Hollywood continued to be rocked this week by the shocking allegations about Harvey Weinstein, which have culminated in him being expelled from The Academy in the last day or two. As with last week, though, I’m avoiding that news entirely in this round-up, in order to focus on the more pleasant side of the movie world.
Thankfully, there was a lot to talk about in that respect. Most significantly, we got a first full trailer for Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars sequel The Last Jedi and a bizarre, brilliant teaser for the horror-inflected X-Men spin-off The New Mutants, which is something entirely different.
Here’s your movie news round-up…
Skywalker is stunned in The Last Jedi trailer
It’s been a long time coming but, just two months ahead of its cinema release, hungry fans have finally seen a full trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Director Rian Johnson caused a stir when he seemed to warn spoiler-phobic fans away from the clip on Twitter, but those who refused to heed his warning were treated to something special. The trailer focuses heavily on Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley, as well as the latter’s unusual bond with Adam Driver‘s villainous Kylo Ren.
This trailer is simply stunning, teasing a more complex Star Wars tale than the raw nostalgia of The Force Awakens. There’s a darkness to it all that’s very compelling and Hamill’s take on Skywalker is every bit as enigmatic as his dialogue in the first teaser suggested. The final shot also presents an intriguing suggestion of something deeper between Rey and Ren. We’ll find out all of the answers when The Last Jedi hits British cinemas in December.
Stallone steps up to direct Creed sequel
Since the first Creed film surprised everyone by reviving Rocky as a compelling underdog tale, speculation has mounted about what the future holds for the franchise. We learned this week that Sylvester Stallone himself will step into the director’s chair, thanks to his own Instagram page. Stallone was one of the many pleasant surprises in Creed, earning an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Rocky as a lonely, old veteran. He will now helm the new film, starring Michael B Jordan once again, having taken charge of five other films in the series.
This is a no-brainer of a move, given Stallone’s experience and his deep connection to the universe the Rocky franchise has established over the course of four decades. Hopefully, Stallone will ensure that Jordan’s character remains the centrepiece of the narrative, rather than giving his ageing pugilist more of the spotlight than he needs. Either way, the film is set to begin shooting in 2018.
X-Men turn to horror in New Mutants trailer
The New Mutants film has been drifting around in the movie world for a little while now, without there being much information about it. Josh Boone‘s movie lifted its wrapping this week with a teaser trailer that hinted at a full-blooded horror story. It’s a movie with an interesting cast, including rising stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams, following mutants who are discovering their powers while trying to escape the facility in which they are being held.
This completely caught me and many others by surprise. Given that Boone is best known for his work on YA weepie The Fault in Our Stars, few would’ve expected that horror would be the direction in which he would take these characters. It’s another example of the X-Men franchise’s willingness to try something different rather than sticking rigidly to the tried and tested franchise model. The New Mutants is due in cinemas in April 2018.
Beetlejuice 2 moving forward with a new writer
A sequel to cult 80s comedy classic Beetlejuice has been in the works for a very long time. Deadline revealed this week that a new writer has been hired to get the project moving, with Michael Keaton seemingly set to return and Tim Burton also involved in some way. Mike Vukadinovich, who recently wrote Peter Dinklage sci-fi Rememory, has been hired to put together a script for the film, which would likely get moving after the talent has finished working on Dumbo for Disney.
Of all of Burton’s films, Beetlejuice is one of the projects that seems best tailored for a sequel and it would certainly coincide with a real uptick in Keaton’s career since the Oscar-winning Birdman. There’s also a sense at the moment, with Stranger Things and It, that 80s nostalgia is a big deal. Another go at Beetlejuice would certainly play into that trend.
Sausage Party director takes on Addams Family
We’ve had so many adaptations of The Addams Family that it seems unlikely anyone can bring anything new to the table. According to The Hollywood Reporter this week, Sausage Party director Conrad Vernon has signed up to make an animated take on the freaky family for MGM. The report suggests Vernon will direct a screenplay based on the cartoon incarnation of the family, which was on screens in the 1970s.
This is an interesting story, but not one that is all that exciting. The Addams Family is seldom off screen for very long and this seems like just another take on the horror family. Vernon delivered something irreverent and bizarre with Sausage Party, but it is incredibly unlikely that The Addams Family – a known property – will be afforded that level of creative freedom.
Gal Gadot eyeing new Justin Kurzel drama
After the stunning success of Wonder Woman, there are few Hollywood stars who are going to be more in demand than Gal Gadot. She is now in talks for a very interesting role, according to a report in Deadline. Gadot is reportedly in talks to star in drama Ruin, which follows an ex-Nazi captain in the aftermath of the Second World War. The film will be directed by Justin Kurzel, looking to get back to his best after the dismal Assassin’s Creed movie.
It’s great to see Gadot picking up some more work, having experienced great blockbuster success. Her level of acting chops was one of the nicest surprises coming out of Wonder Woman, so it will be interesting to see how she spreads her thespian wings in between her various DC engagements. Working with Kurzel is definitely a good move, given his remarkable work on hard-edged dramas like Snowtown and Macbeth.
Smith and Holland to lead spy animation
When they aren’t making Ice Age movies into big bags of cash, Blue Sky Studios is not one of the more successful animated studios in the world. They are, however, amassing some huge names for the next project. This week, the studio announced Spies in Disguise, which will be a save the world spy romp starring Will Smith and Tom Holland, who is the current Spider-Man. An unusual turn of events puts Smith’s superspy and Holland’s gadget expert out in the field together in an emergency situation.
This is a well-worn and fairly obvious animated movie premise, but one that could easily strike gold if the cast work well together. Blue Sky has a bit of a mixed history when it comes to making non-Ice Age ideas work out, but with Smith and Holland involved, they have at least a couple of the building blocks necessary for a compelling film.
What are your theories for Star Wars: The Last Jedi after this new trailer? Will Sylvester Stallone do a decent job with Creed 2? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.