Today in show business news: American Sniper needs a new director, Ryan Seacrest hosts a very strange new game show, and MTV gets into the cooking world.
Steven Spielberg, and by extension DreamWorks (or is it the other way around?), has pulled out of directing and producing American Sniper, the film based on the book by the late, decorated SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. No explicit reason was given for the decision, though the speculation is that something about the deal didn't work out. But I almost wonder if there's something more, some darker part of Kyle's story that eventually scared Spielberg off. Aspects of it are pretty dark, and there are those accusations about accuracy in Kyle's book. Though, I'd imagine that that ambiguity and uncertainty would draw Spielberg in. So maybe it was just money. Whatever the reason, he's off the picture, leaving the Warner Bros. production stranded and intended star Bradley Cooper without a big-name director. Will he stay on the project? Probably. It's a big macho part that could also potentially be awards material. Though, Cooper is a busy bee these days, so he might have to leave if the production can't find a director soon enough. What's Brett Ratner doing? Just get him. [Variety]
Cheery little seahorse Ryan Seacrest has been named the host of a new NBC game show called Million Second Quiz, which has a very strange description:
Taking place over 12 days and nights, Quiz will see contestants battling one another as they test the limits of their knowledge, endurance and will to win. Catering to Seacrest's strengths as a live broadcaster, NBC will broadcast the interactive show in primetime live from an hourglass-shaped structure in Manhattan -- which also will serve as the living quarters for the players -- instead of the typical studio setting. And unlike other competition shows, players have to play Million Second Quiz 24 hours a day for 1 million seconds -- which translates to 11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes and 40 seconds -- in order to avoid getting eliminated. As that time run out, champions will then duke it out, and an eventual winner will take home as much as $10 million.
So in all likelihood it's actually one of those secret psychological experiments to see who cracks under pressure, scrutiny, and claustrophobia. Ryan Seacrest is conducting some kind of Milgram experiment type of thing, or is at least complicit in it. And from the sound of it, this show will undoubtedly end in a terrible, terrible murder. Or murders. There's no way of telling how big this will backfire, but oh yes, it will backfire. Watch out, Ry-guy. Don't get any blood on your suit. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Josh Gad, the Book of Mormon actor who was on 1600 Penn this year, has been cast as Sam Kinison in a new biopic about the rage comic. The movie will be directed by Larry Charles, who had success with mockumentary (sort of) curios like Borat and Bruno. (Well, OK, he had success with Borat.) The script, based on a book by Kinison's brother, was written by the guy who wrote xXx. Y'know, the Vin Diesel action movie. This one. So this is a strange project! But is it so crazy it could work? Sure. Why not. Let's say it is. So long as Gad doesn't go surfing on a lunch tray at any point, it could be just fine. [Deadline]
MTV has ordered four new reality series, two of them food-related. One, called Snackdown, sounds like Chopped except the contestants are making junk food. What would Ted Allen say? ("I'm happy to have work. Sorry, Kyan," is probably what Ted Allen would say.) The other cooking show is called House of Food, which Deadline is careful to point out is a "(working title)," which is important, because House of Food is not a very good title for a show. Worse title for a restaurant, better a show called House of Food than a restaurant, but still pretty bad. Anyway, the show is about aspiring young chefs living together, so it's a little Hills-type drama, only about chefs instead of house cats fighting over patches of sunlight. The other two shows are less interesting — one is about virgins trying to stay or stop being virgins, the other is about confronting exes — but these cooking things, on MTV, could be something. Something terrible, probably, but something. Meanwhile, MTV has renewed its scripted series Awkward. for a fourth season. Who's she with now? Matty? Jake? Anyone know? She's got to be with one of them. Unless Matty and Jake are together? Nah, I feel like I would have heard something about that. But that should happen. The series has new showrunners, so maybe they can make that happen. Why not? [Deadline, Deadline]