Having completely exhausted all literature, Hollywood’s new favorite source for big-screen adaptation continues to be its toy box, where all those prepubescent afternoons today’s producers spent smacking muscle-bound plastic people into each other and making gun noises with their mouths now count as “spitballing,” to borrow an industry term. Unfortunately, you also need someone to write stuff like dialogue and plots—otherwise the critics will have a field day—and today’s Hollywood Reporter offers a glimpse at just how difficult that can be, suggesting that the planned reboot of Masters Of The Universe is still struggling to find that perfect marriage between nostalgic pandering, corporate synergy, and whatever, you know, story and stuff. Masters had been on the Warner Bros. slate for a while before the studio decided that it and Mattel—who, in this topsy-turvy new world of moviemaking, has final story approval—“couldn’t agree on a creative vision.” Now Columbia has brought in Predators wunderkinds Mike Finch and Alex Litvak to completely rebuild the project “from the ground up,” and script a treatment that “would convince the studio it was cinematic and keep the toy company satisfied that its characters were being portrayed appropriately.” (So, no giving Orko a drug problem, we guess.)
Speaking of appropriate, Peter Berg’s planned adaptation of the Battleship board game is also moving ahead, but since this is 2010 and most modern audiences would look at boring old warships and sneer, “What is this, the History Channel?” before typing that out on their Twitter feeds, Berg has added a cool, relatable-to-our-times plotline about alien invasion. Slightly more reassuring if only because the guy is so damn likable, Friday Night Lights pretty boy Taylor Kitsch is attached to play Naval commander Alex Hopper, described as "wildly spirited" and "a great seaman but a lousy politician,” which probably means he’ll be hungover and/or waking up in bed with a female officer in his first shot of the film. And although Berg’s first choice to play Hopper, The Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner, wisely said, “Hell no” once he had a little taste of Oscar, Movieline reports that the film just got its necessary shot of integrity with the addition of Tom Arnold to the cast, who will hopefully bring some of that same gravitas-on-the-high-seas he displayed in McHale’s Navy.