Oh, it’s December already…
IN THIS WEEK’S “The Doctor returns” story, Happy (early) Who Year, Whovians! BBC America has set the premiere date for Season 12 of Doctor Who, with the series set to make its triumphant return on New Year’s Day, 2020, the cable channel revealed Monday.
The new Jodie Whittaker-led season will premiere Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 8/7c with an episode featuring a new time-traveling adventure for The Doctor (Whittaker) and her friends Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yasmin (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh). Here’s the official description: Starting with a blockbuster, action-packed two-part episode entitled Spyfall, the Thirteenth Doctor is well and truly back with a bang.
The remaining Season 12 episodes will air weekly on Sundays at 8/7c, beginning Jan. 5.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Want a Spawn movie? McFarlane doesn’t care!” story, Will the world ever get a new film based on the hit comic book series Spawn? That’s the question that many comic book fans find themselves asking after each bit of news surrounding the potential reboot.
Really? Those fans haven’t given up on that yet?
But according to a new interview with Todd McFarlane, the creator of Spawn and the supposed writer-director of the upcoming reboot, not only is the film coming, but we should know more about the project very soon.
McFarlane updated the status on Spawn when talking recently to the folks over at Be Terrific. He said the film’s script is currently being reviewed by another writer-director, who will turn it in in a few weeks. At that point, he says they will further revise and polish and then present to studios. From there, the Spawn creator says it’s going to go one of two ways.
“Here’s what I can tell you,” McFarlane said. “I have people with money on the sidelines. There are people that are gonna help me make this movie. The question is, do we go into Hollywood, make a deal with Hollywood, and then go and make the production, and then come back? Or do I take the outside money, go make it, and then come back to Hollywood?”
He continued, “Either way, the movie’s coming. It’s not an ‘if,’ it’s a ‘when.’ I just think that it would be better for the process if we could attach one of the studios in advance, and then go put it out. Because then we’d be able to make an announcement of the release date, and a couple things that matter to the fans, knowing that it’s coming instead of making it and then trying to get the release date later.”
Yeah, that’s the usual way of things, Todd. But hey, go for it.
At one point, Spawn was supposed to have Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Renner attached to star, with Blumhouse footing the bill. However, it seems as if that deal is no longer in play and McFarlane is starting from scratch with studios.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Remaking Babette” story, From an outsider’s perspective, 2019 has been a bit of a wild ride for Alexander Payne. Even though the filmmaker hasn’t released a new film since 2017’s Downsizing, this past year has seen Payne attached to a total of three films, including the most recent announcement, a remake of the 1988 film Babette’s Feast.
According to Deadline, Payne has agreed to direct a remake of Babette’s Feast, which will be scripted by Guy Branum. The film follows a similar plot as the original film, which finds two older, unmarried sisters in a small religious community in Minnesota that accept a refugee, who makes the two women confront regrets over an extravagant meal.
As mentioned, this isn’t the first project that Payne has found himself in development in 2019. Earlier this year, it seemed as if he was full-steam ahead on a film titled The Menu, which was going to star Emma Stone and Ralph Fiennes. Then when that stalled, the filmmaker moved onto a film with Mads Mikkelsen, which was set up with Netflix. However, right as the film was going to begin production, the rights were taken away and the production fell apart. Now, Payne finds himself with a new production company, Unique Features, and a brand-new film project. Let’s hope that Babette’s Feast actually gets produced.
Payne is an accomplished filmmaker that has been nominated for six Academy Awards, taking home two trophies for Best Screenplay for films The Descendants and Sideways. His previous film, Downsizing, wasn’t the awards powerhouse that many thought it might be, so film fans have been anxiously awaiting what Payne has in store for them next.
