This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Barbie, Blue Beetle, Fast 10, and Greyhound 2.
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The Fast and the Furious franchise may have ostensibly started as racing movies that became heist and caper flicks, but the growing cast increasingly has ties to superhero movies. These franchise connections include Guardians of the Galaxy (Vin Diesel voices Groot), Hancock (Charlize Theron), The Suicide Squad (John Cena), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), and the upcoming Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (Helen Mirren). It’s a trend that the upcoming tenth movie (variably referred to as either Fast 10 or Fast and Furious 10) is thus far tripling down on, as all three new cast members are from superhero movies. It started off with Jason Momoa (Aquaman), continued with Daniela Melchior (Ratcatcher II from The Suicide Squad), and now, the third new cast member is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most powerful heroes. Vin Diesel took to Instagram this week to welcome Captain Marvel star Brie Larson “to the family.” The timing appears to have worked out really well, as Larson just recently wrapped filming of The Marvels (2/17/2023), the movie that will unite Carol Danvers with Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) from WandaVision and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) from the upcoming Disney+ series Ms. Marvel. The nature of Larson’s role in Fast 10 is not yet known, except that Vin Disel said of her, “you have no idea how timeless and amazing she will be in our mythology. Beyond her beauty, her intellect… her Oscar, haha is this profound soul who will add something you might not have expected but yearned for.” Brie Larson’s character will probably also drive very fast cars.
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Mattel and Warner Bros. may have been trying to get a live-action Barbie movie made for over ten years now, but it became very clear this week that the film is finally really happening, because there were four different casting announcements all within a few days. First up was funnyman Will Ferrell, who reportedly will play the boss of a toy company which may be the film’s fictional stand-in for Mattel, the real company behind Barbie. The second reveal came from People Weekly, a magazine that isn’t often a source for casting scoops, which broke the news that Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure) and Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad) had also joined the cast. They were soon followed by the addition of rising star actress Hari Nef, who recently had a supporting role as Rabbi Jen in HBO’s And Just Like That. Finally, those four were joined by another ten cast members, which included Kingsley Ben-Adir (who was also recently cast in the Bob Marley biopic) and Emerald Fennell (writer-director of Promising Young Woman). These 14 new cast members are joining Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, along with America Ferrera, Simu Liu, Kate McKinnon, Alexandra Shipp, and others. Filming of Barbie is currently underway under the direction of Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Little Women), working from a screenplay she co-wrote with partner and frequent collaborator Noah Baumbach.
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The Cannes Film Festival in France is arguably the most prestigious of them all, taking place in mid-May between the early-year festivals at Sundance and Berlin and the fall festivals in Toronto and Venice. The full lineup for the 2022 Cannes Film Festival was unveiled this week, and the featured lineup includes several acclaimed directors of note. To kick things off, the opening film will be a zombie comedy called Z from Academy Award-winner Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), and the out-of-competition slots include Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis (6/24/2022), the Tom Cruise sequel Top Gun: Maverick (5/27/2022), and Three Thousand Years of Longing from Mad Max: Fury Road (Certified Fresh at 97%) director George Miller. The films in competition from acclaimed directors include Armageddon Time from James Gray (Ad Astra), Crimes of the Future from David Cronenberg (The Fly), Decision to Leave from Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden), and Showing Up from Kelly Reichardt (First Cow). One of the directors who just last week made the news because of Cannes speculation but didn’t end up being represented in the Cannes lineup was David Lynch.
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Regular readers of movie development news understand that talent is frequently announced before their long contract talks are complete. Every once in a while, however, those talks fall apart (for any number of reasons), and then another actor has to be cast. That happened twice this week. Just two weeks ago, the news broke that Sharon Stone was in talks to play the (new) villain Victoria Kord in the DC Comics movie Blue Beetle. As it turns out, the actress who will actually play that villain will be Susan Sarandon. It’s not yet known how “Victoria Kord” might connect to Ted Kord — in the comics, he was the second Blue Beetle before Jaime Reyes (played in the upcoming film by Xolo Mariduena) took on the persona. Another shakeup happened this week on the Channing Tatum sequel Magic Mike’s Last Dance, as Thandiwe Newton had to step away for “family matters,” and Salma Hayek took over her role instead.
