This week’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news (the stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next), covering up-and-coming titles like Fast and Furious 9, Sherlock Holmes 3, and Space Jam 2.
Director Guy Ritchie and stars Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law followed up their 2009 hit Sherlock Holmes (Fresh at 70%) relatively quickly in 2011 with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Fresh at 60%). At that point, however, the wait for a third film became a waiting game. That was partly because of Downey’s commitments to various Marvel films, but it might have also been due to Ritchie’s other directing assignments: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, this year’s Aladdin, and next year’s The Gentlemen. Director Dexter Fletcher (Rocketman, Eddie the Eagle) made the news last year when he helped finish Bohemian Rhapsody, and now he’s taking over from Guy Ritchie as the director of Sherlock Holmes 3. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are both signed to return, and Warner Bros has already scheduled Sherlock Holmes 3 for December 21, 2021.
Two months ago, the news broke that Chris Rock was producing a new entry in the Saw horror franchise, but at the time, it was not yet clear whether he would have a role in the new film or if he was just producing. There is still a lot we don’t know about this new Saw, but this week, it was confirmed that Chris Rock will be playing a police detective in it, and Samuel L. Jackson has joined the cast as Rock’s father. As this piece points out, the addition of Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson to the franchise returns the sort of star quality that the franchise started with, when Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) and Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) starred in the original 2004 film. The film also marks the return to the franchise of director Darren Lynn Bousman, who previously directed Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV (all three of which received Rotten Tomatometer scores at 37%, 28%, and 18%, respectively). Lionsgate has scheduled the as-yet-untitled Saw film for October 23, 2020, which is a week after Robert Zemeckis’ remake of The Witches and the G.I. Joe assassin spinoff Snake Eyes.
Hollywood has a long history of adapting industry biopics, but most of them are usually about actors or directors. Screenwriters, meanwhile, have been very rarely covered in the genre, especially if you separate those who had careers outside of the movies (2015’s Trumbo is a rare example of a screenwriter biopic). Herman J. Mankiewicz was one of the great screenwriters of Hollywood’s golden age with a filmography that included Dinner at Eight, The Pride of the Yankees, some of the Marx Brothers’ most famous films (Duck Soup, Horse Feathers, Monkey Business), and most famously, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Last year, Netflix released the long-lost Orson Welles film The Other Side of the Wind, and now the streaming studio is developing a Mankiewicz biopic called Mank. Gary Oldman is already attached to star as Mankiewicz in the film, which is expected to be David Fincher‘s (Fight Club, Seven, The Social Network) next project as director after a 5+ year gap following 2014’s Gone Girl.
This summer sees the release of the spinoff Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, and the next Fast & Furious film proper is currently three weeks into filming in London. Universal Pictures hasn’t made many official announcements about the returning cast for Fast & Furious 9, but we did learn last month that John Cena would be one of the new actors joining the franchise. (One cast member we know won’t be returning for Fast & Furious 9 is Dwayne Johnson, which he confirmed himself in January.) This week, Vin Diesel did confirm that two returning cast members (both of whom joined the franchise with 2017’s The Fate of the Furious) will be Charlize Theron as Cipher and Helen Mirren as Magdalene Shaw, the mother of the characters played by Jason Statham and Luke Evans (it’s not yet known whether either will return). Universal Pictures has scheduled Fast & Furious 9 for April 10, 2020, and Fast & Furious 10 for April 2, 2021.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, several of Marvel’s heroes are moving to star in series for the upcoming Disney+ app (The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, Loki, WandaVision, and Hawkeye). One character whose future is not yet known in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is War Machine, as played by Don Cheadle. This week, however, we learned about a new franchise that Cheadle will be joining, as he’s now the biggest non-professional basketball star to join the cast of LeBron James’ sequel Space Jam 2, which is currently filming. Don Cheadle’s role hasn’t been revealed yet, but one has to wonder if he will be just playing himself, like Bill Murray did in the original Space Jam. Warner Bros. hasn’t announced yet which NBA stars will be joining LeBron James in Space Jam 2. The original 1996 Space Jam was Rotten at 43%, but we’re interpreting Don Cheadle’s involvement as Fresh news. Warner Bros. has scheduled Space Jam 2 for July 16, 2021 (the week after Indiana Jones 5).
