Weekly Ketchup

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell Join Birds of Prey, and More Movie News

Happy Death Day gets a sequel, Joaquin Phoenix goes full clown, Train to Busan and The Wild Bunch get remakes, and Bruce Dern fills a gap.

by | September 28, 2018 | Comments

Today’s Ketchup brings you ten headlines from the world of film development news, covering titles such as Birds of Prey, Happy Death Day 2U, Kingsman 3, and Monster Hunter.



Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

(Photo by Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)

Last week, the news broke that Warner Bros. was testing various actresses for the three characters that would be joining Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn in their adaptation of DC Comics’ Birds of Prey. A sense of urgency was implied, with the roles expected to be cast by the end of September (ie, this weekend), so that the actresses could begin training in time for filming to start in January. Well, that’s exactly what happened, as Warner Bros. has cast Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane, Scott Pilgrim vs the World) and former child star Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Eve’s Bayou, TV’s Friday Night Lights) as Huntress and Black Canary, respectively. Birds of Prey will be directed by Cathy Yan, who landed the job on the strength of Dead Pigs (Fresh at 100%). The fourth lead role yet to be cast is Detective Renee Montoya, but as her character is more “gun based” and less kicky/punchy, the training requirements might not be the same as with Huntress and Black Canary. We also learned this week that Warner Bros. has scheduled Birds of Prey for release on February 7, 2020, which puts it up against Peter Rabbit 2, and the weekend before James Bond 25 and Reese Witherspoon’s Legally Blonde 3. Warner Bros. reportedly decided to go with Birds of Prey following a pitch from Margot Robbie for “the idea of an R-rated girl gang film including Harley, because I was like, ‘Harley needs friends.’” You can learn more about the comic book histories of both Black Canary and Huntress in this piece, read Winstead’s own take on Huntress here, and see some of the wildly divergent social media reactions here.

Fresh Developments


The Weinstein Company

(Photo by The Weinstein Company)

It was a little over a year ago that we first heard that Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film as director would be an ensemble drama set in Los Angeles in the summer of 1969 with the Manson Family murders as a narrative backdrop. That film is now titled Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (and scheduled for July 26, 2019). After Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt were cast as the two leads, one of the earliest casting announcements was the late Burt Reynolds as 80-year-old George Spahn, who allowed Charles Manson and his followers to live at the “Spahn Ranch.” Although Tarantino had started filming when Burt Reynolds died on September 6, Reynolds had not yet filmed his scenes, but the director has found a replacement for the George Spahn role in 82-year-old Bruce Dern, a longtime friend of Burt Reynolds who had worked with him on TV projects like Hard Round, Hard Time: The Premonition, and the TV series 12 O’Clock High. Dern has also previously worked with Quentin Tarantino on both Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight.


Marvel Studios

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Though it’s perhaps not immediately obvious, there is a fairly major element missing between Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. Ragnarok ends with Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie on board the Asgardians’ ship, and Infinity War begins with that same ship assailed by Thanos’ forces. So, where was Valkyrie? Avengers: Infinity War never directly addresses that, but this week, we learned that Thompson is apparently now filming scenes for Avengers 4 during the film’s second phase of production in Atlanta. Both she and Chris Hemsworth were in London at the beginning of the week for filming of the Men in Black spinoff (6/14/2019), in which they both co-star, and then they were both seen flying to Atlanta. Of course, there are other possibilities, such as Thompson just accompanying Hemsworth to Avengers 4 as a friend. Valkyrie’s absense from Avengers: Infinity War (along with Hawkeye and Ant-Man), however, suggests a mystery available for Avengers 4 to address when it’s released on May 3rd, 2019.


(Photo by Glen Wilson/Universal Pictures)

Seth Rogen has two new movies scheduled for the summer of 2019: the comedy Flarsky with Charlize Theron (6/7/2019), and Disney’s remake of The Lion King (in which Rogen plays Pumbaa the warthog) (7/19/2019). Outside James Franco’s The Disaster Artist (for A24) and Netflix’s Like Father, the last time Seth Rogen starred in a comedy from a major studio was 2016’s Sausage Party. That R-rated animated comedy was distributed by Sony Pictures, and that studio is reuniting with Rogen for another food-themed project. Seth Rogen is attached to star in an untitled “high concept” comedy about an immigrant to America who lands a job at a pickle factory in 1918, only to fall into the brine and become preserved for 100 years. Rogen will play both the pickled survivor, and his great grandson, a “mild-mannered computer coder.” The screenplay is adapted from a novella originally published by The New Yorker, which you can read starting here, followed by parts two, three, and its conclusion. This movie will be the directorial debut of frequent Seth Rogen cinematographer Brandon Trost (Neighbors, This is the End, The Interview).


(Photo by Universal Studios)

Last year’s Happy Death Day was enough of a surprisingly effective horror take on Groundhog Day that it earned a Tomatometer score of 70%. We’ve known for a while that Universal Pictures was moving quickly to produce a sequel for next Valentine’s Day (against X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and the week after The LEGO Movie 2 and the sequel/reboot What Men Want). The cleverness inherent to Happy Death Day suggested that the producers might have fun with the sequel’s title, and this week, those speculations were justified. The film is now officially titled Happy Death Day 2U, which brings to mind both Internet lingo and Prince-style song titles. Jessica Rothe will return as the lead character in Happy Death Day 2U, along with several new cast members you can see listed hereHappy Death Day earned over $122 million globally from a production budget of just $4.8 million, and the sequel is expected to have been produced on a similarly low budget.



Warner Bros.

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

Although Batman’s long-standing archenemy the Joker is famously known as the “Clown Prince of Crime,” that expression has always stood somewhat separate from the visual shorthand we associate with “clowns.” Yes, the Joker has white skin (or wears white clown makeup) and green hair and dresses colorfully, but his usual garb otherwise is not really a “clown costume.” That distinction has become increasingly obvious the last week or so as we’ve seen what Joaquin Phoenix looks like in next year’s Joker origin movie (10/4/2019). It started last Friday with a leaked “test footage” video, but the idea of Phoenix going “full clown” was driven home by an image of him in a clown costume, complete with green “Bozo”-style hair, oversized shoes, a red rubber nose, and a funny little hat. (Director Todd Phillips also revealed our first look at Deadpool 2 costar Zazie Beetz in character, but it’s a less revelatory image.) We also now have video footage of Joaquin Phoenix in character filming a subway action sequence, and in that scene, he more closely resembles Heath Ledger’s take on Joker, but it’s still more “clown” and less “prince of crime.” Also this week, the writers of the other upcoming Joker (and Harley Quinn) movie (starring Jared Leto and Margot Robbie) addressed their film’s tone.


Well Go USA Entertainment

(Photo by Well Go USA Entertainment)

Train to Busan was a 2016 Korean horror-thriller set on a commuter passenger train during a zombie apocalypse that takes place in the surrounding countryside. The film is Certified Fresh at 96% and was the recipient of dozens of international and festival film awards. Train to Busan works well because, like previous films like Terror Train and Snowpiercer, the narrow geography of a locomotive lends itself to claustrophobia and tension. Producer and director James Wan first made his mark with the Saw franchise before moving on to Insidious, The Conjuring, and the action movies Furious 7 and this year’s Aquaman. Wan and his Atomic Monster production company are now developing a remake of Train to Busan for New Line Cinema to be written by Gary Dauberman, the writer of Annabelle (Rotten at 29%) and this month’s The Nun (Rotten at 27%). It’s not yet known who will direct the Train to Busan remake.


(Photo by Giles Keyte/20th Century Fox)

About a month after director Danny Boyle’s departure from James Bond 25, we learned last week that the film is now scheduled for February 14, 2020, which was a move back of about three months from its original release date of November 9, 2019. Someone at 20th Century Fox was clearly paying attention, because the studio has now scheduled its own “glamorized spy franchise” entry for that same date in the form of Kingsman 3. The first film, Kingsman: The Secret Service (Certified Fresh at 74%), came out in 2015 and was followed just last year by the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Rotten at 53%), so these movies are coming out in brisk two-year intervals. Director Matthew Vaughn is signed to both write and direct this third film, but there are not yet any other details known, except that it promises to depict “the conclusion of the Harry Hart-Eggsy relationship.”


