Today’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news, covering new roles for Zac Efron, Idris Elba, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, and Denzel Washington.
It’s been a few weeks shy of a year now since we first heard that Marvel Studios was developing a movie based on The Eternals. Since then, it’s been confirmed that The Eternals will be the next film to start production after Black Widow, likely for a late 2020 release (November 6, 2020, specifically). Despite that, one could argue that the project hadn’t really been receiving much press or buzz, and the reason for that is sort of obvious: most non-comics fans don’t know what The Eternals is (Thanos is an Eternal from Titan, but there are different groups of Eternals). What The Eternals needed and was lacking until this week, then, was some genuine star power to raise the film’s profile. Marvel is getting it in the form of Angelina Jolie, who’s now in talks to star in The Eternals. Technically, Jolie’s role was not confirmed this week, but the leads are reportedly Ikaris (who’s male) and Sersi, so she’s probably Sersi. This might also mean Jolie could join a future version of The Avengers, as Sersi was a member of the team for over 60 issues from 1989 to 1994. The Eternals will be directed by Chloé Zhao (The Rider, Songs My Brothers Taught Me) when it starts filming this summer. In the meantime, you can check out this fan art that speculates what Angelina Jolie could look like as Sersi.
Director Joel Coen and his brother Ethan have collaborated on so many movies (dozens) that it’s become shorthand to just refer to them as the “Coen Brothers,” even if their precise duties on each film vary. This week, we learned of the first film that Joel Coen will be directing from his own screenplay, without Ethan writing or producing, and it will be an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s MacBeth (A.K.A. “The Scottish Play” for the superstitious). Denzel Washington will play the title character, and two-time Academy Award winner Frances McDormand (A.K.A. Mrs. Joel Coen) will co-star as Lady MacBeth. It is not yet known if the film will retain the play’s medieval Scotland setting or perhaps shift to a more contemporary setting. This MacBeth also comes just a few years after the 2015 adaptation (Certified Fresh at 79%) that starred Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.
There was a lot going on in those final moments of Avengers: Infinity War, but Marvel wasn’t able to fit in every character. It’s also telling of the scope of these movies now that Marvel Studios was able to release 32 character posters for Avengers: Endgame, and still leave out several fan favorites. The posters were divided into two groups (16 of each): black-and-white posters for (some of) the characters who were “dusted” (or “ashed”) in Avengers: Infinity War, and color posters for characters who survived Thanos’ “snap.” The inclusion of a poster for Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie character from Thor: Ragnarok confirms one of the lingering questions some had, since she wasn’t seen on the Asgardian spaceship in Avengers: Infinity War (or at all). Likewise, there’s also a black-and-white poster for Letitia Wright’s Shuri character from Black Panther, confirming that she shared the fate of her brother T’Challa (not that he’s likely to be gone permanently). Marvel Studios also confirmed this week that Avengers: Endgame will be “around” three hours long when it’s released on April 26.
We’ve known for a while that Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall) was planning on directing a drama called 1917 following his decision not to direct another James Bond film after 2015’s Spectre. Details about 1917 have remained sparse, but the title itself makes it pretty clear that it’s set during World War I (1917 was the year the United States joined the war, but the focus will be on the British). We now know that the story will center on a single day in the war for two young British soldiers played by George MacKay (Captain Fantastic) and Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen from Game of Thrones). With filming of 1917 starting on location in England and Scotland on Monday, several more actors were confirmed this week. The cast will include Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange, TV’s Sherlock), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Richard Madden (Robb Stark from Game of Thrones), and Mark Strong (Shazam!). There are a few reunions going on here, including for Kingsman: The Secret Service (Colin Firth and Mark Strong), and The Imitation Game (Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Strong), and Game of Thrones.
It was less than three years ago that we first heard about a biblical epic called Methuselah, in which Tom Cruise would play the long-lived figure from the Book of Genesis. The film is still in development at Warner Bros, but it’s now set up as a starring vehicle for Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther), who will also produce. One significant change to Methuselah is that it’s no longer described as a “biblical epic,” but is instead about a 400-year-old man who, over hundreds of years, “has accumulated vast intellectual knowledge, from multiple languages to the sciences, as well as survival skills.” Methuselah joins Jordan and his production company’s sizable slate of film projects along with Just Mercy (1/17/2020), Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse (9/18/2020), Journal for Jordan, The Liberators, Red Wolf, Silver Bear, and Wrong Answer.
