What’s new this week? Let’s find out!
IN THIS WEEK’S “In MEMORIUM” story, Doris Day, whose career spanned radio, film, TV and, perhaps most famously, the beloved sweetly innocent “sex comedies” of the 1960s, most notably with co-star and friend Rock Hudson, died today. She was 97.
Her death was confirmed by The Doris Day Animal Foundation. Day’s Foundation attributed the death to pneumonia, noting the star had been in excellent health until the recent illness. She died early today surrounded by friends at her home in Carmel Valley, CA.
Day was the star of such Hollywood classics as With Six You Get Eggroll, Pillow Talk, That Touch of Mink and her self-titled 1968-73 sitcom. Her performance of “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much proved so popular that it would become her endurable signature song (and the theme for her TV comedy).
AND ANOTHER: Tim Conway, the five-time Emmy winner who reveled in cracking up straight man Harvey Korman on The Carol Burnett Show and flummoxed Ernest Borgnine on McHale’s Navy, died today in Los Angeles. He was 85. He had been rendered mute since undergoing brain surgery last year.
“I can confirm he passed at 8:45 a.m. after a long illness,” Conway’s longtime publicist Howard Bragman said today.
Conway fairly dominated any scene he was in and was a fan — and cast — favorite on Carol Burnett’s long-running variety show. His chemistry with Korman was palpable as Conway delivered killer punchlines in a droll, unflinching style that enamored him to millions of fans. His penchant for playing slow-witted characters belied a genuine professionalism.
He won three Emmys for writing or co-starring on that classic series and two others for later guest sports on Coach (1996) and 30 Rock (2008).
I watched the Carol Burnett Show with my mom for years and so loved when Harvey Corman would lose it during a skit with Tim Conway. I know he grew up near where I lived just outside Cleveland, Ohio.
We’ll miss you, Tim Conway.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Next Batman” story, Robert Pattinson is poised to star in Matt Reeves‘ The Batman, according to Variety‘s Justin Kroll, who broke the news. A representative for Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reeves is directing The Batman from his own screenplay and will also produce alongside Dylan Clark. Production is slated to start in the fall, and Warner Bros. will release the film on June 25, 2021.
While several trade publications have cautioned that Pattinson doesn’t have the role yet, insisting that Nicholas Hoult, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Armie Hammer remain in the mix, Collider’s sources say Pattinson has won the role, and the other three are simply frontrunners to step in for Pattinson in the event he’s unable to strike a multi-picture deal with Warner Bros. Remember that Reeves is planning a trilogy, so The Batman isn’t expected to be a one-off like the Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix.
Wow, ok then. Pattinson is a great actor, so it’ll be worth seeing what he does with the role.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Hitler satire” story, Taika Waititi’s next film, Jojo Rabbit, in which the director stars an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler, will be released by Fox Searchlight on Oct. 18, 2019.
The film is described as an “anti-hate satire” and stars Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant and Alfie Allen.
Jojo Rabbit is Waititi’s follow-up to Thor: Ragnarok and Hunt for the Wilderpeople before that, and it’s based on the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens.
Set during World War II, the story follows a lonely German boy (Griffin Davis) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers that his single mother (Johansson) is hiding a young girl (McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic, imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Waititi), Jojo must confront his naive patriotism.
“It’s my version of… a lonely boy’s best version of his hero, which is really his dad,” Waititi told TheWrap in March 2018.
Waititi’s depiction of Hitler isn’t meant as a sympathetic one. Rather, the character is a combination of Jojo’s father and the führer and shows a boy who both misses his dad and is confused by Nazi propaganda around him.
Waititi is producing the film with Carthew Neal and Chelsea Winstanley.
This sounds fascinating and I want to see it.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Not Purged yet” story, Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes have set the untitled next ‘Purge’ chapter for July 10, 2020.
Following the success of 2019’s The First Purge,” which became the highest-grossing film in the horror series, the franchise returns with creator James DeMonaco returning to pen the script. Jason Blum is producing alongside Man In A Tree duo DeMonaco and Sébastien K. Lemercier, and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form.
The four The Purge movies, which started with 2013’s The Purge, have grossed $285 million collectively domestically. The films have starred actors like Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Marisa Tomei, Frank Grillo, Lakeith Stanfield and Michael K. Williams.
The Purge films are based on a dystopian future where there is an annual 12-hour period where all forms of crime are legal — even murder.
There is also a The Purge TV series, which was first announced in April 2017. The series, starring Gabriel Chavarria, Hannah Emily Anderson and Amanda Warren, premiered on Sept. 4, 2018. Last November, the show was renewed for a second season.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Feel good horse” story, Bleecker Street has acquired Dream Horse, a drama starring Toni Collette and Damian Lewis, Variety has confirmed.
The deal is for U.S. rights and the film tells the true story of Jan Vokes, a Welsh cleaner and bartender, who decides to breed and rear a race horse. She persuades her neighbors and friends to contribute financially to the scheme. The group’s unlikely investment plan pays off as the horse rises through the ranks and puts them in a race for the national championship.
Bleecker’s films include the Oscar-nominated Trumbo and Captain Fantastic, as well as Steven Soderbergh’s Lucky Logan. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Other cast members include Owen Teale (Game of Thrones), Joanna Page (Gavin & Stacey), Nicholas Farrell (The Iron Lady), Sian Philips (I, Claudius) and Karl Johnson (Peterloo).
Euros Lyn (Happy Valley) will direct from a screenplay written by Neil McKay (Appropriate Adult). Katherine Butler will produce with Tracy O’Riordan. The true story behind the film was previously told in the documentary Dark Horse.
IN THIS WEEK’S “These two…” story, Shia LaBeouf and Mel Gibson will star in Rothschild, a dark comedy about New York’s super rich helmed by Stan & Ollie director Jon S. Baird. HanWay Films has boarded the project and will kick off international sales at Cannes. CAA Media Finance is handling the North American rights.
LaBeouf plays Becket Rothschild, who was cast out from the family. As an adult the charismatic Beckett hatches a plan to get back into the family and claim his birth right. There are nine Rothschild family members who stand between him and his fortune including Whitelaw (Gibson), the family patriarch and villain of the piece.
Rothschild is being produced by Los Angeles-based production company Unified Pictures. Keith Kjarval and Tyler Jackson will produce alongside Black Box Management’s Lowell Shapiro and Mike Dill who represent the writer.
“Rothschild is a satirical and thrilling ride, and I am elated to be working with a filmmaker like Jon Baird, who not only has an incredible track record of guiding award-winning performances, but is crafting this film to be an action packed cautionary tale on wealth and power,” said Kjarval.
…Says the wealthy film producer.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Honey, I shrunk my idea pool” story, Disney is doing what they do a LOT of now: taking a hit property from yesteryear and remaking it for a new audience.
Slashfilm is reporting that Disney has signed actor Josh Gad to star in an upcoming reboot-quel (why is this now such a popular thing?) of it’s classic Shrunk the Kids franchise, simply titled Shrunk. The report says that Disney is following in the footsteps of so many films recently and not doing a full-blown reboot, but instead, using the legacy of the original film in a new sequel that will act as a launching point for a brand-new franchise.
In the film, Gad will play the grown-up son of Rick Moranis’ character from the first film, who 30 years after the original film grows up to be a scientist that somehow accidentally shrinks his own children.
Is this a family of genius’s or a family of incompetents?
Disney is said to want Shrunk to be a theatrical release and not a new Disney+ project. May as well, seeing as Honey I Shrunk the Kids in 1989 made $222 million worldwide off a modest $18 million budget.
The studio is on the hunt for a filmmaker to take over the project.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Well, THAT would have been a different movie” story, Don’t even think about asking Peter Jackson to direct a superhero movie, because he’s not interested. The Lord of the Rings filmmaker recently revealed that he’s not interested in directing a superhero film, so much so that he turned down the opportunity to direct Aquaman twice. To be fair, Jackson doesn’t say he hates superhero movies – just that he’d rather not spend his time making one.
Peter Jackson hasn’t directed a big scale feature film since 2014’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and while he might return to blockbuster filmmaking again some day, don’t expect his next project to feature superheroes. Speaking with Empire, Jackson revealed that in the past, Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara approached him about directing Aquaman, and Jackson had to turn him down twice.
“He said, ‘Are you a fan of Aquaman?’ I said, ‘No.’ Six months later: ‘Peter, are you a fan of Aquaman?’ I said, ‘No, Kevin, I already told you this,’” said Jackson. He added: “I’m not a superhero guy…films are hard. I only want to make something that I have a deep passion for.” It’s hard to argue with that reasoning, and when you’re Peter Jackson, you can afford to pick and choose your projects.
