MGM has secured an up-and-coming screenwriter for its WarGames remake, one of several 1980s movie "re-workings" that the studio currently has in the production pipeline.
Meanwhile, Working Title has also hired on a rising Hollywood writing talent to handle the script for Viking, an ancient world thrill ride that's reportedly being modeled after Mel Gibson's Braveheart and Apocalypto.
WarGames joins Robocop and Poltergeist as one of the classic 80s films that MGM is currently aiming to update for a new generation (a la this weekend's Fright Night remake). Viking, on the other hand, is an original project that will be directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, who's currently completing post-production duties on the impending Mark Wahlberg thriller, Contraband.
Deadline is reporting that former Today Show producer Noah Oppenheim has been brought on to script the new version of WarGames. The original 1983 film starred Matthew Broderick as a teenage computer whiz who hacks into a secret military program - and almost ends up starting World War III as a result.
Oppenheim began making a name for himself last year with his script for Jackie, a Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biopic that (at one point) was to be directed by Darren Aronofsky and star Rachel Weisz - before the real-life couple broke up, that is. The screenwriter is also writing the Maze Runner adaptation for Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke and a Houdini biopic for Summit Entertainment.
Seth Gordon (King of Kong, Horrible Bosses) is attached to helm the new WarGames, which should play out quite differently in a modern, digital-age setting. The biggest obstacle the project is facing right now is simply 80s movie remake fatigue, which could be even more of a problem when it finally hits theaters.
Karl Gajdusek has been finding lots of work lately, between his contributions to the script for the Liam Neeson action/thriller, Unknown; Joel Schumacher's upcoming home invasion/revenge tale, Trespass; and TRON: Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski's next stylistic sci-fi effort, Oblivion.
Heat Vision has confirmed that the former Dead Like Me staff writer will also script the thriller Viking, which takes place in the world of "horned-helmet" wearing Norse warriors and merchants, sometime between the late-8th and mid-11th century. As mentioned before, it's being designed as a gruesome period thriller that goes the now customary "gritty and realistic" route - perhaps more so than the last noteworthy viking tale, Valhalla Rising.
That's not to say Viking doesn't sound like a project with promise, since what's likely to be its main inspiration, Apocalypto, managed to be a (pardon the description) deliciously violent and wild thrill ride. On the other hand, bloody tales about savage warriors in ancient times can sometimes turn out a bit too mindless for their own good (see: the new Conan the Barbarian).
We will keep you posted on the status of both the WarGames remake and Viking.