Category Archives: Trending

Bryan Singer Fired From ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Bryan Singer’s time has come.

After a series of on-set tensions from the upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, director Bryan Singer was fired from the production after being absent from the set for long periods of time. 20th Century Fox didn’t mince words with their statement on the subject, stating plainly that “Bryan Singer is no longer the director of Bohemian Rhapsody.”

So what exactly happened? According to The Hollywood Reporter, the problems started when Singer was missing from the set on several occasions. Frequent collaborator and cinematographer Thomas Newton Singel stepped in to both direct and shoot the film on days where Singer was absent. Actors Rami Malek and Tom Hollander were reportedly frustrated by Singer’s lack of professionalism, with Hollander even temporarily leaving production himself due to Singer’s absence.

Although Singer eventually returned under the watchful eye of Fox and a DGA representative, tensions were already heightened to the point where Malek and Singer had an intense confrontation while on-set. While it seemed that they had settled their differences and were ready to resume production, Singer went missing again during Thanksgiving break and did not return to the set. Siegel once again oversaw filming before Fox finally shut down production and fired Singer, reportedly looking for a new director to finish out the remaining two weeks of filming.

This story is perhaps one of the more unusual developments to come out of Hollywood this year. Notable for many successful projects, Singer has been at the helm of many cinematic hits, including The Usual Suspects, X2, Superman Returns, Valkyrie, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. You would think that his contributions to Bohemian Rhapsody would help the film’s production, not hinder it. And yet, Singer’s inclusion (or rather lack thereof) undoubtedly caused much on-set tensions and frustrations. This type of behavior is typically unheard of from Hollywood, especially from Singer.

Regardless, Singer is out and the project is in the market for a new director. Who should replace him? Personally I’m privy to Siegel himself, as he’s so far answered beyond the call of duty by managing much more of the film than he was originally expected to. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to see him finish out the remaining two weeks of filming, but only if he really wanted to. Plus, it would be a nice addition to his resume as Bohemian Rhapsody would technically be his first directing credit.

If he wasn’t interested in director, who would be the next best pick? Steven Soderbergh? Surely he’s got Freddie Mercury’s moves down from Magic Mike.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline
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Full ‘Lion King’ Cast Announced

Haaaaaaaa-I-see-aaaaaaaa-a-Glover-a-Simbaaaaaaaaa.

That lead probably worked better in my head rather than typed out. But if The Mummy has showed us anything, it is that my lead is still not the worst thing that was written this year.

Regardless, Walt Disney recently released their full voice cast for The Lion King remake, directed by The Jungle Book’s Jon Favreau. Many of the actors are unsurprising, especially when names such as Donald Glover have been circling the project since day one of development. Others were merely rumored until Disney confirmed their involvement late last night.

See the whole cast list below:

SOURCE: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Simba (Donald Glover)
Nala (Beyonce Knowles-Carter)
Mufasa (James Earl Jones)
Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor)
Sarabi (Alfre Woodward)
Zazu (John Oliver)
Rafiki (John Kani)
Pumbaa (Seth Rogan)
Timon (Billy Eichner)
Azizi (Eric Andre)
Shenzi (Florence Kasumba)
Kamari (Keegan-Michael Key)

Gotta say, solid cast. Rogan and Oliver are excellent choices in their respective comedic roles, while Beyonce (a.k.a. BAE!) is pitch-perfect as Nala. My favorite casting by far is James Earl Jones, who is reprising his role as Simba’s father Mufasa from the original animated feature. The Jungle Book also a great cast associated with it (Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba), but The Lion King easily knocks theirs out of the park. I can’t wait to see how these actors do in their respective parts.

One cast member that I am hesitant with: Chiwetel Ejiofor as the film’s villain Scar. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Ejiofor as an actor, and I have no doubt he’ll be great in this role. Why in 12 Years A Slave he was the best part in it by far, and he was also great as a supporting role in films including The Martian and Doctor Strange. But earlier this year, Hugh Jackman was among those rumored to be in the running for Scar. That ended up being an April fool’s joke, but after I heard that I couldn’t picture anybody else in the role. Seriously, listen to Hugh Jackman’s voice the next time you rewatch him as Wolverine in any of the older X-Men films. Tell me you don’t hear a perfect Scar behind that grisly growl of his.

