Another week of fresh film stories in the news!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Vin Diesel does something very mutant-like.” story, Vin Diesel is coming back again and again in Sony Pictures’ first trailer for Bloodshot. In the forthcoming superhero adventure, Diesel portrays Ray Garrison a.k.a. Bloodshot, a soldier who gets rebuilt by a corporation following his death.
The clip, released Monday and scored to Johnny Cash’s rendition of the ballad “Memories are Made of This,” sees Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) tell the reborn Bloodshot, “I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you got yourself killed.” He continues, “At RST, we rebuild the most important assets in the U.S. Military. Soldiers, like yourself. You’re the first who we successfully managed to bring back.”
Diesel’s character discovers that he has an army of nanotechnology in his veins to make him close to immortal, giving him superhuman strength and the ability to heal instantly. RST also has control over his mind and memories.
In the new footage, he begins to remember his previous life. “I’ve got some unfinished business,” he declares. “I’m going find the man who murdered my wife.”
Ok, I’m going to take this moment to…LOL. That old story.
That runs counter to RST’s plans, of course, but Diesel is determined to settle scores and tells his handlers, “You can’t control me forever.”
The film, based on characters from the Valiant Comic Universe, was directed by Dave Wilson and written by “Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer and Jeff Wadlow. Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan and Toby Kebbell round out the cast.
Bloodshot arrives on the big screen Feb. 21.
IN THIS WEEK’S Will Akira happen?” story, Warner Bros. continues to insist upon a live-action adaptation of Akira despite a lack of public interest and going through a roster of directors that has currently landed on Taika Waititi.
Well, “public interest” is what some people are calling it. With the lac-luster performance (and quality?) of live-action adaptations of Ghost in the Shell and Alita: Battle Angel, an Akira film seems a little risky by a studios point of view.
However, Taika Waititi remains committed to Akira and explained to IGN how the scheduling worked out:
“Unfortunately, the timing with Akira, because we’ve been working really hard on the script, we had to keep pushing the start date for the shoot,” Waititi said. “We ended up having to push it a couple weeks too far, which actually ate into the Thor schedule, because they were very close together. And that got pushed again and again, and it just got too far into the Thor schedule to be able to make it work. And my first commitment was to Marvel to make that film, so now I’ve kind of had to take Akira and sort of shift it around to the tail-end of Thor and move it down a couple of years.”
The funny thing in all this is that Thor: Love and Thunder isn’t even Waititi’s next movie. Before he gets rolling on Thor, he has time to make a smaller movie, so he’s going to do the dramedy Next Goal Wins with Michael Fassbender, which is about an American Somoan football team trying to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
So, it will be a couple years before Waititi can actually get started on Akira, for sure.His new movie, Jojo Rabbit, won the Audience Award at TIFF, which means it’s on track for at least a Best Picture nomination at the Oscar, and so that’s a lot of acclaim that Waititi is carrying with him into Akira. It would be wise to let him take the project to the finish line rather than gambling on another director while Waititi goes off to make his other movies.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Moneypenny. Miss Moneypenny.” story, James Bond isn’t really a franchise that does spinoffs—25 and counting with no side-movies in sight despite the gritty Oddjob origin story being right there—but maybe an Oscar-winner can break tradition. During a discussion with Coming Soon about the upcoming Black and Blue, actress Naomie Harris casually mentioned that If Beale Street Could Talk director Barry Jenkins, who worked with Harris on his Best Picture-winner Moonlight, wants to get a standalone film for Harris’ Moneypenny off the ground.
“Actually, Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight, he always said that he wanted to do a Moneypenny spin-off, so maybe…” Harris said. This echoes comments she made recently on Good Morning America, where Harris also revealed she had at least gotten the ear of long-time Bond producer Barbara Broccoli.
“He’s wanted to do a bad ass, kick-ass kind of action thing with Moneypenny which I’m all for actually…I got together with Barbara Broccoli, our producer, and I was like let’s make this happen but she wasn’t so down with it – but maybe one day it should. Who knows…The conversation has started at least and we’re continuing it here so who knows.”
