Howard the Duck: Robin Williams quit the movie after three days
July 26, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
The notoriously awful HOWARD THE DUCK celebrates its thirty-fifth anniversary this year, and although it has gone on to become something of a cult classic, at the time, the cast and crew feared that they’d never work again. Howard the Duck stars Lea Thompson and Chip Zien recently spoke with THR about the film, and Zien revealed a very interesting tidbit regarding Robin Williams involvement with the film.
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Chip Zien had been starring in a production of Merrily We Roll Along when he was asked to audition for the voice of Howard the Duck. “I was kind of offended,” Zien said. “I was miffed. And I told my agent. He said, ‘Oh, my God! Someone came to you about Howard the Duck? Chip, it’s huge! This is a great thing! I am going to call right away.’ And then I became aware that everyone in the world was auditioning for it, from big names to people like me.” One of those big names was Robin Williams, and as Zien tells it, Williams actually got the role but wound up leaving after three days. During production, all of Howard’s lines were read on set by puppeteers with the animatronic bill synced to their performance, which meant that a performer like Robin Williams who thrives on improvisation was boxed in with what he could do.
What I was told was by the third day, Robin said, ‘I can’t do this. It is insane. I can’t get the rhythm of this. I am being confined. I am being handcuffed in order to match the flapping duck’s bill.’ So, on Memorial Day 1985, I got a call from my agent who said, ‘You have to get right to the airport! Robin Williams just quit and you’re now Howard the Duck. You need to get there tonight. There is a ticket waiting for you at the counter.’ I was incredibly excited.
It’s interesting to think that there could be tapes of Robin Williams voicing Howard the Duck sitting on a shelf somewhere. It’s probably just as well that Williams didn’t stick with Howard the Duck, as the very next year found him reaching new heights with Good Morning, Vietnam. You can check out the rest of THR’s excellent Howard the Duck feature right here.
Jackie Mason Dies: comedy legend was 93
July 25, 2021 by: Chris Bumbray
Some sad news this weekend, with it announced via THR last night that beloved comedian Jackie Mason has passed away peacefully in his sleep at 93. He had been in the hospital for a few weeks for various issues. Although he had a long career on both stage and screen, most readers will probably know him for his Emmy-winning, recurring role voicing Krusty the Clown’s rabbi father on The Simpsons. As Mason himself had been a rabbi before changing careers and becoming a stand-up comic, the casting was ironic. He had been known for cracking wise during his services, and his reputation was so strong that non-Jewish people started coming to the church to check him out. As he once said in an interview (excerpted by THR), “I realized that I was telling people to worship God while I was worshipping blondes.”
His career was not without controversy, with him once being banned from The Ed Sullivan Show after the host became convinced Mason was flipping him off during a performance. Mason sued him for libel and slander and was later invited back on the show. After that, he became a staple of The Dean Martin Show before moving into Broadway and films.
On the silver screen, he’s probably best remembered for playing Steve Martin’s gas station boss in Carl Reiner’s The Jerk, although he also had a memorable bit in Mel Brooks’s History of the World, Part 1. He also starred in CADDYSHACK II, taking over for Rodney Dangerfield after he dropped out of the sequel at the eleventh hour, but, well, the less said about that movie, the better (although as a kid, I thought it was hilarious).
It’s always sad to see these old-timers go, but at 93, Mason certainly had a great run and left a fantastic body of work behind him. Rest in peace.
Man of Steel screenwriter on the bizarre script note he got from the studio
July 23, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve read a single comic in your life, there are just certain things that everyone seems to know, particularly when it comes to the biggest names in the genre. We all know that Bruce Wayne became Batman after the death of his parents; we all know that Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider; and we all know that Superman was sent to Earth as a baby after the destruction of his home planet. Well, turns out that at least one executive at Warner Bros. isn’t up on basic comic knowledge.
One note I got was on Man of Steel, where the ending involves Superman utilizing the pod that he arrived in as a child in order to bring down General Zod’s ship. The note we got from the studio said, “You have to change that.” We asked why. They said, “Because if Superman uses that pod and it’s destroyed while saving the city, how is he ever going to get back home to Krypton?” There was just this long pause and we said, “Krypton blew up. You saw 30 minutes of it!”
I suppose it’s possible to forgive that the studio had forgotten about the destruction of Krypton in the comics, but when the first part of the movie exclusively deals with its destruction… you’ve got to wonder if anyone was really paying attention; Not to mention that Superman doesn’t actually need a ship in order to get around. David S. Goyer’s next project is a series adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series for Apple TV+. The series chronicles “the thousand year saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it” and is set to premiere on September 24, 2021.
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Zack Snyder, Netflix ink major first-look deal
July 21, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
According to THR, Zack Snyder has made his relationship with Netflix official as he’s just inked a major first-look film deal with the streaming service. The Stone Quarry, Snyder’s production company he runs with Deborah Snyder and Wesley Coller, will be calling Netflix home for the next two years. “My goal and hope are to bring as much quality content as I can and do it on a giant scale,” Zack Snyder told THR. “Big projects and big movies.”
For Zach and Deborah Snyder, the move to Netflix comes after a public falling out with Warner Bros., and they were eager to make a new home where they could take creative risks and enjoy a trusting relationship. “For us, it was so important to find a partnership that was based on mutual respect,” Deborah Snyder said. “The creative process works best when everybody trusts each other and you can take chances and be creative. For us, we don’t usually play it safe. The content we make is a little bit edgier. And I think it’s important to have a good partnership and hear each other. And Netflix has given us a lot of freedom. But they’ve also embraced the idea of trying new things and not necessary waiting for a success before moving ahead.”
The first major project to fall under this new deal will be Rebel Moon, an epic sci-fi fantasy that was announced earlier this month. The sci-fi spin on Seven Samurai takes place on a peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy which finds itself threatened by the armies of a tyrannical regent named Balisarius. The desperate colonists dispatch a young woman with a mysterious past to seek out warriors from neighboring planets to help them make a stand. In addition to Rebel Moon, Zack Snyder is also developing a sequel to ARMY OF THE DEAD with co-writer Shay Hatten, and would likely tackle that project after Rebel Moon is complete. Snyder is also developing an action project that would be directed by Damon Caro, Snyder’s second unit director and stunt coordinator. Army of Thieves, a prequel to Army of the Dead, will be released on Netflix later this year, with the anime spin-off series Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas set to debut in spring 2022.
