This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering new titles such as Deadpool 3, Dune: Part Two, and I Am Legend 2.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)
Ever since Walt Disney Pictures finalized the acquisition of the studio formerly known as 20th Century Fox in 2019, which meant that Marvel Studios was gaining the rights to characters like Fantastic Four and X-Men for the MCU, it was pretty obvious that Marvel would want to keep making Deadpool movies too. Both Deadpool (Certified Fresh at 85%) and its sequel Deadpool 2 (Certified Fresh at 84%) shattered various box office records upon their releases in 2016 and 2018, most notably for R-rated action movies. The director of Deadpool 3 was revealed as late breaking news Friday afternoon, but as it turns out, it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise. Shawn Levy, who directed Ryan Reynolds in both Free Guy (Certified Fresh at 80%) and The Adam Project (Fresh at 69%), which debuted on Netflix just today, is now in negotiations with Marvel Studios to direct Ryan Reynolds for a third time in Deadpool 3. The premise of the sequel, including how exactly it will figure into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and/or plans for the X-Men, are not yet known. There is also no release date for Deadpool 3 as of yet.
(Photo by Karwai Tang)
When director Denis Villeneuve set out to adapt half of Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel Dune as the film that was released last year (Certifed Fresh at 84%), he not only split the story but also dropped some of the characters from the film entirely. The three most significant characters that were not in the first film were the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV (played by Jose Ferrer in David Lynch’s 1984 Dune), his daughter Princess Irulan (Virginia Madsen), and Baron Harkonnnen’s nephew Feyd-Rautha (famously played by pop star Sting in a golden mankini). We’re still waiting to hear who will take on the role of the Emperor, but this week, two of those roles appear to have been filled, as negotiations have begun for both. Florence Pugh, who has had a great last few years with starring roles in movies like Midsommar (Certified Fresh at 83%) and Black Widow (Certified Fresh at 79%) is now in talks to take over the role of Princess Irulan Corrino. In addition to Dune itself, Princess Irulan also figures in the novel Dune Messiah, which Denis Villeneuve has said he hopes to adapt as a third movie after Dune: Part Two (10/20/2023). As for the villainous Feyd Rautha, it appears likely that he will be portrayed by Austin Butler, whose breakout role was as “Tex” in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Certified Fresh at 85%), and who will be seen this summer as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrman’s Elvis (6/24/2022).
(Photo by ©Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)
The 1954 science fiction novel I Am Legend by author and screenwriter Richard Matheson was groundbreaking for its innovations in what we now know as “post-apocalyptic” fiction, ultimately paving the way for George Romero’s zombie movies. The story of a scientist surviving in a world of “vampires” was first adapted to film as The Last Man on Earth (Fresh at 81%) starring Vincent Price, then again as The Omega Man (Fresh at 64%) starring Charlton Heston, and most recently as the 2007 film actually called I Am Legend (Fresh at 68%) starring Will Smith. The story of I Am Legend has never been continued in a sequel, but that will soon change, as Will Smith is returning to produce and star in one that will also bring in Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther), who will also produce. It’s not yet clear what the premise of the sequel will be, including whether it will be entirely a sequel or perhaps have prequel elements. The I Am Legend sequel does not yet have a director, but the screenplay will be adapted by Akiva Goldsman, who also co-wrote the 2007 film.
(Photo by ©20th Century Fox Film Corp.)
Just last week, the head of 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox) talked about the division’s future plans now that it’s fully part of Walt Disney Studios. In addition to two or three theatrical films a year, the new focus for 20th Century was revealed to be as a pipeline for new films for the streaming service Hulu, which is also owned by Disney. Some of the projects for theatrical release are expected to be Free Guy 2, the next Planet of the Apes, and Kenneth Branagh’s next Hercule Poirot film. On the other hand, the next Predator film, called Prey, is expected to debut as an exclusive title on Hulu later in 2022, and we can now also add the next entry in the Alien sci-fi horror franchise. Writer and director Fede Álvarez, who directed the 2013 reboot of Evil Dead (Fresh at 63%) as well as Don’t Breathe (Certified Fresh at 88%) and its sequel, reportedly pitched his idea for an original Alien movie not directly connected to the previous franchise. Ridley Scott, who directed the first Alien (Certified Fresh at 98%), Prometheus (Certified Fresh at 73%), and Alien: Covenant (Fresh at 65%), will produce this new film for Hulu.
(Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Getty Images)
As Sony Pictures continues to spin out new movies based on their Spider-Man-related characters like Venom and Morbius, the emphasis is mostly on characters that are commonly referred to as “anti-heroes.” In the comics, these characters were often introduced first as villains for Spider-Man before being re-imagined later, and some were villainous for longer than others. One character that was long considered to be one of Spider-Man’s primary villains, including as one of the original “Sinister Six,” was Kraven the Hunter, who is getting his own movie next year (1/13/2023) from director J.C. Chandor (All is Lost, A Most Violent Year). Aaron Taylor-Johnson will star as Kraven the Hunter (double dipping in Marvel characters after portraying Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron), and his co-stars will include Russell Crowe (possibly as Kraven’s father), Fred Hechinger (The Chameleon), and West Side Story breakout star Ariana DeBose (Calypso). Like Kraven himself, both the Chameleon and Calypso are considered villains in the comics, but last week, when Alessandro Nivola was announced, he was described as the film’s villain. This begs the question: If they’re all villains, what does that even mean in this film? To complicate the issue more, Christopher Abbott (Catch-22, HBO’s Girls) also joined Kraven the Hunter this week as the assassin The Foreigner, who is also described as the film’s “main villain” (despite the fact Nivola was described the same way just a week ago).
(Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images)
Last July, it was announced that Michelle Williams was expected to star in a 16th century psychological horror film called Firebrand about King Henry VIII’s last wife, Queen Catherine Parr. As it turns out, several months later, Michelle Williams is no longer attached (no reason was given for her departure), and the role will instead be portrayed by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, Tomb Raider). The genre is also being described differently, as it’s now a “royal thriller” instead of a “horror” film. We also know that King Henry VIII, the source for the film’s tensions, will be played by Jude Law. Firebrand will be the English-language feature film debut of Brazilian director Karim Ainouz (Invisible Life, Certified Fresh at 94%).
(Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
Originally expected to be an HBO Max exclusive, the DC Comics superhero movie Blue Beetle is now in pre-production to film later this year for a release date next summer on August 18, 2023. There have been a few different superheroes since the 1940s that went by the name Blue Beetle, but this film will focus on the modern incarnation, who is a young Latino man named Jaime Reyes, whose body becomes grafted with a magical scarab that gives him an insect-like armor and other super powers. Xolo Maridueña (Cobra Kai) was revealed by director Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings) as the star of Blue Beetle last summer during the world premiere of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, and this week, three of the film’s supporting characters were cast. One of them will be Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows), in an unknown role. Also announced this week were Brazilian actress Bruna Marquezine as the female lead and Jaime’s love interest, and Belissa Escobedo as Jaime’s younger sister Milagros Reyes.
(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth, Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Just three weeks ago, we learned that the long-in-development Looney Tunes movie Coyote vs Acme, based on a 1990 satirical piece in The New Yorker, was finally moving forward with John Cena as the live-action lead (against a CGI-animated Wile E. Coyote). The next two cast members to join Coyote vs Acme are Will Forte (MacGruber, Saturday Night Live) as Wile E. Coyote’s human lawyer and Lana Condor in an unknown role. Warner Bros. has already scheduled Coyote vs Acme for release on July 21, 2023. It’s not yet known if Wile E. Coyote will have a voice actor, or if, as in the original Roadrunner cartoons, he will be a mute character.
(Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
One of the memorable storylines on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock revolved around a planned biopic of 1960s singer Janis Joplin that ended up not having the rights to her name, likeness, or her music, which led to Jane Krakowski’s Jenna Maroney character starring instead in a film about “Jackie Jormp-Jomp.” The basis for the joke is that sometimes, film producers move forward with biopics without actually having the music rights (or other rights, for that matter), which is exactly what happened with movies like Jimi: All is By My Side (Jimi Hendrix), Stardust (David Bowie), and England is Mine (Morrissey). In that same spirit, actor-turned-producer Michael Jai White is now developing a musical biopic about the early career of singer-songwriter Billy Joel called Piano Man, titled after one of Joel’s earliest big hits, ending with his breakout successes in 1972 and 1973. Unfortunately, Billy Joel clarified this week that he is not involved with the Piano Man movie, and “no rights… will be granted.” Perhaps they can make a movie called Organ Guy about the career of Willie Joe instead.