Today’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Hellboy, IT Chapter 2, and John Wick: Chapter 3, and new films starring Jennifer Lawrence and Margot Robbie.
It was announced earlier that the Halloween slasher/horror franchise would return next year (10/19/18). John Carpenter, director of the original film, will be executive producing, and said at the time, “I might even do the music.” The 11th film’s new director will be formerly indie helmer David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Your Highness), who will also co-write with his frequent partner and star Danny McBride (HBO’s Vice Principals). Our first real hint at where the new Halloween will take us came today, with the news that Jamie Lee Curtis will reprise her role as Laurie Strode for the fifth time. Ms. Curtis also suggested a (possibly lethal?) finality to her return, tweeting, “Same porch. Same clothes. Same issues. 40 years later. Headed back to Haddonfield one last time for Halloween.” Although the original Halloween was Certified Fresh, all of the sequels and Rob Zombie reboots were Rotten.
One of last week’s biggest news items concerned the vacuum left behind following Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow’s departure from the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode IX (12/20/19). This move quickly led to columns speculating about replacement directors from sources like indieWire, Observer, and Deadline. Such pieces could have gone on for months, but Lucasfilm quickly put it all to an end with the announcement that Star Wars: Episode IX (title likely to change) will be directed by J.J. Abrams, who directed Episode VII – The Force Awakens. With this move, J.J. Abrams becomes the first director other than George Lucas to direct more than one live action Star Wars movie. Of course, now the editorials are shifting to whether J.J. Abrams directing Episode IX is the “right choice.”
The other half of the Star Wars: Episode IX news involving J.J. Abrams is the confirmation that the production will need another seven months to make it to theaters. That means that Star Wars: Episode IX (previously scheduled for May 24th, 2019) will now be released on December 20th, 2019. In its former position on May 24th, 2019, Walt Disney Pictures will now schedule their live action Aladdin (which was until this week their biggest, most imminent, film without a release date). Star Wars: Episode IX (or whatever it ends up being called) is now scheduled one week after Wonder Woman 2 (12/13/19), and on the same date as the long-awaited movie musical Wicked. The live action Aladdin (starring Will Smith as The Genie) faces off against the Minecraft movie on May 24, 2019. You can browse through Disney’s release schedule for 2017 through 2021 as it currently stands right here.
One of the most talked about movies to debut this week at the Toronto International Film Festival is I, Tonya, telling the true story of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding in the early 1990s. I, Tonya also currently holds a 100% Fresh Tomatometer score, with 17 reviews currently clocked in. Perhaps as a testimony of exactly how bizarrely this true story probably read to a newcomer, Margot Robbie (who plays Tonya Harding) this week admitted that when she first read the script, she thought it was a fictional story. There are, of course, two important points to clarify here. Robbie (Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad) was born in 1990, so when Harding’s competitor Nancy Kerrigan was attacked, she was only 3 years old (and Australian to boot). I, Tonya does not yet have a distributor in the USA, and so there is not yet a release date (but it could still become a major awards season contender).
Obviously, in this day of CGI, fancy makeup, and costuming, we shouldn’t take what we see for granted. Having said that, our first glimpse this week of Stranger Things star David Harbour as the new Hellboy is startling for exactly how muscular he looks. David Harbour has talked since being cast about his portrayal will differ from Ron Perlman’s as having to “prove that he’s the lion, has to roar, and and I think he struggles with his own masculinity.” You can browse through some Twitter reactions to Harbour’s Hellboy look right here. Meanwhile, the Hellboy reboot also addressed the recent departure of Ed Skrein (as an Asian American character named Major Daimia) with the news that LOST and Hawaii Five-0 star Daniel Dae Kim is now in talks for the role. Kim also quickly made a public statement to “applaud” Ed Skrein’s choice to leave the role as soon as he learned of the character’s ethnicity.
By 1992, Queen’s anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a well-established staple of every classic rock radio station in the world, but when Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, and friends sang along to the song in Wayne’s World, it rocketed back into the pop culture consciousness. The connection became even more concrete this week with the news that Myers is signing for a small role in Bohemian Rhapsody, the Freddie Mercury biopic being directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, The Usual Suspects). It’s not known yet who Myers will be playing, but one intriguing possibility is that he is playing himself, reprising that Wayne’s World singalong. Freddie Mercury will be portrayed by Mr. Robot star Rami Malek.
One result of New Line Cinema’s decision to cut Stephen King’s massive novel IT into its two separate generational stories is that now a whole new cast of adult stars have to be found for the 2019 sequel, IT Chapter 2. Director Andy Muschietti talked to Variety this week about the shock that IT attracted a $123 million opening weekend, after expecting something more like $80 million. Variety also asked Muschietti about casting the adult versions of the characters for the sequel, specifically bringing up Jessica Chastain, who starred in Muschietti’s popular 2013 horror hit Mama. Muschietti replied, “Jessi is an amazing actress and very good friend and I would love her to play Beverly.” No official negotiations have started yet for the second chapter of IT, but it’s expected New Line Cinema may try to get the movie fast tracked for a release in late 2019.
Keanu Reeves’ assassin/revenge hit John Wick was released on October 24, 2014, and its sequel John Wick: Chapter 2 earlier this year on February 10, 2017. For the presumed trilogy closer, however, Lionsgate has announced plans to release John Wick: Chapter 3 right in the midst of the early summer blockbuster season, just 20 months from now. John Wick: Chapter 3 may provide moviegoers something of a counterprogramming option on May 17, 2019. The other films announced for that month are mostly “family” entertainment, including Avengers 4 (5/3/19), the animated film Ugly Dolls (5/10/19), the live action Aladdin (5/24/19), and the video game adaptation Minecraft (5/24/19). Director Chad Stahleski has said the third film will focus on “subtleties” and “details,” saying “Hopefully, we make people look at garbage collectors and cleaner vans and homeless people a little differently now.”
Last September, news broke that 20th Century Fox had acquired the life story rights for Marvel Comics editor and writer Stan Lee, with plans to adapt it as more of an “action movie” than a traditional biopic. We haven’t heard much about it since, but this week, Lee himself dropped something of a bomb at Hasbro’s new HASCON convention. In his own words: “Believe it or not, I’ve already discussed it with Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s a neighbor of mine and we were talking one day some months ago, and he said, ‘Boy it’d be fun to do your story on the screen.’ So I said, ‘Well, I’ll audition you.’ Gotta make sure the guy can do it. He has all the walls covered with big Marvel posters and everything. He’s got very good taste.” Leonardo DiCaprio has previously worked with 20th Century Fox on such films as The Revenant, Romeo + Juliet, The Beach, and of course, Titanic.
There were several interesting new trailers this week, including All the Money in the World, The Disaster Artist, Downsizing, and Fifty Shades Freed. Judging by social media reactions, however, the trailer that may have made the biggest waves may have been for the spy thriller Red Sparrow (3/2/18). The reason for much of it is that people are seeing similarities between Jennifer Lawrence’s role and Scarlett Johansson’s Marvel character Black Widow. Both are Russian spies who are trained from an early age to seduce and assassinate. Red Sparrow is based on a 2013 novel, while Marvel first introduced the “Red Room” backstory for Black Widow in 2005. Marvel Studios has not yet announced a solo Black Widow movie for Scarlett Johansson.