Harris is the sixth actress to take on the role, giving M’s secretary an actual name, “Eve Moneypenny”, for the first time in years and portraying the character in Skyfall, Spectre, and the upcoming No Time to Die directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. In Harris’ hands, Moneypenny became a bit more than a face behind a desk sharing flirty banter with Bond, helping Daniel Craig‘s super-spy out in the field.
Of course, Harris is also in the mix to join another franchise right now. Recently, her name popped up for the villainous role of Shriek in Venom 2 directed by Andy Serkis.
I’d actually be interested in a Moneypenny spin-off film, especially with today’s sensibilities. A strong woman in the lead; maybe she has a background in being an agent as well. Being M’s secretary could be a sort of moonligting gig, or a cover. I’m down. But I suspect this won’t ever happen anyway.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Apple TV” story, Years ago, the idea that anyone would even dare to adapt the Isaac Asimov sci-fi series Foundation would be laughable. The decades-old series is one of the most critically-acclaimed and influential novel series of all time but is also completely massive in its scale and philosophy. But alas, in this age of CGI wonders and TV budgets the size of major films, there’s nothing stopping a company like Apple from giving it a go. And the tech company is doing just that, and it has already nailed down its two leads.
According to Variety, actors Lee Pace and Jared Harris have signed on to star in the Apple TV+ streaming series Foundation. It would be silly to even try to summarize the entire novel series in a quick sentence, but at its absolute base level, Foundation is set in the future where there are a group of people that realize the Galactic Empire is on the verge of collapse, and they go about trying to salvage some of the Empire’s great culture with a massive plan that would span the entirety of the galaxy.
To say that it’s exciting to see Pace and Harris onboard this project is a gross understatement. Both actors are some of the finest in the world, and in recent years, given some of the best small-screen performances in memory. Pace is probably best known, at least recently, for his incredible work on the critically-acclaimed series “Halt and Catch Fire.” Recently, however, he was seen in the feature film, “Driven.”
Jared Harris has recently captivated viewers with his amazing role in the recent HBO miniseries “Chernobyl,” which somehow led people to actually want to learn about the tragic nuclear disaster and made the location a tourist hotspot. There is no stronger recommendation for a TV series’ greatness than the fact that people are choosing to go to the site of a nuclear disaster for the Instagram selfies.
David S. Goyer is onboard “Foundation” as the producer and showrunner. No word on when filming might begin or when we might see the series on the streaming service. Apple TV+ is set to launch on November 1.
This. Is. Huge. This show would be a singular reason to even consider AppleTV.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Emmet Otter gets a new movie!” story, The Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas movie has tapped Bret McKenzie to write the script and the music for a new take on the 1970s ABC special from the Jim Henson Company. McKenzie is no stranger to Henson-related material, having written the script and the songs for both The Muppets and its sequel, Muppets Most Wanted. This story follows some very poor otters (unlike those fancy wealthy otters) who enter a talent show to win money for Christmas gifts.
Variety broke the news about Bret McKenzie writing the Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas movie, adding that McKenzie has the option to direct, too – but that decision hasn’t been finalized yet. In the original Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas TV special, “Emmet and Ma Otter are very poor, but they are very happy and talented singers. Christmas is around the corner, and they both want to get the other a very special present. The prize in the talent show is $50. Both Emmet and Ma get a song ready for the competition; Emmet forms a jug band, and Ma practices alone, to vie with the Riverbottom Gang.”
The special required Henson and company to construct elaborate sets in ways they hadn’t before. “Emmet Otter was the first time we had gotten into those kind of elaborate sets where we had floors in the interiors and we would take a wide-angle shot with characters coming up through holes in the floor,” Henson said. “The Muppet Show was always platformed-up, but in Emmet Otter… we’d go right into a scene. We’d have the whole set in three dimensions… rigged so we could pop parts and come out through the openings, which is really time-consuming.”
