‘Chronicle’ Helmer Josh Trank Lands On ‘The Red Star’ At Warner Bros

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has set Josh Trank to develop to direct The Red Star, an adaptation of a graphic novel that will be scripted by Jason Rothenberg. Neal Moritz will produce through his Original Film shingle. Trank made his feature directing debut on Chronicle and after the $12 million film grossed $116 million and was that rare low budget, no star genre film to receive strong reviews, Trank has been up for much bigger jobs. Among those conversations is the Fantastic Four reboot at Fox and the Spider-Man spinoff Venom at Sony Pictures. But The Red Star is the first one that has led to a deal for a film that has a writer working on the project.

TheĀ  Soviet-themed sci-fi fantasy comic book series was picked up by Warner Bros after Universal let it go. Created by Christian Gossett, the comic is set in an alternate USSR where futuristic technology co-mingles with magical elements. The protagonist is a Red Fleet soldier who goes up against an ex-leader who rules with an iron fist. Rothenberg most recently scripted The Twilight Zone, which Cloverfield helmer Matt Reeves is attached to direct for Warner Bros and Appian Way. Both are repped by WME.

Comments (19)

  • soviet-style action fantasy . Finaly ,i waiting this . Commrades we are win !

    Comment by yu-ma01 — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 8:02pm PDT  
  • Hopefully josh will have people on set who can show him how to block a scene again.

    Comment by Derek — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 8:15pm PDT  
    • Looks like it worked — they guy put together a pretty darn good film. Any chance you show me how to block a scene too, Derek, or are you closing your own multi-million dollar directing deal right now too?

      Comment by Dibble Dabble Dipship — Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 11:01am PDT  
  • Derek, you sound bitter. The kid made an amazing movie. We should celebrate the arrival of a new voice. Sounds like they’re hooking him up with a great writer, too. WB is f-ing smart!

    Comment by Levon — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 8:20pm PDT  
  • This project has been around for awhile. The graphic novel’s very cool, but a lot of places had a problem with the whole “soviet thing” (go figure).

    Anyhow, I hope they can crack it in a way that it will let it stay somewhat faithful to the material. It could be an amazing film.

    Comment by 100stones3x — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 8:21pm PDT  
  • Another comic book recycling: A Russian Mad Max with magic.

    How boring!

    This will lead to another flat movie with paper thin character.

    When will this end?

    Original material, please. And if you can’t, fire your producers and development execs and get fresh blood in: people with ideas or at least people who can find or recognize people with ideas.

    Comment by Dr. Flo — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 8:53pm PDT  
    • Yes, when will it end? When will they stop making comic book movies like A History of Violence, Ghost World, Road To Perdition, Sin City, and Blade?

      Or wait! Instead, when will the ill-informed comments end?

      Comment by Elva Johnson — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 9:20pm PDT  
      • It is telling that you had to go back like fifteen years to come up with a few comic-book titles that didn’t suck — and Ghost World and History of VIolence, really? Yes they’re technically based on graphic novels but they resemble in no way shape or form “comic book movies.” Really your list only leaves us with SIN CITY and BLADE, two pretty mediocre offerings in a VERY long list that includes gems like JONAH HEX and WHITEOUT.

        Comment by HW — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 10:16pm PDT  
        • Dr. Flo, you’re an idiot.

          When, in the history of movies, have there not been films based on pre-existing material? Please point out to me the year you believe this practice actually began. I’d love to see it… Because it started AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FILM INDUSTRY.

          There have always been (and will always be) movies based on books, comics, board games, plays, fables, short stories, long stories, nursery rhymes, etc. Just accept it already and stop trying to make a faulty case in these comment boards that this is a weakness of the film industry TODAY.

          In my opinion, there isn’t any movie this year that is AS “original” as BATTLESHIP. Yes, it is based on a board game. But because there was very little material in the game, the writers/filmmakers had to actually create 99% of the characters and story and rules of the world. That’s more “original” than a lot of spec screenplays.

          People say this over and over on this site, but why don’t you go write an original script — if it’s good enough, it will get sold and made. That should keep you busier than spending your time posting comments on articles…

          Comment by FI — Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 8:34am PDT  
          • Totally agree. Well said.

