This week’s Ketchup covers a week that got off to a horrible start. Moving on, as we all must, we also learned of lots of news concerning various Marvel movies (including Ant-Man), about new roles for Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, and Kate Winslet, and Disney’s plans for a Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers movie.
This Week’s Top Story
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN 1967-2014
Every once in a while, reports of a surprising celebrity death will appear online, and the rightfully cautious should proceed to find confirmation, because very often, it turns out to be a hoax/untrue. That is surely what millions of people hoped this past Sunday when news started appearing online that actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Greenwich Village apartment. The cause of death was an apparent heroin overdose. Hoffman leaves behind a family and three children, but also a staggering body of film and stage work for someone who was only 46 years old. Hoffman won his Academy Award for Capote, but that was just one role from a list that also includes The Master, Scent of a Woman, Twister, Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski, Happiness, Flawless, Magnolia, The Talented Mr. Ripley, State and Main, Almost Famous, Love Liza, Punch-Drunk Love, 25th Hour, Owning Mahowny, Along Came Polly, and… well, that list just brings you to Capote. The list figuratively goes on and on and on and on, except that now, it won’t. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final films will be the recent Sundance premieres God’s Pocket and A Most Wanted Man, and also the two parts of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. The timing of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death marked a quartet of coincidences. The news came on Sunday afternoon, the day after Hoffman was announced to be directing his second film Ezekiel Moss, which was to have featured Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead roles (the movie may still get made someday with a different director). The news of Hoffman’s death started spreading online during Sunday afternoon as much of the nation was preparing to watch this year’s Super Bowl. February 2nd is also Groundhog Dog every year. And finally, Philip Seymour Hoffman died on February 2, 2014, which was the 35th anniversary of the death of Sid Vicious, who also died from an (apparent) heroin overdose.
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 THIS WEEK IN MARVEL MOVIES: EVANGELINE LILLY JOINS ANT-MAN, AND ALSO VISION IS FINALLY CAST
This was a big week in movie development news because of the annual Berlinale film market, where dozens of deals are made. At the same time, there were lots of Marvel stories. Instead of filling the Weekly Ketchup this time around with Marvel, we’re going to just quickly plow through all of these stories with links that you can follow to read at greater length elsewhere. First up, Evangeline Lilly is following up her role in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug with what may be one of the biggest roles of her career (or not). The thing is, the question we really want to ask is: who will Evangeline Lilly play in Ant-Man? We know it’s the lead female role, but there are are three possibilities being talked about, of which she might be any, a combination, or all three. The possibilities include: Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) romantic interest, Henry Pym’s (Michael Douglas) daughter, and/or Janet Van Dyne, who is also known as Wasp, one of the founding members of the Avengers. Talk of Janet Van Dyne and the Avengers leads rather directly to the android Vision (long story), who we found out this week will be played in Avengers: Age of Ultron by Paul Bettany, who has already appeared in the Marvel movies as the voice of Tony Stark’s “J.A.R.V.I.S.” helper. In the comics, Edwin Jarvis is just a human butler (who is rumored to be joining the movies to be played by actor Simon McBurney), but it could be this was all a long game set up for Vision. Avengers: Age of Ultron will be quite the international production, with locations set to include Italy, South Korea, and South Africa. Finally, there were also rumors this week about the release date for a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel and a female Doctor Doom in The Fantastic Four. One thing that was confirmed is that B.J. Novak will be playing Alistair Smythe in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but we don’t know if that actually means anything, or is just a “wink wink” role for the fans.
#2 JOHNNY DEPP TO PLAY BOSTON MOBSTER WHITEY BULGER IN BLACK MASS
After formerly being attached to star as Whitey Bulger in the true crime film Black Mass (and dropping out), Johnny Depp this week ended up signing to star in the movie after all. Black Mass will be directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace), and will also feature Tom Hardy as FBI Agent John J. Connolly, Jr. At one time, Ben Affleck was expected to direct a different Whitey Bulger movie, which would have had his pal Matt Damon in the lead role, but this news might cause that project to stall even more (than Affleck’s Batman obligations already did).
