Today’s Ketchup brings you ten headlines from the world of film development news, covering titles such as Captain Marvel, Carmen Sandiego, The LEGO Movie 2, and ROM: Spaceknight.
If you went to any big “genre” type movies (like Justice League, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Thor: Ragnarok) late last year, there is a very good chance that you saw the trailer for the X-Men teen horror movie spinoff The New Mutants (possibly to some confusion if you’re not familiar with the 1980s comics). In the original plan, The New Mutants was to have come out in two weeks from now (4/13/18), but in January, The New Mutants was pushed back to February of 2019. Meanwhile, the main franchise was to have continued this November with X-Men: Dark Phoenix (which we have not seen a trailer for yet). X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which promises to be a “space opera,” has now been pushed back to 2019, a move which also pushed The New Mutants back a second time, this time all the way to August 2nd, 2019 (16 months after its original target). Reportedly, the reason for even more delay for The New Mutants are significant reshoots to emphasize the horror elements (and also to add a mysterious new character to be played by Antonio Banderas). The move of X-Men: Dark Phoenix to Valentine’s Day, 2019 also now allows Fox to bump up their Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody from Christmas Day to November 2nd, 2018.
We’ve known for a while that next year’s Captain Marvel (3/8/19) would essentially be the MCU’s first prequel, as it would show Brie Larson’s title character confronting the Kree and Skrulls back in the 1990s. At first, however, the only other character that we heard would be featured was Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury (before the eyepatch, even). This week, production finally started on Captain Marvel, and alongside that news came confirmation of three more actors who will be reprising their roles from earlier Marvel Studios films. Clark Gregg will play the much younger Phil Coulson (no word yet on whether he’ll have a lot more hair), who in Iron Man had said, “this isn’t my first rodeo.” Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou will also return from Guardians of the Galaxy as their Kree characters Ronan the Accuser and Korath the Pursuer. You can read more commentary about these casting reprisals here, and also about how Captain Marvel connects to the Kree and Skrulls here.
The LEGO Movie was such a big surprise hit in early 2014 ($257 million domestically, $469 million worldwide) that Warner Bros Animation quickly started developing a new LEGO movie franchise. Warner Bros may have crammed too many LEGO pieces onto the big screen last year, however. The (relatively) disappointing box office of The LEGO Batman Movie ($175 million) was followed in October by The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which couldn’t even crack $60 million. Since then, there’s been some indication that Warner Bros is slowing down their LEGO spinoff franchise plans, but the proper LEGO Movie 2 sequel is still very much on its way. The first newly announced voice cast member is Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish, who will be joining returning voice cast members Chris Pratt (Emmet), Elizabeth Banks (Wyldstyle), Will Arnett (Batman), Channing Tatum (Superman), and Jonah Hill (Green Lantern). The premise of The LEGO Movie 2 isn’t yet known, but it sounds like it might have an emphasis on the LEGO Justice League. Warner Bros has scheduled The LEGO Movie 2 for February 8, 2019, against the comedy Flarsky, starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron.
Four days after the attacks of September 11th, 2001, a white supremacist named Mark Stroman went on a shooting spree in Dallas, killing two and half-blinding a third man, Rais Bhuiyan. Texas is a capital punishment state, but Rais Bhuiyan led the effort to stay Stroman’s execution, citing his own religious beliefs, and the story was adapted in the 2014 book The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas. The Big Sick and Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani and Mark Ruffalo are now in talks to star in The True American as Bhuiyan and Stroman, respectively, with Amy Adams also in talks for an unknown role. Amazon Studios is in talks to distribute The True American, which will be directed by Pablo Larrain (Jackie, Neruda), who’s replacing Kathryn Bigelow. (While Bigelow was developing The True American, Tom Hardy had previously been in talks to play Mark Stroman.)
Over the last several years, there have been various attempts to adapt the long-running TV and video game franchise Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? for the big screen (typically with mentions of Jennifer Lopez). Well, we’re finally going to get a Carmen Sandiego movie, but all of the details are now pretty much completely different. For one thing, the title will just be Carmen Sandiego, and it’s now a Netflix production. Gina Rodriguez (Annihilation, TV’s Jane the Virgin) had already been cast as the voice of the character in Netflix’s upcoming animated Carmen Sandiego, and now she’s also going to be the live-action Carmen Sandiego as well. This week, Rodriguez also signed to co-star in an untitled heist movie directed by Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know), alongside costars Evan Rachel Wood, Richard Jenkins, and Debra Winger.
