This week’s Ketchup brings you 11 headlines from the world of film development news (the stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next), covering new roles for stars like Colin Farrell, Tiffany Haddish, and Jennifer Lawrence.
It’s now been a little over two years since the release of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Certified Fresh at 90%), which went on to receive six Academy Award nominations (and two wins for Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell). That film’s director, Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths), is now getting ready for his fifth film as writer and director, and he’s getting there by reuniting his In Bruges stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Reportedly to be titled The Banshees of Inisheer, the drama will be set on a remote Irish isle, as “two lifelong friends… find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship with alarming consequences for both of them.” Filming of The Banshees of Inisheer is scheduled this summer, probably aiming for a 2021 release, and the film will reportedly be adapted from the third play in a series that includes The Cripple of Inishmann and The Lieutenant of Inishmore.
It was almost certainly a coincidence, but the Greek mythological character Pandora provided the name for two different alien planets in billion-dollar properties that started in 2009. James Cameron’s sci-fi film Avatar ($2.79 billion worldwide) is soon going to get a series of sequels starting with Avatar 2 (12/17/2021), and the other is Borderlands, which, with the recent release of Borderlands 3, has topped $1 billion in video game sales. The comparisons may end there, as Borderlands is more influenced by properties like the Mad Max movies and the Fallout video game franchise. Following the recent box office successes of video game adaptations like Pokémon Detective Pikachu (Fresh at 69%, $433 million worldwide) and last week’s Sonic the Hedgehog (Fresh at 63%, $58 million in its opening weekend), it appears that Hollywood might keep developing more video game adaptations. Horror director Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever) is now attached to direct a Borderlands movie for Lionsgate based on the popular first-person shooter franchise from 2K Games, with filming expected to start later in 2020. Former Marvel executive and producer Avi Arad (Iron Man, Spider-Man) will co-produce Borderlands with his son Ari Arad (Ghost in the Shell). The video game franchise was adapted by screenwriter Craig Mazin, who won two Emmy awards for HBO’s Chernobyl.
Writer and director Adam McKay got his start with Will Ferrell comedies like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Fresh at 66%) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Certified Fresh at 71%) before recently moving on to more political films like The Big Short (Certified Fresh at 88%) and Vice (Fresh at 66%). McKay appears likely to be returning to more traditionally comedic material as his next film will reportedly be a “meteor satire” called Don’t Look Up, which Netflix acquired this week. Jennifer Lawrence is also attached to star in Don’t Look Up, which reportedly has a production budget in the $75 million range. The story reportedly focuses on two scientists who go on a media tour to warn the world about a meteor expected to strike Earth within the subsequent six months, but the reaction is doubt and disbelief.
American audiences probably best know Sir Roger Moore for his six James Bond movies from the 1970s and 1980s (starting with Live and Let Die in 1973 and ending with A View to a Kill in 1985). Before James Bond, however, Moore also starred in the British TV series The Saint as the gentleman thief character Simon Templar from the series of novels by author Leslie Charteris. Val Kilmer starred in a 1997 movie attempting to revive the character, but it failed to inspire a new franchise, and Paramount Pictures has been attempting to reboot The Saint (again) for a while now (including a time when Chris Pratt was in talks, but he’s since dropped out). One of Paramount’s biggest hits (especially relative to budget) in 2019 was the Elton John musical Rocketman, and Paramount has now attached that film’s director, Dexter Fletcher, to develop and direct their reboot of The Saint. The latest draft of The Saint was written by screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, who is probably still most famous for his horror mashup novels like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.
Something sort of surprising happened for Lucasfilm and their Star Wars properties in 2019, as the one that was critically acclaimed and seemingly most beloved by fans was not Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Rotten at 52%), but The Mandalorian series on Disney Plus (Certified Fresh at 95%). Also in the last year or so, we have heard repeated stories about Star Wars projects that were shelved, like, for example, the one that was to have been produced by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The seemingly grey space between whether Star Wars concepts should be theatrical releases or Disney+ releases seems to be up in the air, and not necessarily immediately known for any given project. This week, the news broke that Sleight director J.D. Dillard and one of the writers of Netflix’s Luke Cage are now developing a Star Wars movie, but the news did not come with a clear destination (theatrical release or Disney+ streaming). After so many big announcements that ultimately went nowhere, it might just be that Lucasfilm doesn’t want to keep making a big splash before the movie is actually produced and they know what they have.
