Aaaand, another week of film goings-on!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Back on track” story, Sony’s Uncharted big-screen adaptation may be back on track.
Weeks after director Shawn Levy formally left to direct Free Guy for Fox, Sony is bringing on board Dan Trachtenberg to sit in the captain’s chair.
Tom Holland remains on board to star in the adaptation of the video game that is being produced by Atlas Entertainment and Arad Productions.
The studio is hoping this will be the last wrinkle in the plans before a hoped-for shoot later this year, but the project has come close to shooting previously before flitting out. Before Levy, Seth Gordon, David O. Russell and Neil Burger were attached at various points as Sony has tried to mount something since at least 2008. Mark Wahlberg was going to star in the Russell iteration. Development hell and creative differences were to blame for most exits.
The script will not follow the plot of the Naughty Dog game but will be a prequel that follows protagonist Nathan Drake, a descendant of explorer Sir Francis Drake, as a young treasure hunter learning the tricks of the thieving trade from his would-be mentor, Sully. The latest script comes from Joe Carnahan.
Trachtenberg was a J.J. Abrams protege who made his debut with 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Ok…but where is Nathan Fillion on this?!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Bringing back Mason” story, Emmy-winning former The Americans star Matthew Rhys has been tapped for the lead in Perry Mason, HBO’s limited series from Team Downey. Rhys will play the classic character in the reboot, which tracks the unorthodox investigator/defense attorney’s origin story. Perry Mason is in the process of hiring a director, and once a helmer is on board, the series is expected to head into production.
Written and executive produced by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald, who also will showrun, the reimagined Perry Mason is set in 1932 Los Angeles.
The limited series follows the origins of American Fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason (Rhys). When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.
Rhys, who also will produce, is Perry Mason at a time in his life when he is living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator. Mason is haunted by his wartime experiences in France and is suffering the effects of a broken marriage.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Weird prequel choice” story, Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck, Scream Queens, American Horror Story) is developing a One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest prequel focusing on Nurse Ratched.
In an Instagram post on Monday, Murphy announced that Cynthia Nixon, Sharon Stone, and Corey Stoll would be the latest performers to join his ever-evolving acting troupe, joining a cast that already includes the previously announced Sarah Paulson, who’ll be playing the title nurse.
Jon Jon Briones, Judy Davis, and Finn Wittrock, who have each appeared in previous Murphy properties like American Crime Story and Feud, are also among Monday’s massive cast additions. The series, created by Evan Romansky, will chart the early life of Nurse Ratched, who rules the psychiatric ward in Ken Kesey’s original 1962 novel and was portrayed by Louise Fletcher in the 1975 film of the same name.
Amanda Plummer, Hunter Parrish, Charlie Carver, and Harriet Harris round out the list of 10 new additions to the show’s ensemble. No information about additional characters were released, but Murphy’s post explained that the show will start shooting in a couple weeks (which would logically lead to an eventual 2020 release date).
Ok, Netflix is certainly the place to go if you have a show to pitch.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Goodbye, Dolly” story, Carol Channing, the saucer-eyed, gravelly voiced Broadway barnstormer whose offbeat personality and marquee value fueled such Golden Age musicals as Gentleman Prefer Blondes and Hello, Dolly!, has died, her publicist B Harlan Boll confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE. She was 97.
Boll said that Channing died at 12:31 A.M. on Tuesday, at her home in Rancho Mirage, California, of natural causes.
Damn. 97. Not bad, Channing, not bad.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Toni and Anna go to Mars” story, Toni Collette will star opposite Anna Kendrick in the sci-fi thriller Stowaway.
The movie marks the second feature from Joe Penna and Ryan Morrison, the duo behind Arctic, a survival film that premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Stowaway will be directed by Penna, who will co-write the script with Morrison.
The story revolves around a mission headed to Mars, where an unintended stowaway accidentally causes severe damage to the spaceship’s life support systems. Facing dwindling resources and a potentially grim outcome, a medical researcher (Kendrick) emerges as the only dissenting voice against the clinical logic of both her commander (Collette) and the ship’s biologist.
Intriguing. I’m in.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Pre-Sopranos cast rounds out” story, Corey Stoll and Billy Magnussen are set to join the ensemble of the The Sopranos movie prequel, The Many Saints of Newark.
They join Alessandro Nivola, Jon Bernthal, and Vera Farmiga, who had previously been added to the cast. More players from the Sopranos lore are expected to be coming on board.
New Line could not be reached for comment on the casting.
The film is set during the Newark riots in the ’60s.
Series creator David Chase co-wrote the script with producer Lawrence Konner. Alan Taylor is directing The Many Saints of Newark, while Nicole Lambert and Marcus Viscidi are executive producing. Chase has been hands on from the get-go in the casting process, hand-picking Nivola to play Dickie Moltisanti, along with Stoll and Magnussen in their mystery roles.
So, if you’re looking for a taste of Sopranos past, you may get some.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The Duplass brother’s love Raymond” story, This year’s Sundance Film Festival will play home to at least one melancholic buddy comedy from the Duplass brothers, thanks to Alex Lehmann’s Paddleton. The dramedy reunited the three-time filmmaker with his “Blue Jay” writer and star Mark Duplass — who also produced the film, alongside his brother Jay Duplass — and adds in beloved Big Sick co-star Ray Romano for a story of two mismatched pals who undertake an “unexpectedly emotional journey.”
Per the film’s official synopsis:
“An unlikely friendship between two misfit neighbors becomes an unexpectedly emotional journey when the younger man is diagnosed with terminal cancer.” The film’s first trailer doesn’t shy away form the tough stuff — Duplass’ character is terminally ill, and he’s hellbent on doing some bucket list stuff before ending his life on his own terms — but it also plays up the bond between the film’s main characters without getting too deep into the “misfit” side of their lives.
Duplass brothers’ always do interesting stuff, for sure.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Coppola and Murray, reunited” story, Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray are set to reunite for the first time since Murray’s Oscar-nominated turn in her 2003 film Lost in Translation.
The two will work together again in On the Rocks, which Coppola is writing and directing with Murray to star opposite Rashida Jones, according to an individual with knowledge of the project.
On the Rocks will also be the first film under the recently formed partnership between A24 and Apple.
Produced by Coppola and Youree Henley, On the Rocks follows a young mother (Jones) who reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father (Murray) on an adventure through New York City. Production begins this spring on location in New York.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Ghostbusters secret” story, Sony Pictures is getting the wheels in motion for the next installment in the Ghostbusters franchise, and it knows who it’s going to call to direct: Jason Reitman.
Wait, is this really a ‘secret’?
Sources tell Variety that Reitman, whose father, Ivan, directed the first two Ghostbusters movies, will direct the latest pic in the famous franchise.
Reitman has also co-written a screenplay with Gil Kenan and plans to shoot the film this summer, with Sony planning to release the latest sequel in summer 2020. Insiders say this film will be a continuation of the 1984 sequel and will not be connected to the 2016 film. Sources couldn’t say if that means that the original cast members will be back, as exact story details are still being kept under wraps but sources say Reitman has begun testing teenagers for four mystery roles.
Well, I’m sure Dan Ackroyd is chomping at the bit for this.
Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Pictures is producing and insiders close to Ivan say he believes this film is a passing of the torch.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Another Netflix film that sounds good on paper” story, “It star Bill Skarsgard and Sharp Objects breakout Eliza Scanlen will star in Antonio Campos’ adaptation of The Devil All the Time, which Netflix has officially acquired for distribution.
Skarsgard and Scanlen join an all-star cast that includes Tom Holland, Chris Evans, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson and Tony Award winner Gabriel Ebert, who attached themselves prior to the start of the Toronto Film Festival.
Campos is directing and co-wrote with Paulo Campos. Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker are producing through their Nine Stories banner along with Randall Poster and Max Born. Annie Marter and Jacob Jaffke are exec producing.
The story is based on Donald Ray Pollock’s novel and is set in a place called Knockemstiff, Ohio, a forgotten backwoods where a storm of faith, violence and redemption brews. Out of desperation to save his dying wife, Willard Russell turns to prayer which succumbs to sacrifice. This sets our protagonist Arvin, Willard’s son, on his path from bullied kid to a man who knows when to take action.
Production is set to start next month in Alabama.
Sounds good. But will it be?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Not Disney’s brightest” story, Disney is in early development on a live-action The Hunchback of Notre Dame movie, based on Disney’s animated film and Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “Notre-Dame de Paris.”
Playwright David Henry Hwang is attached to write the script, with Mandeville Films and Josh Gad set to produce. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz will pen the music.
Hunchback — the story of the bell-ringer at the Notre Dame Cathedral and his friendship with the gypsy Esmeralda — has been adapted multiple times into features, most notably the 1939 Charles Laughton and 1996 Disney animated versions. The animated movie, directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, grossed $325 million worldwide.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame follows Disney’s highly successful strategy of rebooting its animated titles into live-action films, including Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, and the upcoming Aladdin, The Lion King, and Dumbo.
This one is going to need to be less…goofy, if I am to have any interest.
IN THIS WEEK’S “I’d watch that” story, director Paul Schrader wants to make a western with Ethen Hawke and Willem DoFoe. Ok, where do I sign?
Paul Schrader has never gone away, but his career is encountering a sudden upswing thanks to his acclaimed 2018 film First Reformed. So what’s next for Schrader? According to the man himself, he wants to make a Western called Nine Men from Now, and he hopes Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe will star. Those details alone are enough to pique my interest.
Back in 1988, Schrader had a screenplay that had two possible titles: one was Vengeance, the other was Nine Men from Now. According to Schrader’s own personal papers, the script was “adapted from film script Seven Men from Now by Burt Kennedy.”
Seven Men from Now is a 1956 Western from John Wayne’s production company. Here’s the synopsis:
“Former sheriff Ben Stride, haunted by the loss of his wife in a Wells Fargo robbery, hunts for the seven men responsible for her death – along the way encountering a couple heading west for California, and an outlaw he once arrested.”
