One week closer to the Oscars!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Before Suicide Squad 2, Superman” story, Since James Gunn was unfortunately fired from directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, he’s now jumped over to Warner Bros. Pictures to tackle their own misfit comic book sequel, The Suicide Squad. However, before the studio gave him control of the unlikely comic book heroes, they offered him the Man of Steel.
That’s right. Back when Warner Bros. was still courting James Gunn for a new gig following his departure from Marvel Studios, they gave him the opportunity to pick any of their available properties. Superman was one of them, and even though he didn’t end up taking the job, he did take a liking to one aspect of the Man of Steel’s comic book history.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision newsletter has details on comic book opportunities offered up to James Gunn by Warner Bros. Pictures. The trade says:
“When Warners was courting Gunn, the studio gave him his pick of properties, including Superman. Though Gunn never got far enough along to seriously consider tackling a Superman movie, the filmmaker did take a shine to the Man of Steel’s superpowered dog Krypto during his comics research — which makes sense for a man who turned a talking raccoon into one of Marvel’s most popular big screen characters.”
It should come as no surprise that James Gunn took a liking to Krypto. After all, Gunn loves his own dog Dr. Wesley Von Spears, giving him cameos in nearly all of his projects. The canine even inspired the behavior and look of both Groot and Rocket Raccoon. Maybe he’ll have a hand in bringing Krypto to life in the DC Super Pets movie that will arrive the same year that The Suicide Squad hits theaters. Or maybe he’ll end up giving Krypto his own movie at some point.
Haha- that would be funny. A superhero movie about Krypto.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Two Zootopia’s” story, Disney scored an enormous hit back in 2016 with Zootopia, with the animated buddy cop comedy grossing over $1 billion at the box office, as well as winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
As you’d expect given that kind of performance, there’s been talk that directors Bryon Howard and Rich Moore will be returning for a sequel, but according to voice actor Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister (that’s Zeus to any 80s wrestling fans), Disney is actually working on not one but two new Zootopia movies.
“I can tell you for sure I’m doing another Zootopia with Disney,” said Lister at a recent fan meet and greet (via WDW News Today. “We’re doing three of them… We’re the biggest film that Disney is producing. The last one was $240 million. This one I’m hearing will be $300 million. That’s what they spent on the budget, not the advertising.”
Zootopia takes place in a world populated by anthropomorphic animals, and follows rabbit police officer Judy Hopps (Ginner Goodwin) who has to team up with the red fox con artist Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) in order to uncover a conspiracy. It grossed $1.02 billion at the global box office, second only to Frozen in terms of Walt Disney Animation Studios releases.
Wow. Disney is sparing no expense. They better be good, though.
IN THIS WEEK’S “In Memorium” story, Julie Adams, an actress best known for playing the damsel in distress in the 1954 monster movie Creature From the Black Lagoon, died Sunday at age 92, according to her official website.
Guillermo del Toro, whose 2017 Oscar winner The Shape of Water was inspired by the Universal cult classic, paid tribute to Adams online. “I mourn Julie Adams passing. It hurts in a place deep in me, where monsters swim.”
During her long career in Hollywood, Adams starred opposite Rock Hudson in 1953’s Lawless Breed, Van Helfin in 1953’s Wings of the Hawk Elvis Presley in Tickle Me, and Dennis Hopper in 1971’s The Last Movie.
Her most recent film credit was a voiceover in Roman Polanski’s 2011 drama Carnage.
The Iowa native also had a long career in television, notably playing the Cabot Cove real estate agent Eve Simpson opposite Angela Lansbury in the long-running mystery Murder, She Wrote in the 1980s and early ’90s.
She also appeared on shows like Perry Mason, Quincy and the short-lived early ’70s series The Jimmy Stewart Show as Stewart’s wife.
But she will be best remembered for her role in Creature From the Black Lagoon, a horror movie update on The Beauty and the Beast that she was at first reluctant to do despite being under contract at Universal.
“I think the best thing about the picture is that we do feel for the creature,” she said in a 2013 interview with Horror Society. “We feel for him and his predicament.”
RIP, Julie Adams. <3
IN ADDITION: We also lost the great Albert Finney, at age 82. Finney, one of the leading actors of the post war period, has died after a short illness.
The robust British actor began as a stage actor before transitioning to film. with his gravely voice and rumbling stare he brought an intense realism to his work, rising to fame in such 1960s classics as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and Tom Jones. He later memorably played Agatha Christie’s legendary sleuth Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express and impressed critics and audiences with towering performances in The Dresser and Under the Volcano. Finney was nominated for five Oscars but never won the prize.
