This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering new roles for Pete Davidson, Gal Gadot, and Denzel Washington.
This WEEK’S TOP STORY
KENDRICK LAMAR TEAMING UP WITH TREY PARKER AND MATT STONE FOR NEW MOVIE
(Photo by Steve Granitz, Sam Tabone/Getty Images)
One of the most ambitious deals of 2021, in any form of entertainment, was the $900 million deal Trey Parker and Matt Stone made with Viacom in August to deliver a whopping 14 animated South Park movies for Paramount+ (two of which have already aired). Besides South Park, Parker and Stone have also worked in live action in the past, including their early feature films Cannibal: The Musical and Orgazmo and their Tony Award-winning Broadway hit musical The Book of Mormon. For their latest project, the duo are teaming up with rapper Kendrick Lamar for an untitled live-action comedy which all three will produce. Another South Park producer, Vernon Chatman wrote the screenplay about “a young black man who is interning as a slave reenactor at a living history museum [who] discovers that his white girlfriend’s ancestors once owned his.” This live-action feature film is being produced outside the 14-title South Park deal, and will be theatrically distributed by Paramount Pictures. It’s not yet known if Lamar also intends to appear in the film, and no director has been announced yet, but Paramount intends to start filming in early 2022, so that director should be revealed soon.
Other Top Headlines
1. CATE BLANCHETT JOINS PEDRO ALMODÓVAR’S ENGLISH-LANGUAGE DEBUT
(Photo by Lisa Tomasetti/©Sony Pictures Classics)
Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar (Parallel Mothers, All About My Mother) has been making films for over 40 years now, but despite his work earning widespread critical acclaim and multiple awards, it remains something of a niche in the United States due to the fact his films are in Spanish. That’s about to change, though, as the director is set to make his English-language feature film debut. The title of the project will be A Manual for Cleaning Women, which will be an adaptation of a 2005 collection of short stories by Lucia Berlin about 43 different women in demanding jobs, one of whom will be played in the film by Cate Blanchett. To clarify, A Manual for Cleaning Women will be Almodóvar’s first feature-length film in English, after first working with Tilda Swinton on the short film The Human Voice (Certified Fresh at 97%). In addition to starring in A Manual for Cleaning Women, Blanchett will also be one of the film’s producers via her Dirty Films production company, which also co-produced other projects of hers like Carol (Certified Fresh at 94%), Truth (Fresh at 63%), and the FX mini-series Mrs. America (Fresh at 96%).
2. GAL GADOT REMAKING HITCHCOCK CLASSIC, PLUS RED NOTICE GETS TWO SEQUELS
(Photo by RCF/Everett Collection)
As of this writing, we are just under a month away from the release of Death on the Nile (2/11/2022), presuming the Omicron surge doesn’t delay it. In addition to being a remake of the 1978 film (both of which are adapted from the mystery novel by Agatha Christie), Death on the Nile is also Kenneth Branagh’s sequel to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express (Fresh at 60%). Death on the Nile will not be Gal Gadot’s only remake, because she is also attached to star in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 caper film To Catch a Thief (Certified Fresh at 94%), starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. There are no known details about the remake just yet, but some people are speculating online that Gadot’s character may be a gender swapped version of Cary Grant’s in the 1955 film. Gadot is also producing the film along with her husband Jaron Varsano, and screenwriter Eileen Jones (TV’s Lethal Weapon) is currently in negotiations to adapt the screenplay. In related news, Netflix is also now preparing to film two sequels to last year’s Red Notice (Rotten at 37%) back-to-back, with Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds all expected to return.
3. HIT Y.A. TRILOGY CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE TO BE ADAPTED
(Photo by Henry Holt and Co.)
The 2010s were less than a decade ago, but one of the hot trends of that time has already come and gone. We’re thinking here of the wave of “young adult” (or YA) book adaptations that began after the early success of the Harry Potter franchise, Twilight (Rotten at 49%), and The Hunger Games (Certified Fresh at 84%). One popular book (that will become a trilogy in 2023) that missed that bandwagon by a few years was 2018’s Children of Blood and Bone by author Tomi Adeyemi, based upon West African mythology. Paramount Pictures has won the rights to adapt Children of Blood and Bone in a deal that reportedly beat out competing offers from Amazon, Netflix, and Universal Pictures. Paramount reportedly won the rights “due to its deal including a seven-figure screenwriting guarantee [for author Tomi Adeyemi], vast creative control and guaranteed theatrical release.” It’s also worth noting that this deal comes a year after previous reports that the trilogy would be adapted by Lucasfilm for Disney (which is no longer the case, as “Lucasfilm let the rights lapse“).
