Oh, December. It’s the holidays! Let’s see if the film news is merry! There certainly is a TON of it this week!
IN THIS WEEK’s “Not a French musical” story, Wes Anderson is finally put the finishing touches on pre-production for his latest film, his tenth overall.
According to IndieWire, the filmmaker recently began production on The French Dispatch. The film is described as a “love letter to journalists” and is set at an American newspaper outpost in Paris. ‘Dispatch’ follows three separate storylines, and combined with previous reports, should take place over multiple time-periods from the 1950s to present day, with rumors that the middle storyline could take place in the 1970s, which makes sense.
But the setting and title aren’t all we know now. Joining the already-announced cast of Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton are Frances McDormand and Wes Anderson newbies Benicio Del Toro, Jeffrey Wright, and Timothée Chalamet. Sadly, there’s still no confirmation on the big rumored players like Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, and Léa Seydoux.
With the film currently in production, and likely not going to finish until well into 2019, it appears that Anderson is lining up The French Dispatch for a spring 2020 debut, appropriately at the Cannes Film Festival.
UPDATE: Turns out, Brad Pitt will not be in the film. However, Léa Seydoux, who has been another actor that is rumored to be part of the cast, has been confirmed as starring in The French Dispatch. The French star has been a recent addition to Wes Anderson’s acting troupe, but as he does with most of his core group, the director has decided to bring Seydoux back into the fold for the film.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Not another Taken” story, Bleecker Street has acquired US rights from Bankside Films to Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn’s drama Normal People starring Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson.
The third feature from the directing duo behind Good Vibrations and Cherrybomb centers on an everyday couple who must summon their strength and call on their extraordinary love to navigate a year of adversity.
Owen McCafferty wrote the screenplay, and producers are Brian J. Falconer, David Holmes and Piers Tempest. Natascha Wharton served as executive producer for the BFI, alongside Stephen Kelliher for Bankside Films, Jo Bamford for Tempo Productions, Phil Hunt and Compton Ross for Head Gear Films/Metrol Technology, and Mark Huffam.
The film shot on location in Northern Ireland and is currently in post-production. Bleecker Street will distribute theatrically in 2019.
“This is such a beautiful story of love and commitment as portrayed between two of the world’s most talented actors,” said Bleecker Street CEO Andrew Karpen. “It’s magical to watch as they find strength and an ever-deepening connection.”
Neeson seams to be getting back to drama and such. I guess he’s making good on that statement about being done with the action films.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Marvel’s martial arts” story, Kevin Feige and his team are reportedly developing a Shang-Chi movie, which is centered on the martial arts master first created in the comics in the 1970s. The film will feature the studio’s first Asian protagonist.
According to Deadline, Marvel Studios has hired Chinese American screenwriter Dave Callaham to write the script for a Shang-Chi movie, which is based on the character of the same name. The character is a “Master of Kung Fu” who is quick enough to dodge bullets, and he eventually gains the power to create an infinite number of duplicates of himself. The early comics envisioned him as the son of Chinese supervillain Fu Manchu, a character Marvel acquired from an outside novelist but have since lost the rights to – it seems unlikely Fu Manchu will factor into this movie, although Shang-Chi’s father could still be a primary antagonist.
Jim Starlin and Steve Englehart created Shang-Chi in the early 1970s, around the time when Enter The Dragon took the world by storm, and this movie “will modernize the hero to avoid stereotypes that many comic characters of that era were saddled with.” Marvel managed to avoid those stereotypes in Iron Man 3 with Ben Kingsley’s interpretation of The Mandarin, but the studio encountered some blowback for hiring Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange a few years later. (And the less said about Iron Fist, the better.)
Marvel Studios is searching for an Asian American director (or one of Asian descent) to tackle this movie in the hopes of following in Black Panther‘s footsteps: to “introduce a new hero who blends Asian and Asian American themes, crafted by Asian and Asian American filmmakers.” Callaham has writing credits on The Expendables, Godzilla, and Zombieland 2, but he’s also written for cinematic superheroes: he’s on Wonder Woman 1984 and he’s been hired to write the script for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Bond 25 info” story, Netflix series Maniac Director Cary Fukunaga is on board to direct the next James Bond film. Notale indeed, as he is the first American to helm a James Bond film.
So, what can fans expect from ‘Bond 25?’ As you might imagine, Fukunaga is mum on the details, but he does explain that his focus right now is just on making the best film possible. He said, “Now that I have the job, I just keep my head down and try to figure out how to make this as good as possible.
“In terms of what I can bring to change the character, Bond is on a character arc that started with Casino Royale, and I will be carrying that on,” Fukunaga adds. “There will be changes, I am sure. As in any story, a character has to change in order [to have] a narrative.”
However, those changes aren’t necessarily in line with some of the rumors floating around the ‘Bond’ fandom. Some are speculating that Christoph Waltz and Ben Whishaw, actors featured prominently in past Daniel Craig-led films, will not be returning for Fukunaga’s Bond 25.
“Who is saying those rumors? We haven’t finished the screenplay, so there is no way that anyone could know that. Those are two extraordinary actors, so if there is space for them in the story, I would absolutely want them there. But I don’t know yet what it’s going to be,” he said.
Well, more details about ‘Bond 25’ should be forthcoming, as the script should be finished soon. That is, if the director wants to avoid any more delays and release Bond 25 on its newly-scheduled release date of February 14, 2020.
Well, at least they got a director.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Fangoria Presents?” story, Laura Moss and Brendan J. O’Brien have been commissioned to write the screenplay for the film adaptation to Our Lady Of The Inferno, the 1980s Times Square set horror book by journalist Preston Fassel. The book was released earlier this year as the first novel under Fangoria’s Fangoria Presents imprint. Moss and O’Brien will work on the script in collaboration with Fassel, who will serve as an executive producer along with Phil Nobile Jr. Dallas Sonnier (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl In Cell Block 99) and Amanda Presmyk will produce.
Taking place over the course of nine days, the book tells the intersecting stories of two deadly women: Ginny Kurva, a 21-year-old polymath who works as a madam to a stable of working girls, and Nicolette Aster, a city safety inspector who moonlights as a serial killer, kidnapping women at night to hunt and murder them in a labyrinth she created in the Staten Island landfill.
Moss and O’Brien, both repped by UTA, are currently in development on After Birth, which is also set up at Fangoria with Moss directing. Their short film, Allen Anders, premiered at this year’s SXSW fest. Moss is also attached to direct supernatural horror film Hide Your Eyes.
Fangoria, which was acquired by Texas-based production company Cinestate, recently wrapped production on Satanic Panic, directed by Chelsea Stardust and starring Rebecca Romijn.
Well, I guess that was just a matter of time. Fangoria has a good rep though, so maybe we’ll get some solid horror productions from them.
IN THIS WEEK’S “What does John Water think?” story, If you’re a John Waters fan, and really, who isn’t, you may be interested in what he thought the best films of 2018 were. and certainly if you know anything about John Waters, he won’t be picking A-list films. But, he likes the smaller, lesser known stuff. Here’s his list for 2018:
1. Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (Bruno Dumont)
2. American Animals (Bart Layton)
3. Nico, 1988 (Susanna Nicchiarelli)
4. Mom and Dad (Brian Taylor)
5. Blindspotting (Carlos Lopez Estrada)
6. The Green Fog (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, and Galen Johnson)
7. Custody (Xavier Legrand)
8. Soller’s Point (Matthew Porterfield)
9. Let it Fall: Los Angeles 1982 – 1992 (John Ridley)
10. Permanent Green Light (Dennis Cooper, Zac Farley)
Now get out there and watch those films! 🙂
IN THIS WEEK’S “Brie and Kaufman” story, Brie Larson is joining the cast of Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things.
Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is set to adapt the book I’m Thinking of Ending Things for Netflix. Based on Iain Reid’s novel, the story “centers on Jake, who is on a road trip to meet his parents on their secluded farm with his girlfriend, who 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.” Now Deadline reports that Brie Larson is set to play the girlfriend.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Dead, dead, and dead” story, As you might recall, a Tales from the Crypt reboot from fright-master M. Night Shyamalan was announced back in 2016…and then never materialized. The project was eventually put on hold, and then killed off entirely. Now, a few years later, Shyamalan is ready to dig up the reboot’s corpse and explain the cause of death.
Back in 2017, TNT president Kevin Reilly announced that the network’s planned Tales From the Crypt reboot with M. Night Shyamalan was dead. “That one got really caught up in a complete legal mess unfortunately with a very complicated underlying rights structure,” Reilly said. “We lost so much time, so I said, “Look, I’m not waiting around four years for this thing.’”
Now, M. Night Shyamalan himself is shedding more light on the failed reboot. Speaking with Digital Spy, Shyamalan confirmed that it was indeed a legal nightmare to spring Tales from the Crypt from its moldy coffin:
“We tried everything that we could. That was so mired in people that had rights to it, constantly mired from the original comic books to the people that did the original show and that was a very contentious era for that show and who was involved and all the stuff that had nothing to do with me, a generation before me…I begged them, ‘Please just give me the rights, we’ll do it this way, you’re going to be really happy’. But it didn’t work out that way and here we are.”
IN THIS WEEK’S “Isn’t it already live-action?” story, Anne Hathaway is being eyed to star in Warner Bros.’ live-action Sesame Street movie and the Oscar winner is in early talks to take on the role, Collider has exclusively learned.
Jonathan Krisel, the Emmy-nominated co-creator of Portlandia, is set to direct the film, which is expected to be a musical. Shawn Levy is producing with Michael Aguilar, and Warner Bros. is co-financing the film with MGM. WB exec Jesse Ehrman will oversee the project for the studio, which developed the movie with Sesame Workshop, which holds the rights to the beloved children’s show. Levy has been working on the project since 2012, when 20th Century Fox held the rights.
Mike Rosolio penned the first draft, while Chris Galletta wrote the most recent version, according to a Variety report from September. It’s unclear what the plot of the movie is, but Hathaway is circling the role of Sally, which happens to be the name of the girl who appeared on the very first episode of the show, wherein longtime resident Gordon Robinson gives Sally a tour of Sesame Street and introduces her to Muppet characters such as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. It’s not long before fan favorites like Bert and Ernie as Cookie Monster also appear. The education series premiered in 1969 and quickly amassed millions of young fans who are now parents eager to share the show and its message with their own children.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Why so…long and tedious?” story, as we previously mentioned, the official title of the Birds of Prey movie is, Birds of Prey (and the fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Oy.
Margot Robbie confirmed while appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, that is indeed the title for Warner Bros. and DC Films’ upcoming Suicide Squad spinoff/followup. So what inspired the playful and absurdly long full title?
It’s the playfulness that’s the key, says Robbie, who explains that they wanted to offset any serious-minded expectations attached to Birds of Prey and remind everyone this is a Harley Quinn movie too. “It’s not a very serious movie, so we thought the title should reflect that,” Robbie says.“Birds of Prey makes it sound very serious and that kind of — that’s kind of like Harley adding, ‘Hey, don’t worry I’m in this too!’”
Plus, Robbie says, she just loves a long title.
That doesn’t mean you should do that, though.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Nobody else wanted to” story, Kevin Hart, who Deadline said earlier was under consideration for hosting the 91st Oscars, just confirmed on Instagram he’s got the gig.
He’s excited to do it. But a lot of people just didn’t want to do it this year. it’s a pretty thankless job, for the most part. It doesn’t really give you any great prestige. The pay is only Ok, comparatively speaking. But if you do well, people remember it.
But does the fact that it was so hard to find someone to do it say something significant?
