This week’s Ketchup comes to you in a week where the Friday is also the 4th of July! So, what that meant for the movie development news world is that there were a few less stories, but even so, some cool gems showed up. We’ve got a very timely soccer movie announcement (Victory), cool casting for Idris Elba and Tom Hardy in what might be significant roles, and new films from the directors of Downfall, Babel, Jane Eyre, and The Secret World of Arriety. It was a week more about “films” than “movies.”
This Week’s Top Story
WORLD CUP FRENZY GIVES US REMAKE OF VICTORY
Movie development news announcements are frequently timed and/or inspired by some of the biggest cultural events of the moment. These past few weeks (and globally, right up until July 13), the World Cup was the biggest thing going. At the movies right now, director Doug Liman very much has a movie in play, in the form of the Tom Cruise science-fiction action brain twister Edge of Tomorrow. Those two connections come together with the news that Doug Liman is negotiating to develop a remake of the 1981 soccer and war movie Victory. That film featured an international cast, headlined by Michael Caine for the Brits, Sylvester Stallone for the USA, and Pelé for Brazil and professional soccer players in general. The story, which is being adapted in the remake by Gavin O’Connor (cowriter/director of Warrior and Pride and Glory), is simple: a group of international Allied POW prisoners participate in a soccer game against Nazi Germany in occupied Paris, while the French Resistance attempts a jail break with the game as a distraction. So, the next question is who are the 2010s stars that are likely to be cast in those roles now? Might David Beckham be getting a call?
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 IDRIS ELBA STARS IN AFRICAN WAR DRAMA BEASTS OF NO NATION
Normally, the Weekly Ketchup is filled with development ideas and casting announcements for movies that are months or usually years away from being filmed. This story is for a movie that slipped under the Ketchup’s radar. This week, we got our first look at Idris Elba (Thor, Pacific Rim) in Beasts of No Nation as the commandant of a group of young guerrillas caught up in a civil war in West Africa. Beasts of No Nation is being directed by Cary Fukunaga, who a few years ago directed that amazing looking remake of Jane Eyre with Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. Beasts of No Nation will be distributed by Focus Features sometime in 2015.
#2 TOM HARDY JOINS LEONARDO DICAPRIO IN WESTERN REVENGE FILM THE REVENANT
There’s been rumors recently, but this week it was confirmed that Tom Hardy will costar in the western revenge film The Revenant. The lead role will be played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Will Poulter (We’re the Millers) is also in talks for a supporting role. The Revenant will be directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, 21 Grams), whose latest film is Birdman, the upcoming film with Michael Keaton playing an actor who used to star in a superhero franchise (who is now haunted by that character). The Revenant will be filmed this fall of 2014.
#3 WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE: THE LATEST FROM ANIME STUDIO GHIBLI
This is another case where we’re getting information about a movie much later in the production than with other types of movies. The trailer came online this week for the anime film When Marnie was There, from Studio Ghibli. Hayao Miyazaki is retired now, but Studio Ghibli continues on, with this adaptation of this 1981 book by Joan G. Robinson, about a strange friendship that develops between two young girls. When Marnie was There was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who is best known right now for 2012’s The Secret World of Arrietty.
#4 DOWNFALL DIRECTOR TO GIVE US ANOTHER MOVIE ABOUT KILLING HITLER
Really, we can’t see Hitler die, or almost die, enough. German director Oliver Hirschbiegel first became internationally known for the German language films Das Experiment and Downfall, that movie about Hitler’s last days that you’ve probably seen one scene from, about 20 times. Then, for the last ten years, Hirschbiegel tried his hands at English language films (The Invasion and Diana) which have had less success. It might be within that context that Hirschbiegel is now focusing again on the German language story of Georg Elser. A few years ago, Valkyrie told the story of an assassination plot against Adolf Hitler in 1944, but Georg Elser depicts an attempt on November 8, 1939, five years earlier. Christian Friedel (The White Ribbon) stars as Georg Elser. The film will be released in Germany on April 2, 2015, and doesn’t yet have U.S. distribution.
#5 TINA FEY TO STAR IN DISNEY WITCH MOVIE
Walt Disney Pictures is very much in the witch business lately, which if you stretch its definition a bit, can include Oz the Great and Powerful, Maleficent, and Enchanted 2, which you can read about down below. There’s also a rumored Hocus Pocus sequel, which is where we can start with this story. When it first broke online earlier this week, there was some confusion. Basically, the headlines were that Tina Fey was going to star in a Hocus Pocus sequel, which her camp quickly denied. It turns out that what Tina Fey is really doing with Walt Disney Pictures is an untitled witch comedy in the style of Ghostbusters. So, really, the lead ended up getting buried. Instead of talking about Hocus Pocus, people should really be getting excited that Tina Fey might play something like a modern day “witch hunter,” getting together with kooky coworkers and putting on funky suits. Or maybe it will be something completely different… but still “like” Ghostbusters. But with witches. More immediately, Tina Fey has The Nest, a sister comedy with Amy Poehler, which John Cena joined this week, in his “first villain” role. And finally, this week, Tina Fey made the news yet again, with the news that she is attached to star in an adaptation of The Taliban Shuffle, as an American journalist in Afghanistan. The Taliban Shuffle will be directed by Crazy Stupid Love directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Tina Fey is one busy lady.
#6 JASON BATEMAN’S DIRECTING CAREER CONTINUES WITH A NEW STEVE CARELL COMEDY
Following Jason Bateman’s directorial debut with Bad Words, the actor got another directing gig from the same production company. The comedy doesn’t yet have a title, but Steve Carell is attached to star as one of F.B.I. agents who pretend to fall in love and get married in order to trap the mob. This movie will not however be Jason Bateman’s second movie as director, because he first has the novel adaptation The Family Fang, which he will also star in, along with Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken.
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#3 TROY GETS A COMPANION EPIC: ODYSSEUS
Ten years ago, Warner Bros gave us the ancient war epic Troy, based upon the heroic poem The Iliad. Now, the studio is returning to a related Homer poem, The Odyssey, which is being called Odysseus, after the main character. Warner Bros has hired Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk, whose latest film was Stalingrad. Sean Bean played Odysseus in Troy, but it’s possible/probably/likely that Warner Bros will cast someone else in the role (and other roles). For those rusty on their Greek literature, The Odyssey is about the hard and long decade that Odysseus spends trying to return home to his wife after fighting at Troy with Achilles. In a possibly related story, this week Warner Bros also expanded their studio and production/post space at Leavesden Studio in the U.K. The new, bigger studio is currently being used for Pan, with Tarzan following soon after. It wasn’t specifically mentioned, but Odysseus might also be filmed there.
#2 G.I. JOE 3 RAMPING UP FOR RELEASE IN 2016
The Weekly Ketchup uses RT’s Tomatometer scores pretty heavily, but in Hollywood, when we’re talking about the big event films, it’s really the box office that matters. So, for a franchise like G.I. Joe, which has a sort of dismal track record, Paramount will (probably) keep making sequels until the audience stops showing up in droves. The next film is already scheduled for 2016, but right now, the project is still at the script stage. Paramount Pictures has recruited veteran writer Jonathan Lemkin, whose filmography includes Shooter, Red Planet, and Lethal Weapon 4. It’s not yet known which characters will return for the third live action G.I. Joe, except Dwayne Johnson, who is perceived as the one actor they absolutely need to have for G.I. Joe 3.
#1 ENCHANTED SEQUEL GETS HELP FROM SHREK AND THE SMURFS (SORT OF)
Amidst all of the live action remakes of classic Disney animated movies, Walt Disney Pictures is not forgetting the 2007 film which sort of predicted the trend that would be coming soon. Walt Disney Pictures has hired the screenwriting team of J. David Stem and David N. Weiss to start work on a sequel script for Enchanted 2. Amy Adams, James Marsden, and Patrick Dempsey starred in Enchanted, but there’s no deals announced for the sequel, which will be directed by Anne Fletcher (Rock of Ages, The Proposal, The Guilt Trip). Other movies from the Stem/Weiss team include Daddy Day Care, Clockstoppers, and The Rugrats Movie, so we’re going to go with “Rotten Idea” on this one, for now, and this week, the worst (in a slow week, based almost entirely on all those green splotches on the Tomatometer).
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.