4. ELIZABETH BANKS AND ZACH GALIFIANAKIS TO BURST THE BEANIE BUBBLE
(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)
The wave of nostalgia for the 1990s seems to be moving at a slower pace than for other decades, but movies set in the decade are indeed happening. One new project that appears to be pretty solidly committed to getting its ’90s nostalgia kick in is Apple and Imagine Entertainment’s The Beanie Bubble, about the wave of collector frenzy that swept the world over the collecting of Ty’s Beanie Babies stuffed animals. Elizabeth Banks and Zach Galifianakis are both attached to star in The Beanie Bubble, along with Sarah Snook (HBO’s Succession) and Geraldine Viswanathan (Broken Hearts Gallery). No specific characters have been revealed, but there is already speculation that Galifianakis may be portraying Ty company founder and Beanie Babies inventor Ty Warner. The Beanie Bubble will be an adaptation of the Zac Bissonnette book The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute. Although the film is being produced by Apple, The Beanie Bubble may be one of the company’s projects that could receive a theatrical release, in addition to streaming on Apple TV+.
5. JAKE GYLLENHAAL TO STAR IN AFGHANISTAN WAR DRAMA FOR GUY RITCHIE
(Photo by Anne Marie Fox/TM & ©Copyright Fox Searchlight)
One of Jake Gyllenhaal’s earlier breakout dramatic performances was in 2005’s Jarhead (Fresh at 61%), set during the Persian Gulf War. Some 17 years later, Gyllenhaal is now attached to star in another war drama, this time set during the Afghanistan War, for director Guy Ritchie (Aladdin, The Gentlemen). The project, which is currently untitled but has in the past been called The Interpreter, will tell the story of an American soldier who becomes stranded behind enemy lines along with his Urdu interpreter, who risks his life to carry the injured soldier back to U.S. soil. Pre-production on the project, which will be distributed by MGM and Amazon, is already underway at Alicante, Spain, where filming is scheduled to begin on January 24, 2022.
6. DENZEL WASHINGTON TO RETURN IN ANTOINE FUQUA’S THE EQUALIZER 3
(Photo by Glen Wilson/©Columbia Pictures)
British actor Edward Woodward was around 55 years old when American audiences first saw him as The Equalizer on television in the 1980s, and the criminals on the series often remarked on the character’s age. Denzel Washington, who starred in Antoine Fuqua’s 2014 big-screen adaptation of the show (Fresh at 60%) and its sequel (Rotten at 52%), is currently 67, which makes him nearly a decade older than Woodward was when he ended his run on the TV series. Regardless, Washington is indeed now preparing to film The Equalizer 3. The project came up in a recent interview with Collider when Washington was asked about his plans for 2022, post-The Tragedy of MacBeth (Certified Fresh at 94%). It is expected that The Equalizer 3 will also be directed by Fuqua after he wraps his slavery drama Emancipation, starring Will Smith.
7. PETE DAVIDSON TO TRY HORROR IN THE HOME
(Photo by Jason Smith/Everett Collection)
There was a time when most stars of NBC’s Saturday Night Live left the show’s cast when it was time for them to become big movie stars, but Lorne Michaels appears to have softened on that policy, so that stars like Kate McKinnon are free to do both. One of the current SNL cast members who has done other work outside the show is Pete Davidson, who starred in 2020’s The King of Staten Island (Certified Fresh at 75%), appeared in last year’s The Suicide Squad (Certified Fresh at 90%), and provides the voices of one of the The Freak Brothers on Tubi. Most of those projects fall somewhere on the spectrum between comedy, dark comedy, and drama, but for his next project, Davidson is turning to horror. The project, called The Home, will feature Davidson as “a troubled man who starts working at a retirement home and realizes its residents and caretakers harbor sinister secrets.” The Home will be directed for Miramax by James DeMonaco, who is best known for the five films in The Purge franchise.