The Call Sheet sifts through the day's glut of Hollywood news to find the stories even non-industry types care about. Today: Showtime has decided to quit drugs, Charlize heads to comedy, and Tonto and friends are in trouble.
It's cashed, man. Showtime has canceled its long-running series Weeds, a blithely nihilistic show about terrible people doing mean, selfish things. Meaning the season starting next month will be its last. Too bad they couldn't go out on their own terms, but apparently they're not finished making all of the upcoming episodes, so maybe they can give themselves at least something of a proper ending. Will you miss it? Will you miss Nancy and Andy and Kevin Nealon and the gang? They've been with us for such a long time! Oh, shoot, speaking of such a long time, we should probably go wake Hunter Parrish up and tell him the news. He always sleeps so late when he stays over! [Entertainment Weekly]
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel director (and Captain Corelli's Mandolin director) John Madden has signed on to direct Charlize Theron in Murder Mystery, an Agatha Christie-inspired story about an American couple traveling abroad who gets involved in some comedic mystery and intrigue. So, wait, Charlize Theron is going to play the murderer right? Because otherwise screwball comedy doesn't seem quite like her thing. Obviously she was simply hilarious in Monster and North Country, but other than that... Though to be fair she was a frosty ice monster in her past three movies and she pulled that off really well, and she can't possibly be like that in real life, right? So who's to say she can't do broad, warm comedy! She'll be fine. She's good. Please don't hurt us, Charlize. [Deadline]
Here is an interesting account of the mess that is World War Z, the Brad Pitt zombie action-drama that is undergoing expensive and extensive reshoots and rewrites this fall. Basically it seems like nobody trusted the relatively inexperienced Marc Forster to do anything on his own so they brought in a bunch of other people and it ultimately proved too many cooks in the kitchen. Then there were technical snafus and Pitt started to get bored and everything went to hell. Encouragingly, some people say that the film's ending is it's only real problem, that there's an hour of good material in the beginning. But, eek, they've brought in writer Damon Lindelof to fix the ending, and he is maybe not that good at endings? I mean, if Lost and Prometheus are any example? (Yes, they are examples! Very big examples!) We're trying not to lose faith in this movie, because it really should be good, but it sounds like it's in trouble. They've delayed the release by a lot, so that might give them time to fix things, but sometimes spending too much time fixing something can just break it more. So, sigh. [The Hollywood Reporter]
And here is an account of how Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger movie is crazy over budget and behind schedule. How over budget? Well, the current spend is estimated at $250 million. Two hundred and fifty million dollars?? Guys, you do realize that the Lone Ranger show was like a million years ago and no one remembers it, right? And you do realize that you could have made approximately fourteen thousand Paranormal Activity movies for that amount of money and made about forty-eight trillion dollars in return, yes? Because that is just a stupid amount of money to pay for a Lone Ranger movie, even if Johnny Depp is in it. (Especially if Johnny Depp is in it?) A Lone Ranger movie should cost about $20 million. Get some horses and a wagon or two and a ranger and you're done. That's it. Even if the movie was originally budgeted at $300 million and they did it for only $250 million, that $250 million would still be insanely over budget. Because it is just too much. Why, guys? Why are you doing this? [The Hollywood Reporter]
Now that Breaking Bad is winding down, that show's great and mostly unsung (there was an Emmy, but still) costar Aaron Paul is looking for other projects. And he's already booked an interesting one! HBO has ordered a pilot of the 1960s spy drama The Missionary, about a missionary (Paul) who gets tangled up with the CIA in Cold War-era Berlin. The project was cooked by the guy who wrote the smarter-than-it-could-have-been but not-as-smart-as-it-thought-it-was The Interpreter and, of all people, Malcolm Gladwell. Mark Wahlberg is also involved as a producer. So... that sounds vaguely promising. Paul is a terrific actor and it would be nice to see him, I dunno, on the vague side of good and dressed decently in something. We wish him luck. [Deadline]
Good for Meryl Streep. At the Women In Film awards last night, the Greatest Living Actress said the following:
In the last five years, five little movies aimed at women have brought in over 1.6 b-b-billion dollars at the worldwide box office. Five little movies -- The Help, The Iron Lady believe it or not, Bridesmaids, Mamma Mia and The Devil Wears Prada. And I will bet you that their profits were significant because they cost a fraction of what the big tentpole failures cost. So why why why (don’t studios make these)? Don’t they want the money? Why is it so hard to get these movies made?
A good question, Ms. Streep! To which we have an answer. It is hard to get those movies made because no one wants to see them, but everyone wants to see John Carter and Battleship and soon The Lone Ranger. Everyone is clamoring for a Lone Ranger that costs a quarter of a billion dollars before publicity. Can't you hear the clamoring, Meryl? Can't you?? [The Wrap]