What’s up in movies this week?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Going against type” When you think of actresses that seemed destined for the role of superhero, the top two names on your list probably aren’t Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy. Not that they aren’t talented actresses, as they both combine for 5 Oscar nominations and 1 win. That being said, thanks to a new Netflix project, titled Thunder Force, we’re going to see what type of superheroes they will make.
Deadline is reporting that Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy have signed on to star in Thunder Force, from filmmaker Ben Falcone. Exact plot details are being kept under wraps (like any good superhero film), but when you combine McCarthy and her frequent collaborator (and real-life husband) Falcone, it’s most likely going to be a comedic affair.
There’s no release date set yet, and seeing it’s a Netflix film, it may not be announced until at least a few weeks before it hits the streaming service. And it’s Netflix, so whether it’s good or not it up for debate.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Crime and podcasting” story, Awkwafina and Ike Barinholtz will produce and star in STXfilms’ comedy caper Crime After Crime.
Awkwafina will portray a millennial podcast host who agrees to help a convict that she has devoted her true-crime podcast to prove his innocence after he escapes jail and turns up at her house.
Dan Gurewitch and David Young are writing the screenplay, with Nick Stoller and Conor Welch producing under their Stoller Global Solutions banner alongside Awkwafina, Barinholtz and David Stassen.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Changes” story,
Though the next installment in the Suicide Squad franchise is moving full-steam ahead with the addition of Idris Elba to the team, the movie will now move forward without one of its main characters.
Though it was previously reported that Elba would be replacing Will Smith as Deadshot in the new pic, sources now tell Variety that all parties including director James Gunn have decided to move on from the Deadshot character, with Elba playing a new character in The Suicide Squad.
Warner Bros. had no comment on the decision.
It is unknown what character Elba would now be playing, but after taking the last few weeks to discuss, everyone involved felt this was the right move. The team also did not want to feel as if it was disrespecting Smith, who helped bring this character to life for the first time, by replacing him with Elba. While many believe chances are still slim for a future return, the decision keeps the door open for Smith to possibly come back in future films, since his original reason for leaving had to do with scheduling and not creative differences.
With this decision, it looks like the only three characters expected to return are Harley Quinn with Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang. Gunn is in the process of casting the remaining team members with production expected to start in the fall. The film is scheduled to bow on Aug. 6, 2021.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Lost Franco” story, After being purchased way back in 2015, James Franco’s Zeroville has been collecting dust on the shelf, waiting for distribution. And now, four years after its debut, the film is finally hitting theaters thanks to myCinema.
Announced at CinemaCon (via Deadline), Franco’s lost film was picked up by the online distribution company myCinema and will be hitting select theaters this fall. For those that don’t remember, Zeroville tells the story of a young actor, with dreams of superstardom, who moves to LA and has to navigate the changing industry.
Zeroville has been lost for years because it was originally picked up by Alchemy for distribution coming out of 2015. Unfortunately, just months after the purchase, Alchemy went bankrupt, and Franco’s film became an asset that was entangled in the financial turmoil of the distributor and was never able to see the light of day. But now, with myCinema purchasing the rights, the long-awaited film can finally get a theatrical release.
myCinema does things a little differently than other distributors, however. The company is a digital content provider that allows partner theaters the chance to show the film and acquire the print off of its online service. The report says that myCinema currently works with 500 theaters around the US.
Zeroville is written and directed by Franco. Other than the filmmaker, the film also stars Seth Rogen, Megan Fox, Joey King, Will Ferrell, Dave Franco, Danny McBride, and Jacki Weaver.
Zeroville is expected to hit theaters sometime in September.
