This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Blue Beetle, The Running Man, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
(Photo by Clay Enos/©Warner Bros. Pictures)
This week was always going to be a big one for DC Comics, particularly Superman, because Tuesday night was when The CW debuted their new series Superman & Lois, which is currently rated Fresh at 85%, and HBO Max announced that Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which prominently features the character, will debut online on March 18, 2021. The biggest Superman reveal of the week, however, is that J.J. Abrams will produce a Superman reboot to be adapted by award-winning novelist and Black Panther comic book writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. Speaking about his new assignment, Coates remarked, “I look forward to meaningfully adding to the legacy of America’s most iconic mythic hero.” As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, this reboot is “being set up as a Black Superman story” that has roots in previous efforts, including one with Michael B. Jordan in 2019. No director has been announced yet, and the search for the new Kal-El has not yet begun (so someone like Jordan could still be in the running). In related news, Rachel Zegler, who will play Maria in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of West Side Story, has joined the cast of the DC Comics sequel Shazam: Fury of the Gods (6/2/2023) in a secret role.
(Photo by ©TriStar Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
Whether they were there for it as it happened (like this writer) or they discovered the era later, fans of 1980s movies likely see the decade as a bounty of riches. Even the movies that weren’t your Ghostbusters, your Back to the Futures, or your Goonies can still be someone’s beloved gems. Consider, for example, the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger science fiction film The Running Man (Fresh at 64%), based on a novel written by Stephen King (under his pseudonym Richard Bachman). It’s not exactly a direct adaptation of the book (mostly because the main character is supposed to be an “everyman,” and there’s no world where 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger would be considered an “everyman”), but it has a legion of fans. Now, it sounds like director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) agrees that The Running Man deserves another go, because he is attached to do exactly that with an adaptation for Paramount Pictures that is expected to be “more faithful to the source material.” No cast has been announced yet. The Running Man was set in the year 2025, so pretty soon, it’ll be “time to start running!”
(Photo by DC Comics)
Over the past several years, both Warner Bros./DC Comics and their competition at Marvel Studios have released movies that broke new ground in the interests of wider representation, both in the audience and on screen. For example, later this year, Marvel will be releasing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which aims to do for an Asian cast what Black Panther (Certified Fresh at 96%) did for a mostly Black cast. This week, WB/DC made a similar move towards a film with a Latino lead superhero with Blue Beetle, based on the second Blue Beetle, whose alter ego is Mexican American teenager Jaime Reyes. Warner Bros. has hired director Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings, Certified Fresh at 81%) to develop the Blue Beetle movie with screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (Miss Bala). Reyes’ Blue Beetle will be DC’s first Latino superhero to headline a film.
(Photo by Jaap Buitendijk/©Paramount)
Christian Bale is now attached to reunite for a third film with director Scott Cooper after previously working with him on Out of the Furnace (Rotten at 54%) and Hostiles (Fresh at 71%). The film will be The Pale Blue Eye, based on the novel by Louis Bayard about a series of murders that take place at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, with Bale playing a veteran detective investigating the murders, aided by “a detail-oriented young cadet who will later become a world famous author, Edgar Allan Poe.” Scott Cooper’s latest film, the horror drama Antlers (10/29/2021) is scheduled to be released on October 29, 2021 after being delayed in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
Crime novelist Donald E. Westlake died in 2008, leaving behind a film legacy which includes Point Blank (Fresh at 92%), The Stepfather (Fresh at 88%), and The Grifters (Certified Fresh at 91%). Director Duke Johnson, who made his feature film debut alongside Charlie Kaufman with the intense animated drama Anomalisa (Certified Fresh at 92%), is now attached to direct The Actor, based on Donald E. Westlake’s novel Memory. Ryan Gosling is also now attached to star in the film as the title character, a New York City actor in the 1950s who is beaten and left for dead in a small town in Ohio. Before Gosling signed on, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Pietro from Avengers: Age of Ultron) was also considering joining the project.
