Welcome to The Morning Read.
Bruce Willis in "G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation"? Well, that's one way to grab some headlines. Word is that Willis is likely to step into the role of Joe Colton, the original G.I. Joe, which would mean this film's cast is pretty much a wall of macho man-meat at this point. Dwayne Johnson is bigger than ever before to play Roadblock, and Ray Stevenson's onboard as Firefly, meaning this is largely a reboot even though Paramount's treating it like a sequel. Willis and Johnson would be a big step up from Channing Tatum and one of the nine zillion Wayans, and it sounds to me like Jon M. Chu is doing everything he can to make his film rock.
Speaking of Paramount projects, some days, it's interesting just to watch something that starts small ripple its way around the Internet, picking up steam as it goes, until it finally erupts into something much larger than would have seemed possible from the way it started. I'm sure when Paramount put together their official synopsis for their upcoming "World War Z," they probably read it over a few times and felt good about how it sounded. It reads for maximum excitement, but the problem is, it doesn't really sound like it's describing "World War Z" at all. Here's what Paramount sent out:
“The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself. [Mireille] Enos plays Gerry’s wife Karen Lane; [Daniella] Kertesz is his comrade in arms, Segen.”
Now here's why Peter Hall calls them out on the most immediately obvious problem with that synopsis… it's totally wrong. I remember reviewing an early draft of the script by J. Michael Straczynski back at Ain't It Cool, and I loved that draft. In that, Gerry Lane was indeed the name given to the book's nameless protagonist, and it was meant to be a film about the process of collecting the stories for his oral history. If that's no longer the case, then Peter's right, and this really isn't "World War Z" anymore. It sounds like one of those cases where development has finally beaten the most interesting ideas out of the original material, replacing them with something more movie-star-friendly. Big mistake, and if this is an accurate synopsis, Paramount and Plan B have really dropped the ball on this one.
Speaking of zombies, this whole thing stinks on ice, man.
And speaking of oral histories, I love when good ones are put together regarding a particular TV show or movie, and GQ has gotten very good at them. Their latest is a great piece on "The Dana Carvey Show," which launched a number of careers, including some you may not realize. It's a really well-put-together piece.
Nice think-piece on the use of nudity on television, particularly in the cable realm.
No one has summed up the media "frenzy" surrounding "Watch The Throne" better than this.
You may laugh at this story, but it's already been optioned by Michael Bay and greenlit at a budget of $500 million.
"Braid" was a strange, beautiful, and even profound little gaming experience, and now the creator of that game, Jonathan Blow, is hard at work on "The Witness," which sounds very promising so far.
Okay… time for some "Black Dynamite." And, no, you cannot watch this at work. It's feeeeeelthy:
Veteran music producer Steve Albini is not a fan of Odd Future.
This isn't the sexiest story of the day, but it's a significant one. The use of Alembic, an open-source system that "helps VFX companies store and share complex animated scenes across facilities, regardless of what software is being used," should make a huge difference to giant films where there are numerous vendors working together on major sequences. "The Avengers," "Men In Black 3,' and "The Amazing Spider-Man" are already using the system, and I expect this will become an industry standard.
Hmmmmm… check out the date on this story. I'm sure this guy's theory is nonsense, though, right?
This presentation at QuakeCon won't mean much to you if you're not a video game fan, but for anyone eagerly awaiting "Skyrim," this is solid gold:
"The Fake Trailer Project," eh? I like that it's an online idea and not an anthology movie of nothing but trailers. Ben Stiller is spearheading this project through his Red Hour Digital company, and so far Justin Theroux, Tom Lennon & Ben Garant, and Amy Heckerling are all onboard to make their own trailers. No word yet on where these will be available, but it should be one per week for three months, starting sometime this fall.
This is wrong. This is so wrong that it makes no sense. This is wrong.
I've got a review coming for you soon of Ernest Cline's amazing new SF novel Ready Player One, and in the meantime, you should enjoy an excerpt of Wil Wheaton reading the audiobook version. Trust me… this novel is one of the geek events of the year.
I love it when filmmakers go after each other. So revealing.
This is a fascinating new approach to motion-capture, and I'm curious to see an actual test of it.
I miss Spy magazine, and now the people who made that magazine all miss Walter Monheit, who just passed away.
I think season two of "Louie" is even better than season one, and it feels to me like Louis CK is pushing the very definition of what a "comedy" is on television. Even when it doesn't totally work, the show is edgy, inspired, and inventive, and it leads to think pieces like this one. Not bad.
I've seen 360-degree shots of all sorts of environments, but post-bombing Hiroshima? Humbling.
This piece, in which David Haglund wrestles with his feelings about the work of the Coen Brothers, is what I wish more film criticism online was like. Personal, specific, well-argued even when I disagree completely. Good stuff.
Hey, at least Disney knows what they're making, right?
Finally, Paul Rudd has some ideas for how to sell his new movie, "Our Idiot Brother," and I think they're darn good ones:
On that note, I'm out for now. I've got a story I'm putting together for this afternoon that should make Stephen King fans sit up and take notice. And Harry Potter fans. That a good enough tease for you?
The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, except when it doesn't.