News Round-up – The Dark Tower trailer, Josh Gad teases Penguin role, Bond 25 speculation and more

It has been a relatively quiet week in the world of movie news as the multiplexes fill with audiences catching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. There was, however, a trailer for one of the most anticipated blockbuster movies of the year in the shape of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower and Frozen actor Josh Gad teased a major villain role in the DC Extended Universe.

Elsewhere, there’s some major speculation about the future of the James Bond franchise and a first look at the star-studded cast of Murder on the Orient Express, as well as an exciting announcement about the future of Jordan Peele after the enormous success of Get Out.

Here’s your round-up of this week’s movie news…


Trailer shows the mayhem of The Dark Tower

Idris Elba as The Gunslinger in the adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower
Idris Elba as The Gunslinger in the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower

There are only a few months until the release of The Dark Tower, which is a highly awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s series of fantasy novels. We finally got a first trailer this week, showcasing Idris Elba as the utterly badass Gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey as the villainous Man in Black. The film follows a young boy who meets Elba’s character and joins him on a quest to rescue the eponymous structure from McConaughey’s sinister sorcerer.

It’s a visually impressive trailer that suggests a fun, action-packed sci-fi movie with some great characters. I haven’t personally read the King books, but they are amongst the author’s most beloved books and have legions of fans. Elba looks suitably ice cool in the role and McConaughey is currently in the form of his life, aside from nonsense like Gold, so should be tremendous as the central villain. The Dark Tower will be released into UK cinemas in August 2017.


Josh Gad teases villainous Penguin part

Josh Gad at a Stand up to Cancer event in 2014
Josh Gad at a Stand up to Cancer event in 2014 (Photo: Disney/ABC)

This week, Josh Gad got the geek world speculated when he posted an image of a comic book panel on Twitter, featuring Batman villain The Penguin. This certainly seems to suggest that Gad is on course to portray the villain, who was played by Danny DeVito in Batman Returns, in one of the forthcoming DC Extended Universe films. Perhaps the character will appear in The Batman, which still has director Matt Reeves attached? Gad continued to fuel the speculation later in the week when he responded to some fan art depicting him as the character.

On paper, Gad seems to be a solid choice for the Penguin role and it will be interesting to see him show a slightly darker side to the persona he has honed on the big screen in recent years. There are a number of directions that the characterisation of the Penguin can travel, from a more broadly comedic portrayal to one of grotesque darkness. Gad might traditionally lean towards comedy, but it might be intriguing to see him subvert his persona to darker ends.


Sherlock director in the frame for Bond 25

Paul McGuigan arrives at the Victor Frankenstein Comic-Con panel in 2015
Paul McGuigan arrives at the Victor Frankenstein Comic-Con panel in 2015 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

The rumour mill surrounding the upcoming 25th James Bond movie has become to work overtime in recent weeks in the wake of the studio bidding war that is raging over the hot property. IndieWire reported this week that Paul McGuigan, director of Sherlock and Victor Frakenstein, is potentially in the frame over at Eon. Indie directorial choices often produce the better Bond films, as illustrated by the brilliant recent work of Sam Mendes in Skyfall and Spectre.

Much of the information about Bond 25 is completely up in the air right now and it’s even unclear whether Daniel Craig will return for his fifth Bond outing. Bond 25, either way, is going to be something of a turning point for the franchise and will either welcome in a new leading man or mark the swansong of the current star. We don’t know when Bond 25 will be around, but it’s certainly going to be interesting.


Opulent look at Murder on the Orient Express

Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express
Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express (Photo: EW/Fox)

The star-studded new adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express has been one of the most talked-about projects in Hollywood over the last few years. This week, we got our first look at the cast and the film courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, including director Kenneth Branagh, who is also set to star as master detective Hercule Poirot. The most remarkable thing about the new images is, without doubt, Branagh’s moustache, which is the size of a small bear. This is a film starring just about everyone in Hollywood, from acting royalty like Judi Dench to A-listers including Daisy Ridley and Johnny Depp.

These images show us that no expense has been spared on the new movie, whether it’s on casting, costumes or luxurious period sets. The story is one that almost everyone has consumed either through film, television or the original Agatha Christie tale, but this looks set to be the most lavish take yet. Murder on the Orient Express is due to be released in November 2017.


McCarthy boards puppet murder mystery

Melissa McCarthy pictures on the red carpet in 2012
Melissa McCarthy pictures on the red carpet in 2012 (Photo: Mingle Media TV)

Melissa McCarthy has joined the cast of a new comedy from the Henson Company, according to Variety. McCarthy will play the lead role in The Happytime Murders, set in a world in which humans and puppets coexist. The film follows a pair of detectives – one human and one puppet – as they attempt to investigate the murders of the cast of ‘The Happytime Gang’ – a classic puppet show in the vein of The Muppets. Brian Henson, son of Jim, has been trying to develop the project since 2008.

This seems like an interesting project and the addition of a murder plot to the combination between humans and puppets sounds like something different to the Muppets movies we have seen in recent years. STX Films is producing the movie, which they have described as having an “edgy, viral” tone. It suggests we might be getting something akin to the bawdy delights of Avenue Q rather than the more wholesome family appeal of other Henson works.


Cast lines up for festive Bad Moms sequel

Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn in comedy Bad Moms
Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn in comedy Bad Moms

After the monster success of Bad Moms last year, a sequel was inevitable and the folks over at STX Films are hard at work on what seems to be a whole universe of films around the central characters played by Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell. This week, it was announced that filming is already well underway on A Bad Moms Christmas with Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski and Cheryl Hines on board as the mothers of Hahn, Kunis and Bell respectively.

The film looks set to be a fertile comedy premise, with the three women each attempting to organise the perfect festive season, with their parents causing their own selection of problems. We haven’t had a properly good Christmas movie for a few years now, so hopefully this one will turn things around. A Bad Moms Christmas is, unsurprisingly, eyeing a December 2017 release.


Jordan Peele signs first-look deal with Universal

Jordan Peele performs at Shoreline Comedy in 2012
Jordan Peele performs at Shoreline Comedy in 2012 (Photo: Kevin Edwards)

Following the success of Get Out, Universal has nabbed first-look rights to Jordan Peele’s movie work for the next two years, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The TV comedian turned thriller auteur is already hard at work on the script for his next “social thriller”, which looks likely to have a similar satirical, sharp tone to his racially-charged horror. Peele will write, direct and produce the movie, which is set to have five times the budget of Get Out.

As part of the deal, Peele will also continue to work with producer Jason Blum on smaller-budget projects. He has become an incredibly sought after name in Hollywood, with many of the major studios chasing him for a deal. It’s no surprise that he has signed on the dotted line with Universal, given their help in putting Get Out into cinemas on the way to $200m at the global box office. It will be a real thrill to see what he is able to come up with next.


What did you think of the trailer for The Dark Tower? Do you think Josh Gad will make a good Batman villain? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.

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