Another big fat week of film news!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Fast and Furious…animation?” story, Yes,an animated Fast & Furious series is headed to Netflix. Not to be confused with “Fast and Furry-ous”. (Google it.)
It is the first series in an expansion of an ongoing multi-year deal between Netflix and DreamWorks Animation Television for original animated kids and family programming. The expansion, following Comcast-NBCUniversal’s acquisition of the animation studio, includes a first look at DreamWorks Animation animated series based on Universal film properties. First off is Fast & Furious, based on Universal’s multi-billion dollar franchise. The series is executive produced by Vin Diesel, Neal Moritz and Chris Morgan, producers on the live-action movies. DreamWorks will also continue creating series based on original and acquired IP.
I’m sorry, Fast and Furious is kids programming? Ookaaaayy….
In the Fast & Furious animated series, teenager Tony Toretto follows in the footsteps of his cousin Dom when he and his friends are recruited by a government agency to infiltrate an elite racing league serving as a front for a nefarious crime organization bent on world domination. Tim Hedrick (DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender) and Bret Haaland (All Hail King Julien) will serve as executive producers and showrunners.
“Teenager” Tony Toretto? Even so….Oh whatever.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Eternals or no?” story, last week there were some rumors about whether Marvel would tackle The Eternals in any of their Phase 4 films, and it would be nice if someone would substantiate them.
Well, Marvel Studios President had THIS to say about that:
“Eternals’ is one of many many many things that we are actively beginning to have creative discussions about to see if we believe in them enough to put them on a slate.”
Whether they follow through with that idea is a whole other proposition.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Around the world with Spidey!” story, According to Kevin Feige, Spiderman will be glode-trotting in the sequel to Spiderman: Homecoming.
Marvel’s head honcho Kevin Feige sat down for an interview with io9, and he revealed that Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) will be swinging around the globe for his next big screen adventure. Though Spider-Man is primarily based in New York, production will be heading to London, and there’s a reason for that.
“We start filming early July. We film in London. We shot first film in Atlanta. And we shoot a lot of films in London but there’s another reason we’re shooting in London which is, yes, Spidey, of course, will spend some time in New York, but he’ll spend some time in other parts of the globe.”
There might be some narrative reason that Spidey is going to need his passport. Feige teases:
“The way Civil War and the fact that he went to Leipzig Airport and then has to go back to school, informed Homecoming, the two Avengers films that precede [the sequel] will greatly inform, probably even more so, the next movie.”
Well, that will certainly mix it up in the next Spiderman movie. New exciting locales for Peter Parker!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Jungle Fever” story, Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman confirmed at CinemaCon that the upcoming sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will be released in theaters on Christmas 2019. He also confirmed that Dwayne Johnson will return to reprise his role and Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan are also expected to return but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle was a huge success for Sony Pictures. It’s made over $956 million dollars, and it recently became Sony’s highest grossing domestic release of all time beating out Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Audiences loved this movie and the studio betting that they will all return for a sequel. The upcoming film is already in development and is being written by Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner. There’s no director attached to the film yet, but Jake Kasdan directed the Welcome To The Jungle film. I imagine the studio will try to bring the director back on board if they can.
Sony is so confident in the upcoming Jumanji sequel that they are releasing it around the same time that Star Wars: Episode IX is being released.
Well, that’s a ballsy move. But then, it IS The Rock, so it may not be THAT much of a gamble.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Be patient for Rex Reed.” story, With the Disney/Fox merger not likely to close until NEXT summer, if you’re looking for more X-Men or Fantastic Four releases, it’ll be a while.
Although it’s only a matter of time before Kevin Feige puts them to work in the MCU, the Marvel Studios honcho told The Playlist that they’re still a handful of years out from officially bringing those characters home.
