Welcome to another big week of happenings in film (and a little in TV, too). Huzzah!
In this week’s “As if someone else was going to do it” story, James Gunn will return to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy 3 for Marvel Studios, The Wrap has learned. The filmmaker made the announcement on Facebook, just so he could tell his fans first. Aaaaw.
In this week’s “Stinger’s galore” story, Guardians 2 will have a whopping 5 stingers. Yes, 5. Wowzers.
In this week’s “We’ll CG anything” story, Ridley Scott Is open to digitally de-aging Sigourney Weaver in future Alien Movies.
Scott will, it seems, be holding back some of his gruesome notions for future installments: he is planning at least two more films before linking up with the original Alien. “Right now we’ve got a ten-page synopsis,” he reveals. ‘John Logan‘s doing it. And we know where we’re going with it.’ He is not ruling out the idea of using a digitally de-aged Sigourney Weaver to bring back Ripley: ‘You could do that,’ he allows. And Logan promises ‘different mutations’ of the Alien to come.
In this week’s “It’s happening whether Vin Diesel likes it or not” story, Universal is getting a Fast and Furious spin-off film ready that will focus on Dwayne Johnson and Jason Staham’s characters.
It will be written Chris Morgan, and will feature Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Statham’s Decker Shaw teaming up for their own side adventure ahead of the next installment in the Fast series of films.
I imagine Diesel fuming somewhere over this.
In this week’s “The Truth is Still Out There” story, Fox has finally gotten David Duchovny and Gilllian Anderson’s schedules to line up. X-Files will be back in production this summer for a Fall 2017-2018 release of season 2 of it’s revival. Chris Carter also returns, of course, but no word on who else will be writing the episodes.
In this week’s “Never gonna stop” story, Clint Eastwood has found his next film to direct. He’ll helm a drama based on the book The 15:17 To Paris: The True Story Of A Terrorist, A Train, And Three American Heroes. The book was written by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Jeffrey E. Stern; the life rights of the heroes Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone are part of the package. Newcomer scribe Dorothy Blyskal wrote the script, and Eastwood will begin casting right away to start production later this year. Eastwood will produce with Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera and Jessica Meier.
Here, Eastwood makes room for a trio of heroes in Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone. In August 2015, an ISIS terrorist boarded train #9364 from Brussels to Paris. Armed with an AK-47 and enough ammo to kill more than 500 people, the terrorist might have succeeded except for three American friends who refused to give in to fear. Stone was a martial arts enthusiast and airman first class in the U.S. Air Force, Skarlatos was a member of the Oregon National Guard, and all three pals proved fearless as they charged and ultimately overpowered the gunman after he emerged from a bathroom armed and ready to kill. They most certainly averted a mass tragedy.
In this week’s “Rich white guy privilege” story, Harvey Weinstein thinks that he and Steven Spielberg would do a “great job” at producing the Oscars together. If asked to do the gig by the Academy, Weinstein says he’d “probably bring Billy Crystal back to host, too.”
“Steven Spielberg and I once talked about producing it together. If we could survive each other, we’d do a great job,” the producer told The Hollywood Reporter Monday. “They’re not using technology properly. It still feels like a variety show. Jimmy Kimmel was brilliant, but give him a couple of things to do that are so mind-blowingly cool so people will go, ‘Oh my God.’ [Virtual reality] is just the start. Mike [De Luca] and Jen [Todd] did the most beautiful-looking Oscars I’ve ever seen.
In this week’s “Serializing Kong” story, IM Global and MarVista Entertainment are teaming up to reinvent King Kong: Skull Island, the companies announced in a joint release on Tuesday.
Based on DeVito ArtWorks’ Skull Island property and Merian C. Cooper’s King Kong, King Kong Skull Island will be the first-ever live-action TV program set in the comprehensive King Kong Universe. The series intends to cast a female lead and multicultural ensemble cast for a serialized, contemporary take on the classic tale, exploring both the marvelous and horrific sides of Skull Island and its origins.
Oscar nominees Jonathan Penner and Stacey Title (The Bye Bye Man, Down on the Waterfront) will write and executive produce alongside Dannie Festa (“Trolls”) of World Builder Entertainment.
In this week’s “Acting director” story, During Peter Siretta’s (@ /Film) visit to the offices of Marvel Studios, he learned that director Taika Waititi has cast himself as Korg in Thor: Ragnarok. The filmmaker hinted at the character’s appearance in the film during production, but his role had been kept under wraps…and it looks great.
Korg, an alien known as a Kronan, played a role in the Planet Hulk comic book storyline from which this film borrows key plot elements. The comic version of the character was exiled on the Red King’s planet of Sakaaar (after being defeated by Thor elsewhere, coincidentally enough) and ends up forced into gladiatorial combat, just like Hulk. An earlier version of Korg was seen in Thor: The Dark World, although it seems like that character is being written off as another Kronan warrior.
