It’s the 4th of July week, everybody! Woo hoo!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Mysterious timeline” story, up until now, we’ve assumed that the forthcoming standalone Black Widow movie from Marvel Studios would be a prequel. However, many have assumed the film would take place further in the past, and rumors have pegged the film as taking place sometime in the 1990s. But a new set photo from an action sequence recently being shot appears to indicate that at least part of the Black Widow movie will be set in the modern part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
We won’t post the recently surfaced set photo here, but the image was brought to our attention over at Reddit. In the photo, Natasha Romanoff (either Scarlett Johansson or one of her stunt doubles) is seen driving a 2017 BMW SUV. That means there’s at least part of the movie that doesn’t take place back in the 1990s. But does the year of the car’s manufacturing tell us anything else?
Well, we know the movie can’t take place before 2016, which is when the 2017 model of that particular BMW SUV would have first been available. That means part of the story could take place leading up to Avengers: Infinity War, perhaps after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Some have theorized that the movie could also take place in the five year gap revealed in Avengers: Endgame. But if you look at Natasha’s hair in set photos, there’s no blonde to be found in it, so that’s less likely.
Perhaps there’s something in Natasha’s past that will catch up with her, and the flashbacks will help fill in the gaps and flesh out the character even more. After all, a good part of Natasha’s past is still unknown.
So, the film will either have flashbacks to earlier times in Black Widow’s life, or something really weird is going on. I’m guessing flashbacks.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Little Mermaid updates” story, Disney has a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid in the works, of course, because this is what they do now.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tremblay is in talks to provide the voice for Flounder, the yellow and blue tropical fish who serves as the title character’s best friend. And if her deal goes through, Awkwafina will lend her voice to Scuttle, Ariel’s seagull pal who serves as a source of (incorrect) information about human life above the waves to provide context for Ariel’s collection of artifacts.
Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods) is directing, and he’ll reunite with his Mary Poppins Returns star Lin-Manuel Miranda, who’s producing this film and co-writing new music alongside Disney legend Alan Menken. (Some familiar songs from the original movie will be featured as well.) Late last week, we learned that Melissa McCarthy was in talks to play the film’s villain, Ursula the sea witch. No other cast has been announced yet.
Disney has found its Ariel for its live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Actress and singer Halle Bailey will star in Rob Marshall’s film as the lead Ariel, the studio announced Wednesday.
Bailey is one half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle and has also starred in episodes of Grown-ish. She’ll also star opposite Melissa McCarthy, who is in talks to play the sea witch Ursula. Most people would know Halle from the time she and her sister Chloe sang America the Beautiful at this year’s Super Bowl.
“After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role,” Marshall said in a statement.
Marshall is directing, and the film is produced by John DeLuca, Marc Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. David Magee (Mary Poppins Returns) wrote the script.
IN THIS WEEK’S “New Catwoman?” story, We have a new actress who may be in the running to join the DC universe as our next Catwoman. Pre-production is currently underway on The Batman, which stars Robert Pattinson (Twilight, Good Time) in the title role, with Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, War for the Planet of the Apes) set to write and direct. Now, we have word that Vanessa Kirby is possibly being eyed by Reeves for the coveted role of Selina Kyle in the movie.
According to a new report, Vanessa Kirby is one of the actresses on the shortlist for Catwoman in The Batman. At the present time, no other actresses were specifically named, but Kirby is just one of a handful who will likely be in contention. The studio hasn’t officially confirmed that Catwoman, aka Selina Kyle, will be part of the equation. However, the character has been rumored for some time now.
I guess we’ll see.
IN THIS WEEK’S “We have such sights to show you…” story, Word recently broke that a Hellraiser remake was on the way from David S. Goyer. But that’s not the only plan for Pinhead and his pain-loving pals. There’s also a Hellraiser TV series in the works. Details are vague at the moment, but the plan is to either build on the mythology from the films and create either an anthology series, or a more traditional show with an ongoing narrative.
