This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as a Cliffhanger reboot, Gladiator 2, and Mortal Kombat 2.
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There are many reasons why Top Gun: Maverick (Certified Fresh at 96%) was one of last year’s biggest blockbusters, but one of them may have been the immersive thrill ride made possible by Tom Cruise and his co-stars actually filming themselves from inside jet fighter cockpits. For his next film, director Joseph Kosinski will attempt to deliver something similar, as Brad Pitt will actually drive a real Formula 1 race car in his currently untitled film about the sport. Top Gun: Maverick was eventually nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and this film might be chasing similar prestige, as one of Pitt’s co-stars will be Kerry Condon, who was nominated for an Academy Award this year for her work in The Banshees of Inisherin (Certified Fresh at 96%).
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Director Ridley Scott has a long history of attracting impressive ensembles for his films, including 2000’s Gladiator (Certified Fresh at 80%), and for that film’s sequel (11/22/2024), he’s again stacking the deck. So far, the sequel’s cast includes Denzel Washington, Barry Keoghan, Connie Nielsen, Joseph Quinn, and Paul Mescal in the lead role. The latest star to join is Pedro Pascal, who is coming off an impressive 12 months that included season 3 of The Mandalorian and HBO’s The Last of Us. Incidentally, the show that introduced Pascal to a lot of fans for the first time was Game of Thrones, in which his character Oberyn Martell meets his end in a rather gruesome gladiatorial duel.
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Taika Waititi might be best known to some for his work on the Marvel movies Thor: Ragnarok (Certified Fresh at 93%) and its sequel, but his smaller films have frequently centered on lonely kids, as in Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Certified Fresh at 97%) and Jojo Rabbit (Certified Fresh at 80%). With his Star Wars project still working its way through development and no further Marvel projects in sight, Waititi is now in talks with Sony Pictures to direct an adaptation of the Kazuo Ishiguro novel Klara and the Sun. This recent novel by the author of The Remains of the Day (which was also adapted into a film) will be set in a dystopian near-future in which robots are created to care for lonely children and families. In other words, it’s like M3GAN, but probably with a lot less murder.
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Director Jason Reitman’s most recent movie was 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Fresh at 63%), but he isn’t directing that film’s sequel (Monster House director Gil Kenan is), which is currently scheduled for release on December 20, 2023. Instead, Reitman is signed with Sony Pictures to direct a very different film about the evening of October 11, 1975 when a group of young comics and writers first broadcast the show that would become Saturday Night Live. There is no indication yet who might portray such early SNL players as Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtain, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, and showrunner Lorne Michaels.
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Decades before Neil deGrasse Tyson, the most famous astrophysicist and author who brought the Cosmos to TV audiences was Carl Sagan. Now, Andrew Garfield and Daisy Edgar-Jones are both attached to star in a biopic that is being shopped around this week at Cannes called Voyagers. Garfield will portray Carl Sagan and Edgar-Jones will play Sagan’s Cosmos TV producer and eventual wife Ann Druyan, who has provided the production with interviews about their experiences in 1977 when the film will be set, when the “Golden Record” was created to launch into space attached to NASA’s Voyager 1.
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Director Chloe Zhao’s most recent two films were the multiple Academy Award-winner Nomadland (Certified Fresh at 93%) and the ambitious Marvel project Eternals (Rotten at 47%), and for her next project, she’s going back in time for a film called Hamnet for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. Zhao’s lead actors will be rising star Paul Mescal (Aftersun), after he wraps up Ridley Scott’s Gladiator sequel, and Jessie Buckley (I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Women Talking). Hamnet will be an adaptation of the novel by Maggie O’Farrell about William Shakespeare’s wife Agnes as she deals with the death of her only son, Hamnet.
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Max Minghella is probably best known for his supporting roles in films like The Social Network and the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale, but he’s now focusing more on expanding his career as a director, following his feature film directorial debut with 2018’s Teen Spirit (Fresh at 71%). Minghella’s second film will be a psychological thriller called Shell, and his leads will be his Handmaid’s Tale co-star Elisabeth Moss, Kate Hudson (coming off last year’s mystery hit Glass Onion), and rising star Kaia Gerber. The premise of Shell is currently being kept secret.
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British director Guy Ritchie spent most of the 2010s working on big Hollywood projects like Disney’s Aladdin (Rotten at 57%) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Fresh at 68%), but more recently, he’s shifted towards independently funded projects like the recent Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (Certified Fresh at 83%), starring Jake Gyllenhaal, and the upcoming action film The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare, starring Henry Cavill and Eiza Gonzalez. For his currently untitled next action movie to be filmed in Spain, Ritchie is reuniting with Gyllenhaal, Cavill, and Gonzalez on a thriller in which Cavill and Gyllenhaal will play “extraction experts” who are tasked with planning a complicated escape route for a high level negotiator (Gonzalez).
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The year 1993 gave us several movies that have become pop culture icons like Jurassic Park, Mrs. Doubtfire, and The Fugitive, but some of the year’s highest grossing films are less remembered now, like arguably, the No. 7 film of 1993, Cliffhanger (Fresh at 67%), which earned $255 million worldwide. That film’s star, Sylvester Stallone, is now attached to reprise his role in a Cliffhanger reboot, though it’s unclear why the new film is being called a reboot instead of a sequel if Stallone is playing the same character. The new Cliffhanger will be directed by action director Ric Roman Waugh, who is probably best known for his work on Gerard Butler action flicks like Greenland (Certified Fresh at 78%) and Angel Has Fallen (Rotten at 39%).
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It’s starting to look more and more like the “Kelvin Timeline” Star Trek movies starring Chris Pine and crew might have come to an end, following the recent news that the next Star Trek movie, Star Trek: Section 31, will star Michelle Yeoh and be a spin-off of Star Trek: Discovery. One of that Kelvin Timeline era’s stars whose career has rebounded nicely as the films have ended is Karl Urban who shifted to TV, including his starring role in Amazon’s gritty superhero series The Boys (Fresh at 93%). This week, Urban is in negotiations to add another franchise to his filmography, as he is in final talks to play Johnny Cage, the movie star fighter from the popular Mortal Kombat video game franchise, in the upcoming sequel Mortal Kombat 2. The introduction of Johnny Cage had been teased in the ending credit scene of the 2021 franchise reboot Mortal Kombat (Rotten at 54%).