Monday, 30 May 2016

New clip for Our Kind Of Traitor arrives online

StudioCanal have recently released their latest clip for Susanna White's (Nanny McPhee Returns) Our Kind Of Traitor.

Our Kind Of Traitor, adapted from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy author John le Carré's novel, finds ordinary English couple Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) on holiday in Marrakech when they are approached by the flamboyant and charismatic Russian Dima (Stellan Skarsgard). But after enjoying themselves in his company, he makes an urgent request... Turns out he is part of the Russian mafia yet looking to get himself out of laundering money for very dangerous people, and he needs their help to get classified information to MI6.

Perry and Gail soon find themselves caught in a whirlwind of international intrigue, betrayal and danger, especially when dealing with the driven and determined MI6 agent Hector (Damian Lewis).

With Hossein Amini (Drive) on script duty and Susanna White directing, Our Kind Of Traitor is out in cinemas now.

"I know we're not perfect, but the safest hands are still our own."

When the Avengers first assembled four years ago, it felt like a grand culmination, the ultimate Marvel superhero event – their four main characters finally united against a colossal planetary threat. Since then, the studio's ever expanding Cinematic Universe has delivered sequels of varying quality and introduced new heroes in standalone movies, but it has never quite matched the ensemble balancing finesse and large scale action scale of Joss Whedon's initial assembling. Until now.

Captain America: Civil War is arguably the best Marvel Studios movie yet. First, and most importantly, it does what the best Marvel films do – juggling multiple characters so each is allowed their moment in a story that pushes forward the series' overall continuity, while also forming and concluding its own cogent plot. So here Scarlet Witch (Elisabeth Olsen) wrestles with the consequences of her immense power, Vision (Paul Bettany) starts getting to grips with being human, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) finds herself torn when the battle line is drawn, and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) comes out of retirement in a satisfying continuation of his Avengers: Age Of Ultron arc.

Then there are the new recruits – Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), nimble protector of a secretive African nation who has his own issues with Bucky, and a quip happy kid from Queens (Tom Holland) who has recently become Spider-Man. His introduction to the action is a crowd pleasing delight and finally gives the character the reboot he truly deserves. Even Paul Rudd's Ant-Man receives more than a token cameo, and in spectacle terms at least, is given perhaps the film's biggest scene.

At the films core, though, is the friendship between stoic Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and the tortured Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), two war buddies out of time. Stan remains, for the most part, as blank and frosty as he was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), allowing only the occasional warm glint of 1940s sidekick Bucky. Evans, meanwhile, further hones a role he has effortlessly owned for five movies, pushing Steve to impressive new depths and reminding us that his straight arrow still has a dangerous edge. The Steve and Bucky thread stretches back to Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and is what makes this clearly a Captain America film rather than a new Avengers outing. But built around that is the bigger conflict that, despite the title, does place it as a direct sequel to Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

In perhaps a similar way to how Zack Snyder's DC cinematic world reacted to Superman's ascension and the emergence of its 'metahumans' in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, the world of the Avengers has had enough of these 'enhanced' agents wreaking collateral havoc and decided, not unreasonably, to bring them to account. "Compromise, reassurance, that's how the world works," says US Secretary Of State William Ross (William Hurt) leading to the creation of the Sokovia Accord, a decree signed by 117 countries, which states that the Avengers should be answerable to the United Nations.

Wracked with guilt over the creation of Ultron, Tony Stark supports the deal, and Robert Downey Jr burdens the still occasionally glib hero with a weight of the world weariness that is well matched by his own Marvel Cinematic Universe mileage. But the ever stubborn Steve Rogers, distrustful of the post-war world's version of authority, refuses to sign and battle lines are drawn.

It is certainly bold of writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely to place their title hero in the most obviously dubious position. If the Avengers don't answer to the United Nations, then who should they answer to? And Steve's defence of Bucky is questionable – he may be his childhood friend, but now he is a lethal, robot armed killing machine forever in danger of being reactivated. It is only right that he should be brought to heel, right? Then again, there are flaws in Tony's arguments, too, especially the problematic evidence on which he rests them. Who the audience should agree with is hardly a clear-cut matter.

Perhaps bolder still is that the conflict at the film's heart doesn't pander to genre convention and become sidetracked by a grandstanding supervillain plot. And this is the second way Captain America: Civil War earns the accolade of best Marvel outing yet – by rising above the series' greatest weakness. Too often, the snappy writing and slick action in these films are undermined by flimsy villains and formulaic final acts. Yet there is no Loki, Ultron or even Thanos equivalent this time. There is a meddling manipulator – of course there is – but, interestingly, their agenda is as blurred as Steve's and Tony's. Arguably just as sympathetic, too. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo don't just want to rocket your heart into your mouth with tightly choreographed shield flinging action sequences, they want to keep your brain firmly engaged, too.

Who needs a villain when you have Steve and Tony? Both protagonists. Both antagonists. And drawing other power people to their cause in surprising ways. The clashes go far beyond the set-up squabbles of The Avengers (2012). Or even this year's other superhero showdown Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. "It always ends in a fight," says Bucky. Of course it does. And Captain America: Civil War builds to an unforgettable main event. After waiting a good 90 minutes for each side to suit up you can't help but brace for a huge let down, but the airport set Battle Royale ranks among the most inventive and fun sequences ever committed to superhero celluloid. Everyone gets a moment to shine, not least of which Holland's friendly neighbourhood web slinger and Rudd's amazing miniature man running away with the battle's most memorable moments, the Marvel melee consistently surprises with deliriously gleeful beats. The characters may be pulling their punches – after all they are the good guys, and with one key exception they don't want to see each other dead – but a later, three-way fight massively raises the emotional stakes, because after eight years and twelve films, you can't help but care about the people on each side of the divide.

If there is a risk of the Marvel formula becoming stale, there certainly isn't any evidence of that here. Matching its blockbuster scale and spectacle with the smarts of a great, grown-up thriller, Captain America: Civil War is Marvel Studios' finest film to date.

First Kingsman: The Golden Circle one sheet arrives online

20th Century Fox have recently released their first one sheet for Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

There has been much speculation surrounding the return of Colin Firth's deceased agent and mentor Harry Hart, but the first poster for the film, tweeted by star Taron Egerton, certainly suggests we haven't seen the last of him.

While Vaughn could well be leading us a merry chase, it is intriguing to think what this means for the new movie.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle will definitely see the return of Egerton's former wide boy Eggsy and stalwart quartermaster Merlin (Mark Strong), with the addition of some new international flavour in the shape of American counterparts known as the Statesmen. They will be represented by swaggering cowboy Jack and Halle Berry's (Cloud Atlas) Ginger. And they will all need to work together to battle Julianne Moore's (Still Alice) villain, a woman named Poppy.

Expect more of the madness that Kingsman: The Secret Service delivered, and, if we are lucky, a certain besuited, bespectacled badass returning from the grave. Kingsman: The Golden Circle will be out on 16 June next year.

New trailer and one sheet for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows arrives online

Paramount Pictures have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Dave Green's (Earth To Echo) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows.

Proof that a critical mauling isn't quite enough to stifle franchise ambitions, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) managed enough of a box office haul to justify a sequel.

Leaning further into the mythology of both the original comic books and the 1980s cartoon version of the characters, hence the arrival of mutated enemies Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows ramps up the Michael Bay flavoured action (he is once again a producer).

