This week’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news (those stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next). Included in the mix this time around are stories about such titles as Chappaquiddick, Flatliners, The Flash, and… are we reading this right, Marvel’s Squirrel Girl?
In the beginning, two of Pixar’s feature films started with the words Toy Story. After Toy Story 2 in 1999, however, Pixar’s next seven films were all original concepts, until Toy Story 3 was released in 2010. Since then, sequels have made up 50 percent of Pixar’s output (Cars 2, Monsters University, Finding Dory vs. Brave, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur). And until this week, the trend certainly appeared to be that the studio would be revisiting their popular films frequently, with only one original film — Coco (11/22/17), about the Mexican “Dia de los Muertos” holiday — among their next four films. The remaining three films scheduled are sequel: next summer’s Cars 3 (6/6/17), Toy Story 4 (6/15/18), and The Incredibles II (6/21/19). This week, Pixar President Jim Morris revealed to Entertainment Weekly that on the animation studio’s schedule, there are no sequels currently planned past The Incredibles II in 2019. Morris also revealed that the studio has two movies scheduled for 2020, and two other movies past that, and none of the four will be sequels. If the year 2021 is another year with two Pixar releases, that means we could get a sequel in either 2022 or 2023, but it’s just as possible that Pixar could continue committing to original ideas. So, if you’re hungry for further big screen adventures for WALL-E, Merida (Brave), Remy (Ratatouille), Riley (Inside Out), or Carl and Russell (UP), you have at least a six year wait in front of you (and more likely, much longer). What concepts do you think Pixar should consider adapting next?
There have been many, many more Marvel Comics characters adapted for the big screen than DC Comics, partly because Fox and Sony have taken on some of that burden, but also because there now 11 released MCU movies (with 9 more planned before 2020). Even so, Marvel’s roster of superheroes remains far more vast. Without even counting the various spinoff teams (of which there are at least 12), there are over 125 “main” Avengers members, of which only a little more than a dozen have been represented in the MCU. In other words, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is only just beginning, and there is a plethora of characters waiting in the comic books for their chances at feature film glory. One example is Squirrel Girl, who this year is celebrating her 25th anniversary after first appearing in an Iron Man story in 1991. Aided by her squirrel sidekick Tippy Toe, Squirrel Girl uses her rodent-endowed abilities to be one of the most powerful superheroes Marvel has, having defeated (by herself — well, herself and her squirrels) such villains as Doctor Doom, MODOK, Terrax, and Thanos, as well as Deadpool and Wolverine. So, since Squirrel Girl is such a formidable force, is her MCU introduction inevitable? That seems to be what actress Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air) thinks, because while out promoting Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Kendrick is pitching the idea that she would be the perfect choice to play Doreen Green, AKA Squirrel Girl. As Kendrick put it, “I don’t know what Squirrel Girl does other than be half squirrel, but I could be half squirrel!” Although Squirrel Girl was previously described as being a mutant (which is frequently a rights issue between Marvel and Fox), Marvel recently seemed to “retcon” the character to make her viable for MCU inclusion: her doctor in the comics stated that, “Doreen is medically and legally distinct from being a mutant, and I can never take this back.” As for when Squirrel Girl could join the MCU, the Russo Brothers recently said that the next Avengers: Infinity Wars movies (5/4/18 and 5/3/19) will fill feature 68 characters, with the implication being that at least a few of those 68 will be introduced in those movies. There’s also the possibility Squirrel Girl could get her own solo movie; after all, there was a time when people questioned the concept of Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy getting their own movies.
There are lots of Hollywood careers that you rarely see share space on the same person’s filmography (cinematographer and actor, composer and makeup artist, etc). And then, there are actor-directors. There are tons of those, including people like Ben Affleck, Warren Beatty, Jodie Foster, George Clooney, Clint Eastwood, Angelina Jolie-Pitt… You get the idea. Well, we’ll soon be able to add another acclaimed director to that list, as Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, Prometheus, HBO’s The Wire) is now confirmed to make his directorial debut with the adaptation of the Victor Headley novel Yardie, about a Jamaican drug courier who decides to take his latest shipment of cocaine (to London) and set up his own drug dealing business (which obviously is not a great idea). It’s not yet known if Elba will also be starring in Yardie as either the drug mule or one of his business associates. “Yardie” is a British slang for a person from Jamaica.
Director/screenwriter Woody Allen has long maintained an annual work schedule that has allowed him to effectively be one of the most prolific directors on his level. For a while, Allen’s movies have been both filmed and released in the summer (or early fall) months. For example, his next film, Cafe Society, will be released next week (7/15/16), and in the early fall, he’ll start filming the movie which will be released in the summer of 2017. As is usually the case, we don’t know the premise (except that it’s set in New York City in the 1950s) or title of that 2017 release, but we’re starting to get an idea of the cast. The first announced star was Kate Winslet, and this week, she was joined by frequent “family film” star Jim Belushi (K-9, Curly Sue, Underdog). That was on Wednesday, and then on Thursday, Justin Timberlake and Juno Temple were also cast in what will be Woody Allen’s 48th film as director. This will be Allen’s first film working with all four actors/actresses.
