This Week’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as The Batman, Eternals, Hocus Pocus 2, and No Time to Die.
As the coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, Hollywood is one of the industries that is being forced to reassess its collective plans for 2020. This includes large events like SXSW being cancelled, or in the case of Cannes, possibly cancelled, but it’s also affecting specific movies scheduled for release soon. The biggest movie was the next James Bond film, No Time to Die, which was shifted from April 10th seven months back to November 25th, where it will now face off against the Venus and Serena Williams biopic King Richard and the Disney animated fantasy Raya and the Last Dragon. (Trolls World Tour was bumped up one week from 4/17 to 4/10 to take James Bond’s spot.) It’s interesting to note that MGM chose to move No Time to Die back following an online petition that asked for exactly that, despite the studio reportedly being at risk of losing over $30 million by making that move. No Time to Die star Daniel Craig is also still starring on Saturday Night Live this week, despite no longer having a movie to promote. Sony Pictures also moved their WWII movie Greyhound back a month from May 8 to June 12th, but studio insiders denied that it was because of coronavirus concerns. Theatrically, over 70,000 screens have been closed in China, and there is already speculation that theaters could also close in the United States. Those closures in China have led Disney to “delay indefinitely” the release of Mulan in the country, and Paramount has done the same for Sonic the Hedgehog. Two other major films that people are concerned may have to be rescheduled are Marvel’s Black Widow (5/1/2020) and Universal’s F9 (5/22/2020), but as of this writing, their studios have not made any changes.
In the comic books, the various TV shows, and movies from Batman to The Dark Knight, Batman’s main ride, the Batmobile, has taken many different forms. Over time, the argument could be made that the Batmobile has increasingly departed from looking like “a car,” which may have reached its farthest point with the tank-like tumbler Batman drove in Christopher Nolan’s films. In next year’s The Batman (6/25/2021), director Matt Reeves appears to be returning the Batmobile to its original roots of still looking basically like an actual car. In the three images that Reeves revealed this week, the Batmobile does definitely have lots of cool features you won’t find at your local dealership, but it’s close enough to reality that one could imagine how they might soup up their own car to look like it. Robert Pattinson will star as The Batman, along with Jeffrey Wright (Jim Gordon), Zoe Kravitz (Catwoman), Colin Farrell (The Penguin), Paul Dano (The Riddler), and Andy Serkis (Alfred Pennyworth).
One of the first big movie development news stories of 2020 was the surprising revelation on January 9th that director Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Doctor Strange) had dropped out of directing the sequel called Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (5/7/2021). Spider-Man director Sam Raimi eventually started negotiations about directing that film instead, and this week, we found out what Derrickson will do next. Derrickson is now in talks with Paramount-based production company Skydance Media (Top Gun: Maverick, Star Trek Beyond) about directing their long-in-development action-adventure project called Bermuda. As you can guess from the title, Bermuda somehow involves the mysteries of the disappearances around the area called the “Bermuda Triangle.” Scott Derrickson will both direct and rewrite Bermuda, in which former Marvel star Chris Evans is also reportedly being eyed to star.
Although anyone who’s familiar with Bollywood could have predicted it, many audiences were probably surprised when eventual Academy Award Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire ended with a big Bollywood-style musical dance sequence. Kumail Nanjiani confirmed this week that his upcoming big superhero movie, Marvel’s Eternals (11/6/2020), will itself also have a big Bollywood-style musical number featuring about 50 singers and dancers. The set up for the sequence will be that Nanjiani’s character, Kingo, will hide himself in modern human society by becoming a Bollywood movie star. The direct quote from Nanjiani was this: “So I become a Bollywood movie star; that’s my secret identity. We’re supposed to keep quiet, and I’ve become the biggest Bollywood movie star.” Kumail Nanjiani’s other Eternals co-stars will include Angelina Jolie (Thena), Salma Hayek (Ajak), Lauren Ridloff (Makkari, the MCU’s first deaf superhero), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos, the MCU’s first gay superhero), Gemma Chan (Sersi), and Game of Thrones stars Richard Madden (Ikaris) and Kit Harrington (Dane Whitman, AKA the Black Knight). In related news, Christian Bale has been confirmed as playing the villain in next year’s Thor: Love and Thunder (11/5/2021 .
