Weekly Ketchup: Warcraft Movie Finds New Life

Plus, news for X-Men, Denzel Washington, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, and Paul Giamatti in a good week.

This week's Ketchup includes new roles for Paul Giamatti, Tom Hardy, Jeremy Renner, and Denzel Washington, and such ambitious "tentpole" type projects as The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Doctor Strange, Warcraft, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.


This Week's Top Story

WARCRAFT MOVIE GETS RESURRECTED WITH A NEW DIRECTOR

Recent weeks and months have brought forth a lot of talk about big movies that are loosely scheduled for release in 2015, including Star Wars Episode VII, The Avengers 2, Justice League, Avatar 2, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, the Fantastic Four reboot, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. Obviously, some of those movies will not actually get released in 2015 (it's just sort of inevitable), but there's another movie we can add to the realm of possibilities. Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures have hired director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) to replace Sam Raimi as the director of their long-planned Warcraft movie adaptation. And the plan is for the movie to start filming in the fall of 2013, aiming for a release sometime in 2015. Warcraft is of course the very popular fantasy gaming franchise that started as a real time strategy series in the 1990s before becoming the inspiration of one of the most successful MMORPGs in 2004 with the launching of World of Warcraft. The news of Duncan Jones' hiring was also soon followed by online rumors that Warner Bros is hoping to get Johnny Depp to star in an unspecified role. The movie is described by various sites as being a World of Warcraft adaptation, but not enough is known about the premise of the script by Charles Leavitt (K-PAX, Blood Diamond) to say definitively which specific game in the Warcraft franchise it adapts (if any).

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 PAUL GIAMATTI CAMPAIGNS FOR AND WINS THE ROLE OF THE RHINO IN THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

Back in March of 2011, Paul Giamatti went on Conan O'Brien's show and joked about his love for the classic Spider-Man villain the Rhino, and how much he'd like to play him someday. As Giamatti explains, the Rhino is a big guy in a rhino suit (complete with a horn on his head) whose super power is the ability to run at stuff really fast and knock it down (or through, or over, you get the point). Strangely enough, he will actually get his wish, as this week, it was announced that Paul Giamatti is indeed in talks with Sony Pictures to play the Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The Rhino is the second confirmed villain for the sequel, after the previous news that Jamie Foxx will be playing Electro. Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) was also cast this week in an unspecified role. Although the Rhino is one of Spider-Man's classic villains, it's perhaps a testament to exactly how many rogues are in that gallery that the Rhino has never been considered by most to be a likely movie villain. Among the Spider-Man villains that are still awaiting their movie debuts are Kraven the Hunter, Morbius, Mysterio, Scorpion, and Vulture. One has to wonder if the Rhino didn't get his slot in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 perhaps because of Paul Giamatti's interest in playing him. Chin up, Hammerhead, Hypno-Hustler, and the Molten Man, maybe you have movie star fans out there, too. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is scheduled for release on May 2, 2014.


#2 ICEMAN, ROGUE, AND KITTY PRYDE TO RETURN FOR X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Speaking of superhero sequels scheduled for the summer of 2014, filming is scheduled to start soon on X-Men: Days of Future Past, which will use time travel to connect the first three X-Men movies with the prequel X-Men: First Class. We already knew of several returning actors, including two Professor Xaviers (James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart), two Magnetos (Michael Fassbender and Sir Ian McKellen), a Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and a Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). This week, three of the characters from the "future" setting were also confirmed: Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), Rogue (Anna Paquin), and Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page). The inclusion of Kitty Pryde is no huge surprise, as that character was quite central to the original "Days of Future Past" storyline from the comics. Her return does however raise the question as to whether we will also see the return of Colossus, since he's the love of her life and all. Mark Millar also chimed in this week to confirm that this movie will finally see the mutant hunting robots the Sentinels on the big screen for something other than a cameo (in X-Men: The Last Stand). And finally, casting calls in Montreal gave us another bit of info this week, as we now know that this sequel/prequel will be set in 1973, eleven years after the setting of X-Men: First Class. 20th Century Fox has scheduled X-Men: Days of Future Past for July 18, 2014, which is currently the same release date as The Hobbit: There and Back Again, the final film in that trilogy.


#3 THE DOCTOR STRANGE MOVIE IS CONFIRMED AS PART OF MARVEL: PHASE THREE

There's been talk about a Doctor Strange movie since the 1980s, but this week, we got official confirmation that it's probably just a few years away. Marvel bigwig Kevin Feige confirmed that when Ant-Man is released on November 6, 2015, that movie will be the start of Marvel's "Phase 3." As a reminder, Marvel refers to their current crops of superhero movies as phases which have thus far ended each time with The Avengers (Phase 1), and in the future with The Avengers 2 (Phase 2). That second bit of information had been presumed, but Feige's comments this week confirm it. But the real headline here is that the Doctor Strange movie will also be one of the Phase 3 movies. Of course, we still don't know who will be directing Doctor Strange, who will star as the Sorcerer Supreme, when it will exactly be released, or even a vague idea as to what it might be about. But, you know... baby steps.


