This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Gladiator 2, The Smurfs, Street Fighter, and Transformers One.
(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images, ©Columbia Pictures)
Although The Smurfs were a beloved cartoon show for many children in the 1980s, attempts to adapt them for the movies (like 2011’s The Smurfs) have thus far not been received well. Paramount Animation now has the rights to The Smurfs, with their big plans starting with an animated musical to be released on Valentine’s Day in 2025. Paramount is also investing in big stars, or that’s at least one way to read this week’s first bit of casting news, which is that Smurfette, ostensibly the only female Smurf, will be voiced by Rihanna. There’s no indication yet about who will voice the various other Smurfs or their enemy, the villainous wizard Gargamel.
(Photo by Netflix)
A year ago, British actor Joseph Quinn was pretty much an unknown in the USA, but that soon changed in late May with the debut of Netflix’s fourth season of Stranger Things, which introduced fans to his character Eddie Munson. Quinn’s first big post-Stranger Things role came last year when he was announced as part of the cast of the spinoff A Quiet Place: Day One (3/8/2024), and this week, he landed his second big role. Joseph Quinn will co-star in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator sequel as the real-life historical figure Emperor Caracella. Connie Nielsen will also be reprising her role as Lucilla, with Paul Mescal (Aftersun) in the starring role as the adult version of her son, Lucius. Barry Keoghan will also play another Roman Emperor, Geta, and Denzel Washington is also co-starring in an undisclosed role. Ridley Scott recently wrapped up another historical epic, this fall’s Napoleon (11/22/2023), starring one of his Gladiator stars, Joaquin Phoenix.
(Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)
Another 2022 hit consistently helping its stars find new work in 2023 is Top Gun: Maverick (Certified Fresh at 96%). Perhaps thanks to the exposure she got in Maverick, Monica Barbaro, aka “Phoenix,” has now landed the role of portraying one of the most influential female singer/songwriters of her generation. Barbaro will co-star as Joan Baez opposite Timothée Chalamet as Bob Dylan in James Mangold’s musical biopic A Complete Unknown. Mangold (Walk the Line, Logan) will direct A Complete Unknown for Searchlight Pictures when filming starts on location in New York City this summer, while his latest film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (6/30/2023), will be in theaters around the same time.
(Photo by Mondadori Portfolio, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
After directing the sci-fi thriller A Quiet Place and its sequel A Quiet Place Part II, John Krasinski’s next film as director will be a family comedy called IF, reportedly about a man who is able to talk to other people’s childhood imaginary friends (which, incidentally, was the original title of the film). There have been a series of casting announcements for IF (which is reportedly a hybrid of live action and animation) recently, including Ryan Reynolds, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr., Alan Kim, and Bobby Moynihan. At CinemaCon this week, even more stars were announced specifically for the voice cast, which includes Awkwafina, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Richard Jenkins, Sebastian Maniscalco, Christopher Meloni, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Vince Vaughn, and comedian Jon Stewart. Paramount Pictures currently has IF scheduled for Memorial Day weekend next year on May 24, 2024.
(Photo by Frazer Harrison, Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Illumination Entertainment is currently celebrating the continuing blockbuster success of their latest animated film, The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Rotten at 59%), but their next animated movie is also only about seven months away, so they announced some of the voice cast this week. The title of the movie is Migration (12/22/2023), and it’s a road movie about a group of ducks on their annual migration, with the lead ducks to be voiced by Kumail Nanjiani and Elizabeth Banks, with their ducklings voiced by Caspar Jennings and Tresi Gazal. Other voice cast will include Awkwafina as the leader of a group of New York pigeons and Carol Kane as a heron, along with Keegan-Michael Key, David Mitchell, and Danny DeVito.
(Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Between the various Spider-Man movies starring Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland, as well as Sony’s Spider-Man-adjacent films (Venom, etc), enough of the character’s villains have been portrayed on screen that we’re now getting multiple iterations of them (again, Venom). The latest Spidey villain to be portrayed by two different actors is Rhino, who was first portrayed by Paul Giamatti in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Rotten at 51%). The second actor to play Rhino will be Alessandro Nivola (The Many Saints of Newark), as it was revealed at CinemaCon this week that he will play the character in Sony’s Kraven the Hunter (10/6/2023). Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who previously played Marvel’s Quicksilver in the MCU) will star as Kraven the Hunter, and his co-stars will include Russell Crowe, Christopher Abbott, Ariana DeBose, and Fred Hechinger.
(Photo by Jim Townley/©Universal Pictures)
The growing juggernaut that is the popularity of video game movies is continuing in 2023 with the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. A movie that arguably was an early landmark in the recent shift toward respectability in the genre was 2019’s Pokemon Detective Pikachu (Fresh at 68%). The production company behind that movie, Legendary Entertainment, recently acquired the film rights to the Street Fighter video game franchise from its publisher, Capcom, and now, just three weeks later, Legendary has already begun negotiations with directors Danny and Michael Phillippou, whose horror film Talk to Me (Fresh at 97%) for A24 earned rave reviews out of Sundance earlier this year and is currently scheduled for release on July 28, 2023. It’s still very early in the process for the Street Fighter movie, so there’s no indication yet about who might play the various classic characters.
(Photo by ©20th Century Fox Film Corp.)
June of 2024 will mark the 20th anniversary of the sports comedy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (Fresh at 71%), starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Rip Torn. In a possible move to get a sequel out in time for the anniversary, 20th Century Studios is moving quickly to develop an Dodgeball sequel, with Vince Vaughn already attached to star (and also produce). It’s unclear at this point whether other cast from the original film, including Ben Stiller, will reprise their roles in the sequel.
(Photo by Don Arnold, Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
The live-action Transformers franchise appears to be getting something of a soft reboot this summer with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (6/9/2023), but Paramount also has plans to launch a new animated Transformers franchise next year, starting with a film appropriately titled Transformers One. The film is also being described as a prequel, with the impressive voice cast portraying younger versions of the various characters. The list of stars lending their voices to the film include MCU alumni like Chris Hemsworth (as Optimus Prime), Scarlett Johansson (as Elita), Brian Tyree Henry (as Megatron), and Laurence Fishburne (as Alpha Trion), as well as Keegan-Michael Key as Bumblebee and Jon Hamm as Sentinel Prime. Transformers One will be released in theaters next summer on July 19, 2024.