Last Week in Hollywood: Edgar Wright Directing ‘The Chain’; Kristen Stewart is ‘Spencer’; ‘Animorphs’, ‘Devolution’ Adaptations in the Works

There’s a lot of breaking news in Hollywood happening every minute. In the age of the blockbuster, it’s easy for some smaller movie and television news to slip through the crack. Last Week in Hollywood is our new weekly series highlighting all the interesting news from the last week that we thought didn’t warrant its own post, but was still worth mentioning. It’s less personal opinions and more a hearty roundup of what you might have missed.


Edgar Wright Directing The Chain Adaptation

Edgar Wright has signed on to direct the feature film adaptation of the 2019 best selling novel The Chain. The project is set up at Universal Pictures after the studio acquired the rights to Adrian McKinty’s horror-thriller for a seven-figure sum. That’s the type of payday us writers dream of nabbing!

Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Golden Circle) is set to right the script. The novel focused on “a mom whose child is kidnapped and the only way to guarantee her safety is to kidnap someone else’s child in exchange.”

Wright’s next film Last Night in Soho was set to release this year, but has now been delayed until 2021. He has also signed on to direct Set My Heart to Five. It is unknown which project Wright will focus on next.


Kristen Stewart is Princess Diana in Spencer

It has been announced that Kristen Stewart is set to play Princess Diana in Spencer. The drama, to be directed by Pablo Larraín, will focus on “a critical weekend in the early ‘90s, when Diana decided her marriage to Prince Charles wasn’t working, and that she needed to veer from a path that put her in line to one day be queen. The drama takes place over three days, in one of her final Christmas holidays in the House of Windsor in their Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England.”

The project is expected to be a hot package at the virtual Cannes Market. Steven Knight scripted the film which hopes to enter production in early 2021. Here’s what Larraín revealed about the story:

“We all grew up, at least I did in my generation, reading and understanding what a fairy tale is. Usually, the prince comes and finds the princess, invites her to become his wife and eventually she becomes queen. That is the fairy tale. When someone decides not to be the queen, and says, I’d rather go and be myself, it’s a big big decision, a fairy tale upside down. I’ve always been very surprised by that and thought it must have been very hard to do. That is the heart of the movie.”

Stewart, like her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, has carved out an interesting filmography since the popular YA franchise ended. It will be interesting to see whether she can pull off the iconic Princess Diana.


Animorphs Adaptation in the Works

Do you guys remember this series? It was in every school library back in the early 2000s along with Goosebumps. I always found the books weird, and couldn’t get into them. But it looks like someone thinks they’ll make a good motion picture franchise.

Erik Feig is teaming up with Scholastic Entertainment to adapt the books for the big screen. No studio has latched on to this project just yet, and honestly I bet this will end up at a streaming service.

The Animorphs from author K.A. Applegate ran for 54 book from 1996 to 2001. It focused on five teens and an alien who have the ability to transform into any animal they touch. Using their powers of transformation, they battle a secret alien invasion of Earth by a parasitic, slug-like race of aliens called Yeerks who can control living creatures by merging with their brain through the ear canal.

The books were previously adapted to television in 1998. In addition to the film adaptation, Scholastic will be launching graphic novel adaptations of the series this October as well as re-releasing the first six books. Oh, what a time to be an Animorphs fan!


Legendary Acquires Rights to Devolution

Legendary has acquired the screen rights to Devolution, a new book from author Max Brooks (World War Z). It is unclear at the moment whether the idea is to adapt the book for film or TV. Devolution has been around in some form since 2012 when Legendary hired Brooks to develop the concept for film. However, Brooks decided to write it as a book first. I guess that’s how you can end up getting paid twice?

The Hollywood Reporter states the book is “set in a model eco-community town in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. In the aftermath of a volcanic eruption, the town is rampaged by ferocious beasts known as the Sasquatch. The tale is told via the lens of town resident Kate Holland. It is described as part survival narrative, part bloody horror tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction.”

Brooks’s other novel World War Z was adapted into a film back in 2013 with Brad Pitt. It was a box office success grossing more than $540 million worldwide. Time will tell if Devolution will have a similar impact.


Balestra to be a Psycholgical Thriller About Fencing

I bet you would never have thought you’d be reading the following sentence. Tessa Thompson and Marwan Kenzari are set to star in Balestra, a psychological thriller about the competitive combat sport fencing.

Nicole Dorsey will direct the story of “an Olympic fencer trying to stage a comeback, only to fall into a web of subconscious desires and unfulfilling reality.” Imran Zaidi wrote the script, based on an original story by Aron Eli Coleite.

I have to say that a psychological thriller about fencing is certainly original. Here’s what Thompson said on the project:

“Like the sport that Balestra explores, the conception of this piece is sharp and riveting – its is a fascinating look at the price of winning, and what trouble dreams can become when our sense of self worth, reality and identity are tethered too tightly to them. To embark on this journey, both in front of the lens and behind it, with Nicole Dorsey and this phenomenal team is a dream to me – a most beautiful one.”

Balestra is currently in pre-production.


Ben Stiller to Direct Oscar Isaac in London

Ben Stiller is gearing up to direct his next feature film following Zoolander 2 (which I actually enjoyed). Stiller is set to helm London, a “high concept thriller” from Eric Roth (Forrest GumpA Star is Born), which will star Oscar Isaac.

Lionsgate is involved with London, which is based on the short story by author Jo Nesbo. Isaac, who obtained the rights to the story under his Mad Gene Media banner, is also producing. No further plot details have been released, and it looks like the short story hasn’t even been released yet.

Isaac is one of my favorite actors to emerge in the last decade and Stiller is someone who can usually craft an interesting film. I’m actually excited to see him direct a “thriller” as opposed to a comedy-drama. This will be a project I’ll be keeping on my personal radar.


That’s it for last week. What projects mentioned are you interested in seeing once completed? Tell us down in the comments!

Author: Marmaduke Karlston

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute Doc, uh, are you telling me you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"