REEL NEWS: MAY 11TH-MAY 18TH
This week; Mad Max: Fury Road sequel news, more Mandalorian casting, DC's TV universe gets a new show, there's another Scarface remake, R.Pats gets weird in a GQ interview, and another day, another New Mutants release date.
Avatar Sequel Production Cost & Resume
The highly-anticipated sequels to the biggest movie of all time…what’s it called again? The one with the blue people?
Oh, yeah, Avatar
The Avatar sequels have resumed filming in New Zealand, after the country recorded 0 new cases thanks to a competent leader, testing and social distancing.
The crew were able to continue work on the visual effects at Weta Workshop in Wellington, but filming halted back in April.
It has also been revealed via Deadline that the 4 upcoming sequels will cost $1 billion in total, which is about $250 million each.
To celebrate the return to production, the film’s Twitter page released an image of the cast in Cameron’s next technology-pushing set-up.
The cast are seen with their performance capture dots and face-cameras, while floating in a near million-gallon tank of water surrounded by white balls that block out light from entering the water and affecting the filming underneath.
After breaking new ground with 3-D technology, Cameron is aiming to achieve the same with motion capture by tracking performances underwater.
Concept art of the film teased a focus on more water-based locales on the planet of Pandora, which would explain the giant tank.
Aquaman 2 eat your heart out.
The Mandalorian Season 2 Casting
Okay, is anyone NOT going to be in The Mandalorian?
Katee Sackhoff, star of Battlestar: Galactica, is reported to appear in The Mandalorian Season 2 as Bo Katan, who she has voiced in The Clone Wars and Rebels.
On top of that, Timothy Olyphant (Justified, Santa Clarita Diet) has also been cast as an unnamed role in the hit show.
The pair will join, Michael Biehn, Rosario Dawson, and Temuera Morrison as newcomers to the Baby Yoda Show.
Not much can be drawn from Olyphant’s casting, but Sackhoff’s adds more fuel to the fire of potential directions for Season 2.
With the inclusion of Bo Katan, combined with Ahsoka Tano, possibly Captain Rex, the Dark Saber seen at the end of Season 1 and Dave Filoni as show producer, Mandalorian Season 2 could see these character’s stories be continued on from Star Wars: Rebels, which Filoni created.
The Mandalorian is still set to be released on Disney+ this October.
RDJ Adapting Sweet Tooth from DCVertigo
Robert Downey Jr. has moved on from Marvel comics and is now adapting DC/Vertigo comic Sweet Tooth.
RDJ is producing the project with his wife through their production company ‘Team Downey’, and distributed by Netflix.
Sweet Tooth, the comic, is from Jeff Lemire and is described as Mad Max meets Bambi. It follows Gus, a human/animal hybrid who is isolated after a pandemic (ooft, read the room guys) and travels across the American wasteland to find the ‘Preserve’, a refuge for hybrids
Netflix has ordered 8, 1-hour episodes for the first season, with Jim Mickle (Hap & Leonard) and Beth Schwartz (Arrow) as showrunners.
Black Widow Release Moved Forward
Black Widow will be hitting screens earlier than expected…in the UK that is.
The UK release of the upcoming Marvel instalment has been moved to October 28th, a week earlier than the global November 6th release.
This is not uncommon as most Marvel movies get an earlier release in countries like the UK and Australia.
As countries manage to control the virus, and others don’t *cough* America *cough*, perhaps studios may start releasing movies earlier in certain countries to gain a money flow and possible hype for it in other countries.
Japan & China Cinemas Begin to Re-Open
Japan has begun to cautiously re-open cinemas, a few days after China announced its own process.
In China, theatre chains may reopen so long as they limit attendance numbers, and obey other guidelines issued by the Chinese government.
There is no date as to when they are open, especially considering there is next to no content to show.
In Japan, the least affected areas of the country will have their state of emergence lifted and 10 theatres from Toho Cinemas, the country’s largest chain, will be reopen in these areas.
Aeon Cinemas, another major chain in Japan, have also announced partial openings of 27 centres.
Both countries have recorded less than 50 new cases, with dwindling numbers each day.
