Bunch of stuff happening this week – including the Oscar nominations! Aah!
In this week’s “FINALLY” story, Greta Gerwig becomes the fifth woman ever nominated for a Best Director Oscar.
The Lady Bird helmer was the only woman nominated in the otherwise all-male field made up of Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk) and Jordan Peele (Get Out).
Gerwig’s nomination comes after she landed a Directors Guild nomination and a best director nomination from the Critics’ Choice Awards for her feature directorial debut. The National Board of Review and National Society of Film Critics also named her best director for her work on the film.
The Academy REALLY should have nominated Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, though. But hey, we’re trying look at this as a glass half full.
In this week’s “Shifting gears” story, John Cena is in talks to star in a film version of the video game, Duke Nuk’em.
The project is set up at Paramount-based Platinum Dunes, which is operated by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller. No director or writer is attached yet.
Duke Nukem first appeared in the 1991 eponymous video game, developed by Apogee Software, as a muscular cigar-chomping man who always wears Ray-Bans and sports a flat-top haircut as he fights aliens to save planet Earth by using enormous physical strength and his expertise in firearms. He’s appeared in 19 video games as the title character, most recently in Duke Nukem 3D: World Tour.
Platinum Dunes franchises include The Purge, Ouija, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s a producer on John Krasinski’s horror movie A Quiet Place, opening April 6.
Cena is starring with Hailee Steinfeld in Paramount’s upcoming Transformers prequel Bumblebee: The Movie, with Bay producing. He is repped by ICM Partners.
In this week’s “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…and again….” story, if you like to see Hollywood beat a dead horse, get ready for yet ANOTHER try at rebooting the Robocop franchise.
Yes, RoboCop co-creator Ed Neumeier spilled the beans to Zeitgeist Magazine, telling them that he’s “working on a new one at MGM right now.” Of course, this is all supposed to be hush-hush, but so much for that.
“We’re not supposed to say too much,” he explained. “There’s been a bunch of other RoboCop movies and there was recently a remake and I would say this would be kind of going back to the old RoboCop we all love and starting there and going forward. So it’s a continuation really of the first movie. In my mind. So it’s a little bit more of the old school thing.”
Ugh. Well, an interesting perspective on the 2014 remake came from director of the original Robocop, Paul Verhoeven:
““….in [2014’s] ‘RoboCop when he awakens they gave him the same brain. He’s a horribly injured and amputated victim, which is horrifying and tragic from the very beginning. So we didn’t do that in [1987’s] RoboCop. His brain is gone and he has only flashes of memory and needs to go to a computer to find out who he even is,” Verhoeven said in 2016. “I think by not having a robot brain, you make the movie much heavier and I don’t think that helps the movie in any way. It becomes more silly or absurd, but in the wrong way. Both those movies needed the distance of satire or comedy to situate it for audiences. Playing it straight without any humor is a problem and not an improvement.”
Sounds about right.
In this week’s ‘Stranger Things season 3 teases” story, what could the kids of the show get into next? Well, According to producer Shawn Levy, the answer is “forces of evil that are new.” Does this mean the show will be moving away from the Upside Down and charting new territory? good question. Below, Levy reveals new Stranger Things season 3 details that hint at the show heading in a new direction.
Speaking with Glamour, Levy revealed that despite the way Stranger Things 2 ended (with the Shadow Monster still very much alive, and looming in the Upside Down), Stranger Things 3 is going to be dealing with “forces of evil that are new.” Levy also goes on to disclose that the plotting and planning for season 3 is already very far along, saying “It’ll be an eight- or nine-episode season. The number of episodes will be dictated by the amount of story that excites us. We now know what is going to happen in season three to every character.”
Levy also adds: ‘”We’re going to give Will a break. We’re not going to put Will through hell for a third season in a row. He’ll be dealing with stuff, but he won’t be at rock bottom the way we forced the amazing Noah Schnapp to play.”
Ok, cool. Going BACK to the Upside Down could get old now that we’ve done it for two seasons.
