Here comes Thanksgiving – and more film news!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Supernatural project” story, Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator Salvation) and David Hyde Pierce (Frasier, A Bug’s Life) have landed lead roles alongside Oscar winner Russell Crowe in Miramax’s supernatural thriller The Georgetown Project.
Being written and directed by Joshua John Miller and M.A. Fortin (Queen of the South), the film follows troubled actor Anthony Miller (Crowe), who begins to unravel while shooting a supernatural horror film. His estranged daughter (Ryan Simpkins) wonders if he’s slipping back into his past addictions or if there’s something more sinister at play.
Details of Worthington’s and Pierce’s roles are yet to be unveiled.
It was recently announced that Simpkins and Chloe Bailey had joined the cast, with Bailey playing Blake Holloway, an actress casted alongside Miller in the fictional film. Others set to join the project include Tracey Bonner and Samantha Mathis.
Bill Block is producing for Miramax. Kevin Williamson and Ben Fast are producing for Outerbanks.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Keeping Idris Elba busy” story, Idris Elba will star alongside Jonathan Majors in The Harder They Fall, a Netflix movie that will be produced by Jay-Z.
The film follows outlaw Nat Love (Majors), who discovers that the man (Elba) who killed his parents two decades ago is being released from prison and decides to reunite with his gang to track his enemy down and seek his revenge.
British musician Jeymes Samuel, known by his stage name the Bullitts, will helm the film, marking his feature directorial debut. He previously worked with Jay-Z on The Great Gatsby soundtrack.” Sources say The Harder They Fall is expected to take a similar approach to incorporating music as The Great Gatsby.
Samuel will produce The Harder They Fall alongside Jay-Z, James Lassiter and Lawrence Bender.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The young Jake” story, A prequel series to the classic film Chinatown is in early development at Netflix, Variety has confirmed with sources.
David Fincher and Robert Towne, the film’s writer, are attached to pen the script. It will reportedly focus on the exploits of a young Jake “J.J. Gittes during his early days as a private investigator.
Netflix declined to comment.
The film was released in 1974 and starred Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. Nicholson played Gittes, who is originally hired to expose an adulterer but becomes embroiled in a much larger plot. Roman Polanski directed with Robert Evans producing. The film became a box office and critical hit upon its release, racking up eleven Academy Award nominations. Towne ultimately took home the film’s lone Oscar statuette for best original screenplay. A sequel titled The Two Jakes was released in 1990 with Nicholson and Towne returning.
Should the Chinatown project go to series, it would not be the first classic Nicholson film to get the Netflix prequel series treatment. The streamer is currently prepping the drama series Ratched starring Sarah Paulson from executive producer Ryan Murphy. The series will explore the backstory of the infamous Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Deadline first reported the development news.
Is it me or is the ‘prequel’ idea really getting overdone now?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Horror in the White House” story, ironically, this is not a documentary. Don’t Breathe director-producer Fede Alvarez is teaming with Legendary Pictures for an untitled White House horror movie.
The project, described as The Shining set in the White House, will be directed by Alvarez from a script by Joe Epstein and produced by Alvarez’s Bad Hombre Films. Legendary announced the horror movie Tuesday as part of closing an overall deal with Alvarez and his writing partner Rodolfo Sayagues to create, develop and produce feature films through their Bad Hombre Films.
Shintaro Shimosawa, whose previous credits include Fear the Walking Dead and The Grudge, is joining Bad Hombre as head of production. As part of the new deal with Legendary, Bad Hombre will also produce a reboot of the 1974 horror movie “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” to be written by Chris Thomas Devlin.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Are you done with that?” story, Apparently Henry Cavill is not done with that superman cape just yet.
In a new interview with Men’s Health, Cavill attempts to shed some light on the character’s current status, while also going over his candid thoughts on the previous films he’s appeared in as Supes.
“The cape is in the closet,” Cavill said. “It’s still mine.”
Reviewing his appearances as Superman to date, Cavill is incredibly candid, calling Man of Steel “a great starting point. If I were to go back, I don’t think I’d change anything.” But it’s when he gets to his latter two appearances that Cavill starts to show a bit of regret.
In regards to ‘Batman v Superman,’ Cavill said, “Very much a Batman movie. And I think that realm of darkness is great for a Batman movie.”
And the controversial “Justice League?” Well, let’s just say that Cavill is much more to the point when he said, “It didn’t work.”
So, of course, that leads to the future of the character. And instead of letting the rumors and speculation about recasting and reboots take over, Cavill is quick to tell fans the true status of the Man of Steel.
“I’ve not given up the role,” said the actor. “There’s a lot I have to give for Superman yet. A lot of storytelling to do. A lot of real, true depths to the honesty of the character I want to get into. I want to reflect the comic books.
