This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Gran Turismo, a Priscilla Presley movie, a new Stephen King fantasy, a biopic of the band Sublime, and more.
(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)
When Keanu Reeves first starred as DC Comics’ magical anti-hero John Constantine in 2005’s Constantine (Rotten at 46%), some fans didn’t know what to make of it. It was based on what was then perceived as a relatively obscure character (if one wasn’t familiar with the character’s long-running Hellblazer comic book), and it came out just one year after Guillermo del Toro’s similarly themed comic book movie Hellboy (Certified Fresh at 81%). Constantine wasn’t a box office success (earning $75 million domestic against a budget of $100 million), but the film seemed to spark something of a cult following. Since 2005, the title character got his own TV show in 2014 starring Matt Ryan, who later played the character in various “Arrowverse” shows, and a gender swapped Constantine was also a character in Netflix’s recent The Sandman (Fresh at 87%) series. (And that’s without listing John Constantine’s various appearances in animation and video games.) All of this, plus the perceived need for Warner Bros. to find new DC Comics projects for their upcoming slate, may have inspired their recent decision to start development on a Constantine sequel, which will bring back Keanu Reeves as John Constantine and director Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games franchise). Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, whose previous experience with DC Comics properties includes TV’s Titans (Fresh at 86%) and Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever (Rotten at 39%) and Batman & Robin (Rotten at 12%), is now working on the Constantine sequel’s screenplay. Fans may have to wait a bit for the sequel, though, as Francis Lawrence already has a busy slate that includes the currently filming prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the just announced Sublime rock musical biopic (see below), and the BioShock video game adaptation announced just a few weeks ago.
(Photo by David M. Benett, Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
Perhaps fittingly for a movie based on a car racing video game franchise, Sony Pictures seems to moving ahead with the casting and production of their Gran Turismo movie rather quickly. This week alone, Sony found three of its stars, including the two leads. It all started on Wednesday with the casting of David Harbour (Stranger Things, Black Widow) as a “retired driver” who teaches a teen to drive. It’s also worth noting that Sony claims that Gran Turismo will be based on a “true story” of a teenage Gran Turismo player “whose gaming skills won him a series of Nissan competitions to become an actual professional racecar driver.” That teenager will be played by Archie Madekwe of THE Apple TV+ series See (Fresh at 63%). Finally, the third star announced this week was Orlando Bloom of the Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings franchises, who will play a “hungry marketing exec who is selling the sport of motor racing.” Gran Turismo will be directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Chappie) from a screenplay by Jason Hall (American Sniper) and Zach Bayllin (King Richard).
(Photo by A24)
While the COVID-19 pandemic has understandably slowed down many productions, horror director Ti West has somehow managed to speed his up. As recently as this past March, West’s 1970s horror film X (Certified Fresh at 94%) came along with the surprise reveal that its prequel Pearl, also featuring Mia Goth, had already been filmed; it’s also Certified Fresh (currently at 85%), and it’s in theaters this weekend, just six months after X. We probably should have seen this coming, but Ti West has also already released a teaser trailer for a third film featuring Mia Goth, MaXXXine, about the 1980s adventures of the surviving character from X. Unlike the first two films, MaXXXine has not already been filmed, but West is using that as a promotional opportunity, as he is inviting fans to audition for a role in MaXXXine. In related “horror trilogy” news, Lionsgate is now in production in Slovakia on the first film in a new trilogy of slasher films starting with a remake of the film The Strangers (Rotten at 48%), with Riverdale’s Madelaine Petsch taking over the role originated in 2008 by Liv Tyler.
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
With a domestic box office take of over $150 million and $284 million worldwide, the musical biopic Elvis (Certfied Fresh at 78%) has proven to be a relative success for Warner Bros. and director Baz Luhrmann. Elvis Presley also packed quite a life into his 42 years, and there is easily enough material for at least a few more movies about him, especially since Elvis focused primarily on his relationship with Col. Tom Parker. That is apparently what Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette) is thinking as well, as she is preparing to make her next film an adaptation of the memoir Priscilla, about the life of Elvis’ wife and widow, Priscilla Presley. Coppola and A24 have already found their young stars in Cailee Spaeny (Mare of Easttown) as Priscilla and Jacob Elordi (HBO’s Euphoria) as Elvis Presley. A24 is preparing for preproduction for a filming start date in Toronto later this fall. At the same time, Coppola’s father Francis Ford Coppola is also in preproduction on his $100 million dream project Megalopolis.
(Photo by Scribner)
Now in his 70s, horror and fantasy author Stephen King is not only not slowing down, but he is actually increasing his output, with the last several years seeing him publish two novels or books a year. 2022 was no different, starting with Gwendy’s Final Task in February, which was followed last week by the fantasy novel Fairy Tale. Director and producer Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips, United 93) didn’t wait for other Hollywood producers to start a bidding war, as he quickly nabbed the rights to Fairy Tale from King, who offered Greengrass his traditional $1 sale in exchange for “a healthy backend” of the eventual film’s take. Fairy Tale seems like a bit of a departure for Greengrass, as it is a “multiverse-traversing genre-hopping” fantasy about “a 17-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a terrifying world where good and evil are at war” and who “journeys into the mythic roots of human storytelling.”
(Photo by DC)
Amidst the cancelled projects like Batgirl and The Wonder Twins in 2022, one of the DC Comics movies that actually had success in the opposite direction was the superhero movie Blue Beetle, which started as a HBO Max movie before being allowed a theatrical release next summer on August 18, 2023. The film was announced with a largely Latinx cast and crew, starting with Xolo Maridueña, who stars as Blue Beetle himself, Jaime Reyes. Susan Sarandon, who plays one of the film’s villains, revealed this week on The Tonight Show that Blue Beetle will be in Spanish with English subtitles, which is especially unusual for a big budget DC Comics superhero movie. It’s unclear if she means that the entire movie is in Spanish, or just most of the film is (for example, are her scenes also in Spanish?). If Blue Beetle is almost entirely in Spanish, that could mean that the $120 million superhero movie could be the most expensive Spanish-language Hollywood movie ever released. Expect Warner Bros. to confirm this soon.
(Photo by Steve Eichner/Getty Images)
There was a lot going on in music in the 1990s. Setting aside all other genres, just within the catch-all that became “alternative,” several subgenres like grunge, techno, pop punk, rap metal and ska exploded in popularity as the music industry raced to sign and promote new acts. One of those genres was “Ska punk,” and arguably no other group was able to seize upon that brief moment of attention quite like the band Sublime, although the height of their popularity came after the band had to break up in 1996 following the death of lead singer Bradley Nowell. Hollywood is very much in the midst of a new golden era of musical biopics, and this wave has finally caught up with ska and Sublime. Frequent Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence, who is currently filming the upcoming prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is now attached to direct the untiled Sublime biopic for Sony’s 3000 Pictures production company from a screenplay by Ozark screenwriter Chris Mundy.
(Photo by Vera Drew)
If a young filmmaker wants to make a movie about, say, Batman or the Joker, and actually have it released commercially, they would have to get a job at Warner Bros., the company that owns DC Comics. That notion was challenged this week at the Toronto International Film Festival by a self-described “illegal comedy” called The People’s Joker, which reimagnes the Joker as a trans villain in a version of Gotham City where Batman is a fascist and Bob the Goon is played by Bob Odenkirk. The People’s Joker was removed from the festival after just one screening (though you can still watch the trailer right here), but that was enough to spark a debate about whether, as the director Vera Drew suggests here, there might be a “fair use” argument to be made if “no one watching would associate it with an official DC or Warner Bros. production.” We’re probably just at the start of the debate to be had over The People’s Joker. In related news, the next official Joker movie, Joker: Folie a Deux (10/4/2024) this week cast Jacob Lofland in a mystery role as a “key Arkham Asylum inmate.”
(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
There is a lot we don’t know about this still-developing story, but here’s what we do know. Until this week, Matthew McConaughey and Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart) were preparing to start filming in Texas for a soccer movie called Dallas Sting based on the true story of a 1980s all-girls soccer team who competed in China to great success. And then, this week came along, and the entire Dallas Sting came to a screeching halt as all production has been cancelled. The reason Skydance has shelved all plans to produce Dallas Sting is that the producers received “disturbing allegations surrounding aspects of the true story,” which led to an investigation, and ultimately, the decision not to move ahead with the film. As of this writing, the nature of the “disturbing allegations” is not known.