The offiicial synopsis:
“Join VIKAR (James Franco), a wide-eyed innocent in love with the movies, on one wicked trip to the heart of a pulsating, kaleidoscopic Hollywood. Naïve newcomer to the City of Angels, carrying nothing but his “outsider” past and a huge tattoo of Montgomery Clift & Elizabeth Taylor inked on his shaved skull; driven by the allure of cinema to the glittering temptations of Zeroville; a town where anything goes. Encounter the parasites, the punks, the wannabes, the power-brokers and the crazies: meet VIKING MAN (Seth Rogen) – gatekeeper to all the right parties, a cigar-chomping surf hippie; Vikar’s eccentric Hollywood guide. You’ll encounter: foul-mouthed industry veteran DOTTY (Jacki Weaver); the sinister FINANCIER (Danny McBride); sexy femme fatale SOLEDAD (Megan Fox) – a haunted “dame”, the electric charge to trigger Vikar’s breath-taking dive into the captivating world where movies are made. Profoundly magical, funny, unsettling, and gorgeous – a love letter to Los Angeles and provocative satire of America’s fascination with itself, its cult of celebrity; a vision of the death of Old Hollywood.”
Wow. Ok That sounds like a LOT.
IN THIS WEEK’S “What’s in a name?” story, Terrence Malick’s upcoming WWII drama is officially titled A Hidden Life, a source close to the film has confirmed to IndieWire. The long-in-the-works film had been previously going by the title Radegund. The historical drama stars August Diehl as Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious objector to World War II who was guillotined by the Third Reich in 1943. The supporting cast includes Valerie Pachner, Matthias Schoenaerts, and the late actors Michael Nyqvist and Bruno Ganz.
The industry is abuzz that A Hidden Life could world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, bringing Malick back to the prestigious event for the first time since winning the Palme d’Or with The Tree of Life. Since then, Malick has premiered his movies at Venice (To the Wonder, Voyage of Time), Berlin (Knight of Cups), and SXSW (Song to Song). The filmmaker has been working on A Hidden Life for over two years now, which has led many to believe he’s finally ready to unveil it at Cannes.
Speaking at Washington D.C.’s Air and Space Museum in April 2017, Malick teased A Hidden Life would mark a return to a more narrative-driven storytelling structure after the looseness of Song to Song and Knight of Cups. Malick was in the editing room at the time and said the script was “very well ordered,” which is what he was trying to match in post-production.
The title change from Radegund to A Hidden Life is the latest development in the film’s slow-moving path to release. Malick fans will find out if the film makes the Cannes lineup when the festival announces its 2019 slate on April 18.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Controversial filmmaker” story, Kino Lorber has picked up the biopic starring Willem Dafoe as the controversial Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom auteur.
It’s been nearly five years since Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini, starring Willem Dafoe as murdered Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, made its debut at the Venice and Toronto International film festivals in 2014. Now, at last, it’s getting U.S. distribution: Kino Lorber has picked up North American rights to the film and has set its premiere for New York City’s Metrograph on May 10.
Ferrara will be showing a new documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival this April called “The Projectionist,” but his films have barely been seen in the U.S. over the past decade. In the ’90s, Ferrara established himself as a bad-boy auteur with King of New York, Bad Lieutenant, and The Addiction. But a reputation for being difficult has made it harder and harder for his films to get released.
A particular flashpoint in Ferrera’s career was “Welcome to New York,” his film inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair, in which the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund was accused of rape by a New York City hotel maid. The sales agency Wild Bunch sold an R-rated cut of Welcome to New York to IFC Films, which Ferrara deplored because it cut 17 minutes and reordered key events — the original version’s explicit debauchery would have made it an automatic NC-17, though the director was pushing for an unrated release. In one widely circulated interview, he referred to the IFC release as “corporate assault” and called on filmmakers to burn down the IFC Center.
In light of his public battles over authorial intent and censorship, Ferrara likely found a kindred spirit in Pasolini, whose own films drew considerably controversy during his life for their urgent explorations of faith and sexuality. His final film, Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom, based on the Marquis de Sade’s book but set in the last days of the Fascist rump state that formed in the northern Italian town of Salo after the fall of Mussolini, was met with outrage for its graphic violence and degrading depictions of sexual violation.
Ferrara’s Pasolini looks at the last days of the director’s life following the release of Salo when he was looking to find his next project and cruising the streets of Rome looking for young hustlers to pick up. The official story is that he was then murdered by a male prostitute, though conspiracy theories have abounded that he was killed in a homophobic attack.
Pasolini will be available on home video and VOD in fall 2019.
