Today’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news, covering new roles for Idris Elba, Tom Hanks, and Michael B. Jordan.
Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is an excellent example of why news about film development can be so interesting to follow. Until last summer, the $863 million global take for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 seemed to make the third installment a shoo-in for Marvel, with many speculating it would take a scheduled May 1, 2020 release date. That, however, went all topsy-turvy in July when Disney fired director James Gunn over controversial Twitter jokes from before he was first hired for Guardians of the Galaxy. Since then, Gunn has switched teams, landing the job for Warner Bros./DC Comics’ reboot of Suicide Squad for August 6, 2021. The Guardians cast were supportive of Gunn, with Dave Bautista (Drax) the most vocal about at least keeping Gunn’s screenplay. This week, Chris Pratt (Star-Lord) spoke up on the subject, confirming that Marvel and Disney are still moving forward with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 using Gunn’s screenplay. Marvel now just has to find a new director, but one option, fan favorite Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), has already said he won’t take the job, saying, “it feels kind of awkward.” Other projects Marvel is developing for 2020 and beyond include Black Panther 2, Black Widow, Doctor Strange 2, The Eternals, and Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu.
Although one of his most famous movies (Shaun of the Dead, Certified Fresh at 92%) was a zombie movie, it was also a comedy, so writer/director Edgar Wright has never technically made a true horror film. Although it’s sometimes being labeled as a thriller (or horror-thriller), that may be changing with Wright’s next film, which we learned this week is called Last Night in Soho. We don’t yet know what the London-set film, written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns (TV’s Penny Dreadful), is actually about, but we now know who will play the female lead (or one of the leads). That job is going to British-Argentine actress Anya Taylor-Joy, who first came to fame in The Witch and subsequently worked twice with M. Night Shymalan in the recent thrillers Split and Glass. Taylor-Joy also has the X-Men spinoff The New Mutants, in which she stars as popular character Magik, coming soon (8/2/2019).
The films of director Paul Greengrass frequently earn Certified Fresh Tomatometer scores, but you have to go to #4 on his box office results to find a movie without the word “Bourne” in the title. That movie, which earned $218 million globally from a budget of $55 million, was 2013’s Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks. For his next film, Greengrass is developing an adaptation of the award-winning 2016 novel News of the World, and he is now talking to Tom Hanks about reuniting for the film as their second project together. Paulette Jiles’ novel tells the story of a former Civil War officer in 1870 who travels across Texas reading newspaper stories to illiterate children, and who is then asked to escort a captured Native American child to her relatives. Hanks recently wrapped his role as Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, is preparing for the science fiction movie BIOS, and also has Toy Story 4 (6/21/2019) and Greyhound (5/8/2020) coming soon.
A few weeks ago, we reported that Paramount Pictures, director Christopher McQuarrie, and star Tom Cruise were moving forward with plans to produce Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 “back to back” for release in 2021 and 2022. We now have a better idea of what Paramount is aiming for (and confirmation that they’re serious about this), as the two sequels are scheduled for July 23, 2021 and August 5, 2022, respectively. Studios do typically schedule their biggest films far in advance, but right now, Mission: Impossible 7 is relatively unchallenged in 2021, with Indiana Jones 5 scheduled for two weeks earlier and The Suicide Squad scheduled two weeks later. The closest competition for Mission: Impossible 8 right now is an untitled Marvel Studios project on July 29, 2022. There are no details yet as to where the Mission: Impossible franchise might go after 2022, but Tom Cruise will turn 60 that year, so Mission: Impossible 8 might be his last opportunity to jump out of airplaines and hang from the sides of skyscrapers.
Last week, we got our first good glimpse of the spinoff Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (8/2/2019), showing off Idris Elba as the superpowered “bad guy” Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham will be taking on. We may never get to see Elba take over as James Bond, but new roles for him continue to roll in. Elba is now in talks with MGM to star in the supernatural/science fiction underwater thriller Deeper, to be directed by Baltasar Kormákur (Adrift, Everest, 2 Guns), whose regular delivery of Fresh movies is balanced here by a screenplay by Max Landis, whose Tomatometer looks quite different by comparison. In Deeper, Elba will play a “disgraced astronaut… who is on a deep-sea dive exploring a newly discovered trench but soon finds himself confronted by a sinister and dangerous force.” Gal Gadot and Bradley Cooper (presumably in Elba’s role) were previously attached to star in Deeper, but it’s not yet known if Gadot is still on board or if another actress will be cast in her role.
