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 The Flash and Marvel’s Venom, as well as new roles for Sandra Bullock, Johnny Depp, Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, and Daniel Radcliffe.
— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) May 19, 2017
Sony Pictures is in desperate need of a big box office hit franchise, following a few years when would-be attempts like RoboCop, Pixels, Chappie, The 5th Wave, Ghostbusters, Inferno, Life, and Smurfs: The Lost Village all failed to come through for the studio. To that end, the studio recently scheduled their adaptation of Marvel’s Venom for October 5, 2018. Picking a date less than a year and a half away meant, however, that they’d have to really hustle to find a director and star. Sony now has both, with this week’s late-breaking news that Tom Hardy is finalizing a deal to star as Eddie Brock, AKA Venom, in a film to be directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Gangster Squad). Although Venom is a Marvel Comics character, Venom will not be a spinoff of Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming (7/7/17) (which is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Instead, the film will start a new shared universe of Marvel Comics characters which are separate from the MCU. The second movie in that effort will be an untitled film about Black Cat (also a character closely connected to Spider-Man) and Silver Sable. Hardy celebrated the Venom news today by posting an Instagram image of himself wearing a Venom t-shirt (which you see above).
In today’s online world of 2017, you have a lot of good options for protecting your computer from viruses and other threats, but there was a time when “antivirus” and “McAfee” were essentially synonymous. The man behind that name was John McAfee, a reportedly gregarious but divisive personality, whose estate in Belize was the subject of several criminal investigations. WIRED magazine was a key source for reporting on McAfee in 2012, including stories like this and an e-book called John McAfee’s Last Stand. Now, the web security mogul’s story will soon be adapted as a “dark comedy” called King of the Jungle, with Johnny Depp attached to star as McAfee himself. (This news comes just a week after another new project for Depp.) King of the Jungle will be directed by the team of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy Stupid Love, I Love You Phillip Morris), from a screenplay adapted by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, whose previous movies based on true stories include Big Eyes, Man on the Moon, and The People Vs Larry Flynt.
Marie Curie‘s life story was one of obvious highs (tremendous professional success) and lows (dying in a sanitorium from cancer due to all of the radiation she was exposed to in her studies). Given that, you would think that her story might have been depicted on film more than it has, but this week, we learned that she will soon indeed receive some high profile attention. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) is now attached to star as the groundbreaking scientist in the appropriately titled drama Radioactive. This film, produced by Working Title Films, will be directed by French director Marjane Satrapi, who is currently best known for her animated adaptation of the Persepolis graphic novels. Radioactive is Pike’s second new biopic project in as many months, after April’s news that she will also star in an untitled Marie Colvin film. It’s enough to make you wonder which famous Marie she’ll play next.
Sandra Bullock’s film career is on something of a hiatus right now, with only one live action movie (2015’s Our Brand is Crisis) since her big 2013 hit, Gravity (she did voice the villain in Minions, too). That may change next year, starting with the release of the spinoff Ocean’s Eight (6/8/18), especially if this week’s news results in another 2018 release. Sandra Bullock is now attached to star in Cash Truck, which is inspired by (but apparently not a direct remake of) the 2004 French film Le Convoyeur, and like Ocean’s Eight, this new movie also involves a heist, but it’s more of an intense thriller. Bullock will play an American woman who takes a job at a London armored car company that was recently the target of a deadly heist… but not everyone or everything is exactly as it seems. Cash Truck will be directed by Josef Wladyka, who has directed three episodes of season two of Netflix’s crime drama Narcos.
One enduring Hollywood trope is the “prison escape” movie, and the distinguished list of actors who have made such a film includes Steve McQueen (The Great Escape), Clint Eastwood (Escape from Alcatraz), Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption), and Dustin Hoffman (Papillon, also with Steve McQueen). Soon, we’ll be able to add former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe to that list, because he is now attached to star in a true story drama called Escape from Pretoria. Radcliffe will play Tim Jenkin, “one of two 20-something white South Africans branded as terrorists and imprisoned in 1978 for being involved in covert anti-apartheid operations for the African National Congress. Jailed in the Pretoria Maximum Security Prison, the pair decide to send the regime a clear message and plan an escape.”
