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August 9, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | August 9, 2007 |

I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember if I’ve ever seen an episode of “Jonny Quest,” and I think I did when I was younger. It was the kind of show that was often rerun at odd hours on weekends, and which formed the basis of most of Cartoon Network’s programming until they got their legs under them and began to come up with original content. I remember Jonny, and an Indian kid, and a dog named Bandit, and Race Bannon, who was some kind of generic Steve McQueen ripoff who wielded a harpoon gun and could hotwire a car and shoot lasers from his eyes. It’s possible I’m misremembering this. Anyway, the great minds of Hollywood, perhaps pleased with the way that Underdog — another 1960s cartoon given an unholy mutation into a live-action film — has been received by the viewing public, have decided to adapt “Jonny Quest” into a live-action film. The project is set up at Warner Bros., and Dan Mazeau will write the script, with Hitman’s Adrian Askarieh and Daniel Alter producing. Sure, it may be weird to base a movie around a show that only lasted one season and is revered by aging Boomers, but the bigger problem the movie is bound to face is that modern-day viewers are likely too steeped in irony to care about a straightforward action-adventure. “Sealab 2020” was adapted into Cartoon Network’s own tongue-in-cheek “Sealab 2021,” so the “Quest” movie will probably attempt to balance its ancestor’s na├»ve action vibe with a postmodern smirk. To which I think we can all say: Meh.

In casting news this week, Michelle Monaghan has signed on to join Shia “I Can’t Believe How Lucky I’ve Gotten With My Career” LaBeouf in Eagle Eye, a thriller that Disturbia’s D.J. Caruso is directing for DreamWorks. Monaghan will play a single mom who befriends LaBeouf when they are framed as terrorists and forced to join a cell that’s plotting a political assassination. I likes me some Monaghan, and she proved in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang that she can play tough and smart as well as sexy. (I can’t believe how dumb that felt to type.) Still, as always, there’s no way to know how the film will turn out this early in the process; maybe Caruso only works well when he’s ripping off Hitchcock.

Also, Christopher Walken and Alessandro Nivola have signed up to star in Five Dollars a Day, in which Walken will play a con artist who lives on $5 a day — which admittedly makes him sound like a terrible con man — and Nivola will play his son, who’s been jailed for one of his father’s crimes. Nivola is handsome and capable, but also manages to be largely forgettable in his roles; a check against IMDb is enough to remind me I’ve seen him in several films (including, believe it or not, Face/Off), but he didn’t stick in my head until Junebug. But Walken has now reached Shatnerian levels of self-parody, so much so that he’s now simply playing a version of himself, and I think I could stand to see him in a road movie like this one. It’s bound to be better than Click, anyway. The ThinkFilm movie begins production next month.

Finally, in this morning’s trailer watch we’ve got We Own the Night, a cops and robbers story set in the 1970s and starring Mark Wahlberg as a police officer and Joaquin Phoenix as his brother, who owns a seedy nightclub and slowly gets drawn into the world of organized crime. Sure, the plot line’s a little rote, but after The Departed, anything where Wahlberg wears a badge is fine by me:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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