Welcome to the Roundup, where we here at Tracking Board are all going to pitch in to give you our thoughts the spec market, latest attachments, sales, and any other news we reported on this week.
First of all, lets talk specs. As is, we now stand about 50 specs behind where we were last year. However, sales are at just about the same pace… therefore, sales are technically up… but I also feel like we’ve seen the most “buy and shelve” purchases we’ve seen in several years. Not in a bad way… but it seems concept has trumped execution this year. And having personally read something in the vicinity of 100 specs this year, I’m still waiting for more than a handful to really truly “Wow” me. With that said, lets take a look at those we started tracking this week… (full disclosure – I’ve not yet read any of the below).
The first one to catch my eye is “ROANOKE: A KINGDOM STRANGE” by Brandon McCormick and Nick Kirk. The spec is said to focus on the leader of America’s first colony as he tries to make peace with the natives and destroy an ancient creature that threatens to destroy them all. If the writers can pull it off, I think this one has a setting ripe for exploration, and a story that gives us familiar scares, a long-rumored tale, and a genre that’s ready for it.
Next is TARNATION by Dakota Aesquivel. The script technically won’t hit the market until next week, but is said to be based off the ancient Greek tragedy of Orpheus & Eurydice. The classic tale follows Orpheus as he travels to the Underworld after Eurydice is killed in order to persuade Hades to let her go. Orpheus sings so mournfully that Hades agrees, but only on the condition that Orpheus not look at her until they reach the surface. Sadly, Orpheus (like many a man in this situation) looks at her before they leave the Underworld and loses her once again. It is a surprisingly beautiful story, and if the script does in fact find a way to modernize that (and not in a cheesy way) I’m in for a read.
The last spec I’ll touch on is “SAM DINKLE: SECRET AGENT” from writer Matt Bishop. I don’t have a ton to say on this one, as I’m not too familiar with Bishop’s work, but his manager Kathy Muraviov always seems to have something solid to send into the market. And, in all honesty, if he can in fact pull off what his logline promises (A cowardly CIA reject, who pulls spy scams on women, inadvertently gets sucked into the dangerous world of international drug smuggling when his next mark turns out to be a CIA analyst who mistakes him for the real deal during a drop) I am so in.
In the world of TV, word on the network block is that NBC is prepped to develop a new political series that is being described as “’West Wing’ at the United Nations”. Considering Aaron Sorkin was not involved in the development of this project, it will be interesting to hear his reaction as I’m pretty sure he came up with the same concept in an episode of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”, where an almost identical project was described (in an obvious allusion to “The West Wing”). Tread carefully though NBC – while the idea is sound, your new Fall lineup is looking horrendous at best, and a Sorkin free “West Wing” should tell you what a Sorkin free “U.N.” could very well sound like.
Meanwhile, Nelson Franklin (“Traffic Light”) is signing on for a recurring role in this season of “New Girl”? I have one word for you on this – YES! I really like Nelson… so much so, I feel I can refer to him on a first name basis in this Round Up. But, in all seriousness, I think he’s a perfect addition to the cast, brining his own sarcastic, wry, and funny self to a show already spoiled with it. Oh, and making him a rival against Schmidt? That’s priceless! I love Schmidt, but it’ll be nice to see if Franklin can take him down a couple of pegs every now and then.
In a very cool, but very uncertain (for me) move, Sean Hayes is set to make an appearance on the new season of “Up All Night” as an old buddy of Maya Rudolph’s character. I remember really looking forward to this show last year, but eventually giving up on it a few episodes in because I couldn’t deal with the severe tone differences between the home life of Christina Applegate and her Rudolph-filled work life. I know I was not in a minority here, and the creators even addresses this announcing they were going to change the format of the series and focus more on Applegate’s family. However, whoever announced Hayes’ addition to beef up Rudolph’s screen time clearly did not get the memo.
And in the “Strange but True” category… Vince Vaughn is hard at work reviving “The Brady Bunch”. Sure, this could actually be really fun, but it could also be a monster-sized train wreck. The upside, is that it will modernize the original idea with Greg Brady being all grown up and now into his second marriage which comes with his new wife’s kids, and also the kids they’ve had together. Kind of confusing… but then again, looking back on that show… what wasn’t.
Now, I would like to take a moment of silence for the careers of Robert De Niro and Susan Sarandon… both killed at the hands of Katherine Heigl and Topher Grace’s careers in THE BIG WEDDING.
One of the funniest videos I’ve seen in a long time is Gary Oldman going after NBA Players for trying to act in their own movies. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop now and WATCH THIS. Unfortunately, he was a little too late to dissuade Kevin Durant from starring in “Thunderstruck”, a basketball “comedy” in which a little kid accidentally steals his basketball abilities and becomes a phenomenal player. Does this at all sound familiar? Maybe because it’s a little too close to a “Like Mike” / “Space Jam” bastard child… without the awesome Looney Tunes. Oh, Durant… Here’s the trailer for your viewing pleasure (not really). THUNDERSTRUCK.
Rounding out today’s Roundup is the addition of Matthew McConaughey to Martin Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street”. I saved this one for last because as a fellow Texan, I think it’s about time that McConaughey got the recognition he’s deserved for a long time. 2012 has become the year of M.M., with roles in “The Paperboy”, “Magic Mike”, “Killer Joe”, and “Bernie”. Finally, I feel like he’s getting a chance to shed his romantic comedy past (though I’m sure he’ll drift back eventually, just from sheer force of habit) and is able to show the kind of talent he displayed in the ‘90s, with an all too cool iconic role in “Dazed and Confused” and later, the dramatic turns in “A Time to Kill”, “Lone Star” and “Amistad.” If it weren’t for the pit of career despair that was “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (which doomed him to several years of career stagnation in the cess pool that is bad rom-com), McConaughey could have been a huge name today. Now, lets see if he can cash in.