Weekly Dose of Ridiculous: Mr. Toad and Shia LaBeouf
This week we’ve got the continuation of the Lionsgate ‘Catching Fire‘ director search saga — and spoiler alert, it doesn’t have a happy ending. Disney decides that Hasbro shouldn’t have all the fun adapting games, so they’re adapting another ride. And Shia LaBeouf — always reliable for a big dose of, “Um, what?” — has decided he’s a comic artist. We don’t think he knows what that means.
More names from that Lionsgate short list (read: wish list) for ‘Catching Fire’ were released this week. On that list? Names like Cary Fukunaga (‘Jane Eyre’), Tomas Alfredson (‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’), Joe Cornish (‘Attack the Block’), and Duncan Jones (‘Moon’) were alongside more ridiculous choices like David Cronenberg. In the end it came down to two names: Bennett Miller, director of the Academy Award nominated ‘Moneyball,’ and Francis Lawrence, director of nothing-nominated films like ‘Constantine’ and ‘I Am Legend.’
Miller is currently in production on his next film, ‘Foxcatcher,’ which made his involvement with a sequel to ‘The Hunger Games’ incredibly unlikely. Word broke last night that the offer has been officially put out to Lawrence, who Lionsgate probably chose for a few reasons.
First, he’s a studio director, which means he’s a team player and a “yes man.” You hear that, Gary Ross? Your commitment to your creative output for ‘The Hunger Games’ was a big “no no” to Lionsgate. If they want more CGI sparkles and creatures, they’re going to get them, damn it. Enter Lawrence. In the second most likely reason for Lionsgate choosing Lawrence – he’s probably kind of cheap. Did you see those effects in ‘I Am Legend?’ You think those put a big dent in the studio’s expense account? Hell no. They’re janky but passable enough for the general public, and with Will Smith, who even cares about CGI vampire monsters anyway? Welcome to Earth (remember when he said that?)! We’re cheap!
And the third reason why Lionsgate probably chose Francis Lawrence – he directed ‘Water for Elephants,’ starring Robert Pattinson, so he clearly has experience working with someone that young people like, which means he’s sort of hip. Oh, and ‘Water for Elephants’ had that Florence + the Machine song all over the marketing, and that’s a thing that people with ovaries like, and ‘The Hunger Games’ is about ovary empowerment or something, so welcome aboard Francis Lawrence! Try not to ‘Constantine’ the crap out of this one.
However, we wouldn’t totally be opposed to Keanu Reeves replacing Elizabeth Banks in ‘Catching Fire.’ Just saying.
A couple of months ago some progress was made on Disney’s ‘Matterhorn’ film, which would feature a diverse group of explorers coming in contact with a group of Yeti who hold a secret key to unlocking some secret somethings. It’s basically like ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ (ugh, we didn’t want to talk about it either), but with snow monsters instead of aliens. Or maybe they’re both.
After the success of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise, Disney has decided not to wait to see how ‘Matterhorn’ does and just go for the gold with another ride adaptation: ‘Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.’ For the unfamiliar, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is a, frankly, wild ride through the life and trial of one Mr. Toad that results in sending the patrons of said ride straight to hell. Yeah, hell. They put kids there, and it’s not a metaphor.
Based itself on the book ‘The Wind and the Willows,’ which was later a cartoon but has never had a legit adaptation, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride has been operating at Disneyland since 1955. Disney: Sending children through a fireplace, a court trial, and the depths of hell since 1955.
The film will be produced by ‘Tron: Legacy’ producer Justin Springer and will be a mix of live action and CG, which isn’t really news because – let’s get real here – most films are a mix of live action and CG these days. Oh Disney, you just got burned like that time you put those kids in hell with that frog dude. In all seriousness, this movie has a decent shot of being good or really terrible, like that ‘Haunted Mansion’ movie they keep trying to make us forget. Burned again, Disney – your move.
At the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) last weekend, Shia LaBeouf showed up at his very own table, and no, it wasn’t to sign Megan Fox copies of Maxim or regale nerds with stories of what it’s like to work with Indiana Jones (exhausting, guys – it’s exhausting). According to LaBeouf’s girlfriend Karolyn Pho, they decided to show up “on a whim” to sell Shia’s self-published comics that he created on his Mac computer. Because of course he did.
You know those jokes about how anyone can be a filmmaker these days if they have Mac and teach themselves basic Avid editing? Or how anyone can be a musician with a Mac and ProTools? The basic conceit here is that anyone can do anything with a Mac, which is Steve Jobs’ real legacy on this earth. But just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you’re any good at it. And just because you’re famous already, doesn’t mean you’re automatically good at whatever you touch, regardless of what your last five girlfriends have told you.
Shia’s girlfriend, not saying exactly what she was told to say or anything, said, “He’s a huge comics guy,” and it would be really nice if you could believe her. Check out Shia’s apparent drawing of Marilyn Manson, aka the “Boogy Man” [sic] below. It looks like our friend Shia here has some deep-seated issues to work out with Mr. Manson. Hey, Shia? You know Michael Bay was just kidding when he said the boogey man is real and he’s Marilyn Manson and he hides under your bed, waiting to eat you if you don’t learn your lines, right? But hey, you keep up the good work. We’re sure those doodles will look real cute on your girlfriend’s fridge under that emergency bikini wax hotline magnet.