Today’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Super Mario Bros, and Wonder Woman 2.
Both Marvel and Fox have developed some of their films by applying other genres to what we traditionally identify as “superhero movies.” Ant-Man was a heist movie, Guardians of the Galaxy was a space opera, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller, Logan was a neo-Western, and next year’s The New Mutants will be a Blumhouse-style horror film (it’s being marketed that way, anyway). The approach also makes it possible to take a few risks and dig deeper into the Marvel roster for potential new characters to explore. One example is Jamie Madrox, or Multiple Man, who was a long-time Uncanny X-Men supporting character before eventually starring in X-Factor from 2004 to 2013. As his name suggests, Multiple Man possesses the ability to create copies of himself (Eric Dane played a version of him in Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand). James Franco, who currently stars in a dual role in HBO’s The Deuce, is now producing and will star as Jamie Madrox in a Multiple Man spinoff movie, to be adapted by Wonder Woman screenwriter Allan Heinberg. The deal sprung from another Fox project, The Hardy Men, in which Franco and his brother Dave Franco will play the grownup Hardy Boys.
As of this writing, notorious mass murder mastermind Charles Manson is hospitalized amid rumors that he may expire soon. Manson’s name has been in the news frequently as of late for another reason, however, as the “Manson Family” is reportedly central to Quentin Tarantino’s #9 (working title), his first film after severing ties with Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company. The pot sweetened with the news that Tom Cruise is now in the mix to possibly co-star, along with the previously reported Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate). After previous stories about an ongoing multi-studio bidding war, we learned this morning that Sony Pictures landed the worldwide rights to the project. With an estimated budget over $100 million, a source told The Hollywood Reporter that the film will need to make over $375 million worldwide to break even (a milestone Tarantino has reached just once with 2012’s Django Unchained).
This weekend’s Justice League earned a Rotten Tomatometer score of just 39% (as of this writing), but many writers agree that Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is one of the film’s best assets (leading to this interesting rumor). Apparently wanting Gadot’s next solo movie to hit theaters as soon as possible, Warner Bros has bumped up the release of Wonder Woman 2 six weeks from December 13, 2019 to November 1, 2019, which also creates a seven-week cushion between the film and Star Wars: Episode IX. This follows a much-reported story last weekend alleging that Gal Gadot refused to star in Wonder Woman 2 if disgraced producer Brett Ratner was still involved. Gadot subsequently clarified the issue on The Today Show, as Warner Bros had already severed ties with Ratner on November 1st.
In hindsight, it was probably always fairly obvious that the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them wasn’t going to be called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2. Modeling itself after the Harry Potter books and movies, the franchise’s next film (November 16, 2018) will be called Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. As the end of the first movie revealed, Johnny Depp will be playing the title character of Gellert Grindelwald (which has attracted some negative reactions). Other cast members will include Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski), Zoë Kravitz (Leta LeStrange), Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore), Justice League star Ezra Miller (Credence), Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander), Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein), Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein), and of course, Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander). In somewhat related news (but not really), “Grindelwald” shouldn’t be confused with Grimmel, the new villain F. Murray Abraham will voice in How to Train Your Dragon 3 (3/1/19).
Every once in a while, we come across a story that really isn’t much of a story beyond the headline, and stories like that normally aren’t worth reporting. Stories like that, however, also normally don’t involve Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone. This week, in The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Actress Roundtable,” Lawrence and Stone revealed that they are working on a “secret idea” they have that they could both star in together. In the same discussion, Lawrence also mentioned that she had auditioned for 2010’s Easy A, which was Emma Stone’s first leading role (after co-starring in earlier films like Superbad and Zombieland). Jennifer Lawrence is also developing a movie in which she will co-star with Amy Schumer as a set of “dysfunctioning twins.” Lawrence’s films for 2018 will be the spy thriller Red Sparrow (3/2/18) and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (11/2/18), and Emma Stone will star in Yorgos Lanthimos’ (The Lobster, last month’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer) 18th century period piece The Favourite.
