Yes, James Cameron, yes…first, trailers:
One for "Black Snake Moan" here; oh, Craig Brewer. You scamp. It’s hardly fair to judge a film from its marketing materials, but we just feel like Mr. Brewer doesn’t get his own joke â€” at least people who made exploitation films knew they were making exploitation films.
So: James Cameron is set to direct his first narrative film since 1997’s "Titanic"; Anne Thompson at the Hollywood Reporter writes that sci-fi epic "Avatar" "will be filmed in a new digital 3-D format for release in 3-D," will be a $190 million live action/animation hybrid, will come out in 2009, and will star Australian actor Sam Worthington (of "Somersault") and Zoe Saldana (of "Center Stage"):
"Avatar," with a screenplay by Cameron, will mark the director’s return to the sci-fi action-adventure genre. He first wrote an 80-page treatment 11 years ago. The film centers on a wounded ex-Marine who is unwillingly sent to settle and exploit the faraway planet Pandora. He gets caught up in a battle for survival by the planet’s inhabitants, called Na’vis, and falls in love with one of them.
M. Night Shyamalan is also working on an "Avatar"; Pamela McClintock at Variety reports that he’s signed on to write, direct and produce a live-action film adaptation of the cartoon series "Avatar: The Last Airbender." This will be the first time Shyamalan has taken on a project based on someone else’s source material; given what happened with his last film, this can only be good news.
In less extravagantly expensive news:
Charlie Matthau, son of Walter and director of "The Grass Harp," will adapt and direct "Freaky Deaky," based on the 1988 Elmore Leonard novel. Quentin Tarantino originally optioned the rights to the book (along with "Rum Punch," which became "Jackie Brown") but never got around to adapting it into a film. (Via Variety.)
Liam Neeson will star in "Taken," directed by "District B13"‘s Pierre Morel and based on script by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. But, the world asks, will he be showing off his parkour skills? (Via Variety.)
Speaking of Besson, the man had scarcely finished announcing his retirement to various news outlets around the world, and now he’s announcing his unretirement â€” he plans to adapt two sequels to "Arthur and the Invisibles," which has been a big box office success in France. (Via Variety.)
+ Trailer: Black Snake Moan (MySpace)
+ Trailer: Betelnut Girls Taiwan (YouTube)
+ Cameron sets live-action, CG epic for 2009 (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Computers Join Actors in Hybrids On Screen (NY Times)
+ Shyamalan’s ‘Avatar’ also to bigscreen (Variety)
+ Matthau gets ‘Freaky’ (Variety)
+ ‘Eloise’ first pic at reborn HandMade (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Neeson gets ‘Taken’ away (Variety)
+ Besson builds ‘Arthur’ franchise (Variety)