'Hot Wheels' Movie Puts Director Simon Crane In The Driver's Seat

By Charles Webb

After what The Hollywood Reporter describes as months of negotiations, Simon Crane has signed on to direct a "Hot Wheels" movie based on the Mattel line of die-cast toy cars.

Crane beat out "28 Weeks Later" director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo in the latest attempt at jump-starting the nascent "Fast & the Furious" competitor, after previous attempts to bring the project at other other studios (Columbia, Warner Bros.) and other directors (McG) stalled out.

"Hot Wheels" joins "Gran Turismo" and the upcoming Aaron Paul vehicle "Need For Speed" as attempts to catch up to Universal's seemingly unstoppable "Fast" franchise. Across six movies, they've earned nearly a billion dollars for the studio since Vin Diesel and Paul Walker first glowered at each other across the hood of a muscle car with 2001's "Fast and the Furious."

If you thought a "Hot Wheels" movie would offer some good, family fun, you've got another think coming: The script,
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Red Chillies and Anurag Kashyap Films part of Toronto International Film Festival’s Asian Summit

The Toronto International Film Festival revealed more details about its planned Asian Summit, which takes place on Monday, September 10th, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto. It was no secret that the guests of honour would include internationally renowned actor, director and producer Jackie Chan, and it was revealed today that Harvey Weinstein, co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company, will act as the Mc for the summit’s closing banquet.

The aim of the Asian summit is to provide programming that explores the relationship between East and West, by bringing together industry experts and specialists. “In a year when our Opening Night Gala Looper is a Us-China co-production, we’re pleased to provide a platform in Toronto for industry leaders in both Asia and the West to get to know one another better. It will be an honour to be in the room as people like Senator Dodd, Ashok Amritraj, Bill Kong,
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‘Safe’ Trailer: Jason Statham vs. the World

There now seems to be an unofficial rule that at least a handful of action-packed flicks that star Jason Statham (or feature him in some capacity) must be released on an annual basis.

Case in point: this year, the brawny star appeared in The Mechanic, Blitz, and Killer Elite. In 2012, he is slated to show up in Parker, Echelon, The Expendables 2 and Safe, another hyper-kinetic shoot-em-up romp that features Statham playing (what else) a virtually invincible modern-day warrior.

Statham stars in Safe as Luke Wright, a former elite agent who haphazardly encounters a young Chinese girl named Mei (Catherine Chan) when she is pursued by a pack of thugs on the New York subway. After rescuing Mei, Wright discovers that she is a prodigy who has discovered and memorized a secret code wanted by not ...

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Jason Statham exits Andy McNab's 'Echelon' movie

Jason Statham exits Andy McNab's 'Echelon' movie
Jason Statham has dropped out of starring in Echelon, the movie adaptation of Andy McNab's book Firewall. Expendables star Statham had been earmarked for the role of Sas agent Nick Stone in the movie, but McNab told Digital Spy that the action star is no longer available to take on the role. "That was originally what was going to happen, but he's just too committed," McNab said of Statham. "There are so many films he's got lined up, there wouldn't be a slot for him to do it." Asked if McNab had a replacement for Statham and a director lined up, he replied: "No. Basically there's three or four that have been flagged up, but they're still going through the process of reading scripts and all that. "Some directors will only deal through certain actors and certain actors (more)
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Philip Noyce to Remake ‘Bloodsport’

Philip Noyce to Remake ‘Bloodsport’
Yep, the headline says what you think it says. The 1988 Jean-Claude Van Damme film Bloodsport is going to be remade, and Philip Noyce, who last directed the rather silly film Salt, is going to be behind the camera. Screen Daily says the film will follow "an American who goes to Brazil to recover from the violence he has experienced in Afghanistan who gets involved in a martial arts contest." Robert Mark Kamen (Taken, Colombiana) will write, and that's probably a good thing -- he's been through the Luc Besson action wringer, and can probably turn out a serviceable script for something like this in his sleep. In a way, this isn't even a great surprise, as a few basic martial arts movie templates are used to power a good many fight films. Bloodsport's tournament setup is one of them. But a remake of one of those templates would traditionally
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Christina Hendricks, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber are Bleeders

Hollywood couple, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber are about to make another film together, reports Variety this week. The boxing drama follows real life athlete, “New Jersey heavyweight boxer, and womanizer, Chuck Wepner, who boxed 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali and inspired Sylvester Stallone to pen Rocky.” The film is simply called Bleeder. Yikes! Sounds kinda scary. Ha!

Watts and Schreiber are joined on the cast by Mad Men star Christina Hendricks. The film is shopping for buyers in Cannes as we speak, and has Jeff Feuerzeig as director.

Past projects of Naomi Watts include King Kong, The Painted Veil (where Schreiber portrays her lover), the gem Eastern Promises, The International, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, and Fair Game. Her partner’s recent films include Defiance, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Repo Men, and Salt. the couple have two children. Meanwhile, Hendricks recently appeared on Body of Proof and can be
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Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber cast in The Bleeder

Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber and Christina Hendricks have joined a boxing drama titled The Bleeder. Jeff Feuerzeig (The Devil and Daniel Johnston) is directing the film, which he co-wrote with Jerry Stahl. The Bleeder tells the "true story of former New Jersey heavyweight boxer and womanizer Chuck Wepner who boxed 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali and inspired Sylvester Stallone to pen Rocky."

The film is being produced by Mike Tollin and Carl Hampe, with Ashok Amritraj, Philip Fier and Matty Beckerman are serving as exec producers. Linda Zander's Maxar Pictures are financing the film which is being shopped at Cannes this week by Hyde Park International. Other films they are selling include: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 3D; spy thriller The Double, starring Richard Gere and Topher Grace; Jason Statham starrer Echelon; and Paul Rudd starrer Our Idiot Brother.

