Pitch Week: The Shazam Family

I’ve never really read Shazam or the Marvel family except for that Shazam one shot that came out last year. That thing made no sense because of the continuity and it was pretty confusing.
I want a reboot of the series though because there are these elements that aren’t really touched because of how the DC Universe works. For instance the gods give their powers who say Shazam and those heroes then go under new names, separate from the gods and even fighting their icons (in which I refer to Black Adam, Osiris and Isis).
My thought for a reboot is that the beginning is the same, orphan Billy Batson is granted powers from the gods through the wizard Shazam after entering a mysterious tunnel. After that though, things change when upon exiting Batson meets archeologist Carter Hall in a cave in Egypt. Hall has been dreaming of the cave for his entire life and used his extensive wealth to find it. Upon finding Billy though, Hall attempts to return BIlly home only for a great sandstorm to pick up – a storm caused by Black Adam, a former prince turned immortal with the powers of the wizard Shazam whose death was caused by Black Adam who wished to prevent any other mortals from gaining powers to match his.
As Billy rushes in to use his new powers as Captain Marvel, Hall collapses on the ground and transforms into Hawkman the new appointed guardian of the new Captain Marvel. The two are able to chase off Black Adam leaving the two heroes confused on what to do. Hall, dealing with Hawkman or Ra’s personality taking over returns them to his mansion only to find a tiger waiting at the door.

I want a story that is sort of like a superhero sitcom where the Marvel family lives in this giant house and squabbles and fights like a real family – something more lighthearted. The series is about youth and idealism and how you can lose those dreams and the value of keeping them. It isn’t something we see often enough in comics and it is something that we need more of.

Billy Batson – an orphan granted the power to turn into Captain Marvel by the wizard Shazam. Billy wants to do the right thing and ultimately believes in the good of all people. He would rather not fight but understands the need to defend himself. He enjoys reading and cooking – the two main things that preoccupied his time growing up alone and dreams of writing stories when he is older. Over the time Billy has to face the fact that doing good is not always easy and fighting is sometimes needed.

Black Adam – a prince given the powers of Shazam thousands of years ago before Egypt was the desert it is now. Black Adam used his powers for good establishing a rich and flourishing kingdom. As times changed though Black Adam saw his entire kingdom and his legacy destroyed by nature and wars. His desire to prevent others from going through the same fate left him deranged and he wished to kill Shazam to prevent others from gaining his powers and to hopefully free himself from the curse (as in his madness he has forgotten how to return to his human form). Black Adam is not necessarily evil, only lost to the ages and part of the journey of Captain Marvel will be returning him to the hero he once was.

Carter Hall/Hawkman – the rich and generous millionaire who has had the same dream for his entire life. Hall was raised by a generous couple who adopted him when he had been abandoned as an infant. Now heir to the Hall fortune in computers, he uses his money to help those around him. The truth though is he is the god Ra who dies and is reborn eternally. As Ra’s memories of being a king will start to return, Hall will struggle to be the person he was raised to be while raising Billy. Hall was raised to be polite in company but fighting is not his passion as it is for Ra. As he gains back Ra’s memorises he will also develop sun powers.

Mr. Tawky Tawny – A mysterious tiger who appeared in Carter Hall’s home upon the return from Egypt. Tawky Tawny is the wild person of the group who was some long forgotten deity who got lost when the other gods ended up disappearing. Tawny enjoys parties and adventures but he isn’t suited for living at home causing issues with the more straight-laced Carter Hall. Mr Tawky Tawny also possesses the ability to transform into a human as well as a few other assorted tricks.

Mary Marvel – Mary Jones was an English orphan granted the power of Shazam by the wizard before Billy. She has been hesitant to use her powers out of fear since being attacked by Black Adam while she talked to Shazam. She faced Black Adam who simply left her when Shazam left leaving her to question her worth and causing confidence issues. When Carter and Billy arrive in London though, they sense her power and offer her a new home which she accepts. Mary is the voice of reason for the family who can offer a somewhat dark viewpoint due to her confidence issues. Mary, by being given a loving home will start to change and become a more energetic and happy character.

