Weekly Ketchup

Kelly Marie Tran Will Make History in Raya and the Last Dragon, and More Movie News

The Thing and The Nutty Professor get rebooted, DC FanDome unleashes tons of new details, and new films for Amy Adams, Taron Egerton, and the director of Black Is King.

by | August 28, 2020 | Comments

This Week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as The Batman, The Color Purple, The Nutty Professor, and The Thing.


This WEEK’S TOP STORY

KELLY MARIE TRAN WILL MAKE HISTORY IN RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON

Kelly Marie Tran

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Despite the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on live-action production, many animated projects appear to be moving forward with fewer delays. One of these is Walt Disney Animation’s Raya and the Last Dragon, which was indeed pushed back from its original release date of November 25, 2020 to March 12, 2021. Although that move initially appeared to be due to general trends and not the film’s production itself, it turns out that wasn’t necessarily the case, as Walt Disney Pictures is indeed using those extra four months to recast the voice lead, hire a new co-writer, and replace the film’s directors. Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose Tico in the recent Star Wars sequels, is taking over the role of Raya, replacing Cassie Steele, which makes Tran, who is Vietnamese American, the first person of Southeast Asian heritage to voice the lead role in a Disney animated feature. The film’s new directors are Don Hall (Big Hero 6, Moana) and Carlos Lopez Estrada (Blindspotting), and the film’s newest screenwriter is Qui Nguyen (Vietgone). Awkwafina, who is voicing the titular dragon, remains attached as Tran’s co-star; she will also co-star in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings next year on May 7, 2021.


Other Top Headlines

1. BLUMHOUSE PARTNERING WITH JOHN CARPENTER ON THE RETURN OF THE THING

The Thing

(Photo by Universal courtesy Everett Collection)

The complicated thing about complaining about all remake projects is that some of the most beloved movies of all time were themselves also remakes, or at least retreads (The Wizard of Oz, The Maltese Falcon, etc.) The “sci-fi horror” genre in particular had a spate of “better than the original” remakes that arguably started in 1978 with Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Certified Fresh at 93%), and included John Carpenter’s The Thing (Certified Fresh at 84%), and David Cronenberg’s The Fly ( Certified Fresh at 92%). Universal Pictures attempted a return to The Thing in 2011 (Rotten at 35%) that actually turned out to be a prequel, and there have been other projects in recent years (in particular, one would be an adaptation of a recently discovered longer version of the original story Who Goes There? called Frozen Hell). Blumhouse recently did quite well with a horror remake — The Invisible Man, Certified Fresh at 91% — its strongest partnership just happens to be with Universal Pictures, the same studio behind The Thing. And so, that brings us to this week’s news that Blumhouse is now partnering with producer and director John Carpenter on a new reboot of his 1982 film. There are no premise updates (such as whether it will be a period piece set in the 1980s or set in modern times), but one thing we can guess is that Carpenter will probably not direct the remake, as he also gave over his Halloween franchise to David Gordon Green (Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends are coming in 2021 and 2022).


2. DIRECTOR OF BEYONCE’S BLACK IS KING ADAPTING THE COLOR PURPLE MUSICAL

Beyonce in Black Is King

(Photo by Disney+)

A year after voicing Nala in Disney’s computer animated remake of The Lion King (Rotten at 52%), Beyonce released a musical companion to the 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift called Black is King (Certified Fresh at 98%) on Disney+. Now, Black is King director Blitz Bazawule (A.K.A. Blitz the Ambassador) has signed on with Warner Bros. for another movie musical, which is the studio’s adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical The Color Purple. Reportedly, several of the musical’s producers, including Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, and Steven Spielberg, all saw Bazawule’s movie The Burial of Kojo on Netflix and “were wowed by his vibrant visual style.” Winfrey, of course, co-starred with Whoopi Goldberg in the original feature adaptation of The Color Purple (Fresh at 81%), which was directed by Spielberg, and whose music was composed by Jones. Screenwriter Marcus Gardley (The Chi, NOS4A2) is adpating the Broadway musical, which was itself a reimaging of Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple, upon which Spielberg’s movie was based. It’s not yet known if Warner Bros. will cast new performers (like, say, Beyonce) for the movie, recruit the Broadway cast, or perhaps a combination of both.


3. AMY ADAMS JOINS BROADWAY HIT ADAPTATION DEAR EVAN HANSEN 

Amy Adams

(Photo by Jef Hernandez/Everett Collection)

The Color Purple isn’t the only recent Tony-winning Broadway hit getting a movie adaptation soon, as Universal Pictures is also getting ready to produce Dear Evan Hansen, which won six Tony Awards, including Best Actor (Ben Platt), Best Featured Actress, Best Score, and Best Musical. Ben Platt has long been attached to reprise his titular lead role, but Universal appears to be mostly attracting movie stars for many of the other parts, including Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart, Certified Fresh at 97%) and Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give, Certified Fresh at 97%). We can now add Amy Adams to the list, as she will be playing the mother of Caitlyn Dever’s character (Colton Ryan has also been cast as Connor, a student whose death is central to the musical’s plot). Dear Evan Hansen will be directed by Stephen Chbosky (Wonder, Certified Fresh at 85%). There is currently no release date for Dear Evan Hansen, but Universal Pictures may be eyeing it as a possible late 2021 “awards season” contender.