All of this is really intriguing.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Great minds” story, Legendary Entertainment has acquired the feature film rights to Simon Rich’s short story Any Person, Living or Dead, with Kumail Nanjiani attached to star.
Rich will adapt the script with Jonathan Krisel set to direct.
The story was recently published by Little, Brown and Company in Rich’s collection of short stories titled Hits and Misses, and follows a brilliant reclusive scientist who, using his homemade time machine, gathers a roundtable of the greatest minds in history (Shakespeare, George Washington, Aristotle, etc.) to solve all of humanity’s problems. Unfortunately, his plan fails to take into account language barriers, ancient racism and the tendency of medieval men to commit murder. Instead of learning from these Great Men of History, our hero has no choice but to hunt them down and blast them to the past before they can ruin our future.
Ok, that sounds entertaining.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Bad parenting” story, STX Films is revisiting its parental-figures-who-behave-poorly franchise with Bad Moms’ Moms. The film will presumably focus on the grandmother characters who were first introduced in 2017’s A Bad Moms Christmas, and who were played by Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, and Cheryl Hines. The three women will reprise their roles.
The series of films started with the 2016 hit Bad Moms, an unexpected summer box office success that grossed more than $180 million on a $22 million budget. STX made the announcement during its presentation at CinemaCon, an annual exhibition industry trade show.
In announcing Bad Moms’ Moms, STX Films chief Adam Fogelson called the movie, “A whole new adventure that is attracting all sorts of great talent.”
At one point, STX Films had toyed with making a “Bad Dads” film, but that appears to have been put on the back burner. There were also reports that an unscripted reality series was in the works at Fox network.
It’s turning into the Bad Moms Cinematic Universe. Marvel ain’t got nuthin’ on them.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Widow casting” story, Marvel’s Black Widow movie is slowly coming together. After promising to make the standalone film for years, Marvel Studios is forging ahead, picking up exciting cast members as they go. The latest: Rachel Weisz, who is good in just about everything, and Stranger Things and Hellboy actor David Harbour, will now both appear alongside mainstay player Scarlett Johansson and recent cast addition Florence Pugh.
Variety has the scoop regarding Rachel Weisz’s addition to the Black Widow cast. Their report says a deal isn’t finalized yet, but “talks are headed in that direction, with strong interest from both sides of negotiations.” Variety doesn’t specify who Weisz is playing, but we’ve heard through sources that there are two villain roles – one male, and one female.
Black Widow is described as “an internationally-set story centering on Natasha Romanoff, a spy and assassin who grew up being trained by the KGB before breaking from their grasp and becoming an agent of SHIELD and Avenger.”
Beyond that, we don’t know much, although rumors persist the film will be a prequel, set when Natasha was just getting started in her spy career. Scarlett Johansson will once again reprise the role she’s been playing since Iron Man 2, while Florence Pugh is also part of the cast in an undisclosed role, but we hear she’s playing another spy. Cate Shortland is directing from a script by Jac Schaeffer.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Take the baby and run” story, Actor David Dastmalchian is one of those guys that you’ve seen in a million films but probably never could remember his name. He’s appeared in The Dark Knight, Prisoners, and the two ‘Ant-Man’ films for Marvel Studios. Needless to say, he’s an accomplished actor. What film fans probably don’t realize is that he’s also a screenwriter, and his latest film All Creatures Here Below is about to hit theaters next month.
As seen in the trailer, All Creatures Here Below stars Dastmalchian as a man trying to survive on the fringes of society. He works a low-paying job and isn’t above some more under-the-table, criminal activities on the side. However, when his partner Ruby discovers an infant baby during one of their less-than-savory activities, the duo goes on the run with the baby in tow. Of course, that’s when hell breaks loose.
All Creatures Here Below is the second collaboration for Dastmalchian, as star and screenwriter, and director Collin Schiffli. The duo previously worked on the 2014 film, Animals.
The film stars Karen Gillan, David Dastmalchian, Jennifer Morrison, John Doe, Richard Cabral, and David Koechner.