As both traditional television networks and expanding streaming services continue to attract “movie stars” to work on series, it’s becoming something of a trend that stars have to drop out of projects not because of other feature films, but because of TV. The latest example of that is Josh Brolin, who had been expected to star in director Steven Soderbergh’s (Contagion, Magic Mike, Ocean’s Eleven) next film, called Kill Switch. Instead, it will be former Mad Men star Jon Hamm who will take that role, as a cop who is trying to find “a trio of criminals who carry out a home invasion, only to wonder if they’ve been double-crossed when the job goes sideways.” Jon Hamm’s co-stars in Kill Switch will include Marvel stars Don Cheadle (War Machine) and Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier), as well as Cedric the Entertainer, who also signed on this week.
Various memes about a Hocus Pocus sequel became so common online a few years ago that the popular hoax-debunking site Snopes.com had to create a page just to address it. Proving, however, that nothing is necessarily impossible or too ridiculous to actually happen, Walt Disney Pictures actually did start development on a Hocus Pocus sequel last year, intended to premiere directly on their Disney+ streaming service. The original stars (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker) haven’t officially signed on to return for the sequel just yet, but they’re presumed to be doing so. This week, the directing job went to Adam Shankman (Hairspray, Rock of Ages), whose profile has gone up in recent years as one of the judges of the competition TV show So You Think You Can Dance? In somewhat related news, the long-planned remake of the 1958 witchcraft romantic comedy Bell, Book & Candle (originally starring James Stewart and Kim Novak) is back in development under new producers, following years in which it was being produced by someone who is now definitely a persona non grata.
The long-in-development feature film adaptation of the popular Uncharted video game franchise is finally getting close to filming after several different directors have come and gone over the last few years. The directing job has finally gone to Ruben Fleischer (Venom, Zombieland), who is partly available for the Uncharted movie this year because he did not return to direct Venom 2 (that job went to Andy Serkis instead). Tom Holland will star as the franchise lead Nathan Drake, in what his costar Mark Wahlberg this week described as an “origin story” comparable to both Indiana Jones (obviously) and The Thomas Crown Affair. Their costars will also now include Antonio Banderas, who is coming off his recent Academy Award nomination for Pain and Glory, and also Tati Gabrielle (Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and Sophia Ali. Sony Pictures has scheduled Uncharted for release in just under a year from today, on March 5, 2021.
While some movies can start production mere months before their release dates (Clint Eastwood does this a lot), other movies have to start up over a year in advance (or even several years). One such project that seems to be gearing up that far in advance is Warner Bros’ Sesame Street musical, which is scheduled for release just under two years from now (1/14/2022). Anne Hathaway has been attached to star for a while now, but this week, she got her first (human) co-star in the form of Chance the Rapper, who apparently will also be Chance the Actor, and possibly Chance the Singer. Chance the Rapper will play an aide to “the mayor,” which appears to either be a role that hasn’t been cast yet, or maybe the mayor is actually a Sesame Street Muppet. In the most recent Sesame Street screenplay draft, the Muppets find themselves thrown out of Sesame Street so that they have to team up with a “history show host” (Anne Hathaway) to prove that Sesame Street actually does exist.
In addition to playing Mike on Stranger Things, Finn Wolfhard has also stayed busy starring in a few different movies with spooky themes, including the two IT movies, The Addams Family (Rotten at 43%), The Turning (Rotten at 12%), and this summer’s upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife. For his next film, Wolfhard has chosen a title that only sounds like it’s a supernatural horror film, as he is the first young actor to sign on for the teen crime story Rules for Werewolves. The indie dramatic thriller is based upon a short film of the same title which was to have debuted at SXSW in Austin. Reportedly to be filmed in a “single take” (or possibly edited to look like it was, a la 1917), Rules for Werewolves will tell the story of a “pack of wild teens as they break in and loot a new home, leaving someone (or something) behind for the cops to find.”
It was just over a month ago that the Weekly Ketchup reported that Jason Statham and Kevin Hart would be teaming up for an action comedy called The Man from Toronto. Filming was reportedly supposed to start in just about six weeks, but the project hit a bump this week, as Jason Statham dropped out of starring. Statham reportedly had “creative issues,” including a disagreement about the planned MPAA rating, which Statham reportedly wanted to be an R, while Sony Pictures instead wanted a PG-13. The Man from Toronto is currently scheduled for release on November 20, 2020, but that may have to be delayed if Sony can’t find a replacement for Statham soon.