Joining the mutant mayhem is Stephen Amell (Arrow) as vigilante friend Casey Jones, who, if his storyline holds true to the source material, will become a love interest for Megan Fox's April O'Neil.

After supervillain Shredder escapes custody, he joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil with similar intentions – the notorious Krang.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows is out now.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – everything you need to know

Shortly after the announcement in 2012 that George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm to Walt Disney Pictures, came news that the Star Wars episodes VII-IX, then in development, would alternate their release dates with standalone anthology movies. The first of those, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrives this December, and as usual, advance information remains locked in the Death Star's most secret vaults. But once again, we have scoured the far corners of the galaxy for all the intelligence that is out there so far.


A visual effects artist by trade, Gareth Edwards made his startling directorial debut with the low budget Monsters (2012) and followed it up with studio behemoth Godzilla (2014).

"Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited and honoured to go on this mission with Lucasfilm."

Edwards is the second British director to take the helm of a Star Wars movie, following in the footsteps of Richard Marquand (Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi).


Gary Whitta (After Earth) originally embarked on the screenplay, with the next draft changing hands to writer Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass). John Knoll, visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic, also has a story credit, while Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) later undertook uncredited rewrites.

The broad concept for the film may originally have been envisioned by George Lucas. "It was really George's idea," says producer Kathleen Kennedy. "In fact one of the first things he sat down and talked to me about (following Disney's acquisition of LucasFilm) was not only picking up the saga again – which he never envisaged he would do, but was ready to do – but also exploring all the stories that might exist inside the Star Wars universe."


Felicity Jones (The Theory Of Everything), Diego Luna (Milk), Riz Ahmed (Ill Manors), Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly), Donnie Yen (Ip Man), Jiang Wen (Gone With The Bullets), Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler), Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt), Alan Tudyk (Serenity), Jonathan Aris (Sherlock) and Eunice Olumide (World War Z).

Jones is in the lead, playing a rebellious solider named Jyn Erso. The first trailer (see below) tells us that she grew up on her own from the age of 15 and developed a reckless and rebellious streak. Her criminal record includes the forgery of Imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest.

Ahmed is playing a character known as Bodhi Rook and Aris is filling the boots of one Senator Jebel. Pictures leaked from the set have revealed that Tudyk is playing a performance captured role. Mikkelsen recently revealed that he is playing Jyn Erso's father, and that he isn't a villain.

Genevieve O'Reilly reprises her role from Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005) as the young Mon Mothma.

According to Kathleen Kennedy, the characters seen in the anthology movies will not appear in the new trilogy. But Han Solo is already an exception to that supposed role, since his standalone spin-off is already confirmed for the future and online scuttlebutt suggests he may even show up in Rogue One.

But our favourite rumour surrounding Rogue One is that Darth Vader will be putting in an appearance, which would certainly make sense with the film being set during his rein as the Emperor's chief enforcer – and it looks like that rumour is true.

Release date

Mark your diaries for 16 December 2016. A year to the day after the release of J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and 364 days before the unveiling of Rian Johnson's (Looper) Star Wars Episode VIII.

The story (so far)

Set between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005) and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story follows a group of Rebel soldiers who set out on a dangerous mission to steal the plans for the original Death Star and bring hope to the galaxy.

Kennedy says that, "to a certain extent", it is a heist movie. But "it's really about pulling the beginning stages of the Rebel Alliance together".

A different kind of Star Wars

Edwards sees it as a war movie, drawing comparisons to Saving Private Ryan (1998), Black Hawk Down (2001) and Zero Dark Thirty (2013). Sidestepping the high fantasy of the franchise as we know it, he is aiming for a more grounded tone, exploring the moral grey areas rather than the more straightforward binary of The Force and its dark and light sides. Outside of the main trilogies he is grabbing the opportunity to push some boundaries.

"It's not going to be like a saga movie," says the director. "It's about the nature of war and what it takes to do something important for the greater good."

Of the anthology movies in general, Kennedy says "We want to make very different kinds of movies, in different genres, that live inside the Star Wars universe that each have a beginning, a middle and an end. They're not dependant on leaving you with a cliffhanger ending; they really do present a very straightforward and satisfying (self-contained) story."

Rogue One will also be the first Star Wars movie without any Jedi.


Another Star Wars first – Rogue One will not be scored by John Williams and will instead be composed by Alexandre Desplat. His is certainly a safe pair of hands though, with Academy Award® nominations for The Queen (2006), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), The King's Speech (2010), Argo (2012), Philomena (2013) and The Imitation Game (2014), and won for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).


Principal photography took place at Elstree Studios, with further locations in the UK, Iceland, Jordan, and on Laamu Atoll in the Maldives.


Putting his visual effects background to good use, Edwards has been working at Industrial Light & Magic using the ILMxLab VR system to pre-visualise and adjust the sets on which he would eventually be shooting. Sources at ILM say he referred to the technology as "real life" after using it for a mere couple of minutes.

Rogue One has been filmed on Ultra Panavision 70 lenses – the same as Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight (2015) – with 65mm film stock used for at least some sequences.


The first teaser trailer arrived recently and offers AT-AT attacks, new look Stormtroopers, and – rather intriguingly – Canary Wharf tube station as one of the locations.

"I'm know to be quite vexing. I'm just forewarning you..."

Warner Bros have recently released their latest trailer for David Ayer's (Fury) Suicide Squad.

With Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice now out there in the world, attention can fully turn to the next step in the DC movie universe. Which happens to be a bunch of violent reprobates known as the Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad, the second Warner Bros/DC Entertainment film targeting a 2016 release, represents the companies' attempt to do something Marvel so far hasn't – focus on a group of villains rather than heroes. As a concept created in 1959 by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, Suicide Squad (formally titled Task Force X) are an unpredictable ragtag team of villains and anti-heroes coerced by shadowy government forces into completing hazardous missions with the lure of pardons or reduced punishments.

Alongside Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) as The Joker, Margot Robbie (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Harley Quinn and Will Smith (I Am Legend) as Deadshot, are Adam Beach (Flags Of Our Fathers) as Slipknot, Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher) as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina) as Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) as Rick Flagg, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World) as Killer Croc and Jay Hernandez (Hostel) as El Diablo, Viola Davis (Prisoners) as Amanda Waller, Scott Eastwood (Fury) as Steve Trevor, Jim Parrack (Fury) as Jonny Frost and Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors) who is reportedly playing Captain Griggs.

Fingers crossed that Suicide Squad delivers on the potential shown by the trailers so far. The film will be out in the UK on 5 August.

"I wonder... what makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you, Mr Scamander?"

Warner Bros have recently released their latest trailer one sheet for Harry Potter veteran director David Yates' Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

Scripted by J.K. Rowling herself from her short tome, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is set decades before Harry, Hermione, Ron and the rest crossed the threshold of Hogwarts and tangle with the dark forces of Voldemort. Our hero here is magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who is on a mission to document the creatures filling the wizarding world. During a trip to New York he discovers several of the beasts have escaped from his bottomless case. Cue mayhem, adventures and dark forces at large.

Redmayne will be joined in the cast by the eclectic likes of Colin Farrell (Total Recall) as investigator Percival Graves, Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) as Tina, Alison Sudol (What To Expect When You're Expecting) as Tina's sister Queenie, Dan Fogler (Fanboys) as Jacob, Ezra Miller (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) as Credence, Samantha Morton (Control) as Mary Lou, Jenn Murray (Dorothy Mills) as Chastity, young newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty, plus Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Jon Voight (Mission: Impossible), Gemma Chan (Exam) and Carmen Ejogo (Selma).

