Post Labor Day news!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Movie Thyme” story, Bleecker Street has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Wild Mountain Thyme, a lyrical romance that will star Emily Blunt and Jamie Dornan playing star-crossed lovers, the distributor announced Monday.
Lionsgate UK has also acquired the U.K. rights to Wild Mountain Thyme, which is based on the play Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley. Shanley is writing and directing the film that will begin principal photography on Sept. 30 and will shoot on location in Ireland.
Blunt and Dornan star as lovers whose families are caught up in a feud over a hotly contested patch of land that separates their two farms. The film also stars Jon Hamm, Dearbhla Molloy and Christopher Walken. Holliday Grainger was originally attached to star in Blunt’s role.
The official synopsis:
“Anthony (Dornan) always seems to be out in the fields working, worn down by his father’s (Walken) constant belittling. But what really stings is his father’s threat to bequeath the family farm to his American cousin Adam (Hamm). Rosemary (Blunt) at first seems to hold a grudge for having been shamed by Anthony in childhood, but the sparks between them would keep a bonfire blazing through the night. Her mother Aoife (Molloy) strives to unite the families before it is too late.”
IN THIS WEEK’S “Twilight Zone” story, according to a report from Production Weekly (via Comicbook.com), director Richard Kelly’s (Donnie Darko) next feature, his first since 2009’s The Box, is said to be a biopic about famed Twilight Zone creator/star Rod Serling. As mentioned, Serling is best known as the creator-host of the iconic anthology series The Twilight Zone. His legendary voice and calm demeanor introduced each and every episode of the acclaimed, groundbreaking series.
The report says that Kelly will not only write the script but put himself in the director’s chair, also.
Well, Kelly hasn’t had the success and accolades he did with Donnie Darko since, well, Donnie Darko. that was in 2001. He has only directed 2 films since. If this is happening, it certainly would be interesting and I’d be in for seeing it.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Seems to be shaping up nicely” story, The casting for James Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad just gets more out-of-this-world with its latest recruit. Gunn’s follow-up to David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad has tapped Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi in an undisclosed role. Potentially joining Capaldi in The Suicide Squad cast is a vastly different Pete: Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson is reportedly in talks to make a small cameo appearance as well.
With every Suicide Squad, you need a doctor. And The Suicide Squad has got a pretty good one in Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi, who has recently come off a three-season run as the titular time-traveling alien in the beloved BBC sci-fi series. Deadline broke the news that Capaldi has been tapped by Warner Bros. to join The Suicide Squad cast in an undisclosed role. Gunn’s superhero flick is also eyeing Pete Davidson for a “small cameo” that will be shot between breaks at Saturday Night Live, though that deal is still coming together.
These two additions only add to the eclectic gathering of actors making up the current cast of The Suicide Squad. Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, and Joel Kinnaman reprise their roles from the 2016 Suicide Squad, but Gunn has apparently been given plenty of freedom to cast as he wishes with new additions like Idris Elba in an undisclosed role, David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher, Flula Borg in a yet-to-be-confirmed part, Steve Agee as King Shark, Nathan Fillion, and Taika Waititi.
Holy, crazy casting, Batman!
The Suicide Squad sequel opens August 6, 2021.
IN THIS WEEK’S “So, it IS reversable?” story, Perhaps lost in the haze of all the new films debuting at this year’s Venice Film Festival is the fact that acclaimed (and controversial) filmmaker Gaspar Noe is unleashing a brand-new film. Well, “brand-new” might be a bit of a misnomer, as what the filmmaker is screening is a new cut of his film Irreversible, now told in chronological order. However, as Noe explained in his Venice notes about the film, Irreversible – Straight Cut isn’t just a simple re-edit of the film. It’s something much, much more.
Firstly, Noe is quick to assure fans that the version of Irreversible that debuted 17 years ago “remains both the director’s cut and the real version of the film.”
He added, “This new cut is another film.”
Say what, now?
Originally conceived as a special feature for an upcoming Blu-ray release of the film, Noe found that once he created the cut, it was strong enough to warrant its own release, and thus, the inclusion at this year’s Venice Film Festival. And for those that just want to know what the director has changed from the original work, Noe said cuts have been made to the first version to help the “clockwise cut” flow better.
“In this clockwise cut, a few passages without dialogues created lulls in the action and it is for reasons of rhythm alone, not any kind of censorship, that they have been removed, making this version five minutes shorter than the original,” he explained.
Ultimately, according to the filmmaker, re-cutting the film in chronological order presents a version that is completely different in tone to the controversial original.
