More news! It’s as if time is linear here or something.
IN THIS WEEK’S “See ya, Supes” story, Word on the street is that Henry Cavill will no longer play Superman.
Henry Cavill, who has played Superman in three films, is parting ways with Warner Bros., sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. Though neither side is confirming, the British actor, who first donned the blue suit for 2013’s Man of Steel, and then starred in 2016’s Batman v. Superman and last year’s Justice League, is said to be hanging up the red cape.
Warners had been trying to enlist Cavill, who most recently co-starred in Mission: Impossible — Fallout, for a Superman cameo in Shazam!, which stars Zachary Levi and will bow April 5. But contract talks between Cavill’s WME reps and Warners broke down, and the door is now closing on other potential Superman appearances.
That’s because the studio has shifted its focus to a Supergirl movie, which will be an origin story featuring a teen superheroine. This effectively removes an actor of Cavill’s age from the storyline’s equation given that Superman, aka Kal-El, would be an infant, according to DC lore.
Furthermore, Warners isn’t likely to make a solo Superman film for at least several years, according to another source. “Superman is like James Bond, and after a certain run you have to look at new actors,” says a studio source. As such, Cavill will join Ben Affleck, who isn’t expected to reprise his role for director Matt Reeves’ forthcoming Batman stand-alone film, as a hero on the way out.
A Warners source says the Shazam! deal fell apart because of scheduling conflicts. And that is backed up by the fact that Cavill recently signed on to star in the Netflix series The Witcher. However, another source says that the Witcher commitment came after the Warners impasse, suggesting a change in Warners’ strategy.
“There’s a recognition that some parts of the previous movies didn’t work,” says the studio insider. Another source says Warners is trying to hit a “reset” button with the DC universe, steering its ship slowly into another direction.
Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara and chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group Toby Emmerich are looking to reinvigorate the studio’s DC Universe, which is still playing second fiddle to the Marvel Universe in terms of box office and critical acclaim.
When asked about the studio Sept. 6 at an investor conference, new WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said, “Hats off to Kevin and Toby and their team.” But he also took a shot at DC. “Some of our franchises, in particular at DC, we all think we can do better.”
Ya think? Ok, well, this is interesting news, indeed.
AN INTERSTING DEVELOPMENT: While it’s not set in stone, as the Ben Affleck out as Batman is still not official, it looks like Warner Bros. and DC Films is going in a different direction after their first phase of DCEU films failed to catch on.
Well, get ready for this.
According to a new report from Deadline, while there are no plans to recast Cavill’s Superman as of now, in the future WB would be most likely to go in a different direction with its Superman. And by that we mean, Michael B. Jordan. Yes, the report says that Jordan’s name has been bandied about as a possible Superman…down the line.
The actor is probably best known, lately at least, for his incredible role as the villain Erik Killmonger in the Black Panther film.
Though nothing will likely come of Jordan being Superman anytime soon, since Warner’s is so keen on a Supergirl film right now. But in a few years, it could happen.
Now THAT’s shaking things up a bit.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Following a report that Henry Cavill is done with his role as Superman in the DC Extended Universe, the actor’s manager, Dany Garcia, has taken to Twitter to promise that “the cape is still in his closet.” The news of Cavill apparently parting ways with Warner Bros. broke earlier today, with a failure to resolve contract negotiations pinpointed as the reason for his departure.
Cavill originally signed up to play Superman in four movies, and has so far starred in three, so a contract extension was on the cards. Various sources claim that Cavill and his team – led by The Garcia Companies’ Dany Garcia – were pushing for a better deal, including more money and potentially even a producer role. However, the lukewarm response to Cavill’s last three DCEU movies has Warner Bros. looking to take the franchise in a different direction… one where Superman is less of a priority.
According to Garcia, however, Superman fans shouldn’t kiss Cavill’s Clark Kent goodbye just yet. The renowned talent manager, who is also known for helping Dwayne Johnson pave the way to movie super-stardom, took to Twitter to refute The Hollywood Reporter’s claims that Cavill is exiting the DCEU.
