Weekly Ketchup

Weekly Ketchup: Len Wiseman Will Direct the Mummy Reboot

Plus, new roles for Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, and Gina Carano.

by | September 28, 2012 | Comments

This week’s Ketchup includes movie development news for the video game adaptation Spy Hunter, a sort-of-kind-of prequel for The Passion of the Christ, a new version of The Mummy, and new roles for actresses Gina Carano, Dame Judi Dench, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, and Hilary Swank.

This Week’s Top Story


In picking the top movie development story for the week, it became something of a three way tie. So we’re just going to cover all three stories in this cover story, under the theme of genre directors taking on big (potential) franchises. First up is the long-in-development New Line Cinema adaptation of the 1983 arcade video game Spy Hunter, which has in the past been tackled (unsuccessfully) by directors like John Woo and Paul W. S. Anderson. Spy Hunter is now a project for Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, whose next film will be the recently delayed Gangster Squad. Next up is the Warner Bros comic book adaptation Lore, which Dwayne Johnson was cast in a few months ago, at which time it was compared to being like Men in Black, but for mythological creatures. Well, the comparison was solidified this week as Warner Bros is now in talks with Barry Sonnenfeld, the director of all three Men in Black movies. Finally, there is the job of directing Universal Pictures’ newest reboot of The Mummy, one of their Universal Classic Monsters, which has gone to Len Wiseman, the man behind some of the Underworld movies, and most recently, the remake of Total Recall. It should be noted that just because these three movies were collectively the top stories of the week, it doesn’t mean that in any other week they might not be Rotten Ideas. Because they probably would be.

Fresh Developments This Week


With the ambitious biopic Lincoln still a month away from release, director Steven Spielberg is already casting up his adaptation of the Daniel H. Wilson sci-fi novel Robopocalypse, which looks to take Spielberg back to the eye candy that helped establish his career. It’s been known for a while that Spielberg had cast Chris Hemsworth (AKA Thor) as the film’s lead, but this week, word of two other actors were added to the mix. Although she is not yet officially signed, Anne Hathaway appears to be Spielberg’s choice for the female lead. Another likely chosen actor is Ben Whishaw as a hacker named Lurker, in a role that will be seen after Whishaw’s appearances in Cloud Atlas and in Skyfall as the new Q. Finally, there’s a third addition to the film this week, but it’s a newsworthy producer, not a cast member. Tom Rothman, who just last week announced his stepping down as the head of 20th Century Fox, will be joining Steven Spielberg as one of the producers of Robopocalypse. Filming is expected to begin in early 2013, aiming for an April 25, 2014 release date via Disney’s Touchstone Pictures.


Stephen Frears may hold the title for directing some of the best known and critically acclaimed movies without actually being known by name (in the USA, anyway) himself. Frears’ filmography includes Dangeous Liaisons, The Grifters, High Fidelity, My Beautiful Laundrette, and The Queen. Stephen Frears’ next film will be an adaptation of the non-fiction book by Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, whose title will be shortened to Philomena. The movie will tell the true story of an Irish teenager who gave birth to a son at a convent in 1952, with the baby eventually being “sold” for adoption to an anonymous family somewhere in the United States. Dame Judi Dench will play Philomena searching for her son 50 years later, who is now a successful Washington, D.C. lawyer with AIDS, also searching for his mother before he dies. Steve Coogan will costar as author Martin Sixsmith himself. Filming will start in November, as a production of Pathe, BBC Films, and Coogan’s production company Baby Cow.


The Homesman is the title of a historical drama to be adapted and directed by Tommy Lee Jones, from a novel by Glendon Swarthout. This week, it was revealed that Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank are also attached to costar along with Tommy Lee Jones. The 19th century drama tells the story of a pioneer couple (Jones and Swank) escorting three insane women across the American prairie (Streep is expected to play one of those women). Tommy Lee Jones has directed a few different movies now, with his feature film debut being 2005’s The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. The addition of Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank makes this one his highest profile film as director yet. That wasn’t the only Hilary Swank news this week, however. The actress is also set to star in a film called You’re Not You, based on a novel by Michelle Wildgen. Swank will play a fatally ill woman who befriends her younger female caretaker (not yet cast). It’s expected that Jeremy Renner will also costar as the older professor lover of the young caretaker. You’re Not You will be the second feature film for director George C. Wolfe after 2008’s Nights in Rodanthe.


This is another story of a successful director casting up his next movie before his previous film is released (and in this case, while that film is still filming). Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity) is currently filming the Tom Cruise sci-fi action movie All You Need is Kill, and his next film will be the mountain climbing biopic Everest, based on the Jeffrey Archer book Paths of Glory. That book tells the true story of different men’s attempts in the 1920s to be the first to climb to the top of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. Tom Hardy (AKA Bane in The Dark Knight Rises) has signed on to play George Mallory, the British climber that Archer’s book claims was successful before Sir Edmund Hillary (the answer that will actually score you a point on a school exam, especially in New Zealand).


Earlier this summer, one of the headlines involved the plans for a female version of The Expendables (which, to be clear, won’t be called that, because it’s not the same company). This gave pretty much every movie news writer an opportunity to start listing all the classic female action stars they’d like to see in such a film (which usually started with Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton). This week we learned that Haywire breakout star Gina Carano is the first actress to actually officially sign on for the movie, in what is probably closer to the Jason Statham-type role.


One of the most talked about trends in the last 10 years in comic books is the way that specific writers at both DC and Marvel have made huge creative impacts over each company’s characters. Specifically, we’re thinking here of Grant Morrison and/or Geoff Johns at DC, and Brian Michael Bendis at Marvel (writer of almost every major Marvel arc from 2004 to 2009). This idea of handing one man the keys to the kingdom has also started to expand to the movies, with Christopher Nolan acting as a “godfather” to WB’s Man of Steel, and Joss Whedon recently signing on to oversee Marvel Studio’s Phase II movies following the success of The Avengers. This week, we learned that another major portion of the movie properties based on Marvel Comics, those whose rights belong to 20th Century Fox, are also now going to be similiarly shepherded. In this case, the job will be going to Mark Millar, the Scottish writer best known for creating the comics that became the feature films Wanted and Kick-Ass. The movie franchises at issue here are Fantastic Four and X-Men (with Daredevil and Elektra likely to revert back to Marvel soon). Soon after the announcement, Mark Millar went online to talk (vaguely) about his own plans for these two seminal and popular comic book movie franchises.


Singer-turned-actor Justin Timberlake has landed yet another role, this time in a romantic dramedy called The Last Drop. Timberlake will play “a charming alcoholic working as a restaurant critic for New York Magazine who falls for a young woman and realizes he must overcome his addiction in order to have a relationship with her.” The Last Drop was formerly listed on the Black List of Unproduced Screenplays, and was written by newcomers Brandon and Phil Murphy. The Last Drop will be an independent production directed by Peter Sollett (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Raising Victor Vargas).


Although Mel Gibson is entirely uninvolved, Gibson’s cowriter on The Passion of the Christ has cowritten a film that is basically a prequel called Mary Mother of Christ, focusing on the time following Christ’s birth. Benedict Fitzgerald also cowrote the 1979 John Huston film Wise Blood, and was joined as cowriter of Mary Mother of Christ by Barbara Nicolosi, a former nun. Casting is currently underway, with Sir Ben Kingsley circling the central role of King Herod the Great, the man behind the Massacre of the Innocents that led up to Christ’s birth. Mary herself will be played by Israeli actress Odeya Rush (The Odd Life of Timothy Green). Peter O’Toole has been cast as Symeon, and Julia Ormond will play Mary’s cousin Elizabeth. The producers are reportedly seeking Dame Judi Dench and Hugh Bonneville to play Anna the Prophetess and Satan, respectively. Mary Mother of Christ will be the second film for director Alister Grierson, who made his feature debut in 2011 with Sanctum, executive produced by James Cameron. Mary Mother of Christ will be executive produced by Pastor Joel Osteen, and distributed by Lionsgate, most likely in 2014.

Rotten Ideas of the Week


There was a time when writer/director Richard Kelly was considered to be one of the independent scene’s most promising new creatives. Namely, that period was after Donnie Darko, and before… pretty much everything else (namely Southland Tales and The Box). People, however, still get warm fuzzies when they hear the words Donnie Darko, and so Richard Kelly continues to be able to get financing for his new films. The latest such project is called Amicus, and it will star Nicolas Cage as an attorney who helps a family filing a lawsuit against a Motown Records executive who hired a Detroit hitman to murder family members for the inheritance. So, yeah, this movie has at least two elements that help make it the Rotten Idea in an otherwise inoffensive week. I pointed out one, I’ll let you, the reader, figure out the other.

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

Tag Cloud

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