This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Faces of Death, Indiana Jones 5, and Knives Out 2.
(Photo by JA, Jason Mendez, Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
Director Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) cast an impressive ensemble for his 2019 mystery thriller Knives Out (Certified Fresh at 97%) which included Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shnnon, and Lakeith Stanfield, among others. For the two upcoming sequels, Johnson, producer Ram Bergman, and star Daniel Craig made a deal with Netflix that will land each of them a record-breaking $100 million. This week, Johnson proceeded to cast up Knives Out 2 with the first four stars to join Daniel Craig, and three of them are Marvel Studios alumni. The fun started on Monday when, Dave Bautista (Drax from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy) became the first new cast member announced, in what is basically a Spectre (Fresh at 63%) reunion, since Bautista and Craig faced off against each other in that James Bond film. The next day, Bautista and Craig were joined by Edward Norton, who was Marvel Studios’ The Incredible Hulk (Fresh at 67%) (before Mark Ruffalo took over the role). Wednesday marked the third day in a row with a Knives Out 2 casting announcement, namely Janelle Monáe (Antebellum), who is the only non-Marvel alumni in this batch. Finally, on Thursday, the sequel’s fifth cast member was announced as Kathryn Hahn, who is coming off a great role in the Disney+ series WandaVision (Fresh at 92%). We don’t know the name of Hahn’s character yet, but it would really be something if turns out to be “Kathryn Hahn All Along.” Production of Knives Out 2 is scheduled to start in Greece later this summer, 2021.
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
Academy Award winning actress Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk, HBO’s Watchmen) recently made her directorial debut with the historical drama One Night in Miami (Certified Fresh at 98%), and this week, she signed on for another period piece, although the similarities largely end there. King will direct the comic book adaptation Bitter Root, based on the Image Comics title about a monster-hunting family who take on an invasion of supernatural forces during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. King will also be one of the producers of Bitter Root, along with her sister Reina and Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) and his Proximity Media company. The other part of the production deal is Legendary Entertainment, which recently gave us Godzilla vs Kong and produced the DC Comics movies 300, 300: Rise of an Empire, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, and Watchmen. On the acting front, Regina King also recently signed on to star in one of the three planned Shirley Chisholm biopics.
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho was the big winner at last year’s Academy Awards, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film for Parasite (Certified Fresh at 98%). We usually see big deals being made for Academy Award winners of that stripe, but Bong’s victory lap in 2020 might have been slowed down significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic, which began spreading more widely right around that time last year. So this week’s news might be coming a year later than it otherwise should have, but we can now report that Bong Joon-Ho is planning an animated action/horror film about deep sea creatures. This project isn’t expected to be Bong’s next film as director (probably due to the extended production times of animated features), which will instead be an English-language drama based on “an undisclosed true event from 2016.” As if those two projects won’t keep Bong Joon-Ho busy enough, he is also producing an upcoming Parasite series for HBO Max.
(Photo by Michael Gibson/STX Entertainment)
There was a time (basically the 20th century) when “spec script sales” were frequent and lucrative, but they have decreased in relevance in recent years, possibly because of the increase in license deals, remakes, and comic book adaptations. Spec script deals do, however, still happen occasionally, and this week screenwriter Tyler Marcesa sold his screenplay Stay Frosty to Warner Bros. in a deal worth more than a million dollars. This wasn’t Marcesa’s first screenplay sale, but thus far, none of his projects have been produced yet. Idris Elba is attached to star in the action movie Stay Frosty as a man who survives getting shot in the head and who then has to figure out why an assassin tried to kill him, all the while also trying to get home to his son for Christmas. So, it’s a John Wick-style action movie that also has Christmas-movie elements, a la Die Hard. Stay Frosty will be directed by Sam Hargrave, a former Marvel Studios stunt coordinator who made his directorial feature film debut last year with Extraction (Fresh at 67%).
(Photo by Derek Storm/Everett Collection, FOX via Getty Images)
As of this summer, it will be 13 years since the 2008 release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Certified Fresh at 78%), but Lucasfilm is finally preparing to film another installment we’re currently calling Indiana Jones 5. The star will obviously be Harrison Ford (who will turn 80 sixteen days before Indiana Jones 5 is scheduled to come out on July 29, 2022), and we’ve also recently heard about the casting of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, and Thomas Kretchmann. This week, director James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Ford v Ferrari) cast two more for Indiana Jones 5, including the actor who played the villain Donald Pierce in his Wolverine movie Logan (Certified Fresh at 93%), Boyd Holbrook. The other new cast member is Shaunette Renée Wilson, who played one of the Dora Milaje warriors in Black Panther. We don’t know anything about the characters Holbrook or Wilson will be playing, partly because we also don’t know anything about the premise, like, at all, at this point.
