This week’s Ketchup includes new roles for Harry Potter franchise stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, as well as Bradley Cooper, Tom Hardy, Liam Neeson, and Gary Oldman in movies which include reboots of Cinderella, Frankenstein, and Robin Hood.
This Week’s Top Story
CHRIS COOPER TO PLAY NORMAN OSBORN IN THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
Ever since the character was teased in The Amazing Spider-Man, fans have been speculating about who might play Norman Osborn in the reboot movies. The smart money on accurately making such a guess would have been on picking a middle aged “serious” actor that fits in with the sort of actors that have been cast as villains in the past: your Willem Dafoes, your Alfred Molinas, your Paul Giamattis, et al. Putting all of that together, therefore, might have led one to guess someone like Chris Cooper (Breach, Adaptation, The Muppets), and that hypothetical ballparking would have been correct. Chris Cooper will play Norman Osborn, AKA the Green Goblin (although he won’t necessarily be seen as that villain), and father to Harry Osborn, who has already been cast as Dane DeHaan (Chronicle). The Osborns join a steadily increasing cast that already includes Jamie Foxx as Electro, Paul Giamatti as the Rhino, and British actress Felicity Jones as a mysterious character who may or may not be Felicia Hardy, AKA The Black Cat. Sony Pictures is planning on releasing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 3D and non-3D on May 2, 2014.
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 HERMIONE GRANGER CAST AS DISNEY’S NEW REIMAGINED CINDERELLA
Almost two years after the film franchise ended, neither Emma Watson nor the other two young leads have yet established a major post-Harry Potter blockbuster release. That may change with the next in Disney’s ongoing fantasy reimaginings (after Oz the Great and Powerful next week, and Maleficent in 2014). Emma Watson is in early talks with Disney to play the title character in their reboot of Cinderella, which may be released in late 2014. If she does indeed sign on, Emma Watson will be joining Cate Blanchett, who is expected to sign on to play the evil stepmother, and director Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Hamlet, Henry V). If everything comes together, filming will start in London in late 2013.
#2 GARY OLDMAN AND TEEN ACTOR KODI SMIT-MCPHEE HELP FILL OUT THE HUMAN CAST OF DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
It was just last week that we found out that Jason Clarke from Zero Dark Thirty had been cast as the first human actor in the rebooted sequel/prequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. This week, the cast grew a bit more with the addition of two more humans. First, there was Kodi Smit-McPhee from Let Me In and The Road in an unspecified role. That news, however, was quickly overshadowed by the addition of Gary Oldman as the leader of a colony of human resistance fighters struggling to survive in the San Francisco of 15 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This becomes the third major “reboot” that Gary Oldman has participated in recently, following Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and the upcoming RoboCop reboot. 20th Century Fox is planning on releasing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on May 23, 2014.
#3 BRADLEY COOPER TO STAR IN AN AMERICAN REMAKE OF KOKOWAAH THAT WILL PROBABLY NOT RETAIN THAT TITLE
Last week, this column mentioned that the week(s) following the 85th Annual Academy Awards would surely see new roles and deals for Sunday’s winners. Well, that is also true of actors that were merely nominated (as part of that whole “it’s an honor just to be nominated…” thing). In that category, we submit this story about Bradley Cooper signing on with Warner Bros to star in, and possibly direct, an English language remake of the 2011 German comedy Kokowaah. That title is a reference to what it sounds like when Germans try to pronounce the French dish “coq au vin,” so yeah, there’s zero chance that title will be staying. Bradley Cooper will be playing an author whose friendship with another man is changed when the truth about his daughter’s father is revealed (ie, the author is actually the dad). The original Kokowaah was Germany’s biggest hit of 2011, and a sequel was just recently released. This is one of a few films that is vying for the honor of being Bradley Cooper’s directorial feature film debut.
#4 UPCOMING NEIL GAIMAN NOVEL THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE ALREADY HAS A MOVIE DEAL AND A DIRECTOR
As long as your ignore 2008’s The Soloist, British director Joe Wright has a pretty amazing filmography after just five films which includes Atonement, Hanna, and last year’s Anna Karenina. Although he’s still awaiting his first Academy Award nomination (as director), Wright may have still been another beneficiary of post-Oscar good will. Focus Features and Tom Hanks’ Playtone have made a deal with Wright to direct an adaptation of the upcoming Neil Gaiman (Coraline) novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The novel won’t be published until June, but the premise concerns a man whose family’s car was used for a suicide that caused ancient and dangerous magical powers to be unleashed back into the world. This is the second project that Playtone is working on with Neil Gaiman, along with the planned HBO series adaptation of his novel American Gods.
#5 MAMA DIRECTOR SIGNS FOR THE POST-APOCALYPTIC DRAMA BIRD BOX
While Universal Pictures is trying to figure out if they can sequelize Mama, that film’s director Andy Muschietti has other plans, as he is in talks (with Universal) to direct a movie called Bird Box. Based upon an upcoming 2014 book by Josh Malerman of the rock group The High Strung, Bird Box tells the stories of a woman and two children who make their way down a river, blindfolded, in a postapocalyptic setting. The logline actually inserts the word “seemingly” in front of “postapocalyptic,” which probably means it’s not a postapocalyptic setting at all (just saying). That guess is supported by the studio’s movie comparisons, which includes Children of Men, and the real hint, which is The Others, another movie where the premise was “seemingly” something it wasn’t at all. There’s a good chance that Bird Box won’t be Andy Muscietti’s next film as director, as Universal Pictures hasn’t yet found a writer to actually adapt Malerman’s novel yet.
#6 TOM HARDY TO PLAY A SOLDIER WITH POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER IN INDIE FILM SAMARKAND
Trivia time: Samarkand is the second largest city in Uzbekistan, and was famous historically for being the halfway point along the Silk Road to China. That may be quite academic to future movie fans, however, who probably will only know Samarkand as that one movie back in 2014 (or 2015) where Tom Hardy played a British soldier struggling with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Samarkand will be an independent film that marks the directorial debut of photographer Olly Williams, who also cowrote the script with his brother Greg Williams. Samarkand will have to find a place in Tom Hardy’s busy filming schedule which already includes four other upcoming movies (Animal Rescue, Child 44, Everest, and Locke) that are expecting to be filmed in 2013.
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#3 THE REIMAGINATION EXPRESS TURNS THE LEGEND OF ROBIN HOOD INTO MERRY MEN
It’s not just Disney and the Cinderella “reimagination” that made the news this week in the days before the one-two-punch release of Jack the Giant Slayer and Oz the Great and Powerful. DreamWorks is also getting in the game with a project called Merry Men. The pitch here is a reboot of the Robin Hood legend that focuses on the adventures of supporting characters like Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, and Maid Marian in the style of ensemble caper movies like The Dirty Dozen or Ocean’s Eleven. Merry Men will be directed by Act of Valor (25% “Rotten” on the RT Tomatometer) codirector Scott Waugh from a script by newcomer Brad Ingelsby, whose first released film will be Out of the Furnace, starring Christian Bale. Before Merry Men starts filming, Scott Waugh’s second film as director will be next year’s video game adaptation Need for Speed.
#2 LIAM NEESON AND GANG TO VOICE THE NUT JOB, ABOUT CRAZY SQUIRRELS STEALING NUTS… GET IT? GET IT? GET IT?
Liam Neeson has signed with Gulfstream Pictures (which has a distribution deal with Warner Bros) to provide the voice of an evil raccoon afin the $45 million CGI animated movie The Nut Job. Liam Neeson joins a voice cast which already includes Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, and Katherine Heigl, most of who probably will be playing squirrel characters. The Nut Job.M. is about squirrels who try to steal nuts, and is an expansion of the 2005 CGI animated short film Surly Squirrel. Gulfstream Pictures is planning on releasing The Nut Job sometime in 2013.
#1 DANIEL RADCLIFFE TO ASK YOU TO WALK THIS WAY AS IGOR IN THE FRANKENSTEIN REBOOT
Up above, Emma Watson scored the top Fresh Development with her landing of the title role in the Cinderella reboot. And here, as the Rotten Idea of the Week, her former costar Daniel Radcliffe headlines this story. It should be noted, however, that it’s not really Daniel Radcliffe that makes this story “rotten.” First, the facts: Daniel Radcliffe is in final negotiations to play “Igor” in 20th Century Fox’s upcoming modern science fiction reimagination of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. Of course, there wasn’t a character called Igor in Mary Shelley’s book at all, and in the 1931 movie that remains the most popular adaptation, Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant was named “Fritz,” not “Igor.” It wasn’t until the 1939 sequel Son of Frankenstein that the assistant named Ygor was first introduced. Anyway, this new Frankenstein will be directed by Paul McGuigan, whose last four films have all earned “Rotten” RT Tomatometer scores (for The Reckoning, Wicker Park, Lucky Number Slevin, and most recently, Push). So, yeah, that’s why the casting of Igor in Frakenstein is this week’s Most Rotten Idea. Sorry, Harry.
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.