Update 5/9/14: It’s now being reported that screenwriter Roberto Orci is “the clear frontrunner” to direct the untitled Star Trek 3. He already has the blessing of Bad Robot and Skydance, two of the three main production companies behind the new film franchise JJ Abrams started, and now Paramount is apparently very close to signing off on him as well. If they do, Orci it will mark Orci’s directorial debut.

Previously 4/22/14: The Writers of ‘Transformers,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ and Many More Are Breaking Up

We typically don’t cover Hollywood breakups, but this particular one warrants a mention: prolific screenwriting duo Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are calling it quits together. Professionally speaking, at least. They may well still be friends, and are apparently going to continue to work on their already established TV series together (Hawaii Five-0 and Sleepy Hollow), but they will now be going their separate ways when it comes to big-screen work.

This is kind of a big deal because they’ve been the biggest screenwriting and producing duo in the business for quite a while now. Together they’ve either written or produced The Island, Legend of Zorro, Mission: Impossible III, Transformers, Star Trek, Cowboys & Aliens, Star Trek Into Darkness, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Ender’s Game, Now You See Me, and most recently The Amazing Spider-Man 2. And those are just the produced works. They’ve also been attached to plenty of high-profile projects in development, like Venom, a new Van Helsing, a new Mummy, The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4, and Star Trek 3.

Why the breakup? No one knows, though according to Variety’s scoop on the news, they are “parting amicably.” As for where they go from here, it looks like Kurtzman is leaving the next Star Trek in Orci’s hands. And if Orci has his way, he’ll have more control over a single film than ever before because he’s been lobbying hard to direct the untitled Star Trek 3. Reportedly J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot has already signed off on Orci to direct the installment, but Paramount isn’t quite so eager to say yes. It would be his first directing gig, after all, and so the studio may not want to give him such a pivotal (and expensive) film. If it failed, that’d most certainly be the end of the Star Trek film franchise for awhile.

Kurtzman has already landed his own directing gig, since he’ll be calling the shots on Venom for Sony (which he cowrote with Orci and Ed Solomon). Variety further states that Kurtzman may take over the two Universal monster movies (Van Helsing and The Mummy) on his own.

Whatever projects the pair takes on next, it’s going to be very interesting to see how they each turn out. Was one of them the secret brains the entire time? Or are they both equally capable and now we’ve got two guys now branching off to create parallel billion-dollar careers? Time will tell.


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