Today’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Candyman, James Bond 25, Puss in Boots 2, and A Quiet Place 2.
The Academy Awards may ostensibly be about rewarding “art,” but the acting winners in particular often land big roles immediately after. This year, that was true for both of the male actors (maybe next week, Regina King and Olivia Colman?). Before his Academy Award-winning portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek was best known as the star of TV’s Mr. Robot, but he was confirmed this week for a major role in one of Hollywood’s most lucrative film franchises. Malek is now in final negotiations to star in the upcoming James Bond film, which will be Daniel Craig’s fifth outing as 007. He will play the film’s main villain, who is believed to have roots in North Africa, due to both his Egyptian heritage and that of the previous actor in talks for the role, Said Taghmaoui, who is Moroccan. Malek is the first new actor to be announced to join the franchise, with Spectre co-stars Ralph Fiennes (M), Naomie Harris (Moneypenny), Lea Seydoux (Madeleine Swann), and Ben Whishaw (Q) expected to return. Cary Joji Fukunaga (Jane Eyre, Beasts of No Nation, season 1 of True Detective) will direct James Bond 25, which is scheduled for release on April 8, 2020 (with no current competition). Rami Malek will also voice Chee-Chee the gorilla in next year’s The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle (1/17/2020), starring Robert Downey Jr. (Note: there were also stories this week that Lupita Nyong’o was sought to co-star as the next “Bond girl,” but her team reportedly said, “it won’t work out with her.”)
Last year’s horror hit A Quiet Place lost its one chance at an Academy Award (Sound Editing) to Bohemian Rhapsody, but this was still a big week for that film’s legacy, Oscar or not. Actor-turned-director John Krasinski took to his Instagram to announce that the Quiet Place sequel is now scheduled for just a little over two years after the first film, on May 15, 2020. That puts A Quiet Place 2 within a week either way of Fast and Furious 9, Legally Blonde 3, the Scooby-Doo reboot, the third SpongeBob SquarePants movie, and the World War II film Greyhound. It’s currently unclear whether John Krasinski will return to act in the sequel, but he will at least direct, as he did with the first movie. Emily Blunt and the kid actors Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe are all in talks to reprise their roles, which confirms that the sequel will continue their stories (instead of revolving around another family).
This year’s Academy Awards ultimately didn’t work out for director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster), as The Favourite (Certified Fresh at 94%) lost in all but one of the categories in which it was nominated for an Oscar (the exception being Olivia Colman’s Best Actress win). Lanthimos remains, however, an awards darling (The Favourite did win seven BAFTAS, for example), so many are awaiting his next film. Lanthimos has switched genres with each film, and we learned this week that he’s following his 18th century costume drama with an adaptation of a 1960s crime novel, as he is signed to write and direct a film based on the novel Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson (The Grifters, The Getaway), who co-wrote Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory. Pop. 1280 tells the story of a “corrupt sheriff of a small town [who] manipulates the people in his orbit in order to win the next election.” The film is described as a “high priority” and likely Yorgos Lanthimos’ next film as director.
In addition to her career as an actress in film (Dangerous Liaisons, Fatal Attraction, 101 Dalmatians) and on television (Damages, The Shield), Glenn Close has also had great success on stage. Going into this week’s Academy Awards, Close was considered by many pundits to be the front runner for the Best Actress trophy (which ultimately went to Olivia Colman and The Favourite) for her work in The Wife. Now it appears she’s close to moving on to one of her dream projects, a film version of the stage musical adaptation of Billy Wilder’s 1950 classic Sunset Boulevard (Certified Fresh at 98%), for which she previously won won one of her three Tony Awards. Tony-winning choreographer Rob Ashford is now attached to direct Sunset Boulevard, in what will effectively be his feature film debut as director. Paramount Pictures is reportedly planning to start production on Sunset Boulevard in the fall of 2019. In a similar vein, Fox Searchlight is now developing a remake of the 1991 thriller Sleeping with the Enemy, starring Julia Roberts.
Three of the acting winners in this year’s Academy Awards were also first time nominees (Olivia Colman, Regina King, and Rami Malek), and Mahershala Ali won his second Academy Award for Supporting Actor for his role in Best Picture-winner Green Book. Like Malek, Ali’s agents were also able to convert the win into a major new role this week. Mahershala Ali is now signed to star in the science fiction drama Sovereign for director Marc Munden (who’s directed episodes of Utopia, Conviction, and Vanity Fair). The details of the screenplay by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (co-writers of A Quiet Place) aren’t being revealed in detail, but the tone is described as being similar to Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival.
This was a big week for kids’ movies, with two big sequels confirmed to be moving forward in development. Like many other stories this week, the first is directly related to one of this year’s big Academy Awards winners. Sony Pictures scored a rare non-Disney Best Animated Feature win for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and one of that film’s co-directors is now signed for a new film. Bob Persichetti, who worked on 2011’s Puss in Boots, is now signed to direct the sequel Puss in Boots 2 for DreamWorks Animation. DreamWorks is also adapting a new Shrek movie (with the original cast). Meanwhile, Sony Pictures is now at work on the animated sequel Hotel Transylvania 4, which the studio has dated for December 22, 2021 (up against the Wicked movie). Lastly, Paramount has also scheduled their long-in-development adaptation of Clifford the Big Red Dog (likely to be a live action/animation hybrid) for November 13, 2020 (Rugrats was scheduled for that date, but that has now been pushed back two months to January 29, 2021).
Director and producer Jordan Peele is definitely making the most of the success of his 2017 psychological thriller Get Out (Certified Fresh at 98%). As director, Peele has Us coming out on March 22nd, and as producer and host, he’s also got the reboot of The Twilight Zone coming soon. Another top priority for Peele is the reboot of the 1992 franchise-launching horror film Candyman (Fresh at 73%). Ever since the reboot was announced, the most obvious question was who would be taking over the role from Tony Todd. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who played the villain Black Manta in Aquaman, is now in talks with MGM to star in the Candyman reboot. The new Candyman is being described as a “spiritual sequel” set in “the now-gentrified section of Chicago where the Cabrini-Green housing projects once stood.” MGM has scheduled Candyman for June 12, 2020 (the week after Wonder Woman 1984). In related news, Warner Bros. has now scheduled Aquaman 2 (in which Mateen may return as Black Manta) for December 16, 2022, which is five days shy of four years after the first film (and also a “gap year” for James Cameron’s Avatar franchise after Avatar 2 in 2021 and Avatar 3 in 2022).
According to this column this week at The Wrap, the biopic genre overtook “original content” in the 2010s as the best route for actors to win Academy Awards. The wins for Olivia Colman as Queen Anne in The Favourite and Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody clearly reflect this trend. We can expect Hollywood to keep producing biopics (or similarly, “true stories”) for that reason, and two such projects moved forward this week. Warner Bros. has acquired the life rights to R&B singer-songwriter Teddy Pendergrass, to be produced by Lee Daniels (The Butler, Precious, TV’s Empire). Tyrese Gibson, one of the stars of the Fast & Furious franchise, is already attached to star as Pendergrass, whose record-breaking career was brought to a (temporary) halt following a near-fatal car accident that left him paralyzed. Like Bohemian Rhapsody, Pendergrass’ biopic may also have an emotional Live Aid segment, as that same event was where Pendergrass made his comeback performance (which you can watch right here). Another biopic that made the news this week was Live in Motion, which will tell the true story of African American ballet dancer Misty Copeland. Live in Motion will be directed by Nzingha Stewart, of TV’s Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.
The 1980s and 1990s were an era rife with “high-concept comedies” like 1988’s Twins (Rotten at 37%), in which Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito played long-lost twin brothers. Schwarzenegger has been talking for a while now about a sequel to be called Triplets that would introduce Eddie Murphy to the mix, but now Triplets (if it ever happens) has competition. Avengers: Infinity War co-stars Josh Brolin (Deadpool 2) and Peter Dinklage (HBO’s Game of Thrones) are now attached to star in a comedy called Brothers, in which they will play “unlikely brothers” in a scenario compared to Twins. The Brothers screenplay is now being written by screenwriter Etan Cohen (co-writer of Tropic Thunder, Men in Black 3), who is coming off the Golden Raspberry “winner” Holmes & Watson (Rotten at 10%).
The first two months of 2019 have been relatively soft in box office numbers, though those numbers are likely to start rebounding next weekend with Captain Marvel. One of the films that have managed relative success in this downturn climate has been Sony Pictures’ horror/thriller film Escape Room (Rotten at 47%), which has earned over $118 million globally, and is currently the year’s #9 box office hit. Sony Pictures is moving forward with plans for Escape Room 2, which will be written, directed, and produced by the same creatives as the first film. Sony has already picked a release date for Escape Room 2 on April 17, 2020, which puts it right up against another sequel, Trolls World Tour.