This week’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news (the stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next), covering such titles as Coming 2 America, The Eternals, Planet of the Apes, and Venom 2.
Academy Award winning director and producer Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth) has been busy this week, making the rounds to support the horror anthology adaptation, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Certified Fresh at 81%). Coincidentally, del Toro also made the news repeatedly this week because he also happens to be casting up his remake of the 1947 carnival thriller Nightmare Alley (Fresh at 100%). Seven-time Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper has been attached for a while to play the role originally played by Tyrone Power for a while now, and this week, more nominees and winners started talks for Nightmare Alley. Cate Blanchett, who’s a seven-time Academy Award nominee herself and a two-time winner (for Blue Jasmine and The Aviator), is now in talks for a key supporting role. As for the female lead role of the psychiatrist and hypnotist who teams up with Cooper’s carnival con man, it’s looking like that will go to Toni Collette, who received an Academy Award nomination for The Sixth Sense. Guillermo del Toro is also likely to recruit his Hellboy star Ron Perlman, as well as Richard Jenkins, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Shape of Water. Production is scheduled to start in early 2020 on Nightmare Alley, which Guillermo del Toro also said this week will be rated R.
Thor: Ragnarok director and costar Taika Waititi has been scoring a lot of headlines in the last month or so with both the news from Marvel about Thor: Love and Thunder (11/5/2021) and the first trailer for Jojo Rabbit, in which Waititi plays an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler. Production of Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled to start next March, so one might have expected it to be Waititi’s next movie after Jojo Rabbit, but this week, we learned that he is actually going to film another movie this fall as well. That movie will be Next Goal Wins, a narrative adaptation of the 2014 documentary of the same title about a Dutch soccer coach’s attempts to turn around American Samoa’s reputation as one of the world’s weakest teams in an attempt to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. So, Taika Waititi is basically making the Samoan soccer equivalent of Cool Runnings. It’s not yet known if he will also appear in the film.
It was just last week that The Weekly Ketchup reported that Andy Serkis was among the directors in the running for the sequel to Venom, based on the popular Marvel Comics anti-hero. Given that Sony Pictures has scheduled Venom 2 for release next year (10/2/2020), it probably shouldn’t be surprising that the studio indeed moved quickly this week to lock in Andy Serkis as the sequel’s director. Serkis has also previously co-starred as the villain Klaw (spelled Klaue in the movies) in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Black Panther, and it’s not yet known whether he will also be taking a role in Venom 2. Serkis made his directorial debut in 2017 with Breathe, and also directed last year’s Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. Although Kelly Marcel (Fifty Shades of Grey) is currently credited as the writer of the Venom sequel, Serkis was quoted this week as saying that the film’s star, Tom Hardy, “is very involved with the writing with Kelly Marcel of the new story.” As revealed by the mid-credits bumper in Venom, Woody Harrelson is expected to be the big bad in Venom 2 as the symbiote-powered serial killer Carnage.
As Disney was putting the finishing touches on acquiring the 20th Century Fox film properties, the focus from most writers (and rightly so, arguably) was on properties like Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Avatar, but the Fox catalog also includes Alien, Die Hard, Ice Age, and Kingsman. One of the other properties that Fox has had success with since 2011 was the rebooted Planet of the Apes, which as a trilogy had a domestic tally of $532 million (and a worldwide total of over $1.68 billion). Given those numbers, this week’s news is probably a non-story, but it’s still interesting. While talking about Disney’s future plans for their Fox properties this week, CEO Bob Iger for the first time specifically mentioned Planet of the Apes as a priority franchise for the studio. Unfortunately, this news also needs to be phrased in correlation to the rest of Fox’s development slate, which is reportedly being “flushed” to focus on bigger, higher profile titles and less on mid-range movies like this week’s The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Now that Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is in theaters, and his work on Cats is complete, Idris Elba is ready for his next film. Until this week, that was expected to be The Suicide Squad, which starts filming in September, but instead, Elba is also squeezing in a smaller film in this summer. That movie is called Concrete Cowboys, and it will tell the true story of the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club, a “non-profit organization devoted to inner-city horsemanship in north Philadelphia.” Idris Elba’s estranged son in Concrete Cowboys will be played by Caleb McLaughlin, who is currently best known for his role as Lucas Sinclair in Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things. Concrete Cowboys was also the title of a late 1970s TV show starring Jerry Reed, but the two are otherwise unrelated. Elba and McLaughlin will also be joined in Concrete Cowboys by Byron Bowers (The Chi), Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us), and Lorraine Toussaint (Selma).
We’ve known for a while that Paramount Pictures had scheduled the Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall sequel Coming 2 America for December 18, 2020 (up against the video game adaptation Uncharted and the remakes of Dune and West Side Story), but it wasn’t until this week that casting news really ramped up. The stars returning from the original 1988 comedy include James Earl Jones, John Amos reprising his role as the owner of the Scottish-themed “McDowell’s” fast food restaurant, and Louie Anderson as a McDowell’s employee. The new cast members will include Wesley Snipes as General Izzi, the military dictator of a neighboring nation, Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones, Kiki Layne as Prince Akeem’s American daughter, and rapper Rick Ross.
Ever since it was first announced last year, we’ve known that the upcoming Disney+ streaming service would be the home for some of Disney’s live action remakes, including Lady and the Tramp and The Sword in the Stone. This week, we learned that Disney+ will also be the destination for several remakes of some of the 20th Century Fox properties that Disney acquired earlier this year. Although there may be (and probably will be) others, the four titles specifically mentioned were Home Alone, Cheaper by the Dozen, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Night at the Museum. With the possible exception of Night at the Museum, these titles fit right in with the theme of Disney focusing their theatrical efforts on “big” movies. We already got some news about the Home Alone remake this week with the revelation that Disney reportedly hopes to cast Melissa McCarthy as Kevin’s mom. The Disney+ streaming app will launch on November 12, 2019.
Because the development process can sometimes take several years, the reality is that there are many film projects that never get made at all. For example, back in 2002, we first heard about plans for a remake of the 1974 crime comedy Uptown Saturday Night, which originally featured the trio of Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, and Sidney Poitier. At that point, Will Smith had been attached to both produce and star in the remake, but in the 17 years since, Smith dropped out (he’s still one of the remake’s producers). In the last week, we heard first that Uptown Saturday Night will be directed by Rick Famuyiwa (Dope, Brown Sugar), and then that it is now Kevin Hart who is attached to star. It’s not yet known who might join Hart in the remake, but an easy guess might be one of Hart’s frequent costars, like maybe Ice Cube or Dwayne Johnson.
If you’re from outside a certain specific target demographic, it’s possible that you don’t remember (or have never even heard of) the recent 2019 romantic drama After (Rotten at 18%). If that is where you fall, you might also be surprised to discover that After earned nearly $70 million from a budget of just $14 million. Having said that, only $12 million of that was earned domestically, suggesting that After was more successful overseas. Regardless, the film apparently did well enough for its producers to move forward with plans for a sequel called After We Collided, based on another novel in the YA series by author Anna Todd. Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin are both expected to return for the sequel, which will be directed by Roger Kumble (Cruel Intentions) when it starts filming later this month.