News Round-up – Venom trailer, Star Trek lines up first female director, Chicken Run sequel and more

This week was dominated by the release into cinemas of Avengers: Infinity War, which is a movie that few would argue doesn’t deserve the title of Most Ambitious Movie Ever Made. However, despite the multiplex dominance of the only film on wide release in UK cinemas this week, the rest of the movie world has to continue turning, though of course superheroes still play a big part.

It was the turn of Tom Hardy and his upcoming Venom movie, which released its most substantial trailer to date this week. We also learned that the Star Trek film franchise is looking to hire a female director for the first time in its storied history, while A Quiet Place and, quite bizarrely, Chicken Run were announced to be getting the sequel treatment.

Here’s your movie news round-up…


Hardy goes dark in full Venom trailer

Tom Hardy prepares to attack as Venom
Tom Hardy prepares to attack as Venom

It would be difficult to find anyone who, with their hand on their heart, could say they are particularly excited about the prospect of a Venom movie. However, that hasn’t stopped Sony trying to find some way to leverage their Spider-Man rights now that they’ve handed the character over to the MCU. The film got its first full trailer this week, showcasing Hardy as newspaper reporter Eddie Brock, who finds himself unified with an alien symbiote that turns him into something of an anti-hero – or basically just Spider-Man in a darker suit. It was cool in the nineties.

The trailer is a pretty ordinary superhero movie preview and, to all intents and purposes, this looks like a fairly generic superhero movie. It might have done well with that style in the days of X-Men and the Sam Raimi Spidey films but, in a world still reeling from Infinity War, it’s tough to see where a bog-standard superhero origin tale fits into that landscape in any meaningful and worthwhile way. We will find out when Venom arrives in cinemas this October.


SJ Clarkson to become first female Trek director

The Star Trek film franchise has spanned five decades
The Star Trek film franchise has spanned five decades

The Star Trek cinema franchise is running on name value alone at the moment, following the under-performance of Star Trek Beyond. A report in Variety this week, however, revealed that Paramount has plans for the franchise. The mooted project set to be written by Quentin Tarantino is still in the pipeline, but there’s the matter of Star Trek 4 to deal with first, and it could be a historic one. SJ Clarkson, best known for Jessica Jones and The Defenders, is in talks to become the first female director in the franchise’s history.

This suggests that there’s plenty of life in the Star Trek franchise yet and also that it’s set to take an important step forward in terms of diversity. The project itself sounds like a compellingly strange one, with Chris Hemsworth set to return as Kirk’s father via some time travel shenanigans. There’s no word yet as to when these movies will surface, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye out for them.


Aardman planning Chicken Run sequel

Chicken Run is a classic British animated adventure movie
Chicken Run is a classic British animated adventure movie

This was a very pleasant surprise. Aardman Animation is reportedly working on a sequel to Chicken Run, almost 20 years after the original movie became the most successful stop-motion animated film of all time. The original writers are on board, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and Aardman alum Sam Fell (Flushed Away) is attached to direct. There’s no word yet on a timeline for the movie, though the slow-moving Aardman machine is currently focused on a Shaun the Sheep film, so there’s little chance this even gets started until next year, which means we’re a good while away from a release.

We last left the farmyard creatures having escaped the villainous Mrs Tweedy and crafting a new life for themselves amid green pastures and the freedom of nature. It remains to be seen whether that utopia will still be in place when the sequel gets moving. Either way, it’s exciting to see that the guys over at Aardman are returning to the property that still represents their best work on the big screen. This should be pretty clucking good. Sorry, not sorry.


