Today’s Ketchup brings you ten headlines from the world of film development news, covering titles such as Black Widow, Kitty Pryde, The New Mutants, and new roles for Leonardo DiCaprio, Chadwick Boseman, and Natalie Portman.
2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and eight years since Scarlett Johansson joined the MCU in Iron Man 2 as Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow. In the years since, we haven’t heard firm news of a Black Widow movie being actively developed, even as films with similar premises like last year’s Atomic Blonde and this year’s Red Sparrow (3/2/18) were both developed and produced. In the meantime, Black Widow’s backstory was developed further in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and she had her largest role yet in in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. With all of that in mind, Marvel Studios has officially begun development of a Black Widow movie by hiring female screenwriter Jac Schaeffer, who wrote and directed the 2010 romantic comedy TiMER (62% on the Tomatometer). Jac Schaeffer also wrote the upcoming Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake called Nasty Women (starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson) and an original screenplay called The Shower. Anne Hathaway is also attached to produce and star in The Shower, which is about an alien invasion that occurs during a baby shower.
Ever since we first heard about Quentin Tarantino’s plans for his 9th film as director, an untitled drama set in Hollywood against the backdrop of the Manson Family murders in the summer of 1969, several big name actors have been mentioned. Friday afternoon, the news broke that the first such star to officially sign on with Sony Pictures is Leonardo DiCaprio, who previously worked with Tarantino on Django Unchained. Leonardo DiCaprio is taking the lead role, which is an aging television actor who is hoping to break more into being a big movie star, along with his longtime stuntman and friend. Tom Cruise remains one of the other stars who might be cast, but Brad Pitt wasn’t mentioned in today’s news. Margot Robbie is still in the running to play murder victim Sharon Tate (and Samuel L. Jackson is also still very much a possibility). The new name in today’s news is Al Pacino, for whom Tarantino may be specifically writing a role. Sony Pictures has scheduled the film for August 9, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Tate murders ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tate_murders ).
We’re just under a month away from the release of Marvel’s next big superhero movie, Black Panther, and already, its star Chadwick Boseman has set up a new project with one of Hollywood’s most-demanded directors. Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is now attached to Universal Pictures’ Expatriate, which Boseman co-wrote and in which he will star. Expatriate is described as an international thriller set around a 1970s airliner highjacking. This Expatriate news comes as Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World is still in theaters, telling another 1970s crime story (though it appears Expatriate is probably fictional). Yet another 1970s-set project suffered worse news this week, as 20th Century Fox has scrapped American Heiress, the Patricia “Patty” Hearst biopic. The news came within hours of Patricia Hearst denouncing American Heiress and an upcoming CNN miniseries.
As of this writing, there have been only three superhero movies featuring solo female leads: Catwoman, Elektra, and last year’s Wonder Woman, with Captain Marvel (3/8/19) to be #4. (Sony Pictures’ Silver & Black (2/8/19), about Marvel’s Silver Sable and Black Cat, will be the first superhero movie to feature two female leads.) With movies like X-Men: Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants coming soon, Fox is clearly focusing on female superheroes. This week, we learned which might be the first female X-Men member to go solo, as director Tim Miller (Deadpool) is now developing a solo movie for Kitty Pryde (most commonly AKA Shadowcat). Kitty Pryde, who was played by Ellen Page in two films (after being played by other actresses in the first two), possesses the ability to “phase” through solid objects (like walls). In the comics, Kitty Pryde has had a long, on-again-off-again romantic relationship with Colossus (and also dated Star-Lord for a while), learned martial arts from Wolverine, and is currently the leader of one of the X-Men teams. Director Tim Miller is also developing the next Terminator reboot.
After Sandra Bullock’s success with Gravity, Reese Witherspoon also became attached to star in an astronaut drama called Pale Blue Dot. Witherspoon is still producing Pale Blue Dot, but it is now Natalie Portman who is in talks with Fox Searchlight to star. Incidentally, it’s worth noting that, at one time, Natalie Portman had been attached to star in Gravity before Sandra Bullock eventually was cast. Pale Blue Dot tells the (fictional) story of a married female astronaut who has an affair with a fellow astronaut after an extended stay in space and must deal with the repercussions when her lover becomes involved with a young astronaut trainee. Reportedly loosely based on the 2007 case of astronaut Lisa Nowak, Pale Blue Dot will mark the feature film directorial debut of Noah Hawley, the creator of the acclaimed FX TV series Fargo and Legion. Hawley is also developing a Doctor Doom solo movie.
Since they’re on such a phenomenally popular Netflix series, the young stars of Stranger Things are obviously going to be sought after for other projects. However, due to their ages and the specific ages of their characters, their careers are, for the time being, largely and necessarily tied to the show. Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, did fit next year’s Godzilla: King of Monsters (3/22/19) in between S1 and S2, and now we know what might fit in between S3 (which starts filming soon) and S4. Millie Bobby Brown is now signed with Legendary Entertainment (the company behind Godzilla: King of Monsters) to star in a series of films based on the Enola Holmes Mysteries by author Nancy Springer. As the title suggests, Enola is the (much) younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes who has been featured in six young adult novels since 2006.
One of the new movies opening this weekend is Proud Mary (currently 33% on the Tomatometer), starring Taraji P. Henson, and so we heard this week about one of Henson’s next new projects. We now know that Henson will produce and star in an untitled biopic about the life and death of Emmett Till. Emmett Till was a 14-year-old boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman (who has since recanted her story). Henson will play Emmett’s mother Mamie Till-Mobley, whose decision to demand an open casket for her son is credited as a key moment in the civil rights struggle. We also learned this week about another new biopic based on the life of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to be nominated or win an acting Academy Award, for her role as the slave “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind.
Even people who don’t follow comic books probably know by this point that the two biggest companies are Marvel and DC, and that they have competing “cinematic universes.” Since 2015, however, another publisher, Valiant Comics, has also been developing movies based on some of their comic book series, including Archer & Armstrong, Harbinger, and X-O Manowar. The first of Valiant’s movies to actually receive any sort of casting news is Bloodshot, for which Vin Diesel is now in talks with Sony Pictures. (Last year, Jared Leto had also reportedly been considered). Bloodshot is about “a mortally wounded soldier resurrected with cutting-edge nanotechnology and tasked with rounding up superpowered outcasts known as ‘harbingers.'” Bloodshot will mark the directorial debut of Dave Wilson (a producing partner of Deadpool director Tim Miller), and is expected to be an R-rated action movie. If Vin Diesel signs on, Bloodshot will be his second comic book adaptation after voicing Groot in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
The next three DC Comics superhero movies will be Teen Titans Go! to the Movies (7/27/18), Aquaman (12/21/18), and Shazam! (4/5/19). This week, two of them were in the news (and the third was mentioned as well). If you’ve not been following recent developments, you might be surprised by that first title, which is a big screen animated adaptation of the popular TV series on the Cartoon Network. The first teaser trailer debuted online this week, and it featured the Teen Titans both commenting on the popularity of Wonder Woman and offering a friendly jab at the idea of the necessity of an Aquaman movie. Warner Bros. also confirmed this week that the “Untitled DC Comics” title that had been scheduled for April 5, 2019 will indeed be Shazam! (as one could have guessed, based on its being the next movie in production after Aquaman).
Fox’s X-Men spinoff The New Mutants had been scheduled to come out in just three months on April 13, 2018. This week, however, the studio announced three release date changes, and The New Mutants was pushed back over ten months to February 22, 2019. One of the rumored reasons for the move is that Fox may be considering re-shoots to emphasize the film’s horror elements. Fox also moved Deadpool 2 (which may get a new title) up two weeks from June 1st to May 18, 2018, putting it just a week before new corporate boss Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story. (Presuming that prequel, which doesn’t have a trailer yet, retains that date.) Finally, there is Gambit, which lost its third attached director to date this week — if you’ve lost count, it was Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl). The other two directors who had been previously attached were Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity). Verbinski’s departure is no doubt part of the reason for the Gambit release date change, which is from February, 2019 to June 7, 2019 (putting it up against the Charlie’s Angels reboot and The Secret Life of Pets 2). Channing Tatum remains attached to star in Gambit.