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them arrives in UK cinemas on 18 November.

Teaser trailer for David Brent: Life On The Road arrives online

Entertainment One have recently released their first teaser trailer for Ricky Gervais' (The Invention Of Lying) David Brent: Life On The Road.

David Brent, erstwhile manager of Wernham Hogg and noted chilled out entertainer, hasn't been seen on our screens since the BBC's hit sitcom The Office bowed out with a Christmas special in 2003. Over a decade on, Ricky Gervais is bringing his most famous comic creation to the big screen in David Brent: Life On The Road.

It may be a new office (the original Slough building which housed Wernham Hogg has sadly since been demolished) but everything feels very familiar – the drab cubicles, the mockumentary realism, and Brent himself in his ill-fitting suit and creepy goatee, making everyone around him feel uncomfortable with inappropriate jokes and unsolicited songs. Truly, it is like he never left.

The new feature length film sees Brent juggling dual roles as a sales rep and wannabe singer-songwriter. His attempts to make it big with his band, Foregone Conclusion, performing classic songs like 'Equality Street' and 'Please Be Kind To The Disabled', are unlikely to go well.

Written and directed by Gervais himself (original co-writer and director Stephen Merchant has not joined him for this one), David Brent: Life On The Road arrives in cinemas on 19 August.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Angelina Jolie's Cleopatra biopic gets a new writer

Last we heard of Angelina Jolie's (Maleficent) mooted Cleopatra, a whole three years ago, Ang Lee (Life Of Pi) was considering joining the film as director. That never happened, and the rest has been more or less silence. You might have assumed that the project had quietly died a death, but word arrives via The Wrap that development is still very much underway with a new screenwriter attempting to crack the material. The latest draft of the script will be by David Scarpa (The Day The Earth Stood Still).

Cleopatra has been the target of at least three directors' affections in the past, with Paul Greengrass (Captain Philips), James Cameron (Avatar) and, most famously, David Fincher (Gone Girl) all considering the idea. Nobody is currently occupying the chair. Scott Rudin (No Country For Old Men) and Amy Pascal (Ghostbusters) remain attached as producers, which may come as a surprise post the Sony hack that revealed a caustic correspondence between them about the film.

This version of the Cleopatra story is based on the bestselling Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. The intended thrust of the adaptation is to ditch the pageantry and pomp of the famously disastrous Elizabeth Taylor epic, and concentrate instead on Cleopatra the power hungry tactician. Scarpa's last produced screenplay was for Scott Derrickson's remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008), but intriguingly he has also been at work on a film about the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, so he clearly has an eye for a political conspiracy. His as yet unmade script for kidnap thriller All The Money In The World made the Black List last year.

Cleopatra wouldn't be Jolie's first powerful woman of the ancient world, having played Colin Farrell's apparently Russian accented mother Olympias in Oliver Stone's Alexander (2004). But in the wake of the whitewash controversies surrounding the likes of Exodus: Gods And Kings (2014) and Gods Of Egypt (2015), her ethnic suitability to play the Egyptian queen will be more under scrutiny than ever. Should Cleopatra ever actually go before the cameras...

Ryan Reynolds in talks for romantic comedy The Rosie Project

First it was developing with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie), until they defected to the Star Wars anthology Han Solo film. Then Richard Linklater (Boyhood) was attached with Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) set to star, but both dropped out last October. Now it's all change again for The Rosie Project, with news arriving via Deadline that Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) is taking an interest.

Based on a novel by Graeme Simsion (although Simsion actually wrote it as a screenplay before he turned it into a book), The Rosie Project tells the story of professor Don Tillman, an on-the-spectrum genetics expert who never seems to be able to land a second date. He starts The Wife Project, working up a questionnaire to find the perfect partner, but is instead entranced by the free-spirited Rosie, who matches none of his criteria but might just be his soul mate. 

The book has been a bestseller both here and in Australia where it is set, and a sequel, The Rosie Effect, arrived last year. (500) Days Of Summer (2009) writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber wrote the most recent draft of the script, which attracted Lord and Miller before the lure of Star Wars took them in another direction.

Reynolds isn't officially attached at this point, but is reportedly "circling" the project, which is being set up at Sony Pictures. He is already ensconced in a big Sony project, heading to Mars with Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) in his Daniel Espinosa's (Safe House) Life.

While Sony Pictures may be keen to keep him in house, however, Reynolds' priority before The Rosie Project will be back at 20th Century Fox for Deadpool 2. Deadpool is now officially the biggest R-rated movie of all time, so everyone is clearly keen to keep striking while that iron is hot.

The Rosie Project is published in the UK by Penguin.

Kristofer Hivju set for Fast 8

He has been seen in films such as The Thing (2011) and After Earth (2013), and is currently on the small screen as Tormund Giantsbane in latest season of Game Of Thrones. Now Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju has nabbed another high profile role, with news arriving via The Wrap that he set to play an imposing henchman in the new Fast & Furious film.

Nothing is known about his character beyond the fact that he will be one of the people causing trouble for Vin Diesel's Dom Toretto and the gang, but then the film itself is still being kept secret even though it has started shooting.

Charlize Theron (Prometheus) is set play the main villain and will feature the return of Michelle Rodriguez's Letty, Lucas Black's Sean, Tyrese Gibson's Roman, Ludacris' Tej, Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs and Jason Statham's villainous Deckard Shaw. With F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) directing and talk of some potential location shooting in Cuba to complement work in Atlanta, New York and Iceland, Fast 8 will be out on 14 April 2017.

Andy Serkis' Jungle Book: Origins pushed back to 2018

With Jon Favreau (Cowboys & Aliens) and Walt Disney Pictures' barnstorming take on The Jungle Book currently dominating the box office, you might be forgiven for forgetting that Andy Serkis (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) has been working on his own version. But if you were excited by that prospect, you are going to have to be even more patient, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros have moved Jungle Book: Origins back a year to 2018 in their latest round of schedule shuffling.

The movie has already seen one release date change, and had the disadvantage of arriving a while after Favreau's film. But perhaps a further shift will actually be to the films advantage, allowing memories to cool and comparisons to dim. After having worked extensively on the Hobbit trilogy as a second unit director, he is stepping up to make Jungle Book: Origins his full directorial debut, having recruited the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Naomie Harris (Skyfall), Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age Of Extinction), Eddie Marsan (The World's End), Peter Mullan (Tyrannosaur), Tom Hollander (About Time) and Matthew Rhy (Brothers & Sisters).

And Serkis himself seems pleased with the chance to refine his techniques. "I've got to say that personally I'm absolutely thrilled that Warner Brothers have changed the delivery date of Jungle Book: Origins", he wrote on Facebook. "The ambition for this project is huge. What we are attempting is an unprecedented level of psychological and emotional nuance in morphing the phenomenal performances of our cast into the facial expressions of our animals. We are breaking new ground with realistic non-humanoid animal faces, such as a panther or wolf, ensuring that they convincingly communicate with human language and emotion via performance capture, and are able to stand up to real scrutiny in richly complex dramatic scenes.