#3 LEONARDO DICAPRIO AND JONAH HILL TO RETEAM FOR ANOTHER TRUE STORY
Hopefully not eerily timed, this week we learned that 20th Century Fox has acquired the rights to the 1997 Vanity Fair article “The Ballad of Richard Jewell.” That piece told the true story of security guard Richard Jewell, who discovered a backpack bomb at the Olympics compound in Atlanta in 1996, but who was soon after punished for his heroism when suspicion for the bomb turned to Jewell himself. The project is being developed as a reunion for the stars of The Wolf of Wall Street, as Jonah Hill is attached to play Richard Jewell, and Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to play a lawyer friend who helps Jewell through the process that went on for months (before, spoiler, Jewell was eventually cleared of all blame).
#4 MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY SIGNS FOR SUICIDE DRAMA SEA OF TREES
Riding high on acclaim from both Dallas Buyers Club and HBO’s True Detective, Matthew McConaughey signed onto another film this week that promises to be an actor’s showcase. Matthew McConaughey will star in Sea of Trees as an American who journeys to the infamous “Suicide Forest” at the foothills of Mount Fuji, where he meets a Japanese man (Ken Watanabe) who is in the forest for the same reason. Sea of Trees will be directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk, Elephant).
#5 BILL MURRAY HEADLINES THE ENSEMBLE CAST OF ROCK THE CASBAH
We’ve known for a while that Barry Levinson (Bugsy, Wag the Dog, Donnie Brasco) was going to be directing a comedy called Rock the Casbah about a young girl who is entered into the Afghanistan version of American Idol. What we learned this week is that the movie is also going to have an impressive ensemble cast. Bill Murray will play the washed up former rock manager who finds the girl, and the rest of the cast will include Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson, Shia LaBeouf, Danny McBride, and Bruce Willis. Filming of Rock the Casbah is scheduled to start this June.
#6 KATE WINSLET HEADLINES ANOTHER ENSEMBLE CAST IN TRIPLE NINE
Many of this week’s stories come from the Berlinale film market, and apparently, “impressive ensembles” was a buzz word. Kate Winslet is in talks to join the cast of the heist thriller Triple Nine, apparently replacing the previously reported Cate Blanchett. Other actors that are in talks to join Winslet include Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6), Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle), Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), and Michael Pena (End of Watch). If they sign, they will be joining a cast which is expected to include Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave). Triple Nine will be directed by John Hillcoat (The Road, Lawless, The Proposition).
#7 DISNEY HAS CGI/LIVE ACTION MOVIE PLANS FOR… CHIP ‘N DALE RESCUE RANGERS
Through most of these years now that we’ve seen the release of many movies that apply a certain “CGI animation and live action hybrid” approach to classic characters, Walt Disney Pictures has mostly stayed out of the mix. That trend appears to be changing, potentially, with the news this week that just such a movie is being developed based upon the 1989-1990 TV series Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers. The project is being developed based upon a pitch by commercials director Robert Rugan, who might make his feature film debut with it.
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#2 THE BRICKS OF THE LEGO MOVIE SEQUEL ARE ALREADY BEING SNAPPED INTO PLACE
The LEGO Movie was first released into theaters today, but Warner Bros can already see which way the box office numbers are going. As such, the studio has started development on a sequel, with screenwriter Jared Stern hired to start work on a draft. Jared Stern’s previous films include Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Watch, and The Internship, all of which received “Rotten” scores on the RT Tomatometer.
#1 THIS WEEK IN JASON STATHAM (NEWS): THE MECHANIC 2, AND TRANSPORTER GETS REBOOTED
This was a big week for Jason Statham, probably because of his international appeal, and the timing of the Berlinale film market. One is for a movie that Statham will be in, and another is about a movie that he specifically will not be in. First up, there is the 2011 remake of The Mechanic, which we now know will get its own sequel, which Jason Statham will once again star in. And then, there’s the Transporter franchise, which will be moving on without Jason Statham. Instead, the producers are partnering with a Chinese production company for a new trilogy of films (which are still being called, oddly, Transporter 4, 5, and 6), which will reboot the franchise with a new “Transporter” and an origin story (which the Statham movies never needed… he was just paid to transport).
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.