As of this weekend, Marvel Studios’ next movie, Captain Marvel, will be just six months away from release (March 8th, 2019). Outside of a teaser in the final moments of Avengers: Infinity War, we haven’t seen much from the film starring Brie Larson, but we did get a sneak peek this week when Entertainment Weekly received the exclusive scoop of several first official images. (Collider also has those images in higher resolution.) In addition to showing off two of her costumes (both the red-blue-and-yellow costume and her “Kree soldier” greens), these images also include our first looks at how the evil, shapeshifting alien Skrull race. It’s been a long time coming, as at one point, the Skrulls had been rumored to be featured in 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers (we got the Chitauri instead). Another character revealed in the photo set is the Kree character played by Jude Law, although Marvel is still not revealing his name (he’s rumored to be Mar-Vell, A.K.A. Marvel’s original Captain Marvel). Co-director Anna Boden also revealed that Captain Marvel will not be an “origin story” as had been speculated, but will instead start with Larson’s Carol Danvers already a member of the Kree military (though it’s still set in the 1990s). As for what the inclusion of the Skrulls in Captain Marvel means for the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these images are already inspiring new speculation and theories.
Director Denis Villeneuve is following up his recent science fiction films Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 with another sci-fi film, this time a straight-up reboot/remake. Villeneuve is preparing to start filming his version of Frank Herbert’s Dune in early 2019, which was previously adapted as both the 1984 David Lynch film (Rotten at 55%), and a 2000 Sci Fi Channel miniseries. Villeneuve started casting with Timothee Chalamet (Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name) as Paul Atreides, and for his second decision, he’s cast Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica. Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson is probably best known for her role in recent Mission: Impossible films (including this year’s Fallout), and with Dune, she has a chance at yet another major franchise (she’s also going to be in the Men in Black spinoff and the Shining sequel Doctor Sleep). There have been reports in the past that Denis Villeneuve’s plans for Dune may involve splitting Herbert’s original novel into two movies, but for now, it’s just called Dune (and not, say “Dune Part One“).
Since the relatively disappointing box office of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lucasfilm appears to be focusing its energies after next year’s Star Wars Episode IX on new sets of trilogies (including one from the Game of Thrones showrunners). The other major trilogy we know about is from Rian Johnson, the director of last year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That said, it’s still going to be a while before Johnson’s trilogy is ready to be filmed, allowing him time for at least one movie in the meantime. That movie will likely be called Knives Out, and for his star, Johnson is borrowing from another long-running action movie franchise. Daniel Craig has some extra time while James Bond 25 is on temporarily hold following the departure of director Danny Boyle, so he’s now free to start filming Knives Out in November. The premise hasn’t been revealed, except that it’s “a modern day murder mystery in the classic whodunit style.” Meanwhile, the director shortlist for Bond 25 reportedly includes Bart Layton (American Animals), Yann Demange (the upcoming White Boy Rick), and S.J. Clarkson, who is attached to direct the also-upcoming Star Trek 4.
Though he’s not a household name, Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts scored prominent billing opposite Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow earlier this year. His star may rise, though, if he keeps landing choice roles opposite popular actresses. As it happens, Schoenaerts is now attached to star alongside Oscar-nominated Margot Robbie in a historical drama called Ruin, based on a screenplay that was the top choice in last year’s Black List of Unproduced Screenplays. Robbie will play a Holocaust survivor in post-World War II Germany who is forced to unite with a former SS captain (Schoenaerts) as part of her mission to exact revenge on the surviving members of a Nazi death squad. Robbie’s other upcoming films include Mary Queen of Scots (as Queen Elizabeth I), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (as Sharon Tate), and Birds of Prey (as DC Comics’ Harley Quinn).
Marvel Studios has had so many successful movies at this point that it’s increasingly inevitable that other films will star one or more of the MCU’s big names. This week, for example, we learned of a new film that will feature Marvel’s Captain America and Spider-Man. Chris Evans, Tom Holland, Tracy Letts (Lady Bird), Robert Pattinson (Twilight), and Mia Wasikowska (Disney’s Alice in Wonderland) have all been cast in an indie drama called The Devil All the Time. (Another Marvel connection is that Letts’ wife Carrie Coon costarred in Avengers: Infinity War as the villainous Proxima Midnight.) Director Antonio Campos (Christine, Simon Killer) is adapting The Devil All the Time from a 2011 novel by Donald Ray Pollock. The premise involves “a demented team of serial killers, a spider-eating preacher, and a corrupt local sheriff.” Antonio Campos is also attached to direct a prequel to the classic Satanic thriller The Omen for 20th Century Fox.
