The Weekly Report
All news contained herein corresponds to the world of film. The Weekly Report will seek to cover general film news that has emerged over the last seven days.
- Netflix to fund Will Smith and David Ayer project
- After the partial success of Beasts of No Nation and fartial “success” of The Ridiculous Six, Netflix is ready to take another step into the movie business big leagues with the help of one Willard Smith. The streaming service is moving to fund, produce and release Bright, a project that counts Smith and his Suicide Squad director, David Ayer, as already-attached parties (via The Hollywood Reporter). From a script by Max Landis (he of Chronicle and American Ultra), Bright takes place in a world where humans live alongside magical creatures; Smith, a human, is forced to work with a new partner who happens to be an Orc (Joel Edgerton) and find a powerful wand. Will their differences prove too much, or will the two mismatched cops manage to put aside their petty squabbles over the course of between 90 and 120 minutes? With a reported budget of around $90million, Bright is another sign of Netflix’s growing confidence with its original content, coming after well over three million people watched Beasts of No Nation.
- Sean Parker announces start-up to carry same day releases to the home
- He convinced Mark Zuckerberg to drop the “the” in The Facebook. He convinced internet users to drop the “paying” bit when it comes to downloading music. Now Napster founder Sean Parker has his sights set on getting distributors to drop the release window and allow punters to watch films the same day they appear in mulitplexes (via Variety). Tech startup The Screening Room, backed by Parker, is the latest attempt to do away with the roughly 90 day window before new releases find their way onto streaming services or physical media. Whereas there has been limited progress with the idea in the past due to piracy concerns and obstinate resistance from cinema chains, The Screening Room relies on an anti-piracy set-top box and a $50 per movie charge that feeds a significant portion of the profits (around 20%) back to the chains. Plus the service would look to include free cinema tickets with each purchase to drive up cinema concession sales. Variety reports that while major cinema franchises are against the concept, there is tentative interest from distributors like Universal and Sony, especially in the anti-piracy technology.
- Academy Awards meet to talk diversity
- Wait, you didn’t think the end of the Awards really meant that we were done with Oscar talk did you? Especially when this week sees the Academy’s board of directors meeting to make some decisions on proposed changes to diversity and inclusion! Of particular interest are mooted changes to admission rules. Variety reports that the Academy will discuss a reassessment of the required criteria for members, taking into account the changing landscape of the industry, and plans to use this to meet its self-imposed targets of double the number of female and minority members by 2020. It is not thought that the meeting will deal with details of the ceremony itself in any substantive depth, so for those hoping for, say, stunts to finally be recognised, here’s a convenient plug to our article instead. That worked out nicely.
Dealing with those projects in production, this is where to come to find out what has been greenlit, what major casting decisions have been announced, what century we can expect Avatar 2 in, and any other related film news.
- J.K. Simmons is cast as Jim Gordon for Justice League
- So, one of the biggest stories of the week, no doubt, is Synder’s casting of the ludicrously talented J.K. Simmons as Detective Jim Gordon for next year’s Justice League film. As you all know, this will not be the first superhero outing for the Oscar-winning actor who excelled as J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. Based on Synder’s tendency towards po-faced seriousness though, it’s safe to imagine that Simmons’s portrayal will be a little more intense than his iconic, scene-stealing turn in the Raimi movies. Either way, we’re excited.
- La La Land
- Of course, J.K. Simmons is still riding high on the success of his barnstorming performance in Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash which was, incidentally, our favourite film of 2015, in case you forgot. News this week for Chazelle’s highly anticipated follow-up feature, La La Land, has it pushed back from a July opening to December however. Cynics will grumble about the delay and attribute it to the film being incomplete or, worse still, a turd but fear not, a December opening means this baby is being primed for next year’s awards season. Who knows, perhaps Chazelle’s LA-set jazz musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone has the sexy rhythms to topple Star Wars: Rogue One in December? OK, perhaps not, but we can’t wait.
- Sacha Baron Cohen speaks out on his departure Freddie Mercury biopic
- The man who brought us Ali G, Borat, and Bruno will not be a part of an upcoming biopic about the legendary life of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. It has emerged that Sacha Baron Cohen could not see eye-to-eye with the band who objected to his warts-and-all approach, hoping instead for a tasteful portrayal of Mercury and the band. Speaking to US DJ Howard Stern, Baron Cohen conceded defeat on his faithful version of the man’s life – “there are amazing stories about Freddie Mercury. The guy was wild. There are stories of little people walking around parties with plates of cocaine on their heads!” (The Guardian). We don’t know about you but, personally speaking, any biopic of Mercury that doesn’t take into account his whole crazy, brilliant life is a missed opportunity.
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt departs Sandman
- It’s fair to say that maybe we are just not going to see an adaptation of Sandman. Now synonymous with the term ‘development hell’, Neil Gaiman’s comic opus just hasn’t been able to get off the ground despite many, many attempts. Joseph Gordon-Levitt had long been attached to star in and direct a film adaptation but has left the project due to creative differences. This is worrying news for Sandman fans as Gordon-Levitt appeared particularly committed to not ballsing it up; perhaps, if the ‘creative differences’ can be read as ‘studio demands, this is a property best left alone.
- Lizzy Caplan joins Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in Robert Zemeckis’ untitled spy thriller
- Hot ticket alert! Lizzy Caplan has now joined the cast of Robert Zemeckis’ currently untitled spy thriller due in November (via Variety). The Mean Girls and Masters of Sex star has been cast as Brad Pitt’s sister in the project which is otherwise shrouded in a fitting amount of mystery for a film about spies. What we do know is that it is set in 1942 and will follow a spy (Pitt) who falls in love with, and marries, a French secret agent (Cotillard) during a North African mission. Although Zemeckis’s latest, The Walk, failed to drum up much excitement, the man has some obvious talent and, with a cast like this, this is worth keeping your eye on.
Trailers of the Week
Want to know what you should be excited about this week? This is the place to come to check out the week’s best trailers and related items including clips, TV spots, and teasers.
Right, let’s start with the ‘big one’. In a month when the hype should be building towards the release of DC’s tentpole super-showdown, it seems that Marvel knows only too well how to pull the rug from their oh-so-serious feet. The new trailer for Captain America: Civil War is a doozy! Not only is it exciting, but Marvel clearly knows when to keep its cards close to its chest – roll on April.
Last week it had a poster and a title, now it’s only gone and got itself a trailer and all sorts of recognisable cameos like Simon Cowell! Usher! Adam Levine! Yes, it’s the promo for The Lonely Island’s Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, also featuring Martin Sheen punching Andy Samberg in the face. And a unicorn.
– EF & SON
Thanks for reading. Be sure to come back next week for your weekly film news with One Room With a View.