The cast of the upcoming action flick The Great Wall is shaping up rather nicely, and although it sounds like a historical drama, the film is anything but. Matt Damon has joined the cast alongside Willem Dafoe, Pedro Pascal and a roster of notable Chinese stars in the film from acclaimed director Zhang Yimou and Legendary Pictures, the folks who brought you Godzilla.
According to Variety, Damon is the latest to join the cast of the upcoming film, which also stars Willem Dafoe and Game of Thrones favorite Pedro Pascal. The Great Wall is being helmed by Zhang Yimou, known for his previous films The House of Flying Daggers and The Flowers of War. The trio of English-speaking stars are joined by Chinese actors Andy Lau, Jing Tian, Zhang Hanyu, Eddie Peng, Lu Han, Lin Gengxin, Zheng Kai, Chen Xuedong, Huang Xuan and Wang Junkai.
Henry Cavill and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Benjamin Walker were previously in talks to join the film back when The Last Samurai director Ed Zwick was attached.
The film is set in 15th century China and centers on a group of soldiers who stumble upon the famous Great Wall during its construction. It’s not long before the soldiers learn that the wall isn’t just being built to protect the Chinese from invading Mongol warriors, but to protect them from a far more dangerous threat: ancient monsters.
Max Brooks (World War Z) wrote the script for the upcoming film, which is being touted as the biggest production to ever shoot entirely in China. The Great Wall will hit theaters sometime in 2016.
Interesting article from Mental Floss:
On its release in 1997, the film Good Will Hunting proved to be a sizeable hit. It also garnered several Oscar nominations, with the late Robin Williams picking up a Best Supporting Actor gong.
Also taking home Oscar gold for the movie were then-debutant screenwriters Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Their script earned them an Academy Award apiece, but whilst they’d had a lot of interest in their work, it was proving tricky to get someone to properly commit.
Not that there was a lack of interest. Damon and Affleck had several studios involved, and several were making offers to the pair. Yet they opted to go with Miramax, then run – with his brother – by producer Harvey Weinstein.
So why did they choose him over a big studio? Weinstein appeared on The Graham Norton Show in the UK last week, and explained all.
“Everyone in Hollywood wanted Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and the film”, he recalled to Norton. “In the meeting with them, I said ‘I only have one really big note on the script. About page 60, the two leads, both straight men, have a sex scene. What the hell is that?'”
And that was a good question.
For there was method to Affleck and Damon’s madness. “That’s the scene”, they explained to Weinstein, “we wrote to see if guys like you read the script, because every studio executive we went to hadn’t read it. You’re the only guy who brought it up, so you get the movie”.
Good Will Hunting would go on to gross over $200m worldwide, reportedly costing just $10m to make.
With Paul Greengrass set to direct again
The Bourne Reunion is officially official (though it’s not called The Bourne Reunion that we know of). E! News tracked Matt Damon down to a red carpet in Hollywood this weekend, and he’s confirmed that he and Paul Greengrass will indeed both return for a new outing of the action franchise.
“Yes, next year,” Damon told E!’s team. “It’ll be in 2016 when the movie will actually come out. Paul Greengrass is going to do another one and that’s all I ever said. I just needed him to say yes.” Damon was out promoting the new series of his filmmaking competition reality show Project Greenlight that is returning to US cable channel HBO.
And the news was initially brought up by Damon’s pal and Greenlight collaborator Ben Affleck, who was asked to compare their muscle tone given his recent Bat-workouts: “Well, Matt’s going to be doing a Bourne movie next fall when I’ve just completely lost any semblance of physical fitness…”
Damon and Greengrass have said on the record that they had no plans to revisit a story they felt they had already told. But then, they have both also mooted a potential return if the right script could be written and they could work together again, and that is the case now. With Damon’s comments, it appears the new Jason Bourne-focused film will indeed inherit the July 15, 2016 release slot that had been handed to the Bourne Legacy follow-up that Justin Lin is developing to direct.
New Project for Matt and Ben!
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are setting their sights on cable.
The duo, via their Pearl Street Films, are developing drama Incorporated for Syfy, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Incorporated is described as a futuristic espionage thriller set in a world where corporations have seemingly unlimited power. The drama will be the story of one man’s efforts to beat the system.
Brothers David and Alex Pastor (Selfless, The Last Days) will pen the pilot, which hails from CBS Television Studios and Pearl Street. Ted Humphrey (The Good Wife) will serve as showrunner and executive producer, via his overall deal with the studio. Damon, Affleck and Pearl Street president Jennifer Todd are also attached to executive produce. Pearl Street creative executive Margaret Chernin is on board as associate producer.
For Pearl Street, Incorporated marks the shingle’s first scripted cable foray and second scripted overall. Last year, Fox handed out a pilot order to drama The Middle Man, with Affleck set to direct. The project was rolled to accommodate Affleck’s film commitment to Batman v. Superman. The company is currently producing HBO’s revival of Project Greenlight and is in preproduction on feature Live by Night, which was written and directed by leading man Affleck.
For Syfy, Incorporated arrives as the NBCUniversal-owned cable network is focusing more on science fiction fare a la Battlestar Galactica. The cabler has a roster of new dramas including Dominion, Ascension, 12 Monkeys, Olympus, Z Nation, The Expanse and Hunters joining returning series Defiance, Haven and Helix, among others.
Affleck, who currently stars in Gone Girl — the country’s No. 1 movie for two weeks in a row — is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham. Damon is also with WME and Ziffren Brittenham. The Pastor brothers are with WME and Kaplan/Perrone. Humphrey is with WME, Industry Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson.
New Bourne movie? Yes, please! Via Deadline:
DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Jason Bourne is coming back. Universal Pictures has begun making deals with Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass to reunite for their third film in The Bourne Identity series, sources tell me. This is an absolute stunner — and Universal would not comment nor would the reps — because Greengrass told Deadline as recently as last year that once Bourne regained his memory, there was no place else for the character to go creatively. His search formed the spine for the trilogy Damon starred in.
Well, they’ve figured it out. I’m told that the studio is so bullish on this that the intention is to make the reteam the next Bourne film to go into production to make the July 16, 2016, release slot that Universal had previously assigned to an untitled Bourne film. That means it would step in front of the spinoff sequel that is to reprise Jeremy Renner and be directed by Fast & Furious architect Justin Lin. That film, which began with the Tony Gilroy-directed The Bourne Legacy, remains in development. I thought its premise— Renner plays one of several genetically altered assassins, all of whom are targeted for death — was smart and satisfying on its own. Universal intends to continue that series and to broaden its franchise base, much the way that Marvel cranks out superhero films. The Bourne Legacy was a good start to a new franchise, but Jason Bourne is a hard act to follow. Now, franchise-hungry Universal has both of them. Lin can probably use the time, as he signed on to direct the second season of the HBO series True Detective.
I saw The Equalizer as it premiered in Toronto, and it reminded me of The Bourne Identity, in that both are sophisticated adult thriller franchises where the protagonists are capable of high-action exploits but aren’t running around in spandex. Even though I could not get corroboration, I am confident enough to say that, probably very soon, these deals will all be done and that fans will be pretty happy to have Bourne back.
Both Damon and Greengrass are perpetually busy. Damon next stars for Ridley Scott in The Martian, and Greengrass has several projects percolating, most recently circling at Fox The Ballad Of Richard Jewell, the story of the security guard at the Atlanta Olympics who uncovered a suspicious backpack and cleared the crowd away from a park before it exploded, only to be vilified as a possible terrorist in the advent of the 24-hour news cycle. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are going to star in that one, and Captain Phillips scribe Billy Ray has penned the script. Damon’s repped by WME, Greengrass by CAA.
The last time Matt Damon and director Kenneth Lonergan worked together, the result was the well-regarded Margaret, which got stuck in release limbo for years as producers and financiers argued over its future. They’ll be hoping for an easier time of it on their next collaboration, Manchester-By-The-Sea.
Lonergan is working from a script he wrote that finds Damon as a plumber living in Boston who returns home to the titular town when he learns his brother has died. He’s landed with the responsibility of caring for his 16-year-old nephew, but a dark family tragedy from the past comes back to haunt him.
With Ender’s Game backers OddLot Entertainment providing the cash to make the film, Lonergan has worked quickly on this one, ramping up pre-production ready to kick off shooting in a month or so. Damon will be fitting the role into his schedule before he heads off to work on Ridley Scott’s sci-fi drama thriller The Martian, which itself is now recruiting the rest of the cast. Last on screen in The Monuments Men, Damon will next show up as part of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which lands on November 7.
It’s become almost a yearly occurrence in the entertainment world to report on the possibility of Matt Damon returning to the Bourne franchise. To be truthful, who can really blame people for looking forward to the hint of another adventure with Jason Bourne, as the original trilogy spanned throughout almost a decade long reign of consistently intelligent espionage and fast-paced adrenaline. So it will come as no surprise to anyone that Matt Damon has gone on record yet again to say that he is open to the return of Jason Bourne, so long as Paul Greengrass comes back with him.
