This Week’s Ketchup brings you another eight headlines from the world of film development news (those stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next), covering up-and-coming titles like Black Adam, Cinderella, Django/Zorro, and Magic 8-Ball.
Tom Holland, the star of next month’s Spider-Man: Far from Home, obviously has one of the biggest franchises going right now (both the Spider-Man movies and the MCU at large). That doesn’t mean, however, that he can’t start building other franchises for his filmography. Perhaps surprisingly for his age (23), that next big role for Tom Holland is Nathan Drake, the star of Sony’s Uncharted video game franchise. (It appears that, as with Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider reboot, the first Uncharted movie might be a prequel or origin story.) The movie has been in development for a while, but Sony Pictures has confirmed production by announcing a release date of December 18, 2020. By aiming for that weekend, Sony is directly taking on Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake and Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America sequel. The Uncharted video games combine elements of Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, and arguably Nicolas Cage’s National Treasure movies. The first Uncharted movie will be directed by Dan Trachtenberg, who made his debut in 2016 with 10 Cloverfield Lane (Certified Fresh at 90%).
Much has been written in the last year or so about Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (7/26/2019) (currently Fresh at 94%) and his possible Star Trek plans, but another old rumor was confirmed this week with the news that Tarantino is also producing (but probably won’t direct) what’s basically a sequel to his 2012 “Southern” Django Unchained, starring Jamie Foxx as the title character. As appealing as such a sequel might be on its own, the title takes it to another level, because Django/Zorro would cross the character over with the Californian freedom fighter who is celebrating his 100th anniversary this year. Quentin Tarantino has enlisted comedian-turned-screenwriter Jerrod Carmichael, of TV’s The Carmichael Show, to adapt the Dynamite Entertainment and Vertigo Comics comic book of the same title.
From 2004 to 2013, British comic actors Simon Pegg (a.k.a. Scotty from Star Trek and Benji from the Mission:Impossible movies) and Nick Frost starred in director Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End), and also co-starred together in other films like Paul and The Adventures of Tintin. We should note right away that they’re not yet confirmed to be starring in this week’s new project, but they are producing the film together. Pegg and Frost have sold a horror pitch called Svalta to Orion Pictures, with Frost also attached as the film’s screenwriter. Svalta will tell the story of “a family on their summer vacation to a remote Swedish island [called Svalta] where they discover a serial killer is on the loose, but the locals have no interest in helping the stranded family of tourists.”
In 2016, Mahershala Ali and director Barry Jenkins took home a trio of Oscars — including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor — for their collaborative work on the coming-of-age drama Moonlight, and both of their stars have only risen higher since. Accordingly, each of them made headlines with new film projects this week. Mahershala Ali is now attached to executive produce and star in a Fox Searchlight true story drama called Solitary. The film will be adapted from a memoir by Albert Woodfox, who spent 43 years in solitary confinement at Louisiana’s notorious Angola Prison. Barry Jenkins’ new film is also set up at Fox Searchlight, and it will be an untitled biopic about acclaimed dance choreographer Alvin Ailey.
Sony Pictures is moving forward with plans for a new version of the fairy tale Cinderella starring Camila Cabello, a Cuban-American pop star who got her start as a contestant on The X-Factor in 2012, as the studio officially scheduled the film for release on February 5, 2021. That puts it one week after the Rugrats reboot movie (1/29/2021) and one week before Marvel Studios’ first movie in 2021 (we don’t know which movie that is yet). This new Cinderella will be directed by Blockers‘ (Certified Fresh at 83%) Kay Cannon, who this week also made the news for a project called 79ers. That movie is being produced by Will Ferrell and Seth Rogen and is described as being like “The Goonies for adults,” following a group of friends who are forced to reunite 20 years later after failing to finish a treasure hunt as teenagers.
It’s not that uncommon that the same actor or filmmaker shows up in more than one new project in a given week, but this week we saw this happen a few times. Let’s start here with a supernatural thriller called Nine Days, in which Black Panther and Us star Winston Duke will play a mysterious man who “interviews prospective candidates, a personification of human souls… for the privilege that he once had.” (This writer doesn’t quite know what that even means, but there you go.) Those “personifications” will be played by Zazie Beetz (Domino from Deadpool 2), Benedict Wong (Wong from Doctor Strange), and Bill Skarsgård (a.k.a. Pennywise from IT). The repeat star in this case is Bill Skarsgård, who also signed on this week to star in a true crime drama called Gilded Rage.
Going into the final episodes of Game of Thrones, it seemed likely that the show’s various stars would be riding career highs and that the casting stories would be chock-ablock with their names. That, however, was until everyone saw those last two episodes, which seemed to put the brakes on eight seasons of fan and critical love. Having said that, the stars of the show are obviously talented, and they should be just fine. Case in point: Peter Dinklage, GoT‘s Tyrion Lannister, joined Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike in a thriller called I Care a Lot. Pike will star as a “legal guardian” (a lawyer or a foster parent, it’s unclear), but Dinklage’s character is being kept secret.
The last time we saw Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted Logan (Keanu Reeves) in 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, the rock stars of the band Wyld Stallyns seemed to be riding high, including happy relationships with their princess girlfriends plucked from medieval times. It’s still unclear what all happened to Bill and Ted in the last 25+ years, but this week, we learned that their characters both now have teenage daughters. Those roles will be played by Netflix stars Samara Weaving (The Babysitter) and Brigette Lundy-Paine (Atypical) when Bill & Ted Face the Music next summer (8/21/2020).
Disney’s Jungle Cruise, based on their long-running theme park ride, doesn’t come out until next July (7/24/2020), so most people probably don’t even know it’s in the works. (FYI, Disney also recruited their Mary Poppins Returns star, Emily Blunt, to take that cruise as well.) Nevertheless, Dwayne Johnson must’ve had great things to say about his Jungle Cruise director, because Jaume Collett-Serra has now been recruited by New Line Cinema to reunite with Johnson on Black Adam. Johnson has long been attached to star in the DC Comics adaptation, including a time when he would have co-starred in Shazam! as the immortal Egyptian villain-turned-antihero Black Adam. (It’s arguable that Mark Strong’s Dr. Sivana filled the role Black Adam would have.) Jaume Collett-Serra’s Tomatometer is mostly comprised of Rotten splotches, but he did receive Fresh scores for Non-Stop and The Shallows. Hopefully these next two collaborations with Dwayne Johnson will yield better results.
Blumhouse Productions, Universal Pictures, and Hasbro Films had two relative hits with Ouija and its prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil. With that in mind, Blumhouse and Universal are uniting with another toy company, Mattel, on a similar project, this time based on… Magic 8-Balls. We can all shake our Magic 8-Balls to see what it says about a Magic 8-Ball movie, but one thing that suggests “outlook not so good” is that the director Blumhouse and Universal have hired for the job is Jeff Wadlow. Of the six feature films on Wadlow’s, not one has received a Fresh score, with 2013’s superhero sequel Kick-Ass 2 earning the highest score at 32% on the Tomatometer. Jeff Wadlow’s next film before taking on Magic 8-Ball will be the movie adaptation of the long-running ABC supernatural drama Fantasy Island, starring Michael Peña as the new Mr. Roarke.