That’s important to me. There’s a lot of justice to be done for Superman. The status is: You’ll see.”
Whatever that means.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Speaking of Batman” story, The Batman casting continues, and it appears as though the upcoming reboot will be bringing DC comics character Carmine Falcone to the forefront. Writer/director Matt Reeves broke the news on Twitter that actor John Turturro will be filling the role of Falcone in the film, announcing the casting with a callback to Turturro’s iconic performance from The Big Lebowski.
IN THIS WEEK’S” Pom joins the Mission” story, Guardians of the Galaxy star Pom Klementieff is set to join the latest installment of Paramount and Skydance’s Mission: Impossible, joining Tom Cruise, who is reprising his role of Ethan Hunt.
Christopher McQuarrie announced the news on Instagram on Tuesday, and is returning to write and direct the seventh and eighth movies, which will be shot back-to-back. Hayley Atwell is also on board to star.
Paramount has dated the seventh film for July 23, 2021, while an eighth installment will be released on Aug. 5, 2022.
McQuarrie previously directed 2015’s Rogue Nation and 2018’s Fallout, which was the best performer of the franchise with $791.1 million globally. The six films in the series have combined for $3.57 billion in worldwide box office. After years of switching up the director to give a new feel to each installment, Cruise and Paramount settled on McQuarrie as the primary director.
The never-ending Mission.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Now THAT’S a cast!” story, Never one to rest, Soderbergh has yet another project in the works. Though the filmmaker recently completed shooting the comedy Let Them All Talk for HBO Max, sources tell us the director is already plotting a packaged follow-up. On deck is Kill Switch, a new 1950s crime drama which finds the director teaming up with one of his recent collaborators, and featuring another incredible cast.
Kill Switch is written by Ed Solomon, who worked with Soderbergh on the experimental murder mystery app/HBO limited series Mosaic, one of the more underrated projects from the filmmaker in recent years. In discussions for lead roles are Don Cheadle, Josh Brolin, and Sebastian Stan. John Cena is being eyed for a role, as well. Longtime Soderbergh ally Casey Silver (Out Of Sight, Mosaic) is producing (he also started Mindsight Media with Soderbergh, the company whose “choose your own adventure” technology-powered Mosaic).
Kill Switch is a crime drama, with elements of home invasion thriller, that is set in Detroit during the mid-‘50s. The film follows a group of criminals that are brought together under mysterious circumstances and have to work together to uncover what’s really going on when their simple job goes completely sideways. Kill Switch not only features some great drama and suspense, but there’s also a healthy amount of social commentary, as one of the leads is a Black man trying to deal with life in the pre-Civil Rights setting.
Solomon and Soderbergh also collaborated recently on Bill and Ted Face the Music, which is currently in post-production for release next year. Solomon wrote the belated Bill & Ted threequel and Soderbergh produced.
Cheadle will play the lead in the film, who finds himself forced in the middle of the criminal proceedings, but with plenty of secrets of his own. He and Soderbergh, who have not worked together since the Oceans trilogy,” have been looking for the right project to team up on, with “Kill Switch” likely serving as their long-awaited collaboration and Cheadle may also come on board as a co-producer.
With Let Them All Talk in post-production, Kill Switch may begin shooting sometime in the middle of next year.
I do like a period crime thriller.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Better be great” story, As pre-production on Amazon Studios’ high-profile Lord Of the Rings TV series is gearing up in New Zealand, the streamer is moving ahead with an early Season 2 renewal for the sprawling adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels. As part of that, Amazon has commissioned the reassembling of the writers room to break the second season. Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke confirmed to Deadline the news that the second season of LOTR is already in the works
That’s pretty confident. Or maybe just a practical fiscal decision. You figure Amazon is spending a fortune on this series, they may as well get a second season moving.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Zoe doing good” story, Zoe Saldana will star in Sabaya, a fact-based thriller that Reed Morano (The Handmaid’s Tale) will direct based on a William Monahan script about the unlikely circumstances that made possible a 2015 U.S. Special Forces raid that killed a top ISIS leader and started the downfall of the radical Islamic State.
Saldana will play a female CIA officer who befriended a recently escaped ISIS sex slave, or “sabaya.” The 15-year-old Yazidi girl can neither read nor write, but as she works with the teen to piece together her harrowing odyssey out of Syria, the CIA officer finds that the abused girl has pinpointed the nerve center of the Caliphate. The subsequent dramatic raid on the site of the young woman’s captivity results in the capture of intelligence that would spell the end of the Islamic State.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Trek is back” story, While the Kelvin Timeline film series has been thought to be relatively dead after series lead Chris Pine walked away from negotiations with Paramount Pictures last summer, it seems that the long-awaited Star Trek 4 may be warming up its warp core with the news that writer/director Noah Hawley is nearly set to take over the next movie.
