This Week’s Ketchup brings you another eight headlines from the world of film development news (those stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next), covering up-and-coming titles like The New Gods, A Quiet Place 2, and Disney’s Snow White.
Two weeks ago, the news broke that Twilight Saga star Robert Pattinson was in talks with Warner Bros. to star in The Batman (6/25/2021). That news, however, was watered down slightly by various “whoa nelly” stories that suggested Warner Bros. was still considering other stars (Nicholas Hoult, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Armie Hammer) for the role in case Pattinson didn’t ultimately sign on. Well, you can disregard all of those names now, because Variety has confirmed that Pattinson has indeed signed on with Warner Bros. to star in The Batman. Although no production start date has been announced yet, the studio is expected to start pre-production this summer (which suggests filming will start late this year or early 2020 at the absolutely latest). The Batman will be directed by Matt Reeves, who is coming off directing the two most recent Planet of the Apes movies. Although it hasn’t yet been confirmed, the news also broke last week that the villains in The Batman may be Catwoman and the Penguin, suggesting echoes of 1992’s Batman Returns.
Aladdin is now in theaters and on top of the box office charts, The Lion King is coming this summer (7/19/2019), and both Mulan (3/27/2020) and Cruella (12/23/2020) are due next year. We’re deep into Disney’s ongoing slate of movies based on their classic animated films, and the number of truly popular films yet to be adapted is getting smaller every year. One of the remaining classics is 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Certified Fresh at 98%), Walt Disney’s first animated feature film. Disney may have slowed down plans for a live action Snow White to separate their remake from Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, but those 2012 films are now seven years in the past. With that possibly in mind, Walt Disney Pictures is now developing their live action Snow White, and director Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, 500 Days of Summer) is in talks for the job. Screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary, The Girl on the Train) is in talks to adapt the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, which will incorporate new songs by La La Land songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
When A Quiet Place was released on April 6, 2018, the thrilling trailers helped it attract a surprisingly big opening box office weekend of $50.2 million, which was almost three times its production budget. Paramount Pictures was quick to schedule a sequel for next May (5/15/2020), and the studio signed John Krasinski to return as director, once again working with his wife Emily Blunt. (Batman Begins star Cillian Murphy will also be co-starring in the sequel.) Paramount delivered more good news for A Quiet Place fans this week, as the studio has bumped the sequel up two months to March 20, 2020, which is just two weeks shy of two years after the first film. The A Quiet Place sequel is now scheduled for the week after The Invisible Man and Godzilla vs Kong (3/13/2020), and the week before Disney’s Mulan (3/27/2020).
Back in 2015, there was a period when Marvel Studios was talking to Ava DuVernay (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time) about possibly directing last year’s Black Panther. She obviously didn’t take the job (Ryan Coogler did), but within a month of its release, DuVernay landed a job at Warner Bros. to direct a movie based on DC Comics’ The New Gods. We haven’t heard much about New Gods in the year since, but it’s still in active development with the news this week that WB has hired comic book writer Tom King to adapt the last few decades of New Gods comics into a single movie. King’s comic book work includes Mister Miracle (potentially one of DuVernay’s New Gods) and DC’s current weekly Batman series. The premise and cast of DuVernay’s New Gods isn’t yet known, but the director has Tweeted in the past that Big Barda (Mister Miracle’s wife) is her favorite superhero.
Director Steven Spielberg is currently filming his remake of West Side Story (12/18/2020), but he’s still attached to direct the fifth Indiana Jones movie, which remains scheduled for July 9, 2021. That also happens to be four days before Harrison Ford’s birthday, July 13, 2021, when he will turn 79. So it’s extremely likely that Ford will not be returning for an Indiana Jones 6. Probably with that in mind, Ford was asked this week who he thinks should be cast as the next Indiana Jones, to which he replied, “Nobody! Don’t you get it? I’m Indiana Jones. When I’m gone, he’s gone. It’s easy.” Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy) has been mentioned in the past as a possible replacement, but Ford appeared to confuse his “Chris P.” movie stars, saying, “This is a hell of a way to tell Chris Pine this. I’m sorry, man.” (Unless of course, Chris Pine from Star Trek has also been in talks for the role. Not impossible.)
Following the phenomenal box office numbers of nearly a billion dollars ($903 million globally) for last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody, there is obviously a strong argument to be made that there is an audience thirsty for musical biopics driven by the right songs, the right personalities, and the right stories. Elton John is testing that theory this weekend as the executive producer of Rocketman (Certified Fresh at 90%), which tells John’s own life story. Something else that Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman also have in common, besides just being “musical biopics,” is their subjects’ sexuality. MGM is now developing a musical biopic about the life of British singer Boy George of the 1980s pop group Culture Club, whose hits included “Karma Chameleon,” “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” MGM’s Boy George biopic will be written and directed by Sacha Gervasi, who is coming off the recent HBO movie My Dinner with Herve, starring Peter Dinklage as Fantasy Island star Herve Villechaize. MGM is also developing an Aretha Franklin biopic with Jennifer Hudson attached to star.
When the first images emerged online of Marwan Kenzari as the villain in last week’s Aladdin remake, a new #hotjafar hashtag was spawned in reaction. If this week’s casting news is any indication, Kenzari may be the first breakout star from Aladdin, as the Dutch actor has signed on to join Charlize Theron in Netflix’s comic book adaptation The Old Guard. Gina Prince-Bythewood, who at one time was expected to make her comic book movie debut with Sony’s now-delayed Black Cat and Silver Sable movie, will be directing The Old Guard next instead. Theron will star in The Old Guard as the leader of a small group of immortal mercenary soldiers who have been fighting in countless wars dating back to the Middle Ages (at least). Matthias Schoenaerts, who co-starred with Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow, also signed on this week.
14-year-old actress Marsai Martin from ABC’s Black-ish sitcom executive produced last month’s Little, in which she also starred, and now she is producing another film in which she will star. Don Cheadle is also producing the adaptation of the novel Amari and the Night Brothers by first-time author B.B. Alston, which Universal Pictures is now developing after a multi-studio bidding war. The premise of the book (which won’t be published until January of 2021) is being kept relatively secret, but it’s known that Marsai Martin’s character will be “a black girl who goes on a journey in which she discovers her hidden powers.” That the novel is being held back until 2021 suggests that Universal Pictures hopes to be able to fast-track the film and release it sometime in that year as well. It’s not yet known if if Cheadle also plans on co-starring in Amari and the Night Brothers in addition to co-producing.