Now that Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is a TV series on Amazon, it looks like Paramount’s long obsession with trying to reboot the character as a movie franchise is finally over (for now). Instead, the studio is turning toward another Tom Clancy character, John Clark, starting with an adaptation of Clancy’s novel Without Remorse. Black Panther and Creed star Michael B. Jordan will star in Without Remorse as John Clark, taking over previous portrayals by Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber. Paramount has also scheduled Without Remorse for release on September 18, 2020 (up against the animated sequel The Croods 2). Michael B. Jordan’s production company is also now developing an adaptation of the African fantasy novel Black Leopard Red Wolf. In related news, the video game adaptation Monster Hunter (starring Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa) is also now scheduled for September, 2020 (September 4, specifically).
Instead of proceeding with a proper third Kingsman installment starring Taron Egerton, et al, director Matthew Vaughn has instead begun production on a Kingsman prequel, which may or may not be called Kingsman: The Great Game. British rising star Harris Dickinson will star in the spy movie as “a cocky yet charming young [pilot] who’s eager to serve his country and fight in World War I.” We’ve known for a while that Dickinson will be supported by an impressive ensemble that includes Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War), Rhys Ifans, Ralph Fiennes, Djimon Hounsou, and Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones). This week, the ensemble cast grew even larger with the additions of Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Godzilla, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Nocturnal Animals), Gemma Arterton, Tom Hollander, and Matthew Goode (Ozymandias in Watchmen). This is a reunion project for Taylor-Johnson and Vaughn, as the former starred in the latter’s Kick-Ass (also adapted from a comic book by Kingsman creator Mark Millar). 20th Century Fox has already scheduled the Kingsman prequel for release later this year, on November 8, 2019 (against Sonic the Hedgehog and Stephen King’s Shining sequel Doctor Sleep).
Remakes are still very much a prolific phenomenon, particularly evident this week, when we saw new trailers for both Pet Sematary (4/5/2019) and Child’s Play (6/21/2019). The thing is, the argument is out there that some movies, especially very good ones, shouldn’t be remade at all. One of director John Carpenter’s best films was a remake, and a few of his own movies have been remade, and remade, and remade. Currently, Dwayne Johnson is even developing a remake of Big Trouble in Little China, and there’s been talk of a They Live remake as well. One of the John Carpenter remake projects that’s been around the longest (about 10 years or so) is a new take on 1981’s Escape from New York (Certified Fresh at 86%), with Gerard Butler at one point nearly taking over Kurt Russell’s role as Snake Plissken. The latest writer/director to come on board is Leigh Whannell (Upgrade, Certified Fresh at 87%), just a week after Whannell also started work on a remake of The Invisible Man.
Super obviously, not all news stories are clear cut “Fresh” or “Rotten.” Let’s look, for example, at Fox’s recent Marvel movies. While, yes, both X-Men: Apocalypse and Fantastic Four failed to resonate with critics, Fox also gave us some pretty great films like Deadpool and Logan. Two months ago, we learned that Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige will be overseeing Fox’s Marvel Comics movies as the studio merges with Disney, which is great news for X-Men and Fantastic Four fans who want to see those heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The bad news we learned this week is that we might have to wait a while, as Fox has put a hold on making any more Marvel films after X-Men: Dark Phoenix (6/7/2019) and The New Mutants (8/2/2019). That means if you were eagerly awaiting movies like Gambit, X-Force, X-23, or Deadpool 3, you may not want to hold your breath. In related news, however, this week we also heard that when Deadpool does come back under Disney, he will still be R-rated, and the studio isn’t necessarily saying “no” to other future R-rated Marvel Comics movies either.
Speaking of movies that are being delayed, if you were a big fan of Brad Pitt and director David Fincher’s zombie movie World War Z, we’ve got some bad news. After years of almost-starts and delays (sometimes while Fincher worked on other projects), Paramount Pictures has finally, apparently definitively, pulled the plug on a World War Z sequel. Pre-production was reportedly already well underway for a six-month shoot in Atlanta and other nations around the world, but that also meant the budget exploded to over $190 million, and that was the breaking point for Paramount. Technically, it sounds like World War Z could come back in the future, but if it does, it would be with a much lower budget, without David Fincher directing, and possibly without Brad Pitt as well. Brad Pitt will next be seen in the science fiction film Ad Astra (5/24/2019) and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (7/26/2019).