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When J.J. Abrams accepted the lucrative (and, if reports are any indication, headache-inducing) job of directing "Star Wars: Episode VII" for Disney, that meant that he had effectively taken himself out of the running for "Star Trek 3."
The third installment in Paramount's new "Star Trek" franchise started with 2009's insanely fun "Star Trek" and continued with this summer's somewhat underwhelming "Star Trek Into Darkness" (seriously, why did it need to be Khan?). In September, Abrams confirmed he wouldn't direct the third film and now it looks like Paramount is zeroing in on his replacement -- and chances are you've never heard of him.
Unless you are British and/or attended the South by Southwest Film Festival a couple of years ago, where his debut film "Attack the Block" premiered, chances are you don't know who Joe Cornish is. But you will, very, very soon.
Cornish is a close friend of both Simon Pegg (who costars in "Star Trek") and Edgar Wright, who produced "Attack the Block," and he definitely has the geek cred and the visual chops to get things like "Star Trek 3" done. Cornish served as Wright's co-writer on Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin" and on Wright's upcoming "Ant-Man." (He was courted earlier to direct the fifth "Die Hard" movie, an offer he wisely turned down.) If you've seen "Attack the Block," you know what an assured and gifted filmmaker he really is, and how eager he must be to play with a much larger canvas.
Cornish is currently working with Paramount on an adaptation of the cyberpunk novel "Snow Crash." However, that project would undoubtedly take a backseat to "Star Trek 3," which the studio wants ready to shoot by the summer of 2014. Nothing's official yet, but stay tuned for more to come.