Weekly Ketchup

Ana de Armas to Star in John Wick Spinoff Ballerina, and More Movie News

Dune gets its sequel, Bill Murray joins the MCU, and new roles for Oscar Isaac, Ryan Gosling, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Michelle Williams, and more.

by | October 29, 2021 | Comments

This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Barbie, Batgirl, and Dune Part Two.


This WEEK’S TOP STORY

ANA DE ARMAS TO STAR IN JOHN WICK SPINOFF BALLERINA

Ana de Armas

(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)

Ever since Marvel Studios successfully expanded the MCU, various competitors have attempted to replicate its success with their own “cinematic universes,” but very few have actually worked. As of right now, the world of Keanu Reeves’ John Wick consists solely of the original film and its sequels, but that will soon change. In 2017, Lionsgate first announced plans for a John Wick spinoff called Ballerina that would focus on a female assassin in Wick’s world, which then appeared to be teased in 2019 at the end of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Certified Fresh at 89%). Spanish actress Ana De Armas, who had key roles in Blade Runner 2049 (Certified Fresh at 88%), Knives Out (Certified Fresh at 97%), and the recent James Bond film No Time to Die (Certified Fresh at 84%), is now in talks with Lionsgate to star in the assassin action thriller Ballerina, to be directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard). In addition to Ballerina, John Wick Chapter 4 (5/27/2022), and the eventual John Wick Chapter 5, the expanding John Wick cinematic universe will also include the Starz prequel limited series The Continental, starring Mel Gibson.


Other Top Headlines

1. DUNE EPIC TO CONTINUE WITH DUNE PART TWO IN 2023

Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in Dune

(Photo by Chiabella James/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Not everyone who went to see Dune (Certified Fresh at 83%) last weekend (or watched on it HBO Max) apparently knew that the film was not a complete adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, but is instead just the first half of the epic. Fans of the movie would have perhaps been justifiably disappointed if Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment decided not to make another Dune movie, leaving our characters stuck at about 2/3 of the comparable narrative of David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation. On Tuesday, Timothée Chalamet seemed to confirm Dune Part Two was moving forward with this Instgram post, which was confirmed soon after by Legendary Entertainment, along with the release date of October 23, 2023, which is exactly two years and a day after the film’s US release date. A key factor in the negotiations between Legendary and Warner Bros. was an agreement that Dune Part Two will receive a “pure theatrical window” and will not debut day-and-date on HBO Max as Dune did last week. Chalamet, Zendaya, and other Dune stars (whose characters survived the first film) are expected to return for Dune Part Two. There will also likely be at least three new cast members, as the key characters Feyd-Rautha, Emperor Shaddam IV, and Princess Irulan (played by Sting, Jose Ferrer, and Virginia Madsen, respectively, in Lynch’s Dune) were not included in the first film. Director Denis Villeneuve went on to clarify that Dune Part Two won’t start filming until late 2022, and that he also hopes to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune Messiah as a third film.


2. OSCAR ISAAC JOINS NEXT FROM THREE BILLBOARDS DIRECTOR

Oscar Isaac in Triple Frontier

(Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix)

British director and screenwriter Martin McDonagh has an impressive Tomatometer, with his lowest rated film being Seven Psychopaths (Certified Fresh at 83%) and two of them being Certified Fresh at 90% (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and 94% (The Guard). McDonagh is currently filming his fifth feature, The Banshees of Inisherin, which reunites the director with his In Bruges stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. As it turns out, his untitled sixth project will also reunite McDonagh with two stars of one of his earlier films, as Seven Psychopaths’ Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken will star alongside McDonagh newcomer Oscar Isaac. The screenplay is reporteldy being kept “under lock and key,” but McDonagh’s reputation and his three stars are already attracting interest from at least four studios at the American Film Market this week.


3. BILL MURRAY PLAYFULLY REVEALS HE’S IN ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA

Bill Murray in The Darjeeling Limited

(Photo by Fox Searchlight courtesy Everett Collection)

Bill Murray probably would’ve made a horrible spy, because he sometimes seems to divulge information to reporters before the studio or producers were ready to make an official announcement. Just two weeks after revealing the title of Wes Anderson’s next film as Asteroid City, Murray made another surprising reveal while talking to a German newspaper this week, apparently saying that he had filmed scenes with director Peyton Reed for Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (7/28/2023). We have no way of knowing what character he might be playing (the father of Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang, or someone from Hank Pym’s past?), but that’s not at all unusual for Marvel Studios projects at this early stage. For his part, late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel attempted to get more information while talking to Bill Murray about The French Dispatch (Fresh at 74%).