Sometimes, when a director needs to leave a film (for any reason), it can set the project back by months, years, or sometimes, for forever. (See, for example, the aforementioned James Bond 25.) Jessica Chastain’s assassin action movie Eve appears to be a rare example of a film that is adjusting to a new director so quickly that filming is proceeding pretty much exactly on time as originally planned. Just under a month ago, director Matthew Newton departed Eve following #metoo allegations, and was subsequently replaced by Tate Taylor, who worked with Chastain on The Help. This week, Chastain was joined by Colin Farrell and rapper-turned-actor Common, who will play, respectively, a member of Chastain’s black ops organization and her character’s former fiance.
We’re still waiting on the long-in-development biopics for such 1960s pop stars as Janis Joplin, Sammy Davis Jr, and Marvin Gaye, but this week, one of their contemporaries received news of her own movie. British singer Dusty Springfield (A.K.A. Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien) is probably best known for the song “Son of a Preacher Man,” but her hits also included “Wishin’ and Hopin'” and “I Only Want to Be With You.” Gemma Arterton, whose Hollywood projects have included Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, has signed on to star as Dusty Springfield in a historical drama called So Much Love. Not strictly a true “biopic,” So Much Love will focus on the year 1968, when Springfield traveled to Memphis to record her album Dusty in Memphis. So Much Love will be directed by screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, who received an Academy Award nomination for 2016’s Carol. The film’s producers are comparing So Much Love to La Vie En Rose (about Edith Piaf) and Walk the Line (about Johnny Cash and June Carter).
For the last year or two, Universal Pictures has kept their long-in-development adaptation of the hit musical Wicked scheduled for release next year, on December 20th, 2019. As we enter the last months of 2018, however, that date has seemed more and more questionable, and Universal has not yet started production on what will presumably be a big budget musical extravaganza. Another long-brewing musical adaptation started making the news recently, as the Cats movie is finally getting made, featuring a cast of live action actors and singers that includes James Corden, Sir Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, and to sing the most famous song, “Memory,” Jennifer Hudson. Putting those two threads together, Universal announced this week that it will instead be Cats that will be released on December 20th, 2019, in a move that also allows Wicked more development time. Universal has not yet announced a new release date for Wicked, and they have still not officially announced any cast for Wicked. The two singers most famously associated with Wicked are Frozen star Idina Menzel (as Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West), and Kristin Chenoweth (who played Glinda the “Good” Witch).
Yesterday, Burt Reynolds, who was one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars during the height of his career in the 1970s and early 1980s, died at the age of 82 after years of heart-related conditions. Despite his health issues, Reynolds remained active right up until the end, including signing on with Quentin Tarantino to co-star in next year’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as real life figure George Spahn, who owned the infamous ranch where Charles Manson and his “Family” lived while planning their crimes. Within hours of Reynolds’ death, it was revealed that he had not yet had the opportunity to film his scenes for the film. It’s not known if Tarantino will recast the role of George Spahn (Bruce Dern, perhaps?), or if he will leave the character out of the film entirely now. Variety also ran an interesting piece yesterday that listed some of the more famous roles Reynolds “turned down” during his career, including Han Solo, James Bond, Die Hard, Pretty Woman, and two of the films for which Jack Nicholson won Academy Awards. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino and many, many more is scheduled for release on July 26, 2019.
Although 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard was Certified Fresh at 82%, when A Good Day to Die Hard came out six years later, the franchise took a steep dive at 14%. Good Day was also a box office disappointment, with the lowest totals of the franchise (especially when you adjust for inflation, ouch). Even so, 20th Century Fox is developing a sixth Die Hard movie, which will be a 1970s-set “origin story” for John McClane. Up until this week, the prequel was known as Die Hard: Year One, but we now know that Fox has removed the words “Die” and “Hard” from the title. Instead, the origin movie is now called McClane. It’s not yet known who will be cast as the young John McClane.