One of the breakout stars of this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming was Zendaya, who previously starred in several Disney Channel projects. Now 21, Zendaya appears ready to branch out further into movie work, as she’s co-starring with Hugh Jackman in next month’s The Greatest Showman (12/20/17), and is also expected to return for the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel (7/5/19). Zendaya has also signed with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company to star in A White Lie, an adaptation of the novel The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe. Tanabe’s book is a fictional account of the true story of Anita Hemmings, the first African American woman to graduate from Vassar College. The controversy lies in the fact that, in order to attend the exclusive school back during the 1890s, Hemmings reportedly “passed as white” and almost made it all the way to graduation without her true heritage being discovered.
Earlier this summer, comedian Tiffany Haddish co-starred in Girls Trip, which earned over $115 million domestically from a budget of just $19 million. Haddish followed up Girls Trip by landing a guest hosting gig last week on Saturday Night Live and a role in next year’s Kevin Hart comedy Night School (9/28/18). This week, Haddish was confirmed to be signed for two more new movies, and one of them will see her expanding into the world of comic book movies (the other is a comedy called The Temp). The Vertigo Comics title The Kitchen is not, however, a superhero movie, but centers around “the wives of Irish mobsters who take over their husband’s businesses after they are arrested by the FBI” in a drama set in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in the 1970s. That premise somewhat resembles that of director Steve McQueen’s Widows remake (though in that, the wives’ husbands are dead, not arrested). The Kitchen will mark the directorial debut of Andrea Berloff, co-writer of World Trade Center and Straight Outta Compton.
The 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros movie (15% on the Tomatometer) starring Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper is frequently pointed to as the beginning of the long, long history of Rotten video game movies. A chief complaint is that the colorful fantasy world settings of the Super Mario games never belonged in “live action” to begin with. On the other hand, an animated Super Mario Bros movie in 1993 probably would’ve looked a lot like the various Super Mario TV shows. We’re finally at a point when animation has caught up, but even so, could a new Super Mario Bros movie buck the trend? That, apparently, is what Nintendo and their new partners Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Sing, The Secret Life of Pets) would like to find out, because that’s what they’re now partnering up to attempt. The deal has reportedly been in the works for over a year and is tied to the theme parks partnership between Nintendo and Universal. The Super Mario Bros movie might come out sometime in 2021, 2022, or 2023. We’re calling this borderline Fresh because, while Illumination indeed has the entire history of video game adaptations to contend with, their track record isn’t bad, and a contemporary animated take on Super Mario Bros. could actually work.
Last summer, the reboot of Ghostbusters received a lot of attention for its female-led take on a beloved 1980s comedy. As this Google search reveals, a common complaint was that the remake “ruined” fans’ collective childhoods. On the other hand, fewer adults probably consider the 2000 Mel Gibson comedy What Women Want to be any part of their childhood, but it’s also getting the gender-swap treatment. Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures, TV’s Empire) is now signed to star in What Men Want, whose premise, as its title implies, will basically be the exact opposite of the original. While Mel Gibson was magically gifted the ability to read women’s thoughts, Henson will be able to read the minds of men. What Women Want has a Rotten Tomatometer score of 54%. In somewhat related news, Mel Gibson and Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) are now in talks to star in a Groundhog Day/Edge of Tomorrow-style action thriller called Boss Level.
Much of what we said in the Multiple Man story above applies to this story as well, except that it doesn’t involve Fox, but the third company with Marvel rights: Sony Pictures. We’ve known for a while that Sony’s slate of movies based on Spider-Man-related characters will include Venom (10/5/18, starring Tom Hardy), Silver & Black (2/8/19, about Silver Sable and Black Cat), and at some point, a Sinister Six movie. Marvel found success with horror comics in the early 1970s, so a Spider-Man villain was introduced called Morbius the Living Vampire, who had become a vampire through scientific experimentation (therefore, not undead). Looking to capitalize on the popularity of both vampires and Marvel properties, Sony is now developing a Morbius movie to be written by the team of Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, who earlier this year gave us the poorly received reboot of Saban’s Power Rangers.