Oh look, more stuff happened!
IN THIS WEEK’S “So long, Easy Rider…” story, Peter Fonda, a two-time Oscar nominee best known for his work in the groundbreaking Easy Rider, which he co-wrote, produced and co-starred in, has died.
The son of Hollywood legend Henry Fonda, brother of actress Jane Fonda, and father of actress Bridget Fonda, his death was confirmed by his publicist.
“It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away. Fonda, 79 years old, passed away peacefully on Friday morning, August 16th at 11:05am at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by family. The official cause of death was respiratory failure due to lung cancer.
Fonda’s death comes just past the 50th anniversary of the release of Easy Rider, which debuted on July 14. The film will be celebrated with a screening and concert set for Sept. 20 at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. The film, which starred Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson, will be shown in sync with a live performance of its soundtrack. Expected to appear are Steppenwolf’s John Kay, who will perform Born To Be Wild, and Roger McGuinn, Others will appear under the music direction of T-Bone Burnett.
Ride easy, Peter, ride easy. RIP.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Roughing it” story, James Wan’s Atomic Monster production company has picked up the rights to Nick Cutter’s YA novel The Troop. Novel follows a group of teens on a remote camping trip who must fend for themselves when their adult chaperone falls prey to an aggressive otherworldly infection.
Cheap Thrills director E.L. Katz has been set to helm with Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald adapting Cutter’s book. Wan will produce via Atomic Monster alongside JS Entertainment and Starlight Media. Michael Clear will also serve as Producer with Judson Scott overseeing for the company.
Next up for Atomic Monster is The Conjuring 3, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, which is set for release on Sept. 11, 2020. The company is in pre-production with Mortal Kombat, set for release on March 5, 2021; There’s Someone Inside Your House for Netflix; and the Untitled Atomic Monster Project to be directed by James Wan. Wan’s production of Annabelle Comes Home this past summer, directed by Gary Dauberman, has grossed over $217M off an estimated $30M budget.
And as long as they get box office numbers like this they’ll keep making these Conjuring movies.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Disney makes money, Disney makes sequel” story, Disney made, like, a billion dollars, so of course they’re talking about a sequel to Guy Ritchie‘s live-action Aladdin.
This astronomical number easily marks Aladdin as the second highest-grossing live-action remake in Disney’s catalog, with Bill Condon‘s Beauty and the Beast taking the top spot and Jon Favreau‘s The Lion King taking no spots because that’s an animated movie.
So it’s no surprise, really, that a sequel may be on the horizon. Nothing is officially in the works, but producer Dan Lin told CBR that the house of mouse is “exploring” that route:
“We certainly, when we first made the movie, wanted to just make the best movie we could and let audiences tell us if they wanted to see more. And I would say resoundingly audiences want to see more. They’ve watched this movie multiple times. We have lots of fan letters about people who really go back and they bring their friends and bring their family. And so we feel like there’s more story to tell. We are going to treat it the same way we treat the original Aladdin movie and not going to do a shot by shot remake of anything that’s been done before. We’re really looking at what’s been done before in the past and the home video, and there’s just more story to tell with the underlying materials. So without giving away too much, we are certainly exploring where we can go with this franchise.”
IN THIS WEEK’S “Exile, indeed” story, Robert De Niro and Shia LaBeouf will portray a father and son in the upcoming independent crime drama After Exile.
LaBeouf will play an ex-con who, after being released from prison for killing an innocent man after a violent robbery, must re-enter his old life with his father (De Niro) in order to save his younger brother from a life of drugs and crime. De Niro will play another ex-con suffering from alcoholism and guilt.
Joshua Michael Stern, whose credits include the Steve Jobs biopic “Jobs” and the Epix series Graves, will handle directing duties. Anthony Thorne and Michael Tovo are writing the script. Filming will start in Philadelphia in October.
IN THIS WEEK’S “A Quiet Place 2 addition” story, Djimon Hounsou has joined the cast of A Quiet Place 2 following the exit of Brian Tyree Henry over scheduling conflicts, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.
In June, TheWrap exclusively reported that Henry was in negotiations to join Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe in the sequel for which John Krasinski is also writing the script. Plot details are being kept under wraps.
Henry is currently currently juggling projects: he is filming the Untitled Lila Neugebauer Project alongside Jennifer Lawrence and is in post-production for The Woman in the Window and The Outside Story. He was recently cast in Marvel’s The Eternals, which is set to start production this fall. He will also star in Atlanta next season but that will only start filming next spring.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Things we saved in the fire” story, Netflix has won the rights to the science-fiction story Pyros, with Reese Witherspoon attached to produce and star.
Dark Phoenix director Simon Kimberg will also produce Pyros through his Genre Films company along with Audrey Chon. Witherspoon is producing through her Hello Sunshine company with Lauren Neustadter.
Pyros will be adapted by Thomas Pierce from his short story Tardy Man, first published last year in the New Yorker and centered on people who are fitted with indestructible fire suits fused to their spines. They are employed by a corporation that recovers objects for wealthy people when their houses are burning — but are only allowed to help people who have policies with the corporation.
Well, that’s a crazy idea. But I might check it out.
IN THIS WEEK’S “No Styles for Disney” story, Well, it turns out that Harry Styles won’t be going “under the sea” after all, as he has turned down the role of Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, Collider has confirmed.
Last month, Collider and the Hollywood Reporter simultaneously broke the news that Styles was “in early talks” to tackle the role after missing out on the plum part of young Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann‘s upcoming Warner Bros. movie co-starring Tom Hanks. Styles took a couple weeks to think it over, but ultimately, he was unable to reach a deal, and politely passed on the Disney project.
Halle Bailey, the young singer who represents half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, remains set to star as Ariel, the rebellious mermaid daughter of King Triton who longs to live on dry land. Oscar winner Javier Bardem is in talks to play King Triton, while Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play the villainous Ursula.
Elsewhere, Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina are nearing deals to play Ariel’s friends, Flounder and Scuttle, respectively. Another key role that has yet to be cast is Sebastian the crab, though Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is believed to be the frontrunner for the part, seeing as he’s producing the movie and already writing new songs with Alan Menken, the Oscar-winning composer behind the original 1989 animated film.
Rob Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns) is directing The Little Mermaid remake as well as producing alongside Marc Platt, John DeLuca and Miranda, and production is expected to start early next year.
IN THIS WEEK’S “More actors coming to America” story, The cast of the comedy sequel Coming 2 America has brought back a lot of key players from the original Paramount Pictures hit from 1988. Plus, plenty of new faces have been added to the roster of talent alongside returning stars Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. But one key member from the original film had not yet return, and thankfully, that has changed.
Shari Headley, who played Prince Akeem’s love interest Lisa McDowell, is officially part of the Coming 2 America cast. However, based on the details we know about the film’s plot, we’re wondering what her overall role in the movie will be.
As we recently heard, Coming 2 America finds Akeem (Eddie Murphy) heading back to Queens, New York to connect with a son that he never knew he had and fulfill his father’s dying wish of lining up the next heir to the throne of Zamunda.
IN THIS WEEK’S “CBS and Viacom, together again” story, CBS and Viacom have entered into a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger, creating a combined company with more than $28 billion in revenue. The new entity, known as ViacomCBS Inc., will be led by Bob Bakish as President and CEO, with Joe Ianniello serving as Chairman and CEO, CBS. And it’s just the latest bit of boardroom drama that’s swirled around these corporate entities for at least the last 20 years.
Variety has a great breakdown on the timeline of the events leading up to this merger, stretching all the way back to 1999. A rosier report on the state of the companies, one that doesn’t delve into the various lawsuits or personal and professional failings, was sent out via press release. Which ever point of view you take, the result is this: ViacomCBS Inc. is now a stronger power player that combines the company’s #1 ratings across all key TV demographics and strong performances across all genres with direct-to-consumer offerings (through subscriptions and ad-supported platforms), as well as feature film production through Paramount Pictures. This is all sure to bring ViacomCBS Inc. into the conversation with Netflix, Disney+, and WarnerMedia as the streaming wars continue to heat up.
AND, Star Trek fans can rejoice in a way, now that Paramount and CBS are under the same roof, no more squabbling over who gets the rights to what. They can start making Star Trek films without CBS getting all whiney.
They just have to appease the actors. 🙂
IN THIS WEEK’S “Job problems…” story, Hot off her acclaimed turn in The Farewell, rising star Awkwafina has signed on to play the title role in Legendary Pictures’ fantasy film The Last Adventure of Constance Verity, based on the book of the same name by A. Lee Martinez.
Jon Shestack (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) is producing, and he has tapped John Raffo (The Relic) to write the script. Legendary’s Jon Silk and Jay Ashenfelter will oversee the project for the company.
