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Dead-man cop movie 'R.I.P.D.' tries to come alive

August 5, 2010 |  8:01 pm

The Dark Horse comic "R.I.P.D." would seem like perfect movie fodder: It's popular, it involves juicy  crimes and concerns people long dead who are still able to dole out justice. Oh, and Ryan Reynolds, he of rapidly growing fanboy credibility, is attached to star in it.

Universal, which has a deal with the publisher, thinks it's a good idea too, and has been trying fervently to get the movie going. The film, whose title stands for Rest In Peace Department, centers on two dead cops with dark secrets who patrol the underworld.

RipdBut the last few weeks has seen the kind of action befitting, well, a comic book. The entertainment site Pajiba notes today that McG has been circling and could shoot the film after his current romantic comedy, "This Means War."

At one point little more than a week ago, it actually looked like McG could make "R.I.P.D." as his next movie. He liked the property, and he, producers, the studio and Reynolds were all simpatico.

But then the rain turned to a deluge. After weeks of uncertainty, Fox decided to make "This Mean War." McG, who has long made "War" a priority, couldn't put it aside for  "R.I.P.D.," so he went immediately to begin prepping the Sam Worthington-Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy.

That puts Universal and producer Neal Moritz back to the director drawing board (there had been talk of Rawson Marshall Thurber early on, but he's is out of the picture, as is the initial director, David Dobkin, who at most will produce). The studio could still wait until McG frees up and shoot the movie sometime next summer. But we hear it's eager to get moving and could well begin the hunt for a new director now, with the idea of shooting in the winter.

Then again, there's really no need to rush it. From what we hear there may not be a shooting script, and Reynolds' schedule is an issue too. (With "Green Lantern" about to wrap, he looks to shoot buddy comedy "The Change-Up" and Robert Rodriguez's "Deadpool" -- that one is looking very likely -- over the coming months, and also has to go out to promote "Lantern" in the spring.) So he probably will have a quick slot at the beginning of 2011, and then not be free until late spring or summer.

Besides, this isn't exactly easy material -- it's dark but character-driven, and having a star and director get along may be more important than getting it going a few months earlier. Would still be pretty great to see it hit the screen, though, whenever it happens.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: RIPD. Credit: Dark Horse

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