UPDATE: Kevin Hart has withdrawn as Oscar host, drawing to a close the most bizarre Oscar debacle since a distracted accountant handed the wrong Best Picture envelope to Warren Beatty. Hart just posted his withdrawal, announcing that he ended what two days ago he called his dream job.
This followed a tumultuous day in which a litany of homophobic social media postings Hart made nearly a decade ago were dredged up and went viral. Ironically, in the post he wrote to withdraw from the Oscar hosting job, Hart finally apologized to the LGBTQ community.
Maybe if he had done that in the first place, he could have avoided all this. Now, it’s back to the drawing board for the Academy. With the Oscars only about 11 weeks away, they’re putting themselves in a tight spot.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Cruella” story, Disney is close to finding a director for Cruella, a film based on the villainous Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmations. The studio has begun talks with I, Tonya director Craig Gillespie to direct Emma Stone (The Favourite) in the title role.
Mozart in the Jungle co-creator Alex Timbers was originally set to direct the film, but had to drop out due to scheduling issues with his Broadway productions of Moulin Rouge and Beetlejuice, both of which will begin next year. Gillespie has previously worked with Disney directing Million Dollar Arm and The Finest Hours.
Cruella will see Stone in what will be an origin story for the titular villain. It is said to be set in the early 1980s with a punk vibe.
Ok, that’s…an interesting choice.
The script was first written by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) with the most recent draft having been completed by Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks). It will be produced by Andrew Gunn, Marc Platt and Kristin Burr, the latter of whom just wrapped production on the live-action Dora The Explorer film.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Look out for Holes” story, A24 and DIRECTV have acquired North American rights from Bankside Films to the supernatural horror The Hole In The Ground ahead of its world premiere in the Midnight section at Sundance next month.
Lee Cronin makes his feature directorial debut from a screenplay he co-wrote with Stephen Shields about Sarah (Seána Kerslake), who moves to the Irish countryside with her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey) and suspects something is up when he vanishes in the vicinity of a forest sinkhole and returns, seemingly unharmed, and begins to behave in a disturbing manner.
The Hole In The Ground will launch on DIRECTV and in theaters early next year. Cronin’s earlier horror short Ghost Train (2013), won numerous international festival awards.
“The Hole In The Ground is a remarkable debut film, weaving suspense, terror, and supernatural folklore into a richly evocative story about the primal fears of motherhood,” said A24.
Ok, sounds creepy and I’m interested.
IN THIS WEEK’S “News to Me” story, In an interview with Birth.Movies.Death, SpectreVision’s co-founder Josh C. Waller has announced that they are still moving forward with the film adaptation of author H.P. Lovecraft’s science fiction short story The Colour Out of Space, which will be directed by Richard Stanley (Hardware).
Now, this is AMAZING news. But apparently it’s a couple months old already. However, a new bit information has sprung up.
Turns out, at least a couple of industry sites have stated that Nicholas Cage is going to star. But when you go to the links to that story, you get ERROR 404 messages. That tells me that perhaps someone leaked a story too soon, or there is no verification for it. So, call it an unsubstantiated rumour for now, I guess?
Eitehr way, Seeing Richard Stanley back in the director’s chair for this is pretty cool. and if you’re not familiar with the H.P. Lovecraft tale, here’s a little synopsis for you:
The Colour Out of Space was written by Lovecraft in 1927. The sci-fi horror is described as follows: In the tale, an unnamed narrator pieces together the story of an area known by the locals as the “blasted heath” in the wild west of Arkham Massachusetts. The narrator discovers that many years ago a meteorite crashed there, draining the life force from anything living nearby; vegetation grows large, but tasteless, animals are driven mad and deformed into grotesque shapes, and the people go insane or die one by one.
I love me some Lovecraft, so this will be cool to see. And I can only hope Cage really is gong to star. fingers crossed!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Creepypasta” story, Buried within all the nightmarish drivel clogging up Reddit is the occasional genuinely creepy short story, commonly referred to as “creepypasta.” Hollywood has caught on to creepypasta in the last few years, snapping up film and TV rights to these message board tales of terror. Ryan Reynolds is the latest person who wants in on this Reddit movie action, and will produce a film version of the story The Patient Who Nearly Drove Me Out of Medicine.
Variety broke the news about Ryan Reynolds producing The Patient Who Nearly Drove Me Out of Medicine. The story first appeared on the Reddit “No Sleep” page, written by Jasper DeWitt. The story, according to DeWitt’s website, follows “an ambitious young doctor attempts to treat a mystery patient on the psych ward whose condition has bedeviled all previous comers, only to discover that the secrets surrounding this patient’s care could cost him his sanity.”
According to Variety, “bidding for the project was described as very competitive with several studios and other production companies chasing the property.” Reynolds will only produce, not appear (as of now). Jeremy Kramer will rep the film for Fox, while Natalie Lehmann will handle for New Regency, George Dewey and Patrick Gooing working for Maximum Effort, and Liya Gao handling for Vertigo Entertainment.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Plastic movie” story, Warner Bros. and DC Films are in early development on Plastic Man, a movie based on DC Comics’ quirky character who debuted in 1941.
Amanda Idoko, who wrote the upcoming Allison Janney-Laura Dern-starrer “Breaking News in Yuba County,” has been hired to write Plastic Man. Bob Shaye, the co-founder of New Line Cinema, will executive produce. No director is currently attached to the pic.
Plastic Man, created by Jack Cole for Quality Comics, is able to transform himself into any shape. An orphan forced to live on the streets, he turned to a life of crime, was shot during a heist, and was exposed to an unknown chemical liquid that gave his body the properties of rubber, allowing him to stretch, bounce, and mold himself into any shape. Thanks to a monk who tended to him while he was shot, he turned to law and order, and began capturing criminals as Plastic Man — clad in a red and yellow rubber costume.
DC Comics acquired the character in 1956 and began incorporating Plastic Man into the DC Universe. He starred in the Saturday morning cartoon The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show from 1979 to 1981, and was a recurring character on Batman: The Brave and the Bold from 2008 to 2011.
DC’s film production president Walter Hamada and Chantal Nong are overseeing the movie for the studio.
Well, leave it to DC/Warner to pick another one of the weirder choices for a film.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Oh, Neil Jordan is back” story, Greta, the suspense thriller starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert that Focus Features acquired at the last Toronto Film Festival for $6 million after winning a bidding battle, now has a release date. The pic will hit theaters on March 1, 2019.
In the film directed by Oscar winner Neil Jordan, Moretz plays a woman who just lost her mother and moves to New York City. She does a kind turn for a recently widowed woman named Greta (Huppert) and the two become fast friends. But Greta’s maternal charms begin to dissolve and grow increasingly disturbing as nothing in her life is what it seems.
Jordan wrote the script with Ray Wright, and Maika Monroe also stars with Colm Feore and Stephen Rea. Sidney Kimmel, John Penotti, James Flynn, Lawrence Bender and Karen Richards are producers.
Aaaaand, IN THIS WEEK’S “epic lawsuit” story, Tara Reid has filed a $100 million over use of her face on slot machines promoting the Syfy Sharknado film series.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in California, Reid is accusing Syfy and Sharknado’s producers of using her likeness on slot machines without her consent.
The suit points to Reid’s contract for the sixth Sharknado film, which states that “in no event shall [Reid’s] likeness be used for any merchandising in association with alcohol, tobacco, gambling, hygiene, or sexual products without [Reid’s] prior written approval.”
The suit continues that Reid gave no such permission to her face on those slot machines. It goes even further, stating that the defendants never even asked for her permission.
However, the Dec. 6 filing listed Asylum Entertainment LLC as one of the defendants, which is a different company from the actual producer of the Sharknado films, The Asylum.
A representative for Syfy and The Asylum did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Reid has starred as April Wexler, and along with Ian Ziering, has appeared in all six Sharknado films that have aired yearly on Syfy since 2013. The most recent film, The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time, premiered on Aug. 19.
Ok, see you all next week!