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.
If there's any one new trend in the film industry that is getting better and better it's the live concerts. For years now, composers of all kinds have been hosting live performances of their favorite work, usually shown alongside with the film during the orchestration. We've seen everyone from John Williams to Clint Mansell to Jonny Greenwood, and now there's another legendary composer jumping into live performances - horror master John Carpenter. That's right, the ATP Iceland music festival taking place in July of 2016 has officially booked John Carpenter for his first ever live performance of his film scores and new compositions. If you're a John Carpenter fan, this sounds like it's a cannot-miss event, so you better book your tickets now.
This is big! The press release announcing the distribution of Michael Moore's new documentary Where to Invade Next is also the announcement of a brand new indie distributor. Alamo Drafthouse Founder and CEO Tim League, who also runs Drafthouse Films, is teaming up with Former RADiUS Founders and Co-Presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego to launch a brand new distribution label. Moore describes his new distributor as a "cinematic Dream Team, consisting of three of this country's most beloved film geeks and movie advocates, individuals who are much-admired by the indie filmmaking community." Indeed! This is excellent news, and I can't wait to see the documentary, which received rave reviews at TIFF.
"Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven." So it seems Ridley Scott really did catch the sci-fi bug again, and after all the good buzz about his new film The Martian, he seems happy as ever to continue with the Prometheus sequel. In an interview with HeyUGuys discussing The Martian, Ridely reveals that it's not really Prometheus 2 it's actually - Alien: Paradise Lost. Now we've known for a little while that Scott is working on this sequel next, letting Denis Villeneuve take over Blade Runner, and Neill Blomkamp work on what's currently being referred to as "Alien 5". But what's with the new title? Not much else is explained.
Briefly: They're finally ready to dump this. After years and years of delays, production troubles, distribution troubles, all kinds of problems, The Weinstein Company has confirmed that Gavin O'Connor's Jane Got a Gun will be released in February of 2016. This is the western with Natalie Portman where, on the first days of shooting the original director (Lynne Ramsay) never showed up to set, and they scrambled to figure out what to do and put it together after multiple cast/director changes. For a while, Relativity had this ready to go for late 2015 but then that company went under and now TWC bought the rights. The film does not yet have a specific date in February, and will be released first in Europe this November. Stay tuned for a trailer.
It's happening. They're going to fight, and it's going to be epic. Over at Hollywood Reporter, they've posted a full-on article examining the deal that came together between Legendary and Warner Bros. Universal passed on Legendary's most recent iteration of the new King Kong, which is in the works from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts titled Kong: Skull Island. Apparently they didn't agree to the budget, so instead WB said sure, no problem - because they have big plans. They want to make a new trilogy leading to King Kong vs Godzilla. We all know that Batman v Superman is going to be huge next year, why not these monsters? That's why this is such an interesting deal, and it sets everything up to work out nicely across three movies.
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.
Wait, what?! Regal Cinemas has announced a special "ultimate" ticket for the upcoming 24th Bond movie, titled Spectre, starring Daniel Craig as 007, once again directed by Sam Mendes. The cinema chain has revealed a special ticket that, for $100, allows any moviegoer to go see Spectre once a day for the entire run of the movie - which will likely be 3 or 4 or maybe 5 months at most. The kicker, or the real prize as it should be affirmed, is the limited edition "first-of-its-kind black anodized steel collectible" laser etched Spectre ticket card that you will receive and use to get access to the movie. Awesome. Now I want this, hell, just for the card, not even for the movies (which is probably the whole plan, if you think about it). Read on.
Briefly: It has been confirmed through Hollywood Reporter that Oliver Stone's latest film has been delayed from release this year. Snowden, Stone's story about Edward Snowden starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was originally set for release on Christmas Day, December 25th, later this year. While we did feature a first look photo, we haven't seen any real trailers for this yet beyond one wimpy teaser without any actual footage. The film has officially been pulled from release in 2015 for an unspecific 2016 release. Meaning it will no longer be competing for awards season acclaim and they'll find a better time next year. The cast also includes Scott Eastwood, Shailene Woodley, Nicolas Cage, Timothy Olyphant & Zachary Quinto. Stay tuned.
From Dying Girl to OASIS. Spielberg has cast the first major role in his upcoming adaptation of the beloved geek novel Ready Player One. Actress Olivia Cooke, last seen in this year's Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (read my Sundance review), will star in Ready Player One as "Art3mis", one of the players that the lead character Wade Watts (or "Parzival") befriends and eventually falls for. While it's likely that Spielberg is also seeing actors for the other lead roles, no other names have been confirmed yet, and Cooke is the first one officially cast. THR seems to hint she has been offered the role, but is the only one with an offer so far.
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.
Briefly: Without a title, without any plot info, or any real other information available yet, Warner Bros has announced a release date for "the next Christopher Nolan movie". Variety has confirmed that WB will be releasing the next movie directed by Christopher Nolan on July 21st, 2017 – two years from now. That's the same release date as Pitch Perfect 3 and comes just before Sony's new Spider-Man movie and after Disney's Pirates 5. No other details are known, though there was a rumor that it might be science fiction again following Interstellar. Only time will tell. Stay tuned for more updates and details from here on out.
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.