In another week of celluloid news, prepare to be astounded! Or at least mildly surpirsed.
In this week’s “Kung Fury Returns!” story, the sequel to the awesome short, Kung Fury, is coming! And it will get some class with Michael Fassbender!
Michael Fassbender and David Sandberg are set to star in action-comedy Kung Fury, which Sandberg will direct and produce under his Laser Unicorns’ banner. David Hasselhoff is also joining the cast following his role in Sandberg’s original short film of the same name, which ran in Cannes’ Directors Fortnight in 2015 and has over 40M views worldwide.
David Katzenberg, Seth Grahame-Smith and Aaron Schmidt will produce under their KatzSmith Productions banner, following the smash 2017 IT, which grossed over $700M globally to become the biggest horror film of all time. Bloom is handling international sales and will introduce Kung Fury to buyers at the EFM in Berlin this week. Endeavor Content and CAA will handle North American rights.
A sequel to the original short, Kung Fury will shoot this summer. The story is set in 1985, the best year ever. Miami is kept safe under the watchful eye of Kung Fury, the greatest damn cop of all time. His Thundercops are the ultimate police force assembled from across history to defeat the villainous Kung Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler. After the tragic death of one of their members causes the group to disband, a mysterious villain emerges from the shadows to aid in the Fuhrer’s quest to attain the ultimate weapon. Kung Fury must travel through space and time to save his friends, defend the prestigious Miami Kung Fu Academy, and defeat evil once and for all.
If that isn’t the greatest ’80’s plot summary you’ve ever heard, then you can, in the words of Graham Elwood, just suck it!
Philip Westgren of B-Reel Films and Conor McCaughan will also produce. Pelle Strandberg is executive producing on behalf of Laser Unicorns.
UPDATE: New cast member added: Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined as the president of the United States in the Kung Fury movie. Crazy!
In this week’s “Metallica in the movies” story, Metallica frontamn, James Hetfield, has just joined the cast of Voltage Picture’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.
This is that film where Zach Efron is playing charismatic serial killer Ted Bundy.
Hetfield will play Officer Bob Hayward, a no-nonsense Utah highway patrol veteran who was the first law enforcement officer to arrest Bundy in 1975 after pulling the killer over and discovering burglary tools in his car, but wisely suspecting much worse. While Hetfield has played himself in other films and television productions, this will be his first dramatic role taking on a different character.
Extremely Wicked reteams Oscar-nominated director Joe Berlinger with Hetfield: The former directed and produced the seminal rock-doc Metallica: Some Kind of Monster along with the late Bruce Sinofsky. Berlinger also penned a book about his experiences with the band, Metallica: This Monster Lives .
Well well, our little Mr. Hetfield, branching out into movies. Ain’t that something.
In this week’s “Bottomless pockets” story, Netflix can’t possibly last long with the money they’re spending.
If the whole Cloverfield Paradox purchase wasn’t enough, director Martin Scorsese has been filming his new crime epic, The Irishman for the streaming giant, and his budget is reportedly now at about $140 million for the film, and climbing.
Netflix has money to burn (apparently) and Martin Scorsese has no problem striking a match. Deadline reports that Scorsese’s highly anticipated Netflix film The Irishman is ballooning in price. Per Deadline’s sources, The Irishman’s budget is “in the $140M range (and climbing).” Wowzers.
Deadline reports that Netflix originally agreed to a $125M budget with Scorsese. The filmmaker also netted himself a substantial paycheck for the job, “around $10M and up to $15M+.” And that’s all fine as long as the films are good. Not that we would expect any less from Scorsese, but not everyone is perfect, right? Netflix must have lots of investors to pay back at some point.
The Irishman reunites Scorsese with Robert De Niro and the previously-retired Joe Pesci while also marking Scorsese’s first time working with Al Pacino. Former Scorsese collaborator Harvey Keitel also stars, along with Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, Stephen Graham and Jesse Plemons. The film is based on Charles Brandt’s I Heard You Paint Houses, a true crime book about Frank Sheeran, a union official with mob connections who claimed to be involved with the murder of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa (played by Pacino).
No release date for The Irishman has been set yet. Some say 2018, while others indicate a 2019 release. Netflix will distribute the film in the US, while STX will release it theatrically in China.
In this week’s “The current guy playing the Current guy” story, actor Ethan Hawke will take on the role of Nikola Tesla in a new film about the electricity pioneer.
