Today’s Ketchup brings you eleven headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Quentin Tarantino’s next film, Avengers: Infinity War, Disney’s live action Mulan, and Star Wars: Episode IX.
Traditionally, Quentin Tarantino’s movies have been released in the late months of the year (the exceptions being Grindhouse and Inglourious Basterds). All of those films, however, were also released back when Tarantino’s films were distributed by you-know-who. But his still untitled “1969 Hollywood” movie (AKA #9) is now based at Sony Pictures, and perhaps to mark how they’ll handle Tarantino differently, the studio has picked a date in the summer of 2019: August 9, 2019, to be precise. That date also carries an important symbolic importance, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the Tate/Manson Family murders, which provide part of the historical background of Tarantino’s film. Warner Bros has also scheduled their Shaft sequel/reboot (possibly called Son of Shaft) for June 14, 2019. Other new 2019 release dates are The Goldfinch (starring Ansel Elgort) on October 11, 2019, and the reboot of Hellboy on January 11, 2019.
As you may have noticed if you have any sort of social media awareness, the trailer for Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War debuted this week (and broke records in the process). Marvel is playing up the May 4, 2018 superhero extravaganza as being the “finale” of the saga they’ve unfolded since at least 2011’s Thor (the first movie to show one of the Infinity Stones). And we know one of the reasons this is true is that Marvel’s many, many contracts are close to expiring. As such, the focus in this first trailer is not just on supervillain Thanos (Josh Brolin), but also the new generation of Avengers like Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany), and the “you guys” at the end. The characters that we don’t see in this first trailer also might be of interest. They include Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly’s The Wasp, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Maria Hill (Cobie Smulder), and Thanos’ other daughter, Nebula (Karen Gillan). Is it possible some of these characters might feature more prominently in the still-untitled Avengers 4 (5/3/19)?
We tend to take it for granted that we can hop on a giant metal tube that launches you into the sky. Skipping back 150+ years, though, would you get into a basket attached to a huge balloon and hope you know how to land that thing? Such is the inherent drama in The Aeronauts, Amazon Studios’ newest awards hopeful, which they’ve been developing for the past year. This week, the awards appeal of The Aeronauts escalated with the news that it will reunite the stars of 2014’s The Theory of Everything: Academy Award Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne and Best Actress nominee Felicity Jones. Redmayne and Jones are in talks to play the film’s 1862 historical figures, scientist James Glaisher and balloon pilot Amelia Wren. Tom Harper (Peaky Blinders) will be directing, with filming aiming to start in London in early 2018.
This weekend sees the release of James Franco’s The Disaster Artist, based on actor Greg Sestero’s experiences with friend and director Tommy Wiseau, and the movie is Certified Fresh at 95% to boot. Franco is super prolific as director, but some of his movies (like The Disaster Artist) understandably earn much more notice than others. Franco’s latest such project is an adaptation of the biography A Boy Named Shel, which depicts the life story of Shel Silverstein, the famous poet, songwriter, and children’s author. James Franco will direct and star as Shel Silverstein, despite really not looking anything at all like Shel Silverstein. Then again, that’s what a lot of people thought about him playing Wiseau until they actually saw The Disaster Artist.
If you could spin the clock way back to 2003, you might find yourself in the same mindset of many fiction fans who were excited about Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Certified Fresh at 85%). The allure was that The Far Side of the World was an adaptation of one of the 20 novels in author Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series of books of nautical adventures set in the early 19th century. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World also featured Russell Crowe in a starring role just a few years after Gladiator and director Peter Weir coming off The Truman Show. And then… it never went any further. However, Master and Commander fans may take heart, as Russell Crowe took to Twitter this week to hint, “For the Aubrey Maturin lovers, I do hear whispers indeed that a second voyage is perhaps potentially pre-proposed a possibility. So O’Brian affectionate’s and aficionados , let @20thcenturyfox know of your pleasure.” So, that’s a… maybe?