Army of the Dead: 75 million views for Zack Snyder epic
July 20, 2021 by: Chris Bumbray
It looks like Zack Snyder’s ARMY OF THE DEAD is officially a hit! Or, at least that’s what Netflix is revealing via their quarterly earnings report, which pegs the movie’s viewership at 75 million member accounts. The info was reported via THR, who also revealed big numbers for several other Q2 titles. Notably, Sweet Tooth, despite an absence of hype compared to other high-profile launches, was the highest-ranking new series on the chart, having been watched by 60 million accounts. That’s 5 million more than Netflix breakout hit Shadow & Bone, which has already gotten a second season order.
In terms of movies, Kevin Hart’s Fatherhood was watched by 74 million accounts. At the same time, The Mitchells vs. the Machines is Netflix’s biggest animated film debut to date, with 53 million views over four weeks.
Of course, Netflix numbers should always be taken with a grain of salt. For example, THR notes that “Netflix’s viewing metric counts two minutes of viewing time of a series or movie — long enough to show “the choice was intentional,” as the streamer puts it — as a view.”
While a big hit (and indeed, Netflix has already snapped up Snyder for Rebel Moon) Army of the Dead didn’t hit some of the blockbuster numbers achieved by movies like Extraction (99 million views), Spencer Confidential (85 million), and Six Underground (83 million). On the series side, Lupin Part 2, surprisingly, didn’t do as well as its predecessor, hitting 54 million views instead of 76 million for Part 1.
Do you think these Netflix numbers are revealing? Talkback below!
Zack Snyder to direct sci-fi fantasy Rebel Moon for Netflix
July 6, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Zack Snyder’s partnership with Netflix got off to a rousing start with ARMY OF THE DEAD, and THR has reported that the director’s next film for the streaming service will be similarly epic. The outlet has announced that Snyder will be co-write, direct, and produce Rebel Moon, an epic sci-fi fantasy that began life as a Star Wars pitch a decade ago.
In what sounds like a sci-fi spin on Seven Samurai, Rebel Moon takes place on a peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy which finds itself threatened by the armies of a tyrannical regent named Balisarius. The desperate colonists dispatch a young woman with a mysterious past to seek out warriors from neighboring planets to help them make a stand. “This is me growing up as an Akira Kurosawa fan, a Star Wars fan,” Snyder told THR. “It’s my love of sci-fi and a giant adventure. My hope is that this also becomes a massive IP and a universe that can be built out.” Snyder will be co-writing the script with Shay Hatten (Army of the Dead) and Kurt Johnstad (300).
As I mentioned above, Rebel Moon started out as a Star Wars movie idea that Zack Snyder pitched to Lucasfilm prior to Disney acquiring the company. It didn’t wind up going anywhere, and Snyder consider transforming the project into a series before deciding it should be a feature-film. Although by the sounds of things, it seems that Snyder it hoping Rebel Moon has major franchise potential. Zack Snyder is hoping to kick off production early next year, but added that he’s “been working on this on the side for so long [that] it’s pretty far along.” Army of the Dead is already setting up a bigger franchise, as a prequel film – Army of Thieves – is on track to debut on Netflix later this year and an anime series – Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas – is on the way as well.
Rebel Ridge: John Boyega denies report he walked away from Netflix movie
June 23, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
It was reported earlier this month that John Boyega had dropped out of Netflix's Rebel Ridge movie mid-way through the shoot. According to Netflix, Boyega needed to leave due to "family reasons" which is entirely understandable, but a new report from THR claims that the actor simply…walked away.
Sources told THR that John Boyega walked away from the production without telling anyone, and the only reason the filmmakers knew this was because when they looked for him at his hotel, they discovered that he had checked out. The sources don't give an explanation for Boyega's exit, only to say that the actor had "myriad issues ranging from the script to his accommodations." Netflix executives, including Scott Stuber and Ted Sarandos, unsuccessfully tried to get Boyega to return but the production was later shut down and dozens of crew-members were let go. Jeremy Saulnier, best known for Blue Ruin, Green Room, and Hold the Dark, is directing Rebel Ridge based on his own script, and while plot details are being kept under wraps, it's said that the film will be a "high-velocity thriller that explores systemic American injustices through bone-breaking action sequences, suspense and dark humor." Saulnier declined to comment.
John Boyega quickly denied the report through his agent, Femi Oguns. "I can categorically say that these rumours are completely untrue," Oguns said. "People will form their opinions often rooted from boredom. As stated John unfortunately left due to family reasons which in truth is none of anyone’s business except his own. John and Netflix have a wonderful relation which will continue to grow for years to come whether that be through his acting or through [Boyega’s production company] UpperRoom." When it was first announced that Boyega had exited Rebel Ridge, Netflix was hoping to quickly find a new lead, but it seems they were unable to do so. Production is expected to resume early next year.
Chris Rock turned down several offers to appear on The Sopranos
June 16, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
It's hard to imagine anyone turning down a role in what was once HBO's biggest series, but that's preciously what Chris Rock did, and not just once either. Twenty years ago, The Sopranos was the biggest thing on television and Chris Rock was in the midst of releasing a series of highly successful HBO standup specials, and the actor told THR during a round-table interview that he turned down several offers to appear on the crime drama.
Chris Rock would go on to play crime boss Lou Cannon in the fourth season of Noah Hawley's Fargo, and he almost turned down the opportunity just as he had The Sopranos all those years ago. The reason: he didn't want to spoil either series.
[Fargo] is a big job. And sometimes you can respect something so much, you don’t even want to be a part of it. Years ago, when I had my own show on HBO, it was at the height of The Sopranos, and I got a couple of offers to be on The Sopranos, and I was like, “I like it too much, I don’t want to spoil it.” But I was such a fan [of Fargo], I took the meeting anyway, and then he presents me with this offer, and I’m like, “Whatever you want me to do, I’m down.” Because I saw how he handled Bokeem Woodbine [who played Mike Milligan].
"Sometimes people do amazing work and then when they handle Black people, it’s horrible," Rock continued. "But with [Hawley], I saw how he handled Bokeem and I was like, 'I can totally be in your hands.'" Although Chris Rock may have turned down the chance to appear on The Sopranos, there was one actor wasn't even afforded that opportunity, despite reaching out personally. Alec Baldwin revealed earlier this month that he had volunteered his services for that fateful day when Tony Soprano would inevitably meet his maker, only to be met with silence.
