Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Tim Minchin set to play Friar Tuck in Robin Hood: Origins

While he may be better known as the musical genius behind stage shows based on Matilda and Groundhog Day, Tim Minchin has plenty of acting credits on his CV. He is about to add another, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that he is set to play Friar Tuck in Robin Hood: Origins.





Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) is preparing to play the lead role of the legendary outlaw who returns from the Crusades and battles the corrupt likes of the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) while helping the locals survive.

Origins has been building an eclectic cast so far, including Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) on as Little John, Eve Hewson (Enough Said) as Maid Marian and Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades Of Grey) playing Will Scarlet. Scarlet is traditionally more known for his musical abilities than Tuck, but perhaps they are going in a different direction with everyone.

Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders) will direct the film in Budapest later this year, aiming at a 23 March 2018 release in the US with no confirmed date for the UK just yet.

Robert Downey Jr set for Man Of The People adaption

News arrives via Deadline that Robert Downey Jr, closing in on his tenth anniversary playing Tony Stark, will likely follow up production of the next two Avengers films with a biopic of non-doctor John Brinkley, whose use of goat glands for medicinal purposes was his ticket to infamy in the early part of the 20th Century.





The untitled film, based on the Man Of The People episode of the Reply All podcast, focuses on Brinkley, and his rise in America with his procedure to transplant goat testicles into humans, initially to cure impotency but then for a wide variety of maladies. Using the social media of the day, radio, Brinkley spread the word of what he was doing and grew so popular that he eventually ended up managing clinics and hospitals in a number of states, and even twice ran for public office in Kansas. And all of this without ever having received a genuine medical licence. And yet despite success that turned him into a multimillionaire – spoilers alert – Brinkley died penniless due to a wide variety of lawsuits (including malpractice, wrongful death and fraud) that he became the subject of.

The film will be produced by Downey Jr and his wife's Team Downey production company, with Richard Linklater (Boyhood) directing. Downey Jr will next be seen as Iron Man in this summer's Spider-Man: Homecoming, and is currently involved in back-to-back shooting on Avengers: Infinity War and a fourth untitled Avengers film, which he says "promises to be a year of fun-filled lensing." While the actor has appeared in recent years in The Judge (2014) and Chef (2014), there are persistent rumblings of a fourth Iron Man film, hardly surprising considering that the last entry in that series, Iron Man 3 (2013), pulled in $1.2 billion at the global box office.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Taikia Waititi set to direct Bubbles

He last brought us the wonderful Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016) and has been having fun in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Thor: Ragnarok, but Taika Waititi appears ready to head to an even stranger place. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he has signed on to co-direct Bubbles, a stop motion movie about the life of Michael Jackson's pet chimp.





Mark Gustafson, who has worked on movies such as Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and is developing a new Pinocchio with Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim), is on to co-direct the new film, which is coming from the team behind Anomalisa (2015).

Isaac Adamson's screenplay chronicles the ape's friendship with the King Of Pop after Jackson adopted him from a Texas research facility and gave him a home at his Neverland ranch in 1983. He lived with the megastar until he became too aggressive (Bubbles, not Jacko) and was moved to a primate sanctuary in Florida, where he still lives.

"It's an idea that fascinates me and one I want to develop further," says Waititi, who previously channeled obsession with Jackson through 2010 comedy Boy. "Most people know I'm a huge Michael Jackson fan, so the main thing for me is to make sure it's respectful of him and his legacy. I'm not interested in making a biopic; I want to focus on telling a story that blends fact and fantasy, about an animal trying to make sense of the world. This film is not about Michael Jackson because that's not a story for me to tell – or a story I'd be comfortable telling – it's about a chimpanzee's fascinating journey through the complex jungle of human life. I think animation is the only way to approach a story like this."

There is no date for this one to arrive yet, but it will certainly take time given the painstaking nature of stop motion. Thor: Ragnarok, meanwhile, will arrive in cinemas on 27 October in the UK and 3 November in the US.

