Weekly Ketchup

West Side Story's Rachel Zegler Lands Lead in Hunger Games Prequel, and More Movie News

Arachnaphobia is getting a remake, Book Club gets a sequel, and new roles for Billy Porter, Luke Evans, Uma Thurman, and more.

by | June 3, 2022 | Comments

This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Arachnophobia, Madame Web, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.



Rachel Zegler at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

It has been about six months since the release of Steven Spielberg’s update of West Side Story (Certified Fresh at 91%), and two of that film’s stars appear to be benefitting the most in that time: Academy Award-winner Ariana DeBose (who’s currently filming Marvel’s Kraven the Hunter) and Rachel Zegler, who starred as Maria. Zegler’s upcoming roles include Disney’s live-action remake of Snow White (as the title character), the animated movie Spellbound (also in the lead role), and an unknown role in Shazam! Fury of the Gods (12/21/2022). Zegler landed another lead role this week that has franchise potential, as she has been cast as Lucy Gray Baird in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, an adaptation of the prequel novel by Suzanne Collins. Zegler hinted at her casting on Monday night on Twitter with a tweet featuring a hidden code that spelled out the character’s name. In the prequel, her character will be the female tribute from District 12 (the same district Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen was from) who is mentored by the then-18-year-old Coriolanus Snow. Rachel Zegler is joining the already cast Tom Blyth, who will be playing the young Coriolanus Snow, portrayed in the original Hunger Games movies by Donald Sutherland. The prequel film will be directed by Francis Lawrence, who directed all of the previous Hunger Games films except the first. Lionsgate has scheduled The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes for November 17, 2023, matching the November release dates for all three Hunger Games sequels.

Other Top Headlines


Poster for Arachnophobia (1990)

(Photo by ©Buena Vista courtesy Everett Collection)

In 1990s, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin and producer (and future Star Wars boss) Kathleen Kennedy partnered on a horror comedy called Arachnophobia (Certified Fresh at 93%) about a small town that becomes infested by an invasive species of deadly spiders. The film only did modest box office, but its positive reviews led to audiences finding it on cable and home video. Now, Amblin Partners is preparing for an Arachnophobia remake, and the writer/director they’ve hired to take it on is Christopher Landon (one of the nine children of the late TV star Michael Landon). Landon has directed several films that combine horror and comedy elements, such as Happy Death Day (Fresh at 71%) and its sequel Happy Death Day 2U (Fresh at 71%), as well as the Freaky Friday homage Freaky (Certified Fresh at 83%). Amblin Partners’ other producing partners on Arachnophobia will include Aquaman director James Wan and Jurassic World producer Frank Marshall, who directed the original Arachnophobia. It’s not yet known if the new film will be a direct remake with the same premise and characters, or if Landon will adapt Arachnophobia more loosely.


Daniela Melchior

(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Principal production of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (5/5/2023) has wrapped, but director James Gunn apparently kept a tight enough lid on his project that we’re only finding out about some of the cast now. It was revealed this week that Daniela Melchior, who played Ratcatcher II in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad (Certified Fresh at 90%) reunited with Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. Gunn isn’t saying quite yet who Melchior is playing, but he did confirm that it will not be Drax’s daughter (and Avengers member) Moondragon, who fans have speculated about ever since the first film came out. In addition to the established team members of the Guardians, Daniela Melchior’s other co-stars will include Elizabeth Debicki, Karen Gillan, Sylvester Stallone, and Will Poulter as Adam Warlock. Gunn has also said that there will be at least one other movie star that hasn’t yet been announced.


Billy Porter and Luke Evans

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

This September, Universal Pictures will release Bros (9/30/2022), which is being billed as “the first gay romantic comedy” produced and released by a major studio. Perhaps in conjunction with Pride Month, which started on Wednesday, two new gay-themed movies were announced this week. Billy Porter (Pose) and Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6, the Hobbit films, Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) are signed to star in a drama called Our Son as a divorcing couple fighting for custody of their 8-year-old son. The independent drama will be directed by Billy Oliver (Jonathan) for co-producer Fernando Loureiro (Frances Ha).


