Weekly Ketchup: Raimi and Maguire return for Spider-Man 4 and 5

Plus news and speculation about Ghostbusters 3

After the slow news doldrums that were the last week of August, this week could have easily supplied me with two weeks worth of Ketchup, but alas, this is a 10 piece column, so news items about movies like Sherlock Holmes and Inglorious Bastards didn't make the cut.. I think you'll find that the top 10 this week though are all definitely big ticket type news items.

#1 SAM RAIMI AND TOBEY MAGUIRE CAUGHT ONCE AGAIN IN THE WEB OF SPIDER-MAN

Following months of speculation, Nikki Finke has confirmed that Sony Pictures has lined up director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire for both Spider-Man 4 and Spider-Man 5, which will be filmed concurrently, with the 4th movie working from a script by Jamie Vanderbilt (Zodiac; cowriter of The Rundown). Although the villain isn't announced yet, Finke hears that once we hear who it is, we will know who will be playing him. Not counting returning villains, that seems to me suggest three possibilities: The Lizard (Dylan Baker, seen in the second and third movies), Man-Wolf (Mary Jane's romantic interest in #3) and (this one Finke didn't think of) the Spider Slayer(s), which were robots controlled by Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). The Lizard is probably most likely, but in a way, the Spider Slayer story thread ties in most to the ongoing stories of the first three movies. Jameson's hatred of Spider-Man is one of the character's great arcs, and the Spider Slayer angle also allows for another classic Spidey villain, the Scorpion, who was also originally hired by Jameson to take out Spider-Man. Whoever Spidey takes on this time, let's hope that the movie (and #5) work better than Spider-Man 3, which felt overburdened with having to carry the stories of three villains (Sandman, Venom and Harry Osborne).


#2 GHOSTBUSTERS 3: THE WRATH OF THE STAY-PUFT MARSHMALLOW MAN?

Sony announced this week their firm plans (versus the long lingering development it's suffered in for decades) for Ghostbusters 3, with a premise that promises a return of the original cast members, although none of them are as yet confirmed as actually being cast. Bill Murray, for example, has got to be a big question mark. Ernie Hudson, probably not as much. Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, co-producers of The Office (and they also wrote the upcoming Jack Black-starring Biblical comedy, Year One) are working on the script. Although the sequel was not as great, the original Ghostbusters still stands as one of the best comedies of the 1980s and a fan favorite, and fans have been clamoring for a Ghostbusters 3 as long as I've been writing about upcoming movies (1997), and really before that, even. Original writers Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd had been working on their own Ghostbusters 3 script for years, but they appear to be out of the loop (for now) on writing duties, but that suggests for sure that they would return. Again, the one I wonder about is Bill Murray. As much as fans would love to see this movie happen, I've got a grain of reservation, as there seems a lot of possibility that a third movie could ultimately tarnish the franchise's legacy if they don't really hit this one out of the park. And hey, I got through this article without writing "Who ya gonna call?" Oops.


#3 SURE, SURE, BUT WHAT IS GUILLERMO DEL TORO GOING TO DO IN 2018?

In one of the most ambitious schedule announcements I've ever heard about, Guillermo del Toro has laid out his directorial slate all the way... to 2017 (!). We all know about The Hobbit, and the "bridge film" between it and LOTR, but there have also been many other projects on his slate over the years. Now, we know which movies he plans to do after, all of which will be for Universal Pictures, for whom he made Hellboy II: The Golden Army (although a third Hellboy film is strangely *not* on the list). To keep things short, here's the list: new versions of the studio's classic monster movies, Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a new adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, Del Toro's dream project of adapting At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft and Drood, a movie that speculates that author Charles Dickens might have gone crazy and become a murderer following surviving a horrible train accident. Of these, Drood is expected to be the first to follow the Tolkien movies. In addition to all of these, you've got to think that Del Toro will want to make another Spanish-language movie (ala Pan's Labyrinth) at some point, and it's hard to see him let Hellboy 3 go unmade for 10 years. And oh yeah, he's got several movies that he is attached to produce. El Gordo is going to be muy, muy ocupado!


