Tuesday, 22 August 2017

JD Payne and Patrick McKay set to adapt A People's History Of The Vampire Uprising

World War Z, in novel form at least, is a sprawling story of undead encounters told from different points of view. Switch the subject matter to the fang club and you have got some idea of what A People's History Of The Vampire's Uprising is all about. Now news arrives via Deadline that 20th Century Fox and Shawn Levy's (Real Steel) 21 Laps company have now hired writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay to adapt Raymond Villareal's upcoming novel.

Deadline also likens the story, which 21 Laps picked up back in February, to Traffic (2001) and the title describes the concept pretty much perfectly. Villareal's novel aims to put a new spin on the usual vampire mythology by charting the spread of a worldwide epidemic as seen by different people. Now all we have to wonder is whether this will be a straight adaptation of the novel or something that remixes it much as Marc Forster's World War Z (2013) did with it's source material.

Payne and McKay have already written one film for Levy, having worked on Deadliest Warrior, set up at Paramount Pictures. As for the actual novel of A People's History Of The Vampire Uprising, that isn't set to hit shelves until next summer.

"What good thing has ever happened in a cornfield, Al?"

Netflix have just released their first trailer and one sheet for Eli Craig's (Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil) latest horror comedy Little Evil.

It can be hard for a parent to bond with a stepchild, but for Adam Scott's (Step Brothers) Gary, it is going to be a devil of a time.

Gary has seemingly found a perfect life with Evangeline Lilly's (Ant-Man) Samantha – they are in love, they just got married and now they have moved in together at Samantha's house. There is just one small problem... Samantha's son, Lucas (Owen Atlas). Both moody and somewhat weird, Gary is starting to suspect he might actually be the son of Satan.

Cue a lot of worried running around and Lucas proving that there is definitely something wrong there. Think The Omen (1976) meets Problem Child (1990)...

With Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil (2010) director Eli Craig calling the shots, the film also features the likes of Bridget Everett (Trainwreck), Tyler Labine (Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil), Donald Faison (Scrubs) and Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption).

Little Evil will arrive on Netflix on 1 September.

Ed Skrein on for the new Hellboy

Already no stranger to tough guys or comic book adaptations – as his work in The Transporter Refueled (2015) and Deadpool (2016) will attest – Ed Skrein is set to head back into both worlds, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that he has scored a role in the new Hellboy.

The film, which may or may not end up subtitled Rise Of The Blood Queen, already has Neil Marshall (The Descent) directing and David Harbour (Stranger Things) playing the main character. Skrein is joining up to play Major Ben Daimio, a rugged sort who was a consultant with Big Red's employers the Bureau for Paranormal Research that eventually scored a full-time job. And his credentials go further than his Marine Corps training – after a supernatural encounter, he turns into a were-jaguar whenever he is in pain or suitably angry.

The casting of Skrein in the role will no doubt raise some eyebrows and won't be greeted with universal acclaim, as the character in the comics is Japanese-American. In an era when the likes of Ghost In The Shell are called out for whitewashing Asian characters in particular, it certainly seems like a strange choice, no matter the actor's credentials.

Skrein will join the likes of Ian McShane (Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) and recent recruit Sasha Lane (American Honey) in the film, due to kick off shooting next month. As for another high profile gig, Skrein will show up in Alita: Battle Angel, due out on 20 July next year.

Pedro Pascal set to play the villain in The Equalizer sequel

When you have Denzel Washington as your leading man, you need a suitably sneaky threat to go up against him. And the producers of The Equalizer (2014) sequel think they have their man, with news arriving via Variety that Pedro Pascal is set to join.

With Antoine Fuqua back in the director's chair, the film is largely being kept quiet beyond the fact that Washington will return as Robert McCall, a former special ops agent who reluctantly trades a quiet life for helping the helpless.

Last time out, he took on a Russian syndicate, but there are no details yet on what Pascal will be doing to get on McCall's radar. We can assume it will be something criminal though...

Fuqua is gearing up to direct the movie, which is already targeting a 14 September 2018 release date. As for Pascal, he is on the side of justice for his next film, playing one of the Statesmen in Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, due to arrive in UK cinemas on 20 September.

