This Week’s Ketchup brings you seven headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Borderlands, Dungeons & Dragons, Scream 5, and Spider-Verse 2.
Back in January, the week’s Top Story was that Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi was in talks to direct an upcoming Star Wars movie, and this week, that project got a little bit closer to actually happening. Waititi’s negotiations with Disney have now been completed, and Waititi will also co-write his Star Wars movie along with screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who just last year made her feature film debut writing 1917, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. Walt Disney Pictures currently has three Star Wars movies scheduled for December in the years 2022, 2024, and 2026, but it is unclear in which year Waititi’s film might be released. One obvious factor is that Waititi also still has to start filming Thor: Love and Thunder, which is currently scheduled for release on February 11, 2022 (which suggests that he probably would not be able to also deliver a Star Wars movie just ten months later).
It was probably always inevitable, but Hollywood is finally making its way to outer space, and one of the industry’s biggest stars will be along for the ride. Tom Cruise and Elon Musk’s Space X are now collaborating on the solar system’s first narrative feature film to be filmed in outer space. The action adventure will not be part of Cruise’s Mission: Impossible franchise, and no studio is currently attached. It’s also not yet known who will be writing or directing the film, which is an important point, because that director will ostensibly have to make repeated trips into space. NASA was also quick to announce this week that the project will also film on the International Space Station, which suggests that Cruise may be spending some time on the station himself, possibly for an extended period. Cruise will next be seen in Top Gun: Maverick (12/23/2020), and then in Mission: Impossible 7 (11/19/2021) and Mission: Impossible 8 (11/4/2022).
Despite some recent Fresh efforts, we’re not quite at the point where it would be normal to consider Academy Award winners for video game movies. Maybe this week’s casting news is a sign of change in the air, though, because current Mrs. America star Cate Blanchett is now in talks to star in the Borderlands movie as popular character Lilith, A.K.A. the Firehawk (and a member of the Siren class). Borderlands is a “first-person shooter” franchise set on a distant mining colony planet in the far future, and the games are known for their humor and quirky characters. Lionsgate’s Borderlands will be directed by Eli Roth, who is currently best known for horror movies like Hostel and The Green Inferno (and for co-starring in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds). With Blanchett now in the mix, the standard for has been raised a bit for the rest of the cast selections.
We should state very clearly right up front that this story is currently a “rumor,” but it also comes from a site that just last week was the first to report on Disney’s plans for a live-action Hercules remake from producers Joe and Anthony Russo. If their source is accurate, Walt Disney Pictures is reportedly hoping to cast Karen Gillan, who already stars as Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the new female lead in the upcoming reboot of Pirates of the Caribbean. If true, Gillan would play the character “Redd,” who has already been a “meet and greet” character at Disney’s theme parks since 2018. There is no current release date or any other information about a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie (including whether Redd will definitely be the lead character), but the expectation is that Johnny Depp will probably not return as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson co-starred together in Disney’s Jungle Cruise, which has been pushed back a full year to July 30, 2021 from its original release date (July 24, 2020). Even so, Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt are already preparing for another film together as they are both attached to star in the superhero project Ball and Chain, based on a 1999 comic book. Johnson and Blunt will play a married couple planning on breaking up who end up with super powers… but only when they’re together. The Ball and Chain screenplay was written by Emly V. Gordon, who is best known for The Big Sick (Certified Fresh at 98%), a comedy about her own relationship with Kumail Nanjiani. In somewhat related news, “Arrowverse” showrunner Marc Guggenheim is now writing an adaptation of Rob Liefeld’s Prophet, about a cryogenically frozen super-soldier who is mistakenly awaken before the mission for which he was created.
There was so much crammed into Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse that it boggles the mind a little bit that there was originally a different teaser tag at the end (besides Oscar Isaac’s debut as Spider-Man 2099). Producer Chris Miller revealed in a Tweet this week that the original pitch was for the three live-action Spider-Man stars (Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland) to meet each other, and Peter Porker/Spider-Ham (voiced by John Mulaney). The most intriguing part of Miller’s Tweet was that Sony “felt it was ‘too soon.'” If we read between the lines, the “too soon” part suggests that Sony would be okay with this team-up at some future point. So we have to wonder, could Maguire, Garfield, and Holland appear in the Spider-Verse sequel currently scheduled for October 7, 2022? The studio has made no official casting announcements for Spider-Verse 2, so…
Hollywood may have almost totally shut down most film production, but other aspects of film development are still moving forward, including casting negotiations for projects that will (hopefully) start filming later this year. It has now been over a year since the release of director M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass (Rotten at 37%), and Shyamalan is apparently ready to get started on his next film soon. Glass was something of an anomaly for Shyamalan in that its premise (Split meets Unbreakable) was known ahead of time, but Shyamalan’s next film is “top secret,” like most of his previous projects. We can, however, guess that the movie somehow involves young people, because the five young actors now in talks are Thomasin McKenzie (Elsa from Jojo Rabbit), Alex Wolff (Hereditary), Eliza Scanlen (Beth March from Little Women), newcomer Aaron Pierce, and Vicky Krieps, who’s the only one over 23.
Next year will mark ten years since the release of Scream 4 (Fresh at 60%) and a full 25 years since the very first Scream in 1996 (Certified Fresh at 79%). Although many different killers have worn the Ghostface mask (by this point, we presume it’s not a spoiler that the Scream franchise is built upon Scooby-Doo-style mask reveals), but one constant in all four films has been Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott. The creative team behind last year’s Ready or Not (Certified Fresh at 88%) are getting ready to give us their take on Scream 5, and this week, Neve Campbell confirmed to Rotten Tomatoes that “we’re having conversations,” citing COVID-19 as an obvious factor in scheduling film production right now. It looks like Scream 5 will be the first in the franchise without significant participation from director Wes Craven — who died in 2015 — or franchise screenwriter Kevin Williamson — who will serve instead as an executive producer. Who do you think will be Ghostface this time?
In some ways, the original Dungeons & Dragons movie in 2000 (Rotten at 10%) may have been a little too ahead of its time, before the rest of pop culture at large had caught up with D&D and the player base. That movie came out before any TV show (besides Freaks & Geeks, also in 2000) had done D&D episodes, before the Lord of the Rings movies, and way, way before Stranger Things. It even came out before the last 20 years of video games, which have absorbed so much of Dungeons & Dragons themes and gameplay. A Dungeons & Dragons reboot has been in development for some time now, but there is apparently also a desire to “get it right,” so the film hasn’t been rushed into production. The latest news to suggest that intention is the hiring of former Marvel Studios executive Jeremy Lantham for what will be his first project under a new deal with Entertainment One. We still, however, have no clue as to what the new Dungeons & Dragons will even be about.
Most moviegoers, even those who are specifically G.I. Joe fans, are likely not aware that Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding filmed a G.I. Joe spinoff about the silent ninja Snake Eyes last year for release this October (10/23/2020). One big reason for that is COVID-19, which has disrupted everything about upcoming movies, including traditional forms of publicity. Regardless of that, Paramount Pictures appears to have confidence in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, because this week, the studio began development on a sequel to the film months (or maybe even a full year) before we’re likely to see the first one. The sequel is being described as “a deeper expansion and exploration of the G.I. Joe mythology,” and screenwriter Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse, who previously delivered the historical biopics Race (Fresh at 62%) and Seberg (Rotten at 34%), are the co-writers now working on the script.