Great Scott! There’s more shocking news this week!
IN THIS WEEK’S “It’s a quack a minute” story, While engaging in a recent interview with the privately owned news and media website Inquisitr, BACK TO THE FUTURE actress Lea Thompson revealed that she’s putting together a pitch for Marvel Studios that’s bound to ruffle a few feathers.
I’m sure many of our readers remember the original Howard the Duck movie. Well, Lea Thompson is apparently into doing a new one.
Thompson sat down for a fireside chat with Inquisitr. During their talk, the SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL star said that she plans to pitch a new Howard the Duck movie to Marvel in as little as three weeks from now. It’s so baffling that she’s so interested. Here’s what she said:
“Oh my god, from your lips to God’s ears,” Thompson said. “I don’t know. To tell you the actual truth, I am going to Marvel to pitch Howard the Duck, a new movie. In like three weeks. I want to direct the Howard the Duck remake. Why not dream big, right?”
Howard was included as a cameo character in James Gunn’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, which I found amusing. And it actually made me think of the possibility of a legitimate Marvel Howard the Duck movie. Sure, why not Put Thompson in it? It’s be a hoot. But direct it? I don’t think Marvel will be too keen on that idea.
IN THIS WEEK’S “What has eight legs and a remake?” story, looks like we’re getting an Arachnaphobia remake.
Deadline reports that Amblin and James Wan’s Atomic Monster are the early stages of a remake of the 1990 horror-comedy. Per Deadline, Frank Marshall’s original starred Jeff Daniels and John Goodman; the plot followed “a few brave souls who try to track down the queen before the hybrid breed can take hold.”
There’s currently no writer or director attached, but Wan will be on board in a producing role. That being said, it will be interesting to see what kind of approach they take to the remake. Will they keep the horror-comedy vibe or will they go straight horror? Presumably, there will be a heavier reliance on CGI, but a swarm of spiders tends to be pretty scary whether they’re practical or digital.
As for Wan, he’s currently in post-production on Aquaman and he’s also producing the latest spinoff in The Conjuring universe The Nun, which opens September 7th.
IN THIS WEEK’S “But will he record it in a car?” story, James Corden is joining Melissa McCarthy in the New Line sci-fi comedy Super Intelligence, providing the voice of the title character.
McCarthy will play the lead role of Carol Peters, a former corporate executive whose earnest, yet unfulfilled, life is turned upside down when she is selected for observation by the world’s first superintelligence (Corden) — a form of artificial intelligence that may or may not take over the world.
The script was penned by Steve Mallory, whose most recent collaboration with McCarthy and Falcone was the 2016 comedy The Boss. Production is set to begin next month and the film will be released on Christmas Day, 2019.
Unlike his late-night host counterparts, Corden has found time to broaden his brand. Corden has already had two hit films in 2018, starting with Sony’s live-action/animated hybrid Peter Rabbit. Corden voiced the title character. He also had a key role in Ocean’s 8, the Ocean’s Eleven spinoff that recently won the weekend box office, bringing in $41.6 million. Corden can also be seen in the upcoming animated musical Smallfoot.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Well, that was quick” story, Hiro Murai, who recently directed the music video for Childish Gambino’s This Is America, is in talks to make his feature directorial debut at Fox with Man Alive, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.
Man Alive was bought as a spec script by Joe Greenberg and has received a rewrite from David Robert Mitchell (It Follows).
The sci-fi thriller follows the events after an alien invasion on earth. A man is faced with isolation and loneliness in the aftermath but soon realizes he might not be alone after all. Matt Reilly is overseeing for Fox while Noah Hawley and Good Fear are producing.
Murai has directed over a dozen episodes of Donald Glover’s Atlanta, as well as two episodes of the series Barry starring Bill Hader. Episodes of FX’s Legion and Snowfall also belong to his credits.
IN THIS WEEK’s “The Punisher as Lee Iacocca?” story, The Punisher star Jon Bernthal is in negotiations to join Matt Damon and Christian Bale in Fox’s untitled Ford vs. Ferrari movie.
If the deal goes through, Bernthal will play Lee Iacocca, who spearheaded development of the Ford Mustang. The car debuted in 1964 and became the automaker’s most successful launch since the Model A.
Logan director James Mangold is helming from a script by screenwriters Jez and John-Henry Butterworth (“Edge of Tomorrow”). The film is based on A.J. Baime’s 2010 book Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans.
