Today’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Aquaman 2, Breaking Bad, Coming to America 2, Dune, and Wicked.
With over $1.121 billion, Aquaman is now the highest grossing DC Comics movie (worldwide) ever, even above The Dark Knight, etc. That’s quite an achievement for a character long considered a joke (including a long-running story arc on HBO’s Entourage). All indications suggest that Warner Bros. is taking its cue from the successes of both Aquaman and Wonder Woman to tilt the tone of future movies away from the “grimdark” of Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder’s films. Those numbers also made it super obvious that Aquaman would get a sequel, and that’s exactly what’s happening, with one of the first film’s screenwriters now working on a follow-up. Aquaman director James Wan is on board as producer, but it’s unclear as to whether he will also direct the sequel. Warner Bros. isn’t stopping there, however, as they’ve also hired two “newbie” screenwriters to work on a horror movie spinoff called The Trench, about the ” deadly amphibious creatures seen attacking the hero and his love, Mera” in Aquaman. The main characters from Aquaman are not expected to appear in The Trench, which suggests that the “horror movie” may instead focus on surface dwellers who come into contact with the monsters separate from any involvement with Atlantis. It’s also possible that Aquaman 2 and The Trench could just be the start of a new franchise of Aquaman related films in the same way that Batman has led to movies for Suicide Squad, Joker, Birds of Prey, etc.
Director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) is following his sequel to a beloved 1980s sci-fi movie (Blade Runner 2049) with a reboot of another. Even before this week, the Dune reboot had an impressive cast that included Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Rebecca Ferugson, Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skarsgard, and Zendaya, all supporting Timothée Chalamet as the lead character of Paul Atreides. The latest two stars both hail from recent superhero movies: Aquaman and Avengers: Infinity War. Jason Momoa, who’s coming off the highest grossing DC Comics movie ever (as mentioned above), is joining Dune to play the Atreides’ swordsmaster Duncan Idaho, the only character to appear in all six of Frank Herbert’s original Dune novels. Josh Brolin, who plays Marvel’s Thanos, is also joining Dune as Gurney Halleck, another Atreides follower who, in David Lynch’s film, was played by Patrick Stewart.
In November, we learned that Aaron Paul would be returning as Jesse Pinkman for a Breaking Bad sequel movie. This week, we learned more about what exactly a Breaking Bad movie would be (as in, is it a theatrical movie, a cable movie, or something else?). The answer, as is becoming more and more common these days, is that the new film will premiere on Netflix first before eventually making its way to AMC, the channel that originally produced and aired Breaking Bad (and still produces its spinoff series Better Call Saul). The movie is reportedly still being written, and it’s not yet known if there will be a role for Bryan Cranston as Walter White, but Cranston said recently that he’d be open to return, if asked. The last four seasons of Breaking Bad were all Certified Fresh at 100%. Here’s a breakdown of everything we know about the film.
Speaking of Netflix, they’re also stepping in to help director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X) deliver his next film after last year’s Academy Award nominee BlacKkKlansman (Certified Fresh at 95%). Spike Lee’s film for Netflix is called Da 5 Bloods, and is a drama dealing with the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Delroy Lindo will star as a veteran who leads a group back to Vietnam searching for “the remains of a fellow soldier and hidden gold,” and Jean Reno (The Professional) will play an “unscrupulous French businessman who deals in nefarious activities in Vietnam.” This week, Da 5 Bloods gained Marvel’s Black Panther, as Chadwick Boseman has been cast to play the son of one of the “5 Bloods.” Although no other actors are officially cast yet, Lee has reportedly been talking to Don Cheadle, Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), and his longtime frequent collaborator, Samuel L. Jackson.
Last March, we learned that Baby Driver and Downton Abbey star Lily James had landed the lead female role in a musical to be directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) with an unknown premise somehow connected to the 1960s or 1970s. It can be frustrating when a movie doesn’t reveal its premise, but you have to give Danny Boyle credit here for keeping Yesterday so well hidden for over a year. The trailer for Yesterday (6/28/2019) debuted online this week and revealed that relative newcomer Himesh Patel will be starring as a musician who wakes up in a world where the Beatles (seemingly) never existed, leading him to quickly become one of the world’s biggest pop stars. The other movies that Yesterday will be going up against on June 28th include the historical drama Ford v Ferrari, Tiffany Haddish’s Limited Partners, and the shark sequel 47 Meters Down: Uncaged.
The hit musical Wicked (based on The Wizard of Oz) debuted on Broadway in 2003, and was in development as a movie just a few years later. The project really started to move in 2013, which was the year that Oz the Great and Powerful came out, and at one point, it was scheduled for release in 2016, which is three years ago. Well, Universal Pictures is now scheduling Wicked for release on December 22, 2021, which is five days after Avatar 3 (yes, there’s already an Avatar 3 in the works). In related news, Robert Zemeckis is preparing to direct a remake of 1990’s The Witches (Fresh at 100%), based on the book by Roald Dahl. Anne Hathaway was recently cast in the role originally played by Anjelica Huston, and this week Octavia Spencer also signed on as the grandmother who has to help her grandson defeat the schemes of the titular Witches (10/16/2020).
Just a couple of weeks ago, we reported that Eddie Murphy was set to return in a sequel to the hit 1988 comedy Coming to America. Paramount Pictures has now greenlit Coming to America 2 for release next summer on August 7, 2020. The premise of the sequel isn’t yet known, but Eddie Murphy will reprise his role as Akeem Joffer of the fictional African nation of Zamunda. It’s not yet known if other original cast members (most notably Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones) might also return. Coming to America 2 was written by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and will be directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan), who recently directed Eddie Murphy in the blaxploitation biopic My Name is Dolemite for Netflix.
With filming of Avengers: Endgame now wrapped, many of Marvel’s stars are landing new jobs. This week alone, we see Thanos, Black Panther, Captain America, and Winter Soldier all getting new roles. Chris Pratt, who plays Guardians of the Galaxy “leader” Star-Lord, is now in negotiations for another science fiction action movie called Ghost Draft. Details about the premise are being mostly kept secret for now, but we do know what it’s about: a “husband and father is drafted to fight a future war in which the fate of humanity may rely on his ability to correct issues of the past.” From that, we can guess that some sort of time travel is involved (unless there’s some other way to “correct issues of the past”). Ghost Draft will be directed by Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie), who is also developing Jonny Quest and Nightwing movies for Warner Bros.
Moving right along, another Marvel star in the news this week was Chris Evans (Captain America and, previously, Human Torch). Perhaps coincidentally, the movie Chris Evans is in talks for may bear some similarity to Chris Pratt’s Ghost Draft. Infinite (based on D. Eric Maikranz’s novel The Reincarnationist Papers) will tell the story of “a group of near-immortal men and women who are reincarnated over the centuries and known as ‘the Infinite.’ To defeat an evil mastermind who wants to destroy the planet, the group must rely on a man who suffers from schizophrenia and will have to learn that all his vivid dreams are actually memories from past lives, in order to defeat the villain.” Infinite will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, whose most recent film was the Denzel Washington sequel Equalizer 2 (51% Rotten). In (directly) related news, Sebastian Stan (AKA Captain America’s sidekick Bucky) will replace Chris Evans in the drama The Devil All the Time, now that Evans is likely to star in Infinite instead.
The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody may have won a Golden Globe and earned multiple Academy Awards nominations, but the film’s director is effectively persona non grata. Last month, new allegations of sexual misconduct by director Bryan Singer (X-Men, Bohemian Rhapsody) were reported by The Atlantic. Soon after, Millennium Films confirmed that they were still developing a Red Sonja reboot with Singer directing, but just three weeks later, those plans are now “delayed,” with Millennium no longer selling the project at the European Film Market in Berlin. Singer hasn’t officially been fired (yet), but the high profile fantasy adventure cancelling filming in Bulgaria this spring certainly seems to point in that direction. Red Sonja was created by Marvel Comics in 1973 as a Conan the Barbarian spinoff character who quickly received her own popular solo comic book title (including later titles at other companies). Even without the allegations against Bryan Singer, some had called for a female director for Red Sonja, especially following the success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman. In (possibly) related news, Millennium Films is now preparing to make The Legend of Sinbad, a different fantasy adventure, with director Frank Coraci (who hasn’t helmed a Fresh movie since 1998’s The Wedding Singer).