1. Warner Bros. reorganises DC division, sets up a Harley Quinn spinoff
After the $870 million-grossing “failure” that was Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. has made significant changes to its DC operations [via The Hollywood Reporter]. Much like a certain league formed by two powerful individuals at the end of that particular film, oversight for all DC-related films now rests heavy on the shoulders of Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. Johns, a former comic book writer, is better known for expanding DC properties into television (with work on CW’s Arrow and The Flash); Berg is a WB executive VP already connected to upcoming DC properties like Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and Justice League.
One project that may soon land on the pair’s desk is a Margot Robbie-starring Harley Quinn spinoff. The Hollywood Reporter, er, reports that while details “are being closely guarded” the project would focus on a number of female DC heroes and villains, to capitalise on Robbie’s performance in the upcoming Suicide Squad as well as the stable of female characters currently proving successful for DC. Potential characters who could also feature include Poison Ivy, Katana (played by Karen Fukuhara in Suicide Squad) and Batgirl. And, because it’s a legal requirement to compare every superhero film to Deadpool these days, THR also states that Harley Quinn’s nature and propensity for breaking the fourth wall means that Warner Bros. may be eyeing a tone similar to Marvel’s merc with a mouth.
2. Civil War shines at the box office
By the end of the weekend Captain America: Civil War will have crossed $1 billion at the global box office, making it the first release of 2016 to do so (although Disney’s animated juggernaut Zootropolis is hot on its tail). With much of Marvel under their control, not to mention Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pixar, and their own lucrative output, it seems that Disney is set to lord over the global box office for some years to come. And, frankly, they have earned it. Beside an obvious appetite for success, Disney clearly cares about the films it is producing; time and time again its money handlers have invested in the right places, its creative teams have spent time to establish its franchises (the Marvel franchise in particular), and maintain a knack for pairing good creators with the material. Hail
Hydra, sorry Disney.
3. Shia LaBeouf summoned to court – to play John McEnroe
Following last week’s “well, duh” casting news – that Gael García Bernal will play Zorro – comes this week’s instalment: sometime actor Shia LaBeouf will suit up for the role of John McEnroe [via The Hollywood Reporter]. Directed by Janus Metz, Borg/McEnroe will follow the long-running rivalry of McEnroe and his icy adversary, Bjorn Borg, throughout the ’70s and ’80s. LaBeouf will be joined by Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason in the role of Borg, while Stellan Skarsgård has been cast in the role of Borg’s coach, Lennart Bergelin. Shooting begins this Autumn in Sweden, meaning it’s only a matter of time before we see a permed Shia making a nuisance of himself and shouting “you cannot be serious!” or firing a futile shot at Borg only to lament that “they’ve adapted!”
4. Captain Fantastic gets a stirring trailer
Our man on the ground in Cannes has already expressed his love for Captain Fantastic, citing its “zany” offbeat tone and central performances as primary reasons to place this one right near the top of your must-see list. Well here is the first trailer and it looks great. An Oscar for Viggo Mortensen? Perhaps.
5. Adam Driver and Michael Palin ‘‘will’’ star in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Because it’s an absolute certainty that this is the time Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote gets made – at least until fates conspire to have the set blow away and the cast to suffer from something like regular nosebleeds – Gilliam has convinced two more actors jump on board [via /Film]. The news from Cannes is that Adam Driver and Michael Palin are the latest to step up to the plate, with Palin in the role of Don Quixote and Driver in the role of Toby, an arrogant publicist who returns to a small Spanish town that he used as the setting for a student film some years before. Gilliam’s acting plate will look fairly familiar – it’s more of a Lazy Susan – as Palin is stepping in for John Hurt, who was cast after Robert Duvall dropped out – himself cast instead of… Michael Palin. Yep, just like with a real Lazy Susan, if you wait long enough the popular dip will end up back in front of you. For his part, Driver is picking up the role supposedly dropped by Jack O’Connell and Ewan McGregor before him.
6. Gareth Edwards will not return for Godzilla 2
With Monsters Gareth Edwards created one of the best independent sci-fi films of recent years, blending together heart and horror with the aid of some fantastic effects produced on a micro budget. The film was good enough to land him the directing gig on Warner’s 2014 reboot of Godzilla. There is a clear division on Godzilla between those who loved it and those who thought it was perfectly fine (that’s us, by the way). Either way, Godzilla was a big enough hit to convince Warner Bros. that they want more monster mayhem (and, hopefully, less “Nolanesque seriousness”) and a sequel has been greenlit. That sequel may have been pushed back to 2019, but now news follows that Edwards has removed himself from it (via Deadline). This shouldn’t come entirely as a surprise, seeing as Edwards is currently wrapping up on Rogue One and has a few more personal projects in his sights.
7. Break the internet, Ghostbusters Trailer #2
“We don’t want mass hysteria,” says Melissa McCarthy towards the end of the new Ghostbusters trailer. Such caution is pretty wise, considering how up-in-arms some sections of Internetville got when the first promo was released. This time though, things will be OK, right? Chris Hemsworth answers the phone and says “Ghostbusters”, we get a good glimpse of the car, Melissa McCarthy does her thing and- ah forget it, watch the dislikes roll in regardless.
8. Hundreds of UK actors speak out on Brexit
Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Steve Coogan are among a group of British actors, directors, writers and musicians who have called on the British public to vote against an exit from the European Union (via Variety). The film industry is a global one and relies on international collaboration so, of course, it is in the industry’s interest that Britain does not sever its ties from Europe. In an open letter, the signatories state that “Britain is not just stronger in Europe, it is more imaginative and more creative, and our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away.”
The referendum will take place on 23 June at which time the British electorate will decide whether or not to opt out of Europe. This band of entertainment icons are the just latest to encourage the British voting public to see sense and stay within the EU.
9. James Franco to face the apocalypse with Milla Jovovich, Snoop Dogg
Professional ideas-haver James Franco has determined that not all dystopian films with the suffix “World” need to bomb. The actor, author and all-round handsome fella has been cast in Future World, a post-apocalyptic indie thriller that will also be directed by… James Franco. Joining him in a world ravaged by endless warfare and rampant disease will be regular apocalypse-battler Milla Jovovich in the role of a drug lord, and Snoop Dogg, presumably in the role of a drug user [via Deadline]. Lucy Liu and Suki Waterhouse are also set to star [via Variety]. Based on one of Franco’s original stories and concerning a dangerous quest across the wasteland, Future World sounds pretty similar to the 1989 Van Damme film, Cyborg, though it’s currently unknown whether Future World will feature gratuitous splits and characters named after electric guitars.
10. Ang Lee is back with Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
It might not boast the snappiest title but any Ang Lee movie is an event to be a part of. One of five living directors to have more than one Best Directing Oscar (the others being Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Oliver Stone and Alejandro Iñárritu in case you were wondering), Ang Lee is without question one of the most exciting directors in the world. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk turns attention to the ways in which the American military figures in the national imagination.
- SON & EF