Today’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news, including stories about Creed 2, The Lion King, Venom, and the Hellboy reboot.
In a big corporate shakeup, Walt Disney Pictures has announced that they are pulling out of their current streaming deal with Netflix after 2018. Instead, starting in 2019, Disney will have their own app which will start with ESPN, and then include their various Disney and Pixar movies. Netflix and Disney remain in negotiations about future Marvel and Star Wars movies, while Netflix’s Marvel shows (Daredevil, Luke Cage, etc.), which Netflix itself produces, are expected to remain. In possibly related news, Netflix has made its first acquisition ever, purchasing Millarworld, the comic book publisher run by Mark Millar, creator of Kick-Ass, Wanted, and Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Walt Disney Pictures showed again this week that they are masters of timing the weekly news cycle. Disney revealed last week that Chiwetel Ejiofor will be voicing the villain Scar in their remake of The Lion King (7/19/19). This week, director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book) cast another major character, as we now know that Alfre Woodard will voice Sarabi the lion, Mufasa’s wife and Simba’s mother. Disney also recently cast relative newcomer Marwan Kenzari as the villain Jafar in their live-action remake of Aladdin.
Most of the stories we include in the Weekly Ketchup are officially confirmed, but some are just too cool not to report on. Sort of buried in a piece on Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, The Hollywood Reporter closed with a potentially huge reveal for a completely different would-be franchise. While filming his cameo in Vol. 2, David Hasselhoff now says that he made a pitch to James Gunn about him directing the big screen reboot of Hasselhoff’s TV series Knight Rider. Said Hasselhoff, “If it does go forward, I don’t want it to be spoofed like Baywatch or 21 Jump Street. Those films lose what it’s about, and you have to respect the fans.”
We first heard about the Lucille Ball biopic Lucy and Desi back in 2015, with Cate Blanchett attached to star. Further increasing their profile, Amazon Studios has picked up the rights to Lucy and Desi in what looks like a future bid at further Academy Awards glory (following the success of Manchester by the Sea). Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, TV’s The West Wing) is in talks to adapt the story of Ball’s 20 year marriage to bandleader and TV costar Desi Arnaz (who is yet to be cast).
This week started with sad news about Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, but it wasn’t the only story involving the Guardians of the Galaxy star. One of the first new deals Pratt made in 2014 following the success of GotG was a graphic novel adaptation called Cowboy Ninja Viking, but we haven’t heard much about it since. Universal Pictures has now announced that Cowboy Ninja Viking is scheduled for June 28, 2019 (the same date as Transformers 6). Pratt will play an assassin with multiple personality disorder who flips between being, you guessed it, a cowboy, a ninja, and a viking.
Former Rocky star Sylvester Stallone took to both Twitter and TMZ this week to discuss the sequel to the 2015 spinoff Creed. Stallone’s repeated hints were almost entirely about the Russian boxer Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV, starting with, “You know I gotta hit Drago once.” Since Michael B. Jordan plays the son of Carl Weathers’ Apollo Creed, it’s possible that the pretense of Ivan Drago’s return is as the father of a new Russian boxer. There is no release date for Creed 2 (it might be in late 2018).
As superhero movies continue to dominate both box office figures and development plans, these movies are really under a microscope. And sometimes, plans also change, so what we hear now might be different in the final film. For their Venom movie, Sony has reportedly been considering the red-goo-monster Carnage as the film’s villain. Rogue One co-star Riz Ahmed is in talks to be the second announced cast member of Venom (after Tom Hardy). Although he reportedly read for the role of Carnage, Sony is now saying that he will play another “popular” Marvel character. Venom will ooze into theaters October 5, 2018.
Although Melissa McCarthy did co-star in several dramas early in her career, since Bridesmaids, she’s mostly appeared in comedies. McCarthy’s future plans indicate she’ll continue that trend (like 2018’s Life of the Party and Margie Claus), but she also has dramas planned. This week, New Line Cinema won the film rights to a planned book, and McCarthy will both star in the adaptation and produce along with her husband and frequent director Ben Falcone. The untitled book tells the true story of the first female police officers in the Boston Police Department, described as an “old boys club.”
We still have over two months until Stranger Things returns on October 27th, but one of the show’s stars, David Harbour, will soon start filming his next major role, in the R-rated Hellboy reboot, and this week, we learned who will be the film’s antagonist. Milla Jovovich, recently coming off her sixth Resident Evil film, has been cast as the Blood Queen (speculated to be the comic book character Nimue). Previously called Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, the R-rated reboot will be directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday), taking over from Guillermo Del Toro. Jovovich’s 20+ Rotten Tomatometer scores is why this story is one of the week’s Rotten Ideas.
We heard just two weeks ago that Lionsgate had plans for a female John Wick spinoff called The Ballerina. Unsurprisingly, some of their competitors also have their sights on action movies that could be perceived in a similar vein. (Not that this is an entirely original conceit.) For example, Jennifer Garner (2005’s Elektra) is now in talks with STXFilms to star in their action movie Peppermint, which is indeed described as a “female John Wick.” Peppermint will be directed by Pierre Morel (Taken, The Gunman).