Korg is a giant rock warrior who is a warm-up gladiator in the Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions. Korg is pretty intimidating, standing about eight feet tall, made of grey-looking rocks, and sporting a brown gladiator armor costume with red spray war paint markings (a cross with a circle). Taika jokes that he’s wearing a 2017 male bikini. The concept art we saw also showed the character with a huge staff. In an animation test, Korg used it as a bat, clobbering his enemies into the distance.
In the film, Korg befriends Thor and welcomes the God of Thunder to the planet Sakaar, explaining how society on the planet operates. We were shown a scene featuring Thor’s first meeting with Korg. While the Kronan looks physically intimidating, he is super helpful and overly friendly.
In this week’s “The Doctor is In” story, BBC rumors abound once again, as Peter Capaldi exits as Doctor Who, and the search for a new Doctor is begun. Rumours are that Michaela Coel will replace Peter Capaldi as the next Doctor, which would make her the first female and first black actor to play the role. This source is not an official BBC spokesperson though, and the statement the BBC released to Nerdist didn’t confirm anything:
“No casting decisions have been made yet for Doctor Who Season 11.”
In this week’s “Soothing voiceover” story, Arnold Schwarzenegger will narrate Wonders Of The Sea 3D documentary.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has been tapped to narrate Wonders Of The Sea 3D, a new feature documentary from 3D Entertainment Films that is being directed by Jean-Michel Cousteau and Jean-Jacques Mantello. The 85-minute pic will make its debut in May at the Cannes Film Festival market, where Conquistador Entertainment will sell rights. A 2017 release is planned.
The pic was filmed over three years from Fiji to the Bahamas, with the aim to discover the ocean as never before seen and learn more about the threats that put it at risk.
In a random side story, Arnold will not run for U.S. Senate. “I’m deeply flattered by all of the people who have approached me about running for Senate, but my mission right now is to bring sanity to Washington through redistricting reform like we passed here in California,” Schwarzenegger writes on his Facebook page today.
“Gerrymandering has completely broken our political system and I believe my best platform to help repair it is from the outside, by campaigning for independent redistricting commissions.”
Arnold’s just mad ‘cuz he isn’t making his Conan movie anymore.
in this week’s “Bravo, sir!” story, actor Chris Pratt is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
In this week’s “Love him or leave him” story, Nicolas Winding Refn Releases A Teaser For Too Old To Die Young.
Nothing causes audiences to butt heads quite like a new Nicolas Winding Refn film. From Pusher to The Neon Demon, Refn’s work has been described as brilliant, terrible, pretentious, gorgeous, and pretty much every other adjective in the dictionary, inspiring half the cinephiles out there to declare him one of the best talents working today – and the other half to treat him with derision. With no films on the horizon for 2017, fans and detractors alike were excited to see Refn promoting his next project, a crime series set to shoot later this year: Too Old To Die Young for Amazon studios.
Back in February, it was announced that Refn would be partnering with acclaimed graphic novelist Ed Brubaker for a series about the criminal underworld in Los Angeles, but I read that press release twice and nowhere did it mention that one of the characters would be played by a man in an inflatable dinosaur suit. It’s certainly possible that Refn has decided to lean into his surrealistic influences and make his crime show a riff on David Lynch‘s Twin Peaks, which, given Refn’s admiration for the filmmaker – Refn’s films are frequently discussed through the lens of Lynch’s work – was probably an inevitability.
In this week’s “Only three?” story, When it comes to dynamic female roles, 2016 was an embarrassment of riches. It was also a wake up call to Hollywood to start writing more of these richly complex women and giving them the opportunity to be front and center. Can 2017 match the heights of last year in this department? We’ll have to wait and see.
Acclaimed work from Natalie Portman (Jackie), Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and Annette Bening (20th Century Women) are now available on VOD Hey, if you can only find three significant female roles from 2016, how hard can it be to give more THIS year?
In this week’s “Zombies to superpowers” story, Yeon Sang-ho, who directed last year’s Asian sensation Train to Busan has begun production of Psychokinesis. The former animation star is sticking with live action, but switching from zombie horror to humor.
The picture deploys A-list Korean stars including Ryu Seung-ryong (Miracle in Cell No. 7) and Shim Eun-kyung (Miss Granny,) who were voice acting leads from Seoul Station, Yeon’s animated prequel to Train.
Also on board are Park Jung-min (Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet) and Train star Jung Yu-mi.
The story involves an ordinary man who accidentally obtains superpowers and uses them to help his daughter and others around them.
In this week’s “Uh…new cast member?” story, Mike Colter, best known as the star of Netflix’s Luke Cage series, is set to join Michael Pena and Lizzy Caplan in Universal’s sci-fi thriller Extinction.
It’s unknown what character Colter will play in the film, which follows a man (Pena) trying to save his family from an alien invasion.
Ben Young will direct. Eric Heisserer — who was most recently nominated for an Oscar for his script on Arrival — will write the screenplay with Spenser Cohen and Bradley Caleb Kane.
