This Week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as the remakes of Lilo & Stitch, The Scorpion King, and Short Circuit.
(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection, (c)Walt Disney courtesy Everett Collection)
Earlier this year (just a few months after Disney+ launched), the news broke that Disney’s live-action remake of the 2002 animated hit Lilo & Stitch ( Certified Fresh at 86%), which was first announced two years ago in 2018, was being developed as a Disney+ movie (a la Lady and the Tramp). Well, it appears that it might be considered for for a theatrical release after all. That’s because the latest news on the remake is that Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, Now You See Me 2) is now in talks with Walt Disney Pictures to direct the live-action Lilo & Stitch. We should note immediately that the remake is more appropriately called a live-action/CGI hybrid, since Stitch (and the other alien characters) will almost certainly be computer-animated, while Lilo and her Hawaiian friends and family will be played by live-action talent. Jon M. Chu’s next film as director will be the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, which is now scheduled for release on June 18, 2021 after being pushed back almost a full year by the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Photo by Ben Rothstein/©Warner Bros.)
If the COVID-19 pandemic had never happened, A Quiet Place Part II would have come out eight months ago (March 20, 2020) as of next Friday. Around that time, John Krasinski was quoted online as saying he had an idea for a third Quiet Place movie, but before that ever happens, it sounds like we’re going to get something different in the form of a spinoff that expands the franchise’s cinematic universe instead. Granted, this spinoff is also based on a story idea by John Krasinski, so it’s quite possible that it’s the same idea he talked about back in March. The third film is expected to expand the post-apocalyptic world in which human survivors are stalked by monsters with super-sensitive hearing. Krasinski directed the first two movies (and appeared in both along with his wife Emily Blunt), but the third film will be directed by Jeff Nichols, marking the first time he’s worked on a “franchise film” after several of his own projects, including Mud (Certified Fresh at 97%), Midnight Special (Certified Fresh at 84%), and Loving (Certified Fresh at 89%). Paramount Pictures is reportedly aiming to release the third Quiet Place movie sometime in 2022. A Quiet Place Part II, starring Blunt, Cillian Murphy, and Djimon Hounsou, is currently scheduled for April 23, 2021, which is over a year after the sequel’s original release date. Although no casting has been announced yet for this third Quiet Place, it’s worth noting that Michael Shannon has starred (Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, Midnight Special) or co-starred in every one of Jeff Nichols films so far, so it’s reasonable to assume we might see him hiding from monsters soon, too.
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)
Chris Pratt wrapped filming this week on Jurassic World: Dominion (6/10/2022), and his name is already attached to two new movies. The higher profile project of the two is also the least surprising, especially for anyone who saw Avengers: Endgame, which ended with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor going off into space with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Having said that, it’s still of interest that Pratt will indeed be reuniting with another of Marvel’s Chrises — namely Hemsworth — for Thor: Love and Thunder (2/11/2021). Perhaps the real news here is that we’re only hearing about Chris Pratt, and not, say, Dave Bautista (Drax), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), and Karen Gillan (Nebula). In related news, James Gunn confirmed this week that he has finished the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 screenplay. Meanwhile, Pratt also signed on this week with Universal Pictures (the studio behind the Jurassic franchise) to co-star in Saigon Bodyguards (with Wolf Warrior star Wu Jing), which will be a remake of the 2016 Vietnamese action comedy of the same title, and which will be co-produced by frequent Marvel directors Joe and Anthony Russo.
(Photo by Jonathan Olley/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
In last week’s Weekly Ketchup, we linked to a Collider piece that speculated about nine actors who could possibly replace Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming sequel Fantastic Beasts 3 (due out in theaters on July 15, 2022). Well, it would appear Collider was on the right track with one of their choices, as Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is indeed reportedly now in talks to take over as Grindelwald in the sequel. Mikkelsen has been very prolific over the last decade or so, but most fans probably know him best either as the milky-eyed villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, Jyn Erso’s dad in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or the TV version of serial killer Hannibal Lecter. Filming of Fantastic Beasts 3 had already begun in London in September, so the role switch will necessitate some reshoots (Depp reportedly only shot one scene), which is presumably part of why the release date has been moved back from November 21, 2021 to July 15, 2022 (that, and the COVID-19 pandemic, probably). As for the “why” behind Depp’s departure from the sequel, you can read more about that right here, and also in this piece, in which it’s revealed that Johnny Depp will still receive his full salary as part of the deal for him to drop out.
(Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a multiple award-winning journalist-turned-author who has received a Genius Grant from the MacArthur Foundation, has worked for Marvel Comics on both Black Panther and Captain America, and whose first novel The Water Dancer was published last year. Now, Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films and Brad Pitt’s Plan B production companies are teaming with MGM for a film adaptation of The Water Dancer, which will be adapted from Coates’ own screenplay. Combining elements of magic realism, The Water Dancer tells the story of a pre-Civil-War slave who discovers he has a superpower he calls “conduction” that allows him to travel great distances, which he then uses as a member of the Underground Railroad. No director has been announced yet, but the wording of the Hollywood Reporter piece suggests that the job could go to producer Kamilah Forbes, who theatrically directed Coates’ Between the World and Me.
