HELLBOY TO GET HORROR REBOOT? WE’VE SEEN STRANGER THINGS
This week’s biggest and most surprising news was sort of a confluence of two stories from earlier in the year. First, there was the Twitter announcement from director Guillermo Del Toro in February that, “Hellboy 3 Sorry to report: Spoke w all parties. Must report that 100% the sequel will not happen. And that is to be the final thing about it.” Note that Del Toro was speaking specifically about a sequel to the two Hellboy movies that he directed, starring Ron Perlman. Also, earlier this year, David Harbour (Stranger Things) was in contention for the role of Cable in Deadpool 2, suggesting he was interested in starring in a comic book movie — that role eventually went to Josh Brolin instead. Put all of that together, and it leads to this week’s news of a Hellboy reboot starring David Harbour and directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent, the Blackwater and Watchers on the Wall episodes of Game of Thrones.) The new movie, possibly titled Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, will be from Millennium Films, the company best known for mid-level budget action movies like The Expendables and Olympus Has Fallen. The Hellboy reboot was described by its new screenwriter as, “a darker, more gruesome version of Hellboy… walk[ing] a razor’s edge between horror and comic book movie.”
1. CLIFF CURTIS CAST IN THE AVATAR SEQUELS AS “REEF PEOPLE” LEADER
Even those who never saw James Cameron’s 2009 hit Avatar are likely to know it involved blue aliens that looked like a cross between deer and elves (i.e. the Na’vi). Cameron has been talking about his sequels for years and years now, including the detail that the story would be moving to Pandora’s oceans. This week, Fox and Cameron revealed their first new cast member, confirming the new setting. Prolific character actor Cliff Curtis, currently starring on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, has signed on to play “Tonowari, the leader of the Metkayina reef people clan.” What we don’t know from that description is whether the “reef people” are also Na’vi, another Pandoran race, or a little bit of both. 20th Century Fox has scheduled the four Avatar sequels for December dates in 2020, 2021, 2024, and 2025, starting with Avatar 2 on December 18, 2020.
2. HUGH BONNEVILLE TO PORTRAY ROALD DAHL IN BIOPIC
The works of British children’s authors have inspired a number of big screen adaptations, but their lives themselves have also provided some rich material. Some notable examples include Finding Neverland (Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie), Shadowlands (Narnia creator C.S. Lewis), Saving Mr. Banks (Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers), and Miss Potter (Peter Rabbit creator Beatrix Potter). Another prolific British author was Roald Dahl, whom we can thank for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Witches, Matilda, and last year’s The BFG. Well, it’s finally Dahl’s turn to receive a (shared) biopic, and the actor who has landed the role is Hugh Bonneville. Downton Abbey fans will know Bonneville for portraying Lord Robert Crawley, the 7th Earl of Grantham. The currently untitled biopic will tell “a bittersweet, comedic story focusing on Dahl’s marriage to actress Patricia Neal, [as] the story moves between New York, England and Los Angeles in the early 1960s, a time when Dahl struggled to write some of his most famous works and Neal returned to acting with Hud.”
3. BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH AND JAKE GYLLENHAAL MEET UP IN RIO
Italian director Luca Guadagnino has yet to have a hit in the USA, but after his debut in 2010 (I Am Love), he has continued to attract actors that suggest it might just happen for him soon. For example, Guadagnino’s 2016 film, A Bigger Splash, featured the talents of Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, and Ralph Fiennes. If negotiations work out for his fourth film, titled Rio (not to be confused with the 2011 animated hit of the same name), Guardagnino will be assisted by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal will play a financial reporter who travels to Rio de Janeiro to visit a wealthy friend (Benedict Cumberbath), only to find himself sucked into a plot to fake his friend’s death. Like many of the films covered in this week’s Ketchup, Rio is making the news now in advance of being sold to various international markets at next week’s Cannes Film Festival.
4. ARYA STARK AND THE WITCH CONFIRMED AS WOLFSBANE AND MAGIK IN THE NEW MUTANTS
Blogs, websites, and columns about film development (like this one) sometimes cover news years ahead of time, but we can’t necessarily presume everyone will remember every detail. Consider, for example, the news from March of last year about the rumored casting of two of the leads in next year’s X-Men spinoff, The New Mutants (4/13/18), to be directed by Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars). As it turns out, that story was on the money, but the official announcement didn’t happen until this week. Maisie Williams, best known as Arya Stark from Game of Thrones, has been cast as Rahne Sinclair, AKA Wolfsbane, a Scottish teenager with the ability to turn into a wolf (and a halfway werewolf form too). Anya Taylor-Joy, the star of last year’s The Witch (and this year’s Split) has been cast as Illyana Rasputin, AKA Magik, the little sister of Colossus, who can teleport, use magic, and also has a really big sword. As The Hollywood Reporter reports, “Fox is making serious efforts to find ethnically appropriate actors, conducting wide searches for a Native American to play Moonstar and a South American for Sunspot.” The other New Mutants will be Cannonball and Warlock, but apparently, not founding member (in the comics), Karma.
5. PETER DINKLAGE TO STAR IN “TATTOO” DRAMA, MY DINNER WITH HERVE
If you’ve been following film development news long enough, you may be familiar with a biopic called My Dinner with Herve, which refers to 1970s actor Herve Villechaize. Villechaize (who was also a dwarf) was basically known for two roles: the villain Nick Nack in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun and (more famously) Tattoo on the ABC TV show Fantasy Island. Villechaize also struggled with personal demons, ending his own life in 1993. It’s not yet known how much My Dinner with Herve will explore the latter, but we now know that Villechaize will be portrayed by Peter Dinklage, AKA Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey) will costar with Dinklage as a struggling journalist who finds himself spending a wild night with Villechaize, partying at locations all over Los Angeles. HBO Films is producing, but the company may also seek a theatrical release.
6. MARGOT ROBBIE TO PRODUCE AND STAR IN 1930S DUST BOWL THRILLER DREAMLAND
Australian actress Margot Robbie is probably best known for starring as Harley Quinn in last year’s Suicide Squad and Jane in The Legend of Tarzan, but in the near future, she’ll be starring in three biopics (I, Tonya; Goodbye Christopher Robin; and Mary Queen of Scots), and she also voiced a role in next year’s animated version of Peter Rabbit. On top of all that Robbie is also taking control of her own agency by becoming a producer, and the latest film project she’s producing for herself as a starring vehicle is called Dreamland. Set during the “Dust Bowl” devastation of Depression Era America, Dreamland is a bank robber thriller about “a 15-year-old boy on his quest to capture a fugitive bank robber (Robbie) and collect the bounty on her head, all with the goal of saving his family farm from foreclosure.” Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte is reportedly, “hoping to bring a balance of nostalgic beauty and gritty realism to the proceedings as well as a balance between a sense of romanticism and a sense of violence.”
7. DANIEL RADCLIFFE TO SHOOT AT PEOPLE, GUNS AKIMBO
Another actor who continues to establish a new identity on the big screen is Daniel Radcliffe, the former Harry Potter child star. Last year saw the release of probably the craziest example of his efforts to branch out, in the form of Swiss Army Man, in which he played a corpse with amazing gastrointestinal “powers.” Radcliffe is now attached to star in an action comedy called Guns Akimbo, to be directed by New Zealand’s Jason Lei Howden, who made his debut with the heavy metal comedy Deathgasm. Radcliffe will play a man with a dead-end job who finds himself “enrolled on a dark net website that forces complete strangers to fight in a city-wide game of death so that their gladiatorial battles can be live-streamed worldwide to a fanatical audience.”
8. TOM HANKS TO STAR IN WESTERN NOVEL ADAPTATION NEWS OF THE WORLD
Tom Hanks has obviously starred in a wide variety of films during his lengthy career, but he has yet to appear in a Western. That’s about to change, as he is now attached to star in a film adaptation of the Paulette Jiles novel News of the World, written by Luke Davies (Lion) for Fox 2000. Hanks will star as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a Texas cowboy in 1870 who “travels from town to town to read the news to locals who would otherwise not know what is going on in the world. While Kidd is sparked up by spreading the word of the passage of the 15th Amendment that gave voting rights to all men, he agrees to escort a 10-year-old white girl to her aunt and uncle in San Antonio after she was rescued from the Kiowa Indian tribe that kidnapped her and killed her family four years earlier. His traveling partner is an ornery youngster who didn’t want to be rescued and brought to her relatives.”
9. JOHNNY DEPP SAYS HELLO TO RICHARD SAYS GOODBYE
In RT’s latest 24 Frames gallery, you can browse through “24 Dicks We Love From Movies and TV” to mark the debut of Amazon’s I Love Dick. Well, Johnny Depp is now attached to star in a dramedy called Richard Says Goodbye, so we might have another to add to the list. This will be the second film from indie director Wayne Roberts, who made his debut last year with the similarly titled Katie Says Goodbye, starring Olivia Cooke, Mireille Enos, James Belushi, and Mary Steenburgen. Depp will star as “a world-weary college professor who is given a life-changing diagnosis and then decides to throw all pretense and conventions to the wind and live his life as boldly and freely as possible. With a biting sense of humor, a reckless streak and a touch of madness, he binges through every vice: smoking, drinking, sex, and hurling blunt insults at anyone who annoys him, giving him more pleasure than he’s had in years.” Johnny Depp previously starred in a similar film, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson.