Weekly Ketchup: Steven Spielberg Gets Bradley Cooper for American Sniper

Also, a Fantastic Four reboot, and new roles for Jamie Foxx, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Fassbender.

This week's Ketchup includes movie development news for new entries in the Fantastic Four and Men in Black franchises, and new roles for Jessica Chastain, Johnny Depp and Reese Witherspoon.


This Week's Top Story

STEVEN SPIELBERG AND BRADLEY COOPER TEAM UP FOR AMERICAN SNIPER

Some 40+ years into his admittedly varied career, there are still certain parameters one might assign to expectations of any new Steven Spielberg film. A thriller called American Sniper falls way, way, outside that hypothetical Venn Diagram, and yet, that's exactly what was announced this week. Bradley Cooper was already attached to star in American Sniper, so for those still playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, you can now connect A.I. Artificial Intelligence with The Hangover. A co-production between DreamWorks and Warner Bros, the film is based upon the book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, and it will tell the story of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. Oh, you want more? The book was cowritten by Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL sniper who made the news sadly in February when he himself was shot and killed at a shooting range in rural Texas. This new movement for American Sniper comes in the same week that Bradley Cooper's schedule opened up considerably when he became the fourth major player to leave the troubled western Jane Got a Gun.

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 JESSICA CHASTAIN JOINS CHRISTOPHER NOLAN'S INTERSTELLAR

Jessica Chastain's continuing journey to being a household name continued this week with two new projects, one of which sees her joining the roster of a director not particularly known for enlisting new talent. That director would be Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception), and so, Jessica Chastain is now the third lead in his science fiction project Interstellar. The first two announced stars were Matthew McConaughey (the male lead) and Anne Hathaway (the other female lead). Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros have scheduled Interstellar for November 7, 2014. Chastain this week also signed on to star in a World War II drama called The Zookeeper's Wife. Niki Caro (North Country, Whale Rider) will direct this true story about a married couple at the Warsaw Zoo who used empty cages to hide over 300 Jewish refugees who shared space at the zoo with such animals as lynxes, otters, and hyena puppies. The Zookeeper's Wife will be based upon the 2007 book of the same title by Diane Ackerman. Because really, one couldn't make up that premise without it being true. Screenwriter Angela Workman also wrote the 2001 film The War Bride, and cowrote 2011's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. These projects join Jessica Chastain's consistently busy schedule which currently includes Guillermo Del Toro's ghost story Crimson Peak and the August Strindberg play adaptation Miss Julie. But, wait, there's more! Breaking news came in just before this column was published: Michael Caine will reunite with Christopher Nolan for Interstellar, which will be their sixth outing together after three Batman movies, The Prestige, and Inception.


#2 JOHNNY DEPP TO SING AGAIN INTO THE WOODS

Johnny Depp is in talks with Walt Disney Pictures to reunite with director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) for the studio's adaptation of the 1986 Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods. Johnny Depp would play the lead character as a baker who journeys into a magical forest with his wife to confront the witch (Meryl Streep, in talks) who put a curse on them. Along the way, they encounter such fairy tale characters as Cinderella, Jack of the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel. Into the Woods will also mark the second time that Johnny Depp has starred in a Stephen Sondheim musical after Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (making Depp's live action musicals 100% Sondheim so far).


#3 MICHAEL FASSBENDER AND NATALIE PORTMAN TO STAR IN THE SCOTTISH... MOVIE

This week, both Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman were announced as signed to star in a new adaptation of the William Shakespeare tragedy MacBeth. Fassbender will play the Scottish lord of the title, who, with the help of his wife and three witches, attempts to seize the throne. Unlike many modern theater adaptations of The Scottish Play, this movie will be set in the 11th century (rather than, say, 1930s Chicago). This new version will be directed by Justin Kurzel, who made his feature film debut with the 2011 Australian film Snowtown. Filming is expected to start in late 2013. In other news, simply because there's no better place for it this week, Disney's new Cinderella, to be directed by Kenneth Branagh (who has directed a lot of Shakespeare movies), was announced this week to be Lily James, from TV's Downton Abbey.


