Another fantastical week of film news! And there’s a LOT of it!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Death returns!” story, The long-awaited third film in the “Bill & Ted” series is taking shape, as William Sadler, the actor who played the Grim Reaper in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, is reprising his role in the sequel.
The official Twitter feed for the film announced the news in a tweet Monday following many fan questions, confirming that Sadler’s version of Death will appear in Bill & Ted Face the Music.
Sadler joins Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in the reunion film that follows the events of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, in which the now middle-aged Bill and Ted set out on a new adventure to fulfill their destiny as the band Wyld Stallions to bring harmony to the universe through the power of their music. Along the way, they will be helped by their families, old friends and a few music legends.
In Bogus Journey, Bill and Ted were confronted by the Grim Reaper after they wound up dead and are forced to challenge him to games like Battleship, Clue and Twister in order to win their journey back from the afterlife.
“Face the Music” will begin production this summer, and the film will be released by Orion Pictures on Aug. 21, 2020 through the United Artists Releasing banner.
Yay! William Sadler!
IN THIS WEEK’S “It was just a matter of time ” story, Angelina Jolie is getting ready to make her first foray into the world of superhero movies.
The Oscar-winning actress is in talks to star in Marvel Studios’ The Eternals, a superhero team adventure feature being directed by Chloe Zhao.
Jolie has chosen the Marvel project based on the Jack Kirby-created title about superpowered and near-immortal beings known as Eternals and a more monstrous offshoot known as the Deviants that were created by the cosmic beings called Celestials.
While details about the movie are being kept under wraps, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that one aspect to the story involves the love story between Ikaris, a man fueled by cosmic energy, and Sersi, who relishes moving amongst humans. It is unclear who Jolie will play. Marvel had no comment.
Zhao, an award-winning indie director behind the critical hits The Rider and Songs My Brothers Taught Me, will helm from a script by Matthew and Ryan Firpo.
While this will be Jolie’s first superhero movie, it is not her first comic book movie— she starred in the 2007 adaptation of Mark Millar’s Wanted.
Well, I figured this was gong to happen eventually. I mean, if you can get people like Robert Redford and Annette Bening in a Marvel movie, why not Angelina Jolie?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Old guy movie” story, Warner Bros will re-develop Methusaleh as a star vehicle for Michael B. Jordan to play a man who has managed to stay alive for over 400 years. Jordan’s Outlier Society has joined as producers Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford.
Warner Bros has been trying to get this one up and running for years, with myriad writers and leading men that at one time included Tom Cruise. It’s got a Highlander-like mythology and franchise potential. The idea is for Jordan to play a man who has managed to survive for hundreds of years, without showing the physical signs of age. In that time, he has accumulated vast intellectual knowledge, from multiple languages to the sciences, as well as survival skills. Zach Dean is among the writers who’ve written versions.
IN THIS WEEK’S ” SciFi Dreaming” story, The Crown star Vanessa Kirby is swapping British royalty for outer space after signing on for StarDream, the upcoming sci-fi movie from The Wife helmer Bjorn Runge.
Kirby takes the lead role of Andreya in the Silver Reel and Bigscope Films-produced picture, which follows the story of a spaceship hastily constructed to transport hundreds of thousands of cryogenically frozen humans from a failing planet Earth. When the on-board computer malfunctions, coder Andreya develops an artificial intelligence-based solution that she calls Stephen. But Stephen develops a profound attachment to Andreya, compromising the mission and the future of the human race.
Hmmm, maybe. We’ll see.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Meices” story, Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie Mouse Guard with Maze Runner’s Wes Ball directing.
Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the Planet of the Apes films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, and illustrated the Mouse Guard series, which launched in 2006 and is set in a medieval times world without humans. The stories center on a brotherhood of mice sworn to serve their fellow mice.
Fox started development on the movie, based on the Mouse Guard graphic novel series, in 2016. Matt Reeves, director of War for the Planet of the Apes, is producing Mouse Guard through his 6th and Idaho production company along with Ross Richie and Stephen Christy, both of Boom! Studios — the publisher of Mouse Guard. Joe Hartwick Jr. is also producing.
If the deal goes through, Elba will portray Celanawe, a hermit figure who has long live outside mouse dwellings. Serkis will portray the villainous blacksmith Midnight and Brodie-Sangster will play Lieam, one of the Mouse Guard’s youngest members. Production is expected to begin in the late spring.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Another musical gets the remake” story, Guys and Dolls, the venerable Broadway musical, is set to return to the big screen.
TriStar Pictures has purchased remake rights to the original Damon Runyon short stories about gamblers and gangsters that inspired the shows, as well as the rights to the Broadway musical with its book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and its music by Frank Loesser. The studio has also acquired remake rights to the previous 1955 film adaptation from the Samuel Goldwyn company. That version of Guys and Dolls starred Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, and Vivian Blaine, and was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who also wrote the screenplay.
Guys and Dolls first premiered on Broadway in 1950, where it ran for three years and captured five Tony Awards, including the best musical prize. It has been oft-revived over the years, including an acclaimed 1992 version that helped make a stage star of Nathan Lane.
First West Side Story, now this. I assume this won’t be the last remake, either.
IN THIS WEEK’S “New Mutants WHEN?” story, so now that Disney, as we have all read in a million articles, now has control over the X-Men franchises, since the deal with Fox is done. And while it looks like Dark Phoenix is releasing as planned, the big question is what is going on with New Mutants. And if anyone out there knows, star Maisie Williams would love to find out.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the New Mutants actress (who stars in the upcoming final season of Game of Thrones) was asked about the status of her superhero debut film. Surprisingly, Williams wasn’t coy at all with her answer, which doesn’t bode well for the final Fox X-Men spin-off film.
“Who knows when the fuck it’s gonna come out?” she says.
Williams says that the last she heard, Fox was supposed to do reshoots that were supposed to “make it scarier,” but those never happened.
For those not aware of the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding The New Mutants, here’s the Reader’s Digest version. Josh Boone, of The Fault in Our Stars fame, was signed to write and direct a new X-Men spin-off, focusing on teen mutants. The film was said to have a horror slant. Scripts were written, actors were cast, and the film entered production. All was well, until reports surfaced that Fox saw the first cut of the film and was not happy. Additional reporting said that the studio wanted huge amounts of reshoots, potentially adding an entirely new CGI character to the fold. Release dates came and went. A trailer that came out in 2017 was quickly forgotten. And rumors of Disney dumping the film on Hulu later this year started to surface.
Alas, not even the cast of the film knows what the hell is going on. Williams said that she even spoke to her co-star Charlie Heaton and asked, “What the fuck is going on with this movie?” Not even Heaton knew.
Williams said, “Hopefully this interview will make everyone hurry up a little bit!”
Except so far, nobody knows anything.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Witchy reboot” story, Zoe Lister-Jones is writing and directing The Craft reboot for Blumhouse, Columbia Pictures and Red Wagon Entertainment, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.
Blumhouse’s Jason Blum is producing alongside Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher for Red Wagon Entertainment. Red Wagon’s Andrew Fleming and Lucas Wiesendanger are executive producing. Blumhouse and Columbia are co-financing the film.
The original 1996 film paved the way for an onslaught of TV series and films that were witch-themed and centered on female empowerment. The film starred Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Christine Taylor, Fairuza Balk and Skeet Ulrich, and followed a new student at a Catholic prep high school who falls in love with a trio of outcast girls who practice witchcraft.
Lister-Jones most recently starred in Life in Pieces and New Girl, as well as the movie Band Aid, which she also wrote and directed. She also recently wrote, executive produced and starred in the Fox Searchlight feature Lola Versus, and co-wrote, produced and starred in Breaking Upwards. Her comedy pilot, Woman Up, was recently greenlit at ABC.
You know, I feel like the word “reboot” is now used instead of “remake” and it feels like it happening because people feel like it’s somehow different. Nope, these days, they mean the same thing now.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Drawing The Line” story, Hereditary actor Alex Wolff will star in thriller The Line.
The ensemble cast also includes John Malkovich, Scoot McNairy, Jessica Barden (The Lobster) and Lewis Pullman (Bad Times at the El Royale).
The story is being described as “a coming-of-age thriller at a university that encapsulates both the wild excitement of being young, and the dangers of living without fear of consequences.”
Ethan Berger and Alex Russek penned the script, with Berger set to direct the pic. Lije Sarki is producing, alongside David Carrico and Adam Paulsen of Valparaiso Pictures. Bobby Hoppey is executive producing.
IN THIS WEEK’S ” The beginning of Ending Things” story, Toni Collette, Jessie Buckley, and David Thewlis are joining the cast of Netflix’s film I’m Thinking of Ending Things, sources tell Variety.
Charlie Kaufman is writing and directing the movie, which stars Jesse Plemons. Based on Ian Reid’s 2016 novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things follows Jake (Plemons), a man going on a road trip to meet his parents on their secluded farm with his girlfriend (Buckley), who is thinking of terminating their relationship. When Jake makes an unexpected detour leaving her stranded, a twisted mix of palpable tension, psychological frailty, and sheer terror ensues.
I’m SO in!
Kaufman is also producing with Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman, Bob Salerno, and Stefanie Azpiazu. Reid will serve as co-producer.
The new project reunites Kaufman with his frequent collaborator Bregman, who previously produced Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synecdoche, New York, and Human Nature.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Confusing title about a bodyguard” story, Deadline has revealed that Tom Hopper (The Umbrella Academy) is the latest actor to join the cast of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, the sequel to the 2017 action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson.
Reynolds and Jackson are reprising their roles as bodyguard Michael Bryce and hitman Darius Kincaid with Salma Hayek also returning as Kincaid’s wife, Sonia.
Hopper will portray a new bodyguard named Magnusson. Other newcomers to the sequel include Frank Grillo, Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas. Richard E. Grant will also reprise his brief role from the first film as Mr. Seifart, a drug-addicted corporate client of Reynolds’ Michael Bryce who he hired after his career downfall.
irected once again by Patrick Hughes, the sequel will take place on the Amalfi coast as it “follows the mismatched, high-octane trio who are unwillingly pulled onto the side of the good guys as they battle to save Europe from a vengeful and powerful zealot with a dangerously over-developed sense of national pride.”
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is set for release in 2020.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Water of life” story, David Oyelowo will make his feature directorial debut with The Water Man for ShivHans Pictures, and Oprah Winfrey will executive produce.
Emma Needell wrote the script, and Oyelowo will also produce and star in the film alongside Rosario Dawson, Lonnie Chavis, Amiah Miller, Alfred Molina and Maria Bello.
Shivani Rawat of ShivHans is financing the project and is also producing alongside Oyelowo’s Yoruba Saxon and Winfrey’s Harpo Films. Carla Gardini and Monica Levinson are also producing.
The Water Man follows a young boy named Gunner who runs away from home with a local misfit to save his ill mother. They set out to find a legendary figure called the Water Man who is said to have the power to cure death.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Carol and Carrie” story, Carol Burnett’s bestseller Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story is in the works as a movie at Focus Features with Burnett, Tina Fey, Eric Gurian, and Steven Rogers producing.
Burnett will produce through her Mabel Cat Productions with Fey and Gurian under their production banner Little Stranger along with Rogers (I, Tonya). The sibling team of Ian and Eshom Nelms (Small Town Crime) is tackling the screenplay. Little Stranger’s Jeff Richmond will executive produce. A director and cast have yet to be attached.
The film will follow the highs and lows of her life as a working mother, actress, and producer — all told through her relationship with her daughter Carrie Hamilton. Carrie overcame a public struggle with drug addiction as a teenager, but achieved sobriety as an adult before dying of cancer at the age of 38 in 2002. Burnett’s book was published in 2013.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Lots of famous zombies” story, Featuring what’s being billed as “the greatest zombie cast ever disassembled,” Jim Jarmusch‘s next is a zombie film titled The Dead Don’t Die, and the cast is indeed quite impressive.
Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Sara Driver, RZA, Selena Gomez, Carol Kane and Tom Waits star in Jarmusch’s zombie film, being released by Focus Features on June 14!
Jim Jarmusch’s zombie movie The Dead Don’t Die, starring Bill Murray, will open on June 14.
The movie is written and directed by Jarmusch. Producers are Joshua Astrachan and Carter Logan. Focus Features and Universal Pictures International will distribute the film worldwide. Focus has noted that it’s the third Jarmusch film that it’s handled following 2005’s Broken Flowers and 2009’s The Limits of Control.
Plot details have not been disclosed. On-set photos showed Murray as a police officer alongside colleagues portrayed by Driver and Sevigny. Images also showed Gomez and a bloody Austin Butler.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Killer cast for WWI” story, Sam Mendes’ World War I movie 1917 is heading into production and adding A-list talent to the cast.
Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth and Mark Strong have joined the production, along with The Bodyguard star Richard Madden. They will join the previously announced stars George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman, who will play young British soldiers on a single day at the height of World War I.
Andrew Scott, Daniel Mays, Adrian Scarborough, Jamie Parker, Nabhaan Rizwan and Claire Duburcq have also joined the cast.
Mendes will direct from a screenplay he wrote with Krysty Wilson-Cairns.
Mendes will also produce the film via his Neal Street Productions with Pippa Harris, along with Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall. Co-producing is Michael Lerman.
The film will begin principal photography next week, shooting on location in England and Scotland.
Universal will release the film domestically on December 25, 2019. That’s in 8 months. Seems kind of soon, doesn’t it?
IN THIS WEEK’S “One Coen, and Shakespeare” story, Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand are taking on Shakespeare.
The Oscar winners are in talks to star in Joel Coen’s adaptation of Macbeth. Coen will direct from his own original script, and expects to shoot the movie before the end of the year. This marks his first film without frequent directing/writing/producing partner and brother Ethan.
A24 will distribute the pic, which Scott Rudin will produce.
The iconic Shakespeare tale follows a lord (Washington) who’s convinced by a trio of witches that he’s destined to become the king of Scotland. With the help of his ambitious wife (McDormand), Macbeth tries to seize the crown by any means necessary.
After taking a brief break, Washington has a busy schedule ahead of him for the foreseeable future. He will first shoot the Warner Bros. thriller Little Things in the fall, followed by Macbeth at the beginning of 2020. He will then pivot into his next directing job, Journal for Jordan, starring Michael B. Jordan.
Wow, only one Coen brother doing this. Interesting.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Baz Lurhman does Elvis” story, Tom Hanks is in negotiations to play Elvis Presley’s iconic manager Colonel Tom Parker in Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Warner Bros. biopic about the legendary musician.
Luhrmann will direct the movie. He also penned the script with Craig Pearce.
Parker discovered Presley when he was just an unknown and quickly moved in as his lone representation. Parker was responsible for various milestones, including Presley’s record deal with RCA and his successful acting career.
While Luhrmann always envisioned a star for Parker’s part, he wants a newcomer for the role of Presley. The director has begun meeting with talent for the part.
Insiders say a budget is still being ironed out, but Hanks’ commitment will urge the studio to push the project forward. Luhrmann hopes to get the pic into production sometime this year.
IN THIS WEEK’S “More Jam” story, Sonequa Martin-Green is in negotiations to join LeBron James in Warner Bros.’ Space Jam 2, sources tell Variety.
Terence Nance, creator of the HBO show Random Acts of Flyness, is directing the untitled sequel, with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler producing with James and his partner Maverick Carter (through their SpringHill Entertainment banner).
Sources say Martin-Green will play James’ wife in the pic, which hits theaters on July 16, 2021.
Rumors of a Space Jam follow-up first emerged in 2015 when James and SpringHill signed a content creation deal with Warner Bros. Production will get underway this summer during James’ NBA off-season.
In the original, Michael Jordan teamed up with Looney Tunes characters to battle a group of animated aliens on the court. That 1996 pic went on to gross $230 million worldwide and besides Jordan, featured some of the NBA’s biggest stars, including Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, and Patrick Ewing. The new film finds Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes joining forces with James on the court to take on an unknown entity.
IN THIS WEEK’S “American Woman (not the song)” story, Roadside Attractions and Vertical Entertainment have acquired American Woman, the drama directed by Jake Scott that stars Sienna Miller. Brad Ingelsby penned the pic, which had its bow at the Toronto Film Festival last fall. Christina Hendricks, Aaron Paul and Amy Madigan also star in the movie, which is now set for a June 14 release date.
The distribution partnership include Roadside, Vertical, Mill House Motion Pictures and Romulus Entertainment. Endeavor Content is handling international rights.
Set in rural Pennsylvania, the life of Deb Callahan (Miller) is changed forever when her teenage daughter mysteriously disappears. Deb is left to raise her young grandson and navigate the trials and tribulations of subsequent years, until a long-awaited discovery of the truth is revealed.
Ridley Scott, Kevin Walsh, Michael Pruss and Brad Feinstein produced the film.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Sword of Maron” story, IFC Films has acquired the North American rights to Sword of Trust, starring Marc Maron and from director Lynn Shelton, the company announced Friday.
Shelton’s drama made its premiere at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, and IFC will release the film theatrically this summer.
Co-written by Lynn Shelton (Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister, Laggies) and Mike O’Brien, the film also stars Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins, and Jon Bass.
Sword of Trust unfolds as Cynthia (Bell) and Mary (Watkins) show up to collect Cynthia’s inheritance from her deceased grandfather. The only item she’s received is an antique sword that he believed to be proof that the South won the Civil War. The two attempt to unload the object to a curmudgeonly pawnshop owner Mel (Maron) and his man-child sidekick Nathaniel (Bass). When Mel and Nathaniel discover there’s a black market for the relic, the two pairs reluctantly join forces to sell this rarefied “prover item” to the highest bidder. The adventure that ensues takes the four of them on a wild journey into the depths of conspiracy theory and Southern disillusionment.
Sword of Trust is produced by Ted Speaker and Lynn Shelton, executive produced by Peter Gilbert, Eddie Linker, and Joe Swanberg at Forager Films.
Aaaaand, IN THIS WEEK’S “Bryan “Unpleasant” Singer, story, Nearly two months after Rami Malek spoke critically of working with Bryan Singer on the set of Bohemian Rhapsody, Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner is doing the same about her time working with the filmmaker on the superhero tentpole X-Men: Apocalypse. Turner made her debut as the X-Men character Jean Grey in the film. In a new cover story with Rolling Stone, Turner is asked about working with Singer and bluntly answers: “Our time together was, like Rami said, unpleasant.”
“In my situation with Bryan, it was not pleasant, not at all,” Rami Malek said during an interview at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. “And that’s about what I can say about it at this point. For anyone who is seeking any solace in all of this, Bryan Singer was fired. Bryan Singer was fired, I don’t think that was something anyone saw coming but I think that had to happen and it did.”
Let’s just agree to never let Bryan Singer direct anything again. Ever.
Whew! That’s a LOT of stuff going on. See ya next week for more!