Category Archives: Trending

Harvey Weinstein Fired In Midst Of Sexual Harassment Allegations

CREDIT: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

The Weinstein Company has officially removed the “Weinstein” part from its name.

After The New York Times broke the story that studio executive Harvey Weinstein had spent three decades paying off sexual harassment accusers, his own company officially fired him Sunday after the board of directors learned about the allegations. The company released their official statement below:

“In light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days, the directors of The Weinstein Company – Robert Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar – have determined, and have informed Harvey Weinstein, that his employment with The Weinstein Company is terminated effective immediately.”

A media mogul and a pioneer in promoting independent cinema, Weinstein has served as executive producer for multiple Academy Award-winning films, including best picture winners Shakespeare In Love, The English Patient, Chicago, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, The King’s Speech, and The Artist. He also co-founded Miramax films, which produced the movies Pulp Fiction, The Crying Game, and Sex, Lies, And Videotape. Allegations or not, Weinstein has introduced many filmmakers into mainstream cinema, and helped shape entertainment culture for years to come.

It is understandable, then, that the allegations have shaken up Hollywood as we know it. According to The New York Times, the allegations go as far back as 1990, during Weinstein’s first marriage with Eve Chilton. His accusers consist of eight former employees, including actress Ashley Judd. Of the allegations, Weinstein said:

“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”

Weinstein’s attorney Charles Harder said that the producer plans to sue The New York Times over the story’s publishing. The Weinstein Company has launched an official investigation into the full extent of the allegations.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The New York Times, Variety

 

Advertisements

J.J. Abrams Bringing ‘Your Name’ Into Theaters

Oh boy. Let the anime fan rage resume.

After the astronomical success of Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name, director J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) reserved the rights to adapt a live-action version of the animated film, bringing Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer on board to pen the screenplay. The film tells the story of two different individuals in Japan who inexorably switch bodies on opposite ends of the continent. Their journey to get back into their own bodies eventually leads them to meet each other, gaining a greater understanding of their shared experiences and how it’s led them both to grow as people.

This announcement comes after a year jam-packed with whitewashing controversies. First there was recasting Major, a Japanese cyborg, into Caucasian actress Scarlett Johansson for Ghost In The Shell. Then came recasting Light Yagami, the Japanese protagonist of Death Note, into Caucasian actor Nat Wolff for the Netflix adaptation. Deadpool actor Ed Skrein was almost slated to take over a Chinese character’s part in the Hellboy reboot, but Skrein graciously turned it down after learning of the character’s true ethnicity. With all of these controversies in mind, fans are reasonably concerned about the live-action version of Your Name and of Hollywood whitewashing more of their favorite characters.

SOURCE: Toho Co.

Hold on, take a deep breath for a moment, because I honestly don’t think this is as troublesome as it sounds. Remember that J.J. Abrams made one of the progressive moves of our time by casting actor John Boyega and newcomer Daisy Ridley as the leads for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That was the first time in the series where both a woman and a black actor led the charge for Star Wars, and that helped catapult the film to its highest grossing release ever at $2 billion. With Abrams being aware of Hollywood’s cultural appropriation, I’m confident he will do the original justice by casting multicultural actors in the leads. If he doesn’t, then he’ll have to face the backlash of many passionate fans of the source material. I don’t know which is scarier: Darth Vader, or the PO’d anime fan.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to a live-action adaptation of Your Name, or would you wish that Hollywood could just leave the original alone? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: MoviePilot, IndieWire

DiCaprio and Scorsese Team Up for Teddy Roosevelt Biopic

Looks like we won’t have to wait long for our next DiCaprio/Scorsese collaboration.

News broke earlier this week that famed actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Revenant) and filmmaker Martin Scorsese (Hugo, The Wolf of Wall Street) are teaming up for a new project together. It will be a biographical picture on America’s very own 26th President Teddy Roosevelt, with DiCaprio attached to star and Scorsese slated to direct the project.

Out of all of Hollywood’s actor/director collaborations, nearly none are as strong as DiCaprio and Scorsese’s partnership. First working together in 2002’s Gangs of New York, Scorsese and DiCaprio have gone on to work on many successful films together, including The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, and of course The Wolf of Wall Street. They’ve work so well together that Warner Bros. has even held discussions on casting DiCaprio in the title role of Scorsese’s Joker solo film (I’m personally not partial for that, however. I’m still pining for Jackie Earle Haley.)

