This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Star Trek: Section 31, Venom 3, and new projects for Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, and Jason Momoa.
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The Star Trek franchise has had decades’ worth of major stars who have appeared in some capacity, but there have been relatively few Academy Award winners in the films, with Whoopi Goldberg’s supporting role as Guinan in the Next Generation movies being the most obvious example (she won Best Supporting Actress for Ghost). However, the franchise will soon have its first movie starring a Best Actress winner, with the news this week that Michelle Yeoh, hot off her win for Everything Everywhere All at Once (Certified Fresh at 94%), will reprise her Star Trek: Discovery character in a spin-off feature film called Star Trek: Section 31. The spin-off had originally been planned as a Paramount+ series, but Yeoh’s post-Oscars glow apparently inspired Paramount to make Star Trek: Section 31 the first feature film adapted directly from one of the recent shows, instead of continuing the “Kelvin” timeline featuring stars like Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saltana, Karl Urban, and Simon Pegg.
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Joel and Ethan, aka the Coen Brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men), are one of Hollywood’s longest running and most prolific filmmaking partnerships in not just Hollywood today, but possibly in all of Hollywood history. The two brothers generally shared writing, directing, and producing duties on most of their films, but Joel Coen was usually the one credited as director when only one was credited. This fall, Ethan Coen will be delivering his first solo narrative feature as director (he previously directed the documentary Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind in 2021) with a crime comedy called Drive-Away Dolls (9/22/2023). Drive-Away Dolls will follow a group of young women on a road trip to Tallahassee who come across a gang of incompetent crooks. The young stars will include Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood), Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers), and Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) alongside other cast members like Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, and Colman Domingo.
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Spike Lee’s 2018 historical comedy BlacKkKlansman (Certified Fresh at 96%), the story of a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the the 1970s, was based upon the true story of a police officer named Ron Stallworth (portrayed in the film by John David Washington). Those events were not, however, the only ones to make for a great story, as Stallworth has written another book called From BlacKkKlansman to Hip Hop Cop, which has also now been optioned to become a movie. It’s unclear what the movie’s title might be, but the story follows an older Stallworth in the early 1990s (1990 to 1991) as “gangster rap” starts to become popular in the (mostly white) suburbs of Utah, and Stallworth, as Salt Lake City’s only black cop, was called upon to investigate the rise in gang violence. It is also unclear if Spike Lee or John David Washington will return for this new adaptation.
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Master of None and Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari has faced a bit of a rocky road on his way to making his feature film directorial debut, after one project with Bill Murray that almost started last year was eventually shut down mysteriously. Lionsgate has stepped in to offer Ansari a completely different comedy called Good Fortune, with both Keanu Reeves and Seth Rogen joining him in the cast. Ansari is starring, directing, and writing Good Fortune, the premise of which is not yet known. Hopefully for him, the title of the film will ring true, and he’ll have better luck getting it made than he did with his previous project.
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A diverse ensemble of stars that includes Ryan Reynolds, Jason Momoa, Audrey Plaza, and Vince Vaughn have been recruited by Legendary Entertainment to star in an R-rated comedy called Animal Friends that, among other elements, will be a hybrid of live-action and CGI animation. The premise is being kept secret, except that it’s an R-rated road trip adventure comedy. Given the title, it’s easy to guess that perhaps some of the characters will be animals, but we’ll know for sure soon enough.
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As a response to the continuing dominance of “IP movies” like sequels, remakes, and superhero blockbusters, people frequently call for more original screenplays, and this week seems to have an unusual number of high-profile stars signing on for non-IP projects in something of a callback to the 1990s and early 2000s or so. Following a high-priced bidding war, Warner Bros. has acquired a package deal for an action movie called Maude v Maude, with Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry both attached to star. The exact premise of Maude v Maude is being kept secret, except that the basic idea is that it’s akin to a female take on a James Bond vs. Jason Bourne action movie.
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Speak No Evil was the title of a 2022 Danish thriller (which is actually available to stream via various apps right now) that Blumhouse is quickly moving to adapt as an English-language remake also called Speak No Evil (8/9/2024) for release next year. James McAvoy, who previously worked with Blumhouse on the M. Night Shyamalan sequels Split and Glass, will star in the new film as a member of one of two different families who meet while off on a weekend vacation. In the original film, the two families were Danish and Dutch, and cultural misunderstandings played into the story; it’s not yet known how the English-language remake will differ, but McAvoy is Scottish, so it’s possible that may play a role.
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Last May, director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, Now You See Me) quickly stepped in as a last-minute replacement to direct next month’s Fast X (5/19/2023), following the surprise departure of franchise regular Justin Lin. Since then, it has remained unclear who would close the franchise’s core run of films with next year’s 11th installment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Universal Pictures has decided to stick with Leterrier to direct Fast 11, which will pick up where Fast X ends and presumably wrap up the franchise.
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The final scenes of 2021’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Rotten at 57%) did hint at a certain character from the original Marvel Comics, but this week’s news about Venom 3 doesn’t seem to connect the dots. Juno Temple, who is probably best known for her role in Ted Lasso, has signed on to star opposite Tom Hardy in Venom 3 in what is being described as a lead role. Sony and Marvel are otherwise being coy about the role (as is almost always the norm nowadays), but outside of the hints we got in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, there are dozens of Marvel/Spider-Man characters that Temple could potentially be taking on. Venom 3 won’t be her first superhero movie, either, as she previously had a supporting role in The Dark Knight Rises (Certified Fresh at 87%)… which incidentally also featured Tom Hardy (as Bane).