Welcome to the next week of happenings in film!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Titan-ic news! story, After the record-breaking box office run of It, director Andy Muschietti has found his next project.
Muschietti will direct a feature film adaptation of Attack on Titans for Warner Bros. The studio finalized a deal with Japan-based publishing company Kodansha on Monday.
Attack on Titan, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, has become one of the best-selling manga series with over 76 million copies in print since debuting in 2009. It is set in a world in which humanity lives in cities surrounded by enormous walls protecting themselves from gigantic humanoids that are referred to as titans.
David Heyman (Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts) is producing the film with Masi Oka (Mega Man) and Andy’s sister Barbara Muschietti (It and Mama).
This isn’t the first time Attack on Titan is getting the big screen treatment. Shinji Higuchi directed a Japanese version in 2015. It was released in two parts and earned $46 million. In 2013, Wit Studios debuted an anime television series.
This should be significantly bonkers. I’ve seen season one of the anime show, and it’s great, if not typically bonkers anime.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Neeson gets funny” story, after so much drama and action films, Liam Neeson will next go the comic route with Made in Italy. James D’Arcy (Dunkirk, Cloud Atlas,) is making his feature directorial debut with the film, which co-stars Micheál Richardson. According to Variety, Neeson will play “a bohemian London artist who returns to Italy with his estranged son, portrayed by Richardson, to sell the house they inherited from his late wife.” D’Arcy is also writing the screenplay.
Neeson is no stranger to the comedy genre, having appeared in the likes of Love Actually and A Million Ways to Die in the West. Last year, he hinted that his time as an action star is coming to an end: “The thrillers, that was all a pure accident,” he told Radio Times at the Toronto International Film Festival. “They’re still throwing serious money at me to do that stuff. I’m like, ‘Guys, I’m sixty-fucking-five.’ Audiences are eventually going to go, ‘Come on.’”
Yeah, well, we’ve been saying that about Harrison Ford for a few years now, and he seem to have no problem making those movies still.
Neeson added, “I’ve shot one that’s going to come out in January sometime. There might be another. That’s it. But not ‘Taken,’ none of that franchise stuff.”
Neeson may have spoken too soon, however, as Cold Pursuit opens early next year.
Made in Italy goes into production next April in, of course, Italy.
RELATED: The film marks the English-language debut of Norwegian filmmaker Hans Petter Moland and is a loose adaptation of his 2014 movie In Order of Disappearance.
Cold Pursuit, originally titled Hard Powder, stars Neeson as Nelson Coxman, a snowplower who makes it his mission to avenge the death of his son after he’s murdered by a drug cartel located in the Rocky Mountains. The supporting cast includes Laura Dern, Emmy Rossum, Tom Bateman, and William Forsythe. Neeson’s role in Moland’s original film was played by Stellan Skarsgård.
IN THIS WEEK’S “A little help form your friends” story, actor Michael Rooker doens’t like Disney firing his friend, James Gunn. And speaking at a recent convention (via Comicbook.com), Rooker talked about the recent controversy surrounding the filmmaker and his future in the DCEU.
“It’s terrible, isn’t it? Yeah, but oh well, guess what? He’s on a gig already. ‘Suicide Squad,’ that’s right. He’s writing it and directing it as well,” Rooker said at Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta.
Rooker is, of course, referencing the news that Gunn was fired by Disney after decade-old tweets resurfaced.
After losing his job on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the writer-director was then hired by Warner Bros. and DC Films to pen a script for an upcoming Suicide Squad film (not a sequel, per reports). Now, common sense would say that Gunn would end up directing the film, but that wasn’t confirmed by WB at the time. Now, we have Rooker saying it’s a done deal.
I hope that’s true, because that would give me some strong hope for the DC universe of films.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Second worst box office opening ever” story, London Fields opens to dismal numbers, and virtually no notice at all.