Still, anytime these two get together it spells good fortune, and the fact that they’re teaming up for Teddy Roosevelt is exciting of itself. I personally wasn’t itching for a Teddy Rooseelt movie, but with these two on board? Count me in.

What do you think? Are you excited for another Scorsese/DiCaprio collaboration? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Deadline, Variety

Jared Leto Is Returning As DCEU’s Joker

UPDATE 8/24: Warner Bros. just recently added another spinoff to Leto’s slate as the Joker. It will primarily focus on the Joker’s relationship with Harley Quinn and will also feature Suicide Squad co-star Margot Robbie. The film is being written and directed by Crazy, Stupid, Love filmmakers Glen Ficarra and John Requa.


ORIGINAL STORY: 

Whoa, okay. I wasn’t expecting this much Joker news in one day. That’s kind awesome.

SOURCE: Warner Bros. Pictures

Hours after the announcement that Warner Bros. will be producing a standalone Joker movie, they followed up with more Joker news that is sure to both please and infuriate fans. Jared Leto will be reprising his role as the Joker from Suicide Squad in both the sequel and the Harley Quinn-centered spinoff, Gotham City Sirens. Reps have not confirmed whether Leto’s contract will extend past that to Ben Affleck’s solo Batman film or not.

I’m a little mixed with this development. I didn’t care for Leto that much in Suicide Squad and felt he was unnecessarily forced into the picture just so the marketing team could use him in their promotional material. With Leto, I didn’t get the sense that this guy had a sick sense of humor or was supposed to serve as a dark parody of a clown. He felt more like Scarface with some tattoos and makeup plastered on.

That being said, I blame writer-director David Ayer more for his portrayal than I do of Leto. His screenplay shoehorned the Joker awkwardly in there rather than giving him his own space to breathe and interact with the other characters, and I think it shortchanged him in the long run. With how little screen time he’s given as well as the sloppy editing of his scenes, I think Leto wasn’t given a lot to work with to truly stand out in Suicide Squad. I would be happy to see him given a second chance at the part in the sequel, although if it still doesn’t work DC may have to take the character back to the drawing board.

What do you guys think? Are you smiling to see Leto reprise the iconic villain, or do you wish he would laugh himself away from the part? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Comic Book Resource, Screenrant

Martin Scorsese Is Producing A ‘Joker’ Movie. Yes, Really.

Why so serious?

In addition to work on Justice League and the slate of the DC Extended Universe, Warner Bros. recently announced that they’re working on another surprise spinoff project. It is a prequel to the iconic Batman villain The Joker, and it will reportedly launch a new wave of DC movies unrelated to the DCEU.

What. Even.

The project is being produced by the masterful Martin Scorsese (The Departed, Shutter Island) and will be set in the criminal underworld of the 1980’s. The Hangover director Todd Phillips and 8 Mile scribe Scott Silver are penning the script, with Phillips also expected to direct the project as well.

So much to unpack here. First of all, Martin Scorsese working on a JOKER MOVIE?! HOLY COW. Scorsese’s filmography is as large as it is influential, with works such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas considered by many to be among the greatest films of all time. With him taking a back seat in the producer’s chair, however, we can’t get too excited as he won’t be as involved with the film as Phillips and Silver will be. Still, knowing that the producer behind Free Fire, Bleed For This, as well as the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself is exciting in of itself. It will be interesting to see what elements Scorsese exactly contributes to The Joker, although I wish he could be more hand’s-on with the film than he already is.

As for Phillips and Silver, they are… fine, I guess. Silver is more impressive considering he also penned The Fighter in addition to 8 Mile. Phillips, however, is where I am most concerned. His work has been inconsistent at its best, abhorrent at its worst. I can’t think of the last time I laughed at one of his movies besides the meagerly funny moments in Due Date, and as far as I can tell he’s very unpolished when it comes to directing drama. That’s not to say he can’t do a good job at directing The Joker. Shoot, Jurassic Park III’s director Joe Johnston made Captain America: The First Avenger, and that still ranks among the MCU’s best. I’m just curious where Phillips is going to take it is all. He’ll definitely need a helping hand from Scorsese and Silver if this prequel is going to work.

What I’m more interested in is the fact that this is a film OUTSIDE of the DCEU. This means that aside from The Dark Knight universe and the DCEU, this is an open canvas for these filmmakers. They have complete creative freedom for how they take on and portray this character. This is both exciting and terrifying news, because as we all know, too much creative freedom can lead to some disastrous decisions (as evidenced by the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice).

Who will portray the Joker? Which comic book storylines are they going to pull from? Will it be inspired by previous on-screen iterations of the Joker, or will they be going in an entirely new direction?

Questions, questions, questions, all of which we’ll have to wait for the answers to. Hopefully we won’t be waiting too long.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Deadline, MoviePilot

Obi-Wan Is Returning To Theaters

I’ve got a great feeling about this.

In a surprise development, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the next spinoff film in the expanded Star Wars franchise. It is none other than ol’ Ben himself, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

 

SOURCE: LucasFilm

So far, there’s very little confirmed about the project besides that it’s focused on Obi-Wan. We don’t know if Ewan McGregor is returning or not, we don’t know if it’s taking place before or after the prequel trilogy, and we don’t know how exactly Obi-Wan will fit into the expanded Star Wars universe. All we know at this point is that the film will feature the esteemed jedi and that Billy Elliot filmmaker Stephen Daldry is expected to direct.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for anything Star Wars-related, especially when it comes to Obi-Wan. But out of all of the spinoff stories Disney could have adapted, why did they pick him? Yoda and Boba Fett have been fan favorites for just as long and are spinoffs viewers have supported and actively campaigned for. And unlike Obi-Wan, there is much to Yoda and Boba Fett’s stories that we still don’t know about. How did Yoda become a jedi? How did Boba Fett become a bounty hunter? What were they doing in the years since Order 66 was carried out?

Unlike Obi-Wan, there is still much left unknown about these characters, and Disney is actually considering spinoffs featuring them as well. It just seems strange to me that it’s taken so long to get there whereas characters like Han Solo and Obi-Wan have just immediately taken off. We’ll have to wait and see where exactly their stories will take them though.

What do you guys think? Are you excited for an Obi-Wan movie, or would you have preferred another Star Wars spinoff? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, ComingSoon.net

Stephen Lang is going to be in ‘Avatar 2’. And ‘3’. And ‘4’. And ‘5’.

Please tell me this is a joke.

Good God. This is not a joke. It’s real.

Speaking with Empire magazine, writer-director James Cameron made a shocking reveal about his Avatar sequels. Reportedly working on four additions to the franchise, Cameron said that each movie would not feature a different villain, but rather all of them will have the same antagonist: Colonel Quaritch.

You know, Stephen Lang.

THE GUY WHO DIED AT THE END OF THE FIRST MOVIE.

SOURCE: 20th Century Fox

Saying that the sequels will feature a lot of the same characters from the first installment, Cameron said the idea is to place them in different settings in pursuit of this grander journey.

“There’s not a new villain every time,” Cameron said. “Same guy. Same m———- through all four movies. He is so good and he just gets better. I know Stephen Lang is gonna knock this out of the park.”

I–

Wait–

What?

HOW DOES THIS EVEN WORK?!

We watched the guy get two poisonous arrows SHOT THROUGH HIS CHEST and collapse under a giant metal suit.

DOES HIS MIND BECOME AN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND HAUNT THE NA’VI IN THEIR SLEEP???

I’m sorry for being ecstatic, but I am just… so… confused. Cameron has brought characters back from death before in other movies, most notably from Terminator and its sequel. But there it makes sense because the T-800 is a freaking robot. What is Quaritch’s excuse? He’s secretly an undercover angel?

Ultimately, I’m going to try and give Cameron the benefit of the doubt on this one. He’s a well-versed filmmaker and storyteller, and he hasn’t significantly failed us before. But signing on a dead character as the lead villain for all of its sequels? That seems really forced. As a passionate fan for the original Avatar, I’ll admit this concerns me on which direction they’re deciding to take for the franchise’s future.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to Stephen Lang’s return to Avatar, or do you wish he stayed buried beneath Pandora? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Empire, Collider

Milla Jovovich Cast as ‘HellBoy’ Villain

Things are heating up for Universal’s Hellboy reboot. And what else could be hotter than Milla Jovovich?

A report recently came out that Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich will be portraying the villain for the Hellboy reboot. More specifically, she will be portraying Nimue, named specifically in the project’s updated title, Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen. She is joined by co-stars David Harbour as Hellboy and Ian McShane as Professor Broom.

This casting news is… interesting, to say the least. While the Resident Evil films are largely terrible, overblown, cliche-ridden travesties, Jovovich was one of the few highlights in that series and gave the sci-fi zombie-action genre the vicious heroine that it deserved. I’m sure for Hellboy her role will be significantly toned down and given more finesse (with better CGI, hopefully). Still, it will be interesting to see her take on a villain role for a change. This will either be a career maker or breaker for her slate.

The film is being directed by Neil Marshall, most known for “Game of Thrones” and The Descent fame, and is reportedly aiming for an R rating. It is expected to be released in 2018.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Deadline, Bloody Disgusting

Disney Rolls Out The Magic Carpet For ‘Aladdin’

A whole new world is opening up for Disney, and it’s coming in the form of Mena Massoud.

A lot happened this past weekend at D23. Stan Lee, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Hamill were awarded Disney Legends, new footage of Avengers: Infinity War and Kingdom Hearts III was revealed, and they even revealed a new Star Wars theme park opening at Disney Land.

SOURCE: Celebrity Insider

However, of all of these developments, perhaps none was more major than the casting announcement for Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin. After reportedly struggling to cast the title role for more than four months, Disney announced that Canadian actor Mena Massoud was cast as Aladdin, Naomi Scott was cast as Jasmine, and Will Smith was cast as Genie.

This casting news is significant for quite a few reasons. First of all, with Massoud being of Egyptian descent and Scott being of Indian descent, they both physically fit the profiles perfectly for Aladdin and Jasmine alike. Considering more than half of Hollywood films are whitewashed (See Ghost In The Shell, Prince of Persia, Argo, etc.), it’s refreshing to see Disney expanding upon diversity while at the same time staying true to the source material.

Also, you’ve probably never heard of Massoud or Scott outside of this announcement. That’s because Disney specifically aimed for lesser-known talent for their leads, and Massoud and Scott have both had limited exposure in the industry. Massoud was most known for playing a supporting role in the 2015 mystery series “Open Heart”, while Scott was most known for portraying the Pink Ranger in this year’s Power Rangers. Seeing Disney give these breakout stars a shot like this really heartens me to the future of their live-action remakes, showing that not only are they expanding on their ethnic representation, but also on their talent as well.

Still don’t know how I feel about Will Smith playing the Genie though. If he doesn’t break it down and perform a rap like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Arabia” or something, I’m going to be extremely disappointed.

What do you guys think? Are you excited for Disney’s casting announcement, or do you want to rub the magic lamp so you can wish this development away? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Variety, Access Hollywood

Han Solo Switches Directors

Whoa. Now that was unexpected.

In a surprise move this week, Lucasfilm fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the Han Solo spinoff movie, citing creative differences as the primary motivator. Lord and Miller, who previously directed 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie, were reportedly approaching the film in a loose, improvisational comedic style, while Han Solo producers were wanting them to strictly follow what was on the script page.

In short, the “creative differences” were that Lord and Miller wanted to be creative, whereas Lucasfilm didn’t want them to be.

Yesterday, their replacement was announced as Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, most known for films such as Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code, Frost/Nixon, and A Beautiful Mind. Howard is to oversee the remaining four weeks of filming with an additional five weeks of reshoots.

“I’m beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars Universe after being a fan since [1977],” Howard tweeted. “I hope to honor the great work already done and help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film.”

SOURCE: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Few things to note here. First of all, I have uncompromising support in Ron Howard and his abilities to direct Han Solo. From Night Shift all the way to Rush, Howard has been a mostly consistent filmmaker with expertise on directing both actors and on-set production. To me, Ron Howard directing a Star Wars movie is the stuff of dreams, and I’m very excited to see where exactly this will lead for both the franchise and Howard alike.

That being said, with how viciously things ended between Lord, Miller, and the film’s producers, I am concerned with how much influence the studio has over Han Solo and how that might affect production. Studio interference has been a major problem in Hollywood for a long time now, from Alien 3 all the way to the most recent Fantastic Four. When filmmakers have this sharp of a disagreement on their properties, that doesn’t usually spell out a good sign for the production overall.

Also, it’s especially strange that they just now decided to fire Lord and Miller when they’ve been working on the film for five months. There’s been other productions in the past where they’ve changed out actors, writers, cinematographers, even composers in the middle of filming. But switching out directors halfway through production is extremely uncommon. With Lucasfilm making that decision almost near the film’s completion tells me that they never had a grounded conversation with Lord and Miller on where exactly they intended to take Han Solo. And if the producers don’t have a clear idea of what their film is supposed to be, then usually no one does.

What do you think? Do you think the director switch is a good thing for Han Solo, or should Lucasfilm have kept on Lord and Miller? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, StarWars.com