Last year, a spec script for Walt Disney Pictures’ live-action remake of 1998’s Mulan sparked concerns that the Chinese epic would be “whitewashed.” In the past year, Disney and director Niki Caro (Whale Rider, The Zookeeper’s Wife) have seen nearly 1,000 candidates for the lead role from across five different continents, and in the end, the winner was indeed from China. Disney’s live action Mulan will be played by Liu Yifei, AKA “Crystal Liu.” The films featuring Liu Yifei that have been released in the USA include The Forbidden Kingdom and Ip Man 3. Disney hopes to start filming soon to meet a release date sometime in 2019.
We may never get a TV crossover between Scandal and Angie Tribeca, but that’s not stopping their respective stars from teaming up. Kerry Washington and Rashida Jones are teaming up with 20th Century Fox for an adaptation of the BOOM! Studios series of Goldie Vance graphic novels. Jones will write and direct the first Goldie Vance feature film, and Washington will produce through her Simpson Street production company (there’s no word yet about either co-starring in the movie). Goldie Vance depicts the adventures of “a 16-year-old mixed-race girl who dreams of becoming the in-house detective at a historic Miami resort.” Goldie Vance will be Rashida Jones’ feature film directorial debut.
There have now been dozens of women who have come out against Harvey Weinstein, as well as allegations against dozens of other contemporary Hollywood figures. It perhaps goes without saying (especially considering Weinstein’s own official statement), but today’s justice is long, long, overdue. One figure who we now know endured sexual harassment during Hollywood’s Golden Age is Born Yesterday star Judy Holliday. Rocky producer Gene Kirkwood is now developing a feature film based on Holliday’s true story, which will be adapted as a biopic called Smart Blonde. In addition to Holliday’s intelligence (I.Q. 172!) and eventual 1950s blacklisting, Smart Blonde will depict her alleged sexual harassment by powerful mogul Darryl F. Zanuck.
Despite the rather spoilery info producer Kathleen Kennedy spilled a few weeks back, Daisy Ridley is saying things that suggest quite the opposite this week. In an interview with Rolling Stone about Star Wars: Episode IX (title pending), due out December 20th, 2019, Ridley spoke about her future as heroine Rey (or more to the point, not playing Rey). The relevant quotes are, “I am really, really excited to do the third thing and round it out, because ultimately, what I was signing on to was three films… So in my head, it’s three films. I think it will feel like the right time to round it out.” Episode IX being the end of Rey’s story also begs another question, which The Hollywood Reporter addressed this week, asking what exactly “the Skywalker saga” even is.
New Line Cinema’s revamp of the Shaft franchise is prepping for a big release on June 14, 2019, and this appears to be prompting other producers to consider their own revisits to 1970s “blaxploitation” classics. Warner Bros. (the parent company of New Line Cinema) is now actively developing a remake of the 1973 film Cleopatra Jones, which starred Tamara Dobson as “the undercover government agent who used the day job of supermodel as her cover and an excuse to travel to exotic places.” Misha Green, the showrunner behind the recent TV series Underground, is now working on adapting Cleopatra Jones as a modern female spy movie, a la James Bond. Sony Pictures is also now developing a remake of Superfly, to be written by Alex Tse (cowriter of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen). We’re calling both mildly “Rotten Ideas” because they’re remakes, and the original films are already “Fresh” (91% for Superfly, 90% for Cleopatra Jones).
We’ve known for several years now that Warner Bros. wants to get back into the Scooby-Doo feature film business. In the past, this has included talk about both animated and live-action films, but this week’s news is still surprising. Ashley and Jennifer Tisdale, through their Blondie Girl Productions, have made a deal with Warner Bros. to make a Scooby-Doo prequel called Daphne and Velma. As you can guess from the title, the film will show how the two girls on the Mystery Inc. team joined up before meeting Fred, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo. Sarah Jeffrey (Shades of Blue) will play Daphne, and Sarah Gilman (Last Man Standing) will play Velma. Although Daphne and Velma is being produced by Warner Bros. Television Group, that doesn’t necessarily exclude a theatrical release, as Teen Titans Go! to the Movies is getting a theatrical release next summer (7/27/18).