This week’s Ketchup includes development headlines for movies that include new roles for Sandra Bullock, Steve Carell, Jennifer Lawrence, and the young stars of Thor, Warm Bodies, and Beasts of the Southern Wild.
This Week’s Top Story
MEGAN FOX TO REUNITE WITH MICHAEL BAY FOR NINJA TURTLES
A little over three years ago, Megan Fox became the focus of a quote-related controversy when she compared director Michael Bay to Hitler (and Napoleon, but Hitler is more headline-worthy), which eventually got Fox written out of the third Transformers movie. Well, things have apparently been reconciled between Fox and Bay, because Megan Fox is now the first announced cast member of Bay’s Ninja Turtles reboot. Megan Fox will play the human reporter April O’Neil, who befriends the title characters, who are no longer necessarily teenage or mutant. Casting is currently underway for the four actors who will provide the voices of the Ninja Turtles, who will be CGI motion capture characters. As Michael Bay will himself be working on Transformers 4, Ninja Turtles will be directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans).
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 A HUMAN LEAD AND A PREMISE FOR DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Most of the Zero Dark Thirty press has been about Jessica Chastain. For this writer, the actor that really stood out as “new” was Jason Clarke, who is a major character in the film’s first hour, and is also the center of much of the torture controversy (since he does it). Well, Clarke got his first major post-Zero Dark Thirty role this week, and it’s in a film that may potentially be huge. Clarke has signed on to star as the male lead in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as (probably) one of a group of San Francisco scientists 15 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes struggling for survival, while Caesar is up in the redwoods north of the city dealing with his own apey problems. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be directed by Matt Reeves, whose previous credits include Cloverfield and Let Me In, the remake of Let the Right One In, which was way better than one would have expected. As for director Rupert Wyatt, whose Rise of the Planet of the Apes was likewise better than expected, he also made the news this week. Wyatt might just direct the movie version of The Equalizer (with Denzel Washington in the lead role) before he starts filming the very recently announced Birdsong, which may have to wait for Nicholas Hault to finish several months of filming X-Men: Days of Future Past.
#2 LEONARDO DICAPRIO TO TAKE THE ROAD HOME AFTER HIS BREAK FROM ACTING
Leonardo DiCaprio made the news recently when he announced that he would be taking a break from acting following a recent run of activity which includes the upcoming films The Great Gatsby and The Wolf of Wall Street. That doesn’t mean, however, that DiCaprio’s studio friends at Warner Bros can’t already start planning the films for after his return from hiatus. And so, Warner Bros has acquired the rights to the upcoming novel The Road Home by author Michael Armour. Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper is signed to produce (with Leonardo DiCaprio), direct, and adapt the screenplay. The premise of The Road Home sounds a bit like the pilot episode of the recently new CBS series Vegas (except for a different setting and period). Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to play a rancher (in Central California during the 1930s) who is asked to investigate a local murder that has been swept under the rug by the local police.
#3 CHRISTIAN BALE JOINS THE MOUNT EVEREST BANDWAGON
Tom Hardy recently signed on to star in a Sony Pictures production called Everest about the 1920s efforts by Sir George Mallory to be the first to climb to the top of Mount Everest. This week, we discovered that there are now two studio films with British actors and the title of Everest, but the two movies share little else (except a location). Christian Bale is in talks with Universal Pictures to star in their Everest, which is about a disastrous storm in 1996 which led to the deaths of several would be Mount Everest scalers. These events were described in the Jon Krakauer book Into Thin Air, an adaptation of which has also been attempted, but Universal’s film will not be directly adapting that book. The Everest with Christian Bale will be directed by Baltasar Kormakur, who previously directed this summer’s 2 Guns, and also this year’s Foreign Language Academy Award nominee The Deep.
