This week’s Ketchup includes lots of superhero news (both for The Avengers 2 and Justice League), sequels for Dodgeball and movies that aren’t even out yet, and remakes of The Crow and Guys and Dolls.
This Week’s Top Story
THIS WAS A BIG WEEK FOR MARVEL MOVIE NEWS: DAREDEVIL REJOINS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE
This was a week full of enough stories involving Marvel movies to take up almost half this column, but instead, we’ll just cover them all in one story, so we can devote more coverage to other stuff as well. The biggest single story is one that’s been in the works for about a year, but now it’s official. The movie rights to Daredevil have reverted back to Marvel Studios following failed attempts by 20th Century Fox to greenlight a new movie not starring Ben Affleck or Jennifer Garner. It’s unconfirmed whether this also includes the Elektra rights, but unless Fox makes a new Elektra movie soon, she would likely revert back to Marvel as well. Two other characters that one might have expected to still be at 20th Century Fox (because they’re mutants) were also teased this week by Joss Whedon as possibly being in The Avengers 2. When Whedon says his script includes “a brother-sister act,” there’s pretty much few other pairs that it could be other than Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, who were two of the earliest members of The Avengers, starting back in the 1960s. The Scarlet Witch, in particular, has been a long-standing member of the team, and was integral to the events of the team in the comics in the last ten years (Avengers Disassembled, House of M, etc.). They’re not quite on the same level, but two characters that we also learned will be in X-Men: Days of Future Past this week are Bishop and Warpath. The casting a few weeks ago of Omar Sy and Booboo Stewart led a lot of fans to guess that they might be playing Bishop and Warpath, but it was only this week that we actually got that confirmed. Finally, Lee Pace (TV’s Pushing Daisies) has been cast as the main villain in Guardians of the Galaxy. Various sources have ideas about who exactly Pace might be playing, from the incredulous (The Controller) to the more credible (The Collector). The confusing part is that Pace doesn’t really look like either, but The Controller is a) “a brick” and b) less of an obviously “cosmic” character. An actress named Ophelia Lovibond has also been cast as an aide to Lee Pace’s character, and you can read various casting call descriptions here.
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 IF MAN OF STEEL IS SUCCESSFUL, ZACK SNYDER MIGHT DIRECT JUSTICE LEAGUE
The next issue of the British movie magazine Empire has a big feature on the Superman movie Man of Steel, and this week, several quotes from that piece appeared online. Along with the other details you might expect from such a story, we also learned some of Warner Bros’ thinking about what Man of Steel might mean for the long-planned Justice League movie. The article implies that if Man of Steel is a success, director Zack Snyder will also be asked to direct Justice League. Although Snyder has had two recent critical misfires, his first three films as director did much better. Given that, and the fact that this story is built upon a hypothetical success, this story is a “Fresh Development”… with an asterisk. As for what the director of Man of Steel also directing Justice League might mean, one wonders if the reinvention of Man of Steel will apply to other DC superheroes. Will the sad bearded fisherman Superman be joined by, say, a nervous pierced barrista Batman, a happy dreadlocked beekeeper Flash, or an angry tattooed carnival barker Wonder Woman?
#2 IF YOU CAN WATCH A WRENCH, YOU CAN WATCH DODGEBALL 2
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy isn’t the only 2004 comedy to now have a sequel in the works. 20th Century Fox has hired screenwriter Clay Tarver (cowriter with J.J. Abrams of 2001’s Joy Ride) to start work on a sequel to Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. The movie about a professional dodgeball team featured Vince Vaughn, Justin Long, Christine Taylor, Hank Azaria, Rip Torn, and, as the antagonist, Ben Stiller. For the sequel, the characters played by Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller will be teaming up against a bigger threat. It’s not yet known whether Stiller will look the way he did at the end of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
#3 CHANNING TATUM AND JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT MIGHT BE THE NEW GUYS OF GUYS AND DOLLS
It feels like it might be close to a decade now that producers have been trying to put together a new movie adaptation of the 1955 movie Guys and Dolls, a musical about gangsters in the 1940s. At one time, Vin Diesel was mentioned as a possible star in one of the roles originally played by Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. A new deal for a Guys and Dolls revival has finally been made with the widow of songwriter Frank Loesser by 20th Century Fox. Although there’s no deals yet, the two young actors that Fox is reportedly interested in for the two lead roles now are Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. That it’s those two in particular is interesting because they both showed off their dance moves during the opening of this year’s Academy Awards; one has to wonder if that wasn’t exactly how all of this started. Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt also costarred together in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
#4 TOM HIDDLESTON MIGHT STAR IN THE REBOOT OF THE CROW
Tom Hiddleston, who most people know from playing Loki in Thor and The Avengers, is now in talks to possibly star in the reboot of The Crow, originally based on comic books created by James O’Barr back in the 1990s. Hiddleston’s interest in The Crow has extended to the actor actually putting on his own makeup and sending it to the producers as test images to see what he might look like as rocker-turned-dead-guy-turned-crimefighter Eric Draven. The reboot will be directed by F. Javier Gutierrez, whose first two movies don’t yet have enough reviews to produce RT Tomatometer scores. Last week, Hiddleston also made the news for starring in one of two possible movies based on the life of war photographer Robert Capa. That movie now has the title Close Enough, and this week, we learned that his romantic costar will be Hayley Atwell, who has also costarred in a Marvel movie (Captain America: The First Avenger), which also involved World War II.