There’s currently no distributor onboard the movie adaptation. You might think, as I did at first, that this was bound to end up on Disney+, the new Disney streaming service. But while Disney owns the Muppets, they don’t own the Emmet Otter characters – The Jim Henson Company does. When Emmet Otter first aired in the ’70s, it came with an introduction by Kermit the Frog. But after Disney bought the rights to the Muppets, Kermit’s intro was cut from future releases.
This feels like a Netflix type of release as opposed to theatrical.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Meh?” story, HanWay Films, Dark Castle Entertainment and Ingenious Media are partnering on Seance, a mystery horror from filmmaker Simon Barrett, with Suki Waterhouse leading the cast.
All three companies are producing jointly, with Addictive Picture’s John Schoenfelder and Russel Ackerman, and with Tomas Deckaj. Alex Mace is producing and Hal Sadoff executive producing for Dark Castle.
The film is currently in pre-production, ahead of a shoot on location in Canada in November.
The film will star Waterhouse as Camille Meadows, a new girl at the prestigious Fairfield Academy for Girls, who is drawn into the mystery surrounding a student who died following a seance.
Barrett will write and direct Seance; he has previously collaborated with HanWay on The Guest and You’re Next, which he wrote with Adam Wingard directing. Wingard will be an executive producer on Seance.
Waterhouse’s credits include Assassination Nation and The Bad Batch.
This doesn’t sound particularly intriguing, although, Simon Barrett was involved with The Guest and You’re Next, both great films. Maybe it’ll be better than it sounds?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Voice of the Bat”, story, Anyone hoping to get a sense of what to expect in Matt Reeves’ 2021 comic book tentpole The Batman might want to buy a ticket to The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers’ new film that broke out at the specialty box office last weekend. In a video interview with “Access Hollywood” (via EW), upcoming Batman actor Robert Pattinson says the voice of his co-star Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse influenced his voice as the Caped Crusader. The Batman voice is a defining characteristic of the superhero (see Christian Bale’s growly whisper in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy), and Pattinson couldn’t pick a better source of inspiration than Dafoe’s growl.
“Willem’s voice in [The Lighthouse] was quite inspiring for it, to be honest,” Pattinson responded when asked about his Batman voice. “It is pretty similar, the voice I’m gonna do, to Willem’s.”
Pattinson Batman will face off against Paul Dano’s The Riddler and Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman. Both actors were cast in The Batman this month, while Reeves recently confirmed that regular collaborator Michael Giacchino will be composing the original score.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Vin adds Cardi B” story, Cardi B will appear in the upcoming 9th installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. Star Vin Diesel shared the news in an Instagram video shot on the movie’s set, in which he and Cardi discuss their excitement over the long, challenging production.
In the video, Cardi is in costume, wearing black gloves and a black vest. “Day 86 here on the set of Fast 9,” Diesel says into the camera. “I know I’m exhausted, we all gave every single thing we could for this movie, put it all on the table, put it all out there.”
Cardi B adds, “I’m tired, but I can’t wait. I ain’t gonna front, this is gonna be the best one.”
Diesel continues, “We are so blessed. Last day of filming in the U.K. All love, always.”
The pair then trade some gibberish that appears to be an inside joke before Diesel reaffirms the film’s release in May of 2020.
Oh, goody. Well, as long as it’s as crazy and spectacularly insane as the past couple FF movies, I’m in.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Fast and Furious related” story, The main Fast and Furious franchise is driving towards its conclusion, but before it gets there, it might pull over and pick up Keanu Reeves. Reeves was rumored for a part in the Fast spin-off Hobbs and Shaw, but that never came to pass. Now, Furious franchise writer Chris Morgan has revealed he’s met with Reeves to discuss a possible role.
Speaking with ScreenRant, Chris Morgan, writer of six of the Fast and Furious movies as well as the spin-off Hobbs and Shaw, confirmed that the series really, really wants to find a way to get Keanu Reeves on board. “I sat down with him and we’re talking about,” Morgan said. “I wanted him to be in the Fast universe for a very long time. We’re just trying to find… the hardest thing is always time and competing schedules and then designing the right thing together. My fervent desire is to bring him into this franchise for sure.”
