The Word Garage

The Word Garage

Early Edition: Vin Diesel Becomes a ‘Machine’; Another ‘Carrie’ in the Air; More

We always knew that Vin Diesel was one mean machine — from Riddick to Dominic Toretto — and now the actor gets a chance to play one in the appropriately titled ‘The Machine.’ Diesel will play a human-like machine created in secrecy by the Pentagon to be the world’s first ultimate weapon. Some 20 years after it was decommissioned and buried, the machine is discovered, reactivated and befriended by a kid. When the government learns that the machine is back in operation, the ultimate weapon’s mission becomes to protect the family that is harboring him.

Production on the MGM film, which Diesel will also produce through his One Race Films, is scheduled to start in the fall. [Variety]

Holly Hunter was on our mind recently after two of her best outings, ‘Raising Arizona’ and ‘Broadcast News,’ aired on cable. Since ‘Saving Grace’ left the airwaves, however, we’ve heard little about her plans. According to Deadline, however, Hunter appears to have been busy lining up projects. Two to be exact. She’s signed a deal to star in ‘Still I Rise,’ joining Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal in a drama about the campaign by a teacher and mother to transform the quality of education in a Pittsburgh inner-city public school (Hunter will play a school union rep). And she’s in negotiations to star alongside Hailee Steinfeld in ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ a Julian Fellowes-scripted version of the Shakespearean tragedy directed by Carlo Carlei.

Do we need another movie version of ‘Carrie’? MGM and Screen Gems (which is a Sony label) think so; the companies are teaming for a new take on the Stephen King book. The original 1976 Brian DePalma film starred Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, John Travolta, Amy Irving and Nancy Allen in the scary tale of a shy, withdrawn high school girl who develops telekinetic powers that she uses to get even with the high school kids who ridicule her at the prom. Since that time, there was a stage musical, a lame 1999 sequel (‘Carrie 2: The Rage’) and a 2002 TV movie. To get things off the ground, the studios have hired ‘Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark’ playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to write a new script. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Here’s an interesting pairing that has Oscar written all over it: Tommy Lee Jones has signed on to star with Meryl Streep and Steve Carell in ‘Great Hope Springs,’ a comedy-drama about a middle-aged couple (Streep and Jones) whose marriage is on the rocks after 30 years. Instead of divorcing, they go to an intensive weekend retreat in Great Hope Springs, where they meet a famed relationship guru (Carell) who tries to help them with their sex and marriage problems. The film, which is being prepped for an August start and late-2012 release, is being directed by David Frankel (‘The Devil Wears Prada’). [THR]

And, lastly, as we approach the weekend, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,’ which is opening in the States in more than 4,000 venues on Friday, has already taken in $18.5 million from 10 international territories on Wednesday (up from the $12.3 million that the third in the franchise took from 16 countries). Among the territories is Russia, which grabbed $5 million. By Sunday the film will have opened in 70 territories, including China. Domestically, ‘On Stranger Tides’ is tracking to open in the $90 million-$100 million range, behind ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ and ‘At World’s End.’ Still, that’s nothing to sniff at. Yo ho ho. [Variety]