Tarantino is eyeing the Trek franchise — but he could be about to bury it.
Captain, I suggest we go to Red Alert. We’re detecting signs of a very bad idea just off the starboard bow.
Famed director Quentin Tarantino has apparently set himself on a collision course with the Star Trek franchise, according to a report by Deadline. The Hollywood trade site says Tarantino is keen to direct a Trek film and has discussed his idea with Trek producer J.J. Abrams; the pair are reportedly at the stage of assembling a writer’s room.
Is this likely to actually pan out in the long run? Possibly. Tarantino does know his Trek, and he and Abrams have worked together before (Tarantino guest-starred on Alias). Should it? Hell no.
Everyone has their own take on Tarantino, an unusually divisive filmmaker. Mine has cooled over the years as the director has done little but double down on his “blood-soaked revenge played for tense laughs” trope. I loved Reservoir Dogs when I first saw it; by the time I saw its warehouse standoff remade in cowboy cosplay as Hateful 8, I rolled my eyes.
But the one thing you can’t deny about Tarantino is that the worldview revealed through his movies is profoundly cynical. Might always makes right; if the good guys win, it’s because they were more violent than the bad guys and indulged their basest instincts.
Think of the scalp-taking soldiers of Inglourious Basterds — the lesson from that movie is torture is justified if the subject is sick and evil. Now imagine men in Federation uniforms scalping the Klingons.
This is total “darkest timeline” stuff. We’re officially in the mirror universe.
If there is a mindset further opposite of that of Gene Roddenberry, the man who created Star Trek, I can’t think of it.
Roddenberry was a profoundly hopeful believer in the essential goodness of man. Star Trek was founded in the notion that utopia is inevitable, given enough time. By the 23rd century of the show, disease, poverty, racism and all internal human strife has disappeared.
Roddenberry was a profoundly hopeful believer in the essential goodness of man
Replicators provide everything we could want, so money is unnecessary. There’s nothing left to fight over. That’s why the show and its heirs have almost always focused on the final frontier and humanity’s desire to come to terms with “strange new life” — because back on Earth, life is wonderfully perfect and dull.
Roddenberry took this notion too far in his later years, and the writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation chafed under his dictum that there shouldn’t ever be any conflict among the crew of the Enterprise. Still, the desire was to make the show a beacon of hope and reason, and this desire led to one of the best series on television.
Picard and his crew were truly noble, a word that seems to have fallen out of favor since then. They were thoughtful. They were just. They did things by the book and you could look up to them for that.
Star Trek is at its best when it embraces that nobility, and divides fans when it doesn’t. After Abrams rebooted Star Trek, in the appropriately named Into Darkness, we saw a Captain Kirk whose traditional hot-headedness had spilled over into smiting his enemies for the sake of smiting.
The almost-as-disappointing Star Trek Beyond handed the franchise to Justin Lin, who took it even further into action movie territory. Tarantino would seem to confirm the downward trend, drowning Star Trek in buckets of green blood.
But is that really what we need in 2017? When the planet seems further away than ever from a utopian future, don’t we need visions of that utopian future more urgently than ever? When the most powerful man in the world is a study in lawlessness, Tarantino’s self-interested anti-heroes are a galaxy away from the kind of idealism we miss in our movies.
Perhaps Tarantino wants to try something new; perhaps he wants to surprise us. Trek does have a way of rehabilitating cynical Hollywood men at the midlife crisis stage; just look at Seth Macfarlane’s surprisingly earnest Next Generation homage, The Orville.
But really, if Paramount and Abrams really want to try something new and edgy, how about this radical idea: pick an actual woman director for the next film. Given that Tarantino admitted that he ignored many direct warning signs about Harvey Weinstein for decades, he is doubly the wrong man at the wrong time for the right franchise.
Star Trek can help usher in a utopia of representation behind the scenes as well as on the screen. Please, Paramount, make it so.
Ron Howard reveals George Lucas’ involvement in ‘Solo’
Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo) with George Lucas and Ron Howard at the Hollywood premiere of ‘Solo.’
“He may have retired from the galaxy far, far away after he sold his company for $4 billion in 2012. But Star Wars creator George Lucas has his fingerprints all over the latest movie in the Disney-Lucasfilm canon — according to his friend, Solo director Ron Howard.
Not only did Lucas come up with the idea for a Han Solo spin-off first — long before Rogue One was a thing — but he was there on set to offer advice on how his creation would behave. And he even tried his hand at acting: pitching one scene, “he played Han Solo,” Howard says.
In a wide-ranging interview with Mashable, Howard also recalled how Lucas first told him about Star Wars on the set of American Graffiti in 1972, explained why the look of the film is a homage to Lucas’ signature style, and dangled the possibility that Lucas could return to direct more Star Wars films — if the fans wanted.
Here’s our Q&A, which has been edited for length, clarity and the removal of spoilers.
Mashable: One of my first responses to seeing Solo, and I mean this in the best possible way, was: it’s the dirtiest Star Wars ever.
Ron Howard: Good! That sort of visual honesty was really important to the cinematographer, Bradford Young. I really agreed with it. The idea that really hooked him was that he could shoot some of this in [1971 Western] McCable and Mrs. Miller style. I was thinking of gritty, existential 1970s car movies like Bullitt and Vanishing Point.
M: That was George Lucas’ breakthrough with Star Wars; he talked about the used universe, making space feel lived-in. Did you feel like you were kind of dropping the mic on the used universe? Like, it can’t get more used than this.
RH: [Laughs] Well, the more you begin to really drill down on the way of life and the characters — and this is probably the most character-driven of the movies. I mean, it’s not an epic war story. It’s not political. It really is: how do these relationships impact Han?
The more up close and personal we get with the characters, the more used the universe is going to feel. It’s those details about how things really work — that’s the stuff prop makers and set designers just love to explore. They pull out references from different corners of our Earth and find ways to adapt them.
M: Were you there saying “throw more mud at that Wookiee?”
RH: Oh yeah, that was part of the promise of this. As action adventure movies go, I always loved Road Warrior. And while there’s nothing post-apocalyptic about Solo, we are in a lawless time. Some of it takes place in frontier towns. [Han’s homeworld] has this grimy port culture with a seedy underbelly. That grime is part of what’s interesting about this movie.
M: Let’s go back to American Graffiti. I’ve talked to other actors on that movie and they have these…”
Charlize Theron will play Megyn Kelly in a movie about Roger Ailes
Charlize Theron at a screening of Tullyin New York City.
Charlize Theron is ready to take on Megyn Kelly.
The Hollywood Reporter writes that Theron has been cast as the former Fox News anchor in an as-yet-untitled project about the downfall of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.
The script, by Charles Randolph (The Big Short), is said to center on the sexual misconduct allegations raised against Ailes in 2016 — first by Gretchen Carlson in a lawsuit, and then by numerous other women including Kelly. Ailes was forced to resign later that same year.
Carlson is also expected to be a character in the film, along with other prominent Fox News figures like Bill O’Reilly, Greta Van Susteren, and Rupert Murdoch. Theron is the only cast member announced so far.
Theron has excelled at playing complicated and even unlikable characters — she won an Oscar in 2004 for playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos. She currently stars in Tully, which reunites her with Young Adult duo Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody.
The Fox News project is being helmed by Jay Roach, who’s gotten into the habit of making films about recent political events. He also directed Recount, about the 2000 presidential election, and Game Change, about the 2008 one, and is attached to direct the TV adaptation of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury.
Annapurna Pictures is producing the movie, which does not yet have a release date.
Rashida Jones addresses her departure from ‘Toy Story 4’
Rashida Jones at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 2018.
It’s hardly news that Hollywood tends to favor white men, to the exclusion of everyone else. And Rashida Jones is done putting up with it.
Jones called out Pixar’s lack of diversity in an interview with Net-a-Porter, while explaining why she and writing partner Will McCormack left Toy Story 4 last year.
Describing the situation as “complicated,” Jones said:
You look at [Pixar’s] track record and it was one woman directing one film in 25 years, and she was fired. But that doesn’t look different from most studios in Hollywood. All I can be is myself, and speak up and be honest when I feel things don’t reflect the world as it today. As a corporation, you will be held accountable.
The one female director Jones is referring to is Brenda Chapman, who was to be Pixar’s first female director before she was taken off of Brave and replaced by Mark Andrews.
While Jones did not go into further detail about her experience at Pixar, her comments echo the statement she and McCormack issued last November, when they decided to depart the project.
At the time, the pair were pushing back against a Hollywood Reporter article claiming they’d left due to an unwanted advance made on Jones by now-disgraced Pixar chief John Lasseter.
That statement read:
We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences. There is so much talent at Pixar, and we remain enormous fans of their films. However, it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice.
A look at Pixar’s future releases indicates that the studio won’t be breaking its all-male director streak anytime soon. Upcoming titles include Incredibles 2, directed by Brad Bird; Toy Story 4, directed by Josh Cooley; and an untitled suburban fantasy film, directed by Dan Scanlon.
On the other hand, the studio is getting its first female-helmed short this summer: Bao, from Domee Shi. Maybe change is coming for the studio, even if it’s a lot more slowly than we’d like.
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