Breaking via Deadline Hollywood tonight, the showrunner of the just-concluded X-Men universe series Legion and the ongoing Fargo — both staples of cable network FX for the last few years — has been tapped, and is in final talks now, to beam aboard the next Bad Robot-produced Star Trek film as both writer and director.
“Paramount Pictures is in final talks with Noah Hawley to write and direct the next Star Trek film. Through his 26 Keys production banner he will produce along with JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot banner.
[The] understanding is Hawley will helm the fourth film in this iteration of the venerable franchise, with the Enterprise crew led by Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg and Karl Urban.”
Star Trek 4 — a placeholder title, of course, to represent the fourth Kelvin Timeline film — was first set to be helmed by director S.J. Clarkson as of April 2018, however she left the project after negotiations with Pine fell apart last August.
In addition to whatever plans Hawley may have for the Star Trek film franchise, the long-gestating Quentin Tarantino project has also been brewing for some time, though news on that front has been quiet for several months due to that filmmaker’s promotional commitments to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
While there’s no word yet on what type of storyline the newest iteration of Star Trek 4 may take — or whether Marvel Studios star Chris Hemsworth is still in the mix to return as George Kirk — the expectation (per Deadline) is that this movie will in fact retain film series regulars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, and Simon Pegg.
Well, this IS interesting news!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Dracula’s right hand man” story, Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher is attached to direct Universal’s Renfield, a monster movie centered on Dracula’s henchman and based on an original pitch from Robert Kirkman.
Rick and Morty scribe Ryan Ridley penned the script. The film will be produced by Skybound Entertainment’s film team, including Kirkman, David Alpert, Bryan Furst and Sean Furst.
In the original “Dracula” novel, R.M. Renfield was an inmate at a lunatic asylum who was thought to be suffering from delusions, but is actually a servant of Dracula. Plot details are currently unknown, though it’s believed to take place during the present day and is not a period piece.
Universal had originally planned on creating an interconnected universe with its vast catalog of monster IP. However, the studio reassessed, and decided to move forward with filmmaker-driven projects based on the monsters’ legacies, focusing on what made the characters endure over time. Instead of prescribing a mandate that the films be part of a larger scheme, Universal loosened those restrictions and open-sourced to filmmakers to create their own unique stories.
Because their recent movie, The Mummy reboot, was insane and nearly unwatchable. But it’s all for the best, I say.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Back behind the camera” story, According to Deadline, Affleck has signed on to direct King Leopold’s Ghost, which is set to be produced by the filmmaker’s own Pearl Street Films, as well as Martin Scorsese and his Sikelia Productions banner. The film’s written by Apocalypto scribe Farhad Safinia based on the book by author Adam Hochschild titled King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa.
As the title implies, King Leopold’s Ghost is said to follow the horrific true story of Belgium’s King Leopold II in the late 1800s, as he attempted to take over the African region of the Congo. The film tells the story of the Congolese people that fought back against the oppressive and violent regime.
In addition to this film, Affleck is said to be directing another project, Ghost Army. While attached to both films as director, he’s also incredibly busy with his acting career, with his latest film “The Way Back” arriving later this year, as well as films such as Deep Water, The Last Duel, and the recently-announced Hypnotic. This year, he’s appeared in films Triple Frontier and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Clearly, Affleck is keeping himself rather busy.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Co-starring with Bennie Cumbo” story. Jesse Plemons is set to co-star opposite Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog.
Plemons is replacing Paul Dano, who was forced to drop out of the movie due to scheduling conflicts with “The Batman,” for which Dano was recently tapped to play the Riddler. Sources say Netflix and Dano’s team tried to work it out but in the end, the scheduling issues were too difficult to overcome.
Netflix acquired the pic this summer from See-Saw Films’ in-house sales arm, Cross City Films. Variety first reported on the project in May and Cross City Films launched sales at the Cannes Film Festival.
Netflix will release the movie in 2021 on the streaming platform and in theaters. Transmission Films will be releasing it theatrically in Australia and New Zealand. The deal excludes United Kingdom TV rights, which are retained by BBC Films.
Campion directed the movie, adapted from the 1967 Thomas Savage novel of the same name. It follows two wealthy brothers who are polar opposites. Plemons portrays a man who is fastidious and gentle, while his brother, played by Cumberbatch, is brilliant and cruel. They are joint owners of the biggest ranch in the Montana valley. When Plemons’ character secretly marries a local widow (Dunst), Cumberbatch wages a sadistic, relentless war to destroy her by using her son.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Watch out for the stairs” story, Harrison Ford has signed on to star in a scripted adaptation of the true-crime documentary The Staircase, our sister site Variety is reporting.
