This week’s Ketchup includes top movie development news stories for such titles as Blade Runner 2, Captain Marvel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the Harry Potter spinoff), Flash Gordon, Pitch Perfect 3, and X-Men: Apocalypse.
Yesterday, the Internet collectively wiped away a nostalgic tear when Harrison Ford was first shown as Han Solo in the second teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Over at 20th Century Fox (the former home for Star Wars), they might be hoping for a similar glow of nostalgia for their Blade Runner sequel, in which Harrison Ford will also be costarring, returning as Rick Deckard. This week, we learned that the sequel’s star will be Ryan Gosling, who is now in talks with 20th Century Fox. Not many other details are currently known about Blade Runner 2, except that it will be directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Incendies), whose next film, Sicario, was also announced this week as being an official entry at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. That, however, was not the only Ryan Gosling news this week, as he’s also considering reuniting with his Crazy Stupid Love costar, Emma Stone, in a romantic musical called La La Land. The Lionsgate musical will be directed by Damien Chazelle, who is something of a hotly pursued talent in Hollywood following the success of Whiplash.
As Warner Bros prepares to launch its next franchise with J.K. Rowling, one of this year’s critical darlings is emerging as the studio’s top choice to star. The spinoff franchise is called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the key character in all of it is the book’s “author,” Newt Scamander. No deal is in place yet, but the actor Warner Bros hopes to cast as Newt Scamander is Eddie Redmayne, who won the Best Actor Academy Award this year for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is seen by Warner Bros as the first of a new franchise of films featuring Newt Scamander, in his adventures in the magical New York City of the 1930s. The first movie (11/18/16) will be directed by David Yates, who directed the most recent Harry Potter movies, and also has a reboot of Tarzan coming in 2016 (7/1/16) with Warner Bros.
After a competitive bidding war this week, Universal Pictures has landed the rights to a biopic called The Real McCoy, about Prohibition Era bootlegger and smuggler Bill McCoy, who helped popularize the expression. A big reason for the interest from so many studios is that red-hot-right-now movie star Chris Pratt is already attached to star in it. The pitch was written by screenwriter Bill Dubuque, who made his debut last year with The Judge, and also has the Ben Affleck movie The Accountant coming soon. Universal’s acquisition of The Real McCoy can be seen as part of an overall strategy at keeping the actor at the studio, following his starring turn this summer in Jurassic World.
We don’t know if this is going to become a new trend, but acclaimed director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future) will be going back-to-back with movies adapted from documentary features. You may have have already seen the trailer for The Wire (10/2/15), starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which was adapted from the 2008 Academy Award winner Man on Wire. Next up, Zemeckis will be directing a narrative adaptation of the 2010 documentary Marwencol, and Steve Carell will be starring in it. Carell will play a man recovering from brain damage who recreates a World War II-era Belgian town in his backyard, with various dolls representing himself, his family, friends, and other figures in his life. The narrative film’s script was adapted by Caroline Thompson, who is best known for her movies with Tim Burton, such as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and (as cowriter) Corpse Bride.
We may still be two days shy of a month away from Pitch Perfect 2 hitting theaters (5/15/15), but Universal Pictures appears to already be making its future plans for what could be another surprise franchise for them, ala Fast and Furious. A writer for the Los Angeles Times took to Twitter this week (rather than, apparently, actually giving her employer an exclusive story) to break the news that Rebel Wilson is signed to star in the musical sequel Pitch Perfect 3. That’s about all that could fit in a 140 character Tweet, so unfortunately, we don’t know much else about the sequel just yet.
Director Matthew Vaughn has developed a post-Layer Cake filmography with a solid streak of “Fresh” Tomatometer ratings, and one of his secrets might have been to not stay on one franchise too long. Vaughn directed just X-Men: First Class, just the first Kick-Ass movie, and recently, he directed the first Kingsman: The Secret Service. And already, Matthew Vaughn is in talks with 20th Century Fox to direct the first movie in another new franchise (which is actually a very, very old franchise). Matthew Vaughn is in talks to direct the studio’s long-in-development reboot of Flash Gordon, returning to the “space opera” adventure at just the point when space operas are hot properties in Hollywood, thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy. First created in 1934 as a comic strip, Flash Gordon is an American football star who accidentally ends up on the planet Mongo, where he takes on the evil Ming the Emperor. And inspires Queen songs and Seth McFarlane comedies.
The Marvel news this week mostly consists of light updates on stuff we already knew from various people doing press for Avengers: Age of Ultron, but what new stuff we did hear had no direct connection to that movie at all. The main focus was Captain Marvel (11/2/18), which will be about Marvel’s character by that name, AKA Carol Danvers (previously known as Ms. Marvel). We still don’t know who will play Carol Danvers, but this week, we reached another important milestone in the movie’s development. Marvel Studios has hired two screenwriters to work collaboratively on their separate pitch ideas for Captain Marvel, to blend both ideas into one feature film. Those two writers are Nicole Perlman (whose initial in-house script for Guardians of the Galaxy is credited with helping get the movie greenlit) and Meg LeFauve, who will be making her feature film debut with this summer’s Pixar animated comedy Inside Out. There was also news this week that Marvel’s top choice to direct Captain Marvel is Angelina Jolie, especially now that one of their previous possible choices (Patty Jenkins) has signed on to direct Wonder Woman for Marvel’s Distinguished Competition. Jolie has mostly been directing “passion projects” to date, but she might be ready to make the jump to a big superhero adventure like Captain Marvel. Finally, Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige confirmed this week that when Spider-Man enters the Marvel Cinematic Universe next year in Captain America: Civil War, the character will be Peter Parker, and he will be a high school student.
After six movies as Gandalf and (at least) five movies as Magneto, Sir Ian McKellen still appears to be interested in big genre projects. We know that because this week we learned that McKellen has joined the cast of Disney’s live action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Sir Ian McKellen will play the butler Cogsworth who, when a curse is cast on a castle’s staff, is transformed into a singing and dancing clock. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens are playing the title characters, and some of the other staff will be played by Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Audra McDonald (Garderobe), and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Plumette). Walt Disney Pictures has scheduled Beauty and the Beast for March 17, 2017.
Like many of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men movies, the cast of next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse (5/27/16) is continuing to grow to the point where you need a cheat sheet to remember all of the characters that will be in the movie. This week’s addition brings one of Marvel’s most popular mutant heroines back to the big screen. Olivia Munn, formerly of G4TV’s Attack the Show and HBO’s The Newsroom, has been cast as Psylocke. Who and what Psylocke is depends upon what era of Marvel you’re reading (though most of the time, she’s a little of both). Psylocke started as the English telepathic sister of Captain Britain, and then through some mind-swapping, she became a Japanese ninja (with psychic attacks). Although Olivia Munn is neither British nor Japanese, her heritage is half-Chinese, and she spent much of her childhood living in Japan. In other Fox mutant movie casting, we learned that Ryan Reynolds will be joined in Deadpool (2/12/16) by newcomer Brianna Hildebrand, who will play the young Goth telepath known as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. (Last minute news: Lucas Till will also be returning in X-Men: Apocalypse as Havok.)
Seven days is not a long time, but it’s long enough that a story can break and we can already know the resolution of the problem it poses by the time the Weekly Ketchup covers it. That’s what happened this week when we learned that Breaking Bad/The Walking Dead director Michelle Maclaren had dropped out of directing Wonder Woman for Warner Bros over unspecified “creative differences.” Of course, when something is left unspecified, people are going to try to figure out the specifics. One rumor put out there was that Maclaren had wanted a tiger sidekick that she could talk to, leading some to theorize that Maclaren wanted to use Tawky Tawny, the talking tiger sidekick of the 1940s Captain Marvel. All of that happened before this story broke earlier today saying that Maclaren’s vision for Wonder Woman was “an epic origin tale in the vein of” Braveheart, whereas Warner Bros wanted “a more character-driven story that was less heavy on action.” And we also now know the director who will adapt Warner Bros’ vision, and it’s Patty Jenkins, who had one point had been attached to direct Thor: The Dark World. When Wonder Woman is released on June 23, 2017, it will mark 13 years since Patty Jenkins made her feature film debut in 2004 with the Charlize Theron movie Monster. In the years since, Jenkins has directed episodes of the TV shows The Killing and Betrayal (44% and 8% Rotten, respectively).