This week’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news (those stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next). Included in the mix this time around are stories about such titles as the Bride of Frankenstein remake, Aquaman, and the sequels to both Deadpool and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Last November, the news broke that Johnny Depp would be co-starring in the Fantastic Beasts sequels as antagonist Gellert Grindlewald, an announcement made imperative by the fact that he actually made his first appearance in the first film’s ending. Since the Fantastic Beasts movies (of which there will eventually be five) are prequels, we can also expect to see younger versions of some of Harry Potter’s older associates (or their parents), but the character most teased has been Aldus Dumbledore, the headmaster at Hogwarts. This week, we learned that the younger version of Dumbledore will be played by Jude Law, who has also worked with WB as Watson in their two Sherlock Holmes movies, and as the villain in next month’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Law won the role after Warner Bros previously considered Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jared Harris, the son of Richard Harris (who originally played Dumbledore). The second and third entries in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise are scheduled for release on November 16, 2018 and November 20, 2020, respectively.
If you’ve been following movie news much the last year or so, you’ve probably heard about the various actors being considered to play Cable in next year’s Deadpool sequel, including Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, Kyle Chandler (Friday Nights Light), Stephen Lang (Avatar), David Harbour (Stranger Things), and most recently, Michael Shannon (General Zod from Man of Steel). All of that finally came to an end this week, and it turns out the actor cast as the time-travelling future soldier is someone who had never even been mentioned. Cable will be played by Josh Brolin, who’s already established quite a career in comic book-based movies (Thanos in the MCU, young Agent K in Men in Black 3, Jonah Hex, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For). Brolin joins Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (obviously), and the previously cast Zazie Beetz as fan favorite Domino.
Director Bill Condon is at the top of the year’s box office so far with Disney’s remake of Beauty and the Beast, which is sort of a crossover for Condon‘s specialties, as it’s both a musical (like Chicago, which he wrote, and Dreamgirls), and a “monster” movie (like the two-part final chapter of The Twilight Saga). He also directed the 1998 showbiz drama Gods and Monsters (which won him a Best Screenplay Oscar), about director James Whale (Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein). So it’s somewhat fitting that Universal Pictures began negotiations with Condon this week to direct their remake of The Bride of Frankenstein. This project is part of Universal’s plan to create a “Universal Monsters” cinematic universe, starting with this summer’s reboot of The Mummy (starring Tom Cruise). No cast was mentioned this week, but in 2015 and 2016, rumors circulated around both Angelina Jolie and Javier Bardem.
You might recall a time back when Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) was attached to direct Marvel’s 2015 hit, Ant-Man, and if Wright had stayed on, he would have filmed scenes in which a human interacted with insects larger than him. If a new deal announced this week goes through, we might still end up with something similar. That’s because Edgar Wright is now in talks to direct an adaptation of the YA novel Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. Released in 2014, the book follows “a teen in Ealing, Iowa, dealing with sexual confusion as he and his friends accidentally unleash the end of the world… [via] …an unstoppable army of 6-foot-tall praying mantises.” Edgar Wright’s next film, Baby Driver, is scheduled for release this summer on June 28, 2017 (and you can see the trailer right here).
In addition to playing Sherlock (Holmes) and Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch is developing quite a filmography of movies based on true stories. We’re probably forgetting something, but the list includes The Other Boleyn Girl, 12 Years a Slave, The Imitation Game, and the upcoming film, The Current War (in which he plays Thomas Edison), just to name a few. As an actor, Cumberbatch has merely pretended to be famous people in all of these movies, but this week’s news may find him pretending to be someone pretending. Benedict Cumberbatch is in early negotiations with Fox Searchlight to star in The Man in the Rockefeller Suit, based on the non-fiction book by Mark Seal. If he signs on, Cumberbatch will be starring as German criminal Christian Gerhartsreiter, whose decades of fraud and deception climaxed in the 1990s when he pretended to be Clark Rockefeller, a (fictional) member of the famous wealthy family.