"So, every minute more that we have to evolve the technological pipeline will make all the difference... the evidence is there already and it's off the chain exciting, so hang on in there... This is truly next generation storytelling, and it will be the real deal!"

And Jungle Book: Origins was not the only film on the move. The studio have also shifted Wonder Woman a couple of weeks earlier to 2 June 2017, at least in the US. It has also added two untitled DC Comics films for 5 October 2018 and 1 November 2019, while also pushing another to fill Jungle Book: Origins' old slot of 6 October 2017. The Jungle Book adaptation is shifting to 19 October 2018.

New image of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange arrives online

A new image of Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) as Doctor Strange has recently arrived online via entertainment photography specialists Stockland Martel.

The film, which recently wrapped principal photography, finds Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme, also known as Stephen Strange, a selfish New York surgeon who loses his professional skills in a car crash. After falling on hard times, he ends up in the care of a mystical healer known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), and learns to tap into psychic and magical powers. In recognition of his selfless efforts to thwart evil fellow disciple Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), he is taught the mystical arts and sets out to defeat other shady sorcerers and various villains.

With Rachel McAdams (About Time), Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt), Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man), Amy Landecker (A Serious Man) and Benedict Wong also in the cast, Doctor Strange is taking aim at an 28 October release in the UK and a US date of 4 November.

Meet the avian star of Pixar's new short Piper

One of the many small pleasures of going to see a new Pixar film is watching the shorts they put on before the main attraction. This year's Finding Dory will be no different, as Entertainment Weekly have revealed the coincidentally beach based subject of Pixar's latest short, Piper.

Directed by Pixar animator Alan Barillaro, the short will follow the eponymous sandpiper who has to overcome a fear of the water in order to find food. It all springs from Barillaro's exercise routine of running on the shores near the company headquarters and spotting the birds' behaviour. "Seeing the way these sandpipers react to waves and run, I always felt, 'Gosh, that's a film, that's a character," says Barillaro. "It's always fun to show a world we're familiar with but from a different perspective. We've all been to the beach, but have we ever viewed water from just an inch off the sand? That could be very fearful from a bird's perspective."

He started working on the idea initially as part of a test for new ideas and technology, but Finding Dory director Andrew Stanton, who has served as Barillo's mentor during work on Finding Nemo (2003), thought it could be more. "I showed Andrew the Piper tests thinking I was very much just showing him a test, but he kept poking at me, like, 'It's a cool test, but keep working on that story.' And then John Lasseter (Toy Story) did the same. There's remarkable encouragement at Pixar that when you think of an innovative idea, don't forget the story. It was their encouragement or else I would have stopped at the test phase."

And that story will see the young Piper learning a few lessons from unexpected places, including a hermit crab. "It's the kid at the playground feeling," says Barillaro. "You fall down and you feel so small, but you look and see someone even smaller than you brush themselves off and tackle something, and learn from that in your own way. It was important to me to stay in the kid world and see the world from Piper's eyes, and not be from the human perspective."

Piper will arrive attached to Finding Dory when the film hits here on 29 July.

Cillian Murphy joins Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

Having previously visited Gotham, a wormhole in space, and the depths of the human mind, Christopher Nolan (Interstellar) is heading somewhere a little closer to home for his next directorial effort. Dunkirk will tell the true story of the Allied evacuation during the early stages of World War II, and news arrives via The Wrap that Cillian Murphy (Inception) is joining the project.

Murphy, of course, is no stranger to Nolan, with the actor and director collaborating on no less than four films. There is no word on what role he will play, but he will be joining a cast that includes Tom Hardy (Lawless), Mark Rylance (Bridge Of Spies) and Kenneth Branagh (Valkyrie), plus newcomers Fionn Whitehead, Jack Lowden ('71), Aneurin Barnard (Citadel) and One Direction heart-throb Harry Styles.

Nolan will be directing from his own script, and co-producing with his wife and producing partner Emma Thomas. A longtime champion of traditional filming practices, he will be utilising IMAX 65mm photography, and releasing the film in multiple formats.

The film will tell the famous story of Operation Dynamo, the 1940 Allied military operation which evacuated over 300,000 soldiers from the British and French armies across the English channel after the German armies surrounded them.

A number of films have documented the event, including the film Dunkirk (1958) starring John Mills and Richard Attenborough, and more recently Joe Wright's Atonement (2007), which brilliantly visualised the turmoil on the beach in a grandstand tracking shot.

Filming on Nolan's effort is currently underway ahead of a planned 21 July 2017 release date.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

"The only law that matters is gravity."

Whatever the faults of director Kathryn Bigelow's 1991 thriller, which saw Keanu Reeves' FBI rookie Johnny Utah going undercover to catch Patrick Swayze's surfer criminal Bodhi, a lack of fun is not among them. Here, despite co-opting the basic concept of a daring criminal gang and the undercover agent seduced by their philosophy, this ambitious reboot fails to generate any of the same excitement.

Which is surprising, given the effort here to make pulses race with the spectacular action set pieces. The crimes and their associated stunts are ramped up to better fit a world accustomed to the physics defying antics of the Fast & Furious franchise – so the gang release pallets of money from a cargo plane and skydive after it, or take a death defying wingsuit flight through a canyon. Director Ericson Core (Invincible), and the adventure sports experts he drafted in, aim for a high level of realism in their snowboarding, surfing and rock climbing sequences, but the result never really translates into a truly exciting high-stakes thriller. The admittedly impressive stunt work often makes this more look like a Red Bull promo filmed with GoPro than a narrative feature – in the wingsuits sequence, for example, the helmets remove any visual connection to the cast.

But the film is ultimately undone by the script, which plumps for the sort of merciless cliché avalanche you wouldn't survive even if you were an expert snowboarder. There is chatter about the spiritual nature of the crimes, a few moments ripped directly from Bigelow’s original film, and another look at the loyalty shifting battle of wits between the main characters. But there is no emotional weight for Édgar Ramirez's (The Bourne Ultimatum) charismatic Bodhi or Luke Bracey's (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) brah-ish Utah, to work with. Teresa Palmer's (Warm Bodies) hippy pixie too provides little more than the occasional bikini shots and a nice dinner. In the end, the story feels like a poor photocopy of the original with a lot of unnecessary padding.

A joyless and pointless remake that squanders a potentially enjoyable premise, Point Break is ultimately a wipeout.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Jared Leto set to star in The Outsider

Back in 2013, word first broke of a potentially exciting combination – Takashi Miike (Audition) making his English language debut on a film that was to star Tom Hardy (Inception). While it hasn't quite worked out that way for The Outsider, news arrives via Variety that Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) is now attached to the lead instead.

In the three years since it was announced, the drama has undergone several changes behind the camera too – Danish director Martin Zandvliet (Land Of Mine) is now set to call the shots instead, working from Andrew Baldwin's (Bastille Day) script.

The story, at least, remains unchanged. Set in post World War II Japan, The Outsider chronicles what happens when an imprisoned American soldier (Leto) is freed with the help of his cellmate, who is part of the Yakuza. Seeking to repay the debt, he finds himself sinking ever deeper into the murky, dangerous criminal underworld. If all goes to plan (and the participants are keeping their fingers crossed, given what happened to the last iteration), the cameras should be rolling later this year.

Leto will next be on our screens as The Joker in David Ayer's (Fury) Suicide Squad, which arrives to cause mayhem on 5 August.

