Some big casting news and a surprise British reboot rescued what was set to be a rather quiet week when it came to movie news. However, Sony dropped the announcement that Tom Hardy is onboard for its much-discussed upcoming Venom movie and it became known that Rowan Atkinson is returning to bumbling Bond wannabe Johnny English for a threequel more than five years after he last appeared on our screens.
Elsewhere, the trailer for The Emoji Movie seemed to upset a certain corner of the internet and we got news of the newest project for the beloved British duo who were the stars of Spaced.
Here’s your round-up of this week’s biggest movie news…
Hardy lands antihero role in Venom
The upcoming Venom movie seemed a somewhat odd prospect for Sony, given they have less than complete control over Spider-Man, who is busy slinging webs around in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They may have turned some people around, though, this week with some big news that broke in Variety. The site revealed that Tom Hardy is on board to play the antihero and Zombieland filmmaker Ruben Fleischer will direct the film. Hardy is reportedly a big fan of the alien symbiote and he has comic book pedigree having played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.
This is a very solid move from Sony and the casting of Hardy feels like a statement of intent. Hardy is an actor who suggests that this project is going to be more than just a cheap cash-in and he has the combination of physicality, celebrity and comic charisma to make something almost akin to Deadpool work. Fleischer, too, is a solid choice given the almost universal love for Zombieland, which has a great comedy-action tone. Venom is set to be released in October 2018.
Web gives thumbs down to Emoji Movie trailer
Few movies have received as much early ire from social media users as The Emoji Movie. The first major trailer for the animated movie landed this week, suggesting a film something like Wreck-it Ralph if it were merged with Inside Out and crammed into a smartphone. Despite being a rather inocuous teaser, there has been a bizarre backlash online, including a petition signed by more than 5,000 people that demands Sony cancel the film’s release.
This all seems like an enormous overreaction to something that seems to be basically harmless. The trailer isn’t earth-shattering and it criminally suffers from not giving us a chance to meet Patrick Stewart as the poo emoji, but there are a few decent chuckles and the premise seems like good fun. It might not necessarily be worth rushing out to buy a ticket, but it’s not worth rushing to social media to trash it either. The Emoji Movie will be released in the UK in August.
Johnny English to return for spy spoof threequel
Rowan Atkinson created the best spoof spy since Austin Powers in the 2003 film Johnny English and then made an utter hash of the belated sequel in 2011. Everyone pretty much assumed that the character was done with, until this week. Comedy news site Chortle broke the news that pre-production has begun on a third film in the series, with Atkinson set to return as the inept spy. He has long spoken of his love for the character and it seems that he has been seduced back for a new movie, which is due to be released in October 2018.
This is great news. It’s a case where absence will have made the heart grow fonder and all this third movie has to do is vault the incredibly low bar set by Johnny English Reborn, which was a truly dismal film. Ben Miller must surely return as sidekick Bough and it will be interesting to see Atkinson’s take on the way Bond has evolved away from the 60s and 70s camp of the character towards more hard-edged espionage. Can he handle himself in a punch-up?
Zac Efron goes from beach to Bundy
It seems that Zac Efron‘s trajectory to become one of Hollywood’s greatest comic actors is taking something of a detour into darkness. Efron will be a long way from the stunning sand of Baywatch when he takes on the part of notorious American serial killer Ted Bundy. The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that Efron will portray the criminal, who killed at least 30 people, in the rather aptly named drama Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. The film will be helmed by Joe Berlinger, who has made a number of crime documentaries, and is set to shoot in the autumn.
Efron is a very intriguing, left-field casting choice for such a tough role. He has carved out a real niche with his recent comedic output – though the less said about Dirty Grandpa the better – and this is something incredibly different indeed. It’s a brave move for Efron, but one that could yield rewards as this is a project that has awards potential. Perhaps Efron should start making room for statuettes on his mantlepiece.
Ayer circling Scarface remake director’s chair
Universal’s long in the pipeline remake of Scarface could be on the verge of netting a big name, according to Deadline. The site reported this week that Suicide Squad director David Ayer is in early talks to take the helm of the movie, which has Diego Luna attached to star in the leading role. Universal has been hunting for a new filmmaker since Antoine Fuqua dropped out over scheduling issues.
I remain apprehensive of the Scarface remake, given my abiding love for the Al Pacino version in the 1980s, but Ayer seems like perhaps the most logical choice for director. He’s a filmmaker with real edge and darkness, who has produced a selection of really good action movies and has taken on organised crime in devastating police drama End of Watch. Of all of the people who could make this film, he makes the most sense. Scarface remains pencilled in for an August 2018 release.
Pegg/Frost to produce boarding school horror
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are returning to the world of comedy-horror with the first movie from their new production banner Stolen Picture. Deadline wrote this week that the duo will executive produce director Crispian Mills‘ Slaughterhouse Rulez, which has a bizarre premise. It follows a boy from a modest background who arrives in an elite boarding school just has a force of evil is unleashed nearby, forcing students to battle for survival.
The prospect of Pegg and Frost returning to the genre hybrid that produced Shaun of the Dead is a very interesting one, even if it will be in a backroom role, rather than in the heart of the storytelling. This is a film with a delightfully weird concept that could produce serious scares and plenty of laughs from its class war setting. Could we be looking at The Riot Club meets survival horror?
Kimmel gets second chance after Oscars fiasco
It’s fair to say that the 2017 Oscars didn’t exactly go smoothly, producing one of the most bizarre climactic cock-ups in the history of live television. Jimmy Kimmel, however, was praised for his handling of the whole affair and the Academy is giving him a second chance, according to Variety. Kimmel will return to host the Oscars ceremony in 2018 after describing his first time around as a “highlight of my career”, despite the bizarre way in which it ended.
Kimmel was a solid enough Oscars host and his ongoing feud with Matt Damon created some great gags throughout the ceremony. He did an equally good job when the shit hit the fan in the last few minutes of the ceremony and, given some of the rather poor hosts we have had recently, Kimmel is the kind of safe choice that could work very well indeed. The Oscars 2018 will be held on March 4.
Can Tom Hardy rescue the Venom movie? Can anything rescue The Emoji Movie? Can Johnny English rescue us all? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.