Joel and Ethan Coen re-Writing Scarface reboot script

Though it lost its most recent director candidate (Antoine Fuqua) but there is good news for the latest version of Scarface. News arrives via Variety that Universal Pictures have Joel and Ethan Coen (Hail, Caesar!) providing their scriptwriting services to do a polish on the new movie's screenplay.




And the producers – which includes Martin Bregman who helped bring Brian De Palma's 1983 version starring Al Pacino to screens – appear to be close to finding a replacement director to call the shots, with Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) still attached to star as a Mexican gangster who is looking to carve out his own slice of the American dream.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, David Mackenzie (Hell Or High Water) is in the mix alongside the man who coincidentally originally hired him for what would become that film, Peter Berg (Lone Survivor). Mackenzie's story is the more intriguing one – unable to secure most studio jobs he has since become a toast of the town and is being offered scripts all over the place. And Berg, of course, has a history with Universal Pictures via Battleship (2012) and Lone Survivor (2013).

The new version still faces an uphill battle with some who don't really want to see another remake, even given that the 1983 film is itself exactly that. Still, Universal remains confident and has handed out a 10 August 2018 release for the film in the US.

Kevin Smith planning Jay And Silent Bob reboot satire

Despite seemingly closing the book on the View Askewniverse way back at the end of Dogma (1999), Kevin Smith just can't escape its gravitational pull. He has revisited the slackers of Clerks (1994) and has a series based on Mallrats (1995) currently in development limbo. But with other projects seemingly stalled, he is turning his attention back to his two most iconic creations – Jay And Silent Bob.


This is not a drill! This is an actual image from my laptop! Yes, Kids - @jayandsilentbob are coming back! Here's the story: Sadly, Clerks III can't happen (one of our four leads opted out of the flick). So I worked on a #Mallrats movie instead... which also didn't happen because it turned into a #Mallrats series. I've pitched said sequel series to 6 different networks only to find no takers thus far. Mind you, I'm not complaining: nobody gets to make EVERYTHING they wanna make in this business (do they?). And I've been lucky to make anything at all, there's so much competition out there, so many much cooler ideas from fresh folks. And besides: I had #comicbookmen and then @tuskthemovie and @yogahosers (which all came together so crazy quickly), and the podcasts and #fatmanonbatman. With all of that, how could I bitch about no Clerks III or Mallrats 2? Then when I started directing @thecw shows, it was such a slice of Heaven on Earth, I happily put my Askewniverse sequels to the side. Since I sold #Clerks and #Mallrats years ago, they're owned by others, which limits my moves with my own material. I don't mind: back in the day, all I ever wanted to do was sell my stuff so I could be in the movie biz in the first place. So I don't own Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy or #Dogma... But I DO own #jayandsilentbob. So while I love playing with someone else's new toys on @cwtheflash and @Supergirl, I'm getting eager to play with my old toys again in the inter-connected View Askewniverse I spent the first half of my career creating. And so all last month, I had the time of my life laughing while writing "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" - a fun flick in which the Jersey boys have to go back to Hollywood to stop a brand new reboot of the old "Bluntman & Chronic Movie" they hated so much. It's a tongue-in-cheek, silly-ass satire that pokes fun at the movie business's recent re-do obsession, featuring an all-star cast of cameos and familiar faces! And I already met with the good folks at Miramax and they're into it, so I'm hoping we'll be shooting in the summer! Never give up, kids. You CAN do anything you want in life, so long as you're patient and malleable. #KevinSmith
A post shared by Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) on


Though he has more recently been known for the genre-stretching likes of Tusk (2014) and Yoga Hosers (2016), or for directing episodes of DC's TV series, Smith has decided to take a swipe at reboot culture with a new Jay and Bob film that he will star in alongside regular partner in crime (and actual bestie) Jay Mewes.

Posting the above image to Instagram, Smith wrote a long post about his plans. "This is not a drill! This is an actual image from my laptop! Yes, Kids – Jay And Silent Bob are coming back! Here's the story: Sadly, Clerks III can't happen (one of our four leads opted out of the flick). So I worked on a Mallrats movie instead... which also didn't happen because it turned into a Mallrats series. I've pitched said sequel series to 6 different networks only to find no takers thus far.