#4 THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK REUNIONS CONTINUE WITH THE ENDS OF THE EARTH
Just last week, we learned that Jennifer Lawrence had signed on to costar in David O. Russell’s untitled Abscam drama. That film will be her third with Bradley Cooper, her Silver Linings Playbook costar, as they also recently starred together in the upcoming Serena. Jennifer Lawrence’s “threefers” continued this week with the news that David O. Russell has signed with the Weinstein Co. to direct the fact-based love story The Ends of the Earth, which Jennifer Lawrence had previously signed on to star in last summer. The true story involves an oil tycoon turned the governor of Oklahoma named Ernest Marland whose love affair with his adopted daughter (played by Jennifer Lawrence) jeopardizes his political career.
#5 CYCLOPS STARES DOWN RON BURGUNDY IN ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND CONTINUES
It’s unclear how much of a role he might have in X-Men: Days of Future Past (for obvious reasons), but James Marsden will have a major role in a completely different upcoming sequel. Marsden has signed on to play Ron Burgundy’s nemesis and a rival anchor in Anchorman: The Legend Continues. Filming is gearing up to start in March in Atlanta, in a bit of a hurry leading up to the December 20th, 2013 release that Paramount Pictures has planned. Many of the original film’s cast will also be returning for the sequel. James Marsden is the second new cast member confirmed, after Kristen Wiig, who is rumored to be playing the wife of Brick Tamland, who may (or may not) love something other than lamp.
#6 THE DARK DOGGIE ADVENTURE BEASTS OF BURDEN WILL BE THE NEXT FOR THE ANIMATORS OF 9
It’s been a while since he heard anything about the adaptation of the Dark Horse Comics title Beasts of Burden about a group of dogs (and one cat) who band together to take down supernatural threats like ghosts, witches, and (animal) zombies. The Beasts of Burden movie now has a director in the form of Shane Acker, who also directed the 2009 animated film 9 (which should never be confused with the 2009 musical film called Nine). The Beasts of Burden script has been adapted by screenwriter Darren Lemke (cowriter of Shrek Forever After), who also worked on the upcoming 2013 films Jack the Giant Slayer and Turbo.
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#3 ADAM SANDLER AND DREW BARRYMORE MAY REUNITE IN A FAMILY COMEDY
Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison production company have come aboard an untitled Warner Bros family/romantic comedy previously known as Blended. The project has been around since 2007, when Sandra Bullock was expected to play the female lead, but that role may now go to Drew Barrymore, which would make this her third movie with Adam Sandler after The Wedding Singer and Fifty First Dates. The premise of the untitled comedy involves two divorced people who, after a disastrous first date, get trapped together at a family resort, along with the various kids from their previous marriages. There’s no director attached yet, but this is still expected to be Adam Sandler’s next film.
#2 UNIVERSAL PICTURES CONSIDERING SEQUELS FOR MAMA AND IDENTITY THIEF
We’re not that into 2013, but Universal Pictures has already had some success with “fairly good” box office returns for the horror movie Mama (which also got good reviews) and Identity Thief (which got the opposite). This week, Universal chairman Adam Fogelson did some press, and in the mix were admissions that the studio is considering the possibilities of sequels for both of those films. This writer hasn’t seen Identity Thief (after seeing all those negative reviews), but I did see Mama, and although the ending may have set up a sequel, I’m not really sure that a sequel is needed. So, it’s safe to say both of these sequel ideas are “Rotten Ideas.” One would be a sequel to a widely panned comedy, and the other would be a sequel to a movie that worked perfectly well as a standalone, thanks. And if you follow that link, you’ll find a quote from Mama director Andres Muschietti where he says he basically agrees.
#1 BRUCE LEE MIGHT GET ANOTHER BIOPIC, THIS TIME WHERE HE FIGHTS CRIME AND SUCH
Revisionist movies based upon real life figures seem to be in vogue recently, at least with producers, if not necessarily audiences (specifically, The Raven and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). And yet, we still have this week’s story about a project called Birth of the Dragon, which would tell the story of the 1965 no rules fight between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man, who at that time was China’s “most famous kung fu master.” So far so good, but then this movie would spend the rest of the time on Wong and Lee teaming up to fight Chinatown gangsters. You know that meme where writers say, “and then they fight crime?” This movie is literally hinged upon that notion. Your Rotten Idea of the Week.
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.