We’re guessing that not many people realized that London Fields hit theaters this weekend. The film, after a three-year behind-the-scenes battle to reach theaters, finally was released wide and put up historically bad box office numbers. In 613 theaters, London Fields grossed a total of $160,000. Yes, you read that right.
That’s one-hundred-and-sixty-thousand-dollars, which breaks down to a measly $261 per theater this weekend. According to Box Office Mojo, this makes London Fields the second-worst wide release (more than 600 theaters) in history.
Take a look at the cast list for London Fields: Amber Heard, Jim Sturgess, Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Isaacs, Theo James, Cara Delevinge, Gemma Chan, Jaimie Alexander, and Johnny Depp.
Apprently, the film is bad. Like bad. Back when the film was scheduled to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015, ThePlaylist.net reviewed it and said, “…with an incredibly uninteresting lead female character who will drive feminists off the wall and an infuriating storyline, the film is an impossible recommendation.” And we’re not the only people saying that as London Fields sports a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
It almost seems worth seeing just to see how bad it really is. Almost.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Re-JECTED!”, story, supposedly Ben Affleck wanted to play Batman in Matt Reeves stand alone Batman film, but Reeves wasn’t having it.
According to a report from Revenge of the Fans, Ben Affleck knew that Reeves wanted to make a Batman film with a younger version of the character, but the actor and some people within Warner Bros. had devised a way to service both those wanting Affleck to return, as well as those wanting a new actor.
Instead of playing the character for the whole film, Affleck’s Old Man Batman would bookend the film, telling a story of his exploits as a younger man, with whoever they hire to take on the role. However, when this idea was brought to Reeves from the studio and Affleck, the director politely turned down the option, as he was concerned that the actor’s involvement would distract from the story he is attempting to tell.
This is basically all rumor at the moment, so who knows how accurate it is. But it’s still kinda funny to me.
We really don’t know much about The Batman even though filming is supposed to happen in 2019.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Branagh and the Bard” story, Kenneth Branagh made his name with his Shakespeare adaptations, but in All Is True he will become the man, and turn his focus to the Bard’s own life. The film, penned by Ben Elton (who is primarily known for comedies — this will be his first drama) will feature Branagh as William Shakespeare, but will occur during an often unexplored and pivotal period of the playwright’s later years. The actor will also direct the feature, which also stars Judi Dench as his wife Anne and Ian McKellen as the Earl of Southampton.
According to a press release, “The year is 1613, Shakespeare is acknowledged as the greatest writer of the age. But disaster strikes when his renowned Globe Theatre burns to the ground, and devastated, Shakespeare returns to Stratford, where he must face a troubled past and a neglected family. Haunted by the death of his only son Hamnet, he struggles to mend the broken relationships with his wife and daughters. In so doing, he is ruthlessly forced to examine his own failings as husband and father. His very personal search for the truth uncovers secrets and lies within a family at war.”
The film will have an official release in 2019, after a one-week awards-qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles December 21st.
Branagh knows Shakespeare, and I figure this will be solid.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Charlie and Mel, find Waldo” story, Mel Gibson has joined Charlie Hunnam in the upcoming action film Waldo, foreign sales group IMR International announced on Monday.
Based on the novel Last Looks by Howard Gould, Waldo stars Hunnam as disgraced LAPD detective Charlie Waldo, whose life off the grid comes to a hard end when he is dragged back into the city as a private detective to investigate the death of an eccentric TV star’s wife. Filming is set to start early next year.
Gibson, who was last seen in theaters in last year’s comedy Daddy’s Home 2, will next be seen in the film Dragged Across Concrete, which premiered at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Upcoming films also include Farhad Safinia’s The Professor and the Madman and Joe Carnahan’s Boss Level, as well as his next directorial project Destroyer, which he aims to start filming next year(not to be confused with the Karyn Kusama directed film coming soon).
Hollywood just doesn’t care what shitty things you do.
