Post Halloween doldrums, but there’s still film news.
IN THIS WEEK’S “SHE’S the real Last Jedi” story, Carrie Fisher’s brother, Todd, tells Yahoo Entertainment that Abrams only had a minimal amount of footage to work with in order to ensure Fisher would make her mark in the last Skywalker saga film.
“The truth is that J.J. Abrams was great friends with Carrie…he had an extraordinary sense of love for her,” Todd said. “They had eight minutes of footage. They grabbed every frame and analyzed it and then reverse-engineered it and [got] it into the story the right way. It’s kind of magical.”
In his interview with Yahoo, Fisher said the eight minutes Abrams was able to pull from will honor both Leia and Carrie’s legacies.
While Carrie Fisher will be a presence in The Rise of Skywalker, Todd Fisher said her original role for the movie was to be a full-blown Jedi. “She was going to be the big payoff in the final film,” he said. “She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak. That’s cool right?” According to Todd, there were even plans to have Carrie’s Leia finally use her own lightsaber.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters nationwide December 20 from Disney.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Work the system” story, Apple has released the first trailer for The Banker, which will be released as an Apple TV+ original film. Directed by George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau), the true-story drama stars Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie as Joe Morris and Bernard Garrett, respectively, two revolutionary businessmen who devised a risky plan to help African Americans pursue the American dream in the 1960s. Although smart and capable, as black men living in the 60s Morris and Garrett were unable to realize their full potential, so they enlisted a working class white man named Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult) to serve as the front for their burgeoning real estate and banking empire, the purpose of which was to approve loans for black families to be able to afford housing—loans which many white-owned banks denied.
The Banker was produced independently by Romulus Entertainment and then subsequently acquired by Apple in July 2019, so the tech giant could release the film as an Apple Original. As a result, the film is due to premiere at AFI Fest later this month and will receive a limited theatrical release starting on December 6th, followed by its digital release on the new Apple TV+ streaming service in January 2020.
The drama is directed by George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau), and written by Niceole Levy, George Nolfi, David Lewis Smith and Stan Younger from a story by David Lewis Smith, Stan Younger and Brad Caleb Kane.
IN THIS WEEK’S “All for a painting” story, Fionn Whitehead has joined Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren on the cast of Pathé’s art heist comedy-drama The Duke, to be directed by Roger Michell.
The film will be presented to buyers at the upcoming American Film Market (AFM, November 6-13), and will shoot in January 2020 in Yorkshire and London.
Set in 1961, the story follows a 60-year-old taxi driver, played by Broadbent, who steals Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from London’s National Gallery. Mirren plays his wife with Whitehead as his son, as Bunton attempts to change the world and save his marriage via the theft.
Pathé will distribute the film in the UK, France and Switzerland, and will handle sales for the rest of the world.
Whitehead was named a Screen Star of Tomorrow in 2016, ahead of his breakthrough role leading Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Sandman news!” story, Back in July, it was revealed that Netflix had signed on to develop a new series based on the critically-acclaimed comic book series Sandman. The series is being developed with the comic book series’ writer Neil Gaiman, alongside Allan Heinberg, and David Goyer. Sandman is definitely not going to be a cheap series and is expected to be one of the biggest launches for Netflix in the coming years.
The streaming service is so confident in the series, apparently, that Gaiman admits that he and the other gentlemen are already working on Season 2.
Speaking to Radio Times, Gaiman was asked about the status of “Sandman.” The writer, who is also one of the producers of the Starz fantasy-drama American Gods, said that Netflix is very excited about the project and actually outbid quite a few other studios for the chance to bring Sandman to its platform.
“Everybody was bidding on it and Netflix won,” Gaiman said.
For those not familiar with the comics, Sandman tells the story of Dream, aka Morpheus the Lord of Dreams, who is one of the Endless (along with Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium). The comics followed Morpheus as he has to journey through the history and mythology of the DC universe. Obviously, the superhero aspects are likely going to be toned down and Gaiman’s metaphysical and horror elements will get center stage.
As for the process of creating the series, it appears that Gaiman, Heinberg, and Goyer are still in the early stages of writing the series, but that isn’t stopping them from planning the entire first season as well as what is going to happen in Season 2.
“There are three of us, the showrunner Allan Heinberg, David Goyer and me, and we’ve just finished writing the first episode, and plotting and breaking down the first two seasons, so we’ll see what happens next,” he said.
Probably won’t see this air until at least late 2020, if not early 2021. But I can’t wait! I am SO excited!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Aaah, regrets” story, Independence Day: Resurgence was, shall we say, not well received. It was pretty bad, even for a big popcorn movie. I mean, the more I thought about it, even I can’t really say that it was “Ok for a brainless Hollywood movie”. And it turns out, I’m not alone. Even Roland Emmerich, the film’s director, has great misgivings about making it.
Speaking to Yahoo, Emmerich was asked what inspired him to take another stab at the Independence Day franchise, which not only launched the director into superstardom but also served as the breakout role for the film’s star Will Smith. Apparently, the idea of ‘Resurgence’ began simply enough, with a desire to replicate that first film’s success, but the director says that somewhere along the line, things changed and he should have bailed when he had the chance.
“I just wanted to make a movie exactly like the first, but then in the middle of production Will (Smith) opted out because he wanted to do ‘Suicide Squad,’” explained Emmerich. “I should have stopped making the movie because we had a much better script, then I had to really fast, cobble another script together.”
He added, “I should have just said no because all of a sudden I was making something I criticized myself: a sequel.”
As mentioned above, the feeling of regret not only affected Emmerich but also those who spent money to watch the film in theaters. The film made just shy of $390 million worldwide, which isn’t a terrible number, per se, but when you compare it to the $817 million that the first film grossed more than two decades prior, you can see why everyone was disappointed with the sequel’s box office.
Let’s not do a third one, ‘K?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Sandra Bullock: after prison” story, Sandra Bullock is back in business with Netflix. The actress will star in an untitled drama about life after prison from director Nora Fingscheidt and producer Graham King.
Fingscheidt will direct from a script by “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” helmer Christopher McQuarrie. King will produce for GK Films alongside Bullock through her Fortis Films as well as Veronica Ferres for Construction Film.
Bullock’s character is released from prison after serving time for a violent crime and re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past. Facing severe judgment from her former friends and peers, her only hope for redemption is finding the estranged younger sister she was forced to leave behind.
The film marks the second collaboration between Bullock and Netflix following the hugely successful thriller Bird Box. Nan Morales, Nicola Shindler, Sally Wainwright and Colin Vaines will exec produce the pic.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Wait- this is a comedy?” story, Zac Efron is attached to star in comedy King Of The Jungle.
Pic comes from Crazy, Stupid, Love and I Love You Phillip Morris filmmakers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who are directing from a screenplay by Golden Globe and Emmy-winning writing pair Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (American Crime Story).
The project is based on an article by Joshua Davis published in Condé Nast’s Wired magazine about the wild true story of rogue tech magnate John McAfee, creator of the McAfee Antivirus software, who cashed-in his fortune, left civilization and moved to the jungle in Belize. There, he set up a Colonel Kurtz-like compound of guns, sex and madness.
In the film, Wired journalist Ari Furman (Efron) accepts what he thinks is a run-of-the-mill assignment to interview McAfee, but once he arrives in Belize, he finds himself pulled into McAfee’s escalating paranoia, slippery reality and murder.
Charlie Gogolak will produce King Of The Jungle with Condé Nast Entertainment, Ficarra and Requa’s Zaftig Films, MadRiver Pictures and Epic Entertainment.
STX Films remains in talks for domestic rights and I understand that deal is not yet complete. MadRiver International will continue sales at the AFM this week.
Seth Rogen and Michael Keaton were previously set to star as Furman and McAfee respectively but the project has moved on and new casting is currently underway for the role of McAfee, with start of principal photography slated for early 2020.
This somehow doesn’t sound like comedy source material to me, but hey, what do I know?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Animated piano” story, Production, finance and sales company Film Constellation has come on board to finance musical animation film They Shot the Piano Player, directed by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, Oscar-nominated for their 2012 animation Chico & Rita.
Jeff Goldblum is attached to voice the lead character, a New York music journalist on a quest to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of young Brazilian piano virtuoso Tenorio JR.