#4 THE NEW TITLE OF DISNEY'S TOMORROWLAND REVEALS A BIT MORE OF THE MYSTERY... MAYBE

We've known for a while that director Brad Bird and screenwriter Damon Lindelof's big tentpole blockbuster release for Disney next year (December 19, 2014) was purposefully being cloaked in mystery. Basically, all we know was that it was going to star George Clooney, and somehow involve a man who encounters something mysterious (probably in 1952, the movie's previous title). This week, Disney gave us a lot more to chew on in deciphering the mystery, as the title has now been changed to Tomorrowland, which is of course the name of one of Disney's theme park areas. This follows the revelation last week of images from the "box" that Damon Lindelof claims to have discovered (but he probably really didn't) that inspired him to write this movie. Included in the box appear to be images of such historical figures as Walt Disney (the man himself) and Amelia Earhart. All of this early mystery also reminds us that Damon Lindelof was one of the showrunners of LOST.


#5 THE ENTOURAGE MOVIE HAS BEEN GREENLIT

After years of producer Mark Wahlberg talking it up, Warner Bros has finally given an official greenlight for the movie version of HBO's Entourage, which came to an end in 2011. Not much is really known about the movie yet, except that it will be set six months after the end of the series, and that deals are currently underway for all five of the series' main stars to reprise their characters. This news makes Entourage the second HBO series to get its own theatrical movie after Sex and the City. Other HBO shows that have been mentioned (or rumored) as possibly getting movies in the past (but didn't) included Rome, Deadwood, and The Sopranos.





#6 FOR HIS NEXT DIRECTORIAL EFFORT, DENZEL WASHINGTON IS SWINGING FOR THE FENCES

In addition to his successful career as an actor, Denzel Washington has also directed two movies in the past (Antwone Fisher and The Great Debaters). This week, Denzel Washington revealed that the next movie he hopes to direct will be an adaptation of the August Wilson stage play Fences, for which Washington won a Tony Award in 2010. Washington will also be reprising his performance as the lead character, a trash collector in the 1950s who is haunted by his missed opportunity earlier in life of becoming a professional baseball player. It's not yet known if Viola Davis, who costarred with Washington on stage, will also sign on to play the same character in the movie version.



#7 JEREMY RENNER TO STAR IN THE TRUE STORY DRAMA KILL THE MESSENGER

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters may have done rather badly with the critics last week, but Hollywood isn't holding that against Jeremy Renner. This week, Renner became attached to a true story drama called Kill the Messenger, based on the life of journalist Gary Webb. The film will focus on the "Dark Alliance" stories that Gary Webb wrote in 1996 that claimed to have revealed a conspiracy between the CIA, the Contras in Nicaragua, and the "crack cocaine explosion" of the 1980s. Kill the Messenger will be directed by Michael Cuesta (L.I.E.) who is now probably most well known as the executive producer of the Showtime series Homeland, which paints a very different picture of the C.I.A. than Kill the Messenger is likely to.



#8 THE JESSICA CHASTAIN OSCAR EXPRESS MIGHT JUST CONTINUE WITH MISS JULIE

It wasn't that long ago that Jessica Chastain was a complete unknown, but the last few years have seen her landing great role after great role. Recently, Chastain pulled off the rare feat of having the lead role in both the #1 and the #2 movies on the box office chart (Mama and Zero Dark Thirty). That being true, Jessica Chastain's next role is unlikely to ever top the box office charts in the USA, although it does seem like it could attract year end award recognition, if it is indeed released later in 2013. Chastain, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton have been cast in Miss Julie, an adaptation of the stage play by August Strindberg. Liv Ullman, director of 2000's Faithless (and one of Ingmar Bergman's favorite actresses) will direct the 1874-set story of a woman who starts having a relationship with one of her servants (Farrell).


#9 TOM HARDY AND NOOMI RAPACE SIGN TO APPEAR IN SECOND MOVIE IN A ROW TOGETHER

It wasn't that long ago that we learned that Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) are going to star together in an animal rights-centric movie called Animal Rescue. This week, the two are now in negotiations to star in yet another movie together, in what will end up being a back-to-back series of films. This time, the movie is Child 44, an adaptation of a novel by Tom Rob Smith about a member of the Soviet police in the 1950s who finds himself under government suspicion following his investigation of a series of child murders. Child 44 will be directed by Daniel Espinoza (Safe House, Snabba Cash).



Rotten Ideas of the Week

This was apparently a good week... No Rotten Ideas!

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

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