All Creatures Here Below arrives in theaters and VOD on May 17.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Bebop a-lu-la” story, Netflix has lassoed a leading man for its upcoming Cowboy Bebop series: John Cho (The Exorcist) will star in the streamer’s live-action version of the ’90s Japanese anime phenomenon.
As previously reported, the future-set Cowboy Bebop — which snagged a 10-episode order in November — will follow a ragtag crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts as they hunt down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals. They’ll even save the world… for the right price.
Cho will star as Spike Spiegel, described as an impossibly cool “cowboy” (aka bounty hunter) with a deadly smile, wry wit and style to spare. He travels the solar system with his ex-cop partner, Jet Black, pursuing the future’s most dangerous bounties with a combination of charm, charisma — and deadly Jeet Kune Do.
The show has also cast Mustafa Shakir (Marvel’s Luke Cage) as the aforementioned Jet, as well as Daniella Pineda (The Detour) as the bold bounty hunter Faye Valentine and Alex Hassell (the UK’s Bonkers) as Spike’s nemesis, Vicious.
Christopher Yost (Thor: Ragnarok) will write Cowboy Bebop‘s first episode, while Alex Garcia Lopez (Marvel’s Daredevil) will direct the first two installments. Shinichiro Watanabe, who directed the original anime, will serve as a consultant on the live-action version.
I always found the animated series – when I watched it – kind of hit or miss. Maybe it just wasn’t my thing despite how much I usually enjoy anime’, but sometimes I felt like the show was just so far out in left field. but I’d still check out a live-action version with John Cho.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Long lost project” story, One of Francis Ford Coppola‘s never-made dream projects might finally become a reality. The legendary filmmaker has revealed after many years of delay, he will direct Megalopolis, a huge, sprawling epic about an architect trying to build a mini-Utopia in futuristic New York. Coppola wrote the script in the ’80s, but wasn’t ready to make Megalopolis until the dawn of the 21st century.
By 2001, he shot hours of second unit footage, and was gearing up to move into production. But everything came to a halt following the September 11th attacks. Since the story is set in New York, and was set in the wake of a major disaster, Coppola felt post-9/11 was the wrong time to bring Megalopolis to life. The filmmaker eventually moved on, and most assumed the project was lost forever. But now, Coppola is ready to resurrect it.
Deadline broke the news that Coppola is finally gearing up to make Megalopolis. “I plan this year to begin my longstanding ambition to make a major work utilizing all I have learned during my long career, beginning at age 16 doing theater, and that will be an epic on a grand scale, which I’ve entitled Megalopolis,” the Godfather filmmaker said. “It is unusual; it will be a production on a grand scale with a large cast. It makes use of all of my years of trying films in different styles and types culminating in what I think is my own voice and aspiration. It is not within the mainstream of what is produced now, but I am intending and wishing and in fact encouraged, to begin production this year.” In addition to this news, Deadline says Coppola wants Jude Law to star.
In the past, the filmmaker has described Megalopolis as a cross between the classic silent sci-fi film Metropolis, and Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. “The theme is the contest between the past and the future,” Coppola said back in 2002. “Although it is set against the backdrop of a giant modern city like New York, it also speaks of Rome. The founders of modern America based many of their ideas on the Roman republic.”
While the 9/11 attacks were the initial reason Coppola shelved Megalopolis, another reason was that the film felt far too massive an undertaking. Coppola’s script runs 212 pages, which would make the movie well over 3 hours long. Then there’s the fact that the movie would have to feature massive, epic-looking sets and set pieces. After 9/11, Coppola felt as if he had no more energy for the project. But now, that energy has returned. It probably helps that special effects work has advanced greatly since 2001, which might enable the director to finally realize the large-scale visuals of the film.
Well, that sounds epic, indeed.
IN THIS WEEK’S “One constant” story, Oscar, Tony, and Emmy winner Viola Davis will return as Amanda Waller in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, an individual with knowledge of the project exclusively told TheWrap.
The sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad will hit theaters on Aug. 6, 2021. Peter Safran and Charles Roven are producing.
Guardians of the Galaxy director Gunn was brought on board to helm the project. He also wrote the script and will have a completely new take on the property, in which DC supervillains are recruited by the government to carry out secret missions too dirty for the likes of Superman and Batman.
Davis previously told Nerd Report that she is”fascinated by the character,” who serves the DC Universe in a similar capacity as Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Waller is described as “a former congressional aide and government agent who is often placed in charge of the Suicide Squad, a semi-secret government-run group of former super villains working in return for amnesty.”
IN THIS WEEK’S “It’s about a jacket” story, Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin, an offbeat French comedy with Jean Dujardin (The Artist) and Adèle Haenel (BPM), is set to open the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight.
Deerskin, which marks Dupieux’s seventh feature, stars Dujardin as a man who becomes obsessed with owning a pricey designer deerskin jacket, leading him to blow his life savings and even turn to crime. Mathieu and Thomas Verhaeghe at Paris-based Atelier de Production produced the movie. WTFilms represents Deerskin in international markets.
Dupieux previously attended Directors’ Fortnight in 2013 with the short film Wrong Cops, which was the first chapter of the feature film of the same name presented earlier that year at Sundance.
Dupieux, who began his career working with Michel Gondry on music videos and advertising clips, made his feature debut with Nonfilm in 2001. His third film, Rubber, played at Cannes’ Critics’ Week in 2010.
Well, I guess that could be funny. If he can make an entertaining movie about a sentient tire, anything is possible.
IN THIS WEEK’S “After Ghoulardi, there’s The Ghoul” story, Ron Sweed, a TV personality from Cleveland who found fame as the late-night variety show character “The Ghoul,” has died. He was 70.
Sweed’s ex-wife Barbara J. King posted on Facebook that the comedian died on Monday after suffering a heart attack five months earlier. Sweed underwent triple-bypass surgery on Nov. 7, 2018, according to Cleveland19.
Sweed’s character “The Ghoul” followed in the tradition of other late-night horror hosts such as Ernie Anderson, who rose to fame as “Ghoulardi” — which also became the name of the production company of Ernie’s award-winning filmmaker son, Paul Thomas Anderson.
Sweed was first invited on stage with Anderson in 1963 when the then-13-year-old showed up in a gorilla suit. He went on to become a production assistant for the WJW-TV show and, with Anderson’s blessing, started hosting his own show in 1970, which became a hit in the Cleveland and Detroit markets.
I spent my childhood in the 70’s watching The Ghoul every Saturday night. Much of what he did would only be relevant to people that lived in the area of northern Ohio and Michigan. I laughed my ass off for years watching The Ghoul. There are a lot of good memories there.
Aaaand, IN THIS WEEK’S ” Tell us how you really feel” story, Linda Hamilton is keenly aware she was missed from the Terminator universe.
The actress makes her return in the upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate, where she resurrects Sarah Conner — the iconic role she created in James Cameron’s first two Terminator films: The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991). Three films followed — Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Terminator: Salvation (2009) and Terminator: Genisys (2015) — but none rose to the level of the first two in Hamilton’s estimation.
“They’re very forgettable, aren’t they?” she said to Variety at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Thursday.
“I wanted them to be good. You start something and you’re invested in the franchise, but somehow the characters that you care about weren’t there,” Hamilton added. “Too many people, too many story points and the focus of just a few people that you’re rooting for. So I think we’ve done a good job of narrowing down the focus again so it will echo the first two films.”
Though she was happy to play Connor again in the flesh, Hamilton told Variety she hesitated at first to return to the series.
“I gave it probably six weeks of intense thinking and consideration before deciding to do it,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. I didn’t want it to look like a shameless money grab. I am living this quiet, lovely life that doesn’t involve being a celebrity, and you really have to think, do I really want to trade that in again for another 15 minutes?”
Asked if she do it again, Hamilton teased, “I’m going to fake my own death so I don’t have to do another one.”
Terminator: Dark Fate hits theaters on Nov. 1.
Lol- oh, Linda Hamilton, you’re a hoot. But I hope this next Terminator film is good enough to justify its’ own existence.
And with that, folks, we wrap up another week of film news. Cheers!