Aardman Reuniting with Studiocanal for Cave Man Animation ‘Early Man’ 0 10

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They’re the undisputed kings of stop-motion animation, having brought us the likes of Wallace & Gromit, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists! and this year’s Shaun the Sheep Movie, and now we know what Aardman Animations’ next project will be.

Teaming up again with their European Shaun the Sheep Movie partners Studiocanal, Variety reports Aardman Studios is currently working on a stop-motion animation centered around the ancient world of cave man entitled, quite appropriately, Early Man. Animation fans will immediately think of the 2013 hit The Croods but the fact that this will be done in a hand-crafted style will easily set it apart.

Fans of the studio will be delighted to hear Nick Park himself will be directing the film (his first since the Oscar-winning The Curse of the Were-Rabbit), working from a script by Mark Burton and John O’Farrell (Chicken Run).

Allowing Park to develop a new motley crew of characters, here in a dramatic prehistoric world when dinosaurs and wooly mammoths roamed the earth, “Early Man” tells the tale about how a plucky caveman unites his tribe against a mighty enemy and saves the day.

Additionally, Deadline reports the plot will focus specifically on the world’s first game of football (soccer to our American readers), with a pre-World Cup 2018 release being eyed by the partnering studios. We can expect our first look at artwork from the film when it’s revealed at Cannes to entice buyers. Studiocanal will be hoping to replicate their child-friendly box office success that they had with last year’s brilliant Paddington.

I’m very excited to be making this film with such great partners – StudioCanal and BFI,” said Park. “And with the support of the incredible team at Aardman – bringing this inept bunch of cavemen to life is going to be a hilarious adventure.

Needless to say Aardman are masters at traditional stop-motion animation and they even showed with Shaun the Sheep Movie that they could make an entirely dialogue-free film just as delightful and hilarious as their other, talkier works. Perhaps they will be utilizing some of that ‘Shaun’ skill with Early Man, considering – if they stick to historical accuracy – early men didn’t talk!

Sources: Variety, Deadline

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I'm a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features. I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Vincent Cassel To Play Villain in Next ‘Bourne’ Film 0 11

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After a fourth Bourne film in which Jason himself was conspicuous by his absence, things are returning to the old but brilliant formula of Matt Damon starring and Paul Greengrass directing.

We already know that in addition to Damon returning (rejoice!), Tommy Lee Jones and woman-of-the-moment Alicia Vikander are part of the cast, playing a tough CIA operative and (presumed) love interest, respectively, as well as Julia Stiles reprising her small but crucial role as Bourne helper Nicky Parsons. But now we’re getting word that one of the best French actors in the business is also joining the cast.

Variety has the news that the wonderful Vincent Cassel has signed on to the spy action sequel as its main villain, which will see him match wits and possibly even go toe-to-toe go with the former amnesiac hero. Although exact plot details are being kept secret for the time being, sources are saying that Cassel will play an assassin tracking Bourne. No doubt he will tie in with the Treadstone/Blackbriar history of the Bourne mythology – maybe he’ll be a scorned fellow assassin who feels Bourne somehow wronged him/was chosen ahead of him.

The series has a pedigree of casting great actors as assassins, whether it be Clive Owen in The Bourne Identity, Karl Urban in Supremacy, Edgar Ramirez in Ultimatum and Oscar Isaac in Legacy.

I was already looking forward to the return of the Damon-Greengrass team but the addition of Cassel – genuinely one of my favourite actors of modern times – only makes me wish next summer would get here sooner.

The as-yet-untitled Bourne sequel is set to start shooting this year for a July 29th, 2016 release date.

Source: Variety

Kenneth Branagh To Direct Disney’s ‘Artemis Fowl’ Movie 0 17

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An adaptation of the mega successful 2001 book Artemis Fowl, and its subsequent series, has been in the works for quite a while now, with mega producer Harvey Weinstein having acquired the rights and tried to get it made for almost 15 years.

After some flipping and flopping on who exactly owns the rights (Disney acquiring Weinstein’s Miramax a decade ago put the brakes on the project), it now appears that things are finally moving forward with the long-awaited big-screen version and it’s being reported that Sir Kenneth Brannagh has been locked down to direct.

Tracking-Boarding has the exclusive on the news on the project, which has intriguingly been described as “Harry Potter meets Die Hard.” That’s just a gift to the people who will end up marketing this thing to the masses. Brannagh appears like the perfect director for it, having just come off a huge success with the $542 million-grossing Cinderella. He will also produce alongside Weinstein.

If you don’t know already, here’s the story of Artemis Fowl as reported on TR:

It follows the brilliant and cunning 12-year-old eponymous criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl II, whose cunning plot to extort gold from the secret Fairy People puts him directly in the cross-hairs of some of the most dangerous creatures on earth. Over the series, Fowl becomes a sort of anti-hero rather than a full-fledged villain, often having to work together with the fairies to stop a slew of treacherous megalomaniacs.

The original draft of the Artemis Fowl script was written by Michael Goldenberg, who wrote 2003’s version of Peter Pan as well as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, one of the most action-packed installments in the wizarding franchise (in which Brannagh, of course, starred himself). Variety has extra info on this announcement stating that Irish playwright Conor McPherson is in talks to write a new draft. As for the lead character himself, is it just me or does the above artwork make him look spookily like the kid who play Bruce Wayne on Gotham?

The recent successful pate of YA fantasy stories like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner – not to mention the sure-to-be-successful upcoming Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – is probably a major contributing factor in Artemis Fowl finally getting the kickstart in needed. I have to admit I haven’t read the source books but after Harry Potter came to an end, it seems time for another all-encompassing cinematic fantasy phenomenon to come along.

Before he gets to Artemis Fowl, however, Branagh will be working on the recently announced remake of Murder on the Orient Express. He also has a drama called Italian Shoes, with Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench.

Sources: Tracking-Board and Variety