News Round-up – Assassin’s Creed trailer, Black Panther casting, Andre the Giant biopic and more

Two weeks ahead of the release of video game adaptation Warcraft, rival video game movie Assassin’s Creed, directed by Justin Kurzel, has dropped its stylish first trailer. The two films are going to be a real litmus test for whether video game movies can turn the tide away from the perception that they’re nearly always utter rubbish.

There was also some exciting news in the world of superheroes, with several new stars added to Black Panther and Marvel bigwigs dropping major hints about a potential solo outing for Scarlett Johansson‘s badass operative Black Widow.

Here’s all of the movie news worth caring about from this week.


Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Michael Fassbender will take the lead in video game adaptation Assassin's Creed
Michael Fassbender will take the lead in video game adaptation Assassin’s Creed

Justin Kurzel’s take on Assassin’s Creed is a highly-anticipated blockbuster, based on one of the most popular franchises in video game history. It dropped its first trailer this week, showcasing Michael Fassbender as a modern man executed and then suddenly in the midst of the Spanish Inquisition in the body of one of his ancestors… because reasons.

It’s a fun trailer, but one that seems to boast the kind of ludicrous premise that is only acceptable in the world of a video game. Character looks secondary to action and that action looks distinctly game-like in its execution. However, with the Macbeth trio of Kurzel, Fassbender and Marion Cotillard involved, this could be a far more interesting take on the material than the trailer initially suggests. We’ll find out on Boxing Day when the film arrives.


Black Panther cast assembles

Lupita Nyong'o at the 2015 Oscars
Lupita Nyong’o at the 2015 Oscars (Photo: Disney / ABC Television Group)

After the character’s blistering debut in Captain America: Civil War, it’s fair to say that hype for Ryan Coogler‘s Black Panther is building at a substantial rate. This week, the film added two new faces to its cast. Firstly, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Lupita Nyong’o was set to take on the female lead role and the same site subsequently announced that Creed star Michael B Jordan would also star, likely in the role of villain.

These are two excellent additions to the Black Panther cast and, in the space of just a few weeks, one of the lesser Marvel projects has become a bona fide must-see outing for one of the franchise’s most engaging stars. I, for one, am very excited to see Chadwick Boseman back in the vibranium suit in February 2018.


Black Widow movie finally in the pipeline?

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in The Avengers
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in The Avengers

Ever since Scarlett Johansson first donned the skin-tight attire of Black Widow in Iron Man 2, fans have been clamouring for her to get a solo movie. It looks like that could be a step closer to reality, following an interview Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige gave to Deadline. He said that there were “amazing stories” to tell with Widow and that it “would be fun to turn into a stand-alone franchise”.

This is a very encouraging sign. The fact that Black Widow hasn’t even got an announced solo film is one of the oddest creative decisions Marvel has made to date. Widow is a great character and deserves to get her time in the spotlight along with the rest of the Avengers. Captain Marvel might be the first female character out of the gate in this franchise, but Widow definitely shouldn’t be far behind.


Jump Street/MIB movie nets Muppets director

MIB 23 will unite the Jump Street and Men in Black franchises
MIB 23 will unite the Jump Street and Men in Black franchises

The truly bizarre saga of the Jump Street and Men in Black crossover, now known as MIB 23, has continued with the announcement of James Bobin as director. Bobin, perhaps best known for The Muppets, confirmed to Collider has said that he will get behind the camera for the sci-fi comedy later this year.

This is an astute choice of director for such an odd film. Bobin’s Muppets movie was the perfect example of creating gold out of a movie that absolutely should not have worked, which is a polite way to frame the mountain that MIB 23 has to climb in order to attain any sort of plausibility. Done right, it could be a surprisingly good comedy movie, but otherwise, it could be a total train wreck.


From body slams to the big screen

Andre the Giant had many blockbuster battles with Hulk Hogan
Andre the Giant had many blockbuster battles with Hulk Hogan (Photo:

Andre the Giant is one of the most iconic and memorable figures in the history of professional wrestling. The French performer headlined WrestleMania III against Hulk Hogan and now, according to Variety, a biopic of the formidable star is in the works. The film, based on illustrated biography Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven, will be produced by Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell.

Andre was a truly unique entertainer, both in the ring and on the big screen in films like The Princess Bride. He is a natural subject for a biopic, as long as the producers can find an actor who has the physique and charisma needed to properly portray such a one-of-a-kind human being.


Study reveals damning gender gap in UK cinema

Anne Marie-Duff and Carey Mulligan in Suffragette
Anne Marie-Duff and Carey Mulligan in Suffragette

New research from the University of Southampton, as reported in The Guardian, has found that only a fifth of production personnel in the UK film industry are female. It also found that women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds made up only 1.5% of workers in the British industry. The study, entitled Calling the Shots: Women and Contemporary Film Culture in the UK, was published to coincide with a special event at the BFI Southbank in London.

Every time a study like this arises, it becomes clear that very little has changed in terms of the opportunities for women in film. It’s frankly ridiculous that, in 2016, women still make up such a tiny proportion of the filmmaking world and something has to be done. Hopefully, the publication of this report will be the kick up the rear end that the industry needs to force it into a change for the better and a push towards equality.


Are you excited for the Assassin’s Creed movie? Does Black Widow sound more interesting than Black Panther? How can the film industry address its gender pay gap? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.

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