This Week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering new roles for stars like Tom Cruise, Ryan Gosling, and Tiffany Haddish.
(Photo by Richard Foreman Jr/©FilmDistrict)
About seven years ago, the news broke that Dwayne Johnson was in talks to star in an adaptation of the 1980s action TV show The Fall Guy, which featured Lee Majors as a luckless stuntman who investigated crimes on the side (a formula that dominated TV of that era). That project never happened, and it appears to have fallen deeply out of development, but the premise of a movie about a stuntman is still relevant (and indeed, it’s what half of last year’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was about). This week, after a “heated auction,” Universal Pictures has landed the rights to an untitled Hollywood stuntman action drama project that has Ryan Gosling attached to star for director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw). Leitch is himself a former stuntman and stunt coordinator, and Ryan Gosling has already played a stuntman in two previous films (Drive and The Place Beyond the Pines). In their coverage of the deal, The Hollywood Reporter leans heavily into comparisons to The Fall Guy and Hollywood’s long interest in a Fall Guy movie, but at this point, there seems to be no confirmation that the movie actually is an adaptation of that TV show. Other studios that bid against Universal Pictures included MGM, Paramount, and Netflix.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
There are still some major movies scheduled for theatrical releases in the next few months (including No Time to Die, Pixar’s Soul, Dune, and Wonder Woman 1984), but this week, Walt Disney Pictures made big changes regarding several of their upcoming films, delaying more of their most anticipated titles. Marvel Studios’ first return to the MCU post Avengers: Endgame will be the prequel Black Widow, which is now scheduled for May 7, 2021 after originally being dated for May 1, 2020 and then more recently, November 6, 2020. This shift means that other Marvel movies are also being bumped back, starting with Eternals (now 11/5/2021) and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (now 7/9/2021). Disney also pushed back Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story almost a full year from December 18, 2020 to December 10, 2021. In an interesting turn of events, that means that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights (6/18/2021) is effectively opening before West Side Story again after it was rescheduled from its original June 26, 2020 release date earlier this year. The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to impact the movie release calendar, and these changes likely won’t be the last, so stay tuned for more updates.
(Photo by Everett Collection)
When Bong Joon-ho won big at this year’s Academy Awards for Parasite, including Best Picture, it shed some light on other acclaimed international filmmakers who in the past mostly had to settle for the Foreign Film category. One such director who has shockingly never been nominated for an Academy Award is Wong Kar-wai, whose filmography includes Fallen Angels, Happy Together, In the Mood for Love, and the 1996 arthouse hit Chungking Express (Certified Fresh at 87%). That film might seem like an odd choice to receive a sequel some 26+ years later, but according to Chinese authorities, that’s apparently exactly what Wong Kar-wai has planned, as he has submitted a screenplay called Chungking Express 2020 that the Chinese government has approved to move into production. The plot summary offered in the filing is curious, as it first recounts the story of Chungking Express, which followed two separate stories involving police officers, and then describes a new scenario that takes place in the future: “In 2036, young Xiao Qian and May are unwilling to be held back by genetic partnerings, and insist on finding their own ‘destiny.'” It remains unclear if the new film will revisit the two stories of the first movie in some way.
(Photo by Michele K. Short/Universal Pictures)
Production will soon begin on the Lionsgate action-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which Nicolas Cage will play a fictionalized version of himself. The premise of the movie follows Cage as he accepts a million-dollar offer from a wealthy super-fan (played by Pedro Pascal) that leads to Cage being forced to re-enact some of his most popular classic movie scenes. This week, we found out who will be joining Pascal as another fictional character, as Tiffany Haddish has signed on to co-star in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent as “an eccentric rogue government agent who forces superstar Nicolas Cage to go undercover in a crazy, off-book, last-ditch effort to bring one of the largest criminal organizations in Europe down for good.” It’s unclear if this “undercover” assignment is part of the main storyline involving Pedro Pascal’s character, or perhaps a b-story elsewhere in the movie (but it’s probably the former).
(Photo by Jaap Buitendijk/©Universal Pictures)
Chinese pianist Lang Lang is only 38 years old, but he has already received an international reception more typical of a classical musician twice his age. He’s also apparently impressed many within Hollywood’s upper echelons, because Ron Howard has signed on to direct an untitled Lang Lang biopic to be based on his memoir, Journey of a Thousand Miles. The planned biopic will depict Lang’s journey from a childhood in the northern Chinese city of Shenyang to fame both in China and across the entire world. It’s not yet known if Howard or his producing partners plan on casting Lang to play himself. In a statement about the film’s announcement, Lang Lang said, “Dream big, work hard, and always believe in yourself. This movie, thanks to Ron Howard’s vision, will inspire young people around the world to follow their dreams and never forget they are one in a million.”
