The DC Comics Extended Universe hit a major detour sign this week, but to put things into context, let’s start with Warner Bros.’ big announcement in October, 2014, which will be four years ago next month. As a reaction to the continued success of Marvel Studios’ films, Warner Bros. announced an ambitious ten movie slate, which was to have included two Justice League movies and a Man of Steel 2. Warner Bros. is still very much committed to making DC Comics movies, but we now know that they’re going to be doing it, likely, without the involvement of Henry Cavill as Superman. Instead, the focus in the “Superman Family” will be on his cousin, Supergirl, whom we learned last month is getting her own movie. We should note that some sources were sure to emphasize the “likely” in their reporting, but most seemed certain about it. The talks with Cavill reportedly broke down over a Superman cameo in next year’s Shazam! (4/5/2019). Cavill himself added a “bizarre” footnote to the news on Instagram, where he posted a video of himself holding a Superman action figure. Warner Bros.’ upcoming DC projects include Aquaman (12/21/2018), Shazam! (4/5/2019), Wonder Woman 1984 (11/1/2019), Margot Robbie’s Birds of Prey (filming in January), and The Flash (filming in March). Many pieces went online speculating about the future of DC Comics movies. There also quickly emerged an update that suggests one of the actors who might be in the mix to replace Cavill is Black Panther and Fantastic Four co-star Michael B. Jordan. Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning also suggested that their I Think We’re Alone Now director, Reed Morano, should be hired to direct Supergirl. Henry Cavill is expected to keep very busy anyway, as he recently signed with Netflix to star in their video game adaptation series, The Witcher.
Even the most acclaimed directors obviously occasionally have missteps, but Steven Soderbergh is currently enjoying a streak of seven Certified Fresh films, dating back to 2011’s Contagion, and since then, also including Magic Mike, Behind the Candelabra, and this year’s Unsane. For his next film, Soderbergh is making a move to Netflix, who has acquired the rights to his sports drama called High Flying Bird. The cast includes Andre Holland (the adult Kevin from Moonlight and star of Hulu’s Castle Rock), Zazie Beetz (Domino from Deadpool 2 and co-star of FX’s Atlanta), Star Trek star Zachary Quinto, and Kyle MacLachlan. Holland stars in the drama, set during an NBA lockout, as a sports agent who “pitches a rookie basketball client (Melvin Gregg) on an intriguing and controversial business proposition.” High Flying Bird was shot, like Unsane, using an IPhone camera, and will be on Netflix next year.
Jordan Peele may have started as half of the comedy team Key & Peele with Keegan-Michael Key, but with last year’s Get Out, he’s quickly developing a second career as a director and producer of thrillers and/or horror films. Peele is currently filming a “social horror-thriller” called simply Us (starring Lupita Nyong’o, Elisabeth Moss, and Winston Duke), but is also apparently preparing for his future as well. One of those possible projects is a remake of the 1992 horror film Candyman, which Peele is producing through his Monkeypaw Productions (and which he may also possibly direct). Candyman was followed in 1994 and 1999 by two sequels, both of which received Rotten Tomatometer scores (25% and 13%). Tony Todd isn’t expected to reprise the title role for this remake. Jordan Peele also recently produced Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, and Us is scheduled for release on March 15, 2019 (one week after Captain Marvel).
The big DC Comics movie news this week was about Henry Cavill’s departure as Superman. That news, however, follows three months on the heels of suggestions that Ben Affleck is also unlikely to star in the solo film The Batman (and here are some of the reasons why). The screenplay by writer/director Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes, Let Me In) reportedly focuses on a younger Batman (in sharp contrast to Affleck’s portrayal as a veteran hero). So, if The Batman is going to go younger, who might that be? One rumor that emerged this week concerned Kit Harington, who recently wrapped his series run as Jon Snow on the final season of Game of Thrones. Harrington’s representative quickly debunked that rumor. (This piece suggests other possibilities.) Another actor who threw his name into the mix this week (while also acknowledging that there have been zero talks) was Mad Men star Jon Hamm. One reason not to believe Hamm (b. 1971) would be cast is that he’s actually a year older than Affleck (b. 1972).
Even as the final moments of Avengers: Infinity War left us all wide-eyed and wondering what comes next, the safe presumption probably would have been that the various stars knew, since Avengers 4 was filmed concurrently with Avengers: Infinity War. This week, we learned via Mark Rufallo (A.K.A. the Hulk) that that isn’t necessarily true. Ruffalo revealed that he and other Avengers stars will soon return for the second half of filming of Avengers 4, which will include both reshoots and the actual filming of the ending, which we now know hadn’t actually been done yet. Avengers 4 is scheduled for release on May 3, 2019, which means we have fewer than 8 months to learn what the title of the movie actually will be. This also means that Avengers 4 will probably wrap filming after Spider-Man: Far From Home, which opens in theaters two months later (July 5, 2019).
Guillermo del Toro hasn’t yet announced his next film as director after the recent Academy Award winner The Shape of Water, but we do know he’s staying busy. He set up a new production company at Fox Searchlight and became producer on CBS Films’ adaptation of the popular children’s book series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. To date, the casting focus of Scar Stories has been on the film’s young stars, but this week, they were joined by a veteran actor best known for his work as Hank on Breaking Bad, and two others. TV stars Dean Norris (Breaking Bad, Under the Dome), Gil Bellows (Ally McBeal), and Lorraine Toussaint (Orange in the New Black) have all joined the cast of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Although Guillermo del Toro isn’t directing himself, he did hire Norwegian director André Øvredal, who gave us the innovative 2010 monster movie Trollhunter.
Here’s a number that might make Gen X rap fans feel old: Ol’ Dirty Bastard (AKA Russell Tyrone Jones) of the Wu-Tang Clan died 14 years ago, in 2004. ODB’s Wu-Tang leader and producer RZA, who previously directed the martial arts movie The Man with the Iron Fists, is now working to keep Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s legacy going, with a new deal at Sony Pictures. RZA is producing a biopic about the life of ODB, whose quick ascendancy to fame with Wu-Tang ended tragically because of a drug overdose in 2004, two days before his 36th birthday. His fame was due in part to his eccentric behavior, which included picking up a welfare check in a limousine and bum-rushing Puff Daddy’s acceptance speech at the 1998 Grammy Awards. It is not yet known who might play Ol’ Dirty Bastard, or who will be hired to direct the project (RZA himself may be a candidate).
As an actress, Halle Berry has had a rough history with the Tomatometer, with only two Fresh scores among her last ten narrative films (those being Cloud Atlas and X-Men: Days of Future Past). Despite that, Berry remains a reliable box office draw, as her last two star vehicles that opened wide, The Call and Kidnap, both earned over $30 million, which, relative to their budgets, made those films very profitable. Halle Berry is now preparing to make her directorial debut with an MMA (mixed martial arts) drama called Bruised, in which she will also star. Berry will play “a disgraced MMA fighter who has to face one of the rising stars of the MMA world and deal with the return of her 6-year-old son to the mother he deserves.” The fight scenes will be choreographed by the same stunt choreographers who worked on the John Wick franchise.
This one isn’t so much a “Rotten Idea” as it is a potentially missed opportunity. With director Danny Boyle’s recent departure from the not-yet-titled James Bond 25, the project is apparently in a state of change. Boyle was apparently far enough into preproduction that talks had begun with actors, but with the film delayed, those negotiations may no longer work out. French-American actor Saïd Taghmaoui, who co-starred in Wonder Woman as one of her World War I compatriots, revealed this week that he had been cast as the lead villain in James Bond 25. Taghmaoui said, “the producers don’t know if they’re going to go Russian or Middle East with the baddie right now… I literally just received a message saying: ‘if they go Middle East, it’s you. If they go Russian, it’s someone else.” So, Saïd Taghmaoui may indeed still be a James Bond villain, but this news is still something of a tease at what Danny Boyle’s version of James Bond might have been.