Jim Schembri’s Movie Cheat Sheet August 16
ANGELA DAVIS BIOPIC
One of the most inflammatory and iconic figures of the Civil Rights movement, Angela Davis, is set to get the biopic treatment. Based on her 1974 autobiography, Davis will produce the film, which will be written by her Pulitzer prize-nominated niece, Elisa. Famous for her love of Communism and her giant Afro – a popular comedy target during the 1970s (most notably in the Oscar-winning drama Network and the adult-animation Shame of the Jungle) – the film is still being cast and will be the first from Codeblack Films, the diversity-minded division of the Lionsgate studio dedicated to black themed films. Producer Nina Yang Bongiovi previously did Fruitvale Station.
SQUAD GETS SUPERMAN OFF THE GROUND
The runaway success of DC Comic’s Suicide Squad – $465m global in less than 10 days – has helped Man of Steel 2 get the green light, a move that will hopefully ‘restore faith’ in the damaged brand after the fanboy catastrophe of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Though that film took a none-too-shabby $873m, its huge second weekend drop off due to bad word-of-mouth and the resentment from the huge hardcore fanbase was seen as a big negative. Here’s hoping.
JULIE AND DICK FOR POPPINS SEQUEL?
There’s no official word yet but heat is building around the rumour that original Mary Poppins icons Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke might pop up in the sequel, starring Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep. Given how Mary Poppins Returns takes place 20 years after the events in the original film, it’s conceivable that Andrews and Van Dyke could appear as older versions of their original characters, though the 50+ years that have passed since the original film means the make-up department would have their work cut out for them. If it does happen, Van Dyke should reprise his much-maligned Cockney accent. Though oft-cited as one of the worst accents in movie history, Van Dyke today insists, with a laugh, that during the shoot nobody ever said a thing.
MORE LITTLE WOMEN
Indie darling Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha; Mistress America; Maggie’s Plan; Damsels in Distress) has taken over writing duties on the screenplay of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women from director Sarah Polley, who has moved on to do Looking for Alaska (based on the book by John Fault in Our Stars Green). It’ll be the seventh screen version of the story. Precisely what the enduring appeal is of this modest tale about young, post civil war proto-feminists will hopefully become more apparent this time around. No offense intended.
VALE DAVID HUDDLESTON
Veteran American character actor David Huddleston has died, age 85. Among his most memorable roles were those in Rio Lobo (1970), Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles (1974) and The Big Lebowski (1998).
REMAKE UPDATE: PAPILLON & SPLASH
The prison classic Papillon starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman is set to be remade with Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) and Rami Malek (Mr Robot) under the direction of Dane Michael Noer. The 1973 original was directed by Franklin J Schaffner and co-written by Dalton Trumbo.
Also: Splash – the 1984 hit comedy that established Tom Hanks as a funnyman, Ron Howard as a director and Darryl Hannah as cinema’s greatest mermaid – is to be madeover with Channing Tatum as the Merman. Howard is back to produce.
MEL & SEAN IN DICTIONARY ORIGIN STORY
Once Mel Gibson has gotten his WWII drama Hacksaw Ridge all done and wrapped he’ll be diving straight into his long-cherished passion project The Professor and the Madman. Co-starring Sean Penn, the tale tells of the unlikely collaboration between a scholar and an insane asylum inmate who ended up giving definitions to about 10,000 words for the first printing of the Oxford English Dictionary. Guess which role Mel will be playing?
Best-known for playing android R2-D2 in six Star Wars films, short-statured actor Kenny Baker has died, age 81. His other credits include: Willow; Labyrinth; Mona Lisa; Time Bandits; Amadeus and The Elephant Man.
Suicide Squad, the hyped-up superhero ‘homage’ to The Dirty Dozen, continued its reign over the box office for a second week, taking another $5.9 million over 475 screens for a total of $23m. Bad Moms (#2) still managed an impressive debut with $3.2m on 398 while the adult animation Sausage Party (#3) took $2.5m on 221.