There’s a weird sort of rhythm to the movie world at the moment, with major blockbuster films arriving at the rate of around one a week. As a result, the news cycle has dried up somewhat and there are only morsels of material coming to the surface. Chief among these this week is the revelation that Jamie Foxx is set to take on the title role in Spawn – a movie reboot for a character who, when he was played by Michael Jai White in 1997, became the first black hero to get a live-action feature film – years before Black Panther.
Elsewhere, there was a bizarre trailer for the latest movie to exploit the Winnie the Pooh property. There was also a great deal of bad news for two films, as Slender Man lost the support of its studio and the remake of The Crow haemorrhaged talent as both director and star stepped aside.
Here’s your movie news round-up…
Foxx to take on R-rated Spawn movie
It’s full steam ahead for Todd McFarlane, who is set to direct a movie for the first time in an adaptation of his comic book Spawn. A report in Deadline this week revealed that Jamie Foxx is going to play the title role in the film, which follows a CIA black ops man who, after his murder, is double-crossed in hell and returns to Earth as a demonic warrior. The character then turns antihero in the most 90s comic book of ways. It seems like ideal material for Blumhouse, which is breaking into comic books for the first time.
There’s very little about this movie that’s exciting. Spawn is a comic book that seems to be a little too confined to the 1990s, much like Venom, and the prospect of McFarlane using it as a movie debut is not an enticing notion. This has been a project that Foxx, McFarlane and Jason Blum have been working on for some time, so it won’t be a surprise to see things get moving rather quickly.
Momoa and Hardy depart ill-fated Crow remake
The remake of The Crow, which has spent more than its fair share of time in development hell, was dealt a major blow this week. According to Deadline, director Corin Hardy and star Jason Momoa have departed the project, with global distributors Sony on the verge of following. The suggestion in the report is that there were creative differences with Davis Films, holder of the underlying rights to the character and the story. The project is now almost certainly not going to meet its 2019 release date.
Production on the movie was due to start in just over a month, with all of the pre-production work done and ready. It now looks likely that this is going to drop back into development hell and it certainly won’t be happening any time soon. The Crow now may not be a film that ever comes to fruition and few people will mourn it, given it always seemed an odd proposition.
Christopher Robin trailer reveals the entire plot
Less than a year after the plummy-accented and desperately tedious Goodbye Christopher Robin, the yellow bear and his animal friends are set to appear on the big screen again. This time, it’s not a tale of the bear’s creation, but an exploration of an older Christopher Robin, who re-connects with his childhood pals in his adult life. Ewan McGregor is the title character and Jim Cummings is the voice of Pooh. A trailer for the movie this week seems to reveal the entire plot, from Robin’s childhood to his rediscovery of the characters and the characters’ decision to help him find joy in life.
This is the worst example I can recall in a long time of a trailer that syetmatically spoils every element of the film’s story. Christopher Robin, though, looks like a reasonably entertaining family movie that gives these famous characters a chance to fill the imaginations of yet another generation. Christopher Robin is due for release in cinemas in August.
Lindsay and Ejiofor sign up for Maleficent 2
Angelina Jolie got back into her Disney villain garb this week as shooting got started on the sequel to Maleficent, which marked the beginning of Disney’s current move to revamp as many of its animated properties as possible in the live-action arena. As things got started, Deadline revealed that My Family actor Robert Lindsay and Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor have joined the cast, alongside a wide variety of returning stars from the first movie and the already announced Ed Skrein as the villain.
The story of Maleficent 2 is set to pick up several years after the events of the first movie, which traced the reasons behind the title character’s decision to curse Aurora, bringing about the story of Sleeping Beauty. I was one of the few people to really enjoy the first film, so I’m excited to see what Disney can do with the sequel, which will be directed by Pirates 5 helmer Joachim Rønning. The film doesn’t currently have a release date, but Disney has bagsied days in November 2019, February 2020, May 2020, October 2020 and December 2020, so it will almost certainly be one of those.
Slender Man being shopped at eleventh hour
Along with The Crow, this was also a bad week for Slender Man. Unlike the other movie, Slender Man has been completed and distributors Sony have even put out a trailer to sell the film, which is due for release during the summer. However, Variety revealed this week that the producers of the movie are unhappy with Sony and are exercising a contractual clause which allows them to solicit higher offers. Reportedly, Sony wants to push the film as a Blumhouse-style project, while the producers have loftier goals for a bigger marketing push and screen rollout more akin to It, which smashed horror movie records.
This is a very rare move and it doesn’t bode well for this film, given that there’s such a fundamental disagreement about how to get the project out into multiplexes. There’s also the spectre of a major backlash around the movie given the real-life events that saw two girls, who believed they were working to please Slender Man, attempt to kill a classmate. A huge release will likely cause that backlash to register even louder. Slender Man is currently set for an August rollout in UK cinemas.
Jolie and Oyelowo to star in fantasy Come Away
Now this is an odd one. What if Peter Pan and Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, were siblings prior to their respective adventures? That’s the premise of Come Away, which follows the two kids and their relationships with their parents. It’s the live-action debut for Brave director Brenda Chapman and, according to Deadline this week, Chapman has managed a casting coup. A-listers Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo are in place to play the parents. The shoot will take place this year in the UK, with Jolie joining in when the film moves to LA in the autumn, after she has finished work on the aforementioned Maleficent sequel.
This is a very strange project and one that could absolutely go either way. Chapman did a solid job of fairytale material with Brave and these two actors are certainly capable of carrying the movie to success. However, there needs to be some real intelligence to the story in order for it not to feel like rather cheap fan-fiction.
Marsden to star in Sonic the Hedgehog movie
A while ago, news broke that Paramount is working on a movie based around the character of Sonic the Hedgehog. This week, Variety announced that James Marsden has signed on to star in the film, which has Jeff Fowler attached to direct and Deadpool filmmaker Tim Miller on board as an executive producer. The studio landed the rights to Sonic in 2017 and has since looked to bring the character to the big screen for the first time, other than a Wreck-it Ralph cameo.
It’s interesting to see that this movie is finally getting some momentum behind it, as it always seemed like the sort of vague proposition that would ultimately fizzle out. Marsden is a charismatic leading man, whether he ends up doing the voice for Sonic or appearing as a human character. Sonic the Hedgehog is set to arrive in November 2019.
Are you excited to see Jamie Foxx in Spawn? Will the remake of The Crow ever happen? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.