This week’s Ketchup includes movie development news stories involving the next James Bond movie, movies based on the comic books Archie, Fables and Guardians of the Galaxy, and new roles for Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart, and Denzel Washington.
This Week’s Top Story
PENELOPE CRUZ TO BE THE OLDEST EVER BOND GIRL
When the 24th James Bond movie starts filming in the summer of 2014, the newest “Bond Girl” will be Spanish actress Penelope Cruz. And just before that, in April of 2014, Penelope Cruz will turn 40, making her one year older than Honor Blackman was when she played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger at the age of 39. Skyfall director Sam Mendes is currently in talks to return for #24, and possibly #25. It’s currently unknown if Penelope Cruz (if she signs) would also return for James Bond #25. Since so much of this story was about Penelope Cruz’s age, here’s where we mention that in the summer of 2014, Daniel Craig will be 46.
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 BENICIO DEL TORO JOINS GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (POSSIBLY AS BIG BAD THANOS?)
The ridiculously star-studded ensemble cast of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy just got a little bit more star-laden this week as Benicio Del Toro also joined the cast. The name of Del Toro’s character is being kept secret (for now), but it’s described as “significant” and someone who will appear in a number of future Marvel movies. That’s leading people to speculate that Del Toro has been cast as Thanos, the big bad who is expected to (maybe) be the villain in The Avengers 2. Another possibility that fans sometimes mention as a guess is Doctor Strange, but yeah, he’s probably Thanos. Another name that joined this week was Karen Gillan (of Doctor Who), whose role is also a secret, but she’s described as the lead female villain. This one is a bit harder to guess, and might be a matter of perspective in relation to what the movie is about (ie, her character might be more of an “anti hero”). Some possibilities could be Moondragon (Drax’s daughter), various female Shiar leaders, or maybe even an avatar of Thanos’s main squeeze, Death. Filming starts later this month, but today, director James Gunn already gave us a look at one of the newest members of the crew.
#2 ONCE UPON A TIME, THE WOULD BE TV SHOW FABLES BECAME A MOVIE INSTEAD
When the TV series Once Upon a Time first aired on ABC in October of 2011, its premiere was met with informed curiosity by certain comic book fans familiar with Bill Winningham’s Vertigo Comics series Fables. Like Once Upon a Time, Fables concerns a group of classic fairy tale characters who live in the “real world,” and at one time (circa 2008), it had actually been in development at ABC as a TV series. The network ultimately went with a show and premise with more famous, Disney-friendly characters (many of the Fables characters have never been in Disney feature films). Now that you’re familiar with some of the back story, here’s the relevant movie news this week: two of the producers of the Harry Potter franchise are now developing a Fables movie. Danish director Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) is attached to direct, working from a script by Jeremy Slater, who doesn’t yet have any produced films to his credit, but he did work on drafts of the Fox reboot of The Fantastic Four, which is expected in theaters in 2015.
#3 DENZEL WASHINGTON MIGHT GO BACK TO THE FUTURE WITH SHOVEL READY
Denzel Washington is in early talks with Warner Bros to star in an adaptation of the science fiction novel Shovel Ready by journalist Adam Sternbergh. The setting of Shovel Ready is a near future New York City comprised mostly of bombed ruins, where people escape harsh reality by spending time in a digital fantasy world. In that setting, a contract killer is hired to assassinate the daughter of a powerful evangelist, but he ends up saving the girl instead, because, you know… movies. Denzel Washington previously starred in the future-set science fiction movies Virtuosity and The Book of Eli (both of which share some loose elements with Shovel Ready).
#4 JENNIFER LAWRENCE GETS INTO THE PRODUCING BUSINESS WITH RULES OF INHERITANCE
Jennifer Lawrence, like many A list actors before her, is taking her destiny in her own hands by producing some of her own movies. The first project will be an adaptation of the memoir Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith. The project is being seen as very “Awards season” friendly, as it involves a young woman in her teens-to-20s dealing with the residual grief of both of her parents having cancer by throwing herself into a hedonistic lifestyle in New York and Los Angeles. Danish director Susanne Bier (In a Better World, Things We Lost in the Fire) will direct from a script by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady; cowriter of 2011’s Shame).
