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. Movie news is once again starting to flow, with us bringing you a few hand-picked stories we think you’ll like.
Let’s hop to it.
New Pics From The ‘Uncharted’ Movie Set
After years of development hell, Sony’s long-gestating Uncharted movie is firing on all cylinders. It wrapped filming some time ago and as it moves through post-production, the official social media accounts have been occasionally dropping some pictures to tease fans of the video game as to what may lay ahead. The first look of Tom Holland as Nathan Drake had fans hyped, as did the first pictures released last October. They seemed to tease that the life and explorations of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan would factor into the story, and these images only further confirm it. This could be one of the most fun action-adventure movies of the year.
‘The Little Mermaid’ Live-Action Remake Adds New Character
Things have been rather quiet on the Little Mermaid front from Disney ever since the announcement that Halle Bailey had been tapped to play Ariel and, a short time later, that Melissa McCarthy had been tapped to play Ursula. With the rest of the main cast set, Deadline has reported that The Undoing‘s Noma Dumezweni would be joining the cast, as well. However, her role, which has yet to be revealed, is a brand-new role created for the live-action reboot that didn’t exist in the 1989 animated classic. Along with Bailey and McCarthy, Dumezuweni joins a cast that also includes Jonah Hauer-King as Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, and the voices of Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Music will be a mix of new and old, with music from Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman from the original animated movie, as well as brand-new music from Menken, with Lin-Manuel Miranda providing the lyrics.
X-Men Star Tye Sheridan Creates Company To Help Indie Filmmakers With VFX
Indie films are incredible, but they’re often limited in the genres they can tackle with their small budgets. Anything requiring big-budget VFX or green screen work is out of the question, for the most part. But Ready Player One and X-Men franchise star Tye Sheridan aims to change that. This is incredibly cool: He’s recently co-founded Wonder Dynamics with visual-effects artist Nikola Todorovic with the goal of helping indie filmmakers create big-budget quality VFX on a limited budget. According to Variety, they’ve been working on the project for quite some time, with the duo “quietly experimenting with using artificial intelligence and machine learning to create interactive video applications,” and that they’re is “gearing up to introduce a new AI production tool that they promise will let independent artists produce dazzling VFX and CGI animations for far less than is required today.” As for Sheridan, he wants to put indie films in equal footing, he says. “A lot of times people dream up this story but it’s not possible to make because it would cost $200 million. AI can democratize VFX,” he explained. It’s a fascinating concept. VFX, mocap, and AI are things we’ve barely scratched the surface on, and it’s pioneering startups like Wonder Dynamics that help push the boundaries of what’s possible. It will be fascinating to see what they produce.
‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Drops 67% In Its Second Weekend At The Box Office
Despite opening at the high point of the pandemic so far, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 opened at the box office to a rather impressive haul of almost $17 million. The number would be terrible in any other situation but with our new COVID-19 normal, it was a solid take, especially considering it dropped simultaneously on HBO Max. Worldwide, it’s grossed $118.2 million so far, again not terrible considering the consequences. But it’s likely not to gross much more, as its second weekend saw WW84 hit with a 67% drop at the box office. The sequel got poorer reviews and word-of-mouth from fans than the original movie, but it’s unclear whether that impacted that precipitous drop or if it was always going to be the case with audiences still choosing to hunker down and watch it from their own homes rather than risk going to a theater right now. Whatever the case, Wonder Woman 1984‘s solid start is a sign of hope for the struggling theater industry that audiences will come back once they feel safe.
‘Eternals’ Director Chloé Zhao Also Had A Big Hand In The Writing
Marvel directors are intimately involved in the process of developing their movies, but it’s about a 50/50 split as to whether or not they have a direct hand in writing the script themselves or co-writing it. For quite some time, it appeared as though Eternals director Chloé Zhao was in the camp who preferred to let someone else write while she just focused on directing, but in a new interview with The Playlist, she confirmed that’s not the case and she actually had quite a large part of writing the script. “I am the writer on Eternals, the credits just aren’t updated yet,” she explained. “I don’t know what it would be like if I didn’t write the film, if I wasn’t at least a huge part of the writing process. So yeah I haven’t experienced that in my career, I’m scared of that if that happens one day.”
She also went on to talk about how an indie director like her, who is coming off a film like Nomadland, which is getting Oscar buzz, could possibly agree to work for a big studio machine like Marvel without feeling constrained. As it turns out, Marvel offers far more creative freedom than one might think:
“In the writing process, that’s sort of where I bring my sensibility in, that’s a huge part of it. And creating situations that will allow certain kinds of cinematic language to come in, that is something that I’ve learned from my last three films. I think what Marvel has been so incredible at – Kevin [Feige] and Nate [Moore] and the whole team – they knew from the moment I pitched the film, I really wanted the scope and scale at the same time as the intimacy. They knew I wanted both. They have been so incredible holding my hand through the entire process of allowing me to go as far as possible and as small as possible, and how that fits into the whole MCU. It’s been a pretty incredible process. You’ll have to wait and see.”
Zhao is an incredible filmmaker and it’s exciting to see what she’ll bring to the table with a big budget.
Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Side-By-Side Comparison
Last but not least, here’s a cool video for any animation nerds out there. Pixar’s latest movie, Soul, just hit Disney+ on Christmas. Now, Disney has released a video showing a side-by-side comparison of the original storyboards versus the finished footage. Really fascinating to see how it shapes up. Take a look: