This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Hellboy, How to Train Your Dragon, I Am Legend 2, and Ship.
This WEEK’S TOP STORY
HELLBOY TO BE REBOOTED AGAIN
(Photo by ©Summit Entertainment)
Stranger Things star David Harbour is in the middle of something of a streak right now, having recently kick-started a new Santa Claus franchise with Violent Night (Fresh at 73%) after joining the MCU in Black Widow (Certified Fresh at 79%) as Red Guardian, a role he’ll reprise in the upcoming Thunderbolts movie (7/26/2024). Those recent hits happened in 2021 and 2022, but just two years earlier, Harbour had something more like a box office flop with the 2019 attempt to reboot comic book creator Mike Mignola’s Hellboy (Rotten at 17%), which had previously been portrayed by Ron Perlman in Guillermo del Toro’s well-received adaptations Hellboy (Certified Fresh at 81%) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Certified Fresh at 86%). Now, the Hellboy production company Millennium Media is already looking to reboot Hellboy in a fourth live-action feature film with a new actor in the lead. The reboot, which has the working title Hellboy: The Crooked Man (which presumably takes its title from this Mike Mignola story), is already preparing to start filming in Bulgaria in April under the direction of Brian Taylor, whose previous credits include co-directing Crank (Fresh at 62%), Crank: High Voltage (Fresh at 65%), and another supernatural superhero movie, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Rotten at 18%). There is no release date for Hellboy: The Crooked Man, but sometime in 2024 is probably most likely. The new star should be announced sometime in the next few months or so.
Other Top Headlines
1. A LIVE-ACTION HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON MOVIE IS ON THE WAY
(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)
As of 2023, one niche that Walt Disney Pictures continues to dominate is in the arena of live-action adaptations of beloved animated films, which they’ve now done more than a dozen times, with even more on the way. Universal Pictures, however, is taking a page out of the Disney playbook, as the studio has announced that development has begun on a “live-action” adaptation of the Cressida Cowell children’s book series How to Train Your Dragon, which became a DreamWorks CGI animation feature film franchise. The words “live-action” are in quotes because, as with some of Disney’s similar projects (e.g. The Lion King), the new How to Train Your Dragon will almost certainly feature a great deal of CGI animation, especially for the dragon characters like Toothless. The film will be directed by Dean DeBlois, who also wrote and directed the three DreamWorks animated films, all of which were nominated for Academy Awards. Universal Pictures has already announced a release date of March 14, 2025, which means they have just over two years to cast characters like Hiccup, and start filming in time for the lengthy pos-tproduction.
2. THE CROWN’S EMMA CORRIN CAST IN BOTH DEADPOOL 3 AND NOSFERATU
(Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
British actor Emma Corrin is probably currently best known for their work as the young Princess Diana in the fourth season of The Crown (Fresh at 85%), but their profile may soon go up quite a bit with new roles announced this week for two different high profile projects. The first story to break was that Corrin has been cast as a villain (either “the” villain, or “one of the” villains, depending on which story you read) in Marvel Studios’ Deadpool 3 (11/8/2024), opposite Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman. The identity of Corrin’s character has not been revealed yet, and there are many possibilities, due to their nonbinary identity, which they also addressed this week. This week, Kevin Feige also confirmed previous reports that Deadpool 3 will be Marvel Studios’ first R-rated film. Emma Corrin’s second new project this week is the new adaptation of the classic German Expressionist silent vampire movie Nosferatu, which will be directed by Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Northman). Corrin’s co-stars will include Nicholas Hoult, Lily Rose-Depp, Willem Dafoe, and Bill Skarsgard as the film’s titular vampire. The original Nosferatu (Certified Fresh at 97%) turned 100 last year, and it was previously remade by German director Werner Herzog in 1979 as Nosferatu the Vampyre (Certified Fresh at 95%), starring Herzog’s frequent lead actor Klaus Kinski.
3. WILL SMITH AND MICHAEL B. JORDAN TO STAR IN I AM LEGEND SEQUEL
(Photo by ©Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)
There were a lot of interesting things going on in the 2007 post-apocalyptic thriller I Am Legend (Fresh at 68%), which was just the latest adaptation of the eponymous Richard Matheson novel after 1964’s The Last Man on Earth and 1971’s The Omega Man, like Will Smith’s character walking by posters for Batman v Superman (Rotten at 29%) nine years before that movie came out. But I Am Legend will soon be known for another interesting bit of trivia. First off, we should address this week’s main news, which is that Warner Bros. has reached a new deal with screenwriter and producer Akiva Goldsman that seems likely to start with an I Am Legend sequel starring Will Smith and Michael B. Jordan. The way that I Am Legend 2 will effectively “change” I Am Legend is that the sequel will ignore the first film’s original ending in favor of the “alternate ending,” which was included in the DVD and Blu-ray special features. Without spoiling a 16-year-old film, this change explains how Will Smith’s character could even appear in a sequel in the first place.
4. PATRICK DEMPSEY TO HEADLINE GRINDHOUSE SPIN-OFF THANKSGIVING
(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images)
In addition to the two feature films that made up the bulk of the 2007 double feature Grindhouse (Certified Fresh at 84%), Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror (Fresh at 76%) and Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (Fresh at 66%), the package also featured a number of “trailers” for (then) fictional films, although two of them have since become real movies (Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun). Soon, the same will also happen to Eli Roth’s holiday-themed slasher movie Thanksgiving, which starts filming in Toronto next month. The first actor in talks for Thanksgiving is Patrick Dempsey, who will apparently be the biggest “name” in the horror film’s ensemble, supported mostly by a cast of “rising star” actors who are yet to be announced. A release date for Thanksgiving hasn’t been announced yet, but given the film’s relatively low budget, it could still be released sometime in 2023 in time for its title holiday in November.