“No, because any of that deal would take a while to get going and years from whenever and if ever it happens. So, certainly it won’t impact the five movies we’ve announced, and it probably wouldn’t impact anything for a handful of years after that. Because really, we’re not thinking about that. We’re thinking of delivering on what we promised. Any movie, especially for any characters we don’t have the rights to yet until someone tells us we do, would be even further after that.”
Yeah, lots of red tape to work out in this deal. So we won’t likely see those two franchises brought back into the MCU fold until Phase 5. Probably logical anyway, as now we’ll have to find a new Wolverine, and probably a whole new Fantastic Four since that will likely be a reboot situation anyway.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Seecrets…” story, One of the films highlighted at Sundance London is the film The Tale from filmmaker Jennifer Fox. After wowing audiences at Sundance this year, the film, which is based on Fox’s actual life, is getting shown overseas as well, and will soon get its premiere on HBO next month.
In the first trailer for the film, we meet Jennifer, played by Laura Dern, who is desperate to find out more information about a story she wrote about her life when she was a child. During that time she met a couple, played by Elizabeth Debicki and Jason Ritter, and her life was forever changed. As Jennifer uncovers more information about her past, secrets are brought to light and her life will never be the same.
As mentioned above, HBO purchased the film during Sundance and will premiere it on the network on May 26.
Here’s the official synopsis of the film:
Jennifer has it all, with a loving boyfriend and a great career as a journalist and professor. But when her mother discovers a story – The Tale – that Jennifer wrote when she was 13, detailing a special relationship Jennifer had with two adult coaches, Jennifer returns to the Carolina horse farm where the events transpired to try to reconcile her version of events with the truth.
NOT musical comedy. But sounds like some great dramatic performances.
IN THIS WEEK’S “FINALLY, Black Widow” story, I can honestly say that many of us have been clamoring for a stand-alone Black Widow film with Scarlett Johansson. She’s been in six Marvel films so far without her own.
Apparently it’s FINALLY happening.
During an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Johansson expressed interest in continuing to play the character and addressed the reports that Marvel is finally developing a stand-alone Black Widow film.
“I think there’s room for it,” Johansson said with excitement. “The only way to do it would be if it were something that we’ve never seen before that was really groundbreaking and incredibly badass. I think if anyone could make that happen my boss Kevin Feige could. He’s a visionary.”
“I think it could be something really special,” she continued. “There’s a lot of room there. The character has a tortured past, she’s had to make a lot of difficult decisions. She has a lot of trauma. She’s got issues. There’s room to work them all out.”
The studio announced in January that Jac Schaeffer is penning the script. Schaeffer is a rising screenwriter best known for her Black List script The Shower. Plot details about the film are entirely under wraps, although a rumor reported by ScreenRant suggests the film will be a prequel and could co-star Sebastian Stan’s Bucky/Winter Soldier.
Johansson is listed as a cast member in the untitled fourth Avengers sequel, which shot during the same time as Infinity War and will be released May 3, 2019.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Joss Whedon explains” story, After Joss Whedon left the Batgirl movie he was going to make for Warner/DC, he said He didn’t have a story. Well, that’s only part of it.
Now Whedon has provided a bit of clarification. On the red carpet yesterday for Avengers: Infinity War, Whedon says he did have a story, but that it became difficult to tell that story with so much changing at the studio in the year he was attached:
“I felt it had been a year since I first pitched a story. A lot happened in that year, and I felt some of the elements might not work as well, and the story just kind of crumbled in my hands because there were elements I just hadn’t mastered, and after a long time I felt like I wasn’t going to. So I told people I didn’t have an idea, which isn’t the exact truth. I had an idea, and it just didn’t fit in the space that was left for it. It was a little heartbreaking because I was so excited about it, but I’m working on something of my own, and there’s nothing more exciting than that.”
Well, that makes sense. A Lot has changed over there at DC films.
As for the current status of Batgirl, the script is being handled by Unforgettable screenwriter Christina Hodson with the current plan to introduce Batgirl into the Harley Quinn spinoff Birds of Prey before giving Batgirl her solo movie.