If you are like many TV and comic book fans and you regularly watch the CW’s surprisingly great The Flash, you are also likely familiar with the character Iris West, played on the show by Candice Patton. In the comics, Iris West is sort of a big deal for the Flash, because (not-really-a-spoiler-alert) she ends up marrying Barry Allen. We’ve known for well over a year that the live action movie version of The Flash would be played by Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin). What we haven’t known until this week is what other characters might appear in the film, or who might play them. Although there is no deal in play yet, it is looking like Dope director Rick Famuyiwa hopes to cast one of his Dope costars, Kiersey Clemons, in The Flash. Similarly, it is not confirmed that Kiersey Clemons would be playing Iris West, but out of all the characters central to The Flash, Clemons most resembles the portrayal of Iris West on the CW series (which is as a young African American blogger/reporter). Kiersey Clemons may seem young for the role (she played a teenager in Dope), but when Warner Bros releases The Flash on March 16, 2018, she’ll be 24 (and Ezra Miller will be 25). Kiersey Clemons recently appeared in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, and will also costar in the remake of Flatliners.
If you’re under a certain age, you may not know what Chappaquiddick refers to, but this Massachusetts island in 1969 became associated with an incident that quickly became a national political scandal. On July 18, 1969, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and his assistant Mary Jo Kopechne were in a car accident in which Kopechne died, and Kennedy later pled guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. It was speculated that the resulting scandal and controversy was the reason that Kennedy chose not to run for president in 1972 and 1976 (and possibly why he lost when he did run in 1980). It was perhaps inevitable that Hollywood would eventually turn to Chappaquiddick as a source for a political drama, and that’s exactly what’s happening this year. Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Terminator: Genisys) was recently cast as Ted Kennedy in Chappaquiddick, and this week, Clarke was joined by Kate Mara (Fantastic Four) and Ed Helms (The Hangover, Vacation). Mara will play Mary Jo Kopechne, while Helms will play Kennedy cousin Joe Gargan, who was one of the two men who helped Kennedy immediately after the car accident. Chappaquiddick will be directed by John Curran (The Painted Veil, Tracks).
This is (almost certainly) coincidental, but one of the movies that is currently filming, and has therefore been making the news quite a bit recently, is the first half of a new adaptation of Stephen King’s IT. Now, follow our logic here: “It” (including the quotes) was the title of a 1927 silent film about a shop worker who sets her romantic sights on her wealthy boss, and it was also the movie that made a star out of Clara Bow. Clara Bow became one of the biggest movie stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and she also became known as the “It Girl,” which is pretty much where that term, as we now use it, came from. Now that we’ve set all that up, you can probably guess the rest, which is that the movie rights to David Stenn biopgraphy Clara Bow: Runnin’ Wild have been acquired by producers David Silver and Mike Witherill, whose credits as producer include John Wick and Drinking Buddies. Filming is expected to start in the first few months of 2017. It’s anyone’s guess right now who might be cast as Clara Bow in her biopic, so readers, who do you think would be a great choice?
There really isn’t much of a rabid fanbase for the 1990 psychological thriller Flatliners, but the cast was fairly impressive. Julia Roberts was not yet a movie star, but Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland both were, and both Oliver Platt and Hope Davis went on to have successful careers. The question of whether the world is yearning for a remake of this 48 percent Rotten movie is part of why we’re calling the following one of this week’s “Rotten Ideas.” Kiefer Sutherland has signed to also costar in the remake of Flatliners, although it is unclear what role he will play (such as whether this is actually a “sequel/reboot,” and Sutherland is playing the same character again). Sutherland is joining a young cast which includes Ellen Page (Juno), Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien), Kiersey Clemons (Dope), and Nina Dobrev (TV’s The Vampire Diaries). Swedish director Niels Arden Oplev, who directed the original adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the Noomi Rapace version), will start filming the Flatliners remake in Toronto in September, 2016.
John Boyega (Finn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens) recently signed on to play the son of Idris Elba’s character, Stacker Pentecost, in the sequel to the giant-robots-vs-giant-monsters movie Pacific Rim. This week brought news of the movie’s next cast member, and it’s another “famous son,” this time literally. Scott Eastwood, AKA the-son-of-Clint, is now in talks for a role in Pacific Rim 2, which Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures have scheduled for release on February 23, 2018. Pacific Rim 2 will mark the feature film directorial debut of Steven S. DeKnight, who has previously directed episodes of Smallville, Dollhouse, Angel, and Marvel’s Daredevil. Following the box office disappointments of several sequels this year, Pacific Rim 2 has become one project that some pundits are questioning.
There are obviously exceptions to any perceived “rule,” but generally, when a distributor pulls the plug on a movie one week before its release date, that’s not really great news (ie, “something” is going on). So, if you were all excited about being able to see Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Dame Judy Dench, and Christoph Waltz in the historical romantic drama Tulip Fever next week (7/15/16), yeah, that’s not happening. The Weinstein Company has pushed the drama about the true “Tulip Mania” financial scandal back several months to February 24, 2017 (where it will go up against God Particle and Sleepless). This leaves The Weinstein Company with just three movies left on their schedule for 2016: The Founder (8/5/16), Hands of Stone (8/26/16), and Lion (November) (but TWC is also active on the festival circuit, so the Weinsteins may yet acquire some movies at Toronto/Venice in September). In related news, Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider reboot was also scheduled this week for March 16, 2018, and another movie which got shuffled back from 2016 to early 2017 was Underworld: Blood Wars, which will now be released on January 6, 2017 (right at the start of one of Hollywood’s “dump months“).