Warner Bros. to Joss Whedon -- You Passed On "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Movie! 

As "Buffy" fans, we all are in unison that in every generation, you can only have a chosen one to make a film version of the beloved TV show. And we all agreed that creator Joss Whedon is the chosen one.

Well, for weeks, the internet was buzzing about the supposed non-inclusion of creator Joss Whedon in the planned big-screen version from Warner Bros.

Now, studio insiders are saying that Whedon was the one who slayed "Buffy." We'll get to that in a minute. But first, let's recap the drama shall we?

Previously, on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" movie adaptation drama (circa May 2009) we said:

So, the news about "Buffy the Vampire Slaer" remake or "relaunch" made me happy, and then...I heard that creator Joss Whedon is NOT part of it!

Right now, there's no studio behind the project, no Whedon in sight, but the original movie director Fran Rubel Kuzui and her husband, Kaz Kuzui, are working with Vertigo Entertainment on what they call a relaunch NOT a sequel or a prequel.

I've always wondered why Kuzui's name is always on the credits for the TV show, because her Kuzui Enterprises have held onto the rights since the very beginning and will never, ever let go.

And then in November of this year, this press release confirmed that Whedon's not involved, WB is distributing, and they hired a newbie writer to pen the big screen version:

LOS ANGELES, NOVEMBER 11, 2010 – Atlas Entertainment announced today it is rebooting the beloved franchise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Warner Bros. Pictures. Atlas' Charles Roven and Steve Alexander will produce the feature film alongside Doug Davison and Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment (The Ring, How to Train Your Dragon, The Departed). Whit Anderson is writing the script.

Warner Bros. Pictures optioned the rights from creators Fran and Kaz Kuzui, and from Sandollar Productions (Sandy Gallin and Dolly Parton), for Atlas and Vertigo to produce. Buffy the Vampire Slayer first appeared as a film in 1992, subsequently becoming a cult hit and spawning the wildly popular television series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz, among many others.

"Whit approached us with an exciting idea about how to update Buffy," said Roven. "There is an active fan base eagerly awaiting this character's return to the big screen. We're thrilled to team up with Doug and Roy on a re-imagining of Buffy and the world she inhabits. Details of the film are being kept under wraps, but I can say while this is not your high school Buffy, she'll be just as witty, tough, and sexy as we all remember her to be."

Then, Whedon himself wrote this painfully funny and terribly witty response:

Kristin, I'm glad you asked for my thoughts on the announcement of Buffy the cinema film. This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths—just because they can't think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.

Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this. My first reaction upon hearing who was writing it was, "Whit Stillman AND Wes Anderson? This is gonna be the most sardonically adorable movie EVER." Apparently I was misinformed. Then I thought, "I'll make a mint! This is worth more than all my Toy Story residuals combined!" Apparently I am seldom informed of anything. And possibly a little slow. But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?

I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don't love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I'm also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can't wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I'm making a Batman movie. Because there's a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you.

Leave me to my pain! Sincerely, Joss Whedon.

And now comes the studio's response as told by the Hollywood Reporter:

According to studio insiders, he was approached last year after Buffy rightsholder Fran Rubel Kuzui and husband Kaz Kuzui began developing a remake with Vertigo. After presented with the opportunity, Whedon decided he'd rather work on other projects (he's making Marvel Studios' The Avengers). Producers then began searching for a writer and late last year hired actress-turned-scribe Whit Anderson. The unknown Anderson, with only bit film appearances to her credit, came up with a take on the Buffy myth that was strong enough after a couple of drafts to lure Atlas, which partnered with Vertigo to set it up at a studio.

At this point, do we even care anymore? Do we even want to watch the movie? Who are we kidding here, of course we are going to watch the movie, it's still, after all, from the Buffy-verse we know and love.

But for now, leave me to my pain!

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"Liberace" Movie Is a Go, Gets Production Start Date 

The planned "Liberace" movie was an on-again, off-again love affair, but now, we're hearing that director Steven Soderbergh is moving forward to making the film with star Michael Douglas.

Last year, we told you about this story (See Get Ready for "Liberace" the Movie! Matt Damon and Michael Douglas to Kiss?), and I'm glad that the biopic of Wladziu Valentino Liberace is getting made. He was an interesting pop culture icon, a flamboyant, closeted, but fiercely entertaining performer who tickled everyone's hearts by his great piano playing.

Soderbergh will start shooting the movie next summer and Douglas will have to act behind prosthetics and take music lessons.

What's unclear right now is whether Matt Damon will still join the project as Liberace's partner/companion, Scott Thorson. But Damon has worked with Soderbergh five times before, so chances are, the actor will join the cast. Plus it's a meaty role where the narrative of the film is told from Thorson's point-of-view. Damon can't say no to that! Last year, he told MTV that he was ready for some kissing scenes with Douglas, "I saw Michael last night...he looks at me and goes, 'Get your Chapstick ready!' "

A great director with a great cast? This is a movie to look forward to!

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"Jackass 3.5" to Premiere Online March 2011 

Want more "Jackass?" You have to wait until March 2011. The recent "Jackass 3D" made gazillions of dollars, $155 million and counting, so Paramount has announced that it will release "Jackass 3.5" like the world's biggest tease! ("Jackass 3D" review)

Paramount will release new clips weekly eventually culminating as a feature length film. It's unclear whether the studio will release the film in theaters or straight to video like "Jackass 2.5." ("Jackass 3D" interviews with entire cast and director Jeff Tremaine)

"Jackass" frontman, Johnny Knoxville, was quoted as saying, "For JACKASS 3D we shot enough footage for two movies so a lot of great stuff didn't make it in the film. Luckily you will get to see those bits in 3.5. We also shot some additional footage in Europe specifically for 3.5. I have staples in my head right now to prove it. Woo hoo."

"Jackass" fans will be stapled online in March to see all the fun shenanigans.

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Get Ready for "A Christmas Story" the Musical! From Ralphie! 

Peter Billingsley aka Ralphie Parker of 1983's "A Christmas Story" has signed on as executive producer of the musical adaptation of the film according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Billingsley won our hearts as the 9-year-old Ralphie and most recently, the actor made his first feature directorial debut with last year's "Couples Retreat."

Previews for the stage musical version of "A Christmas Story" begins today at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre and will run from Dec. 9-30 just in time for the Holidays!

Apparently, "A Christmas Story: The Musical!" will remain loyal to the film's adaptation of Jean Shepherd's short stories. Original score is from Broadway composers Benj Paske and Justin Paul.

Billingsley told THR, “I’m excited to bring this film to the stage because the story and the characters lend themselves so well to the world of musicals.”

I can't wait to see the "Red Ryder BB Gun" song-and-dance routine! :happy

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Cool! "Winter's Bone" Dominates Independent Spirit Awards Nominations! See Complete List of Nominees 

I'm so glad that "Winter's Bone" has been receiving all the accolades. I love this film when it was shown in limited release last summer. The backwoods drama won big at the Gothams Awards winning Best Feature and Best Ensemble, and now, it dominated the Independent Spirit Awards with seven nominations including Best Feature, Director for Debra Granik, Screenplay for Granik and Anne Rosellini, Female Lead for Jennifer Lawrence, Supporting Female for Dale Dickey, Supporting Male for John Hawkes, and Cinematography for Michael McDonough. ("Winter's Bone" Movie Review)

"Winter's Bone" will compete against "127 Hours," "Black Swan," "Greenberg" and "The Kids Are All Right" for best picture.


"127 Hours" interviews with James Franco, Danny Boyle, and Simon Beaufoy

"Greenberg" Movie Review and Interviews with Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, and Rhys Ifans

"The Kids Are All Right" Movie Review and Interviews with Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson, and director Lisa Cholodenko

The awards will be given on Feb. 26 in Santa Monica, CA and will be hosted by Joel McHale and broadcast on IFC.

Here's the complete list of the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards nominees:

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not listed)

127 Hours -- Producers: Danny Boyle, Christian Colson, John Smithson

Black Swan -- Producers: Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Brian Oliver

Greenberg -- Producers: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Rudin

The Kids Are All Right -- Producers: Gary Gilbert, Philippe Hellmann, Jordan Horowitz, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray, Daniela Taplin Lundberg

Winter’s Bone -- Producers: Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Anne Rosellini


Darren Aronofsky
Black Swan

Danny Boyle
127 Hours

Lisa Cholodenko
The Kids Are All Right

Debra Granik
Winter’s Bone

John Cameron Mitchell
Rabbit Hole


Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko
The Kids Are All Right

Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini
Winter’s Bone

Nicole Holofcener
Please Give

David Lindsay-Abaire
Rabbit Hole

Todd Solondz
Life During Wartime

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

Everything Strange and New
Director: Frazer Bradshaw

Producers: A.D. Liano, Laura Techera Francia

Get Low
Director: Aaron Schneider
Producers: David Gundlach, Dean Zanuck

Night Catches Us
Director: Tanya Hamilton
Producers: Sean Costello, Jason Orans, Ronald Simons

The Last Exorcism
Director: Daniel Stamm
Producers: Marc Abraham, Tom Bliss, Eric Newman, Eli Roth

Tiny Furniture
Director: Lena Dunham
Producers: Kyle Martin, Alicia Van Couvering


Diane Bell

Lena Dunham
Tiny Furniture

Nik Fackler
Lovely, Still

Bob Glaudini
Jack Goes Boating

Dana Adam Shapiro, Evan M. Wiener

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD - Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director, and producer. Executive Producers are not listed

Daddy Longlegs -- Writer/Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Producers: Casey Neistat, Tom Scott

Lbs. -- Director: Matthew Bonifacio
Writer/Producers: Matthew Bonifacio, Carmine Famiglietti

Lovers of Hate -- Writer/Director: Bryan Poyser
Producer: Megan Gilbride

Obselidia -- Writer/Director: Diane Bell
Producers: Chris Byrne, Mathew Medlin

The Exploding Girl -- Writer/Director: Bradley Rust Gray
Producers: Karin Chien, Ben Howe, So Yong Kim


Annette Bening
The Kids Are All Right

Greta Gerwig

Nicole Kidman
Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence
Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman
Black Swan

Michelle Williams
Blue Valentine


Ronald Bronstein
Daddy Longlegs

Aaron Eckhart
Rabbit Hole

James Franco
127 Hours

John C. Reilly

Ben Stiller


Ashley Bell
The Last Exorcism

Dale Dickey
Winter’s Bone

Allison Janney
Life During Wartime

Daphne Rubin-Vega
Jack Goes Boating

Naomi Watts
Mother and Child


John Hawkes
Winter’s Bone

Samuel L. Jackson
Mother and Child

Bill Murray
Get Low

John Ortiz
Jack Goes Boating

Mark Ruffalo
The Kids Are All Right


Adam Kimmel
Never Let Me Go

Matthew Libatique
Black Swan

Jody Lee Lipes
Tiny Furniture

Michael McDonough
Winter’s Bone

Harris Savides

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Director: Banksy

Director: Jeff Malmberg

Directors: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger

Directors: Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Thunder Soul
Director: Mark Landsman

BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)

Director: Lance Daly

Mademoiselle Chambon
Director: Stéphane Brizé

Of Gods and Men
Director: Xavier Beauvois

The King’s Speech
(United Kingdom)
Director: Tom Hooper

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 17th annual Acura Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Acura.

Hossein Keshavarz
Dog Sweat

Laurel Nakadate
The Wolf Knife

Mike Ott

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 14th annual Piaget Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

In-Ah Lee
Au Revoir Taipei

Adele Romanski
The Myth of the American Sleepover

Anish Savjani
Meek’s Cutoff

AVEENO® TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 16th annual AVEENO® Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by AVEENO®.

Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Jeff Malmberg

Lynn True, Nelson Walker
Summer Pasture

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD - (Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)

Please Give
Director: Nicole Holofcener

Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy

Ensemble Cast: Ann Guilbert, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Lois Smith, Sarah Steele

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