IN THIS WEEK’S “More video game to film” story, Last year it was announced that Justice League star Jason Momoa has joined the cast of Just Cause, an adaptation of the hit video game series, which has Brad Peyton attached to direct.
Coming off the back of another video game adaptation Rampage, which opened in theaters around the world earlier this month, Peyton has provided an update on the film’s progress during an interview with Collider, as well as discussing why Momoa is perfect for the character of Rico Rodriguez, a.k.a. Scorpio.
“We’re working on the script. Jason Momoa, myself, and my producing partner, Jeff Fierson, have a show on Netflix, called Frontier, so we have a good working relationship with him, and he’s a really easy, good guy to work with. At this point, we’re just working on his character and we’re working on the script.
“The world has this fun tone. When I talked to Jason about it, he was like, ‘I want to do a bad-ass Bond. I want to do a guy that just sits on the beach and drinks.’ I pitched him one of the first images from the game, which is the guy sitting on the beach and having a beer, and there’s a boat out in the water. He hits a button, the boat blows up, and then he drinks his beer.
Ok, where can I get this job?
As yet, there’s no word as to when we might expect Just Cause to go into production, but Momoa is currently occupied with reshoots on Aquaman, followed by another comic book adaptation in the remake of The Crow.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Three Solos” story, In a recent interview leading up to the release of Solo, Ehrenreich was asked about his deal with Lucasfilm. He was clearly a bit unsure if he was supposed to let this particular cat out of the bag, but he confirmed that he signed a three-picture deal. Here’s what he had to say:
“Three. I don’t know if that’s officially, uh, public. But, yeah.”
I don’t know about you folks, but I’m already a bit uncertain of this upcoming Han Solo film with him in it. In the trailer, all of his lines seem to have the exact same tone. The idea of him doing it again two more times is not sitting well with me yet.
And who knows what this means? Two more Han Solo films? In what context? Will he be Han Solo in his own sequel, in a film about Lando Calrissian? Let’s just get past Solo: A Star Wars Story first and see how it goes.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Bow our heads” story, as we mourn the loss of Ash vs Evil Dead, we can now tack on mourning the loss of the character Ash.
Bruce Campbell has made it clear, Ash is retiring – for good.
According to the actor, he’s retiring from playing Ash vs Evil Dead‘s Ash Williams – a character he’s played on and off again for almost 40 years.
In the past, Campbell has said that if the show got cancelled, it was possible that a movie might still happen. But alas, no more. In a reponse on Twitter, Campbell said this:
“Big props to fans for the effort, but I’m retired as Ash. ” #timetofrysomeotherfish
It’s a bummer, but it’s absolutely understandable. You can’t play Ash into his 60’s or 70’s, right? I’m ok with it. Bruce Campbell gave us more Ash Williams than any of us thought we would get. It’s been a delight.
IN THIS WEEK’S “First time for everything” story, when you think back, you realize that Harrison Ford has never done a voice for animation. Go ahead, try to think of one time he did that. Nope, never. Well, that is about to change.
For the first time in his film career, Harrison Ford is joining an animated feature. Ford will lead the cast in The Secret Life of Pets 2, the sequel to the successful CGI film. Deadline reports Ford will be joined by Patton Oswalt, Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll and Pete Holmes who will all join the franchise for the first time. Oswalt will take over the role of Max, who was originally voiced by Louis C.K., which seems like an obvious change.
Beyond C.K.’s absence, much of the cast from the original film will be reprising their roles. The film’s script will be written by Minions writer Brian Lynch, and Despicable Me’s Chris Renaud will direct.
No details have been released regarding Ford’s character, so we can only speculate on the pet he will play.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Stop motion masters” story, LAIKA, the stop-motion animation studio behind the Academy Award-nominated Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline, has announced its fifth film. The feature, which is currently being referred to as simply Film Five, is in production at the studio and will be released in the U.S. by Annapurna Pictures. The announcement was made today by LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight and Megan Ellison, Founder and CEO of Annapurna Pictures.
Though it doesn’t yet have a title, the presumably original story for Film Five is described briefly as follows: “Bursting with humor, heart, and a profound message of acceptance and finding one’s place, the animation team at LAIKA is thrilled to be bringing this globetrotting comedy-adventure to life.” Chris Butler (ParaNorman) directs a voice cast led by Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana and Zach Galifianakis. The film was previously announced as having a May 18, 2018 release date, but no follow-up date has been announced just yet.
Here’s what Knight had to say about the future for LAIKA and Film Five:
“Our next film represents an evolutionary shift for LAIKA. It’s an exciting bridge to our future. Director Chris Butler and the wizards at LAIKA have crafted a moving work of art, layered with wit and imagination and soul. Plus it’s really, really funny. It’s a privilege to partner with Megan and her exceptional team at Annapurna to bring this beautiful original story to the world.”
I look forward to it!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Everyday (Super) Heroes” story, Universal impressed the nation’s exhibitors Wednesday with the first footage of M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller Glass, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, James McAvoy and Sarah Paulson.
Shyamalan told the audience at CinemaCon at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that Glass is the “first truly grounded comic book movie.”
Jackson added, “It’s about time I got the title role in my own motherf—ing movie.”
All four stars appeared on the stage, and the footage set up Paulson as a psychologist dealing with the three other characters, who she notes all believe that they are superheroes. What followed was a series of scenes with the characters interacting with each other — with Willis’ character attempting to stop an apocalyptic outcome.
“Glass brings together the narratives of Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, which was released in 2000 through Disney, and last year’s Split, from Universal. Shyamalan is self-financing. Universal, Blumhouse and Shyamalan first unveiled plans for Glass last year.
From Unbreakable, Willis returns as David Dunn and Jackson is back as Elijah Price, best known by his pseudonym Mr. Glass. Joining from Split are McAvoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within, and Anya Taylor-Joy, the only captive to survive an encounter with McAvoy’s the Beast.
Universal will handle domestic distribution, while Buena Vista International is on board for international territories. Glass opens domestically on Jan. 18.
I thought Split was M. Night’s best film since Unbreakable, so, I’m actually really curious to see this.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Guilty” story, Bill Cosby has been found guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent account.
The jury in Bill Cosby’s indecent assault trial found the comedian guilty Thursday of all three counts.
Cosby was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in a Philadelphia suburb in 2004. The 80-year-old former comedian faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, but would likely serve them concurrently.
The panel began deliberating Wednesday around 11 a.m., and worked for more than 14 hours over two days to reach the verdict.
The case against Cosby centered on testimony from Constand, a former employee with Temple University women’s basketball team. She testified that Cosby, a powerful trustee at Temple, drugged her and sexually assaulted her when she visited his home to ask for career advice.
At 80 years old, Bill Cosby will die in prison, even if he goes to a cushy celebrity type prison. He turned out out be one Hell of a hypocrite. So creepy and awful.
UPDATE: Cosby’s Alma Mater, Temple University in Philadelphia, has rescinded his honorary degree.
Temple University gave Cosby the honor back in 1991. However, Friday, the school released a statement saying, “Today the Temple University Board of Trustees has accepted the recommendation of the University to rescind the honorary degree.”
Cosby served as a member on the board for decades before resigning in 2014. Andrea Constand — the woman at the center of the sexual assault trial — was a former Temple Women’s Basketball Administrator.
Since allegations against Cosby started to surface, he’s lost more than 20 certificates from colleges and universities.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Not the illusionist” story, Armando Iannucci’s new retelling of Charles Dickens’ The Personal History of David Copperfield is rounding out its cast.
Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie,Dunkirk breakout Aneurin Barnard, Ben Whishaw, Morfydd Clark, Anthony Welsh, and Rosalind Eleazar have all joined Dev Patel, who will play the title character. FilmNation could not be reached for comment.
