Weekly Ketchup

Weekly Ketchup: Catherine Zeta-Jones sings in Cleo

Plus casting news for Jason Statham, Ashton Kutcher, and Anne Hathaway.

by | October 24, 2008 | Comments

This week’s Weekly Ketchup features new roles for Javier Bardem, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Naomi Watts and Catherine Zeta-Jones in a diverse batch that hits most of the obligatory marks. Videogame? Check. Comic book superhero? Check. Remake? Check. Ashton Kutcher? Sigh…


Director Steven Soderbergh has added yet another project to his cramped slate, which includes his two Che Guevara biopics, The Informant with Matt Damon, a Liberace biopic and a sexy low-budget movie called The Girlfriend Experience. And it’s a doozy. Cleo will be a 3-D rock and roll musical about Egyptian queen Cleopatra, transported to a 1920s setting, with Soderbergh hoping to recruit his Ocean’s 12 star Catherine Zeta-Jones and Hugh Jackman to star as Cleopatra and Marc Antony, respectively. Budgeted at $30 million, Cleo will have an original score of songs written by the indie rock group Guided by Voices, with James Greer, former bassist for that group writing the script. The idea of moving Antony & Cleopatra to the 1920s, and then putting a rock soundtrack over that decade (predating the birth of rock by at least 20 years), seems a bit odd, but Moulin Rouge sort of already did something similar. Catherine Zeta-Jones has already done the movie musical thing (Chicago) and Hugh Jackman is famous for his musical stage work in addition to playing a hirsute mutant.


Tough guys Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke and 50 Cent have signed to costar with British pretty-boy Sam Riley (star of the Joy Division biopic, Control) in an English language remake of the 2005 French thriller (and Sundance award winner), 13 Tzamati. The remake, which will be retitled as just 13, is not to be confused with the rebellious teen girl movie, Thirteen. The original movie’s Georgian director, Gela Babluani, will also be directing this remake, which tells the story of a man who steals a mysterious letter with instructions on how to carry out a dangerous job that promises to net him a fortune. That scheme turns out to be a game of Russian roulette between 13 men sitting at a table, hence the title. Filming of the remake starts on November 17th, 2008 in and around New York City.


We’ve known for a while about Marvel Studios’ slate for 2010 and 2010 (Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, The Avengers), but now we have our first glimpse at what they are aiming to work on in the years after that (2012 or 2013): their Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange. Talking to MTV.com, Marvel president Kevin Feige is quick to deflate talk that Marvel heroes like Iron Man and Doctor Strange are “B Heroes”, a tag from the mainstream media that I’ve never really understood, but I guess it comes from people who didn’t grow up reading Marvel comics. It’s true that Dr. Strange’s colorful costume might need some tweaking for the big screen (it must take magic for his collar to stand up over a foot), but he has a great mythology and back story, and Doctor Strange is probably the Marvel movie I’d second most like to see get made (after The Avengers), with Thor being a close third. Dr. Strange has been in slow development for over a decade, with Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen) at one time rumored to be considered to star.


Paramount’s troubled Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, which looked sort of dead after Tim Burton dropped out, has new life in the form of negotiations with (extremely busy) director Chris Columbus, who also has Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief in the works for a July, 2010 release. Paramount still has Jim Carrey signed to star as adventurer Robert Ripley who thrilled readers with his newspaper column/comic strips revealing some of the strangest bits of trivia and oddities, which now fill the many Ripley museums across the country. Paramount is looking to hire a new writer for the project, which they are now eyeing as a 2011 tentpole release. I had a lot of hope for this movie back when it was a Tim Burton project that might have starred Johnny Depp, but now I’m thinking this will probably end up feeling a bit like another high-profile Jim Carrey/Paramount movie sold on “weirdness”, the failed Lemony Snicket movie.


Electronic Arts continues to sign deals for their video game titles, with the mercenary shooter Army of Two for Universal following recent deals for The Sims (with Fox) and Mass Effect (with producer Avi Arad). Army of Two is a best-selling game that tells the decade-long story of two former Army Rangers who work as military contractors, traveling around the world on various violent assignments. Universal is giving Army of Two a fast-track, hoping to start filming in 2009 from a script by Scott Z. Burns (the upcoming The Informant; cowriter of The Bourne Ultimatum). Army of Two feels like a gun-toting buddy movie, and will likely hinge upon the chemistry between the two action-friendly actors who end up starring in it. Since it’s also about ex-military mercenary buddies, this would be a good place to mention that Fox moved The A-Team movie back a year to June, 2010, this week, following the departure of director John Singleton.