Film Constellation describes the film as “a celebratory origin story” of the Bossa Nova movement that “captures a fleeting time bursting with creative freedom at a turning point in Latin American history in the 60s and 70s, just before the continent was engulfed by totalitarian regimes.”
The pic features a who’s who of the best of Brazilian music, including João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Vinicius de Moraes and Paulo Moura.
Trueba, whose credits include music films Calle 54, Bebo Y Cigala and The Miracle of Candeal, and the Oscar-winning Belle Epoque, is teaming up with illustrator Javier Mariscal, best known for his drawings that have adorned the covers of the New Yorker magazine and Louis Vuitton’s Travel Book Collection.
This sounds like it will be beautiful.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Of all the dumb names…” story, Scott Eastwood has joined Jason Statham in Guy Ritchie’s Cash Truck, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The armored truck heist movie from Miramax is an English-language remake of the 2004 French thriller Le Convoyeur, which featured Jean Dujardin (The Artist).
Eastwood, who starred in 2018’s Pacific Rim: Uprising alongside John Boyega, will appear in Cash Truck opposite Statham, who plays a mysterious worker at a cash truck company that moves hundred of millions of dollars around Los Angeles each week.
Miramax CEO Bill Block and Ivan Atkinson will produce the film.
“Cash Truck“. Really? That’s all you could come up with?
IN THIS WEEK’S “My Darling Clementine” story, Jessica Chastain will star in the comedy-drama Losing Clementine from award-winning Argentine filmmaker Lucia Puenzo.
“Better Call Saul” scribe Ann Cherkis is penning the script.
Losing Clementine is adapted from Ashley Ream’s acclaimed novel of the same name. Sentient’s Renee Tab acquired the book last year, during which time she developed the script, packaged the project and raised the financing. Tab will produce with her partner Christopher Tuffin alongside Freckle Films’ Chastain and Kelly Carmichael. Miller Way’s Michael and Jeeny Miller will executive produce alongside Sentient’s Jake Martin and Maryam Lieberman, and Cherkis.
The story follows world-renowned artist Clementine Pritchard (Chastain) who, after flushing away her meds, gives herself 31 days to tie up loose ends before killing herself. While checking off her bucket list, she uncovers secrets about her family and the tragedy that befell her mother and sister.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Beasts continue, fantastic or not” story, After delaying production on Fantastic Beasts 3 for several months, Warner Bros. announced filming for the third chapter in the Harry Potter spinoff series will commence in spring of 2020 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Production was expected to start earlier this year but was pushed back after 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald fell short of expectations, ending its box office run with $650 million worldwide. Fantastic Beasts is intended to be a five-film franchise, but the fact that the series is already starting to show signs of fatigue just two movies in has become potential cause for concern. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them became a hit in 2016, earning over $800 million at the worldwide box office.
The disappointing ticket sales for The Crimes of Grindelwald led to speculation that the studio was talking time to revamp the franchise before moving forward with another costly iteration. Warner Bros. spent nearly $400 million combined to produce the first two tentpoles. The still-untitled threequel is slated to hit theaters in November 2021, roughly five years after the first film and three years after its sequel.
Harry Potter veteran David Yates is returning to direct the third movie. Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander in the series that is set decades before the adventures of everyone’s favorite bespectacled boy wizard. J.K. Rowling, the literary doyenne behind the Harry Potter Wizarding Universe, wrote both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Steve Kloves, who penned seven of the eight Harry Potter movies, is co-writing the third Fantastic Beasts film with Rowling.
The news about the third film’s production start was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Why wait?” story, It looks like Legendary and Warner Bros. are quietly lining up a sequel to Denis Villeneuve‘s forthcoming Dune adaptation. The news was an integral part of the announcement that Jon Spaihts had been removed as showrunner of HBO Max/Dune spinoff Dune: Sisterhood and moved over to the sequel as the screenwriter.
If The Hollywood Reporter‘s write-up is anything to go by (and I certainly think it is), there seemed to be some friction between Spaihts and Legendary TV, specifically, over the former showrunner’s vision for Sisterhood.
Following the spinoff series’ announcement in June, Spaihts had turned in a first draft and outline of the show, which would focus on a group of female characters known as the Bene Gesserit from the world of Dune created by science fiction author Frank Herbert. Apparently, Legendary TV didn’t see eye-to-eye with Spaihts on the direction of Sisterhood, option to remove him and send him back over to the unofficially announced and unscheduled Dune sequel. A new showrunner search is reportedly still underway. Spaihts will maintain his role as an executive producer on Sisterhood.
