Spinning Headlines – Week 3: Doctor Strange, Thor Ragnarok, Avatar 2, Terminator, Westworld, xXx3, Paul Verhoeven…
Hello again. We get to the end of the third week of 2016, and just to show that it’s still an evil a-hole, this week the year 2016 deprived us from another great talent. So let’s have a moment of silence for the memory of Glenn Frey, who passed away this week. The man was a founding member of the Eagles, and also a contributor to many a soundtrack, as well as an occasional actor.
As always, check out our “News”-section for daily updates – this week we got everything from the first clips of the in-production “Wonder Woman”-movie to confirmation that Tom Cruise is now officially attached to the upcoming “Mummy”-reboot (or is it “reboot-reboot”?) from Universal.
What else? Let’s start with a couple of Marvel news:
“DOCTOR STRANGE” ADDS BENEDICT WONG
Almost every site seems to be making some puns about “adding a second Benedict” or “wong as wong” or some such in their headlines. I know – I’m known for making bad puns all the time, but for once I’ll just report it as it is: Benedict Wong (“Prometheus”, “The Martian”, “Marco Polo”) has been cast in “Doctor Strange“ as Stephen Strange’s sidekick/servant, Wong. Wong comes from a family of monks, and is a master martial artist, has great knowledge of the dark arts, though he has no magical powers of his own. He also is tasked with looking after Strange’s body when he is “astral projecting into other dimensions”.
SOME THOR:RAGNAROK DETAILS
First off, it’s not quite official yet, but it is strongly suggested now that the recently-added-to-the-cast Cate Blanchett will play the villainess of the movie, Hela. In the Marvel Universe, Hela is the ruler of Hel and the realm of Niflheim and “has power over the dead souls of the Nine Realms.” So – pretty badass.
Second, a while back Mark Ruffalo described the film as a sort of “buddy movie” between Banner/Hulk and Thor and this week he gave a little bit more insight into the style of this. He said that “Midnight Run” is a big influence to the film’s style. I personally can’t think of a better influence to be had. Here’s Ruffalo’s full answer he gave to Empire Magazine: “There’s a little bit of Midnight Run, with [Charles] Grodin and [Robert] De Niro…I feel like that’s kind of where we’re heading with this relationship between Thor and Banner…It is a universal road movie – that’s where we’re heading…It’s not where you’d think it will be, so it’s not your classic road movie but it has that structure, I think.” I like what I’m hearing here.
“AVATAR 2” WILL NOT BE FACING “STAR WARS EPISODE VIII” in CHRISTMAS 2017
As was reported earlier this week, the next “Star Wars“-sequel was delayed from it’s earlier opening date to Christmas, making it face off James Cameron‘s “Avatar“-sequel. Well, I was sceptic about this rightaway, as there was not even any news of Cameron even starting filming on his movie yet – and now we’ve gotten confirmation from 20th Century Fox and Lightstorm entertainment: in fact it’s reported by several news-sites here, here and here, that the film is pulled from it’s 2017 christmas release window to a non-specific “summer 2018”.
ANOTHER “TERMINATOR” REBOOT TRILOGY CUT SHORT
After the disappointing grosses of the latest reboot, Paramount's TERMINATOR 2 has been reset from 5/19/17 to UNSET.
— Exhibitor Relations (@ERCboxoffice) January 20, 2016
Kinda not a surprise, this one. Exhibitor Relations broke the news, that Paramount has dropped the sequel to “Terminator: Genisys” (which is for some asinine reason called “Teminator 2”) from it’s planned release slot altogether, replacing it’s planned release date with the Dwayne Johnson-starring “Baywatch“-movie. The official reason is said to be “disappointing grosses”. I guess “because it sucked” was too harsh. Make that the second time a planned trilogy of “Terminator“-movies has been cut short after the first movie tanks. But will this stop them from trying again? Of course not – this is Hollywood, after all.
“xXx3” ADDS CAST
The ambitiously titled “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage“, starring Vin Diesel, Samuel L. Jackson, Deepika Padukone (Chennai Express), Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries), and Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black) has a new addition to the cast. Jet Li has closed a deal to play an antagonist to Diesel’s Cage. Apparently, the “xXx”-franchise is now being tooled to more resemble franchises like “Mission; Impossible” and “Fast & Furious“, as it’s said that Cage is now a leader of a team (comprised of the cast mentioned above) and Li will play the leader of an opposing team. Revolution Studios COO Scott Hemming said: “We are extremely excited to have Jet Li join the cast of xXx 3: The Return of Xander Cage as Raif, who is pitted against Vin Diesel’s Xander Cage, and watch these two in action as they raise the bar with some of the most incredible stunts on film.”
The hard hitter from Thailand, Tony Jaa (“Ong Bak 1-3″, “Tom Yum Goong 1-2” and the recent “Furious 7” – with Diesel) is also in.
“xXx 3-2 is written by F. Scott Frazier, and directed by D.J. Caruso.
HBO’S “WESTWORLD” GOES ON BRIEF PRODUCTION HIATUS
I know, HBO has been having a habit of shutting down productions of shows recently – just ask David Fincher. But it seems that this is not as dramatic as it sounds – seems that it’s just the case of giving the writing team enough time for fine-tuning the remaining scripts, or as HBO said in the official statement: “As we head into the final phase of production on ‘Westworld,’ we’ve made the decision to take a brief hiatus in order to get ahead of the writing.” HBO is still confident that the series will make its targeted premiere date, which has yet to be specified beyond saying it will “air in 2016.”
PAUL VERHOEVEN’S “ELLE” GETS A TRAILER
Well, I’ll be… Looks like the good old Paul Verhoeven is still working. It’s been– what, 10 years since his last theatrical feature “Black Book” and suddenly this week we got dropped by a trailer for “Elle”. and it seems that the man has definitely not mellowed. “Elle” is based on the novel “Oh…“ by French author Phillippe Dijan and stars Isabelle Huppert. The official synopsis: “Isabelle Huppert plays Michèle, a seemingly indestructible head of a video game company. Her family and love life are not what you would call traditional. She’s divorced and having an affair with her best friend’s husband, while her son’s girlfriend is pregnant with another man’s baby. Her life is forever changed when she’s attacked and raped in her home by an unknown assailant, after which she stalks him to discover his identity, a game that threatens to spiral out of control.” Sounds like a Verhoeven-movie, for sure.
LAUREL & HARDY – ACTORS CAST
Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly. Those are the two actors, who will play the legendary comedy-duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in an upcoming film written by Jeff Pope (“Philomena“) and directed by Jon S. Baird (“Filth“). The description of the movie’s story goes as follows: “Set in the twilight years of the comedy legends’ career, the film will focus on their farewell tour of Britain’s variety halls in 1953. With their golden era now a distant memory, they’re nevertheless still happy to be working together, and as they keep their partnership alive, they reconnect with legions of adoring fans. But there is a darker undercurrent to the success – their past comes back to haunt them and Hardy isn’t in the best of health. We’ll see how they approach what could be their swan song, and rediscover how much they mean to each other.” Thoughts? I personally think that Reilly is a perfect fit for Hardy, but Coogan is a bit of a mystery still – he doesn’t quite look the type… But then again, we’ll see for sure when we see some footage, amirite?
FOX TO REBOOT “24” WITH “24: LEGACY”
Well, seems like after so many bad days that Jack Bauer has had, he is finally retired (or as those who watched “24: Live Another Day” know, probably spending the rest of his life in a Russian prison). Fox Television is now going full speed ahead with a rebooting of the franchise, titled “24: Legacy” and has given a pilot order to the project from the “24“-creative trio of Howard Gordon, Manny Coto and Evan Katz. The premise of the reboot is that it will “revolve around a military hero’s[written as a twenty-something African-American man named Eric Carter] return to the U.S. and the trouble that follows him back – compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil. ” So – a new lead, but the same old CTU. Thoughts?
SPIT-TAKE OF THE WEEK
“Bad Neighbors 2“-trailer. Riiiight…. The first movie had about one laugh in it, so maybe the second one will have two. Or not.
That is all.
No – Wait!!!!!! It ISN’T! Here’s a last minute UPDATE via Deadline:
Director McG (“Charlies Angels 1-2″, “Terminator Salvation“) is said to be “in negotiations to direct the ‘Masters of the Universe‘-movie”.