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The "movies based on toys" industry took a big hit earlier this week when it was announced that plans to make a movie about Stretch Armstrong had been cancelled, but today the future looks a little bit brighter (and you can take that as either good news or bad news). Legendary Pictures has spent the last couple years trying to get a film off the ground based on tiny metal toy cars known as Hot Wheels, and now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, they've found a filmmaker to make it. Following a long period of negotiation it's been announced that Simon Crane, one of the best known second unit directors in the business, has been hired to helm the project.
Legendary may be the home of the Hot Wheels movie now, but the idea of a movie based on the property has been bouncing around for a long time. At separate points in the last few years the film was in development at both Warner Bros. and Columbia Pictures. At one point it looked like McG was going to direct and, as THR notes, screenwriters like Cormac Wibberly (National Treasure) and John Gatins (Flight) have tried to tackle the script.
The search for a director intensified this past summer when it was revealed that the studio had narrowed down their shortlist to just two names. Crane was the first name, and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, best known as the filmmaker behind 28 Weeks Later and Intruders, was the second. Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, who were among the writers responsible for 2008's Iron Man, wrote the initial draft for this latest version of the Hot Wheels movie, and Paul Attanasio, the Oscar nominated screenwriter behind Quiz Show and Donnie Brasco, is currently working on the rewrite.
Very few details have been released about the plot , but according to the trade report "the story centers on a washed-up Illinois State Trooper who, after a dangerous military device falls into the hands of a criminal, fights the man his father once put behind bars."
Crane isn't a household name, but it's almost guaranteed that you have seen some of his work. In addition to working as a second unit director on big movies like World War Z, Quantum of Solace, Hancock and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, he's also worked a lot as a stunt coordinator. He hasn't directed a feature of his own just yet, but a few years ago he was attached to helm the Jason Statham spy thriller Echelon. In all likelihood Hot Wheels will be Crane's feature directorial debut.
Now allow me to hit your nostalgia button...