In 1963, Finney played the foundling hero in Tony Richardson’s Oscar best picture winner Tom Jones. The role made Finney an international movie star and earned him the first of four best actor Oscar nominations. A year earlier, Finney had turned down the title role in Lawrence of Arabia because he didn’t want to commit to a multi-picture deal and, he said, stardom frightened him.
Along with his contemporaries Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton, and Richard Harris, Finney helped define a period where the movie business’s cultural axis shifted in the direction of the U.K. He was part of a new wave of British talent that offered an enticing brand of hell-raising sex appeal. It was a movement that shook off the stuffier, stentorian approach to drama popularized by Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud and replaced it with something that was distinctly blue collar and smoldering.
Rebellious even in his later years, Finney reportedly declined a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1980 and a knighthood in 2000. “The Sir thing slightly perpetuates one of our diseases in England, which is snobbery,” he said.
In a 1984 interview with the New York Times, Finney reflected on his role in The Dresser. He noted that performances, particularly those on stage, have an ephemeral quality, but he insisted that didn’t depress him.
“What a lot of people spend their lives doing may not add up to a hill of beans,” said Finney. “But their love, effort and devotion goes into doing it, and it becomes worthwhile.”
Rest well, sir, and cheers.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Edgar Wright’s thriller gets to casting” story, Glass star Anya Taylor-Joy will play one of the leads in Edgar Wright’s next film, Last Night in Soho, sources tell Variety.
Wright and Penny Dreadful writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns penned the script for the movie — a Focus and Working Title co-production.
Described as a psychological horror-thriller, exact plot details are unknown other then the story being set in London’s Soho district. Production is expected to start this summer in London.
Following the success of the Sony actioner Baby Driver, Wright had been weighing several projects, including a sequel to the Ansel Elgort-starrer. He recently told Empire Magazine that Last Night in Soho would be his next pic, and that he also had a draft ready for the next installment in the Baby Driver series.
Taylor-Joy’s star has been on the rise since breaking out in the Sundance darling The Witch, which led to her landing the role in “Split.” The success of that film has since made her one of the more coveted young talents in town, with roles in Fox’s The New Mutants and the Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
She is definitely keeping herself busy.
IN THIS WEEK’S “But not THAT Marvel film” story, Taika Waititi is a very busy man, but not too busy to be chatting to Marvel about doing another MCU installment, it seems.
The beloved Kiwi director was at FX’s TCA press tour this week to promote his new TV series, a spin-off of his cult classic mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows, where he confirmed that he’s still in talks with Marvel about directing a new film in the never-ending Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Deadline revealed that, upon being pressed for details about his plans for any further projects with Marvel, Waititi made sure to state categorically that he was absolutely not interested in taking over Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 from ousted director James Gunn, but added “I’m still hanging out with those [Marvel] and talking about new stuff. I want to do another movie with them.”
Waititi was also asked if he had met with the studio about replacing Gunn at any point.
“I didn’t really. For me, those are James [Gunn]’s films. Going into something like that with his stamp all over his films, would be like going into someone’s house and saying ‘Hey, I’m your new dad, and this is how we make peanut butter sandwiches now.’ It feels kind of awkward.”
That’s a fair way to put it. Good on you, Taika.
IN THIS WEEK’S “In case you were wondering…” story, The Walt Disney Company has enjoyed a squeaky clean image as the preeminent provider of family-friendly entertainment. However, things may get a little less wholesome with the upcoming acquisition of much of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets, a $71.3 billion purchase that will bring darker brands such as FX and Fox Searchlight into the Disney fold. It also means that Fox, which has reaped big profits making R-rated Marvel superhero films such as Deadpool and Logan, will now be reunited with the Avengers, a team of heroes that never breaches the PG-13 parameters while saving the world.
On a call with investors, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said that Disney will continue to make R-rated Deadpool movies and other adult-oriented Marvel adventures after it absorbs much of Fox.
“We will continue in that business,” promised Iger, adding, “There’s certainly popularity” with those types of films.
Iger hinted that these films won’t be released under the traditional Marvel or Disney banner. The company will make it an effort to ensure it is “carefully branding [R-rated films]…so we’re not in any way confusing the consumer,” Iger said.
That will come as a relief for fanboys and fangirls who worried that the Disney might scrub a certain Merc’s mouth out with soap. However, it probably means that any Deadpool and Toy Story crossovers will have to remain in the realm of perverse pop culture fan fiction.
As long as the R rated films make tons of money, they won’t go away, I’m sure.
IN THIS WEEK’S “More Oscar bait from Hanks and Greengrass?” story, According to a new report from Variety, Greengrass and Hanks are in negotiations to team up for a new film titled News of the World.