“Putting the scenes in clockwise order makes it easier to identify with the characters and understand the tale unfolding. The same story is no longer a tragedy, this time it is a drama that brings out the psychology of the characters and the mechanisms that lead some of them to a murderous barbarity,” said Noe. “While ‘Irreversible’ has sometimes been wrongly perceived as a ‘rape and revenge’ B movie, here the deadly outcome is all the more depressing. The film can be more easily seen as a fable on the contagion of barbarity and the command of the reptilian brain over the rational mind.”
He continued, “Removing the anti-clockwise structure, a mentally invasive formal concept, brings out the actors’ performances that much more forcefully. The gentleness or violence of the situations and the emotional states of the characters become even more apparent”
A formal release of Irreversible – Straight Cut has yet to be revealed. However, it would appear that fans of Noe, and Irreversible, will have yet another film to dissect and debate.
OK, this actually IS interesting.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Fuck you pay me” story, Adele Lim, who co-wrote the Crazy Rich Asians screenplay, has exited the planned sequels due to a dispute over pay disparity.
A representative for Lim confirmed her departure from the Warner Bros. projects. The rep declined to comment further. Warner Bros. did not respond to a request for comment.
Crazy Rich Asians, based on the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan, follows a young Asian American woman who meets her boyfriend’s parents — and discovers they’re one of the richest families in Singapore. Constance Wu played the lead with Henry Golding as her fiancé and Michelle Yeoh as her future mother-in-law.
John M. Chu directed from the script co-written by Lim and Peter Chiarelli. The romantic comedy was a surprise hit with $238 million in worldwide box office.
Warner Bros. had announced shortly after the film opened that it would develop the next two books in Kwan’s trilogy — 2015’s China Rich Girlfriend and 2017’s Rich People Problems. Chu and Chiarelli remain on board to develop the sequels along with Color Force’s Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson. The studio has not set any release dates for the sequels.
Lim is also working for Disney on the animated movie Raya and the Last Dragon, which is set for a Nov. 25, 2020 release. The title character, voiced by Cassie Steele, goes on a quest to find the last dragon, voiced by Awkwafina.
Disney unveiled Raya on Aug. 24 at its D23 Expo, where Variety asked Lim on the red carpet about the Crazy Rich Asians sequels. She was vague about those projects, other than saying, “You’ll have to ask someone of a higher pay grade.”
IN THIS WEEK’S “The Amell Brothers” story, Vertical Entertainment has acquired rights to Code 8, the crowd-funded sci-fi thriller spearheaded by cousins Stephen and Robbie Amell, who executive produce and star. Vertical is planning a theatrical release for the film, directed by Jeff Chan, day-and-date near the end of this year.
Code 8, written by Chris Pare, is set in a world where 4% of the population is born with some type of supernatural ability, but instead of being superheroes, they are heavily policed and live in poverty. Connor Reed (Robbie Amell) is a powerful young “electric” struggling to pay for his ailing mother’s medical treatment. To earn money, he joins a lucrative criminal world led by Garrett (Stephen Amell), who teaches him how to use his powers to pull off a series of increasingly dangerous crimes. Sung Kang (Fast & Furious) and Greg Bryk (Ad Astra) also star.
The Amells launched a funding bid on Indiegogo for the pic in 2016, with an aim to turn their short film into a feature. They sought an initial $200,000, but ended up raising $2.4 million with more than 27,000 backers. The team has hosted supporter screenings throughout this past spring.
Well, damn. You go Amell brothers.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Festival movie time” story, Waves is the latest film from It Comes At Night director Trey Edward Shults, and it sounds like a heart-wrenching drama following a family (Sterling K. Brown, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Taylor Russell and Kelvin Harrison Jr.) that is one the verge of falling apart. With all the buzz on the festival circuit, A24 has released the first Waves trailer to get keep the anticipation growing for this promising indie.
Waves also stars Lucas Hedges, Alexa Demie, Neal Huff, and Clifton Collins Jr., and it will be playing again at the Toronto International Film Festival after a breakout debut at Telluride.
Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. From acclaimed director Trey Edward Shults, Waves is a heartrending story about the universal capacity for compassion and growth even in the darkest of times
Waves arrives in theaters starting on November 1, 2019.
IN THIS WEEK’S “But what’s it called, Matt?” story, Matt Damon’s untitled thriller drama, directed by Tom McCarthy, has been scheduled for an awards season release date of Nov. 6, 2020.
The project, which had been titled Stillwater, centers on an American oil-rig roughneck from Oklahoma who travels to Marseille to visit his estranged daughter who is in prison for a murder she claims she did not commit. Confronted with language barriers, cultural differences, and a complicated legal system, he makes it his personal mission to exonerate his daughter.
Focus Features, which is distributing the film, said Thursday that it will open the movie in limited release and then expand it on the following two weekends. Universal Pictures International will release in select international markets.
Variety first reported in July that Abigail Breslin will portray the daughter. Camille Cottin will also star.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Justin and so much drama” story, Justin Timberlake is set to star in the indie drama Palmer from director Fisher Stevens, it was announced Thursday by SK Global.
The script was written by Cheryl Guerriero and appeared on the 2016 Black List of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays. Timberlake will play a former college football phenom who gets out of prison and returns to his hometown to get his life back on track. Not only is he confronted with lingering conflicts from his past, but he suddenly finds himself in charge of a unique young boy who has been abandoned by his wayward mother, and turns out to be the man’s most surprising challenge of all.
Ok, I can see why he’d want to take this role, but overall it just doesn’t seem that original. I’m not itching to see this one.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Jenkin’s makes a deal” story, Patty Jenkins is joining Netflix’s high-profile crowd of creators. The director of Wonder Woman and the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 has signed a multi-year overall deal with Netflix to produce new TV series for the streaming service. It will be her latest foray into television after directing this year’s TNT limited series I Am The Night.
Variety broke the news that Jenkins has signed a multi-year overall TV deal with Netflix that is valued at around $10 million over three years. Under the Patty Jenkins Netflix deal, the director-writer-producer will produce new TV series for the streaming service.
It’s unclear what kind of TV series Jenkins will be producing, and whether they will be original works or adaptations. But Jenkins signing on with the streaming giant is just another marker of her Hollywood success, which had already been cemented when she took the title of highest-paid female director in the industry. Netflix has been fast accumulating high-profile talent in incredibly expensive deals that often exceed seven figures.
Well, hey, I say, good for her!
IN THIS WEEK’S “Tomb Raider, part Deux” story, Ben Wheatley has been set to direct MGM’s Tomb Raider sequel, with the studio setting a release date of March 19, 2021. Alicia Vikander is reprising her role as the treasure-hunting action heroine Lara Croft. Amy Jump is writing the sequel script and Graham King is producing through his GK Films banner, and Elizabeth Cantillon.
Wheatley directed the films Kill List and Free Fire, and he is in post production on Rebecca for Working Title Films.
Directed by Roar Uthaug, last year’s first film grossed $275 million worldwide. Production on the sequel will begin early next year.
Ok, whatever. I heard the first one was, you now, bad. But money is money.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Hawkeye gets a writer” story, Marvel’s Hawkeye series has been eyeing a main writer recently, but now it’s finally hit the bullseye with Mad Men scribe Jonathan Igla. Marvel has tapped Igla, who wrote Mad Men for five years, as the Hawkeye series writer and executive producer.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Jonathan Igla has been tapped to write and executive produce Marvel’s Hawkeye series for the upcoming streaming service Disney+.
Igla began writing for Mad Men in its fourth season, and saw it through its final season as writer and executive producer. Igla also was a writer-coproducer on Fox’s sports drama Pitch and a writer-supervising producer on Sorry for Your Loss, Facebook’s drama starring Elizabeth Olsen. He boards the show two weeks after we learned that Marvel was scoping out writers for Hawkeye, with an official cast and crew announcement likely on the way. It’s unclear whether Igla will be acting as showrunner for the series.
Hawkeye is set to star Jeremy Renner as the world’s mightiest archer as he becomes an unlikely mentor to another non-superpowered archer, Kate Bishop. The series draws on the beloved Matt Fraction and David Aja comic books, a clever, wry, and grounded take on the oft-mocked superhero. As a writer on AMC’s Emmy-winning series Mad Men, Igla has proven to have a handle on complex character drama and sharp dialogue, all key elements of the exceptional Fraction and Aja Hawkeye series.
Here’s the synopsis for the comic series the show will be probably be drawing on:
It’s Marvel’s most critically acclaimed comic in recent memory! Clint Barton, breakout star of a little Marvel movie you might have seen a while back, continues his fight for justice…and good rooftop BBQs! With Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he’s out to get some downtime from being one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes…but when the apartment building he’s moved into, and the neighbors he’s befriended, are threatened by a tracksuit-wearing, dog-abusing gang of Eastern European mobsters who say “bro” an awful lot, Clint must stand up and defend his new adopted family…any way he can.
Wait, what? Well, it’s definitely not Avengers level crime-fighting, but it IS crime-fighting. It’ll bring things back down to Earth, for sure. With more focus on gritty fighting and character driven drama, this could be cool.
~ Ok, that’s all for this week! I’m off to see It: Chapter Two!