News Round-up – Love Actually sequel, Mel Gibson for Suicide Squad, The Raid remake and more

After last week’s onslaught of Super Bowl trailers, it has been a much quieter week at the blockbuster end of the movie news world. This let some smaller projects take centre stage, with some intriguing bits of casting and, most importantly on this side of the Atlantic, a British classic is set to get a belated sequel. Fourteen years after Richard Curtis created a modern festive stalwart with Love Actually, that film’s cast is back.

Elsewhere, DC is on the verge of making a very questionable hire and there have been a few really solid casting choices for some of the, on paper, less exciting major movies that are making their way into cinemas very soon.

Here’s your movie news round-up…


Love Actually gang set for Red Nose Day reunion

Liam Neeson and Thomas Brodie-Sangster on the set of the Love Actually sequel
Liam Neeson and Thomas Brodie-Sangster on the set of the Love Actually sequel

Fourteen years after its ensemble of characters and turtlenecks launched a thousand memes, and turned Andrew Lincoln into a terrible stalker, the BBC broke the news this week that Love Actually is back. It’s not going to be a full sequel and will instead be a 10-minute special for Red Nose Day, but many of the original cast members are due to return. Liam Neeson and a considerably older-looking Thomas Brodie-Sangster were both spotted filming their scenes in London this week.

It will be great to see the Love Actually cast back on our screens and this kind of brief catch-up is a far better venue for them than a full-length film. Another multi-stranded two-hour epic would feel indulgent and unnecessary, but something fun and self-referential for fans should be very enjoyable. The follow-up is filming now and Red Nose Day is due to air on the BBC on March 24.


Mel Gibson in frame for Suicide Squad sequel

Mel Gibson pictured in 2008
Mel Gibson pictured in 2008 (Photo: Kim Davies)

Yeah, you read that right. Mel Gibson, having rejoined the Hollywood firmament with Hacksaw Ridge after his anti-Semitism led to years in the wilderness, has had talks with DC and Warner Bros over potentially taking up the directorial reins on superhero sequel Suicide Squad 2. The news was mentioned in a Deadline piece about Gibson’s future plans. Multiple studios are apparently pursuing Gibson for work and it seems they may have left his past behind.

It’s fair to say that DC’s superhero brand is not one that has a reputation of quality and, in cinephile circles, it’s pretty derided. Just about the only way the studio could poison that toxic brand much further is by hiring someone as morally questionable as Gibson. From a purely practical point of view, he’s definitely a director who knows his way around edgy action and brutality, but he doesn’t seem like the obvious choice to helm a blockbuster chasing a mainstream audience. This would certainly be a risk for DC and, at this stage, they don’t have a great track record with those.


Donald Glover just can’t wait to be Simba

Donald Glover at the world premiere of The Martian
Donald Glover at the world premiere of The Martian

A few eyebrows were raised last year when Jon Favreau announced that he was making a “live-action” remake of The Lion King to follow up his lauded take on The Jungle Book. He has now made a formidable casting decision, though, with the news that Community star Donald Glover is due to voice Simba in the film. As has become routine with this project, Favreau broke the news on his Twitter page. In addition to his upcoming turn as Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo standalone movie, it’s another major role for Glover.

Glover is a really fun actor and a genuinely loveable presence, which should make him a fun Simba. There are a number of hurdles that this new take on The Lion King has to get over in order to continue Disney’s hot streak of re-imaginings of their animated classics. However, the casting of Glover and Favreau’s continued involvement suggests that Disney has at least some of idea of what it is doing. Fingers remain crossed!


Ferrell and Poehler bet on The House

Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler in raucous comedy The House
Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler in raucous comedy The House

The combination of Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler sounds like the recipe for a great Hollywood comedy movie. The duo is indeed due to collaborate this year in The House which, judging by the trailer that arrived this week, is due to be a raucous and silly film. Ferrell and Poehler play parents who set up an unlicensed casino in the basement of their neighbour’s house aiming to raise money so that their daughter can go to college.

There is a smattering of laughs in the trailer, but it looks like yet another example of the noisy, set piece hedonism comedies that have been so prevalent in American cinema in recent years, from Sisters to Office Christmas Party. With two very good actors taking on the central roles and a premise that has potential, this could, however, be much better than those films.The House is due to arrive in UK cinemas in June.


Minchin boards new Robin Hood film

Tim Minchin on stage at Guilfest 2012
Tim Minchin on stage at Guilfest 2012 (Photo: Tom O’Donoghue)

The forthcoming Robin Hood movie isn’t one that many people are all that excited about. However, there was some intriguing news this week as the film added comedian and musician Tim Minchin to the cast, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Minchin is on board to play Friar Tuck, alongside Taron Egerton in the lead role and Jamie Foxx as Little John.

If nothing else, Robin Hood: Origins is assembling a solid cast. The last attempt to do Robin Hood on the big screen was the disastrous 2010 version starring Russell Crowe, so this one has a rather low bar to beat in order to be considered a success. The addition of someone as comedically and musically talented as Minchin to the cast can only be a good thing in setting the film apart from the rest of the blockbuster crowd. Robin Hood: Origins is due out in cinemas in March 2018.


Vince Vaughn tags in for wrestling comedy

Vince Vaughn at the Liberty Political Action Conference in 2011
Vince Vaughn at the Liberty Political Action Conference in 2011 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

The upcoming wrestling-themed comedy Fighting With My Family is quickly amassing a cast ahead of starting shooting and, thanks to Dwayne Johnson, we have a steady stream of information from the buzzy movie. This week, The Rock revealed on his Instagram page that Vince Vaughn is joining the cast as an 80s wrestling star who has squandered his cash in the whirlwind of fame. It is unclear whether this will be a fictionalised character or a representation of a real person.

This is shaping up to be a really interesting project and, certainly, the fact that The Rock is involved has given it a tonne of mainstream publicity. Hopefully, Fighting With My Family will show that it’s possible to make a fun, light-hearted movie about wrestling as well as grim portrayals of the industry like The Wrestler. This is certainly a project I will continue to follow with interest.


Grillo to star in Carnahan’s remake of The Raid

Iko Uwais prepares for action in brutal thriller The Raid
Iko Uwais prepares for action in brutal thriller The Raid

The notion of an English-language remake of Indonesian action movie The Raid has been around ever since the film became a surprise hit back in 2011. Word had been quiet surrounding the project for a while, but a video appeared this week on the Twitter feed of XYZ Films suggesting that Joe Carnahan and Frank Grillo are working together on a “reimagining” of the film. The video features the pair sitting and watching the film as they discuss how to tackle their new take on the material.

Gareth Evans did an outstanding job with the two Raid films, with each providing a new, refreshing and interesting take on the action and crime genres. It’s not clear whether Carnahan and Grillo will be able to replicate that innovative and gripping duo of films in a different way. Certainly nobody wants to see a shot-for-shot remake of the original films, so it will be worth paying attention to see how closely this new movie mimics the original.


Are you excited to see the Love Actually gang back on our screens? What do you think about Mel Gibson potentially helming the next Suicide Squad film? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.


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