IN THIS WEEK’S “More Meg!” story, Tuesday afternoon at the U.S.-China Entertainment Summit in Los Angeles at the Skirball Center, The Meg executive producer Catherine Xujun Ying acknowledged that that a sequel to summer’s shark movie is in the works.
“That is definitely the plan,” said Ying when asked by Variety’s Patrick Frater about building out the franchise during a panel for film and the future plans of The Meg 2 , “It’s still in the very early stages, but we’re working on it.
We’re trying to keep it secret at this time.” Ying is the VP of CMC and CEO of Gravity Pictures who was involved heavily in financing The Meg which was distributed by Warner Bros. in U.S./Canada and a majority of overseas territories.
The Meg producer Belle Avery also is looking forward to sequels: She bought the rights to Steve Alten’s books. At this point in time, there are discussions in place to create Meg theme park rides over in the PROC.
From what Deadline knows, The Meg 2 hasn’t set any screenwriters yet, the project isn’t officially greenlit by Warner Bros, and for the studio to move forward with a part 2 it certainly has to out-wow the first installment.
Having Gravity on board certainly makes The Meg 2 more of a reality.
At the top of the panel, it was mentioned that to date The Meg is the most successful U.S.-Chinese co-production ever at $527.8M WW beating the previous Sino-co-production champ, Kung Fu Panda 3 at $521.1M WW.
Make it bigger, funnier, more self-aware, and completely insane. then I’m TOTALLY in.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Hail of bullets” story, Chloë Grace Moretz (Greta) and Jack O’Connell (Unbroken) are attached to star as iconic outlaws Bonnie and Clyde in Kiké Maillo’s Love Is A Gun.
Marissa McMahon and Ashley Schlaifer of Kamala Films (A Private War) are producing alongside Sean and Bryan Furst (Daybreakers) of Skybound Entertainment. Endeavor Content is handling international sales and will present the project to buyers at AFM. CAA is co-repping domestic with the producers.
The story is based on author Jeff Guinn’s book Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story Of Bonnie And Clyde and adapted by Sheldon Turner (Up In The Air) with revisions by Johnny Newman (Narcos). Production on the movie, set in the 1930s, is scheduled to start in early 2019.
This is an audacious effort, seeing as the iconic couple have not been tackled for the big screen since Arthur Penn’s 1967 classic Bonnie and Clyde starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. There have been TV movies and mini-series about the pair.
Notorious criminals Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow traveled central U.S. with their gang during the Great Depression, robbing banks and killing when cornered or confronted.
It is interesting that no film version has been made since the Beatty/Dunaway version. I could be convinced to see this if the trailers look good.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Ron Perlman gets a gun” story, Between series like Trollhunters, Transformers: Power of the Primes, and plenty more, Ron Perlman has been keeping busy with voice work in recent years, but if the Sons of Anarchy and Hellboy fans out there have wanted to see him kicking ass on screen again, you’re going to want to check out the exclusive trailer premiere for the new action thriller Asher. Perlman stars as the titular anti-hero, an ex-Mossad agent working as a gun for hire in Brooklyn, but when he meets a woman named Sophie (Famke Janssen), he decides he’s got to kill the man he was to find love before it’s too late.
Asher also stars Richard Dreyfuss, Peter Facinelli, and Jacqueline Bisset. The film is directed by Michael Caton-Jones from a script written by Jay Zaretsky. Momentum Pictures will release Asher in theaters, OnDemand and on Digital HD on December 7, 2018.
I dig Perlman and Jansson – and this idea – so I’d be all interested in seeing this.
IN THIS WEEK’S “And for our next inexplicable sequel…” story, Gladiator 2 is officially moving forward with director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Peter Craig, Deadline reports. The storyline will center on Lucius, the son of Connie Nielsen’s character Lucilla from the original film. Lucius is the nephew of Joaquin Phoenix’s Commodus, the Roman leader killed by Russell Crowe’s Maximus. Crowe’s character died at the end of the first movie, but the sequel will find Lucius greatly influenced by Maximus.