#4 COLIN FIRTH ENJOYS A BIG WEEK IN COLIN FIRTH MOVIE NEWS

Colin Firth was in the states this week promoting the release of his new movie Arthur Newman (if you didn't know that movie existed, that's why he was doing so much publicity). And like the Beatles before him, the arrival of Colin Firth's Arthur Newman publicity rush brought with him lots of other Colin Firth-related movie news. The biggest Colin Firth announcement in this week of Colin Firth is that Colin Firth will be playing a Colin Firth-ish British espionage agent in The Secret Service, starring Colin Firth, which will be directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class), and is an adaptation of a comic book mini-series by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. Colin Firth will be playing a secret agent who recruits his street tough nephew to attend a spy school where he can be trained to be more like Colin Firth. Colin Firth will be also joining Emma Stone in Woody Allen's currently untitled next film which will be filming this year in the South of France. Finally, Colin Firth revealed this week that fans of Bridget Jones' Diary (and Colin Firth) will potentially have to wait a long time before they get to see more Colin Firth (in that role), as plans for a third movie are currently stalled.


#5 THE FANTASTIC FOUR REBOOT CASTING RUMORS STARTED THIS WEEK

The rights to various characters continue to drift back to Marvel Studios, including the recently revealed Ghost Rider (along with Daredevil, Blade, and The Punisher). As it now stands, there's really only three major Marvel franchises outside Marvel, and they are The Amazing Spider-Man at Sony, X-Men (and all related movie mutants) at 20th Century Fox, and Fantastic Four, also at Fox. And it's that last property's upcoming reboot that made the most news online this week. It started with a "buried lead" type story which mentioned that Allison Williams (of HBO's Girls, and also Brian Williams' daughter) is on "the short list" for a role, which is almost certainly Sue Storm, AKA Invisible Girl/Invisible Woman. This would be a good point to mention that the Fantastic Four reboot will be directed by Josh Trank, who got a lot of good press last year with the superpowers-related shaky cam movie Chronicle. The reason Chronicle is important here is that Michael B. Jordan, one of the film's stars, is also now in talks with Fox to play Johnny Storm, AKA the Human Torch. And right there is where the brains of a few million fans went "kablooey..." because Michael B. Jordan is African American. If Jordan lands the role, he will be far from the first actor to play a comic book character who is usually thought of as a different race (see also: Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin, or Idris Elba as Heimdall).


#6 JAMIE FOXX TO PLAY THE RENAMED DADDY WARBUCKS IN THE ANNIE REMAKE

Jamie Foxx is in talks with Will Smith's production company and Sony Pictures to costar in the remake of Annie. If he does sign on, Foxx will be playing the rich gentleman who adopts the title orphan character, but instead of "Daddy Warbucks," the character will now be named "Benjamin Stacks" (as in stacks of $100 bills which bear the portrait of Benjamin Franklin). That sentence is making this writer regret calling this story a "Fresh Development," but hopefully it will play better in the movie. The Annie reboot will be directed by Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends with Benefits), which is why this story is a Fresh Development. Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild will play the title character, replacing the originally announced Willow Smith, who was seen as quickly growing out of the role. Sony Pictures is expected to release the new Annie sometime in late 2014.


#7 MR. ROGERS GETS HIS OWN BIOPIC IN A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

This year marks 10 years now since the 2003 death of Fred "Mister" Rogers. Like so many deceased celebrities, Mr. Rogers is now the subject of a biopic that is in development at the independent production company Treehouse Pictures behind the Richard Gere movie Arbitrage. It all started with a spec script called A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Alexis Jolly, a staff writer on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (AKA Ellen). Somewhat bizarrely, that "A" at the beginning of the title fits A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood in with a theme among Treehouse Pictures' films, which is that they all start with the letter "A" (weird, huh?). One thing that this biopic most likely will not cover is Fred Rogers' time in World War II/Korea/Vietnam, because, despite online rumors to the contrary, Fred Rogers never served in the military.

Rotten Ideas of the Week

#2 THE MEN IN BLACK TRILOGY CONTINUES WITH MEN IN BLACK 4 (OH WAIT, THAT CAN'T BE RIGHT...)

A funny thing happened when the flop Men in Black III was actually released... it scored a Fresh 70% on the Tomatometer and earned over $624 million in worldwide box office. In other words, yeah, in no way was Men in Black III a flop (who saw that coming?). However, regardless of how studios think, that doesn't necessarily mean the world needs or wants a Men in Black IV (which is why the following is a Rotten Idea). A fourth Men in Black is exactly what Sony Pictures has in the works, as they have hired screenwriter Oren Uziel, who is also working on a rewrite of the 21 Jump Street sequel.



