Once more into the weekly breach!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Starting from scratch” story, Last week, the best news of the year came with word that Disney and Marvel Studios had reversed their decision to remove James Gunn as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The filmmaker will return to the franchise that he originated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but before that, James Gunn will have to make good on his deal to enter the DC Extended Universe with The Suicide Squad.
While we’ve heard rumblings that this will be a soft reboot of the franchise that brings some bad people together to do some good, apparently, this Suicide Squad is a “total reboot.”
But we know that Suicide Squad will come first on Gunn’s docket, THEN he’ll shoot Guardians 3.
Also, we know now that Will Smith has been replaced by Idris Elba to play Deadshot, due to scheduling conflicts. So, the question now is Margot Robbie coming back as Harley Quinn, or will she be recast, or will Harley simply not be in this Suicide Squad? Who knows?
But what about the rest of the cast? What other characters will we see? Gunn is expected to introduce a whole new group of members to the anti-heroic team. And thanks to a new report from Collider, we have an idea of which characters will fill out the ‘Suicide Squad’ roster.
The report says that Gunn is expected to add four new members, including Ratcatcher, Polka-Dot Man, King Shark, and Peacemaker. Yeah, you’re probably reading those names and saying to yourself, “What the hell?” Don’t worry, here’s your quick summary.
Ratcatcher is a Batman villain that is, as the name would suggest, able to communicate with rats. In the comics, he’s also known to use a gas gun and loves cyanide. However, the report suggests that Gunn is going to gender-swap the character, and make the female Ratcatcher someone very close to Elba’s Deadshot.
Polka-Dot Man is the owner of one of the silliest code-name in all of comics. As you might guess, this guy is covered in polka-dots and uses his loud fashion choice to conceal various weapons. Surely, Gunn has some comedic gold ready for fans regarding this one.
King Shark is perhaps the most well-known of these villains. In fact, the anthropomorphic, super-strong shark has shown up in live-action, as a villain in the CW ‘Flash’ series.
Finally, we have Peacemaker. This character is so in love with the idea of peace and pacifism that he’ll kill for it. See, irony. The report suggests that Peacemaker is the role that Gunn has tailor-made for Dave Bautista, if the actor is able to sign on to the film. As we’ve reported before, Bautista, who stars in Gunn’s two MCU ‘Guardians’ films, has been a steadfast supporter of the director and has voiced his interest in joining the DC film.
So that’s an interesting group. But it could certainly change, so I’m not going to place any bets on that line-up just yet.
IN THIS WEEK’S “So, it REALLY happening?” story, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter have some exiting news for us! Orion Pictures has released a video featuring the two actors thanking the fans for the support they’ve given to their efforts to get Bill & Ted Face The Music off the ground, and they announced that the movie will start shooting this summer in New Orleans and then it will be released on August 21st, 2020!
This long-awaited third Bill & Ted movie is actually happening! Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest, Fun With Dick and Jane) will direct from a script written by the original Bill & Ted writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon. Here’s the synopsis:
“Following 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, the stakes are higher than ever for William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. (Winter) and Theodore “Ted” Logan (Reeves). Yet to fulfill their rock and roll destiny, the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure, when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it and bring harmony to the universe. Along the way, they will be helped by their families, old friends and a few music legends.”
Ok, well, it’s basically the same premise as before, but the characters just haven’t gotten around to it. It could be sorta weird seeing these characters as middle aged men. BUT, it is interesting to see that the project wasn’t just all talk.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Nolan’s mystery project gets some casting” story, It looks like the pieces of Christopher Nolan’s mysterious film project are starting to fall into place. Just yesterday it was announced that that BlacKkKlansman star John David Washington had joined the film. Now according to Collider, Robert Pattinson is the latest actor to join the cast.
There are no details on the film or who Pattinson be playing, but it has been described as “a massive, innovative action blockbuster” that will be glorified in IMAX. The report goes on to say that “Pattinson and Washington (BlacKkKlansman) will play the two leads,“ and there will also be an “age-appropriate female lead, as well as an older male co-star.”
Warner Bros. will release the movie on July 17, 2020, with production expected to start this summer.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Another baffling remake” story, Steven Spielberg has cast Corey Stoll and Brian d’Arcy James as police officers in his movie adaptation of West Side Story.
Stoll will take on the role of Lieutenant Schrank, the New York City detective charged with quelling civic unrest in his racially-torn precinct. James will play Sergeant Krupke, a veteran cop whose beat includes the territories of two warring street gangs, the Sharks and the Jets.
The song “Gee Officer Krupke” was performed by the Jets in the original Broadway musical and the 1961 movie. It concludes with the memorable line “Gee, Officer Krupke – Krup you!”
Spielberg has already cast 17-year-old high schooler Rachel Zegler as Maria opposite Ansel Elgort as Tony, along with Rita Moreno as Valentina — a reconceived version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store where Tony works. Moreno won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Anita in the 1961 film version of “West Side Story.” She’s also an executive producer on the remake.
The pic will be adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway musical, which was the basis for the 1961 film. The play, inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” was set in a New York neighborhood and focused on the rivalry between two gangs.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Sight and Sound” story, Emily Blunt is in talks to star in Not Fade Away, a feature from Annapurna Pictures that has David O. Russell and John Krasinski attached as producers. It’s based on a 2015 memoir Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found by Rebecca Alexander who, born with a rare genetic mutation that caused her to lose her sight and hearing over time, beat the odds and expectations of her prognosis.
Lindsey Ferrentino is adapting the screenplay.
We hear that neither Russell nor Krasinski is looking to direct the adaptation. Krasinski and Allyson Seeger will produce through their Sunday Night banner with Russell and Matthew Budman.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Bad news Bond” story, you know, things SEEM to be coming together for the Bond 25 film. they set a release date of April 8, 2020, filming is set to begin next month, and oh yeah, the script isn’t done.
For a clearer picture, let’s hear it from the cast of the upcoming spy film, because after all, “Bond 25,” to be directed by Cary Fukunaga, just underwent significant rewrites (courtesy of Scott Z. Burns) and is only a few short weeks away from supposed principal photography. However, apparently, some of the cast have no clue what the movie is about or what they’re doing in it because they haven’t received scripts yet.
“I have been affectionately nudging [exec producer] Barbara Broccoli to send me a screenplay and I’m told it will be coming soon, and I know that Daniel [Craig] is playing Bond,” Ralph Fiennes who returns as M told BBC 2 Newsnight about the new Bond film.
“I don’t know the name of the film, I haven’t had access to a screenplay yet,” he said. “I do know they intend to film it later this year.”
“Honestly, I’m not being coy,” he added genuinely. “I don’t know when it starts or what the story is.”
So that’s basically the state of the movie, still in the works, still in flux, and hoping to be ready to shoot in April.
Nothing to see here, move along, folks. Everything is fine (room is engulfed in flames).
IN THIS WEEK’S “Rooker vs monsters” story, Back in 2012, Shawn Levy (Stranger Things, Night at the Museum) was gearing up to direct a film called Monster Problems, a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story based on a script by Brian Duffield (Insurgent, Jane Got a Gun). Time passed, and that version of the movie fell away into the gaping maw of Hollywood’s endless “what if” scenarios.
But Monster Problems is back, crawling out of its early grave. Guardians of the Galaxy actor Michael Rooker has joined the project alongside The Maze Runner star Dylan O’Brien. Levy is still on board all these years later, but he’s shifted into a producer role and found a new director.
Deadline reports that Michael Matthews will be directing this one for Paramount Players, Paramount’s division that focuses on “contemporary properties.”
Michael Rooker is set to play “Clyde, an expert hunter who teaches Joel Dawson (O’Brien) how to survive the Monster Apocalypse.” Sounds like Zombieland but with monsters swapped for the zombies, and Rooker in the Woody Harrelson-type of role. And in fact, back in 2012 the film was described as “a post-apocalyptic road movie in the vein of Mad Max and Zombieland with a John Hughes-esque love story at its center,” so maybe that comparison isn’t too far off. Either way, Rooker can play a grizzled veteran with the best of them.
Deadline says the script is by Brian Duffield and Matthew Robinson (The Invention of Lying, Monster Trucks), but IMDb credits Duffield with writing an “earlier screenplay” and Robinson with the “screenplay.” this is also assuming that iMDb has their info correct.
Either way, I like the Rooker guy and will keep an eye out for this one. Besides, Monsters! So, shut up and take my money!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Looking for He-Man” story, Noah Centineo is in talks to play the lead role of He-Man in Sony Pictures and Mattel Films Masters of the Universe, an individual with knowledge of the project exclusively tells TheWrap.
Aaron and Adam Nee are set to direct from a script rewritten by Iron Man screenwriters Matt Holloway and Art Marcum. The Nee Brothers also have screenwriting credit.
The project was previously written by David S. Goyer, who is also an executive producer.
Based on Mattel’s hugely successful 1980s toy line, Masters of the Universe follows Prince Adam, heir to the throne of planet Eternia, who uses the magical Power Sword to transform into the heroic warrior He-Man. With the help of his allies Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko and The Sorceress, He-Man defends the kingdom from the evil wizard Skeletor (so-named because his face is an exposed skull), who seeks to gain control of Castle Grayskull, source of He-Man’s powers.
Masters of the Universe was previously adapted as a live-action film in 1987, with Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as Skeletor, and featuring Courtney Cox in one of her first film roles.
Everything old is new again.
IN THIS WEEK’S “In case you thought we were done talking about reboots” story, Macon Blair has been tapped to write and direct Legendary’s reboot of the cult classic The Toxic Avenger, sources tell Variety.
Legendary acquired the feature film rights in December and have quickly made the project a high priority at the studio. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers with Alex Garcia and Jay Ashenfelter overseeing for Legendary.
Kaufman and Herz produced the original 1984 comedy, set in the fictional town of Tromaville, N.J., and centered on a mild-mannered janitor at a health club who’s chased out a second story window by bullies and lands in a drum of toxic waste. The chemicals cause him to transform into the Toxic Avenger, who has superhuman size and strength and stands up to bullies and corruption.
The Toxic Avenger became successful after a long run as a midnight movie in New York City, leading to the sequels The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie, and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV. The property also became a stage musical production, a children’s cartoon TV series, and a Marvel comic.
Blair, who spent the first half the decade in front of the camera in films like Blue Ruin and Green Room, recently moved behind the lens starting with his directorial debut, ” I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore.” It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize following rave reviews. He also starred and co-wrote Small Crimes and wrote Jeremy Saulnier’s Hold the Dark.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The continuing efforts to revive Katherine Heigl’s career” story, Katherine Heigl is set to star in and executive produce the CBS comedy pilot Our House, TheWrap has learned.
The family comedy centers on a devoted mom and dad who are committed to raising their children with the love and support the mom never got as a kid, but discover how difficult that is with her insane parents and siblings back in the picture.
The “Suits” star will play opposite Malcolm Barrett in the multi-cam from writer and executive producer Brendan O’Brien. The role marks her first as a series regular in a broadcast comedy.
Heigl’s character Bridget is described as a woman who “tries her best to be a laid-back, progressive parent like her therapist husband, but often finds herself reverting to the old school style of her parents. Now that she’s moved back into her childhood home, surrounded by her parents and crazy siblings, finding a balance between these wildly different parenting styles is going to be more difficult than she imagined.”
So, what, the…6th time’s (?) the charm? Maybe SOMEone never should have left Grey’s Anatomy.
And, IN THIS WEEK’S “No more!” story, more Transformers are on the way. Yes, two more films are coming. One is a sequel to Bumblebee, and one is sadly, a sequel to Transformers: The Last Knight.
Transformers” producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura recently spoke about the future of the robots in disguise franchise and said that not only is the studio developing a sequel to “Bumblebee,” but there is also development on the sixth Transformers film, following the events of the terrible ‘Last Knight.’
“One is the latest in the main family series following the events of ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ and the other is a sequel to Bumblebee,” said Di Bonaventura in an interview with Cinema (via CBR). “So, we are thinking of films where Optimus Prime and Bumblebee will be the buddies, but when Optimus and Bumblebee are the movies of the protagonists … how human beings get involved in their drama In the first place, the size is different between human beings and theirs …. It’s a worrying point (laughs).”
However, when speaking to Collider, the producer also talked a bit more about the tone of the upcoming sequels, especially considering the success of ‘Bumblebee.” It appears that fans might be getting an injection of Bayhem.
“Several lessons have come out of [Bumblebee’],” said the producer. “One is that we have the freedom to tell almost any story. The other is that, how strongly the audience identified with the strength of character and emotion.”
Reading these comments, you can’t help but wince, especially if you’re hoping that Paramount and the producers learned their lesson with the failure of Last Knight and the success of Bumblebee.
Hopefully they’re just talking about adding more action to the good stuff, but I would always fear they will ruin anything good anyway.
ADDENDUM: THIS HAS TO STOP. According to franchise producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, new Transformers movies might introduce a love story between Transformers – because they have gotten too stupid yet?
Over last weekend, legendary producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura took part in a press junket for Pet Sematary, but all anyone wanted to ask him about is the future of Transformers. Bumblebee, which rebooted the series, was well-received by critics, but didn’t exactly blow up the box office like previous Transformers movies. Despite this, di Bonaventura isn’t giving up. There will be more Transformers films to come. And one of the future movies might feature some ‘bot love. As the producer told Collider: “One of the things I want to see, and I don’t know if we’ll do this particular thing, but I think we will eventually do a love story between Transformers.”
He continues: “What does a love story mean? Definitely not sex, maybe not even kissing, but the idea that they would have that emotional crush has never really been brought in. That’s kind of the direction we’re going to try to head into, which is to give them human desires that, up until now, we haven’t seen much of. I think that will change the relationship with the Transformers. So we may do some wild action, we’ll do action for sure in the main line, but it’s a different kind of attempt. I know we will hold on to a lot of the lessons from Bumblebee.”
PLEASE make it stop. Please.
Aaaaaand, IN THIS WEEK’S “Still alive!” story, if you were wondering if Doris Day was still around, she very much is.
Screen and song legend Doris Day will celebrate her 97th birthday on April 3 with her favorite sweet treat: Edy’s slow-churned chocolate fudge ice cream.
“Doris will be spending a quiet birthday at home again this year surrounded by a few close friends,” her business manager Bob Bashara tells PEOPLE. “She always gets lots of phone calls wishing her happy birthday. And, in the evening, she’ll enjoy a special birthday dinner followed by cake and ice cream.”
Ahead of her birthday, her adopted hometown of Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, where she moved in the 70s, is hosting the Doris Day Animal Foundation Annual Benefit on Thursday, March 28 at the Cypress Inn.
On Friday, March 29, Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz will introduce a screening of her film Pillow Talk at Carmel High School Center for Performing Artst to mark the 60th anniversary of the film.
Following the screening will be a Q&A with some of Day’s friends including comedian and impressionist Rich Little, and Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall, as well as a live auction of a signed Pillow Talk script and other memorabilia.
On Saturday, March 30, following a performance by Little, pianist Michael Feinstein will play favorites from the American Songbook, followed by a second auction to benefit the Doris Day Animal Foundation, featuring artwork painted and signed by Tony Bennett.
Since stepping away from Hollywood over three decades years ago, the beloved star has devoted her time to animal-rights, founding the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978 to help rescue and protect animals.
Well, that’s a pretty full weekend for a 97 year old. Happy Birthday, Doris!
What a weird week in news.See you next time!