The project, which is currently being pitched to networks by producers Annapurna Television, is based on the 2004 documentary series that followed the trial of novelist Michael Peterson, who was accused of murdering his wife. (Peterson claimed his wife’s death was an accident caused by her falling down the stairs.) The original documentary was supplemented by a 2012 follow-up, and another in 2018. The entire series — which we here at TVLine have named a Peak TV Treasure — is available to stream on Netflix.
Ford will serve as an executive producer on the series as well as starring. Antonio Campos (The Sinner) is set to write the series and will also serve as an EP.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Black Adam update- and the JSA?” story, After years in development, Black Adam is finally happening, with Dwayne Johnson set to play the supervillain/anti-hero and enemy to Shazam. Jaume Collet-Serra is directing the film, which is due out in 2021. And while filming hasn’t begun yet – Johnson recently said he hasn’t even done a costume fitting yet – we now have a new piece of info from the film. Namely that Black Adam will introduce the Justice Society of America.
Dwayne Johnson is currently doing junket interviews for Jumanji: The Next Level, which means some people have a chance to ask him about Black Adam. Johnson doesn’t have much to say, really (he’s probably saving that for his social media accounts), but he did reveal to Comic Book that Black Adam will introduce the Justice Society of America.
If you’re wondering if that’s the same thing as the Justice League of America, it’s not. Here’s a bit of info:
“Despite their deeply intertwined origins, the modern incarnations of the JLA and JSA are genuinely quite unique from one another. Sure, they’re both still teams of superheroes and they share the basic functionality and purpose that all superhero teams share, but that’s where the similarities end. The Justice League exists as a team of the best-of-the-best—trained heroes who are brought in at the very top of their game. The Justice Society, however, works as a collective of mentors and trainees spanning across generations and experience levels.”
Well that’s something.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Aardman- and Netflix!” story, Netflix has picked up U.S., Canadian, and Latin American rights to Aardman’s latest stop-motion feature, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, the sci-fi/comedy sequel to the Oscar-nominated Shaun the Sheep Movie. Co-directed by Aardman animators Richard Phelan and Will Becher, and revolving around a martian toddler, Farmageddon (from StudioCanal) will stream in early 2020; Netflix will support an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run next season.
This bolsters Netflix’s ambitious slate of nearly a dozen animated features, coming on the heels of this month’s initial two, Oscar buzzy, releases: “Klaus,” the charming Santa origin story with innovative 2D, and I Lost My Body, the acclaimed French existential mystery about a severed hand that’s the most original animated feature of the season. After only two years, Netflix has quickly established itself as a viable alternative to the Hollywood studios and a direct competitor to indies GKids and Sony Pictures Classics.
IN THIS WEEK’S “King of Pop biopic” story, Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King has struck a deal with the Michael Jackson estate for the pop star’s life and music rights, with plans to make a feature film based on both.
King has tapped Gladiator and The Aviator screenwriter John Logan for the project. The film currently has no studio or distributor attached. The script will not provide a “sanitized” look at the life of Jackson, accused of child sexual abuse in the explosive documentary “Leaving Neverland” this year, according to Deadline Hollywood, which first broke the news.
A spokesperson for King confirmed the project with Variety, but would not comment on whether Logan’s script would include Jackson’s accusers — including choreographer Wade Robson and former child actor James Safechuck, both of whom had documented relationships with the late singer since childhood.
The King biopic is not the only project coming featuring his music and backstory, from child stardom in the Jackson 5 to global pop dominance as an adult solo artist. “MJ the Musical” is set for a 2020 Broadway debut and just cast actor Ephraim Sykes in the lead role.
King’s long-gestating Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was released in 2018 to great success. It grossed over $900 million at the worldwide box office and earned Rami Malek an Oscar for his portrayal of the Queen rocker.
Aaaand IN THIS WEEK’S “From Doctor to Deadly” story, David Tennant will play Dennis Nilsen in Des, an ITV drama about the Scottish serial killer who murdered numerous young men in London in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Doctor Who, Broadchurch, and Good Omens actor will star as Nilsen, known as Des, alongside Daniel Mays (Line of Duty), who plays the cop investigating the case. Jason Watkins (The Crown) is cast as Brian Masters, who penned the serial killer’s biography, with his full cooperation.
Based on Masters’ book Killing for Company, the three-part series will explore the personal and professional consequences of coming into contact with a man like Nilsen, who died in 2018.
Luke Neal wrote the series about the killer, who murdered boys and young men in his flat. Nilsen went undetected until cops investigate fragments of human flesh and bone clogging the drains.
And that’s another week of filmy news!