This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Barbie, the Fletch reboot, and Guys and Dolls.
(Photo by David James/©Paramount)
British director Matthew Vaughn has largely made a name for himself on movies based on comic books. After directing both Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class, Vaughn returned to comic books again with Mark Millar’s Kingsman: The Secret Service (Certified Fresh at 75%), the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Rotten at 51%), and the upcoming prequel The King’s Man. Perhaps ready to start another possible new franchise, Matthew Vaughn is preparing to adapt the upcoming spy novel Argylle, and he has recruited an impressive ensemble cast. It appears that the title character, “the world’s greatest spy”, will be played by Henry Cavill (who’s previously appeared in the spy movies The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible – Fallout). Cavill’s Argylle co-stars will include Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World), Sam Rockwell (Moon), Samuel L. Jackson, John Cena, Bryan Cranston, Catherina O’Hara, and, in her acting debut, pop star Dua Lipa.
(Photo by Jason Smith/Everett Collection)
Some movies can get announced, developed, and produced within a couple of years, and other movies languish in “development hell” for years or even decades (and some never do get made). One such example of that is the live-action Barbie movie, which Mattel has been developing since at least 2009. To put that in perspective, in 2009, there were only two movies released in what we now know as the MCU (Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk), which includes dozens of movies now, while there still isn’t a single Barbie. For a while, it looked like Amy Schumer or Anne Hathaway might star in Barbie, but eventually Margot Robbie came aboard. Warner Bros. has finally officially announced that Barbie will indeed start filming in early 2022 at Leavesden Studios in London, under the direction of Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Certified Fresh at 99%; Little Women, Certified Fresh at 95%). Back when Amy Schumer was (almost) involved, the Barbie movie was to be a “fish out of water” story about Barbie coming from her toy world to the real world, but Margot Robbie (who’s also producing) and Gerwig are expected to have changed the premise, although it’s not yet known to what.
(Photo by Everett Collection)
Another project that has been kicking around development for well over a decade is the idea of a remake of the classic 1955 “gangster musical” Guys and Dolls (Fresh at 91%), which originally starred Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. To finally get the remake going, TriStar Pictures has enlisted the help of musical director Bill Condon, whose filmography includes the Broadway adaptations Chicago (Certified Fresh at 86%) and Dreamgirls (Certified Fresh at 78%), as well as The Greatest Showman (Rotten at 57%) and Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast (Fresh at 71%). Over the years, several actors have considered taking on Guys and Dolls, including Vin Diesel, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and most recently, Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (and we should also note that since the movie isn’t yet cast, it’s still possible any of those actors could star in the movie when it eventually happens).
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
The life of England’s King Henry VIII has long interested writers dating all the way back to Shakespeare, which has also resulted in dozens of movies about either his life or other people in his immediate orbit. Part of the fascination with Henry VIII has to do with the way he went through wives (spoiler: some were killed off), and now, Michelle Williams is set to star as Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s final wife, in a psychological horror film called Firebrand. The focus on Catherine Parr is a bit unusual, because Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour are typically the wives that both film and literature tend to focus on. It’s also worth noting that Firebrand is described as “psychological horror,” which suggests that Henry VIII himself (who hasn’t been cast yet) may be the film’s villain.
(Photo by ©Netflix)
Director Zack Snyder has risen to that rare level of fame where his name alone is a draw, as in Zack Snyder’s Justice League (Fresh at 71%), though the irony of that title is that Justice League is obviously an adaptation of someone else’s work. More recently, Snyder has been focusing his attention on projects for Netflix, starting with the zombie heist thriller Army of the Dead (Fresh at 68%) and continuing with the upcoming prequel series Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas. For his latest Netflix project, Snyder appears to be setting his ambitious sights on the stars, as he will co-write, produce, and direct a sci-fi fantasy adventure called Rebel Moon, which is being compared to George Lucas’ original Star Wars. Rebel Moon will be about a peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy that is threatened by the armies of a tyrant called Balisarius, leading them to recruit a “young woman with a mysterious past to seek out warriors from neighboring planets to help them make a stand.”
