Last Week in Hollywood: ‘Wicked’, ‘Dungeons & Dragons’, ‘Borderlands’, ‘Don’t Look Up’ & 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.

Jon M. Chu to Direct Wicked

Jon M. Chu (the upcoming In the Heights) has signed on to direct Universal‘s feature-film adaptation of the record-breaking Broadway musical Wicked. Stephen Daldry was previously signed on to direct, but left the project after the studio was looking to move fast on the long-awaited adaptation. Chu recently departed Disney’s Willow series due to changing schedules, so it’s nice to see him sign on to a new project so soon.

Rodriguez, Smith Join Dungeons & Dragons

Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious) and Justice Smith (Detective Pikachu) have joined the cast of the film adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons. They join Chris Pine who was cast last year. Hasbro, eOne and Paramount are jointly producing and financing the picture with Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley on board to direct and write the script based on a draft by Michael Gilio.

Jamie Lee Curtis Cast in Borderlands

I guess I’m watching the Borderlands adaptation! Jamie Lee Curtis has signed on to play “Tannis, an archeologist on Pandora who might have the key to finding the vault, but whose complicated history with Lilith (Blanchett) isn’t going to help.”

According to those in the know, Tannis is a non-playable character in the video games who is much younger than Curtis. The Borderlands wiki describes her as autistic, with some of her traits being “lack of empathy, echolalia, unusual vocal inflection, difficulty with social cues, and hyperfixation on her research and special interests.” Curtis joins a cast that includes Cate Blanchett as Lilith and Kevin Hart as Roland. Eli Roth is set to direct.

Don’t Look Up Adds Two More

The cast for Don’t Look Up continues to make a case for why it will win a future SAWards for Best Movie Ensemble. Mark Rylance and Michael Chiklis have just joined the all-star cast that includes Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Rob Morgan, Cate Blanchett, Chris Evans, Jonah Hill, Himesh Patel, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi, Matthew Perry, and Tomer Sisley.

The film is currently in production, and “follows two low-level astronomers who embark on a media tour to warn mankind of an approaching asteroid that will destroy Earth.” Adam McKay will write, direct and co-produce along with Kevin Messick under McKay’s Hyperobject Industries Banner.

Octavia Spencer in Talks for Spirited

Octavia Spencer is in talks to join Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds in Spirited, a new take on A Christmas Carol that will reimagine the Charles Dickens tale as a musical for Apple TV+.

Sean Anders and John Morris (Daddy’s Home) will direct from their own screenplay. Sources say that Reynolds will play an Ebenezer Scrooge-like lead who is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Ferrell is expected to play Present, while Spencer is nearing a deal to play Reynolds’ good-natured co-worker who helps Present teach the man kindness during the holiday season.

Paramount+ Eyeing Frasier Reboot

According to sources, Paramount+ is considering reviving Frasier for a 10-episode limited series. Original series star and executive producer Kelsey Grammer is in talks with CBS Studios to reprise his role and executive produce the sequel. David Hyde Pierce, who played Frasier Crane’s brother Niles, has also been approached about returning. Should the series be greenlit, it would not get underway until 2022.

Cathy Yan to Direct The Freshening

Cathy Yan (Birds of Prey) will write and direct The Freshening for FilmNation, the company behind Promising Young Woman and Arrival.

The film will be an adaptation of Rachel Khong’s short story which is “set in a near future where tensions over race and gender have reached a violent extreme. The U.S. government institutes a public health initiative known as ‘The Freshening’: every American receives an injection, after which everyone only sees others as the same race and gender as themselves. But when a street drug hits the scene, promising a chance to see the world as it really is, could it disrupt this ‘freshened’ world?”

David Leitch and Will Smith Teaming Up for New Film

David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) and Will Smith (Men in Black) are collaborating on a new thriller titled Fast & Loose. Jon and Eric Hoeber (Meg) wrote the screenplay, which was originally being developed by STXfilms. However, with Leitch now set to direct and Smith onboard to star, several high-profile studios, including Warner Bros, Paramount, MGM, Sony, as well as major streaming platforms, want to get in on the action.

The film will focus on “the leader of an upper-echelon criminal organization.” After he “suffers memory loss from an attack, he reunites with his crew, only to find that things aren’t what he thinks they are. When John Riley (Smith) wakes up in Tijuana after being left for dead with absolutely no memory, he follows a string of clues to uncover his identity discovering he’s been living two different lives: one, as a super-successful crime kingpin, surrounded by beautiful women, expensive toys, and a lavish lifestyle and the other as an undercover CIA agent, but with a puny salary, no family or home life whatsoever, and zero trappings of success. The problem is, he can’t remember which of these two personas is his true identity, and, more importantly, which life he really wants to live.”

Father of the Bride Remake Finds Its Director

Gaz Alazraki (Club de Cuervos) is set to direct the Father of the Bride remake for Warner Bros. The upcoming film will “tell the story of a father coming to grips with his daughter’s upcoming wedding through the prism of multiple relationships within a big, sprawling Cuban-American family.”

Deadline additionally reports that the film will be more of a rom-com than previous versions of the film and will be closer to the vein of the original Spencer Tracy pic instead of the 1990s films starring Steve Martin.

Stacy Osei-Kuffour Writing MCU’s Blade Film

Stacy Osei-Kuffour (HBO’s Watchmen) has been hired by Marvel Studios to write the screenplay for Blade, starring Mahershala Ali.

