July 1: Hauer in new HITCHER?/STRANGER gets a date
A blurb in Variety about Rutger Hauer taking on a new agent noted that one of his upcoming projects will by Rogue Pictures’ remake of THE HITCHER. Hauer, of course, played the menacing thumber in the 1986 original, and there’s no elaboration on whether he’ll reprise the role or take a different part. The new HITCHER will be directed by music-video veteran Dave Meyers from a script by Jake Wade (WHEN A STRANGER CALLS remake) Wall. No other casting has yet been announced; Hauer can currently be seen in BATMAN BEGINS and also appears in Lions Gate’s upcoming mythological chiller MINOTAUR.
Wall is also the writer on Columbia’s WHEN A STRANGER CALLS redux, and the trade reports that the studio has set a February 3, 2006 debut for that film. Simon (TOMB RAIDER) West is directing, with Camilla (THE CHUMSCRUBBER) Belle playing the imperiled babysitter. —Michael Gingold
March 4: Ingrid Pitt meets the MINOTAUR
At her Pitt of Horror website, veteran horror actress Ingrid Pitt reveals that she’s got a part in the Greek mythology-based chiller MINOTAUR, which she recently filmed in Luxembourg. "The story roughly follows the Greek legend," she reports. "Theseus, commonly known to his mates as Theo, decides he is going to stop the iniquitous trade of white slaving said mates to the labyrinths of Athens and the Minotaur. I play a leprous sibyl with a leaning toward Cassandraism and get my comeuppance in the first five minutes or so. Dispatched messily by Rutger Hauer—remember him in BLADE RUNNER? But I do get to come back and do some ghostly business amongst the trees all through the film."
MINOTAUR, which lensed last fall/winter after a tumultuous development period (see our last report here), was directed by Jonathan English and also stars Rupert (HELLBOY) Evans, Tony Todd, Steven (BEVERLY HILLS COP) Berkoff and Tom (LETHAL DOSE) Hardy. Lions Gate has the U.S. distribution rights. —Michael Gingold
October 22: MINOTAUR gets gored again
Variety reports that MINOTAUR, the Greek legend-based horror film that survived one financial debacle (see previous item here), has now hit another snag. Studio Babelsberg, the German facility that was to co-finance the film and host its shoot, has undergone restructuring and will no longer be involved in backing motion picture productions. Now the producers of MINOTAUR, which has already received a foreign sales deal with First Look and presold to Lions Gate for U.S. theatrical release, are seeking final money and a new location, with possibilities including Luxembourg, Hungary and South Africa (what, not Greece?). The movie, to be directed and produced by Jonathan English from a Steven McDool/Nick Green script, will star Rupert (HELLBOY) Evans as a young Greek who rebels when he is set to be one of 10 young men and women sacrificed by a palace ruler (Tony Todd) to the title creature. —Michael Gingold
September 14: Actors join BEOWULF and MINOTAUR
Variety reports that Stellan (EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING) Skarsgård and Sarah (DAWN OF THE DEAD) Polley have joined Gerard Butler in the cast of BEOWULF AND GRENDEL, the cinematic retelling of the monster-fighter legend that is currently shooting in Iceland. Sturla Gunnarsson is directing from a script by Andrew Rai (BLOOD & DONUTS) Berzins. Another historical creature feature, MINOTAUR, has added HELLBOY’s Rupert Evans to the cast, in the role originally to be filled by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. As previously reported here, MINOTAUR takes a youth-horror approach to the Greek myth, with Tony Todd and Steven Berkoff also starring in the eventual Lions Gate release. Finally, Bill (SHAUN OF THE DEAD) Nighy will rejoin Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman in UNDERWORLD II, due to start lensing this fall. —Michael Gingold and Tony Timpone