And in a strange turn of events, there are more things happening this week in film!
IN THIS WEEK’S “It certainly is a Mystery” story, Netflix’s Murder Mystery is rounding out its cast.
Gemma Arterton, Terence Stamp, and John Kani have joined the comedy, starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler.
Workaholics co-creator Kyle Newacheck is directing from a script by James Vanderbilt. The story follows a New York cop (Sandler) and his wife (Aniston), who become prime suspects in the murder of an elderly billionaire while vacationing in Europe. Arterton is starring as an actress with a secret, while Stamp is playing the billionaire tycoon who is murdered, and Kani will portray his best friend.
Also joining the cast is Shioli Kutsuna (Deadpool 2), David Walliams (Little Britain), Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick), Olafur Darri Olafsson (The Meg), and Dany Boon. As previously announced, Luke Evans and Luis Gerardo Mendez are also on board.
Sandler and Aniston previously worked together on the 2011 comedy Just Go With It, which grossed $215 million globally. Murder Mystery marks Sandler’s sixth feature project at Netflix, while it’s Aniston’s first time working with the streaming giant.
Filming began this week in Montreal. Murder Mystery will also film in locations throughout Europe. The streaming service will release the film worldwide in 2019. Happy Madison, Endgame Entertainment and Vinson Films are producing. Sandler is also producing along with Allen Covert, Tripp Vinson, James D. Stern and Jamie Vanderbilt.
Ugh. The Sandler films just don’t stop…
IN THIS WEEK’S “Star Wars rumors run amok” story, there are indeed many rumors going around about Star Wars and what films they are going to make and what films have been shelved and if they’re going to completely reshuffle the whole slate of films.
Last heard was the Disney was going to put the Star Wars Story films on hold in light of the poor (ish) showing of the Solo film. There are various reports claiming to have insider knowledge on Disney and Lucasfilm’s “reassessment” of the Star Wars franchise
There is talk that all future Anthology movies are on hold, a rumour subsequently denied by Lucasfilm, along with an in-depth report from THR which suggested that the studios are “licking their wounds” and may be “reconfiguring” several projects such as James Mangold’s Boba Fett film, as well as “trying to figure out how to make, and market, [the Anthology movies] differently.”
Adding to that, we now have a rumour from The Playlist which claims that the hotly-anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi Anthology film is still moving forward, but director Stephen Daldry has left the project and the plan now is to produce the film for Disney’s upcoming streaming service rather than the big screen.
While it seems unbelievable to imagine that a Star Wars movie could essentially go direct-to-video, it would certainly be a huge feather in the cap for the streaming service, which Disney hopes can compete with Netflix. The service already plans to add a live-action Star Wars TV series from Jon Favreau, and a Ewan McGregor-headlined Obi-Wan movie would certainly help to drive subscriptions.
Assuming that the vast majority – if not all – of an Obi-Wan Kenobi film would take place on Tatooine, it’s unlikely that the project would require anywhere near the budget of Disney’s first four Star Wars movies (i.e. $200 million plus). Perhaps this rumour isn’t quite as ridiculous as it sounds…
But we would all be forced to pay for the Disney service if we wanted to see that film, so, how many people would do that?
IN THIS WEEK’S “MORE Star Wars rumors” story, it’s still going around that Ewan McGregor will reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Obi-Wan stand alone film.
The Sun U.K. is now reporting that McGregor will secretly film scenes for the upcoming J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars 9. If proven true, this would be massive news for fans, especially since there have also been rumors of the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando joining the cast. However, it should be noted that this report comes from the Sun, who isn’t the most reputable place for factual reporting most of the time.
A whole lotta MAYBE’s and no confirmations.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Huzzah!” story, writer/director James Gunn says he’s finished writing the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 script!
Guardians of the Galaxy writer James Gunn took to social media to announce the fact that he’d finished the screenplay, posting a photo of the title page. As a caption, he wrote “Every bit of my heart.”
Gunn gave a little more context on Instagram. When one fan wrote, “Finished already?” Gunn replied, “Already? I’VE BEEN WRITING FOR OVER A YEAR.”