According to Deadline, production on Gladiator 2 could “happen very quickly.” Scott is currently gearing up to film his first television series, the TNT drama Raised by Wolves. The Gladiator sequel is now being viewed as his next feature directorial effort. The original Gladiator opened May 5, 2000 and was a critical and box office sensation. The film earned over $400 million worldwide and was nominated for 11 Oscars, winning for Best Picture and Best Actor.
STILL don’t see any justification for this film.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Oh, this is still happening?” story, On Instagram today, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence confirmed that Sony’s Bad Boys for Life is finally going forward, and they’re respectively reprising their roles as Detectives Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett.
“It’s official Bad Boys 3 is happening, it’s official,” screamed Smith from the Santa Monica, CA beach.
Production is starting in mid January with Belgian directors Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah at the helm, which Deadline reported exclusively on back in January and a script by Chris Bremner. This threequel has long been a priority project at Sony, to re-team the stars of the 1995 original, which helped turned Smith into a global superstar and put Lawrence on the A-list as his partner. Together both movies grossed $414.7M worldwide. The franchise’s original producer Jerry Bruckheimer is also returning. Bad Boys For Life is scheduled to open on Jan. 17, 2020.
IN THIS WEEK’S “I just don’t know anymore.”, story, Ewan McGregor may play the Big Bad in the upcoming female-led comic book movie, Birds of Prey. The Christopher Robin actor is in talks to join the Birds of Prey cast as the villain Black Mask, a Gotham mob moss and frequent Batman baddie who will likely turn his attention to Harley Quinn and the members of the titular Birds of Prey in the upcoming film helmed by Cathy Yan.
The Wrap reports that McGregor is in talks to play Black Mask, a ruthless mob moss with a penchant for torture and wearing creepy skull-like masks.
The film will reunite McGregor with his Fargo co-star Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who is on board to play Huntress, a vigilante character who in several iterations has ties to the mob. Other Birds of Prey cast members include Margot Robbie, whose Harley Quinn isn’t a traditional member of the Birds of Prey but who has been the longest attached to the project, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as the superheroine Black Canary, and Rosie Perez as Detective Renee Montoya.
McGregor had been rumored to be on the short list for Black Mask since September, when it was reported that both he and District 9 star Sharlto Copley were up for the role.
Created by Doug Moench and Tom Mandrake in 1985, The Black Mask is a brutal crime boss who murders his parents in order to take over the family corporation, only to lose all his wealth to his own ineptitude. Seeking revenge against Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises for his fallen empire, he sheds his real name Roman Sionis to don the identity of the Black Mask, wearing a skull-like mask that (sometimes) gives him the powers of hypnosis.
Yan directs a script by Christina Hodson, who is also penning the script for Batgirl. Birds of Prey is set to hit theaters on February 7, 2020.
IN THIS WEEK’S ” IT returns” story, IT 2 has officially wrapped filming. The horror sequel is one of the most anticipated films of 2019, and director Andy Muschietti took to Instagram a day after the film’s first teaser poster was released to announce that production has wrapped on IT Chapter Two. The filmmaker, who also directed the first IT to a whopping $700 million worldwide and positive reviews, called production on the sequel a “roller coaster” ride, revealing that it lasted an epic 86 days. That’s not the kind of lengthy schedule one normally gets to make a horror film, but then again IT Chapter Two is not your traditional horror movie.
The success of the first half of Muschietti’s Stephen King adaptation afforded him the luxury of not just a lengthy shooting schedule, but also an A-list ensemble. Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader lead the cast of IT Chapter Two as the sequel picks up with the characters as adults 27 years later. While we don’t know too much about the follow-up just yet, IndieWire spoke with Hader last night, and the Emmy-winning actor revealed that IT 2 is surprisingly emotional:
“It’s really great. It’s very emotional. The cast is amazing… It’s really scary obviously, but I was surprised at how emotional it was. It’s really a story about these people and this kind of trauma that they all went through.”
