This week’s Ketchup brings you ten stories from the last seven days in the realm of film development news. Included in the mix this time around are headlines involving such movies as Bourne 5, Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Gambit, Ghostbusters, Mission: Impossible 6, and the video game adaptation Five Nights at Freddy’s.
For quite a while, one of the commonly said things about Tom Cruise, Movie Star, is that he will do whatever it takes to promote his latest movie. Tom Cruise isn’t one of those movie stars who’s shy about talking to the press. And so, with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation opening this week, Tom Cruise was indeed once again out there, answering questions, and what it led to was something of a deluge of new information about Tom Cruise’s future movies. The biggest reveal (though not necessarily the most surprising) happened on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, on which Tom Cruise revealed that there will indeed be a movie we’ll call for now, Mission: Impossible 6. Tom Cruise said the details are currently being worked out, and that he expects to be filming his 6th movie as Ethan Hunt in the summer of 2016 (possibly suggesting a release date in the summer of 2017). Also this week, Tom Cruise revealed to MTV that he has come up with an idea for a sequel to last year’s Edge of Tomorrow (although he didn’t reveal exactly what that is). Whatever the sequel might entail, Tom Cruise said that he has already talked to director Doug Liman and costar Emily Blunt about it (Blunt’s reply was reportedly, “Give me another year, please.”). Finally, more details were revealed this week about Bob: The Musical, in which Tom Cruise will play “a regular guy who, after a blow to the head, suddenly can hear the inner songs of everyone’s heart as his reality is instantly turned into a musical, much to his dismay.” Bob: The Musical will be directed by Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) from a script by Michael Chabon (John Carter) with music by Bret McKenzie (HBO’s Flight of the Conchords). Walt Disney Pictures has not yet announced a release date for Bob: The Musical.
As with many similar franchises (like this week’s Mission: Impossible), each new movie in the Jason Bourne franchise sees both new faces along with returning cast playing their characters from previous movies. Even 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, which was ostensibly something of a post-Matt-Damon reboot, had several cast members from previous movies (namely, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney, and Corey Johnson). For their fifth movie, Universal has recruited Matt Damon to return as Jason Bourne, along with director Paul Greengrass, who directed The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. We already have heard that Julia Stiles will be returning from previous films, and that Ex Machina star Alicia Vikander was the first announced new cast member. This week, we learned of the second new cast member, and that honor will go to Tommy Lee Jones. The former Men in Black star is expected to play “a superior officer at the CIA,” echoing the roles played by many of the previous older costars in the Bourne franchise. Universal Pictures has scheduled the 5th movie (possibly called The Bourne Betrayal) for July 29, 2016.
Back in April, in the weeks leading up to the release of Aloha, Forbes ran a story asking, “Why Rachel McAdams Never Became a Movie Star“. One possible answer is that Hollywood just doesn’t make romantic comedies like they used to, and they sort of stopped at exactly the moment when Rachel McAdams might have become a major “rom com” movie star. So, how exactly do actors and actresses today become bigger stars? One very common way is by taking roles in major super hero movies, which leads us to this week’s news. Rachel McAdams confirmed this week that she has been talking to Marvel Studios about signing on for the female lead in next year’s Doctor Strange (11/4/16). Emphasizing that this is not yet a firm confirmation, McAdams said, “It’s still super-early days, and I don’t know where that’s gonna go, if it’s gonna go anywhere at all.” So, if Rachel McAdams does indeed join Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Doctor Strange, who might she be playing? Although there are other possibilities, the female supporting character that seems most likely for Doctor Strange is probably Clea, the niece of Dormammu, one of Strange’s main enemies, and frequent romantic interest. Clea is also one of Doctor Strange’s longest-running romantic interests. And Rachel McAdams in a platinum wig would even sort of resemble the way that Clea is frequently depicted in the comics. Marvel Studios has scheduled Doctor Strange for November 4, 2016.
It has now been 37 years since German director Werner Herzog remade F.W. Murnau’s classic 1922 silent film Nosferatu, under the title Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. That Nosferatu has been adapted so rarely (he was also depicted in 2000’s Shadow of the Vampire) is surprising that the character he was based upon, Count Dracula, holds the record as the Most Portrayed Literary Character. (Sherlock Holmes is the most portrayed literary human character.) Director Robert Eggers, who made his debut with the upcoming indie horror film The Witch, has signed a deal to write and direct a remake of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu. That, unfortunately, is about all that we know about Eggers’ plans to remake Nosferatu. Among the details not known are whether it will be silent (or a “talkie”), black and white (or in color), live action (or animation), or if Robert Eggers will inadvertently cast a real life vampire who sets about devouring most of the crew.
For all of the examples where movie projects spend years (and sometimes, decades) in development, there are sometimes cases where Hollywood’s speed is quite remarkable. Consider convicted spy Jonathan Pollard who was arrested in 1985 on charges of sharing vital U.S. government secrets with Israel. On Tuesday morning, the news broke that Jonathan Pollard had been granted parole and will be released in November, 2015. By 11 minutes after Noon that same day, the news broke that producer Gail Berman is now developing a feature film based on Jonathan Pollard’s life and years in prison. Gail Berman is best known for executive producing the popular TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The Jonathan Pollard feature film will be based upon the play The Law of Return, by Martin Blank, “which covers Pollard’s rocky employment by the U.S. Navy, and his motivations for turning spy.”