Tom Hanks is on some sort of crazy streak of late playing iconic real-life figures of both the 20th and 21st centuries. In the last six years alone, he’s starred in Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks (as Walt Disney), Bridge of Spies, Sully (as pilot “Sully” Sullenberger), The Post (as Ben Bradlee), and his Mister Rogers movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is due out later this year (11/22/2019). Hanks is now in talks for another film in which he will play a 20th century pop culture personality; if the deal goes through, he’ll take on a Southern accent again as “Colonel” Tom Parker, co-starring in the untitled Elvis Presley biopic that director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!, Australia) has been developing for several years. Luhrmann reportedly moved on to Tom Hanks after previous talks with Leonardo DiCaprio (his Romeo + Juliet star) didn’t work out. Baz Luhrmann has not yet cast his actor to star as Elvis Presley.
With the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody coming just shy of $900 million worldwide, we’re unsurprisingly going to continue to see classic rock bands getting their own movies. The 1970s punk band Sex Pistols have received movies before (both dramatically in Sid and Nancy and in documentaries like The Filth and the Fury), and now they’re getting another. Called Only Anarchists Are Pretty, the film will be an adaptation of a 2004 book about the band’s early days under the aegis of manager Malcolm McLaren. SEX was the name of the Chelsea, London boutique run by McLaren and his girlfriend Vivienne Westwood, and both will be the film’s focal characters. As the offiical Twitter account of John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten) clarified this week, “For the avoidance of doubt this film would be unauthorised, unofficial, and not endorsed by Sex Pistols.”
Just last week, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter took to the Hollywood Bowl to officially announce that their long-planned sequel Bill & Ted Face the Music is scheduled for next summer, August 21, 2020. The sequel made the news again this week, as if to confirm that this thing is definitely happening soon, and isn’t something we won’t hear about again for months (or years). William Sadler, who played Death (AKA the Grim Reaper) in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (Rotten at 54%), will reprise his role in the third film as well. It’s not yet clear how Death will fit into this movie, such as whether perhaps Bill & Ted will challenge Death in any of the various games that have emerged since 1991. Think Death is any good at Guitar Hero or Settlers of Catan?
There is an argument to be made that Scooby-Doo was just never a good fit for live-action movies, and that’s why the 2002 and 2004 adaptations received Rotten scores (30% and 22%, respectively). On the other hand, maybe those movies were just ahead of their time (superhero movies didn’t used to earn Fresh scores back then, either). Warner Bros. will find out summer when they release their animated feature film Scoob on May 15, 2020. Three weeks ago, we heard about the first batch of voice cast roles, including Gina Rodriguez (Velma), Will Forte (Shaggy), Frank Welker (Scooby), and Tracy Morgan (Captain Caveman, in his big screen debut). That left Fred and Daphne yet to be announced, and that news came this week, with Zac Efron and Amanda Seyfried both now signed on. Efron (High School Musical, The Greatest Showman) and Seyfried (Mamma Mia!, Les Miserables) both have musical backgrounds, but it’s not yet known if their Scoob characters will sing. The villain in Scoob will reportedly be Dick Dastardly (from Wacky Races), who has yet to be cast.
Disney may have completed their purchase of Fox’s film and TV properties last week, but you’d be forgiven if the press coverage led you to think that Fox had actually shut down entirely. The merger will obviously have a huge impact, but many of their projects are moving ahead as planned, including the comic book adaptation Mouse Guard. Compared to Game of Thrones (but with animals like foxes, weasels, eagles, and the titular mice), Mouse Guard will be a CGI animated film using motion capture actors (including Andy Serkis). The latest star to join Mouse Guard this week was Idris Elba, who will play “Celanawe,” a legendary champion that’s compared to Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. Sonoya Mizuno, who played the bride in last year’s Crazy Rich Asians also joined the project this week. Mouse Guard will be directed by Wes Ball, whose filmography as director consists solely of the Maze Runner films, the last two of which were Rotten at 47% and 43%, respectively.