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 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Top Gun: Maverick, and new roles for Michael B. Jordan and Melissa McCarthy.
This week, as fans of all types celebrated the record-breaking $103 million opening weekend of Wonder Woman, details about Warner Bros’ plans for a sequel remained ambiguous. Although initially signed for just three movies, Gal Gadot has reportedly extended her contract to play Wonder Woman beyond that. But the bigger question mark concerns director Patty Jenkins, who was apparently only signed to direct one Wonder Woman movie, but seems interested in returning — she already talked this week about her ideas, which would focus on the Amazonian’s adventures in the United States. It was also confirmed this week that two of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman co-stars will be joining her in this November’s Justice League, as both Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen are expected to return as General Antiope and Queen Hippolyta (note: that article has Wonder Woman spoilers!). Finally, in other Wonder Woman news, the teaser trailer debuted for Professor Marston & The Wonder Woman, which stars Luke Evans as the writer and psychiatrist who created Wonder Woman.
Most of the Weekly Ketchup‘s casting announcements tend to involve well-known actors and actresses, but we also like to feature open casting calls, because you never know when they might turn up the next big star. In the last several months, Walt Disney Pictures in particular has been doing these (specifically, for their live-action remakes of Aladdin and Mulan), but this week, Warner Bros followed suit. The movie in question is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 (11/16/18), and a few of the characters are very, very popular. Warner Bros has announced an open casting call for actors between the ages of 13 and 16 for young versions of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), and a new character named Sebastian. There are also two opportunities for (possibly) slightly older actors, aged 16 to 18, to play the young versions of Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). If you or someone you know want to co-star in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2, you can start by reading the instructions here (and be sure to mention the Weekly Ketchup on the red carpet). Thanks, and good luck!
We’ve known for a while now that Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are co-starring as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and publisher Kay Graham, respectively, in Steven Spielberg’s next film, an untitled drama about the Pentagon Papers (and by extension, the Vietnam War). The movie has reportedly been quietly filming at a former AT&T office building near White Plains, NY, but this week, we learned who will be joining Hanks and Streep, and many of them are best known for their work on TV. The impressive list includes Alison Brie (Community), David Cross (Arrested Development), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Sarah Paulson (The People vs O.J. Simpson), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire), and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing). The film is scheduled for release in December, (barely) just in time for awards consideration.
There are examples of actors and directors who work together frequently, but it’s not until around movie #4 or so that that it becomes a true partnership. One example is the relationship between Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler, who first worked together on Fruitvale Station, then on the Rocky sequel Creed, and next year, and next year, they also have Marvel’s Black Panther (2/16/18) (in which Jordan plays the villain Killmonger). The fourth movie for the pair will be Wrong Answer, based on the true story of an Atlanta-area middle school that, in 2013, was revealed to have faked test scores to qualify for “No Child Left Behind” funding. The Wrong Answer screenplay will be adapted by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has recently been writing Black Panther for Marvel Comics. In other Michael B. Jordan news, he will be joined in HBO’s new adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 by Sofia Boutella, who is in theaters this week as The Mummy.
You might be able to say a lot of other things about Tom Cruise, but one of the reasons he continues to attract big money contracts is that he will do anything to promote his new movie, and that includes lots, and lots, and lots of interviews. In a recent interview with Access Hollywood about The Mummy, their intrepid reporter got two new details from Cruise about the long-in-development Top Gun sequel. For one, we now know the title will be Top Gun: Maverick, which refers to the pilot handle of Cruise’s character (Cruise said, “I didn’t want a number, you know what I mean?”). When asked about potential co-stars (like, say, Val Kilmer, or maybe younger stars to play new pilots), Cruise replied, “There’s gonna be jets.” While that may seem obvious, it had been previously reported that the new film would be about drone pilots (and it still might be, to some extent). Production of Top Gun: Maverick is expected to start in the next year, possibly aiming for a release date in 2019.
