Welcome to another week of stuff happening! AND, May the 4th Be With You!
IN THIS WEEK’S “If it ain’t broke…” story, Michael B. Jordan is plotting yet another Black Panther reunion. While the actor is attached to lead Black Panther director Ryan Coogler’s true story drama Wrong Answer, he’s now teaming up with Black Panther co-writer Joe Robert Cole on an adaptation of the graphic novel Failsafe at Netflix. Deadline reports that the Vault Comics adaptation landed at Netflix after a bidding war, with Jordan attached to produce alongside Alana Mayo with an eye towards starring in the eventual film. Cole will handle screenplay duties.
Failsafe revolves around a man named John Ravane, who spent years tracking down and executing nanotech-enhanced super soldiers. But a decade after the last super soldier was killed, the Insurgence Program’s true legacy is revealed, and Ravane finds himself standing between a government he can’t trust and the soldiers he once hunted.
Jordan won’t decide if he’s going to star in the project until Cole’s script comes in, but it sounds like a meaty premise with some interesting socio-political undertones. That appears to be the kind of project Jordan is interested in nowadays, between his HBO adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, the aforementioned Wrong Answer, the anti-death penalty drama Just Mercy, and of course Black Panther.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Dr Who hits theaters” story, Doctor Who is coming to a movie theater near you. BBC Studios Americas and Fathom Events are teaming for a one-night-only U.S. theatrical release of Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks, the 1975 movie starring Tom Baker. The never-before-seen 90-minute director’s cut will hit big screens Monday, June 11.
The film will be followed by an exclusive interview with Baker, who embodied the Time Lord for a record seven seasons, from 1974-81. Genesis of the Daleks combines episodes from the iconic sci-fi series’ 12th season, which will be released on home video June 19.
Here’s the movie’s logline: The Fourth Doctor and his companions Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) are transported thousands of years into the past to the ancient planet Skaro where they are given a mission from the Time Lords to prevent the evil scientist Davros from introducing to the universe the most destructive race of killing machines ever created, the Daleks.
Tom Baker was my first doctor, so this is something I would totally go see.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Who wouldn’t want to see a film called ‘FreakShift‘?”, story, director Ben Wheatley (High Rise, Sightseers, Free Fire) has a couple irons in the fire.
He’s going to direct a film starring Alicia Vikander and now Armie Hammer.
Deadline reports that Hammer will join Alicia Vikander in Freakshift. The story will be a cop versus monsters tale, though we prefer Wheatley’s awesome one-line pitch: “It’s about women with shotguns fighting giant crabs.” Vikander takes the lead, with Hammer playing her love interest. Just tell me when this is in theaters, and I’ll be there.
Production on Freakshift kicks off in August.
Well that sounds like fun!
In addition to that, Wheatley may be in the running to make a Marvel film.
In an interview on the Adam Buxton Podcast (via CBM), actor/comedian Bob Mortimer dropped a bit of a bombshell. The comedian was discussing how he and Wheatley were in the process of working together on a film about Michael Jackson when that all changed. “We were about to start that but then Ben got offered one of the big Marvel films, so it weren’t for us to say, ‘you ain’t doing that Ben,’” Mortimer revealed.
In another interview, Wheatley spilled this:
“‘Marvel Zombies hasn’t been done which is what I’m interested in,” he said. “Maybe that’s a bit too niche. Marvel’s interesting in that it’s kind of a hybrid of cinema and television. A very, very expensive TV show that you buy a pass for every three months.”
As you might imagine, Marvel Zombies is a story that presents audiences with a world where all the Marvel superheroes have been infected by the zombie virus. It’s very dark and violent and would almost definitely require an R-rating. That might make it unlikely for the Marvel Universe.
But maybe he’s going to make some other Marvel property, who knows? Hopefully we’ll get more info on this down the road.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Don’t skip school, kids” story, Universal Pictures has set Good Boys, the upcoming R-rated comedy produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, for release on August 16, 2019. The date had previously been held by the studio as a placeholder for an untitled event film.
Good Boys will star Jacob Tremblay as the leader of a group of 12-year-old miscreants who decide to skip school one day, leading to a slew of memorably bad decisions.
Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky, who worked on the American version of The Office, will make their feature film debut with this picture as writer-directors, according the studio’s Tuesday announcement. James Weaver will produce with Rogen and Goldberg through their Point Grey banner.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Return of The Woman” story, Pollyanna McIntosh – best known as the cunning Jadis in The Walking Dead – has wrapped production on her debut feature, which is now set to make its market debut in Cannes.
Darlin’, which MPI Media Group will introduce to buyers, continues the twisted vicious adventure of Lucky McKee’s 2011 cult hit The Woman, which he novelized with famed horror writer Jack Ketchum and which starred McIntosh in the title role.
McIntosh reprises her role in Darlin’, appearing alongside Lauryn Canny (1,000 Times Good Night, Amber), Bryan Batt (Mad Men, 12 Years a Slave), Nora-Jane Noone (The Magdalene Sisters, The Descent, Brooklyn) and Cooper Andrews (The Walking Dead, Shazam, Halt and Catch Fire), as well as fellow The Walking Dead alumni Sabrina Gennarino and Thomas Francis Murphy.
Found at a Catholic hospital filthy and ferocious, feral teenager Darlin’ is whisked off to a care home run by The Bishop and his obedient nuns, where she’s to be rehabilitated into a “good girl” as an example of the miraculous work of the church. But Darlin’ holds a secret darker than the “sins” she is threatened with, and she is not traveling alone. The Woman who raised her, equally fierce and feral, is ever present in the shadows of Darlin’s psyche and is determined to come for her no matter who tries to get in her way.
The film is a Hood River Entertainment production with Andrew van den Houten producing and McKee and Ketchum as executive producers. Nicola Goelzhauser of MPI will be handling worldwide sales at this year’s Marche Du Film.
Ok, this could be some crazy shit, so I’m looking forward to it.
IN THIS WEEK’S “NOT Bond, James Bond” story, Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong’o are set to star in 355, a female-driven spy thriller.
Chastain’s production shingle Freckle Films will produce and Simon Kinberg will direct the secret-agent drama, based on a script by Theresa Rebeck and an original idea by Chastain. The drama promises a globe-trotting adventure, with the five A-list actresses playing spies from international agencies who come together and overcome suspicions and conflicts as they battle to stop a global organization from thrusting the world into chaos.
Along the way, strangers and enemies become comrades and friends, and a new spy sisterhood, code-named 355, is formed. Chastain and Kelly Carmichael share producer credits with Kinberg under his Kinberg Genre banner.
This sounds cool – and very overdue.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Adding some class” story, in the new remake of Paramount’s Pet Sematary, the role of Jud Crandall, played in the original infamously by Fred Gwynne, will be played now by the excellent John Lithgow.
Expect more casting news to be announced in the coming weeks and months since the plan is to shoot the picture this summer, aimed for an April 19, 2019 release date. Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) will direct the remake from a script by Jeff Buhler, to be produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian and Steven Schneider. Pet Sematary is but the latest in a new wave of King adaptations.
IN THIS WEEK’S “speaking of spies…” story, IFC Films has acquired the U.S. rights to The Catcher Was a Spy, starring Paul Rudd and Sienna Miller, the distribution company announced Tuesday.
Directed by Ben Lewin and written by Robert Rodat, the film is based upon the 1995 non-fiction bestseller “The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg” by Nicholas Dawidoff.
The World War II drama also stars Jeff Daniels, Guy Pearce and Paul Giamatti and was produced by PalmStar Media’s Kevin Frakes, Animus Films’ Jim Young, Serena Films’ Tatiana Kelly and Windy Hill Pictures’ Buddy Patrick.
The Catcher Was a Spy is based on the true story of Major League Baseball player Moe Berg, who joined the U.S. in its wartime efforts to defeat the Nazis. But once he ascertains how close the Nazis are to building an atomic bomb, he has to make the life-or-death decision that will impact the rest of humanity.
The film debuted at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and will hit theaters on June 22
IN THIS WEEK’S “Is this spy week?” story, Fresh off his comedy hit Blockers, John Cena is in talks to star in Universal Pictures’ The Janson Directive, with Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia executive producing through their Seven Bucks Productions.
Johnson announced the casting on his social media outlets, praising his long friendship with Cena that goes back to their classic WrestleMania match.
The action-thriller was originally being developed with Johnson attached to star, but sources say given his busy schedule, Johnson and the studio decided it was best move along with Johnson as a producer.
The studio had been looking for a possible Cena-starring franchise that would play to his strengths as a physical presence.
Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner of Captivate Entertainment will produce along with Hiram Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions, James Vanderbilt, Brad Fischer, and William Sherak of Mythology, and Akiva Goldsman of Weed Road Pictures. Tracey Nyberg will executive produce through Mythology.
Vanderbilt will adapt The Janson Directive from a story co-authored with Goldsman. Ludlum is also the author of the Jason Bourne book series.
The novel follows a former consular ops agent who, after leaving covert operations due to the high number of sanctioned serial killings, goes into business as private security consultant. Teamed with a sharpshooter, Janson only takes assignments that he believes will lead to helping those in need.
IN THIS WEEK’S “John Woo directs Lupita Nyong’o” story, John Woo has long been talking about remaking his own film, The Killer, and now it seems to be happening.
Universal Pictures has THE KILLER on the fast track and John Woo is slated to direct the remake, which, like the original, will find Lupita Nyong’o playing the assassin who puts her own life on the line to save a woman whom she accidentally blinded in her last hit. Per Deadline, the remake will “blend espionage with extraordinary stunts to capture the feel of the original.” It will take some doing to top the bullet-ballet of the original film, but with Woo himself directing the film, well, seems like it should be fine. In fact, I would imagine he would want to try to outdo himself.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Somebody will find a way” story, Ryan Reynolds hints at Deadpool franchise ending at two films.
Although Deadpool 2 is tracking for an enormous opening weekend of $150 million and the first film broke records, Ryan Reynolds isn’t sure whether there would be a third movie in the franchise.
“I don’t know that there would be a ‘Deadpool 3,’ I really don’t,” Reynolds told Entertainment Weekly. “I feel like the character, in order for him to function properly within his own universe, you need to take everything away from him. I don’t think that you can keep doing that.”
However, while Reynolds isn’t sure whether Deadpool would get another solo film, the actor does see the Merc with a Mouth as part of a team.
“I do see him as being a part of X-Force, obviously. I would love to see him in a team-up sort of thing, like a mano a mano or a great female character from the X-Men universe,” he said. “I just think if you’re going to do another Deadpool solo film, you’ve got to really, like, get that budget down to nothing and just swing for the fences, and break all kinds of weird barriers, and do stuff that no one else can do.”
Reynolds is already part of the X-Force film that Drew Goddard will write and direct. Zazie Beetz and Josh Brolin are also already attached as Domino and Cable, respectively. The film was originally announced in 2013 with Kick-Ass 2 director Jeff Wadlow attached to direct.
With al the potential profit to be made with this character, I can’t imagine anyone will simply walk away from the Deadpool franchise. As long as they keep being quality entertainemnt, SOMEbody will want to keep making them.
IN THIS WEEK’S “From piranha’s to, what? Gators?” story, Paramount has set-up the horror-thriller Crawl, a project that was previously in development at Lakeshore. Deadline has confirmed.
Alexandre Aja of Piranha 3D is set to direct with Sam Raimi producing with Craig Flores. The studio is reportedly moving fast into pre-production in similar fashion to A Quiet Place which was greenlit roughly a year ago and since its April 6 release has amassed over $237M at the global box office.
The pic centers around a young woman who becomes trapped in a flooding house during a Category 5 hurricane and must battle against Florida’s most savage and feared predators. Aja wrote the script with Shawn and Michael Rasmussen.
