Will Smith In Talks To Play Aladdin‘s Genie, and More Movie News

Captain Marvel gets its directors, the Fast and Furious franchise gets a spin-off, James Gunn confirms third Guardians movie, and Clint Eastwood tackles real life again.

This week’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news (those stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next). Included in the mix this time around are stories about such titles as Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and a new Fast and the Furious spinoff franchise.


This WEEK’S TOP STORY

WILL SMITH IN TALKS TO PLAY THE GENIE IN LIVE-ACTION ALADDIN

In previous updates about Disney’s live-action remake of their 1992 animated hit Aladdin, surprisingly little was revealed about the movie’s most popular character, the Genie, originally voiced by the late Robin Williams. Yes, there were stories a few years ago about a possible movie called Genies, all about them, but since this live-action version started taking off, the focus has been on the two leads. And that’s the thing; the lead characters of Aladdin are actually Aladdin and Jasmine (for whom an international casting call was recently held). Well, this week, we learned that Disney is in talks with a very big star to take over the mile-a-minute, stream-of-consciousness that Robin Williams started, and it’s Will Smith. The Men in Black and Suicide Squad star had recently been talking to Disney about playing the villain in their new Dumbo, but this is arguably (or even, obviously) a much bigger deal. Aladdin is going to be directed by Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes), and filming is scheduled to start in the U.K. in July. There’s no release date yet, but the timing suggests that it will probably be sometime in 2019. Will Smith is also the first actor mentioned for any Aladdin role.


Fresh Developments

1. BRIE LARSON’S CAPTAIN MARVEL DIRECTORS SHARE HER INDIE CREDS

Marvel has established a pretty good track record hiring lesser known directors for their films. Examples include Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows), Ant-Man director Peyton Reed (Bring It On, The Break-Up), and, to a lesser degree, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler (Creed). Along the same lines, some of the directors that Marvel was previously considering for 2019’s Captain Marvel previously worked on projects like Whale Rider, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and Showtime’s Homeland. The co-directors who actually landed the job this week have similar indie credits: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck three features together so far include Sugar, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, and 2015’s Mississippi Grind. Brie Larson similarly rose up from similar independent projects like 2013’s Short Term 12 and 2015’s Room, which earned her a Best Actress Oscar. Captain Marvel will start filming in February, 2018, and will be released on March 8, 2019.


2. CLINT EASTWOOD’S TRUE STORY STREAK CONTINUES ON THE 15:17 TO PARIS

Five of Clint Eastwood’s last six films as director have all been based on true stories: Invictus, J. Edgar, Jersey Boys, American Sniper, and last year’s Sully. This week, he added yet another one, and like American Sniper and Sully, it’s based on events from the recent past. Rather, the very recent past, because The 15:17 to Paris will depict the August, 2015 thwarting of an attempt by an ISIS terrorist to kill hundreds of people aboard a train from Brussels to Paris. You can read the details of the event here, but the gist is that three young Americans (two of them off-duty soldiers) subdued the terrorist before he was able to kill anyone. Eastwood’s film will be adapted from the book The 15:17 To Paris: The True Story Of A Terrorist, A Train, And Three American Heroes, co-written by the three friends, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone.


3. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 ALREADY IN THE WORKS

As of last night, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is still two weeks away from release, but this week, director/writer James Gunn confirmed he’ll be back for a third outing (which we’re guessing will be subtitled Vol. 3). Soon after, Gunn also confirmed that it will be the “final in this iteration.” (In the comics, as with many superhero teams, there have been a few different versions of Guardians of the Galaxy — the movie version didn’t premiere until 2008.) As for what that third movie might include, one writer speculates that Adam Warlock, who was teased in the first movie and reportedly almost included in the second, could make his official debut. Another character we learned was cut from Vol. 2 was someone who previously would have been a “spoiler” (except now he’s not in the movie), and that’s longtime Avengers member Wonder Man, AKA Simon Williams (you can see images from the “Simon Williams Film Festival” here).


4. DWAYNE JOHNSON AND JASON STATHAM TO HEADLINE FAST & FURIOUS SPIN-OFF FRANCHISE

There have been rumors lately that some of the stars of the Fast and the Furious franchise might be leaving after the 10th movie (this year’s movie was #8) in the franchise. This week’s news lends some credence to that theory, as Universal Pictures is reportedly now developing a spinoff franchise that would focus on some of the characters who joined the Fast & Furious franchise in relatively recent films. Specifically, the spinoffs would focus on the characters Luke Hobbs (played by Dwayne Johnson), Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), and “Cipher” (Charlize Theron). The first screenplay is being written by screenwriter Chris Morgan, who has worked on the franchise ever since the first movie in 2001. No deals are in place for those three stars yet, and presumably it wouldn’t happen until after the 10th Fast and the Furious film (which itself is not confirmed to be the last Fast and Furious movie yet, either).