Disney's new Aladdin adds Numan Acar

While the main cast is in place for Walt Disney Pictures' new, live action version of Aladdin (1992), director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) is filling in some of the supporting roles. News arrives via Deadline that he has now hired Homeland veteran Numan Acar.

With a script from John August (Big Fish), this new film will both channel the 1992 animated original and the classic story of the young street thief who falls for a princess and battles a nefarious villain with the help of a powerful genie. Mena Massoud (Jack Ryan) and Naomi Scott (Power Rangers) are playing Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, with Marwan Kenzari (Ben Hur) as the evil Jafar and Will Smith (I Am Legend) likely squeezing into performance capture togs or just hitting the voice booth to bring the genie to life.

Acar, who has also been seen in The Great Wall (2016) and The Promise (2016), will play Hakim, head of the palace guards and right-hand man to Jafar.

Ritchie's version of the story has yet to lock down a release date, but we can expect it to arrive in the next couple of years. Acar will next show up in In The Fade and in Horse Soldiers, which is out on 26 January next year.

Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello and Gwilym Lee join Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody

Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) is already aboard, ready to prove his pipes to play Freddie Mercury. But Bryan Singer (X-Men: Days Of Future Past) and his team have now locked in the people to play the rest of Queen in Bohemian Rhapsody. News arrives via Variety that Ben Hardy, Joe Mazello and Gwilym Lee are the chosen trio.

Singer is gearing up to start filming in the autumn, with Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road) providing the script for the film, which will document the rise of Mercury and his band mates, with the real life Brian May and Roger Taylor involved as producers and music overseers.

Hardy is set as Taylor, the band's drummer while Lee is playing lead guitarist May. Mazello, meanwhile, is bass master John Deacon.

This certainly marks a real step forward for a film – spearheaded by producer Graham King (Argo) – that has seen a few false starts in its time. Sacha Baron Cohen (The Brothers Grimsby) was attached to play the lead for Sony Pictures, but the movie is now set up at 20th Century Fox with Singer in the director's chair. It will feature some of the band's biggest hits and should be out in cinemas around Christmas 2018.

"Welcome to Suburbicon, a town of great wonder and excitement."

Entertainment One have just released their first trailer for George Clooney's (The Monuments Men) Suburbicon.

George Clooney is becoming as prolific for his work behind the camera as he is in front of it. That trend continues with crime comedy Suburbicon, Clooney's sixth film as director, which also boasts the might of a script co-written by Joel and Ethan Coen (Hail, Caesar!).

A dark crime comedy set in the 1950s, the Suburbicon of the title refers to a peaceful suburban community, full of white picket fences and manicured lawns. That peace is about to be shattered when the wife of Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) is murdered. What follows is a bloody tale of revenge against some rather unsavoury mobsters.

The script for Suburbicon dates back to 1986 – the Coen brothers wrote it shortly after completing their debut Blood Simple (1984). Clooney and his regular co-writer Grant Heslov (The Monuments Men) rewrote it, changing the setting from present day to 1959. 

With Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Julianne Moore (Crazy, Stupid, Love.) also in the cast, Suburbicon will be out on 24 November in the UK, following a 27 October debut in the US.

New trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle arrives online

20th Century Fox have just released their latest trailer for Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) follow-up Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

It was perhaps the worst kept secret in the world of movies, teased last year with a poster featuring the quote 'Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated'. But now it is official, with 20th Century Fox releasing their latest one sheet for Kingsman: The Golden Circle with Firth once again taking top billing.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle reunites director Vaughn with his regular screenwriter Jane Goldman, and returning cast members Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson and Edward Holcroft.

This time around, Egerton's gentleman spy Eggsy joins forces with the Kingsman's US counterparts, the Statesmen, to stop the machinations of Poppy (Julianne Moore.) Vaughn has gathered quite the cast around them, with Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street), Halle Berry (Cloud Atlas), Pedro Pascal (Game Of Thrones) and Elton John. No, seriously, Elton John. That Elton John.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle arrives in cinemas 20 September.