Martinez’s novel follows Constance Verity, who for mysterious reasons, was thrust into a battle with the supernatural from the moment she was born, and has been saving the world from disaster ever since. She’s exhausted and wants to sample what she has missed out on — a boyfriend, a normal job, best friends. But it’s not easy to walk away from a life of adventure when you’re the chosen one.
No director on board yet, so we’ll have to see.
Awkwafina has been on a roll since her breakout turns in Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s Eight, lining up roles in Marvel’s Shang-Chi, Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid (she’ll voice Scuttle the seagull), Sony’s Jumanji sequel and Ryan Murphy‘s Netflix musical The Prom, which will see her co-star alongside Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman. By then, Awkwafina could be an Oscar winner herself, based on the rapturous response to The Farewell, which is expected to receive a major awards push from A24. She’s represented by UTA and Artists First.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Fleabag punches up Bond” story, Though it was only on the air for two seasons, Fleabag is one of the very best TV series in recent memory. And that’s thanks, in no small part, to writer-creator-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Her success with two short batches of Fleabag episodes has now made the filmmaker one of the most sought-after talents in Hollywood. And it would appear that she already has her follow-up figured out.
But before she gets to her next big project, Waller-Bridge has made a quick detour into the realm of blockbuster filmmaking, being hired to “punch-up” the script for the upcoming Bond 25, the final film in the run of star Daniel Craig. And in a new interview with THR, it’s revealed that her brief work on the feature has landed her a reported $2 million. But don’t take that dollar amount as proof that ‘Bond’ is now a Waller-Bridge production, as she is quick to point out that the film is still director Cary Fukunaga’s baby.
“A lot has been made of me coming on board because I’m a woman, and that’s wonderful. But also I can’t take credit for the movie that was written. It’s Cary’s movie,” said Waller-Bridge.
So what’s next for her? Apparently, according to Waller-Bridge, she’s going to move into the world of feature film, with a project she is writing, with an eye to direct and possibly star in.
“The day I wrapped ‘Fleabag,’ I went to bed thinking, ‘I’m never going to have another idea again. Oh shit.’ I woke up with the vision of this film,” she said.
According to the interview, there are three must-have requirements for this new project. The first being that she won’t look for distribution until the film is finished. Second, she wants a “meaningful” theatrical run, which eliminates those streaming services with the fat wallets. And third, though she’s flexible on this one, Waller-Bridge says she doesn’t want to star in the film.
Regarding that last bit, she said, “I blatantly will end up in it.”
No word on when she’ll begin work on the film, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for it.
IN THIS WEEK’S “G.I. Henry,” story, “Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding is in early talks to star in Paramount, Skydance and AllSpark’s G.I. Joe spinoff, Snake Eyes, sources tell Variety.
The Captain director Robert Schwentke is helming and Brian Goldner is producing. Evan Spiliotopoulos, who wrote “Beauty and the Beast” and The Huntsman: Winter’s War, penned the script.
Snake Eyes is a silent ninja commando who dresses in all black, never reveals his face and doesn’t speak. He stands out among the military anti-terrorist group and quickly establishes himself as the group’s most popular member. He also has a special relationship with Scarlett, the team’s one-time only female member, and sometimes carries out solo missions with his pet wolf, Timber. His archenemy is Storm Shadow, a ninja who is also his blood brother.
Soooo, your main title character doesn’t speak and never reveals his face? Okie dokie. Looking for an ego-free actor. Anybody? Hello?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Got your hook right HERE!” story, Jordan Peele’s Candyman sequel has officially descended upon Chicago.
Principal photography has begun on the “spiritual sequel” to the original 1992 horror film that starred Tony Todd as the title ghoul. The 2020 reimagining was written by Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld—the duo’s Monkeypaw Productions is also producing alongside Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures—with up-and-coming director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods) helming the project.
The film stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Us), Teyonah Parris (If Beale Street Could Talk), Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits) and Colman Domingo (Euphoria) alongside a cast of local Chicago talent. There were rumblings when Abdul-Mateen II was cast that the Aquaman actor would be taking over the Tony Todd role, but DaCosta shut those rumors down. “I can’t say what’s happening in the film because we want it to be a surprise, but he’s not replacing Tony Todd,” the director said in March. “That’s been reported, and I was just like, ‘I don’t know what to say about this. This is not right.’”
As for what is actually happening in the film, the plot’s been kept tightly under wraps. We know that the story will return to Cabrini-Green housing projects of the original film, which have largely been gentrified in the years since. When Collider spoke to Rosenfeld, the filmmaker also hoped to capture the tone of both the original film and the short story it’s based on, Clive Barker‘s The Forbidden.
“I’ve spoken to Clive, a couple of times, and there is not a sweeter person on the planet. I admire him so much, as does Jordan. The original short story is amazing, and the original movie is one of those things that’s left an indelible mark on Jordan and myself and I think people are going to hopefully respond to that movie, in the same way that we did, with the original. The tone that Clive managed to make – an urban monster, ghost film, romance – and really pushed the boundaries of commercial filmmaking and high art, was no easy task. So, again, we find ourselves confronted with a very high bar.”
Well, good luck.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Some interesting series news” story, The planned adaption of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast book series has found a home at Showtime.
The premium cabler has given the project a script-to-series order and will co-produce along with Fremantle, with a writers room set to be opened soon. Fremantle announced last year that they were developing a series based on the books.
The books center on the inhabitants of the city-sized castle Gormenghast. Its denizens are only vaguely aware of how or why the castle came to be, but over the course of the series the powers that have held the castle in place are challenged and the ensuing disruptions reveal its fantastical secrets.
Toby Whithouse will serve as executive producer and showrunner. Neil Gaiman, Akiva Goldsman, Dante Di Loreto, Oliver Jones, Barry Spikings, and David Stern will also executive produce.
The highly-celebrated book series was originally comprised of the three novels Titus Groan, Gormenghast, and Titus Alone, with the first installment being published in 1946. Peake was working on a fourth novel, Titus Awakes, at the time of his death in 1968. That book was eventually finished by Peake’s widow and released in 2009. Peake also wrote the novella Boy in Darkness, which tells the story of a young Titus Groan.
The BBC had previously adapted the first two books into a four-episode miniseries starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Christopher Lee in 2000.
Gaiman also currently has the series adaptation of his novel American Gods at Starz, with that show — also produced by Fremantle — preparing to go into its third season. He most recently served as the showrunner on the Amazon limited series adaptation of his and Terry Pratchett’s novel Good Omens. Netflix is currently preparing the fifth and final season of Lucifer, based on the DC Comics character created by Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg. Gaiman is also set to write and executive produce a Netflix adaptation of his Sandman comics series.
My takeaway here is that Neil Gaiman is writing/EPing his Sandman series for Netflix. YAY!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Rumor spotlight” story, there’s talk of Pierce Brosnan playing alfred Pennyworth in Matt Reeves The Batman.
According to We Got This Coverd: Before we proceed any further, we’d like to remind you that this bit of information is being regarded as a rumor for the time being. But in case you’re wondering why we’re giving credence to a cryptic teaser dropped on Instagram, it’s because this comes by way of the same guy who originally said Pattinson was up for the part of Batman.
Earlier today, filmmaker Ryan Unicomb posted a picture of Pierce Brosnan accompanied by the caption “Pierce has entered the chat party.” What’s also worth mentioning is that two emojis – one being an old man wearing glasses, with the other a bat – followed that. Additionally, one follower mentioned Alfred by name, and Unicomb “liked” the comment.
Granted, this doesn’t necessarily mean Brosnan will wind up being cast, but it’s probably not insane to assume he’s up for the role. If he does land the gig, he’ll succeed a line of fine actors such as Michael Gough, Michael Caine and Jeremy Irons.
Hopefully we learn something concrete before long. So far, we’ve heard that Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Firefly, Two-Face and Mad Hatter will also join the party. Plus, you’d figure a stalwart like Commissioner Gordon would be a lock for any telling of the tale.
The Batman arrives in theaters on June 25th, 2021.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Sherlock and Watson?” story, it’s the big question: Will there be a season 5 of Sherlock?
Back in 2014, creator Steven Moffat revealed that he and co-showrunner Mark Gatiss had plotted out the story beats of Season 4 and Season 5 at the same time, but after Season 4 had been made, everyone involved sounded a bit less enthused about actually producing a fifth season.
