Last Week in Hollywood: ‘The Witcher’, ‘Borderlands’, ‘Willow, ‘Sandman’ & More

There’s a lot of breaking news in Hollywood happening every minute. In the age of the blockbuster, it’s easy for some smaller movie and television news to slip through the crack. Last Week in Hollywood is our new weekly series highlighting all the interesting news from the last week that we thought didn’t warrant its own post, but was still worth mentioning. It’s less personal opinions and more a hearty roundup of what you might have missed.


The Witcher Prequel Casts Jodie Turner-Smith

Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen & Slim) has been cast as a lead in Netflix’s six-part, live-action limited series The Witcher: Blood Origin. It will be a prequel set in an elven world 1,200 years before the world of The Witcher. Blood Origin will tell a story lost to time – “the creation of the first prototype Witcher, and the events that lead to the pivotal conjunction of the spheres, when the worlds of monsters, men, and elves merged to become one.”

Turner-Smith will play “Éile, an elite warrior blessed with the voice of a goddess, who has left her clan and position as Queen’s guardian to follow her heart as a nomadic musician. A grand reckoning on the continent forces her to return to the way of the blade in her quest for vengeance and redemption.”


Ruby Rose Joins eSports Drama 1UP

Ruby Rose has replaced Elliot Page in the upcoming eSports drama 1UP. Ruby will be a professor and mentor figure in the film.

The movie follows a young woman named “Valerie (Paris Berelc) who quits her college esports team, fed up with gaslighting from her male counterparts, and quickly realizes that her decision comes at the cost of her scholarship. But, she discovers a loophole to save her collegiate future: if she can find a coach and assemble a whole new varsity-caliber team capable of reaching the State Finals. Valerie turns to her professor, Parker Nesby, and together with Valerie’s best friend and fellow gamer Sloane, they form and train a rag-tag women’s team committed to taking down the boys that tried to shut them out of gaming in the first place.”


Kevin Hart Cast as Roland in Borderlands

Kevin Hart has officially signed on to star as the soldier Roland in Eli Roth’s adaptation of the video game Borderlands. He is “a large, serious character in the game, fond of using guns as his primary weapons.” Why the fuck is Hart being cast as this character? This is going to be terrible. STOP TRYING TO MAKE KEVIN HART AN ACTOR, HOLLYWOOD!

Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) tackles the script which is said to be a loose adaptation of the games. Hart joins previously cast Cate Blanchett, who will play the thief.


Dracula Spin-off Movie Casts Corey Hawkins

Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton) is set to star in The Last Voyage of the Demeter, a Dracula spin-off movie that’s been in development for over 17 years.

André Øvredal is helming the movie, which is inspired by the chapter in Bram Stoker’s iconic vampire novel that details “the Demeter, a ship that carries Dracula from Transylvania to England. Dracula is hiding in a crate full of Transylvanian dirt in the ship’s cargo hold and none of the crew members know he’s on board. But as the voyage across the sea continues, Dracula stalks out of his hiding spot to prey on the helpless sailors, picking them off one by one. Eventually, the ship ends up in Whitby Harbor where it’s discovered that the entire crew has vanished, save for the captain, who is dead and lashed to the ship’s helm.”


Luke Evans Joins Disney’s Pinocchio

Luke Evans is going from Beauty and the Beast to Pinocchio. The actor is set to star as The Coachman in Disney’s live-action retelling of Pinocchio. The film will be directed by Robert Zemeckis and currently has Tom Hanks attached as Geppetto. The film will hit Disney+ instead of theaters.


Willow Sequel Series Finds Star & New Director

Disney has found a new director for the upcoming Willow sequel series after Jon M. Chu departed last month. Jonathan Entwistle (I’m Not Okay With This) has been hired as the new director on the series. Additionally, Tony Revolori (Spider-Man: Homecoming) is in negotiations for the lead role opposite Ellie Bamber, Cailee Spaeny and Erin Kellyman. According to circulated casting information, the series will revolve around “a group on a mission to save a kidnapped prince.”


New Spy Kids Movie in the Works

Skydance Media is set to relaunch Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids franchise. The filmmaker has signed on to write and direct a new film in the series, which will “revolve around the activities of a multicultural family.”

That’s literally all we know. Although Daryl Sabara, who played Juni Cortez in the original trilogy, tweeted a little winkie face in response to the news, so there’s a chance that he might be involved in the new film. That or he’s just excited Rodriguez gets to do another film in that universe.


Proper Cloverfield Sequel in Development

After two loosely connected sequels, Cloverfield is finally getting a proper followup. Bad Robot and Paramount Pictures are developing a sequel to Cloverfield and have tapped Joe Barton, who recently became the showrunner of HBO Max’s Gotham City Police Department series, with writing the script. The sequel will not be in the found-footage format. J.J. Abrams is onboard to produce. Original director Matt Reeves is not involved at this time.


Netflix Announces Sandman Cast

Netflix has announced the cast of The Sandman, based on the Neil Gaiman comic book of the same name. Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, and Sanjeev Bhaskar have all been cast. They will play Dream, Lucifer, Lucienne, The Corinthian, Roderick Burgess, Abel, and Cain.

The Sandman will be a modern approach to the source material and will be set in 2021. The first season will consist of 11 episodes, and be partially based on the stories “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “A Hope in Hell,” “The Sound of Her Wings,” “24 Hours,” and “Collectors”.


