Another Friday morning, another weekly assortment of news bites, serving up the latest in movie and entertainment news. I’m going to be cutting the introduction short this week so I can just get on with things, as I’ll be away from my computer from early on today; time for the annual 52-mile garage sale, so that’s where I’m going to be.
Of course, while I’m cutting the introduction short, the post itself is — as with the last few weeks — anything but. So let’s get on with it.
A bit of clarification on some Amazing Spider-Man 2 news that took flight and got a little garbled in the rumor grapevine. Yes, Sarah Gadon is in Amazing Spider-Man 2. No, she is not replacing Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane. Mary Jane is not in the film. Gadon is playing another, as yet unrevealed, character. Woodley, incidentally, has not yet been confirmed to be departing the franchise; the idea that she might be replaced has been speculated by some news outlets due to her role in the Divergent franchise potentially causing scheduling conflicts, but no official word has come down either way.
Legendary science fiction author Richard Matheson has passed away at the age of 87. Matheson was responsible for the novels and screenplays behind many Hollywood films, from The Incredible Shrinking Man, to the brilliantly hilarious The Comedy of Terrors, to creepy segments in both Trilogy of Terror and Twilight Zone: The Movie, to suspense in Stir of Echoes, to sci-fi combat in Real Steel. But he’s probably best known as the author of I Am Legend, which has been adapted to the big screen three times (and video once), as The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, and of course the Will Smith vehicle which bears the same title as the story. He will be greatly missed.
Independence Day 2 is a go, but director Roland Emmerich says Will Smith will not be back because “he’s too expensive, but he’d also be too much of a marquee name. It would be too much.” Considering this is supposed to be a big-budget blockbuster, I’m hard pressed to see how an actor could be too expensive or too big a name, but it’s not like we need Will Smith back (or, arguably, need a sequel at all given that it’ll be roughly 20 years later). The one actor confirmed to be back so far is Bill Pullman, who will be reprising his role as (former) President Thomas Whitmore.
Arnold Schwarzenegger continues his film juggernaut since returning to acting, and there are two major pieces of Arnold news this week. First up, Schwarzenegger’s taking part in the current zombie zeitgeist, under director Henry Hobson in Maggie, about a father whose daughter is infected with a zombie plague.
And of course you knew there would be some more Terminator news; but what might come as a surprise is that the next Terminator film will not be Terminator 5, at least not exactly. Paramount’s plan is to reboot the franchise (which possibly ties in with last week’s rumors that Arnold would be playing a human hero against Dwayne Johnson as the new Terminator). Paramount is hoping to get at least two films done before they have to renegotiate with James Cameron.
In other over-extended sequel news, Liam Neeson has signed on for Taken 3. I believe in this one, he’s hunting for his dignity.
Back to zombies for a minute… if you liked World War Z, Paramount will be giving the world a relapse, after its successful box office opening. Quite a difference for a film that had a rocky production. What’ll they call it, though? World War Z 2? World War ZZ? I got it: World War Zequel.
William Fichtner has confirmed that he will be playing Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Which just goes to show that Hollywood really is color-blind: All races are white.
James Mangold, director of The Wolverine has denied rumors that there would be crossover elements between his film and X-Men: Days of Future Past, saying that his film stands alone and the story in it is brought to a close. The film also does not follow directly from X-Men: Origins: Wolverine, but merely tells a story that can fit in with the established film universe.
Marvel has scheduled an unknown film for July 18, 2016, in addition to its existing unrevealed spot for May 6 of that same year. Also getting a release date is Kenneth Branagh’s live-action Cinderella, which will hit theatres March 13, 2015.
Also getting a release date — and no doubt spawning cries of finally! from horror fans — is All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, a horror film which had its film festival debut seven years ago. The movie will get an initial release on video on demand on September 6 of this year, and then a wide theatrical release on October 11.
Encyclopedia Brown, famed boy detective from Donald J. Sobol’s children’s books, is coming to the big screen, under producers Roy Lee and Howard David Deutch. Deutch has held the rights for many years, and produced a short-lived HBO TV series based on the character.
Would you have ever believed there would be a lawsuit about who owns He-Man and the Masters of the Universe? And if so, would you have believed it wouldn’t involve Filmation’s studio-created characters? Mattel is suing Donald Glut, a comic book writer who wrote the first comics for the character, based on Mattel’s toyline. Glut has been claiming for some number of years to be the true creator of the franchise, entitled to copyright ownership; Mattel is suing to prevent his claim, asserting that the comics were written under work-for-hire agreements. Given that DC Comics has recently had success with this argument over Superman, and Mattel is a big corporation while Glut isn’t, this probably isn’t going to work out well for Glut unless he has clear documentation stating that he was merely licensing his ideas to Mattel. With Sony looking to adapt the franchise to film, it’s small wonder this has come to a head now.
There’s another superhero coming to the big screen, and he’s got a green mullet. Captain Planet and the Planeteers is being adapted by Sony as a live-action film, to be produced by Mark Gordon, Don Murphy and Susan Montford. Their producer credits include some sci-fi action films, such as Transformers and Real Steel.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx will be teaming up again for Mean Business On North Ganson Street, an adaptation of an upcoming S. Craig Zahler crime novel. DiCaprio and Foxx will play hardened, cynical detectives teaming up to investigate a rash of cop-killings.
Warner Brothers has adjusted a few release dates. The Robert De Niro / Sylvester Stallone boxing comedy Grudge Match has been moved up slightly to Christmas 2013; yes, you can now watch the stars of Raging Bull and Rocky box each other on Boxing Day.
However, The Seventh Son, a young-adult-oriented fantasy film featuring Jeff Bridges, Djimon Hounsou, Antje Traue, Kit Harrington, and Julianne Moore, and starring “Prince Caspian” Ben Barnes, has been delayed from October of this year to January 17, 2014… not, traditionally, a strong opening month.
There will be a sequel to Mean Girls. It will be titled Mean Moms. No part of this is a joke. Well, OK, it might be slightly misleading… it’s based off the spin-off of the book that Mean Girls is based on, but is reportedly not directly connected. But will be cheerfully piggy-backing on the success of the earlier film with the title. Beth McCarthy-Miller, a director for Saturday Night Live, will be making her feature film debut with the project.
Rumors and Speculation:
Possibly in development, assuming we can believe Kanye West, is a Jetsons feature film. West has been claiming for some time to be the creative director for the film, which has otherwise not been getting any buzz at all. Why West would want to be involved in such a white-bread project, or why Warner Brothers would want him as the creative director, is about as clear as how George kept his job all those years.
Marvel is being cryptic about some of their maneuverings… Vin Diesel revealed in a Facebook posting that Marvel requested a meeting with him, but claims to not know what about. He’s obviously being tapped for something, but what? Drax the Destroyer has already been cast, which would have been my first guess. But with so many possible Marvel characters to be given movies, and several unrevealed titles in the works, it’s hard to say at this stage.