News Round-up – Leo to be the Joker?, Skrein leaves Hellboy over whitewashing and more

Apparently we’re still talking about the Joker. This week was rather quiet on the movie front, until a huge rumour appeared suggesting that Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio could be about to don the face paint to play the Joker for his old pal Martin Scorsese. It’s certainly a heavyweight rumour and one that continues to shake up the confusing mess of Joker properties lurking around Hollywood.

Elsewhere, we got our first look at Ant-Man and the Wasp and Ed Skrein turned down a major payday in order to make a point about whitewashing in the movie industry.

Here’s your movie news round-up…

 

Warner Bros eyeing DiCaprio for Joker movie?

Leonardo DiCaprio takes to the stage at the 2017 Oscars
Leonardo DiCaprio takes to the stage at the 2017 Oscars (Photo: ABC/Eddy Chen)

Warner Bros is mounting a scheme worthy of the Clown Prince of Crime, according to a rumour in The Hollywood Reporter this week. The magazine revealed that part of the reason the studio hired Martin Scorsese as a producer for the grittier Joker film, which is being directed by Todd Phillips, is in the hope Scorsese could attract long-time collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio to play the main role. No deals have been done to date and an offer hasn’t even been made to DiCaprio yet, but it’s certainly a tasty rumour.

There’s no doubt that DiCaprio would bring a level of A-list gravitas to the portrayal of the Joker. Given the galaxy of huge names that have played the part, from Jack Nicholson to Heath Ledger, it’s impressive that DiCaprio would represent the most well-known name to take on the character. That said, there’s almost certainly no chance that this is actually going to happen and we should probably get ready for a casting announcement that’s considerably less exciting.

 

Lilly provides first look at Marvel’s Wasp

Evangeline Lilly goes super in Ant-Man and the Wasp
Evangeline Lilly goes super in Ant-Man and the Wasp (Photo: Twitter/Evangeline Lilly)

We’ve seen very little thus far from the set of Ant-Man and the Wasp, which will see Evangeline Lilly‘s supporting character from the first Ant-Man film promoted to the level of co-lead. This week, though, Lilly gave us our first glimpse of her character in full costume via her Twitter account on what would have been the 100th birthday of Jack Kirby, who helped to create the character with Stan Lee in 1963. She added she was “honoured” to be playing the role.

In the wake of the success of Wonder Woman, it’s great to see Marvel finally giving a female superhero top billing. Lilly looks suitably badass in her costume and will no doubt keep up her entertaining chemistry with Paul Rudd when the sequel hits cinemas. Ant-Man and the Wasp will be released in June 2018.

 

Skrein leaves Hellboy reboot over whitewashing

Ed Skrein discusses Deadpool at Comic-Con in 2015
Ed Skrein discusses Deadpool at Comic-Con in 2015 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Last week, Ed Skrein picked up one of his biggest roles to date when he was cast as Major Ben Daimio in the upcoming reboot of the Hellboy franchise. However, the role was immediately criticised for whitewashing as the character is Japanese-American in the original source material. Skrein responded to that controversy this week with a statement on Twitter, in which he stepped down from the film. Skrein said he took the part without knowing of its Asian heritage and said people have a “responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times” to avoid the “worrying tendency” to obscure minority voices in Hollywood.

This is absolutely a great move for Skrein and a move that will hopefully step up the pressure on studios to provide more opportunities for ethnic minority actors. It’s important for people with a platform like Skrein to use that platform to shine a spotlight on these issues. This is perhaps the first time that an actor has publicly stepped down from a role as a result of whitewashing concerns and, given how prominent the issue has been this year with films like Ghost in the Shell and Death Note, Skrein’s actions should have an impact.

 

Rockwell cast as George Bush in Cheney biopic

Sam Rockwell attends the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009
Sam Rockwell attends the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009 (Photo: David Shankbone)

After making the politically-aware drama The Big Short and raking in awards recognition, Adam McKay is continuing that phase of his career with a biopic of Dick Cheney, in which Christian Bale will play the former vice-president. Steve Carell and Amy Adams are also signed up to appear and, this week, The Hollywood Reporter revealed Sam Rockwell has been cast as George W Bush – Cheney’s boss. The film, shooting in September, will track Cheney’s journey from avoiding service in Vietnam to being a hugely powerful politician.

Rockwell is always a solid choice for a big role and he will no doubt bring an air of weirdness to Bush that is fitting for a president who never quite looked as if he had the faculties necessary to hold the highest office in the world. This film has assembled an utterly terrific cast, filled with non-obvious choices, and it could therefore be an Oscar-worthy biopic that is slightly less ordinary than the films we usually see garlanded on the red carpet come awards season.

 

Collins to play alongside Hoult in Tolkien

Lily Collins speaks at WonderCon in 2013
Lily Collins speaks at WonderCon in 2013 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

A few weeks ago, it was revealed that Nicholas Hoult will play Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien in an upcoming biopic. Variety reported this week that Lily Collins will star alongside Hoult as Tolkien’s eventual wife Edith Bratt. The film will follow Tolkien finding friendship and creativity before serving in the First World War.

Collins is a very likeable actor and one who seems like a good pick for this role, which will hopefully have more depth than simply being a wife/girlfriend part. Tolkien is shaping up to be an interesting film and it will almost certainly be less infuriatingly bloated than the Hobbit films. At least, I hope so.

 

Stars assemble for London Film Festival line-up

Logo for the BFI London Film Festival
Logo for the BFI London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival is the highlight of the calendar for UK movie fans. It’s an event that brings the stars to the capital, along with some of the most highly-anticipated films of the coming year and awards season sneak peeks. This week, the full programme and line-up for the 2017 festival was announced. Along with the already announced opening gala Breathe and closing gala Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, we got a whole host of intriguing new announcements. The festival will host the new films from Yorgos Lanthimos, Luca Guadagnino, Alexander Payne, Richard Linklater and Noah Baumbach, as well as Paddy Considine‘s return to the director’s chair with boxing movie Journeyman.

As usual, LFF is a two-week array of cinematic treats that is hugely exciting for everyone lucky enough to be going along. Perhaps most exciting is the fact that LFF is hosting a British screening of Guillermo del Toro‘s new film The Shape of Water, which is already attracting rave reviews from the Venice Film Festival. Anyone who gets to see that is due a glare of jealousy from me. The London Film Festival runs from 4-15 October.

 

Female-led Lord of the Flies attracts controversy

Cover art for William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies
Cover art for William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies

All-women reboots of old properties have become fairly common since Ghostbusters, but one announcement this week became more controversial than usual. Deadline broke the news that an all-female take on William Golding’s classic novel Lord of the Flies is in the works from Warner Brothers, with male duo Scott McGehee and David Siegel attached to pen a “very faithful” twist on the material, with the genders flipped.

On the face of it, this seems silly. As many people pointed out online, the central themes of the original novel are all about masculinity. The book is all about the toxicity of masculine posturing and that obviously could not be replicated in an all-female adaptation, particularly with two men writing the script. However, for me, there’s potential here if the film can spin the material off in a completely different thematic direction. A straight gender-flipped adaptation would be doomed from the start.

 

Could Leonardo DiCaprio make for a good Joker? Was Ed Skrein right to leave his Hellboy role? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.

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