(Photo by Claire Folger/Paramount Pictures)

Following a DUI arrest in 2006 and other controversies in following years, actor-turned-director Mel Gibson went ten years in between 2006’s Apocalypto and 2016’s Hacksaw Ridge without directing a film. Although it had a $40 million budget, and was released in the USA by Summit Entertainment, Hacksaw Ridge was, for the most part, an independent production (at least in terms of the “major studios”). Mel Gibson came a little closer to being back in Hollywood’s good graces as a director this week, with the news that he is now attached to write, direct, and executive produce a major remake for Warner Bros., namely Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 classic western The Wild Bunch. That film told the story of a group of aging former bandits and outlaws who unite for one last big score in Mexico, leading to an ill-fated showdown involving a gatling gun and dozens of enemies. It’s not yet known if Gibson’s version will be a direct remake, or something more like a new story “inspired by” Peckinpah’s original film. It’s also not known if he will take on one of the roles. The Wild Bunch now joins another project that Mel Gibson is developing, a World War II drama called Destroyer in which his Daddy’s Home 2 co-star Mark Wahlberg is attached to star.


(Photo by Universal Pictures)

2017’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ended the six-film run on the franchise starring Milla Jovovich and directed by her husband Paul W.S. Anderson. That the final film’s 37% Tomatometer score was the highest of the six says a lot about both the quality of the Resident Evil movies and the critical state of video game adaptations as a larger trend. Jovovich and Anderson aren’t quite done with video game movies, however, as they are currently preparing next to adapt the Monster Hunter franchise. Monster Hunter made the news twice this week, starting first with the addition of both Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Pacific Rim) and rapper-turned-actor T.I. Harris (Takers, Get Hard). T.I. will play a sniper, and Perlman will play “Admiral, the leader of the Hunter’s Crew.” The second casting story this week involved Thai martial arts star Tony Jaa of the Ong-Bak franchise. Monster Hunter is scheduled to start filming in South Africa in October on a budget of $60 million. In somewhat related news, the Hellboy reboot (with Stranger Things star David Harbour replacing Ron Perlman) has been pushed back three months from January 11, 2019 to April 12, 2019 (up against Robert Downey Jr’s The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle).

