This week’s Ketchup is loaded with new roles for actresses and celebrities like Katie Holmes, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jennifer Lawrence, and Taylor Swift, as well as remakes of East of Eden and Tarzan, and “true story” movies about ESPN, chess and… syrup?
This Week’s Top Story
WARCRAFT CASTING LFG: COLIN FARRELL, PAULA PATTON, AND OTHERS
Legendary Pictures and director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) are preparing for their first big post-Warner Bros production, which is scheduled to filming in January. That movie is none other than Warcraft, which is rumored to be more of an adaptation of the original Warcraft: Orcs vs Humans RTS game than the more popular World of Warcraft MMORPG that came ten years later. This week, Legendary started doing a ton of casting, and several names emerged (though some of them may be for the same parts). First up was talk of Colin Farrell (Alexander, Phone Booth) and Paula Patton (Baggage Claim, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) being in negotiations for lead roles, though neither role was revealed (Blizzard’s game franchise has hundreds of characters known to players, so any hint of a name or description would be huge news). Soon after, another “short list” was revealed for “other lead roles,” and that list includes: Paul Dano (Prisoners, There Will Be Blood), Travis Fimmel (TV’s Vikings), Anson Mount (TV’s Hell on Wheels), and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Fright Night). There have been rumors for years that the focus of this film will be on protagonists that are members of the Alliance, which at this point in the story could be humans, but there might also be some elves, dwarves, and gnomes as well. And, of course, the antagonists will be the orcs of the Horde. Are there any guesses down below for which of these actors might play a race other than human?
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD IN TALKS FOR JURASSIC WORLD LEAD
Ron Howard’s daughter-turned-actress Bryce Dallas Howard is the first name to emerge as being in talks for a lead role in Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) will direct Jurassic World, which will be the fourth movie in the dinosaur franchise. The story rumored to be centering around a revived attempt at John Hammond’s original vision of providing the world with a family friendly theme park attraction. And then things must go wrong, or they would have a sort of boring movie. Universal Pictures plans on releasing Jurassic World in 3D on June 12, 2015.
#2 THE NEW TARZAN IS BACK ON TRACK WITH CHRISTOPH WALTZ IN TALKS TO PLAY THE VILLAIN
Earlier this year, it seemed like the planned reboot of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan might be completely scrapped by Warner Bros over budgetary concerns. That was, also, however, before Legendary Pictures bolted from Warner Bros to their new home at Universal, leading in the last two months to a flurry of new projects at Warner Bros as the studio tries to fill the vacuum left behind. And so, this week, we have the news that Tarzan is back on track, with almost all of the original pieces still intact, and at least one new player. Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds) is in talks to play the film’s villain, who is described as a “military figure that crosses paths with the King of the Jungle [sic].” Alexander Skarsgard (HBO’s True Blood) is still attached to star as Tarzan, and four time Harry Potter director David Yates is still on board. One person who is definitely out, however, is Jessica Chastain, with Australian actress Margot Robbie among those now in consideration for the female lead of “Jane” (Emma Stone was briefly mentioned, but she’s already turned down the role). Warner Bros is hoping to give the project an official greenlight by November, so that preproduction can start, leading up to a filming start date in summer, 2014, for a release date in 2015.
#3 TOBEY MAGUIRE, PETER SARSGAARD AND LIEV SCHREIBER HEADLINE CHESS BIOPIC PAWN SACRIFICE
It’s been a few years now since we’ve seen much heat for the Bobby Fischer biopic Pawn Sacrifice, which back in 2010 was a potential directing vehicle for David Fincher (he did the remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo instead). Well, the project is finally getting made, and we learned this week of two actors who will be joining Tobey Maguire, who has long been attached to play Bobby Fischer (he’s also producing). Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) will play Soviet chess master Boris Spassky, who Bobby Fincher faced off with in 1972 after a record-breaking winning streak. Peter Sarsgaard (Boys Don’t Cry) will play a priest who becomes a confidant for Fischer. It’s unknown if the film will also address Fischer’s later life, when he became less known for chess, and more for offensive statements and his problems with national citizenship (Fischer eventually died in Iceland in 2008). Pawn Sacrifice will be directed by Ed Zwick (The Siege, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) when filming starts in Montreal in October.
#4 JASON SEGEL WANTS TO STEAL CANADA’S SYRUP
You may have heard the true story last year of a massive heist of $20 million worth of Quebec, Canada’s maple syrup stockpile (yes, they have such a thing). If, when you did, you thought, “hey, that should be a comedy with Jason Segel and the director of Horrible Bosses!”, then you might just have what it takes to be a Hollywood producer. Sony Pictures has picked up the rights to an untitled comedy about the 2012 Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers heist, which will be directed by Seth Gordon, whose filmography also includes Identity Thief, Four Christmases, and the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. The script will be adapted by Chris Sheridan, who has worked on several seasons of TV’s The Family Guy.
#5 AND SONY PICTURES WANTS TO HANDLE SETH ROGEN’S SAUSAGE (PARTY)
The previous story was actually the second food-related pickup for Sony Pictures this week, as the studio also stepped on board to finance and release the previously announced R rated Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg CGI comedy Sausage Party. The “raunchy animated movie [will be] about one sausage’s quest to discover the truth of his existence… after falling out of a shopping cart, our hero sausage and his new friends embark on a perilous journey through the supermarket to get back to their aisles before the 4th of July sale.” Sony expects to have Sausage Party ready for a release sometime in 2015 (possibly in the summer?). Seth Rogen previously collaborated with Evan Goldberg as screenwriter on movies like Superbad, Pineapple Express, and The Green Hornet, and they cowrote and codirected this summer’s hit comedy This is the End.