Sure enough, Warner Bros. soon responded with their own statement – though it clarifies very little, and doesn’t outright deny the report of Cavill’s exit. Speaking to THR, a Warner Bros. spokesperson said:
“While no decisions have been made regarding any upcoming Superman films, we’ve always had great respect for and a great relationship with Henry Cavill, and that remains unchanged.”
So, in essence, all speculation is just that. Technically, nothing had ever changed in regards to Cavill playing Superman.
OH FOR F-CK’S SAKE, WHICH IS IT?!: Apparently Warner Bros. is trying to “hit a reset button” with the DCEU, acknowledging that “some parts of the previous movies didn’t work” and are moving towards a new direction. While it’s unclear what, exactly, that new direction is, Cavill definitely won’t be along for the ride.
He seemed to confirm the news with an odd Instagram on Sept. 12, which shows him slowly raising a Superman doll into the frame as he and his ridiculously sharp cheekbones look directly at the camera.
I saw this post on IG and I still don’t really know what it means. Cavill’s caption to the IG post is: “Today was exciting.” #Superman
That still isn’t clear to me, but whatever. If he’s out, he’s out. Can we just move on?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Bad news for Venom?” story, So, originally the story was that director Ruben Fleischer wanted to keep the Venom film closer to the comic character. We were going to get a dark, gritty film.
But with recent news of a PG-13 rating, the cringe-worthy marketing and the Eminem song, there’s some serious early-2000s Daredevil and Ghost Rider vibes going on. And as mentioned, Fleischer isn’t doing much to give me any hope that I’m incorrect in that assumption.
Fleischer stated: “When I set out to make the movie, I wanted to distinguish the film tonally, and I wanted to make a darker, grittier, kind of edgier comic book movie that also has a strong horror element, which is inherent to the character and the comic. Those were the aspects: darker, edgier, grittier,” explained the director in a new interview with Fandango.
When the question was brought up of how will Venom be portrayed as an anti-hero if he’s biting off the heads of villains, Fleischer said, “I don’t know how heroic that is, but that’s definitely true to the nature of the character and what he’s doing in this film.”
The dubious PG-13 rating rears its ugly head when we discuss this portion of the film. How will a film, given a rating that would appear to underage kids, portray its main hero eating human heads? In the shadows? Quick cutaways with screaming? That sounds like a lot of compromising.
And to really give you those early-2000s superhero vibes, Fleischer admits that there’s the possibility of an “Unrated” cut of the film when it hits home video. “I wouldn’t rule anything out. We’ll have to see where it lands, I guess, but I wouldn’t rule anything out,” the director says.
Well, now that definitely sounds like trouble.
Looking back to an interview that Fleischer gave to ComicBook.com, where he talked about an R-rating, saying, “That’s the plan. It is not the plan, that’s the movie. Our movie wants to honor the comics as close as we can tonally. In the comics, he bites people’s heads off and eats brains. It would be weird to make a movie with Venom if he wasn’t doing that.”
I have concerns about Venom now.
When discussing an upcoming project that he’s very excited about, the recently-announced Zombieland 2, Fleischer did give fans an update on the progress, saying, “We’re already actually starting ‘Zombieland.’ I’ve been scouting and storyboarding and getting it going, and to get to work with that cast again is just an absolute dream come true. It’s been really exciting starting to think about that movie, and to get to work with Emma [Stone], Jesse [Eisenberg], Woody [Harrelson] and Abigail [Breslin] once again is truly a dream come true. Yeah, we’re just at the very early stages, but we have an amazing script, and we’re going to start shooting in Georgia in January.”
Venom hits theaters October 5. Zombieland 2 is expected to arrive October 2019.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Bringing back the Candyman?” story, According to a report from Bloody Disgusting, Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions is in talks to produce a brand-new Candyman film. Everyone already knows the filmmaker’s interest in the horror genre, and considering Todd’s character is one of the more legendary slashers out there, it would be fun to see Peele take a stab at the bad guy.