Joel McHale set to play Chevy Chase in A Futile And Stupid Gesture

Joel McHale spent four seasons acting with Chevy Chaseon in cult sitcom Community. But could it all have been in aid of studying him so he can play the man in a new movie? Maybe not, but news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that McHale is indeed taking on the role of Chase for A Futile And Stupid Gesture.

We recently brought word that Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina) had joined the cast of the film, which charts the bizarre life of one of the co-founders of National Lampoon, Douglas Kenney. Will Forte (Nebraska) is set to play Kenney to Gleeson's Henry Beard, who helped launched the magazine spin-off from the Harvard Lampoon after they and fellow student Robert Huffman graduated. Together, the men created a major force and brand in the American comedy world in the 1970s and '80s.

And as the magazine's popularity led to movies, Kenney became obsessed with a Hollywood lifestyle, eventually ending up as a drug and alcohol addict before falling off a cliff in Hawaii under mysterious circumstances. He knew Chase through his work on the National Lampoon movies, and the actor was with him in Hawaii before his death, had returned to Los Angeles for film work, and was preparing to head back to Hawaii when he learned that his friend was missing.

With John Gemberling (Broad City) signing up to play John Belushi, David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) is directing the film for Netflix, and plans to kick off shooting later this month.

Domhnall Gleeson joins National Lampoon founding film A Futile And Stupid Gesture

After a dramatic turn as a trapper in The Revenant (2015) and playing the scowling General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Domhnall Gleeson is heading for something a little more comedic for a future film. News arrives via Deadline that he is joining Will Forte (Nebraska) in A Futile And Stupid Gesture.

A Futile And Stupid Gesture will take a look at the founding of National Lampoon, the magazine that went on to launch a pantheon of comedy movies in the 1970s and '80s, among other things. Originally a spin-off from the Harvard Lampoon, it was formed by Doug Kenney, Henry Beard and Robert Hoffman with a blend of surrealist humour, satire and parody. Gleeson is set to play Beard to Forte's Kenney.

David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer), a man himself well versed in comedy, is on to direct, while John Aboud and Michael Colton (Penguins Of Madagascar) have adapted the script from Josh Karp's 2006 look at the magazine's birth, A Futile And Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney And National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever. Netflix are backing this one, but there is no indication as to when it will arrive.

In addition to returning as Hux for Star Wars: Episode VIII, Gleeson will be seen in drug trafficking thriller Mena alongside Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow), which arrives 6 January next year, and infidelity comedy Crash Pad.

A Speedy Gonzales animated movie is back in development

With The Lego Movie (2014) universe expanding and other cartoon films in development, Warner Bros are dipping back into its Looney Toons roster for another crack at bringing fast paced mouse Speedy Gonzales to the big screen.

Speedy was last targeted for big screen treatment back in 2010, when the studio was looking at a  digital effects and live action hybrid that would have seen him working with a nervous racing driver. But that take, which had American comedian George Lopez producing and voicing the character, failed to get off the starting grid.

Now the studio is looking at a purely digital version, hiring Mexican filmmaker Eugenio Derbez (The Book Of Life) to provide the voice. According to The Hollywood Reporter article there are no creative people attached as yet. Despite the racial overtones to this one, Speedy himself has a long history – he debuted back in the 1950s as part of the Looney Tunes ensemble, quickly establishing himself as nemesis for Sylvester the Cat. He even starred in an Academy Award® winning short in 1955. Can he snatch a gold statuette again? Well, he has to have a finished movie, first...

Charlize Theron, Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody developing mysterious new film

The last time Charlize Theron, director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody worked together, the result was Young Adult (2011). Now news arrives via Deadline that the trio are set to reunite for a new, as yet untitled movie.

While spiky comedy Young Adult isn't widely considered among the best of Reitman and Cody's collaborations, it still had its pleasures in Theron's messed up author Mavis Gary going on a quest to reclaim her ex-boyfriend from the arms of his wife in their old home town.

Little is known about the new movie, other than that all three are in early talks to reunite for Cody's latest script, which draws on her own life experience and explores motherhood. But that is all the detail that Deadline has been able to lock down.

Theron is currently on our screens in The Huntsman: Winter's War and will be heard in Kubo And The Two Strings, due 8 September. Reitman's most recent film was Men, Women & Children (2014), and he is a producer and director on TV series Casual and Jake Gyllenhaal's (Nightcrawler) latest, Demolition, which is out now. Cody wrote Ricki And The Flash (2015) and is developing several scripts while also working on Amazon series One Mississippi with comedian Tig Notaro.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

"This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel."

Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have recently released their first teaser trailer and one sheet for Gareth Edwards' (Godzilla) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

A heist movie set in a galaxy far, far away, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story promises intergalactic larceny, Imperial fury and rebellious warfare.

Set between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005) and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story follows a group of Rebel soldiers who set out on a dangerous mission to steal the plans for the original Death Star and bring hope to the galaxy.

Felicity Jones (The Theory Of Everything) plays a character named Jyn Erso, leading up a cast that includes Diego Luna (Milk), Riz Ahmed (Ill Manors), Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly), Donnie Yen (Ip Man), Jiang Wen (Gone With The Bullets), Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler), Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt), Alan Tudyk (Serenity), Jonathan Aris (Sherlock), Eunice Olumide (World War Z), and Genevieve O'Reilly reprising her role from Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005) as young Mon Mothma.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is released worldwide on 16 December.

"I is hearing all the secret whisperings of the world."

Entertainment One have recently released their latest trailer for Steven Spielberg's (Bridge Of Spies) The BFG.

The new footage starts much as the original teaser did, with Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) awake at the "witching hour" – three in the morning, according to her – and is suddenly snatched up by the titualr giant, brought to life via performance capture by Spielberg's Bridge Of Spies (2015) alumnus Mark Rylance.

And so we are off to Giant Country, as Sophie discovers a whole new world of friendship with her enormous new friend, some wondrous vistas and the appropriate amount of danger. Especially since the giant she knows is considered a runt by his fellows – including Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) – who are always on the look out for tasty "human beans" to eat. The BFG, meanwhile, prefers to dine on snozzcumbers, and spends his nights sending good dreams into childrens' brains.

Adapted for the screen by the late Melissa Mathison (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial), Spielberg's latest movie meshes his considerable storytelling skills with those of the great Roald Dahl.

"It's a story about friendship," says the director, who promises to adhere to the scary, as well as jolly aspects of the book. "It was very, very brave of [Dahl] to introduce that combination of darkness and light, and being able to do scary, but also be redemptive at the same time and teach a lesson, an enduring lesson, to everyone. It was one of the things that attracted me to want to direct this Dahl book."

We have already had Tim Burton's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005), Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and now we have Spielberg's addition to the Dahl canon.

The BFG will arrive in the UK on 22 July.

New character one sheet for X-Men: Apocalypse arrive online

20th Century Fox have recently released a batch of character one sheets for Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) follow-up X-Men: Apocalypse featuring the titular villains mutant followers Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Angel (Ben Hardy) and Psylocke (Olivia Munn).

An incredibly powerful and ancient mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) is the source of several biblical myths and considered a living god. Needless to say he will be causing trouble for James McAvoy's Professor Xavier, Fassbender's Magneto and the rest.

The film finds our heroes split across the globe – The Professor is still trying to help mutants blend in with the world, while Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) is on her own crusade to settle matters between humans and mutants in a more violent fashion. Magneto, meanwhile, is opting for a quieter life of love in Poland. At least, that is, until Apocalypse arrives to recruits him...

