This week’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news (those stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next). Included in the mix this time around are stories about such titles as Captain Marvel, The Flash, Ocean’s Ocho, and new roles for Cate Blanchett, Queen Latifah, Melissa McCarthy, and Amy Schumer.
Of the Phase 3 films that Marvel unveiled back in October of 2014 , the solo movie that, until this week, we still had the biggest questions about was Captain Marvel (3/8/19). The film’s release is still nearly three years away, but Captain Marvel (aka Air Force pilot Carol Danvers) is also expected to debut in a movie before that (probably Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, scheduled for 5/4/18). The rumor mill has floated plenty of names for the role in recent months, including Emily Blunt (Sicario), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), and Katee Sackoff (Battlestar Galactica), but the eventual answer turned out to be “none of the above.” Marvel has settled upon Room star Brie Larson, who is reportedly now in some form of negotations to star in Captain Marvel. Marvel reportedly wants to also hire a female filmmaker for Captain Marvel, and various movie sites have assembled lists of potential directors. The two directors who are currently near the top of Marvel’s “wish list” are Niki Caro (Whale Rider, McFarland USA), and Jennifer Kent, who surprised moviegoers in late 2014 with her innovative horror film, The Babadook. Of course, the questions of who will star in and direct Captain Marvel might just be the first of many, as we still don’t know who the villains of the film will be (probably Kree, but who?), and what other new Marvel heroes might be introduced in Captain Marvel. As noted above, Disney and Marvel Studios have scheduled Captain Marvel for release on March 18, 2019.
The seven narrative feature films directed by Paul Thomas Anderson have given us several memorable scenes (including monologues from Boogie Nights and Magnolia), but the most iconic might be from his 2007 oil prospecting drama There Will Be Blood. Even people who never saw that movie might know “I drink your milkshake!,” or remember this Saturday Night Live sketch. There Will Be Blood was also noteworthy because it was one of only three movies Daniel Day-Lewis has starred in over the last ten years (with Nine and Lincoln); Lewis is definitely not prolific. For his first film since Lincoln in 2012, it looks like Daniel Day-Lewis might indeed reunite with director Paul Thomas Anderson to star in a drama set in the fashion industry of New York City in the 1950s. There were a lot of changes in fashion in the 1950s, but other than than the setting of New York City, no mention has been made about the specifics of the film’s plot.
Here’s an update on what Warner Bros and DC Entertainment have in the works for the next two years: Suicide Squad this year (8/5/16), and then Wonder Woman (6/2/17) and Justice League Part One (11/17/17) next year. The fourth movie in the DC pipeline is The Flash (3/16/18), which means the studio has less than two years to get the movie developed, filmed, and through the extensive post-production these sort of movies require. So, when first-time director Seth Grahame-Smith dropped out last month, it was clear that WB was going to have to find a replacement “in a flash.” Marvel has had success with hiring non-action directors, often former “independent” filmmakers, and now WB/DC is doing something similar with The Flash. Director Rick Famuyiwa (Dope, Brown Sugar, Talk to Me) has signed with Warner Bros to direct their superhero movie The Flash. All six of Famuyiwa’s previous films as director have featured African American stars in lead roles (including HBO’s recent film Confirmation), but his star in The Flash will be Ezra Miller (Trainwreck, We Need to Talk About Kevin). Miller’s The Flash will be set in the DCU, which is a separate reality from the world where TV’s The Flash is played by Grant Gustin (in case fans of the show were holding out hope that WB/DC might change their minds).
People are used to hearing about movie projects that take years (or even decades!) to come to fruition, but every once in a while, there’s a film project that moves a lot faster. One such example is the “all female” Ocean’s Eleven spinoff that we first heard about only last fall, 2015. Already we’re starting to see a regular trickle of casting news for the film, suggesting it will start filming soon. This week’s revelation is that Cate Blanchett is now in talks to join the spinoff/soft-reboot, which is also now called Ocean’s Ocho. That title suggests there will be three fewer women participating in the next heist than originally assumed (“ocho” meaning “eight” in Spanish). Although the characters are not direct analogues to those in the George Clooney trilogy, if Cate Blanchett does sign on, she would be playing the “Brad Pitt” to Sandra Bullock’s “Clooney.” As for the actress who was thought to be the “Matt Damon” of Ocean’s Ocho, it is now looking like scheduling with other films might prevent Jennifer Lawrence from signing on (her status is still being negotiated). If the eight lead roles can be finalized in time, Warner Bros is hoping to start filming Ocean’s Ocho in late 2016 or early 2017. Ocean’s Ocho will be directed by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville), who also directed The Hunger Games (which was partly why Jennifer Lawrence initially seemed like a “sure thing”).