Of course, Peele has his hand in a lot of projects right now, so when this could happen is uncertain.
While he’s producing a new “Twilight Zone reboot series and Lovecraft Country for HBO, among other projects, Peele is also working on his Get Out follow-up film, titled Us, which is scheduled to come out in March 2019.
And if that wasn’t enough, his Monkeypaw Productions was also responsible for this summer’s Spike Lee hit film, BlacKkKlansman.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Mmmm, noir…” story, Ana de Armas is set to take the title role in Waiting for Helen, a noir thriller directed by Kevin Pollak.
The Cuban actress came to prominence last year with her performance as holographic companion Joi in Blade Runner 2049, opposite Ryan Gosling.
In Waiting for Helen, she will play a waitress who may be an innocent patsy or a sadistic sociopath.
According to the official synopsis: “A detective tells a stranger the story of an attractive, young waitress named Helen, who befriended a customer and was asked to help prove her husband’s infidelity. People end up dead.”
The detective must then prove Helen is either innocent or guilty before the night is over, or her life will be.
Projects in the pipeline for de Armas include crime drama Three Seconds, alongside Rosamund Pike; Danny Boyle’s musical comedy based on the music of The Beatles; and The Night Clerk, about a voyeuristic hotel clerk who becomes the subject of a murder investigation, which also stars Tye Sheridan and Helen Hunt.
Pollak, best known for his roles in The Usual Suspects, A Few Good Men, and The Whole Nine Yards, will also star in the movie.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Oh, Johnny Depp still makes serious films?” story, Saban Films and DirecTV have closed a deal worth around $3 million for the North American rights to Richard Says Goodbye, the Wayne Roberts-directed drama that stars Johnny Depp, Zoey Deutch and Rosemarie DeWitt. The drama follows a college professor who lives his life with reckless abandon after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The film is eyeing a theatrical release in 2019. CAA Media Finance brokered it. Richard Says Goodbye was screened outside the festival for buyers at the Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas last Thursday and got several suitors.
This is Saban Films’ third acquisition during TIFF – they acquired Romans starring Orlando Bloom and partnered with DirecTV on the North American rights to Sarah Daggar-Nickson’s A Vigilante, starring Olivia Wilde.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Another Netflix buy” story, Netflix has bought global rights to Steven Soderbergh’s basketball drama “High Flying Bird, starring Andre Holland, Zazie Beetz, and Melvin Gregg.
The streaming giant will release the film next year. It’s Soderbergh’s first collaboration with Netflix.
“We had several strong options for distributing High Flying Bird, but to borrow the patois of the movie itself, this deal felt like a slam dunk and the perfect way for me to begin my relationship with Netflix as a director,” Soderbergh said.
Joseph Malloch is producing the film. Executive producers are Ken Meyer and Holland through his Harper Road Films.
The story is set during a pro basketball lockout and centers on a sports agent, played by Holland, who presents a rookie basketball client (Gregg) with an intriguing and controversial proposition. Beetz plays the associate of Holland’s character.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Halle goes Martial” story, Oscar winner Halle Berry is making her directorial debut with Bruised, a mixed martial arts action drama in which she’s also starring. Berry, currently in production on John Wick 3 starring opposite Keanu Reeves, will reteam with John Wick producer Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road Pictures, who is also producing Bruised along with Entertainment 360 and Linda Gottlieb.
Written by Michelle Rosenfarb, the plot follows Jackie Justice, a disgraced MMA fighter who has failed at the one thing she’s ever been good at – fighting. When 6-year-old Manny, the son she walked out on years ago, returns to her doorstep, Jackie has to conquer her own demons, face one of the fiercest rising stars of the MMA world, and ultimately fight to become the mother this kid deserves.
Berry will work with the team that does the fight choreography for the John Wick franchise.
