Today s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Aquaman 2, Breaking Bad, Coming to America 2, Dune, and Wicked.This WEEK S TOP STORYAQUAMAN GETTING BOTH A SEQUEL AND A HORROR MOVIE SPINOFF(Photo by Warner Bros.)With over .121 billion, Aquaman is now the highest grossing DC Comics movie (worldwide) ever, even above The Dark Knight, etc. That s quite an achievement for a character long considered a joke (including a long-running story arc on HBO s Entourage). All indications suggest that Warner Bros. is taking its cue from the successes of both Aquaman and Wonder Woman to tilt the tone of future movies away from the grimdark of Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder s films. Those numbers also made it super obvious that Aquaman would get a sequel, and that s exactly what s happening, with one of the first film s screenwriters now working on a follow-up. Aquaman director James Wan is on board as producer, but it s unclear as to whether he will also direct the sequel. Warner Bros. isn t stopping there, however, as they ve also hired two newbie screenwriters to work on a horror movie spinoff called The Trench, about the deadly amphibious creatures seen attacking the hero and his love, Mera in Aquaman. The main characters from Aquaman are not expected to appear in The Trench, which suggests that the horror movie may instead focus on surface dwellers who come into contact with the monsters separate from any involvement with Atlantis. It s also possible that Aquaman 2 and The Trench could just be the start of a new franchise of Aquaman related films in the same way that Batman has led to movies for Suicide Squad, Joker, Birds of Prey, etc.Fresh Developments1. AQUAMAN AND THANOS JOIN THE STAR-STUDDED DUNE REBOOT(Photo by Jasin Boland/Warner Bros., Marvel Studios)Director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) is following his sequel to a beloved 1980s sci-fi movie (Blade Runner 2049) with a reboot of another. Even before this week, the Dune reboot had an impressive cast that included Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Rebecca Ferugson, Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skarsgard, and Zendaya, all supporting Timothée Chalamet as the lead character of Paul Atreides. The latest two stars both hail from recent superhero movies: Aquaman and Avengers: Infinity War. Jason Momoa, who s coming off the highest grossing DC Comics movie ever (as mentioned above), is joining Dune to play the Atreides swordsmaster Duncan Idaho, the only character to appear in all six of Frank Herbert s original Dune novels. Josh Brolin, who plays Marvel s Thanos, is also joining Dune as Gurney Halleck, another Atreides follower who, in David Lynch s film, was played by Patrick Stewart.2. JESSE PINKMAN S BREAKING BAD MOVIE TO DEBUT ON NETFLIX (Photo by Ursula Coyote/AMC)In November, we learned that Aaron Paul would be returning as Jesse Pinkman for a Breaking Bad sequel movie. This week, we learned more about what exactly a Breaking Bad movie would be (as in, is it a theatrical movie, a cable movie, or something else?). The answer, as is becoming more and more common these days, is that the new film will premiere on Netflix first before eventually making its way to AMC, the channel that originally produced and aired Breaking Bad (and still produces its spinoff series Better Call Saul). The movie is reportedly still being written, and it s not yet known if there will be a role for Bryan Cranston as Walter White, but Cranston said recently that he d be open to return, if asked. The last four seasons of Breaking Bad were all Certified Fresh at 100%. Here s a breakdown of everything we know about the film.3. BLACK PANTHER S CHADWICK BOSEMAN JOINS SPIKE LEE S DA 5 BLOODS (Photo by Marvel Studios)Speaking of Netflix, they re also stepping in to help director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X) deliver his next film after last year s Academy Award nominee BlacKkKlansman (Certified Fresh at 95%). Spike Lee s film for Netflix is called Da 5 Bloods, and is a drama dealing with the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Delroy Lindo will star as a veteran who leads a group back to Vietnam searching for the remains of a fellow soldier and hidden gold, and Jean Reno (The Professional) will play an unscrupulous French businessman who deals in nefarious activities in Vietnam. This week, Da 5 Bloods gained Marvel s Black Panther, as Chadwick Boseman has been cast to play the son of one of the 5 Bloods. Although no other actors are officially cast yet, Lee has reportedly been talking to Don Cheadle, Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), and his longtime frequent collaborator, Samuel L. Jackson.4. YESTERDAY TRAILER REVEALS MUSICAL S SECRET WEAPON: THE BEATLES(Photo by Sony Pictures)Last March, we learned that Baby Driver and Downton Abbey star Lily James had landed the lead female role in a musical to be directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) with an unknown premise somehow connected to the 1960s or 1970s. It can be frustrating when a movie doesn t reveal its premise, but you have to give Danny Boyle credit here for keeping Yesterday so well hidden for over a year. The trailer for Yesterday (6/28/2019) debuted online this week and revealed that relative newcomer Himesh Patel will be starring as a musician who wakes up in a world where the Beatles (seemingly) never existed, leading him to quickly become one of the world s biggest pop stars. The other movies that Yesterday will be going up against on June 28th include the historical drama Ford v Ferrari, Tiffany Haddish s Limited Partners, and the shark sequel 47 Meters Down: Uncaged.5. WITCHCRAFT UPDATE: WICKED IN 2021, OCTAVIA SPENCER IN THE WITCHES The hit musical Wicked (based on The Wizard of Oz) debuted on Broadway in 2003, and was in development as a movie just a few years later. The project really started to move in 2013, which was the year that Oz the Great and Powerful came out, and at one point, it was scheduled for release in 2016, which is three years ago. Well, Universal Pictures is now scheduling Wicked for release on December 22, 2021, which is five days after Avatar 3 (yes, there s already an Avatar 3 in the works). In related news, Robert Zemeckis is preparing to direct a remake of 1990 s The Witches (Fresh at 100%), based on the book by Roald Dahl. Anne Hathaway was recently cast in the role originally played by Anjelica Huston, and this week Octavia Spencer also signed on as the grandmother who has to help her grandson defeat the schemes of the titular Witches (10/16/2020).6. COMING TO AMERICA SEQUEL GETS A 2020 RELEASE DATEJust a couple of weeks ago, we reported that Eddie Murphy was set to return in a sequel to the hit 1988 comedy Coming to America. Paramount Pictures has now greenlit Coming to America 2 for release next summer on August 7, 2020. The premise of the sequel isn t yet known, but Eddie Murphy will reprise his role as Akeem Joffer of the fictional African nation of Zamunda. It s not yet known if other original cast members (most notably Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones) might also return. Coming to America 2 was written by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and will be directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle Flow, Black Snake Moan), who recently directed Eddie Murphy in the blaxploitation biopic My Name is Dolemite for Netflix.7. CHRIS PRATT JOINS SCI-FI MOVIE GHOST DRAFT(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)With filming of Avengers: Endgame now wrapped, many of Marvel s stars are landing new jobs. This week alone, we see Thanos, Black Panther, Captain America, and Winter Soldier all getting new roles. Chris Pratt, who plays Guardians of the Galaxy leader Star-Lord, is now in negotiations for another science fiction action movie called Ghost Draft. Details about the premise are being mostly kept secret for now, but we do know what it s about: a husband and father is drafted to fight a future war in which the fate of humanity may rely on his ability to correct issues of the past. From that, we can guess that some sort of time travel is involved (unless there s some other way to correct issues of the past ). Ghost Draft will be directed by Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie), who is also developing Jonny Quest and Nightwing movies for Warner Bros.Rotten Ideas2. CHRIS EVANS JOINS INFINITE PAST LIVES SCI FI MOVIE (Photo by Zade Rosenthal/Marvel Studios)Moving right along, another Marvel star in the news this week was Chris Evans (Captain America and, previously, Human Torch). Perhaps coincidentally, the movie Chris Evans is in talks for may bear some similarity to Chris Pratt s Ghost Draft. Infinite (based on D. Eric Maikranz s novel The Reincarnationist Papers) will tell the story of a group of near-immortal men and women who are reincarnated over the centuries and known as the Infinite. To defeat an evil mastermind who wants to destroy the planet, the group must rely on a man who suffers from schizophrenia and will have to learn that all his vivid dreams are actually memories from past lives, in order to defeat the villain. Infinite will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, whose most recent film was the Denzel Washington sequel Equalizer 2 (51% Rotten). In (directly) related news, Sebastian Stan (AKA Captain America s sidekick Bucky) will replace Chris Evans in the drama The Devil All the Time, now that Evans is likely to star in Infinite instead.1. BRYAN SINGER FALLOUT LEADS TO INDEFINITE DELAYS FOR RED SONJA (Photo by MGM courtesy Everett Collection)The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody may have won a Golden Globe and earned multiple Academy Awards nominations, but the film s director is effectively persona non grata. Last month, new allegations of sexual misconduct by director Bryan Singer (X-Men, Bohemian Rhapsody) were reported by The Atlantic. Soon after, Millennium Films confirmed that they were still developing a Red Sonja reboot with Singer directing, but just three weeks later, those plans are now delayed, with Millennium no longer selling the project at the European Film Market in Berlin. Singer hasn t officially been fired (yet), but the high profile fantasy adventure cancelling filming in Bulgaria this spring certainly seems to point in that direction. Red Sonja was created by Marvel Comics in 1973 as a Conan the Barbarian spinoff character who quickly received her own popular solo comic book title (including later titles at other companies). Even without the allegations against Bryan Singer, some had called for a female director for Red Sonja, especially following the success of Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman. In (possibly) related news, Millennium Films is now preparing to make The Legend of Sinbad, a different fantasy adventure, with director Frank Coraci (who hasn t helmed a Fresh movie since 1998 s The Wedding Singer).
