24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Television

The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and several of his affected relatives

June 28, 2010 |  5:13 pm

  Unc
Fans of the 1960s television series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." were buoyed when, several months ago, a long-gestating  big-screen version of the show gained some  momentum at Warner Bros.

To update the playfully droll Cold War program about a Russian and an American agent who work together to fight an evil agency, the studio had brought on a new writer (an up-and-comer named Max Borenstein) and, according to numerous reports, also had a director on board (David Dobkin, best known as the filmmaker behind "Wedding Crashers" and, at one point in its development, the director of "Cop Out").

Now, "U.N.C.L.E." is picking up more speed -- of a sort. Borenstein has turned in his script (which is said to be a commercial action thriller with some comedic touches, but not the other way around) and the studio likes it and wants to move forward, according to sources. But Dobkin, it turns out, will only produce, not direct, which has led the studio to intensify its search for a director.

The company recently went out to Doug Liman to direct "U.N.C.L.E.," with the idea that the director of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" would be a good candidate to take on another action thriller with lighthearted moments, as the new U.N.C.L.E. reads. Warner Bros. has long been high on Liman, who already has a packed schedule at the studio -- he's on the company's new "Three Musketeers" movie (probably on the backburner) and the hot graphic novel adaptation "All You Need Is Kill" (very much on the frontburner). But sources say that the studio and producers liked him just the same for "U.N.C.L.E." and that Liman, in turn, was intrigued by the idea -- but decided he probably wouldn't take the gig.

So now the studio needs a director again. Given that there are several filmmakers in the Liman mold -- directors who can handle big scenes with a comedic touch --  you wouldn't necessarily think it would be hard to find a worthy candidate. And given how interested they are in making this one, it may not be that long before they hire him. After the sputtering of lighthearted action movies such as "Killers" and "Knight and Day," though, that person may just want to stay out of romantic territory.

-- Steven Zeitchik

http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Credit: NBC

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An 'Office' director blooms into film

June 3, 2010 | 12:41 pm

Office

EXCLUSIVE: It's rare for a seasoned television director to make the leap into feature film. But there's nothing ordinary about the story of "Late Bloomer," the tale of a man who only begins hitting puberty as an adult.

Randall Einhorn, a veteran TV director who has done some heady work on shows such as "The Office," "Modern Family" and "Parks and Recreation," is making just such a leap. Einhorn has been hired by Alcon Entertainment to direct "Late Bloomer," a dramatization of the real-life story and memoir of Hollywood journalist Ken Baker.

Baker's tome, "Man Made," is about a rare condition that caused him not to go through the normal paces of puberty as a teenager; in fact, as his body produced a female hormone, he had many female characteristics, including lactaction. At age 27, he had surgery that finally corrected the problem and brought on the onset of puberty (not to mention numerous female conquests).

Although the book has the hallmarks of a drama (sometimes outlandishly so), the script, from Joe Nussbaum with a rewrite by Paul Kaplan and Mark Torgrove ("Just Shoot Me!," Spin City," a "Marvin the Martian" movie), will play up comedic elements too. Think "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," only here the stunted adolescence is developmental.

Alcon, which produced the 2009 hit "The Blind Side," is committed to making the film, with Warner Bros., per their agreement with the company, scheduled to release the movie next August.

As for Einhorn, he joins the ranks of a rare group. Originally a cinematographer who helped create the look of the American "Office," the 46-year-old segued into directing television shows (he also counts shows as diverse as "Survivor" -- for which he has been nominated for Emmys -- and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" among his credits).

Einhorn is swimming against the current -- television series now frequently hire feature directors, but it's unusual for a director go the other way ("He's Just Not That Into You" director Ken Kwapis is one of the few to do it). But then, it's never too late to bloom. Just ask the protagonist of Einhorn's new film.

--Steven Zeitchik

http://twtter.comZeitchikLAT

Photo: Steve Carell and the rest of the cast of "The Office." Credit: NBC


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'Arrested Development' movie not dead yet, says Jason Bateman

April 16, 2010 |  4:46 pm

Asdf Fans of the beloved late television series "Arrested Development" let out a collective shriek last week when one of the former show's stars, David Cross, said in an interview that a rumored movie based on the show is "just not going to happen."

"I mean, there's so many people involved. Everyone's doing their own thing, you know. And everybody's aged. It's just not going to happen," Cross told TVSquad.com.

Not so fast, says Jason Bateman, who starred in the program as a widower at the center of an eccentric family.

"David says that it's dead, but it's not dead at all," Bateman said in an interview Friday while promoting "The Switch," a romantic comedy out in August in which he costars with Jennifer Aniston. "[Show creator] Mitch Hurwitz is busy shooting a new pilot with Will Arnett, and perhaps when they're done shooting and editing and he's delivered that, perhaps he'll jump into writing the script. Once the script is done, it goes to the studio and they decide if it's a script they want to make, and the actors will decide if they want to be in it."

Which is all to say?

"It's a long process. But it could happen and it's still in everybody's plans for it to happen."

As for Cross' remarks, Bateman thinks his former costar's words may have been blown out of proportion.

"I think he was simply saying, 'Who knows?' He wasn't saying anything definitive, but a lot of people with blogs and whatnot, in the interest of making a splash headline, stretched things a bit."

-- Amy Kaufman

Follow me on Twitter.

Photo: Jeffrey Tambor, left, and Jason Bateman in "Arrested Development." Credit: F. Scott Schafer / Fox


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