5. TOM HOLLAND AND JAMIE BELL TO STAR IN DUELING FRED ASTAIRE MOVIES
(Photo by Steve Granitz, Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
Whether it was due to the pandemic or changes in the way mid-level movies are produced, the era of “dueling movies” — wherein two (or more) different movies with similar concepts or characters are produced around the same time — has seemingly slowed down since the 2010s. That said, it’s set to happen again with two different movies about classic Hollywood star Fred Astaire, who will be portrayed by two actors who have both played Billy Elliot in the past: Jamie Bell (in the film) and Tom Holland (on stage). Bell and Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time… Hollywood) will co-star in a film called Fred & Ginger, with Qualley playing Astaire’s famous dance partner Ginger Rogers and Jonathan Entwistle (The End of the F—ing World) directing. Tom Holland’s untitled Fred Astaire film will focus on his relationship with his (not yet cast) sister Adele, and it will be directed by Paul King, whose previous films have included Paddington (Certified Fresh at 97%) and Paddington 2 (Certified Fresh at 99%). King will be transitioning quickly to the Fred Astaire movie after wrapping up post-production on Warner Bros.’ high-profile prequel Wonka (12/15/2023), starring Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka.
6. THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN’S BARRY KEOGHAN TO PLAY BILLY THE KID IN NEW BIOPIC
(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Irish actor Barry Keoghan may not yet be a household name, but in the last few years, he’s been racking up a series of memorable roles, including Druig in Marvel’s Eternals (Rotten at 47%), we’re-not-supposed-to-call-him-The-Joker-yet in The Batman (Certified Fresh at 85%), and an acclaimed supporting role in The Banshees of Inisherin (Certified Fresh at 96%). Hollywood is sometimes a game of “one for them, and one for me,” and Keoghan may be getting his chance to turn in those chips with the news this week that he will star in what is being described as a “dream assignment.” Barry Keoghan will star in an upcoming biopic about the Western outlaw (and Irish American) known as Billy the Kid, which will “lean into the Kid’s Irish ancestry and complicated childhood.” Keoghan’s Billy the Kid project doesn’t have a title yet, but it does have a director in Bart Layton, who previously worked with Keoghan on 2018’s American Animals (Certified Fresh at 88%).
7. RALPH FIENNES TO SAIL AS HOMER’S ODYSSEUS IN THE RETURN
(Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
The ancient Greek legendary hero Odysseus appears in both of Homer’s most famous epic poems, The Odyssey and The Iliad, but outside of Sean Bean’s supporting role in Troy (Rotten at 53%), Odysseus is relatively underrepresented in mainstream modern cinema. That may soon change with the news this week that Ralph Fiennes is taking on the role of Odysseus in Italian director Uberto Pasolini’s historical drama called The Return, about what happened after Odysseus came home from his adventures in The Iliad and The Odyssey. One of Fiennes’ co-stars will be Juliet Binoche, marking the first time the two have appeared in a film together since The English Patient (Certified Fresh at 86%) in 1996. Part of the premise of The Return is, “After 20 years away Odysseus (Fiennes) washes up on the shores of Ithaca, haggard and unrecognizable. The King has finally returned home but much has changed in his kingdom since he left to fight in the Trojan war,” with Juliet Binoche playing Odysseus’ wife Penelope and Charlie Plummer playing their son Telemachus.
8. CHILDREN’S BOOK CHARACTER GERONIMO STILTON TO GET ANIMATED MOVIE
(Photo by Scholastic Books)
Geronimo Stilton is an Italian children’s book character who has, since 2004, become popular thanks to a series of over 300 books. The character, who can be described as an anthropomorphic mouse journalist in a world of mice and other animals who goes on a series of globe-trotting adventures, will also soon become the star of his own animated movie, which will be directed by David Soren, whose animated feature film credits include Turbo (Fresh at 67%) and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (Certified Fresh at 87%). No voice cast for Geronimo Stilton has been announced yet, and the film also does not yet have a release date.
9. PLANE SEQUEL SET ON A SHIP TO BE TITLED EXACTLY WHAT YOU THINK
(Photo by ©Lionsgate)
The month of January is traditionally seen as a “dump month” when studios release movies they don’t expect to perform well at any other time of the year, but in 2023, a few January movies like M3GAN (Certified Fresh at 94%) and Plane (Certified Fresh at 76%) actually did fairly decent both at the box office and with critics. Part of the appeal of the latter is that it knows exactly what sort of old-fashioned action movie it is, right down to the generic, on-the-nose title: Plane. Mike Colter co-starred in Plane as a fugitive who teams up with the crashed plane’s pilot (Gerard Butler) to save the passengers, who are kidnapped by an evil gang living on a remote Pacific Ocean island. It’s unclear if Butler will return for the sequel, but Mike Colter’s character will in a movie called Ship, because it’s set on a ship. Ship will directly follow the events of Plane, with Colter’s character escaping the Phillippines via fishing boat to reach a cargo ship he soon discovers is up to no good.