Welcome back to the Weekly Ketchup… wonder what’s been going on during the last three weeks? There actually has been movie news going on, and you can find columns for the weeks of June 27th, July 4th and July 11th archived over in my own personal thread on our forums.
#1 JAMES MCAVOY IS WANTED, TWO
Although the ending of the movie version of Wanted might not seem completely, perfectly, sequel-friendly (depending upon your perspective, I suppose), the loose comic book adaptation has been doing pretty well at the box office, and so Universal has signed the film’s producer, director and screenwriters to work on Wanted 2, with James McAvoy also being pursued to return as his assassin newbie character, Wesley Gibson. There’s no details yet about what such a sequel could actually be about. Having established McAvoy’s character, I suppose they could just make it a new James Bond/Jason Bourne-style franchise, but I personally would love to see them do a prequel that would be a closer adaptation of the original comic mini-series. There are some pretty wild characters in there. In the first Wanted movie, they might have made it seem like a Mystery Men clone, but with Watchmen due next spring, I think by the time Wanted 2 hits theaters, people might be a bit more used to costumed types that aren’t household names?
#2 SETH MACFARLANE ANNOUNCES WHEN HE WILL START THINKING ABOUT A FAMILY GUY MOVIE
Although what Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane actually says is lacking in any hard facts, the show certainly has a large and vocal fanbase, so MacFarlane’s announcement that he expects to start work on a Family Guy movie in the next year is worth reporting. Meanwhile, Matt Groening also got quoted this week about the (probably) inevitable second Simpsons movie, and the gist of the news is that right now, there really is no news. Except that it will happen. Someday.
#3 DARK KNIGHT TRAILERS: THE REST
It was a no brainer that The Dark Knight would hit theaters this weekend with some hot new trailers. My own take was that, except for one, they were underwhelming. Frank Miller‘s Will Eisner’s The Spirit seems to be coasting on the fact that Miller was able to cast several actresses in a movie about a male crime fighter. That, and that Sam Jackson is willing to wear just about anything a costume person hands him. There was a trailer for the new Ridley Scott movie, Body of Lies, but as far as I can tell, it’s not online yet, and besides that, it was sort of boring (which probably means the movie is GREAT; I believe in an inverse trailer-to-movie factor when it comes to dramas). The Terminator: Salvation teaser trailer is online, but really, all you’re going to get from it is a Christian Bale narration set to Cloverfield/Blair Witch Project– style shaky-cam shots. In other T4 news, Warner Bros has cast a new body builder to play the T-800 robot in the Terminator movies who is not a governor. Yet.
#4 THE BEST: WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN (TRAILER)?
The 7 minutes before The Dark Knight starts is not a complete loss, however, because you will see the Watchmen trailer. And it will rock. Set to a Smashing Pumpkins song that is surprisingly appropriate (despite not really being that “1980s”, it’s still dated sounding enough to work in this post-rock era). I can’t predict what the completely mainstream audience will think at this early date, but for fans of Watchmen, every shot seems to have been handpicked to assuage any fears we might have had. Several iconic images from the book are right there, in near perfect duplication, and that includes lots and lots of Doctor Manhattan, and he is flawless. Rope of Silicon has a few examples for you to examine and Entertainment Weekly has a huge Watchmen profile and new images.
#5 I BELIEVE IN HARVEY DEN… ERR, WEINSTEIN
Harvey and Bob Weinstein, formerly of Miramax, now the titular Weinsteins of the Weinstein Company, secured a deal this week with Showtime to help them finance future film projects. The announcement gives us an idea of what they plan to use that money on, and it includes Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglorious Bastards (this week’s news on that one? QT is talking to Leonardo DiCaprio about possibly playing the main Nazi bad guy), Scream IV, the long-in-development movie version of The Six Billion Dollar Man, remakes of Scanners and Seven Samurai and the future Academy nominee, Piranha 3D. Except for Inglorious Bastards, wow… I couldn’t be less interested in any of that. Of course, last week’s news of Darren Aronofsky possibly working on the next Robocop movie proved that a remake (or in that case, possibly a sequel) can all of a sudden seem a lot cooler when someone who is actually cool surprisingly gets involved.
#6 YET ANOTHER BELOVED CLASSIC TO BE REMADE: PAPILLON
My one, simplest rule about remakes is that I’m okay with them if the original movie is flawed, since there’s always a chance for improvement. The 1973 exile/prison classic, Papillon, starring Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen, however, is not flawed. It’s a classic, and arguably an example of some of the finest work ever delivered by either star. However, it looks like the Canary Islands are hankering for some big budget ($90 million!) movie love, and so that location will stand in for French Guiana. There’s no director, cast or even a script, but the producers apparently think that blockbuster-sized budget will fix all those problems in time to start filming next May, 2009.
#7 NOT QUITE DONE WITH THE REMAKES YET: VALLEY GIRL, BLAKE EDWARDS’ 10, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
A key participant in recent spikes in remake activity is MGM, who are prepping both Red Dawn and Robocop (admittedly, now rumored to be more of a sequel). The latest remake target for MGM is Valley Girl, which they are reimagining as a Romeo & Juliet-style musical romance, complete with punk rock hairstyles and early 1980s hits for a soundtrack. As they release Mamma Mia! this week, Universal Pictures has announced two more musicals that appear to be going through development quickly: a remake of Jesus Christ Superstar and a film adaptation of Wicked, the Broadway musical about the witches from The Wizard of Oz. Finally, another remake project that got a bit of a boost this week (after spending the last few years drifting about in development elsewhere) is the remake of 10, the movie in which Dudley Moore got to share space with a very naked Bo Derek. The producers are reportedly scouring the globe looking for the next Bo Derek. Good luck with that.
#8 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES TO BE PLAYED BY TEENAGERS AGAIN?
Although it really doesn’t tell you much, and this story will probably get better coverage in the Hollywood trades sometime soon, Comics2Film discovered this week that there are plans for another TMNT movie for 2010, but the surprising detail is that it will be another live-action movie, and not be a CGI action fest like that recent, fairly decent movie that revitalized the franchise a bit. So, basically, they’re taking one step forward into 2010 and falling over their shells backwards into the 1980s to recapture the look of those old turtle costumes. If Frank Miller wants to continue adapting gritty black and white comics, he should take a look at the original Eastman and Laird comics (which were sort of spoofs of Miller’s own material, working on Daredevil). Definitely not kid stuff, but this live action movie certainly will be.
#9 JUST ONE MORE REMAKE, I PROMISE (MYSELF): MONSTER SQUAD
Producer Rob Cohen (the Fast and the Furious franchise), who is also wearing a director’s hat this summer with The Mummy 3, revealed to Bloody-Disgusting this week that he is producing a remake of the slightly bizarre 1987 kids movie, The Monster Squad, which sort of plays like a cross between The Goonies and those Abbott & Costello movies where that came up with awesome ways to fit as many classic Universal monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, etc) in one movie as possible.
#10 JOHN WOO TO PULL CALIBUR OUT OF ITS METAPHORIC STONE
Although he’s already got plenty of stuff on his “to do” list (including finishing his epic Red Cliff two film project), John Woo (Face/Off) has signed on to direct Calibur, an adaptation of an independent comic book that reinterprets King Arthur and his knights as cowboys in 19th century America. This news comes not long after the recent announcement of another King Arthur project, Roundtable, which likewise places the Knights of Camelot in a different timezone (now).