Weekly Ketchup

Weekly Ketchup: Wonder Woman Will Appear in Man of Steel Sequel

Plus, the next X-Men movie announced, and RIP Paul Walker.

by | December 6, 2013 | Comments

This week’s Ketchup includes big superhero news, such as the film debut of Wonder Woman and the announcement of X-Men: Apocalypse for 2016. There’s also a few sports-related movies (involving LeBron James and Vince Lombardi), and our first glimpse at the movies of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.


This Week’s Top Story

WONDER WOMAN TO FINALLY MAKE HER FEATURE FILM DEBUT IN BATMAN VS SUPERMAN

There was some debate while compiling this Ketchup about which superhero story this week should be the top story, but it ultimately went to the casting of a character waiting for her big screen debut since the 1940s. Warner Bros announced this week that Gal Gadot will be starring in the Man of Steel sequel as Wonder Woman, which will be the first time the superheroine has been portrayed in a live action feature film. Gadot is a former Miss Israel who made her film debut as Gisele Harabo in Fast & Furious (and has also appeared in the subsequent films, as well as in 2010’s Knight and Day). Australian actor Callan Mulvey (Zero Dark Thirty) is also reportedly in talks to play one of the film’s villains, who is rumored to be Metallo. The movie remains officially untitled, but Batman vs Superman remains the title that appears in many stories about this film. There was also news, or rather, lack of news this week for Man of Steel. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the ten films that are in the running in the Visual Effects category, and although the list includes Marvel’s Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, their Distinguished Competition’s Man of Steel conspicuously did not make the list. This year’s Academy Award nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 16, 2014.

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 FOX ANNOUNCES 2016 RELEASE DATE FOR X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

There were a few different stories this week concerning 20th Century Fox and the continuing Marvel-based projects, but the biggest story teases us with the introduction of one of the company’s biggest mutant menaces. 20th Century Fox has announced a release date of May 27, 2016 for X-Men: Apocalypse, which will be the sixth X-Men movie, following next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. The “Apocalypse” of the title refers to one of the first mutants, an ancient Egyptian shapeshifter who returns to power 5,000 years later to become one of the X-Men’s biggest foes. The most popular storyline featuring the villain was the 1995 event called Age of Apocalypse, set in an alternate reality in which Charles Xavier’s time travelling son Legion accidentally killed his father (while trying to kill Magneto). It’s not quickly explained, but it eventually leads to a very different world in which Apocalypse has successfully taken over. Since we already know that X-Men: Days of Future Past features time travel and a possible dystopian future, it doesn’t take much imagination to see how something like Age of Apocalypse could be implemented into this next movie. Elsewhere in the news, we also heard this week that Hugh Jackman remains unsure about how much longer he will play Wolverine. Someone who is more sure of his future with X-Men (and Fanatstic Four) movies is writer/producer Simon Kinberg, who signed a new three year contract with 20th Century to work on exactly that.

#2 THIS WEEK IN RELEASE DATE NEWS: BOURNE 5, THE MUMMY REBOOT, AND (NOT GTA) SAN ANDREAS

In addition to X-Men: Apocalypse, a few other big movies also received release dates this week. Universal Pictures has scheduled the movie currently being called just Bourne 5 for August 14, 2015, with Jeremy Renner signed to reprise his role as Aaron Cross. That’s the same release date as The Smurfs 3. Universal Pictures has also scheduled their reboot of The Mummy for April 22, 2016, and bumped the videogame adaptation WarCraft (more on that one later in the column) from December 18, 2015 to March 11, 2016. The reason for that shift is being seen as a reaction to the recent scheduling of Star Wars Episode VII for that same period. Finally, there is the Dwayne Johnson earthquake movie San Andreas, which Warner Bros has scheduled for release in 3D on June 5, 2015.

#3 WARCRAFT FULL CAST ANNOUNCED, INCLUDING PAULA PATTON AND BEN FOSTER

After an autumn of casting rumors and speculation (which frequently included Colin Farrell), Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures this week announced the main cast of the 2016 videogame adaptation Warcraft. The six announced actors include Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger), Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma), Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Rob Kazinsky (Pacific Rim), and Toby Kebbell (The Counselor). What was not announced is which characters each of them will be playing. Besides Colin Farrell, what’s also lacking from the cast are any other “name stars,” which signals an emphasis on an ensemble cast vibe. That’s not surprising, of course, considering that the franchise is really the biggest selling point for a Warcraft movie, and the promise of many more to come. Warcraft will be directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and will be released by Universal Pictures on March 11, 2016.