Samara Weaving to Play Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte

Samara Weaving will play Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, “one of America’s forgotten founding mothers,” in Liz, Variety reports. Adam Leon (Gimme the Loot, Tramps) is directing Liz from a screenplay by Gabriel Neustadt.

The movie, “described as a U.S.-set Bridgerton or The Great, tells the story of the country’s first modern celebrity. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte gained prominence as the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte’s youngest brother, Jerome, and revolutionized America’s social scene in the time of Jefferson’s presidency. Elizabeth, who has been called one of America’s first international celebrities, was known for her fashion, wit and independence.”


The Formula Casts De Niro & Boyega

John Boyega and Robert De Niro are attached to star in The Formula, about “a Formula One racing prodigy who ends up becoming a getaway driver to save the only family he has left.” Gerard McMurray (The First Purge) will write, produce, and direct the project. No word on who is playing who, but factoring in age I’m guessing Boyega will be playing the Formula One driver. But hey, maybe Netflix (who is financing the picture) is going to use their Irishman tech to de-age De Niro for the lead.


Chalamet, Russell Join Bones & All

Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell are in talks to star in Bones & All, a new horror movie from Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino. Dave Kajganich wrote the script, based the novel by Camille DeAngelis. Production is expected to start this spring.

Bones & All follows “a young woman named Maren Yearly who travels across the country as she searches for the father she’s never met — all in an attempt to understand why she has the urge to kill and eat the people that love her.” Multiple studios and streaming services are bidding for the package.

George Clooney Developing Buck Rogers Series

George Clooney has signed on to produce and possibly star in a new Buck Rogers series. The project is set up at Legendary Entertainment with Brian K. Vaughan currently attached to write the script.


Zach Braff Joins Cheaper by the Dozen Reboot

Zach Braff (Scrubs) has joined the upcoming Cheaper by the Dozen reboot. Braff will play the father in the reboot alongside Gabrielle Union, who will the mother. The film is set to debut on Disney+ in 2022. The film, written by Kenya Barris and Jenifer Rice-Genzuk Henry, will center on a multiracial family of 12. Gail Lerner is set to direct the feature, while original Cheaper by the Dozen director Shawn Levy will serve as executive producer.


Release Dates for Elvis & Dear Evan Hanson

Warner Bros. has delayed its upcoming Elvis biopic from November 5, 2020 to June 3, 2021. Meanwhile, Universal plans to release its feature adaptation of the broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen on September 24, 2021.


Titans Finds Its Tim Drake

Titans recently cast Savannah Welch as Barbara Gordon, and now they’ve found their Tim Drake/Robin. The official Twitter account for Titans confirmed that Jay Lycurgo will be playing Tim Drake, the third Robin. Lycurgo is also set to have a small role in Matt Reeves’ The Batman.


Four New DC Showcase Animated Shorts Coming Soon

Warner Bros. has announced four new DC Showcase animated shorts. The animated shorts will be included as bonus features on upcoming DC Universe Animated Original Movies released between 2021 and 2022. They will star Kamandi, The Losers, Blue Beetle, and John Constantine.

The first short will be Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth!, described as a “post-apocalyptic thriller” which will likely adapt the 1972 Kamandi series written and drawn by Jack Kirby. The series followed “the titular teenage boy huge after an event called “The Great Disaster,” during which humans have been reduced back to savagery in a world ruled by intelligent, highly evolved animals.” The short will be attached to Justice Society: World War II.

There were no additional details for the shorts on The Losers and Blue Beetle, but with a two-part adaptation of Batman: The Long Halloween set for release later this year there is a good chance that’s where those shorts will be ending up. Finally, the Constantine short will be longer than the others and be included as a buyer incentive for a new DC Universe compilation set that will be released in 2022.

DC Showcase took a near decade hiatus after the release of a Catwoman short back in 2011. But they have recently began releasing new shorts in the last couple years, featuring more obscure comic characters like Sgt. Rock and Adam Strange.


New Tomb Raider Developments

MGM has set Misha Green (Lovecraft Country) to write and make her feature directorial debut on Tomb Raider 2. Alicia Vikander set to reprise her role as Lara Croft.

Meanwhile, Netflix and Legendary Television are developing a Tomb Raider anime series alongside one based on the Monsterverse’s Skull Island.

The Tomb Raider anime series will “pick up after the video game reboot trilogy, and follow heroine Lara Croft 25 years after her first game appeared as she explores new territory.” It will be written by Tasha Huo (The Witcher: Blood Origin, Red Sonja).

Skull Island will be a new chapter in Legendary’s Monsterverse franchise, and follow “the adventures of shipwrecked characters that are trying to escape from the mysterious dangerous titular island home to prehistoric monsters, including the titan, Mr. Kong.” Brian Duffield (Underwater, The Babysitter) will write the anime series. The animation studio behind Skull Island is Powerhouse Animation.


First Look at Kristen Stewart as Diana Spencer

The first look at Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana has been revealed (look above). The actress is playing Diana Spencer in the aptly titled biopic Spencer. Stewart has said the film will be “a dive inside an emotional imagining of who Diana was at a pivotal turning point in her life.”

The official plot synopsis reads: “December 1991: The Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. This year, things will be a whole lot different.” Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins, and Sean Harris will co-star.


That’s it for the last week in Hollywood. What news mentioned above are you interested in seeing when it hits the screen? Tell us down in the comments!

Author: Marmaduke Karlston

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute Doc, uh, are you telling me you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"