror film adapted from a Stephen King short story outside Sydney, Australia. Producer Lucas Foster told the NYT that the need for a cornfield is what brought the production to New South Wales, and the pandemic is what kept them there. Production secured an exemption to Australia’s quarantine rules by working with state film board, Screen NSW, and regional health-and-safety body, Safework NSW, to design the production's protocols.

Children of the Corn centers on a married couple who winds up driving out into the middle of nowhere, where they encounter some very strange and deadly kids among the corn rows.

The production reduced its cast and crew size and implemented health and safety protocols in line with government restrictions for workplaces. It also kept local police in the loop. Plus, most of the movie was filmed on an isolated farm in a small town, with the cast and crew taking over nearby hotels, Airbnbs, and cottages.

Production is set to wrap on May 28.

And speaking of productions in the time of coronavirus, Deadline is reporting that Michael Bay is producing Songbird, a pandemic thriller that plans to shoot in Los Angeles during the lockdown.

Described as a thriller in a similar vein as Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield, Songbird takes place two years in the future where the pandemic has not dissipated (now there’s a comforting thought). Lockdowns have been rolled back then reinstated as the virus becomes more serious and mutates. (Jeez, can a movie be too topical?)

Adam Mason (Into the Dark) will direct a script he wrote with Simon Boyes (Misconduct).

The production, which was given the go-ahead from the guilds, will enforce social distancing rules when shooting. Apparently people will never be in the same room together; once the crew sets up the shots, they will leave, and the scenes will be shot. There won’t be any scenes where actors engage face to face (think of the John Cho thriller Searching). The filmmakers will also provide remote training for the cast.

Casting is currently underway.