Oh geez, another week of surprises! Some good, some bad.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Wouldn’t be the same without him” story, Val Kilmer will join Cruise in the long-awaited sequel to Tony Scott’s 1986 action blockbuster, Top Gun, in which Cruise’s aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is now a mentor to a new generation of U.S. Navy fighter pilots.
A rep for Paramount declined to comment on the casting of Kilmer, who has been spotted around the San Diego hotel the studio has been using since production began last week.
Kilmer, who played aviator Tom “Iceman” Kazansky and Cruise’s chief rival in the original film, is repped by CAA and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof and Fishman.
Titled Top Gun: Maverick, the new film is set to hit theaters July 12, 2019. Joseph Kosinski is directing from a script by Eric Warren Singer, Peter Craig and Justin Marks. (Tony Scott had been circling the sequel project before his death in 2012.)
IN THIS WEEK’S “Game of Thrones isn’t the end” story, Game of Thrones prequels are coming, with new of the first now available.
HBO has picked up the pilot for an untitled prequel to Game of Thrones, created and written by Jane Goldman and George R.R. Martin.
The official description, as announced by HBO, is as follows:
Taking place thousands of years before the events of GAME OF THRONES, the series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: from the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s history to the true origin of the white walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend… it’s not the story we think we know.
The official credits for the pilot are: Story by Jane Goldman & George R.R. Martin, Teleplay by Jane Goldman. Goldman, Martin, Vince Gerardis, and Daniel Zelman will executive produce.
Goldman, who will also serve as showrunner for the untitled series, was one of the previously announced writers tasked with developing new stories in the world of Westeros. Her involvement as showrunner also may go a long way towards addressing the franchise’s poor statistics when it comes to hiring women behind the scenes.
The status of the three other prequels is at this point unknown. In January, HBO programming president Casey Bloys said all five potential projects are all still in the works, but that it wasn’t a bakeoff. “They’re all on different schedules,” he stated. “They didn’t start at the same startlines, so we’re at different stages, but I’m very encouraged by what we’ve seen. I don’t have a timetable when we’re going to make decisions on anything. I could make between zero and five. Probably more likely around one.”
Ok, so they are in for the long haul. Clearly we could be looking at years of potential Thrones shows, for better or worse. Hope we don’t get Walking Dead burnout here, too.
IN THIS WEEK’s “More casting news” story, Damian Lewis and Dakota Fanning lead the next wave of cast additions announced Wednesday for Quentin Tarantino’s next film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, playing famed Hollywood star Steve McQueen and Manson Family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme.
Other cast additions added by Sony include Luke Perry as Scotty Lancer, Emile Hirsch as Jay Sebring, and Nicholas Hammond as Sam Wanamaker. Clifton Collins and Keith Jefferson have also been added to the cast.
And now they have added James Marsden to the cast as well.
That cast is pretty great.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Fight fire with criminals” story, Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment, and Automatik have teamed with Good Films to option Firefighters, based on Jaime Lowe’s New York Times Magazine article The Incarcerated Women Who Fight California’s Wildfires. Script will be written by Carly Wray, the Westworld and Mad Men writer/producer who recently was tapped to write one of HBO’s Game of Thrones spinoffs. Good Films will finance. The parties took the article off the table in competitive bidding.
Film is based on the true story of a dozen female prisoners as they move from county jail to life in a Malibu fire camp. With only three weeks of training, the diverse crew must bind together not only to fight devastating blazes, but also their own personal demons and a system that seeks to keep them invisible. It is a task they signed up for, and get paid $2 an hour to risk their lives.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Here’s a biopic I want to see” story, With his hip hop drama Empire already renewed for a fifth season, Lee Daniels is setting his sights on a real-world musical icon for his next feature film.
Sources tell Variety that Daniels is in talks to direct the Billie Holiday biopic Billie. Sources also add that R&B singer Andra Day is the top choice for the title role and Lakeith Stanfield for the male role, though nothing is yet finalized for either thesp.
Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum are producing, with Pulitzer-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks penning the script which is using Chasing the Scream: The First & Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari as the source material. Mark Bomback had been developing this project with Roth and Kirschenbaum since its inception and is an executive producer on it. He had helped guide the development process with Daniels and Parks.
Holiday, also known as “Lady Day,” was a legendary jazz singer whose career spanned three decades before her passing in 1959. Her iconic performing style has influenced and inspired artists and jazz musicians for years to come.
Hollywood has already shown its appreciation for Holiday with a 1972 biopic starring Diana Ross, followed by a 1986 Broadway play, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.
The film is still looking for a studio and it is unknown when production would get under way, but with deals firming, the hope is for shooting to start before the end of the year.
IN THIS WEEK’s “Back in Black, story, With Sony’s Men in Black reboot moving full steam ahead in advance of its May 2019 release date, That Hashtag Show is reporting that Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, The Big Sick) is in final talks to join the project as a wisecracking alien character.
F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton, The Fate of the Furious) is directing the new Men in Black, which will reunite Thor: Ragnarok co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, while Liam Neeson is also on board to play the head of the UK branch of the MiB organisation.
The as-yet-untitled movie will see Thompson as a fresh recruit to the Men in Black organisation, who finds herself paired up with Hemsworth’s veteran agent on a worldwide mystery.
Neither Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones are expected to feature, although it will “acknowledge” the world of the first three movies.
IN THIS WEEK’s “A secret (not so secret) affair” story, JJ Abrams and Zachary Quinto are producing a movie for Paramount about the secret love affair between Tab Hunter and Anthony Perkins.
The project, titled Tab & Tony, is in early development without actors or a director attached. Playwright Doug Wright, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play I am My Own Wife, has been hired to write the screenplay.
Producers are Abrams through his Bad Robot company, his Star Trek collaborator Quinto, Hunter’s longtime partner Allan Glaser, and Neil Koenigsberg.
The movie is based on Hunter’s account of his struggle to come to terms with being gay in the 1950s. Hunter wrote the 2005 book Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, which became a New York Times bestseller and detailed his rise to Hollywood heartthrob status in the 1950s while he was being marketed as the ideal man, as well as his issues with revealing his sexuality over the course of his career.
Tab Hunter Confidential was the basis for a 2015 documentary of the same name directed by Jeffrey Schwarz and produced by Glaser, Koenigsberg, and Schwartz.
Perkins died of AIDS-related causes in 1992. He was nominated for the Academy Award for best supporting actor for Friendly Persuasion and is best known for playing Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and its three sequels. He also starred in Fear Strikes Out, On the Beach, Murder on the Orient Express, Catch-22, and The Matchmaker.
Hunter will turn 87 next month. He starred in 40 movies including Battle Cry, Damn Yankees, Sea Chase, and The Burning HIlls.
Whoa, Tab Hunter is still alive. I did not know that.
IN THIS WEEK’S “They’re creepy and they’re kooky” story, It’s been in the works for a while but MGM has officially announced the voice cast for their The Addams Family animated feature and we’ll be hearing the kooky family brought to life by Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Bette Midler and Allison Janney. Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon will co-direct based on a script by Matt Lieberman. Additionally, the release date has been set for October 11, 2019.
Vernon explains, “Greg and I have always been a fan of the Addams Family in past versions, so when we set out to make this movie, we were excited to do something new. With that in mind, I drew from the brilliantly original Charles Addams New Yorker cartoons for the look of the film and decided to tell the story of how Gomez and Morticia meet, find their house and start their family. This unique approach is what drew me in to direct the film. The reimagining also extends to the stellar cast we’ve put together who will each bring their own spin to our film that will appeal to longtime fans of the Addams and introduce them to a new generation.”
The official synopsis:
“Based on the famous New Yorker creations of Charles Addams, this animated action-comedy will follow the Addams family whose lives begin to unravel when they face-off against a crafty reality-TV host while also preparing for their extended family to arrive for a major celebration, Addams-style.”
I’m just happy to have a new Addams Family movie.
IN THIS WEEK’s “The Goldblum Factor” story, actor Jeff Goldblum has joined the cast of The Price of Admission.
It’s an upcoming dramatic comedy that already stars Michelle Monaghan (SOURCE CODE) and Michael Sheen (TRON: LEGACY). The film will be directed and written by Peter Glanz (THE LONGEST WEEK) and will center on a middling playwright (Sheen) dealing with a midlife crisis and failing marriage to a wife (Monaghan) that is tired of being second fiddle to his work. The only person who understands his plight is his best friend, Alexander Taft (Goldblum), a behavioral psychologist with a midlife crisis of his own. Incapable of functioning in reality, Harold submerges himself in an elaborate play about his life.
In addition to directing and penning the feature, Glanz will also produce alongside Neda Armian of Armian Pictures and Alex Foster.
Goldblum, who recently returned to his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm for JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, and stars as The Wolf King in director Drew Pearce’s HOTEL ARTEMIS, is a hip get for Glanz’s film, which as of the moment has no scheduled release date. Stay tuned for more news about the film as it develops.
IN THIS WEEK’s “More Kingsman, and a reboot of WHAT?” story, In an interview with Empire magazine, the British director and producer revealed that, alongside the already planned third Kingsman film (which he described as “the conclusion of the Harry Hart-Eggsy relationship”) he was planning a spinoff entitled Kingsman: The Great Game, which would look at the spy organization at the turn of the 20th century.
The third Kingsman and The Great Game will reportedly shoot back-to-back.
Vaughn also said an eight-hour Kingsman TV show was in the works, alongside a film focusing on the U.S.-based Statesmen that were introduced in last year’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle and featured the likes of Channing Tatum, Halle Berry and Jeff Bridges.
Away from Kingsman, Vaughn said “we’re going to reboot Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl,” the characters played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz in the first two Kick-Ass films and based on Mark Millar’s comic book creations. According to the interview, a solo Hit-Girl film was in discussion, while he hinted that Patience Lee, a new Kick-Ass introduced by Millar last year, could also be in the frame.
“Look what Mark Millar is doing with the comic for clues,” he said.
Re-booting Kick-Ass is befuddling.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Daniel Craig vs…?” story, as news of Bond 25 has solidified and Daniel Craig is onboard, casting is starting to get finalized. and now the powers that be are looking at the villain for the film.
While nothing has been confirmed yet, Helena Bonham Carter is said to be the front runner for the villain role, although many others think that Angelina Jolie is the top choice. Here’s what an unidentified insider had to say about the potential casting.
“Everyone thinks Angelina Jolie is going to get the part but bosses want Helena more. At the moment they are just finalizing the cast.”
I can see either of them being a cool Bond villain, actually. But maybe Angelina is a little TOO obvious? I’m going to lean a little toward Helena Bonham Carter.
IN THIS WEEK’S “No laughing matter” story, turns out a Jared Leto Joker movie IS happening after all.
Sources tell Variety that Leto is set to star and exec produce an untitled standalone film, paving the way for future movies branching from Suicide Squad.
Plot details are currently unknown, but the studio’s idea is to expand on the world created by Suicide Squad and tie into future installments of that property. Warner Bros. already announced that Margot Robbie’s version of Harley Quinn would be getting her own movie with a Birds of Prey feature, and the next goal was setting up a film for Leto’s Joker.
When Warner Bros. announced last fall that it was developing a Joker origin tale from Todd Phillips, the studio emphasized that this did not mean the end for Leto’s Joker. Rather, Phillips’ film would fall under a new origins banner that would be separate from the current cinematic DC universe. This new banner would allow multiple actors and versions based on the same character with no overlap, and WB has already tapped Joaquin Phoenix to star in Phillips’ Joker pic.
Who cares about continuity and consistency? Apparently not Warner Bros.
Leto’s Joker, as fans noted, was almost a glorified cameo in Suicide Squad. The Oscar-winner had made it clear following the film’s release that he hoped to expand on the character in future films in a more substantive, if not starring, role.
It’s currently unknown when this film would go into production, as Leto and the studio will now search for a writer. It’s also unclear if this film would shoot before or after the previously announced sequel to “Suicide Squad,” which is believed to go into production sometime in 2019.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Tell us how you really feel, Terry” story, filmmaker and cranky man, Terry Gilliam, does not care for superhero movies. Oh, you need proof? Ok.
During an interview with CineNando (via IndieWire), Gilliam was asked how his new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote fits into a modern movie landscape that seems to be populated with nothing but comic book movies. To which Gilliam replied:
“I hate superheroes. It’s bullshit. Come on, grow up! We’re not going to be teenagers for the rest of our lives. It’s great to dream of great powers. Superheroes are all about power.
That’s what I don’t like about superheroes. They’ve gotta beat the other powerful superheroes. Come on, a bit of peace, love, and understanding is what we need.”
Ok, so Terry Gilliam will never make a superhero movie. And that’s fine. He makes his own kinds of films that no one else can make. I’m good with that.
And IN THIS WEEK’S “Facepalm” story, Woody Allen says he’s a big supporter of the #MeToo movement.
Speaking to Argentinian news program, “Periodismo Para Todos” (via Quartz), the famous director opened up about the recent #MeToo movement and why his record on set should make him one of the celebrated filmmakers, and not blacklisted like Harvey Weinstein.
In the interview, he said:
“I’m a big advocate of the #MeToo movement. I feel when they find people who harass innocent women and men, it’s a good thing that they’re exposing them. But you know, I should be the poster boy for the #MeToo movement. Because I have worked in movies for 50 years. I’ve worked with hundreds of actresses and not a single one — big ones, famous ones, ones starting out — have ever ever suggested any kind of impropriety at all. I’ve always had a wonderful record with them.”
The reason Allen is asked about the #MeToo movement is his history of alleged inappropriate sexual conduct. The filmmaker is accused by adopted daughter Dylan Farrow of sexual abuse when she was a child. Allen has consistently denied the allegations, as Dylan Farrow has continued to speak out about the alleged incidents. Farrow’s accusations were part of a legal battle between Allen and ex-wife Mia Farrow. The filmmaker was never charged.
“I think in any situation where anyone is accused of something unjustly, this is a sad thing. I think everybody would agree with that… Everyone wants justice to be done. If there is something like the #MeToo movement now, you root for them, you want them to bring to justice these terrible harassers, these people who do all these terrible things. And I think that’s a good thing,” Allen said.
“What bothers me is that I get linked in with them. People who have been accused by 20 women, 50 women, 100 women of abuse and abuse and abuse– and I, who was only accused by one woman in a child custody case which was looked at and proven to be untrue, I get lumped in with these people,” he continued.
Numerous actors that ahve worked with Allen have since said they would not do so again.
It has indeed frustrated Allen that these allegations have resurfaced. In the interview he said, “…I mean this is just so crazy. This is something that has been thoroughly looked at 25 years ago by all the authorities and everybody came to the conclusion that it was untrue. And that was the end and I’ve gone on with my life. For it to come back now, it’s a terrible thing to accuse a person of. I’m a man with a family and my own children. So of course it’s upsetting.”
How many people are really angry right now? Boo hoo, Woody Allen, boo hoo.
Ok, see everybody next time with more newsy stuff!