Hopefully, everyone had a great extended Thanksgiving holiday, but one thing that did not rest last week was Hollywood, and there was a ton of news since our last installment of “Must Reads.”
DC Entertainment Co-CEO James Gunn has been busy solidifying, or at least announcing, the planned cast for his Superman: Legacy reboot of DC’s flagship character, although he’s also stated that many of the contracts were signed before the actors’ strike began in July. First, it was confirmed that Nicholas Hoult would be playing Superman’s main baddie, Lex Luthor, after months of rumor that might be the case. Also on the evil side of things is assassin and spy Eve Teschmacher, Luthor’s henchman and a member of the shadow organization Leviathan, who will be played by Portugese Victoria’s Secret model/actress Sara Sampaio. The character was played by Valerie Perrine in the 1979 Superman directed by Richard Donner and its 1980 sequel, while Andrea Brooks played the character in the most recent Supergirl series. Luthor has been played by everyone from Gene Hackman to Kevin Spacey to Jesse Eisenberg and others, as there have been many different iterations of Superman and his foes on screen.
Also, The Hollywood Reporter broke that Skyler Gisondo from The Righteous Gemstones, PT Anderson‘s Licorice Pizza, and Olivia Wilde‘s Booksmart would play Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen. David Corenswet and Rachel Brosnahan had already been announced to play Clark Kent and Lois Lane.
Superman: Legacy is meant to launch the new DC cinematic universe under Gunn’s guidance with co-CEO Peter Safran. It just so happens that Safran had been very involve with most of the last year’s DC movies, including The Flash and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, both which were huge disappointments for the studio.
Just as one movie starts to cast up, another begins to bleed cast as the planned Scream VII movie had a turbulent past week, as one of its stars, Mexican-born actress Michelle Barrera, was fired by production company Spyglass due to insensitive and some might say anti-Semitic posts on her social media.
As some of the filmmakers spoke out about that decision, it was then announced that Jenna Ortega, who has played Barrera’s younger sister Tara in the past two movies, would also have to drop out, but that was due to scheduling issues with her hit Netflix series, Wednesday.
This led to an announcement that the seventh installment of the series created in 1996 by the late, great horror master Wes Craven, would probably have to be reworked under new director Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day) with the thought of bringing back Neve Campbell not being ruled out after she was omitted from Scream VI.
Last night, the annual Gotham Awards were given out, which is one of the first awards shows ahead of the Oscars on March 10. Celina Song‘s Past Lives winning Best Feature and Lily Gladstone and Charlie Melton winning the group’s two film performance awards in lead and supporting, respectively. Gladstone didn’t win the Gotham for Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon, as some might expect but for the lesser-seen indie The Undiscovered Country. Melton won for his supporting role in Todd Haynes‘ May December, which hits Netflix this Friday. The Breakthrough Director Award didn’t go to Song, as many expected, but to A.V. Rockwell for A Thousand and One, another highly-acclaimed award-winning film from this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Justine Triet‘s equally-acclaimed Cannes debut, Anatomy of a Fall, won two Gotham Awards for its screenplay and as Best International Feature.
Netflix series Beef won the Gotham Award for Breakthrough Series, while its star, Ali Wong, received notice for her Outstanding Performance in a Series.
Former Doctor Who Matt Smith has been chosen to star in and exec. produce an adaptation of Nick Cave‘s second novel, The Death of Bunny Munro, for Sky, being written by BAFTA-winning Somewhere Boy writer Pete Jackson for Clerkenwell Films (End of The F***ing World) with Sky Studios. Smith will pay the title role about a “sex addict, door-to-door beauty product salesman and self-professed lothario” whose wife Libby commits suicide, leaving him with a young son. “Together with nine-year-old Bunny Junior, he embarks on an epic and increasingly out-of-control road trip across south England as the two struggle to contain their grief in different ways,” goes the logline. Cave will also exec. produce the project with Smith and others.
Although there have been lots of problems at Marvel Studios, the studio seems to be moving forward with its plans to build the latest phase (4? 5?) to the planned Avengers: Kang Dynasty, even with director Destin Daniel Cretton dropping out recently. They have hired Loki creator Michael Waldron to write what should be the studio’s next mega-epic ala the previous four Avengers movies. It’s an interesting choice since it was Waldron, who first introduced Jonathan Majors‘ villainous Kang to the MCU during the finale of Loki Season 1, and Majors still hasn’t been cleared of the assault charges against him.
No sooner had Jeff Nichols‘ drama The Bikeriders, starring Austin Butler and Tom Hardy, been unceremoniously dropped by 20th Century Studios, it has been picked up by Focus Features for a release in 2024. You can read Abe Friedtanzer‘s review here.
Also, it was announced yesterday that Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour would be available on VOD on Dec. 13 (Swift’s birthday) with three additional songs not shown during the film’s two-month theatrical run.
Almost concurrently, Amazon MGM announced that it would release the Jennifer Lopez film, This Is Me… Now, on Prime Video in more than 240 territories on Feb. 16, 2024, to coincide with her album of the same name.
Wait, you must have thought that we forgot that the new SAG-AFTRA contract with the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) has not been fully ratified as it continues to go to the union’s 160,000 members for a vote. We didn’t, but at least a draft for the Memorandum of Agreement had been released, so that others in the industry can get some idea what the two groups have agreed to, as they await the ratification vote to be completed.
We’ll close this installment with the first trailer for J.A. Bayona‘s real-life drama Society of the Snow, which Netflix will give a limited release on Dec. 22 before streaming on Jan. 4, 2024. Some might remember Bayona mentioning this project when Above the Line spoke to him earlier this year.