#4 TARZAN: BECAUSE PEOPLE LOVE APES (NOT MONKEYS, MONKEYS HAVE TAILS)

Stephen Sommers (Van Helsing, The Mummy) is in talks with Warner Bros to direct their new adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan, after negotiations a few years ago with Guillermo del Toro ultimately fell through. Sommers will cowrite with Stuart Beattie, who also worked on the director's next movie, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. Sommers is obviously one of the top "go to" guys these days for huge blockbuster type extravaganzas, but after early promise with Deep Rising (overlooked at the time, but I loved it) and The Mummy, he extremely flubbed up Van Helsing, and I (and many others) don't feel warm fuzzies for G.I. Joe either. So, his star is somewhat tarnished, and I have to wonder what exact tone this Tarzan movie will take. I have a feeling it's going to feel like a huge, $150 million dollar version of Tarzan and the Lost City.


#5 MATT DAMON TO BE UNTOUCHABLE IN TORSO

From the mean streets of Cleveland (well, that city's Plain Dealer), comes news that the long-gestating adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis' graphic novel, Torso, based upon the true story of what Elliot Ness did after taking down Al Capone, is going to start filming soon, possibly in Cleveland (if the money stuff between Paramount and Ohio can be figured out). And with that nugget comes two bigger bits of news, which is that David Fincher (Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is directing, and Matt Damon is playing Elliot Ness. Fincher has been attached to Torso for a couple of years, but considering his very busy slate, that he's actually doing it is still actually kind of news. Torso is a grisly tale, telling the true story of the "Torso Murderer", who from 1934 to 1938 haunted Cleveland, leaving just the torso of his victims as evidence, and it ties in directly to dramatic changes in Ness's life, as he struggled to solve the mystery. Matt Damon seems like a good choice to play the no-nonsense, former G-Man.


#6 DENZEL WASHINGTON TO JOIN IN ON THE POST-APOCALYPTIC FUN IN THE BOOK OF ELI

Denzel Washington has signed on to star in The Book of Eli, as a lone hero in a post-apocalyptic America who is the only one who has the key to saving society from its current wasteland status. Oh cool, a Barack Obama biopic!? Nope, this "futuristic thriller" probably has a lot more in common with Kevin Costner's The Postman or the upcoming Oscar contender, The Road. The Hughes Brothers directing duo (Allen and Albert) will return from their too-long post-From Hell hiatus of seven years to hopefully remind of how good their first two movies (Menace II Society and Dead Presidents) were. Filming starts in New Mexico in January, with Joel Silver producing for Warner Bros. Wikipedia tells me that Eli is a variant of the name of God in Hebrew and Aramaic, so perhaps there's a connection there?


#7 GHOST RIDER 2: EUROPEAN VACATION

Doing the press tour thing for Bangkok Dangerous, Nicolas Cage revealed that he's been in talks about starring in a sequel to Ghost Rider, an adaptation of a Marvel character made by Columbia Pictures (ie, not by Marvel Studios). Cage revealed that the plan might be to take the demonic biker to Europe, possibly tying the story into the Catholic Church, ala The Da Vinci Code. The first movie opened last year to $52 million, going on to make $115.8 million domestically, so it definitely was not a flop financially, but the RT meter tells a sadder tale - 28%. Ghost Rider took far too many liberties from its comic source for my taste, starting with the casting of Nicolas Cage, so I've got no expectations about a sequel.


#8 CREATION: THE MOVIE POSTER SHOULD TOTALLY BE THAT BUMPER STICKER FISH THING

Real life married couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly have signed on to play real life married couple Charles and Emma Darwin in Creation, a biopic about the life of the famed evolutionary theorist. Filming of Creation, directed by Jon Amiel (Sommersby, Entrapment) starts later this month in England. The producers are quoted in the article as saying that people tend to think of Darwin as an old man with a grey beard, but this movie will focus on him earlier in life, as he is struggling with his faith and yet still coming up with his revolutionary, evolutionary theory.