#1 REESE WITHERSPOON JOINS SAD KEANU IN SCI FI MOVIE PASSENGERS

Reese Witherspoon is now in talks to costar with Keanu Reeves in the science fiction/romantic drama Passengers. The movie is set on a colony transport ship on way to a distant planet on which a man (Reeves) is accidentally awoken almost a century early, and so he wakes up a woman (Witherspoon) for company. Apparently not a huge believer in the Golden Rule. This story is one of the week's Rotten Ideas based on Reese Witherspoon's RT Tomatometer, which has only 10 "Fresh" movies among her 33 rated films, for a 30%/70% Fresh/Rotten ratio. It's not really that movie-related, but here's the latest on that other Reese Witherspoon news story. Passengers will be directed by Irish filmmaker Brian Kirk (My Boy Jack) from a script by Prometheus cowriter Jon Spaihts.

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.

Comments

Alex Temesvari

Alex Temesvari

colin firth...haha goo one

May 3 - 05:53 PM

Alex Temesvari

Alex Temesvari

meant good one...but goo one is ok too

May 3 - 06:02 PM

Patrick Bateman

Patrick Bateman

I don't know why I laughed so much at that.

May 6 - 02:54 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Even though I risk being Bashed by Nolan Fans (I'm a Nolan Fan too!) I think his female characters are kind of All the same and it kind of sucks. In one way or another the Female lead (Especially if she's gorgeous) is there to guilt trip the F out of the Male lead. Anyone else notice this?

May 3 - 06:32 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Ellen Page does not really fit that description for Ariadne in Inception, and Carey Ann Moss was a secret bitch in Memento.

May 3 - 08:43 PM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Carey Ann Moss was a bitch in the open. I hated her part in the movie

May 4 - 01:22 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I would say that Cotillard's Mal fits Nolan's female archetype in "Inception". I wouldn't say all of his females are the same character, but some of them are definitely more weakly written than others (Insomnia, Prestige, Batman).

May 4 - 07:48 PM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

I have to say that Nolan did a good job with Anne Hathaway as Catwoman; which is frankly the only good female character he actually did a great job at.

May 4 - 01:55 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I appreciate the feedback from all of you. The Prestige is my favorite Nolan film and all 4 female characters are 4 clever plot devices that cause Grief, guilt, despair and frankly exhaustion for the Male Leads.

May 4 - 07:51 PM

thickmcrunfast

John Huckleberry

Prestige, Inception, Dark Knight Rises, Insomnia...how are all the strong fame varied female characters the same? Projecting a little?

May 8 - 06:31 AM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

Men In Black 4? We should get a Ghostbusters 3 before that happens.

May 3 - 06:57 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Interstellar is shaping up to be pretty interesting.

I'm rather doubtful about the new Fantastic Four movie. I don't think that it has enough potential to pull itself out of the wreck of the first two.

May 3 - 07:54 PM

Alberto Zeeky

Alberto Zeeky

I'll welcome MiB4 with open arms, I enjoyed 3 and I think I even liked it more than the first, especially the ending which I wasn't excepting at all. Of course though Will Smith better be returning and I hope they don't go the joked about route of having his son Jaden in the film, having nothing against the kid but this isn't the film for another Will & Jaden combo.

May 3 - 08:39 PM

Joseph D.

Joseph Dutra

True, we already have After Earth this year

May 4 - 10:26 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Seems like Nolan is trying to one up himself by getting an even more impressive ensemble for Interstellar than the one he assembled for Inception. Definitely looking forward to it.

May 3 - 08:42 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Ellen Page does not really fit that description for Ariadne in Inception, and Carey Ann Moss was a secret bitch in Memento.

May 3 - 08:43 PM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Carey Ann Moss was a bitch in the open. I hated her part in the movie

May 4 - 01:22 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I would say that Cotillard's Mal fits Nolan's female archetype in "Inception". I wouldn't say all of his females are the same character, but some of them are definitely more weakly written than others (Insomnia, Prestige, Batman).