Uma Thurman at the 94th Academy Awards

(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Red, White & Royal Blue is a 2019 LGBT romance novel by Casey McQuiston about the love that blossoms between the First Son of the United States and a British prince. Amazon is now preparing to produce an adaptation of the novel, with Uma Thurman cast as the President of the United States, and the two leads to be played by Taylor Zakhar Perez (as the president’s son) and Nicholas Galitzine as England’s Prince Henry. Taylor Zakhar Perez is known for starring in Netflix’s The Kissing Booth (Rotten at 15%) and its sequels, and Nicholas Galitzine starred as Prince Robert in last year’s Cinderella (Rotten at 42%), starring Camila Cabello. Other cast members will include Clifton Collins Jr, Stephen Fry, Rachel Hilson, and Sarah Shahi. Red, White and Royal Blue will be the feature film directorial debut of Tony-Award-winning playwright Matthew Lopez (The Inheritance).


Isabela Merced at the premiere of Encanto (2021)

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Although the live-action Dora the Explorer movie Dora and the Lost City of Gold (Certified Fresh at 85%) was a bit of a box office disappointment in 2019 with just $60 million domestically, many critics did laud the performance of its star Isabela Merced. In the last few years, Merced’s other roles have included the upcoming remake of Father of the Bride and the role of Juliet in the Shakespeare-based Rosaline. This week, Merced joined the cast of the currently filming Marvel Comics adaptation Madame Web (1/13/2023), part of Sony Pictures’ films based upon Spider-Man villains or supporting characters. The title character will be played by Dakota Johnson in what appears to either be a de-aged version of the comics character, or perhaps another character that goes by the Madame Web name. French actor Tahar Rahim (The Serpent, The Mauritanian) also joined the cast this week.


Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen in Book Club (2018)

(Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon/©Paramount Pictures)

In 2018, the comedy Book Club (Rotten at 54%) was something of a moderate surprise hit, earning over $60 million domestically and over $104 million globally. The film featured a quartet of older actresses (Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen) in its story of a group of friends who read Fifty Shades of Grey together. Focus Features is now developing a sequel called Book Club 2: The Next Chapter, which will reunite all four stars, their co-stars in the first film (Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, and Craig T. Nelson), and new cast members Giancarlo Giannini, Hugh Quarshie, and Vincent Riotta. In the sequel, the four friends will go on a tour of Italy, but it’s not yet known which book they will be reading this time.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

gangster foreign Comic-Con@Home 2021 YouTube Red Kids & Family Hallmark 2018 Marvel Studios IMDb TV aapi YA TV halloween tv richard e. Grant Character Guide razzies hispanic Television Critics Association Amazon Heroines true crime black hist Tokyo Olympics natural history Captain marvel japanese Elton John IFC Films dexter adenture teaser Best Actor Podcast Avengers Marvel Television Reality legend TCM Pride Month vampires Rom-Com Interview green book Turner Classic Movies The Arrangement Trophy Talk cats scene in color film series Walt Disney Pictures Fox Searchlight dc DGA OneApp sports Chilling Adventures of Sabrina renewed TV shows Starz toronto Awards what to watch Paramount Plus basketball obi wan Emmys criterion Star Wars Celebration parents south america Tarantino BBC One trophy Photos Musicals VICE Rock DC streaming service Crackle sitcom kong football vs. Bravo docudrama TV One The Purge Oscars NBA romantic comedy sequels reboot FX on Hulu political drama CBS All Access Best Picture harry potter justice league disaster TBS elevated horror streamig know your critic Spring TV art house psychological thriller PBS Masterpiece screenings USA Network kaiju Sundance Now king kong Academy Awards LGBT comedies Red Carpet child's play HBO Go cars crossover Travel Channel Valentine's Day Showtime marvel comics heist movie casting ID 2021 mission: impossible Winners joker cancelled Fox News VOD posters Nat Geo Lifetime Christmas movies Mudbound 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Ghostbusters WGN all-time Stephen King Comedy CBS Opinion Winter TV Biopics Nominations History crime Television Academy women 4/20 Quiz The Academy Universal 007 Exclusive Video LGBTQ Song of Ice and Fire Best Actress Alien Anna Paquin mutant sopranos streaming movies Mary poppins award winner black comedy USA Esquire Best Director serial killer Black Mirror Shudder aliens Pet Sematary Premiere Dates HBO Max BBC America Certified Fresh new zealand indiana jones Emmy Nominations 2015 Baby Yoda boxing revenge Thanksgiving Spectrum Originals MGM First Look critics TCA Awards documentary ABC Family binge 94th Oscars cults ESPN australia feel good The CW Holiday deadpool comic books television Syfy AMC Plus free movies cops biopic 93rd Oscars Paramount Sundance FX Star Trek franchise miniseries boxoffice scene in color series A24 APB Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Women's History Month TV movies dogs target scene in color hidden camera Western italian Spike South by Southwest Film Festival TIFF Mary Poppins Returns scene in color satire Mystery The Witch Sneak Peek japan Food Network blockbuster dramedy twilight superman 20th Century Fox Watching Series Geeked Week Hear Us Out BAFTA CMT christmas movies Awards Tour witnail scary movies TV renewals ITV scary RT History Paramount Network CW Seed MCU See It Skip It emmy awards Binge Guide toy story DirecTV Universal Pictures video on demand adaptation diversity sag awards godzilla Britbox TNT politics rom-coms ratings science fiction Schedule genre Ellie Kemper critic resources archives game show technology 79th Golden Globes Awards National Geographic Classic Film Hulu independent Teen zero dark thirty PaleyFest Superheroe Disney+ Disney Plus 2020 Marvel Prime Video fast and furious Music Focus Features GoT hollywood Extras cinemax halloween rotten spider-man cancelled television cancelled TV shows nfl comics Disney Plus Comedy Central asian-american robots Instagram Live game of thrones Rocky Legendary james bond Disney Channel 45 TCA Winter 2020 Cannes 21st Century Fox E! dark Comics on TV Horror adventure ABC TCA MSNBC zombie ViacomCBS Sony concert Oscar stop motion laika canceled prank Peacock comic book movie Sci-Fi latino Discovery Channel Countdown obituary Arrowverse Lionsgate Endgame new york king arthur DC Comics animated breaking bad YouTube Apple supernatural 71st Emmy Awards Film historical drama NYCC DC Universe video monster movies war spy thriller 73rd Emmy Awards sequel Disney streaming service A&E 2019 french high school facebook Indigenous dreamworks El Rey Film Festival based on movie Year in Review indie FOX Calendar rotten movies we love Nickelodeon universal monsters news Pacific Islander thriller lord of the rings Columbia Pictures Video Games Tumblr Country zombies Reality Competition venice Trailer Fargo theme song dceu ghosts First Reviews classics streaming festival 24 frames Trivia new star wars movies documentaries anime transformers SXSW 2022 Election jurassic park Broadway CNN 99% Dark Horse Comics YouTube Premium kids discovery Mary Tyler Moore BBC New York Comic Con Star Wars BET Pop mcc comiccon ABC Signature spanish language best Tags: Comedy The Walking Dead E3 fresh Pirates 1990s singing competition Acorn TV Sundance TV Netflix crime thriller social media live action cancelled TV series comic NBC San Diego Comic-Con debate 90s Native chucky 72 Emmy Awards Family Crunchyroll Best and Worst Freeform Holidays Lucasfilm Drama mockumentary Cartoon Network trailers dragons Neflix superhero films cooking die hard spider-verse Rocketman Turner PlayStation Disney BET Awards space series X-Men Apple TV+ GIFs live event olympics The Walt Disney Company romance finale police drama international screen actors guild Epix worst movies Logo summer preview SXSW quibi blockbusters HBO telelvision doctor who TLC anthology spanish medical drama rt labs critics edition suspense stoner Polls and Games nbcuniversal stand-up comedy Netflix Christmas movies jamie lee curtis interviews saw Adult Swim SundanceTV canceled TV shows MTV nature 2016 Ovation batman Tubi cartoon Amazon Prime Video scorecard tv talk movies Sony Pictures Amazon Prime Pixar VH1 remakes summer TV American Society of Cinematographers popular Shondaland HFPA FXX spinoff psycho golden globe awards Mindy Kaling Hollywood Foreign Press Association RT21 name the review Apple TV Plus Creative Arts Emmys book 2017 Set visit Funimation slashers SDCC biography action-comedy Writers Guild of America Box Office a nightmare on elm street Summer mob Cosplay Marathons President Fall TV Tomatazos movie TCA 2017 Wes Anderson Christmas Paramount Pictures crime drama Hallmark Christmas movies Vudu Comic Book composers versus Warner Bros. rt labs OWN book adaptation WarnerMedia Image Comics Musical Infographic Toys TV Land IFC slasher spain children's TV Martial Arts directors Animation Action blaxploitation rt archives Black History Month Grammys marvel cinematic universe Fantasy Superheroes Amazon Studios TruTV young adult AMC GLAAD reviews Lifetime Chernobyl festivals summer TV preview golden globes target wonder woman werewolf strong female leads Brie Larson Super Bowl royal family travel hispanic heritage month docuseries period drama broadcast worst unscripted talk show comic book movies Pop TV pirates of the caribbean leaderboard