Actress Regina King won an Academy Award earlier this year for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk, but to paraphrase the old saying, maybe what she really wanted to do next was direct. King is now signed to make her feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of the play One Night in Miami… The play’s setting is the night of February 25th, 1964, when the young boxer Cassius Clay (A.K.A. Mohammad Ali) celebrated his win over Sonny Liston at a motel where he was joined by three other icons of the 1960s: civil rights leader Malcolm X, soul singer Sam Cooke, and Cleveland Browns star player Jim Brown. It should be interesting to see whom Regina King will cast as her four leads. Will Smith starred in Ali, and Denzel Washington starred in Malcolm X, but the long-planned Sam Cooke biopic is still in development.
There was a story this week that reported Netflix may start being more “budget conscious” about their film and TV projects. That may be, in a big-picture sort of way, but it also came in the same week that news broke about two star-driven Netflix thrillers. Red Notice is the title of a heist thriller that Universal Pictures had previously scheduled for November 13, 2020, with both Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot attached to star. Reportedly, Universal had “reservations” after the screenplay was turned in, and so the project was picked up by Netflix instead, with Johnson and Gadot now to be joined by Ryan Reynolds. Woody Harrelson also signed on this week to co-star in the assassin thriller Kate, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane). Red Notice will be directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, who earned Rotten scores for We’re the Miller and Skyscraper, while Kate will be directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who made his debut with The Huntsman: Winter’s War (Rotten at 18%). Neither of the directors inspires much confidence, but we can’t deny those casts are impressive.
Back when Universal Pictures had ambitious plans for a “Dark Universe” of reboots of their classic monsters, Johnny Depp had been expected to star in The Invisible Man, but those plans were dropped after the box office disappointment that was 2017’s The Mummy. For a while, there was some confusion over whether or not the movie might be called The Invisible Woman, because Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale, The West Wing) was described as the film’s star. The confusion was cleared up slightly this week as Blumhouse and Universal has cast relative newcomer Oliver Jackson-Cohen (of Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House) as the title character in The Invisible Man. Univesal has scheduled The Invisible Man for March 13, 2020, up against another monster movie, Godzilla vs Kong. One of the other co-stars in The Invisible Man will be 16-year-old Storm Reid (12 Years a Slave, A Wrinkle in Time), who this week also joined The Suicide Squad (8/6/2021) as the daughter of Idris Elba’s character.
It seems longer ago than 2018, but last year, stories started appearing online about the “Momo Challenge,” which reportedly encouraged children and teeangers to put themselves in dangerous or injurious situations. The character called “Momo” was actually a Japanese sculpture called Mother Bird (but really, it most resembles Geena Davis in some scenes from Beetlejuice). Orion Pictures (of the recent Child’s Play reboot) is now teaming up with producer Roy Lee (IT, The Ring) to develop a horror film based on the Momo challenge. The decision to adapt an Internet meme seems similar to Sony PIctures’ choice last year to release a film based on Slender Man, which ended up earning a very low Rotten score at just 7%.
Amy Heckerling’s 1989 comedy Look Who’s Talking (Rotten at 59%) was followed in 1990 by Look Who’s Talking Too (Rotten at 14%), and in 1993 by Look Who’s Talking Now (Rotten at 0%). John Travolta and Kirstie Alley starred in those movies about talking babies and, in the third movie, talking dogs. Despite those critical drubbings, Sony Pictures is now developing a Look Who’s Talking reboot to be written and directed by Jeremy Garelick, whose 2015 comedy The Wedding Ringer earned a Rotten score at 27%. It’s not yet known if Bruce Willis or any of the other voice actors might return for the reboot (but probably not).