Jessie T. Usher set to play Son Of Shaft

Another new version of Shaft has been in the works for a little while now – and Ride Along (2014) director Tim Story was recruited to make it back in January. Now news arrives via Deadline that the new movie – Son Of Shaft – will be playing up the generational angle, with Richard Roundtree, Samuel L. Jackson and Jessie T. Usher (Independence Day: Resurgence) all taking roles.

Roundtree, of course, famously originated the character in the 1971 classic. Jackson was another John Shaft in the 2000 reboot, this time the nephew of the original. Now here comes Usher, still best known for Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) as the son of Jackson's character. He is an FBI agent, trained in technology crime and is forced to team up with his old man in a clash of cultures and after a long estrangement.

Story should have the cameras rolling later this year, with Kenya Barris (Girls Trip) on script duty. Usher can also be found on US TV in Survivor's Remorse, which recently returned to screens.

Gemma Chan joins Mary Queen Of Scots

Following our first look at Saoirse Ronan as the title character in Mary Queen Of Scots, news arrives via Deadline that Gemma Chan (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) will joining her.

Mary Queen Of Scots is of course one of those endlessly re-examined stories – the tragic Scottish queen lived a life marred by death, high drama and international intrigue. As a baby she was engaged to the heir to the French throne, who she later married – but he died young and she returned to Scotland to be the centre of conspiracies both romantic and political. Cue failed marriages, disastrously bad decisions, possible murders, imprisonment and a serious falling out with her cousin Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie).

Chan is playing Bess of Hardwick, who was Elizabeth's friend and confidante and, with her husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, eventually ended up becoming one of Mary's captors for 15 years.

Josie Rourke, artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse, is currently calling the shots for latest iteration of the film, which has attempted to come together before, but never quite made it to the screen. So this is certainly good news.

The likes of Jack Lowden (Denial), Joe Alwyn (Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk), Martin Compston (The Disappearance Of Alice Creed) and new recruits Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey), David Tennant (Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire) and Guy Pearce (The Hurt Locker) bolster the cast for the film, which has a script by House Of Cards creator Beau Willimon based on John Guy's acclaimed biography My Heart Is My Own: The Life Of Mary Queen Of Scots. There is no word yet on a release date.

Jerry Lewis: Comedy legend dies aged 91

One of Hollywood's most successful comedians, a pratfall master, a troubled talent and a sensation in France. All of those and more apply to Jerry Lewis, who has died aged 91.

Born Joseph Levitch in Newark, New Jersey in 1926, to show business parents, Lewis picked up a knack for performing at an early age. He made his debut at the age of 5 in a hotel singing Brother Can You Spare A Dime. A natural wisecracker, he began pantomiming opera and popular songs as a teenager, scoring bookings at burlesque houses and at Brown's Hotel in New York, where he was making ends meet as a busboy. Irving Kane, a working comic, was impressed by his seemingly raw talent enough to represent him and work as his road manager.

Through his career, he worked on screens big and small, and had several shows named after him. Most famously, he partnered with Dean Martin for a series of comedy films, and had a successful run together for a decade before personal issues split them apart. In cinema, Lewis enjoyed some big hits, such as The Nutty Professor (1963), and won praise for his won in The King Of Comedy (1982) before making his own stabs at writing, producing and directing his own output. But those rarely worked out, and he infamously made concentration camp comedy The Day The Clown Cried (1972), which has entered into filmmaking legend. American audiences rarely had too much time for him, but he found a big following in France, where he received the Legion Of Honour in 1983. He also hit it big as a Vegas performer and recording artist, releasing several albums.

But Lewis' fortunes were never always positive – he battled bankruptcy, addictions and a reputation as a difficult person to work with. He also got into trouble for making racist jokes and, during one of his regular hosting gigs at his annual Muscular Dystrophy telethons, he got into trouble for making a gay slur on camera.

In an interview, Lewis once said the key to his success had been in maintaining a certain child-like quality, but added: "I've had great success being a total idiot."

"I look at the world through a child's eyes because I'm nine," he told Reuters in 2002.

"I stayed that way. I made a career out of it. It's a wonderful place to be."

Actor Jim Carrey  (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind), whose comedy style was strongly influenced by Jerry Lewis, said: "That fool was no dummy. Jerry Lewis was an undeniable genius an unfathomable blessing, comedy's absolute. I am because he was!"

There were also tributes from the daughters of Lewis's longtime associates Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

"Dear Jerry, Dad will be as happy to see you as I'm sad to see you go. Give him one of your bear hugs for me. I'll always love you," tweeted Nancy Sinatra.

Deana Martin also wrote on Twitter: "I'm heartbroken at the loss of our life-long friend (Uncle) Jerry Lewis. I've loved him all my life and will miss him greatly."

He is survived by his second wife, SanDee Pitnick, and their daughter.

Ours thoughts are with his friends and family.


New quad poster for George Clooney's Suburbicon arrives online

Entertainment One have just released a new quad sheet for George Clooney's (The Monuments Men) Suburbicon.

George Clooney is becoming as prolific for his work behind the camera as he is in front of it. That trend continues with crime comedy Suburbicon, Clooney's sixth film as director, which also boasts the might of a script co-written by Joel and Ethan Coen (Hail, Caesar!). 

The script for Suburbicon dates back to 1986 – the Coen brothers wrote it shortly after completing their debut Blood Simple (1984). Clooney and his regular co-writer Grant Heslov (The Monuments Men) rewrote it, changing the setting from present day to 1959. Set in quiet small town Suburbicon, full of picket fences and manicured lawns, it sees Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) find his peaceful life disrupted by the Mafia. A bloody journey of revenge inevitably follows.

Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Julianne Moore (Crazy, Stupid, Love.) also star in the film, which is heading towards a 24 November release date.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars standalone movie in the works

It has been speeding through the rumour hyperspace for at least a couple of years, but it looks like the idea is now jumping into reality, lights blazing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm are now in the early planning stages for an Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars standalone movie.

But before Ewan McGregor starts shrugging on the robe and digs his lightsaber out of the cupboard, there is no script in place and no word on casting, as no one is yet saying where in the Jedi master's life the movie will take place. There is a chance it could flash back to his days before the prequel trilogy, or fill in some time between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005) and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).

So far, all that is even close to being known is that Stephen Daldry is in very early talks to make it. The man behind Billy Elliot (2000) and The Hours (2002) is certainly an unexpected choice, as he has little on his CV to suggest him wanting to jump into the Star Wars universe, but he is an experienced director and would certainly bring some extra gravitas to the movie.

There has been no official announcement from Disney or Lucasfilm, so we will still consider this one nebulous until confirmed. Still, this is the closest the project has come to being official. As always. watch this space.

Patty Jenkins returning to direct Wonder Woman sequel

It is hardly a surprise, since there had already been talk of her involvement in the movie's early development, but now news arrives via Deadline that Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins is signing her deal to make the sequel.

Given the success of the film, it was only a matter of time before Warner Bros secured her services, and the studio has reportedly offered her a handsome raise to come back and call the shots again, putting her on a much deserved par with her male colleagues in terms of earnings.

Warner Bros made word of the sequel official at this years San Diego Comic Con, announcing a December 2019 release date. Other than that, and the fact that it will once again star Gal Gadot as the Amazonian warrior princess, no details have been released in terms of setting or other casting. Now, at least, the project has a definite leader.

As for Gadot's Wonder Woman character, she will be back on our screens in Justice League, due to arrive in cinemas 17 November.

Michael B. Jordan attached to A Bittersweet Life

News arrives via Deadline that Kim Jee-woon's well regarded Korean action thriller A Bittersweet Life (2005) is heading for an American remake, with Michael B. Jordan (Creed) set to star and Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 2) in line to direct the new movie.

Jordan will take over the lead role of a criminal underworld enforcer who has his boss's absolute trust in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. That loyalty is soon challenged though when he is ordered to kill one of his employer's girlfriends, a woman that our hero has grown close to. Cue bullets flying, punches landing and a whole heap of trouble.

Shawn Levy's (Real Steel) 21 Laps company is producing the movie and 20th Century Fox are on board to finance and distribute. Jordan has Marvel's Black Panther due on 16 February next year, and will also be seen in HBO's new take on Fahrenheit 451. Nelson, a veteran of DreamWorks Animation, is currently at work on her live-= action directorial debut, an adaptation of young adult novel The Darkest Minds.