The project will offer a modern take on Dickens’ title character as he navigates a chaotic world to find his elusive place within it. The original David Copperfield was first published in 1850 and describes the journey of the titular protagonist — who was modeled after Dickens himself, from impoverished childhood to becoming a successful author, thanks to perseverance and despite a lack of personal discipline.
Kevin Loader and Iannucci will produce the feature, which was developed with FilmNation. Iannucci is directing from a script he wrote with Simon Blackwell.
Iannucci created HBO’s political comedy Veep as an adaptation of his British sitcom, The Thick of It. He was the showrunner on Veep for the first four seasons, from 2012 to 2015. He recently directed the 2017 feature film The Death of Stalin and co-wrote the script with David Schneider, Ian Martin, and Peter Fellows.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Katee goes back to space” story, Katee Sackhoff is returning to space (and Netflix).
The Battlestar Galactica alum has been tapped to star in space drama Another Life, which has been ordered straight-to-series at Netflix.
The 10-episode drama revolves around astronaut Niko Breckenridge (Sackhoff), who leads a crew on a mission to explore the genesis of an alien artifact. As she and her young crew investigate, they face unimaginable danger on what might very well be a one-way mission.
The drama hails from Halfire Entertainment, marking the company’s second series at Netflix following Alias Grace. Aaron Martin (Saving Hope, Degrassi: The Next Generation) created the series and serves as showrunner. Halfire’s Noreen Halpern (Rookie Blue, Alias Grace, Haven) will also exec produce the series.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Where no woman has gone before” story, the Star Trek film franchise has found it’s director for Star Trek 4.
S.J. Clarkson has been named as the director for the forthcoming fourth film in the Kelvin Timeline Star Trek series, reports Variety, which still looks to follow the storyline first announced in the summer of 2016 featuring the return of Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk (originally killed in the 2009 Trek film). Technically, according to Deadline.com, Clarkson is still in negotiations, but word on the street is it’s pretty much a done deal.
Clarkson is the first female director to take on a Star Trek movie, and only one of a few female directors to work the franchise to date, and has been recently working on Netflix’s Jessica Jones series.
Paramount Pictures had no comment. The studio announced at CinemaCon in Las Vegas that it was planning a fourth movie with Chris Hemsworth, who appeared as Chris Pine’s father in 2009’s “Star Trek.” Zachary Quinto is also set to return. Paramount is developing another “Star Trek” film from J.J. Abrams and Quentin Tarantino, but sources say it is still being written and would come after the fourth movie.
While details on “Star Trek 4” are vague, sources say a key plot point sees Pine’s character running into his father (Hemsworth) in a time travel ploy.
Of note, The Hollywood Reporter details that some of the Kelvin Timeline cast have not yet renewed their contract with Paramount Pictures, a potential hurdle to overcome:
“The studio does not have acting deals with the cast members, which include Simon Pegg, John Cho, Zoe Saldana and Karl Urban. Fresh contracts would have to be drawn up, making the project pricey, but Trek is a crown jewel for the studio.”
Yay! More woman irectors! Although, having to still get contracts for some of the actors is a bit of an obstacle. Those actors are going to make some money, me thinks.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Triple Wick” story, if you’re like me, you’ll be super excited for John Wick 3, and maybe still a bit unsure about how another Bill and Ted movie is going to workout.
Thankfully, production on the next chapter of the John Wick saga is set to get underway very soon. The Lionsgate preview from CinemaCon is the first synopsis of John Wick: Chapter 3, which gives us a hint as to what John Wick will be up against in the upcoming sequel, and it ain’t good. Or ti’s really good, depending on your point of view.