Mr. Demi Moore, AKA Ashton Kutcher, has signed with Lionsgate to star in Five Killers, an action comedy directed by Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde, Monster-in-Law, 21), about a former hit man who finds that someone has hired five assassins to kill him. Ashton Kutcher seems cast against type as any type of “hitman,” but that’s sort of what John Cusack was doing in Grosse Pointe Blank (which predated a lot of the darker stuff he’s done since), and that movie worked, but it’s quite possible I just insulted John Cusack by comparing Ashton Kutcher to him. Maybe The Whole Nine Yards would be a better comparison.


Intense Spanish actor Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) will be teaming up with intense Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, Amores Perros) for an urban thriller called Biutiful, which starts filming in Barcelona next week. Bardem will be playing a man with “shady dealings who is confronted by a childhood friend.” This is 99% likely to be a Spanish language feature, but both men have very high artistic street cred, so I would pick Biutiful as being a likely high buzz project for Fall, 2009 or so.


Naomi Watts is in talks with Universal Pictures to star in My Name is Jody Williams, a biopic about a teacher turned social activist and 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work advocating for the ban of land mines. Audrey Wells (Guinevere, Under the Tuscan Sun) will be directing from her own script. She’s done other stuff (Mulholland Drive, for example), but Naomi Watts is best known for genre movies like Funny Games, King Kong and The Ring, and she’s got the remake of The Birds coming up (which a rumor this week suggests might costar George Clooney). My Name is Jody Williams seems like a project aimed to keep her in the Oscar-friendly actor category, and for Universal, feels like an attempt to return to their Erin Brockovich glory days.


Anne Hathaway has signed on to star in The Fiancé, a romantic comedy for Warner Bros, in what looks like part of the deal to get her to return for Get Smart 2. The Fiancé, directed by Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down), from a script by Etan Cohen (cowriter of Idiocracy, Tropic Thunder), is scheduled to start filming in March, 2009, with Hathaway then expected to make a smooth transition to the filming of Get Smart 2. No release date is set for The Fiancé, but the timing seems to position it as Warner Bros’ likely Valentine’s Day-ish romantic comedy for 2010. The Fiancé is the tale of a woman (Hathaway) who breaks off her wedding plans, causing her parents to try to get things patched up between the two, preventing her from moving on with her life. Basically, it sounds like Meet the Parents, but in reverse.


Teri Polo has signed on for a movie that doesn’t involve meeting someone’s parents. Not to be confused with the 2001 thriller starring Thora Birch, The Hole will be a supernatural horror film about a mother (Polo) who moves in with her three sons into a rural house that has a bottomless hole in its basement. Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling) will be directing The Hole (in 3-D!) from a script by Mark L. Smith (Vacancy), with filming starting on December 5th, 2008 in Vancouver. Haley Bennett, the star of The Haunting of Molly Hartley will be playing a local neighbor who has a thing for one of Polo’s sons. Dante’s career is pretty much dominated by high-concept family movies like Small Soldiers and Looney Tunes: Back in Action, but he’s kept up a reputation of having horror movie roots (Piranha was his debut), and The Hole marks his first horror feature film in 25 years.

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS through his MySpace page or via a RT forum message, and Greg also blogs about the TV show Lost, at TwoLosties.Blogspot.com.

