Weekly Ketchup: Bill and Ted returning? Excellent!

Plus, Christopher Nolan meets with possible Superman directors.

This week's Ketchup includes long-awaited sequel news for the Bill and Ted franchise, superhero movie news for Black Widow and the Superman reboot, new movies for directors Roman Polanski, Lawrence Kasdan and Rob Zombie, and new roles for Chloe Moretz and Rachel Weisz.



This week got started with Keanu Reeves talking about his interest in returning to the comedy franchise that made him a star: the Bill and Ted movies. This led to Keanu joking to MTV that the third film could be filmed in both black and white and in 3D, with several directors, including Martin Scorsese and Brian De Palma, with Keanu then doing a pretty awesome impersonation of German director Werner Herzog. Here's how Keanu Reeves interpreted what Werner Herzog might have to say about directing Bill and Ted 3, "I was just pushed by the idea of this innocence being confronted by the nihilism of the world. And I thought that these two clowns could push our perspective of reality and truth to the forefront of meaning and knowledge." Keanu Reeves also reflected on the fact that in 2014, when Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure will have its 25th anniversary, he himself will also be turning 50. By itself, that story was fun, but there wasn't much there to actually make it anything more than a movie star waxing nostalgic.

MTV did not let the story rest, however, and went to Reeves' costar Alex Winter, where they did indeed secure some actual real news. Alex Winter confirmed that screenwriters Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, the writing team of both Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey are indeed now working on a third Bill and Ted comedy adventure. Matheson and Solomon also worked together on the less excellent family comedies Imagine That (starring Eddie Murphy) and Mom and Dad Save the World. Winter spoke at length about Bill and Ted 3, including the decision against handing the franchise off to their kids, and the difficulty of dealing with the loss of the late, great George Carlin, whose role as Rufus was so important to the first two movies (he won't be recast).



Back in February, we learned that Christopher Nolan was taking a "godfather" role with Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures on the planned Superman reboot. The clock is ticking for WB, as the studio has to get the movie made by 2012, or the film rights will revert to the family of Superman cocreator Jerry Siegel. This week, Nolan began meeting with several potential directors, and the list includes some surprising choices. In alphabetical order, the list starts with Duncan Jones, who made his impressive debut with last year's indie sci-fi drama Moon, and who recently wrapped filming of Source Code (another sci-fi film) starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Jonathan Liebesman (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) is also on the list, and his next film will be next year's alien invasion movie Battle: Los Angeles. Liebesman also recently got the job of directing the Clash of the Titans sequel for Warner Bros. Matt Reeves made his debut with Cloverfield, and has the kid vampire remake Let Me In opening on October 1st. Most of these directors are relatively young, but the one veteran in the mix is Tony Scott (Top Gun, True Romance), whose next film is the runaway train movie Unstoppable. Finally, there is Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen), whose Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole opens in theaters today. Zack Snyder also has Sucker Punch in the works for 2011, and he is also working on the 300 sequel called Xerxes. There are also possibly other directors that Christopher Nolan is talking to that haven't yet been revealed. Which of these five directors do you, the fans, think would be best suited to re-imagine Superman?


Arguably one of the biggest surprises about Iron Man 2 may have been exactly how effective Scarlett Johansson was as Natasha Romanoff, AKA the Russian S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Black Widow. Early on, there was frequent fan skepticism about whether Johansson would be able to pull off the character's accent, her appearance or the requisite action scenes, but those complaints seemed to disappear once people actually saw the movie. Black Widow will be one of the team members in 2012's The Avengers, but already Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is thinking past 2012. Feige has confirmed that talks have already started with Scarlett Johansson about a Black Widow solo movie, for some point after the release of The Avengers. At this point, Marvel is just starting to put together ideas of what a Black Widow movie could be about, so there is no news about a premise, writers or a director. In the comics, the multiple attempts at solo Black Widow series have each been relatively short-lived, with Natasha Romanoff more often appearing as a supporting character (especially as a long-running member of The Avengers, obviously). However, Marvel did start a new Black Widow comic book series in April, 2010 (just before the release of Iron Man 2).


The Day of the Triffids was a British 1951 science fiction novel by John Wyndham about a bio-engineered species of intelligent plants that take over after a massive meteor shower blinds most of the humans on Earth. The Day of the Triffids was then adapted as a British movie in 1962, and also as two UK TV mini-series, in 1981 and then last year in 2009. Now, Michael Preger, one of the producers of that most recent TV mini-series has announced the development of a new movie adaptation of the novel as a 3D theatrical movie. Preger is joined on this project by producer Don Murphy, whose credits include the first two Transformers movies, the Alan Moore adaptations From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Natural Born Killers. Don Murphy is also currently producing the Hugh Jackman fighting robots movie Real Steel. There's no word yet as to who will be hired to write or direct this 3D remake of The Day of the Triffids.


Following his release from Swiss custody in July, director Roman Polanski (Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist) is free once again to continue making movies in Europe. Polanski's most recent film was The Ghost Writer, where he was forced to finish post-production while under house arrest in his Swiss villa near Zurich. Roman Polanski's next film will be God of Carnage, an adaptation of the play by Yasmina Reza, which won three Tony Awards, including Best Play. Yasmina Reza adapted her own play, working together with Roman Polanski. God of Carnage tells the story of two couples who meet after their sons have a playground fight, leading to the parents attacking each other's parenting styles. The two moms will be played by Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster, and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) will play one of the fathers. When this story first went live, Matt Dillon was listed as playing the other father, but his name has since been withdrawn, and the casting of the second father is now reportedly still in the works. God of Carnage is set in Brooklyn, but since Roman Polanski obviously can't film in the United States, Paris will pose as Brooklyn instead, with filming scheduled to start in February, 2011.


Emily the Strange is sort of like a gothic counterculture counterpart to Hello Kitty, starting first as an apparel and accessories label in the 1990s, and in recent years becoming the star of both books and comic books. Plans for an Emily the Strange movie have been in the works for a few years, but this week, the project got its first serious sign of life. Chloe Moretz is a 13-year-old actress whose impressive film career has included roles in (500) Days of Summer, Kick-Ass and next week's vampire remake Let Me In. Moretz is also currently filming the Martin Scorsese children's movie Hugo Cabret in Paris, and is expected to return as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass 2 (if plans for that sequel proceed). Moretz is attached to star in Emily the Strange, which will be produced by Universal Pictures. Universal acquired the rights to the comic book from Dark Horse Comics (a frequent partner with Universal on movies like the Hellboy franchise). There's no word yet as to which writers or director will be adapting Emily the Strange to the big screen.


Rachel Weisz won her Oscar for The Constant Gardener, and now she will be reuniting with that film's director, Fernando Meirelles (City of God, Blindness). The movie is called 360 and is an adaptation of the 1900 play Reigen by Arthur Schnitzler, and which was the basis for three different movies called La Ronde (the French title). Like Reigen and La Ronde, 360 will follow ten different characters as they have ten different sexual encounters with two of the other of the ten, which will ultimately lead back to one of the partners in the first story, hence the title of 360. There's no word yet as to who the other nine characters will be played by. The script will be adapted by one of the busiest screenwriters working today, Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon), who also has Hereafter coming soon and was just last week announced as adapting the Freddie Mercury biopic that will star Sacha Baron Cohen.


Just last week, veteran screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Bodyguard) was revealed to be doing a rewrite for Warner Bros on their adaptation of John Milton's Paradise Lost, which is definitely an epic project. Kasdan also cowrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Lawrence Kasdan's next movie as director, however, is pretty much the complete opposite. Darling Companion is the third installment in Lawrence Kasdan's series of films about the baby boomer generation, following The Big Chill and Grand Canyon. Kasdan's other credits as director also include French Kiss, Silverado and Wyatt Earp, and his most recent film was 2003's Dreamcatcher. Darling Companion will star Diane Keaton as a woman who loves her dog more than her husband (Kevin Kline), who then has to deal with the aftermath when he loses the dog at their vacation home in the Rocky Mountains. Darling Companion will be the sixth film that Lawrence Kasdan has made with Kevin Kline. Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) and Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men) will also costar. Filming of Darling Companion started this week in Utah and is expected to be a fast shoot, with just a 30 day filming schedule.



Last November, Rob Zombie announced plans to direct another horror remake (after the two Halloween movies) in the gooey form of The Blob. Zombie has decided to drop out of the Blob remake because of his experiences with those two Halloween movies, and will instead next go back to his directorial roots (House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects) with another original story. The Lords of Salem will be set in modern Salem, Massachusetts, and depict what happens when the town's residents "receive a demonic visit from a 300-year-old coven of witches." Rob Zombie will be working on the script during his upcoming concert tour. The Lords of Salem has a borderline "Rotten Idea" status since Rob Zombie seems to recognize that the remake thing didn't work out too well for him. Zombie's second original horror film, The Devil's Rejects received a just barely "rotten" Tomatometer score of 54% (House of 1000 Corpses was less well received with a score of 17%). Here's what Rob Zombie had to say about the decision to give up on remakes, "The remake train is getting pretty tired now and when I made Halloween, everybody complained, either that it was too much like the original or too different. I like that people either love or hate what I do because it's better than being in the middle, which means forgettable. But when you do an original premise, they take it on face value and after three years of not being able to win on Halloween, I just couldn't go through that again."


After taking a break from the franchise in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Kate Beckinsale will be returning as the vampire warrior Selene in Underworld 4. This will be the first film in the franchise where Beckinsale will not be directed by her husband Len Wiseman (he didn't direct the third film). The original Underworld 4 script was written by John Hlavin, who has written a few episodes of The Shield and also an indie 2009 film called Donkey Punch. That script, however, is being rewritten by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Strazcynski, whose film credits now also include Changeling and cowriting duties on Ninja Assassin. Although there's no word yet on the premise of Underworld 4, one detail that has been revealed is that the film will feature the new character of Selene's daughter. Screen Gems is planning on releasing Underworld 4 on January 20, 2012. The producers are also currently looking for a director. Underworld 4 is this week's most Rotten Idea based solely on the critical reception of the first three movies; their Tomatometer scores are all rotten at 30%, 15% and 32%.

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


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