February 19, 2014

Paramount Hires Jai Courtney Over Rising-Star Boyd Holbrook For Kyle Reese In TERMINATOR: GENESIS

Paramount has finally chosen it's Kyle Reese for Alan Taylor's Terminator: Genesis, and it's not the person we wanted or expected. They've decided on Jai Courtney, the Aussie actor best known for tripe like A Good Day To Die Hard and I, Frankenstein. I get the impression Jai's casting in the film came down to the studio being cheap, or finding a "face" at least known to the general audience. I'm sure his previous work on Skydance/Paramount's Jack Reacher didn't hurt his chances.

Boyd Holbrook had been kicking around the project for ages, and seemingly looked like the front-runner for a couple of roles. Holbrook has an impressive acting background which includes an untitled Terrence Malick film (co-starring with Natalie Portman, Cate Blachett, Christian Bale, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling), Milk, Out of The Furnace, Behind The Candelabra, The Skeleton Twins, Jane Got A Gun, David Fincher's Gone Girl and Little Accidents. His credits are more than you'd expect for someone trying to land a lead in a Terminator reboot, I'm actually very shocked Paramount went with Courtney. Holbrook is poised to become a big name, and Paramount really missed out on a opportunity here.

The more I hear about the "what-if" aspects of this project, it really upsets me. Producer Megan Ellison's company Annapurna Pictures exited the project (she's taking an executive producer credit instead). Her production company's involvement was a major reason a lot of people were interested in the reboot in the first place. Also, alarm bells should be ringing as Megan is responsible for a great deal of awards caliber films such as Her, The Master, True Grit, American Hustle, Zero Dark Thirty, Foxcatcher and Lawless. If she left, there must have been a quality issue and Megan wanted to distance herself from it. Odd, since she spent $20 million to secure the rights in the first place.

David Ellison's Skydance Productions will instead be handling 2/3 of the production costs instead, with Paramount shelling out the rest. The people responsible for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Jack Reacher and Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness. Last time I checked, the Terminator movies weren't a bunch of generic/forgettable action action films. At least the first two weren't, as the studio and director Alan Taylor are giving lip-service to honoring those movies with this new trilogy.

To add more fuel to the fire. Paramount has been hiring actors with "recognizable faces", rather than impressive bodies of work. Emilia Clark (Game of Thrones) and Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes) are fine and all, but the studio had the chance to hire Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, Inception, Dark Knight Rises, Locke,Warrior, The Drop, Child 44) and Brie Larson (Rampart, Don Jon, Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now) as the Connors. Having an actor like Hardy involved would have given the project a lot more attention and curiosity (something he did with Mad Max). Losing Boyd as well, is more than a little disappointing. Even as a fan, I'm not sure I see this going very well if the studio is turning away talent like this.


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