Watts and Schreiber are husband and wife in real-life so I am
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Lionsgate Schedules Jason Statham Actioner Safe for October 28

Lionsgate has scheduled Safe starring Jason Statham for release on October 28 where it faces Now and The Rum Diary in wide release.  Statham plays "a former elite agent who fights to rescue a 12-year-old girl." Catherine Chan plays the girl; Chris Sarandon, Robert John Burke, Reggie Lee, and Danny Hoch also star.  Boaz Yakin (Death in Love) directed from his own screenplay.  According to Variety, this is the first of a three-picture distribution between Lionsgate and Im Global -- the other two are Dredd and Protection, both dateless. Statham will next be seen in Blitz, which debuts overseas later this week -- no North American release date is currently scheduled.  Statham is also tapped to play a former Navy Seal The Killer Elite, and an ex-sas agent in both Echelon and The Expendables 2.
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Jason Statham Aims To Become ‘Parker’

Jason Statham clearly has no plans of abandoning the action/thriller genre any time soon. He’s all but guaranteed to return in next year’s The Expendables 2, looks to be the new lead in the globe-trotting thriller Echelon, and is now circling a role in an adaptation of Donald Westlake’s popular crime series, Parker.

Oscar-winner Taylor Hackford (Ray, The Devil’s Advocate) is already attached to direct and produce the film, based on a script penned by Black Swan co-screenwriter John J. McLaughlin.

The character Parker was created by the late Westlake, who – under the pseudonym Richard Stark – wrote a total of 24 novels that featured the criminal figure as their protagonist. Parker makes his living as a thief who is more than willing to commit murder if need be, but adheres to a strict code of honor that involves ...

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Simon Crane Climbs A "High Wire"

Veteran stunt coordinator Simon Crane is set to direct the independent New York-set thriller "High Wire" reports The Los Angeles Times.

James Solomon ("The Conspirator") penned the script which is said to have a strong emotional component, though story specifics were not forthcoming. Nick Saunders, a former assistant to Orlando Bloom, will produce. Crane will likely film the project after he makes his directing debut on the Europe-set, Jason Statham-led action thriller "Echelon".

Crane is famous for performing some of cinema's most famous stunts including the opening sequence bungee jump in "Goldeneye" and the plane-to-plane wire transfer in "Cliffhanger". He performed or co-ordinated stunts on such films "Titanic," "Saving Private Ryan," "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," "Batman," "Total Recall," "Aliens," "Alien 3," "Salt," "Elizabeth," "Braveheart," "The Mummy," "Vertical Limit," "Tomb Raider," "The Island," "Troy," "Willow" and several James Bond films from "A View to a Kill" through to
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Simon Crane Attached to Direct ‘High Wire,’ Penned by ‘The Conspirator’ Writer

Simon Crane Attached to Direct ‘High Wire,’ Penned by ‘The Conspirator’ Writer
Briefly: Simon Crane, long-time stunt coordinator, was once set to direct the troubled film Kane & Lynch. After cycling through a few directorial attachments, that production seems to have settled on F. Gary Gray as helmer. But Simon Crane has other films lined up now -- he's been working on one called Echelon, a Euro action thriller with Jason Statham. And now he is attached to High Wire, written by The Conspirator screenwriter James Solomon. This one seems to have a very different bent from The Conspirator, however. It is a thriller set in New York City with "a strong emotional component," per the La Times. Echelon will probably be shot first, the director says -- easier to get something going when International Action Star Jason Statham is already on board.
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Eric Bana Out, Jason Statham Eying Thriller 'Echelon'; Simon Crane To Direct

Eric Bana Out, Jason Statham Eying Thriller 'Echelon'; Simon Crane To Direct
We suppose it makes a bit of sense that Eric Bana's discarded projects will filter down to one-note actor Jason Statham, but it's still a bit of weird switch-up. Deadline reports that action hero Statham is now eying "Echelon," a project that Bana was in talks for last summer. The franchise potential project is based on the series of books written by Andy McNab about fictional Sas agent Nick Stone. The first book to be adapted, "Firewall," is actually the third in the series and will be retitled "Echelon," most likely to keep it from sounding like a lame internet…
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Jason Statham Circling ‘Echelon’ Thriller

Exclusive: Eric Bana was previously attached but now I've learned that action star Jason Statham is interested but hasn't signed yet. Hyde Park International will start selling the pic in Berlin. Echelon is based on the novel Firewall, the 3rd book in pseudonymous author Andy McNab's 13-book series. It will be the 3rd movie financed through the $250 million Hyde Park/Imagenation Abu Dhabi deal after Ghost Rider 2 and The Double. Simon Crane, stunt coordinator on The Tourist and Salt, will make his feature directing debut on this adaptation of the action thriller novel by bestselling novelist Andy McNab. Ashok Amritraj of Hyde Park Entertainment is producing alongside veteran casting agent Bonnie Timmermann (Public Enemies) and Steve Chasman, who’s worked with Statham ever since Transporter (2002). Statham would play Nick Stone, an Sas soldier who finds himself caught between the Russian Mafia and western secret agents trying to get
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Jason Statham may join Echelon, based on the Firewall novel.

Jason Statham may join Echelon, based on the novel Firewall, the 3rd book in Andy McNab's 13-book series. Deadline reports that Hyde Park International will start selling the film in Berlin. Echelon is based on the novel Firewall marks the feature directoring debut of Simon Crane, the stunt coordinator on The Tourist and Salt. Statham would play Nick Stone, an Sas soldier gets himself stuck between western secret agents and the Russian Mafia who are both trying to get their hands on the Echelon computer program. McNab, an ex-sas soldier, penned the bestselling non-fiction book Bravo Two Zero as well as creating a series of Young Adult Books...
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