Another adaptation of Little Women? Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel has been made into a number of movies, and most of them have been highly regarded — by critics, fans, and awards organizations alike. Greta Gerwig’s new version, which just received a standing ovation at a guild screening, is no different. Well, it is apparently different in that it’s a unique take on the material, mostly for the better, according to the first wave of critics’ social reactions to the movie. Still, we can expect the usual Oscar-worthy performances and a generally enjoyable adaptation.Here’s what critics are saying about Little Women on social media:Have we gotten another great adaptation?It’s lovely. Hannah Woodhead, Little White LiesIt’s inventive and wonderful. Sean Fennessey, The RingerWonderful. A loving, meticulously-crafted adaptation that exceeded my expectations. Heartfelt, moving and a terrific showcase for its extremely talented cast and beloved source material. Kara Warner, People MagazineLittle Women is charming just like the novel/prior versions…Rousing score. Timely as ever. Hard not to cheer. Scott Feinberg, Hollywood ReporterSomeone, please, invent a word stronger than “masterpiece” so I can amply describe Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. More-than-a-masterpiece? Masterpiece 2.0? David Jenkins, Little White LiesIt rules. David Sims, The AtlanticDoes it elicit particularly personal reactions?Jo s lines in Little Women resonate with me completely differently now as a 33 year old single writer. Wanting to remain independent but wanting to be loved. Greta s take on the story made me connect with Jo in a way I never had. As a girl, I just thought she was crazy to reject Laurie. Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles TimesI ve seen Little Women twice now and it s one of my very favorite movies of the year. David Canfield, Entertainment WeeklyOne of the most pleasurable cinema experiences of my life. David Jenkins, Little White Lies(Photo by Sony Pictures)How is this one different from past adaptations?Greta Gerwig takes the straightforward story of Little Women and boldly scrambles it, starting two-thirds of the way through and retelling most of what you remember via flashbacks and cross-cutting. Call it Louisa May Alcott meets 21 Grams. Kyle Buchanan, New York TimesLittle Women has a very strong last third… and a modern interpretation of the novel that shines brightly. I liked her take on it even when it is hard to follow regarding flashbacks. Sasha Stone, Awards DailyWill fans of the book appreciate it?Greta Gerwig delivers a both passionately faithful and gorgeously original take. David Canfield, Entertainment WeeklyThere’s nothing to disparage and many reasons to be pleased with Little Women. Especially, I’m thinking, for those who know the book and have a profound affection for this 19th Century saga about choices, tough terms, romance, heartbreak, love, struggle and artistic aspiration. Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood ElsewhereHow is the ensemble cast?Each role [is] perfectly cast. Scott Feinberg, Hollywood ReporterSaoirse is a fierce Jo, Chalamet/Dern/Streep especially are great in support, and Florence Pugh is astonishing. David Canfield, Entertainment WeeklySaoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh are the standout performances. Gregory Ellwood, The PlaylistExcellent performances from Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh. Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood ElsewhereFlo Pugh and Streep are standouts. Sasha Stone, Awards DailyFor my money, the MVP in Little Women is Florence Pugh…She’s hilarious and winning as Amy, the character best served by Gerwig’s structural gambits. Kyle Buchanan, New York TimesFlorence gets a lot of great notes to play as Amy March and she plays each one pretty much perfectly. As we’re seeing over and over again, she has a screen presence and performing instincts that are pretty god damn incredible. Jordan Crucchiola, Vulture(Photo by Sony Pictures)What about the men?Timothee Chalamet is the best thing about Little Women. He lights up the screen in every scene he’s in. Jazz Tangcay, Awards DailyBest part of Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is the idea that Louis Garrel as a heartthrob will soon be implanted in mainstream American brains. As he should be. Ryan Lattanzio, IndieWireWhat about the contributions behind the camera?Greta Gerwig, writer/director of the new version of Little Women [got] a standing ovation. And it was well deserved! Pete Hammond, Deadline HollywoodFervent, top-notch direction by Greta Gerwig; superb lensing and set design. Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood ElsewhereAre there any problems?Little Women is charming if not a wee bit long…for such a pretty score it’s overscored? There are moments you just want to hear the girls banter but… nope. Gregory Ellwood, The PlaylistAt best, it’s a fresh approach that makes you rethink familiar material. But it can also make simple plot and character developments a bit harder to locate. Kyle Buchanan, New York TimesI have to say that it didn’t quite grab me as I’d hoped. Flashbacks, curious dream sequences, confusing here and there. Handsome and lusciously authentic, but feels in-and-outish. Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere(Photo by Sony Pictures)Is it an awards contender?Best Picture nominee… maybe? Gregory Ellwood, The PlaylsitThe last three Best Picture winners end happily and portrayed the world as ultimately hopeful. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is the first movie of the year that does just that. So front runner? Sean Fennessey, The RingerWe’ll see as far as Oscars — nice to have an upbeat option. The 36-year-old actress turned auteur could become the first female two-time best director Oscar nominee. Scott Feinberg, Hollywood ReporterI’m not saying Jo March is Saoirse’s Oscar, but truly her only issue as an actress is that she’s so good makes her roles look so effortless and genuine and complete that she might fall into the Amy Adams camp of being so simply good it’s like Academy voters take her for granted. Jordan Crucchiola, VultureAn award-season cherry. Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood ElsewhereLittle Women is in theaters December 25.