The film follows an eccentric, determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive visionary Carroll Shelby (Damon) and his British driver, Ken Miles (Bale), who are dispatched by Henry Ford II and Iacocca with the mission of building from scratch an entirely new automobile with the potential to finally defeat the perennially dominant Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans World Championship in France.
Caitriona Balfe will portray Miles’ wife and Noah Jupe will play their son. Chernin Entertainment is producing and Steve Asbell is overseeing for the studio.
IN THIS WEEK’s “The Devil is saved” story, Netflix has saved Lucifer from oblivion!
Netflix has picked up a fourth season of the series, just over a month after it was canceled by Fox. No details, including a release date or episode count, have been released.
After Fox axed the series back in May, fans launched a campaign to have the show saved by another outlet using the hashtag #SaveLucifer, and producers Warner Bros. Television actively began searching for a new distributor for the show.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Ch-ch-ch-changes at DC, and some Batman news” story, Filmmaker Matt Reeves’ upcoming Batman movie will focus on a younger caped crusader, an insider with knowledge of the project confirmed to TheWrap.
According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, Reeves turned in the first act of his Batman screenplay during the Memorial Day weekend after working on a treatment for a year.
The filmmaker has previously said he set aside an original script written by Ben Affleck and former DC entertainment president Geoff Johns, and is “starting again” on a completely new take. “No. It’s a new story. It’s just starting again. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be really cool,” Reeves told MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast last year.
Affleck and Johns wrote their script while the Argo Oscar-winner was still set to direct as well as star in The Batman.
The concept envisioned by Affleck and Johns featured Deathstroke the Terminator as the main villain, and Joe Manganiello was hired to play the supervillain. Given the changes around the project, Manganiello has said he isn’t sure if he’s still in The Batman.
Geoff Johns stepped down as president and chief creative officer of DC Entertainment, the studio announced on Monday. Johns will transition to a new role, with a first-look writer/producer deal at parent company Warner Bros.
The announcement comes just days after the studio said Diane Nelson would exit as DC Entertainment consumer products group president. A source familiar with the situation told TheWrap the moves are part of a larger shakeup at the studio.
Johns’ new role comes as Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are trying to retool their approach to the DC Cinematic Universe. While the film series had its first bonafide hit a year ago with Wonder Woman, it failed to turn that into further box office success with Justice League.
Since Justice League was released, an extensive leadership shuffle has taken place at WB and DC. Johns’ right-hand man Jon Berg took a producer deal with Warner Bros., as did longtime WB marketing chief Sue Kroll.
Diane Nelson, another DC Entertainment head and twenty-plus year veteran at WB, left the studio earlier this month after a months-long sabbatical.
Aquaman will be released on December 21, followed by Shazam! in April 2019 and Wonder Woman 2 in November 2019.
Yeah, it’s still all a mess over there at Warner/DC.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Disney vs Comcast” story, Comcast on Wednesday submitted a competing bid for 21st Century Fox, initiating what could well result in a high-stakes bidding war with its biggest media rival, The Walt Disney Co.
The U.S. cable giant made an all-cash offer of $65 billion to acquire much of Fox’s film and television assets, its international holdings and its stake in the streaming service, Hulu. The $35 per share offer represents a 19% premium on Disney’s $52.4 billion all-stock offer for the same assets.
“We have long admired what the Murdoch family has built at 21st Century Fox,” wrote Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, in a letter addressed to Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch. “And our meetings last year, we came away convinced that the 21CF businesses to be sold are highly complimentary to ours, and that our company would be the right strategic home for them.”
Roberts expressed disappointment in Fox’s selection last year of Disney as its deal partner, despite Comcast’s more lucrative all cash offer. And decided to sweeten the deal, following yesterday’s ruling in the AT&T-Time Warner antitrust case.
Comcast confirmed last month that it planned to make a rich counter-offer for Fox, but appeared to be awaiting the outcome of the AT&T-Time Warner antitrust case. Judge Richard Leon yesterday eviscerated the
Department of Justice’s arguments in seeking to block the deal on an untested theory of competitive harm by the combining of two companies whose businesses do not overlap.
But…but… I want the Marvel properties to all be under one roof! Damn you, Comcast!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Wonder Woman teases!” story, Wonder Woman returns in the sequel, and somehow Chris Pine is there.
Filming is currently underway for the Wonder Woman sequel, officially titled Wonder Woman 1984. Patty Jenkins, who is returning to the director’s chair, teased a first look on Wednesday morning of the highly anticipated followup.
Jenkins tweeted out a photo of Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor, even though we (SPOILER) met a seemingly definitive end in the first Wonder Woman film.