CNBC recently had Matt Damon on their CNBC Meets program, and as you’ll see in the interview above with host Tania Bryer, the keys to bringing him back to the table are the right story and Paul Greengrass. Mr. Damon threw in the following statement, so as to hedge his bets:“It felt like such a good way to end it the last time, but having said that I love that character… and I’d love to see what happened to him.”
While Matt Damon has always said that the story of the trilogy wrapped itself up with the end of Jason Bourne’s search for who he really was, it doesn’t seem like he’d have a problem getting into gear again to find out what happens to the man who knows everything he’s ever wanted. Come to think of it, any idea that brought him and Paul Greengrass to the table would be infinitely better than a continuation of the usually stellar Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy.
Between the film’s attempt at tying into The Bourne Ultimatum and adding yet another clandestine program gone horribly wrong, the film proved that if the Bourne series is going to even have a shot at a legacy, it’s best we just forget that the first attempt to continue it even existed. No offense against Jeremy Renner, but the Bourne franchise is, and should always will be a Matt Damon affair. If Paul Greengrass is required, then Universal would smart to trying and re-acquire Mr. Greengrass’ Memphis project as a gesture of good faith. While fast tracking its production and funding it in, the studio could exchange that favor for the next Bourne picture.
Of course, the best strategy would be for Universal to offer a “one for us, one for you” package that ensures a trilogy out of both Damon and Greengrass, as well as three other side projects that are also relevant to their interests. As long as they can come up with the right story, we could be set for another thrilling decade of Jason Bourne, and (if they can figure out how to integrate him properly) Aaron Cross.
“Shield” creator Shawn Ryan is one of the writers that will be tackling the adaptation of the Ed Brubaker comic.
Sleeper, Warner Bros.’ long in-development adaptation of the Ed Brubaker DC Comics/Wildstorm comic, is waking up once more.
Originally being developed as a vehicle for Tom Cruise with Sam Raimi and Josh Donen producing, Sleeper will now be produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Jennifer Todd.
Additionally, Shawn Ryan, creator of the acclaimed cop drama The Shield, and David Wiener, a writer and playwright whose credits include AMC’s gritty cop show The Killing, are attached to write the screenplay.
Sleeper, which ran from 2003-05 and had art by Sean Phillips, centers on an operative whose fusion with an alien artifact makes him impervious to pain and allows him to pass it on to others through skin contact. He is placed undercover in a villainous organization by an intelligence agency and falls for a member of the group, named Miss Misery.
The comic featured characters from WildC.A.T.S. and Gen 13.
After a heated bidding war, one of the highest-profile comedy packages this season Tom Papa CBS Comedy Pilot – a half-hour starring comedian Tom Papa that boasts Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as executive producers and Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith as co-writers — has landed at CBS with a put pilot commitment. 20th Century Fox TV is producing.
Based on the stand-up of Papa and the experiences of Damon, the multi-camera comedy, titled More Time With Family, centers on a guy (Papa) who changes his career and gives up a life on the road to spend more time at home with his family — but when he gets there, he realizes no one asked him to do that. The project originated with Papa and Damon who had worked together on two movies, The Informant and Behind The Candelabra. They teamed with Damon’s childhood friend and frequent collaborator Affleck, whose company, Pearl Street Films, is making a big push in television. The three met with a number of writers, going with Yuspa and Goldsmith and setting up the project at 20th TV where the scribes are under an overall deal. Damon and Affleck will executive produce through Pearl Street along with Papa, Yuspa, Goldsmith and 3 Arts’ Dave Becky and Josh Lieberman. This marks Pearl Street’s second TV sale and second big commitment — the company also has crime drama The Middle Man at Fox, which has a pilot order with Affleck directing and Glenn Gordon Caron writing.
Affleck and Damon were previously partnered in LivePlanet, which produced several TV shows in the early 2000s, including drama Push, Nevada and docu series Project Greenlight. In addition to his successful stand-up career, Papa, repped by ICM Partners, 3 Arts and Del, Shaw, Moonves, previously co-created and toplined the 2004 NBC comedy series Come To Papa. Last season, The King Of Queens alums Yuspa and Goldsmith, repped by ICM Partners, wrote and executive produced the NBC comedy pilot The Gates. Oscar winners Affleck and Damon are with WME.
The film will hit theaters in early 2014.
George Clooney’s The Monuments Men has been pushed to the first quarter of 2014, The Hollywood Reporter confirms.
The World War II drama from Sony Pictures was slated to open in Dec. 18, but will instead hit theaters early next year. The Los Angeles Times first reported the news.
The film centers on a group of art historians and museum curators charged with rescuing art treasures taken by the Nazis.