New Mutants August 28th
Here we go again.
The New Mutants has received a new release date but don’t hold your breath on it.
New Mutants is scheduled for an August 28th release, the film’s 5th release change.
Originally set for April 13, 2018, the film was pushed to February 22, 2019 to avoid Deadpool 2.
Then it was moved to August 2, 2019 to avoid X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Then Disney bought 20th Century Fox, and the film was put on hold until an April 3rd 2020 release.
Then COVID-19 happened and it was pulled from schedule, with many speculating Disney would bite the bullet and put the gestating film on Disney+.
Until now, with hopefully a permanent release date so that Fox’s X-Men series can be put to rest.
As they say, 5th times the charm.
Jeffery Epstein Netflix Series
Netflix’s latest true-crime documentary, Jeffery Epstein: Filthy Rich has a trailer and release date.
Set to be released May 27th, the series explores the disturbing case of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein who was arrested for paedophilia and sexually assault of under-age women.
Epstein was arrested and died in police custody in 2019, under strange circumstances that resulted in many theories that he did not kill himself but was killed to prevent him from exposing others like him.
This sprung from, as the trailer posits, his ties with other billionaires like Donald Trump and convicted child sex offender, Prince Andrew.
The series is a four-part documentary, based on a book of the same name by James Patterson and John Connolly and has interviews with the survivors of Epstein’s abuse.
Directed by Lisa Bryant and produced by Joe Berlinger (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile) and will be released May 27th.
Robert Pattinson GQ Breakdown
As a result of the state of affairs, Robert Pattinson has started involuntary method acting by becoming a reclusive millionaire who might be unhinged, as seen in a recent, bizarre GQ interview.
In it Pattinson is candid about how he is handling isolation, his business model of fast-food pasta, reclusiveness from Hollywood, his chaotic energy complete with an eccentric cooking segment and working on Nolan’s Tenet and Matt Reeve’s The Batman.
The Batman production halted in London, leaving Pattinson to continue his workout regime and dieting. Well, that’s at least what the filmmakers told him to do.
Pattinson said “I think if you’re working out all the time, you’re part of the problem. You set a precedent. No one was doing this in the ’70s. Even James Dean—he wasn’t exactly ripped.”
Finally, a Batman that isn’t chiselled from stone and sets a reasonable body standard for men, like Adam West and his portly figure.
Pattinson also responded to any fears he may had on the project saying, “It’s fun when more and more ground has been covered. Like, where is the gap?”
This lines up with director Matt Reeve’s comments from last year to The Hollywood Reporter that, “It’s very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale. It’s more Batman in his detective mode than we’ve seen in the films”
Jumping forward (or backward, who knows with Nolan) to Tenet, Pattinson hyped that “In each country there’s, like, an enormous set-piece scene, which is like the climax of a normal movie.”
Pattinson also put rumours to bed saying, “There’s actually no time travelling. That’s, like, the one thing I’m approved to say”
Check out the rest of the wild interview at GQ as we wait with baited breath for Tenet, which is heralded to save cinemas.
Ball & Chain Now At Netflix
Netflix have added another superhero property to their line-up of content.
The recently announced The Rock and Emily Blunt superhero adaptation, Ball & Chain has been picked up by Netflix.
This adds to Netflix increasing comic book/superhero line up with Sweet Tooth, The Umbrella Academy, The Old Guard, Millarworld comics including Jupiter’s Legacy and the now defunct Netflix/Marvel collaboration.
Ball & Chain sees two superheroes, who are married deal with a failing marriage while saving the world. The twist is that their powers only work when the pair are near each other; let the hilarity ensue.
Ghosts of Tsushima
Sony have released gameplay footage of their upcoming PS4 exclusive game, Ghosts of Tsushima.
From Sucker Punch (Infamous, Sly Cooper), the game looks to be essentially ‘Assassin’s Creed: Japan’ with the Instant Kill option, countering combat and other trappings of modern games.
Set in 13th century Japan, you play as samurai Jin who must defend his land from the invading Mongol empire.