There’s no release date for Babette’s Feast, but you can watch a trailer for the original film below.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Second coming?” story, How would the world react if a modern-day Jesus figure emerged in the era of social media? That’s the basic gist of Messiah, a new Netflix series that stars Michelle Monaghan (Eagle Eye) as a CIA officer investigating the rise of a controversial figure (Mehdi Dehbi) who may be scamming thousands into following him – or he may be the real deal.
This one’s been in the works for a couple of years now. Behind the scenes, it’s produced by Mark Burnett, who has credits like The Bible, A.D. The Bible Continues, and – ugh – The Apprentice to his name. But on the other hand, it was created by Michael Petroni, who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Book Thief, and it’s being directed by James McTeigue, who directed V for Vendetta (which I really enjoyed). So I’m conflicted on this one.
Or not. who knows, it’s a Netflix series so they’re usually good, but not always.
IN THIS WEEK’S “IN MEMORIUM” story, Dorothy Catherine “D.C.” Fontana, the first female writer for Star Trek who penned a number of classic episodes, has died Monday evening following a short illness, according to the science fiction property’s official site. She was 80.
A trailblazer for female writers in sci-fi television, Fontana crafted numerous stories for the original Star Trek TV series, including 1967’s Journey to Babel, which introduced Spock’s father Sarek and mother Amanda. The episode was credited with allowing audiences to see Star Trek’s characters as more than just their jobs but as actual people.
Fontana also went on to work on the animated series, and she penned the classic 1973 episode Yesteryear, in which Spock travels back in time to rescue a younger version of himself.
In 1987, Fontana helped launch a new era of Star Trek when she co-wrote Encounter at Farpoint, the two-part pilot for Star Trek: The Next Generation, which introduced the world to Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard and earned a Hugo nomination, which she shared with co-writer and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
“She was a pioneer. Her work will continue to influence for generations to come,” William Shatner said Tuesday via Twitter.
Fontana wrote under the name “D.C.” to help prevent discrimination based on her gender when submitting pitches around Hollywood. She already was a working writer who had sold a few scripts when she first met Roddenberry, who at the time was overseeing the NBC military series The Lieutenant. In 1963, Fontana was working as a production secretary to one of the producers of The Lieutenant, and she ended up reporting directly to Roddenberry when his secretary was hospitalized for two months.
She is survived by her husband, Oscar-winning visual effects artist Dennis Skotak.
IN THIS WEEK’S “When I was your age…” story, Will Packer Productions has teamed with Focus Features to develop a female-driven thriller When I Was You, Variety has learned exclusively.
Based on a novel by Amber Garza, When I Was You centers on a woman named Kelly Medina who becomes obsessed with another Kelly Medina — a single mother half her age who lives in her same town, has a baby boy, and has her whole life ahead of her. When they become friends, she finds a renewed sense of purpose taking care of the young woman and her baby.
“Amber Garza writes edgy and tense psychological thrillers that keep her readers on the edge of their seats,” Packer said. “We’re excited about collaborating with Focus Features on material this good.”
Production, casting and further plot details on “When I Was You” have yet to be announced.
Will Packer and James Lopez will produce the movie under Will Packer Productions. The studio’s feature films have earned more than $1 billion from a slate that includes Girls Trip, Night School, What Men Want, Little, and Think Like a Man.
IN THIS WEEK’S “There’s a surprise” story, M. Night Shymalan’s next three films are going to be “weird and dark”. Shocker.
Hot off the heels of his new Apple TV+ horror series Servant, Shyamalan is already mapping out his return to movies with three new ideas that could be a return to the “minimal, contained” approach of The Visit. In an interview with Collider, Shyamalan spoke about two movies ideas that he already feels “very strongly about,” and a third thing that “might end up going in between these two”:
“For me, there are ideas and they’re in journals sometimes and they don’t quite have the meat yet or whatever that thing is that makes it so I’m ready to commit two years of my life to making this—to writing and directing this—some of those ideas don’t have that yet. They have to gestate a little bit. But there were two ideas where right away I was thinking about making them. And, interesting enough, there might be a third thing that came to me that might end up going in between these two. So there might be three.”
Shyamalan has already set two films for 2021 and 2023 under Universal, though this prospect of a third film is new. The aforementioned two films are described as “thrillers,” though no further details have been shared. Shyamalan for now is teasing his next movies as “weird and dark,” which sounds about right. He elaborated to Collider that he hopes these new thrillers will be a return to the more grounded vision of his 2015 hit The Visit with some “dark humor” and “big tonal risks”:
“I’m loving this approach from The Visit on where they’re minimal, contained, I own them, we take big tonal risks and try to hit that note of absurd-but-grounded, that dark humor moment and deal with some complicated things and not necessarily take the audience where they’re comfortable, both during or even at the end. That’s all mitigated because we’re working with a respectable number and I feel like I’m being a good partner to my distributors. I like that because it allows me to iterate really fast in the making of these stories, so those films follow that architecture of approach and process. Even if it’s tricking myself into being more dangerous, it’s working because when I think about these three films that I’m thinking about—all weird and dark—I think that they speak to each other a little bit.”
Whatever, M. Night.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The Force amped” story, In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, director J.J. Abrams revealed that he added some new space magic tricks to the mix for the last film in the Skywalker saga. “It was really important that we not just redo the things you’ve seen, but add new elements—which we knew will infuriate some people and thrill others,” he said. “Among those things are not just new ways of doing sort of traditional, must-have sequences, whether it’s chases or lightsaber battles, or what have you. We wanted to make sure that this picture also showed aspects of the Force in ways that go beyond what you’ve seen before.”
More Force powers!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Honey, I shrunk the creative pool” story, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids director Joe Johnston is in negotiations to helm Disney’s upcoming reboot of the film franchise, Shrunk, with Josh Gad in talks to star.
Gad pitched the story idea to Disney earlier this year, and the studio jumped on board the idea of reviving the classic 1989 pic starring Rick Moranis. Shrunk will mark the third sequel following the original film, with Honey, I Blew Up the Kid and direct-to-video Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves bowing in 1992 and 1997, respectively. Johnston was not involved with either film.
The studio met with other directors but felt bringing Johnston back was a perfect fit for all involved. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are producing through their Mandeville Films and Television banner, with Todd Rosenberg penning the script.
In the original film, Moranis plays Wayne Szalinski, a scientist and father who accidentally shrinks his teenage son and daughter, along with the two brothers from next door, to just a quarter of an inch in size. When they are thrown out with the trash, the four kids must travel through their backyard to return home while fending off insects, lawnmowers and other obstacles.
In this version, Gad will play Wayne’s grown-up son, who follows in his father’s footsteps by not only becoming a scientist, but also accidentally shrinking his children.
The studio had flirted with the idea of debuting the film on Disney Plus, but Rosenberg’s recent draft elicited enthusiasm from execs. Now, the plan is to release the film theatrically. Sources also add development is still in early stages and a greenlight has not yet been given.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Fiennes is doing it” story, Jessica Chastain is in negotiations to star alongside Ralph Fiennes and Caleb Landry Jones in The Forgiven, an adaptation of the novel by Lawrence Osborne, Variety has learned.
John Michael McDonagh will be directing the film, which deals with the impact of a tragic accident on the lives of an English couple attending a lavish weekend party at a luxurious desert villa in Morocco. Saïd Taghmaoui and Mark Strong complete the cast.
Chastain is in talks to star in the film as Fiennes’ wife, sources say. The two previously starred together in Coriolanus in 2011.
Production is slated to begin early next year in Morocco. Elizabeth Eves will produce alongside McDonagh through their production company, House of Un-American Activities. CAA, which arranged financing, is representing the U.S. rights, while IMR International is handling foreign rights. Karim Debbagh’s Tangier-based Kasbah Films has been tapped as line producer on The Forgiven.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Not too be confused with the internet” story, The network has issued a put pilot commitment to Florida Man, which hails from Neighbors and Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nick Stoller, and Bones producer Carla Kettner.
Florida Man centers around the loquacious, eccentric Bell Prescott, who hasn’t left the rambling property on the Apachicola River that he shares with his mother since a personal tragedy occurred five years ago. When Bell discovers a dead body, he’s forced to venture beyond his agoraphobic boundaries and grudgingly partner with the sole remaining cop in town, the practical, brutally direct Cammie Jessop, to solve the murder. With local infrastructure decimated, Bell grudgingly becomes the town’s volunteer criminologist, investigating murders with Cammie as he secretly tries to solve the crime that destroyed his life.
The prospective show is being made by Sony Pictures Television and Fox Entertainment. Stoller signed a three-year overall deal with SPTV via Stoller Global Solutions production banner back in Dec. 2017. Conor Welch, a former vice president of comedy development and programming at Fox, was brought on at the time as a TV exec and producing partner. Welch is set as a non-writing exec producer on “Florida Man.” Stoller Global Solutions is repped by UTA.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Ooooo, it’s a mystery…” story, English actor Stephen Graham, who co-stars alongside Tom Hardy in the FX series Taboo, is in talks to join Hardy once again in Venom 2, Collider has confirmed.
Andy Serkis is directing the Sony sequel, which is bringing back Michelle Williams and Woody Harrelson, and welcoming Oscar-nominated actress Naomie Harris. Meanwhile, Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach and Amy Pascal are returning to produce the comic book movie along with Hutch Parker. Sony had no comment regarding the casting news.
Graham is one of the best character actors working today, and you can currently watch him go toe-to-toe with Al Pacino‘s Jimmy Hoffa in The Irishman, in which he plays scene-stealing labor organizer Anthony ‘Tony Pro’ Provenzano. The award-winning Netflix movie marks the third time that Graham has worked with Martin Scorsese, as he also appeared in Gangs of New York prior to playing Al Capone on Boardwalk Empire.
Aaaand IN THIS WEEK’S “Soooo….we SHOULD’NT see this?” story, If you’ve ever watched a Michael Bay-directed film, you know the filmmaker has a, uuh, very unique style. And by that, we mean that he emphasizes style at the expense of just about everything else. Whether it’s flashy cars, pretty people, explosions, or oversaturated colors, there are plenty of hallmarks to a Bay film. According to star Ryan Reynolds, the upcoming 6 Underground is the most Bay-iest one of them all.
Netflix is leaning into the humor of Reynolds, combined with the ridiculousness of Michael Bay films, with the new video showing the actor breaking down just how it’s been scientifically proven that “6 Underground” is the most Michael Bay film that has ever existed. As you might expect, Reynolds brings the laughs and does so at the expense of his director’s reputation.
Joining Reynolds in the cast are Mélanie Laurent (Now You See Me), Dave Franco (Neighbors), Ben Hardy (Bohemian Rhapsody), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (The Magnificent Seven), and Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton).
6 Underground arrives on Netflix on December 13.
Here’s the synopsis:
“What’s the best part of being dead?
It isn’t escaping your boss, your ex, or even erasing your criminal record.
The best part about being dead…is the freedom.
The freedom to fight the injustice and evil that lurk in our world without anyone or anything to slow you down or tell you “no.”
6 Underground introduces a new kind of action hero. Six individuals from all around the globe, each the very best at what they do, have been chosen not only for their skill, but for a unique desire to delete their pasts to change the future. The team is brought together by an enigmatic leader (Ryan Reynolds), whose sole mission in life is to ensure that, while he and his fellow operatives will never be remembered, their actions damn sure will.”
Oh boy. The question I’m asking is whether Ryan Reynolds’ snarky humor can save this film. Frankly, if anyone could save this, Ryan Reynolds.
Off we go into the holidays! And it’s been fun looking into all these happenings in film. Cheers!