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 new films from directors Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Quentin Tarantino, and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins.
In the past, director Quentin Tarantino has mentioned an interest in possibly directing a horror film. This week, we discovered that for his ninth (and potentially penultimate) film, Tarantino is indeed adapting a true story very well suited for the genre. For his first feature film based on a true story, Tarantino will write and direct a film based on the infamous “Manson Family Murders” of actress Sharon Tate and other house guests (and more people the next night). Tarantino is already meeting with several A-list stars for the film’s ensemble cast, starting with Margot Robbie, who would be cast as Sharon Tate herself. Tarantino is also talking to his Inglourious Basterds star Brad Pitt (as a detective investigating the murders), frequent collaborator Samuel L. Jackson, and Jennifer Lawrence, who nearly co-starred in 2015’s The Hateful Eight. Contrary to some reports, however, Lawrence is in talks for a role other than Sharon Tate. There is no word yet as to who might play such famous figures connected to the murders as Charles Manson, convicted killer Tex Watson, or director Roman Polanski (Sharon Tate’s husband at the time).
Martin Scorsese’s next film will be for Netflix, and it will be an ambitious $100 million gangster movie called The Irishman. Scorsese has been developing it for several years, originally with the title I Heard You Paint Houses, based on Charles Brandt’s non-fiction novel about confessed mob assassin Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran. The full title of the book is I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Final Ride by Jimmy Hoffa, which also serves as the movie’s synopsis (with Al Pacino attached to play Jimmy Hoffa). We’ve known for a while that The Irishman would be a reunion project for Scorsese and Robert De Niro (who’s playing Sheeran), but this week it was officially confirmed that that Joe Pesci would also be co-starring in The Irishman. Then, it was also revealed that Harvey Keitel (who co-starred in Scorsese’s Mean Streets) and Bobby Canavale (who co-starred in Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire series) are also in talks for roles. The casting news didn’t stop there, as Ray Romano is also on board to play “Bill Bufalino, a teamster lawyer with ties to the mob.” Filming of The Irishman is scheduled to start in September, and Netflix is expected to start streaming the movie sometime in 2018.
Five of Clint Eastwood’s last six films as director have all been based on true stories: Invictus, J. Edgar, Jersey Boys, American Sniper, and last year’s Sully. In April, we learned that he’ll be doing another, based on the very recent past. The 15:17 to Paris will depict the August, 2015 thwarting of an attempt by an ISIS terrorist to kill hundreds of people aboard a train from Brussels to Paris. The casting of the three heroes is unusual, however, because Eastwood is going with non-actors Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone — the actual heroes from the incident. Younger actors will play them as children, and in those sections, Tony Hale (Arrested Development) will be their gym teacher, while Thomas Lennon (Reno 911) will play their principal. Judy Greer and Jenna Fischer will also co-star in The 15:17 to Paris.
Although he didn’t win the Academy Award this year for Best Director, Barry Jenkins’ second feature film Moonlight did win the Best Picture prize in strikingly unusual fashion. The directors of Best Picture winners frequently announce new projects within weeks (or even days) of the Oscars, but it’s taken Jenkins four months. Jenkins will next direct an adaptation of the novel If Beale Street Could Talk by author James Baldwin, who was recently the subject of the documentary I Am Not Your Negro, which was itself nominated for a Best Documentary Academy Award. Barry Jenkins will start filming the drama in October, which centers on “a newly engaged Harlem woman who races against the clock to prove her lover’s innocence while carrying their first-born child.” Jenkins is also writing and directing a drama series for Amazon about The Underground Railroad.
Some writers are more prolific than others. And then, there’s R.L. Stine, the children’s author who has written hundreds of novels, representing several franchises. Following up on the success of Goosebumps, his most popular series, Stine also wrote a series for teen readers called Fear Street. Likewise, after the box office and critical success of 2015’s Certified Fresh Goosebumps, R.L. Stine has landed a movie deal for Fear Street, too. 20th Century Fox is taking something of an unusual approach with Fear Street, as the studio has made a deal with director Leigh Janiak to direct three movies, which might be filmed back-to-back, and then released back-to-back as well, each separated by just a month. Janiak’s first feature film as director was the 2014 horror film Honeymoon, which only earned just under $10,000 during its domestic run.
