It’s been a busy week in the world of movies, with plenty of new casting announcements and some interesting projects in the pipeline. There was a trailer for highly anticipated British comedy-thriller Kingsman: The Golden Circle, giving us a glimpse of not only the new American additions to the cast, but also Colin Firth back from the grave despite his unambiguous death in the original movie.
Elsewhere, the next Disney live-action remake got some high-profile new cast members, David Fincher lined up his next project and we were forced to say goodbye to a legend of cinema.
Here’s your movie news round-up…
Eggsy meets the Yanks in Kingsman 2 trailer
Despite a rather divisive critical reaction, Kingsman was a hit back in 2015, making more than $400m at the global box office. A sequel was announced in short order and we now have the first trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It’s a trailer that shows Taron Egerton‘s Eggsy as a fully-fledged member of the Kingsman organisation, which seems to be under threat in rather explosive fashion. We also get a climactic glimpse of Colin Firth, wearing the eyepatch that is presumably key to why he appears to be alive, despite having being killed in the first film.
I had a number of problems with the first Kingsman film and, this time around, it seems that they’re doubling down on the Bond homages and action sequences, rather than the comedy that was the most successful aspect of the original. This isn’t a trailer that contains much in the way of levity, but there’s the intriguing tease of Channing Tatum and his fellow members of the American organisation Statesman, which is their equivalent of the Kingsman society. There’s certainly plenty to think about before Kingsman: The Golden Circle arrives in cinemas in September.
Eichner and Rogen are Timon and Pumbaa
Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Lion King added two very important names to its cast list this week. The studio has added comedian Billy Eichner and comic actor Seth Rogen to the cast as Timon and Pumbaa, who are among the funniest characters in Disney history. The Wrap broke the news that the duo are joining the cast as the memorable meerkat and warthog double act, where they will appear alongside Donald Glover as Simba and James Earl Jones, reprising the role of Mufasa.
This seems like a very solid bit of casting for a film that is developing a really impressive roster of talent, with Jon Favreau in the director’s chair. Favreau did a stellar job with The Jungle Book and it will presumably be that sort of photoreal CGI that powers The Lion King, which may not have a single physical performer in the cast. Eichner and Rogen seem to fit the roles perfectly and they’re both very capable of providing comic highlights, which is what Timon and Pumbaa are there to do. The Lion King is due for release in July 2019.
Fincher close to World War Z sequel deal
David Fincher’s name has been connected with the sequel to 2013 zombie thriller World War Z since last summer, but few expected he would ever actually take on the project. However, according to a report in Variety this week, Fincher is very close to signing a deal to helm the sequel. Given his bad experience making the third Alien movie, Fincher has largely shied away from blockbusters, but there’s every chance that the involvement of his Se7en and Fight Club star Brad Pitt has helped to grease the wheels.
A mega-budget action movie directed by Fincher would be a thrilling experience and it would be interesting to see how Fincher’s trademark perfectionism would mesh with the demands of a blockbuster set. Nonetheless, Fincher is one of the best filmmakers working in Hollywood today and his involvement could help a fairly unremarkable-sounding follow-up become one of the most intriguing projects gestating in the midst of the movie industry machine.
Jeff Goldblum to return for Jurassic World sequel
After belated sequel Jurassic World unexpectedly became one of the most successful movies of all time, it’s no surprise that Universal quickly began working on another movie in the dino-franchise. Juan Antonio Bayona, who wowed audiences with this year’s A Monster Calls, is directing the movie and, this week, we found out that a blast from the past will feature in the sequel. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Jeff Goldblum will appear in Jurassic World 2, reprising the role of Dr Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park. Dr Malcolm also appeared in sequel The Lost World, but was absent from the most recent movie in the franchise.
Goldblum is a fun addition to any cast and he will certainly be hoping to do a better job here than he did when he returned to another of his memorable blockbuster parts in Independence Day: Resurgence. Bayona is a great filmmaker and he will almost certainly be able to take the series off in the different direction that it desperately needs in order to produce another mammoth success. Jurassic World 2 will be released in the UK in June 2018.
Scherzinger could defy gravity in Wicked movie
La La Land proved that there’s plenty of room for a big musical in modern Hollywood and so eyes have turned to the long-gestating adaptation of Broadway and West End smash hit Wicked. This week, The Sun quoted a source close to the project who said that Universal is in early discussions with former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger to play the lead role of Elphaba. Scherzinger has recently excelled on the stage in Cats and took on a supporting role in Disney animation Moana, so she’s no stranger to musical acting.
Scherzinger would be a solid choice to play Elphaba, particularly as originator of the role Idina Menzel has ruled herself out. This is very much at the rumour stage at the moment, but Scherzinger certainly has the singing ability to belt out ‘Defying Gravity’ with the best of them. It’s a role that is also very heavy on emotional heavy-lifting though and it’s in that arena that Scherzinger is more of an unknown quantity. Wicked will arrive in December 2019.
Wrestling pioneer Vince McMahon set for biopic
Much of the worldwide popularity of professional wrestling can be credited to Vince McMahon. The man behind WWE, formerly known as WWF, is one of the most notable figures in combat sport and entertainment, so it’s no surprise that Paramount has a biopic in the works. The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that the studio is now moving forward with Pandemonium after the script spent some time bouncing around Tinseltown offices. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who are best known for romcom Crazy, Stupid, Love, will direct the project, which has some involvement from WWE’s own movie-making arm WWE Studios.
This is a really interesting project and it will be incredibly intriguing to see who will play the wrestling supremo. The sport has always had a slightly odd relationship with the big screen, but it may get more exposure as a result of Netflix series GLOW and Fighting With My Family, which stars Dwayne Johnson and tells the story of WWE star Paige. Pandemonium, with its wide-ranging tale of how wrestling became a global corporation, could be the biggest in-ring movie ever made.
Director Jonathan Demme dies aged 73
The world of cinema was dealt a sad blow this week with the news that Jonathan Demme, who won an Oscar for directing The Silence of the Lambs, has passed away at the age of 73. Demme had an incredibly varied career, from the darkness of Lambs to the intense drama Philadelphia and a selection of comedy films in the 1980s. He was comfortable in a variety of settings and consistently maintained a really high standard of filmmaking in everything that he did.
For me, The Silence of the Lambs will always remain Demme’s masterpiece and it stands as one of the best horror movies of the 1990s. Demme’s more recent work has also been highly entertaining, with the Meryl Streep-starring musical drama Ricki and the Flash in 2015 turning out to be a surprisingly charming watch despite its paint-by-numbers approach. Hollywood has certainly lost a singular voice and Demme will be sorely missed.
What did you think of the Kingsman trailer? Are you excited to see Disney’s remake of The Lion King? What will David Fincher do with World War Z 2? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.