Either way, it looks like Disney is all-hands-on-deck for their Lion King remake. We’ll have to wait until 2019 to see how far the horizon goes.

– David Dunn

SOURFCE: Walt Disney Studios, Slate

Zachary Levi cast as DC’s ‘Shazam!’

CREDIT: BossLogic

Zachary Levi is shazamming his way into theaters.

After a lengthy casting process where Warner Bros. auditioned several actors, “Chuck” and Thor actor Zachary Levi was announced this weekend as DC’s Shazam, starring in the titular role for his solo feature due after Jason Mamoa’s Aquaman in 2018. Levi took to Instagram to voice his excitement and to thank fans for their support.

“Honored and greatly humbled to be a part of the [DC Universe] by bringing the original Captain Marvel to life,” Levi wrote. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the gym for the rest of forever.”

This casting news has been long overdue. Former WWE wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was cast as Shazam’s mortal enemy Black Adam way back in 2014. Three years later, Levi is finally cast in the central role. What happened? Did DC take a bathroom break while Zack Snyder was busy working on Justice League?

Regardless, this announcement is better late than never. While Johnson is reportedly starring in his own separate solo film as opposed to starring alongside Levi in Shazam, ultimately I feel this will give both actors a great chance to explore their characters and see how they further expand upon the DC Extended Universe. No word on who will star as Shazam’s 15-year-old alter ego Billy Batson yet. Presumably that news will break within the next few months and hopefully not years from now like Levi’s announcement was.

The film is being written by Henry Gayden (Earth To Echo) and Darren Lemke (Goosebumps, Turbo) and directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out). The film is scheduled for release in April 2019.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline

X-23 shreds her way back to the big screen

Wolverine’s claws are popping back out, except this time, it’ll be his daughter that is using them.

After the critical and financial success of Hugh Jackman’s last outing as Wolverine in Logan, director James Mangold confirmed that Laura, a.k.a. X-23 is set to be featured in an upcoming solo outing focusing on the character. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mangold said a script is reportedly in the works and the success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman served as inspiration to keep pursuing Laura’s story.

“That film only solidifies more for studios that there’s less to fear with a female protagonist,” Mangold said. “The more that keeps getting hit home, that ends up giving me more space turning around and going, ‘Well, here we are with a female protagonist. That’s incredible. And what are we going to do with her?’ And that’s where we are with that right now, dreaming.”

Lot to unpackage here, but let’s start with the implications of X-23 herself. Now I loved Logan. I feel it’s among the X-Men series’ best, and it’s definitely the best Wolverine film by far. However, due to the way Logan ends and what it means for the characters going forward, I feel that an X-23 film is not only unnecessary but also contradictory to Logan’s ending (see my piece published on MoviePilot for an in-depth explanation of why. Spoiler warnings ahead).

That being said, I am open to an X-23 movie, as no character’s story is truly over until the day they meet their maker. I’m hopeful for two things here. One, that Dafne Keen will reprise her role as X-23. It’s hard to say if the studio will do that or not, considering if they want to keep the character at her young age or wait until she’s older. Either way, she was a standout in Logan, and it would be exciting to see how she would handle the lead role in a solo outing.

SOURCE: Comic Book Resource

 

Second (and this is the most important part), GIVE HER THE FREAKING SUIT. The one disappointment with the X-Men franchise is that Hugh Jackman has never, not once, worn his iconic yellow and blue suit. There was a deleted scene that contained an Easter Egg in The Wolverine, and his Days of Future Past suit had yellow and blue tints in it. But no, neither of those actually count. Jackman never wore the yellow suit, and that is the one thing that fans such as myself have been pining for a long time.

As this is the case, Fox has a real opportunity to take Laura and give her the suit, paying homage to her father and his comic book appearance. If they don’t use this opportunity, I swear I will boycott every X-Men movie Fox puts out in the future. The New Mutants looks terrible anyway.

What do you guys think? Are you excited for an X-23 solo outing, or do you wish she would just live out a normal life out in Canada? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline

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

 

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