Jenkins previously revealed that the upcoming superhero sequel will be set in the United States during the 1980s. Kristen Wiig joins as the villainous Cheetah, while Pedro Pascal is also been cast in an undisclosed key role.
Wonder Woman 1984 hits theaters on Nov. 1, 2019.
IN THIS WEEK’S “S-Town goes to the movies” story, Tom McCarthy is in talks to direct the feature adaptation of the popular podcast S-Town.
The movie would see McCarthy reteam with Participant Media, the production company behind the best picture Oscar winner Spotlight.
The podcast, from Serial and This American Life, follows an Alabama man named John who contacts host Brian Reed to have him investigate a supposed murder by the son of a wealthy family in his hometown, which he openly despises. The story then delves into John’s own backstory, filled with everything from clocks and buried treasure to a giant hedge maze behind his family home.
Playwright Samuel Hunter will adapt the story.
This American Life, repped by UTA, will be producing the movie. S-Town is the latest Hollywood project for Ira Glass’ radio program, which is also behind the recent Netflix drama Come Sunday starring Lakeith Stanfield.
S-Town is awesome and well worth the listen, if you haven’t. Should be interesting to see how they handle this material.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Oh, I like this better” story, John Cena has joined Jackie Chan in the independent action-thriller Project X, set at a Chinese-run oil refinery in the Middle East.
Cena is replacing Sylvester Stallone in the movie, which had been developed as Ex-Baghdad. Scott Waugh is directing from a script by Arash Amel.
Chan will portray a Chinese private security contractor who is tasked with extracting oil workers from a refinery that’s been attacked. He teams up with a former U.S. Marine (Cena), when he learns that the attackers’ real plan is to steal the oil. Chan will also produce Project X along with Joe Tam, Esmond Ren, and Hans Canosa.
Cena was last seen in Blockers and will star in Bumblebee and Universal’s The Janson Directive. Cena made his name as a WWE star before starting another career as a movie actor more than a decade ago with The Marine in 2006. His credits include 12 Rounds, Legendary, The Reunion, Trainwreck, Sisters, Daddy’s Home, and Daddy’s Home 2, along with voicing the lead character in the animated comedy Ferdinand.
I like that John Cena. And I like him paired with Chan more than Stallone with Chan, too.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The Shining sequel” story, Ewan McGregor will star as Danny Torrance in Warner Bros.’ adaptation of the Stephen King novel Doctor Sleep, the sequel to horror classic The Shining.
Sources say King has given his blessing to McGregor’s casting.
Mike Flanagan, who helmed Netflix’s adaptation of the King novella Gerold’s Game, is directing. Flanagan’s producing partner, Trevor Macy, will produce along with Vertigo Entertainment’s Jon Berg.
Warner Bros. had been developing this film, as well as The Shining prequel Overlook Hotel, for years, but the studio struggled to secure a budget for either film. Following the success of New Line’s It, every studio with any sort of King IP under its roof has fast-tracked each property into pre-production.
“Doctor Sleep begins as Torrance carries the trauma of the Overlook Hotel into adulthood. He’s become a reflection of his murderous father, with lingering rage and a drinking problem that dulls his pain as well as his “shining” powers. Those powers return when he embraces sobriety and uses his gift to help the dying at a hospice. He establishes a psychic connection with a young girl who shares his extreme abilities, and who is being targeted by a group with similar abilities. They’ve found that their powers grow if they inhale the “steam” that comes off others with the power to shine, when they are suffering painful deaths.
IN THIS WEEK’s “Joker’s Wild?” story, Things at DCEU are changing. After some major shakeups in the last two weeks—Geoff Johns is out as Chief Creative Officer— Walter Hamada, known for The Conjuring universe, has been named the president of DC Entertainment-based film. Evidently, Warner Bros. wanted someone with a cinematic universe that actually works.
“He walked into a shitshow, and he’s trying to clean it up,” an insider told THR this week. Indeed, after the colossal failure of Justice League—the lowest grossing film in the DCEU franchise— Hamada has lots of work to do to get this series on track.
So, the new plan is taking shape: Step one, make a Batman film without Ben Affleck directed Matt Reeves (the Planet Of The Apes series), make the character younger and set it outside the current DC films continuity.
Step two: make a fun, entertaining, Back To The Future-like Flash film. Lastly, keep going forward with your first of two Joker films.
One Joker film will have the DC Universe characters you know, like Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. The other will be part of this new group of films that could be labeled under something called DC Dark, or DC Black. Whatever.