"Then when I started directing The CW shows, it was such a slice of Heaven on Earth, I happily put my Askewniverse sequels to the side. Since I sold Clerks and Mallrats years ago, they're owned by others, which limits my moves with my own material. I don't mind: back in the day, all I ever wanted to do was sell my stuff so I could be in the movie biz in the first place. So I don't own Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy or Dogma... But I DO own Jay and Bob. So while I love playing with someone else's new toys, I'm getting eager to play with my old toys again in the interconnected View Askewniverse I spent the first half of my career creating.

"And so all last month, I had the time of my life laughing while writing Jay and Silent Bob Reboot – a fun flick in which the Jersey boys have to go back to Hollywood to stop a brand new reboot of the old Bluntman & Chronic movie they hated so much. It's a tongue-in-cheek, silly-ass satire that pokes fun at the movie business's recent re-do obsession, featuring an all-star cast of cameos and familiar faces! And I already met with the good folks at Miramax and they're into it, so I'm hoping we'll be shooting in the summer!"

So there we are... Jay and Bob are coming back. Again. And probably sooner than you think.

Joe Manganiello and Marley Shelton set to join Rampage

News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike) and Marley Shelton (Planet Terror) are set to join Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas) in the video game adaption Rampage.





Those of a certain age will remember feeding coins into the arcade cabinet (and later playing at home) to control three giant monsters – George (a giant gorilla), Lizzie (a huge lizard) and Ralph (a raging werewolf), who were normal humans until they were the subject of experiments by the nefarious Scumlabs and turned into their monstrous forms. Johnson is playing an animal loving hero who may be the only hope for saving the world, while Naomie Harris (SPECTRE) is on as a geneticist with a moral streak who decides to help.

Now we can add Manganiello as the leader of a private military group and Shelton – wife of producer Beau Flynn, who is reuniting with Johnson after San Andreas (2015) – playing an astronaut.

With San Andreas director Brad Peyton overseeing the madness, Rampage will be stomping into cinemas April next year.

Henry Cavill and Ben Kingsley set for new thriller Nomis

News arrive via The Hollywood Reporter that Henry Cavill (Man Of Steel) and Ben Kingsley (Hugo) are leading the cast of new psychological thriller Nomis.





Alexandra Daddario (San Andreas) has also signed on to the film, which writer and director David Raymond is currently shooting in Canada. The Hollywood Reporter's story doesn't specify what they will be doing in the film, but we do know that the story finds an American police force trapping an online predator, only to discover that the depth of his crimes goes beyond anything they had thought.

"I'm overjoyed by our cast," says Raymond. "Henry's got such a strong presence onscreen, but he's also incredibly smart and has a wicked sense of humor. I think people are going to be blown away by what he's going to do with this role. Sir Ben is always incredible. I wrote the character for him, so I was quite relieved when he signed on. Alexandra is a raw talent and has an undeniable electricity, which is exactly why I wanted her in this role."

Cavill has war film Sand Castle arriving later this year and will be back in the cape for Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016) follow-up Justice League, out 17 November. Kingsley will be seen in Collide and Per Fly's (The Inheritance) Backstabbing For Beginners, while Daddario can be seen the Baywatch reboot, which arrives on our screens 2 June.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig set for Toni Erdmann remake

Jack Nicholson turned 80 last month, and having not made a film since How Do You Know (2010), many in Hollywood had assumed he had retired. Indeed, as recently as last month, The Sun newspaper ran an article with the headline 'Jack Nicholson To Retire'. Almost as if in response to such headlines, word arrives via Variety that Nicholson will be starring in the English language remake of German comedy Toni Erdmann (2016), opposite Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids).





The original Toni Erdmann, written and directed by Maren Ade, was first released in Europe in 2016, and only saw a UK release in February. It starred Peter Simonischek as a fake teeth wearing prankster father, and Sandra Hüller as his highly strung daughter who finds herself on the receiving end of her father's practical jokes.

