In this week’s “New Star Wars films are coming” story, Game of Thrones creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will write and produce a new series of Star Wars films, Lucasfilm announced on Tuesday.
These new films will be separate from both the episodic Skywalker saga and the recently-announced trilogy being developed by Rian Johnson, writer-director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
“David and Dan are some of the best storytellers working today,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “Their command of complex characters, depth of story and richness of mythology will break new ground and boldly push Star Wars in ways I find incredibly exciting.”
“In the summer of 1977 we traveled to a galaxy far, far away, and we’ve been dreaming of it ever since,” Benioff and Weiss said in a joint statement. “We are honored by the opportunity, a little terrified by the responsibility, and so excited to get started as soon as the final season of Game of Thrones is complete.”
No release dates have been set for the new films.
Wow. This could be REALLY interesting. I’ll be curious to see how these guys handle the Star Wars mythology.
In this week’s “I’ll be back…one the range” story, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been tapped to star in a new…Western series for Amazon.
Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’ll also executive produce.
Co-written/executive produced by Trey Callaway (APB, The Messengers, CSI: NY) and Mark Montgomery, Outrider is a mystery set in the Oklahoma Indian Territory in the late 1800s. It tells the dark and dangerous tale of a deputy who is not only tasked by a notoriously brutal judge with apprehending a legendary outlaw in the wilderness – but must also partner with a ruthless Federal Marshal to make sure justice is properly served. And as the story unfolds, not only will enemies become allies, but a series of unpredictable surprises will blur the line between good guys and bad.
Austrian-born Schwarzenegger would play the Federal Marshal who immigrated to the US from Europe as a child.
Outrider would mark the first major scripted TV series role for The Terminator and True Lies star and former California governor. On the unscripted side, he did a one-season stint as star and executive producer of NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice, replacing Donald Trump. But who cares about that? Not me.
in this week’s “Don’t make me choose” story, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet is accusing director Guillermo del Toro of stealing.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the celebrated French director of Delicatessen and Amélie, has accused Guillermo del Toro of plagiarizing a scene from Delicatessen in his 13-time Oscar nominee The Shape of Water.
The scene in del Toro’s movie features the characters played by Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins performing a charming two-step dance while sitting on a sofa watching an old Hollywood movie. Jeunet thinks del Toro stole the moment from a similar one between two children in Delicatessen. The French director explained to Ouest-France (via The Playlist) that he confronted del Toro about the scene.
“I told [del Toro]: ‘You have a lot of imagination, a lot of talent. Why go and [steal] the ideas of others?’” Jeunet told the French publication. “[Del Toro] said, ‘We owe Terry Gilliam everything.’ According to [del Toro], he does not steal from others, it is Terry Gilliam who has influenced us all. When he [directs] the scene of the couple sitting on the edge of the bed dancing with their feet, with the musical in the background on TV, it is so copied and pasted [from] ‘Delicatessen’ that there is a moment when I say to myself that he lacks self-respect.”
Jeunet followed his accusation by saying he is more disappointed with del Toro than he is angry, mainly because “Guillermo has enough talent not to do that.” The director is confident del Toro had Delicatessen on the brain when crafting the moment, despite the fact that the director has not listed the Jeunet film as an influence.
“It is obvious that he had Delicatessen in mind,” Jeunet said.
Both of these scenes are available to watch side by side online. I saw a mild similarity, but certainly not enough to call foul. The two scenes aren’t THAT alike. Go look at them yourself to see what you think.
In this week’s “Third time’s the charm?” story, Milla Jovovich has replaced Olivia Munn in Hummingbird.
In a pre-Berlin Film Festival signing, Milla Jovovich will now star in the action-thriller based on John McClain’s Black List script.
Jovovich is the third actress cast in the lead role. Zoe Saldana was cast a year ago and replaced in the fall by Olivia Munn in the role of a black-ops assassin who begins to question her skills and training when she’s placed on a questionable assignment. Jovovich will be replacing Munn. Producers said Tuesday that Hummingbird will be in the vein of “Lucy” and the Jason Bourne film franchise.
Production will start in the summer. China’s Fundamental Films will produce the movie alongside Broken Road Productions. Marcus Kryler and Fredrik Akerström, who directed Electronic Arts’ “Battlefield 1” video game, will direct.
