This Week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering new projects for Jason Statham, Adam Driver, Jamie Foxx, Daisy Ridley, and more.
(Photo by ©Netflix)
Adam Driver is coming off a monster 2019, during which he not only completed his run in the Star Wars sequel trilogy as Kylo Ren but also earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his work in Noah Baumbach’s Netflix original film Marriage Story. Next up for Driver is Ridley Scott’s historical drama The Last Duel, which just went back into production after initiating a hiatus due to COVID-19, and he’s in talks for Scott’s next film, the Lady Gaga-powered based-on-true-events crime drama Gucci, but he’s also just landed what could be a very interesting new role. Deadline reports that Driver has signed on to a film called 65, which will be written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the duo who wrote John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place. Sam Raimi will also be producing the film, which, combined with the presence of Beck and Woods, gives us some idea what kind of movie it will be, though no details on the plot have yet been released. There’s also no indication when 65 will go into production, but considering Driver’s busy schedule and in-demand status, it could be a while.
(Photo by Gareth Davies/Getty Images)
Before he transitioned to big-budget studio blockbusters, Guy Ritchie made his bones with a couple of slick and witty crime capers featuring a then-unknown Jason Statham (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch). After he turned in the live-action remake of Disney’s Aladdin last year, he then returned to those roots with The Gentlemen, albeit without Statham. And while Ritchie and Statham are indeed scheduled to reunite for another caper called Cash Truck, which is currently in post-production, they’ll be taking their talents international with a new spy thriller called Five Eyes. The story will follow an MI6 agent (Statham) who is “recruited by global intelligence alliance ‘Five Eyes’ to track down and stop the sale of a deadly new weapon that threatens to disrupt the world order.” Including the yet-to-be-released Cash Truck (it’s scheduled for January 15, 2021), this will be the fifth collaboration between Ritchie and Statham.
(Photo by ©Netflix)
Zack Snyder made a big splash a couple weekends ago during the DC FanDome event when he unveiled the first trailer for “The Snyder Cut” of Justice League, which will air in four parts on the HBO Max streaming service sometime in 2021. In the meantime, Snyder has been working on a little “zombie heist film” called Army of the Dead, purportedly developed as a sequel to his 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. That film is slated to be released on Netflix, and although we don’t yet know exactly when that’ll be, the streaming giant has gone ahead and greenlit both a prequel film and a spin-off anime series. Prolific German actor Matthias Schweighöfer (Valkyrie, The Command), who will appear in Army of the Dead, will also star in and direct the prequel, which will center on his character, while Army of the Dead writer Shay Hatten (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum) will write both the prequel and the anime series, the latter of which will be called Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas and focus on Dave Bautista’s character from the film. No word on when we’ll be getting those yet, either.
(Photo by Dee Cercone, Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)
Just a few weeks ago, Netflix released the superhero-themed Project Power to somewhat mixed reviews, further reinforcing their efforts to lean hard into genre entertainment. What set that film apart, like The Old Guard before it, from some of its lesser fare was the presence of A-list talent, namely Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jamie Foxx. Currently, Netflix is gearing up for another production with Star Wars alumnus John Boyega at the lead called They Cloned Tyrone, which will be the directorial debut of Juel Taylor, the screenwriter of Creed II, and Foxx is one of the two new stars who joined it this week. Ther other is Teyonah Parris (Dear White People, If Beale Street Could Talk), who will appear later this year (presumably) in Nia DaCosta’s Candyman. The characters played by Boyega, Foxx, and Parris will be thrust “onto the trail of a nefarious government conspiracy” after a series of eerie events, evidently involving clones, if the title is any indication. In somewhat related news, Boyega also made headlines this week when an interview he did with GQ revealed that he was not a fan of how Disney and the Star Wars sequel trilogy treated its characters of color — Finn in particular — prompting renewed debate over the films.
