EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures, JJ Abrams and Skydance Productions are eyeing five top directors to replace Roberto Orci as the Star Trek 3 helmer, I’m told. This is the hot open directing assignment of the moment. Studio is high on and has met with Rupert Wyatt, who helmed Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and the new remake The Gambler with Mark Wahlberg for Paramount. He seems to be atop this list, but he’s got company. Morten Tyldum, director of the Oscar bait film The Imitation Game, is on a list that also features Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa, who has wrapped Child 44 with Tom Hardy; Justin Lin, the Fast & Furious helmer who became available when his Bourne Legacy sequel with Jeremy Renner got pushed back to make way for another Bourne Identity with Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass (Lin could return to the Fast series, making multiple movies in a single shoot, to wrap up that race car franchise); finally there is also Duncan Jones, the Source Code helmer.
Now, when you aim for the hot emerging directors in town, there are a lots of variables including schedule conflicts and this list might not be an all-inclusive list. For instance, Espinosa is expected to next direct Boston Strong, the film about the bombing of the Boston Marathon and the manhunt for the terrorist siblings, that is supposed to shoot in time to include footage from the upcoming Boston Marathon; and Jones is working on Warcraft, a huge Legendary Pictures effort based on the video game. Deadline broke the news that Orci exited the directing chair earlier this month. He was tapped to replace JJ Abrams, who left to revive the Star Wars franchise. Orci remains a producer with Abrams and others, and Orci helped craft the first two Trek installments that Abrams directed. At the time of the Orci exit, I’d heard Edgar Wright. Not hearing his name in this mix. Stay tuned.