#9 CHRIS COLUMBUS TO ADAPT A FANTASY KIDS SERIES THAT ISN'T HARRY POTTER

According to the New York Times (via IGN), Chris Columbus (the first two Harry Potter and Home Alone movies) will be directing an adaptation of The Lightning Thief, the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series of novels by Rick Riordan, about the modern day children of the Greek gods. Specifically, The Lightning Thief is about the son of Poseidon who takes off on a trek across America, trying to catch the thief of Zeus' lightning bolt. The Times says that filming is scheduled to start in time for a release in November, 2009, from a script by Joe Stillman (cowriter of the first two Shrek movies and Beavis and Butt-Head Do America).


#10 KILLING ROMMEL: COMPETITION FOR TOM CRUISE'S VALKYRIE?

Possibly because the buzz around the Hitler assassination movie, Valkyrie, is so hot (not), Jerry Bruckheimer has acquired the rights to Killing Rommel, a novel by Steven Pressfield (whose Gates of Fire, about the Battle of Thermopylae, is apparently still in development despite the success of 300). Killing Rommel, which will be adapted by Randall Wallace (Braveheart, Pearl Harbor) (and doesn't have a director yet), will tell the (fictional) story of a British/Allied assassination plot against the life of Nazi Field Marshal Erwin "The Desert Fox" Rommel, in an attempt to stop his campaign in North Africa. The central characters are members of England's Long Range Desert Group, which was real, but the part about killing Rommel is fictional (as far as I can tell).


You can contact Greg Dean Schmitz via a message at the RT Forums, the thread there devoted to him, or his MySpace page.

Comments

AmazingAndrex

Andrew Rabon

When has filming two films concurrently ever worked out?

Need I remind anyone of Pirates 2 and 3? The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions?

These two Spider-man films are just going to add to it, I fear.

Sep 5 - 06:49 PM

NTROST

Anthony W.

AmazingAndrex, Pirates 2 & 3 are not as bad as some make them out to be. The problem people had was they were to long for those short attention spans & to complex (that's more towards the third film).

As far as The Matrix sequels well, "Reloaded" was adequate & "Revolution" is more on par of the bit below average/medicore standard.

I think everyone just needs to wait & see what happens.

P.S. People on message boards over use the word "suck(s)" way too much & what makes it worse is when there is no substance behind the term when used.

Sep 5 - 07:13 PM

Death By Teabag

Ay0 Yay0

did you just call Pirates 3 complex? psh

Sep 5 - 07:17 PM

NTROST

Anthony W.

DeathByTeabag, I didn't think it was complex by any means. I enjoyed the Pirates series very much but many critics thought the third film was too complex. If you read my statement right, I never said I found it complexing but others did.

Sep 5 - 07:56 PM

greg_dean_schmitz

Greg Dean Schmitz

Situations where two movies filmed at the same time worked...

Back to the Future 2 & 3
Lord of the Rings

Now, that's not too many examples, but that's also because it's not really done that often. Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean... that's pretty much it, I think.

Sep 5 - 07:33 PM

AFuneralMaker

Johnathan Ross

Moviegoers always want something new and original which is why it's always troubled me that so many people express such disdain for 'Reloaded' and 'Revolutions'. The two movies were about as unconventional as it gets, even by today's standards yet they "ruined the series". I'm going to call bull**** right there because the whole point of the series, and aim of the Wachowski brothers, was to explain an allegory through this surreal universe that they created. They achieved it by their own means thus succeeding in every right. It baffles me how people say that someone "ruined" something they created. I think what happened is every wanted more Matrix which would have made the series just drag along. Bullet time everywhere, same gun fights for three movies, no new characters and no digging deeper into Zion. Yawn.

