Today’s Ketchup brings you ten headlines from the world of film development news, covering new projects for Ben Affleck, Michael B. Jordan, Amy Poehler, and Jacob Tremblay.
It seems like Steven Spielberg has been talking about a fifth Indiana Jones movie pretty much since the day after Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out on May 23, 2008. This week, however, we received news that seems to confirm that it’s finally happening. Speaking at an awards ceremony in London, Spielberg announced that he will start filming Indiana Jones 5 (or whatever its title will be) in April, 2019, while Walt Disney Pictures (which acquired the franchise when they acquired Lucasfilm) has scheduled the film for release on July 10th, 2020, which is a week after Minions 2 (7/3/20), and the week before the Bob’s Burgers movie (7/17/20). Harrison Ford, who will turn 77 next summer, is returning for Indiana Jones 5, but nothing else is known about the premise, though his age might suggest a setting in the late 1960s or 1970s.
Within a few days of Frances McDormand’s call for inclusion riders at this year’s Academy Awards, Michael B. Jordan’s production company announced that they would indeed be adopting an inclusion rider policy. Inclusion riders are contract elements that require that “projects make a concerted effort to cast minorities, LGBTQ actors, and women in supporting and background roles.” That was only two weeks ago, and we’ve already heard about the first new project from Jordan’s production company that will presumably fall under that policy. Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther) is now producing the World War II true story The Liberators, about the 761st Tank Battalion, an all-African American unit also known as “The Black Panthers.” It is not yet known if Jordan will also be starring in The Liberators.
One of the most tumultous projects of the last several years has been the South American adventure drama Triple Frontier, which started as a project for director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) with a cast that potentially included Mahershala Ali, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Tom Hardy, and Channing Tatum. Last year, Netflix took over the project from Paramount, and that appears to have been the spark it needed to get produced. Triple Frontier will now feature the acting talents of Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron from Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy, Mudbound), and Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell from S4 of TV’s Game of Thrones). Filming is now scheduled to start next week at locations in Hawaii, California, and Colombia under the direction of three-time Certified Fresh director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, A Most Violent Year).
Tessa Thompson’s performance as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok was widely touted as one of the best things about the film, and now she and the star of that movie are set for a little reunion. Two weeks ago, Sony Pictures cast Chris Hemsworth in their Men in Black reboot/spinoff, and this week, they officially cast Thompson in an unknown role alongside him. F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton, The Fate of the Furious) will direct the untitled film, which is being described as more of an ensemble project, from a screenplay by Matt Holloway and Art Marcum (Punisher: War Zone, Transformers: The Last Knight). Sony Pictures has scheduled the Men in Black spinoff for June 14th, 2019, up against John Wick: Chapter 3 and the YA adaptation The Sun is Also a Star.
Former Saturday Night Live and Parks & Recreation star Amy Poehler has written and directed for television before, is set to make her feature film debut with a comedy for Netflix called Wine Country, which will feature three other SNL alumni. Rachel Dratch (1999-2006), Ana Gasteyer (1996-2002), and Maya Rudolph (1999-2008) will be joined by former SNL writers Paula Pell and Emily Spivey in this comedy about “old friends who go to Napa for a weekend getaway to celebrate a 50th birthday.” Filming is scheduled to start in California’s Napa wine country and in Los Angeles next week with an eye towards a streaming debut sometime in 2019.
One of these days, a studio should just stick to their guns and actually release a movie called something like Untitled Armie Hammer Thriller. Until that happens, we’ll continue to expect that said thriller will have a different name when it’s released about a year from now on March 29th, 2019. In the meantime, we now know that Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name, The Social Network) will be joined by Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Zazie Beetz, who will star as Domino in this summer’s Deadpool 2. Hammer will play “a New Orleans bartender… whose life begins to unravel after a series of disturbing and inexplicable events transpire when he picks up a phone left behind at his bar.” The other movie currently scheduled for March 29th, 2019 is Disney’s live action remake of Dumbo, starring Colin Farrell, Eva Green, Michael Keaton, and Danny DeVito.
In something like a straight-faced thematic cousin to last year’s The Disaster Artist, Shia LaBeouf is now attached to star in his own biopic, but as his own father. Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) will star in Honey Boy as the young version of LaBeouf, who cowrote the screenplay under the pseudonym of Otis Lort (also the character’s name). The project bubbled up through independent development with very little attention until LaBeouf confirmed to Esquire this week that he is the film’s “Otis Lort.” When the screenplay appeared last year on The Black List of Unproduced Screenplays, the logline was described as “a child actor and his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father attempt to mend their contentious relationship over the course of a decade.”
Jacob Tremblay first broke out in the award-winning drama 2015 drama Room, then warmed hearts last year in the family drama Wonder. Now 11 years old, Tremblay appears ready to tackle more adult fare, as he’s the first of four young actors to be cast as one of the Good Boys, an R-rated Universal Pictures comedy co-produced by Seth Rogen. Good Boys was written by the team of Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (Bad Teacher, 44% on the Tomatometer; Year One, 15%), who will also be making their feature film directorial debuts. Tremblay will play one of “four 12-year old boys who skip school to embark on a day-long adventure fraught with comedic peril” in a comedy that’s being described as “Stand By Me meets Superbad.”
Streaming services like Netflix (Beasts of No Nation, Mudbound) and Amazon (Manchester by the Sea, The Big Sick) are just starting to get attention from the Academy Awards, but acclaimed director Steven Spielberg thinks that, well, they shouldn’t. Earlier this week, Spielberg was quoted specifically saying, “I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.” In using this reasoning — against Netflix in particular, as Amazon’s films got longer releases — Spielberg is walking a dangerous line that could hurt many independent films. It’s a common approach for small boutique distributors to have “qualifying releases” each year for just one week in New York and Los Angeles, and then go wider in January or February if their film receives nominations. If one-week releases were disqualified, only the biggest companies might be able to compete for Academy Awards. In related news, Cannes is now banning Netflix films from the festival’s competition slate, which means they can still screen their films, but they won’t be eligible for any of the festival’s awards.
Every once in a while, we like to use the “Rotten Idea” section to point out a problem not just with a specific movie or news story, but with a problematic trend in the news itself, generally. This week, Variety, The Wrap, and other publications are citing a recent New York Times interview in which Chris Evans says he’s likely done with playing Captain America after next year’s Avengers 4 (5/3/19). The statement is generating interest from various outlets as a big story, and it’s true, that was very big news… when Evans first said pretty much the same thing last summer… which we covered in the June 16th, 2017 edition of The Weekly Ketchup. In today’s super competitive website-eat-website environment, there appears to be a lot of interest in regurgitating old stories for the sake of getting multiple hits out of the same story. (And we admit, we’re doing the same thing right here, but at least we also acknowledge that this “news” is actually old news.)