Although The Sopranos may be over, we will soon be returning to that universe with The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel movie that will be set in the era of the Newark riots in the 60s and also feature Michael Gandolfini, the son of the late James Gandolfini, as a younger version of Tony Soprano. The film is slated to hit theaters and HBO Max on September 24, 2021.
Jupiter’s Legacy: New details shed light on reasons behind cancellation
June 11, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Less than a month after the debut of Jupiter's Legacy, Netflix announced that they would be cancelling their adaptation of the Mark Millar comic series. While some assumed that diminished viewership was to blame, Nielsen released a report that placed Jupiter's Legacy at the top of the original series streaming charts for May 3-9. With 696 million minutes of viewing time, the series bested shows such as The Handmaid's Tale, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and even Netflix's own Shadow and Bone.
A new report from THR has shed a little light into the reasoning behind the cancellation of Jupiter's Legacy, and it seems that the writing might have been on the wall since the very beginning. Jupiter's Legacy was originally developed under showrunner Steven DeKnight, who had asked Netflix for a budget of around $12 million per episode. However, Netflix forced him to accept a budget of $9 million per episode, but it wasn't long before the series was plagued with delays and ran over-budget anyway. Knight then departed the series half-way through due to "creative differences" and was replaced by Sang Kyu Kim. Once production on the first season had wrapped, Netflix brought in Louis Leterrier as a consultant during the lengthy post-production period, but by that point, costs had ballooned to what sources say was over $200 million. Not exactly a small chunk of change. In addition to the budgetary problems, the Netflix executive who greenlit the series in the first place exited the company and was replaced. The new executive naturally scrutinized any project they themselves hadn't greenlit, and one insider told THR that, "Unless the show is an undisputed hit, it's going to fall under the microscope."
As we know, Netflix have tried to downplay the cancellation of Jupiter's Legacy, only saying that they had released the cast from their commitments and that the show wouldn't be continuing as an ongoing series. The series will be replaced by an adaptation of Mark Millar's Supercrooks, which does mix with the world of Jupiter's Legacy. The project is still in the early stages so it's not yet clear if any characters from Jupiter's Legacy will cross over. The series will follow a "rag-tag gang of supervillains, con-artists, petty thieves and leg-breakers who all band together for the heist of the century and the most outrageous crime story you've ever seen in your life."
Spawn’s Todd McFarlane developing Sam & Twitch TV show
June 10, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
While Todd McFarlane's big-screen Spawn reboot remains in development, McFarlane is looking to expand the franchise with a new TV series. It's been announced that McFarlane has partnered with wiip, the studio behind HBO's Mare of Easttown, to develop Sam and Twitch as a premium TV series.
Sam and Twitch will focus on Detectives Sam Burke and "Twitch" Williams, two of Spawn's most popular human character who appeared in the very first issue of Spawn nearly thirty years ago. The series will be developed and executive produced by Jason Smilovic and Todd Katzberg, the pair behind Epix's Condor TV series. "My two detective characters Sam Burke and "Twitch" Williams appeared in the very first issue of SPAWN #1 back in 1992. Since then, they've become fan favorites and have branched out into their own comic series throughout the years," said McFarlane in a statement. "Their stories, blending traditional crime noir and the supernatural, is a combination that I've always thought would make for an entertaining television drama. The addition of wiip and the creative writing skills of Jason Smilovic and Todd Katzberg make for a very compelling team that we all hope leads to the entertaining show we know this can be. If you like cool, moody, creepy, odd crime stories, this will be your cup of tea!" Sounds like fun, but will it get made?
No studio or streaming service is attached to Sam and Twitch at the moment, but it would seem that Todd McFarlane is hoping this will launch a Spawn cinematic universe. The comic creator told THR that Blumhouse Productions, who are producing the big-screen Spawn adaptation, will soon be seeking a studio to partner on the film. "Then the conversation will be if that studio just wants Spawn, or if it would like more," reads THR's report. The Spawn movie is set to star Jamie Foxx as Spawn and Jeremy Renner as "Twitch" Williams, but given how long the project has remained in development hell, I'll believe it when I see it.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel welcomes Issa Rae as Spider-Woman
June 4, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Sony Pictures Animation’s SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE sequel is moving forward and THR has reported that yet another Spider-person will be joining Shameik Moore (Miles Morales) and Hailee Steinfeld’s (Spider-Gwen) latest adventure. The outlet revealed that Issa Rae (Insecure) has joined the cast, and while nothing is official just yet, THR’s sources say that she will be voicing Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but the film wound up becoming a huge success in all respects, even taking home the Best Animated Feature award at 2019’s Oscars ceremony. Production on the sequel officially kicked off last summer and it was announced in April that Joaquim Dos Santos (The Legend of Korra), Kemp Powers (Soul), and Justin K. Thompson (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) would be directing. “The crew behind the ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ set such a ridiculously high bar, and we’re humbled to take on the challenge of charting the next chapter in the story of Miles Morales,” the directing team said in a joint statement. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller will once again serve as producers on the sequel, but they’ll also be joining David Callaham (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) as screenwriters. Issa Rae is in the midst of shooting the fifth and final season of Insecure for HBO, and was last seen starring alongside Kumail Nanjiani in Netflix’s The Lovebirds.
The Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel is slated for an October 7, 2022 release.
This Is Us will end with its upcoming sixth season
May 12, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Although I've never watched This Is Us, I certainly haven't been ignorant to just how explosively popular the drama series became from the very beginning. Following the lives of the three children (Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley) of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore), This Is Us mixes a contemporary storyline with both flashbacks and flashfowards packed with plenty of emotional revelations, but all good things must come to an end.
It's been announced by THR that This Is Us will be coming to an end with its upcoming sixth season, but fans have known this was coming for some time as creator Dan Fogelman has always envisioned a six-season arc. "We never set out to make a television series that was going to last 18 seasons, so we have a very direct plan," Fogelman told THR in 2019. "I have script pages I have written and I’m writing that really are deep, deep, deep into the future. We have a plan for what we’re going to do, and I know what the plan is." The series is currently nearing the end of its fifth season, and while it's not known just how many episodes the final season will consist of, THR expects that it will likely include around 18 episodes as that will be "enough to carry the series over the 100-episode threshold typically needed to secure a lucrative off-network syndication deal and triggering a cash infusion for Fogelman and Disney." Over the course of five seasons, This Is Us has received widespread acclaim and plenty of awards, so I've little doubt that the final season will continue that trend as the story of the Pearson's comes to an end.
Will you be sad to see This Is Us conclude next year or is it a good time for the series to wrap up?
Faces of Death reimagining in the works from Legendary
May 7, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Here's a remake I didn't see coming — THR has reported that Legendary Entertainment has picked up the rights to Faces of Death, the infamous 1978 exploitation horror film that claimed to show gruesome real footage of death, and are developing a reimagining.
The original film presented itself as a documentary and followed pathologist Francis B. Gröss has he shared footage of gruesome ways to die from around the world in an attempt to understand and study the many "faces of death." Just how much of the footage is genuine continues to be up for debate, but a large portion was staged just for the film; even so, Faces of Death was banned in many countries and continues to enjoy a spine-chilling reputation. Legendary's new reimagining of Faces of Death will come courtesy of Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber, the duo behind 2018's Cam, who will write and direct, respectively.
The new Faces of Death will revolve around "a female moderator of a YouTube-like website, whose job is to weed out offensive and violent content and who herself is recovering from a serious trauma, that stumbles across a group that is recreating the murders from the original film. But in the story primed for the digital age and age of online misinformation, the question faced is are the murders real or fake?" The original film spawned numerous sequels over the years, most of which simply recycled footage from the previous movies.
Twilight of the Dead: George A. Romero’s final zombie movie in development
April 30, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
After kick-starting the zombie genre with Night of the Living Dead all the way back in 1968, George A. Romero returned to the world of the undead several times over the decades for Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Survival of the Dead, and prior to his death in 2017, he was working on what would have been the final chapter of his zombie saga — Twilight of the Dead.
THR has reported that Suzanne Romero, George's widow, is in the process of developing the screenplay for Twilight of the Dead with three other screenwriters. Not much is known about the project at this point, only that it will be "set in a decimated world" where "life has all but disappeared. But there still may be hope for humanity." George A. Romero had written the initial treatment with Paolo Zelati, and after George's death, Zelati asked Suzanne for permission to keep working on the story. "I gave him my full blessing as long as I could be there every step of the way for it to remain true to George’s vision," Suzanne Romero said. "We had a solid treatment and the beginning of the script. I can 100 percent say that George would be incredibly happy to see this continue. He wanted this to be his final stamp on the zombie genre." Twilight of the Dead will be picking up after the events of Land of the Dead, as Romero didn't include Diary of the Dead or Survival of the Dead as part of his main Night of the Living Dead arc
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"Everything started with my question to him: 'Where do the zombies go at the end of Land of the Dead?'" Zelati said. "It is no secret that Diary and Survival were not the way he envisioned the series ending, and George knew it very well. Twilight of the Dead was his goodbye to the genre he created and wanted to go out with a powerful film." The next step is to meet with potential directors and find one who can bring George's vision to the screen. "This is the film he wanted to make," Suzanne Romero said. "And while someone else will carry the torch as the director, it is very much a George A. Romero film."
Citizen Kane loses perfect Rotten Tomatoes score due to 80-year-old review
April 27, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Citizen Kane has been widely regarded as the best film of all-time and has enjoyed a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes which reflected that legacy, but thanks to a recently resurfaced 80-year-old review from the Chicago Tribune, the Orson Welles film now stands at a mere 99% on the review aggregator. Pathetic. I’ll be burning my Blu-ray copy immediately. Only the strong survive.
Penned by Mae Tinée (which was a common pseudonym at the time), the negative review leads with the headline: Citizen Kane Fails to Impress Critic as Greatest Ever Filmed. “You’ve heard a lot about this picture and I see by the ads that some experts think it ‘the greatest movie ever made,'” reads the review. “I don’t. It’s interesting. It’s different. In fact, it’s bizarre enough to become a museum piece. But its sacrifice of simplicity to eccentricity robs it of distinction and general entertainment value.” According to THR, the negative review was discovered by Rotten Tomatoes’ Archival Project, which “focuses on resurrecting critics and publications of the past and adding archived reviews to classic films.” The reviewer goes on to take aim at Citizen Kane’s ground-breaking use of light and shadow, saying that it gave them the creeps and they “kept wishing they’d let a little sunshine in.” It’s not all bad however, as the reviewer does admit that Orson Welles is a “zealous and effective performer.” Does any of this mean anything? Well, unless you’re a card-carrying member of some Rotten Tomatoes cult, I’d say not, but it is an interesting snippet of history which proves that critics hated movies back in the day as well. Golly!
Although Citizen Kane has now been bumped from Rotten Tomatoes’ illustrious 100% club, there are plenty of other classic films which remain, including 12 Angry Men, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Anatomy of Murder, Frankenstein, The Gold Rush, The Grapes of Wrath, M, The Maltese Falcon, and more. So what, you might be asking, is now the best reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes? None other than Paddington 2!
New MonsterVerse movie may be helmed by Godzilla vs. Kong’s Adam Wingard
April 27, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
When Godzilla: King of the Monsters under-performed, it was thought that perhaps GODZILLA VS. KONG may have been the end of Legendary’s MonsterVerse, but it turns out that audiences were desperate for some escapism as the film has become the biggest hit of the pandemic. It seems that Legendary is now keen to keep the franchise going as THR has reported that they’re in early talks with Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard to return for the next MonsterVerse movie. It’s still early days yet, but THR says that one possible title that’s been making the rounds is Son of Kong.
Since its release a little less than a month ago, Godzilla vs. Kong has grossed over $400 million worldwide, which means that it’s already surpassed the box-office take of the entire theatrical run of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. What makes it all the more impressive is that Godzilla vs. Kong has done this while the world is still in the midst of a pandemic and while the film is also streaming on HBO Max in the U.S., not to mention that it’s yet to open in several larger markets around the world. Should the deal close, Adam Wingard would be the first MonsterVerse director to return for another installment, but he also has several other high-profile projects in the works, including the Face/Off sequel for Paramount and a ThunderCats movie for Warner Bros.
What type of MonsterVerse sequel would you like to see?
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Knives Out sequels: Daniel Craig & Rian Johnson could make $100 million each
April 6, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
It was always assumed that Rian Johnson’s enormously entertaining (and hugely successful) KNIVES OUT would receive a sequel, but few could have predicted that Netflix would scoop up the whodunit franchise in a massive deal that will find Rian Johnson writing and directing two sequels starring Daniel Craig.
