This week’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news (the stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next), covering such titles as Halloween Kills, the next Spider-Man, and the Treasure Island remake.
Universal Pictures served as the distributor for both Jordan Peele’s 2017 breakout psychological thriller Get Out (Certified Fresh at 98%) and this year’s slasher film Us (Certified Fresh at 93%). This week, Universal solidified their relationship with Peele with a five-year deal with his Monkeypaw Productions that ensures they will release all of his films. This new deal includes two features that Peele himself will write and direct within those five years, but no details have been revealed about either. In addition to this new deal with Universal Pictures, Jordan Peele is also still producing The Twilight Zone for CBS, the upcoming series Lovecraft Country, and next summer’s remake of Candyman (6/12/2020).
Last week’s biggest news was all about the new deal between Disney and Sony for Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige to remain involved in future Spider-Man movies starring Tom Holland. That news, however, also broke on Friday afternoon, and the story continued to develop over the weekend after last week’s Ketchup column ran. In the seven days since, that movie, and another Tom Holland project, both received updates. Jon Watts, who directed both Spider-Man: Homecoming (Certified Fresh at 92%) and this year’s Spider-Man: Far from Home (Certified Fresh at 90%) is now in talks with Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures to return for a third installment (7/16/2021). It’s not yet known which villain will appear in the next Spider-Man, but the final scenes of Far from Home suggest it could be a J. Jonah Jameson-related threat, like the Scorpion or the Spider-Slayer robots. In related news, it was also revealed that Tom Holland himself played an integral behind-the-scenes role in making the new deal possible. In addition to the third Spider-Man scheduled for the summer of 2021 (7/16/2021), Holland also remains attached to star in Sony’s video game adaptation Uncharted (12/18/2020). That project has gone through a few directors now, but this week, we learned Travis Knight (Bumblebee, Kubo and the Two Strings) is now in talks to take it on.
Last year’s soft reboot of Halloween (Certified Fresh at 79%) went a long way to disregard most of the sequels and establish itself as a direct follow-up to the original film, including the return of Jamie Lee Curtis but without the details established in later films. As the next two planned movies get closer to being filmed back to back (Halloween Kills on 10/16/2020 and Halloween Ends on 10/15/2021), the casting news has focused on the returns of other characters from the first movie, including the casting of Anthony Michael Hall as the adult Tommy Doyle, who was the kid Laurie Strode was originally babysitting. We can also now report that Nancy Stephens, who played Nurse Marion Chambers in the first Halloween, will also return for Halloween Kills. Nurse Marion had a crucial role in the original Halloween, as it was her car that Michael Myers stole as part of his escape from the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. (She also had a key role in Halloween 2, but these new films act like that movie never happened.)
The next movie from Disney Animation Studios is going to be this December’s sequel, Frozen II, but it appears that the studio’s future will be mostly original stories for at least the next few years. (Having said that, the only confirmed title past Frozen II is next year’s Raya and the Last Dragon, scheduled for 11/25/2020.) This week, Disney confirmed that they are now developing not one but four new animation projects as part of the “studio’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.” The four directors now working on these untitled Disney Animation projects are Carlos Lopez Estrada (Blindspotting, Certified Fresh at 94%); Suzi Yoonessi (Unlovable, Fresh at 81%); Josie Trinidad (credited as a story writer on Zootopia); and Marc Smith (a longtime animator who worked on movies like Big Hero 6 and Zootopia). No premises have been revealed about these four projects, including whether any of them might be adapted from existing classic stories.
Clint Eastwood is one of those directors who can get movies produced very quickly. This week’s news, however, is one of the most surprising examples of his expediency. After a long development phase (which included a time when Jonah Hill might have starred, before his recent weight loss), Eastwood started filming Richard Jewell, about the 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympic Games, in June of this year. The start date was June 14, 2019, which is one day shy of six months before the December 13, 2019 release date that Warner Bros announced for the film this week. Paul Walter Hauser, who was arguably the breakout star of I, Tonya, will star as Richard Jewell when it’s released, up against Jumanji: The Next Level and the remake of Black Christmas (which was also produced really quickly this year). Warner Bros. also released the first trailer for the film this week, which will be attached in many theaters to Joker.
Although Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s original Pippi Longstocking books were originally published from 1945 to 1948, the super strong female children’s book character has had a decades-long legacy that has included multiple movies and TV shows. Having said that, the mainstream influence of Pippi Longstocking in the USA has been relatively thin for decades, and hasn’t been updated for over 20 years. That appears likely to change relatively soon with the news this week that a new Pippi Longstocking movie is now being developed by the producers of Paddington (Certified Fresh at 97%) and its even better-received sequel (Certified Fresh at 100%).
Children’s author R.J. Palacio had something of a runaway hit with her 2012 novel Wonder, which was then adapted in 2017 as a well-received live action movie (Certified Fresh at 85%) starring Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts. This week, Lionsgate picked up the feature film rights to Palacio’s upcoming graphic novel called White Bird: A Wonder Story. That book will tell the World War II story of a young Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied France who would go on to become the grandmother of Julian, the central character of Wonder. It is not yet known if White Bird will be adapted as live action (like Wonder) or in animation in the style of the graphic novel.
It was just last week that we learned that the Micronauts adaptation (6/4/2021) will be directed by Dean DeBlois, who spent most of the last ten years working on the various How to Train Your Dragon animated movies. Now that the How to Train Your Dragon franchise is finished, DeBlois’ agents are apparently working double-time to find him new projects, because there’s another one this week. Universal Pictures and Mandeville Films (Beauty and the Beast, Warm Bodies) are now developing a new adaptation of the classic pirate novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, which was most famously adapted as a live-action Walt Disney film in 1950 (Fresh at 100%). Dean DeBlois is reportedly attached to direct the new film, which is being adapted by screenwriter Evan Spiliotopolous (co-writer of Beauty and the Beast and The Huntsman: Winter’s War). With Micronauts already scheduled for 2021, Treasure Island will probably be released no sooner than 2022.
For trivia fans, “the Demeter” has long been a little gem to keep in one’s back pocket, as it is the name of the deserted ship on which Count Dracula sails to England from Transylvania in Bram Stoker’s original 1897 novel. Fans of movie development news might also recognize that ship’s name as part of Last Voyage of the Demeter, a long-in-development (since 2001) horror film about the on-board massacre as Dracula and his vampire cohorts killed the ship’s sailors on their way to England. Basically, Last Voyage of the Demeter attempts to fill in one of the story beats that Bram Stoker left as an untold spooky side-story. We can now report that Norwegian director André Øvredal (Trollhunter, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) is now in talks to direct The Last Voyage of the Demeter. At one point, Viggo Mortensen was attached to star in the film as the Demeter’s captain, but it’s not yet known if he is still attached nearly 10 years later.
The growth and popularity of streaming services continue to pose an interesting challenge for how they’re reported on (are they movies, are they TV, or are they something completely unrelated?), but when the streaming feature is intriguing enough, we still report on them here from time to time. Netflix is obviously the big player in this realm, but the Disney+ streaming app (which launches next month) is also looming out there with some very promising projects. In August, Disney CEO Bob Iger mentioned several potential Disney+ feature films, and this week, one of those was confirmed to be moving forward in development. Borat co-writer Dan Mazer is now working on adapting the original Home Alone (starring Macaulay Culkin) as a new children’s feature film for the Disney+ streaming app. The reboot is expected to be a twist on the original premise, as the young boy will now be the thief who has stolen something from a married couple (and apparently, no adult thieves are involved this time around). It’s not yet known who Disney will cast as the married couple.