As for when we can expect Jackson to get back to feature filmmaking, Jackson stated: “I don’t really anticipate making another theatrical film for a year or two.”
IN THIS WEEK’S “Gonna have to wait a little longer” story, The difficult road to production on the latest James Bond film has hit another hurdle after shooting was reportedly suspended following an injury to star Daniel Craig. According to British newspaper The Sun, the actor fell while sprinting on the set in Jamaica last week and has been flown to the U.S. for X-rays, resulting in a suspension of the shoot.
The newspaper cited an unnamed source as saying that Craig was shooting one of his final scenes in Jamaica. “He was sprinting during filming when he slipped and fell quite awkwardly,” the source said. “He was in quite a lot of pain and was complaining about his ankle.”
While it is unknown how long the production might be delayed, The Sun reports that filming at London’s iconic Pinewood Studios, which had been scheduled to begin at the end of the week, has been canceled.
Daniel Craig is probably going to be SO happy to stop playing this role.
IN THIS WEEK’S “For better or worse” story, Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are working on the upcoming Star Wars movie that’s due out in 2022, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed.
Iger made the announcement Tuesday during the MoffettNathanson Media and Communications Summit, a week after Disney revealed there will be a trio of untitled “Star Wars entries after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker brings the Skywalker spinoff saga to a close this December.
The first of the new three films will hit the big screen on Dec. 16, 2022. Details are sparse on what the forthcoming Star Wars installment will entail.
“We’re hard at work already, but we felt three years was the proper amount of time to not only take a breather and reset, but to gear up for the next film’s release,” Iger said. “We did a deal with David Benioff and Dan Weiss, who are famous for ‘Game of Thrones’ and the next movie that we release will be theirs, and we’re not saying anything more about that.”
This would have been GREAT news a couple months ago, but after seeing this last season of Game of Thrones, I’m not sure people will be so excited.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Mortal Kombat is coming” story, At long last, the much-discussed Mortal Kombat movie reboot is finally happening, with James Wan (The Conjuring, Aquaman) set to produce. We’ve been hearing about this project for several years now, with only the occasional update every handful of months. Though, actual progress seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace. However, things have finally firmed up and Wan will be teaming up with New Line Cinema to bring the beloved and violent video game franchise to the big screen for modern audiences.
According to a new report, Mortal Kombat will shoot in South Australia, with pre-production set to get underway later this month. It’s expected that the production will utilize Australian crews and will even do post-production and visual effects work down under. As previously reported, commercial director Simon McQuoid is set to helm the project, which will serve as his feature directorial debut.
At present, plot details haven’t been revealed, so there isn’t all that much to go on. Certain rumors have been floating around regarding casting, with one report suggesting Joel Edgerton may be eyed for the role of Kano. Beyond that, it isn’t clear which characters from the video game’s long history will show up on screen. Much of that will be up to Greg Russo, who penned the current draft of the screenplay. Russo is also responsible for the in-the-works Resident Evil reboot.
Another game movie reboot. Ok.
IN THIS WEEK’S “You get a free guy” story, Production has commenced on the upcoming adventure comedy Free Guy, which stars Ryan Reynolds as a lonely bank teller who discovers he’s actually a background character in an open-world video game. Filming is taking place in Boston with Shawn Levy at the helm. Levy’s credits range from comedies like Date Night to adventure films like the Night at the Museum franchise to dramas like This Is Where I Leave You, but recently he’s been best known for being a principal director on Netflix’s Stranger Things alongside creators/showrunners The Duffer Brothers. Free Guy marks Levy’s first directorial feature since 2014’s Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.
Joining Reynolds in the ensemble is Killing Eve breakout Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Taika Waititi, Utkarsh Ambudkar (Mulan), and Stranger Things alum Joe Keery. The press release doesn’t mention the credited screenwriters, but sources close to the production tell us that the film began with an original screenplay by Matt Lieberman, which was then rewritten by Reynolds and Zak Penn (Ready Player One).
Well, it’s Ryan Reynolds, so, it’s probably going to be fun.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Country devils” story, Ethan Hawke and Alessandro Nivola are teaming up in Satan Is Real, the story of the Louvin brothers. The real-life best friends will portray Charlie and Ira Louvin, influential country musicians whose relationship is forged by love, hate, jealousy, and alcohol.