Based on the bestselling novel from author Paulette Jiles, with a script from Lion writer Luke Davies, the film follows a man, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who travels around the country in post-Civil War America. While in a new town, Kidd goes around reading the newspapers to the illiterate citizens. During one of these trips, Kidd is entrusted with a 10-year-old girl, who he has to escort back to her relatives. As you might have guessed, the lead role would go to Hanks, and seems like a perfect mixture of every type of film that the actor delights audiences in.
Obviously, it’s still too early to have a release date on the film, but the report says that more casting news is on the way.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Opioid Thriller” story, Gary Oldman, Armie Hammer and Evangeline Lilly, are set to team up for Dreamland, an “opioid thriller” from Nicholas Jarecki and the follow-up to his 2012 debut Arbitrage.
German actress Veronica Ferres will also star in the project, written by Jarecki and billed as the first theatrical film to tackle the international opioid crisis. Principal photography is underway in Montreal and Detroit.
In Dreamland, three stories about the world of opioids collide: a drug trafficker arranges a multi-cartel fentanyl smuggling operation between Canada and the U.S., an architect recovering from an OxyContin addiction tracks down the truth behind her son’s involvement with narcotics, and a university professor battles unexpected revelations about his research employer, a drug company with deep government influence bringing a new “non-addictive” painkiller to market— all in a thinking person’s gangster tale of high and low.
“The devastating impact of the opioid crisis reaches all corners of society,” said Jarecki, who saw Arbitrage, starring Richard Gere, become both a critical and commercial hit, setting a record as the highest-grossing independent day and date release of all time.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Soprano’s to…Avatar?” story, “The Soprano’s star Edie Falco has joined the cast of James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, it was announced on Wednesday.
She will play the character General Ardmore, a human in charge of the RDA (Resources Development Administration) in the franchise.
The first of the planned sequels, four more films in all, will arrive in theaters Dec. 18, 2020.
Falco joins other new additions to the cast for the sequels all being filmed at once, including Kate Winslet, Oona Chaplin, David Thewlis and Giovanni Ribisi. They join the returning cast of Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana and Stephen Lang in the journey back to Pandora, the alien planet of the blue creatures the Na’Vi.
Cameron actually compared his latest fantasy saga to The Godfather of all things back in April 2018. Oy.
“Obviously very different genre, very different genre, but I got intrigued by that idea. So, that’s really what it is. It’s a generational family saga. And that’s very different from the first film,” he said during a press event at his production studio. “It’s a continuation of the same characters, but what happen when warriors that are willing to go on suicide charges, and leap off cliffs on to the back of big orange toruks, what happens when they grow up and have their own kids? It becomes a very different story.
Ok, James, but I’m not all that interested in these sequels.
IN THIS WEEK’S “World War Z sequel screeches to a halt” story, Pre-production on the sequel to the Paramount hit World War Z has been shutdown, sources tell Variety, after a budget for the film could not be reached.
Brad Pitt was set to return and his Seven and Fight Club director David Fincher was on board to helm. Producers told Variety that the goal was to start production by this summer and while the process was still in the early stages, the studio had begun to look to fill out the ensemble.
Paramount had no comment on the news.
Sources could not confirm what exactly the budget concerns were, other than the studio becoming more and more uncomfortable with where it was headed. The previous film had hit similar production budget issues with Damon Lindelof famously coming on at the last minute to rewrite the third act while the budget continued to inflate. That film was able to survive the production issues and go on to gross $540 million worldwide, but even though that worked out, the studio did not want to see a similar situation on the sequel.
It’s currently unknown whether this film will go back into development or be completely shelved as the studio tries to figure out if the sequel is possible with the right budget.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Rogen and Keaton”, story, Seth Rogen and Michael Keaton are in talks to star in new comedy King of the Jungle, which STXfilms is in final negotiations to acquire the U.S. distribution rights for.
Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You Philip Morris) are directing the film from a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.
King of the Jungle is based on the Wired magazine article “John McAfee’s Last Stand,” telling the true story of rogue tech magnate John McAfee (Keaton), creator of the McAfee Antivirus software, who cashed-in his fortune, left civilization, and moved to the jungle in Belize. There, he set-up a Colonel Kurtz-like compound of guns, sex and madness. In the film, Wired magazine investigator Ari Furman (Rogen) accepts what he thinks is a run-of-the-mill assignment to interview McAfee, but once he arrives in Belize, he finds himself pulled into McAfee’s escalating paranoia, slippery reality, and murder.
Well, that sounds bonkers. But I’m on board with putting Seth Rogen and Michael Keaton together for a film.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Seems a little flag-wavy, but…” story, Universal Pictures and Lorne Michaels’ production company, Broadway Video, have purchased the feature film rights to The Operator, a book by former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill about how he fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.