The film has received universal critical acclaim and swept the board at the European Film Awards back in December.

Adam McKay (The Big Short) will be shepherding the project as producer, with longtime partner Will Ferrell (Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy), and Wiig also producing. Original director Maren Ade will executive produce, but there is no word on who will helm the remake.

According to Variety, an English remake had been floated since May last year, but Nicholson was such a fan of the original film himself that he approached Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey, and the wheels quickly started to set in motion.

A People's History Of The Vampire Uprising set for big screen adaption

Anyone disappointed that Paramount Pictures have put a hold on the sequel to World War Z (2013) might take some undead solace in the news that producer and director Shawn Levy (Real Steel) and 20th Century Fox have acquired the rights to the forthcoming novel, A People's History Of The Vampire Uprising.




Written by Raymond A. Villareal, and intended to be the first of four volumes, the book will take its cue from World War Z as its to be told in an oral history format. As reported by Deadline, it deals with the "appearance, assimilation and ultimately epic and violent confrontation of vampires with the human race." The story will be told from a number of perspectives, most notably the CDC investigator who is the first person to realise that there is a new virus starting to spread, the first FBI agent assigned to the Gloaming (the name for the vampires) Crimes Unit, a librarian working in the Vatican, gossip website TMZ (!) and a civil rights attorney.

A People's History Of The Vampire Uprising is one of a variety of vampire projects that are on the horizon on both the big screen and the small, among them TV pilots for The Passage and Let The Right One In, and Anne Rice's intention of turning her Vampire Chronicles into a television series.

As far as World War Z is concerned, Paramount Pictures and star Brad Pitt have put the sequel on hold as they wait for the schedule of director David Fincher (Gone Girl) to free up. The pair certainly have form together, with Fincher directing Pitt in Se7en (1995), Fight Club (1999) and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008). The first World War Z grossed $540 million worldwide.

Richard Armitage added to Julie Delpy's My Zoe

Busy old time for Richard Armitage (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey). He was recently recruited for heist caper and spin-off Ocean's Eight. Now word arrives via Deadline that he will be part of the cast for Julie Delpy's (2 Days In Paris) sixth film as a director, My Zoe.





The indie drama already boasts Daniel Brühl (Rush), Lior Ashkenazy (Big Bad Wolves) and Sophia Ally (A Modest Defeat) in the cast, with Delpy on writing, directing and co-starring duty. The film follows the fallout of Isabelle (Delpy) and James's (Armitage) marriage. Their relationship is well and truly over, but they stay in touch to share parenting time for their daughter, Zoe. Until, that is, tragedy strikes, and Isabelle decides to take matters into her own hands.

In addition to Ocean's Eight (due to arrive in cinemas next year), Armitage has thriller Sleepwalker and historical drama Pilgrimage headed our way, though neither film has a UK release date as yet.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Jennifer Connelly joins Alita: Battle Angel

The cameras have been cranking on Robert Rodriguez' (Sin City) manga adaptation Alita: Battle Angel for a while now, and yet still the casting announcements come. News now arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Jennifer Connelly (Blood Diamond) has joined the film.





With Rodriguez directing and James Cameron (Avatar) producing – after years developing the project, he has chosen to focus on more Avatar movies – the film adapts Yukito Kishiro's original manga. Battle Angel Alita, as it was called in print and anime form, is the story of an amnesiac female cyborg in the 26th century who becomes a bounty hunter, after being rescued from the rubbish dump and rebuilt by a professor of cybernetics. Rosa Salazar (The Maze Runner) is playing Alita, while Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) will be the professor.

They will be facing the villainy of Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen) and Ed Skrein (Deadpool) and Mahershala Ali (Moonlight). As for Connelly, there is nothing official regarding her character yet, but she likely won't be aiding our heroes.

Alita: Battle Angel will be out on 20 July 2018. Before that, Connelly has true firefighting tale Granite Mountain, out in UK cinemas on 22 September.

New Friday The 13th's reboot shuts down

After several false starts, all looked to be finally getting back on track for the latest reboot of the Friday The 13th concept as director Breck Eisner (The Crazies) stepped aboard the project last year. But now news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Paramount Pictures have shut down the film just weeks before it was due to start shooting.





Whispers of fresh trouble for the reboot surfaced when the studio removed the film – alongside the World War Z (2013) sequel – from their planned release slot. While Jason Voorhees was to have been stalking screens in October, the movie is now back in development limbo. No official reason was given for the brakes being put on pre-production, though one source told The Hollywood Reporter that the movie was simply not ready to go. It probably didn't help that the studio's attempt to breathe new life into the Rings franchise didn't pay off quite as well as they had hoped.

We will have to wait and see what happens next, but for now, it appears that Friday The 13th, at least in its modern incarnation, is perennially unlucky.

Matthew McConaughey set to star in Harmony Korine's Beach Bum

Given his history of shirtless bongo drumming and laid back behaviour in his personal life, you can certainly imagine Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) has been preparing to star in a movie called The Beach Bum most of his adult life. And so it has come to pass, with news arriving via Screen International that his set to join Harmony Korine's (Spring Breakers) latest.





The Spring Breakers (2012) director is cooking up the new movie, but mostly keeping the plot to himself, besides acknowledging that McConaughey will be playing a rebellious, lovable rogue. "The Beach Bum will be a wild, audacious ride!" says Korine in a statement carried by Screen International. "And I can't think of anyone better than Matthew McConaughey to play our hero Moondog, a rebellious charmer in this fast-paced, uplifting and irreverent comedy."

Korine aims to have the cameras and the waves rolling in July.

As for McConaughey, he is currently on our screens in Gold and will next be seen in Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower, which arrives on 28 July.

Andrea Riseborough joins psychological drama Nancy

Following her brief appearance in Nocturnal Animals (2016), news now arrives via Variety that Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion) is set for a more substantial role in a new psychological drama called Nancy.





Director Christina Choe, who has often worked as an editor, but has been winning awards for her short films, will make her feature debut for this one, which has Riseborough as a woman who has spent her life impersonating others, but comes close to losing her entire personality, along with the one person who has ever loved her for who she really is when her web of lies begins to fall apart.

The cameras are already rolling, with J. Smith-Cameron (Man On A Ledge), Ann Dowd (Compliance), John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge!) and Steve Buscemi (Fargo) filling out the cast and Choe recruiting a crew that has all-female department heads, for a refreshing change. She also has the backing of Eon Productions' Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, which has our minds whirring with the conspiracy theory that this is secretly the next Bond film and Riseborough will be taking over the mantle from Daniel Craig.

More concretely, the actress will be seen in Armando Iannucci's (Veep) The Death Of Stalin, comedy outing Mindhorn and true-life tennis drama Battle Of The Sexes.

Michael Sheen and Michelle Monaghan set for The Price Of Admission

They have both been spending time on the small screen for acting jobs, but now news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon) and Michelle Monaghan (Source Code) are headed back to the cinema for director Peter Glanz' (The Longest Week) latest The Price Of Admission.





Pitched as a Charlie Kaufman-esque story of creativity warring with reality and a man at the end of his tether, the film will see Sheen as playwright Harold Sugar, who is dealing with a mid-life crisis. His work is suffering – not that it was ever amazing to begin with – and the strain is also taking its toll on his wife, Eliza (Monaghan). She is sick of taking a back seat to his work and wants to start a family, but he dives headfirst into an autobiographical play. As the lines between fiction and fact start to blur, he begins to lose his grip on sanity.

Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea), who is actually attached to star in another project Glanz has been developing, will produce this one.

Sheen will be seen in new drama Home Again and School Of Rock (2003) writer Mike White's comedy Brad's Status. Monaghan, in addition to her work on Hulu drama The Path, will appear in romantic drama Sidney Hall.