Paul W.S. Anderson is writing a script revision. Lionsgate is handling international sales. UTA and CAA are co-repping domestic rights. That explains Jovovich getting cast.
In this week’s “Doolittle news” story, selena Gomez has joined Robert Downey, Jr. in The Voyage of Doctor Doolittle.
The project stars Robert Downey Jr., while Tom Holland, Emma Thompson, and Ralph Fiennes round out the voice cast and Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen will portray live-action characters.
Universal acquired the project last year, which will be directed by Stephen Gaghan from a screenplay he wrote with an earlier draft by Tom Sheppard. It’s based on the character from the 1920’s series of children’s books by Hugh Lofting, in which a Victorian-era physician opts to treat animals instead of humans because he’s able to speak with them.
Lofting’s character was portrayed by Rex Harrison in the 1967 musical Doctor Dolittle, which won Oscars for best original song and visual effects. Eddie Murphy starred in the 1998 film Doctor Dolittle and its 2001 sequel, which cumulatively grossed more than $470 million at the worldwide box office.
In this week’s “Somebody overpaid” story, Netflix bought The Cloverfield Paradox (formerly known as The God Particle) and made it available on Superbowl night. And critics are not enjoying it at all.
Paramount kept delaying this film until eventually they sold it to Netflix for a whopping $ 50 million.
Hours before it was announced, director Ava DuVernay teased the event and predicted it would change history:
“#FilmTwitter is going to explode tonight. Something is coming that I can hardly believe. Lawd. History in the making. Woman of color-led, sci-fi thriller released worldwide day + date w/ big Netflix muscle for black director, his super producer + POC cast. No advance press, ads, trailer. Straight to the people. Gamechanger. Congrats to helmer #JuliusOnah + my dears JJ, Gugu, David. #Cloverfield”
But apparently it’s not so good. (UPDATE: I just saw it and it’s not great) Rather than being seen as a threat to Hollywood’s usual business model, the Netflix release was seen as hype driven save for a movie that would’ve bombed in theatres, had Paramount gone ahead and released it. So, knowing all of this, it makes the staggering money that Netflix paid for the movie seem all the more ridiculous.
Paramount is hanging onto the rights for a theatrical release in China, and home video.
The writing was on the wall for the picture, which Paramount chairman-CEO Jim Gianopulos “ultimately deemed unsalvageable” even though an effort was made to tweak “character beats” and forge stronger ties to the rest of the ‘Cloverfield’ series.
The streaming giant has already noted that what their audience likes, and what critics approve, sometimes can have a big disconnect (Netflix reps spoke about this in a earlier story).
In this week’s ” DC/Warner Bros.: Still Not Getting It” story, If you had any hope that the DC Cinematic Universe MIGHT get better, well, I’m afraid the odds are not in favor of that. Warner Bros. is talking to none other than CFN’s favorite director Michael Bay, to direct a film version of the Lobo character.
According to The Wrap, the studio think’s Lobo “could be their answer to Deadpool” and they think Bay is the guy who will deliver the goods.
The report goes on to say that Bay has met with DC to discuss the project and offered some notes “that Wonder Woman writer Jason Fuchs will incorporate into a rewrite.” After that rewrite, the studio will present the new script to Bay in hope that they can close the deal.
Lobo centers on a blue-skinned, 7-foot-tall, heavily muscled antihero alien who works as an interstellar mercenary and bounty hunter.
This would, obviously, be a horrible horrible idea. The fact that Warner Bros. is even considering this direction is proof that instead of thinking about someone that will represent the character faithfully, they value huge blockbusters that generate money at the expense of creative integrity.
In this week’s “Netflix scores again” story, Netflix has acquired the sci-fi thriller Extinction, starring Michael Pena and Lizzy Caplan, from Universal.
The thriller centers on a man who has a recurring nightmare of losing his family. When the planet is invaded by an alien force, he discovers an unknown strength as he fights for his family’s survival.
Ben Young, whose debut feature Hounds of Love earned strong reviews out of Venice in 2016, directed from a screenplay by Spenser Cohen (Moonfall) and Bradley Caleb Kane.
Mandeville’s Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman (The Fighter, Warm Bodies) produced, alongside Good Universe.
