This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Aquaman 2, Indiana Jones 5, and The Toxic Avenger.
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As COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out, many states are currently lifting restrictions on movie theaters, as the film exhibition industry attempts to recover from what was basically a missing year. That return to normalcy faced a drastic road block in the western states this week as the Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres chains announced that they will not be re-opening. This shut down includes the Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard, which has been a Hollywood landmark since its opening in 1963, including an appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, in which the movie being shown was Krakatoa, East of Java. Filmmakers (including Roland Emmerich, Barry Jenkins, and Rian Johnson), movie stars, and fans alike have been voicing their support this week, including some posting sentiments like “Netflix, You Know What to Do.” This decision to close all ArcLight and Pacific locations comes just a month before movies like A Quiet Place Part II and Disney’s Cruella are expected to finally get the summer season of 2021 going at the box office. There is also a Change.org petition currently running that has over 11,000 signatures. If there is a positive side, it’s that people seem to be motivated to make sure that at least landmarks like the Cinerama Dome will be saved by someone — anyone — and to make sure that this shutdown isn’t repeated at other beloved theater chains.
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One of the quiet underdogs in this year’s Academy Awards race is The Father (Certified Fresh at 98%), which perhaps surprisingly earned six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins, and Best Supporting Actress for Olivia Colman. French novelist, screenwriter, and director Florian Zeller adapted The Father from his own play, Le Père, and Zeller is now preparing to start filming the thematic follow-up to that film, which is intended to eventually be the second film of a trilogy. Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern are now signed to star in The Son, which is then expected to be followed by a third film, The Mother. Jackman will star in The Son as a busy man whose life is “is thrown into disarray when his ex-wife, Kate (Dern), turns up with their troubled and angry teenage son.” The key role of the son has apparently not been cast yet.
(Photo by Jonathan Olley/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Despite being in some form of development for much of the 10+ years since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crysal Skull ( Certified Fresh at 78%), we still do not know the premise or setting of the untitled fifth Indiana Jones film, due out July 29, 2022. Last week, Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge became the first actor to join Harrison Ford in an unknown role (perhaps as his daughter, or Marian’s daughter?), and director James Mangold (Logan, The Wolverine, Ford v Ferrari) has now added another cast member. Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who genre fans might best know as either the Doctor Strange villain Kaecilius or for playing Jyn Erso’s dad in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has likewise joined Indiana Jones 5 in an unknown role. With two new actors announced, this might be a good time to point out that there have been no announcements yet of any other returning cast besides Harrison Ford. For example, at one point, Shia LaBeouf’s character from Crystal Skull was expected to possibly be Harrison Ford’s replacement in the franchise, but recent developments may have changed those plans.
(Photo by Lisa Tomasetti/©Sony Pictures Classics)
If you’re not someone who actively attempts to follow every director’s career, you might be forgiven if it takes a moment to remember what you know actor-turned-director Todd Field from. Field has only directed two films, but both were critically acclaimed, with 2001’s In the Bedroom (Certified Fresh at 93%) receiving five Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture), and 2006’s Little Children ( Certified Fresh at 80%) earning three. Field is now preparing to direct his first film in 15 years, TAR, and he has recruited Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett to star in the film, which in a way echoes Field’s casting of Sissy Spacek in In the Bedroom and Kate Winslet in Little Children. The premise of TAR is being kept secret, except that it’s set in Berlin, and that filming will start there in September. Blanchett will be moving on to TAR after starring in the video game adaptation Borderlands (and as of yet, she isn’t expected to be reprising her role in Indiana Jones 5).
(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)
Danish actor Pilou Asbaek is probably not what you’d call a household name for most, but if you live with Game of Thrones fans, they probably would recognize him for his villainous role as Euron Greyjoy in the later seasons. Perhaps coincidentally, Euron Greyjoy in Game of Thrones was a leader of house of seafaring pirates and raiders, so it’s interesting that his new role this week is in Aquaman 2, which stars another Game of Thrones alumnus, Jason Momoa. Warner Bros. did not comment on Asbaek’s casting, including any indication about what character he might be playing, but Aquaman’s comic book history has plenty of seafaring characters Asbaek could portray. Warner Bros. has scheduled Aquaman 2 for December 16, 2022, making it the fifth DC Comics movie of that year, following The Batman (3/4/2022), the animated DC Super Pets (5/20/2022), Black Adam (7/29/2022), and The Flash (11/4/2022).
