Film news has come thick and fast this week, from A-list casting to brand new trailers for two of the most highly anticipated upcoming releases making their way into cinemas.
There was also an announcement about his future from movie maestro Quentin Tarantino, new developments in Disney’s ongoing mission to remake every movie it has ever made and a resounding haul of awards nominations for one of the year’s best films.
Here’s your movie news round-up…
Choose a trailer… choose a really confusing title
The long-awaited follow-up to Danny Boyle‘s 90s classic Trainspotting, going by the increasingly confusing title T2: Trainspotting, is only a few months away. We got our most detailed look at the film this week when the first full trailer arrived online, showing all of the characters older, but not necessarily wiser. Very little is conveyed about the plot of T2: Trainspotting, but the film is set to be loosely inspired by original author Irvine Welsh’s 2002 sequel novel Porno. The bulk of the trailer is focused on Ewan McGregor‘s character, Renton, delivering a distinctly modern take on the classic “Choose Life” speech that opened the original movie.
This preview has all of the energy that made the first Trainspotting one of the best British films ever made. It’s a kinetic, high-speed journey through the film, highlighting all of the characters that we remember from the original movie. It’s fair to say that things won’t exactly be rosy between the central cast given that Renton made off with a whole load of money at the end of that story. I’ll certainly be choosing T2: Trainspotting, or whatever it ends up being called, when it arrives in UK cinemas on January 27.
Depp to wield a wand in Fantastic Beasts
A seriously big name has joined the wizarding world this week, with Deadline reporting that Johnny Depp has been cast in the sequel to this month’s magical blockbuster Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The report states that Depp is due to appear in the sequel, shooting next year with returning director David Yates, but adds that the actor might make a small appearance in the first film. There is plenty of speculation that Depp will take on the role of notorious villain Gellert Grindelwald, who had a rather complex relationship with Albus Dumbledore, culminating in a violent clash between the two.
Depp is an intriguing casting choice to say the least but, given his personal troubles this year, it’s a wrinkle of controversy that the franchise doesn’t need. It’s unclear whether Depp will end up playing Grindelwald, but either way, stunt casting like this threatens to overwhelm a series that is already facing cynicism and comparisons to the over-indulgent Hobbit trilogy. We’ll see what happens when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is released on November 18.
Director zooms away from Flash movie
A rather odd year for DC continued this week, with the departure of Dope director Rick Famuyiwa from the upcoming film The Flash. Famuyiwa had taken on the project after Seth Grahame-Smith waved goodbye earlier this year, but he too has now parted ways with DC according to The Hollywood Reporter. Unsurprisingly, there’s no official word on what caused the split, but Famuyiwa said it was “disappointing that we couldn’t come together creatively on the project”.
Famuyiwa seemed like a solid directorial choice for The Flash, taken right from the Disney mould of plucking indie directors out of the low-budget world to take the helm of an enormous franchise. His departure suggests that DC is working hard to exercise the same stranglehold that has helped Marvel make a success of its superhero universe. The Flash is currently slated for a March 2018 release.
Wonder Woman kicks butt in new trailer
After a tumultuous 2016, DC will be hoping that they can turn their fortunes around on the big screen. One of their best bets in this regard is Wonder Woman, which will have them beating Marvel to the punch in putting a female superhero front and centre. A new trailer for the film, released this week, showed that Gal Gadot will be taking part in her fair share of arse kicking in her first solo movie.
We also get a good look at Chris Pine in this trailer and it’s in fact concerning how much the teaser seems to focus on him rather than Gadot’s protagonist. Hopefully this focus will not be a feature of the finished film, which hopefully has more Diana Prince than it does Steve Trevor. Wonder Woman is due to arrive in British cinemas in June 2017.
Tarantino confirms retirement plans
Quentin Tarantino has always maintained that he doesn’t want to outstay his welcome in the world of film. This week, he confirmed that he will retire from filmmaking after his tenth movie, which leaves two more to go. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Tarantino made the announcement at a creativity conference in San Diego and said he wants to be remembered as “one of the greatest filmmakers that ever lived” when he hangs up his camera for good.
As usual, Tarantino can’t do anything without making a song and dance about it. Hopefully, the imminent news of his retirement means that Tarantino will return to the precision-tooled style that made his name, rather than the ambling indulgence of something like this year’s rather dismal The Hateful Eight. For me, Tarantino will be remembered for his early work, rather than whatever he’s churning out now.
Disney offers new look at Beauty and the Beast
Disney hasn’t really put a foot wrong with its live action remakes thus far, with The Jungle Book taking its place as one of the highest grossing movies of the year in the UK. Beauty and the Beast is next up and, thanks to Entertainment Weekly, we got a good look at our two protagonists for the first time, as played by Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. The film looks closer in aesthetic to Cinderella than many of the other live-action remakes, which bodes well for a great, classical fairytale. Beauty and the Beast will arrive in March 2017.
Elsewhere at Disney, Variety announced that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be the next animated classic from the studio to get the live-action remake treatment. It will be a musical, with the songwriters behind La La Land in place to pen new songs and Girl on the Train writer Erin Cressida Wilson on board to write the script. There isn’t currently a director or any stars in place.
I, Daniel Blake dominates BIFA nominations
The British Independent Film Awards, or BIFAs, are like the cooler cousin of the BAFTAs, honouring the best of the UK’s indie cinema. The BIFA nominations for this year’s awards were unveiled this week and there’s one film standing above all others. Ken Loach‘s benefits system drama I, Daniel Blake won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and looks set to scoop plenty more prizes at the BIFAs. It is nominated for the main Best British Independent Film prize, as well as handing acting nods for stars Dave Johns and Hayley Squires.
I, Daniel Blake is one of the year’s best movies and it deserves to clean up at the BIFAs. The film faces stiff competition from the likes of American Honey and Free Fire, but I can’t think of a movie more deserving to be heralded as the best of what British independent cinema has to offer.
What did you think of the week’s biggest trailers? Was it a good move to cast Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Who should take on The Flash? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.