1. Jon Favreau just can’t wait to be king (of the box office)—will direct live-action Lion King
The Jungle Book made $966 million worldwide—and that doesn’t even include that sweet, sweet action figure money. So, in a sense, Disney were proved right in their quest to remake a whole load of their back catalogue but with walking, talking people. We’ve known for a while that Mary Poppins is in the works, as well as The Jungle Book 2, Maleficent 2 and The Little Mermaid (now sans Chloë Grace Moretz) and now we can add The Lion King to that list. Fittingly, Jon Favreau—The Jungle Book’s director—has signed onto helm the tale of Kimba, I mean Simba. However, he announced the news in a tweet with emoji so he may be directing a film called Lion Crown instead.
Excited for my next project ??
— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) September 28, 2016
2. JJ Abrams wants to play with portals
In the land of video games—a magical place that looks a little like Tron—Valve are pretty much the golden goose, squeezing out beautifully shiny games that are near-universally revered; basically, they’re Pixar without any talking vehicles. Unfortunately, things at Valve also move a little slower than anywhere outside of a dentist’s waiting room, so the fact it’s been three years since there was word about cinematic adaptations of some of their games isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that this week JJ Abrams admitted to IGN that he has an imminent meeting with the Valve team to discuss Portal and Half-Life films, with an announcement on Portal coming “fairly soon”. Sure, “fairly soon” could mean another three years but still, this totally qualifies as news!
3. Jeffrey Dean Morgan gets to immigant killin’ in Desierto
An angry racist gets angry and racist at Mexican immigrants and proceeds to hunt them down—sorry folks, it’s not the beginning of some feeble US political satire, but rather the plot of Desierto, the directorial debut of Jonás (son of Alfonso) Cuarón. Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Gael García Bernal, Desierto looks like a pretty lean horror flick, with Morgan hunting down Bernal and his buddies as they seek to make it into the US.
4. Woody Harrelson will get Lost in London for his directorial debut
Actor, activist, Bill Murray’s friend—Woody Harrelson’s CV is already pretty damn impressive. But, hey, that hasn’t stopped him from adding to it with recently-revealed plans to make his directorial debut from a self-penned script. In an interview with Screen Daily, Harrelson admitted that he will shoot Lost In London, presumably in London (though plot details are being kept under wraps), after finishing production on Rob Reiner’s next project, Shock and Awe.
5. Jorma Taccone and Will Forte are creating a MacGruber 2 script
Even though it’s the best SNL film of the last two decades (come at me, Ladies Man fans), MacGruber never really seemed to scoop up enough acclaim or, y’know, money to warrant a sequel. Never mind that though, say director Jorma Taccone and star Will Forte; the two have teamed up to scratch out further adventures of the ‘Grubes and his faithful sidekick/wife Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig). Whether a studio will actually buy the pitch—MacGruber only grossed $9.3 million, and Taccone’s most recent directorial effort, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, did much the same—is another matter. [via Collider]
— Jorma Taccone (@jormataccone) September 26, 2016
6. John Carpenter hates Halloween… Rob Zombie’s Halloween
We’re a month and a day away from that annual spooky celebration, so we’re allowed time to reflect upon the rather terrible remake of Halloween from 2007. This update strangely did not occur this week, but back in April as John Carpenter (director of the original) described Rob Zombie (director of the new one) as a “piece of shit”. It all stemmed from an interview that Zombie gave where he claimed Carpenter was “cold” to him, despite Carpenter’s claims of providing consistent support.
The rise of this story again is because of Rob Zombie’s new movie 31 out this week, but it’s allowed for this little spat to rise to the top (or no. 6 on our list) again. Alas, it’s over before it began as Carpenter tweeted earlier this week that the pair had buried the hatchet way back when. As you were. [via The AV Club]
7. Poop poop! All aboard the SS Oscar for Denzel Washington’s Fences
When Denzel Washington directs a film, you know it’s going to feature some damn fine acting, because Denzel will always act for Denzel. So it’s no great surprise that the man himself will be starring in Fences, Washington’s third directorial feature, in an adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play. Viola Davis and Jovan Adepo also star as members of the Maxson family in 1950s Pittsburgh, in which Mr Washington will be playing the patriarch, Troy—a onetime baseball prospect who now finds himself a garbage collector. Washington and Davis have already won Tonys for their performances when the play was revived on Broadway in 2010, so this could very well be going away with a couple of those shiny mannequins come February 26.
8. A successful horror franchise? It’s nothing but gross for this trilogy
Horror films are always popular in a studio’s lineup. They’re cheap, and most times you fools will go and scare yourself silly on a wet and windy Thursday night (yes, horror films are also available outside of these conditions). A shining example of this has been The Purge franchise, which has performed consistently well and appreciated in value; Election Year has now claimed the title of highest-grossing of the three with a worldwide take of $114.2 million. All in all, the series has grabbed itself a hefty $315.4 million at the global box office, from a combined production cost of $23 million. As Lord Sir Sugar might say, that’s a good deal. In fact, that’s sensational profit from three surprisingly good films. Plus, with things as they are in the world at the moment, chances are there’ll be plenty more source material to draw from for future instalments. [via Deadline]
9. Michael Shannon will wage electric warfare against Benedict Cumberbatch
According to Variety, Michael Shannon is in talks to play George Westinghouse in The Current War opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s Thomas Edison. Taking place towards the end of the 19th century, the project is set to feature the two inventors doing battle over the future of electricity—a topic that sounds like it will resemble the end of Moonraker but will probably be more of a courtroom affair. As we all know without resorting to Wikipedia for fact-checking, Edison favoured direct current while Westinghouse was a pioneer of alternating current.
As is tradition, The Current War is just one of the films in production on the subject; Black Bear Pictures are currently developing The Last Days of Night, starring Eddie Redmayne as the lawyer who must determine the ultimate victor… at the patent office. Electric!
10. Duncan Jones begins work on the Netflix-bound Mute
Earlier this year, our Phil gave Warcraft a solid three stars and high praise indeed that “the late Goblin King would be proud of the wonderfully hammy fantasy adventure his son has created.” But now it’s time for the film’s director, Mr Duncan Jones, to step into a brand new world—that of his original sci-fi, Mute. Set in a dystopian, futuristic Berlin, Alexander Skarsgård plays Leo Beiler, a bartender who seeks his missing girlfriend. Fittingly for a futuristic, dystopian noir, Duncan Jones has gone all Harrison Ford (though the Witness Ford, rather than the Blade Runner one). According to Skarsgård in an interview with Empire, Mute will have a Netflix release as well as a (likely limited) theatrical run.
First day film making outfit?
Alas! Poor moustache! I knew him well! pic.twitter.com/xYEfYS40kH
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) September 28, 2016
-SON & DB