Hollywood was on temporary pause but productions are gearing back up, release dates continue to be tweaked in preparation for theaters reopening, and things are slowly starting to return to normal – or at least, our temporary new normal. Entertainment news has once again begun to drop with regularity. In case you missed it, here’s all the best news and tidbits from the last week.
Let’s hop to it.
After a few years in development, it seems Warner Bros.’ Black Adam movie starring Dwayne Johnson is finally moving forward. Noah Centineo has been cast in the role of Atom Smasher. Considering their major rivalry-turned-friendship arc in the comics, that he was the second person cast, and with Centineo being one of Hollywood’s young rising stars, it’s likely the role is a major one rather than simply part of the supporting ensemble. We don’t know any plot details yet or if Black Adam will be an origin story. But if it takes place early in Black Adam’s career as an antihero, it could be possible we’ll see that rivalry-to-friendship arc between him and Atom Smasher from the comics.
Say what you want about Netflix’s long-term viability, you can’t deny that it’s made some huge swings this year, particularly in the realm of action movies. It was recently announced they’re taking their biggest swing to date, however. Longtime Marvel directors Joe and Anthony Russo are set to direct Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling in The Gray Man, a spy thriller adapted from Mark Greaney’s series of novels. The plan is for it to kickstart a franchise for Netflix, and it’s coming with a franchise starter-sized budget: Netflix plans to drop at least $200 million on the project. Since the streaming platform is still notoriously secretive about numbers and how it makes money, we have no idea if the new subscribers it hopes to lure in with the movie will make up for that massive budget. But we’re sure excited to see the finished product.
The U.S. might still be mostly shut down, but the theater industry and box office in other countries are finally starting to show signs of life. That’s especially true in South Korea, which just had a promising weekend thanks to the release of Peninsula, Yeon Sang-ho’s sequel to 2016’s smash hit zombie movie Train to Busan. Peninsula nabbed an impressive $20 million having only opened in four Asian markets, and that total will certainly increase as it rolls out across the world. It’s set to release here in the U.S. on August 7 through distributor Well Go USA but considering the fact it’s doing so well overseas, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that release date pushed back for when more theaters are open in North America.
We know movie theaters are hurting right now. Indeed, the theater industry has been hit harder by the coronavirus shutdown than almost any other industry in the U.S. and will continue to feel the effects long after other industries have rebounded. This is partly due to the fact the draconian eligibility rules and bungled rollout of the Paycheck Protection Program meant thousands of theaters across the U.S. missed out on business-saving loans. To counter this, NATO, the National Association of Theatre Owners, has launched the #SaveYourCinema campaign to encourage people to contact their representatives and senators in Congress to urge them to expand to the full relief capabilities of the CARES Act as well as to pass the RESTART Act in order to help theaters that are struggling. A form letter is already filled out so it takes all of 20 seconds to contact your reps in Congress. Hopefully, it’s enough to save theaters and keep them from hundreds, if not thousands, from going dark for good.
Edgar Wright might actually be one of the busiest people in Hollywood during the shutdown, and he’s adding one more project to his plate. He and Simon Rich are teaming up on Stage 13, adapted from Rich’s short story of the same name from his 2018 short story collection Hits and Misses. Wright will direct and Rich will adapt the story, which revolves around a down-on-his-luck filmmaker who is hired by a studio to film a fake movie in the hopes of appeasing the ghost of a silent film star who has been haunting their soundstage for decades. While filming, however, the director and the spirit form an unlikely bond. Wright is a busy guy so there’s no news yet on when this plans to shoot, but the story is intriguing. Count us all the way in.
With multiple watershed movies, James Cameron has broken technological barriers and expanded what was visually possible in Hollywood filmmaking. If he has his way, Avatar 2 is set to bump the bar even higher. Cameron had to wait almost a decade for technology to catch up to the ambitious ideas he had for the sequel, which is currently filming in New Zealand. And the footage he’s seen so far blows even him away. “I deal with images in that world every single day and there are some days when I look at those images and say, ‘This is really amazing,'” he said to the Toronto Sun, going on to praise the extraordinary designers, VFX artists and cast he’s working with. The first Avatar may not have left much of a cultural footprint but it left a meteor crater-sized one technologically. Hopefully, the visuals of the sequel once again redefine visual storytelling in filmmaking like the first movie did a decade ago.
Last but not least, check out our new Quick Hits column, which rounds up all the bits and bobs of news that don’t quite make the cut for a full article but are still interesting updates:
- Bryce Dallas Howard shows off some gnarly stunt bruises
- The Old Guard‘s Gina Prince-Bythewood directing Viola Davis in historical epic
- Patrick Stewart almost turned down the role of Professor X for one reason
- William Shatner knows who should play him in a biopic
- Tom Holland posts the first pic from Uncharted set
- The Just Cause video game series is getting an adaptation
- A Wishbone movie is on the way
- Alden Ehrenreich explains why he took a break from acting after Solo
- Tenet will be Avengers: Infinity War long
- Gal Gadot lands a new spy thriller
- Ryan Reynolds on an Indiana Jones homage in Deadpool 2
- The Mandalorian‘s Giancarlo Esposito has his eye on Marvel
- The Batman to resume filming in September
And as a bonus, our Quick Hits: Superhero Celebrity Fun Edition:
- Henry Cavill building his own PC is your new sexuality
- Chris Evans proves he’s the best Hollywood Chris (again)
- Benedict Cumberbatch trolls the paparazzi in an oldie but goodie