(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)
Hollywood may move at its own languid pace, but it’s nothing compared to the last few decades of manned space exploration, which seems to have drastically slowed down following the amazing speed at which it developed in the 1960s and 1970s. One of the most surprising movie announcements of 2020 thus far came in May when Tom Cruise announced his plans to become the first movie star to actually film scenes for a major Hollywood production in outer space himself. This project got one step closer to actually happening this week as the official Twitter account for Space Shuttle Almanac formally added Tom Cruise’s outer space project to their list of planned missions. Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria will pilot a Space X Crew Dragon Axiom Tourist FLight in October, 2021 with Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman (American Made, Edge of Tomorrow) aboard, presumably with at least one other crew member to aid in whatever they have planned to film in space. There is no release date (or title) for Tom Cruise’s space movie yet, but given the late 2021 filming, we can probably expect it sometime in 2022 or perhaps 2023.
(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)
After her long run on the hit ABC dramedy series Desperate Housewives, Eva Longoria has increasingly turned her attention towards a new career as producer and director, including several TV shows and plans for the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos movie (seriously). That film could eventually become Longoria’s directorial debut feature, but with pandemic delays wreaking havoc on production schedules, it’s anyone’s guess when that movie will even be released. In the meantime, Longoria added another movie to her possible future filmography this week, signing on with Sony Pictures to star in, produce, and direct a female ensemble action comedy called Spa Day. The premise is being kept secret for now, but it’s pretty easy to imagine what it will be like based on just the title, the genres, and the star and director. We’ve all seen movies.
(Photo by Sega)
This story is ostensibly about the long-running Yazuka video game franchise, but let’s start by remembering another similar video game. Shenmue was a 1999 game for the Sega Dreamcast set in the world of 1980s Japanese crime gangs (and martial arts), but the reason it’s particularly relevant here is that, in 2001, the cut scenes for the game were packaged together as Shenmue: The Movie. Fast forward twenty years, and it’s easy to argue that many video games could be adapted as movies that way (it would probably be a lot cheaper too). The Yakuza games — also published by Sega — are increasingly cinematic in that way, but this week’s news of plans for a Yakuza movie describe the film as “live action.” Yakuza is Sega’s second best-selling franchise after Sonic the Hedgehog, who made his super speed jump to the movies earlier this year, so it makes sense that the game publisher is now turning its attention towards getting a Yakuza movie produced as well. Variety describes the first Yakuza game this way: “Kazuma Kiryu [is] released from a 10-year prison sentence after taking the fall for the murder of his family’s patriarch, [and as] the entire Japanese underworld is pulled into the search for $100 million stolen from the vault of his former clan, Kiryu is forced back into the lawless world of the Yakuza.”
(Photo by Bob Mahoney/©Warner Bros.)
The old school “studio system” of classic Hollywood may have gone away decades ago, but we do still see today movie stars who have strong relationships with specific studios. Rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube, for example, starred in Universal’s Ride Along (Rotten at 18%) and its sequel (Rotten at 13%), as well as the upcoming Flint Strong boxing biopic. Ice Cube is now signed to reunite with Universal Pictures on an untitled “grounded” science fiction project to be directed by frequent music video director Rich Lee. The premise hasn’t been revealed yet, except that it was compared to District 9, and the focus right now appears to be on the new screen capture technology that producer Timur Bekmambetov is bringing to the project.
(Photo by ©Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
Every once in a while in Hollywood’s history, there will be a remake so beloved that it’s actually more famous than the original — John Carpenter’s The Thing is a frequently cited example of that. Another remake that seems to have gone on to overshadow the legacy of the original movie is 1991’s Father of the Bride (Fresh at 70%), starring Steve Martin, which was actually a remake of the 1950 film starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor. We’re getting another reminder of the remake’s enduring popularity soon, as Netflix this week released the trailer for a special called Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish), which promises to reunite franchise stars like Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. We also learned this week that Warner Bros. has plans for another Father of the Bride remake, this time revolving around a Latinx family as a father deals with “his daughter’s upcoming wedding through the prism of multiple relationships within a big, sprawling Cuban-American family.” This new version is also being described as “more of a rom-com than previous versions of the film.” Screenwriter Matt Lopez, who has previously worked on other remakes like Disney’s Race to Witch Mountain (Rotten at 43%) and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Rotten at 40%) was reportedly influenced “by his own cross-cultural nuptials and the many epic Cuban weddings he has attended.”