5. GONE GIRL ROSAMUND PIKE TO PORTRAY WAR JOURNALIST MARIE COLVIN

Although there are certainly biopics made while their subjects are still alive (Stephen Hawking, for example), they’re far more commonly made posthumously, for obvious reasons. One that’s been in development over the last few years is a film based on the life of famed war journalist Marie Colvin. The circumstances of Colvin’s death also make her story timely and of interest to filmgoers, as she died in 2012 while covering the early months of the Syrian Civil War. We can now report that Marie Colvin will be portrayed in the as-yet-untitled film about her life by Rosamund Pike, who is probably still best known for starring in Gone Girl. Colvin’s career as a war reporter included coverage of conflicts in Chechnya, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and Sri Lanka (where a blast from a RPG in 2001 caused the loss of Colvin’s left eye and prompted her to don her signature black eye patch).


6. POST-BARBIE, AMY SCHUMER STILL SAYS, I FEEL PRETTY

Last month, comedian Amy Schumer dropped out of Sony Pictures’ live action Barbie movie, and now, just a month later, she’s already got another new film that she might have ready for 2018. The new comedy is called I Feel Pretty, but besides that, there isn’t much else to say, because its premise is being kept “under wraps.” Schumer is expected to start filming I Feel Pretty on location on the East Coast this summer. Her next movie will be next month’s Snatched (with Goldie Hawn playing her mom during a vacation gone wrong). After that, Schumer will co-star in the drama Thank You For Your Service (about soldiers with PTSD). The indie movie that conflicted with filming Barbie and forced her to drop out is called She Came to Me, and her co-stars will include Steve Carell and Nicole Kidman.


7. HAMILTON DIRECTOR TAKES FLIGHT WITH SILVER WINGS

Photo: U.S. Air Force

This past “awards season,” 20th Century Fox had great success with Hidden Figures, which depicted an unsung tale of relatively recent female history (i.e. the role of African American mathematicians during the “space race”). It now sounds like Fox 2000 might have found another similar project called Silver Wings, which will be adapted from an upcoming nonfiction book called The Women with Silver Wings. The book by Katherine Sharp Landdeck tells the true stories of some of the female pilots in W.A.S.P. (Women Airforce Service Pilots), the first women to fly for the U.S. military, as part of World War II. Silver Wings will also mark the feature film debut of director Thomas Kail, who is best known for directing the hit broadway musical Hamilton. The federal government did not recognize the W.A.S.P. pilots as official veterans for decades until a 2009 ceremony that overturned that policy and rewarded them with the Congressional Gold Medal (and V.A. benefits).


8. DETAILS REVEALED ABOUT NEW CHARACTER INTRODUCED IN STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

In the months leading up to the filming of this December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi (AKA Episode VIII), a good amount of press was devoted to the casting of both Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern, who were cast as characters new to the Star Wars franchise. This past weekend at the annual Star Wars Celebration event in Orlando, however, fans were surprised to discover that the new character described as having the largest role is played by neither Del Toro nor Dern, but a young actress named Kelly Marie Tran. Tran will play Rose, a Resistance maintenance worker who’s “not looking to be a hero, and she gets pulled a very big way into an adventure in this movie with Finn.” Star Wars: The Last Jedi is scheduled for release on December 15, 2017.


9. 70-SECOND SHORT A TALE OF MOMENTUM & INERTIA TO BECOME FOX ANIMATED FEATURE

The expression says that “A picture is worth a thousand words”, but it’s less clear how many words a 70-second video is worth. That, however, is exactly what Fox Animation is now working on, as the studio is now developing the animated short film A Tale of Momentum & Inertia into a feature film. To that end, Fox Animation has secured the screenwriting talents of writers Eyal Podell and Jonathon E. Stewart, who worked on this summer’s Cars 3. The short film depicts “a rock giant who accidentally unleashes a massive boulder to roll thunderously down toward a seaside kingdom and his attempt to stop it,” but presumably, the movie will have a lot more to it. Maybe we’ll meet some of the people who are in danger of being squished?

Will Smith In Talks To Play Aladdin's Genie, and More Movie News