As Hamilton continues to be a hit on Broadway (and one of the easiest bets in Tony Awards history), the play’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is one of the year’s most sought after talents in Hollywood as well. Take, for example, the notion of Miranda’s first hit musical In the Heights — about a summer day in the Dominican NYC neighborhood of Washington Heights — being adapted as a movie. It had been in development for a few years at Universal Pictures, but the studio eventually moved on, and we stopped hearing about it at that point (2011). Now, with Hamilton a big hit, the idea of an In the Heights movie has all of a sudden become much more attractive again. The Weinstein Company has come back on board the new effort to adapt In the Heights for the big screen. Although Lin-Manuel Miranda was attached to the movie version back in the 2000s, it’s unclear if he will still star in this adaptation or if his involvement will just be as producer (or if he will also direct, etc.). That wasn’t the only movie news involving Miranda, however, as he is also attached to the sequel that we now know will be Mary Poppins Returns. That sequel, in which Emily Blunt will take over as the titular nanny, is scheduled by Walt Disney Pictures for release on December 25, 2018. Mary Poppins Returns will be directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods), and Lin-Manuel Miranda will play a new character, a streetlamp lighter in the era (London in 1930) when electric light is making gas lights less common.
It was less than a year ago that Amy Schumer starred in her first movie, Trainwreck, but the young comedian/TV/movie star is already developing a slate of upcoming films, including a comedy in which Goldie Hawn will star as a her mother in her first movie since 2002. The next movie we can add to Schumer’s potential filmography asks the question, Who Invited Her? Schumer will produce and star in the comedy as “a woman who insists on attending her best guy friend’s bachelor party weekend.” Reese Witherspoon is also producing Who Invited Her? through her Pacific Standard production company. There is not yet a director attached, but Universal Pictures is expected to move quickly on this film. Amy Schumer’s untitled movie with Goldie Hawn is currently scheduled for May 12, 2017.
Amy Schumer wasn’t the only female comedian/actress to land a big movie deal this week. Melissa McCarthy has now signed with Fox Searchlight to star in their adaptation of the memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee Israel, who died in December, 2014 at the age of 75. Israel was a magazine journalist and biographer who became notorious when she was arrested for committing over 400 acts of forgery. Melissa McCarthy is replacing Julianne Moore, who was previously attached to star, but dropped out due to “creative differences.” Can You Ever Forgive Me? will be directed by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), working from a script by Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said, Please Give), who had previously been attached to direct.
New projects with leading roles for actresses just keep coming! This week, Universal Pictures announced that Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith are now both finalizing talks to star in a road trip comedy called Girl Trip. They join the already cast Regina Hall as 3/4 of a foursome of friends who set out on “a trip to New Orleans during the yearly Essence Festival… The group of women rekindle their friendship, get wild on the dance floor (and a little drunk), find romance and even get into a brawl.” The pair also similarly starred together in F. Gary Gray’s 1996 heist film Set it Off as two members of a female foursome. Girl Trip will be directed by Malcolm Lee (a frequent collaborator with Regina Hall), whose filmography includes The Best Man (and its sequels), Undercover Brother, and the recent sequel Barbershop: The Next Cut. Universal Pictures has scheduled Girl Trip for release on July 21, 2017.
A quick look at upcoming movie release dates reveals that DreamWorks Animation has a film called Larrikins scheduled for February 16, 2018. If you’re unfamiliar with Australian slang, that title doesn’t tell you a whole lot. Come 2018, however, the term might be a lot more popular, because DreamWorks Animation has announced an impressive cast of Australian stars to provide the animated film its voices. Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad) had already been announced, and she is now being joined by Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn, and Jacki Weaver (the last two of whom were both in Animal Kingdom). Larrikins will be an animated musical about “a desert-dwelling marsupial known as a bilby who has lived under a rock his entire life before he is kicked out by his parents and told to get a life,” which leads the bilby to set off on a road trip across the Australian Outback.
Film reviews are obviously not the only reason Hollywood studios make movies (box office returns are, one would think). Still, we hope for every movie to be “great,” so we’re always concerned about one of the most reliable genre trends when it comes to Tomatometer scores, namely video game adapations. The highest Tomatometer score any video game adaptation has ever received was the 44 percent for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, and even that was 16 percent shy of being “Fresh.” Of course, Tomatometer scores don’t always mean a whole lot to Hollywood, and the recent box office success of Angry Birds suggests that (sometimes) they don’t discourage audiences, either. The latest best-selling videogame to be put into development as a film project is Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s The Division. That game is an online “open world” shooter in which the player is tasked with running missions around New York City, attempting to prevent a nefarious plot involving a deadly virus. Jake Gyllenhaal is already attached to produce and star in The Division, despite the failure he and Disney had when they last attempted a video game adaptation with 2010’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Ubisoft is currently shopping The Division around to studios, and the film does not yet have a director or screenwriter attached.