THR notes that “Marvel has spent the last six months meeting with writers in what was described as a meticulous search with which Ali was directly involved. Only Black writers were seriously considered, a reflection of Marvel’s focus on diversity and making representation a key factor.”

We haven’t heard much about the Blade film since it was announced back in 2019, so hopefully this means we will be hearing about a potential director in the coming months.

Jennifer Lopez to Play The Mother

Jennifer Lopez has reteamed with Netflix to star in and produce The Mother. Niki Caro (Mulan) is in talks to direct the feature which will see Lopez play “a deadly female assassin who comes out of hiding to protect the daughter that she gave up years before, while on the run from dangerous men.”

The project is described as being in the spirit of The Professional. Lovecraft Country creator Misha Green penned the original screenplay with revisions by Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton).

Ruth Wilson Joins Searchlight’s Murder Mystery Movie

Ruth Wilson (The Affair) is set to co-star Searchlight’s Untitled Murder Mystery, the Tom George-directed drama that will also star Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, David Oyelowo, and Adrien Brody.

Production is set to begin imminently.

The CW Renews 12 Scripted Series

In what should surprise no one, The CW has renewed 12 of its scripted series. Those shows are (in alphabetical order): All American (renewed for Season 4), Batwoman (renewed for Season 3), Charmed (Season 4), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Season 7), Dynasty (Season 5) The Flash (Season 8), In The Dark (Season 4), Legacies (Season 4), Nancy Drew (Season 3), Riverdale (Season 6), Roswell, New Mexico (Season 4), and Walker (season 2).

Additionally, The CW has ordered five additional episodes for Walker (meaning an 18 episode first season) and two additional episodes of Superman & Lois (bringing it to 15 episodes).

Nhut Le to Recur on Peacemaker

Nhut Le (Raven’s Home) has been cast to recur on Peacemaker as Judomaster. The upcoming HBO Max series will be set in the DC Extended Universe and is a spin-off of the to-be-released The Suicide Squad.

Judomaster has has multiple iterations in DC Comics, so it is unclear who Le might be playing. It is possible he is playing a completely new version of the character. Le joins a cast that includes John Cena as the titular character. Production will begin early this year in Vancouver.

Peggy Lee Biopic Casts Michelle Williams

MGM is in talks to come aboard Fever, a Peggy Lee biopic that has been stuck in development hell for a while. Additionally, Todd Haynes has been set to direct Michelle Williams in the feature. Doug Wright is penning the script. The film was put on hold back in 2012 after Nora Ephron, who penned the original draft, passed away. Reese Witherspoon was originally cast in the Lee role, but eventually departed.

Resident Evil Reboot Gets September 2021 Release

Sony has set the Resident Evil reboot movie release date for September 3, 2021. It’s not entirely clear if the studio is aiming for a theatrical-only release, or if this is going to perhaps hit VOD. The above image features the main stars of the upcoming reboot of the popular video games turned film series.

Emma Corrin to Star in My Policeman

Emma Corrin (The Crown) is set to star opposite Harry Styles (Dunkirk) in My Policeman, an upcoming romantic drama from Amazon Studios. The film is based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Bethan Roberts.

The story takes place in the late 1990s, “when the arrival of elderly invalid Patrick into Marion and Tom’s home, triggers the exploration of seismic events from 40 years previous: the passionate relationship between Tom and Patrick at a time when homosexuality was illegal.” Styles and Corrin are set to star as Tom and Marion, respectively.

Chloé Zhao to Write/Direct a Sci-Fi Western Take on Dracula

Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) is set to write, direct, and produce a futuristic sci-fi western take on the classic Universal monster Dracula.

On the announcement, Zhao said:

“I’ve always been fascinated by vampires and the concept of the Other they embody. I’m very excited to work with Donna [Langley], Peter [Cramer] and the team at Universal to reimagine such a beloved character.”

Universal Pictures president Peter Cramer added:

“Chloé’s singular lens shines a light on stories of the overlooked and misunderstood. We are thrilled to be working with her as she reimagines one of the most iconic outsider characters ever created.”

Mattel Films Developing Uno Into a Action Heist Comedy

For some reason, Mattel Films and rapper Lil Yachty (who?!) are developing an action heist comedy based on the card game Uno. Marcy Kelly wrote the screenplay for the movie, set in the underground hip hop world of Atlanta. Lil Yachty is being eyed for the lead role.

Who is the film being made for? I’ll tell you who, the same people who actually enjoyed Battleship. Curse you, Battleship fans!

Cronenberg, Mortensen Working on a New Film?

Viggo Mortensen, who worked with David Cronenberg on A History of ViolenceEastern Promises, and A Dangerous Method, has teased that the duo are working on a new film together. He revealed to GQ that “we do have something in mind” regarding a new project. Cronenberg has small part in Mortensen’s feature directorial debut Falling.

Apparently, the film is a “strange film noir story” that Cronenberg wrote “a long time ago, and he never got it made. Now he’s refined it, and he wants to shoot it. Hopefully, it’ll be this summer we’ll be filming. I would say, without giving the story away, he’s going maybe a little bit back to his origins [body-horror type stuff].”

In December of last year, Cronenberg revealed he was “seeking to finance three projects he’s written, two features and one series.” Could the strange film noir story be one of the features? Our own Sailor Monsoon sure hopes so.

That’s it for last week. What projects mentioned are you interested in seeing once completed? 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?"