Two weeks ago, we declared a movie called Jojo Rabbit the “Rotten Idea of the Week.” Our reasoning was that the news involved director Taika Waititi (who voiced the rocky warrior Korg in Thor: Ragnarok) playing “an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler” who becomes a young boy’s friend. Despite that controversial premise, what Jojo Rabbit has going for it is Taika Waititi’s Tomatometer record, which boasts four Certified Fresh movies in a row: Boy (2012), What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and Thor: Ragnarok. We’ll give Jojo Rabbit the benefit of the doubt this week as we report that fellow Marvel Studios costar Scarlett Johansson has been cast as the mother of the 10-year-old boy who “is struggling to fit in Nazi-era Germany,” even as the mother herself is hiding a young Jewish girl in their home. The next role to be cast is now expected to be the boy himself (are the Stranger Things kids already too old?).
The P.T. Barnum musical biopic The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman, never ranked higher than #3 in the box office charts. The film did, however, ultimately demonstrate the continuing appeal of Jackman as its box office math has been “leggier” than Titanic. Jackman’s next film will be The Frontrunner, based on another true story, in which he’ll play scandal-plagued 1988 presidential candidate Gary Hart. After The Frontrunner, Jackman will work with the production company behind La La Land on a high school film called Bad Education, the mystery premise of which is being compared to 1999’s Election. This independent production does not have anything to do with the 2004 Spanish drama Bad Education directed by Pedro Almodovar.
It might be difficult to imagine now, but there was a time when most of Marvel Comics sales weren’t made off of actual “Marvel” characters. In the late 1970s and early 1980s in particular, many of Marvel’s best-selling comics titles were licensed properties like Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Conan the Barbarian, and some fan favorites (not necessarily top sellers) like Micronauts, Godzilla, and ROM: Spaceknight. (Sean Howe’s 2013 book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is an excellent source for more on this era.) A few of those were licensed off Hasbro toys, and now in the post-MCU era, Hasbro is attempting to set up new movies for them, but the challenge is that Hasbro and Paramount have to do it on their own, without Marvel. ROM: Spaceknight was never a hugely popular toy, but the comic had a lasting impact on fans. For the ROM: Spaceknight movie, Paramount has hired screenwriter Zak Penn, who also penned this week’s Ready Player One. We’re calling this a borderline “Rotten Idea” mostly because the ideal scenario would be a Paramount/Marvel collaboration on ROM: Spaceknight (but that’s obviously not going to happen… ever).
We still don’t know for certain how many more Marvel movies Robert Downey Jr. will co-star in as Iron Man, but he continues to develop non-Marvel projects on the side. Some of them are still not ready (two of them are Perry Mason and a version of Pinocchio), but one that’s coming next year (4/12/19) is The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle. Unlike the Eddie Murphy remake, this movie is expected to be more faithful to the original early 20th century novels by Hugh Lofting. We’ve known for a while that Downey’s live-action (human) co-stars would include Antonio Banderas, Jim Broadbent, and Michael Sheen, but this week, Downey took to Twitter to reveal his animal voice cast co-stars. Cats will be represented by Ralph Fiennes (a tiger) and Carment Ejogo (a lioness), and other mammals will include John Cena (a polar bear), Marion Cotillard (a fox), Selena Gomez (a giraffe), Tom Holland (a dog), Rami Malek (a gorilla), and Craig Robinson (a mouse). Birds will also be represented, including Kumail Nanjiani (an ostrich), Octavia Spencer (a duck), and Emma Thompson (a parrot). Unfortunately, screenwriter/director Stephen Gaghan is coming off a streak of mostly Rotten films that includes The Alamo (29%), Havoc (45%), and Gold (42%), and just one Fresh score in the last 17 years (2005’s Syriana).
In addition to being a legitimate “movie star,” Leonardo DiCaprio is also a very prolific producer. Back in 2009, it was reported that DiCaprio was producing an adaptation of the novel Beat the Reaper, about a former hitman in the witness protection program who is recognized by a mobster. In 2011, there was then news that DiCaprio thought Beat the Reaper might work better as an HBO series. Now it’s back to being a movie again, except without DiCaprio. Instead, Sebastian Stan (Marvel’s Winter Soldier) will star in Beat the Reaper, which will be directed by Gore Verbinski. 2018 marks the 15th anniversary of the last time a live action feature film directed by Verbinski received a Fresh Tomatometer score. Verbinski’s Rotten films since then have included The Weather Man, two Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, The Lone Ranger, and last year’s A Cure for Wellness.