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The 94th Academy Awards happened almost three weeks ago, but it would seem the “Slapgate” controversy dominated the post-ceremony chatter so much that the usual casting windfalls are happening a little later than usual. One of the year’s big winners was relative newcomer Ariana DeBose, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her version of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story (Certified Fresh at 91%), winning for the same role as Rita Moreno did for the 1961 film. DeBose is now teaming up with Sony’s Screen Gems division to produce and star in a romantic comedy called Two and Only written by Latina and LGBTQ+ screenwriter Jen Rivas-DeLoose, who also worked on Selena: The Series. The exact premise of Two and Only hasn’t been revealed yet, except that it’s being compared to “My Best Friend’s Wedding with a bisexual/Latinx POV,” referencing the 1993 rom-com starring Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, and Rupert Everett. Ariana DuBose was also recently cast as the romantic interest and villain Calypso in next year’s Marvel Comics/Sony movie Kraven the Hunter (1/13/2023), starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Russell Crowe.
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There’s an old cliché that when it comes to awards, “it’s an honor just to be nominated.” Although it’s usually the winners of the acting awards who land some of the biggest roles in the weeks after the Oscars, sometimes the nominees score new roles too. This year, Kristen Stewart was nominated for Best Actress for her depiction of Princess Diana in Stewart (Certified Fresh at 83%), though she eventually lost to Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Fresh at 69%). Stewart’s first new project since then is a romantic thriller for A24 called Love Lies Bleeding, which will be directed by Rose Glass (Saint Maud). The premise of Love Lies Bleeding is currently being kept under wraps, except that it will depict “a romance fueled by ego, desire, and the American Dream.”
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Despite a career with dozens of hit movies stretching across several decades, Tom Hanks has for the most part avoided sequels, with the rare exceptions being the Toy Story movies and the three films he starred in as Robert Langdon (The Da Vinci Code, et al). And while there are films on his long résumé that might seem obviously sequel-friendly, the one he just signed up for is a rather unlikely choice. Tom Hanks and his Playtone producing partner Gary Goetzman (the partial inspiration for Licorice Pizza, incidentally) have struck a new deal with Apple TV+ that includes a sequel to the World War II movie Greyhound (Certified Fresh at 78%). The deal also includes the WWII mini-series Masters of the Air, which is the third in a series that previously included Band of Brothers (Fresh at 97%) and The Pacific (Fresh at 91%). It’s not yet known what the Greyound sequel might involve, but the first film was based upon a book by author C.S. Forester. who also wrote the inspiration for The African Queen (Certified Fresh at 96%) and other wartime naval novels.
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Chuck Klosterman is a columnist and humorist whose books include titles like Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto and Fargo Rock City. Sony is currently producing a feature film adaptation of his novel Downtown Owl, which got its start at the Sundance Institute’s Creative Producing Summit and Talent Forum. Set in a small town in North Dakota in 1983, Downtown Owl will star and be co-directed by Lily Rabe, along with a cast that includes Ed Harris, Vanessa Hudgens, and Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians).
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In early 2019, Walt Disney Pictures finalized their acquisition of the film and TV properties of the former 20th Century Fox studio and Fox Searchlight Pictures (both of which now have new names minus the “Fox”). Much of the attention from fans at the time was about the possibilities of Fox’s Marvel titles (X-Men, Deadpool, Fantastic Four) being able to join the MCU, but there were other less talked about consequences of the merger. One of them was that Disney quietly shelved an animated movie called Nimona, baseed on the graphic novel by author Noelle Stevenson. This week, the movie, which will feature a voice cast that includes Chloe Grace Moretz and Riz Ahmed, was saved by Netflix, which is stepping in to finish the film and debut it sometime next year.
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After delivering Zack Snyder’s Justice League (Fresh at 71%) for HBO Max and his zombie action movie Army of the Dead (Fresh at 67%) for Netflix, Zack Snyder is working once again with the latter on something that sounds like it might be his most ambitious original project ever, a space opera (a la Star Wars) called Rebel Moon. The latest additions to the cast include Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) and Carey Stoll (Ant-Man), with Elwes playing a character described as the “King of the Galactic Empire.” Sofia Boutella (The Mummy) has the lead role as a young woman who must seek out warriors from neighboring planets to help a peaceful colony that is threatened by the armies of a tyrant. Other Rebel Moon cast members include Michiel Huisman, Alfonso Herrera, Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, and Rupert Friend.