John McTiernan, the director of such classics as Predator, The Hunt For Red October and Die Hard, was recently released from prison after serving 10 months after he pled guilty to lying to law enforcement about his involvement in a wiretap scandal. But just because he’s now out of the big house, doesn’t mean his legal woes are over though, as he is currently involved in a bankruptcy dispute around his 3,254-acre, $10 million ranch in Wyoming.
Facing foreclosure, McTiernan and his wife filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, however the banks are disputing the conditions of his bankruptcy and want to change it to the more extreme Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which his assets could possibly be liquidated.
Last week, McTiernan’s attorneys met the bank’s legal team in a four-long court hearing, and with all the legalese that was probably flying around, the last thing you would expect to hear in proceedings is some great movie news, but that’s exactly what happened according to a report from THR. In an effort to prove that McTiernan has some other means of paying his debts without need to resort to liquidating his ranch, the director took to the stand and revealed that he is trying to rebuild his career by writing spec scripts, and one such script has already been picked up and has a big name attached to star.
Titled Warbirds, the film is being described as a “Top Gun-type film” that is being developed by Hannibal Pictures with John Travolta in the lead role. Offers have also gone out to Johnny Knoxville and Queen Latifah to co-star, and while they have not yet committed to the film, McTiernan is looking to start shooting in the next few months.
Hannibal Pictures have also already lined up McTiernan’s assistant director who is out scouting planes, and they are also in talks with several CGI companies who will be vital to the movie as “it’s sort of the dog-fighting movie of all time, [which] they couldn’t make when they had the real airplanes because it’s too damn dangerous.”
The movie will have a $3-5 million CGI budget, while McTiernan, who reveals that he used to earn $8 million a movie in his heyday, will be banking a $1 million paycheck. Clearly these are not Michael Bay blockbuster numbers that are being thrown around here, so we probably shouldn’t expect a movie on the scale of some recent Summer tentpoles, but just the chance to get McTiernan behind the camera again doing these types of action movies is enough to get me excited. Yes, the last time he and Travolta teamed up, we got the rather lacklustre Basic, but I still think he has the directing chops to pull this off (unlike his Die Hard 2 contemporary Renny Harlin, who has turned into a sad mockery of his former self).
Other than Warbirds, McTiernan also revealed that he has a few other projects in the pipeline; one is Red Squad, another film being developed by Hannibal, while he is also apparently being courted to rewrite and direct another big action movie that would see him reteaming with his Predator and Last Action Hero star, something that the filmmaker is apparently not looking forward to.
“They are trying to put in Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it’s a bad idea. I have to convince them not to.”
As for whether or not all of this sounds as promising to the judge presiding over his bankruptcy case, as it does to fans of his filmography, proceedings apparently closed on a very positive note with the judge claiming ““It is very interesting to hear you…This is quite a day. We’re known for it in bankruptcy.”
Last Updated: September 1, 2014