Tag Cloud

social media Food Network comedies Comedy Central godzilla french supernatural Country scene in color Captain marvel king kong YouTube zombie 1990s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Amazon Vudu Lucasfilm streaming SXSW latino Photos rom-coms foreign casting YouTube Red docudrama harry potter Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Amazon Studios Paramount Network ABC Signature Pacific Islander TruTV 2020 Broadway ID Ovation TV Land rt archives Travel Channel Tarantino Adult Swim Trivia Classic Film mockumentary satire Shudder saw 2017 justice league cancelled TV shows TCA Winter 2020 Christmas Musical BET Song of Ice and Fire werewolf Discovery Channel spanish DC Comics Cannes Tokyo Olympics TV PaleyFest monster movies DC Universe Mary poppins prank boxing international VICE concert spy thriller police drama Apple TV+ NYCC Hear Us Out TLC elevated horror Logo Superheroe Trailer Lionsgate Spring TV boxoffice Peacock Crunchyroll indie Spike Comics on TV 99% Opinion Pop spinoff Disney+ Disney Plus Black Mirror ghosts emmy awards BBC One Black History Month Columbia Pictures screenings TNT dogs cars technology golden globes SundanceTV YA Rocketman medical drama cults X-Men OWN FX 2015 twilight NBA Television Academy festival singing competition Reality TBS worst streaming movies IFC canceled TV shows Box Office Starz game of thrones CW Seed superhero best Winter TV RT21 jamie lee curtis Chernobyl ABC trailers archives zero dark thirty Hallmark Image Comics popular YouTube Premium 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards quibi Marvel child's play Nominations theme song The Walt Disney Company reviews Year in Review Interview A&E Trophy Talk true crime razzies new star wars movies cancelled discovery crime what to watch scary movies VOD 2021 Countdown book adaptation new zealand Apple TV Plus Fall TV Nat Geo binge festivals WGN Brie Larson HBO Reality Competition blockbuster Disney Channel New York Comic Con TCA 2017 BET Awards period drama MSNBC Superheroes obituary PBS IFC Films adenture Walt Disney Pictures ratings series slashers San Diego Comic-Con indiana jones video on demand anime Esquire MTV CBS olympics Rom-Com ESPN politics First Look President Extras E! halloween tv TV One LGBTQ marvel cinematic universe BBC America Tubi 24 frames cops Fox News Marvel Television Binge Guide new york Ellie Kemper Watching Series comic books spain Western Mystery black Awards joker women Emmys japanese Apple Turner Classic Movies ViacomCBS deadpool video toy story directors Exclusive Video legend reboot crossover AMC OneApp football cancelled TV series based on movie CBS All Access Red Carpet television Pop TV classics GLAAD Women's History Month finale crime thriller renewed TV shows Masterpiece USA miniseries NBC mission: impossible book Oscars strong female leads Marvel Studios Comic Book Video Games Mary Tyler Moore TCA Awards Warner Bros. Set visit cartoon Martial Arts facebook movie Holidays spider-man Sundance TV Valentine's Day BAFTA HBO Max Ghostbusters japan docuseries A24 stoner Pixar suspense Elton John Epix remakes Spectrum Originals Disney streaming service Fantasy all-time TCA Music HBO Go Sneak Peek DC streaming service Disney Endgame Paramount thriller universal monsters Paramount Plus hispanic scorecard comic El Rey hidden camera cats History Toys richard e. Grant Awards Tour Pride Month telelvision The Academy Super Bowl Heroines Wes Anderson australia Animation Writers Guild of America Mindy Kaling stand-up comedy SDCC children's TV Best and Worst Acorn TV hist batman Hallmark Christmas movies wonder woman aapi transformers name the review kong Family diversity sequel 20th Century Fox psycho dragons Anna Paquin USA Network Tumblr Musicals space worst movies Character Guide Showtime Disney Plus toronto Star Wars Quiz romantic comedy Bravo Britbox Cosplay Comedy sitcom spanish language Podcast blaxploitation comiccon Tomatazos FOX Shondaland BBC Academy Awards TV movies pirates of the caribbean Thanksgiving 21st Century Fox 2019 VH1 Election LGBT unscripted doctor who crime drama 45 films 2016 kids witnail nature Arrowverse Fox Searchlight screen actors guild franchise Premiere Dates natural history Infographic DGA Pirates The Purge serial killer Emmy Nominations vampires Biopics critics war sports romance Action christmas movies robots Summer Dark Horse Comics cancelled television Horror 72 Emmy Awards composers Pet Sematary Alien ABC Family dramedy rotten game show fast and furious movies independent superman free movies kaiju venice a nightmare on elm street comics Sci-Fi heist movie Lifetime Cartoon Network stop motion 93rd Oscars Funimation basketball biography Sundance Now zombies historical drama king arthur The Witch anthology Star Trek Avengers Creative Arts Emmys nbcuniversal National Geographic ITV Grammys CNN The CW Schedule fresh disaster sequels Mary Poppins Returns DirecTV MCU E3 criterion blockbusters nfl green book animated Crackle mutant GoT See It Skip It TCM golden globe awards 2018 Amazon Prime Video Rocky know your critic Freeform live action Turner The Arrangement TV renewals First Reviews CMT Kids & Family versus Film 007 Legendary revenge Television Critics Association rotten movies we love Mudbound chucky FXX tv talk hollywood 90s Lifetime Christmas movies die hard lord of the rings Marathons documentaries Comic-Con@Home 2021 high school jurassic park RT History political drama documentary target Rock news Stephen King Syfy talk show halloween psychological thriller laika Nickelodeon Netflix Sony Pictures American Society of Cinematographers The Walking Dead TIFF teaser Film Festival asian-american Winners science fiction WarnerMedia south america Drama cinemax aliens Polls and Games Sundance breaking bad dceu dc adventure Amazon Prime adaptation Holiday Certified Fresh 71st Emmy Awards 4/20 cooking travel Universal Netflix Christmas movies sag awards Calendar james bond Teen GIFs italian FX on Hulu PlayStation canceled Hulu award winner APB dark parents Baby Yoda