The latest film from writer and director Paul Schrader was 2017’s First Reformed (Certified Fresh at 93%), in which Ethan Hawke played a priest struggling with religious doubt and commitment to his faith. For his next film, Schrader will shift from the church to the casino (sort of). Oscar Isaac went into this week already attached to star in The Card Counter as a professional gambler who finds himself recruited into a revenge plot against a military colonel. This week, Isaac was joined by three more stars, including Tiffany Haddish (as a “mysterious gambling financier”), Tye Sheridan, and Willem Dafoe (as the colonel). Martin Scorsese, who directed early Paul Schrader screenplays like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, also signed on this week to executive produce the film.
Margot Robbie obviously had the highest profile female role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but the film also boosted the careers of some of its other actresses (including child star Julia Butters, who is now 10 years old). Many of the film’s female stars portrayed members of the Manson Family, and the actress with the largest role within that group was Margaret Qualley (The Nice Guys, HBO’s The Leftovers), who played the young lady who brought Brad Pitt’s character to the Spahn Ranch. One of Qualley’s next projects will be a psychological horror film called A Head Full of Ghosts, which will be an adaptation of a Bram Stoker Award-winning horror novel. A Head Full of Ghosts will be directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Black Mass, Hostiles), who will soon be releasing another horror film, Antlers (4/17/2020).
The BET+ cable network recently started airing a First Wives Club show adapted from both the 1996 movie of the same title and, ostensibly, the novel from which that movie itself adapted. This story has less to do with First Wives Club itself, however, and more to do with the three actresses who starred in the 1996 movie together: Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler. As that movie nears its 25th anniversary (next year in 2021), its three leading ladies are now preparing to co-star in another comedy together. The movie will be called Family Jewels, and it’s described as a multigenerational holiday comedy about three women who are forced to spend the holidays together after the death of the man to whom all three women were once married. The “multigenerational” part hints at a larger ensemble cast, but no other cast members, or the actor who will play their recently deceased ex-husband, have been announced yet.
Some animated kids shows are able to appeal to adults as well (SpongeBob SquarePants), and others bridge both audiences over time (Dora the Explorer did this, arguably), but then there are shows that seem to pretty much remain “kids shows.” One that seems like it’s still solidly in the “just for kids” category (after seven seasons) is Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol. The show centers on a young boy who teams up with a variety of different dogs (some of whom can fly or have other cyborg parts) for a wide range of different rescue-related adventures. Paramount and Nickelodeon are now developing a CGI-animated feature-length Paw Patrol: The Movie, which is being scheduled for release sometime in August of 2021. The only other movie currently scheduled for that month is James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad (8/6/2021). PAW Patrol: The Movie will be directed by Cal Brunker, whose previous animated features include The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (Rotten at 14%), Escape from Planet Earth (Rotten at 35%), and Arctic Dogs (Rotten at 13%).
The review embargo for this week’s horror sequel Brahms: The Boy II wasn’t lifted until today, and the film’s Rotten Tomatometer score might offer a hint as to why. Getting ahead of the film’s release, director William Brent Bell was able to get two other projects in the news this week before the reviews hit. The higher profile project is another follow up to a horror movie from a few years ago, except that this one is a prequel, and the movie it’s following is far longer ago than 2015’s The Boy. Bell will next direct Esther, which will be a prequel to the 2009 horror film Orphan (Rotten at 56%). That role will almost certainly have to be recast, because Isabelle Fuhrmann, who played Esther in Orphan, is now 22 years old, and unlikely to pull off playing a nine-year-old girl again (especially in a prequel). Filming of Esther is expected to start in the third quarter of 2020, which means it will probably be released sometime in 2021. William Brent Bell is also attached to direct Lord of Misrule, which is described as being a contemporary “folk horror” film in the style of Midsommar or The Wicker Man.