Today’s Thanksgiving weekend Ketchup brings you seven headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Captain Marvel, Gambit, Shaft, and Quentin Tarantino’s #9.
The superhero name Captain Marvel has a long and tangled history. New Line Cinema is preparing to start filming DC Comics’ Shazam! (who was actually the first Captain Marvel), and Marvel Studios also has their own Captain Marvel movie scheduled for March 8, 2019. Even within Marvel, there have been multiple heroes called Captain Marvel, but the MCU Captain Marvel will be Carol Danvers (previously Ms. Marvel), to be played by Brie Larson. We’ve known for a while that Captain Marvel would be something of an MCU prequel, as it will be set in the 1990s, feature the alien race the Skrulls as villains, and also Samuel L. Jackson as a younger Nick Fury. As a just-before-Thanksgiving shocker, the news broke that Jude Law will be the male lead in Captain Marvel, and he’s playing “Dr. Walter Lawson.” That right there is sort of a big deal, because that’s the name that the Kree alien named “Mar-Vell” took when he arrived on Earth. And rather coincidentally, Mar-Vell was a Captain. Mar-Vell has been right up there with Adam Warlock (see also: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2) as one of the cosmic characters Marvel fans most want to see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
We still don’t have a title for Quentin Tarantino‘s next project, but this week, we finally learned its premise (possibly to stop people from calling it his “Charles Manson movie“). We still don’t know who will play the two leads (though Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tom Cruise are reportedly all possibilities), but we now know more about the characters. The film will revolve around an actor who’s had some success in television, and is hoping to expand into movies, and he’s accompanied by his stunt double (who’s looking for the same thing). It’s all set in Hollywood in 1969 as the Manson Family and the murder of Sharon Tate (likely to be played by Margot Robbie) take place concurrently. This week, we also learned some of the details about how exactly Sony Pictures landed the rights to the film after a competitive multi-studio bidding war.
Terry McMillan is best known for writing the two novels that inspired the Angela Bassett movies Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. McMillan’s next novel to be developed as a movie will be last year’s I Almost Forgot About You, and another prominent actress will take the lead on it: Viola Davis (The Help, Fences) who is possibly best known for her more serious dramatic films and her work on Shonda Rhimes’ How to Get Away with Murder. I Almost Forgot About You will be directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who is particularly “hot” coming off this summer’s Girls Trip. Screenwriter Ron Bass, who previously worked on the aforementioned Bassett/McMillan films, will also adapt I Almost Forgot About You.
In the last few years, Mahershala Ali has co-starred in several noteworthy films (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Hidden Figures) and Netflix series (Luke Cage, House of Cards), but it was last year’s Academy Awards Best Picture winner Moonlight that really catapulted him into the spotlight. Ali is now in a position to produce his own projects, and for his first, he’s chosen an upcoming novel by author A.J. Wolfe. In the adaptation of the novel Burn, Ali will play “a Northern California detective who destroyed a cartel while keeping his undercover life secret from his family.” Mahershala Ali will also play the lead in the third season of HBO’s True Detective, and will costar in Robert Rodriguez’s manga adaptation Battle Angel: Alita.
As other attempts at “cinematic universes” flail and fail (Universal’s Dark Universe, and even possibly DC, post-Justice League), 20th Century Fox is moving forward with what could be the unlikeliest of such franchises. Although their recent remake of Murder on the Orient Express earned a borderline Rotten Tomatometer score of 59%, the film’s $156 million (and counting) global box office is apparently enough to warrant a sequel. Fox and director Kenneth Branagh are now developing a remake of 1978’s Death on the Nile (adapted from Christie’s 1937 novel), another ensemble mystery (the original included Bette Davis, David Niven, and Angela Lansbury). Kenneth Branagh will also reprise his role as detective Hercule Poirot, as he vacations in Egypt.
The relatively disappointing box office of Justice League has some wondering about the future of Warner Bros’ DC Comics movies. The three studios that make Marvel adaptations, however, are proceeding briskly. Fox is committed, for example, to releasing three Marvel movies a year, starting with 2018 (The New Mutants, Deadpool 2, X-Men: Dark Phoenix). The first such film scheduled for 2019 is Gambit (2/14/19), starring Channing Tatum as the cajun mutant gambler superhero. After a few false starts, filming is scheduled to start soon, with Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex, Cloverfield) now in talks to play the film’s female lead. It’s not yet known if Caplan will be playing the same Belladonna Bourdreaux character that might have once been played by Lea Seydoux. This week’s Gambit news registers as a “Rotten Idea” not because of Lizzy Caplan, but because of director Gore Verbinski‘s recent streak of Rotten films (including The Lone Ranger and A Cure for Wellness).
Fox did a soft reboot of their X-Men franchise with X-Men: Days of Future Past. One of the characters reimagined in its sequel X-Men: Apocalypse was Storm, with Alexandra Shipp taking over the character originally played by Halle Berry. This week, Shipp joined another similar soft reboot, namely the new Shaft, which is also a direct sequel. Jessie T. Usher will play the son of the Shaft that Samuel L. Jackson played in the 2000 version, and Shipp will play his romantic interest. To really complete the generational theme, both Samuel L. Jackson and original Shaft star Richard Roundtree will reprise their roles as well. The new Shaft is being directed by Tim Story, who currently boasts a seven-movie Rotten streak (if you don’t count his Kevin Hart comedy concert movies).