Spaihts worked with Villeneuve on the screenplay for the new Dune adaptation, which stars Timothée Chalamet as the protagonist Paul Atreides.
No time like the present.
Dune is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on December 18, 2020.
IN THIS WEEK’S “This cast is full of assets” story, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson and Maggie Q will star in The Asset, an independent action-thriller announced on the eve of the American Film Market.
Veteran director Martin Campbell, whose credits include Casino Royale, is on board to direct from a Richard Wenk script about two of the world’s top assassins for hire. When Jackson’s character, a mentor to Maggie Q’s character, is murdered, the assassins journey to Vietnam to track down his killer.
IN THIS WEEK’S “That’s a strange Alfred…” story, Andy Serkis is in talks to play Alfred Pennyworth in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, an individual with knowledge of the project exclusively told TheWrap.
Serkis would join the cast which includes Zoe Kravitz who has been cast as Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman and Paul Dano who has been cast as Edward Nashton, also known as the Riddler.
I’m not sure Serkis is old enough in my opinion.
IN RELATED, ADDITONALLY CONFUSING, NEWS: Colin Farrell is currently in negotiations with Warner Bros. to play The Penguin in director Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman. If the deal goes through, Farrell will round out the cast of villains alongside Paul Dano as the Riddler and Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman.
Ok, not that Farrell isn’t a great actor, because he IS, but this is surely one of the most unimaginable castings I’ve heard in a while. But hey, maybe he’ll transform himself in some way.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The Unstoppable Rock” story, Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks Productions have partnered with 101 Studios, A Really Good Home Pictures, Coonskin Cap Productions and Gary Lewis to produce Unstoppable, the true-life story of sports hero Anthony Robles.
“Our entire Seven Bucks team is passionate about sharing stories that inspire and resonate on a global scale. We’ve had an eye on Anthony’s story for a long time and have been deeply moved by his perseverance that proves nothing is impossible. The powerful themes of redemption and tackling life’s obstacles are very familiar to us, we are excited to bring this triumphant underdog story to life,” said Johnson and Garcia, co-founders of Seven Bucks Productions.
The pic follows Robles, who despite being born with only one leg to a single-parent family on the wrong side of the tracks, overcame every obstacle to become an undefeated collegiate wrestling star, three-time All-American, 2011 NCAA National Champion, two-time ESPY Award winner and a National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee.
The pic will be produced by Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia for Seven Bucks Productions, Andy Fraser for A Really Good Home Pictures, David Crockett for Coonskin Cap Productions, and Gary Lewis. The film will be executive produced by Bob Yari.
Penned by John Hindman, the script for the new film is based on Robles’ memoir (written with Austin Murphy), “Unstoppable: From Underdog to Undefeated: How I Became a Champion,” published in 2012 by Penguin imprint Gotham Books.
IN THIS WEEK’S “To play Falwell” story, Full Metal Jacket and Law & Order: Criminal Intent actor Vincent D’Onofrio will play American Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and conservative activist Jerry Falwell in Fox Searchlight’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye about the rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Bakker.
As production starts today in Charlotte, North Carolina, Searchlight also announced that D’Onofrio joining the cast in addition to Gabriel Olds (Surrogates) as televangelist, media mogul and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson, Mark Wystrach (Johnny Christ) as American actor and country music singer Gary Paxton.
They join previously announced cast Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker, Jessica Chastain (who is also producing) in the title role, Sam Jaeger as Roe Messner and Chandler Head as Little Tammy Faye, Cherry Jones as Tammy Faye’s mother Rachel, and Fredric Lehne as Tammy Faye’s step-father Fred,
Pic is based on Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s 2000 documentary of the same name. Pic is written by Abe Sylvia (Dead to Me, Dirty Girl) and directed by Michael Showalter (The Big Sick).
Well, I love the Vincent D’Onofrio, so we’ll see how surreal this will be.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The sky is falling” story, Filmmaker Adam McKay has come a long way from directing films like Anchorman and Step Brothers. they fun, sure, but his style has definitely grown since then. Films like The Big Short and Vice are certainly examples of that.