(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)
Julia Roberts did not return for Ocean’s Thirteen (Fresh at 69%) after co-starring in the first two films, but she and George Clooney did reunite for a third film together in 2016, namely Jodie Foster’s Money Monster (Rotten at 58%). We can now report that Roberts and Clooney are now attached to star in a fourth film together, which will be a romantic comedy for Universal Pictures and Working Title called Ticket to Paradise. Ol Parker (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) will direct the comedy about ” a divorced couple who journey to Bali to stop their daughter from getting hitched… to stop their daughter from making the same mistake they think they made 25 years ago.” The screenplay is being written by Ted Melfi (St. Vincent; cowriter of Hidden Figures).
(Photo by Sony Pictures Entertainment)
We should start this particular story by noting that April 1st was not in this week (and also that “April Fool’s Day movie joke posts” sort of became Internet uncool about ten years ago, anyway). Having said that, it’s not like Hollywood studios make a habit of trolling their fans (though they could probably get away with it), so Sony Pictures probably gets a pass this week for their little bit of fun. See, what happened was that the three young stars of the next Spider-Man movie (12/17/2021) each posted a still from the film, along with what they claimed was the movie’s title. Tom Holland’s title was Spider-Man: Phone Home (as in the catchphrase from this movie), Jacob Batalon’s title was Spider-Man: Home Wrecker, and Zendaya’s title was Spider-Man: Home Slice. Except, of course, that those were all fake and the title will actually be Spider-Man: No Way Home, which suggests a story that follows the cliffhanger at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home. As for his future as Spider-Man, Holland also confirmed this week that Spider-Man: No Way Home is the last film for his (current) Marvel Studios contract, but “if they want me back, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.”
(Photo by ©Sony Pictures Entertainment)
South African genre director Neill Blomkamp experience a hot streak of popularity following his 2009 “aliens living among us” sci-fi action film District 9 (Certified Fresh at 90%), including a period when he almost got to make one of the Alien movies. Six years after his third film, Chappie (Rotten at 32%), Blomkamp now appears to be returning to the setting of District 9 (or, at least, one district over from it) with the sequel District 10, which Blomkamp will direct and is currently co-writing. Blomkamp’s writing partners on District 10 are Sharlto Copley (his District 9 star) and Terry Tatchell. Copley isn’t yet confirmed to be starring in District 10, but considering where his character landed at the end of District 9, it’s unclear how large a part he could have even if he did return.
(Photo by A24)
Zach Braff may always be best known for his lead role on the medical comedy TV series Scrubs, but he’s also developed a career as a director, starting in 2004 with Garden State (Certified Fresh at 86%) and most recently including the 2017 remake of Going in Style (Rotten at 47%). For his next film, Braff has attracted two impressive stars in both Florence Pugh (Midsommar, Black Widow) and Morgan Freeman (one of Braff’s Going in Style stars). Pugh will star in A Good Person, which Zach Braff is directing and writing, as a woman whose life falls apart after a fatal accident who forms an unlikely relationship with the older man (Morgan Freeman) who would have been her father-in-law. Pugh will also soon star in Olivia Wilde’s second film as director, Don’t Worry, Darling.
(Photo by Rafy/©Screen Gems courtesy Everett Collection)
Fantasy and science fiction author George R.R. Martin is very much an old school writer whose legacy has now arguably been claimed by a series that is, relatively speaking, just a teensy-tiny percentage of everything he’s written. Specifically, we’re talking about his (yet unfinished) A Song of Ice and Fire series, which was adapted for HBO as Game of Thrones (Fresh at 89%) and spawned the upcoming prequel series House of the Dragon. One of the many other things Martin has written is the short story In the Lost Lands, a sword-and-sorcery fantasy, which is now going to be adapted by director Paul W.S. Anderson (the Resident Evil franchise) with his wife (and Resident Evil star) Milla Jovovich attached. Jovovich will star as “a dangerous and feared sorceress who is hired by a desperate queen” who teams up with a drifter played by Dave Bautista. Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich also recently teamed up on another video game adaptation, Monster Hunter (Rotten at 46%), which opened back in December.