1. Han Solo gets a title
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) October 17, 2017
OK, so it’s not a trailer or anything – just a video of Ron Howard wearing a baseball cap and a down jacket – but the Han Solo Star Wars spinoff movie has a title. Finally, we can stop typing the Han Solo Star Wars spinoff movie! Howard announced Tuesday that the film will be titled Solo: A Star Wars Story. This isn’t necessarily the place to overanalyse the video* but the text looks a little less serious than the standard titles. Although Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were given the boot from the project, it could be that Solo is still meant to take things a little less seriously than other instalments. In other news, the project has wrapped shooting and is still set to open in May 2018. That seems unlikely, but we’ll see.
*Why is it that Ron Howard does not reveal his left hand until late in the video? As we all know, characters within the Star Wars universe more frequently lose their right-sided limbs but this could perhaps be an inverse reference to Vader’s loss of his right arm in the final third of the original trilogy. When does Howard reveal his arm? In the final third of the above video. Now, [please stop – Ed.]
2. Netflix working on 80 movies for 2018
Streaming behemoth Netflix has announced it is working on 80 original films for 2018. That’s a sizeable increase on its current, steady output that saw 2017 set for around 50 offerings. But hey, that’s what an $8 billion war chest and over 100 million subscribers buys you. Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief of content, made the announcement on an investor call on Tuesday, also taking the time to confirm that Martin Scorsese’s De Niro-Pacino-Pesci reunion, The Irishman (i.e. the film the ’80s forgot to make), will appear in 2019. Your move, Amazon Studios. [via Polygon]
3. Black Panther trailer gets us ready for a cat fight
We’re not entirely sure what the trailer for Black Panther tells us. Sure, there’s some standard stuff about forging one’s own path and the importance of keeping your head, but there’s very little in the way of a central conflict. Michael B. Jordan does have evil hair and his own super-powered feline suit though. Ultimately, we’re thankful for the mystery. All we need know is that the Ryan Coogler-directed flick is due in UK cinemas February 9. And that Chadwick Boseman leads a cast that also includes Andy Serkis, Sterling K. Brown, Martin Freeman, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya and Angela Bassett. Stacked.
4. Dan Gilroy and Denzel Washington go for a trim
There’s a decent amount of buzz around Dan Gilroy at the moment. The success of Nightcrawler, and the eagerness with which Netflix outbid all rivals for Gilroy’s upcoming Gyllenhaal-Russo reunion only whetted our appetite. Then Gilroy’s sophomore effort, the Denzel Washington-starring Roman J. Israel, Esq got decidedly mixed reviews at the Toronto film festival.
Gilroy hasn’t sat on his hands, however. According to Deadline, the director – as well as Washington – have since recut the film, leaving 12 minutes on the digital cutting room floor, moving some scenes and changing the score. Said Gilroy, “what we did here was strengthen and refocus a film we were already really proud of… we’ve cut any fat, right down to the muscle.” Given that the original release ran to 133 minutes, it’s no doubt a good move from a financial point of view. We’ll have to see if it’s a positive move, creatively speaking.
5. Chiwetel Ejiofor begins directin’ an erectin’
Multi-talented actor man Chiwetel Ejiofor has begun work on his directorial debut. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ejiofor is adapting William Kamkwamba’s autobiography, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. The story tells the story of a 13 year-old who creates a wind turbine from scrap metal and bicycle bits, thus saving his village and doing his bit for the carbon-offset movement. Ejiofor will play the boy’s father, Trywell, while newcomer Maxwell Simba plays the titular protagonist. Said Ejiofor this week, “I want this to be a film that allows people to see that Malawi, and the world, will be all the better for everything William and those like him are able to contribute when they have the opportunities.”
6. Glide back into the ’90s, courtesy of the first teaser for I, Tonya
When Margot Robbie first read the script for I, Tonya, she couldn’t tell fact from fiction. Apparently the actress – who would have been a world-weary three years old when the infamous attack of Harding’s rival, Nancy Kerrigan, happened – thought it was merely another quirky incident that writer Steven Rogers included. Rogers, who also wrote P.S. I Love You and Kate & Leopold, has his words made flesh by Fright Night’s Craig Gillespie. It’s a pretty interesting collaboration. Such surprise on Robbie’s part implies I, Tonya might not be the most faithful of biopics. Still, we’ll have to wait until February 16 to see if it can join the ranks of The Cutting Edge, Ice Princess and Blades of Glory in the ice-skating film hall of fame. It’s not an especially high bar to meet.
7. Wham! Biff! Powell! Morgan Freeman finds new project
Morgan Freeman and former US Secretary of State Colin Powell are the same age. Someone in Hollywood must have noticed because the former is set to play the latter in a biopic, titled Powell. The project will focus on Powell’s speech to the United Nations in 2003, where he infamously told the world that Iraq was in “material breach of its obligations” and sought support for the removal of Saddam Hussein. Of course, Powell was a sprightly 65 back in 2003, so Freeman may have to make use of CGI or makeup. Or sheer god-given acting talent. Reginald Hudlin, a television veteran who recently directed Marshall, will direct. While Secretary of State is a pretty plum job, this will be a step down for Freeman, who has also played the US President, the Congressional Speaker of the House, the South African President, and God himself.
8. Riz Ahmed to Hamlet it up
Applying the seven degrees of Riz Ahmed to the most recent edition of Your Week In Film is pretty straightforward. The man starred in fellow Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One; he was a key cast member in Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler; he’s just signed onto a new Netflix original film. That film is a modern adaptation of Hamlet. According to Deadline, Ahmed also helped adapt the project alongside his friend Mike Lesslie, a co-writer of 2015’s Macbeth. Set in contemporary London, the story follows “the intersecting themes of familiar horror, moral duty and dynastic corruption.” And, if it’s faithful, some hardcore curtain-based hide and seek.