News Bites: Belushi Biopic

News Bites HalloweenIt’s Friday morning, and I hope you have your coffee at hand, because this week’s News Bites is loaded the brim with movie news and rumors. There are some scheduling delays, and talk of sequels for some mainstream franchises, as well as a few different biopics in the works. Some of it will likely have you cheering, and some will likely have you jeering. And some will make you spit out that coffee, so be careful just when you take a sip. A little later today, we’ll also have another Halloween Haunters movie review posted, for a supernatural-themed action-adventure film from 2013. But for now, read on for the news.


Some sad news this week for childen of the 1970s and 1980s. Lou Scheimer, founder and executive producer for Filmation, has passed away at the age of 84. Scheimer’s work included Fat Albert, Bravestarr, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and several dozen other programs.

Olga Kurylenko will star opposite Russell Crowe in Crowe’s directorial debut, The Water Diviner, about a father searching for his sons in Turkey at the end of World War I.

Here’s some interesting Star Wars: Episode VII news. Writer Michael Arndt has left the picture. Taking over writing duties are J.J. Abrams, director of the film, and Lawrence Kasdan, writer of The Empire Strikes Back. Here’s hoping Kasdan’s influence wins out.

There will be a third Night at the Museum feature, and Robin Williams is in talks to rejoin Ben Stiller in it. Shooting begins in February.

Sequeljuice, sequeljuice, sequeljuice! Beetlejuice 2 — which was the very first bit of news ever reported on this site — is continuing to develop. Tim Burton is in talks to come back as director, which would probably be the first time I’ve considered Tim Burton the ideal choice for a new film. Michael Keaton is still unconfirmed. Burton is presently working on an adaptation of young adult novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, due out next July.

Seann William Scott and Jackie Chan will star in Skiptrace, directed by Sam Fell (Paranorman, The Tale of Despereaux); it is Fell’s first live-action feature. Chan will play a police officer whose niece is in trouble with a crime syndicate; Scott will play a fast-talking gambler who Chan recruits to help him.

The Wolf of Wall Street will make its new release date of Christmas 2013. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has correspondingly been pushed to January 17, 2014.

Also being delayed is George Clooney’s The Monuments Men. As THR notes, this is one of a handful of films that were anticipated to be awards contenders that have been pushed out of this year’s Oscar eligibility period; others include The Foxcatcher and Grace of Monaco.

The delay of The Monuments Men has caused a shift in another title, as such things tend to do. The RoboCop remake has been moved to February 12, 2014, a full five days later than its previously-planned release date. I know it’s difficult, but you’ll just have to wait a little longer.

A John Belushi biopic is in the works. Steve Conrad, screenwriter for the Ben Stiller adaptation of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, has written the screenplay and will direct. Potential actors for the lead role include Emile Hirsch, Adam Devine, and Joaquin Phoenix, while Nelson Franklin is under consideration to play Dan Aykroyd. The real Dan Aykroyd is one of the producers of the film, along with Belushi’s widow Judy.

Also getting a biopic is Elton John, out of Focus Features. Michael Gracey will direct, and Tom Hardy is set to star as the eccentric musician; the title of the film, appropriately enough, is Rocketman.

Chris Gorak’s script Attach has been picked up by Paramount. Details are sparse on the script, but it is being called similar to Chronicle in that it has a big visual concept and centers on a young cast of characters.

Stephen Lang is returning for the Avatar sequels. Even though his character was killed in the first movie. Don’t ask me, I just report the things…

William Fichtner gives a few details on his role as Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Some of it might be kind of spoilerish, so click the link only if you want to know, as plot details are usually outside the bounds of News Bites. What’s in bounds, however, is that Fichtner has confirmed signing a three-picture deal, so — just in case there was any doubt — the studio is planning sequels if this is successful.

Mortal Instruments fans — who didn’t seem all that numerous — can rejoice, as the film series is uncancelled. While the sequel was questionable and put on hiatus after mediocre box office returns for the first film, it is now being reported that City of Ashes will resume production in 2014.

The 2015 Peanuts feature is also continuing to take shape. Paul Feig has signed on to produce the film; Feig has previously produced Bridesmaids and The Heat, so either he’s looking for a change of pace or we can expect to hear Melissa McCarthy’s voice coming out of Peppermint Patty. Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who, Ice Age: Continental Drift) is set to direct.

Tom Cruise and Oblivion director Joseph Kosinkski are teaming up again on Go Like Hell, a racing drama about the competition between Ford and Ferrari that culminated in the 1966 LeMans race. Apparently racing dramas are the new “in” thing.

Manny PumpkinheadRumors and Speculation:

Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have been at work writing scripts for reboots of Van Helsing and The Mummy for Universal. Now Orci is dropping hints that the Universal films may be a bit more… universal, if you’ll pardon the pun. From the way Orci talks, some people are inferring that the plan is to have a unified cinematic universe for the Universal Monsters. But who would they get to replace Abbott and Costello?

Rumor has it that Rashida Jones is the front-runner for the role of Janet Van Dyne in Ant-Man. Van Dyne is the love-interest for Hank Pym (Ant-Man), and eventually becomes a superhero in her own right as the Wasp. The rumor is that she will not don a costume in the film, but it’s likely that she eventually will if the franchise continues and/or crosses over into The Avengers.

Josh Brolin may be up for the lead in Jurassic World, although reportedly no official offer has been made. Also being rumored to join the cast is Idris Elba. If the film gets both Brolin and Elba this is going to be one surprisingly classy dinosaur picture.

Bruce Campbell continues to tease the possibility of an Army of Darkness sequel, joking about a geriatric Ash fighting off deadites with his cane. He did drop the joking and give a direct “yes” to a question on whether it would happen, but it’s been speculative for a very long time.

With Sacha Baron Cohen out of the running, who will play Freddie Mercury? According to Queen drummer Roger Taylor, the front-runner is Ben Whishaw.

Ben Kingsley, who starred as the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 has said he’s involved in a secret project with Marvel. A reprisal of the role, or something new?

Jon Turtletaub, director of the National Treasure series, believes they’ll be at work on a third film in the next few years.

That’s all for this week’s News Bites. Thanks for reading, and leave a comment below with your thoughts!

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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10 Responses to News Bites: Belushi Biopic

  1. Thanks for all the info! You have put some serious work in here.

  2. le0pard13 says:

    The fact that studios have ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ and the Robocop remake in the dumping ground months of Jan-Feb speaks volumes to their expectations. Another informative News Bites piece, Morgan.

  3. Morgan, I like the idea of a reboot of those Universal Monsters, well as long as it is done well. Seems like a franchise ripe for a rebirth.

    I am cool with the star wars writing change as long as they keep Lindelof.

    I am excited about both the Belushi biopic and Beetlejuice sequel.

    • Given that most of the Universal Monsters haven’t seen a reboot from Universal themselves in 80 years, yeah, I’d say they’re ripe for a reboot. Hopefully they do it well and are respectful to the originals.

      To the best of my knowledge, Lindelof was never involved in any of the Star Wars sequels. At least, I don’t see anything to that effect on IMDb, nor in my previous news posts. I think Kasdan is good news, though, as he wrote Empire and Jedi, and didn’t write any of the prequels.

      The Belushi biopic could be very interesting. I need to cross off the rest of his films soon. The Beetlejuice sequel… well, if they get the right people back, and have a good writer on it, it might be all right. Have to be wary of any 25+ year sequel, though.

  4. Chris says:

    Thanks for all the news!
    Lawrence Kasdan as writer for Star Wars 7, hmm… Scanning over his career, there’s nothing great since the 80s(a LONG time ago). I hope he can help bring the series back on track.
    They ought to wait until Elton John stops recording music, his story isn’t over yet.
    ha, maybe Stephen Lang’s ghost in is Avatar sequel!

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