(Photo by Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection)
Back when Stephen Colbert played a political blowhard named Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report, one of his running gags in his “Better Know a District” segment was to always use the word “Fighting” (as in “Wisconsin’s Fighting Fifth District”). Colbert hardly invented that usage, but it was still so well used by him that it’s one of the jokes that still resonates years later. In that spirit, one has to wonder if, in the near future, when Danai Gurira (Black Panther, The Walking Dead) inevitably appears on Colbert’s CBS show to promote The Fighting Shirley Chisholm, he might bring back that exclamation. As the title suggests, Gurira will portray New York congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, who made history in 1968 as the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress, and in 1972 became the first African American candidate to run for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States. It should be noted that this film will not be a traditional biopic, but will instead be a drama set specifically during Chisholm’s 1972 run for president. Chisholm was also one of the lead characters in this year’s Mrs. America mini-series, and the subject of the documentary Chisholm ’72. Danai Gurira is taking over the role for Viola Davis, who had previously been attached to star.
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
Singer and actress Selena Gomez has had a series of health issues over the last several years, including lupus and a kidney transplant, and for her newest film project, she will be taking on the story of a woman who similarly faced physical challenges. Selena Gomez is now attached to star as Peruvian mountaineer Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, “who became the first Peruvian woman to summit Mount Everest and the first openly gay woman to complete the Seven Summits, a challenge to climb the highest mountain on each continent.” The project is titled In the Shadow of the Mountain, and it will be directed by Elgin James (Little Birds, Mayans M.C.), who will also adapt the screenplay.
(Photo by (c)TriStar Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
The movies of the 1980s are routinely held in high regard, sometimes out of pure nostalgia, but let’s be real here for a moment: not all of these films have aged especially well. Consider, for example, the 1986 science fiction comedy Short Circuit (Rotten at 59%), which is ostensibly a light-hearted adventure about a sweet robot named Johnny-5… until you remember that the film also featured Fisher Stevens in brown-face pretending to be an Indian scientist (something Aziz Ansari later talked to Stevens about). That said, Hollywood may soon get the chance to do the Short Circuit concept justice without the implied squirms that come from cultural appropriation, because Spyglass Media Group is now developing a Latinx remake of the film. The remake will be adapted by the writing team of Eduardo Cisneros (co-writer of Eugenio Derbez’s Instructions Not Included, Rotten at 57%) and producer-turned-screenwriter Jason Shuman. It’s not yet known what a “Latinx remake of Short Circuit” exactly means, or who will star in it, but one has to guess that given their connections, Eugenio Derbez may be one of the possible stars.
(Photo by Anne Marie Fox/TM & ©Copyright Fox Searchlight)
After spending much of the last decade working on various Transformers movies, Michael Bay made the transition last year to Netflix with 6 Underground (Rotten at 36%), and recently, we learned that his next film is likely to be a remake of the 2005 Danish thriller Ambulancen (which is easily discernable as Danish for Ambulance). New projects get announced all the time, some of which we never hear of again, but Ambulance very quickly made its next step through development this week as Jake Gyllenhaal is now in talks to star in Bay’s Ambulance remake, which Univeral Pictures is also reportedly also in talks to distribute. The premise is reportedly being kept “under wraps” (which is a bit funny, considering the film is a remake), but it is being compared to “the great action thrillers of the ’90s like Speed and Bay’s Bad Boys.”
(Photo by (c)Universal courtesy Everett Collection)
After five movies (six, if you include The Mummy Returns, Rotten at 47%), Universal Pictures is now developing a reboot of The Scorpion King, the mythological warrior-king who started as a Mummy spinoff. Dwayne Johnson didn’t star as The Scorpion King in any of the sequels — three different actors did: Michael Copon, Victor Webster, and Zach McGowan — but his Seven Bucks Productions is partnering with Universal Pictures on this reboot. Universal is looking for a new actor to take over the title role, and the reboot is also not expected to tie into The Mummy in the way the character originally did in The Mummy Returns. It’s also not yet known if Dwayne Johnson might join for a role other than that of The Scorpion King (maybe he could be the “Brendan Fraser” this time around?). The Mummy Returns was Dwayne Johnson’s feature film acting debut, which is reportedly why he loves The Scorpion King so much, and is shepherding this remake. Although little is known about the new film at this point, one detail that has already been revealed is that, rather than being an adventure set in ancient times, the reboot will move the setting to “modern times,” which actually makes it more like Tom Cruise’s The Mummy (Rotten at 16%) than the three Brendan Fraser movies, which were set in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, respectively. For the Scorpion King reboot, Universal Pictures has hired screenwriter Jonathan Herman, who received an Academy Award nomination for Universal’s Straight Outta Compton (Certified Fresh at 89%), and who also worked with Universal on next year’s F9 and the studio’s upcoming remakes of Fear (Rotten at 46%) and Scarface (Certified Fresh at 82% ).