Wait – it’s 4th of July week already?! Madness!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Not what you think- wait, maybe it is” story, New Regency has won an auction for Rub & Tug, an American Hustle-like movie starring Scarlett Johansson and directed by Rupert Sanders, sources confirmed to Variety.
Based on a true story, the film will focus on a woman (played by Johansson) flourishing in the male-dominated business of massage parlors and prostitution.
Gary Spinelli wrote the script and the movie will be produced by Joel Silver, Tobey Maguire, Johansson, Matthew Plouffe, Spinelli, and Jonathan Lia. Silver Pictures president Hal Sadoff will executive produce with Ethan Erwin, Sarah Meyer, Richard Weinberg, and Brendan Koerner. The film is a co-production between Silver Pictures, Maguire’s Material Pictures, and Johansson’s These Pictures.
The spec had been making the rounds over the past year with talent like Jennifer Lawrence, Paul Greengrass, and David O. Russell all circling it before Johansson and Sanders eventually signed on.
The package marks a re-team for the two, who worked together on the Paramount actioner Ghost in the Shell.
IN THIS WEEK’s “Found: Maverick’s co-pilot” story, Sources tell Variety that Only the Brave star Miles Teller has been tapped to play the son of Goose and Maverick’s new protege in Paramount and Skydance’s Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 Cruise classic. In the original pic, Goose, played by Anthony Edwards, was the co-pilot to Cruise’s Maverick.
Last week, it was reported that Cruise tested with Teller, Glen Powell and Nicholas Hoult for the role.
“Oblivion” helmer Joe Kosinski is directing the film. Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the first film, will produce with Cruise and Skydance CEO David Ellison.
This latest project will be set in a world of drone technology and fifth generation fighters, and will explore the end of the era of dogfighting. Val Kilmer will reprise his role as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky in the sequel, which is set to release on July 12, 2019.
IN THIS WEEK’s “Name that (almost) Iron Maiden song”story, Production is underway in the UK on thriller Six Minutes To Midnight, starring Victoria & Abdul duo Eddie Izzard and Judi Dench.
Filming will take place over six weeks in locations across Wales, UK. Lionsgate International is selling worldwide rights and Lionsgate UK will release in the UK.
Directed by Andy Goddard (Downton Abbey) and written by Celyn Jones (Keepers), Izzard and Goddard, the film also stars Jim Broadbent (Paddington), Carla Juri (Blade Runner 2049), James D’Arcy (Dunkirk) and Jones (Submergence), with additional cast members Maria Dragus (Graduation), Tijan Marei (Ellas Baby) and Franziska Brandmeier (Am Tag die Sterne).
Based on true events from 1939, the film follows teacher Thomas Miller (Izzard) who has taken a last minute and controversial role teaching English to the daughters of high-ranking Nazis at the Augusta-Victoria College, Bexhill-on-Sea – a finishing school on the south coast of England. Under the watchful eye of their headmistress Miss Rocholl (Dench), and her devout assistant Ilse Keller (Juri), the girls practice their English and learn how to represent the ideal of German womanhood.
When the body of a former teacher is discovered, it triggers a sequence of deadly events and leaves Thomas running from the police with the threat of being hanged for murder.
Goddard commented, “The Anglo-German crossover in our story will see the very best in British onscreen craft allied with the brightest young acting talent from Europe. This dynamic cuts to the core of the storytelling, our need to hold hands across cultural borders is as relevant today as it was in 1939.”
IN THIS WEEK’S “There ARE other comic publishing companies, you know” story, if you’re tired of all the Marvel and DC properties, how about looking into one of the others, like, Image Comics?
The comic book publisher behind popular titles like The Walking Dead and Saga has been getting a slew of feature film adaptations, the latest of which will be brought to life by Rampage director Brad Peyton and Lucifer showrunner Joe Henderson. The comic book they’re adapting for Sony will be none other than Henderson’s own series, Skyward.
Variety reports that Sony Pictures has landed the film rights to Skyward, and has tapped Henderson to adapt his series for the big screen with Peyton directing. Henderson will also executive produce, with Peyton and Jeff Fierson producing. Peyton said of the project:
“Jeff and I are focused on making event films — regardless of budget or scope. ‘Skyward’ is a big one. We’re very excited to deliver on what an anti-gravity movie should deliver on and be working with Joe Henderson on this.”
