de­vel­op­ment hell

Your monthly glimpse into Hol­ly­wood’s hoped-for fu­ture

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert - Nick Setch­field’s

Pud­din’ it about! HAR­LEY QUINN

We all know Mar­got Rob­bie’s Har­ley Quinn is go­ing to steal Sui­cide Squad. And not just steal it but maybe slice off some of its fin­gers and mail them to the cops with a crazed ran­som de­mand. Warner Bros clearly know this too – the word among the Gotham un­der­world is the stu­dio’s de­vel­op­ing a spin-off film for her. The plan is to pop­u­late the movie with an oe­stro­gen-packed army of DC’s fe­male char­ac­ters, from Bat­girl to Katana to Poi­son Ivy and the Birds of Prey. Let’s see the mil­i­tary in­dus­trial toy com­plex try not to tar­get lit­tle girls with this one… The pitch for the project is said to have come from Rob­bie her­self, who re­port­edly en­gaged her own writer to take a shot at it. She’ll also earn a pro­ducer’s credit. More power to her base­ball bat, we say.

thun­der­bull? BOND 25

Some­where in deep­est Pinewood, Tom Hid­dle­ston, Idris Elba, Ai­dan Turner and Jamie Bell are sus­pended above a pit of ko­modo dragons, locked in a bru­tal Bond-off while Barbara Broc­coli watches, purring like a white Per­sian. Yes, the news that Daniel Craig has re­port­edly turned down a Max Zorin-style pay­day to re­new his li­cence to kill has sent the me­dia into cast­ing spec­u­la­tion melt­down. One hard fact among the dis­in­for­ma­tion: don’t look for Sam Men­des to helm the next 007 ca­per (well, not un­less Eon of­fer him a pri­vate or­bital laser and vol­canic pied-a-terre, and they

might…): “I think it’s time for some­body else. I’m a sto­ry­teller. And at the end of the day I want to make sto­ries with new char­ac­ters.” In the frame to helm the next mis­sion is Su­sanne Bier, who made the BBC’s The Night

Man­ager such a com­pelling and stylish pseudo-Bond ex­pe­ri­ence. Hey, did the odds on Hid­dle­ston just shorten?

rock on! DOC SAVAGE

It’s a deal: Dwayne John­son will take the ti­tle role in Shane Black’s big screen take on pulp su­per­man Doc Savage. “He is lit­er­ally mas­ter of ev­ery­thing,” raves The Artist For­merly Known As The Rock. “But here’s the num­ber one rea­son I’m ex­cited to be­come Doc Savage… He’s a fuck­ing hi­lar­i­ous weirdo! Con­fi­dently, yet in­no­cently, he has zero so­cial graces what­so­ever due to his up­bring­ing so ev­ery in­ter­ac­tion he has with some­one is di­rect, odd, of­ten un­com­fort­able and amaz­ingly hi­lar­i­ous.” We fear Dwayne may be con­fus­ing Doc with some­one he once met on the up­per deck of a night bus but hey, let’s stay op­ti­mistic here. Black prom­ises the film will stay true to the char­ac­ter’s ’30s roots: “It’s all about in­ge­nu­ity and clev­er­ness and thought. It wasn’t based on satel­lite track­ing and this in­fini­tude of gad­gets. You have to find the clever, old-school ways that Doc gets out of traps.” Ex­pect some pulp era globe-hop­ping too: “Back then you could still look around, and the world was full of un­charted places… To­day if there’s a yeti we would have found him.”

Jason lives! dumb kids die! FRI­DAY THE 13TH

Old hor­ror fran­chises never die. They just keep com­ing at you. Next in line for a re­boot from be­yond the grave is hock­ey­masked charmer Jason Voorhees, long­time bane of Crys­tal Lake’s TripAd­vi­sor page. Pro­ducer Brad Fuller tells The Reel World that the movie will give us a new per­spec­tive on Mr V: “You kind of have to un­der­stand Jason Voorhees, so we go back and we kind of start over and work our way for­ward. Ori­gin-ish, but it’s an ori­gin that no one has seen be­fore. Ob­vi­ously Pamela’s there [Jason’s dear old mum] but it’s a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent from what you’ve seen be­fore.” Don’t look for Blair Witch style cam­corder creepi­ness. “There were a lot of found footage scripts that they wanted us to make,” says Fuller. “I was not go­ing to do that be­cause I don’t think that can ex­ist in Jason Voorhees’ world.” The lat­est draft of the screen­play is by Aaron Guzikowski, who’s also writ­ing The Wolf Man for Uni­ver­sal.

There were a lot of found footage scripts that they wanted us to make

killer queen! THE MUMMY

In a cloud of an­cient dust the first syn­op­sis for Uni­ver­sal’s Mummy re­boot has stag­gered, blink­ing, from the tomb. The movie will pit Tom Cruise against a fe­male an­tag­o­nist: an Egyp­tian queen “whose des­tiny was un­justly taken from her” and who now awak­ens in the present day, “bring­ing with her malev­o­lence grown over mil­len­nia and ter­rors that defy hu­man com­pre­hen­sion.” That’s one hell of a Tin­der pro­file. Star Trek Be­yond’s Sofia Boutella plays the un­dead monarch while Russell Crowe is in talks to join the project as Dr Jekyll, part of Uni­ver­sal’s cun­ning plan to es­tab­lish a func­tion­ing mon­ster­verse. Crowe claims it’s a full-on hor­ror take rather than a Bren­dan Fraser style Dis­ney­land ride: “This one is more de­signed to se­ri­ously scare the shit out of you. It’s very in­ter­est­ing, what they’re go­ing to do with that stuff. I’ve had a cou­ple of chats about it with the di­rec­tor.” The curse is ful­filled 9 June 2017.

the def­i­nite ar­ti­cle! THE PREDA­TOR

As well as prep­ping Doc Savage: Fuck­ing Hi­lar­i­ous Weirdo Shane Black is also deep in pre­pro­duc­tion on his res­ur­rec­tion of the Preda­tor fran­chise. Fred Dekker – who co-wrote the screen­play with Black – tells The Movie Crypt Pod­cast that the next film won’t nec­es­sar­ily re­heat the trusted pick-em-of­fin-the-jun­gle for­mula that made the orig­i­nal film such a sus­pense­fest: “If you think of the first Preda­tor as Alien, ours is much more Aliens. It’s not Ten Lit­tle In­di­ans, it’s not let’s kill off all of our char­ac­ters… Our idea was okay, we know that story al­ready. What’s be­hind the curtain? Why are they here? What’s the big­ger pic­ture of this? I think these are ques­tions you can an­swer, or at least ex­plore, with­out de­feat­ing that sense of scari­ness. And who knows if their agenda’s changed?” Tough ques­tions, but then these are tough times. Film­ing be­gins this au­tumn for a 2 March 2018 re­lease and Black is shoot­ing for a hard R rat­ing.

the life aquatic! THE SHAPE OF WA­TER

It’s the old­est story in the world. Boy meets girl. Girl meets gill. That’s the essence of Guillermo del Toro’s next movie, pitched as an oth­er­worldly ro­mance in Cold War era Amer­ica. Set in 1963, it’s the tale of Elisa, a mute jan­i­tor – played by Padding­ton’s Sally Hawkins – who works at a se­cret lab where an am­phibi­ous man is be­ing held cap­tive. Nat­u­rally she falls for his sub­mersible, oxy­gen-de­fy­ing charms and de­vises a plan to bust him out – only to dis­cover that the lab may be a safer bet than the world out­side… Think of it as Hell­boy’s Abe Sapien, only with more kiss­ing, less gog­gles. Man Of Steel’s Michael Shan­non is cur­rently be­ing courted to play the vil­lain and Oc­tavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg and The Cabin In The Woods’ Richard Jenk­ins are also ex­pected to star. Del Toro’s aiming to be­gin film­ing this Fox Search­light pro­duc­tion this sum­mer.

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