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Hooray! A big congratulations to Ryan Coogler. This is outstanding news. Multiple outlets are reporting with confirmation that Ryan Coogler, director of Creed and Fruitvale Station, is in talks to direct Marvel Studio's Black Panther movie. The superhero will be introduced in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War movie, and he can be seen in full costume in that trailer. From there he will get his own solo spin-off movie (likely the origin story) and Coogler is going to be directing. I'm definitely down for that. Chadwick Boseman stars as T'Challa, the rest of the cast has yet to be confirmed. We'll be watching for any updates.
It's official. After news hit this morning that the title of the Prometheus sequel would not actually be Alien: Paradise Lost, 20th Century Fox has come to clear up the confusion and confirm the real title. The official title is Alien: Covenant, and the official release date is now October 6th, 2017. Many will also recall that it was revealed Neill Blomkamp's solo spin-off Alien movie has been put on hold. This explains why - even the title of this next one is Alien related, which means they're not taking the same route as Prometheus and pretending like it has nothing to do with Alien (they didn't even mention the word "alien" in any of the marketing material). They also, perhaps, want to distance themselves from the bad taste Prometheus left.
Netflix is movin' on up to the big leagues. Netflix has announced (via The Wrap) that they are partnering with Brad Pitt‘s production company, Plan B Entertainment, to develop the next film from Bong Joon-ho, the "creature feature" titled Okja. We've already been hearing about casting for Okja throughout this past year, and now it's moving forward with Netflix backing it up to the tune of $50 million. Part of the attraction is the cast - Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Kelly Macdonald and Bill Nighy, as well as Tilda Swinton; though the lead character is actually a young Korean girl who befriends a monster with "a kind spirit" named Okja.
This is why Guillermo del Toro always says you must be working on multiple projects at once. So if (or inevitably when) one falls apart, you already have another in the works that you can pick up and continue. Vancouver-based filmmaker Neill Blomkamp took to Twitter last night to announce his Alien 5 project is officially "holding/ pending prometheus 2". Blomkamp has been sending out photos of concept art and weapons designs, and it looks like he was making major progress developing his version of Alien. However, word going ’round was that Ridley Scott is so excited to be working on Prometheus 2 again, he wants that to be the only sci-fi from this universe. So until they've figured that out and finished it, this movie is on hold.
Ready for yet another long-awaited sequel? This one has been a long-time in the making, for sure. Miramax and Broad Green Pictures have officially announced and confirmed that Bad Santa 2 is happening, and actor Billy Bob Thornton will be returning to star as Willie Soke, the "Bad Santa" back around for more shenanigans. The original film was released back in 2003, though we've been covering sequels about it ever since we started. This time, they sent out a press release with quotes and everything, so it's about as official as it can get. Which makes sense considering pretty much every sequel/reboot is being made now. "We've been waiting far too long to see Billy Bob's Willie Soke mess with the holiday season in his own unique way."
Recently, Marvel (and Disney) announced that the sequel to Ant-Man would be titled Ant-Man and the Wasp and is slated to arrive in theaters July of 2018. We already know, and certainly expect, that actor Paul Rudd will be back as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man. Now THR is reporting that director Peyton Reed is also returning for the sequel, and is in negotiations to direct Ant-Man and the Wasp as his next feature. Most will remember that Peyton was chosen to replace Edgar Wright, who left after working on the project for a long time. The movie still turned out pretty good, the sequel is already in the works, and Reed will be back.
Some interesting development news regarding a science fiction project we've been following for years. Over at Hollywood Reporter, they're reporting that Austin, Texas-based filmmaker Robert Rodriguez is in negotiations to take over directing Battle Angel, the big sci-fi robot project that James Cameron had been attached to for years. In fact, Cameron is still a part of it, and provides a quote (see below) confirming he's just so busy with the Avatar sequels that he wants to let Rodriguez do it. If you recall, this is the movie that Cameron says he had to wait years for until the VFX were right, so maybe he has faith that Rodriguez can pull that off now. I'm not entirely sure if I'm particularly excited by this choice, but Cameron likes him.
Another up-and-coming director has been hired to make a big comic book movie. Following the news from last week that Taika Waititi will be directing Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok comes news, via THR, that young writer Seth Grahame-Smith has landed the job of directing DC's The Flash movie for Warner Bros. Seth Grahame-Smith is the screenwriter behind Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, the novel and the movie, as well as Dark Shadows for Tim Burton. While he has directed some episodes of "The Hard Times of RJ Berger", this will be Grahame-Smith's feature directing debut. Warner Bros is apparently finally ready to launch their big screen version of the character, with Grahame-Smith in negotiations to write and direct the movie. Read on.
Awesome news. Completely unexpected, but awesome. Our friends at The Wrap are reporting that Marvel Studios is closing in on a deal with New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi to direct the next Thor sequel, titled Thor: Ragnarok. In addition to working as a filmmaker and producer, Taika (also known as Taika Cohen) is an actor and appeared in a small role in the Green Lantern movie. I've been a big fan of his ever since Eagle vs Shark premiered at Sundance in 2007, and I've followed his career closely. He most recently directed the hilarious vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, as well as the Kiwi drama Boy from a few years ago. Waititi joked on Twitter saying: "Oh jeez. Who blabbed?" But later deleted the tweet.
There are reports going around the web that filmmaker Darren Aronofsky is eyeing his next project, an Evil Knievel film that has been in development for quite some time. The original report comes from The Tracking Board, where they're saying that Aronofsky is apparently set and attached to a project titled simply Evil Knievel, a biopic about the famous stuntman/daredevil that already has Channing Tatum attached to star. However, Deadline is claiming nothing is signed and set yet, he's mostly just circling the project with consideration. "They are in early negotiations," it says. I'm excited to hear Darren might have his next film.
Now this is some exciting news worth covering. In two separate reports, it has been announced this week that Ava DuVernay and Laura Poitras, two very talented filmmakers, will be launching their own film studios / distribution collectives. Poitras, who just won the Academy Award for Citizenfour earlier this year, is launching Field of Vision, "a documentary unit that will commission and create 40 to 50 episodic and short-form nonfiction films each year." DuVernay, whose recent film Selma was nominated for two Academy Awards, is relaunching the "African American Film Festival Releasing Movement" collective as a company called Array, with the intent to release indie films that have trouble finding their way in front of audiences.
It's happening. Danny Boyle brought his latest film, Steve Jobs, to the Telluride Film Festival this past weekend (read my review). The film was presented as part of a Tribute to Danny Boyle, looking back at his filmography and the work that brought him to this point. During that presentation, Boyle let slip that the long-awaited sequel to Trainspotting might be next for him. We first wrote about a Trainspotting sequel way back in 2007, based on Irivine Welsh's novel Porno, and have been following development for years. As of 2013, Boyle said that he is trying to get it together by 2016, and it sounds like that will happen. Hell yes.
It's official. Hollywood Reporter is announcing that actor Josh Gad has signed on to play the late film critic Roger Ebert in the project Russ & Roger. We first reported on this earlier in the year, and are following up with the confirmation. STX Entertainment is developing the comedy focused around the film critic and filmmaker Russ Meyer, to be played by Will Ferrell. Michael Winterbottom will be directing, from a script by Chris Cluess. THR doesn't mention a start date, but this is the kind of news that means it's happening sooner than later. Gad has been making quite a name for himself recently (he's in Pixels, Wish I Was Here, The Wedding Ringer and the upcoming Beauty and the Beast) and this sounds like a nice score. Read on.
Long live independent cinema! Good news for New Yorkers, the city is getting a couple of extra screens in the next few years that will be dedicated to showing more and more indie / art house / foreign / doc films. Two separate reports on Indiewire announce details about two theaters: the Metrograph, a two-screen art house being built at 7 Ludlow Street (at Canal Street); along with the IFC Center on 6th Ave, which will be expanding from 5 screens to 11 screens. "To bring glamour, excitement, and prestige back to the exhibition experience has been my longstanding goal," said Metrograph founder and NYC filmmaker Alexander Olch.