After last week’s bumper selection of trailers, it has been a much quieter week in the world of movie news. We did, however, get an intriguing casting tease for one of the most beloved characters in movie history and plenty of information about our upcoming return to the Harry Potter universe in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Meanwhile, Edgar Wright teased plans for a sequel to his wonderful action musical Baby Driver and one of the more memorable franchises in J-horror was lined up for yet another English language reboot.
Here’s your round-up of movie news…
Depp on the run in Fantastic Beasts 2
JK Rowling’s return to the Harry Potter world in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them proved to be divisive – not least on our own spoiler-packed podcast. I, however, loved the film and it was great this week to get some plot details for the sequel, which is just getting in front of cameras now, with David Yates returning to direct another Rowling script. This time around, Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has escaped his captivity and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) joins forces with Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to track the villain down.
There aren’t many surprises in this plot summary, but there’s plenty to explore in some sort of buddy movie with Redmayne and Law. The jury is still out on whether Depp will be able to do a decent job as Grindelwald but, if Rowling can capture the same magic she did first time around, this will be a fun blockbuster. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2, which will almost certainly get a title change before it hits cinemas, is due for release in November 2018.
Ryan Gosling could play Willy Wonka
We’ve known for a while now that Warner Bros is keen on developing an origin movie of sorts focusing on Willy Wonka. This week, The Hashtag Show reported a rumour that Ryan Gosling is being eyed by the studio to take on the lead role. The as yet untitled film will follow Wonka as he journeys Loompa-land, where he ultimately meets the little orange fellas who will eventually staff his factory.
This is something of a poisoned chalice of a role, given that whoever is chosen will have to fill the enormous shoes of the late Gene Wilder. The Wilder incarnation of Wonka, from the 1971 movie, is one of the most indelible characters in movie history and it would be tough for Gosling to match up to it. He has shown he can do suave musical in La La Land, but he is yet to showcase the offbeat eccentricity that made Wilder so compelling. The notion of this film seems misguided on the face of it but, if it has to happen, Gosling seems like a strange choice.
Edgar Wright hints at Baby Driver sequel
Edgar Wright is currently one of the buzziest names in Hollywood after the success of his musically-inclined action movie Baby Driver, which is still wowing cinemagoers. This week, in an interview with Empire Magazine, Wright revealed that he has been approached by studio bosses regarding a sequel. Wright said he is considering going ahead with a sequel and added there is “somewhere more to go with it” in terms of the characters who are still alive by the time the credits roll on the first film.
Wright has never made a sequel to any of his films in the past, but it’s certainly true that Baby Driver seems to lend itself to a follow-up more than any of his previous stories. Right now, Wright is probably receiving offers for any number of major movies, so it will be interesting to see where his priorities lie with regards to what he does next. Whether it’s a big franchise movie, a sequel to one of his films or something entirely original, I’ll be excited to see it.
Shia cannot be serious in Borg/McEnroe trailer
The role of controversial tennis ace John McEnroe seems like a perfect pick for an actor with a real-life persona as big as Shia LaBeouf. This week, we got our first full look at LaBeouf as McEnroe in the trailer for Borg/McEnroe. The film follows Sverrir Gudnason as Björn Borg, as well as LaBeouf as McEnroe en route to the 1980 Wimbledon tournament, where their rivalry came to a head.
This film looks like an odd, but interesting, take on a larger-than-life sporting rivalry. The obvious touchstone will be F1 rivalry tale Rush, but there’s also rival tennis movie Battle of the Sexes on the way. LaBeouf’s casting seems like potentially the best thing about the film, but it will be intriguing to see how it paints the rivalry. Borg/McEnroe is due for a UK release in September 2017.
Park joins Marvel for Ant-Man and the Wasp
Of all of the Marvel sequels currently in production, Ant-Man and the Wasp is almost certainly the one you have completely forgotten is happening. Nonetheless, Peyton Reed‘s follow-up to the film most famous for not being made by Edgar Wright is trucking ahead and it has now added accomplished comedic actor Randall Park to its cast as SHIELD agent Jimmy Woo. The Tracking Board broke the news this week, which will see Park star alongside returning lead duo Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly. It’s unclear at this stage how big his part in the movie will be.
Park is a very fun comedic actor, who you almost certainly recognise from his appearances in films like Snatched and Office Christmas Party or as Kim Jong-Un in The Interview. He’s a reliable presence for laughs, which could suit a role similar to that played by Michael Peña in the first Ant-Man film. Ant-Man and the Wasp will be released in June 2018.
The Grudge set for yet another reboot
In the noughties, American horror cinema had a brief love affair with J-horror. Movies like Ring and The Grudge were successfully ported over from Asia for English language audiences. This week, we learned via Deadline that Hollywood is having another crack at the latter, with Nicolas Pesce attached to direct. Pesce made his directorial debut this year with the darkly bizarre horror movie The Eyes of My Mother and has now been recruited by Ghost House Pictures, run by Sam Raimi, to put together a new take on The Grudge.
The first English language take on The Grudge is a rather baffling movie that shuffles timelines wildly and, as a result, is confusing where it should be terrifying. There are some solid scares in the film, but it’s really let down by its structure. Pesce is a filmmaker with a really unique style and an unconventional grasp on what makes horror work. In his hands, this could be more than just a lazy retread.
Felicity Jones boards Swan Lake project
Felicity Jones has found herself at the centre of a major Hollywood bidding war this week. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that a project based on the classic ballet Swan Lake, with Jones attached to star and Luca Guadagnino set to direct, is getting studios hot under the collar. Universal, Paramount and TriStar are reportedly among the many studios bidding for the project.
It’s not surprising that this movie is getting Hollywood excited. Swan Lake is a well-known property, Jones has tonnes of movie cred with blockbusters courtesy of Rogue One and in the awards world with The Theory of Everything, while Guadagnino wowed festival types with A Bigger Splash and has big horror remake Suspiria on the way. With both of those names involved, this could be a project that balances blockbuster entertainment with major awards credibility.
Are you excited to see Johnny Depp return in the follow-up to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Will Ryan Gosling make a good Willy Wonka? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.