This Week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering new titles like Don’t Breathe 2, The Flash, Resident Evil, and Thomas & Friends.
(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
We don’t know when the next Avengers will be after Avengers: Endgame, but that movie also became the box office champion of all time (a record that COVID-19 may have made impossible to break), so obviously, Marvel isn’t going to give up on the Avengers theme, even if the movies don’t have Avengers in the title. The fourth MCU movie on the schedule awaiting release (after Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Eternals) will be the not-yet-titled third Spider-Man movie (12/17/2021) starring Tom Holland. Just last week, that movie was the focus of the surprising news that Jamie Foxx will be reprising his role as Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (starring Andrew Garfield, not Tom Holland). We now know that Benedict Cumberbatch will also be appearing in the next Spider-Man as Spidey’s Avengers teammate Doctor Strange, which we’ll actually end up seeing before Cumberbatch’s own sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (3/25/2022). That title, plus the Jamie Foxx news and the recent WandaVision trailer is leading to speculation that the MCU is heading towards some sort of alternate reality, timey-wimey criss-cross of dimensions and properties (Marvel Studios has to get the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters re-introduced at some point, too, after all). In related news, Natalie Portman was also quoted this week about her return as Jane Foster in Thor: Love and Thunder (2/11/2022), which appeared to confirm previous speculation about which popular Marvel Comics storyline the movie will be (at least partly) based on.
(Photo by Ghost House Pictures)
A few months after the release of the horror thriller Don’t Breathe in 2016, the news first broke that the producers were quickly working on developing a sequel, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that a director had signed on for it. The word at that point was that filming was scheduled to start in April, but that was also before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted pretty much the entire film and television industry. That is, of course, in the United States (and many other places where movies are frequently filmed), but just like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, movies (sometimes) find a way. It was just last month that we found out that Sacha Baron Cohen had secretly filmed a Borat sequel (which will debut on Amazon), and this week, Stephen Lang took to his Twitter account to reveal that he has wrapped filming of the Don’t Breathe sequel in Belgrade, Serbia. Don’t Breathe 2 was directed by Rodo Sayagues, who served as the screenwriter for director Fede Alvarez on both his Evil Dead remake (Fresh at 62%) and the first Don’t Breathe (Certified Fresh at 88%).
(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)
Before 2017, Allison Williams had a few claims to fame, including being one of HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Peter Pan Live!, and anchorman Brian Williams’ daughter, but for many, she is best known as the girlfriend from Jordan Peele’s blockbuster psychological horror film Get Out (Certified Fresh at 98%). That movie was produced by Blumhouse Productions, the company behind such horror and thriller franchises as The Purge, Insidious, Sinister, Happy Death Day, and Paranormal Activity, and recent hit movies like Halloween and The Invisible Man. Allison Williams is set to reunite with Blumhouse on a technology-based horror thriller film called M3GAN whose premise is similar to the recent reboot of Child’s Play. Williams will play a “brilliant roboticist” who invents a “a life-like doll programmed to be a kid’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally.” M3GAN will be directed by Gerard Johnstone (Housebound, Certified Fresh at 95%) from a screenplay by Akela Cooper (one of the producers of Netflix’s Luke Cage), based on a story idea by James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring, Aquaman), who is also co-producing along with Jason Blum. Akela Cooper also co-wrote Wan’s upcoming horror film Malignant, which was filmed pre-COVID-19 and is now awaiting its release, probably sometime in 2021.
(Photo by Michael Tackett/©Warner Bros.)
Stage 6 Films is a Sony-based production company that since 2008 has given us movies like Don’t Breathe, Robot & Frank, Searching, and the Insidious franchise (co-produced with Blumhouse). This week, Stage 6 made a deal with Sam Raimi’s production company to acquire the rights to a supernatural horror film called Umma, with Sandra Oh attached to star (and serve as the film’s executive producer). “Umma” is the Korean word for “mother,” and the story will depict Oh’s character living on a farm in the U.S. with her daughter until their lives are disrupted by supernatural events following the arrival of her mother’s remains from Korea. Umma will be the first film produced by Sam Raimi under a new deal with Starlight Media, whose recent productions include Crazy Rich Asians and Midway. Sandra Oh currently stars on the BBC America series Killing Eve, for which she won a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and three Emmy nominations, following ten seasons on Grey’s Anatomy, for which she received five Emmy nominations. Oh’s co-stars in Umma will include Fivel Stewart, MeeWha Alana Lee, Dermot Mulroney, Odeya Rush, and Tom Yi.