Before Hobbs and Shaw hit theaters, rumors persisted that the actor was going to have a cameo in that film. But then Hobbs and Shaw opened, and there was no Keanu to be found. But it could have happened. Hobbs and Shaw director David Leitch confirmed that he talked with Reeves about a part in the spin-off:
“It all stemmed from the fact that we had talked to Keanu early on. It was even before where we ended up with this draft. I had been talking to Keanu periodically through the shooting of it all and looking for opportunities of where it could be. I also wanted to make sure that it was enough — a real promise for something legitimate in the future — and wasn’t just a stunt casting role. We started to populate the movie with all these other personalities, and I just didn’t really think that we needed it, although I would’ve loved it. We even talked in post, and I showed him a rough cut of the movie. Then, we had conversations about ‘is there something here?’ We came to the conclusion of ‘let’s put a pin in it.’ I’m all for finding opportunities, but I also didn’t want to force anything.”
So between the John Wick films and now the upcoming Matrix 4, we’ll have to see if Keanu even has time to be in a Fast and Furious movie. But it sure would be fun if he did, right?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Glazer goes A24” story, It’s been nearly seven years since filmmaker Jonathan Glazer released his film Under the Skin. And before that, he only had two other films under his belt, dating back to 2000. But it appears that the filmmaker is set to begin work on his next film, an untitled Holocaust film, to be produced by A24, Film4, Access Entertainment, and producer James Wilson.
According to Deadline, Glazer has agreed to write and direct an untitled World War II film that will use the Holocaust setting to tell a fairly unlikely story. The film is apparently loosely based on author Martin Amis’ novel The Zone Of Interest. The book tells the story of a Nazi officer that finds himself falling for the wife of the camp’s commandant. The story follows their torrid, secretive love affair, while the spurned husband begins to suspect his wife.
Obviously, that’s the type of story that might get some headlines, considering how society has become fairly concerned recently with how Nazis are portrayed in cinema, with films like Jojo Rabbit getting criticized for attempting to show the soldiers are anything more than monsters. It’s clear that the novel’s plot, which could easily be summed up as a Nazi love story, might raise a few eyebrows.
Glazer is probably best known for his films Sexy Beast and the aforementioned Under the Skin. This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard that the filmmaker has a Holocaust-set film in his sights. Back in 2018, he was being interviewed and said that he was working on a film set during World War II.
At the time, he described his inspiration for the project, saying, “I remember being very taken by the faces of the bystanders, the onlookers, the complicit, you know? Ordinary Germans. I started wondering how it would be possible to stand by and watch that. Some of the faces actually enjoy it. The spectacle of it. The kinda circus of it.”
No word on when the film might be released, but it’s being reported that the untitled period film will begin filming in 2020.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Moving on to better things” story, Back in August, it was announced, somewhat unceremoniously, that filmmaker Neill Blomkamp had stepped away from the film RoboCop Returns. And in that announcement made by the filmmaker on Twitter, he hinted at a new project that he was excited to begin work on. Well, thanks to a new report, we know what that the project is titled “Inferno” and already has a star attached.
Deadline is reporting that Blomkamp’s next film is the horror-thriller titled Inferno, produced by AGC Studios, and the filmmaker has signed actor Taylor Kitsch to star. Inferno is said to follow a cop (Kitsch), who is brought on to investigate what seems to be a typical murder. However, the crime is found to have something bigger, maybe even extraterrestrial, in play, leading the FBI to investigate. The cop then has to fight a humanoid beast that will stop at nothing to kill the one witness to the crime.
No word on when Inferno might arrive in theaters, but production is expected to begin in early 2020.
This is good, because we don’t need another Robocop movie.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The Wright Brothers are the pioneers of air travel, having invented the first airplane. Well before that, hot air balloons were the only way to get above the ground, and The Aeronauts tells the gripping story of exploration and survival. Directed by Tom Harper, an Englishman who has led the likes of popular BBC series Peaky Blinders and 2009s The Scouting Book For Boys, comes a film inspired by real-life events which see a pilot and scientist take to the skies to discover more about the weather.
