Today’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news, including stories about Leonardo Da Vinci, Son of Shaft, Sunset Boulevard, and Wonder Woman 2.
In early 2013, a few months after Disney acquired Lucasfilm, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced plans for Star Wars spinoff movies that eventually became last year’s Rogue One and next year’s Han Solo (5/25/18). In the years since, there have also been rumors about other spinoffs for characters like Boba Fett, Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. We can now report that the Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff is indeed officially in development, with Academy Award nominated director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours, and the upcoming Wicked movie) in talks for the job. No other details are known, but when asked in the past about the Obi-Wan spinoff, Ewan McGregor has said, “I’d very much like to do one too.”
Wonder Woman has now earned over $800 million globally (and it hasn’t even opened in some regions yet, like Japan). As such, it’s long been expected that Warner Bros would make whatever deal they needed to ensure that film’s director, Patty Jenkins, would return for Wonder Woman 2 (12/13/19). And now we know the studio is doing exactly that, as Patty Jenkins is now in final negotiations to be the highest paid female director of all time. Exact numbers have been withheld, but the speculation is that Jenkins’ new payday is “in line with any other director who has performed at this level.” Presumably, that’s a reference to someone like Zack Snyder, who made $10 million plus a “10% cash break” for directing Man of Steel.
In 1967, Mel Brooks directed The Producers, which became a hit stage musical in 2001, and then that was adapted as musical film in 2005. Today’s news is similar. Sunset Boulevard began as an acclaimed 1950 film, which was then adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber as a musical in 1991, and now that will be adapted as a big screen movie musical as well. Paramount Pictures is in talks with Glenn Close, who starred as aging star Norma Desmond in both 1994 and the recent revival, and the studio is also looking for the male lead and a director, with filming expected to start in January, 2018.
The first trailer for this November’s Thor: Ragnarok (11/3/17) climaxed with Thor reuniting humorously with his “friend from work,” The Incredible Hulk. The second trailer, which premiered at San Diego Comic Con, added Thor’s brother Loki to the mix, as they used Ghostbusters-style weapons side by side. This week, in a new Japanese trailer, Benedict Cumberbatch joins Thor’s magical super team as Doctor Strange. Of course, Doctor Strange’s participation in Thor: Ragnarok had already been teased last year in the Doctor Strange mid-credits scene.
Director Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind) is continuing filming of next year’s untitled Han Solo prequel (5/25/18), after taking over for the directors of The LEGO Movie. We still don’t know the prequel’s premise, but this week, Ron Howard teased an image of one of the black Imperial helmets from Star Wars, with the caption, “The Empire Looms Large.” Some writers are speculating that this could tease a return of the Death Star, while others note that other non-Death-Star Imperial soldiers may also wear the same helmets.
Until this week, Jennifer Lawrence spent two years (2015 and 2016) as Hollywood’s highest paid actress, but this week, a new actress took the top spot, with Lawrence dropping to #3. With an income of over $26 million, Emma Stone is 2017’s highest paid actress, with perennial favorite Jennifer Aniston coming in at #2. The other actresses in the top ten are: Melissa McCarthy, Mila Kunis, Charlize Theron, Emma Watson, Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, and Amy Adams. Emma Stone’s next film is the Billie Jean King biopic Battle of the Sexes (9/22/17).
As the story goes, Leonardo DiCaprio’s mother was looking at artwork by Leonardo Da Vinci when her baby first “kicked,” so that’s why she named him “Leonardo.” Paramount Pictures won a bidding war this week for the rights to Steve Jobs author Walter Isaacson’s upcoming biography of Leonardo Da Vinci (10/17/17). The project is being developed as a star vehicle for DiCaprio to play the genius artist and inventor, and also produce via his Appian Way company. Leonardo DiCaprio is also attached to star in biopics about record producer Sam Phillips and prolific serial killer H.H. Holmes.
Three weeks ago, The New York Times reported a confirmation that Daniel Craig would be returning for the 25th official James Bond movie (11/8/19). Talking to a Boston radio station early this week, however, Daniel Craig seemed to equivocate on whether he was definitively signed to return. Well, that didn’t last long, as Craig quickly took to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to confirm that yes, indeed, he is returning as James Bond for the November, 2019 film.
In the 2000 “remake” of Shaft, Samuel L. Jackson played the nephew of Richard Roundtree’s original 1970s detective, making it a sequel. Now, New Line Cinema is preparing to expand the family tree for a fifth film to be called Son of Shaft, in which Jessie T. Usher (TV’s Survivor’s Remorse) will play the son of Jackson’s character. It’s unclear if Usher will play a police or private detective, but both Jackson and Roundtree are in talks to reprise their characters. Son of Shaft will be directed by Tim Story (Fantastic Four, Ride Along 2), whose has seven Rotten films as director and only three Fresh ones (two of which are Kevin Hart concert movies).
This week, two unrelated action movies both had accidents involving stuntwork during filming, resulting in a major injury on one, and a death on the other. Though coincidental, the timing highlights the dangers involved in producing some of our biggest movies. Tom Cruise is famous for his willingness to do dangerous stunts (like hanging from skyscrapers and flying planes), but this week, he broke an ankle while performing a long jump between two buildings, which you can see happen right here. Filming of Mission: Impossible 6 may now be delayed by nine weeks, and wrap up in December instead, with still enough time to be released on July 27, 2018.
Tom Cruise’s ankle will hopefully heal with time, but the week’s other stunt-related accident resulted in an on-set death. Joi “SJ” Harris, “the female African-American road racer,” died following a motorcycle stunt for Deadpool 2 that sent her vehicle crashing through the glass doors of Vancouver’s Shaw Tower. Josh Brolin, who is playing Cable in the sequel, voiced his condolences, as did Ryan Reynolds, who said, “We’re heartbroken,” and the director and studio. The stuntperson community is likewise mourning the tragedy, and continues to discuss how such deaths can be prevented in the future.