Welcome back to this week’s cavalcade of news stories form the world of film! We already start off with a doozy, so hold on tight!
In this week’s “Most vexing remake” story, screenwriter Terence Winter has been hired to pen director Antoine Fuqua’s remake of Scarface. I know, that sentence gave me pause as well. Variety has learned that this version will be a sort of re-imagining of both the 1932 version, and the 1983 version starring Al Pacino. This version will be set in Los Angeles and the title character will be a Mexican immigrant. The director has said that the story is “really interesting and very timely,” dealing with issues of the American Dream being a rigged game.
Ok, so I suppose it’s not TOO crazy to remake Scarface, I mean, changing the locale and origin of the Scarface character was done in the Brian De Palma version, but THAT version is so iconic…I don’t know. I can’t help but be surprised by this. Maybe I’m more surprised by the choice of director? And the current trend of Hollywood wanting to remake everything right now is so disheartening.
In this week’s “Hey, if it worked for Jungle Book…” story, Disney has signed Jon Favreau to direct their upcoming live action film version of The Lion King. Jungle Book was so good and went over so well, I guess they figure, why fix what ain’t broke? What did I JUST say about remakes?
Disney and Favreau are also working on a Jungle Book 2. Neither film has a release date set.
In this week’s “More toys into movies” story, director Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond) has closed a deal to direct Legendary’s upcoming Hot Wheels film, based on Mattel’s toy cars. No writer is attached yet, so it’s clearly not going to be his next film, and frankly, who cares? These are little metal cars even I grew up with as a kid. What kind of plot are you going to create for this?
Well, at least Lin has experience with filming fast cars with those Fast and Furious movies, right? That has to count for SOMEthing. Maybe….
In this week’s “These young people today…” story, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer are “names of interest” for casting in Kenneth Branagh’s remake of Murder On The Orient Express. The film is supposed to be released on November 22, 2017, but they haven’t locked down the casting yet. Turns out Angelina Jolie was going to be in it, then she dropped out. Then Charlize Theron was eyed as a possible replacement, but nothing has been said about that in a while. So, we’re back to “names of interest”, but no definites.
As to why even do a remake of this film, Hilary Strong, CEO of Agatha Christie Limited said to The Hollywood Reporter, “‘How can you remake ‘Murder on the Orient Express’?’ ”, “They’re iconic films, but they are of their time, and there is a new cinema audience that won’t watch films that were made in 1957 or 1974, and we want them to hear her stories.”
I hate to admit it, but that’s true. Some people just won’t go out of their way to watch older films. I knew a guy that wouldn’t watch any movie made before 1980, or any movie in black & white. What a maroon.
UPDATE: Also joining the cast are Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench and Michael Pena, as well as Lucy Boynton, Tom Bateman, Derek Jacobi, and Leslie Odom, Jr. as well as director Kenneth Branagh who will star as inspector Hercule Poirot. Production begins this November.
In this week’s “Say what, now?” story, on the strength of her supporting performance in Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria, Kristen Stewart became the first American actress to win a César Award. That film first premiered two years ago in Cannes, and in this years’ edition of the festival, and in this year they appeared again with the film Personal Shopper. In a new interview with Screen Daily, the French film maker hails his Kristin Stewart as “the best actress of her generation.”
Assayas says this about her: “Kristen has an infinitely larger range than many actresses of her generation,” he continues. “She has an inner depth coupled with a spontaneity and naturalness that sets her apart. She also has an innate understanding of cinema that makes me believe she could succeed at directing too.”
Well, if you say so. Perhaps I haven’t seen enough of her work to make such a statement – or refute it – so I’ll have to take in these films, and some of her other upcoming films this season. Those upcoming films are Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women and Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, both due before the end of the year.
In this week’s “Pooh Bear”, story, Fox Searchlight has begun principle shooting of their biopic of author A .A. Milne, creator of Winnie The Pooh. Domhall Gleeson stars as Milne, along with Margot Robbie and newcomer Will Tilston as Milne’s son, Christopher Robin.
Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) is directing from a script by Frank Cottrell Boyce (War And Peace), based on a screenplay by Simon Vaughan.
In this week’s “From bears to Panthers” story, Marvel’s Black Panther film has found a villain in actor Winston Duke. The Person Of Interest actor will play ‘Baku, AKA Man-Ape, one of T’Challa’s biggest rivals and among Wakandas’ greatest warriors. T’Challa, or the Black Panther, is reprised by Chadwick Boseman.
The film, directed by Creed helmer Ryan Coogler, also stars Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, and Lupita Nyong’o. Boseman will play T’Challa, the prince of the African nation of Wakanda, who must take over the mantel after his father’s murder. Marvel unveiled the character in Captain America: Civil War before the standalone film bows on Feb. 16, 2018.
In this week’s “Will he be creepy?” story, the oft intense Michael Shannon is in negotiations to play Thomas Westinghouse in the Weinstein Co.’s film, The Current War. Benedict Cumberbatch (or as Graham is so fond of calling him, “Benny Cumbo”) is already locked in to play Thomas Edison, with Alfonso Gomez-Rejon to direct.
In this week’s “Voice from the past” story, the great Dennis Hopper passed away about 6 years ago, but his last film, The Last Film Festival, releases in theaters this Friday.
“Directed by Linda Yellen, the film follows Nick Twain (Hopper), a failing Hollywood producer whose latest movie has been rejected by every film festival in the world except for one. When an obscure festival is the last hope for Twain and his disaster of a movie, he does anything to get his picture distributed, including manipulating his dysfunctional cast into attending.” Jacqueline Bisset, Chris Kattan, JoBeth Williams and Leelee Sobieski co-star.
“The idea for The Last Film Festival started with a laugh Dennis and I shared at the Sundance Film Festival,” Yellen said. “And that spirit of fun and spontaneity that is uniquely Dennis carried through the filming and onto the screen…”
In this week’s “She has to be at least bi.” story, in an interview with Comicosity, Wonder Woman comics writer Greg Rucka discussed the new thematic elements his comic series following the superhuman Diana, including the much talked-about sexual orientation of its titular character. When asked about the subject, Rucka confirmed that his Wonder Woman is, indeed, queer.
Well, let’s face it, a race of Amazons living without any men anywhere, I mean, you’re bound to have relationships with those available to you. And it’s not like they would even really have concepts of “hetero” or “gay” relationships. All of these women together and not one male. Why wouldn’t they be in intimate relationships with each other?
“When you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira its due, the answer is, ‘How can they not all be in same-sex relationships?’ Right? It makes no logical sense otherwise,” Rucka said.
“But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say, ‘You’re gay.’ “The concept doesn’t exist. Now, are we saying Diana has been in love and had relationships with other women? As Nicola and I approach it, the answer is obviously yes. And it needs to be yes for a number of reasons. But perhaps foremost among them is, if no, then she leaves paradise only because of a potential romantic relationship with Steve [Trevor]. And that diminishes her character. It would hurt the character and take away her heroism… She doesn’t leave because of Steve. She leaves because she wants to see the world and somebody must go and do this thing. And she has resolved it must be her to make this sacrifice.”
Ok, I dig. A Wonder Woman for the 21st Century! Of course, what are the odds that anything even slightly referring to this will be addressed in the Wonder Woman film coming out from Warner Bros.? I say the odds are slim to none.
In this week’s “Well, no shit, Sherlock” story, the producers of the James Bond films, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, want Daniel Craig to come back to be Bond again. He’s their first choice.
Right, as if THAT’S news. How long is this going to go on? And there is STILL no news as to whether Craig will even do it. So keep on guessing, people.
In this week’s “Custodial debacle” story, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have agreed to a temporary plan involving counseling and visitation as recommended by the Los Angeles county Department of Children and Family Services, s told to People Magazine by multiple sources.
The DCFS made the recommendations under what is called a Structured Decision Making Plan, says a source with knowledge of the situation.
That sounds suspiciously like a “This is what your’e going to do if you want to see your kids” kind of thing. Sure, they all say it’s voluntary, but you know, HOW voluntary? Well, either way, Pitt will get visitation with the kids, and the couple has agreed that a therapist will be present during those visits.
“The children are safe with their mother,” another source involved with the situation tells PEOPLE. Who the Hell are these random “sources”, anyway? And apparently Pitt will conitnue to voluntarily undergo random drug and alcohol tests.
Oh geez. There is so much more going on with this than is being said to the public or media. You know, between this shit and the political situation, and the insane police violence going lately, I just want to totally escape reality and watch dumb, guilty pleasure movies for hours on end. Who’s with me?
