The D23 Expo is in full swing, leading to some interesting morsels of information for some of Disney’s biggest upcoming films. We got casting news for some of the major blockbusters in the pipeline over at that studio and those in attendance at the convention were treated to the first footage from Avengers: Infinity War, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Away from the Disney juggernaut, a British tabloid declared that Daniel Craig is staying right where he is at the summit of the James Bond franchise and the next project for famed auteur Quentin Tarantino was revealed, to a divided reaction.
Here’s your round-up of movie news…
Craig set to stay on board as James Bond
The future of Daniel Craig as James Bond has been a hot topic in Hollywood ever since he hinted he was done with the role while on the promotional tour for Spectre. Now, though, it looks as though Craig may wear the tuxedo again. An article in the Daily Mirror this week suggested Craig is indeed going to return to the role, with Adele also in the frame to sing another theme after she received rave reviews for Skyfall. The source quoted said Craig and Adele are the “winning team” and added there’s a “strong consensus” that Craig will be back for the 25th Bond film.
This makes all of the sense in the world. It’s no surprise that Eon is doing everything it can to woo Craig and have him back on board, whether it’s creative argument or a big chunk of money. He is the perfect Bond for the modern era and has won over all of the people who doubted him when he first took on the role and he still has a story to tell given how Spectre left things with Blofeld.
Tarantino preps Manson family murder movie
There are only a select few directors whose films can genuinely considered to be an event in themselves. Quentin Tarantino is one of those filmmakers, so it was interesting this week to see The Hollywood Reporter lifting the lid on his next project. Tarantino and the Weinsteins are currently talking to actors about a script Tarantino has written about notorious serial killer Charles Manson and his cult-like ‘family’. The project, which is likely to shoot in 2018, will be Tarantino’s first film based on true events and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence are reportedly in talks to appear.
This is a rather concerning move for a number of reasons. Tarantino’s style has been increasingly indulgent in recent years, with The Hateful Eight marking a real nadir for his filmography. The Manson family story is also one that requires a more controlled and sensitive touch than we expect from Tarantino, who is often rather like a bull in a china shop with this sort of material. His gleefully gory style is palatable when he’s telling a fictional story, but perhaps isn’t the best way of looking at a real-life tragedy.
Jackman is Disney’s Scar in Lion King remake
The D23 Expo means that there are loads of Disney staff in close proximity with loads of movie journalists and, as a result, we’re getting some teasers for upcoming movies. Jon Favreau‘s new take on The Lion King was one of the films being discussed at the event and Omega Underground is reporting that the movie has cast its villain, with Hugh Jackman in the frame to play Scar. This would certainly be good casting, particularly given Jackman’s snarling charisma as Wolverine.
Elsewhere, The Wrap reported that TV comic John Oliver is also joining the cast of The Lion King as uptight hornbill Zazu. This is the sort of thing that someone as comedically gifted as Oliver can do in his sleep and his highly-strung British persona is the perfect fit for the character. The Lion King is due for release in July 2019.
D23 Expo unveils first A Wrinkle in Time trailer
In amongst all of the Marvel and Star Wars fun over at D23, there was also the unveiling of the first teaser trailer for A Wrinkle in Time. Selma director Ava DuVernay‘s film is one of the most interesting projects on the way from Disney and it is certainly a more unconventional adventure from the studio. The film is a mind-bending tale of magic and time travel, which sees different planets and time periods depicted on screen.
We haven’t heard much from A Wrinkle in Time until now, but DuVernay is a very exciting director and this looks like an incredibly adventurous and radical film. There are flashes of the Wachowskis in the visual stylings of the movie and the cast, including the likes of Chris Pine, Oprah Winfrey and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, is enviable for any project. A Wrinkle in Time will arrive in UK cinemas in March 2018.
Jaume Collet-Serra up for Suicide Squad sequel
It seems that DC has abandoned its bizarre and misguided plans to appoint Mel Gibson as the director of Suicide Squad 2. This week, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Jaume Collet-Serra – director of The Shallows and a tonne of Liam Neeson films – is the current frontrunner for the superhero sequel. Script delays reportedly pushed Gibson out of the project and the studio is now eyeing a mid-2018 start to get the Suicide Squad sequel in front of cameras.
Collet-Serra is a solid choice for DC, but nothing more than that. It seems that, rather than taking the enormous risk posed by Gibson, they’re going with a director who knows his way around an action sequence and comes with very little in the way of baggage. Given the well-documented troubles with conflicting visions between David Ayer and DC during the making of the first film, a safer pair of hands is perhaps to be expected for this one.
David Ayer says goodbye to Scarface remake
Speaking of David Ayer, he has become the latest director to depart the troubled remake of Scarface over at Universal. Variety wrote this week that the studio’s aggressive schedule for the film has forced Ayer out, although conflicting reports have said Ayer’s adaptation was “too dark”, which seems baffling given how bleak the iconic Brian de Palma take on the story was in the 1980s. Diego Luna is still on board to star in the project, though he has now seen two directors fall by the wayside, with Ayer following previous helmer-in-waiting Antoine Fuqua in taking the decision to walk out the door.
I have mixed feelings about the level of trouble facing the Scarface remake. On the one hand, it’s sad to see an intriguing project falling apart, especially given Ayer’s apparent suitability for the film. However, the prospect of a remake of Scarface, which is in itself a retread of a 1930s film, is not one that I find particularly exciting given my love for the De Palma version.
Theron hints at Mad Max prequel for Furiosa
Released a few years ago after decades in development hell, Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the most memorable action movies in years. Charlize Theron, who played badass wheelwoman Furiosa in the film, has been teasing a potential prequel for her character this week. She told Variety that several scripts exist telling the story of Furiosa’s back-story and added she would love it if she had the opportunity to return to the character, with director George Miller at the helm.
It would be great to see a Furiosa prequel hit screens at some point. Theron’s performance was one of the best things about Fury Road and there would be plenty of mileage in exploring how her character got to the position in which we find her when the film opens. Equally, though, so much of Fury Road was tied up in its visual invention and in the struggle to get it to the big screen. It’s questionable whether that feel could be transferred to a prequel.
Do you think Daniel Craig has made the right decision in staying on as James Bond? Are you excited to see Quentin Tarantino’s take on the Manson murders? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.