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#5 FROM FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN TO… RATCHET & CLANK?
There was a moment, some 12 years ago, now, when the release of the CGI animated movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within might signal a new golden age for videogame adaptations. And then the movie, distributed by Sony and based upon a Sony game, actually came out. There’s obviously (pretty huge) differences between the two franchises, but this week, we learned that Sony is once again preparing a CGI animated movie based on one of the console company’s most popular franchises. The Ratchet & Clank movie will be released in theaters sometime in 2015. T.J. Fixman, who has written several recent Ratchet & Clank games, is working on the script. The title characters are an anthropomorphic mechanic-turned-adventurer and his small robot sidekick, and they have intergalactic adventures. It’s easy to see something of a connection here to another movie planned for 2015, Guardians of the Galaxy, which also features a furry gun-wielding character, and possibly similar cosmic adventures (no tiny robots though).
#4 BUDDY COP MOVIES THE HEAT AND RIDE ALONG GET SEQUELS BEFORE THEY’RE EVEN RELEASED
The “friend police” movies (AKA “buddy cop” movies) The Heat (June 28, 2013) and Ride Along (January 17, 2014) aren’t even released yet, but Universal Pictures is already starting work on sequels for both movies. The pairs of law enforcement officers in the two movies are Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat, and Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in Ride Along. This story is one of the week’s Rotten Ideas because, well, it’s bad enough that we get a lot of sequels. Do we want studios to already be working on sequels to movies that the world hasn’t even seen yet?
#3 SCARLETT JOHANSSON TO PLAY A SUPERHUMAN DRUG MULE IN LUC BESSON’S LUCY
There’s no denying that French director/writer/producer Luc Besson has given us some memorable action movies. However, Besson has been so prolific that he has also given us a lot of not-so-memorable movies, especially since his heyday which ended in 1997 with The Fifth Element. And so, we’re long past the point where a new Luc Besson movie is necessarily greeted with unbridled enthusiasm. Anyway, Scarlett Johansson has signed on to star in his next movie called Lucy, which Besson wrote, and will both direct and produce. Johansson will play a drug mule who is given superhuman abilities (including telekinesis, pain resistance, and a form of telepathy) when the new drug that she’s smuggling goes into her blood system. And then she beats people up.
#2 ROBERT DE NIRO CONTINUES HIS LONG DESCENT FROM CRITICAL ACCLAIM WITH SPY’S KID
Robert De Niro used to be a name associated with such critically acclaimed movies as The Godfather Part II, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas. And now, he stars in movies like The Big Wedding and the upcoming boxing comedy Grudge Match with Sylvester Stallone. Expect more of the same, because De Niro and Shia LaBeouf are attached to star in a gimmicky-sounding thriller called Spy’s Kid from director D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, I Am Number Four). Spy’s Kid is based upon a true story as related in a series of articles in The Oregonian in 2011, and not, as the pronunciation might suggest, on any movies directed by Robert Rodriguez. Shia LaBeouf also made the news this week for being in talks to costar with Brad Pitt in the World War II tank movie Fury from the director of Harsh Times and End of Watch, David Ayer.
#1 CUTE MIYAZAKI MOVIE KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE TO HOLD A GRUDGE?
Let’s be honest, people do make generalizations about world cinema sometimes. Arguably, one of the most diverse film cultures, however, is Japan, the source of both Akira Kurosawa, Godzilla, Beat Takeshi, and the entire anime scene, whether you’re thinking of Hayao Miyazaki, Akira, or one of those freaky movies involving tentacles. This story involves a Japanese remake that has the potential of being either a sublime Reese’s Cup-style blend of mixed inspirations, or a complete train wreck for the same reason. Shimizu Takashi is the horror director who gave the world the spooky little girls of both the Japanese and American versions of the same stories (Ju-On: The Grudge and its sequel, and the American movies featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar). And now, we know that Shimazu Takashi will be directing the live action remake of Hayao Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service, in which 16 year old figure skater Fuka Koshiba will star. What exactly does a movie like that even look like?
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.