News Round-up – Hathaway in Barbie talks, Bond director shortlist, Suburbicon trailer and more

After the onslaught of trailers and news tidbits brought about by Comic-Con last week, it has been a quieter seven days in the movie world. There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the future of the Barbie movie, with a new star circling the role, and also the James Bond franchise, which is seeking a new director for the next installment.

Elsewhere, the line-up for the Venice Film Festival shone a spotlight on a new film directed by George Clooney and written by the Coen Brothers, while Lionsgate began to hint at plans to expand the successful John Wick movies into a larger cinematic universe.

Here’s your movie news round-up…


Hathaway could replace Schumer as Barbie

Anne Hathaway walks the red carpet at the 2011 Oscars
Anne Hathaway walks the red carpet at the 2011 Oscars (Photo: Mingle Media TV)

Oscar winner Anne Hathaway could be set to replace Amy Schumer in Barbie, according to a report in The Ankler. Hathaway is reportedly in talks for the role, though studio reps told Variety that scheduling has not yet been worked out and it is by no means a done deal. Schumer herself posted a response to the rumours on Instagram, saying Hathaway would be “perfect” for the role.

Hathaway would be solid casting for the Barbie movie, although she isn’t an exciting choice in the way that Schumer was. With Hathaway as its leading lady, the Barbie film will almost certainly be a fun comedy and there’s no reason it can’t maintain a body positive message. Sony is apparently still heading for the June 2018 release date in order to match the release of a new Mattel toy line.


Yann Demange leads Bond 25 director shortlist

Daniel Craig has played James Bond in four movies
Daniel Craig has played James Bond in four movies

Eon has announced that the new James Bond film is due in November 2019 and it looks likely that Daniel Craig will return for a fifth outing as the super-spy. Speculation has now turned to the vacant director’s chair, with Deadline reporting this week that a shortlist of three filmmakers has been drawn up at the studio. The frontrunner is Yann Demange, who made the brilliant thriller ’71, though Arrival director Denis Villeneuve and Hell or High Water helmer David Mackenzie are also in the frame.

This is an encouraging shortlist and all three directors would be great choices for Bond. As much as I am a big Villeneuve fan, both Demange and Mackenzie would be better choices on paper. With ’71 and Starred Up, both have hard-edged British thrillers in their back catalogue, with plenty of those skills transferring to Bond very easily indeed. I’m mostly just glad that Christopher Nolan isn’t on the list.


Cameron wants a new Terminator trilogy

James Cameron celebrates the 30th anniversary of Aliens at Comic-Con in 2016
James Cameron celebrates the 30th anniversary of Aliens at Comic-Con in 2016
(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Seemingly undaunted by the frankly ridiculous number of Avatar sequels he is supposed to be making, James Cameron stated this week that he wants to make three more movies in his Terminator franchise. He told that he is in talks with the current global rights holder for the franchise, with a view to “reinventing” the series over a three-movie arc. The last supposed reboot of the franchise is seemingly dead after the critical and commercial disappointment of 2015’s Terminator: Genisys.

This seems like an entirely unnecessary move. Everyone agrees that the Terminator franchise peaked more than 25 years ago, so why Cameron feels the need to give it another go is beyond me. He is already funneling an enormous amount of time and money into his ambitious Avatar plans, so there’s a definite sense here that he is biting off considerably more than he can chew.


Coens meet Damon in Suburbicon trailer

Matt Damon is a seriously troubled father in Suburbicon
Matt Damon is a seriously troubled father in Suburbicon

We got our first look at the potential Oscars landscape this week with the unveiling of the line-up for the Venice Film Festival, which has previously been the launchpad for Oscar winners including Birdman and Spotlight. One of the biggest films on the slate was Suburbicon, directed by George Clooney from a script by the Coens. It also got a first trailer this week, showing Matt Damon as a suburban father forced to go dark to defend his family from mobsters.

This is a really fun trailer, with the unmistakable stamp of the Coen Brothers all over it. It’s a brilliant blast of black humour, held together by a bizarre-looking performance from Damon. There seems to be plenty of blood, plenty of silliness and plenty of edge as well. It certainly could be an awards contender. Suburbicon is due out in the UK in November.


John Wick universe set to expand at Lionsgate

Keanu Reeves returns to the world of gun-fu with John Wick: Chapter 2
Keanu Reeves returns to the world of gun-fu with John Wick: Chapter 2

Lionsgate loves John Wick. His two movies to date have done well critically and commercially, so it’s probably unsurprising that they’re planning a wider universe around the character and his criminal underworld. The Hollywood Reporter wrote this week that the studio has nabbed a female-centric spec script for an actioner called Ballerina with a view to incorporating it into the existing world. The script is written by 23-year-old Shay Hatten, who idolises Shane Black.

This is an interesting idea, but one that sets a few alarm bells ringing. The notion of a female-led action movie being written by a young bloke besotted with Shane Black’s macho writing is a worrying one, but Lionsgate has thus far been very sure-footed with John Wick and there’s no reason they can’t widen the universe by picking up interesting material and giving it a little spin.


Nicholas Hoult frontrunner to play Tolkien

Nicholas Hoult promotes X-Men at Comic-Con in 2013
Nicholas Hoult promotes X-Men at Comic-Con in 2013 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Now that the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises have been put to bed, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Hollywood might take a break from trying to mine Middle Earth for box office dollars. That’s not the case, however, with Deadline writing this week that Nicholas Hoult is the frontrunner to play author JRR Tolkien in the biopic Tolkien. The story follows the author as he forms a “fellowship” of buddies at school, whose bond is threatened by the outbreak of the First World War.

Hoult is a good actor and a solid choice for this role, but it’s very tough to get excited about another return to the Middle Earth landscape. While this is going to be a grounded biopic set in the real world rather than an epic fantasy tale, it’s still going to be working from the same hymn sheet and, therefore, it feels a little like milking a few more drops from Tolkien and his world.


IMAX sees sense and moves away from 3D

The BFI IMAX cinema in London
The BFI IMAX cinema in London (Photo: Ana Gasston)

3D is rubbish. It has always been rubbish. For a while, Avatar convinced everyone that 3D was great but, really, it has always been visually dreary, gimmicky and not worth the extra money. Now, though, it seems the top bosses over at IMAX have seen the light, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In a conference call with reporters, IMAX Entertainment CEO Richard Gelfond said there was a “clear preference” for 2D with big tentpole movies. He said that, as a result, IMAX would offer more screenings of major movies in 2D IMAX rather than 3D. He pointed specifically to Blade Runner 2049, which will only be shown in 2D IMAX when it hits cinemas in the autumn.

This is great news. IMAX is a great format, but it has often been wasted due to its obsession with 3D. Films like Dunkirk show the breath-taking spectacle possible if 2D IMAX is properly used and the unnecessary use of 3D often makes that spectacle rather muted. The guys at IMAX have realised that 3D is about to go the way of the dodo, and that can only be a good sign for the future.


Do you think Anne Hathaway will make a good Barbie? Who do you think should direct Bond 25? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.

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