Sucker Punch have added (or I guessed, removed) open world features like a directional arrow or waypoints, forcing players to keep an eye on the direction the wind blows and distant smoke for direction.
Another cool feature (for cinephiles) is the black-and-white filter that transforms the game into a classic Akira Kurosawa film akin to Seven Samurai or The Hidden Fortress.
Ghosts of Tsushima is set for release, July 17th.
Percy Jackson Disney+ Series
Rick Riordan’s YA-fantasy novel series is getting a second shot at an adaptation, courtesy of Disney (obviously).
Riordan announced on Twitter that the book series would be turned into a series for Disney+, with the first season focusing on the first book Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief.
Riordan said, “We are very excited about the idea of a live-action series of the highest quality, following the storyline of the original Percy Jackson five-book series”
The Percy Jackson series focuses on the typical, YA-fantasy story of an ordinary person who is actually special ala Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen…that girl from Twilight.
Percy learns that he is a demigod and the son of Poseidon, who in the first book has to find and return Zeus’ lightning.
The series was previously adapted with the Logan Lerman film series which adapted the first book and Percy Jackson & The Sea of Monsters in 2010 and 2013 respectively, before dying with the rest of the YA-craze.
Disney acquire the rights to the series in the 20th Century Fox purchase.
Hooray, another remake.
Scarface is receiving another remake from Luca Guadagnino, director of Call Me By Your Name and the 2018 remake of Suspiria.
A remake has been in the works for over a decade with David Ayer and Antoine Fuqua both attached at various points to helm the project.
This will be the second remake of the now classic gangster film, with Al Pacino & Brian De Palma’s film a remake of a 1932 film.
The 1932 version saw an Italian take over the Chicago underworld, where De Palma’s 1983 version saw Cuban gangster control the cocaine trade in Miami.
Guadagnino will be set in Los Angeles, with a script from the Coen Brother’s who are known for Fargo, No Country for Old Men and True Grit.
Diego Luna (Narcos: Mexico, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) was previously attached to the film, but appears to have the left the project after being on board for over 2 years.
The film is produced by Universal Studios with no release date announced.
Mad Max Fury Road Sequel Update
5 years on from the masterpiece that is Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller has given an official update on plans for the next instalment of the Road Warrior series.
Miller confirmed that the follow up will be a prequel focused on Charlize Theron’s one-armed greaser, Furiosa.
Miller said in the New York Times interview, “After we finish [his latest film Three Thousand Years of Longing], and hopefully everything settles down with the pandemic, we’ll see what the world allows us to do with Furiosa”
Miller had plans for the prequel even before filming begun on Fury Road and even got the cast to read the film’s screenplay.
Miller is casting for the role of a younger Furiosa, avoiding de-ageing Theron in fear of the ‘uncanny valley’ that is still a side-effect of the technology.
Fury Road production designer Colin Gibson, who won the Academy Award for the film, will also be returning and teased that this film will have more vehicles than Fury Road’s 135 vehicles made for the film.
Cinematographer John Seale is also returning after retiring under the stipulation that if Miller called, he’d return.
What a day. What a lovely day.
Popeye Animated Film
Deformed sailor, with a propensity for consuming spinach, Popeye is getting a new animated movie. Well, not exactly new.
The project comes from Genndy Tartakovsky who was working on an animated Popeye film at Sony Pictures, until leaving in 2015.
Test footage was released in 2014 which displayed a vision of Tartakovsky’s film being a slapstick heavy, 3D animated film.
Now, Tartakovsky has partnered with King Features, the comic book company that owns the license to Popeye.
Tartakovsky is most known for his 2D animated series Samurai Jack and also directed the three Hotel Transylvania films for Sony.
The CW DC Universe, or ‘Arrowverse’ has continued to expand, with news about the upcoming season, new series and next year’s crossover event.
Superman & Lois, a spin-off from the Supergirl series, was announced around the time of the Crisis on Infinite Earths epic crossover, and now has an air date.
The show will premiere sometime in January of 2021, with the immediate time slot after The Flash.
The rest of the DC series, will not be returning for a new season in 2020, like they normally would but instead premiere in January alongside Superman & Lois, as a result of the productions being shut down.