Tesla, being introduced to buyers by Millennium Media at the European Film Market, which launches this week in Berlin, will also see Hawke reunited with writer-director Michael Almereyda, with whom he worked on both Hamlet and Cymbeline.
The script was actually the first written by Almereyda, but he updated it while making 2017 sci-fi Marjorie Prime.
The biopic, being produced by Passage Pictures and Campbell Grobman Films, will chronicle the life and times of the famed Serbia-born inventor, including his creation of the AC motor and his fierce rivalry with Thomas Edison.
Uri Singer and Isen Robbins are producing for Passage Pictures, while Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman produce for Campbell Grobman Films. Jeff Rice serves as executive producer. Production is set to start this spring in upstate New York.
Hawke is a talented actor and I would be interested in checking this one out. He was great as jazz musician Chet Baker in Born To Be Blue, so I recommend everyone seeing that.
In this week’s “Second thoughts?” story, Sony is rumored to be having “second thoughts” about producing Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming “not Charles Manson” film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Margo Robbie.
Showbiz 411 is reporting that Sony is now reconsidering producing Tarantino’s project. The studio is apparently concerned about the press that swirled around the director last week, and there’s probably a couple of good reasons they might be reconsidering the high profile project.
Firstly, it’s going to be very expensive. The budget is said to be in the neighborhood of $100 million, and after marketing, it will need to earn $375 million worldwide to break even. For context, the director has only crossed that number once — with 2012’s Django Unchained, which earned $425 million worldwide. The next closest is Inglourious Basterds, which tallied $321 million worldwide. Tarantino’s last movie, The Hateful Eight, was considered a disappointment financially, earning $155 million globally, on a budget of $44 million (not including marketing).
Secondly, the movie is already generating controversy thanks to the recent news that Polanski will appear as a character in the 1969 set movie. I thought that was pretty weird to begin with. I mean, the horrific murder of Sharon Tate and four of her friends by Charles Manson’s cult of followers shadows the main narrative. It’s weird that Polanski would even want to be in this film, right? Is it just me?
Well, either way, it’s likely to be expensive, and if things don’t blow over for Tarantino after a while, Sony is potentially going to be stuck with a film they can’t release. So much drama.
In this week’s “Musical chairs, anyone?” story, Fox is shuffling movie releases quite a bit this year. See if you can follow this:
Fox is making making some changes to its calendar.
The studio has given its Murder on the Orient Express follow-up — an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile — a Nov. 8, 2019 release. The Kenneth Branagh-backed project will go up against Disney’s holiday film comedy Nicole, starring Anna Kendrick.
Moving from summer to a holiday slot is Alita: Battle Angel, which has been pushed to Dec. 21. The crowded date is already occupied by Warner Bros.’ Aquaman, Paramount’s Bumblebee spinoff and the Will Ferrell-John C. Reilly comedy Holmes & Watson.
Shane Black’s Predator reboot is switching places with fellow Fox title The Darkest Minds, with the latter hitting theaters Aug. 3 and the former taking the Sept. 14 slot. The Jennifer Yuh Nelson-directed thriller will go up against Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer 2 and the Kate McKinnon comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me, while The Predator will open opposite Dwayne Johnson wrestling comedy Fighting with my Family.
In addition to the big tentpole releases, the studio has also dated Blue Sky Films animated musical film Foster for March 5, 2021.
Got that? Yeah, me too.
In this week’s “Yeah, but how many cooks?” story, Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish will star in New Line Cinema and DC’s The Kitchen, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.
Haddish’s deal is done, while McCarthy is in final negotiations for the project. Andrea Berloff will make her directorial debut with the female mob story, with a screenplay she wrote based on the 2014 comic book series by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle.
The Kitchen will be set in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen in the 1970s and will follow an FBI sweep that catches mob leaders, and while they are under arrest, their mob wives take over to run the business — and it’s more vicious than ever.
Michael De Luca is producing via is Michael De Luca Productions banner.
Berloff’s screenplay credits include Straight Outta Compton, Blood Father and Sleepless. She is represented by CAA and Management 360.
In this week’s “Random sequel” story, for some reason, Gerard Butler is returning for Den of Thieves 2.
The team behind the recent crime thriller is reuniting for a sequel, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Director Christian Gudegast is returning to helm and will also pen the script for Den of Thieves 2. Gerard Butler is on board again to star, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. is also in talks to return.