Another acclaimed actor (and Marvel star) who has starred in several biopics is Don Cheadle, whose filmography includes Hamburger Hill, Rosewood, Hotel Rwanda, Talk to Me, and last year’s Miles Ahead (as jazz great Miles Davis). Cheadle will also produce and star in another biographical film called Prince of Darkness, based on the nonfiction book Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah Hamilton, Wall Street’s First Black Millionaire. Like many biographies, the title does sort of explain its subject’s significance, but you can read more about Jeremiah G. Hamilton’s financial successes in the 1830s in this New York Times piece. Prince of Darkness will be adapted by screenwriter Steven Baigelman, who previously worked with Cheadle on Miles Ahead and on the James Brown biopic, Get On Up.
Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of press devoted to Sony’s plans for a new “cinematic universe” based on characters like Venom, Black Cat, and Silver Sable (the last two in the same movie), who are related to Spider-Man but will exist in their own separate world. And of course, we’re also only three months away from Spider-Man: Homecoming, the new solo movie featuring Tom Holland in the title role. With all of that going on, you’d be forgiven for forgetting (or not even knowing) that there is yet a fourth version of Spider-Man scheduled for release next year, on December 21, 2018. That (currently untitled) movie will tell the story of Miles Morales (AKA Ultimate Spider-Man in the comics), who will be depicted in animation instead of live-action. And we now know that Miles Morales will be voiced by Shameik Moore, the star of 2015’s Dope (and one of the costars of Netflix’s The Get Down). Liev Schreiber (AKA Sabretooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) has also signed on to play the film’s villain, but we don’t know yet who that’s going to be.
The brutal year of celebrity deaths that was 2016 got its start early on, with the devastating news on January 10th that David Bowie had passed. Just twelve days later, we also learned that the Jim Henson Company had closed a deal with Sony/TriStar to revisit the 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth (in which Bowie starred as Jareth the Goblin King). At that time, it was unclear if the new Labyrinth movie would be a direct sequel, a remake, or something else entirely. This week’s news brings with it the clarification that the new film will be set in the “world” of Labyrinth without being either a remake or a direct sequel. And the creative folks that will be developing the new Labyrinth are director Fede Alvarez and screenwriter Jay Basu (Monsters: Dark Continent), who are also preparing for next year’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web (also for Sony). In addition to last year’s horror hit Don’t Breathe, Alvarez also directed another recent remake, 2013’s Evil Dead, while screenwriter Jay Basu has worked on video game adaptations in the form of both Dante’s Inferno and Metal Gear Solid (both still in development).
It’s becoming more and more common that actors cast in various superhero movies have already starred in various superhero movies. Pretty soon, it may be more of a story when someone joins a Marvel or DC property who hasn’t been in one before. But this week, Warner Bros went truly old school, casting the star of one of the first Marvel Comics movies ever — the 1991 direct-to-video movie The Punisher — for one of their upcoming tentpole films. We’re talking about Dolph Lundgren, who also starred as He-Man in the 1987 live-action version of Masters of the Universe, and as Soviet boogeyman boxer Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Lundgren has been cast in next year’s Aquaman (12/21/18) as what amounts to our third known villain, King Nereus of Xebel, who was introduced relatively recently (2013) as part of the New 52 reimagining of many of DC’s core heroes. Lundgren’s character will be the king of a rival underwater kingdom “who claims Mera [Amber Heard] as his own and wants to kill Aquaman.” Lundgren joins an ensemble cast that already includes two other villains: Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson) and Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). We’re calling this one of the week’s Rotten Ideas because, wow, Dolph Lundgren? That’s old school Rotten.
Comedian Kevin Hart is currently on something of an impressive run of hit movies, which includes the Ride Along films (with Ice Cube), Central Intelligence (with Dwayne Johnson), and as one of the lead voices in The Secret Life of Pets. Hart will co-star again with Johnson in this December’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and another Ride Along sequel is also in development. This week, we learned Hart is set to produce and star in another comedy for Universal (home of the Ride Along franchise), and it’s called Night School. As the title suggests, Night School will be about “a group of misfits forced to attend adult classes to prepare for the GED exam.” This will also be a reunion project for Hart and director Tim Story, whose Tomatometer includes Rotten scores for the first two Fantastic Four movies and the two aforementioned Ride Along movies.