May 4 - 07:48 PM

Victor Alexander

victor alexander

Passengers sounds like it has the potential to be decent if they lean in a more experimental/indie direction...but they probably won't.

May 3 - 09:26 PM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

Fresh:

#2 - Sweet! The more musicals that are announced the better!

#6 - Loved the last Annie adaption that happened in the late 80s or early 90s, so this kicks ass again. MORE MUSCIALS! Someone needs to start announcing the Wicked project that has finally started!

#7 - Well I didn't expect this. I don't recall caring much for the show, but when I did watch it it was a pleasant watch (except for when they went into that little puppet village; that's when the show would get annoying). I'll give this a chance.

Rotten:

#2 - So lemme get this straight, a MIB IV is rotten news & apparently isn't needed, but yet shit like Finding Derpy is fresh & apparently necessary?! What form of logic is that? Next the writers are gonna say that a The Incredibles sequel is rotten news or that a development of "The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd" franchise is rotten as well.

May 4 - 01:53 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Perhaps is has to do with the track record of the directors. Two of Andrew Stanton's three films are considered classics. Meanwhile, in his post Men in Black career Barry Sonnerfield has only made one good film (MIB3) while the rest, well it's hard to use Men in Black 2, Wild Wild West, Fun with Dick and Jane as cases as to why Men in Black 4 is a good idea.

May 5 - 03:00 AM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

I have to say that Nolan did a good job with Anne Hathaway as Catwoman; which is frankly the only good female character he actually did a great job at.

May 4 - 01:55 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I appreciate the feedback from all of you. The Prestige is my favorite Nolan film and all 4 female characters are 4 clever plot devices that cause Grief, guilt, despair and frankly exhaustion for the Male Leads.

May 4 - 07:51 PM

are doubleyou

Ken S

T: I'm not a big Spielberg fan, but this sounds great. Glad to know Kyle's story will be told by someone with taste and I think Bradley Cooper deserves more chances to flex some dramatic chops.

1: Nolan, Chastain and Caine? Sold.

2: Have never seen the musical or a Rob Marshall movie, but I liked Sweeney Todd. It's nice to see Hollywood have actors sing even if their voices aren't "perfect".

3: Fassbender doing Shakespeare? I can only hope he does a series of these, ala Ian McKellan, throughout his career.

4: I'm not a Colin Firth fan, but I've liked Vaughan since Layer Cake. I would like to see him move away from comic adaptations soon. Three in a row is a somewhat disturbing trend for a talented director. I hope he doesn't become the next Zack Snyder.

5: Well, it can't be worse than the last two. Right?

6: I wish Jamie Foxx found something better to follow up Django with. I love him in good movies, but his taste in scripts seems to leave room for improvement. coughstealthcough

7: Mr. Rogers was a truly good person from everything that I have read. As much as like him getting attention; I'm not sure that I see the drama in his life for a biopic. The congressional hearing about funding educational television maybe?

2: I still haven't seen MIB3 and I would prefer Tommy Lee Jones acting in something else. Maybe more McCarthy adaptations. That would be nice.

1: Keanu gets too much flak for his limited acting range, but I don't see him carrying a film like this.

May 4 - 06:19 AM

conburke621

Connor Burke

Benjamin Stacks?

uhhhhhhhhhh that name makes it sound Rotten. If it was still Oliver Warbucks, it would be fresh as anything.

May 4 - 06:59 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Maybe the idea of a black defense contractor scares too many people.

May 4 - 07:51 PM

Joseph D.

Joseph Dutra

True, we already have After Earth this year

May 4 - 10:26 AM

Crum Luster

Crum Luster

nolan=trash

May 4 - 11:20 AM

Crum Luster

Crum Luster

nolan=trash

May 4 - 11:20 AM

Crum Luster

Crum Luster

nolan=trash

May 4 - 11:20 AM

Crum Luster

Crum Luster

i would love a fred rogers biopic, whatta guy

May 4 - 11:21 AM

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

Carey Ann Moss was a bitch in the open. I hated her part in the movie

May 4 - 01:22 PM

Christopher Kelly

Christopher Kelly

A nigga as the Human Torch. Hellz yeah. Need some niggas up in that shit. Na mean?

May 4 - 01:48 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

It would explain why his skin is dark.

May 6 - 04:07 PM

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