The current rumour is that next year’s DC crossover will much smaller in scale than Crisis with a two-hour crossover between Batwoman and Superman & Lois.
There was no way to top Crisis, so reverting to the original two series crossover like with Arrow and The Flash way back when is a safe move.
Also, seeing any variation of a member of the Super family and the Bat family teaming-up will bring in audiences.
DC Comic Runs Ending
As comic distribution slowly makes a comeback, DC have announced the conclusion to a number of their runs.
Supergirl, which has had multiple writers on the series, will finish in June with issue #42 being released digitally only at this time, and written by Jody Houser.
The Terrifics, will also conclude digitally by September with issue #30 being written be Gene Luen Yang, who took over from Jeff Lemire.
Harley Quinn is also finishing with Sam Humphries ending his 4-year run on the series with an extra-sized issue #75, joined by artists like Nicola Scott, Emanuela Lupacchino and Riley Rossmo.
Lastly, Joshua Williamson will end his run as writer on The Flash, after writing since the Rebirth event in 2016.
Williamson was influential on the Scarlett Speedster, writing the charcter’s own Year One origin story, and creating the villain of Godspeed who quickly (ay, get it?) appeared on The Flash TV series.
Williamson will end with the ‘Finish Line’ story arc which will see Flash battle his nemesis, Reverse-Flash.
All of these conclusions to long-running series, may be in anticipation of upcoming DC event comics like Dark Knights: Death Metal from Scott Snyder, Joker War from James Tynion IV, Three Jokers from Geoff Johns and the long-rumoured DC Generations.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Streaming. The Latest Frontier.
While the film universe fades away, the Star Trek TV universe is warping ahead.
Shows like Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard have been mostly received well from fans and critics, and more are on the way.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will see Anson Mount return as Captain Christopher Pike in a series set on the Enterprise, pre-Captain James Tiberius Kirk takes the helm.
Mount played Pike in the 2nd season of Discovery alongside Ethan Peck who played the logical, point-eared Spock and Rebecca Romijn (Mystique in the X-Men films) who played Number One and who are all returning for the series.
Number One is the second-in-command to Captain Pike, a role which is filled by Spock when Kirk takes over.
One of the many criticisms of the recent Star Trek series has been their dower, gritty and stark tone, which is the antithesis of Gene Rodenberry’s creation of a hopeful future.
Thankfully, according to Mount, the series will be a “classic Star Trek show that deals with optimism and the future”, which we could all use right now.
Lord & Miller Send Ryan Gosling Into Space
Shut up and take my money.
Creators of The LEGO Movie and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse + writer of The Martian + talented, Hollywood leading man = Sign me up.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller are working on directing and producing a sci-fi, astronaut movie with Ryan Gosling attached to star and based on the author of The Martian, Andy Weir’s next novel.
Weir’s next novel does not have a title yet beyond Project Hail Mary and its synopsis is that of a lone astronaut who is tasked with traveling space to save the planet.
Lord & Miller making a sci-fi movie about a lone space hero…a SOLO space hero one might say… (this is a reference to Lord & Miller getting kicked off the Han Solo film for not sticking to Disney’s brief).
Perhaps we might see some of those abandoned ideas finally realised in what is definitely one of my most anticipated films of ever.
Edgar Wright's Latest Film Delayed
Finally, while the world slowly calms down, the impact of COVID are still being felt with hopefully the last film delays.
David Lowery’s (A Ghost Story, The Old Man & The Gun) latest The Green Knight and Edgar Wright’s (Baby Driver, Hot Fuzz) new Last Night In Soho have both been delayed till 2021.
The Green Knight is based on Arthurian legend and saw Dev Patel play King Arthur’s nephew Gawain go on a quest to beat the titular Green Knight.
It was intended to premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas but when the festival was cancelled, the movie faced the inevitable delayed queue of other films.
Last Night in Soho has not been given a synopsis beyond it being a psychological thriller set in a neon-drenched London about a woman who travels from the modern day to the swingin’ 60s where they are anything but swingin’.
Two of the most anticipated movies of 2020 are now the most anticipated, hopefully, of 2021.