Wait – the WEATHER?
Starring Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones and Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (both from The Theory Of Everything), the adventure will take the duo up above the clouds. Where they must survive everything, mother nature throws at them, the snow, the wind, and the rain are their worst enemies.
Oh, ok, I see.
The story is loosely based on the voyage that scientist James Glaisher (played by Redmayne) made back in 1862 when he and Henry Coxwell rose to 37,000 feet. However, here, Coxwell is replaced by Amelia Wren (played by Jones), a decision made by Harper and co-writer Jack Thorne (National Treasure) to give a woman’s dynamic in the movie.
But the role that Jones plays is superb; she has clearly invested time into studying the part of a 19th-century female pilot. In Gregory Ellwood’s review from this year’s Telluride Film Festival, he spoke harmoniously about Jones’ performance, “Jones finds a way to transcend the scripted material and have you rooting for Wren when their voyage is in truly dire straits. Redmayne’s character has his own heroic moment, but it’s almost anticlimactic compared to what his co-star pulls off.”
While the main stars are up in the air, back on the ground, the likes of Himesh Patel (Yesterday), Phoebe Fox (Eye In The Sky) and Anne Reid (Hot Fuzz) are part of the thrilling period action.
Here is the official synopsis:
“In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history. While breaking records and advancing scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them. But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival.”
The film drops in cinemas on December 6, followed by a release on Amazon Prime Video on December 20.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Ride in Space on film” story, Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, inspiring a whole new generation of girls to become astronauts. Now the story of her life and the mission that put her in the history books will be turned into a movie by Transparent creator Jill Soloway and Lionsgate.
Lionsgate sent out a press release announcing the Sally Ride movie today. The film is simply titled Ride, and is based on an original spec script by Krystin Ver Linden that was rewritten by Cassie Pappas. Nathan Kahane, President of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group had this to say about the project:
“Sally Ride is an American Hero and icon whose life and career was and is endlessly fascinating and inspirational. In the hands of Jill Soloway and our tremendous team of producers, we feel we have the right storytellers to honor and properly tell Sally’s incredible story.”
Sally Ride was selected to be an astronaut by NASA Astronaut Group 8 in 1978, the first class to select women. She applied to the program while completing her PhD in physics at Stanford after seeing an ad in the student newspaper. Out of 8,000 applicants, only 35 were selected, and Ride was one of those people.
After entering NASA in 1979, Ride worked as a mission specialist, serving as the ground-based capsule communicator (CapCom) for the second and third Space Shuttle flights, and helped develop the Space Shuttle’s “Canadarm” robot arm. But it wouldn’t be until June 18, 1983, that she became the first American woman in space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7, NASA’s seventh space shuttle mission.
No casting information as of yet.
Aaaand, IN THIS WEEK’S “What the F–K are you doing?” story, Netflix has begun testing variable playback speeds in its Android app, which could be the first step to the feature becoming available on all Netflix platforms. As reported by Variety, the feature allows viewers to play movies and TV shows at lower or greater speeds, from as slow as 0.5x to as quickly as 1.5x.
Adjustable playback speeds have long been a feature on audio streaming devices, allowing listeners to get through audiobooks and podcasts at a greater speed, if for some reason you just can’t wait to find out what happens on this week’s episode of The Joe Rogan Experience. And YouTube gives users the ability to adjust the speed of any video they watch on the platform.
But variable playback speeds may seem like a puzzling addition to add to films and TV shows,
No, ya think?!
Currently, Netflix has only made the feature available on its Android app, which is standard procedure for the streaming giant when it tests out new features. Time will tell if they decide variable playback speeds are successful enough to roll out to all their users.
Ok, listen, I get listening to maybe a podcast or audiobook faster. But a film is meant to be seen as the director/writer/cinematographer intended. I get that some people may start using the sped up rate for films in order to save time or whatever, but what does say about the relationship between viewer and artistic creator? I don’t know, I guess it comes down to how important that artistic vision is to each individual. I’m not feeling like Id use that feature much, if at all.
Ok, thanks for stopping by this week! Cheers!