With the Harry Potter franchise increasingly in his rear view mirror, Daniel Radcliffe is continuing to build a new body of work as a prolific actor. This includes this November’s Victor Frankenstein (in which he plays Igor to James McAvoy’s title character), the indie “corpse comedy” Swiss Army Man, and the Rockstar Games biopic Game Changer. The latest movie to be added to Daniel Radcliffe’s IMDb profile is an inspired-by-real-events crime thriller called Imperium. Daniel Radcliffe will play a young FBI agent who is assigned undercover to infiltrate a group of white supremacists planning on constructing a “dirty bomb.” Imperium will be the feature film debut of short film director Daniel Ragnussis, who also cowrote the script with Michael German, the FBI undercover agent whose experiences form the basis for the movie.
In addition to the times he has played God, Morgan Freeman has also played the President of the United States in Deep Impact, and the Acting President in Olympus Has Fallen. This week, there was speculation that Morgan Freeman might again get the chance to be the POTUS again, based on one reference in this story. But first, the facts we know for sure. Morgan Freeman has signed with Focus Features to star in an action movie called Down to a Sunless Sea. Plot details aren’t yet known, except that Down to a Sunless Sea is said to be “similar in tone to Air Force One.” And that right there is why some people are speculating that Morgan Freeman might play the President in the movie, since the lead character in Air Force One was the President of the United States (as played by Harrison Ford). Down to a Sunless Sea was written by writer/director David Gleeson (The Front Line, Cowboys & Angels), who has also directed his previous films, but it’s not yet known if he will also be directing Down to a Sunless Sea.
As of nine days ago, we are now less than a year away from the July 22, 2016 release of the new Ghostbusters (the movie with Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, directed by Paul Feig). Back in March (a few months after Feig’s movie was confirmed), there began to be talk online of a second Ghostbusters movie which would be more action-centric, and possibly feature real life friends Chris Pratt and Channing Tatum. This week, while promoting Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, screenwriter Drew Pearce (who also cowrote Iron Man 3) was quoted as saying that he had “finished by work” on the Pratt/Tatum Ghostbusters. This led to the online film world sort of blowing up in response to an impending Ghostbusters with two of the hottest male action stars currently working. Subsequently, Drew Pearce took to Twitter to clarify, “Also, I’ve only written a bible (because I have to go off and direct my own stuff). No script yet. So news cycle: CHILL YOUR BOOTS.” That was then followed by this statement by director/producer Ivan Reitman (the man behind the first two Ghostbusters movies): “As the producer of the new Ghostbusters film, I feel the need to clarify. There is only one new Ghostbusters movie and that is the Paul Feig directed version coming next July, presently filming and going fantastically. The rest is just noise.” We’re calling this a “Rotten Idea” in case it really does mean we will never get a Pratt/Tatum Ghostbusters, and similarly, keep reading.
This was a week of ups and downs for 20th Century Fox’s plans for a solo Gambit movie, based on Marvel’s popular mutant character. First, there was the news that the studio was planning on a budget of over $154 million for Gambit, with filming to be starting in Louisiana in October under the direction of Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). As promising as that news was for the fans who have been dreaming about a big budget Gambit movie since the early 1990s, it was soon overshadowed by the much more widely reported next news item. And that story (although not yet confirmed) is that Channing Tatum might be dropping out of starring in Gambit. This story was particularly baffling for many fans since Channing Tatum has been talking up his excitement about starring as Gambit since promoting White House Down two years ago (at a time when no one thought there was ever going to be a Gambit solo movie). It’s not yet known if Channing Tatum really will drop out of Gambit, or why he would do so. Some of the speculated reasons include conflicts with 23 Jump Street, the rumored Ghostbusters spinoff, and Channing Tatum’s plans to make his directorial debut. For the time being, 20th Century Fox still has Gambit scheduled for release on October 7, 2016.
Pixels opened last week to disappointing box office (compared to its budget), continuing a trend for video game adaptation movies that dates back decades. Even so, Hollywood still keeps putting video game adaptations into development, with the hope apparently being each time that the given project will be the one that upsets critical and box office patterns. Such movies that are currently on their way include The Angry Birds Movie (5/20/16), Warcraft (6/10/16), Assassin’s Creed (12/21/16), and the Minecraft movie. Warner Bros is also moving forward with plans for a feature film adaptation of the popular survival horror video game franchise Five Nights at Freddy’s. The games are set in a children’s theme restaurant called Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, where at night, the title animatronic animal comes alive to wreak unholy terror on anyone unlucky enough to be there. The first game came out in 2014, and there’s already been four games in the franchise. The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie will be directed by Gil Kenan, who made his debut in 2006 with the “Fresh” animated movie Monster House, which was followed by two “Rotten” scores for City of Ember (53%) and this year’s Poltergeist remake (33%).