4. DC FANDOME PART 1: THE BATMAN, THE FLASH, THE SUICIDE SQUAD

The Batman Logo

(Photo by @mattreevesLA)

In the final days of a summer in which San Diego Comic-Con was severely diminished as a pop culture event by the COVID-19 pandemic, Warner Bros. held their own online event called DC FanDome. Although there were many interesting panels, trailers, and videos, the biggest single video to debut at DC FanDome was arguably the first trailer for The Batman (10/1/2021). In addition to Batman himself (Robert Pattinson), Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), the Riddler (Paul Dano), and Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), sharp-eyed fans also noticed that we can see Colin Farrell as the Penguin, and really smart fans have already deciphered the Riddler’s “riddles” seen in the teaser/trailer. In related news, Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) has joined The Batman as Gordon’s first partner, Stanley Menkel. In another DC FanDome event, we also got to see early concept art for Barry Allen’s new costume in the time travel adventure The Flash (6/3/2022). Director James Gunn had way more to show off for his version of The Suicide Squad (8/6/2021), including 29 set images, “pop art” style images for the film’s various villains/mercenaries, and a two-minute video with sneak peeks at some of the film’s action.


5. DC FANDOME PART 2: BLACK ADAM, SHAZAM: FURY OF THE GODS

Black Adam Logo

(Photo by © Warner Bros. Pictures)

Two of the other upcoming DC Comics movies that were spotlighted at DC FanDome are Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam (12/22/2021) and the sequel Shazam: Fury of the Gods (11/4/2022), which are directly connected to each other because of Black Adam’s roots coming directly from the “Shazam” mythos. Following a big year on The CW as the stars of Stargirl, a version of the Justice Society of America was revealed through Black Adam concept art, although with only four members revealed (Atom-Smasher, Cyclone, Dr. Fate, and Hawkman), the Black Adam version seems like a much smaller roster than the comics (which in the past has sometimes included over a dozen members at once). You can also see lots of non-JSA concept images hereShazam! star Zachary Levi was also on hand to reveal that the sequel’s title will be Shazam: Fury of the Gods, although the panel did not specify “which” gods in question are so furious, why, and at whom. Comedian Sinbad was also involved, which teased that “maybe” he might be in the sequel, although there’s a strong chance he was just there as a reference to the Internet’s most discussed example of “The Mandela Effect.”


6. ADAM PALLY, AUBREY PLAZA JOIN BELUSHI BIOPIC

Adam Pally, Aubrey Plaza

(Photo by Priscilla Grant, Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)

Some stars are so larger-than-life that they get multiple biopics. One such example is John Belushi, who was depicted by Michael Chiklis in Wired (Rotten at 4%) in 1989, just seven years after Belushi’s death in 1982 at the age of 33. The new biopic, to be titled just Belushi, made the news in December, as at that point, Broadway star Alex Brightman was expected to be starring as John Belushi. Possibly in the interest of attracting investors and financing, the producers of Belushi appear to be seeking more famous actors, as they are now in talks with Happy Endings co-star Adam Pally to play John Belushi instead. Two other major roles may also going to bigger names, as Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) is in talks to play Belushi’s Blues Brothers collaborator Dan Aykroyd, and Aubrey Plaza may be cast as Belushi’s wife, Judith Belushi (Pisano). Belushi will be directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) from a screenplay by Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness; co-writer of Wonder).


7. ARE YOU READY TO GET KLUMPED AGAIN? THE NUTTY PROFESSOR REBOOT IN THE WORKS

Eddie Murphy in Nutty Professor II

(Photo by Universal courtesy Everett Collection)

The pop culture obsession with the 1980s — and the rate at which movies from that era have inspired remakes — has arguably had an impact on how quickly movies from the 1990s are receiving their own remakes. Consider, for example, how many more remakes of 1980s movies there were in 2010 than there were 1990s remakes in 2020. The biggest comedy hit of 1996 was itself a remake, as Eddie Murphy took over the role as The Nutty Professor (Fresh at 64%) originated by Jerry Lewis in the 1963 original (Fresh at 85%). Both movies were about an awkward scientist who transforms himself into an alter ego called “Buddy Love,” but Eddie Murphy’s version also made the scientist morbidly obese (Jerry Lewis’ version was just goofy). The Nutty Professor is now getting a new reboot and it’s coming from the same production company that is currently prepare to film Scream 5, itself a continuation of one of the 1990s’ most popular franchises. It’s not yet known if this third iteration of The Nutty Professor will have any “horror” elements (one could see how it could easily drift into “body horror“), or if it will just be a straight up comedy romp.


8. ROCKETMAN STAR TARON EGERTON TO SMUGGLE TETRIS TO THE MASSES

Taron Egerton in Kingsman: The Golden Circle

(Photo by Giles Keyte/©20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

The 1984 video game hit Tetris has been such an innocuous part of pop culture for decades now that it is easy to forget that (and many people may not even know this) it was actually invented during the final years of the USSR. Taron Egerton (Rocketman, Kingsman: The Secret Service) is now signed to star in Tetris, which will depict the cloak and dagger efforts that led to the original Tetris video game effectively being smuggled out of the USSR, including the involvement of the KGB. Egerton will play Dutch-born video game entrepeneur Henk Rogers, whose story Egerton is calling “definitely more Social Network than LEGO Movie.” That distinction is important to point out, as there have indeed been stories in the recent past about a Tetris movie (or a trilogy, even) that would have been a more direct “video game movie” adaptation. This is a different Tetris movie, to be directed by the same director as Stan & Ollie (Certified Fresh at 92%), even, to give you an idea of how unlike a video game movie it will probably be.

Tag Cloud

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