A new report from THR has dropped a few more details on the deal, which is even bigger than previously reported. It was initially said that the deal was in the $400-$450 million range, but the final number came out to $469 million, which is a little crazy. THR’s sources have claimed that Rian Johnson, Daniel Craig, and producer Ram Bergman are looking to walk away with “upwards of $100 million”…each! “Yes, it’s overpaying but Netflix is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers,” a streaming executive told THR. “It takes a proven theatrical commodity off the board and puts it in their pocket. And it’s another way they re-educate audiences to think of streaming and their company above a studio.” The deal doesn’t have many stipulations as it gives Rian Johnson complete creative control and means that he won’t have to take any notes from Netflix, but it does say that Daniel Craig must star in the sequels and that they must have at least the budget of the original film, which cost somewhere in the realm of $40 million. I don’t think that will be a problem.
The first Knives Out film was acquired in a single picture deal by MRC, who then distributed through Lionsgate, but Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman still controlled the rights to the franchise. When they began shopping the Knives Out sequels to other interested parties earlier this year, Johnson and Bergman weren’t sure of the “near-term viability of theatrical releasing” due to the pandemic, which prompted a bidding war from streaming services. In any other year, the sequels likely would have remained with MRC and Lionsgate, but as we know, we’re living through unusual times. Production on the first Knives Out sequel is expected to start on June 28th in Greece, which means that we should hear some casting news in the coming months.
Ray Fisher: New stunning details on Justice League, Joss Whedon, and more
April 6, 2021 by: Steve Seigh
It seems not a day goes by that we don’t learn new tidbits and reveals surrounding the Joss Whedon cut of JUSTICE LEAGUE. Weeks after Zack Snyder’s restored vision was released to critical and fan acclaim along with a new rallying cry to #RestoreTheSnyderverse, one person is still not content with the outcome of the entire ordeal: Ray Fisher. Despite having his central storyline restored in Snyder’s four-hour epic, the Cyborg actor still wants the world to know just how complicated things got between himself, Whedon, Warner Bros, and studio leadership.
In a massive article published in The Hollywood Reporter, Ray Fisher goes into more detail than ever before about what exactly Warner Bros. failed to do as well as new insights into Joss Whedon’s behavior that impacted not only himself but Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa as well.
Back in June 2020, Fisher unleashed a tweet that labeled Joss Whedon as someone who exhibited “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” behavior while on the set of Justice League. In time, an investigation into the matter was launched by Warner Bros., though Fisher found the studio’s efforts unacceptable. When pressed for further action, Warner Bros. said “remedial action” was taken. However, the studio has yet to say what those actions were, stating the punishment is not meant for public consumption. In fact, a spokesperson told THR that for privacy and legal reasons, “our policy is to not publicly disclose the findings or the results of an investigation.”
Meanwhile, Katherine Forrest, a former federal judge who conducted the WarnerMedia probe, says that after interviewing 80 witnesses, she found “no credible support for claims of racial animus” or racial “insensitivity.” WarnerMedia then doubled down by saying it “made extraordinary effort to accommodate Mr. Fisher’s concerns about the investigation and to ensure its fullness and fairness” and has “complete confidence in the investigation process and [Forrest’s] conclusions.”
Fast-forward to THR’s most recent interview with Fisher, where we find the star laying it all on the line.
“I’m not looking to have any witnesses lose their jobs,” says Fisher about why he hasn’t named names.
Fisher then goes on to say that he was devastated to hear about the passing of Zack and Deborah Snyder’s daughter, Autumn, and understood why they would need to exit the Justice League film. What he was not prepared for, however, was how much his contribution to the movie would change under Joss Whedon’s direction. Fisher says that when he met with Whedon at a bar to talk about the changes, Whedon “was tiptoeing around the fact that everything was changing.” As the two parted ways, Fisher was handed a script that all but erased his character from the film. Suddenly, Cyborg’s backstory was omitted, pivotal scenes that gave the character depth were nixed. Some of those scenes ended up being a part of the Snyder Cut, but the erasure was already done for the theatrical version of the film. “It represents that his parents are two genius-level Black people,” Fisher says about the intended vision for the character. “We don’t see that every day.”
Later, during a meeting about the changes, Fisher says that he tried to offer notes about the cuts to Cyborg’s storyline, but all Whedon wanted was praise for his work. “All he was looking for was the fulsome praise,” says Fisher. Not to be deterred, he attempted to raise his concerns. Sadly, Fisher says he barely got a few words out before Whedon cut him off. “It feels like I’m taking notes right now, and I don’t like taking notes from anybody — not even Robert Downey Jr.,” Whedon responded, according to Fisher.
Feeling dejected, Fisher then turned to Geoff Johns but found no support there either. “We can’t make Joss mad,” was Johns’ response, says Fisher. Publicist Howard Bragman, who represents Johns, denies that but says Johns “recalls suggesting that any creative pitches should happen when Joss Whedon was not preoccupied so he would be most receptive.”
Fisher’s latest tell-all also raises concerns about how Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa were treated while making Justice League. According to a source close to the matter, Gal Gadot had major concerns about how her character was being portrayed in the revised version, including “issues about her character being more aggressive than her character in Wonder Woman. She wanted to make the character flow from one movie to the next.”
Perhaps the biggest issue came about when Gadot was forced to record lines she didn’t care for. Not to be challenged, Whedon reportedly threatened to hurt her career by talking with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins. While Fisher was reluctant to go into too much detail, an investigator on the WarnerMedia case says that after one instance, “Joss was bragging that he’s had it out with Gal. He told her he’s the writer and she’s going to shut up and say the lines and he can make her look incredibly stupid in this movie.” This prompted Gadot and Jenkins to meet with then-Warners chairman Kevin Tsujihara. In commenting on the result of the meeting, Gadot said: “I had my issues with [Whedon] and Warner Bros. handled it in a timely manner.”
With so many working parts to this story, my suggestion is to read THR’s full report here. It contains some truly damning stuff and will paint a clear picture as to why Whedon has all but disappeared from the face of the Earth. In short, the once sought-after filmmaker has turned into box office poison. Since the Justice League saga began, his name has been stripped off projects he helped create (The Nevers), and fans are in some ways ashamed to support his most beloved properties. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
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Creed 3: Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky sitting this round out?
