Weekly Ketchup

Steven Spielberg May Direct DC's Blackhawk, and More Movie News

The Harley Quinn spinoff gets a director, F. Gary Fray tackles M.A.S.K., Taron Egerton will play Elton John, and a new Terminator is cast.

by | April 20, 2018 | Comments

Today’s Ketchup brings you ten headlines from the world of film development news, covering titles such as Birds of Prey, Maleficent 2, Pet Sematary, and the Elton John biopic Rocketman.

This WEEK’S TOP STORY

STEVEN SPIELBERG MAY DIRECT DC COMICS’ WORLD WAR II AIR ADVENTURE BLACKHAWK

(Photo by Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.)

Although superheroes have obviously dominated how modern fans perceive comic books, since the medium’s introduction, many other genres have also enjoyed popularity, including war stories, and especially stories set during World War II. There have been several popular WWII comic book titles in the last 70 years (such as Marvel’s Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos and DC’s Haunted Tank, Weird War Tales, Sgt. Rock). Although the majority of these comics focused on the ground war, DC Comics did have success with Blackhawk, about a team of Allied pilots of different nationalities who team up for battles both in the air and in various forms of behind-enemy-lines espionage and other missions. At this point, we should note that Warner Bros has (to our knowledge) never started development of a Blackhawk movie, and that includes the period when non-superhero comic book titles were just as frequently adapted. Of course, that was before Steven Spielberg had one of his biggest box office openings ever with Warner Bros’ Ready Player One. Perhaps hoping to do for battles in the skies of World War II what Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers did for the ground war, Spielberg is indeed now producing an adaptation of DC Comics’ Blackhawk. Spielberg’s Amblin Pictures is developing the project for Warner Bros along with screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), with Spielberg considering directing (but at this point, not necessarily signed to do so). Steven Spielberg’s next two films as director are expected to be the not-yet-titled Indiana Jones 5 (7/10/20), and a remake of West Side Story.


Fresh Developments

1. MARGOT ROBBIE’S BIRDS OF PREY SPINOFF ATTRACTS DC’S THIRD FEMALE DIRECTOR

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

Although 2016’s Suicide Squad was a critical flop with just a 27% Tomatometer score, the movie’s most successful breakout character was arguably Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. In the time since Suicide Squad, we’ve heard about multiple movies involving Harley Quinn, including Suicide Squad 2, a Joker/Harley spinoff with Jared Leto, an all-DC-girls movie called Gotham City Sirens, and just a straight up solo movie for Harley Quinn. All that said, it’s now sounding like Margot Robbie’s next film as Harley Quinn will be a completely different project altogether. Warner Bros has hired Chinese-American director Cathy Yan to direct an untitled film which will be based on DC Comics’ various Birds of Prey titles. Birds of Prey has featured such female DC characters over the years as Black Canary, Catwoman, Huntress, and Oracle (the former Batgirl). Yan made her directorial debut recently with Dead Pigs, about a river in China filled with decomposing hog carcasses (Deadpool 2 star Zazie Beetz co-starred in Dead Pigs, suggesting she could possibly join Birds of Prey). This untitled project is expected to start filming later this year after Robbie wraps her role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. In other Margot Robbie news, Mary Queen of Scots (in which she plays Queen Elizabeth I, with Saoirse Ronan in the title role), has been scheduled for an “awards season” date of December 7, 2018.


2. FATE OF THE FURIOUS DIRECTOR TO DON HIS OWN ACTION FIGURE M.A.S.K. (MOBILE ARMORED STRIKE KOMMAND)

(Photo by Paramount courtesy Everett Collection)

A couple of years ago, we learned that Paramount Pictures had reached a new agreement with the Hasbro toy company for a series of movies based on toy lines like G.I. Joe, Micronauts, and ROM: Spaceknight. Since then, we’ve heard about new movement on the Micronauts and ROM: Spaceknight movies (as recently as three weeks ago, even), but one project that we haven’t heard much about is the quintessentially 1980s toy line and animated TV series M.A.S.K. That’s all about to change, though, as we can now report that Paramount Pictures is uniting with director F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton, The Fate of the Furious). The live-action film will detail the efforts of the M.A.S.K. team, led by “Matt Trakker,” to defeat the evil criminal organization V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem). Paramount and Gray will now reportedly attempt to find “a writer to hatch a contemporary subculture movie with a youth empowerment angle.”


3. SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE STARS LESLIE JONES AND COLIN JOST UNITE FOR BABY NURSE

(Photo by Jason Smith/Everett Collection)

In addition to his duties on Saturday Night Live since the 1970s, Lorne Michaels has also been a prolific producer of feature films starring various different alumni from the show, dating back to 1986’s Three Amigos! Michaels’ involvement has slowed down a bit in the last few years (at least from his 1990s/2000s heyday), but this week, his Broadway Video production company made a new deal with Universal Pictures. The first project expected to move forward under the new deal with Universal is a comedy called Baby Nurse, with current SNL stars Leslie Jones and Colin Jost both attached to star. Jones will play “a special agent assigned to the most humbling undercover role in the history of the FBI,” but it’s not yet known what Colin Jost’s role in Baby Nurse involves. It’s also worth noting that Baby Nurse doesn’t appear to have anything to do with 2008’s Baby Mama, also featuring two SNL stars (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler).


4. KINGSMAN STAR TARON EGERTON CONFIRMED FOR THE ELTON JOHN BIOPIC ROCKETMAN

(Photo by Giles Keyte/20th Century Fox)

Paramount Pictures has given a greenlight to the long-in-development Elton John biopic Rocketman, and along with that news, we now have confirmation of who will be starring as the man himself. Tom Hardy was previously in talks for the role, but since he’s busy right now with the Al Capone movie Fonzo, it will instead now go to Taron Egerton, the star of the Kingsman spy action franchise. In addition to playing Elton John, Egerton will also be singing all of the songs in character. Rocketman will be directed by Dexter Fletcher, who directed Egerton in the ski jumping biopic Eddie the Eagle and also took over from Bryan Singer on the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (11/2/18).


ROTTEN IDEAS OF THE WEEK

5. AMY SCHUMER MAY EXPERIMENT WITH PUGILISM AS CHRISTY MARTIN

(Photo by Mary Cybulski/Universal Pictures)

As her new comedy I Feel Pretty neared its release this weekend, Amy Schumer was already starting to consider her next film with the same production company, Voltage Pictures. Schumer is reportedly “circling” Christy Martin, a biopic about the eponymous female boxer, whose 1989 to 2012 professional record stands at 49-7-3, with 31 of those wins by knockout. Voltage Pictures also handled the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me. If Amy Schumer does sign on to play Christy Martin, it will be a rare dramatic role for her, as Martin’s life story includes her many personal struggles, including her then-husband’s attempted murder of her in 2010. Christy Martin is expected to be directed by Katherine Fugate, in her directorial debut after co-writing three films with Rotten scores (The Prince & Me with 28%, Valentine’s Day with 18%, and New Year’s Eve with 7%). Amy Schumer is also coming off two starring roles with Rotten scores (Snatched with 36% and I Feel Pretty with 38%).


4. JASON CLARKE HELPS REVIVE THE PET SEMATARY FRANCHISE IN REBOOT LEAD ROLE

(Photo by Claire Folger/Showtime)

Although last year’s IT reboot was expected to possibly do well, very few experts probably predicted that it would earn over $327 million domestically, and $700 million worldwide. Since then, various Stephen King projects have begun new development, but one that had a head start was the reboot of Pet Sematary, which has been in the works for a while now. We know who will be starring as the story’s lead character, a doctor whose back yard leads to an ancient burial ground, and it’s Jason Clarke, whose recent films have included Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Terminator: Genisys, and the recent Ted Kennedy drama Chappaquiddick. This Pet Sematary reboot will be directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, who made their directorial debuts with 2014’s Starry Eyes. Both of the original Pet Sematary films received Rotten Tomatometer scores (48% for Pet Sematary and 26% for its 1991 sequel). Pet Sematary is scheduled for release on April 19th, 2019, where it will currently take on the animated movies Playmobil and Spies in Disguise, and an untitled horror film.


3. DISNEY FINDS VILLAINS FOR ITS MALEFICIENT SEQUEL AND THEME PARK MOVIE JUNGLE CRUISE

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Just last week, we learned that Gong Li will be playing the new villain role in Walt Disney Pictures’ live action remake of Mulan, and this week, two more of Disney’s live-action films also found their villains. First up, there was the not-yet-titled sequel to 2014’s Maleficent (the live-action Sleeping Beauty movie), starring Angelina Jolie. The villain in the sequel will be played by Ed Skrein, who relatively recently also played the villain in Deadpool, and will also play one of the villains in this year’s Alita: Battle Angel. Filming of Maleficent 2 is expected to start later this year, for a likely release in 2020. Walt Disney Pictures is also preparing for their next big theme park attraction movie, Jungle Cruise (starring Dwayne Johnson), and we now know that two of the film’s villains will be played by Edgar Ramirez and Breaking Bad costar Jesse Plemons. Maleficent received a Tomatometer score of 50%.


2. NEW TERMINATOR CYBORG IS NOT BIG AND MUSCULAR LIKE ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)

Arnold Schwarzenegger was so synonymous with “body builder” in 1984 that when he took on the title role in The Terminator, he arguably set a standard for how muscular any future T-800 actor would need to be. (Trivia: Originally, James Cameron considered casting Lance Henricksen, Bishop from Aliens, as the T-800.) Well, “they” are indeed moving forward with plans for a post-Schwarzenegger Terminator reboot, and the actor cast as the new T-800 is distinctly non-Schwarzeneggerian. The cyborg role in next year’s Terminator reboot has gone to Gabriel Luna, whom Marvel fans might know as Ghost Rider from season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Gabriel Luna is American of Mexican descent, and his other new co-stars are also of Latin heritage: Natalia Reyes (Colombian) and Diego Boneta (Mexican-American). Paramount has already scheduled Terminator for November 22, 2019, which is the week after Sonic the Hedgehog and Melissa McCarthy’s Margie Claus, and five days before Disney’s Frozen 2 sequel. The last two Terminator movies were both Rotten on the Tomatometer (33% for Salvation, 26% for Genisys).


1. NEW LAWSUIT MIGHT MEAN WE NEVER GET ANOTHER TRIP DOWN MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

(Photo by Jasin Boland/Warner Bros.)

One of the most surprising films of 2015 was the sequel/reboot Mad Max: Fury Road which won dozens of awards, including ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and six wins (Best Costume Design, Editing, Makeup/Hairstyling, Production Design, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing). Mad Max: Fury Road was a triumph for its director George Miller, but this week’s news suggests we may never get to see Miller return to Mad Max. George Miller is now engaged in what is being called a “bitter court battle” with Warner Bros over what Miller’s production company claims is “high-handed, insulting, or reprehensible” behavior. The financial crux of Miller’s lawsuit involves what he says were promised bonuses for bringing Mad Max: Fury Road in under budget, and for “breaching a co-financing agreement.” Miller reportedly has finished screenplays for both Mad Max 5 and Mad Max 6 for years now, but if this lawsuit over Fury Road cannot be settled amicably, it’s possible that they will never be produced.

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