All that said, Levy does go on to stress that Stranger Things 3 won’t be a complete departure for the series. In fact, the producer adds that season 3 will feature more of everyone’s favorite season 2 friendship: Steve and Dustin. “In season two, it was all very cute and there was a funny factor to it because it was unexpected, but now that it is expected, I want to see them connect more and be more familiar with each other,” Levy says. “I want them to have a connection like they’ve really had a connection for a year — like they’re brothers.”
There’s no date set for Stranger Things 3 yet, but rumor has it we might have to wait until 2019 before we return to Hawkins.
In this week’s “Ryan Reynolds wins” story, with Fox integrating into Disney, Fox has made a three-year first look deal with Ryan Reynolds’ Maximum Effort to hatch projects for the studio. They’ve got the first picture that Reynolds will produce under the new deal.
It is a live action film based on the Hasbro board game Clue, with Maximum Effort producing along with Allspark Pictures, the film division of Hasbro. Fox is in the process of re-teaming Reynolds with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who wrote the first Deadpool film. The writers are in talks.
Again with the reboots.
The film will be developed as a star vehicle for Reynolds, based on the mythology of the venerable board game.
The studio will release the untitled Deadpool sequel, which David Leitch directed, on May 18.
In this week’s “Oh, Techno-Thrillers…” story, John Cho uses a computer search to thrill us.
“When 16-year-old high school student Margot Kim (Michelle La) goes missing, her father (John Cho) mounts a desperate attempt to find her in Search, a fast-paced, nail-biting mystery that plays out entirely on computer screens. While the 2015 horror movie Unfriended unfolded on one screen, Search expands the gimmick to multiple computers and cell phones, creating an immersive experience that’s instantly engaging. This stylistic choice is executed to absolute perfection by first-time filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty, who uses it to draw a clever juxtaposition of our online lives and our daily reality while telling a dynamic story that grabs you from the first minute and doesn’t let go until its frantic conclusion. This movie rules.”
Eeeehh, I don’t know. I’m wary. These kinds of films really need to be executed well. Maybe I’ll check it out. Wow, Slash Film gives this a 10 out of 10. Ok, curiosity piqued.
In this week’s “Never-ending Mission” story, Tom “OT” Cruise revealed the title of Mission: Impossible 6 on Instagram.
The Big Reveal: Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Whoopee.
The latest Mission: Impossible film also stars Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Angela Bassett and Alec Baldwin.
In this week’s “Netflix gets Kaufman” story, Charlie Kaufman will write and direct I’m Thinking of Ending Things for Netflix.
The Being John Malkovich filmmaker, who hasn’t been in the director’s chair since 2015’s stop-motion drama Anomalisa, is set to write and direct an adaption of Iain Reid’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things for the streaming service.
The novel takes place on a road trip, where Jake is taking his girlfriend to meet his parents on their secluded farm, all the while Jake’s girlfriend is thinking of ending things. When Jake makes an unexpected detour leaving her stranded, a twisted mix of palpable tension, psychological frailty and sheer terror ensues.
Anthony Bregman — who worked with Kaufman on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Synecdoche, New York — and Stefanie Azpiazu will produce via their Likely Story banner. Kaufman will also produce, while Reid will serve as co-producer.
Kaufman, who is credited as a writer on Doug Liman’s upcoming sci-fi feature, Chaos Walking, is repped by WME and Hansen Jacobson.
In this week’s “John le Carre’ gets Michael Shannon” story, Shannon has joined the cast of a TV series adaptation of le Carre’s The Little Drummer Girl.
A trio of award nominees and winners including Michael Shannon are set to star in BBC and AMC series The Little Drummer Girl. Produced by The Ink Factory, the spy series reunites the team that made the critically acclaimed The Night Manager.
Shannon will join Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgard in the upcoming high-end scripted project, which, like The Night Manager, is based on a novel by John le Carré. Park Chan-wook (Old Boy) will direct the six-part series in his first TV effort.