(Photo by Nicola Dove/©20th Century Fox Film Corporation)
Considering the impact it had on the world, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we continue to see new films set during World War II, even despite the wealth of stories we already have about the era. The latest is a film called Women in the Castle, a drama adapted from the 2017 novel of the same name by Jessica Shattuck. The story revolves around three women whose husbands were killed in an assassination attempt on Hitler, and how their lives are individually affected by the event. This week we learned that the three women will be played by Daisy Ridley (Rey from the recent Star Wars trilogy), Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient, Darkest Hour), and German actress Nina Hoss, who earned widespread acclaim for another recent WWII film, Phoenix. Women in the Castle will be adapted and directed by Jane Anderson, whose 2017 film The Wife earned Glenn Close a number of awards and an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
(Photo by Shane Mahood/Focus Features)
Like Zack Snyder, Matt Reeves made an appearance at DC FanDome to stoke anticipation for his upcoming film The Batman, for which he unveiled the very first trailer. As he continues to pull that film together in the face of unforeseen hurdles (more on that below), Reeves is also putting on his producer hat for a new sci-fi film that will be the directorial debut of Mattson Tomlin, who came on board to help Reeves write the script for The Batman and whose most recent script was for Netflix’s Project Power. The new film is called Mother/Android, and it will star Chloe Grace Moretz (who appeared in Reeves’ Let Me In)as a young pregnant woman who flees with her boyfriend from a war between their country and a malevolent artificial intelligence in hopes of giving birth in a safe environment. Tomlin, who also wrote the script, based the story on his own parents who fled the Romanian Revolution. Mother/Android doesn’t have a release date yet, but Tomlin has a number of big projects on the horizon, including the sci-fi drama Little Fish and a big-screen adaptation of the video game Mega Man, so it could be a while.
(Photo by Walt Disney courtesy Everett Collection)
While Disney has gotten mixed results from their films based on theme park attractions, most everyone agrees that 2003’s The Haunted Mansion, starring Eddie Murphy, was a tragic misfire. A few years later in 2010, there was some hope that longtime fan Guillermo del Toro would be able to craft something worthwhile as he set about developing a new take on the ride that would be “scary and fun at the same time, but the scary will be scary.” As the years passed, del Toro struggled to make much headway on the film, even with Ryan Gosling in talks to star at one point, and as recently as 2019, he expressed doubt that the film would ever be made, though he “would love to see a ‘Haunted Mansion’ movie by someone who loves it.” That time may have come, as Disney recently announced they are moving forward with a new adaptation of The Haunted Mansion, this time written by Katie Dippold. Dippold’s most recent credits include the Melissa McCarthy/Sandra Bullock action comedy The Heat, the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters, and 2017’s Snatched, as well as episodes of Parks and Recreation. The next big movie based on a Disney ride will be Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, which is scheduled to open on July 31, 2021.
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough, Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)
As we’ve mentioned frequently over the past few months, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has resulted in film and television production delays across the board, but lost time is nothing when compared to the very real threat of illness, and famous people are, of course, no more immune to COVID-19 than the rest of us. Back in March, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were the first two high-profile celebrities who revealed they had come down with the virus while filming Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic in Australia (they’re currently recovering), and they were followed by others, like Idris Elba, Sara Bareilles, Daniel Dae Kim, Bryan Cranston, Lena Dunham, and Zoey Deutch, just to name a few. This week, we learned that two more of Hollywood’s biggest stars have also contracted the virus. Dwayne Johnson took to Instagram to announce to his fans that he and his family had tested positive for COVID-19, but were currently “on the other side of it” and recuperating, while it was also revealed that Matt Reeves’ production of The Batman had to be halted just days after shooting on the film had resumed because star Robert Pattinson had also tested positive for the virus. The latter announcement comes just a little over a week after DC FanDome, when Reeves unveiled the new trailer for the film and offered fans the first look of Pattinson in action as the character. It remains to be seen how long the delay will be, but it serves as a reminder to the rest of us that nobody is above the pandemic. So please stay vigilant, stay safe, and practice social distancing protocols, so we can all enjoy The Batman together.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
Last Friday, the world was stunned to learn that Chadwick Boseman, the actor who had portrayed such real-life luminaries as James Brown, Jackie Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall, as well as the Marvel superhero Black Panther, had succumbed to the colon cancer he had been battling since 2016. Part of the shock came because of what he represented to movie fans, but also because no one — not even those he worked closely with — was aware of his condition, even as he churned out critically acclaimed hits and record-breaking blockbusters. News of his death, as reported by his family on Twitter, resonated powerfully with fans, which resulted in an outpouring of emotion and inspired a number of tributes. In the wake of the announcement, the film Black Panther shot to the top of charts on Amazon and iTunes, while ABC aired the film on Sunday along with a tribute to Boseman anchored by Robin Roberts and TBS made space in its schedule to air the film twice. AMC theaters also decided to rerelease the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 in theaters, beginning this weekend, and after just one day, the tweet announcing his death became the most liked tweet ever. Boseman clearly had a massive impact on the world, and he will be sorely missed.