We’re still fresh to this News malarkey so this week we thought we’d change the format of things. We’ll still cover industry news as well as the movings and shakings of those projects in production, but obituaries will now serve as standalone articles. Sorry, death fans.
1. Batman v Superman v Time
Poor guy, that Superman. Having already faced off against a pretty hefty lineup of villains (Batman, Lex Luthor, Doomsday, US domestic politics, international import laws), it looks like he’ll need a second chance to defeat the greatest enemy of all: time. Thankfully, Forbes report that an Ultimate Cut of Zack Snyder’s blockbuster block buster, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, will be appearing this year with around thirty minutes of bonus features like: extra footage! more characters! partial nudity!
Still, the lack of all those aspects (as well as any conventional structuring) hasn’t done the film much harm. BvS has already steamrollered its way to a $530 million global box office so we won’t have to wait long to see Batfleck don the cape and scowl again; Affleck will return for “at least Justice League One and Two”, as well as a cameo in the upcoming Suicide Squad flick. Now there is also talk of a Batman script penned by Affleck “that is a really cool idea” according to Patrick Whitesell. Whitesell, the co-CEO of the talent agency and sports/fashion conglomerate WME-IMG, that counts Affleck as a client, revealed as much to the Hollywood Reporter this week.
2. Georgia vetoes pro-discrimination laws
Last week we reported that Disney, alongside a number of major corporations including the NFL and AMC, were threatening to boycott the state of Georgia if Governor Nathan Deal passed a controversial new bill that would have allowed for faith-based organisations and individuals to refuse service to couples (whether gay or straight) in accordance with their religious beliefs. In a victory for those who opposed the bill, whether in the industry or not, Deal vetoed the bill on Monday 28 March, claiming “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia.”
The film industry has come to be an essential part of Georgia’s economy in recent years, and the state is one of the most important for production within the US thanks to its 30% tax incentive for production companies. Recent pictures made in the area include Fast & Furious 7, Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War – the latter two projects a mark of Disney’s importance to the state and, accordingly, the significance of their boycott threat.
3. Alice Through the Looking Glass Trailer
Do you know, if you play (a cover of) Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ over the new Alice Through the Looking Glass trailer, it syncs up perfectly? Something to do with the lyrics or the fact that ‘White Rabbit’ has only been used the odd few hundred times to depict psychedelic happenings. Joining Mia Wasikowska’s Alice are the returning Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway, while Sacha Baron Cohen also pops up. Also: Humpty Dumpty. Directed by Muppets Most Wanted‘s James Bobin, Through the Looking Glass is set for a May 27 release in the UK.
4. Alex Gibney to direct The Action
By now you should have heard of Alex Gibney, documentary extraordinaire. The master documentarian has been responsible for some of the best slices of real life to grace our screens this century with Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and, most recently, Zero Days. The Action, which will be penned by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, Side Effects), will be the filmmaker’s first foray into fiction film and will follow the eight activists who broke into the offices of the FBI to uncover J. Edgar Hoover’s plans to wiretap any group or individual suspected of causing trouble. This edge-of-your-seat story is right up Gibney’s street; expect great things.
5. Robin Wright joins Blade Runner sequel
It looks like Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner sequel has locked down another cast member to see things you people wouldn’t believe; Robin Wright is in final negotiations for an unknown role in Blade Runner: Runnin’ 2 The Finish, having been a long-term target for the project. Variety reports that Wright’s House of Cards schedule had made it seem like her inclusion was unlikely but that something was recently hashed out and she could be joining up with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford when principal photography begins in July. As with Wright’s role, little is known about the film’s plot, but Villeneuve (Sicario) is directing from a script by Michael Green and Hampton Fancher (co-writer of the original film).
6. Alex Garland to reunite with Oscar Isaac for Annihilation
Here at One Room With A View we have more than a little time for Alex Garland’s frankly brilliant directorial debut Ex Machina. Not only did we give it full marks in our original review, we named it the seventh best film of 2015, and awarded it two ORWAV Oscars, for Best Actor and Best Actress. Without underselling our affection for it, it’s safe to say we’re fans.
Guess what? Alex Garland is back in the director’s chair for another sci-fi extravaganza and he’s bringing Oscar Isaac with him. Woop. Annihilation, an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s dystopian novel, already boasts an enviable cast, with Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and Gina Rodriguez on board, and Isaac’s call-up has us just a little excited. Garland and Isaac have solid history together and Isaac is one of the hottest actors around right now, meaning that you should keep your eyes peeled for this one.
7. Paramount Pictures on the market
Viacom, the parent corporation of Paramount Pictures, is looking for investors for the famed studio – with both Skydance Media and 21st Century Fox among the interested parties. The New York Post reports that Viacom is concerned about Paramount’s recent performance – it boasted just a 5.9 percent market share of the 2015 movie business – and views the selling of a minority stake as the best way of paying down debt and increasing shareholder confidence.
Although there is said to be serious attention from Chinese media companies like Alibaba and Tencent, Skydance’s interest is of particular note considering they recently raised $700million in new financing (via Variety) and have a longstanding relationship with Paramount. The two companies have worked together on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Star Trek Beyond, and a number of other releases.
While Viacom doesn’t seem short of willing partners for the $1.6 – $2billion stake, there are murmurings that Viacom might even shift the entire enterprise; a proposition attractive not just to Skydance, but also DreamWorks Animation. Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks CEO, has expressed an intention to merge with the studio outright, while a number of other parties are also interested in acquiring the increasingly slimmed-down industry behemoth. It doesn’t look like we’ll stop seeing the 22 stars anytime soon, but the whole “A Viacom Company” bit might get lopped off.
8. Shane Black’s The Nice Guys looks great
Yes! Shane Black is back and his latest looks cool as hell. After slumming it with a small, independent film about an egomaniac with a penchant for iron-clad theatrics and aerial fistfights – you might know it better as Iron Man 3 – the one-time writer, now-director is back to doing what he does best, buddy detective comedies.
After making his name by penning Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout, Black made it as a writer-director with the deliriously entertaining Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Iron Man 3 was certainly not without its fans but it didn’t feel like Black’s film; The Nice Guys, on the other hand, absolutely does. If it’s half as good as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, you’re in for one hell of a treat.
9. Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote finds funding
Over the years in which Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has been passed from pillar to post to post to pillar again, it has acquired an almost mythical status as a film that would never get made – there should really be a feature for that. Such is its legend that during the time in which Johnny Depp was attached to star in Gilliam’s passion project, a documentary, Lost in La Mancha, was produced detailing the unfathomable failure. Well, guess what? It’s finally happening. Paris-based production company Alfama Films have promised a budget of around $18million and shooting is due to commence later this year.
10. Jim Parsons to join Man-Witch
Jim Parsons could soon be a very busy Man… Witch, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Big Bang Theory star is apparently in talks to star in, develop and produce Man-Witch, a supernatural comedy about a schoolteacher who discovers he has witch-like powers and must, quite sensibly, enroll in a witch school. The only problem? *record scratch* The school is populated by young female witches-in-training. Man-Witch was previously shopped around in 2005 and counted Todd Phillips, Jack Black and Zach Galifianakis onboard at various stages of its development, but the involvement of Parsons on both sides of the camera makes it a little more likely that the project will come to pass. Parsons can currently be seen saying the word “Bazinga” on at least one channel at any and every time throughout the day.