“John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is on the run for two reasons… he’s being hunted for a global $14 million dollar open contract on his life, and for breaking a central rule: taking a life on Continental Hotel grounds. The victim was a member of the High Table who ordered the open contract. John should have already been executed, except the Continental’s manager, Winston, has given him a one-hour grace period before he’s “Excommunicado” – membership revoked, banned from all services and cut off from other members. John uses the service industry to stay alive as he fights and kills his way out of New York City.”
Chad Stahelski told JoBlo last year that John Wick: Chapter 3 may not necessarily be bigger than the previous two, but will hopefully be “more creative and different.” Stahelski also mentioned a few of the elements he’s hoping to explore in the threequel. “We are going to put in something about the High Table, how that all works,” Stahelski said. “We’re going to put in something about where John comes from, and where he wants to go. I don’t want to say too much more, but it will be a nice completion to Mr Wick’s journey.” There’s also The Continental to look forward to, a John Wick TV series which will focus on the titular hotel and the assassins who frequent it. Stahelski will be directing the pilot for the series which will air on Starz.
John Wick: Chapter 3 is set for a May 17, 2019 release. BOOM. Sweet.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Th increasingly busy schedule of Bill Skarsgard” story, Eagle-eyed viewers spotted It star Bill Skarsgård in a quick shot from the film’s March trailer, which prompted numerous questions about who exactly the man behind Pennywise was playing in the sequel. Deadpool has finally confirmed Skarsgård will be a member of the X-Force team and play the mutant Zeitgeist.
Zeitgeist was created by Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred and first appeared in “X-Force #116.” The mutant’s real name is Axel Cluney and his power is the ability to spew acidic vomit from his mouth. The character is known for wearing a mouth guard, although the first photo of Skarsgård in character doesn’t include one.
Well, that’s a pleasant mutant ability. Ack.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Back to Strange” story, just a heads up that Netflix’s Stranger Things season 3 has started production. Yay!
And IN THIS WEEK’S “Update on crazy” story, Bail for Smallville actress Allison Mack was set at $5 million in a Tuesday hearing at Brooklyn Federal Court as she was released to serve home detention at her parents’ house in Los Alamitos, Calif.
Mack was indicted on April 19 on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy in New York federal court. She appeared before Magistrate Viktor V. Pohorelsky at the Brooklyn courthouse in New York’s Eastern District.
The expectation is that Mack is cutting a deal with prosecutors to provide information against Nxivm founder Keith Raniere, who was arrested last month in Mexico and remains in federal custody. A bail hearing for Raniere is set for next week.
Her mother, Melinda Mack, was in court and put up her home in Los Alamitos, Calif. as collateral for the bail, in addition to property and a bank account owned by Allison Mack. The actress accused of helping run a secretive sex cult appeared in court in gray-green jail scrubs. She spoke softly in court and did not appear to make eye contact with her mother during the hearing. After standing before the judge to sign the bond, Melinda Mack turned her head to watch her daughter being led out of the courtroom.
Mack was not handcuffed but she kept her hands clasped behind her back during the 15-minute hearing. The petite 35-year-old said few words and stayed grim-faced but nodded repeatedly. Her shoulder-length blond hair was messy.
Later, as Melinda Mack left the courthouse, she and Allison Mack’s attorney, William McGovern, refused to comment on the case.
Allison Mack was released on the condition she serve home detention with electronic monitoring. The conditions of her bail allow her to travel to Southern California and to the New York City area where her criminal attorneys are based. Mack’s attorneys said she intended to return to her parents home as soon as possible.
Mack’s father, opera singer Jonathan Mack, was not in court but is obligated to co-sign her bail collateral arrangement by May 4.
Mack was a regular on the WB Network/CW drama Smallville throughout its 10-season run. That show was filmed in Vancouver, where Nxivm has a large following. Coincidence? I wonder…
This is so crazy. I watched pretty much every season of Smallville and I recall Allison Mack quite well. It’s important to remember, folks, that actors are jsut playing a character on TV/film. You have NO idea who they really are.
~ Aaaaand, we’re out! See ya next week!