Shannon received Academy Award nominations for Nocturnal Animals and Revolutionary Road, and stars in multi-nominated The Shape of Water. Pugh has just received a BAFTA nomination for Lady Macbeth, and Skarsgard just won a Golden Globe for his work on Big Little Lies.
The Little Drummer Girl follows brilliant young actress Charlie (Pugh) after she strikes up an acquaintance with an intriguing stranger while on holiday in Greece, but it rapidly becomes apparent that his intentions are far from romantic. The man is Becker (Skarsgard), an Israeli intelligence officer, who entangles her in a complex and high-stakes plot orchestrated by Israeli spymaster Kurtz, played by Shannon.
Coolness. With a team like this, I’m in.
In this week’s “Good move, Casey” story, Casey Affleck was supposed to present the Oscar for Best Actress. But not anymore.
Affleck has notified the Academy he will not be attending this year’s ceremony because he does not want his involvement in the telecast to distract from the performances of the five nominated actresses. The prospect of
Affleck presenting the award was already causing controversy as the actor was previously accused of sexual misconduct on the set of I’m Still Here.
That sounds like the reasonable thing to do.
The Oscars have a tradition in which the Best Actor winner of the previous year presents the current year’s Best Actress prize. Affleck won the Oscar for starring in Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea last year. Shortly after the Harvey Weinstein allegations started breaking last October, a petition was created to have Affleck removed from the 90th Oscars given his own history of harassment allegations. The petition was signed by over 19,500 people.
In this week’s “How to deflect the fact that your film sucks” story, Netflix Execs say that the success of Bright shows that film critics are ‘disconnected form mass appeal’.
Gee, thanks the the heads-up, Captain Obvious.
But let’s face it, mass appeal, and what is critically and qualitatively good, are rarely the same thing.
When David Ayer and Will Smith’s Netflix tentpole Bright became available to stream on December 22, it was met with some of the most hostile reviews of 2017. IndieWire’s own David Ehrlich gave the film an F rating, calling the fantasy-realism film “miserable” and “the worst film of the year,” and the film currently has a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. But the abysmal reviews couldn’t stop Bright from becoming a humongous hit on Netflix and earning a sequel.
At the end of last year, a report from Nielsen Ratings revealed that 11 million Netflix users streamed Bright during its first three days of release, which put it just under Stranger Things territory. While Netflix executives Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings would not disclose the specific amount of Bright viewers during an investors conference call this week, they did confirm that Bright is one of the biggest original offerings they’ve ever produced, including film and television series.
According to both Netlfix bosses, Bright’s success is proof that film critics don’t matter as much when they’re trying to tap into a global audience.
“Critics are an important part of the artistic process, but [they are] pretty disconnected from the commercial prospects of a film,” chief content officer Sarandos said. “[Film critics] speak to specific audiences who care about quality, or how objectively good or bad a movie is—not the masses who are critical for determining whether a film makes money.”
“The critics are pretty disconnected from the mass appeal,” added CEO Hastings.
Netflix isn’t letting critics dictate their future either, as the streaming giant already has David Ayer, Will Smith, and Joel Edgerton set to return for a Bright sequel.
Well, if you don’t care about quality, then, hey, I guess there’s just no such thing as a bad film. Right, Michael Bay? Ugh.
In this week’s “Ambitious shooting schedule” story, Aisha Tyler, who is known for voicing Lana Kane on Archer, and her stint on Criminal Minds and The Talk, directed her first film, Axis.
Starring writer Emmett Hughes, as well as Tyler, Paget Brewster and Oscar nominee Sam Rockwell—all of whom lent their voices to the project—the enormously ambitious Axis follows an Irish actor on the morning he is set to star in a career-changing blockbuster film, as a series of devastating events threaten to challenge his sobriety.
Funded through Kickstarter, taking place entirely inside of a car and shot over the course of seven days, Tyler’s directorial debut was in no sense conventional, posing a degree of difficulty that was exciting for its director.