Extinction is the latest studio acquisition for the streamer, which quietly picked up the new Cloverfield movie, Cloverfield: Paradox, from Paramount and released it on their platform following the Super Bowl. It previously took international rights to Alex Garland’s Annihilation from Paramount.
Young spoke to The Hollywood Reporter in May from the set of Extinction in Serbia. “It’s like nothing I’d ever read before,” the director said at the time. “It’s about a guy trying to redeem himself within his family in the midst of an alien invasion.”
Extinction, which was pulled from Universal’s schedule two months ago, will hit the streamer later this year.
If it’s anything like The Cloverfield Paradox scenario, the film may be over-hyped.
In this week’s “Not THAT Bride,” story, Lionsgate’s horror film The Bride, gets a writer.
Sarah Conradt has been tapped to pen Lionsgate’s The Bride, the English-language remake of a Russian horror movie of the same name.
The original film, which was written and directed by Svyatoslav Podgayevsky, centers on a turn-of-the-century bride who returns from the dead to terrify a modern-day bride and her family.
Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes, the brothers who wrote The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, will produce.
Conradt works in the horror-thriller genre, landing on the 2011 iteration of the Black List for her thriller Dead of Winter. She previously adapted a remake of Finnish film Black Ice for MGM and Dylan Sellars, and penned the thriller Engima for Focus Features.
In this week’s “A joker as The Joker?” story, Jaoquin Pheonix is in talks to play The Joker in Todd Phillip’s stand alone Joker movie.
Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to play the Clown Prince of Crime in Warner Bros. and Todd Phillips’ untitled Joker origin movie.
While studio negotiations are not yet underway, Phillips has made it clear that Phoenix is the top choice to star and sources now tell Variety that, after thinking it over, Phoenix has agreed to the role. WB had no comment.
Phillips is on board to co-write and direct the movie. Phillips had met with Phoenix before the new year and was just waiting for the studio’s go-ahead, sources say.
Insiders stress that Jared Leto, who starred in Suicide Squad as the Joker is still on board as the character in the DC universe and that this Phoenix has no effect on what happens with Leto’s character in future DC films.
Scott Silver will join Phillips as a co-writer on the film, which will delve into what it took for the Joker to become a mastermind criminal. Sources say the story will take place in the ’80s and have more of the look of a gritty crime drama than comic-book movie.
Phoenix has been considered for another villainous DC role in the past: Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but passed on that role, which ultimately went to Jesse Eisenberg. He was also in talks for Disney-Marvel’s Doctor Strange, but passed on that as well. He was most recently seen in the Gus Van Sant film He Won’t Get Far on Foot.
The movie would fall under a yet-to-be-announced new banner of DC Comics, which would give the studio the opportunity to expand the canon of the iconic comic-book characters with unique story angles that aren’t included in its current cinematic universe. Jared Leto most recently played the Joker in “Suicide Squad” and is likely to reprise that role in Suicide Squad 2, but will not be featured in this film. Rumors circulated that Leonardo DiCaprio was the first person approached to star in Phillips’ standalone film, though that didn’t pan out.
WHAT. DiCaprio?? FURTHER proof that DC/Warner Bros. still has not figured out how to handle , well, pretty much anything.
In this week’s “Goyer and his He-Man saga” story, Masters of the Universe is again looking for a director.
Blade: Trinity helmer and DCEU scribe David S. Goyer had been in talks with the studio to direct the Masters of the Universe movie, but Variety reports that the filmmaker and screenwriter dropped out of conversations due to other commitments.
The live-action adaptation of the popular fantasy adventure cartoon has been in development for years now, with plenty of fumbles along the way. Warner Bros. dropped the property in 2009, when Sony picked it up and recruited Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson. Next up was G.I. Joe: Retaliation filmmaker Jon M. Chu. After that iteration of the film fell apart and Sony put the script through a series of rewrites until The Babysitter helmer McG came on board. THEN, McG dropped off the project, Sony brought on Goyer to take over scripting duties and reportedly turned in a draft that thrilled the studio so much they hoped to convince him to taking directing duties as well.
Goyer is poised to stay involved with Masters of the Universe as screenwriter and executive producer, but the filmmaker is currently hard at work on Foundation (!), a mini-series adaptation of Isaac Asimov‘s seminal science-fiction trilogy. Goyer won’t be able to juggle both projects, especially since Sony announced a December 18, 2019 release date for Masters of the Universe. Variety notes that before Goyer dropped off the project, Sony was getting ready to talk to actors and they’re currently meeting with other candidates for the directing gig in the hopes of making the 2019 release date.
All I really got out of all this is that someone is FINALLY trying to take on Asimov’s Foundation series! I REALLY hope they don’t fuck it up like EVERYONE ever has when trying to adapt Asimov’s work in the past. We STILL need someone to do a respectable adaptation of I, Robot. Foundation is even more complex, and David S. Goyer may not be the right guy for the job. But, we’ll see.
In this week’s “Perfect match!” story, Willem DaFoe has been cast in director Robert Eggers next film, The Lighthouse.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Robert Eggers has cast Dafoe as the lead in his new movie. The Lighthouse is set in Nova Scotia in the early 20th century and is “a thriller about an aging lighthouse keeper.”
That’s pretty vague, but Dafoe and Eggers should be enough to grab your attention. Creepy times two.
Eggers has been fairly quiet since The Witch shook people to their core back in 2015. He’s still working on that remake of Nosferatu and there was news of him making a television miniseries about Rasputin. However, this news suggests that The Lighthouse will be his next feature.
In this week’s “Most Wanted” story, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson seems impossibly popular. Both Universal AND Legendary have gone in together on a bid for his new project Red Notice.
The two companies pacted together to win a bidding war that included almost all the major studios, among them Warner Bros./New Line, Paramount and Sony.
Red Notice, an action comedy, hit the town earlier in the week, with execs instantly salivating despite a queasy price tag. The project came with a fee of $10 million for Rawson Marshall Thurber, the filmmaker behind Johnson’s Central Intelligence and upcoming Skyscraper, and a proposed budget between $125 million and $150 million.
One number in play was Johnson’s salary, which was crossing over $20 million for the first time.
It is unclear how the Universal-Legendary team up will work, but it is understood that Universal will act not just as a distributor but co-financier, too. The studio already releases Legendary movies and will be releasing Skyscraper. Universal also produces the Fast and Furious movies, in which Johnson has become a key player and for which he will soon be toplining, along with Jason Statham, his own spin-off.
The project is on the fast-track and the plan is to shoot this in 2019.
Red Notice refers to the highest and most serious INTERPOL notices (there are eight) and concerns the arrest of wanted criminals. While details of the plot are unknown, Johnson would play a man who works for the international police agency. The project is a two-hander and the studios are hoping to land another big star for the gig.
In this week’s “Hardly a surprise” story, the L.A. District Attorney’s office is looking at an accusation of sexual abuse against Steven Seagal.
The Beverly Hills Police Department presented the case to prosecutors on Jan. 31. No further information was immediately available. The Los Angeles Police Department has previously said that it is investigating Seagal for an alleged sexual assault that dates from 2005. Numerous women have accused Seagal of various forms of sexual misconduct, in some cases dating back more than 20 years.
The case comes as the D.A.’s Hollywood sex crimes task force begins to receive a number of new investigations from the two agencies.
On Tuesday, the LAPD presented a potential case against WME agent Adam Venit. Actor Terry Crews sued Venit in December, alleging that Venit groped his genitals at an industry event at Hutchinson’s Restaurant.
Prosecutors are also reviewing five cases each against Harvey Weinstein and director James Toback.
The task force, made up of veteran sex crimes prosecutors, could opt to file charges, decline to file, or refer cases to the city attorney’s office for possible misdemeanor prosecutions.
The D.A.’s office is also reviewing an earlier case against actor Danny Masterson. Four women have accused Masterson of raping them in the early 2000s, which Masterson has denied. Masterson’s character was written out of the Netflix series The Ranch amid renewed scrutiny of the allegations in December.
Men in Hollywood: keeping the Hollywood sex crimes task force busy since, well, always.
And in this week’s “Far as we know” story, there appears to be no news about Johnny Depp dong anything looney this week, but hey, we can’t keep an eye on him 24 hours a day, can we?
Thanks for stopping by, folks! See you next week!