Production starts next year in March, with Riverstone financing and Erica Lee serving as exec producer. The film is developed with the EIS company.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Long lost Twain story…” story, Fox Family has picked up the rights to The Purloining Of Prince Oleomargarine, the recently discovered children’s story written by Mark Twain and completed by Philip and Erin Stead, creators of the Caldecott-winner A Sick Day For Amos McGee. Karen Rosenfelt will produce and Vanessa Morrison and Ralph Millero will oversee for Fox Family. Karen Rosenfelt is attached to produced.
Twain made up the fairy tale to please his daughters in a hotel in Paris one evening in 1879 and focused on Johnny, a poor boy who possessed some magic seeds. The Steads finished the tale based on notes that were found in the author’s archives at UC Berkeley.
Johnny, forlorn and alone except for his pet chicken, meets a kind woman who gives him seeds that change his fortune, allowing him to speak with animals and sending him on a quest to rescue a stolen prince. In the face of a bullying tyrant king, Johnny and his animal friends come to understand that generosity, empathy, and quiet courage are gifts more precious in this world than power and gold.
This actually sounds like a good story.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Bringing in the old guard” story, As producers attempt to get the next James Bond film back on track, after the abrupt departure of director Danny Boyle, reports have emerged that the series’ longtime writers, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, have been rehired to produce a new script.
According to the Daily Mail, Purvis and Wade have returned to the 25th Bond film, having had their original treatment for the film set aside when producers opted to go with Boyle and a script by him and his regular writing collaborator, John Hodge.
However, now the planned 2020 release has had to be postponed, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson are scrambling to avoid further disruption, and the rehiring of experienced Bond writers Purvis and Wade – who have worked on every Bond film since 1999’s The World Is Not Enough – was almost inevitable. An unnamed source is quoted in the Mail as saying Purvis and Wade’s outline had been accepted before Boyle and Hodge came into the picture; they have now been given the go-ahead to complete a full script.
This of course, tells me that we won’t be getting any kind of new creative direction in the next Bond film. It will likely be the same old, same old. That can be fine for the old school Bond fans, but if you’re looknig for a fresh take, we could be out of luck.
It is not clear what the “creative differences” were that led Boyle to leave Bond 25. Actor Jonathan Pryce suggested that producers “couldn’t take a socialist Bond”; another possibility is that Boyle had his choice of actors – principally Tomasz Kot as the lead villain – vetoed by executives.
However, the latter scenario has been thrown into doubt by a claim by Kite Runner and Wonder Woman star Said Taghmaoui that he had been cast in the main villain role. He told the Abu Dhabi publication The National:
“I’m supposed to do the next James Bond, playing the lead bad guy.” However, Taghmaoui also mentioned the upheaval caused by Boyle’s departure, saying: “I was cast by Danny Boyle, and just now he left the project, so of course there’s some uncertainty.”
I guess it remains to be seen how this turns out.
And IN THIS WEEK’S “Speaking the truth” story, Actor Harrison Ford issued a thinly veiled attack on President Donald Trump with a rallying call against science-denying politicians on Thursday.
Ford, speaking at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, urged voters to “stop giving power to people who don’t believe in science, or worse than that, pretend they don’t believe in science for their own self-interest.”
The “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” legend didn’t specifically name Trump, who has called climate change a Chinese hoax and is pursuing an anti-environment agenda.
But Ford added: “They know who they are. We know who they are.”
Ford warned “the future of humanity was at stake,” and everyone, whether “rich or poor, powerful or powerless,” would “suffer the effects of climate change and ecosystem destruction.”
The “greatest moral crisis of our time” was that “those least responsible will bear the greatest costs,” he said, adding, “We are shit out of time.”
Ford in November criticized the Trump White House at a Conservation International award ceremony ― saying the “greatest threat” was “that we’ve got people in charge of important shit who don’t believe in science.”
You go, Harrison.
See all you kooky kids next week!