Equilibrium is better anyway.

Sep 6 - 09:11 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Damn, dude. This time I couldn't resist. You had me til you said Equilibrium was better.

Many do enjoy constantly regurgitating the assumption that the Matrix sequels somehow aborted the groundwork set up in the first film, but Equilibrium -while impressive in its low budget visceral triumph and equal parts interesting and compelling- clumsily aborted its own ideas in the process of establishing them. We've a world where emotions are artificially subdued by an arresting drug, though the very characters who represent the purported benefits of this system are shown as egotistical and/or given to vehement outbursts and are constantly smiling. We're offered a government supposedly meant to flourish in the absence of emotional influence and yet, somehow, these people are motivated to defend it. How though are they motivated to defend anything at all without an emotional foundation? How does Brandt (Taye Diggs' constantly smiling character) come to describe himself with so much affection in that scene when he's introduced? That's just the tip of the iceberg. Mind you, I did like Equilibrium but I couldn't help be frustrated by it. Let's not even talk about that "gun kata" $hit. lol.


Sep 6 - 09:40 AM

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

Filming concurrently seemed to have worked for Lord of the Rings, as I recall. But maybe those movies flopped.

Sep 7 - 02:43 PM

RazeLord

E C

Didn't LotR film back-to-back?

Sep 7 - 11:44 PM

Ryan S.

Ryan Spitler

If they make a spider-man 4 it better not suck like the third one, and hopefully ghost rider will be better then the first.

Sep 5 - 06:53 PM

NTROST

Anthony W.

On the Spider-Man situation:

I think it's good to see Sony giving Raimi & Maguire another run with Spider-Man 4 & 5. I think both sides can redeem themselves. "Spider-Man" was a good solid origin story. "Spider-Man 2" a very solid & proficient film. "Spider-Man 3" was an average film with some development flaws. "Spider-Man 3" problems came before filming even started.

1) The executives have to stay out of the development process (this is before pre-production process starts) & let the writer(s), producers, & director deal with the story & the characters involved in the film.

2) The director Sam Raimi is in charge & the producers Laura Ziskin & Avi Arad just need to deal with the nuts & bolts of the production. The producers forced Venom in the third film & created problems within the story structure of what Sam Raimi wrote previously which ended up being re-written.

3) They need to stick with one villian. The reason why the first two were solid films was because of the character development. "Spider-Man 3" somewhat forced to much into to little. If they follow the structure of the first two films then they should succeed well with "Spider-Man 4" & "Spider-Man 5".

I also think it's smart on Sony's part not to re-cast in the middle of an established franchise. If they re-casted for SM4 & SM5 they would have failed for sure. The majority don't like re-casting & neither do I (I can't stand it). It gives a film a real diminishing factor into the character(s). The only way they could re-cast is if they shelf "Spider-Man" for the next several more years & reboot it.

I'm looking forward to see where "Spider-Man 4" & "Spider-Man 5" lead too.

Sep 5 - 06:57 PM

Pagrebo

Paul Borden

Some valid points made on the Spider-Man films, but I would disagree on a couple of points. One, the multiple villains is not what caused problems with the third film. Had it just been Harry and Sandman as Raimi originally planned, all would have been good. As you pointed out, it was Avi Arad's insistence on Venom that bloated the story. Realistically, if Lizard is the villain in 4, you almost have to have someone like Kraven hunting him to create a compelling storyline. Second, recasting in the middle of a franchise doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. The question is whether the cast and director are the right choices going forward. As much as I love Sam Raimi's body of work, as Spider-Man moves inevitably towards more action, less drama, he may not be the best choice. And, IMHO, McGuire was an average choice at best to play Peter Parker (I always thought James Franco "looked" more the part of Peter in the comics). And I would shed no tears if they recast the role of MJ...

Sep 25 - 10:27 PM

moviesandfastmachines

Sean Currey

I was really hoping that Tobey Maguire would not come back for spider-man 4 and 5. I think he really ruins spider-man, first and second are super overrated.