While Muschietti now has a lengthy period of post-production ahead of him, the filmmaker is already looking ahead to ambitious future projects as he recently signed on to develop an Attack on Titan live-action film and a new adaptation of The Time Machine with Leonardo DiCaprio. Andy and Barbara Muschietti have written a treatment for the film and Andy will direct it. Barbara will produce with Jennifer Davisson and DiCaprio.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The remake train keeps a-rollin'”, story, According to Collider, The Color Purple is making its way to the silver screen once again. Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Quincy Jones are producing an adaptation of the Broadway musical, marking their second collaboration on the material; Spielberg directed the 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, which marked Winfrey’s film debut and which Jones also produced and composed the score for.
That film was hugely successful, earning $142 million against a budget of just $15 million and receiving 11 Academy Award nominations (though it won none) as well as four Golden Globe nods, with Whoopi Goldberg winning for her performance.
No word yet on casting decisions for the new version. Danny Glover, Adolph Caesar, Margaret Avery, and Rae Dawn Chong starred in the original film, while Jennifer Hudson, Danielle Brooks, and Cynthia Erivo starred in the most recent musical.
Can we please get some new, fresh material? Ugh.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Somebody call Ripley, we have a story for them” story, believe it or not, Netflix has ordered a season 4 of Fuller House.
“Netflix has set December 14 for the Season 4 premiere of its hit spinoff Fuller House. ” Really? ‘Hit spinoff’?
Season 4 will pick up with Danny (Bob Saget), Joey (Dave Coulier), Jesse (John Stamos) and Rebecca (Lori Loughlin) all moving back to San Francisco and, of course, will follow Kimmy’s (Andre Barber) pregnancy.
Fuller House also stars Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Soni Nicole Bringas, Michael Campion, Elias Harger, Scott Weinger, John Brotherton, Ashley Liao and Dashiell and Fox Messitt as Baby Tommy.
The hit comedy series returns with Steve Baldikoski and Bryan Behar as new executive producers and showrunners.
Is this show really a hit? I’ve heard nothing but how horrendous it is. No accounting for taste, I guess.
And IN THIS WEEK’S “For once it’s NOT about Johnny Depp” story, Heather Locklear was vicious, violent and wished death by AIDS on the children of an EMT that was placing her on a gurney during her June arrest … so says the EMT in a newly filed lawsuit.
Jennifer Hayn-Hiton — a single mother of 3 — was working as an EMT on June 24 when she was dispatched to Locklear’s L.A. home for a disturbance call. Hayn-Hiton claims Locklear became verbally and physically abusive during the incident, kicking her and causing injury.
According to the docs — filed Thursday and obtained by TMZ — Locklear also wished death on the EMT’s 3 minor children from AIDS.
Hayn-Hiton says the injuries at the hands and feet of Locklear caused her to miss work and missed and, as a result, her paycheck shrunk.
TMZ broke the story — Locklear was charged with interfering with law enforcement and battery. She was hospitalized 24 hours after her release from jail for an apparent overdose … and she’s been in rehab ever since.
Hayn-Hiton’s attorney, Kevin Flahavan, tells us, “This has taken a tremendous toll on our client and her children. When Ms. Locklear went to rehab, we had hoped that she would learn about making amends to those she had harmed.”
He continues, “We have reached out to her and she ignored us time and time again. It became apparent that Ms. Locklear wasn’t going to accept responsibility for her actions on her own.”
As for the lawsuit … Hayn-Hiton is asking for unspecified damages to cover medical costs, pain and suffering and lost wages.
So far, Locklear ain’t talkin’. It’s a refreshing change of pace not hearing about something insane that Johnny Depp has done. Of course, I’m sure we’ll have him back in the news before long.
Thanks for tuning in to this week’s shenanigans! Catch ya next time!