Does this mean Schrader is making a remake of Seven Men? It would certainly seem so. And that’s Ok. Ther’ sbeen no formal announcement on this, but I can ceratinly keep my fingers crossed.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Witches are making a comeback” story, Anne Hathaway has closed a deal to star as the Grand High Witch in Robert Zemeckis and Warner Bros.’ The Witches adaptation.
Variety first reported that Hathaway was holding the offer for both that and Sesame Street, and at the time, scheduling for both films were holding up dealmaking. With those issues settled, Hathaway is now set to star in the role originally portrayed by Anjelica Huston in the 1990 classic.
Based on the 1973 novel, the film follows a 7-year-old boy who has a run in with real-life witches. Warner Bros. had previously adapted the book in 1990 with Huston playing one of the title characters, but sources close to the project say Zemeckis’ version will be more rooted in the original source material, while the Huston pic was a loose adaptation.
Zemeckis will also pen the script as well as produce with his partner Jack Rapke through their banner ImageMovers, along with Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Do not pass GO” story, Kevin Hart is in final negotiations to star in Lionsgate’s and Hasbro’s movie based on the board game “Monopoly,” and Tim Story, Hart’s longtime collaborator on Ride Along and other stand-up specials, is in final negotiations to direct, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.
The logline is under wraps, but the film is inspired by Hasbro’s popular board game franchise. Hasbro will co-produce the film via its Allspark Pictures label. Hasbro’s Brian Goldner, Stephen Davis and Greg Mooradian will serve as producers.
What the Hell could this be about?
IN THIS WEEK’S “No Pinocchio?” story, According to a person working on the live-action Pinocchio, that live-action adaptation seems to have hit a major, major speed bump.
Speaking to the folks over at Discussing Film, Seamus McGarvey, the cinematographer that was hired by director Paul King to step behind the camera for Pinocchio, says that the remake has hit a brick wall and may or may not see the light of day anytime soon.
“I don’t think it’s a secret anymore, but the film has been canceled over the holidays, over Christmas. [King] basically pulled out of the film for family reasons. Disney is trying to find a new director, but yeah, I read those reports about Tom Hanks…and these other people. They’re trying to get it going, but I’m unlikely to be involved now because Paul King…wanted me to be his DP on the film and who knows the director that they eventually bring on…and it probably will be delayed by some time now — it probably won’t shoot until July or August, if it does at all.”
No idea why King left the project, and I certainly won’t speculate. The reason could be one of many. so if you were interested in this film, you’ll be waiting.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Token Tolkien” story, Fox Searchlight has set a summer release date for Tolkien, the biopic on The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien.
The film starring Nicholas Hoult as the fantasy author will open on May 10, 2019.
Directed by Dome Karukoski, Tolkien explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. This takes him into the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the “Fellowship” apart. All of these experiences would inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-Earth novel.
The full cast has also been revealed, including Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Anthony Boyle, Patrick Gibson, Tom Glynn-Carney, Craig Roberts, Laura Donnelly, Genevieve O’Reilly, Pam Ferris and Derek Jacobi.
David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford wrote the screenplay. Peter Chernin is producing on behalf of his Chernin Entertainment banner along with Jenno Topping, David Ready and Kris Thykier.
The project wrapped production back in December and Hoult joined the project back in July 2017. The Tolkien biopic will open opposite the family Pokemon movie Detective Pikachu and The Hustle with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson.
Aaaaand IN THIS WEEK’S “Hardly surpising” story, It appears to be over for Heather Locklear and Chris Heisser.
Multiple outlets report the actress and her beau have called it quits.
Locklear reconnected with her former high school sweetheart in 2016 and made their relationship public in September 2017.
“My favorite person on Earth,” she wrote at the time. “40 years later.”
Locklear also referred to Heisser as her “first and final love” in a birthday post that year.
Soon, Locklear’s Instagram included cute photos of the couple. She even posted a few pictures from Heisser’s daughter’s wedding in October. However, their relationship was far from picture-perfect.
Last February, Locklear was arrested on a charge of felony domestic battery and three counts of misdemeanor battery on a peace officer. At the time, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office claimed she had “battered her boyfriend.” Locklear claimed she had been battered or injured prior to the officers’ arrival. While the authorities claimed they “did not see any evidence of that,” Locklear was transported to a hospital for evaluation. Heisser also denied the allegations. She was booked and later released after posting a $20,000 bail. Locklear also later pleaded not guilty to attacking the officer.
In March, the Melrose Place star checked into a treatment center. Just a few months later, she was reportedly hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation and arrested for allegedly battering an officer and emergency personnel. She then checked into rehab for a second time in August. Her attorney entered pleas of not guilty on her behalf for the charges that same month.
After posting an empowering message about addiction and recovery, things seemed to be going better for Locklear. However, she was reportedly placed on psychiatric hold in November.
“While in rehab, she made several promises that she would never let this happen to her again,” a source told E! News at the time, “but [she] eventually slipped and this being the worst relapse than any of her others.”
Well, a person can only take so much, right?