1. Regrets, David Ayer has a few
Suicide Squad made almost $750 million worldwide on release. It’s the second most successful DC Universe film of all time and it broke the record for biggest opening in August. Sure, it might be a little too fantastical and hindered by what our own Joni Blyth called “a weak villain and flimsy stakes,” but it’s not terrible. Any movie that actually manages to make Jai Courtney entertaining hasn’t done too badly in our books.
However, director David Ayer isn’t too big to acknowledge the project’s faults, as he did on Saturday via Twitter. Replying to a fan’s unequivocal praise, Ayer demured, offering that he’d do things a lot different if he had a time machine. Namely, he’d “make the Joker the main villain and engineer a more grounded story” as opposed to, say, going back a little further in time and killing Hitler. Nor would Ayer use this hypothetical time machine to verify the existence of Christ or spread awareness on basic sanitary practices or climate change. It’s possible he still intended to address those issues, but they’re secondary to giving “the characters the stories and plots they deserve.” Selfish, David Ayer, selfish.
2. Star Wars: Episode VIII asks us to consider the plural
Considering its release is not so far away, now seems as good a time as any for Disney to give Star Wars: Episode VIII a title. Say hello to The Last Jedi and its snazzy red-outlined lettering. Cast your mind back to November 2014 and you may recall that Star Wars: The Force Awakens (much like every other entry in the main series) used a distinctive yellow stroke on its letters. So what does this splash of red mean? And is “Jedi” plural? Plus, will it make lots of money or loads of money? Considering the sanctity of news, we can’t speculate on any of that, but it’s fair to say that at least Mark Hamill might find himself a little more involved in this one.
— Star Wars (@starwars) January 23, 2017
3. Found: trailer for The Lost City of Z
Ignore Brad Pitt’s name slapped onto the credits, this bears no relation to those fast-moving zombie-types—not least because Charlie Hunnam emphatically pronounces it “Zed”. Instead, this adaptation of David Grann’s nonfiction bestseller tells the story of the explorer Percy Fawcett, who undertook a number of expeditions into the Amazon at the beginning of the 20th century in search of a mysterious civilization. Supporting him in his quest are his wife (Sienna Miller), his son (Tom Holland) and his aide de camp (Robert Pattinson + beard). The film garnered decent reviews on the festival circuit late last year but we’ll have to wait until March 24 for our own chance to see if the real lost city of Z was inside us all along.
4. The Predator hunts down more cast members
Shane Black plus the Predator franchise equals a pretty mouthwatering prospect, and the upcoming reboot has been on our watchlist for a while. Proving it’s not just a fever dream, this week saw the project step up its casting. The Hollywood Reporter has it that Sterling K. Brown and Thomas Jane are both in talks to join a cast that already boasts Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key and Trevante Rhodes. Brown is apparently negotiating to play a government agent who turns to Holbrook’s former marine for help dealing with the Predator menace while little is known about Thomas Jane’s part (unless you watched the HBO drama, Hung*—hey ohh). However, it wouldn’t be a Shane Black film without a fast-talking tween popping up to offer a few wry observations on proceedings. Step forward Jacob Tremblay. It looks like the Room star is also joining the cast and will play Holbrook’s son. [via The Hollywood Reporter]
*Chances are you didn’t, so a heads-up that he played a male prostitute with a large penis.
5. The Academy Awards went ga ga for La La
Your Week In Film is a place for facts. Facts, and references to little-watched Thomas Jane dramas. So if you want a discussion of the winners and losers from the 89th Academy Awards nominations, click right here. As for the actual nominees: it was a good day for La La Land. The musical swept the board, getting nominated in 13 categories and splitting the vote for Best Original Song. Its grand total of 14 nominations has made it the most nominated film of all time, tied with Titanic and All About Eve. What’s more, it’s a favourite to convert a whole lot of those into shiny golden naked men.
Some other films did receive a look-in, however. Moonlight and Arrival snatched eight nominations apiece (though Amy Adams was forgotten for her work in the latter) and Lion, Hacksaw Ridge and Manchester by the Sea are all sitting pretty on six. As well as the non-nom of Adams, there were a few surprises this year. Not only did Michael Shannon wriggle his way into Best Supporting Actor stakes ahead of his Golden Globe winning costar Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Mel Gibson is apparently ready to reenter polite society if his nomination for Best Director is anything to go by, and Lin-Manuel Miranda will have a chance to complete his EGOT with a nomination for Best Original Song. He was suitably speechless.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) January 24, 2017
We’ll have a few preview articles up in advance of the ceremony on February 26 (and a liveblog of the event itself) but these are the facts. Just the facts.
6. Walter Hill returns. That may not be a good thing
Walter Hill has had an incredible career. Not only did he produce Alien, and co-write Aliens, but he co-wrote and directed The Warriors, Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs. and Red Heat. He wrote and directed The Driver; he directed Brewster’s Millions; he exec-produced Tales From The Crypt! The man basically has a 12-year run of excellence behind him and a whole lot of greatness either side. But that was a long time ago.
Hill’s latest stars Michelle Rodriguez as a hitman given gender reassignment surgery by Sigourney Weaver, as both an act of vengeance and as an attempt to explore issues of gender. An unabashed B-movie, what was originally titled Tomboy, and later [re]Assignment, is now The Assignment, and boasts a new trailer that looks like… well, The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee described it “as if Tommy Wiseau decided to remake The Skin I Live In.” All bets are off.
7. Michael Bay to produce unbelievable dystopian sci-fi flick
The truth is, we can’t beat The Hollywood Reporter’s headline this time: Universal Wins Bidding War for Michael Bay-Produced Script About Trump-Like Dystopia. It’s got it all. Apparently the Bay-produced Little America is set in a United States where the actions of a reckless President have caused China to call in their debts. Within this frankly ludicrous concept, a former American Force Recon member is hired to rescue a Chinese billionaire’s daughter from an inner city ghetto. Yes, it is very similar to Escape From New York. Rowan Athale wrote the spec and is set to direct, while Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes will produce.
8. Black Panther begins
Saturday 21 January saw principal photography begin on Marvel’s Black Panther in the faraway and vibrant metropolis of Atlanta. The Ryan Coogler-directed flick already boasted a pretty impressive cast—with Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa supported by Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Sterling K. Brown—but a number of websites spotted another addition to the ensemble. Yes, it looks like Martin Freeman has joined the film as Everett K. Ross, who we were introduced to in Captain America: Civil War. Sure, he’s not a particularly exciting addition, even if Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson proved that people can fall for prickly bureaucrats, but we do like our Martin Freeman. [via Coming Soon]