1. Toronto International Film Festival kicks off with The Magnificent Seven
This week the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) kicked off with Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven. Unsurprisingly for many, the remake of a remake failed to impress the critics as yet another example of a reboot that we don’t need and didn’t ask for.
Elsewhere, Oscar hopefuls such as La La Land and The Birth of a Nation continue to do the rounds while other potential Oscar contenders such as American Pastoral and Snowden prepare to enter the race. Early word on A Monster Calls, J.A. Bayona’s adaptation of Patrick Ness’ teen novel, is very strong and if the critics are suitably impressed after Saturday’s premiere there is every chance that it might also be repositioned for the awards season. Watch this space.
2. Ben Affleck’s Live By Night looks typically brilliant
Ben Affleck is not always a great actor, but so far he’s been a great director. Even if Argo is slightly overrated (seriously, who still believes it was the Best Picture of 2012?), there is no question that he makes tight, effective thrillers. Live By Night, based on a novel by Dennis Lehane – author of Gone Baby Gone, which Affleck also directed – tells the story of Joe Coughlin, son of a Boston police captain, who’d rather be a gangster than follow in daddy’s footsteps.
3. Alfonso Cuarón to return with Mexican family drama
What does one do after directing Gravity, one of the most innovative, jaw-dropping, and technically accomplished films in recent memory? Well, a return to one’s roots is on the cards for Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity‘s two-time Oscar-winning director. His next movie will produced by Participant Media and will be set in Mexico, following the trials and tribulations of a middle-class Mexican family in the early 1970s [via Variety].
If that feels like a disappointingly safe premise for the man behind Gravity and modern sci-fi classic Children of Men, fear not: this is a return to the territory of Cuarón’s first masterpiece Y Tu Mamá También and, with a director this good, we know anything he touches will turn into something special.
4. Michael Cera might be Player X in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut
Infamous Hollywood sybarite and sometime actor Michael Cera is in talks to join the cast of Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game. Already cast are Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in the adaptation of Molly Bloom’s novel that has a title too long to reprint. Chastain is set to play the lead (called Molly), a former Olympic hopeful who finds herself organising underground poker games for a veritable who’s-who of Hollywood talent. Cera is rumoured to be joining as Player X, an elite poker player who quickly sparks up a relationship with Bloom. That is so Michael Cera [via The Hollywood Reporter].
5. Will Smith’s new film looks kinda crazy, so that’s good
You know the rules: one goofy film, one serious film. That’s just how Will Smith rolls these days. Unfortunately, given the way that a lot of Suicide Squad’s jokes landed, it’s not clear on which side his latest film, Collateral Beauty, actually falls. That it’s about an adman who starts writing to, and receiving visits from, Death (Helen Mirren), Love (Keira Knightley), and Time (Jacob Latimore) makes us even less certain. Hopefully we’ll have a better idea by December 30th, when Collateral Beauty and its genuinely impressive cast—also featuring Kate Winslet, Michael Peña and Ed Norton—will likely provide a wonderful bookend to this, the sixteenth year of the Willennium.
6. Ryan Coogler likely to refuse his invitation to the Academy
When you send out a whole load of invitations, it’s only natural that you’ll get at least a couple of maybes and rejections. And, while most of the time those responses don’t come from such esteemed luminaries as Creed director Ryan Coogler, it was bound to happen one day. Well, that’s precisely what the Academy has found out this week, with news from The Hollywood Reporter that Coogler hasn’t RSVP’d in the affirmative to the Academy’s invitation (one of 683) and isn’t likely to do so anytime soon. However, according to The Reporter’s sources, this could just be due to the fact that he’s “uninterested in judging other people’s art” and not that there’s a really sweet party down at the Hollywood Foreign Press’s house instead.
7. Anne Hathaway-starring monster movie Colossal to close Fantastic Fest
The annual Austin-based festival Fantastic Fest—think Fright Fest but more, um, fantastic—looks set to be a good one. After opening on September 22nd with Denis Villeneuve’s warmly received sci-fi extravaganza Arrival, and hosting a premiere for HBO’s upcoming TV adaptation Westworld, the festival is due to close with Colossal, a kaiju monster movie starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis [via Deadline].
The film will follow Hathaway as a woman who realises that she is linked to a monster wreaking havoc across the world. So it’s essentially Godzilla crossed with Pacific Rim. Colossal will also play at Toronto where it is seeking distribution.
8. Jared Hess decides the time is finally right for that Shanghai Noon/Knights sequel
Sure, it looks like this summer proved that not all franchises are meant to be exhumed and ignored but that certainly doesn’t apply to the Shanghai series! Jared Hess, the director of Napoleon Dynamite and several considerably less-successful films, has reportedly signed onto the long-awaited Shanghai Dawn project. Although we know Dawn features a story from Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, the modern-day Shakespeare’s that penned Shanghais Noon and Knights, details are relatively few. However, we do know that Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson are currently negotiating to return to the franchise and that Chan will still continue to play a character whose name is Wang [via The Hollywood Reporter].
9. SHOCK! Joe Manganiello will play Deathstroke
After it was announced last week that Deathstroke will be Batman’s big bad in Ben Affleck’s upcoming solo outing, there was a quick scramble to compile lists of actors capable of fulfilling the role. High on most of those lists was True Blood and Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello.
DC head honcho Geoff Johns has now come out and confirmed that Manganiello will indeed be donning the suit to play the masked mercenary opposite Affleck’s beefed-up Bat [via Wall Street Journal]. The film will be directed by Batffleck himself and will likely be out sometime in 2018—although a release date is yet to be confirmed.
10. Johnny Depp will tackle the whole Tupac, Biggie death thing in Labyrinth
Despite Tuesday being the official NWA Day, that hasn’t stopped The Hollywood Reporter from running with news that Johnny Depp has signed onto Labyrinth: an inaccurately-titled retelling of Russell Poole’s investigation of the murder of the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. Poole was a detective that came to the eventual conclusion that so-called “gangsta cops” in the LAPD were tied to the Bloods street gang and were ultimately responsible for the murders—a conclusion that led to Poole’s early retirement in protest at little being done about his findings. Brad Furman, whose most recent film, The Infiltrator, is out next Friday, is set to direct.
-SON & EF