And the endlessly dangerous being is also taking on what has always been known in the comics as his Horsemen, which in this case includes the young Storm, Psylocke and Angel, who are all in bad circumstances of their own. Apocalypse, who has been in slumber for centuries, decides that the 1980s is a world ripe for a reboot.

With Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters and Rose Byrne all returning, alongside Sophie Turner (Game Of Thrones), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In) and Lana Condor, X-Men: Apocalypse will be invading our screens on 19 May.

New TV spot for Hardcore Henry arrives online

STX Entertainment have recently released their latest TV spot for Ilya Naishuller's feature debut Hardcore Henry.

Hardcore Henry, the movie equivalent of a first person shooter, follows titular cyborg Henry, brought back from the dead by his scientist wife Estelle (Haley Bennett). He is soon under attack from the goons of Danila Kozlovsky's (Vampire Academy) Akan, who kidnaps Estelle as part of his megalomaniacal plan. And Henry will have to get her back while battling a seemingly endless army of mercenaries through the unfamiliar city of Moscow. His only possibly ally is the quirky Jimmy (Sharlto Copley), who will try to guide him on this mission.

With an uncredited Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction) also part of the POV mayhem, Hardcore Henry is out in cinemas now.

New trailer for Blood father arrives online

Icon Films have recently released their first trailer for Jean-François Richet's (Mesrine) Blood Father.

Aside from his cartoon villain roles in the likes of Machete Kills (2013) and The Expendables 3 (2014), we haven't properly seen Mel Gibson in action since How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2012). That is about to be remedied by the gnarly thriller Blood Father, in which a grizzled Gibson takes arms against a desert of bad guys.

If Gibson's recent form and shenanigans don't quite have you cheering for this, it is worth noting Blood Father's promisingly heavyweight pedigree. The director is Jean-François Richet, who made both parts of the stunning Mesrine (2008). And it is based on a novel by Peter Craig, who also wrote The Town. Craig shares the screenplay's credit with Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton).

Blood Father sees Gibson as down at heel tattoo artist John Link, throwing his parole into jeopardy when he gets into a spat with some drug dealers who have taken issue with his estranged daughter.

William H. Macy (Fargo), Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle), Thomas Mann (Project X), Erin Moriarty (The Kings Of Summer), Diego Luna (Milk) and Michael Parks (Kill Bill) co-star, and the film is out in the UK on 25 August.

Two new one sheets for Green Room arrive online

A24 Films have recently released two new comic book inspired one sheets for Jeremy Saulnier's (Blue Ruin) Green Room.

If you caught Jeremy Saulnier's Blue Ruin (2013), you will be all too aware of his ability to seamlessly thread together a knotty thriller that marries violent shocks and comic beats. His latest film, Oregon roadhouse thriller Green Room, certainly looks to channel all Saulnier's directorial hallmarks into another gripping piece of work.

Green Room, hopefully the second part of a three colours crime trilogy, offers the delicious prospect of Patrick Stewart (X-Men) turning to the dark side. Stewart plays a murderous redneck in a turn that looks like having echoes of Walter White in his blank eyed sociopathy, with a group of goons in close attendance.

The set-up sees a hard-up punk band, The Ain't Rights, stop by a remote Oregon roadhouse for a spontaneous gig. Something which quickly becomes a bad idea when they discover the venue has just witnessed a blood splattering murder spree. Stewart's club owner and his gang naturally don't want any witnesses, a stance that sees the band barricade themselves in their green room desperately trying to come up with a way out or a means of fighting back.

With Anton Yelchin (Star Trek), Imogen Poots (That Awkward Moment), Alia Shawkat (Whip It), Joe Cole (Now Is Good), Macon Blair (Blue Ruin) and Callum Turner (Queen And Country) along for the carnage, Green Room is out in cinemas now.

"So this is the life I've forgotten."

A24 Films have recently released a new trailer and one sheet for Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan's debut feature Swiss Army Man.

Having caused some mixed reactions when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this January, quirksome comedy drama Swiss Army Man promises to be like no other film you will see this year.

Swiss Army Man sees Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) as Hank, a desperate and lonely man who is ready to commit suicide after being stranded on a desert island and losing all hope of seeing home again. But everything changes when a corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes ashore and, in an unlikely turn of events, the pair become fast friends. Soon, they are off on an epic adventure to help Hank get back to the woman of his dreams.

Directed by music video specialists Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (collectively known as DANIELS), the film aims to be comic, whimsical and affecting, even as it features one of Britain's best known actors playing a corpse who farts a lot. And, on occasion, talks.

With Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Thing), Timothy Eulich (Jurassic World) and Richard Gross (Milk) in the cast, Swiss Army Man will open in limited release the States on 17 June before going wider on 1 July. There is no sign of a UK release date, or even a distributor as yet.

Rob Letterman set to direct Dungeons And Dragons

Warner Bros have finally sorted out their rights issues with Hasbro and are forging ahead with their new Dungeons & Dragons movie. Now the project has found a director, with news arriving via The Tracking Board that Rob Letterman (Goosebumps) is set to roll the dice.

According to The Tracking Board's sources, Letterman will be working from a screenplay by David Leslie Jones (Wrath Of The Titans). This is the script that previously went under the name Chainmail and was actually originally based on another, more obscure property by Dungeons And Dragons creator Gary Gygax. Warner Bros have been keen to run with it for years, since before the rights problems kicked in, and it obviously remains in favour.

Other than the excellent Goosebumps (2015), Letterman's credits include Shark Tale (2004), Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009) and Gulliver's Travels (2010). His hiring perhaps gives us a sense of the tone Warner Bros are aiming for with this – something more family oriented than grim and gritty. 

There is no casting in place as yet, but The Tracking Board hear that the studio is looking for "a Vin Diesel type" for the lead. Given Diesel's known enthusiasm for Dungeons And Dragons – he has been playing for decades – it is not at all without the realms of possibility that Diesel would be interested himself.

There is no start date announced as yet.

Dave Bautista set for Blade Runner sequel

Thanks to a his breakout performance in Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014), followed by a quick appearance as stoic henchman Mr. Hinx in Sam Mendes' SPECTRE (2015), Dave Bautista has become a star on the rise. And now news arrives via Deadline that he is set to join Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling for Denis Villeneuve's (Sicario) Blade Runner sequel.

The long awaited follow-up to Ridley Scott's 1982 neo-noir science fiction classic is gearing up to shoot this July with Villeneuve directing and Scott acting as executive producer.

Villeneuve is working from a script by Hampton Fancher (Blade Runner) and Michael Green (Green Lantern), which aims to continue the story of Ford's Rick Deckard several decades after the end of the first film. Quite what he will be up to, how Gosling and now Wright fit in and exactly what sort of character the latter will play is still being kept behind a firewall, but it may touch on the idea that Deckard might not be as human as he once thought, in a world where genetically engineered replicants can pass for regular people. Of course nobody outside of the film really knows at this point.

With Sicario (2015) cinematographer Roger Deakins also aboard, the still untitled sequel is scheduled to hit UK screens on 12 January 2018, just one year before the original is set.