Todd Phillips’ film is still moving forward and it looks like it will shoot in the fall. Perhaps more importantly, despite acting evasive in every interview, it appears that Joaquin Phoenix will star in the film. Lastly, this Phillips-helmed Joker film will reportedly feature a budget of about $55 million, a fraction of most superhero pics and well under “moderately budgeted” genre films like Logan and Alien Covenant (both around the $90 million range).
So perhaps DC is aiming for something much more character driven and less VFX, set piece and action driven.
WB/DC Films, unlike Marvel, seems to have no qualms about franchise and branding confusion. A Flash on TV, and a Flash in film. Can they make that sort of thing work in a film context? I guess we’ll see.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The Federation changes hands – again”, story, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts are out as showrunners of CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery, and executive producer Alex Kurtzman will take over as sole showrunner for Season 2, Deadline has confirmed.
“We’ve made some producer changes at Star Trek: Discovery, producer CBS TV Studios said in a statement to Deadline. “The series continues under the creative vision and leadership of executive producer and co-creator Alex Kurtzman. Discovery remains on course for season two in 2019 with new and continuing stories that build on its successful premiere season.”
Sources said there were no creative problems on the show but more of operational issues. It is possible that another showrunner could be recruited down the road.
The series is in production on Episode 5 of the second season. There is a scheduled hiatus coming up, and filming will continue after that.
This is the the second showrunner change for the series following the exit of Bryan Fuller in 2016 while Star Trek: Discovery was still in pre-production.
“Operational issues”? NOT creative problems? I gotta wonder. Seems there is always something else underlying those statements.
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IN THIS WEEK’S “The curse continues” story, The Paris Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of producer Paulo Branco in the latest twist in the case over who owns the rights to UK director Terry Gilliam’s turbulent production The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
The appeals court judge ruled a contract drawn up and signed by Branco and Gilliam in 2016 – confirming the Portuguese producer’s rights to Gilliam’s long-gestated film – remained intact.
Friday’s decision also demands Gilliam pay Branco’s Paris-based production house Alfama Films €10,000 ($11,600) towards the costs of launching the appeal.
For his part, Gilliam has always held Branco did not deliver the finance he had promised for the production, thus rendering the contract null and void.
The ruling is the latest twist in an 18-month battle between Branco and Gilliam over who owns the rights to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, during which time the producer has attempted to block its production as well as its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May and then its worldwide release, kicking off in France.
Speaking to Screen about the ruling, Branco said he would be seeking damages with interest from all the parties who had produced and exploited the film without the consent of Alfama Films.
”The ruling means that the rights to the film belong to Alfama. Any exploitation of the film up until now has been completely illegal and without the authorisation of Alfama,” said Branco. “We will be seeking damages with interest from all the people involved in this illegal production and above all, all those who were complicit in its illegal exploitation. We’re holding everyone responsible.”
Branco said these parties would include Gilliam as well as “the film’s producers, [Paris-based sales company and producer] Kinology, all the others who supported the film, including those who distributed the film in France [Ocean Films] and the Cannes Film Festival, everyone.”
WTF. Maybe Gilliam should just have dropped the idea of trying to make this film. It’s such a bummer. Who knows when we’ll get to see it, if ever.
And IN THIS WEEK’S “Pulling the devil’s tail” story, Donald Trump focused his ire on Hollywood actor Robert De Niro Tuesday as he made his way home from his high-stakes nuclear summit that delivered questionable results.
“Robert De Niro, a very Low IQ individual, has received to many shots to the head by real boxers in movies. I watched him last night and truly believe he may be “punch-drunk.” I guess he doesn’t…,” Trump wrote, continuing his sentence in a subsequent tweet, “…realize the economy is the best it’s ever been with employment being at an all time high, and many companies pouring back into our country. Wake up Punchy!”
Trump, 71, received numerous replies on the tweet pointing out its noticeable typo — the president wrote “to many” when he meant “too many.”
The tweet came as Trump was en route from his high-stakes, historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un, which delivered questionable results. Last summer, Trump promised to reign down “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on the country if it didn’t cease threatening the United States.
Two days earlier, De Niro, 74, slammed Trump while introducing a musical performance by Bruce Springsteen at the 2018 Tony Awards on Sunday.
“I’m going to say this, f— Trump,” De Niro said emphatically, adding, “It’s no longer just down with Trump, it’s f— Trump.”
I wonder what kind of reaction we’ll get from De Niro after this? Should be a beaut.