#5 THE INTERNET FAILS AT CAUSALITY/CORRELATION; PEOPLE START BELIEVING ARCHIE WILL HAVE ZOMBIES
This week saw the rapid spread of stories that sort of buried the lead as people rushed to talk… SQUIRREL! Let’s start with the actual facts. Warner Bros is developing a live action movie based on the long running Archie comic book characters. The project already has director Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect) on board, and he will be working from a script by Glee and Big Love writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (he also wrote the upcoming Carrie remake). And that last point is where things went wrong online, quickly. You see, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa already has some experience with the Archie characters because he’s currently writing the title Afterlife with Archie, which is sort of a “mashup” combining the characters with a zombie invasion. Which is great and funny and all, but it doesn’t mean that the movie that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is writing will be about zombies. The original Deadline story speculated about it, and so, instead of making the more obvious connections to Glee, people obsessed about Jughead eating brains.
#6 THIS WEEK IN INSIDE BASEBALL MOVIE DEAL NEWS: INTERSTELLAR GETS TRADED FOR SOUTH PARK AND FRIDAY THE 13TH
Let’s say this right up front: This story does not necessarily mean that new South Park or Friday the 13th movies will happen anytime soon. It does, however, open up the possibilities quite a bit, and can also read as interesting insight into how Hollywood operates sometimes. So, here’s the set up: Paramount initially developed the science fiction movie Interstellar that Christopher Nolan will soon film, but Warner Bros loves having Christopher Nolan movies all for themselves. So, a deal has been reached where Warner Bros gives up three things to Paramount Pictures in exchange for full rights to Interstellar. Those three elements are the rights to a second South Park movie (after South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut), the Friday the 13th franchise, and cofinancing of a future A-list Warner Bros property (one presumably not involving Christopher Nolan). The biggest headline here might be the possibility of another South Park movie, but the obvious remaining obstacle is whether Matt Stone and Trey Parker might actually want to make one any time soon. What seems to be their more immediate feature film priority is a movie version of The Book of Mormon.
#7 CAREY MULLIGAN TOP CHOICE TO PLAY THE FUTURE DR. MRS. THE PRESIDENT IN RODHAM
Although no deals have been made yet, Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby) is now the top choice to star in Rodham as the young Hillary Rodham Clinton. This news comes just one week after recent news that the wish list included actresses like Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone, and (the much older) Reese Witherspoon. The drama, to be directed by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now), is set in the 1970s when Hillary Rodham was the youngest member of a committee involved in Richard Nixon’s impeachment, as Rodham struggles with her future (move to Arkansas to be with boyfriend Bill or not?). The screenplay was written by Young Il Kim.
#8 KRISTEN STEWART ESCHEWS HOLLYWOOD FOR INDIE FILMS CAMP X-RAY AND SILS MARIA
So, the Twilight franchise is over (well, at least the first version), and Kristen Stewart probably could get jobs from every studio. This week, we found out that at least for now, Stewart is focusing on two indie dramas as her next projects. In the political drama Camp X-Ray, Stewart will play a young soldier who gets stationed at Guantanamo Bay, where she befriends a young Muslim prisoner (and makes not-such-good-friends with many of the others). The other movie is called Sils Maria, which will star Juliette Binoche in a female-midlife-crisis drama about an older actress obsessed with a much younger actress, to be played by Chloe Moretz. Both of these movies film this summer, and then after that, there’s the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, which Universal Pictures has scheduled for a release in 2015.
Rotten Idea of the Week
#1 HOLLYWOOD’S ON AN ORIGINAL SCI FI KICK, SURE, BUT ONE OF THEM’S A ROLAND EMMERICH PROJECT
It may not last long, but there’s currently a mini-trend in Hollywood of studios pursuing science fiction projects with original premises, arguably due to the anticipation for movies like Elysium, Gravity and Interstellar. The two big ones this week involve two of the biggest names in “tentpole blockbuster” movies, but at least one of them has so many green splotches on his RT Tomatometer page that this story is therefore a “Rotten” idea. We are speaking, of course, of Roland Emmerich, whose nine directorial efforts include the likes of Godzilla, 10,000 B.C., The Day After Tomorrow… and only two Fresh films. The new movie project Emmerich is attached to is called Emergence, and it’s described as an “alien invasion story containing hot button science elements.” Of course, one of those Fresh movies Emmerich directed was Independence Day, another alien invasion story containing hot button science elements (at the time), namely the wonderful things you can do with an iMac. The other movie this week mentioned above is a feature film version of the short film R’Ha, which will be produced by Lucasfilm veteran Rick McCallum. R’Ha will tell the story of an alien defending a cluster of solar systems from attack by an invading force. Rick McCallum is looking to get R’Ha made in Europe.
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.