#6 FREQUENT RYAN GOSLING DIRECTOR TAKES ON ESPN WITH THOSE GUYS HAVE ALL THE FUN
Just when the public starts to think they know what type of movies they’re going to build a career on, some directors like to totally change things up. The ability to do that is, arguably, the sign of a potentially “great” director. So, take the case of Derek Cianfrance, whose last two films both starred Ryan Gosling, and would be described by most as “dark indies”: Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines. The movie news that promises to switch things up considerably is the deal for Cianfrance to direct an adaptation of the oral history book ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun, which sounds more like the sort of movie you’d expect Aaron Sorkin to adapt. The producers might agree, because they also gave us the Aaron Sorkin adapted Facebook movie The Social Network. There’s no word yet as to whether Ryan Gosling might ever end up playing one of the key figures in sports TV network history.
#7 JENNIFER LAWRENCE REUNITES WITH HUNGER GAMES DIRECTOR FOR THE EAST OF EDEN REMAKE
For some reason, it’s almost a fact of life in Hollywood that “America’s Sweetheart” type actresses at some point eventually sign on to play a prostitute. Some examples include Shirley Jones (Elmer Gantry), Elizbeth Taylor (Butterfield 8), and of course, Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) (and that list leaves out the non-Sweethearts who also played hookers, like Jane Fonda and Kim Basinger). And so, we now have Jennifer Lawrence in a solid career upswing, and the time has come for her to sign on to play one too. Lawrence will reunite with director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) for the remake of East of Eden, in which she will play the “psychotic monster” (in John Steinbeck’s words) Cathy Ames, who is the mother of the two brother main characters. This remake follows, of course, the 1955 movie starring James Dean and directed by Elia Kazan, which is considered by many to be a cinematic classic that still stands up today (87% on the RT Tomatometer), and doesn’t at all need to be remade*. But it’s happening anyway, so… who do the commenters down below think should play the James Dean role? (* Regardless of whether one thinks East of Eden should be remade, director Gary Ross’ own RT Tomatometer is solidly “Fresh,” so this movie news is too).
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#2 TAYLOR SWIFT AND KATIE HOLMES JOIN YA NOVEL ADAPTATION THE GIVER
Most movies never cast female celebrities who have been the center of tabloid attention for their romantic relationships’ ups and downs. This week, The Weinstein Co.’s adaptation of Lois Lowry’s dystopian future sci-fi YA novel The Giver did it twice. First up, there was (the former Mrs. Cruise) Katie Holmes (Batman Begins, Dawson’s Creek), who at 34 is now old enough to be playing the lead character’s mom, who is described as being a “a strict obeyer of the laws that govern what is described as an antiseptic society.” The Katie Holmes news was a few days later completely overshadowed by the announcement that singer-turned-sometimes-actress Taylor Swift has also signed on. Swift made her feature film debut in the 2010 romantic comedy Valentine’s Day, with a performance that was hailed as “painfully clunky” (New York Daily News) and “unwatchable” (Slant Magazine). So, yeah, that’s why this story is one of this week’s Rotten Ideas. Brenton Thwaites plays the lead character, Jeff Bridges plays the title character, and the rest of the cast includes Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Cameron Monaghan, and Odeya Rush. Phillip Noyce (Salt, The Saint, The Bone Collector) will be directing when filming starts on October 7 in South Africa. The Giver is scheduled for release on August 15, 2014.
#1 KING LEONIDAS, JAMIE LANNISTER AND CAPTAIN BARBOSA WILL BE DEIFIED AS THE GODS OF EGYPT
It’s been four years now since the release in 2009 of Knowing, and director Alex Proyas (Dark City, I, Robot, The Crow) has spent the years since trying to find his next movie. For a long time, it seemed like it would be an adaptation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost (with Bradley Cooper as Lucifer), and then, he worked on the movie now known as Dracula Retold (which he is totally off now). Well, this week, we finally learned what Alex Proyas will be directing next for sure, and we know, because there was a ton of casting for it. The movie is called Gods of Egypt, and it’s a big FX-filled mythological action movie set in the “world” of the gods of Ancient Egypt (hence the title). The first actor to sign on (as Horus, God of Sky and War) was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who starred in Mama, but most of us probably know from Game of Thrones, in which he plays Ser Jamie Lannister, (former) Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and Warden of the East, also known as “Kingslayer.” And with that, I have earned my nerd points for the day. This week, we also learned that Gerard Butler (300, The Bounty Hunter) is in talks with Summit Entertainment to play the film’s villain, the serpent god Set. In the movie, “Set kills another, Osiris… when Osiris’ son Horus fails in his attempt to get revenge and has his eye plucked out, it’s up to a young human thief in love with a slave to help defeat the angry god.” Geoffrey Rush is also in talks to play the sun god Ra, who is the father of both Set and Osiris (so, he’s basically the Odin character here, if you think of Osiris-as-Thor and Set-as-Loki). This is one of the week’s Rotten Ideas based on the RT Tomatometer of director Alex Proyas, who hasn’t had a “Fresh” movie since 15 years ago with Dark City.
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.