1. Dick Van Dyke will soot up for Mary Poppins Returns

We’d like to dedicate this next story to a very special man. He’s 91 years old and he weighs under 200 tons: Dick Van Dyke. Yes, the Hollywood legend is in the news again with his announcement to The Hollywood Reporter that he’s all set to join the cast of Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns. Van Dyke didn’t reveal whether he was stepping back into the soot-covered shoes of cheery chimney sweep Bert but it’s certainly comforting to know that the guy will line up alongside Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw and, to quote Van Dyke himself, “that guy from Hamilton [Lin-Manuel Miranda].”

2. Disney breaks the $7billion mark for 2016, what have you done?

Sure, 2016 might have sucked for a lot of us, but Disney are doing alright. What with Rogue One taking almost $300million worldwide on its opening weekend, the venerable studio has now broken the $7billion mark for global ticket sales in 2016. And it’s not over yet. With two weeks left in the year it looks like Disney could make a substantial climb towards the $8bn mark—though almost certainly without reaching it.

Disney’s 2016 takings smash the record that Universal set last year when Jurassic World and Furious 7 pulled the studio along to a pitiful $6.9bn—mere chump change for Disney, who will probably write very thankful Christmas Cards to their buddies Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar for helping them along the way. [via The Guardian]

3. Ryan Gosling does some moody blade walking in trailer for Blade Runner 2049

While we’ll have to wait for Harrison Ford to forget roles like Indiana Jones, Han Solo and Rick Deckard and get into the really meaty roles from his past—come on, Witness 2: Murderousness—we at least have the first teaser for Blade Runner 2049 to chew on. Giving away very little other than that Harrison Ford is old and Ryan Gosling is not, Denis Villeneuve’s sequel – also starring Jared Leto, Mackenzie Davis and Barkhad Abdi – is due for a UK release on October 6, 2017.

4. From 10 Cloverfield Lane to 221 Abracadabravenue*

Considering the remarkable success of 10 Cloverfield Lane, it’s a surprise to find that director Dan Trachtenberg only has one major project to his name – and that’s only as of this week! Now the director is set to finally adapt William Kalush and Larry Sloman‘s book The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero, a project that has long been in the works with the likes of Dean Parisot, Joe Wright and Gary Ross all eventually passing on the job. With Noah Oppenheim, currently riding a high wave of praise for his work on Jackie, penning the script, it’ll be a joy to see this come to fruition. Talented writer, talented director, interesting subject – let’s hope they pull the rabbit out the hat for this one. [via Deadline]

* No, Wikipedia doesn’t give the actual address of Houdini.

5. Michael Sheen is NOT quitting acting. This is news

On Saturday December 17 the world was aghast. Michael Sheen—the actor who so expertly inhabited the roles of David Frost in Frost/Nixon, Brian Clough in The Damned United and Lucian in Underworld—was quitting acting?! Nope.

Although Sheen was reported by The Times, and several other outlets, to have said that he planned to “work less as an actor, and possibly stop,” with his focus turned to political activism, it was all the stuff before that that carried the detail. Sheen took to Twitter to clarify his remarks that his thoughts were just that, and not plans, but hey, that’s what you get when you get your news from a spunky upstart like The Times rather than a tried-and-true media outlet like One Room With A View.

6. Wellness is the disease, Dane DeHaan is (searching for) the cure

Gore Verbinski is the ninth-highest grossing film director in the world; he has won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe; he has directed critical and commercial successes in horror, action und comedy. So a new film of his should be a big deal, right? Even if it is saddled with a title like A Cure For Wellness. From our first proper ogling, it looks like Verbinski’s new psychological thriller stars Dane DeHaan as a young exec seeking to extricate his company’s CEO from a freaky (read: European) wellness clinic in the Swiss Alps, but he soon gets his leg all Misery-ed up and finds himself becoming a patient. Also starring Jason Isaacs (hello!), Mia Goth and Celia Imrie, we can’t fault the visuals but the verdict’s out until its UK release date of March 24, next year.

7. The Expendables might not know what “expendable” means

It’s often a common jibe in Film Talk to say, “another sequel?! Can’t Hollywood think of anything original?” Now, while this is a rather dull line of conversation, they… may have a point this time. Yes, it looks like The Expendables 4 has been greenlit, with Splendid Film – distributor of the first three – agreeing to distribute a whole new round for the geriactioneers. Bah humbug.

In all sincerity, the films have decreased in quality, what with the increase in cheap European locations and the reduction of tangible action, so here’s hoping (rather than expecting) the crew go back to keeping things simple. Go for that R-rating, let our ’80s action heroes go for gold, and please introduce The World is Not Enough’s Christmas Jones to Jason Statham’s Lee Christmas. She could become Christmas Christmas! Umm, we may have gone astray here. [via Yahoo! Movies]

8. Wes Anderson is heading to the Isle of Dogs. And you can too

We’re big fans of Fantastic Mr. Fox here—in fact, we’d say it’s probably the best film out there with the prefix “Fantastic“—and it seems Mr Anderson was a fan too, as he’s set to return to the world of animation for his next feature, Isle of Dogs. While little is known about the film itself, we’re going to go with the belief that it’s about an island of dogs, not a piece about the south-east London region.

In true Wes Anderson fashion, the director has already attracted one of the most ridiculously strong casts we’ve seen in recent years. Just take a deep breath and read all these names: Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Yoko Ono, Courtney B. Vance, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Bob Balaban, Liev Schreiber and Edward Norton. Best of all, as part of a Crowdrise campaign, you can win the chance of being a voice in the film whilst helping a good cause. Merry Christmas, you filthy animals! [via The Guardian]

– SON & DB