Producers include Mark Canton and Tucker Tooley, as well as Butler and Alan Siegel via their G-BASE banner. Original star Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is also producing through his G-Unit Film & Television banner.
Diamond Films Productions is financing and STX will distribute the follow-up to Den of Thieves, which opened in January and has grossed $57 million worldwide to date. The original saw the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (led by Butler’s “Big Nick” Flanagan) on the hunt for a group of sophisticated bank robbers.
The sequel picks up with Big Nick tracking down bad guys on the streets of Europe and getting closer to capturing – WHOA – there were some spoilers in this article when I read through it, so I’m pretty surprised that THR published it. I won’t mention that stuff here, but suffice to say, the first Den of Thieves made enough money to continue the story. Whatever.
In this week’s “Michael Keaton’s next biopic” story, actor Michael Keaton is in talks to star in Oscar winner David Frankel’s true-life biographical drama, What Is Life Worth, MadRiver Pictures revealed Wednesday.
Additional casting is currently underway. Oscar-winning producer Michael Sugar (Spotlight) will produce alongside Marc Butan, Sean Sorensen, Max Borenstein and Bard Dorros. Kim Fox will executive produce along with Riverstone’s Nik Bower and Deepak Nayar. Riverstone is financing.
Based on the acclaimed memoir by Kenneth Feinberg, the Black List script was penned by Borenstein. Described as an “Erin Brockovich/Spotlight-type story,” What Is Life Worth will tell the story of Ken Feinberg, a powerful insider D.C. lawyer put in charge of the 9/11 Fund, who in almost three years of pro bono work on the case fights off the cynicism, bureaucracy and politics associated with administering government funds, and in doing so, discovers what life is worth.
In this week’s “Hear the Call” story, Sicario 2 director, Stefano Sollima, is in negotiations to direct an adaptation of the popular video game Call of Duty for Activision Blizzard Studios.
A rep for Activision Blizzard declined to comment.
Activision Blizzard Studios’ presidents Stacey Sher and Nick van Dyk are producing along with Activision Blizzard chief executive Bobby Kotick. Kieran Fitzgerald penned the script and will develop with Sollima. The film is currently without a distributor.
Plot details are under wraps, but when Sher traded in her veteran producing job for the new gig, she and van Dyk talked about the idea of turning this mega gaming franchise into a cinematic universe that could rival Marvel or DC.
Well, of COURSE they did.
During an interview with the Guardian last April, they both discussed how they were putting together a universe that will draw on the feel of the different incarnations of the game rather than bringing over existing plots. With that said, its unknown what era this game would focus on though its likely to stay in present day.
Ugh, just get a good script, please.
In this week’s “Cloverfield continues” story, JJ Abrams says that the film Overlord is a “crazy movie”. well, tat’s not exactly a qualitative statement.
The upcoming Overlord (as it’s titled for now, though who knows if that will change) is widely expected to be next Cloverfield movie. Starring Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbæk, and Bokeem Woodbine, the film follows Allied soldiers who are trapped behind enemy lines on D-Day. They soon encounter a supernatural force being used by the Nazis. [INSERT CLOVERFIELD CONNECTION]. At any rate, the film, directed by Julius Avery (Son Of A Gun), has apparently been testing well, and it has some pretty big writers on it including Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Captain Phillips, The Hunger Games) and Mark L. Smith (The Revenant). In fact, Abrams is already jazzed for everyone to see it.
Overlord… first of all, it’s something that I can’t wait for you to see ’cause the director, Julius Avery, has done an amazing job on it. But the specifics, you know, we should wait and see. But that’s really a crazy movie,” he told Digital Spy.
Ok, JJ, we’ll see.
In this week’s “Franchises galore!” story, Mark Wahlberg’s action film, Mile 22, is set for a July release.
STX Films has set a July 20 North American release for its action-thriller Mile 22, starring Mark Wahlberg and John Malkovich.
Mile 22 follows an elite American intelligence officer who, when aided by a top-secret tactical command unit, tries to smuggle a mysterious police officer with sensitive information out of the country. The movie will be the first in a franchise that STX Films is developing around the “Mile 22” property across platforms.
Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead), Iko Uwais of The Raid film series, and Ronda Rousey are also starring.
Peter Berg directed from a script by Graham Roland and Lea Carpenter. Berg is also producing through his Film 44 production company along with Wahlberg for Closest to the Hole and Stephen Levinson for Leverage. John Logan Pierson will executive produce the pic, which has been shooting on location in Atlanta and Bogota, Colombia, and wrapped principal photography this week.
STX said Tuesday that Mile 22 is being developed on STX’s other platforms, including STX TV and STX Surreal VR, adding that the studio and filmmaking team have also begun developing a sequel to the feature.
Berg and Wahlberg announced “Mile 22” in March at CinemaCon and said they wanted to do a trilogy. Wahlberg and Berg have collaborated on Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and Patriots Day. Berg directed and produced all three, while Wahlberg starred and was a producer on all three.
Mile 22 is the second wide release on July 20, joining Universal’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
I guess it’s no wonder how Wahlberg is making so much money these days, other than the whole “HOW THE HELL IS WAHLBERG MAKING SO MUCH MONEY?!”
In this week’s “More baffling news” story, There is going to be yet another sequel to Olympus Has Fallen with Gerard Butler.
Piper Perabo will join Gerard Butler in Angel Has Fallen, the third installment in the ‘Something’ Has Fallen series.
Morgan Freeman and Jada Pinkett Smith are also set to star in the action feature from director Ric Roman Waugh.
While the prior two films were set in Washington and London, Angel will see Butler’s Mike Banning take to the skies, handling terrorist threats while on Air Force One.
Millennium Films is producing.
Didn’t we already do this with Harrison Ford in Air Force One? Whatever.
In this week’s “Excellent casting” story, Robert Pattinson has joined Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse, director Robert Eggers follow-up to The Witch.
The project is a fantasy horror story set in the world of sea-faring myths and is scheduled to start production this spring.
Robert Eggers and Max Eggers wrote the screenplay, and RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira and Lourenço Sant’ Anna developed the project with Eggers and will produce alongside Parts & Labor’s Jay Van Hoy, and Youree Henley.
A24 acquired worldwide rights and New Regency has joined The Lighthouse as a co-financier.
With casting like this, I’m seriously on board.
In this week’s “I got your golden ticket right HERE!” story, there appears to be people somewhere in Hollywood that want another Willy Wonka movie. So much so that the director of Paddington is being considered to make it.
Paul King, the man responsible for the success of Paddington 2, is being talked to about creating a story based off of a script that seemingly predates the original story of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The two films that have been made so far based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory have had very different responses from audiences, and rightfully so. The 1971 film starring Gene Wilder as the eccentric candy man was the most beloved of the two versions that has been seen to date. Unfortunately the Johnny Depp version was seen as just weird and not all that appealing. Not one of Tim Burton’s brightest moments.
This new movie would delve into Wonka’s past however and would predate the original movie, seeking another adventure upon which Willy Wonka would embark on his path towards becoming a world-famous candy maker. What it would be about still isn’t known, in fact not even the actors are known at this point. All that exists is the script and the possibility that Peter King will be on board to direct.
Seems all pretty thin so far.
And in this week’s “Focus, Honey Boo Boo!” story, Mama June Shannon is battling the reality that she could go completely blind.
In a PEOPLE exclusive clip of Friday evening’s episode of Mama June: From Not to Hot, the reality star is rushed to the emergency room by her boyfriend Geno and daughter Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson after waking up without vision in both of her eyes. “I can’t see anything!” she told Geno at the end of last week’s episode.
While on the way to the hospital, Mama June, 38, asks,”What if they have to operate?”
“This is my good eye. If I lose total sight in [my left] eye, I’ll be blind,” she adds. “He could tell me there’s nothing he can do.”
Four years ago, Mama June says that she went totally blind in her right eye. In order to explain what her vision is like now, she tells Honey Boo Boo to put one hand over her right eye to completely cover it and another over the middle of her left eye.
“I can see barely,” Honey Boo Boo says, to which Mama June responds, “See, it’s hard!”
Later, Mama June expresses her concern she’ll never get to see Honey Boo Boo, Pumpkin or Geno again if she completely loses her vision.
Despite the stress, Honey Boo Boo points out, “They’re building a water park!”
This prompts Geno to tell her to stay “focused” at a time like this. But in true Honey Boo Boo fashion she responds, “Focused? You said, ‘Positive.’ What’s more positive than a water park?”
Well, Geno, she’s got you there.
And if that isn’t a kooky week in film, etc., I don’t know what is.