We’re sledding straight into the holidays and the second half of December. As this year comes to a close and we get ready for the next one, there’s plenty of entertainment news to look forward to. This week finds a few exciting news items, including some Marvel updates, Universal finding its Ryan Gosling replacement, Dwayne Johnson making Oscar moves, and more.

As always, Atom Insider brings you a few hand-picked stories we think you’ll like. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Captain America: Brave New World Gets New Writer For New Scenes

In an interesting move, Marvel has hired a new writer to pen new material for additional scenes planned to be shot next year for their upcoming Captain America: Brave New World. Matthew Orton, who previously served as a consulting producer on Marvel’s Moon Knight series, will write new material for the additional photography. Dalan Musson and Malcolm Spellman co-wrote the original script and Spellman was credited for the screenplay. While reshoots are a normal part of the process of shooting a Marvel movie, it’s unusual that a different writer is brought on board for the reshoots. It’s unclear why Spellman and Musson weren’t brought back to write the additional scenes, but it’s entirely possible that the writers’ strike caused conflicts in their schedule, prompting Marvel to find a third writer for the new material. In any case, with Captain America: Brave New World not releasing until February 2025, there’s plenty of time for the new scenes and reshoots.

Dwayne Johnson Just Landed His First Potential Oscar Role

After building a Hollywood career on a string of franchise movies and big tentpoles, Dwayne Johnson has landed a project that just might garner him his first Oscar nomination. He’s set to play legendary UFC fighter Mark Kerr in A24’s biopic The Smashing Machine. An A24 biopic sounds like awards season bait already, but add in the fact that Benny Safdie has penned the script and will be directing and it seems like even more of a lock. Seeing as how he was one half of the Safdie brothers duo behind Uncut Gems, A24’s critically acclaimed Adam Sandler drama, it’s a great match. Interestingly, Johnson and Safdie have been working on the project since 2019 when Johnson’s production company, Seven Bucks, acquired the rights to Kerr’s life story.

Kerr, a former wrestler and MMA fighter, had a fascinating life and career pockmarked with triumph and addiction. During his career in various MMA circuits, he was a two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion, World Vale Tudo Championship tournament winner, a Pride FC Heavyweight Champion, 1992 NCAA National Wrestling Champion, 1994 National Freestyle Champion, and four-time ADCC World Submission Champion. Bringing his story to the screen has clearly been a passion project for Johnson, and it will be fascinating to see if he can tap into his dramatic chops to transcend The Rock of it all to embody Kerr.

Christopher Abbott Is Replacing Ryan Gosling In Universal/Blumhouse’s Wolf Man Movie

This may have flown under the radar for many, but Ryan Gosling quietly departed Universal-Blumhouse’s Wolf Man project just before the actors’ strike–at least on the acting front. He remains on board as an executive producer, but, sadly, he will no longer be starring in the movie that’s being directed by Leigh Whannell. Universal has tapped Christopher Abbott to replace him in the role, and he’ll have some big shoes to fill. The spin on the story will follow Abbott as a man whose family is being terrorized by a vicious predator.

Abbott is currently getting exposure and buzz thanks to his turn opposite Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo in Searchlight’s newly-released Poor Things. He’ll next be seen in Sony’s upcoming Kraven the Hunter. Considering his rising star in Hollywood, Universal and Blumhouse were keen to sign him to the project once the strikes were over. The studio is keen to get production rolling on this considering their great success with Whannell’s previous directorial effort based on a Universal Classic Monster, The Invisible Man. Wolf Man is slated for release on October 25, 2024.

Anne Hathaway Was Once Going To Star In A Barbie Movie – And She’s Glad She Didn’t

There once was a Barbie project in the works long before Greta Gerwig’s version that blew up the box office this year. In 2017, Alethea Jones was set to direct a Barbie movie for Sony, with Anne Hathaway in the lead. Obviously, that never happened, but Hathaway isn’t exactly broken up about it. Speaking to Josh Horowitz on his Happy Sad Confused podcast, Hathaway had a frank view of her project never coming to fruition: it’s a “lucky thing” it never happened because the team behind this year’s Barbie “hit a bullseye.” Speaking of her unrealized project, Hathaway continued, “Now imagine that version, that much energy, that much anticipation, that much emotion, but it’s not the right version.”

Hathaway is known for being an effervescent and supportive voice when it comes to her views on other actors and projects, and her thoughts about Margot Robbie and Barbie were no different. The Oscar-winning actress was effusive in her praise for both, saying

“Margot is just sublime, period. What she is doing as a creative person and a producer is so exciting and inspiring. And the mythic giants they toppled with [Barbie] that have kept certain narratives in place that have not allowed opportunities to develop for so many people. They ran straight through it, dancing, sparkling!

Just as a cinemagoer and just as a woman in Hollywood since I was a kid, I’m thrilled by the development. If I believed that the version I was attached to could have done that, yeah, I might feel differently about it, but I genuinely think their [film] was the best possible version. So it’s actually very easy to just be thrilled and happy [for them]. I’m also a person who loves watching women kill it. I just do, I just love it. And also, to do so well, so undeniably that they actually had to write new records, come on! … I think it’s probably going to make things better.”

Women supporting women. You love to see it.

Saw XI Is Happening And It Already Has A Release Date

Universal and Blumhouse aren’t the only studios with some horror movie release date news this week. Lionsgate made a not-so-cryptic post on social media revealing both that a Saw XI is on the way and that it already has a release date.

A single image done in the style of previous Saw posters reading “XI” with the release date below that in Roman numerals was shared on the studio’s social media accounts. The caption reads “The game continues. 9.27.24.” So there you have it. We’re indeed getting the eleventh installment of the Saw series, and it will be hitting theaters in only nine months. Clearly, Lionsgate believes there’s still some life in the franchise yet.

Trailers & Clips of the Week

And now, your trailers and clips of the week.

Kung Fu Panda 4 – Official Trailer

Po and his kung fu skills are back!

Civil War – Official Trailer

Not entirely certain about the premise of California and Texas teaming up, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Alex Garland.

Dune: Part 2 – Official Trailer #3

This looks even more epic than the first Dune movie.

The Color Purple – Official Trailer #3

This better be nominated for a few Oscars.

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