Paul Greengrass to go dark with ‘Ness’
No, Paul Greengrass isn’t directing a movie about the Loch Ness Monster, but rather Prohibition-era agent Eliot Ness according to Deadline. Kevin Costner previously played Ness in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables. Ness is based off of Marc Andreyko’s graphic novel Torso, which is about Ness’ hunt for America’s first serial killer.
You may be asking yourself, isn’t this material perfect for David Fincher? The answer is yes and he attempted to adapt Torso for many years at Paramount to no avail. He’s currently busy with another property about FBI agents hunting serial killers (Mindhunter for Netflix), so Paramount moved on and has hired Greengrass.
Paramount is hoping to start a franchise (Of course) with Torso and they aim to start filming this fall. Greengrass seems like a great choice for the material. He’s dabbled in both real-life drama (United 93, Captain Philips) and action (Bourne), but he’s never tackled crime.
The comic takes place between 1934 and 1938. Costner is obviously too old to play the role, but it will be interesting to see who they cast. Costner played Ness like a real-life version of Batman in The Untouchables. Ness was the definition of incorruptible and his drive to take down Al Capone was heroic, but ultimately uninteresting. Hopefully Greengrass and screenwriter Brian Helgeland add more layers to Ness for this iteration.
Paramount’s idea to turn this into a franchise reeks of desperation. If Live By Night taught us anything, it’s that audiences don’t really have an interest in fedora-wearing/Prohibition-era crime stories on the big screen. Paramount doesn’t have a superhero property and they’re milking Transformers for all its worth, so they need something.
Bring on a Greengrass-led crime story about hunting serial killers! But could we focus on one movie before thinking about sequels and franchises?
Jeremy Renner Won’t Appear in ‘Mission: Impossible 6’
Remember when Jeremy Renner as a leading man was a thing? Following terrific performances in both The Hurt Locker and The Town, Renner was suddenly getting one franchise after another at the start of this decade.
He was cast as Hawkeye in Thor eventually leading up to The Avengers and he was tasked with following in Matt Damon’s footsteps in The Bourne Legacy. It hasn’t really worked out. He was relegated as a side character in Avengers leaving many fans to wonder when the character would be killed off and Bourne Legacy failed to wow audiences resulting in Universal eventually returning to Damon in Jason Bourne.
But even before those two high-profile properties, Renner was going to be the man to take over Mission: Impossible. Tom Cruise’s star had faded at the end of the last decade following a number of bizarre television appearances and his involvement in Scientology, and Paramount was looking for someone else.
Insert Renner’s William Brandt character. He was introduced in Ghost Protocol as a mysterious agent with a dark past. But the film was a massive success which lead Paramount to essentially hand the keys back over to Cruise.
Renner was still an interesting dynamic in the franchise. He essentially acted as a moral compass for the team. His constant questioning of the missions actually added to the drama.
But according to Showbiz411, Renner will not be appearing in Mission: Impossible 6 due to scheduling conflicts with Avengers: Infinity War. It doesn’t look like Paramount is going to miss him either as they have cast Henry Cavill in a major role.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Renner’s character shows up again in future installments (They brought back Ving Rhames), but fans of the actor will have to settle for Hawkeye again.
Joss Whedon to Write and Direct Batgirl Movie
Just when we thought Joss Whedon had had enough of superheroes after his notoriously exhausting time working on Avengers: Age of Ultron, he’s been pulled back in.
According to Variety, Whedon is close to a deal to write, produce and direct a standalone Batgirl movie for DC. The plot is still unknown, but according to the story in Variety, “The project will also feature other characters from the world of Gotham.”
Whether “other characters” is Ben Affleck’s Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman or anyone else already featured in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) remains to be seen.
There doesn’t seem to be a better fit for Batgirl than Whedon. He’s built his career off of strong female characters beginning with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and continuing with Dollhouse. He also wrote a Wonder Woman script many moons ago that unfortunately didn’t get made.
The big question is, what will the tone be? Whedon fit perfectly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) thanks to his signature fun and snappy dialogue. But the DCEU has gone the opposite route by going much darker thanks to Zack Snyder.
Perhaps Whedon can breathe some much-needed light into the DCEU while also maintaining the darker esthetic already established.