Just last year, Jonah Hill starred in War Dogs, about the true story of two young entrepreneurs who became arms dealers. Depending on what his role in this week’s news actually involves (we don’t know right now), Jonah Hill’s new film might be a similar project. The movie in question is called Uncut Gems, and the only thing we know about the premise is that it somehow involves New York City’s famous 47th Street Diamond District. Maybe Hill plays a jeweler who gets robbed, or someone who wants to rob some jewels, or some combination of the two, or maybe a cop? Uncut Gems will be directed by Benny Safdie and will be produced by Scott Rudin, who previously worked with Jonah Hill on the baseball true story Moneyball.
If you were paying attention to celebrity news back in 1999, you may remember a famous story involving Matthew McConaughey, copious amounts of weed, and a pair of bongo drums. At the time, it offered some evidence that McConaughey wasn’t so different from his Dazed and Confused character in real life. McConaughey is probably only kind of a beach bum in reality, but in an upcoming movie, he will be one rather literally, as he’s now confirmed to be starring in an “irreverent comedy” called The Beach Bum, playing “Moondog… a rebellious and lovable rogue who lives life large.” The Beach Bum is described as director Harmony Korine‘s follow up to his 2012 crime drama Spring Breakers, but it’s unclear if the film is a straight-up sequel (as some sources have speculated). Korine and McConaughey will start filming The Beach Bum this fall, aiming for a theatrical release in late 2018.
Serial killers have been popular movie fodder for decades, especially since the 1970s, when both slasher movies and real life serial killers permeated the pop culture consciousness, but in the 1980s, Ted Bundy changed the public perception of what a serial killer might look like. Back in 2015, this led film critic Alonso Duralde to make the prediction that Zac Efron would be cast as Ted Bundy within five years. Well, Mr. Duralde wins, because that’s exactly who Zac Efron will be playing in a new crime drama called Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. The film will be told from the perspective of “Elizabeth Kloepfer, Bundy’s longtime girlfriend, who went years denying the accusations against Bundy but ultimately turned him in to the police.” The film will be the second narrative feature (after Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2) from director Joe Berlinger, who is best known for the Paradise Lost true crime documentaries about the West Memphis Three.
Not all forms of art are universally popular, or as popular in some cultures as they are in others. Silent movies, popular in the U.S. during the early 20th century, were eventually replaced by “talkies,” and in places like France, mime artists remained popular — the most famous of them was probably Marcel Marceau. This week, another side of Marceau’s life made the news, as Jesse Eisenberg is now attached to star as the famous mime in a movie about his activities during WWII. The movie will be called Resistance, and it will tell the true story of how Marceau (formerly Mangel) helped Jewish refugees, and how his own father died in Auschwitz. Resistance will be written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, whose two credits both have Rotten Tomatometer scores. In similar news, we can now report that Charlie Chaplin’s classic silent comedy The Kid is being remade as an animated science fiction film, from Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt, whose most recent film was also a remake, The Gambler (Rotten at 46 percent).
At one point, Warner Bros had scheduled The Flash for release on March 16th, 2018, but that was when it was to be directed by Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), who then dropped out. Since Famuyiwa’s departure, the most prominent director mentioned in conjunction with the film has been Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump), and according to The Wrap, he’s still the frontrunner for the job. Unfortunately, they seem to be the only ones who think so. Some thought it could have been directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) or Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man)… until they both passed. Others speculate it could be X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn. The interesting thing about Robert Zemeckis’ name still being in the mix is that the three others mentioned this week have all directed superhero movies before, while Zemeckis has not. We’re calling all of this a “Rotten Idea” because we hope to get an awesome Flash movie someday, but every time a promising director is mentioned and he drops out, it puts a damper on our expectations.