According to a new interview with Deadline, McKay said his next film is expected to be Don’t Look Up. The film, which is set to be his first as part of a new first-look deal with Paramount, is still in the early stages of development, but the filmmaker is working on the first draft of the script now.
McKay described the project as a “dark satire in the school of ‘Wag the Dog,’ ‘Doctor Strangelove,’ and ‘Network‘ and if it is half as good as any of them, I will be happy. Two mid-level astronomers discover a meteorite will destroy earth in six months and must go on a media tour to warn mankind.”
IN THIS WEEK’S “Rebel Rebel” story, According to Variety, John Boyega has been signed on to star in the upcoming thriller Rebel Ridge, which will be written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier. There are no real details given for the film, but as per typical Saulnier fashion, Rebel Ridge is being described as a film with “bone-breaking action sequences, suspense, and dark humor.” The report claims that the plot will explore systemic injustices in America.
Previous to last year’s Hold the Dark, which was pretty well-received by fans and critics, Saulnier wowed audiences with films such as Green Room and Blue Ruin. Each of those films featured some of the most violent, grisly action scenes combined with a biting sense of humor. Needless to say, if he’s going back towards the style shown in those films, Rebel Ridge could be something really special.
There’s no word on when Rebel Ridge might go into production or if there’s an anticipated release date.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Mel keeps working” story, Mel Gibson and Frank Grillo already teamed up with The A-Team director Joe Carnahan for a sci-fi action thriller called Boss Level. You haven’t seen that movie yet because it’s still in post-production, but apparently the experience for all of them was a positive one, because they’re getting back together for another movie.
Leo from Toledo will have Mel Gibson and Frank Grillo back in front of the camera for a fairly typical action thriller premise that will have Joe Carnahan returning to direct.
The Wrap has news of Leo from Toledo coming together with Joe Carnahan and Frank Grillo producing through their WarParty Films production banner. Lawrence Grey is also on board as a producer from his Grey Matter Productions, which will also have Ben Everard executive producing along with Noah Rosen.
Leo from Toledo follows former killer for the Kansas City mob who has left his dangerous job behind and is now hiding in witness protection. But this killer has trouble remembering simple things, though he does remember some of the more unsavory details of his past. The only problem is there are people looking for him who want to know the things he’s forgotten, and that’s going to make it rather hard for him to enjoy the things that really matter to him: an estranged daughter and granddaughter.
It’s not clear if Mel Gibson or Frank Grillo is playing the lead, but the role works for either one of them.
It’s kinda frustrating that Mel Gibson keeps working but the industry doesn’t care.
Aaaand, IN THIS WEEK’S “Bring it, Dog” story, Actor and handsome man Channing Tatum is about to move into directing with Dog, a road-trip comedy that he’ll co-helm with Reid Carolin. Tatum will also star in the film, which is about an Army Ranger on a road trip (with his dog) to attend a funeral.
Deadline has the scoop on Channing Tatum’s directorial debut Dog. Tatum will co-direct with longtime collaborator Reid Carolin, with a script by Tatum, Carolin, and Brett Rodriguez. Here’s the synopsis:
“Tatum will play Army Ranger Briggs who, alongside his companion Lulu, a Belgian Malinois, haul ass down the Pacific Coast in time to catch their best friend’s – and handler’s – funeral.
One of them has a week to live, the other lives like every day is his last. Together, they’ll drive each other insane, break a small handful of laws, narrowly evade death at the hands of some overly aggressive pot farmers, confront the possibility that pet psychics are real, teach each other how to love again, and give each other a chance for new life.”
“Belgian Malinois—or “Mals,” as their fans call them—are driven and extremely intelligent. They have become the preferred dog for military service and law enforcement. Some serve as bomb-sniffers in Iraq and Afghanistan; and one is rumored to have accompanied the Navy Seals who assassinated Osama bin Laden. They take their name from the town that first bred them: Maline, Belgium.”
“This large and high-energy breed can grow to between 40-80 pounds and lives an average of 14-16 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Herding group.”
Wow, that’s a LOT of information about the dog breed.
Principal photography on Dog (which needs a better title) is set to begin either spring or summer of 2020.
Well, that’s another big week of news right there.