(Photo by Michael Germana/Everett Collection)
The title of the sequel to the 2019 DC Comics movie Shazam! (Certified Fresh at 90%) is Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and it appears that the plurality of the Gods in question means we may possibly see several big names in the film. The first star to be announced was Helen Mirren, who will be playing the villain Hespera, the daughter of Atlas (one of the Gods who forms the S-H-A-Z-A-M of his name). We can now also report that Mirren will be joined by Lucy Liu, who will play Hespera’s sister Kalypso (who should not be confused with the Marvel Comics villain Calypso). Neither Hespera nor Kalypso have comic book counterparts, but their relation to Atlas, who gives Shazam! his super stamina, seems like the obvious connection here.
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
Sometimes when we look back at announcements about big movie stars being in a new film, it turns out that it was just a cameo (for example, Matt Damon co-starring in Thor: Ragnarok). One cameo might not be enough to cover in The Weekly Ketchup, but this week, we have the fun story of two stars who basically gave each other cameo appearances. Brad Pitt recently filmed an action thriller called Bullet Train, and Sandra Bullock is about to star in the romantic comedy adventure Lost City of D with Channing Tatum. As it turns out, both stars will show up in each other’s films in cameo roles. Sandra Bullock will make a brief appearance in Bullet Train, and Brad Pitt will do the same in Lost City of D.
(Photo by Maria Marin/©Sony Classics)
We’re going to cover two separate movies in this piece, because both movies share the title Memory (sort of). Let’s start with the movie actually titled Memory, which will be an action thriller starring Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce, and Monica Bellucci. The premise sounds a bit like a John Wick movie, as Neeson will play an assassin who finds himself a target after refusing to carry out a dangerous mission for the mob. In related news, Ryan Gosling’s upcoming film noir thriller The Actor (which is adapted from the Donald E. Westlake novel Memory) landed distribution this week through Neon, with acclaimed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman on board as executive producer.
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In addition to fairly straight adaptations like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, Walt Disney Pictuires has also included spin-offs about classic villains like Maleficent and Cruella in their continuing live-action remakes of classic Disney animated films. Walt Disney Pictures already gave this sort of treatment to Cinderella (Certified Fresh at 83%) in 2013, but the studio now appears ready to return to the setting. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo are now signed with Disney to write a live-action feature film about Cinderella’s evil stepsisters (possibly not involving Cinderella at all, or perhaps as just a minor character). Wiig and Mumolo, who co-starred in both Bridesmaids (Certified Fresh at 90%) and Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (Certified Fresh at 79%), both of which they also co-wrote, are not expected to appear in this film. It’s also not yet known if any of the cast of the 2013 Cinderella will reprise their roles, including Sophie McShera as Drizella and Holliday Grainger as Anastasia, as it seems likely that this film will have an entirely new cast.
(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)
We’ve known for a while that Peter Dinklage is going to star in the big-budget remake of the ultra-low-budget Troma film The Toxic Avenger, but this week’s news gave us a new hint about exactly how different this version of The Toxic Avenger might be. The second cast member confirmed to star in The Toxic Avenger is Jacob Tremblay (Room), who is now 14, with the suggestion in this news item that he might be playing Toxie’s son, who the Toxic Avenger must race to rescue as he learns how to use his newfound chemically endowed size and strength. The reason this is a pretty major departure is that in the original film, Melvin, the janitor who becomes The Toxic Avenger, did not have a son and was basically a much-maligned social outcast. Jacob Tremblay will also soon be heard (but probably not seen) as the voice of Flounder in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, starring Halle Bailey.