Sep 5 - 07:08 PM

oilysoils

harlan Lovestone

I completely disagree!!! Spider-Man and Spider-man 2 are excellent. They are the best superhero films to date following Dark Knight! Spider-Man set a new tone for superhero films and how well they can be made. Dark Knight took it to an even further level. Just like Christopher Reeves was the defenitive Superman, Tobey Maguire is Spider-Man!! I hope the next 2 films rock and are packed with action and character development. I also hope they add more humor. And shooting films back to back can work if the scripts are not rushed like with LOTR.

Sep 7 - 11:31 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Set new standards for the comic book movie? Begins did that. TDK just did it again.

Sep 8 - 08:41 AM

Some guy you dont know

Bruce Campbell

Let Spiderman die. Let Evil Dead rise again (to eat flesh we can all hope).

Sep 5 - 07:09 PM

blattman

Mike Greenblatt

Understandably so. You always get a bigger part in the ED movies then your steller cameos in the spiderman series.

Sep 7 - 01:25 AM

gnotleo

Leo Felicia

oh f**k yea, about time!

I'm glad to hear Tobey is going back in those tights and not some kid.

Hopefully it's much better than SM3, and as good as, SM2, if not better.

Sep 5 - 07:10 PM

NTROST

Anthony W.

AmazingAndrex, Pirates 2 & 3 are not as bad as some make them out to be. The problem people had was they were to long for those short attention spans & to complex (that's more towards the third film).

As far as The Matrix sequels well, "Reloaded" was adequate & "Revolution" is more on par of the bit below average/medicore standard.

I think everyone just needs to wait & see what happens.

P.S. People on message boards over use the word "suck(s)" way too much & what makes it worse is when there is no substance behind the term when used.

Sep 5 - 07:13 PM

Death By Teabag

Ay0 Yay0

did you just call Pirates 3 complex? psh

Sep 5 - 07:17 PM

NTROST

Anthony W.

DeathByTeabag, I didn't think it was complex by any means. I enjoyed the Pirates series very much but many critics thought the third film was too complex. If you read my statement right, I never said I found it complexing but others did.

Sep 5 - 07:56 PM

Death By Teabag

Ay0 Yay0

did you just call Pirates 3 complex? psh

Sep 5 - 07:17 PM

NTROST

Anthony W.

DeathByTeabag, I didn't think it was complex by any means. I enjoyed the Pirates series very much but many critics thought the third film was too complex. If you read my statement right, I never said I found it complexing but others did.

Sep 5 - 07:56 PM

navtrav

W. Travis Stewart

Bruce, I thought you were a big fan of Raimi? Doesn't this guarantee more cameo's for you?

Sep 5 - 07:22 PM

charlieahinds

Charles Hinds

while it does ensure a bruce cameo in spiderman, fans of evil dead would much rather see bruce as ash a few more times.

Sep 19 - 12:45 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Use Mysterio or Carnage in Spiderman 4 and 5! Just finish the series after those 2. Also I hope Del Toro can fit in HB III, they need one more.

Sep 5 - 07:24 PM

greg_dean_schmitz

Greg Dean Schmitz

Situations where two movies filmed at the same time worked...

Back to the Future 2 & 3
Lord of the Rings

Now, that's not too many examples, but that's also because it's not really done that often. Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean... that's pretty much it, I think.

Sep 5 - 07:33 PM

greg_dean_schmitz

Greg Dean Schmitz

Just thought of Flags of Our Fathers / Letters from Iwo Jima. The first was not so great, the second was quite good. Which is probably what you could say about Back to the Future 2 and 3 as well. So, anyway, my point was I'm not sure "back to back filming" is a 100% sign of awfulness. There just haven't been enough examples to establish a theory.