Bautista, meanwhile, will be back as Drax for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, which is currently filming at Pinewood Atlanta Studios and is scheduled to arrive here on 28 April next year.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Shawn Levy set to direct Starman remake

In an era where they are seemingly announced every other day, remakes are rarely greeted with celebration. Now add the idea of re-imagining an Academy Award® nominated entry in John Carpenter's canon from the director of the Night At The Museum films and we can only imagine the cacophony. Still, here we are, as news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Shawn Levy is set to direct a remake of Starman.

The 1980 original, which saw Jeff Bridges as an alien who arrives on Earth, takes the form of a widow's (Karen Allen) deceased husband and promptly goes on the run from government forces with her as they slowly fall in love, is still seen as a wonderful science fiction romance. It is also something of a change of pace for Carpenter, who is perhaps best known for action and horror films.

This could also be a chance for Levy to show he has the ability to make something outside of his usual wheelhouse, and he has Michael Douglas – who produced Carpenter's film – ready to shepherd this one. One worrying aspect, however, is that the current script is from Arash Amel, who wrote the much lambasted Grace Of Monaco (2014). But, as always, we would caution that the writer isn't the whole film.

This one might depend on the casting of the leads, but all of that is for the future. For now, it will have to overcome the wave of scepticism that is sure to greet the idea.

Robin Wright joins Blade Runner sequel

Usually found stalking the corridors of power and manipulating everyone in her path as the scheming Claire Underwood on House Of Cards, Robin Wright is taking on a very different type of story for a new film role. News arrives via Variety that she is joining Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling for Denis Villeneuve's (Sicario) Blade Runner sequel.

The long awaited follow-up to Ridley Scott's 1982 neo-noir science fiction classic is gearing up to shoot this July with Villeneuve directing and Scott acting as executive producer.

Villeneuve is working from a script by Hampton Fancher (Blade Runner) and Michael Green (Green Lantern), which aims to continue the story of Ford's Rick Deckard several decades after the end of the first film. Quite what he will be up to, how Gosling and now Wright fit in and exactly what sort of character the latter will play is still being kept behind a firewall, but it may touch on the idea that Deckard might not be as human as he once thought, in a world where genetically engineered replicants can pass for regular people. Of course nobody outside of the film really knows at this point.

With Sicario (2015) cinematographer Roger Deakins also aboard, the still untitled sequel is scheduled to hit UK screens on 12 January 2018, just one year before the original is set.

Snow White's sister Rose Red set for her own movie

With several re-imagined fairy tales already under their belt, Walt Disney Pictures are looking to add another side character to their rapidly expanding live action roster. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he company has Evan Daugherty (Snow White And The Huntsman) currently at work on a script about Snow White's lesser known sister, Rose Red.

While she appears in a tale by the Brothers Grimm and hasn't been adapted as much for other media as SnowWhite (although she is used to great effect in Bill Willingham's excellent Fables comic books), Daugherty and the Mouse House have a plan to use her in a story that moves her closer to her sister's narrative. Originated as a script by Justin Merz (The Boxcar Children) that was intended to stand alone, Daugherty came on board with an idea to tie it into Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. It will be set as Snow is sent into the Sleeping Death curse by the infamous poison arrow and finds her sister heading out on a quest with Grumpy to find a way to break it. One, we imagine that may or may not include the original solution – true love's kiss from Prince Charming.

Tripp Vinson (San Andreas), who has a couple of other revisionist fairy tales set up at Disney, is onboard to produce this one and it will now head into the development pool. Daugherty certainly has form with Snow White's world – he wrote Snow White And The Huntsman (2012) for Universal Pictures, though he didn't return to script this year's follow-up The Huntsman: Winter's War.

Aaron Paul and Lena Headey voicing new Final Fantasy XV film Kingsglaive

The history of movies adapted from Square Enix' best-selling Final Fantasy games are not exactly garlanded with glory. The most famous, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) was hailed for the then groundbreaking digital effects, but criticised for a story that couldn't match them. Now the company is hoping for more with a movie tied into the 15th game called Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and has recruited Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Lena Headey (Game Of Thrones) and Sean Bean (The Lord Of the Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring) to lead its voice cast.

Kingsglaive is set in the magical kingdom of Lucis, which is home to the hallowed Crystal. Unfortunately for its inhabitants, the menacing empire of Niflheim will stop at nothing to make it theirs and war has raged between the two for as long as most can remember.

On the side of the light, we have Lucis' King Regis (Bean), who commands an elite force of soldiers dubbed the Kingsglaive. Wielding their king's magic, Nyx Ulric (Paul) and his fellow glaives stand before the crown city of Insomnia, fighting to stay the inexorable advance of Niflheim's imperial army. But things don't go too well for the kingdom... Which, let's be honest, should not be a surprise to anyone who watched Game Of Thrones' first season.

It has all been part of a huge push for the new game, which includes an anime prequel and various game trailers. The film will be released through streaming channels and Blu-ray later this year, most likely around the time of the game's arrival on 30 September for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Bradley Cooper attached to a new Max Landis script

Max Landis (Chronicle) has certainly been busy of late, cranking out scripts and working on his directorial debut. And now, weeks after his spec script Bright nabbed power players and a big deal from Netflix, news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he has another script out on the market with Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) attached to star.

Deeper, which was first announced last November, is described as a claustrophobic deep sea thriller that follows a former astronaut on a research dive into a freshly discovered trench that offers access to the deepest part of the ocean where he discovers a mysterious and potentially dangerous force.

With Kornel Mundruczo (White God) also part of the team, the new script has now ignited a bidding war, with several companies including Paramount Pictures, Bold Films and Fox Searchlight vying to snap it the rights. Deeper follows in the footsteps of Bright, which has David Ayer (Fury) directing and Will Smith (I Am Legend) and Joel Edgerton (The Warrior) set to star. That script sold for $4 million and carries a $90 million price tag for all the elements.

Oscar Isaac joins Alex Garland's Annihilation

News arrives via The Tracking Board that Oscar Isaac is set to reunite with his Ex Machina (2015) director for Alex Garland's new science fiction film, Annihilation.

Garland already has a solid cast on board for the adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's book, the first part of his Southern Reach trilogy. Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin) and Tessa Thompson (Creed) are all aboard the movie, which has been in development since at least 2013.

VanderMeer's book chronicles an expedition into a mysterious, remote and sealed-off zone known as Area X. For 30 years, Area X has been labelled by the government as an environmental disaster zone, despite all appearances to the contrary. And for all that time, a secret agency called the Southern Reach has monitored Area X and sent in expeditions to try to discover the truth.

Some expeditions have suffered terrible consequences. Others have reported nothing out of the ordinary. Now, as Area X seems to be changing and perhaps expanding, the next investigation will attempt to succeed where all others have failed. What is happening in the zone? What is the true nature of the invisible border that surrounds it? Portman will be a biologist looking for answers to her husband's disappearance as part of an earlier expedition. She and her colleagues soon discover that all is definitely not what it seems and that they are all being manipulated...

As for Isaac, he is in negotiations to play... Well, we won't get into that. Garland is getting ready to shoot soon, and the film has yet to set a release date.

Isaac will be back on our screens as mutant threat Apocalypse in Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) follow-up X-Men: Apocalypse, due on19 May. He has worked on The Promise for director Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) and will be back in the Star Wars universe for Episode VIII, out next year.

Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and more set for Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola has previously either written her own scripts or adapted other material to fuel the likes of The Virgin Suicides (2000) and The Bling Ring (2013). Now she is taking a crack at a remake, with news arriving via The Wrap that she is in the process of recruiting Nicole Kidman (Stoker), Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) and Elle Fanning (Maleficent) to star in The Beguiled.