We are still waiting to hear something concrete about the future of the James Bond franchise (by which, we mean something more concrete than this). We did, however, hear this week about a new spy franchise that Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are now working on. The spy thriller is called The Rhythm Section, and it’s based on the first novel in British author Mark Burnell’s series of four (thus far) novels about a spy named Stephanie Patrick. We can also report that Blake Lively (The Shallows) is attached to star as Stephanie Patrick (and presumably in future films). In The Rhythm Section, Lively’s spy heroine will be on a “a path to self-destruction after the death of her family in an airplane crash — a flight that she was meant to be on. After discovering that the crash wasn’t an accident, her anger awakens a new sense of purpose as she becomes an assassin to track down those responsible.” The Rhythm Section will be directed by Reed Morano (2015’s Meadowland), who also worked on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
This summer marked the 20th anniversary of the release of 1997’s Batman and Robin, and if you’re old enough, you might recall that a lot of fans held that movie against its screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman (here’s an example, circa 2006). In the years since, Goldsman has worked on some Fresh movies (I Am Legend, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind), but the majority of his credits remain Rotten on the Tomatometer. That said, Goldsman just landed a new deal with Paramount this week, with three high profile films all under his aegis now. One of them is the Tom Clancy franchise Rainbow Six, with Ryan Reynolds already in loose negotiations to play former Navy SEAL John Clark. Goldsman will also work on the YA franchise Ologies, which includes such books as Alienology, Dragonology, Illusionology, Monsterology, and Vampireology. Finally, he’s also working on another comic book adaptation, Avengelyne, the 1990s supernatural heroine created by Rob Liefeld.
Hot off the critical and commercial success of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, co-star Lily James has secured a spot as the first new cast member to join Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. As the headline above indicates, James will be playing the younger version of Meryl Streep’s character in flashback sequences, as the sequel “goes back and forth in time to show how relationships forged in the past resonate in the present.” The sequel is expected to include many of the ABBA songs that were not featured in the first film. Universal Pictures has scheduled Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! for release on July 20th, 2018 (up against the cyborg action movie Alita: Battle Angel). The original Mamma Mia! earned a Rotten Tomatometer score of 54 percent.
While Wonder Woman has enjoyed success across the board this summer, neither of last year’s DCEU movies — Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (27 percent) and Suicide Squad (25 percent) — did well on the Tomatometer. And yet, Warner Bros is still moving forward with a Suicide Squad sequel, at least according to news that director Jamue Collet-Serra is the frontrunner for the job. Unfortunately, his record with the Tomatometer isn’t super encouraging either; Run All Night and The Shallows are the only two Fresh films to his name. This wasn’t a great week for the director of the first Suicide Squad, David Ayer, either, as Universal Pictures has “parted ways” with Ayer over their reboot of Scarface, reportedly because his version was “too dark.” That’s right, David Ayer’s screenplay was too dark for a franchise that most recently ended with Al Pacino being shot over 100 times in a blaze of glory near a massive pile of cocaine. To paraphrase Anchorman, “that’s… pretty dark.”
We first saw a trailer for Amityville: The Awakening, the nineteenth (!) Amityville Horror movie, back in 2014, but after years of delays, the film was recently yanked from its June 30, 2017 release date, and now we have no idea when we’ll eventually see that movie. Instead, the new focus appears to be on something new: Eli Roth will be producing a related film called 1974, for Broad Green Pictures, the company that released Bad Santa 2 (23 percent) and this week’s Wish Upon (21 percent). The film gets its title 1974 from the year that convicted murderer Ronald DeFeo Jr. committed the crimes that inspired the book The Amityville Horror (he murdered the family in the infamous house at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, NY). 1974 was written and will be directed by Casey La Scala, who also produced (the not-yet-seen) Amityville: The Awakening. 1974 is the “Rotten Idea of the Week” because, well, have you ever looked up Amityville on Rotten Tomatoes?