April 5, 2021 by: Chris Bumbray
When it was announced that Michael B. Jordan would be directing and starring in the long-awaited CREED III a few weeks ago, many fans wondered whether Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa would be returning to the franchise. After all, during the production of Creed II, Stallone did famously post a video on Instagram publicly retiring from the role and passing the torch to Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed, but many thought he could eventually change his mind. Alas, Sly confirmed to a fan via a response on his Instagram page a few days ago that he would indeed not be returning. Thanks to our reader Michael T. Scott for pointing out this easy to miss comment.
While it’s a shame The Italian Stallion’s not going to be a part of Creed III, I can’t help but be excited for the further adventures of Adonis Creed. What’s interesting is that Jordan seems to be following in Sly’s footsteps to some degree. Stallone famously directed many installments of the Rocky saga himself. And of course, just because Sly’s sitting this round out doesn’t mean he’s done with the franchise or the character. In 2019, Stallone told THR he had an idea for a new installment where Rocky trains an undocumented immigrant, plus just last week, he posted a treatment for a proposed Rocky prequel TV series.
So what do you think — are you still psyched for Creed III even without Stallone? And do you think he might come back in a future Creed movie?
Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and James Wan’s The Trench have been scrapped
April 1, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Warner Bros.' upcoming slate of DC movies is looking a little lighter as THR has reported that the studio will not be moving forward with Ava DuVernay's New Gods and James Wan's Aquaman spin-off, The Trench.
"As part of our DC slate, some legacy development titles including New Gods and The Trench will not be moving forward," Warner Bros. and DC said in a statement. "We thank our partners Ava DuVernay, Tom King, James Wan and Peter Safran for their time and collaboration during this process and look forward to our continued partnership with them on other DC stories. The projects will remain in their skillful hands if they were to move forward in the future."hands if they were to move forward in the future." Ava DuVernay took to Twitter to mark the end of her time on the project.
Tom, I loved writing NEW GODS with you. I’m upset that the saga of Barda, Scott, Granny, Highfather and The Furies ends this way. Diving into Kirby’s Fourth World was the adventure of a lifetime. That can’t be taken away. Thank you for your friendship. And remember… #DarkseidIs pic.twitter.com/XyyIjcB8Wv
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 1, 2021
THR said that it was becoming obvious that Warner Bros. didn't have a natural slot for New Gods or The Trench in its upcoming slate and didn't want to leave the filmmakers hanging, but that doesn't mean that projects are entirely dead as they could be resurrected in some form or another in the future. Ava DuVernay had been developing New Gods with Tom King since 2018, which would have revolved around the comic-book characters created by the late, great Jack Kirby. One complication which arose is that its villain was Darkseid, who, as we know, recently appeared in Zack Snyder's Justice League, so Warner Bros. is hoping to to put a little space between his appearances. As for The Trench, the Aquaman spin-off was to center around the Trench, the terrifying amphibious creatures who were seen attacking Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Mera (Amber Heard) in the first film. It would have been more of a horror film than a superhero movie, but THR says that Warner Bros. might return to it if people are still hungry for more of the Aquaman universe following the upcoming sequel which starts shooting later this year.
The Black Phone: James Ransone reunites with Ethan Hawke & Scott Derrickson
March 19, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
James Ransone is ready for more spooky shenanigans as THR has reported that the actor is slated to reteam with SINISTER director Scott Derrickson for The Black Phone. As it happens, the upcoming adaptation of Joe Hill’s short story is also set to star Ethan Hawke, who worked with James Ransone in Sinister.
The Black Phone will tell the story of a young boy who finds himself locked in a basement that’s stained with the blood of half a dozen other murdered children. In the cellar with him is an antique telephone, long since disconnected, but which rings at night with calls from the dead. Creepy, I love it. Ethan Hawke will play the kidnapper, with Mason Thames playing the kid, Jeremy Davies playing his father, and Madeleine McGraw playing his sister. As for James Ransone, his part is being kept under wraps, but THR says that he’s playing a character named Max.
Scott Derrickson will direct The Black Phone and also co-wrote the script alongside C. Robert Cargill, which was adapted from Joe Hill’s short story of the same name that was included in his 20th Century Ghosts story collection. James Ransone was recently seen in It: Chapter Two as the adult version of Eddie Kaspbrak.
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The Flash: Billy Crudup has reportedly dropped out of the film
March 12, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Billy Crudup played Henry Allen, the father of Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), in Justice League, and was slated to reprise the role for THE FLASH as well, but when the film experienced delay after delay, it was said that Crudup eventually dropped out of the film. Last October, it was reported that Billy Crudup was once again in negotiations to join The Flash, but a new report from THR claims that the actor has once again dropped out of the project due to scheduling conflicts. The Flash can’t catch a break.
The actor is set to begin shooting the next season of The Morning Show for Apple TV, and it seems as though the shooting schedule for The Flash will conflict with that. It remains to be seen if the role will be recast, but I suppose that will depend on how important the character is in the current script. (Edit: THR’s Bory Kit took to Twitter to clarify that the role will be recast.) Although Billy Crudup has exited The Flash, THR also reports that the role of Barry Allen’s mother has finally been cast. Maribel Verdú, best known for Y Tu Mama Tambien and Pan’s Labyrinth, will be playing the character, who is said to be quite important to the plot of the film, which will reportedly find Flash traveling back in time to prevent the murder of his mother, a move that will have drastic consequences when he returns to his timeline. In addition to Ezra Miller and Maribel Verdú, The Flash will also star Kiersey Clemons as Iris West, Sasha Calle as Supergirl, Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and Michael Keaton as…Bruce Wayne/Batman. Multiverse, here we come!
Andy Muschietti is slated to direct The Flash based on a screenplay by Christina Hodson, and production is finally slated to kick off this spring for a November 4, 2022 release.
Marvel’s Blade movie to be penned by Watchmen’s Stacy Osei-Kuffour
February 5, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
I never in a million years expected that BLADE would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but here we are. It was announced in 2019 that Marvel Studios were developing a reboot of Blade that will star Mahershala Ali (True Detective), and now THR has reported that the project finally has a writer.
The outlet reports that Stacy Osei-Kuffour, who worked as a story editor and writer on HBO’s Watchmen series, has been tapped to write the Blade reboot for Marvel Studios. The studio has apparently spent the last six months looking for a writer for the project and Mahershala Ali has been “directly involved” in that search. Only Black writers were being seriously considered for the gig, pointing to Marvel’s focus on diversity and representation. THR notes that Osei-Kuffour will now become the first Black female writer to pen the script for a Marvel movie, while Nia DaCosta will be the studio’s first Black female director with Captain Marvel 2. The next step will be finding a director to helm the Blade movie. In addition to Watchmen, Stacy Osei-Kuffour was a story editor on Amazon’s Hunters and HBO’s Run and also wrote for Hulu’s comedy series PEN15.
Exactly how Blade will be folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains to be seen, but now that the franchise is beginning to open up the multiverse with WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, you can imagine how Marvel might introduce the character; after all, there doesn’t exactly seem to be a bunch of vampires running around the MCU at the moment.
New Cloverfield sequel in the works
January 29, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
It’s been over a decade since Matt Reeves’ CLOVERFIELD was released but after several stealth sequels, it would appear that a direct sequel to the found-footage monster movie is in the works. THR has reported that J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Paramount Pictures are developing a sequel to Cloverfield and have tapped Joe Barton, who recently became the showrunner of HBO Max’s Gotham City Police Department series, with writing the script. According to THR’s sources, the sequel will not be in the found-footage format.
Plot details are being kept under wraps, but that’s to be expected for anything J.J. Abrams is involved in. Although Matt Reeves is not involved in the project at this time, Abrams is onboard to produce the Cloverfield sequel. The original 2008 film followed a group of New Yorkers as the city found itself under attack from a giant monster, and thanks to an imaginative viral marketing campaign, the film became a massive success and spawned two loosely connected sequels, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox. There had been talk of more films falling under the Cloverfield banner, with Overlord long rumoured to be connected and A Quiet Place once considered to join the franchise, but audience disappointment with The Cloverfield Paradox seemingly put the series on hiatus, until now.
J.J. Abrams was also asked in 2018 whether or not the franchise might bring together characters and monsters from the previous movies into a potential team-up movie, and although it’s all theoretical, it is something they were once considering. “We’ve talked about versions of things,” Abrams explained, “like when we did 10 Cloverfield Lane, we were thinking Michelle – the character Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays – it’s such a sort of weird origin story of this kind of incredibly, I think, awesome heroine, that idea of following her story is really cool. And then at one point, we were like, ‘You know what would be really cool? What if they crossed paths with Gugu [Mbatha-Raw]’s character Ava?’ You start to think of ‘what ifs.’ And I think the bigger ideas that we’ve had about where this thing goes haven’t necessarily been those ideas, but they’ve kind of been fun theoretical offshoots.” What are your hopes for the Cloverfield sequel?
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Timothee Chalamet in talks to reunite with Luca Guadagnino for Bones & All
January 28, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Timothee Chalamet's star has been rising considerably in recent years, largely thanks to his Oscar-nominated performance in Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name, and Deadline has reported that the actor is in talks to reunite with the director for a new project.
The outlet reports that Timothee Chalamet (Dune) and Taylor Russel (Lost in Space) are in talks to star in Bones & All, a horror-love story that will be directed by Luca Guadagnino from a script by David Kajganich (Suspiria). Other than those skant details, not much is known about Bones & All, but Deadline states that there are multiple parties interested to acquiring the project. Chalamet and Guadagnino have apparently been looking for another project to do together ever since Call Me By Your Name, but this seems to be the first that hasn't fallen victim to scheduling difficulties. THR added that Bones & All is likely based on the novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis, which follows a young woman on a "cross-country trip as she searches for the father she's never met in an attempt to understand why she has the urge to kill and eat the people that love her." Sounds like fun.
Speaking of Call Me By Your Name, Luca Guadagnino has also been discussing a sequel for several years, saying that he would love to make a "cycle of films about these characters" and that he thinks their "experience of life is ripe for many, many adventures." It remains to be seen whether the sequel will ever happen, but Guadagnino has previously teased that the next chapter will take place "right after the fall of Berlin wall and that great shift that was the end of Russia, of the USSR, sorry. And we'll see people leaving home and going in the world. That's what I can say for now."
Dungeons & Dragons TV series in development from John Wick writer
January 15, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Although a big-screen adaptation of the popular fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons is currently in development, THR has reported that Hasbro's eOne production studio is also developing a Dungeons & Dragons TV series. Next up, a podcast and officially licensed bed pans.
The Dungeons & Dragons TV series is still in the early stages, but the studio has tapped Derek Kolstad, the writer behind the John Wick franchise, to write the script and develop a pitch for the series. THR added that eOne are also looking for more writers to develop various other projects that will be set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, so get ready for more dungeons and…dragons…than you know what to do with. My ignorance of the franchise is showing, isn't it? In addition to all three John Wick movies, Derek Kolstad is also known for Marvel's upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV series which will debut on Disney+ on March 19, 2021, as well as Nobody, an action/thriller starring Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) that will debut on February 26, 2021.
As for the Dungeons & Dragons movie, that project is slated to be directed by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley (Game Night), who also penned the script that was based on a draft by Michael Gilio. It was also announced last month that Chris Pine (Wonder Woman 1984) will be starring in the film and that production is expected to kick off later this year.
Christopher Nolan slams Warner Bros.’ HBO Max release plans
December 7, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
While most directors would certainly love to see their films on the big-screen, few advocate for the cinematic experience more than Christopher Nolan (TENET). Naturally, COVID-19 has largely brought that experience to a halt, and studios have had to adjust to the current circumstances. Most recently, Warner Bros. announced that they would be releasing their entire 2021 theatrical slate simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, and I’m sure you can imagine what Christopher Nolan thinks of that.
While speaking with ET Online, Christopher Nolan commented on his reaction to Warner Bros.’ recent decision.
Oh, I mean, disbelief. Especially the way in which they did. There’s such controversy around it, because they didn’t tell anyone. In 2021, they’ve got some of the top filmmakers in the world, they’ve got some of the biggest stars in the world who worked for years in some cases on these projects very close to their hearts that are meant to be big-screen experiences. They’re meant to be out there for the widest possible audiences… And now they’re being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service — for the fledgling streaming service — without any consultation. So, there’s a lot of controversy. It’s very, very, very, very messy. A real bait and switch. Yeah, it’s sort of not how you treat filmmakers and stars and people who, these guys have given a lot for these projects. They deserved to be consulted and spoken to about what was going to happen to their work.
In a further statement to THR, Nolan continued: “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” Nolan said. “Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theaters and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.” As Christopher Nolan has largely called Warner Bros. his home for the past twenty years, those are certainly some harsh words.