Of course, we’ve known for a long time that there would be another Guardians of the Galaxy, but we don’t know too much else about it. Back around the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, there was some discussion that the next movie could include the character Adam Warlock, a powerful superhero who, in the comics, is part of the “Infinity Gauntlet” storyline that was adapted into “Infinity War.” The post-credits scene in Guardians 2 teased Warlock’s arrival, but he hasn’t shown up yet. Gunn has said publicly the earliest the character might appear in the MCU is Guardians of the Galaxy 3, so we’re not expecting Warlock’s presence in Avengers 4, either.
But Gunn has also said that Guardians 3 marks an end of sorts for the Guardians as we know it, tweeting last week that the film “will end this iteration of the Guardians and complete the story of the three films.” In the comics, lots of heroes have been part of the Guardians of the Galaxy at one point or another, so we’ll likely see a new lineup going forward, but who might be in the next squad is anybody’s guess.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is currently expected to drop in 2020.
IN THIS WEEK’s “Wait, what?” story, Jared Leto, who played The Joker in Suicide Squad, is about to add another comic book character to his repetoire.
The Oscar-winning actor has signed on to star in Morbius, Sony’s latest entry into its Marvel-based, Spider-Man-centric universe of characters.
Daniel Espinosa, the Scandinavian filmmaker who helmed Safe House and last year’s sci-fi thriller Life, will direct the feature, which has a script by Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, the duo who created Netflix’s Lost in Space remake.
Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach will produce with Lucas Foster.
The project is based on the antihero Morbius the Living Vampire. Morbius is Dr. Michael Morbius, a scientist who suffered from a rare blood disease and attempted to cure himself to disastrous results. Instead of being cured, he became afflicted with a condition that was a form of vampirism — the thirst for blood, along with fangs and super strength — and fought Spider-Man. Over time, however, he became a slightly heroic figure in his own right and even headlined his own comic book titles.
Morbius was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane and first appeared in 1971’s Amazing Spider-Man No. 101, the first issue not written by Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee.
That’s just a whole lotta random.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Is it Christmas movie time again?” story, Paul Feig is attached to direct romance movie Last Christmas for Universal from a screenplay by Emma Thompson and Bryony Kimmings.
The studio is keeping project details under wraps, other than saying that Last Christmas is a holiday romance set in London.
David Livingstone, producer of the upcoming Judy Garland biopic Judy starring Renée Zellweger, and Thompson will produce.
IN THIS WEEK’s “Because it’s important” story, Bojack Horseman returns for season 5 on September 14 on Netflix!
IN THIS WEEK’S “New faces in Top Gun 2” story, THR is reporting that producers are now deciding who will take the role of the son of the dearly departed Cruise wingman, Goose. The names up for the role are Nicholas Hoult, Glen Powell, and Miles Teller. One could assume that whoever takes over the role will be placed right at the center of the film, for any potential spin-offs or sequels. And for those that don’t remember the original Top Gun, Goose is the wingman of Tom Cruise’s Maverick and died an untimely death while flying with his best friend.
Sorry, Anthony Edwards, you aren’t being reincarnated.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Is this deal done yet?” story, The Wrap reports that The Walt Disney Company has earned the approval of the United States Department of Justice to acquire most of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets, including the 20th Century Fox film studio and its library of movie properties, networks like FX and FXX, Fox’s one-third stake in Hulu, and more. There’s one catch, though: the DOJ stipulated that Disney has to divest Fox’s 22 regional sports networks that it was set to acquire in the deal. But since Disney has already agreed to that stipulation, it appears as if things can move forward again.
This approval is a big step forward for Disney in this long-running fight, but now the ball is back in Comcast’s court. Last week, Comcast tried to outbid Disney’s initial $52 billion bid with their own offer of $65 billion, but Disney came back over the top with a $71.3 billion counter-offer. The Wall Street Journal reports that Comcast is still technically in the game, and the rival company is deciding whether to come back with a “substantially higher offer” or not to extend the bidding at all. If it continues to escalate, Comcast is exploring the option of becoming tied up with other companies or private investors in order to raise enough cash to outbid Disney should the bidding ever reach the $90 billion range. Here’s how the WSJ puts it:
“A strategic investor could team up with Comcast, taking on the U.S. Fox assets that are in play—including the Twentieth Century Fox studio and regional sports networks—while leaving Comcast with international businesses such as European pay TV giant Sky PLC and Star India.”
But Disney and Fox have postponed a meeting that was set to take place on July 10, so Comcast seemingly has some time to take a breath and make a decision about how they’re going to approach this.
I wish Comcast would just throw in the towel.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Back to the jungle” story, Dwayne Johnson has unveiled an official release date of Dec. 13, 2019, for Sony’s sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
The untitled movie will open a week before Disney-Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Episode IX launches. Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman revealed in April at Cinemacon that 2017’s surprise blockbuster would be getting a sequel to premiere during Christmastime next year.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, starring Johnson and Kevin Hart, earned $404 million domestically and $557 million internationally. After coming in second during its premiere weekend to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jumanji accomplished the unusual feat of climbing to No. 1 in its fifth weekend, and remaining at the top for the following three frames.
The sequel will bring back Johnson, Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan to reprise their starring roles, while Jake Kasdan is expected to return to the director’s chair. Matt Tolmach will be back to produce along with the Seven Bucks Productions team of Johnson, Dany Garcia, and Hiram Garcia.
The Dwayne Johnson train keeps on a-rollin’.
IN THIS WEEK’S “In Memorium” story, the great writer, Harlan Ellison, has passed away at the age of 84.
Speculative-fiction writer Harlan Ellison, who penned short stories, novellas and criticism, contributed to TV series including “The Outer Limits,” “Star Trek” and “Babylon 5” and won a notable copyright infringement suit against ABC and Paramount and a settlement in a similar suit over “The Terminator,” has died. He was 84.
Christine Valada tweeted that Ellison’s wife, Susan, had asked her to announce that he died in his sleep Thursday.
“Susan Ellison has asked me to announce the passing of writer Harlan Ellison, in his sleep, earlier today. “For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.”—HE, 1934-2018. Arrangements for a celebration of his life are pending.”
The prolific but cantankerous author famously penned the Star Trek episode City on the Edge of Forever, in which Kirk and Spock must go back in time to Depression-era America to put Earth history back on its rightful course, a goal that for Kirk means sacrificing the woman he loves (played by Joan Collins). The final script was rewritten by “Star Trek” staffers to avoid the anti-war lesson Ellison had intended to impart about the ongoing Vietnam War, leaving Ellison unhappy.
His 1995 book The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay That Became the Classic Star Trek Episode contained two drafts by Ellison.
The author was still steaming over his experience more than four decades after the episode originally aired: In 2009 Ellison sued CBS Paramount Television seeking revenue from merchandising and other sources from the episode; a settlement was reached six months later.
I heard him speak at a Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas a few years back, and he said something that is now one of my favorite quotes:
“Working in Hollywood is like climbing this massive mountain of shit to pluck this one beautiful smelling rose. And when you get there, you find you’ve lost your sense of smell.”
I feel lucky to have been able to see him speak live.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Not gonna make that release date, Indy” story, Remember when Steven Spielberg announced to a full room that he was going to film Indiana Jones 5 in 2019? Well, not any more.
According to Variety, even as it appeared that ‘Indy 5’ was ready to go, that’s definitely not the case. And not only will the film not go into production anytime soon, and the film is reportedly going to miss the announced July 10, 2020 release.
The report says that Jonathan Kasdan will soon be hired to start from scratch on a new script, replacing the current writer David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). Kasdan, as you may already know, recently teamed up with his father Lawrence to write the screenplay for “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” And since the script is far from ready, it appears that production will have to be delayed, which could potentially lead to cascading events, pushing production back longer than anticipated.
Well, Kasdan has to be a better choice than Koepp here- we sure don’t want another Crystal Skull debacle- or what I like to call Indiana Jones and the Indestructable Refrigerator. Or, Indiana Jones and the Pack of Helpful Monkeys. Or, Indiana Jones and th- oh Crap It IS About Aliens!
Variety also says that while franchise star Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg remain committed to ‘Indy 5,’ the director might take this delay as an opportunity to tackle a film in the meantime. Spielberg is already scheduled to begin production on “West Side Story” soon but was originally intending on tackling ‘Indy’ after. While Spielberg is as quick as any other helmer, if he takes a new project between ‘West Side’ and ‘Indy,’ that would realistically push back ‘Indy’ production until perhaps the end of 2019 or the beginning 2020.
At this rate, Harrison Ford may need a wheelchair when they actually go to shoot this
IN THIS WEEK’S “Not THAT Watchmen” story, The world is getting another taste of Alan Moore’s critically acclaimed comic series Watchmen, but this time it’ll be on the small screen. HBO is taking on the beloved series with Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof at the helm as showrunner. The network is keeping mum on plot specifics, but Lindelof wrote a note to fans where he shared his vision. Apparently the series won’t be a retelling of the graphic novel, but an original story set in the world of Watchmen in the present day.
Oh, I see.
IN THIS WEEK’S “But not with Drew Barrymore” story, Fatih Akin will direct Universal Pictures, Akiva Goldsman, and Blumhouse Productions’ adaptation of Stephen King’s classic sci-fi thriller novel Firestarter.
Scott Teems will adapt the script.
Based on King’s classic novel, the story follows a young girl who develops pyrokinetic abilities and is abducted by a secret government agency that wants to harness her powerful gift as a weapon.
Goldsman will produce along with Jason Blum of Blumhouse. Blum most recently produced the hit Split from M. Night Shyamalan and Oscar winner “Get Out” from Jordan Peele. Martha de Laurentiis, who was an associate producer on the 1984 adaptation of Firestarter starring a young Drew Barrymore, will executive produce.
VP of production Sara Scott will oversee production for Universal.
Stephen King is getting all his properties remade. Ever since the It remake, everybody is pushing their King properties through ASAP.
Universal had been developing Firestarter for awhile. Akin broke out with In the Fade, which took home the Golden Globe for best foreign film.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Small ladies” story, Following her critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated directorial debut, Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig is eyeing Little Women as her next directing gig.
A-listers Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Saoirse Ronan, and Timothee Chalamet are in talks to star in Columbia Pictures’ retelling of the American classic with Florence Pugh also in talks to star. The movie would mark a reunion for Gerwig, Ronan, and Chalamet. The young actors starred in 2017’s coming-of-age comedy Lady Bird.
The roles are unknown at this time as some castings are still being worked out. Sources tell Variety the studio is expected to test a handful of actresses opposite Stone for the role of Beth before the July 4 holiday.
The project has been set up at Columbia Pictures for some time, with Amy Pascal set to produce with Denise Di Novi and Robin Swicord. Andrea Giannetti will oversee the production for Columbia Pictures.
Gerwig was initially brought in to rewrite a draft, but following Lady Bird’s success, Sony amped up pre-production in order to woo Gerwig into picking this as her next movie.
The novel by Louisa May Alcott, which follows the March sisters in post-Civil War America, has been adapted several times into feature films, with the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder being the most popular. The BBC’s Little Women miniseries aired late last year.
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And IN THIS WEEK’S “Heather implosion” story, A week after Heather Locklear was underwent a psychological evaluation after threatening to shoot herself, the actress was arrested for attacking a police officer and an EMT who responded to a disturbance call.
A family member of Locklear’s called 911 on Sunday night while Locklear was “heavily intoxicated,” according to TMZ. When police arrived, she reportedly punched an officer attempting to separate her from family. Locklear then kicked an EMT who was putting her on a gurney.
Locklear’s name is listed on the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office police log. Authorities did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Heather was taken to a hospital and then brought to jail, where she was booked for two counts of misdemeanor battery, TMZ reports. The 56-year-old is being held on $20,000 bail.
Wait – she threatened to shoot herself? So, last week the Ventura County Fire and Sheriff’s Departments responded to Locklear’s home on Sunday after the report came in, according to TMZ. Audio of the dispatch obtained by the outlet said the 56-year-old actress was “agitated and violent” as she was threatening to hurt herself. Although she did not have access to weapons, the dispatch operator said she was looking for a gun to shoot herself.
Locklear was transported to a hospital for a psychological evaluation, TMZ reports.
UPDATE: Police officers and EMTs were called to her Thousands Oaks home again Monday evening, following another call informing them of another possible overdose. She is reportedly currently receiving treatment for her substance abuse and mental health issues.
Yeah, maybe she shouldn’t be sent home?
Ok, off we go! See you all next time!