The 1971 original was directed by Don Siegel and cast Clint Eastwood as an injured Union soldier who is imprisoned in a Confederate girls' boarding school during the Civil War. He charms his way into the hearts of women of all ages at the institution and causes jealousy and betrayal to spread.

Somewhere (2010) veteran Fanning is already on board to play a student, while Kidman would be the head mistress and Coppola regular Dunst a teacher. According to The Wrap, Coppola will maintain the period setting, though we would imagine she will find some additional layers for the various characters. She wants to kick off shooting this year once she hires someone to play the soldier.

Kidman has recently worked on films including Genius, The Family Fang and How To Talk To Girls At Parties, the latter of which also stars Fanning. Fanning, meanwhile, will next be seen in Nicolas Winding Refn's (Drive) The Neon Demon and A Storm In The Stars. Dunst, who was part of the most recent season of Fargo, can currently be seen in Jeff Nichols' (Mud) Midnight Special.

Lenny Abrahamson set to direct The Grand Escape

Following the quirky Frank (2014) and the devastating Room (2015), Lenny Abrahamson has settled on his next film. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he is set to direct The Grand Escape, adapted from the book by Neal Bascomb.

Bascomb's WWI history isn't yet published, but that hasn't stopped heated interest in the movie option. Film4 and Element Pictures ultimately won out. The story chronicles three daredevil fighter pilots who were captured and held as prisoners of war at Holzminden, one of Germany's most infamous camps at that time. They go on to lead the First World War's greatest mass prison escape in July of 1918, and the narrative also follows their subsequent journey back to Britain via the Netherlands.

The story has been filmed twice before – once as the British war movie Who Goes Next? (1938) and more recently as the National Geographic documentary The First Great Escape (2014).

There is no screenwriter attached to Abrahamson's version as yet, presumably since there is nothing to adapt until Bascomb hands in his manuscript. The author's immediate next book, The Winter Fortress, about the race to stop Hitler developing an atomic bomb, is out in May from Houghton Mifflin.

Kristen Wiig set to join Matt Damon in Downsizing

Originally set up as something of an Election (1999) reunion between director Alexander Payne and star Reese Witherspoon, Downsizing has undergone a last minute casting shake-up. News arrives via Variety that Witherspoon has been forced to drop out due to a scheduling conflict, and has now been replaced by the more than capable Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids).

Payne wrote the script with his Sideways (2004) partner Jim Taylor, and the plot will see another of Payne's Omaha men (Matt Damon), low on money, deciding that life would be a lot cheaper and easier if he undergoes a procedure to shrink himself. Travelling through life as a tiny person, he meets Wiig's character at a commune for the similarly size reduced. Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Hong Chau (Inherent Vice) are also along for the ride.

While we can't quite get our head around the idea of Alexander Payne directing a visual effects film, we are certainly intrigued to see what he will do with such a high concept. Production starts shortly for a release next year.

We will next see Wiig in Paul Feig's (Bridesmaids) Ghostbusters on 15 July, and Damon in Jason Bourne on 28 July.

David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw join God Particle

Word arrived earlier this month that God Particle, the latest mystery project from J.J. Abrams' (Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens) Bad Robot company, would arrive on screens next year. Now we know two of the people who will be in it, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that David Oyelowo (Selma) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle) are in negotiations to star.

The script, which originated with Oren Uziel (22 Jump Street), is still being kept fairly quiet, but we do know it is about astronauts on the International Space Station making a terrifying discovery that changes all they know about reality, and the idea of the Earth vanishing after an experiment is conducted in the Large Hadron Collider. Sounds like an intriguing, topical premise, and the addition of great actors makes it that much more tempting. Julius Onah (The Girl Is In Trouble) is in the director's chair with Abrams acting as producer alongside Bryan Burke (Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens).

Oyelowo was most recently seen in Captive and will be seen in Nina, A United Kingdom and Nash Edgerton's (The Square) American Express, which is shooting now. Mbatha-Raw was last seen in Concussion (2015) and has Gary Ross' (The Hunger Games) Free State Of Jones due on 27 May and The Whole Truth arriving on 10 June.

Doug Liman set to direct The Wall

If you were eagerly anticipating someone – in this case Doug Liman (Edge Of Tomorrow) – finally getting to work on the X-Men spin-off Gambit with Channing Tatum (White House Down) as the kinetic energy utilising Cajun X-rebel, you might want to hold back on your enthusiasm. While he is still attached, news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he has decided to squeeze in psychological thriller The Wall before he heads into superhero territory.

Though Tatum was to have slipped into Gambit's trademark trench coat to shoot in the early part of this year, the script is undergoing yet another re-write this time, according to The Hollywood Reporter, at least, with the actor's producing/writing partner Reid Carolin (Magic Mike) taking a crack at the job.

So the wait for that to be finished means Liman has some time on his hands and rather than kick back, he is looking to tackle this new project for Amazon. Written by Dwain Worrell (Operator) while working as a teacher in China and snapped up as the first script bought by the company as part of its open submission process, The Wall follows a sniper and his spotter who find themselves pinned down behind cover by an elite enemy shooter. It is apparently a small film that Liman can work on this summer before he throws himself into Gambit's production schedule later in the year.

Liman's most recent film, crime thriller Mena, sees him reunited with Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow). It will be out on 6 January next year.

Julia Roberts set for thriller adaptation Fool Me Once

It has certainly been a busy time for Julia Roberts (Secret In Their Eyes) in her producer/star capacity. She has already got based on reality crime story Train Man in development, and now news arrives via Variety that she is adding Fool Me Once to her slate.

This one is firmly back in fictional thriller territory, adapting Harlan Coben's recent book via her Red Om Films company. The story focuses on a former special operations pilot named Maya (potentially Roberts) who is horrified when she sees her two-year-old daughter playing with her husband Joe in the nanny cam while she is at work. The reason reason for her surprise is that Joe was horribly murdered two weeks earlier.

That is all the details that Variety had to share on the project so far, as it has yet to pick up a writer, director or other cast. In more solid Roberts projects, she will next be seen in Jodie Foster's (The Beaver) Money Monster, which arrives 27 May, and has Garry Marshall's (New Year's Eve) Mother's Day, set for 10 June.

Naomi Watts set for The Glass Castle

The adaptation of Jeanette Walls' memoir The Glass Castle already has Brie Larson (The Spectacular Now) and Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games) aboard to star. Now news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Naomi Watts (The Impossible) is in talks to join them.

Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) is in the director's chair for this one, working from a script that has seen contributions from Marti Noxon and Andrew Lanham (I Am Number Four). It will chronicle how Walls' parents, Rex and Rose Mary Walls, were free spirits who lead a nomadic existence. Her mother was more concerned with painting and writing than, say, making dinner for her four kids, while her father could be inspiring and educational, but only when sober. The parents crumbled as their money ran low, and Jeanette and her siblings ended up more or less raising themselves. Jeanette Walls (Larson) herself went on to be a successful woman whose life was impacted when Rex and Rose Mary moved to New York to be near her.

Harrelson is playing her father, and now Watts is set to play her mother. The actress is currently on our screens in Jean-Marc Vallée' (Dallas Buyers Club) Demolition opposite Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler).