It has been a massive week for blockbuster movie news, with some big revelations arriving almost out of the blue. First, we got a good idea of who will be playing the villain in the next Spider-Man movie and then the revelation landed that Danny Boyle is now officially involved in the next James Bond film. Elsewhere in blockbuster land, the much-rumoured Boba Fett spin-off movie moved a step closer to becoming a reality.
Down on the next rung of blockbuster filmmaking, there was a first trailer for the second technologically adept take on The Jungle Book in the last few years. We also found out that the critical failure of Bright has not dampened Netflix’s desire to crack big-budget movies.
Here’s all of the movie news you need for this week…
Gyllenhaal lined up as Spidey villain Mysterio
Just when it seems as if every A-list name in Hollywood has already appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they find someone who hasn’t arrived yet. The Hollywood Reporter wrote this week that Jake Gyllenhaal is in the frame to play classic villain Mysterio in the forthcoming sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming. Mysterio is not a super-powered individual, like Vulture in the first movie, and instead uses his skills as an illusionist and chemical expert to provide a set of beguiling abilities that make him more than a match for Spidey, who will again be played by Tom Holland – we assume.
This is an intriguing choice, particularly given the prestige sheen that has coated most of Gyllenhaal’s recent roles. The choice to play Mysterio would be an interesting sidestep for his career, but potentially a welcome one given the unique portrayal he could bring to a superhero villain. With that said, the record for A-list prestige actors playing Marvel villains is not great. Just ask Cate Blanchett. The currently untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel is set to be released in July 2019.
Universal and Boyle confirmed for Bond 25
We finally have some firm answers regarding the upcoming 25th entry in the James Bond franchise. Variety confirmed this week that Danny Boyle will indeed direct the movie from a screenplay by Trainspotting scribe John Hodge. The report also reveals that Universal has acquired the rights to distribute the film internationally, including the UK, while MGM will handle the US release. Shooting is set to begin in December, with Daniel Craig reprising the title role.
This is all encouraging stuff. After some uncertainty surrounding Bond after the release of Spectre in 2015, we are now firmly back on track with all of the key talent in place to get the British superspy to return to the big screen. Information on the story and the rest of the cast is scant at this point, but this is a very good start. Bond 25, whatever the title ultimately ends up being, will slide into UK cinemas in October 2019.
Mangold in the frame for Boba Fett movie
With the first Star Wars spin-off to be based on a single character currently zooming through cinemas in less than 12 parsecs, it’s no surprise to hear that plans are afoot for the galaxy far, far away to get even bigger. This week, The Hollywood Reporter revealed James Mangold is at work on a Boba Fett movie, which he is co-writing with X-Men buddy Simon Kinberg and would ultimately direct. Meanwhile, Stephen Daldry is reportedly circling the equally widely rumoured Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off. The latter project isn’t currently being written, so it seems as if Boba Fett is the priority for Lucasfilm at this stage.
Boba Fett actually seems like a decent pick for a spin-off. The character is a fan favourite, like Han Solo, but he is also someone without much baggage from the original films. Fans don’t have the same expectations for Fett that they do for Han, so Mangold would have a lot more in the way of free rein than either Phil Lord and Chris Miller on Ron Howard did when they were making Solo.
Mowgli trailer triggers major déja vu
This week, the first trailer arrived for Mowgli – Andy Serkis‘s technologically outstanding take on the classic story of The Jungle Book. Ordinarily, this would be a cause for the oohs and aahs of appreciation that such a rich achievement deserves. However, we’ve seen this before. In fact, we’ve only just seen it. Disney simply beat Serkis to the punch with its own version of The Jungle Book, which utilised tremendous motion-capture effects to conjure a realistic jungle environment. This just seems a little too familiar.
It’s a shame really that Serkis was beaten to the punch because this project has seemingly been around forever. There’s no doubt that Serkis and his Imaginarium buddies have put an extraordinary amount of effort into this, but a strange attempt to sell it as a darker take on the story seems unlikely to bear the same box office fruit that took Disney’s take on the story to almost $1bn at the global box office. Mowgli will be released in October.
Elba to adapt Hunchback of Notre Dame
With his directorial debut Yardie set to arrive very soon, Idris Elba is continuing to diversify his cinematic portfolio. He is now set to direct and produce a new adaptation of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Netflix, as well as taking on the title role. As if he doesn’t have enough to do already in this movie, he’s also going to be producing a load of original music for the film which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is set to be a “sonic and musical experience”. He’s certainly not making things easy for himself.
This certainly sounds like a very different take on a rather well-worn story. It’s particularly going to be rather different if the music Elba is producing is in line with his musical output to date, which skews towards the rap and hip-hop genres. There’s nothing about the prospect of a new Hunchback adaptation that’s inherently exciting, but Elba appears to be assembling something that is going to be genuinely fresh. That has to be worth seeing.
Neeson to play boss in Men in Black reboot
Having successfully carved out a career as one of cinema’s most reliable men of action, Liam Neeson is taking on a sci-fi/comedy as his next project. According to Variety, Neeson is set to join Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in the new reboot of the Men in Black franchise, which has Straight Outta Compton director F Gary Gray in place behind the camera. Neeson will portray the head of the UK division of the titular agency.
After meandering around in development for years – and at one point being set to cross over with the Jump Street franchise – the Men in Black film is on the fast track at Sony. The cast is intriguing, utilising Hemsworth and Thompson’s chemistry from Thor: Ragnarok, and the franchise has enough name value to potentially fly even in 2019. Men in Black has been dated for a May 2019 release.
Reynolds and Bay to join forces for Netflix
Netflix has the blockbuster market in its crosshairs. That much has been clear for a year or two and, though Bright was panned by critics, it did well enough that the streaming giant has booked a sequel. Their latest foray into mega-cinema, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is a new project that teams Transformers director Michael Bay with Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds. The film is Six Underground, which sees a team of six billionaires fake their own deaths and form a team to take down bad guys. Reynolds is back with Deadpool scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who have penned the script.
This is one that could very much go either way. Reynolds is currently the internet’s best friend after Deadpool 2, so it will be interesting to see if this reputation falls by the wayside once he has teamed up with Bay for a big expensive action movie. Bay and Reynolds are set to get moving on Six Underground this summer, with the release planned for next year.
Do you think Jake Gyllenhaal can surpass the curse of Marvel villainy as Mysterio? Are you excited to see a movie based around Star Wars bounty hunter Boba Fett? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.