Captain Marvel Jr – Freddy Freeman was a college student in Washington DC interning for a local senator when Doctor Sivana attacked DC hoping to take over as the president. When he tried to move Billy Batson out of the way while transforming, Freddy gained the powers of Captain Marvel but he also ended up turning into a 12 year old version of himself. Freeman has lost his childish ideals and hope but ironically by turning into a child hero, he is able to regain that. Freddy does not move in with the Hall family but is there in case things go bad.

Doctor Sivana – the mad scientist who wishes to rule the world to fix it. Doctor Sivana by the age of 8 had gained 4 PhDs due to his immense intellect. When he found out that others were going after his inventions and research though he turned evil. Now age 16, Sivana wishes to ruin the world that did not respect him because really, he is just a super smart brat.

Pitch Week: Jem and The MotherF*cking Holograms

Jerrica Benton isn’t getting any younger. Starlight Music has seen better days, and the big 4-0 is coming up. Pop stars have come and go over the years, but none have ruled the charts like Jem. It’s been nearly twenty years since Jem released a single. The mysterious starlet disappeared just as fast as she appeared. Jerrica refuses to speak on her whereabouts, even as record sales continue to plummet.

What the music listening public doesn’t know is that Jerrica IS Jem, or at least she was. Ever since the music synthesizing AI her father created and called Synergy went offline, she hasn’t been able to transform back into her better, singing half. The years haven’t been kind to Jerrica, but somewhere in that supercomputer, Jem hasn’t aged a day.

She still writes songs for younger, hotter commodities, but no one wants to see Jerrica on the stage. They want JEM. So, when her ex-flame Rio Pacheco’s tech wiz son, Dino, finds a way to bring Synergy back to life, will Jerrica take the chance to relive her early twenties and give the people what they want? The other option would be truly, truly outrageous.

JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS is a film about pop music and rock n’ roll, and how no matter how old the artists get, the core of the music will always be about youth. It’s a bold and inventive piece of slick pop art that cuts beneath the thin veneer of glitz to show the shallow heart of fame.


McG likes to lay awake at night and tell himself he’s capable of making a movie like this, and he’d be stellar if this were a CW pilot, but it’s not. It’s a feature length film. The only man bold enough to take on a project like this is Nicolas Winding Refn.

After giving Tom Hardy a chance to shine in BRONSON and making the most nightbus movie of all time in DRIVE, Refn is an intense visual stylist with a strong sense of theme and tone. He also longs to make a WONDER WOMAN movie and is attached to remake LOGAN’S RUN. He’s totally the type of guy who’d do this. And it ensures that Ryan Gosling would take a role as Riot from The Stingers!


The first writer for this project is a no-brainer. JOSS WHEDON would never take time off from his awesome career to do this movie, but if you’re a fan of Buffy or have ever read his super awesome web-comic Sugarshock (and you better have) then you know no other writer in Hollywood or otherwise can write witty, strong female types in ensembles better than Joss.

This being a big-studio project (in my imagination) with an off-kilter director, the script will go through multiple drafts. Alot of Joss’ ideas will be rejected and he’ll quit, wanting more control than MTV Films (or Fox Atomic, or whothefuckever) is willing to give. That’s when the ball will be handed off to super-mega-hot-awesome Oscar winner DIABLO CODY.

Being super hot shit, despite the relative failure of JENNIFER’S BODY, she’s fielding any number of ridiculous job offers from junior-studio execs and I wouldn’t be surprised if this actually were one of them. Diablo would be responsible for the irony, wit and hipster cred this movie is going to need to survive. All the characters will be speak like cool-bitch catchphrase was their native tongue and I imagine her name alone will get asses in seats.

Unfortunately, Diablo isn’t as professional as we need for this. We need someone who knows the ins and the outs of screenplay construction. A worker. A craftsman.

We need JOHN AUGUST. After Go. Big Fish, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, The Corpse Bride and any number of unproduced or uncredited script work, there is no one else in my mind who could write a movie like this. He’s talented, smart and can do tongue in cheek guilty pleasure movies. (Just watch Charlie’s Angels, on second thought, don’t.)

August would meld all the ideas from the previous drafts into something workable and fresh, giving Refn the playbook he needs to win the championship, or, failing a championship of some sort, at least a movie that makes enough money to justify its existence without pandering to twelve year olds.

And, of course, Refn being a writer himself, he’ll have no problem fine tuning all of this to suit his vision.

Now, onto…


If anyone is going to play Jerrica Benton, aka Jem herself, its SCARLETT JOHANNSEN. The lead would have to be, A) smoking hot, B) capable of being pretty but normal looking and C) able to sing. 2 out of 3 ain’t half bad. Scarlett Jo could play shy, nice girl Jerrica turned older, embittered spinster just as well as voluptuous sexbomb Jem and we could get someone with actual singing talent to dub over her smoky, man voice. Mission accomplished.

I don’t have alot of strong reasons why OLIVIA THIRLBY, of Juno fame, should play Kimber, Jerrica’s younger sister who keeps her grounded, but she’s hot and I’m putting her in here somewhere, so try and stop me.

The rest of The Holgrams could be filled out with various singer-model types, namely NICOLE WRAY (who already made a Jem-homage in her video for “If I Was Your Girlfriend”), M.I.A. (who would be an interesting addition to any movie, this one or otherwise, even if she’s not white) and maybe one of the Pussycat Dolls (don’t care which one.) JULIA LING, from Chuck would be awesome as Aja.

While we’re on the subject of Chuck, ZACHARY LEVI would be great as Rio, the nice guy who loves Jerrica and Jem. In our film, he’s married with a son, but a fire still burns within him for Jerrica.

We already mentioned Gosling as Riot, so to front the other rival band, The Misfits, Juliette Lewis is the only person I could see playing Pizzaz.

Also, I never noticed it before, but CRAIG SHEFFER is the spitting-image of series villain Eric Raymond.

The rest of the cast would need to be mixed up with familiar faces, cute up-and-comers and the occasional real musician. It also wouldn’t hurt to get cameos from some of the original voice-over actors and actresses, if only for the message board nerds.


Here’s where things get fun. I really feel like there’s one man who needs to be involved with the music for this film. His name is TIMBALAND. I don’t think he should produce all the movie’s cuts, because his sonic identity is far too recognizable to blend in, but he’d be great as a consultant. That’d open us up to getting his wingman DANJAHANDZ involved, not to mention his little brother JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, who, I’m sure, could do something for the film from a marketing standpoint. Plus, Timmy’s friends with Pharrell and half of the Neptunes’ songs sound like tracks from the cartoon anyway.

I’m sure THE DREAM could write some new, infectious tunes, or re-arrange old-ones to involve his trademark “ay-ay-ay” bullshit. LINDA PERRY could help out. As could MAX MARTIN, the man who made Kelly Clarkson seem likable and owned your ears in the late 90s/early 00s with all the shit he did for N*SYNC and The Backstreet Boys.

Remember, as much as we’d make off the movie, imagine how much the soundtrack would sell? If High School Musical could move that many units, imagine this?

Also, for good measure, we should put out a Lil’ B sponsored remix-album on the streets, to keep The Fader happy.

Well, that about covers it. Perhaps this idea will eventually exist somewhere outside of my brain.

Pitch Week – Batman REBORN

Christopher Nolan is going to do in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES what Frank Miller did when he was on DAREDEVIL: he’s going to tip that sumbitch over and LEAVE.

After making two perfect (or near perfect, depending on your contrarian point of view) Bat films, he’ll be making a Towering Conclusion, and then leaving the franchise. He’ll most likely end it in such a way that no one can do a fourth film in the universe he’s created, which means Warner Bros will bring in someone new to make yet another reboot. This is already the plan, oddly enough with Nolan on board to “godfather” in the new franchise.