In this week’s “Mr. Fantastic uses the dictionary” story, actor Ioan Gruffudd joins Mel Gibson and Sean Penn to appear in The Professor and the Madman, a film about James Murray, the 19th century professor that started to compile the Oxford English Dictionary.
Gruffudd plays Henry Bradley, a demanding philologist who helps Murray (Gibson) assemble words for the Oxford Dictionary. Bradley’s attention to detail is exhausting, but was a great asset in compiling the dictionary. That makes sense, I guess, right? You want someone who will be annoyingly precise and nit-picky when making a dictionary.
If you think a movie about the Oxford Dictionary seems dull, dig this: Story is based on an adaptation of Simon Winchester’s bestselling novel The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Farhad Safinia, who wrote Gibson’s Apocalypto, wrote the script and will also direct.
Gibson, who at one point was going to direct the film, will play the lead role of Murray with Penn playing Dr. W.C. Minor, who contributed thousands of entries to the ambitious literary project but who was also an inmate at an insane asylum.
A solid cast, and now a potentially fascinating subject. And the possibility that a crazy person helped to write the Oxford Dictionary? Ok, I’m hooked. 🙂
In this week’s “Losing the will to care” story, it looks like the DC character Deathstroke is going to be in the Justice League movie. Geoff Johns has confirmed that Joe Mangianello will play Deathstroke in Ben Affleck’s stand alone Batman film slated for 2018 or 2019, but Zack Snyder hinted that he may show up earlier.
Good for them. I don’t know how much more energy I can spend on these DC films. How many more chances do I give them to get it right?
In this week’s “Hope this turns to gold” story, TriStar and PalmStar have teamed up to produce an adaptation of the Paulo Coelho best selling novel, The Alchemist. PalmStar Media’s Kevin Frakes will produce with Harvey Weinstein and Laurence Fishburne.
The Alchemist follows the journey of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago. Believing a recurring dream to be prophetic, he decides to travel to a Romani fortune-teller in a nearby town to discover its meaning. The woman interprets the dream as a prophecy telling the boy that there is a treasure in the pyramids in Egypt.
This book has sold over 65 million copies. Talk about a built-in audience…
In this week’s “More dinosaurs!” story, Jurassic World 2 will not have militarized dinos, but will have more animatronic dinosaurs in it. It will also be more suspenseful and scarier, which I think is a good thing. All this according to director of the last Jurassic World film and co-writer of Jurassic World 2, Colin Trevorrow.
Trevorrow explained on the InGeneral Podcast that he “wanted J. A. Bayona to direct it long before anyone ever heard that was a possibility.” In fact, he teased in an Empire interview six months before Bayona was announced that “There are some pretty cool Spanish horror directors whose Jurassic Park movie I’d love to see as a fan.” He says the story was “built around his skillset.”
It all sounds good to me. Let’s hope they take things in a direction that gets them off the island, though. Time to change it up!
In this week’s “Quixote Curse?” story, Terry Gilliam is about to shot his long-plagued film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. In fact, he was supposed to start principle shooting on Monday, October 4. HOWEVER, it seems one of his producers said there was sufficient funding for the film when in fact there isn’t.
Oh, Terry, somehow it seems the Universe doesn’t want you to make this film. “I had this producer, a Portuguese chap, who claimed he’d get all the money together in time. And a few weeks ago, he proved that he didn’t have the money. So we are still marching forward. It is not dead. I will be dead before the film is.”
So it WILL happen. No matter what. I’m so hoping this film gets made.
In this week’s “What WAS I thinking?!” story, Nicole Kidman, looking back on her marriage to Tom Cruise more than two decades ago – at age 23 – had this to say: “I was so young when I got married. I look back now and I’m like, ‘What?'”
She told DuJour magazine in 2012 that her life with Cruise was “perfect” before the rapid breakdown of their relationship and subsequent divorce in 2001.
She goes on to talk about her happy marriage now to Keith Urban, which is great. But I’m more interested on the debacle that is Tom Cruise. If I could have been a fly on the wall in that house… I’d probably have tried to poke out every one of my compound eyes…
Thanks for tuning in this week for more film news shenanigans!
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, looking forward to sitting in a dark theater for a wihle.