As far as what the future will bring based on Warner Bros.’ choice, Christopher Nolan told ET Online that he believes that “all of the studios know that the movie theater experience will bounce back and be a very important part of the ecosystem long-term. What you have right now in our business is a lot of the use of the pandemic as an excuse for sort of grappling for short-term advantage. And it’s really unfortunate. It’s not the way to do business and it’s not the best thing for the health of our industry. But when the theaters are back and people are going back to the movies, when the vaccine has been rolled out and there’s an appropriate health response from the federal government, I’m very bullish on the long-term prospects of the industry. People love going to the movies and they’re going to get to go again.” Nolan isn’t the only one who isn’t pleased with Warner Bros. at the moment, as AMC Theatres have also denounced the plan and Legendary Entertainment is also considering legal action. Christopher Nolan’s Tenet will be released on DVD/Blu-ray/4K Ultra HD on December 15th.
Joss Whedon exits HBO’s The Nevers
November 25, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
Joss Whedon's return to television will have to wait a little longer as it's been announced that the writer/director has departed The Nevers, HBO's upcoming sci-fi/drama series that has been in development for several years. The series will center around a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world. Joss Whedon was slated to write, direct, executive produce, and serve as showrunner on The Nevers, but he made a statement to CinemaBlend explaining why he will be departing the series.
This year of unprecedented challenges has impacted my life and perspective in ways I could never have imagined, and while developing and producing The Nevers has been a joyful experience, I realize that the level of commitment required moving forward, combined with the physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic, is more than I can handle without the work beginning to suffer. I am genuinely exhausted, and am stepping back to martial my energy towards my own life, which is also at the brink of exciting change. I am deeply proud of the work we have done; I’m grateful to all my extraordinary cast and collaborators, and to HBO for the opportunity to shape yet another strange world. The Nevers is a true labor of love, but after two plus years of labor, love is about all I have to offer. It will never fade.
In a statement to THR, HBO said, "We have parted ways with Joss Whedon. We remain excited about the future of The Nevers and look forward to its premiere in the summer of 2021." Casting on The Nevers is already set, with the series slated to be led by Laura Donnelly (Outlander), who will be playing Amalia True, "the most reckless, impulsive, emotionally damaged hero of her time. A menace to stuffy Victorian society, she would die for the cause and kill for a drink." The rest of the cast includes Olivia Williams (Dollhouse), James Norton (Grantchester), Tom Riley (Da Vinci's Demons), Ann Skelly (Death and Nightingales), Ben Chaplin (SNOWDEN), Pip Torrens (The Crown), Zackary Momoh (DOCTOR SLEEP), Amy Manson (Torchwood), Nick Frost (FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY), Rochelle Neil (TERMINATOR: DARK FATE), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark), and Denis O'Hare (This Is Us).
Godzilla vs. Kong release could be heading to a streaming service
November 25, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
If you haven’t noticed, we’re living through some strange times at the moment. In terms of the entertainment industry, COVID-19 has forced studios to make some major changes with how they release movies. Over the past few months, we’ve seen studios drop more than a few films on streaming services that were once destined for theaters, and that’s not likely to stop anytime soon.
According to THR, the latest movie that could be heading to a streaming service might just be GODZILLA VS. KONG, the upcoming film from director Adam Wingard (YOU’RE NEXT) that pits the two giant titans against one another. The outlet has heard from several sources that Netflix has made an offer of more than $200 million for the film, but that WarnerMedia blocked the deal and are planning on preparing their own offer to stream the film on HBO Max. Legendary Entertainment declined to comment, but a spokesperson for Warner Bros. said, “We plan to release GODZILLA VS. KONG theatrically next year as scheduled.” THR added that WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and Warner Bros. chairman Ann Sarnoff are said to be working on an offer that will allow for a streaming release that “also includes a theatrical component,” perhaps similar to the recent WONDER WOMAN 1984 release plans that will find the film debuting on both HBO Max and in theaters on Christmas Day. Should the simultaneous HBO Max/theatrical release of WONDER WOMAN 1984 go as planned, I’d imagine that we could easily see GODZILLA VS. KONG following suit.
Here’s the official logline for GODZILLA VS. KONG: “In a time when monsters walk the Earth, humanity’s fight for its future sets Godzilla and Kong on a collision course that will see the two most powerful forces of nature on the planet collide in a spectacular battle for the ages. As Monarch embarks on a perilous mission into uncharted terrain and unearths clues to the Titans’ origins, a human conspiracy threatens to wipe the creatures, both good and bad, from the face of the earth forever.” The film, which stars Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Zhang Ziyi, Demian Bichir, and Julian Dennison, is currently slated for a May 21, 2021 release.
Fantastic Beasts 3: Johnny Depp will still receive full salary despite exit
November 9, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
Just days after losing his libel case against The Sun, who referred to him as a “wife beater,” Johnny Depp announced last week that he would no longer be playing Gellert Grindelwald in Warner Bros. FANTASTIC BEASTS franchise after the studio asked him to resign. “I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and I have respected and agreed to that request,” wrote Depp in an Instagram post. Warner Bros. thanked the actor for his work on the films to date, and also announced that the role of Grindelwald will soon be recast.
Production on FANTASTIC BEASTS 3 is currently underway, and before he was asked to step down, Johnny Depp had already shot one scene for the film. Although Johnny Depp’s ongoing legal battles against former wife Amber Heard have created something of a public relations nightmare for Warner Bros. (not to mention J.K. Rowling’s recent comments), a new report from THR says that the studio “wanted to allow due process to take its course before making a decision on the embattled star’s future in the franchise.” Once Depp’s defamation claims were dismissed, Warner Bros. chief Toby Emmerich made the call that led to Depp’s exit. That said, Johnny Depp will still be receiving his full salary, said to be somewhere in the realm of eight-figures, as the actor had a pay-or-play contract with the studio, which means that he’s required to be fully compensated whether or not the film is made or even if his role is recast. J.K. Rowling, who had previously supported Depp’s involvement in the franchise, reportedly “did not push back” when Warner Bros. said they would be asking the actor to exit.
THR added that FANTASTIC BEASTS 3 has been described as a “three-hander,” with Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Eddie Redmayne sharing equal screen time. With Depp no longer in the picture and the role of Grindelwald growing larger, we’ll likely be hearing who will be playing the Dark Wizard sooner rather than later. FANTASTIC BEASTS 3 was initially slated to hit theaters on November 12, 2021, but Warner Bros. shifted the film to July 15, 2022 earlier today.
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