In this week’s “Ugh” story, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are double dipping at Coachella this week, using the music festival as the backdrop for their upcoming Warner Bros. musical, A Star Is Born, while Gaga is also there for the small matter of headlining night two, Deadline reports.
Cooper is directing and will also play the aging rocker at the movie’s center. Gaga plays an up-and-coming singer-actress whose rise to fame coincides with Cooper’s downward spiral and alcohol abuse. The project marks Cooper’s first film as a director.
Six writers have writing credits on the screenplay (Ouch!), including Cooper. The latest draft was written by Munich and Forrest Gump writer Eric Roth. A Star is Born is scheduled to hit theaters on September 28, 2018.
In this week’s “You have to be kiddng” story, Netflix Loves Adam Sandler: Says Members Have Watched ‘Half a Billion’ Hours of His Movies
“We continue to be excited by our Sandler relationship and our members continue to be thrilled with his films,” Netflix wrote in the report. “Since the launch of The ‘Ridiculous 6,’ Netflix members have spent more than half a billion hours enjoying the films of Adam Sandler.
Sandler’s first film for the platform, Ridiculous 6, was the most-watched 30-day opening of any movie on the streaming service ever — including both original and licensed titles — at the time of its release at the end of 2015.
It may have been popular, but by all accounts, it was garbage. It has a rare zero percent on Rotten Tomatoes and TheWrap said it was “as offensive and trite as all of the controversy surrounding it promised.” Deborah Day’s review also said it sounded a “death knell” — but according to numbers, that doesn’t appear to be happening.
Netflix recently premiered the third film of Sandler’s original deal, Sandy Wexler, which is getting more positive reviews than his other ventures on the platform. A.V. Club gave the film a B-, saying it “does show signs that Sandler and company still think about show business in terms beyond having a beer in paradise with David Spade.” The Guardian gave it three out of five stars, calling it “authentic.”
In this week’s “Monster casting” story, Underground’s Aisha Hinds Boards Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
Aisha Hinds has signed on to co-star in Legendary/Warner Bros’ upcoming sequel Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, with Michael Dougherty at the helm. The actress, who is getting positive reviews for her turn as Harriet Tubman on WGN America’s Underground, joins Stranger Things break-out star Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Ken Watanabe and O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Plot details remain under wraps on the film, which Dougherty co-wrote with Zach Shields. WB is releasing it in theaters on March 22, 2019. The first installment following Legendary/WB launch of a new monster universe, Kong: Skull Island, pulled in $61M in its opening weekend.
In this week’s “Classical Murray” story, everybody’s favorite favorite, Bill Murray, will release a classical music album this summer. According to the New York Times, the actor will release “New Worlds,” a program of songs and literary readings that go along with chamber music led by cellist Jan Vogler.
Murray will be singing the music of George Gershwin and Stephen Foster, as well as songs from West Side Story. On the literary side, he will be reading Whitman and Hemingway while Vogler’s trio, including Mira Wang, his wife, on violin, and Vanessa Perez at the piano, will play Schubert, Bach and Piazzolla.
The act will have its United States premiere at Festival Napa Valley in California on July 20, followed by a North American tour that will conclude at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 16.
The project dates back to early 2013, when Vogler and Murray were sitting across from each other on a flight from Berlin to New York. Murray then invited Vogler to Poets House’s annual poetry walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, after which they began developing the classical music project. It’s being billed as Bill Murray, Jan Vogler & Friends.
In this week’s “Stop shopping!” story, Tori Spelling, “Beverly Hills, 90210” star and daughter of late TV mogul Aaron Spelling, had over $700,000 drained from her bank account by the IRS.
According to Page Six, the drain comes nine months after Spelling and her husband, Dean McDermott, were hit by a tax lien for $707,487.30 in unpaid federal taxes for 2014 alone.
The drain is the latest in a series of financial struggles for Spelling and her husband. Last month, McDermott’s ex-wife, Mary Jo Eustace, threatened him with jail time if he continued to not pay the child support he owes her. Back in November, Entertainment Tonight reported that American Express had sued him and Spelling for an unpaid credit card balance of over $87,000 after suing them a year prior for an unpaid balance of just under $38,000.
In this week’s “Catfight” story, the movie Unforgettable opens this week. Normally I wouldn’t give a shit about it, but let’s face it, I’d pay good money to see Rosario Dawson beat the shit out of Katherine Heigl any day. I mean, Dawson’s career is already doing that to Heigl’s career, so…..
And in this week’s “Best guest star in a song” story, the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy 2 releases today, and it has the best guest vocalist on it, ever. That’s right, none other than David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff appears on a track penned by director James Gunn and Tyler Bates for the band The Sneepers. Gunn says Hasselhoff is one of Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) childhood heroes. The part Hasselhoff performs is, in fact, “more of a rap”.
Oh yeah. This I gotta hear.
~ Neil T Weakley, your average movie-goer, thanking you all for tuning in for this week’s barrage of news stories! See ya next week!