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 new roles for Benedict Cumberbatch, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Lopez, and the reunion of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
Anyone who’s seen last year’s Spider-Man spinoff Venom (or even just the trailers for it) knows that Tom Hardy’s anti-hero alter ego is very much a CGI creation. So, as Sony Pictures prepares for the no-brainer sequel (Venom earned over $856 million globally), all three of the directors they’ve reportedly met with have had experience working on action movies with significant computer animated characters. Of the three, the biggest name is Andy Serkis, who has built an impressive career as a motion capture actor with roles like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies, and other roles like King Kong, The Adventures of Tintin, and as Snoke in the recent Star Wars movies. One of those roles was also as Caesar the chimpanzee leader in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its sequels, and as it happens, Rupert Wyatt, who directed that first Apes reboot movie, is also one of the directors that Sony Pictures is considering. The third reported name is Travis Knight, whose most recent film was last year’s Transformers prequel Bumblebee, but what he’s really best known for are the Laika stop-motion animated movies like ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings. It’s expected that Sony Pictures is planning to release Venom 2 on October 2, 2020, with Woody Harrelson likely to co-star as the symbiote-powered serial killer villain Carnage. [UPDATE: As of Monday, August 5, Serkis has confirmed he’s officially on board as director for Venom 2.]
In just the last week, we’ve seen both the release of Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest film (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Certified Fresh at 84%), and the first full trailer for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro. Also, this week, a news story broke that ties together all three of them, as De Niro is in talks to join DiCaprio in Scorsese’s next film, Killers of the Flower Moon. Based on the 2014 nonfiction book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, Scorsese’s film will tell the story of the investigation into the murders of over 20 Native Americans in Oklahoma after oil is found on their tribal lands. Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio have both starred in multiple Scorsese films (9 and 5, respectively), but Killers of the Flower Moon will be the first to feature both at the same time.
Earlier this month, Marvel Studios confirmed that their next movie after Black Widow (5/1/2020) will be their adaptation of Jack Kirby’s The Eternals (11/6/2020), featuring stars like Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, and Richard Madden (Robb Stark from Game of Thrones). The Eternals is also arguably in a “dueling movies” situation, because Warner Bros. is simultaneously also developing its own Jack Kirby movie, New Gods, with Ava DuVernay (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time) attached to direct. This week, DuVernay confirmed that the villains in New Gods will include Darkseid and the Female Furies. DuVernay also said that one of the actors in her Netflix series When They See Us will “99%” be cast in New Gods, but that show also has a huge cast, so it’s tricky to guess who she might be talking about. As for the Darkseid confirmation, this article points out that Ava DuVernay and Warner Bros. have a “Thanos problem,” as Darkseid and Thanos have always shared a lot in common, but Marvel Studios has already well established Thanos as a movie character, and Darkseid could easily be seen as a villain-come-lately.
It’s become nearly cliche for TV shows to feature their characters bonding over the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, whether it be on Community, The Goldbergs, or most famously, Stranger Things. If we turn the clock way back 19 years to 2000, however, we can actually see that this arguably started with Freaks and Geeks, which had an episode where James Franco’s character bonds with the titular “geeks” over D&D. (Incidentally, it’s also the year that brought us the first — and notoriously panned — film adaptation of the game, as pictured above.) One of those kids was played by John Francis Daley, who went on to become a screenwriter with partner Jonathan Goldstein on movies like Horrible Bosses and Spider-Man: Homecoming, and they also co-directed 2015’s Vacation and last year’s Game Night. Paramount Pictures is reportedly now in talks with Daley and Goldstein to direct the long-in-development reboot of Dungeons & Dragons, which moved to Paramount in 2017 after Warner Bros. was unable to get a reboot starring Ansel Elgort going earlier this decade. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were also formerly attached to direct DC Comics’ The Flash.
Very few people are ever likely to confuse comic actor Seth Rogen with Star Trek star Chris Pine, but thanks to the wonders of makeup, they now have the same role in common. Until recently, Rogen was in talks to star in the historical drama Newsflash as CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite as he was covering the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The news this week, however, is that the role will instead go to the aforementioned Chris Pine. If Pine signs on, he will be joining Mark Ruffalo, who has long been attached to star as producer Don Hewitt, who went on to found 60 Minutes in 1968. Chris Pine’s next big movie will be Wonder Woman 1984, which comes out next summer (6/5/2020).
Before his blockbuster success last year with Aquaman, Jason Momoa starred in the Netflix series Frontier from 2016 to 2018. While he is signed to return for the Aquaman sequel, that movie isn’t scheduled until December 16, 2022, so he’s got plenty of time before it starts filming. With that in mind, Momoa has signed on to appear in a revenge thriller for Netflix called Sweet Girl. He will also produce Sweet Girl, in which he will play “a husband who vows to bring justice to the people responsible for his wife’s death while also protecting his daughter.” Momoa will also co-star in next year’s Dune remake (11/20/2020) as Duncan Idaho.
After playing The Joker in the first Suicide Squad movie, Jared Leto will soon become the latest actor to star in a Marvel movie (by way of Sony) as the “living vampire,” Morbius, in just under a year (7/31/2020). This week, Leto also started early talks with Warner Bros. to join their crime thriller Little Things. If he signs on, he will play a serial killer who’s crimes are being investigated by a small town sheriff played by Denzel Washington and another detective from Los Angeles played by Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody). Little Things will be directed and written by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Founder, Saving Mr. Banks), whose most recent film was Netflix’s The Highwaymen.
In the ten years or so between 1983 and 1993, director Adrian Lyne gave the world a few major hits (Flashdance, Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal), but then two stumbles (Unfaithful and his Lolita remake) seemed to put his career as a director on a 17-year hold. That said, Lyne is finally preparing to return with another erotic thriller called Deep Water that seems to share a lot of themes with his earlier films. Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas (“Joi” in Blade Runner 2049) are both in talks to star in Deep Water as a married couple who spice up their relationship by allowing each other to take other lovers, until their “mind games” take a dark turn when people around them start turning up dead. Just last week, Affleck also joined his old friend Matt Damon in a historical drama called The Last Duel.
Like most movie actors of her status, Reese Witherspoon has appeared in movies from a wide range of different genres, including psychological horror (American Psycho), supernatural comedy (Little Nicky), and animated science fiction (Monsters vs Aliens). This week, we found out that the latest genre Witherspoon will expand into will be (live action) science fiction with a movie called Pyros. Witherspoon is partnering with frequent X-Men producer Simon Kinberg on the new film, in which she will star as one of “a group of augmented people who are fitted with indestructible fire suits that are fused to their spines [who] work for a corporation that recovers objects for wealthy people when their houses are burning.”
Although there still aren’t that many movies about (live action) cats, their canine counterparts don’t have that problem, as almost every year sees at least one movie centered on dogs, with the most recent example being A Dog’s Journey (Rotten at 49%) and The Art of Racing in the Rain set to hit theaters next week. The latest star to sign on for a “doggie picture” is Mark Wahlberg, who is now attached to star in Arthur the King, an adaptation of the novel Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home, based on a true story. Wahlberg will play a Swedish “adventure racer” named Mikael Lindnord who “won the hearts of millions when he and his team adopted Arthur, a badly wounded but big-hearted stray dog who tagged along with them during an epic endurance race in Ecuador.”