Following successes both for their reboot of Godzilla in 2014 and this year’s Kong: Skull Island, Warner Bros has ambitious plans for their future Godzilla franchise, whose next installment is Godzilla: King of the Monsters (3/22/19). That movie is expected to introduce new monsters Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah (as teased at the end of Kong: Skull Island). Godzilla: King of the Monsters will also introduce several new human characters to be played by recent cast additions Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), O’Shea Jackson Jr (Straight Outta Compton), and Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley). This week, they were joined by two more names, starting with Bradley Whitford, who is best known for TV’s The West Wing (but who also costarred in the horror films The Cabin in the Woods and Get Out). We don’t know yet anything about Whitford’s character, but the second new cast member this week, Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), did come with some information: she’ll be playing a “significant figure” in Monarch, the secret organization that tracks giant monsters. (Our best guess: Jing Tian played a 1970s Monarch biologist in Kong: Skull Island, so perhaps Zhang Ziyi plays her daughter?) Zhang is also expected to co-star in Godzilla vs Kong when it’s released on May 22, 2020.
Actor Joel Edgeton (Loving, Warrior) made his feature film directorial debut in 2015 with the Certified Fresh thriller The Gift, and this week, we learned what his next project will be. Edgerton will direct and co-star in a drama called Boy Erased, adapting a memoir by Garrard Conley about “his harrowing time attending Love in Action, an entity that attempts to deprogram LGBT people. The son of a Baptist pastor in a conservative small Arkansas town, Conley was outed to his parents at age 19.” Garrard Conley will be played by Lucas Hedges, who co-starred as Casey Affleck’s nephew in the recent Amazon Studios Oscar-winner Manchester by the Sea. Edgerton is reportedly courting fellow Australians Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman to play Conley’s parents, but they haven’t officially started negotiations yet.
Netflix may get more of the press, but Amazon Studios has been making a lot of moves as well, and their Manchester by the Sea recently proved they were capable of big screen success (which is arguably something that Netflix still struggles with). The latest movie star to sign on with Amazon Studios is Jake Gyllenhaal, who will produce and star in a movie called The Lost Airman, an adaptation of the Seth Meyerowitz non-fiction book, The Lost Airman: A True Story of Escape From Nazi-Occupied France, about the author’s grandfather, who fought alongside the French Resistance for six months after his B-24 bomber was shot down over France in World War II. Gyllenhaal, who has been particularly busy lately, has several films on the way, including the monster movie Okja, Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife, the Boston Marathon bombing drama Stronger, and the Western The Sisters Brothers, with Joaquin Phoenix. You can read more about The Lost Airman at the book’s official site, right here.
Sometimes, when a studio reveals details about a movie, it feels like we’re not getting the most pertinent information. Of course, it does make some sense, since studios compete with each other, and they don’t want to give away too much. The early descriptions of Universal’s Get Out come to mind, and we mention that film because Universal Pictures is also the company behind a new “workplace comedy” called 24/7. Aside from its genre, all we know about 24/7 is that Universal has attracted the interest of stars Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington, both of whom will produce the comedy. Eva Longoria is currently filming the remake of Overboard (starring Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez), and Kerry Washington, of course, is the award-winning star of ABC’s hit series Scandal.
Tim Allen starred in The Santa Clause as Santa’s replacement, which was followed by Vince Vaughn as his brother Fred Claus and the animated film Arthur Christmas, about Santa’s son. Then, there was 2004’s Elf, about a human boy (played as an adult by Will Ferrell) adopted by one of Santa’s elves. Elf was produced and released by New Line Cinema, and this week, we learned that New Line is going for another Christmas comedy. Melissa McCarthy will produce, star in, and make her musical debut in a family holiday musical called Margie Claus, which will be directed by her husband Ben Falcone. McCarthy will play Santa’s wife Margie, who, after Santa’s disappearance, is forced to “put together an unlikely rescue team and set off from the North Pole for the first time in decades to rescue Santa and save Christmas.” The two previous Melissa McCarthy movies written and directed by Falcone both received Rotten Tomatometer scores of under 25 percent: Tammy (23 percent) and The Boss (22 percent). New Line has scheduled Margie Claus for release on November 15, 2019. In the meantime, McCarthy will also co-star next year in New Line’s Life of the Party (5/11/2018)… also written and directed by Falcone.