This week’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news (the stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next), covering such titles as The Batman, Venom, and The Matrix 4.
Going into this week, the only actor that we had heard was in talks to play a villain in The Batman (6/25/2021) was Jonah Hill. Now we have two people confirmed, and none of their names’ is Jonah. Zoe Kravitz is Catwoman. On Thursday, the news broke that Hill had dropped out of talks to play a Batman villain, potentially because Hill had asked for $10 million, twice what Warner Bros. was paying Robert Pattinson to be Batsy. Whatever his role was, The Riddler is now on the scene, who has signed on Paul Dano. Meanwhile, the search is still on for the third villain: Penguin. In related news, Robert Pattinson also made a surprising revelation this week, saying that his version of The Batman is “not a hero.”
Last week, we learned that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Black Manta from Aquaman) had been cast in a new lead role (AKA not Morpheus, etc.). And this week, we heard about two other possible new additions, plus a returning cast member from the two sequels. Let’s start with Jada Pinkett Smith, who is now in talks with Warner Bros to reprise her character Niobe, the ship captain. Jada Pinkett Smith’s recent roles have included Bad Moms, Girls Trip, and this summer’s Angel Has Fallen. One of the new characters will be played by Neil Patrick Harris; various guesses online include a “Mr.” agent, the adult Spoonboy, or a younger version of The Architect. The third name in play this week is Jessica Henwick, who is probably best known for playing Colleen Wing in Netflix-Marvel’s Iron Fist series.
This month’s spooky black-and-white drama The Lighthouse is only director Robert Eggers’ second feature film (after 2015’s The Witch), but already the guy appears to be developing his own regular cast of actors. Eggers’ next film will be a Viking revenge film set in 10th century Iceland, and stars both previous and new to his troupe have been announced. Let’s start with the new: Nicole Kidman and brothers Alexander and Bill Skarsgård. The previous: Anya Taylor-Joy and Willem Dafoe. In related news, Willem Dafoe also this week officially joined Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley remake.
It has long been a Hollywood tradition that when movie stars get to a certain status, the opportunity opens up for them to guide their own careersand potentially, those of others) through their own production company. Gal Gadot, whose next major film will be next summer’s Wonder Woman 1984, has formed a company with her husband Jaron Varsano called Pilot Wave. The first announced film for the new company will be Irena Sendler, a historical thriller about the life of Polish Underground leader, whom Gal Gadot will also portray. Sendler’s organization worked in the Warsaw ghetto of World War II to save over 2,500 Jewish children, among other anti-Nazi efforts.
After two indie films (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and The Hollars), actor-turned-director John Krasinski had a surprise blockbuster hit with his third film, the sci-fi thriller A Quiet Place (in which he starred with his wife, Emily Blunt). Krasinski quickly moved ahead with a Quiet Place 2 sequel (3/20/2020), but with this week’s news, Krasinski appears ready for another original movie. Krasinski will both direct and costar in the comedy Imaginary Friends, with Ryan Reynolds. The high concept comedy will tell the story of a man (Reynolds) with the magical ability to see other adult people’s imaginary friends, some of which, “lacking love and friendship, turn to the dark side.”
A few weeks ago, one of the big stories of that week was that original Jurassic Park stars Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Sam Neill were all returning for Jurassic World 3 (6/11/2021). This week, Universal Pictures appeared to be focusing instead on casting new roles. The first announced was Mamoudou Athie, who is probably best known for his role in Facebook Watch’s Sorry For Your Loss, as well as in The Get Down and Patti Cake$. Then, earlier today, Variety also reported that DeWanda Wise of Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It is now in talks for a leading role. It’s not yet known what sort of roles either Athie or Wise will be playing when Jurassic World 3 is released on June 2021, the same month as Micronauts, Sesame Street, and The Batman.
MGM probably had ideas in the work for a sequel to The Addams Family far before its release last week, but following its $30 million opening weekend, it’s go time. MGM has scheduled The Addams Family 2 for October 22, 2021, which is the weekend after Halloween Ends. It’s not yet known if the original voice cast is also signed to return for the sequel.
Last year marked the 20th anniversary of Barney’s Great Adventure, which attempted to take the then-popular kids TV show, Barney & Friends and turn it into a movie franchise. The plan didn’t work and the TV show went off the air in 2009. Even so, Barney & Friends obviously is remembered with some nostalgia by the now-adults who watched the show during its ’90s heyday. And so perhaps it’s not surprising that a Barney reprise is now in development. British actor Daniel Kaluuya, who is probably best known for both Get Out and his role in Black Panther, has teamed up with Mattel Film (via his 59% production company) to start development on a live-action Barney movie. It’s not yet known in what form Barney will be depicted in this movie, but three possible options are: #1 a big purple foam costume like the original TV show, #2 a computer animated (but still cartoony) purple dinosaur, or #3, a full-giant-sized purple Tyrannosaur Rex (the original dinosaurs stood anywhere from 12 to 20 feet tall).
As we get closer to the end of 2019, we’re close to having seen the trailer debuts for most of the year’s remaining movies. One such film that we had still been waiting on was the Melissa McCarthy comedy Superintelligence, which had long been scheduled for theatrical release on December 20, 2019, up against Bombshell, Cats, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. All three of those are fairly impressive competition, each in their own ways, but even so, the next move for Superintelligence has to be seen as surprising. Melissa McCarthy’s next comedy is skipping theaters entirely, and will instead debut on the new HBO Max streaming service when the app launches sometime in the spring of 2020. All involved are obviously breaking the news in a spirit of celebration, but another way to see Superintelligence not getting a theatrical release as planned is that it fits into the ongoing narrative of certain types of movies moving to streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, sometimes arguably due to the challenges of some genres thriving at the box office in a post-streaming marketplace. Disney did something similar last year, when they transitioned Anna Kendrick’s Noelle away from its theatrical relase date of November 8, 2019 to being a Disney+ launch title.