            Comment by Yes — Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 10:49am PDT  
          • Dr. Flo is right in some respects — execs/producers often develop pre-existing properties because they don’t have the confidence in their own judgment to truly evaluate the worth of original material. It’s ALWAYS to take something existing (a published novel, TV show, comic) because hey, someone else (who presumably knew what they were doing in their role as editor/publisher, etc…) has already validated it.

            Believe me, this dynamic is VERY much at play. It’s in play in validating the material (“It’s been pre-approved!”) and it’s in play in selling a marketing strategy (“People already know the name!”). These two forces play a strong role in what movies get made and it has NOTHING to do with quality of story.

            Comment by Lady Jane — Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 11:11am PDT  
          • ‘If it’s good enough, it will get sold and made.’

            By your logic, movies that get sold and made are ‘good enough’, and those that don’t, aren’t. That means there are no unsold, unproduced scripts that are better than Gigli, A Thousand Words, Showgirls, Underdog, Year One, Step Up 2, and Tyler Perry’s entire canon.

            Go play in traffic.

            Comment by Carlos — Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 11:47am PDT  
    • shut up

      Comment by Take Care — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 9:51pm PDT  
    • You wouldn’t be saying that, Doc, if you actually read many of the “original” scripts submitted these days. Who cares where the story comes from as long as it’s good. A quick look at the AFI Top 100 films (for example) reveals something like half of them adapted from another medium.

      Comment by Wonk — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 9:59pm PDT  
      • A quick look at the AFI Top 100 reveals a bunch of films that regardless of source material would NEVER EVER get made today.

        It’s ludicrous to compare BATTLESHIP and JONAH HEX and and bargain-bin comic book titles like this one to movies like BEN-HUR and ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT because hey, they’re all adapted!

        The point is not stories based on original ideas or existing material good or bad in and of itself, the point is WHY people are clamoring to these titles — and it’s because of fear. Producers and execs aren’t clamoring to make movies based on board games and toys because they want to take bold and original movies, it’s because they’re scared of getting fired.

        Sure, a lot of original scripts kind of suck, lots’n'lotsa scripts based on video games and comic books also really really suck.

        Comment by Dan H — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 10:28pm PDT  
  • Ghost world was a comic book first and collected into the graphic novel later. And graphic novels are comic books, anyway.

    Comment by Kenny — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 11:39pm PDT  
  • Esola does it again!!

    Comment by Treasure Hunter — Monday March 19, 2012 @ 11:51pm PDT  
  • This has been around for a while, but, like anything worth doing — The Matrix, X-Men (all were are one point going to be made with a certain musclebound anti-actor in the 90′s) — these things take time and the right approach/talent.

    Timur Bekmambetov, as perfect as sounded on paper when this was set-up at Universal tonally would not fit, so thankfully that never happened as perfect as a Russian talent might have been for this. “Wanted” had a whimsy that this property would have disintegrated with.

    Chronicle was made for a price and is the perfect realism and magic that this property needs. Trivia: The creator of the comic book also designed the double-edged light saber of Darth Maul for Lucasfilm.;)

    Good for these guys, Warners will make this one hopefully releasing it the summer or winter after AKIRA hits.

    Comment by C — Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 6:01am PDT  
  • An interesting story might be why Warners has been on a graphic-novel-acquisition tear lately, snapping up titles from publishers that compete with its own DC Comics, rather than better exploiting its already-owned library (one which includes, for instance, at least two alternate-universe Soviet titles (WINTER MEN and THE PROGRAMME).

    It’s been two years since Diane Nelson came in to better integrate DC into Warners, and while her handpicked team has done a good job of boosting their comics’ sales, where are more movies in development past Superman and Batman? (And if ARROW doesn’t get picked up to series, it’ll be the second year in a row with no live-action DC series in primetime.)

    Has Jeff Robinov — who put Diane in at DC as part of a restructuring that put “DC Entertainment” directly under him — gotten bored with his new toy already? Or are execs finding more freedom in developing things from the outside rather than dealing with comics wunderkind Geoff Johns for the keys to the DCE vault?

    Comment by WarnerShouldPublishComicsOhWait — Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 10:44pm PDT  
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