This Week’s Ketchup brings you seven headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Final Destination 6 and the sequel to Spider-Man: Far from Home.
Ever since director Bong Joon-ho’s surprising victories for Parasite at the Academy Awards last month, discussions about what he might direct next have been frequent online. It wasn’t until this week, however, that we got an idea directly from Bong himself, and the surprising answer is, “I would love to make a musical.” Bong continued, “Characters would begin singing, then think, ‘Oh my God, **** this, this is too cheesy,’ and stop suddenly. There are amazing musical films, like Singin’ in the Rain. But when I watch them, I feel very embarrassed and start blushing. So it would have to be… different.” Moving from Parasite to a deconstructed musical wouldn’t be the first time Bong Joon-ho has switched genre gears drastically, as his filmography has also included a monster movie (The Host), post-apocalyptic science fiction (Snowpiercer), and most recently before Parasite, an action adventure about a genetically modified pig (Okja).
The COVID-19 crisis is obviously causing many film productions to be delayed, but for now, the film industry appears to be sticking to existing plans further out. Tom Holland, for example, is apparently still planning to start filming of his third solo movie as Spider-Man in July. Although we don’t yet have an idea of who the villain(s) might be (J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson might be one obvious answer), Holland did describe the third film as “absolutely insane,” and that Zendaya will be returning as MJ. The movie release schedule is very much still in flux, but Sony Pictures currently has the next Spider-Man scheduled for July 16, 2021.
Although some directors stay rather narrowly within their own personal wheelhouses, others seem quite comfortable with experimenting with a variety of different genres throughout their careers. One example is David Gordon Green, who started with the indie dramas George Washington and All the Real Girls, which then led to the comedies Pineapple Express and Your Highness, and is currently halfway through the horror trilogy of Halloween (Certified Fresh at 79%), Halloween Kills (10/16/2020), and Halloween Ends (10/15/2021). Green will reportedly film Halloween Ends late this year (depending on possible delays), and then move on to an untitled drama about the Cambridge Analytica data mining scandal. Paul Bettany, who later this year will star in the Disney+ series WandaVision, is reportedly now set to star in the project as the company’s CEO Alexander Nix. The lead character of Christopher Wylie is still yet to be cast.
Many successful actors eventually expand into directing their own films, but Vin Diesel is actually a rare example of a movie star who actually directed a feature film before the roles that made him famous. In 1997, Diesel directed the indie drama Strays, which predates Pitch Black by three years and The Iron Giant by two. This week, while promoting Bloodshot (Rotten at 30%), Diesel talked about a recent conversation he had with Steven Spielberg, who reportedly said to Diesel, “‘When I wrote the role for you in Saving Private Ryan, I was obviously employing the actor, but I was also secretly championing the director in you, and you have not directed enough. That is a crime of cinema and you must get back in the directing chair.’ I haven’t directed enough.” Vin Diesel didn’t give any indication about what sort of movie he might consider directing next.
In addition to all of the movies that were recently delayed from release, it’s also worth remembering all of the films that were already in release limbo before the coronavirus outbreak even started. Jamie Foxx made his directorial debut with the basketball comedy All-Star Weekend, which was filmed in late 2018, but going into 2020, All-Star Weekend had not yet secured a distributor in the USA. While the world still waits on his first film, Foxx is now gearing up for his second film as director, which we learned this week will be a faith-based drama called When We Pray. It’s unclear if Foxx will also co-star in the film, which will be about “two brothers who become pastors at different churches in the same community.” The budget of When We Pray is expected to be less than $5 million.
In addition to being St. Patrick’s Day, this Tuesday was sort of dominated by news about the COVID-19 crisis, so even the most avid fans of the Final Destination franchise may have not noticed that the original Final Destination (Rotten at 34%) reached its 20th anniversary on that day. It has also been almost nine years since 2011 release of Final Destination 5 (Fresh at 62%), but screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan are now developing a sixth Final Destination project. Producer Craig Perry revealed this week that their current plan for the next Final Destination is “having it take place in the world of first responders: EMTs, firemen and police… These people deal with death on the front lines every day, and make choices that can cause people to live or die.” Most of the earlier films centered around high school or college students, so it sounds like Final Destination 6 might feature older characters.
For a few years now since Justice League (Rotten at 40%) was released in 2017, there has been a #ReleasetheSnyderCut movement asking for Warner Bros. to release the film as it would have been before Joss Whedon filmed reshoots. With that as context, this Tuesday, actor and comedian Seth Rogen live-Tweeted his experience watching Cats while – ahem – under the influence, at the end of which he retweeted screenwriter Jack Waz, who had himself responded to another Cats-related tweet by Ben Mekler by saying that “a VFX producer friend of a friend was hired in November… [whose] entire job was to remove CGI buttholes that had been inserted a few months before. Which means that, somewhere out there, there exists a butthole cut of Cats.” And this is how ridiculous online movements get started. Within hours, #ReleasetheButtholeCut was trending on Twitter, which led Universal Pictures to respond thusly, “Hopefully that will add to the magic and mythical nature of the cinematic treasure.” Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), Mekler received an email the next morning from an unidentified VFX artist who explained that there were never any buttholes to begin with, but that “there were a dozen or so shots where the skin and fur sim was groomed or just folded in a way that really REALLY looked like very furry lady genitals and buttholes by accident,” and that artists were charged with painting them out. Mekler then put out an open invitation to people who worked on Cats to DM him their best stories, so we may still get a juicy piece of Cats lore out of this after all.