“Florida’s most savage and feared predators”? I can only assume they mean alligators. With a title like Crawl, it seems logical. Ok, Piranha 3D was great fun, so I’ll see what Aja has in store for us with this.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The Last Black Man” story, Newcomer Jimmie Fails and Jonathan Majors, who broke out in the ABC miniseries When We Rise, are starring in The Last Black Man in San Francisco, a drama that reteams Brad Pitt’s Plan B banner with A24. The two previously collaborated on the Oscar-winning Moonlight.
Joe Talbot is directing the feature that is inspired by events in Fails’ life.
In a timely tale involving race and gentrification, Last Black Man tells of the story of a man (Fails) and his oddball best friend (Majors) who are living in San Francisco’s last and fast-dwindling Black neighborhood. They hatch a plan to buy back the Victorian home that belonged to the man’s grandfather, searching for belonging even as they feel the city is leaving them behind.
Danny Glover, Tichina Arnold, Rob Morgan, Mike Epps, Finn Wittrock and Thora Birch round out the cast.
Talbot wrote the script along with Rob Richert.
Plan B is producing along with Khaliah Neal, who produced American Paradise, Talbot’s short that co-starred Fails and is described as a “creative precursor” to Last Black Man. Talbot and Neal are San Franciscans and the movie began shooting in the Bay area last week.
IN THIS WEEK’S “See ya leter, BYE” story, The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanksi from its membership ranks.
The decision to remove Cosby and Polanski from the membership was made Tuesday, May 1 at a scheduled board meeting.
The move comes a week after Cosby was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault brought against him by Andrea Constand. Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by as many as 60 women, a few of which testified at the emotional hearing.
Polanski has been on the lam for 40 years, ever since fleeing the country while awaiting sentencing for statutory rape in 1978.
Harvey Weinstein was expelled from the Academy last year after exposés in the New Yorker and New York Times detailed years of sexual harassment allegations against the now-disgraced mogul.
The full AMPAS statement:
“The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors met on Tuesday night (May 1) and has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct. The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity.”
UPDATE: In regards to Polanski’s expulsion, it seemed rather sudden, even though it was kind of a long time coming. In fact, Roman Polanski thought it was sudden, too. In a statement given to The Wrap, Polanski’s attorney Harland Braun said, “We plan to ask the Academy to follow its own rules which is to give Roman 10 days notice to present his side. We were prepared but were blindsided by their violation of their own standards. What did the 56 members review??”
I guess in a way, you could see why he’d be surprised. The Academy awarded Polanski a Best Director Oscar in 2002 for his film The Pianist, which was decades after the filmmaker fled from the US to avoid jail time for the sexual assault. So if you’re going to still give a guy like that an Oscar, why boot him now?
But then, maybe Polanski shouldn’t pull at that thread. Maybe the Academy will decide to take away his Oscar. Maybe just call it a day, Roman?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Back to basics” story, director Guy Ritchie has been exploring his big tent pole chops as of late, with his Sherlock Holmes movies and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. and his yet to release live action Aladdin for Disney.
However, he’s looking ot go back to his gritty, crime movie roots with his next film, Toff Guys.
According to Deadline, Guy Ritchie is lining up Toff Guys to be the next film he directs and judging by their synopsis of the film, it sounds like it could be a return-to-form from the director. The report says that the film “is set at the intersection of ‘Sexy Beast’ and ‘Downton Abbey,’ and follows a very English drug lord attempting to cash out on his highly profitable empire by selling it off to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires.”
Ok, that sounds like an interesting way to combine some of his signature British accents and dialogue with some Oklahoma dialect. I’m curious.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Liam staying with thrillers” story, Liam Neeson will star in Charlie Johnson In The Flames, a thriller that Michael London will produce via his Groundswell Productions and Sierra/Affinity will introduce in Cannes next week.
Tarik Saleh (The Nile Hilton Incident) will direct from Justin Haythe’s adaptation of the Michael Ignatieff novel, and Jawal Nga and Edward Saxon are producing with London.
Charlie Johnson In The Flames centers on a BBC war correspondent in the Congo who becomes embroiled in murder, corruption, and violence after he sets out to investigate the death of an innocent woman. Jawal Nga and Edward Saxon are producing with London.
IN THIS WEEK’S “JJ wants to do a superhero movie” story, A J.J. Abrams-produced superhero movie is on its way. The Star Wars: The Force Awakens director will be re-teaming with Julius Avery, the director of the upcoming Overlord, to produce a new superhero project for Bad Robot and Paramount. The movie will be called The Heavy.
Abrams is producing The Heavy with Avery set to direct the superhero film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The pair last worked together for Avery’s Overlord, a World War II science fiction thriller that made a splash at CinemaCon last week. It seems that Abrams is impressed with Avery’s work, and has tapped him to helm The Heavy in a Bad Robot and Paramount production.
The Heavy is a superhero thriller written by Daniel Casey (The Passage). Details are under a tight lid, but the project is described as a subversive take on the superhero genre, THR reports.
Insiders tell THR that Paramount is eager to get The Heavy into production by this year.
Avery best known for his crime thriller and feature debut, Son of a Gun, which starred Ewan McGregor and Brenton Thwaites. However, his historical horror film Overlord is a highly anticipated genre flick — and apparently not a Cloverfield movie — that /Film’s Peter Sciretta got a glimpse of at CinemaCon:
The footage began with a black and white Bad Robot logo and is set the day before D-Day during World War II. A plane filled with parachuters is somehow ripped in two, sending dozens of them flying and crashing into the ocean. A montage of clips shows soldiers taking down other soldiers. The taglines on screen were “The enemy is hiding” and “Every soldier must face their demons”. One woman is wielding a flamethrower.
The film follows American paratroopers on the eve of D-Day who are dropped behind enemy lines to carry out a crucial mission. But they soon realize that there’s more to the Nazi-occupied village that meets the eye, and the find themselves fighting the outcome of a horrific Nazi experiment.
Ok then. That sounds grisly.But also intriguing, especially now that it’s NOT a Cloverfield film.
It looked very intense and ended with an extremely graphic shot of a woman’s head, still alive with only a spinal column for her body.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Ashley Judd takes Weinstein to the cleaners” story, Ashley Judd filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, accusing Harvey Weinstein of retaliating against her because she refused his sexual advances.
Judd contends that Weinstein smeared her reputation to director Peter Jackson, causing him not to cast her in The Lord of the Rings.
“Mr. Weinstein’s abusive conduct toward others has caused no end of damage to aspiring actors and others in the film and entertainment industry,” Judd said in a statement. “As my experience and the experience of others shows, even a few false statements from Mr. Weinstein could destroy potentially career-changing professional opportunities. It’s time that Mr. Weinstein be held accountable for that conduct and for the ways in which he’s damaged careers.”
Judd is seeking damages for defamation, sexual harassment and violations of California’s unfair business competition law.
Judd first revealed that she had been harassed by an unnamed studio mogul to Variety in 2015. She later identified the mogul as Weinstein to the New York Times. According to Judd, Weinstein invited her to his hotel room and tried to get her to watch him take a shower.
Last winter, Jackson gave an interview in which he said that Miramax had warned him not to hire Mira Sorvino or Ashley Judd for The Lord of the Rings. Weinstein denied playing any role in the casting of the film.
Judd’s attorney, Theodore Boutrous of Gibson Dunn, said that any recovery from the suit would be donated to a charity that benefits women.
I’m really hoping it works out for Ashley Judd.
IN THIS WEEK’S ” De Niro speaks out” story, I love when Robert DeNiro gets pissed and starts talking shit about everything Trump and his gang.
Robert De Niro had choice words for President Trump while speaking at the Chaplin Award Gala honoring Helen Mirren Monday night, where he took the opportunity to point out that Mirren is herself an immigrant. In a short but explosive speech, De Niro had ample praise for comedian Michelle Wolf’s controversial set during the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, and castigated the association for distancing itself from Wolf’s remarks.
“Congratulations, Helen, on being honored with this year’s Chaplin Award. This is what happens when you have weak immigration laws,” he opened to great applause. “Would we be honoring Helen Mirren tonight if that wall had been built? I just feel a little bad for Scott Baio. I had a feeling this was his year.”
De Niro is clearly an admirer of stand-up comedy, because his set killed. “I’m gonna digress for a minute,” he warned the crowd. De Niro then rattled off a list of Trump’s faults, including seeing “very fine people” in Charlottesville, passing a “self-serving” tax plan, “turning his back on Puerto Rico,” and ending DACA. Continuing in this vein, he said:
“And just two days ago trashing a comedian—a comedian—for making uncomfortable jokes at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. There was a lot of truth in Michelle Wolf’s jokes—” he paused, interrupted by applause. “And the bullies and liars are still intimidated by strength and the truth. Where we run into trouble is when we allow the bullies and liars to dictate the conversation. The White House Correspondents’ Association distanced themselves from Michelle Wolf’s performance. Shame on them! Stand up, strap on your balls, and deal!”
De Niro also had choice words for Sean Spicer, who voiced criticism of Wolf’s remarks. “Another jerk, hypocrite,” said the actor.
But it wasn’t all name-calling, at least not the bad kind. De Niro promptly pivoted back to Mirren, calling her “An international mensch and a great broad.” He concluded by adding: “I like living in an America that recognizes the gifts of Charlie Chaplin and honors the extraordinary achievements of Helen Mirren.”
And IN THIS WEEK’S “Oh, look, it’s Johnny Depp again” story, Already facing multi-million-dollar legal battles with his former business managers and former lawyers, Johnny Depp now looks to have to seek protection from two of his ex-bodyguards.
“Terminated” back in 2016 and then rehired in a new employee capacity after several years working for the Murder On The Orient Express actor, Eugene Arreola and Miguel Sanchez today hit Depp with a multi-claim lawsuit over unpaid wages and working conditions. As with the ongoing big bucks dust-ups with The Management Group and the Bloom Firm, this action pulls back the curtain on Depp’s private life and excesses, perhaps damningly.
Oh, right, like we all thought Depp was a ‘regular Joe’ who is completely free of weird behavior. Surely there couldn’t be anything ‘damning’ in his private life?
“In early 2016 Plaintiffs began to notice a stark change in Depp and the atmosphere on his Hollywood Hills compound,” the jury trial-seeking-complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court revealed (read it here).
“Depp began making sudden and drastic changes to his staff and management team, causing a significant financial crunch for everyone surrounding Depp, except for Depp himself,” the paperwork also said. With allegations of “chaos,” a “financial hurricane” and more, this is language very familiar to those who have followed the other lawsuits and their tales of excess and the consequences overlooked.”
Hey, if anyone can call where you live a “compound”, odds are you left ‘normal’ behind long ago.
“Often times Plaintiffs were forced to protect Defendant Depp from himself and his vices while in public,” the duo claim. “An incident at a local nightclub involved Plaintiffs alerting Depp of illegal substances visible on his face and person while preventing onlookers from noticing Depp’s condition,” the failure to pay wages, wrongful termination and unlawful business practices claiming filing added.
“As a result of the toxic and dangerous work environment and the constant labor code violations of their employers, Plaintiffs were forced to leave their employment despite the fact that they enjoyed many of the people they worked with and have no ill will toward Johnny Depp,” the experienced and dedicated bodyguards state.
“After years of happily working for Johnny Depp and his family, my clients found themselves in unsafe and unacceptable situations once Edward White took the reins,” attorney Tamar Arminak told Deadline today of Depp’s business partner, who is also a defendant in the new case. “As a result of White’s control and mismanagement, Depp owes my clients for significant unpaid wages,” the Glendale-based lawyer declared.
Oh, Johnny. You rascal, you.
Thanks for stopping by, and again, May the 4th Be With You!