This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering new titles such as Madame Web, This is 50, and the Puss in Boots sequel.
This WEEK’S TOP STORY
FLORENCE PUGH TO VOICE GOLDILOCKS IN PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH
(Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images)
It has been 11 years since the release of Puss in Boots (Certified Fresh at 86%), which was the last entry in a five-film Shrek franchise that had been a box office hit presence since 2000. DreamWorks is still actively trying to get a fifth installment of Shrek itself going, but the sixth film in the franchise will be a sequel to Puss in Boots called Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which is due out on September 23, 2022. The first trailer for the film, which debuted this week, revealed that the premise will involve Puss (Antonio Banderas) discovering he is on the last of nine lives. Salma Hayek is also returning for the sequel, and the new voice cast will include Academy Award winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows) as a dog, Florence Pugh (Midsommar, Black Widow) as the voice of fairy tale star Goldilocks, and many others. The title Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a recent change, as it had previously been listed under the title Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves.
Other Top Headlines
1. DOCTOR STRANGE DIRECTOR PLUNGING INTO THE GORGE
(Photo by Andrew Schwartz/©Screen Gems)
We’re now less than two months away from the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (5/6/2022), but a bit of “inside baseball” that casual fans may not know is that the sequel will be directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, The Evil Dead) and not the director of the first film, Scott Derrickson, who also directed horror movies like Sinister. and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Derrickson will still be in theaters around the same time as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with a serial killer thriller called The Black Phone (6/24/2022), starring Ethan Hawke in a creepy mask. Derrickson is also already moving onto his next project, but this one won’t be a horror film. Instead, he has come aboard to direct an action movie with love story elements called The Gorge, which made the Black List of Unproduced Screenplays in 2020. The exact nature of what makes it either an action movie or a romance haven’t been revealed yet.
2. DOOM PATROL STAR MATT BOMER JOINS BRADLEY COOPER’S MAESTRO
(Photo by David Crotty/Getty Images)
The 2018 refresh of A Star is Born (Certified Fresh at 90%) may have been the directorial debut of actor-turned-director Bradley Cooper, but he got off to an astonishing start, as that film earned three Academy Award nominations (including Best Actor), along with dozens of other honors. For his next film as director, Cooper is adapting the life of American composer Leonard Bernstein as a biopic for Netflix called Maestro, in which he will also star as Bernstein alongside Carey Mulligan as Bernstein’s wife. The next actor in talks to be cast in Maestro this week is Matt Bomer, who has been landing lots of work the last few years, including a lead role in HBO’s DC Comics series Doom Patrol (Fresh at 97%). If Bomer’s deal for Maestro goes through, he will portray a clarinet player who had a relationship with Bernstein (after his death, Bernstein’s wife “acknowledged that he was gay and had sexual relationships with men.”) There is no release date for Maestro on Netflix yet, but the film was not included in the recent sizzle reel that Netflix released for 2022, suggesting a date sometime in 2023.
3. FUTURE MARVEL VILLAIN JONATHAN MAJORS KNOWS THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT
(Photo by The Washington Post/Getty Images)
One of the biggest TV surprises of 2021 was the reveal at the end of the Disney+ show Loki (Fresh at 92%) of a “variant” of a mysterious figure played by Jonathan Majors who appears likely to be the villain Kang the Conqueror in future Marvel Studios movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (7/28/2023). That film recently wrapped production, which means that Majors now has a lot more time on his hands (until his character appears in another Marvel film). The first post-Quantumania project for him will be a project called The Man in My Basement, adapted from a novel by Walter Mosley (Devil in a Blue Dress). Jonathan Majors will star as a man living in Sag Harbor, New York, who is having financial problems and agrees to rent out his family home’s basement to a strange white man for $50,000, only to discover it leads him down “a terrifying path that takes him to the heart of race, history and the root of all evil.” Walter Mosley co-wrote the adaptation of his own novel with Nadia Latif, who is also making her directorial debut with the film.
4. EUPHORIA STAR SYDNEY SWEENEY JOINS SPIDEY SPINOFF MADAME WEB
(Photo by Momodu Mansaray/Getty Images)
The continuing franchise now known as “Sony’s Spider-Man Universe” (recently renamed from “Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters”) may not directly benefit from being shepherded by Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige, but it’s steadily making news with upcoming projects like Morbius (4/1/2022), Kraven the Hunter (1/13/2023), and this week’s Madame Web, to be directed by S.J. Clarkson (of Netflix’s Jessica Jones and The Defenders). This film, possibly more than most Marvel Comics adaptations, has a fog of mystery about it, because there remains some confusion around which character it’s even about. In the comics, the first Madame Web was an elderly disabled woman with clairvoyant abilities, but it all got confusing when Dakota Johnson (50 Shades of Grey) was cast as the lead. Johnson, who at 32 is far from “elderly,” is leading some writers to wonder if the character she’s playing is actually the current Madame Web, Julia Carpenter, or perhaps some combination of both characters. The theme of Madame Web casting skewing young continued this week as the second cast member will be Sydney Sweeney of HBO’s Euphoria. It is not yet known who Sweeney will be playing, which also only continues to lend the film a swirl of mystery and mystique. Sony Pictures has not scheduled a release date for Madame Web yet, but sometime in late 2023 currently seems likely, given the 1/13/2023 date of Kraven the Hunter.
5. TI WEST HAS ALREADY FILMED A PREQUEL TO X
(Photo by ©A24)
It is not at all uncommon for studios to start developing sequels for films before the film is actually released (for many reasons, but sometimes it might be an effort to nab stars before their asking salaries go up). A scenario that is more rare is a case where the next film has already been produced before the first movie even comes out. At the SXSW world premiere this week of the horror film X (Fresh at 98%), writer-director Ti West revealed that a prequel for X called Pearl has already been filmed “in secret.” Mia Goth stars in both X and Pearl, and West also revealed that he hopes to follow the two films with a third to form a trilogy (although it’s not yet known if Goth will star in the third film). X will be released in theaters this week, on March 18,2022.
6. PAUL RUDD AND LESLIE MANN TO RETURN FOR SEQUEL THIS IS 50
(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the 2012 release of the family comedy This is 40 (Rotten at 51%), which was directed by Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up). The parents of the family in This is 40 were played by Paul Rudd (now age 52) and Leslie Mann (now 49), and their two daughters were played by Apatow’s real daughters, Iris and Maude Apatow. This week, in conjunction with a new deal with Universal Pictures, Apatow revealed that he is now actively developing a This is 40 sequel to be called This is 50. Both Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are expected to return for the sequel, as are Apatow’s daughters, who are currently 19 (Iris) and 24 (Maude). (And right here is where this writer guesses that this could all be leading to a third film in the 2030s called This is 30 about the two daughters, who will be that age by then.)