Co-created by Henderson and Lee Garbett, Skyward debuted in April of this year. The story is set in a world where gravity has become a fraction of what it is now, after an event known as G-day. Twenty years later, humanity has adapted and young people like Willa Fowler, who was born the day after G-day, have come to love their new low-gravity abilities. But one day Willa stumbles upon a plot to bring gravity back that could pose a danger to the world.
Here is the official synopsis for the Skyward comic book (via Image Comics):
“MY LOW-G LIFE,” Part One One day, gravity on earth suddenly became a fraction of what it is now. Twenty years later, humanity has adapted to its new low-gravity reality. And to Willa Fowler, a woman born just after G-day, it’s…well, it’s pretty awesome, actually. You can fly through the air! I mean, sure, you can also die if you jump too high. So you just don’t jump too high. And maybe don’t stumble into a dangerous plan to bring gravity back that could get you killed…. From writer Joe Henderson (showrunner of Fox’s Lucifer) and artist LEE GARBETT (Lucifer, Loki: Agent of Asgard), SKYWARD is an adventure-filled exploration of our world turned upside down and a young woman’s journey to find her place in it.
Interesting. Sounds like a cool premise.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Fast and Furious adjacent” story, With her reign as Princess Margaret on Netflix’s acclaimed series The Crown officially over, Vanessa Kirby is taking her talents to the big screen. The British actress is in final negotiations to star opposite Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in Fast and Furious spinoff, Hobbs and Shaw.
Deadpool 2 director David Leitch is on board to helm with Johnson and Statham reprising their roles of special agent Luke Hobbs and criminal mastermind Deckard Shaw, respectively. Kirby will play an MI-5 agent and Shaw’s sister.
Fast and Furious architect Chris Morgan penned the script with production set to commence this fall. Plot details are vague, but the central idea is that the film would see the often-at-odds duo team up. Johnson, Statham, and Fast and Furious producer Neal Moritz will produce.
I will surely be seeing this when it come out. I suspect it’ll be chock full o’fun.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Star Trek morsels” story, ..Paramount Pictures is working on two new film projects: Star Trek 4 and Quentin Tarantino‘s untitled mystery Trek project. Fans have been speculating what Tarantino’s Star Trek film could be about since it was first announced. Now, cast member Zachary Quinto has weighed in on the theories, citing that Tarantino’s film may feature the JJ Abrams‘s “NuTrek” cast.
“NuTrek” cast? Ugh. Let’s never use that term again.
“Until deals are done and contracts are signed and schedules are cleared, nothing is set in stone, so anything can happen,” Quinto explained on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “My understanding is Quentin had this idea and they were shaping it and forming it and he is off to do his Manson movie. And it would be after that, that [the 2009 cast] would go maybe do one with him. Which is pretty exciting, pretty cool.”
Well, I didn’t even think it was a possibility that the 2008 Trek cast would NOT be the cast for the film. It’s interesting to think it could be a whole different cast altogether. Fascinating.
IN THIS WEEK’S “The fans ruin everything” story, any number of big name directors are being sought to direct a superhero film or a Star Wars film. People like Christohper McQuarrie, for instance, was on that list.
Well, COULD HAVE BEEN, anyway.
The director of the last two Mission: Impossible films and Jack Reacher has even recently been rumored as potential helmer of both Man of Steel 2 and Green Lantern Corps. But after a recent Twitter exchange, it appears that McQuarrie has zero interest in taking on anything superhero or Star Wars related.
Recently, the director found himself in the middle of yet another Rian Johnson vs. Star Wars fan debate, where Johnson continued to engage with fans who feel that the filmmaker ruined their childhoods. After McQuarrie saw where this is going, he tweeted to Johnson, saying, “My friend, After five minutes of this, I don’t know why you’re still on Twitter. I would have loved to make a Star Wars film someday. I’m cured.”
As you might expect, the fact that McQuarrie teased that he wanted to do a Star Wars film, but then immediately backed off that idea, was enough to send fans of the filmmaker to Twitter begging him to reconsider and to not let a few bad apples spoil the bunch, so to speak.
After a fan told McQuarrie about how much of a fan he is, the filmmaker tweeted again, saying, “Much appreciated. And it saddens me, too. I consider myself first and foremost an entertainer. I work for the audience. Tonight
I found people I could never work for.”
And finally, when a superhero film fan asked if the director would tackle the genre, McQuarrie said, “Nah, after tonight I think I’m good.”
Thanks “fans”. You blew a great opportunity.
IN THIS WEEK’S “That clinches it” story, if you were on the fence about seeing the Fast and Furious spin-off film, Hobbs and Shaw, this recent casting should sway you into the ‘yes’ side of the fence.
Idris Elba is in final negotiations to play the main villain in Hobbs and Shaw, the film starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
Deadpool 2 director David Leitch is on board to helm, with Johnson and Statham reprising their roles as special agent Luke Hobbs and criminal mastermind Deckard Shaw, respectively. Fast and Furious architect Chris Morgan penned the script, with production set to commence this fall.
The film will see the often-at-odds pair teaming up. Sources say Elba’s character is the antagonist the duo will go up against.
Well, I am SO in!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Seek help!” story, filmmaker James Gunn is telling toxic fans how he feels.
One of the most hot-button issues in the entertainment industry, particularly film, is the idea of toxic fandom. After Star Wars: The Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran left social media following rampant verbal abuse, including racism and sexism, a light was put on a small segment of fans that go beyond trolling to actually insult the creators, actors, and those involved in films they just simply didn’t like.
In the weeks since Tran’s social media self-imposed exile, there have been multiple instances of other people involved in Star Wars, as well as superhero films, getting insulted at every turn. The latest filmmaker to speak up about this sort of abuse is Guardians of the Galaxy mastermind James Gunn.
After the director shared a recent article about how Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best talked about how his experience on the Star Wars prequels hurt his career and how he contemplated suicide, Gunn was apparently inundated with comments from toxic fans. At that point, Gunn had read enough and decided to post another couple of tweets focused on those “fans.”
“People responding to this post saying, ‘Yeah, it wasn’t the actor’s fault! It was the writer’s!’ are missing the point. Critique it. Don’t like it. But spewing hate and bile at individuals just doing their best to tell a story, even if the story sucks, is lame. Don’t watch it!” tweeted Gunn.
He continued, “Star Wars (or any movie) may be important to you, but it doesn’t belong to you. If your self-esteem depends on how good you think the current Star Wars is, or your childhood is ruined because you don’t like something in a movie, GO TO THERAPY.”
I have to agree. We can be angry, and not like something. But for fuck’s sake, relax. I didn’t like Star Wars I-III any more than most, but I just don’t watch them and pretend they don’t really exist. I don’t scream about it. If your happiness in life is contingent on a film, then you need some serious therapy.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Felicity goes to space” story, in some big castins Keri Russell has been cast in J.J. Abrams Star Wars: Episode IX.
Frankly, the biggest surprise is that it took this long for Abrams to cast Russell in a Star Wars film. They’ve worked together in the past on the TV series Felicity, and Mission: Impossible 3.
There’s not much information on the character that she’ll be playing, but the role calls for “action-heavy fight scenes,” which is something Russell has the ability to handle from her previous work.
Abrams and the creative team at Lucasfilm have been meeting with several actresses for this role for the past couple of months and end up casting Russell right before the Fourth of July. The report goes on to say that
Abrams will likely cast two more actors by the time the film begins production at the end of the month.
John Boyega, Disney Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Domhnaal Gleeson, and Adam Driver are all expected to reprise their roles. The movie will hit theaters on December 20th, 2019.
Will she be Sith? Or will she be Jedi? I’d say Jedi.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Get your war on” story, John Wick is going to war. If you saw how John Wick: Chapter 2 ended, you probably already knew that, but the official title for John Wick 3 wants you to know for sure. Speaking with the folks at ComingSoon, Keanu Reeves confirmed that the upcoming sequel is called John Wick 3: Parabellum.
So what does Parabellum refer to? Reeves told the outlet that the subtitle means “Prepare for war.” He explained, ” It’s part of that famous sentence, ‘Si vis pacem, para bellum,’ which translates as, ‘If you want peace, prepare for war.’”
I am SO in.
IN THIS WEEK’S “REALLY ICKY” story, Talented actor, “handsy” guy, is how Guy Pearce described his L.A. Confidential co-star Kevin Spacey during an Australian TV interview set to air on Tuesday.
“Yeah…yeah,” Pearce said on the talk show Interview when host Andrew Denton asked him about Spacey. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Pearce continued, “Tough one to talk about at the moment. Amazing actor; incredible actor. Mmm. Slightly difficult time with Kevin, yeah.
“He’s a handsy guy. Thankfully I was 29 and not 14,” continued Pearce, making an obvious reference to actor Anthony Rapp, who has said he was assaulted by then-26-year-old Spacey when Rapp was 14. Spacey would have been around 37 or 38 to Pearce’s 29 while shooting the 1997 L.A. Confidential.
The Herald reports that the audience gasped at Pearce’s comment. The actor did not provide further details of his difficulties with his L.A. Confidential co-star.
RELATED: Scotland Yard is investigating three new sexual assault allegations against Kevin Spacey, dating as far back as 1996. London police had earlier confirmed three other investigations against the Oscar-winning actor, bringing the total to six.
IN THIS WEEK’s “Comedy Film Nerds predicts future” story, According to the founder of artificial intelligence outfit ScriptBook, Sony Pictures could have saved a fortune from 2015 to 2017 by using the company’s algorithms instead of human beings to reject or greenlight movies.
In a presentation at the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival, ScriptBook founder Nadira Azermai said that by analyzing screenplays, ScriptBook retroactively identified as box-office failures 22 out of the 32 Sony movies that lost money in that period, during which Sony released a total of 62 movies.
“If Sony had used our system they could have eliminated 22 movies that failed financially,” said Azermai.
Welcome to the brave new world of AI and machine learning as it applies to Hollywood.
Many see in ScriptBook and similar AI systems the potential to destroy a major part of the film production and distribution ecosystem, displacing script readers and saving much of the money studios spend on test screenings, focus groups and market research.
At its most basic, ScriptBook, founded in 2015 and based in Antwerp, Belgium, has created a tool that analyzes the text of screenplays to produce financial forecasting, or as Azermai grandly puts it, “Our mission is to revolutionize the business of storytelling by using AI to help producers, distributors, sales agents and financiers assess their risk.”
The system works like this: ScriptBook users upload a PDF file of a screenplay into the system. About five minutes later they receive a detailed analysis of the project that, among other things: predicts the MPAA rating, analyzes its characters, detecting the protagonists and antagonists; assesses the emotions of each character; predicts the target audience, including gender and race; and, most importantly, makes box office predictions.
“When we show this to customers, the first question is: How is it even possible to give a script to a computer and somehow it can come up with all these outputs?” said Michiel Ruelens, data scientist at Scriptbook.
The answer, he says, is based on the fast-developing field of machine learning, whereby the software is first instructed by humans, then takes over the learning process and builds huge databases that can be mined at astonishing speed.
ScriptBook’s software has been “trained” on a large dataset of 6,500 existing scripts, said Ruelens.
There’s more, but how much more do you need to hear? Chris Mancini has joked about how some movies seem like they’re made by computer. Well, the prophecy has been foretold by The Mancini, and this program has been in use since at least 2015 or so.
So, Chris is like Nostradamus. What else will he successfully predict?
And IN THIS WEEK’S “Made me laugh” story, James Woods, who has become notorious for being an outspoken conservative on Twitter in recent years, is in need of new talent agent. The actor revealed to his over 1.5 million Twitter followers that his agent Ken Kaplan had dropped him as a client on the night of the Fourth of July (via Mediaite). Kaplan sent Woods an email saying he was “feeling patriotic” and did not want to represent Woods anymore.
Woods published the email exchange between the two on Twitter. Kaplan’s email reads: “It’s the 4th of July and I’m feeling patriotic. I don’t want to represent you anymore. I mean I could go on a rant but you know what I’d say.” Woods noted that unlike himself, Kaplan is a political liberal.
Ok, thanks for stopping by this week! Next time we’ll have more shenanigans from the world of movie-like entertainment!