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
Movie adaptations of children’s books are perhaps not as frequently discussed as say, comic book movies or remakes, but Hollywood has been steadily turning to them as a source for children’s films since in the 1930s (and The Wizard of Oz). The latest is the 1965 picture book Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber, which is now in production as a live-action/animated hybrid for release next year (7/22/2022). The role of the titular reptile (coincidentally announced in the same week that “Alligator Loki” is all the rage on Twitter) will be voiced by Spanish actor Javier Bardem, whose big budget franchise work has included such movies as Skyfall and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Bardem will also soon be seen as King Triton in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. The songwriting team of Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen) are currently working on original songs for Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.
(Photo by Justina Mintz/©AMC)
For fans of 1980s movies, the 1985 movie Fletch (Fresh at 77%) (and its sequel Fletch Lives) might be synonymous with the film’s star, Chevy Chase, but the character actually first got his start as the star of a series of several novels by mystery author Gregory McDonald. There have been attempts to reboot Fletch in the decades since, with perhaps the project that came closest to actually happening being Kevin Smith’s adaptation of the first novel, Fletch Won, in which Smith was hoping to cast Jason Lee (TV’s My Name is Earl), but it didn’t happen. Instead, it’s Mad Men star Jon Hamm who is reviving Fletch with an adaptation of the sixth novel, Confess, Fletch, which Hamm is both starring in and producing. It also turns out that Confess, Fletch will be a Mad Men reunion project for Hamm, as he has cast John Slattery, who played Don Draper’s boss and eventual partner Roger Sterling. Other Confess, Fletch co-stars will include Marcia Gay Harden, Kyle MacLachlan, and Annie Mummulo (Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar).
(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
For most of the last seven years since Chris Pratt scored two big hits in 2014 with The LEGO Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy, his big screen output has focused on big franchise action movies like his various movies as Marvel’s Star-Lord and the Jurassic World franchise. Pratt’s first real big break, of course, was as the goofball Andy Dwyer on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, and it looks like he may channel the spirit of Andy again, as he will star in a karate-themed movie called The Black Belt for frequent Saturday Night Live sketch director Paul Briganti. Pratt will star in The Black Belt as “an eccentric uncle who trains his shy teenage nephew in the ways of karate.” The role of the nephew hasn’t been cast yet.
(Photo by ©Summit Entertainment)
When it comes to franchises with recurring casts, it’s easy to take it for granted when it’s announced that a particular actor is indeed returning for the next movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s not news. Prolific TV actor Lance Reddick (The Wire, Fringe, LOST) has been in every John Wick movie thus far as the mysterious Charon, the concierge of the Continental, where international assassins come to mingle and rest up, and he will do the same again in John Wick: Chapter 4. Reddick and star Keanu Reeves will be joined by a cast of new co-stars that includes Donnie Yen, Shamier Anderson, Hiroyuki Sanada, and pop star Rina Sawayama.
(Photo by ©STX Entertainment)
Despite the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the movie business, two actors who showed they were still able to attract audiences (on some level) were Scotland’s Gerard Butler (with Greenland, Certified Fresh at 78%) and Northern Ireland’s Liam Neeson (with Honest Thief and The Ice Road). Just before COVID-19 struck, Neeson also starred in the action thriller Cold Pursuit (Fresh at 69%), and this week, the news broke that Studiocanal is moving forward with plans for a Cold Pursuit sequel (along with lots of other new projects announced at Cannes on Tuesday), which will presumably find Neeson’s snowplow driver again in some sort of danger. Cold Pursuit 2 wasn’t the only snow-themed sequel to make the news this week, as Greenland: Migration was confirmed to start filming in 2022, with Butler, Morena Baccarin, and director Ric Roman Waugh all returning for the sequel, which will focus on the family from the first film coping with life (spoiler) in the post-apocalyptic world following the events of Greenland.