4. RYAN GOSLING’S BIG WEEK: KEN IN BARBIE, DIRECTOR FOR THE WOLFMAN  

Ryan Gosling

(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)

It has now been about three years since we saw Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong in First Man (Certified Fresh at 87%), but he has a few big movies in the works, including Netflix’s The Gray Man with Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo. Gosling has also joined Margot Robbie’s long-in-development Barbie movie, based on the popular Mattel toy line, in which he will co-star in as Barbie’s boyfriend Ken. Gosling had reportedly initially passed on playing Ken, but Warner Bros. “persisted with him being their only choice” until an opening in his schedule allowed him to sign on. With Gosling now confirmed, Warner Bros. and director Greta Gerwig (Ladybird, Little Women) hope to start filming in early 2022. In other Ryan Gosling news, another of his still-developing projects, Universal’s reboot of The Wolfman, moved closer to production with the hiring of director Derek Cinafrance, who previously worked with Gosling on both Blue Valentine (Certified Fresh at 86%) and The Place Beyond the Pines (Certified Fresh at 78%), making The Wolfman their third film together.


5. PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE JOINS JOHN KRASINSKI FANTASY

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)

After making his feature film directorial debut in 2016 with The Hollars, John Krasinski’s second and third films were A Quiet Place (Certified Fresh at 96%) and its sequel (Certified Fresh at 91%). Until this week, Paramount appeared to be moving forward with A Quiet Place spinoff, but director Jeff Nichols has dropped out to focus on another sci-fi project at Paramount. Likewise, Krasinski is also moving on from A Quiet Place with a fantasy comedy that was previously called Imaginary Friends but is now untitled. In addition to writing and directing, Krasinski will also co-star alongside Ryan Reynolds, and this week, the two were joined by British actresses Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) and Fiona Shaw (Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter movies). Krasinski and crew will start filming in the summer of 2022, aiming for a big Thansgiving release date in the following year on November 17, 2023.


6. MICHELLE WILLIAMS TO STAR AS HENRY VIII’S FINAL WIFE IN FIREBRAND

Michelle Williams

(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)

Most people probably don’t know that much about England’s King Henry VIII, other than perhaps that he loved eating and that, in short order, he went through six different wives (as depicted in 1933’s The Private Life of Henry VIII, Fresh at 95%). Wife No. 6 was Queen Catherine Parr, and her life will soon be the subject of a historically based  psychological horror film called Firebrand, starring Michelle Williams as Catherine Parr and Jude Law as King Henry VIII. Firebrand will be a multinational collaboration, as its stars are American (Williams) and British (Law), while director Karim Aïnouz (Invisible Life, Certified Fresh at 94% ) is Brazilian, and the production is currently looking for a castle to film in.


7. BRENDAN FRASER TAKES VILLAIN ROLE IN BATGIRL

Brendan Fraser in The Poison Rose (2019)

(Photo by ©Lionsgate)

In just two months, Warner Bros.’ yearlong experiment of releasing their 2021 films day-and-date on HBO Max will come to an end. In preparation for that, HBO Max is continuing to line up its own slate of high-profile projects for 2022 and beyond. One of them is the solo movie for DC Comics’ Batgirl (not to be confused with The CW’s Batwoman), to be played by In the Heights star Leslie Grace. Brendan Fraser, who is also one of the stars of the HBO Max series Doom Patrol, signed on to Batgirl for a role that is believed to be the film’s main villain. The exact identity of the villain appears to be of some question, as some sources say it’s the pyromaniac supervillain Firefly, while others say he’s playing mobster Carmine Falcone (also confusing matters are the stories that Sylvester Stallone almost signed on). One possibility is that there might actually be two villains, and the journalists covering Batgirl this week might be confusing the two roles. Stay tuned.


8. DAISY RIDLEY’S POST-STAR WARS SCI-FI CAREER CONTINUES WITH MIND FALL

Daisy Ridley in Murder on the Orient Express

(Photo by Nicola Dove/©20th Century Fox Film Corporation)

British actress Daisy Ridley first rocketed to fame as Rey, the center of the recent Star Wars sequel trilogy.  Ridley’s first post-Star Wars science fiction film was this year’s Chaos Walking (Rotten at  21%), which was actually filmed before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but was held back because of reshoots (and the COVID-19 pandemic). Despite that film’s critical drubbing, Daisy Ridley isn’t giving up on science fiction, as she is now attached to star in a futuristic thriller called Mind Fall for French actor-turned-director Matthieu Kassovitz (La Haine, Rebellion). In a near-future London, Ridley will play a pusher of a drug that transfers memories from one person to another (which also sounds a bit like the premise of Strange Days).


9. EMILIA CLARKE TO SHARE A DETACHABLE WOMB IN THE POD GENERATION

Emilia Clarke

(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)

This year’s American Film Market continues to have a surprising number of high-profile films with big stars, and wrapping things up, we have a science-fiction romantic comedy called The Pod Generation starring Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave). Set in the near future, The Pod Generation will revolve around a new technology that allows couples the opportunity to share in the pregnancy of their new child using a detachable artificial womb (or the “pod” of the title). The Pod Generation will be directed by Sophie Barthes (Cold Souls, Madame Bovary). Emilia Clarke also recently signed on to co-star as the wife of “Red Scare” Senator Joseph McCarthy (played by Michael Shannon), as well as the Disney+ and Marvel Studios event series Secret Invasion.


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