Feige confirms Marvel plans for Eternals movie

Marvel Studios present Kevin Feige at Comic-Con in 2016
Marvel Studios present Kevin Feige at Comic-Con in 2016 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Along with the release of a huge new Marvel movie in the shape of Avengers: Infinity War comes an inevitable barrage of press featuring all of the major MCU players. Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios and the custodian of this wild franchise, made headlines this week in The Wrap when he revealed that a movie based on comic characters The Eternals is on the table at Marvel HQ. Feige said, in typically non-committal fashion, that Eternals is a property the guys at Marvel are “actively beginning to have creative discussions about”, before confirming that the next Spider-Man movie will start shooting in July.

The Eternals are ancient beings created by the Celestials and possessing incredible powers. Their arrival in the MCU would mark yet another extension of the growing cosmic element of the MCU, which was once very much an Earthbound story, with only occasional journeys to Asgard breaking that feel. We don’t know very much about the Eternals idea at this stage, but Marvel is certainly going to need some new characters after Avengers start leaving the roster and this seems like a good idea as any.


Harrison Ford to make animated debut in Pets 2

Harrison Ford promotes Blade Runner 2049 at Comic-Con in 2017
Harrison Ford promotes Blade Runner 2049 at Comic-Con in 2017 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

As if we needed proof that Illumination is now a major player in the animation world, it came this week. The studio is obviously a big deal, but they have now reached a new level in finding enough spare cash down the back of the Minion-themed sofa to pay Harrison Ford to take on his first ever role in a studio animation. Deadline revealed this week that Ford has signed on for a role in the sequel to The Secret Life of Pets, which is also set to star Tiffany Haddish among its new cast. Patton Oswalt is also joining the franchise, with the suggestion being that he may replace Louis CK in the lead role, given the latter’s now controversial reputation.

There’s no suggestion yet as to what sort of animal Ford will play in the film, though it will take quite some performance to match Kevin Hart‘s unhinged bunny rabbit from the first movie. He’s certainly a high-profile addition to this burgeoning franchise and one who could take it to the next level if he delivers a performance more memorable than his recent, phoned-in debacles.


A Quiet Place is already getting a sequel

Emily Blunt hides from an alien threat in A Quiet Place
Emily Blunt hides from an alien threat in A Quiet Place

Given its remarkable box office success – $220m worldwide and counting – it’s little surprise that the folks over at Platinum Dunes and Paramount are very keen at putting together a sequel to John Krasinski‘s horror hit A Quiet Place. Paramount chairman Jim Gianopulos broke the news at CinemaCon earlier this week, but there’s no news as to whether Krasinski will be back in the director’s chair, or indeed whether star Emily Blunt will join him in returning.

As exciting as it is to see a very good movie being lined up for a sequel, there’s a nagging sense that the stripped-down concept of the first film is going to have to be left behind in order for a follow-up to work. This begs the question of what sort of additions will be made to the rules of the world and whether the alien beasties that were so terrifying first time around will be diluted in a new story. I’ll reserve judgement on this one until we know a lot more about it.


Swinton and Laurie join David Copperfield film

Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie will both appear in a new David Copperfield movie
Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie will both appear in a new David Copperfield movie
(Photos: Gage Skidmore and Kristin Dos Santos)

The world of Charles Dickens doesn’t necessarily seem like a logical choice for Armando Iannucci, who is best known for constructing modern political satires. His next movie, however, will be a modernised take on Dickens’s autobiographical novel David Copperfield. Iannucci already had Dev Patel attached as his leading man and, this week, Variety reported that Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie are also on board. Iannucci will collaborate with regular working buddy Simon Blackwell on the script, as well as ultimately directing the movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, filming is set to begin in June.

This is an interesting change of pace for Iannucci, though it will no doubt feature the trademark brand of humour that has made both he and Blackwell famous. Swinton and Laurie are intriguing additions to any cast and Swinton, especially, is on a run of oddball, comedy-tinged roles that could mesh very nicely with Iannucci’s style. The Personal History of David Copperfield is certainly a project that I’ll be watching closely.


Did this trailer increase your excitement for Venom? Or are you more excited to see what Aardman does with the follow-up to Chicken Run after more than 15 years? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.

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