The latest geek movie news update has James Gunn, acquisitions, casting, and Russian trolls.
James Gunn has found a new home with Warner Bros. as the writer and possible director of the next Suicide Squad film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Gunn has reportedly been given the leeway to script a brand new take on the property rather than developing a direct sequel. It remains to be seen whether some or all of the characters might be recast for Gunn’s take on the property. The director has the time to take on the job because Disney fired him from the third installment of Guardians of the Galaxy over years-old tweets (see “Disney Fires James Gunn”). The stars of the film have opposed the firing, and the project has been put on hold (see “The Galaxy Is Currently Without Guardians”).Variety). Cates will be writing the screenplay for the adaptation. Legendary is teaming up with AfterShock Media for the project, a supernatural fantasy about an elderly widower in West Texas who finds himself restored to health and cured of dementia after finding an enchanted sword in the eye of a tornado.
The World War Z sequel will begin shooting in June 2019. The news comes via a red carpet interview with producers Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who spoke with Variety. The producers played coy on further details, aside from affirming that Brad Pitt is reprising the lead and David Fincher is directing the film (see “Dazzler in 'Dark Phoenix,' 'Jurassic World 2' Set, 'Spider-Man' Trilogy, More”).
Oscar nominee Rosie Perez has joined the cast of Warner Bros. Birds of Prey flick. Perez will play Gotham City police detective Renee Montoya, according to THR. Montoya, one of the few out lesbian characters in the DC universe, eventually becomes the Question in the comics, but that role was retconned during New 52. Perez joins Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Huntress / Helena Bertinelli), and Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Black Canary / Dinah Lance) on the film, which is directed by Cathy Yan (see “'Birds of Prey' Casting”). The film opens February 7, 2020 (see “'Birds of Prey,' 'James Bond' 25, 'Terminator' 6, 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Shift Release Dates”).Variety. Masi Oka (Heroes, Hawaii Five-0) and Chernin Entertainment will also produce. Details on the plot, cast, and release date are pending. The iconic game franchise is marking its 30th anniversary this year, and Udon has the publishing rights for art books and manga based on the franchise (see “Hardcover Art Books for Mega Man's 30th Anniversary”)
In news that probably won't surprise many who spend time on social media, a research paper out of the University of Southern California indicates that Russian trolls are behind much of the Twitter criticism of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and director Rian Johnson. In “Weaponizing the haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation,” researcher Morten Bay found that among those who directly addressed Johnson on Twitter about their dissatisfaction with the film, “more than half are bots, trolls/sock puppets or political activists using the debate to propagate political messages supporting extreme right-wing causes and the discrimination of gender, race or sexuality” and that a number of those users were based in Russia. The divisiveness of the social media conversation about the film has led some to believe that a large number of people dislike it, but when Bay adjusted the numbers to remove bots, trolls, and politicized posts, only about 10% of tweets expressed a negative take on The Last Jedi. Disney remains undaunted and is plowing ahead with the third and final installment in the trilogy, which brings the epic space battle back to screens on December 20, 2019 (see “From Tardis to Tie Fighter - Matt Smith Executes Quantum Shift”).