(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)
The directing team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller are probably best known for their various animated projects they directed (Cloudy with the Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie) or produced (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Mitchells vs The Machines), but they also directed two live-action films with 21 Jump Street and its sequel 22 Jump Street. What all of those movies have in common is that they’re pretty “light” in tone, but this week, Lord and Miller are branching into more serious material with The Premonition, based on the recent book by journalist Michael Lewis. The Premonition tells the true story of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and the experts who attempted to warn the world. The film is expected to focus on three characters: a biochemist, a public health worker, and a White House government worker. It’s not yet known if some of the more famous figures working in the White House in 2019 and 2020 will also have roles in The Premonition, the tone of which is being compared to All the President’s Men (Certified Fresh at 94%). In related news, Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson is also developing an untitled thriller set during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Photo by ©Sony Pictures Classics courtesy Everett Collection)
Hollywood remakes of foreign-language hits are nothing new, and this week we got news of another. In this case, the original film is the French comedy hit The Valet (La Doublure, Fresh at 70%), about a wealthy executive who hires a parking valet to pose as his mistress’s lover in order to prevent his wife from finding out about his affair. Eugenio Derbez (Overboard, Instructions Not Included) is already set to star in the remake as the valet, who, in a slight variation on the original, is hired by a movie star played by Samara Weaving (Ready or Not) to pose as her lover to cover up her relationship with a married man. The cast was filled out this week by Max Greenfield (TV’s The Neighborhood, New Girl), Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad), Marisol Nichols (Riverdale, Spiral), and Mexican star Carmen Salinas. This remake of The Valet will be directed by Richard Wong (Come As You Are, Certified Fresh at 95%), and the original was directed by Francis Veber, whose French films have frequently been remade in English, including The Birdcage, The Toy, and Dinner for Schmucks.
(Photo by Abel Fermin, Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
Discworld is a popular series of over 40 fantasy novels by author Terry Pratchett, but so far, it has eluded adaptation. That may soon change, as the 28th book in the series, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, is about to be adapted as an animated film titled simply The Amazing Maurice. David Tennant (Doctor Who), who also starred in the Terry Pratchett series Good Omens, will voice the title character, and other roles will be voiced by Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Hugh Laurie (TV’s House), Rob Brydon (The Trip), Gemma Arterton, Hugh Bonneville, Himesh Patel, and David Thewlis. The Amazing Maurice tells the story of a cat and his gang of talking rats who develop a scheme to fool humans and take their money. It’s currently planned for release in the U.K. in 2022, but an American release is still also possible (if any U.S. distributor steps up to make such a deal).
(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)
The theatrical box office charts were obviously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic this past year, but there were still movies that saw release, such as the Russell Crowe drama Unhinged (Rotten at 48%). Released in August, Unhinged debuted at #2, ascended to #1, and spent over 10 weeks in the top five. Again, the success of Unhinged was aided by diminished competition, but it also shows that despite a deadly virus, there were millions of people who wanted to see a Russell Crowe movie in theaters, so by that standard, he is definitely still a movie star. Crowe recently wrapped filming of Thor: Love and Thunder (5/6/2022), and this week, he signed on to star in a gambling drama called Poker Face, which is about exactly what it sounds like. Crowe will play a tech billionaire who brings his childhood friends together at his Miami estate for some high stakes poker. Poker Face will be directed by Gary Fleder (Runaway Jury, Homefront, Kiss the Girls).
(Photo by Aquarius Releasing)
The Internet has been an active element in how fans track movies for over 20 years now, so it’s easy to forget that there was a time when fans were basically challenged to believe whatever they were told by a filmmaker. In the early 1980s, as the home video market was taking off, many horror fans discovered a title called Faces of Death (and its sequels), which purported to depict actual footage of various gruesome deaths (most of which were actually faked, although some weren’t). Faces of Death seems, in that way, such an artifact of its own era, that it would resist any attempt at a reboot or a remake, but that is apparently exactly what is now planned by Legendary Entertainment (Godzilla vs Kong, The Dark Knight). What is being described as a “21st century makeover” of Faces of Death is being developed by filmmakers Isa Mazzei and Danield Goldhaber, the team behind 2018’s Cam (Certified Fresh at 98%). Rather than a “documentary”-style format, the new Faces of Death will reportedly revolve around “a female moderator of a YouTube-like website whose job is to weed out offensive and violent content and who herself is recovering from a serious trauma, who stumbles across a group that is re-creating the murders from the original film.” The producers behind this Faces of Death reboot are also developing the Buck Rogers reboot.
(Photo by Legendary)
Details are a mystery, appropriately enough, but Netflix has offered a very pretty Twitter tease about a follow-up to Enola Holmes, the 2020 movie that stars Millie Bobby Brown as the equally curious sister of Sherlock Holmes. The film, which was originally planned as a theatrical release, moved to Netflix when the streaming service picked up the distribution rights last year during the pandemic. Enola Holmes 2 will start out as a Netflix jam, with Stranger Things star Brown returning for the sequel, along with Henry Cavill, director Harry Bradbeer, and screenwriter Jack Thorne. Netflix is offering up no other facts, but since more than 75 million households watched the first movie when it premiered last September, that surely won’t deter fans from trying to scope them out. A good place to start: The Enola Holmes Mysteries, author Nancy Springer’s book series on which the movies are based.