October 11, 2007 | Comments ()

By Daniel Carlson | Trade News | October 11, 2007 |


I find myself in a weird position concerning Paramount’s upcoming Star Trek film in that I want it to be good and I expect it to be terrible. I guess the mindset isn’t that strange for someone who had decently high hopes (for a 9-year-old, anyway) going into Star Trek V, which took the dying-then-finding-yourself- then-saving-the-whales trilogy of Star Trek II-IV and scuttled it with an absolutely bizarre story about how Kirk basically arm-wrestles God into submission. (It should come as not much of a surprise that William Shatner came up with the story and also directed.) Anyway, the point is that the inner nerd in me, the scared little boy who will never stop being in elementary school and who knows that sometimes the needs of the many don’t outweigh the needs of the few, or the one — that little guy wants the new Star Trek movie to be fun, and adventurous, and full of all the lightweight melodrama and ridiculously utopian worldviews that other sci-fi franchises (mainly the new “Battlestar Galactica”) aren’t nearly stupid enough to try. So when I hear things like this week’s announcement that Eric Bana has been cast as the villain, I think, “Right on. Right frakking on.” But then I hear the rumor — still unconfirmed — that Chris Pine is in talks to play Captain Kirk, which makes we wanna take director J.J. Abrams by the lapel and shake him vigorously and ask why the guy who was second-billed to Lindsay Lohan in Just My Luck is maybe being considered to literally take the helm of the story’s resurrection. Pine’s sole credentials seems to be his eyes and jaw. Please tell me it’s not that easy. But Pine is also reportedly in negotiations to costar with George Clooney in White Jazz, Joe Carnahan’s adaptation of the James Ellroy novel, so who knows. All I can say is that the world-weary twentysomething that steers my ship most of the day is resigned to the fact that parts of this movie may be less than, well, good. But the kid in me, whose tastes I’ve since outgrown, nevertheless holds out hope.

And the news just keeps getting what-the-fuckier: Universal this week announced they’re giving the green light to Land of the Lost, which will indeed be based on the deeply misguided 1970s kids’ show about a family who drove through a canyon or something and ended up in the Mesozoic. The budget for the Will Ferrell comedy is being recalibrated from a frightening $125 million to an only slightly less insane $100 million in order to secure a start date of March 2008. Ferrell has been attached to the project for a while now, but Universal’s decision to speed up production essentially puts Ferrell out of the running for other films that are hoping to get started ahead of a potential writers’ strike that could happen in November. The film was written by Chris Henchy (“Spin City,” “Entourage”) and Dennis McNicholas (sadly, also of The Ladies Man) and is being directed by Brad Silberling. I pray with everything in me that “Lidsville” isn’t next in the pipeline.

For the Philip K. Dick fans in the audience (which is hopefully more than a few of you): The Halcyon Co. has acquired first-look rights for Dick’s works and is planning several TV projects and feature film adaptations to be made in conjunction with Electric Shepherd Productions, which represents Dick’s estate. Electric Shepherd’s Isa Hackett and Laura Leslie — Dick’s daughters — will work with Halcyon on some of the adaptations, which could include The Man in the High Castle, an alternative-history novel set in a world where the Axis won World War II, and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, which probably involves space travel. Halcyon’s deal gives them access to around 45 novels and 120 short stories, and they’re expected to announce soon which one or two projects will be first up, in hopes of securing a 2009 release.

Finally, this morning’s trailer watch features the new teaser for Jumper, a sci-fi actioner starring Hayden Christensen as a guy who can teleport himself anywhere and Samuel L. Jackson as the man who for some reason is sworn to stop him, probably while swearing loudly. It looks like the kind of movie you’d really enjoy on HBO on a lazy, laundry-filled Sunday afternoon:

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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