#4 LEBRON JAMES AND KEVIN HART TO PLAY MISMATCHED BROTHERS IN BASKETBALL COMEDY BALLERS

Basketball star LeBron James and comedian Kevin Hart have signed with Universal Pictures to star in the sports comedy Ballers. Kevin Hart (who is 17 inches shorter than LeBron James) will play a man who has lived his life (literally) in the shadow of his basketball star brother, and who gets a chance to shine when he attends a basketball camp in Miami. Cleveland has been attracting a lot of movie production lately, but it’s probably safe to say that Ballers won’t be one of them. LeBron James currently plays for the Miami Heat.

#5 THE PATH TO THE VINCE LOMBARDI BIOPIC JUST GOT MORE COMPETITIVE THIS WEEK

We’ve known for a while that Robert De Niro is attached to produce and star in a biopic of famed Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, in conjunction with ESPN Films. This week, that project got some very intense competition from Legendary Pictures, the company that this year released the Jackie Robinson biopic 42. Writer-director J.C. Chandor, who currently has All is Lost in theaters, has signed with Legendary to adapt his own Vince Lombardi biopic. The rights package that Legendary is working with includes a deal with the Lombardi family, and the rights to both the Broadway play and the book it was based upon, called When Pride Still Mattered (which could also a pretty great title for a movie). While J.C. Chandor starts work on this project, his next movie to actually start filming will be A Most Violent Year, starring Jessica Chastain.

#6 THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL’S 2014 COMPETITION INCLUDES NEW MOVIES STARRING KRISTEN STEWART AND AARON PAUL

Early every year, while much press is also being written about the previous year and various awards ceremonies, the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is a big part of getting the next year’s potential critical favorites off to a start. One key part of the Sundance schedule to look for the potential gems is the U.S. Dramatic Competition slate, which was announced this week. Being Sundance and the cradle for young independent filmmakers, many of the listed films do not feature stars, but some do. Included in the mix in 2014 will be Camp X-Ray (starring Kristen Stewart as a guard stationed at Guantanamo Bay), Hellion (a family drama featuring Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad), Cold in July (Michael C. Hall and Vinessa Shaw), Life After Beth (Aubrey Plaza and John C. Reilly), Low Down (John Hawkes and Elle Fanning), The Skeleton Twins (Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig), Song One (Anne Hathaway), and Whiplash (Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons).

#7 AMANDA SEYFRIED TO STAR IN THE SOCIAL NETWORKING COMEDY HE’S F-ING PERFECT

The movie development process sometimes features movies with working titles that include profanities, which in recent years have included F**kbuddies (AKA Friends with Benefits) and Another Bulls**t Night in Suck City (AKA the much more forgettable Being Flynn). This story concerns a movie which appears to be going into production with its inferred profanity intact, thanks to a hyphen. Amanda Seyfried has signed to replace the previously attached Emma Stone in the “social networking comedy” He’s F-ing Perfect, for Universal Pictures. The comedy will be about “an Internet-savvy woman who convinces her friend to dump her new boyfriend so she can date him instead.” Will Ferrell is coproducing the comedy for newcomer director Jake Szymanski.

#8 OLD SCHOOL HORROR REVIVAL WEEK: SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK AND VERONICA’S ROOM

These two stories lack any big movie stars (for now) or flashier franchise reputations, but hey, at least they’re not remakes. Two decades long horror properties made the movie development news cycle this week. The one with the most impressive name recognition might be Veronica’s Room, which back in the 1970s was a Broadway play written by Ira Levin, whose books also inspired the movies Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives. Veronica’s Room (not to be confused with Victoria’s Closet) is about two college students acting as caretakers at an old mansion who discover that one of them closely resembles a dead member of the family. Another golden oldie is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, a 1981 kid-friendly anthology by Alvin Schwartz which went on to have a few sequels. CBS Films and the writers of the last four Saw movies are partnering on an adaptation of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark about “a group of outcast kids who stand up to their fears to save their town when nightmares come to life.” In other words, it almost sounds like it could be an adaptation of the title more than the actual book or any of the stories in it (though it obviously could still be).

Rotten Idea of the Week

#1 R.I.P. PAUL WALKER (1973-2013)

In what was arguably the most shocking movie star death since Heath Ledger died in early 2008, Paul Walker and race car driver Roger Rodas died on Saturday afternoon in a fiery automobile crash. The Weekly Ketchup is published on Friday afternoons, so much has happened in the six days since, much of which the average reader might already know about. Walker’s death obviously puts the status of Fast & Furious 7, which was still being filmed, in question. The movie is still technically scheduled for release on July 11, 2014, but Universal Pictures is working on figuring out their next move. Although much of the film had indeed been finished, a large segment in Abu Dhabi had been planned to finish the production. Universal Pictures also announced that portions of the profits from the sales of the upcoming Blu-ray of Fast & Furious 6 will go to Paul Walker’s charity Reach Out WorldWide, which provides relief funds to victims of disasters. Finally, the studio also released a tribute video in memory of Paul Walker.

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.

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