Tag Cloud

Crunchyroll stop motion a nightmare on elm street Marathons Character Guide medical drama christmas movies supernatural Mary Poppins Returns video on demand Sundance Disney Plus remakes stand-up comedy Universal sequel WGN Walt Disney Pictures blaxploitation anime nature comic book movie Turner Hear Us Out high school Showtime cops razzies FX on Hulu concert TV Land PaleyFest Rocketman Shondaland monster movies Lucasfilm TV renewals Tumblr 2021 Exclusive Video TBS heist movie Musicals Binge Guide screen actors guild Lionsgate Family 45 CNN french Grammys RT21 Mudbound classics Mystery war Netflix Christmas movies RT History justice league Creative Arts Emmys royal family 2015 singing competition tv talk legend Image Comics spinoff Television Critics Association 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards USA Network Chilling Adventures of Sabrina police drama Box Office fast and furious based on movie comics satire OneApp blockbuster Best and Worst Calendar President Super Bowl HBO werewolf Star Trek genre TCM lord of the rings fresh Superheroes robots Certified Fresh Film Festival emmy awards Endgame Chernobyl Fox News ghosts ESPN composers Quiz scary movies Extras vampires 2019 spanish language wonder woman Star Wars biopic james bond TLC Pacific Islander Captain marvel Lifetime HBO Go aapi casting Academy Awards Cartoon Network basketball Pet Sematary latino Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt X-Men new york TCA 2017 Year in Review kaiju Mindy Kaling jurassic park screenings toy story BET indie Nominations Country Pride Month DC streaming service rom-coms 72 Emmy Awards AMC Plus canceled new zealand biography Fargo mcc independent new star wars movies Columbia Pictures Valentine's Day First Look mission: impossible Marvel Sony Pictures boxing cars cancelled television renewed TV shows Disney+ Disney Plus trophy streaming TV movies E3 Toys 007 Amazon Studios 2016 Funimation Mary poppins superman The Walt Disney Company revenge PlayStation TCA Winter 2020 Lifetime Christmas movies comiccon Cosplay Song of Ice and Fire Martial Arts documentaries king kong dogs dexter Election Watching Series leaderboard Spike name the review Animation docudrama A24 directors Esquire IMDb TV disaster SundanceTV comic Paramount Plus scary japanese criterion strong female leads Interview CMT 2018 History National Geographic kids dceu Sci-Fi blockbusters DirecTV international Stephen King chucky Reality golden globes discovery Travel Channel LGBTQ Holidays sitcom adaptation foreign festival space Comedy deadpool Disney Channel doctor who crime drama theme song Trivia trailers crime Black Mirror AMC boxoffice The Academy facebook Hallmark Christmas movies Awards Tour BBC America MSNBC young adult ratings suspense Freeform Oscars spain Pixar Amazon scorecard 71st Emmy Awards Tokyo Olympics BBC Red Carpet miniseries Nat Geo TNT twilight American Society of Cinematographers popular SDCC cancelled TV series Women's History Month Rock spy thriller hollywood ITV game show unscripted Marvel Television versus IFC Films dragons anthology book marvel cinematic universe USA quibi Polls and Games thriller Awards hispanic heritage month PBS SXSW romance Holiday Wes Anderson scene in color Emmys Winter TV feel good sopranos zombie talk show DC Comics Apple TV+ stoner sag awards Elton John comedies green book halloween tv venice BBC One book adaptation action-comedy finale comic books technology olympics Apple TV Plus sports Fantasy Biopics rotten movies we love Warner Bros. Bravo target Tarantino festivals king arthur slashers zombies transformers archives documentary NBA travel CW Seed critics dark Opinion Reality Competition political drama breaking bad joker Sundance TV reboot Syfy Peacock Universal Pictures marvel comics dc movies serial killer slasher social media The Walking Dead game of thrones posters Britbox movie black Music See It Skip It australia DC Universe New York Comic Con Winners FOX Turner Classic Movies Film MTV telelvision DGA free movies football Netflix Action Schedule black comedy Shudder rotten Musical true crime San Diego Comic-Con crossover 73rd Emmy Awards The Arrangement Sundance Now Emmy Nominations 1990s ID south america richard e. Grant indiana jones hist Ellie Kemper pirates of the caribbean Apple 99% diversity psychological thriller dreamworks art house psycho period drama Comic-Con@Home 2021 aliens jamie lee curtis children's TV romantic comedy natural history toronto El Rey Logo animated Masterpiece Trailer YouTube Food Network Amazon Prime Video elevated horror A&E MCU Brie Larson VOD Hallmark Drama debate what to watch Black History Month Dark Horse Comics rt archives asian-american Adult Swim GIFs die hard all-time Crackle halloween zero dark thirty spider-man Arrowverse golden globe awards ABC Signature GoT TruTV Cannes Alien mockumentary Photos adventure parents 4/20 ViacomCBS Countdown hispanic vs. cancelled superhero VH1 Ovation Epix dramedy Spectrum Originals historical drama binge Paramount Nickelodeon nfl OWN mob Tubi gangster Teen Trophy Talk 90s kong Video Games Acorn TV Set visit Ghostbusters 20th Century Fox Vudu Broadway science fiction The Purge witnail franchise Marvel Studios Rom-Com films YA politics Hulu cancelled TV shows worst movies Thanksgiving reviews award winner spanish batman television series universal monsters italian LGBT cartoon Television Academy 24 frames TCA Awards First Reviews Comic Book harry potter Kids & Family BAFTA 2020 NYCC Baby Yoda Pop prank Sneak Peek Neflix docuseries Starz 93rd Oscars Comedy Central The CW YouTube Premium YouTube Red Premiere Dates saw Classic Film nbcuniversal canceled TV shows FXX teaser Instagram Live cooking live action 21st Century Fox WarnerMedia HBO Max IFC ABC child's play video Paramount Network Anna Paquin TV Western NBC FX Mary Tyler Moore VICE Infographic Fall TV know your critic comic book movies APB Spring TV Summer cats streaming movies Fox Searchlight CBS news rt labs TCA cults critic resources Heroines worst The Witch Pop TV Pirates Tomatazos live event women spider-verse Discovery Channel crime thriller Amazon Prime TV One Rocky sequels Legendary mutant japan laika cinemax 2017 obituary TIFF rt labs critics edition Christmas godzilla Disney Comics on TV Avengers best BET Awards E! CBS All Access Writers Guild of America hidden camera ABC Family adenture Disney streaming service Horror GLAAD Podcast Superheroe