REEL NEWS: JUNE 29TH-JULY 6TH
This week; more video games are getting the TV adaptation treatment; the TMNT are getting animated (again); the Oscars is hopefully no longer #OscarsSoWhite; even more issues emerge from the Justice League production; and Hollywood loses a music legend.
The ‘Queen of Soul’ is getting her own biopic.
Respect (or I guess, R E S P E C T based on the song) stars Jennifer Hudson as the perfect casting of Aretha Franklin in the latest music legend biopic.
The trailer briefly shows Franklin’s childhood, before jumping to before her big break and then giving glimpses of the majority of her career.
Much like Bohemian Rhapsody, Respect seems to be a by-the-numbers biopic but with a potential powerhouse performance like Taron Egerton in Rocketman.
Respect comes from director Liesel Tommy who has directed episodes of Marvel/Netflix’s Jessica Jones, Issa Rae’s Insecure and The Walking Dead, with this being her first feature film.
The sewer dwelling, amphibian ninjas are making a return.
The pizza loving, New York-based Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are getting an animated film reboot.
Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver, producers for This is The End and TV series Preacher, are producing the film with Jeff Rowe (director of upcoming Connected) directing.
While Rogen’s attachment might indicate a more ‘mature’ approach to the Turtles, children’s animation network, Nickelodeon’s involvement says otherwise.
However, that may not stop the film from being a balanced kids movie, with something for older fans to appreciate that younger, newer audiences may not get.
The last TMNT movie was the animated film in 2007, with an ongoing animated TV series that stated in 2018.
After recently making a more conceited effort to inform and educate themselves about their racial bias, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science have achieved their ‘diversity target’.
The Academy have invited 819 new members to join their membership with notable names such as Zendaya, Cynthia Erivo, John David Washington and five of the stars from recent Best Picture winter Parasite.
In a statement, Academy President David Rubin said, “We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now”.
In 2016, following the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, the Academy introduced the A2020 initiative which was to set a goal of doubling the number of female and non-white members.
Now, with the latest invites, the Academy will expand its membership to now be 45% women, 36% people of colour and representing 68 countries.
Perhaps with this new ratio, and the next 2025 initiative, and Parasite becoming the first foreign language film to win Best Picture, the Academy might be on track so that we don’t see another Green Book win.
Mad Men Blackface Disclaimer
After last weeks mass exodus of blackface material from “comedy” shows like The Office, and black voice from shows like The Simpsons, the retroactive removal continues in a more nuanced and mature approach.
Emmy-winning, advertising drama Mad Men is set to be released on streaming in the US, with the episode ‘My Old Kentucky Home having a disclaimer about a character in blackface.
The disclaimer says, “In its reliance on historical authenticity, the series producers are committed to exposing the injustices and inequities within our society that continue to this day…”.
Thankfully, the creators haven’t opted for the erasure of history and instead preserved the series intact to offer as a teachable moment for audiences.
Mad Men is set during the 1960s and should be expected to be confronting to a modern, more empathetic audience but should not be tampered with to brush over those confronting elements.
Ray Fisher Retracts Joss Whedon Praise on Justice League
Oh, the fun just does not stop for the production of 2017’s Justice League.
Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in the DC team-up film, has “forcefully retract[ed]” praise for director Joss Whedon on the set of Justice League.
Fisher tweeted the backtracking, and later tweeted that Whedon was “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” to the cast and crew of the film.
He also included producers Jon Berg and Geoff Johns in his accusations for enabling Whedon on set.
Jon Berg responded to Fisher’s claims in an interview to Variety saying it was “categorically untrue that we enabled any unprofessional behaviour”.
This just adds to the pile on of issues that plagued the production of the film, which a detailed account of can be found here.
Jason Momoa is Frosty the Snowman
Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa will be voicing Frosty the Snowman in a live-action/CGI hybrid film from Warner Bros.
David Berenbaum, writer of Will Ferrell’s Elf, will be writing and should be right at home with the Christmas ‘cheer’.
No word on director or plot or even release date.
Fallout TV Series
Amazon Prime are adding another IP to their streaming belt, with the talent to match.
Westworld creators, Johnathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are helming a TV adaptation based on the Fallout game series.
Nolan and Joy are developing the show, but may not be series writers and acting more in a producer role.
Amazon tweeted the announcement with a cryptic video that showed the studio logos on a black-and-white TV screen with the ‘Please Stand By’ message, which is synonymous with the game franchise.
Fallout series is from Bethesda studios and is set in the 22nd century following a nuclear war that occurred in the 1940s, snap freezing America’s culture into a dystopian pastiche of 1940s.
If the series is picked-up, this will add another major franchise for Amazon’s streaming service which already offers comic book (The Boys) and movie (The Lord of the Rings) adaptations.
My Friend Pedro TV Series
Following on from that, another video game is getting the TV treatment from a praised creator.
Co-creator of John Wick, Derek Kolstad is writing and executive producing a TV adaptation of My Friend Pedro.
My Friend Pedro is a 3-D, side-scroller shooter where the player entire a faux-Matrix bullet time sequence whenever they shoot.
Story wise, a man wakes up in an underground warehouse kind of place and is told by a banana (stay with me on this) to kill all the men inside who are supposedly criminals.
The game seems made for one half of the John Wick creators, with the show reportedly being a half-hour dramedy.
Pedro game creator, Victor Ågren, said in a statement, “The work of both Derek Kolstad and David Leitch [John Wick director] has been a huge influence on shaping My Friend Pedro.
No word on where the show will be released or when, just the assurance that it will be R-rated.
Film Production Resumes
While some countries still struggle to control COVID-19 (ahem, America), places that have are allowing film and television products to resume.
In New Zealand, a country that recorded 1 new case of COIVD-19 yesterday, is adding more major productions to resume.
After allowing James Cameron and crew to continue work on the Avatar sequels, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings TV series and Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop show are restarting production.
Cause it wouldn’t be New Zealand, without something Lord of the Rings related happening.
In the UK, productions are being given exemption to quarantine, as the country still has triple figure daily case numbers.
Films like Mission: Impossible 7, The Batman and Jurassic World: Dominion are allowed to ignore quarantine upon arrival in the country, with the mandate that cast and crew remain in a ‘bubble’ environment.
This means that cast and crew can allow move between the set and their place of residence.
While some films like Mission Impossible won’t complete all of their production, given their tendency for globe trotting stories, at least the filmmakers can make headway on the bulk of it.
Ennio Morricone RIP
Finally, on a sombre note, one of the most influential and important film composers, Ennio Morricone has died.
The Italian composer is revered for his work on The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, Cinema Paradiso, Once Upon A Time In The West, The Untouchables and The Hateful Eight along with nearly 500 other works.
He redefined the sound of the Western with his work with Sergio Leone and the ‘Spaghetti Westerns’, and his influence can still be heard today with Ludwig Goransson’s score for Disney+’s The Mandalorian.
Of a career spanning over 50 years, Morricone only won 1 Oscar for Best Original Score with his work on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
His music was innovative with incorporating electronic guitars for his Leone Westerns, and equal parts menacing and heroic which is a perfect balance for the morally grey West.
Morricone passed away aged 91, following issues after he fell and broke his femur last week.
Ennio Morricone (1928-2020)