(Photo by Julio Macat/©Sony Pictures Classics)
By its very nature, Justice League had a huge ensemble cast, but some of the actors were uncredited, including Billy Crudup (who played Dr. Manhattan in director Zack Snyder’s Watchmen) as Henry Allen, the father of Barry Allen, A.K.A. The Flash. We can now report that Crudup will reprise that character in The Flash (11/4/2022), the long-in-development solo movie starring Ezra Miller as the Justice League super speedster. Crudup is actually returning to The Flash after previously being attached to co-star as Harry Allen (in 2015, years before Justice League came out) but then dropping out when that version of the movie was sent back to “development hell.” He is the third male star beside Ezra Miller to be announced for The Flash, following Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck, who will be playing different versions of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The Flash will adapt the popular Flashpoint storyline from the comics, during which the Flash attempts to prevent his mother’s murder, resulting in changes to both time and reality. (The Flashpoint story was also adapted for season 3 of the the CW series The Flash ). It’s not yet known if Billy Crudup’s character will receive more screen time in next year’s HBO Max mini-series Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
(Photo by ©Paramount courtesy Everett Collection)
Superhero movies and stoner comedies are some of the most popular films for certain swaths of the moviegoing audience, so it makes a certain kind of sense when the two genres intersect. With that in mind, Andy Samberg, Craig Robinson, and Common are teaming up for a superhero stoner comedy called Super High, which New Line Cinema won the rights to this week following a “competive situation.” Super High will be set in a world where “smoking special weed gives you super powers.” The Super High screenplay will be written by Adam Mansbach, the screenwriter of the 2016 Barack Obama drama Barry (Certified Fresh at 80%), and also the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Go the F*ck to Sleep, and its sequels, You Have to F*cking Eat and F*ck, Now There are Two of You (the audiobooks of which were narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, Bryan Cranston, and Larry David).
(Photo by Keith Bernstein/Warner Bros.)
When Daniel Day-Lewis announced that he was retiring from acting in 2017 after his final film Phantom Thread, he had just recently turned 60 years old. We bring that up because Clint Eastwood just announced this week that he will be starring in the next film he will direct, and he’s currently 90 years old. Put another way, if Clint Eastwood had retired when he was 60 (in 1990), we never would have seen him in movies like Unforgiven, In the Line of Fire, Million Dollar Baby, or Gran Torino. The Warner Bros. movie that Clint Eastwood will be producing, directing, and starring in is an adventure drama called Cry Macho, which is an adaptation of a 1975 novel that has been in development as a screenplay since the early 1970s because author N. Richard Nash actually wrote the book after his initial attempt to sell it as a screenplay. Other actors who were previously attached to star in the film include Roy Scheider in the 1990s and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the early 2010s. In the 1980s, Eastwood himself was also in the running to star, but he decided to make The Dead Pool instead. Cry Macho will tell the story of a “washed-up horse trainer who schemes to make $50,000 by snatching a streetwise Mexican boy from his mother in Mexico City and delivering him to his father — and the trainer’s ex-boss — in Texas.”
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
This year’s “awards season” is obviously curtailed a bit because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Hollywood appears to be chugging right along, with various projects that sound like they might be future awards-friendly features. That theme especially applies to Every Note Played, a romantic drama to be produced by STX Films based upon the novel of the same title by Lisa Genova. Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Alita: Battle Angel) is in talks to star in Every Note Played as a famous concert pianist who has been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the same disease that afflicted Stephen Hawking), with Angelina Jolie also in negotiations to play his ex-wife, who assumes the role of his caregiver as his condition worsens. Every Note Played will be directed by Michael Sucsy, whose filmography includes Grey Gardens (Fresh at 88%) and The Vow (Rotten at 31%). In related news, the fantasy adventure Come Away, starring Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo, was picked up this week by a new distribution company called Relativity Media Studio.
(Photo by Ben Rothstein/©Marvel/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
In 2002, Milla Jovovich starred in the first live-action movie adapted from the popular Resident Evil video game franchise, and the film’s success led to five more sequels, even as the movies moved farther and farther from both the tone and the plotline of the actual Resident Evil video games. Jovovich and her husband, director Paul W.S. Anderson, have moved on from Resident Evil (taking on another video game franchise with Monster Hunter instead), but the Resident Evil franchise forges ahead. The reboot will start with an origin story that will depict the initial viral outbreak at the Umbrella Corporation in Raccoon City that then leads to the apocalyptic events of the video games (and presumably, future movies with some of the new cast). The reboot draws heavily from Resident Evil for its characters, including Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen), Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell), Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario), Leon Kennedy (Avan Jogia), Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper), and William Birkin (Neal McDonough).
(Photo by Jaap Buitendijk/©Paramount Pictures)
Marc Forster directed 2013’s zombie thriller World War Z, and the 2016 South Korean zombie horror hit Train to Busan was set on a train; combine the two together and remove the zombies, and what do you get? Probably something along the lines of the next Thomas & Friends movie, which Forster has, for some reason, signed on to direct. Successful directors frequently helm a variety of projects, true, but it’s fun to point out that Thomas the Tank Engine will be brought to us next by the guy who did Machine Gun Preacher. Anyway, Thomas & Friends will be co-produced by the toy and game company Mattel, which is also actively developing movies based on Barbie (probably starring Margot Robbie) and Barney the Dinosaur (produced by Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya).