The Weekly Wrap-Up: March 1-7, 2009

The Weekly Wrap-Up: March 1-7, 2009

March definitely came in like a lion this year at Dread Central. We put up more news during the past week than in any recent period I can recall. Which is proof positive that despite the economic problems around the globe, the outlook for film projects — including those of the horror variety — is rosy and robust.

In fact, according to the Calgary Herald, February 2009 generated more than $770 million at the box office (with Friday the 13th and Coraline contributing $59 million and $59.5, respectively), which in adjusted dollars makes it the most lucrative February on record — ever. Those who work in the industry can take some comfort in the fact that five of the last seven financial crunches fueled big Hollywood business. So what can we expect from genre filmmakers in the near future to help stoke that movie biz boom?

  • It was cool to see a big name like Keira Knightley attached to “clone thriller” Never Let Me Go, but to me the real story is the pair of men behind this upcoming adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed novel: screenwriter Alex Garland and director Mark Romanek. Garland is a frequent collaborator of Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, Sunshine) and a respected author in his own right (The Beach). Romanek has had a rocky road since making the switch in 2002 from music videos to feature films with the impressive One Hour Photo. For various reasons none of his anticipated follow-ups, including The Wolf Man remake and the debunked “memoir” A Million Little Pieces, has panned out. Let’s hope he strikes gold with this one.

  • Talk about golden! Nothing helped me get through the past seven days like the two clips from long-haired giant monster Gehara that an alert reader pointed us in the direction of. You simply can’t be in a bad mood after watching them!

  • It seems we’ve been covering Zombieland for a long time without learning much about it, but thanks to Tony Gardner, who’s handling the effects on the film, we found out a few more details. He promised the goal is to be “real extreme” with his zombie designs and “balance the scares out with the comedy.” While star Woody Harrelson doesn’t go through the change, the lovely Amber Heard does … and winds up not so pleasing to look at as a member of the undead brigade.

  • But not to worry if you’re one of the boys who love Amber Heard. While we wait and wonder if her performance as Mandy Lane will ever be seen by more than the handful of people who managed to catch it during its festival run, she’s certainly not resting on her laurels. Along with Zombieland mentioned above, Amber will be teaming with Cloverfield‘s Odette Yustman in And Soon the Darkness, a remake of a 1970 British film about two young women bicycling through rural France who are targeted by a vicious killer (only now set in Argentina). I’m one of the few people on the planet who didn’t mind Odette and her panties in The Unborn so am rooting for both these ladies to show us what they can do given the right opportunity.

  • Someone who has more than shown what he can do is Joe Anderson. Honestly, I barely remember him in The Ruins; it was in Across the Universe where he caught my attention. But regardless of where you might know him from, Joe’s addition to the cast of the Crazies redux is good news. He, along with the previously announced Radha Mitchell and Timothy Olyphant, should do justice to Romero’s original provided Scott Kosar has given them a meaty enough narrative to work with.
  • Which bring us to the Woman’s Story of the Week: Mark Wahlberg Talks to Prisoners. Supposedly nearly every studio in Hollywood is in a bidding war over this Prisoners script, and somehow Wahlberg signed on before anyone else. Of all the actors out there working today, Wahlberg is nothing if not a mirror. He reflects the abilities of his director and screenwriter like nobody’s business. Think of him in Boogie Nights, Three Kings (my personal favorite), and The Departed. Then remember The Happening and Max Payne (I know; I’d rather not either). That’s why this story is so intriguing. Prisoners has been likened to Se7en, Silence of the Lambs, Gone Baby Gone — if any of these comparisons ring true, then Wahlberg could have a career resurgence on his hands. Hell, it’s set in Boston; just let Ben Affleck direct it, have brother Casey co-star, throw in a Matt Damon cameo, and you’re as golden as Chohatsu Daikaiju Gehara!

    Mark Wahlberg Talks to Prisoners

    Until next time …

    The Woman In Black

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