The full title of the New York Times bestselling book is The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior. Michael Russell Gunn, who is currently a supervising producer on Billions, is adapting the screenplay.
SNL boss Michaels is producing the film, with Erin David and Sammy Perlmutter overseeing for Broadway Video, and Kristin Lowe and Mika Pryce overseeing for Universal. O’Neill is also executive producing.
Based on his accounts in The Operator, O’Neill had been involved in several other operations that have since been turned into films, including the attempt to rescue Marcus Luttrell in what became Lone Survivor and the story that became Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips.
But the book culminates in the death of the 9/11 orchestrator bin Laden. It also follows O’Neill’s childhood in Butte, Montana, his decision to enlist in the military and the intense counter-terror effort he endured for over a decade in the aftermath of 9/11.
Gunn also wrote the historical drama The Virginian, which landed on the Black List and sold to New Line.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Tell me about your mother” story, Rob Liefeld is best known for creating the fourth wall-breaking, wisecracking mutant mercenary known as Deadpool. But soon he’ll have another unique character on the big screen.
Sony Pictures has picked up the original comic by Rob Liefeld called Shrink, which focuses on a female psychiatrist who offers therapy to various superheroes. The project was previously developed by Sony in the early 2000s, but it never went anywhere after that. With Deadpool being a hit, it would seem studios are interested in Liefeld’s subversive take on the superhero genre again.
Deadline has news on Rob Liefeld’s Shrink comic book movie, which will be produced by Doug Belgrad and his production banner 2.0, Adam Fields and the Deadpool creator himself. It was Fields who stumbled upon the project again after diving into three decades of projects that were once in development but got abandoned for one reason or another. So a new deal was struck to pick up the property again.
Shrink is described as a “a high-concept twist on Analyze This,” the 1999 comedy starring Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro. That film followed Crystal as a psychiatrist who suddenly finds himself caught up in the mafia after reluctantly taking on an anxious mob boss as his client. So we can likely expect Shrink‘s female psychiatrist to get caught up in some superhero action.
When Shrink was first brought to Sony back in the early 2000s, Crazy Stupid Love and Focus directors Glenn Ficarra & John Requa had written a script for the project. It’s not clear if that script will still be used as the starting point for this new attempt to turn Shrink into a movie, but I hope this gets made. I think it has great potential to be funny.
IN THIS WEEK’S “If they don’t read books, don’t f–k them” story, Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualley are set to co-star in My Salinger Year, the big-screen adaptation of Joanna Rakoff’s international bestseller, which will be directed by Oscar-nominated Canadian director Philippe Falardeau.
Memento Films International (Call Me by Your Name) has come on board to handle international sales and is co-representing the U.S. rights with UTA Independent Film Group.
“This is a total crowd-pleaser that will draw a substantial audience,” said Tanja Meissner, head of international sales at Memento. “All the relevant ingredients are assembled: an irresistibly charming and tender story in which The Devil Wears Prada meets the literary world.”
My Salinger Year will start shooting in Montreal and New York this Spring. Luc Déry and Kim McCraw from micro_scope are producing the film. The Canadian company’s critically acclaimed credits include Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies and Enemy, as well as Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar, which was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar in 2012.
Aaand, IN THIS WEEK’S Kingsman continues” story, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Gemma Arterton have been confirmed as the newest members of Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman prequel.
Arterton and Taylor-Johnson will be joining Daniel Bruhl, Charles Dance, Matthew Goode, Rhys Ifans, Djimon Hounsou and Alison Steadman. The film focuses on the early days of the institute will also see Harris Dickinson and Ralph Fiennes play the protege/mentor pairing. The brilliant Tom Hollander also joins the cast in multiple roles as King George V, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas II – all of whom are part of Queen Victoria’s family tree within the film.
Taking the period drama route, the film will see Harris Dickinson’s cocky young WW1 hero Conrad eager to continue serving his country. It will focus on the man who would go on to become Kingsman and focus on world history.
The third in the franchise that will carry on after Kingsman: The Golden Circle is also full steam ahead. This installment will see a return for Taron Egerton’s Eggsy and Colin Firth’s Harry with a view of tying up their story for good. Production is looking likely to start towards the end of 2019, giving Vaughn a short break after filming the prequel.
With the aforementioned prequel and threequel at full steam ahead, the proposed spin-off TV series seems to have taken a back seat at this moment in time. There are currently no details available as to when this will head into production.
This is an awful LOT of Kingsman stuff. TOO much, in fact. But there’s no stopping anything profitable, unless you don’t go to see these in the theater.
And on that note, we’re out. Until next time, Ciao!