You know what else he’s “godfather”ing? Zack Snyder’s Superman. Yeah. Exactly.

I propose we get some REAL new blood in on the bat films, and what better place to look for source material than Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s brilliant run on BATMAN & ROBIN?

Now. the point could be made that this run, though bold and inventive and exciting, is not new reader (or viewer) friendly, and it’d be a good point to make. However, imagine this: a ten minute opener that quickly, and in ALL STAR SUPERMAN fashion, brings us up to speed on a mainstream viewpoint of the Batman & Robin mythos. Everyone understands the generalities. They just need the information given to them in a fresh and fun way.

Modern filmgoers already have origin fatigue from constant reboots, preboots and reimaginings, so give them a quick cliff notes version of Bruce and Dick going on adventures, Dick growing up, Bruce being lonely without a surrogate son, and having his true biological son foisted upon him, only to die before he can become a positive role model for him. Dick returns to fill his mentor’s shoes and is paired with his rambunctious, rebellious, sometimes murderous son. The chemistry is off the charts. It’s Brian and Stewie from FAMILY GUY fighting technicolor super crime, with considerably fewer dick and fart jokes. Also, less show tunes.

Joseph Gordon Levitt is the perfect choice to play the grown up Dick Grayson. He has the charm and the intensity. I think SUPER 8 showed that there are still talented child actors out there, so I don’t doubt that there is an unknown who can give Damien Wayne the bite and verve he needs to shine on screen. Audiences loved Hit-Girl, so of course they’ll love this new Robin.

As far as the villains go, I think a modified version of Grant’s run would make for a fun array of villains, particularly Paul Giamatti hamming it up as Mr. Pyg, Toby Kebbell pumping enough iron to bring The Flamingo to life, and I’d love to see someone like Benedict Cumberbatch bring Dr. Simon Hurt to the bring screen as the man who “killed” the Bat. Imagine someone doing a sad imitation of Heath Ledger’s Joker in a third act cameo; a spectre of his former self in the absence of his better half? People would be okay with a Joker this broken and empty, because that’s who he’d become without his nemesis.

I think the script could feature a lot of the big points of the arc, but could deviate from the necessity of having 60 years of bat continuity fueling the minutiae. It’d have to have the rollicking, adventurous but fiercely modern feel of Steven Moffat’s run on DOCTOR WHO, so why not get The Moff to write it?

As for a director, I say Michel Gondry. Obviously, anyone who has ever seen THE GREEN HORNET will disagree, but I think if given this rich source material, Gondry would have a blast making a vibrant, colorful, high octane action film supported on the strong structure of two brothers (of a sort) finding their way in the world without their father. It’s exactly the sort of nostalgic subject matter Gondry loves to make films about, and without a horrible faux-comedic script from Seth Rogen, Gondry could actually focus on making the film visually exciting and stick to the well written words of someone used to creating evocative adventure storytelling.

Pitch Week – That Nerd Kid Was Wrong

I was watching the truly horrible The Howling Reborn (2011), when I realized I hated a certain kind of character: the nerd who knows everything about the monster. In these movies where the characters seemingly have the same kind of diverse monster literature and movies, there is one person who knows almost everything about whatever is doing the killing. Despite how contradictory most lore is, whatever Evil Ed/emo Ali Larter from Final Destination/Hispanic guard in Devil says is spot-on truth.

I want there to be a movie where the protagonist goes to the horror fanatic/gypsy carnie/emo girl and every last tidbit of monster defense is completely wrong. “Vampires can’t enter your home without being invited.” The vamp kicks down the door and pimp walks in. “A werewolf only turns on the full moon.” The werewolf is turning at night, or even at will. “A sasquatch just want to be left alone.” He keeps kill trophies.

As far as who would direct or star in this sarcastic masterpiece, I don’t really care. A director who doesn’t equate gore with scary and actors who can act is all I would like to make my vision a reality.