Deadline reports that It producer Roy Lee and Ready Player One producer Dan Farah are set to open up a demonic puzzle box and unleash a Hellraiser TV series onto the world. There’s no network (or streaming service) in place yet. Nor is there even a story. We just know that the rights have been finalized, and a Hellraiser TV series is now more likely than ever.
The main Hellraiser story concerns a puzzle box that has the power to open a gateway to hell, unleashing a horde of demons obsessed with flesh and pain. The leader of the gang is Pinhead, a mysterious figure that became instantly iconic before being turned into a wise-cracking boogeyman similar to Freddy Krueger.
In May of this year, word came that Batman Begins writer David S. Goyer was working on a Hellraiser remake. “I’ve been a fan of Clive’s work since the original Books of Blood paperbacks and The Hellbound Heart novella,” Goyer said at the time. “Having the chance to reimagine Pinhead and the Cenobites for a new audience is a nightmare-come-true…we’re committed to making something dark and visceral.” This remake movie is unlikely to have anything to do with the Hellraiser TV series, other than sharing a title and familiar characters/plot elements.
There’s plenty of mythology for a Hellraiser TV series to draw on, and in the right hands, this might turn out to be worth watching. In any case, it’s bound to be better than the last three or four films in the franchise.
I’m not sure what to make of this. I had heard a few years ago the Clive Barker himself was writing a new rebooted version of his own story, The Hellbound Heart, upon which Hellraiser was based. But I guess things have changed. Barker did say saw few years ago that he had at least 20 years of projects to work on, so maybe he found that he just didn’t have the time. who know?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Let’s see how this goes” story, A TV series based on the The Sandman comic books created by Neil Gaiman has officially been ordered to series at Netflix.
Allan Heinberg will write and serve as showrunner and executive producer on the series, with Gaiman and David S. Goyer also writing and executive producing. Gaiman, Heinberg and Goyer will co-write the first episode.
Warner Bros. Television will produce, with the series receiving a 10-episode commitment.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the brilliant team that is Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg to finally bring Neil’s iconic comic book series, ‘The Sandman,’ to life onscreen,” said Channing Dungey, vice president of original series at Netflix. “From its rich characters and storylines to its intricately built-out worlds, we’re excited to create an epic original series that dives deep into this multi-layered universe beloved by fans around the world.”
The Sandman follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic–and human–mistakes he’s made during his vast existence.
This marks the latest in a growing number of Gaiman’s works to be adapted for television. Starz recently ordered a third season of American Gods, while Amazon debuted the series adaptation of Good Omens last month. Meanwhile, Lucifer was revived by Netflix for a fourth season after Fox canceled it, though it was announced that the show’s upcoming fifth season will be its last.
There have been many attempts to adapt Sandman as a film, with Gaiman and Goyer having penned the most recent attempt. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was also attached to the film at one point, but he left the project due to creative differences.
I am happy to hear that Neil Gaiman is involved in the writing of this. And certainly a series is a great way to go with this material. But I am ever wary of how such things will turn out. I’ll try to be hopeful.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Will the next Elvis please stand up” story, Five young actors have tested for the part of the King of Rock and Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis Presley biopic.
Ansel Elgort, the Baby Driver star who is about to start shooting Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story; Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who appeared in Kick-Ass and Avengers: Age of Ultron; and Miles Teller, the Whiplash actor who will be in the Top Gun sequel, tested for the filmmaker last week.
Also taking part in the testing for the Warner Bros. project were British singer-songwriter turned actor Harry Styles and Austin Butler, who appeared on TV’s The Shannara Chronicles and has a role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Tom Hanks is already on board the project as Col. Tom Parker, the legendary manager who controlled every aspect of Elvis’ life.
The movie is described as focusing on the late entertainer’s rise and zenith, with a major aspect being his relationship with Parker.
The lead role is expected to be filled in the coming weeks.
IN THIS WEEK’S “In Memorium” story, Arte Johnson, the comic best known for the hilarious characters he created for the 1960s NBC smash hit Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, has died. He was 90.
The 5-foot-4 Johnson, a master of ad libs, double-talk and dialects who was content to be a “second banana,” died Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of heart failure following a three-year battle with bladder and prostate cancer, his family announced.
Johnson cracked up Laugh-In audiences with his portrayal of Wolfgang, a former German storm trooper who muttered “Verry interesting” to the most cracked proposals (or, “Verry interesting … but stupid”). He said he got the idea for the character while watching Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan battle the Nazis in the 1942 movie Desperate Journey.
Outfitted in a comic combination of Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein — walking stick, bad suit, frizzy hair, odd top hat — Johnson also was delightful as Tyrone F. Horneigh, a dirty old man who propositioned the spinster Gladys (Ruth Buzzi) on a park bench. After his suggestive mutterings, she would swat him with her oversized purse.
Johnson had a repertoire of more than 60 comic characters, including Piotr Rosmenko, an Eastern European song-and-dance man; Rabbi Shankar, an addled Indian guru; and a man in a yellow raincoat who could not help falling off his tricycle.
“Humor for me consists in incongruity,” he said in 1974. “If I were doing a Hasidic rabbi, I’d have him speak with an Irish accent. … You take it out of reality and make it cartoon-esque without being denigrating. Because people today are so sensitive, it’s the only way of creating humor without offending someone.”
Johnson won an Emmy in 1969 for his work on Laugh-In but left the show after four seasons, saying its demanding workload didn’t leave him time to do much else.
In an interview, Johnson said he never had any desire to be a star.
“I was always a reactive performer. A guy does something, I will react to it,” he said. “That’s my mindset. I cannot be the No. 1. I guess I was born to be a second banana. And I had no reluctance in doing it. I loved it.”
Man, I loved Arte Johnson. He was up there with Tim Conway, for me. RIP, sir.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Flash files” story, Warner Bros. is in talks with It director Andy Muschietti to helm its long-gestating The Flash standalone movie, a source close to the project has told Variety.
No offer has been made yet, but if the deal goes through Muschietti will also produce the movie with his partner and sister Barbara Muschietti and Michael Disco.
Muschietti would replace “Spider-Man: Homecoming” writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who were signed last year to direct the film after replacing Dope helmer Rick Famuyiwa, who left the film in 2016. Seth Grahame-Smith was also attached to direct at one point.
Ezra Miller remains attached to play Barry Allen, also known as The Flash in the DC Extended Universe movie. Miller has portrayed The Flash in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Justice League.
The Flash character originated during the 1950s when police scientist Barry Allen gained super-speed when bathed by chemicals that had been struck by lightning.
Warner Bros. is also eyeing Christina Hodson to write the screenplay for The Flash. Her credits include Bumblebee and the studio’s upcoming Suicide Squad spin-off Birds of Prey with Margot Robbie.
Muschietti recently directed Warner’s upcoming It: Chapter 2, which hits theaters in September.
Wow, this film really has had some set-backs, yes? I mean, at least three directors have come and gone. Let’s hope DC can get it’s shit together.
IN THIS WEEK’S ” Lord of the Rings series” story, J.A. Bayona has signed on to direct two episodes of Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series.
In addition to directing, he will serve as executive producer on the series along with his producing partner Belén Atienza. Bayona most recently directed the blockbuster film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which grossed over $1.3 billion at the global box office. Bayona previously directed the critically-acclaimed film The Orphanage, as well as films like The Impossible, A Monster Calls, and the first two episodes of the Showtime series Penny Dreadful.
“J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team,” said Bayona. “I can’t wait to take audiences around the world back to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never-before-seen story.”
The series is being developed by the writing team of JD Payne and Patrick McKay. In addition, Game of Thrones alum Bryan Cogman has signed on as a consultant on the project. Little is known about the Lord of the Rings series beyond the fact it will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. Variety exclusively reported in November 2017 that a Lord of the Rings series was in the works at
Amazon, with the streamer announcing a a multi-season production commitment shortly thereafter. The series will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Ok, well, it’s July 4th weekend, sooooo, yeah, I’m out! See ya next week! Have a great weekend!