This week’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news (those stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next). Included in the mix this time around are stories about such titles as new Halloween and Jay and Silent Bob movies, director M. Night Shyamalan’s next film, and new roles for Matthew McConaughey and Keanu Reeves.
The Halloween franchise has always had a certain twisted chronology to it, mostly due to the third installment‘s singular departure from the Michael Myers narrative. After the original franchise completed an eight-movie run, director Rob Zombie took over Halloween for a reboot in 2007, followed by a sequel of its own in 2009. This year marks the 10th anniversary of that reboot, which apparently has been enough time for Miramax to start development on a third version of Halloween. The good news is that, after a long absence from most of the franchise, John Carpenter is back on board as at least an executive producer, and possibly also as the film’s composer. As part of his new role as the shepherding the next Halloween, Carpenter took to his Facebook profile this week to make the project’s first big announcement, which was that the new film will be directed by David Gordon Green and cowritten by Green and his Your Highness partner, Danny McBride. Green is definitely one of those directors who defies easy categorization. Although his most famous films are “stoner comedies” like Pineapple Express and Your Highness, his filmography also includes critically acclaimed indie hits like George Washington, All the Real Girls, and Prince Avalanche (and indeed, his Tomatometer looks a lot more Fresh without his comedies). Of course, none of these films are horror and/or slasher films, but Rob Zombie’s did, and his two Halloween movies ended up with Tomatometer scores of 25 percent and 19 percent, so who knows? Miramax has scheduled the new Halloween reboot for release on October 19, 2018.
Looking ahead, it appears extremely likely that the top movie will be either The LEGO Batman Movie or Fifty Shades Darker (as of this writing, the latter has taken #1 in the Thursday night previews) this weekend. It will also mark the end of the three-week chart-topping run for M. Night Shyamalan’s kidnapping thriller Split, starring James McAvoy as a man with dissociative identity disorder. Shyamalan is famous for twists in the third act, and sure enough, Split had one of them. With that in mind, this is a good point to state that this week’s news could reveal spoilers about Split, especially if you follow the links, so proceed with caution. On Saturday night, Shyamalan tweeted, “I have an 11 page outline for my next film in my bag. I can’t tell you what it is, but If you’ve seen #Split…” Head over to Collider for more on that and what it (probably) means for the sequel. Of course, once this new sequel starts filming, the casting news will probably give it away.
This spring will mark four years now since the release of the 2013 indie hit Spring Breakers, which also marked the point at which director Harmony Korine (Gummo, julien donkey-boy) expanded into more commerical material. Ever since Spring Breakers, the film that Korine was expected to direct next was a crime drama called The Trap. That film has had a few big names associated with it (or not), including Benicio Del Toro, Al Pacino, Idris Elba, and Robert Pattinson, but it appears that planned filming start dates have come and gone a few times. This week, we instead heard from the Berlin International Film Festival about a new film project from Korine, and along with him, a completely different major film star as the lead. Matthew McConaughey is now attached to star in an comedy called The Beach Bum, which Harmony Korine will both write and direct. Although we don’t know precise details about the premise, the title offers a hint, as does this byline: “[The Beach Bum] follows the hilarious misadventures of Moondog, a rebellious and lovable rogue who lives life large.” In many of his films (Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street), Matthew McConaughey obviously brought a very relaxed vibe to the table, so his being cast in a movie called The Beach Bum might arguably be called something of a no-brainer. The next question is whether McConaughey will receive any makeover comparable to that crazy grill that James Franco had in his mouth in Spring Breakers.
Every year around this time, the Berlin International Film Festival ensures that the Weekly Ketchup has an unusually high number of film development stories to choose from. To avoid expanding beyond our usual ten headlines, we’ll pair a couple of them here. Both of these stories are about remakes, and Jack Nicholson is associated with each of them (sort of). Let’s start off with the less obvious one: Oprah Winfrey is now attached to star in a remake of the 1983 Best Picture winner Terms of Endearment, which Lee Daniels (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Lee Daniels’ The Butler) is in talks to direct. Winfrey, who co-starred in Daniels’ The Butler, will star in the role that won Shirley MacLaine her Best Actress Oscar, a mother locked in decades of stormy relations with her daughter, who is also starting a relationship with a retired astronaut (originally played by Jack Nicholson). As for the other news involving Jack Nicholson, it’s the English-language remake of the German film Toni Erdmann, which is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in this year’s Academy Awards. Like Terms of Endearment, this remake is also based at Paramount Pictures, which acuired it, apparently, with both Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig (as the title character) attached to star. A screenwriter and director have yet to be named.
We’re now dozens of movies into his career as a movie star, so it might now be difficult to imagine that there was once a time when Dwayne Johnson was thought of first as “The Rock,” or perhaps as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. That name, of course, was the handle he used in his previous career as a professional wrestler. Now, just as the world is starting to think him first as a movie star, Johnson is ready to return once again to the world of wrestling… on the big screen. The movie in question is a British true story drama called Fighting With My Family, and it’s based on the life story of female wrestler Paige. Johnson’s role will be as himself, and is described as a “cameo,” but it’s also being used as the main announcement for Fighting With My Family, so presumably, his role will be used to sell the actual release as well. Fighting With My Family will be directed by Stephen Merchant (The Office, Hello Ladies: The Movie), who will also soon be seen in Logan as the mutant Caliban.
Speaking of reboots of long-running horror franchises, what are the chances that Halloween and Friday the 13th would make the news in the same week? Pretty good, as it turns out, but in the case of Friday the 13th, the news isn’t particularly positive. Instead of an optimistic announcement from the franchise’s creator, the Friday the 13th news came from its parent studio, Paramount, which has given up on it after several years of development. After previously being considered for at least two other “Friday the 13th” release dates, the reboot was yanked this week from Friday, October 13th, 2017 release date. Instead, Paramount is giving that date to mother! (intentional lower case), which is the previously untitled film that unites Jennifer Lawrence with acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan). Other cast members in mother! include Javier Bardem, Domhnall Gleeson, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. There are reportedly a few reasons why Paramount decided to give up on Friday the 13th, including its surprisingly high budget ($25 million!), the relatively disappointing opening weekend of Rings (never mind that the two horror franchises are nothing alike), and the fact that the rights will soon revert back to New Line Cinema. For fans of Jason Voorhees, that last bit might be a silver lining, as it’s possible NLC might actually decide to do something with the franchise. Anyway, it’s for those fans that we list this story as a “Rotten Idea.”
Someone at Paramount Pictures must have been getting a bonus for how many big franchises they could shelve in just 5 working days. In addition to the Friday the 13th reboot, the studio also pulled the long-planned sequel to 2013’s World War Z. The release date for the sequel had originally been June 9, 2017, which for a while was sort of obviously not going to happen, since filming hadn’t started. What was surprising about the story was that Paramount chose not to set a new release window (such as, say, sometime in the summer of 2018), which is even more baffling in light of the confirmation, via The Hollywood Reporter, that acclaimed director David Fincher — who has directed star Brad Pitt in such films as Fight Club and Seven — is still interested in directing the sequel. In other Brad Pitt news, it’s already sounding like he might be considering moving on to the Neptune space adventure Ad Astra instead.
If you want to impress your friends and baffle your enemies with your amazing ability to predict a given week’s film development stories, a good place to start would be the list of theatrical new releases. There’s a good chance that a high profile film with a major star (like say, Keanu Reeves in this week’s John Wick: Chapter 2) will make some headlines. It just makes sense, since stars will be out talking to reporters, and either they or their agents/managers will want to take advantage of the press. Having said that, none of that was the case this week with Keanu Reeves’ new project, Rally Car, which was the result of a distribution rights deal that came out of the Berlin International Film Festival. In Rally Car, Reeves will star as a “a self-centered American NASCAR driver who revitalizes his career by entering an international Rally Car race across the face of China, and learns to win as part of a team when he joins forces with a young Chinese woman who yearns to become a driver herself.”You can see a few different elements that make the film attractive in today’s film industry: NASCAR for middle America, a race across China for, well, China, and a 52-year-old movie star romantically partnered with a woman in her 20s for anyone interested in middle-aged male wish fulfillment. Rally Car will be directed by Olivier Megaton, whose three previous films have all received quite Rotten Tomatometer scores: Transporter 3 (37 percent), Colombiana (27 percent), and Taken 2 (21 percent).
2018 will mark a very special sort of 10th anniversary for director Kevin Smith; 2008 was the last time he directed a Fresh movie (Zack and Miri Make a Porno), despite a number of projects in which he attempted to move past the “View Askewniverse” characters and films that defined his early career. One has to imagine he’s getting nostalgic right about now, which is probably why he had been considering making Clerks 3 (Smith confirmed this week that it’s now “dead” again). So, how will the former Silent Bob reboot his View Askewniverse and his own film career? If you guessed, “By doing a Jay and Silent Bob Reboot,” then you guessed right, even down to the title. Here is what Kevin Smith had to say about the project: “And so all last month, I had the time of my life laughing while writing Jay and Silent Bob Reboot – a fun flick in which the Jersey boys have to go back to Hollywood to stop a brand new reboot of the old Bluntman & Chronic Movie they hated so much. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, silly-ass satire that pokes fun at the movie business’s recent re-do obsession, featuring an all-star cast of cameos and familiar faces! And I already met with the good folks at Miramax and they’re into it, so I’m hoping we’ll be shooting in the summer!”
If you thought the return of Kevin Smith to his Jay and Silent Bob characters was going to be the week’s worst example of unrequested nostalgia from a filmmaker, then you set your standards much too high. Regardless of Smith’s recent output, his films at least have their fans, and some have been well-reviewed in the past. Let’s consider, on the other hand, the careers of duo Josh Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. If those names don’t ring any bells, let’s throw out some movie titles: Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, Vampires Suck, The Starving Games. Oh, and did we mention Meet the Spartans? Yes, that’s right, we’re talking about the guys who take whatever trend is popular and fill up a feature film with disjointed “jokes” and references to whatever is floating in the zeitgeist at the moment. So what could they be planning next? The title is so long that we can just give it to you now, and it says pretty much everything you need: Star Worlds Episode XXXIVE=MC2: The Force Awakens The Last Jedi Who Went Rogue. Friedberg and Seltzer expect to start filming in the fall of 2017. The farce is not strong with these two.