In an interview with Variety, Hawke and Nivola said they hoped to achieve a music term called “blood harmony” in their performances. It’s a term that describes the kind of harmonizing that can be achieved when family members sing together, because their genetic link allows them to share the same tone in their voice.
“It’s such an important expression to us,” said Hawke. “It sounds both violent and beautiful and the music should be that. It’s aggressive, it’s electric, it’s strange. It’s not Brooklyn folk rock. It’s not wannabe cool guy country. It’s hillbilly gospel music.”
The film will be directed by Phil Morrison, who previously worked with Nivola on “Junebug.” Jon Raymond and Shelby Gaines are writing the screenplay drawing on Charlie Louvin’s adaptation. Protagonist Pictures is handling sales of the film.
The brothers may have been related, but they had dramatically different personalities. Charlie Louvin was an honest Christian man and churchgoing singer, and his brother Ira had the devil in him, known for smashing his mandolin to splinters onstage and wrecking havoc in his wake.
“It’s ultimately a tragic story but it needs to be injected with a kind of wit,” said Nivola.
The brothers may have been known for their buttermilk-smooth harmonies, but their personal lives were filled with turmoil.
“They’re singing these songs and then backstage they’re taking speed and hitting on girls and beating the shit out of each other,” said Hawke.
Hawke said that the goal is that the musical sequences will help chart the brothers’ deteriorating relationship much as the boxing sequences in “Raging Bull” served as metaphors for boxer Jake Lamotta’s problems with his brother and wife.
OK, this sounds like a cool film – especially with Ethan Hawke in it. Color me interested.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Roth on Faro” story, Tim Roth, who stars in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has joined the cast of Mia Hansen-Love’s English-language debut, Bergman Island, a supernatural melodrama with Vicky Krieps and Mia Wasikowska.
Charles Gillibert’s CG Cinema is producing Bergman Island. Gillibert previously collaborated with Hansen-Love on Eden, which played at Toronto.
Sold by Kinology, Bergman Island follows a couple of American filmmakers who travel to the Swedish island of Faro, where filmmaking icon Ingmar Bergman lived, to write their respective films. The two get lost between fiction and reality amid the island’s mysterious landscapes.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Unlikely pairing” story, Chris Rock is teaming with Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures for a fresh reimagining on the next Saw movie. The comedy multi-hyphenate has written a story which is being adapted by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg, and Rock will also executive produce. Lionsgate has dated the film for an Oct. 23, 2020 release.
“When Chris Rock came to us and described in chilling detail his fantastic vision that reimagines and spins-off the world of the notorious Jigsaw Killer, we were all-in,” said Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake.
Ok….I mean, if Rock has a cool idea, people are going to listen to him.
“I’ve been a fan of Saw since the first film in 2004,” said Rock. “I am excited by the opportunity to take this to a really intense and twisted new place.”
“Chris wants to put his own spin on the Saw franchise in the way Eddie Murphy put a completely fresh perspective on buddy-cop films with 48 Hours. This new Saw is going to be an event film in the making for horror fans. It will have all of the twists and turns and hardcore layers that our fans expect directed by one of the masters of the craft, Darren Lynn Bousman. We can’t wait to get started,” said longtime series producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Advice from Kevin Feige” story, In regards to making a successful cinematic universe, or just a great film, really, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has some great advice.
Feige was asked about the secrets to making a good cinematic universe. (Studios should probably grab a pen and paper.)
“Respect the source material,” the Marvel Studios boss said. “Hire passionate filmmakers regardless of how much money their last movie made. Hire the best cast regardless of their current marquee value.”
it’s almost as if he understands what makes a great film. Huh. Go figure. 😉
IN THIS WEEK’S “Final piece of the puzzle” story, The Navot Papushado-directed action thriller Gunpowder Milkshake has set Carla Gugino as a lethal assassin in the film’s final piece of casting. Gugino will star alongside will star alongside Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett and Paul Giamatti. The film shoots this summer in Berlin. Plot is being kept under wraps but it is described as a high-concept assassin story that has a rich mythology and spans several generations.
Gugino will play part of a secret sisterhood who come together to help Gillan’s character when things go south. Pic was scripted by Big Bad Wolves‘ helmer Papushado, and Ehud Lavski. It shoots at the Babelsberg FilmStudio June 3.
Strangely, there are no obvious Johnny Depp shenanigans this week.
Ok, thanks for stopping by this week!