“People make simple first films because that’s what’s manageable—family dramas, coming-of-age stories, things that can be made for a price. But this is a movie about a guy driving through Los Angeles, and it unfolds in real time,” Tyler said, appearing recently at Deadline’s Sundance Studio to discuss the film. “Axis felt like a great first film, something that could make a little bit of noise.”
On a typical independent film, “an aggressive day” would entail shooting 10 to 12 pages. On the average day on Axis, Tyler shot 65.
WHAT. Damn, Tyler is good. I’ll be curious to see this one.
In this week’s “Never say never” story, composer Hans Zimmer will return to the superhero genre, even though he said he wouldn’t.
Last year, Hans Zimmer dramatically announced that he was “retiring from the superhero business” after he was beaten down from composing the score for Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
But that retirement was short-lived, as it appears that the Oscar-winning composer is returning to superhero movies to score Simon Kinberg’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
When Zimmer first announced his retirement, he acknowledged that it probably wouldn’t be permanent — as long as he could find a good script. He told Inverse. “Ron Howard actually said something very smart to me,” Zimmer recalled. “He said, ‘Don’t say you will never do a superhero movie again, wait for somebody to turn up with an amazing script for a superhero movie.’ And I suppose that’s what I’m saying: Can I please have the amazing script?”
We’ll see if Dark Phoenix lives up to Zimmer’s demands of an “amazing script” when it hits theaters on November 2, 2018.
In this week’s “Sleepy time” story, Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep, is getting a film adaptation.
Warner Bros. has tapped Mike Flanagan to direct The Shining sequel Doctor Sleep, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The film will adapt King’s 2013 novel, which follows Danny Torrance, now an adult and battling alcoholism and dealing with the trauma of what happened to him as a child in a certain haunted Colorado hotel. Along the way, he’s presented with an opportunity to use the shining power he discovered in the first book in a way that can help a young girl.
Flanagan directed the well received King adaptation Gerald’s Game for Netflix, which was released last year, and has built a reputation for thoughtful horror through films such as Oculus (2013), Before I Wake (2016) and Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016).
For Warner Bros, Doctor Sleep follows the studio’s big success with last year’s King adaptation It, which earned more than $700 million worldwide on a $35 million budget. A sequel has been set for Sept. 6, 2019.
In this week’s “Ok, why is this happening?” story, Steven Spielberg seems to have decided on his next project. And it baffles me.
Apparently his two choices are Indiana Jones 5, and…a West Side Story remake/adaptation. Ugh. According to Broadway World, Spielberg is already looking for actors to star in the film. This information comes from casting director Cindy Tolan, who is actively searching for actors to play the musical’s four leading roles: Maria (18-20), Tony (18-23), Bernardo (20-24) and Anita (20-24 years). As you might expect, all four actors must be able to sing, and Maria, Anita and Bernardo must be able to speak Spanish. I like that they are looking for new talent to fill these roles.
It was also confirmed that Angels in America scribe Tony Kushner is currently working on a script.
Why? Just why? Can’t we just leave these classic films alone? How do you expect to improve on them? It’s exasperating.
In this week’s “Greatest American Heroine” story, ABC is moving forward with their female lead-driven reboot of Greatest American Hero.
The Disney-owned network has handed out a formal pilot order to the single-camera, half-hour comedy that follows Meera, a 30-year-old Indian-American woman from Cleveland, Ohio, whose talents include drinking tequila, singing karaoke and not much else.
Fresh Off the Boat writer-producer Rachna Fruchbom penned the pilot and executive produces alongside FOTB showrunner/creator Nahnatchka Khan; her producing partner, Mandy Summers; and original series creator Stephen J. Cannell’s daughter, TV director Tawnia McKiernan (Criminal Minds, Blue Bloods). The project hails from 20th Century Fox Television, where Khan’s Fierce Baby banner is based, which will co-produce the potential series alongside ABC Studios as co-productions continue to be a big trend this pilot season.
Yay! I loved that show. This is a reboot that might actually be fun.
Aaaand, we’re out! See you next week!