Sep 5 - 07:37 PM

josuepilk

Josue Pilk

The Spiderman franchise is dying, as did Batman after Batman Returns, just not as abruptly. The one good thing a fourth installment will have going for it is a release after the summer of 2009, because any comic-related movie that comes out next year will be compared with The Dark Knight and Iron Man.

Ghostbusters 3? Just say no. The first movie was great, but the audience is gone. Bill Murray has moved on and it's time Dan Aykroyd do the same.

Del Toro is waiting for Universal to give him the green light on the third Hellboy, so I'm pretty sure that will fall in his busy agenda, and as far as his Spanish-language stuff goes, no direction but he is working as a producer with many famous mexican directors like Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu and, Carlos Cuarón. Without mentioning the Ecuatorian director of Crónicas, Sebastián Cordero.

Sep 6 - 03:04 PM

NTROST

Anthony W.

DeathByTeabag, I didn't think it was complex by any means. I enjoyed the Pirates series very much but many critics thought the third film was too complex. If you read my statement right, I never said I found it complexing but others did.

Sep 5 - 07:56 PM

PennsylvaniaJames

Tory Pinto

I completely agree with your first post Ntrost. They need to stick with ONE villian. Apparently it's going to be the Lizard finally. I'm actually not sure how I feel about that. Either way I'm happy Tobey Maguire is back as Spiderman even though I'm starting to wonder if it's going to kill his career. He could be just seen as Spiderman forever now.

Sep 5 - 08:02 PM

mv11391

Michael Vazquez

HELL YEAH!!!! Spidey 4 & 5 with Tobey and Sam coming back!!! I loved all three Spider-Man films (yeah, disagree with me or not but i thought the third one was the best!!) Big spidey fan here, I can't wait until those two hit the theaters!!! I want Scorpion for the 4th and the 5th Lizard. I just think Scorpion could be the perfect villan for the 4th.

Sep 5 - 08:05 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

I really dont wanna see The Lizard, I just cant see it.

Sep 5 - 08:27 PM

v-alexander-the-great

victor alexander

Man, I can't believe I haven't said anything about Spidey amongst all these updates about SM 4.

I dunno? I don't think SM 3 was -THAT BAD-, I think people just like to get caught up in bloodthirsty mob mode once in a while and either praise or deprecate a film incessantly. The only cheese-fest was the final battle in the movie...which was really lame and not in the spirit of SM at all. But honestly, I even thought the weird dancing scenes were kind of funny, in an embarrassing sort of way.

I am in the "cautiously optimistic" zone about SM's 4 and 5. Which means I'll probably see them opening day, haha.

Sep 5 - 08:30 PM

PennsylvaniaJames

Tory Pinto

v-alexander-the-great:

I agree. I actually loved the dancing scenes-I thought they were hilarious. I'm always surprised that more people didn't find those parts humorous. Either way I'm pretty excited about this news.

Sep 5 - 09:24 PM

oyguvaltshappy

matthew ericson

i'm really excited for these. If you take out the fact that the Raimis wrote the script for Spidey 3, everything else about it was good. With the guy who did "Zodiac" penning these, I really don't see what could go wrong. It should hopefully be "Spider-man 1 2" all over again.

Sep 5 - 09:13 PM

Timbo0075

Tim Hautekiet

You are so right man. Why do people think 4 & 5 will be guaranteed failures. It's written by someone who knows what he's doing

Sep 6 - 09:33 AM

PennsylvaniaJames

Tory Pinto

v-alexander-the-great:

I agree. I actually loved the dancing scenes-I thought they were hilarious. I'm always surprised that more people didn't find those parts humorous. Either way I'm pretty excited about this news.

Sep 5 - 09:24 PM

screwhead100

Ben Wellick

pirates 3 was complex on a noncomplex level........

but i too dont like tobey as spider-man......a re-cast would have been awesome.....not j/k......

& i dont understand why people dont like recasts, it has worked for james bond after 22 films.......whynot do it in any other franchise?!!?

Sep 5 - 10:41 PM

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