So what’s the latest update on Sherlock Season 5? Collider’s own Christina Radish recently spoke with Martin Freeman for his upcoming film Ode to Joy, and during their conversation she asked the actor about the likelihood of more Sherlock. Freeman noted that not only are he, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Moffat and Gatiss super busy, but they don’t want to run the risk of ruining the show’s legacy by producing a subpar season:
“They’re few and far between, the discussions about Sherlock, just because Mark [Gatiss] and Steven [Moffat], the writers, and Benedict [Cumberbatch] and I, are all lucky enough to be not only working on stuff that we like and are interested in, but we know what Sherlock is. You don’t look that gift horse in the mouth ‘cause that sort of stuff doesn’t happen very often, in someone’s life. It’s a huge, huge, worldwide hit, and way beyond anything we could’ve imagined.”
Freeman said the way Season 4 ends offered up the opportunity for a significant pause between seasons:
“The way the story went, in the last series, felt like, if not a full stop, then certainly a semi-colon or an ellipses. It felt like a pause. It didn’t feel like something where we could just pop up the next year and go, ‘Hey, folks, we’re back.’ It felt a bit more momentous than that. Not final, necessarily, but the truth is that I don’t know because me and Ben don’t write it. I’m a huge believer in stopping doing something when you want to. If you’ve said what you want to say, get off the stage, and really have the guts to leave it. I don’t know if it’s more they want to say.”
The actor doesn’t sound opposed to Sherlock Season 5, but does note that he’d only want to return if they could make something truly great:
“If it’s something really special, and if it’s something really meaty and interesting, then I think we’d all be open to that. Sherlock always sounds a bit like an event, anyway. We did three episodes [each season]. Albeit they were long episodes. They were 90-minute episodes, but they were quite few and far between, by television standards. Normally, you’re looking at 10 or eight episodes. We did relatively few, even though there was a lot of material. It always felt like an event, so if we do more, it has to be worthy of that. We couldn’t come back with something that was quite good. It would have to feel really, really special. It was that kind of show.”
As Freeman says, all involved are incredibly busy. He’s got a number of projects lined up, Cumberbatch is due to make a Doctor Strange sequel next year, and Moffat and Gatiss are about to launch a brand new Dracula-centric series.
So, no guarantees on a season 5 of Sherlock, but it’s not impossible, either.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Superhero story with a twist” story, Just when you thought the superhero genre had been done to death, Kevin Hart and his HartBeat Productions are coming through with a film that will supposedly bring a “new twist” to superhero movies. HartBeat Productions is teaming up with STX Entertainment to develop Night Wolf, a superhero comedy in the style of Meet the Parents.
STXfilms, a division of STX Entertainment, has acquired Night Wolf as a pitch from Detective Pikachu screenwriters Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit. Kevin Hart and his HartBeat Productions are attached to develop the project as a “high concept comic twist on the superhero genre,” according to STXfilms chair Adam Fogelson.
“I am excited to be working with our friends at STX again,” Hart added. “They brought us a great project with Night Wolf. I instantly fell in love with this pitch about an everyday guy who is meeting his in-laws for the first time and unwittingly discovers his dad to be is secretly a superhero.”
STX describes Night Wolf as a “Meet the Parents-esque encounter where a man (Hart) meets his future father-in-law for the first time, only to discover he is secretly the superhero known as the Night Wolf.”
Aaand, IN THIS WEEK’S “Falling through the cracks…on purpose” story, After grossing around $65 million at the U.S. box office, Dark Phoenix is bound to go down as one of the biggest flops of 2019. Not only did Dark Phoenix fail to outgross, in its entire run, the opening weekends of seven previous X-Men movies, but the movie’s performance was such a disappointment that Disney CEO Bob Iger credited it as the primary reason the studio lost $170 million in the second quarter of the year. A new report from Variety reveals the box office flops of “Dark Phoenix” and other Fox films (Stuber, The Art of Racing in the Rain, etc.) acquired by Disney after the $71.3 billion merger has caused Disney to completely retool the upcoming Fox slate.
One of the most revealing tidbits comes from rival studio executives, who told Variety that Disney cut at least $50 million worth from Fox marketing and development. While Dark Phoenix did not get support from critics (IndieWire’s senior film critic David Ehlrich wrote the film has no reason to exist in a D review), insiders tell Variety that Disney did not internally support the movie either.
As Variety reports: “Disney largely ignored Dark Phoenix after it acquired 20th Century in March, according to sources. The marketing team familiar with the film was laid off, and Disney did not spend as aggressively to promote the release. One insider says that the film’s lone premiere in Los Angeles was done with an eye to controlling costs — a bit of economizing that annoyed the film’s creative team.”
Hey, man, if you want your movie to fail, just stop promoting it. That should go a long way toward that goal.
Ok, I’m out! See ya next time!