Let's start this story by turning the clock way back to November of 2007. Marvel Studios' Iron Man5/2/2008 was still six months away from release we have, of course, gotten over 20 more MCU movies since then. It was in early November of 2007, however, that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson first signed with Warner Bros. to play the DC Comics anti-hero Black Adam in what, at that time, was expected to be the Shazam! movie Black Adam is one of Shazam's main enemies. This week, nearly 13 years later, Johnson confirmed that he will finally start filming his Black Adam solo movie in July of 2020, which will be a few months shy of14 years after he first signed on. Warner Bros. has not yet announced a release date for Black Adam, but it probably won't be until either late 2021 or sometime in 2022. The filmwill be directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who also recently directed Johnson in next year's Jungle Cruise 7/24/2020, based on the long-running Disney theme park attraction. Meanwhile, Johnson's next movie will be the sequel Jumanji: The Next Level, on December 13, 2019.
Other Top Headlines
1. JENNIFER HUDSON'S ARETHA FRANKLIN BIOPIC RESPECT ATTRACTS STAR-STUDDED CAST
Photo by Derek Storm/Everett Collection
The success last year of Bohemian Rhapsody means that we're going to continue getting pop and rock star biopics, but Hollywood doesn't react to new trends particularly quickly. Baz Luhrmann is currently filming his Elvis Presley movie starring Austin Butler from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and the next movie expected to get going is Respect, based on the life of soul singer icon Aretha Franklin. Jennifer Hudson has been attached to star in Respect for a while now, but it wasn't until this week that we learned who will be joining the film's large ensemble cast. Those stars include six-time Tony-winner Audra McDonald, Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, Academy Award nominee Mary J. Blige, frequent Netflix star Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, and Marlon Wayans. MGM has scheduled Respect for release on August 14, 2020, which will be just two days shy of two years after Aretha Franklin's death on August 16, 2018.
If you thought you'd seen the last of Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow, then... Well, you might be right. The truth is, we don't really know. What we do know is that Disney is still interested in continuing the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise — or rebooting it, as it were — with producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The production hit a snag earlier this year when Deadpool screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick dropped out of Pirates, but things look to be back on track with the hiring of Craig Mazin the Emmy-winning creator of HBO's popular miniseries Chernobyl and Ted Elliott, who co-wrote the first four films in the franchise. Whether or not any of the series regulars will make an appearance in the new film is still up in the air.
After recently directing a few more adult-centric dramas, Robert Zemeckis Flight, The Walk, Allied, Welcome to Marwen seems to be returningto his kid-friendly roots with his remake of Roald Dahl's The Witches, which Warner Bros. has scheduled for October 9, 2020. Zemeckis has not yet officially confirmed his next film as director, but according to reports this week, he may be returning to Disney for their live-action remake of their second ever animated feature, the 1940 version of Pinocchio. Although described as “live action,” it's possible that Pinocchiohimself may be some form of animated character, especially considering one of Zemeckis' favored strengths over the last 15 years or so has been stop-motion in movies like The Polar Express, Beowulf, and last year's Welcome to Marwen. If he does sign on, Zemeckis will next have to start casting Pinocchio, including finding a new Gepetto, following the recent departure of Tom Hanks from the project.
Like many pop stars and rappers before her, Cardi B is actively pursuing film roles to add to her résumé. Just a month after making her feature film debut in Hustlers,she has apparently found her next major film project in next year's Fast & Furious 9 5/22/2020. This news came directly from a video that Vin Diesel posted on his Instagram this weekwith Cardi B at his side. Fast & Furious 9 actually started filming in June, so it seems likely that Cardi B's contribution to the movie will be one of the last things to be filmed.Diesel posted the videojust after another singer, the Latin music star Ozuna, also joined the movie this week. As it happens, Cardi B and Ozuna released a song together in 2017 called “La Modelo,” so it's possible that their roles in Fast & Furious 9 will be directly connected.
It has now been over two years since Hugh Jackman's last movie as Wolverine, 2017's Logan. Since then, Jackman has starred in a musical The Greatest Showman, a political drama The Front Runner, and an animated comedyMissing Link, but what he hasn't yet returned to are the kind of genre films that made him famous in the first place. That appears to be changing very soon with the news this week thathe is reunitingwith his Greatest Showman co-star Rebecca Ferguson in a science fiction “noir” called Reminiscence, which is being compared to movies like Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Inception. Set in a future Miami beset by exaggerated climate change, Reminiscence will tell the story of a private investigator Jackman who travels into his client's memories to solve cases.
Last week, the horror comedy sequel Zombieland: Double Tap managed to beat the opening weekend of the original 2009 film with a domestic opening of $28.9 million. It's not yet known if there will ever be a proper Zombieland 3 unless everyone involved wants to wait another 10 years, but director Ruben Fleischer is already talking about another direction he'd like to take. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Fleischer said, “I would love to do a Madison standalone movie,” referring to the new character played in Zombieland: Double Tap by Zoey Deutch. If such a movie does get made, it's not known if some of the other Zombieland characters would also return.THRalso revealed this week that an earlier Zombieland 2 screenplay would have featured a de facto Ghostbusters reunion in which Dan Aykroyd would've played a zombie version of himself.
Continuing an obvious trajectory, we can now confirm that the DC Comics movie Joker has passed previous record-holder Deadpool to become the top-grossing R-rated movie of all timewith a global total of $788 million and counting. The funny thing is that Warner Bros. may never have seen this particular Joker as abox office juggernaut, especially if this narrative is to be believed,andWarner Bros. really gave Joker a relatively smaller budget because it was seen as more of a “one-off” experiment. One major player who, however, did see this coming was Jared Leto, who played Joker in the first Suicide Squad movie and who reportedly actively tried to get Warner Bros. not to make Joker with Joaquin Phoenix instead of him. Arguably burying the lede, the Hollywood Reporter's story ends with, “At this point, sources say Leto's days as the Joker likely are over.” That being said, it's not yet confirmed that Joaquin Phoenix will return to play Joker again in some future movie, or if someone else instead might take over.
9. JOHNSON FAMILY VACATIONSEQUEL JOHNSON FAMILY CELEBRATIONIN THE WORKS
When Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opened to relatively disappointing box office numbers, some writers argued that the sequel was hurtby what's called the “five-year curse,” which argues that sequels that are released five years later like say, The LEGO Movie 2 and Godzilla: King of the Monsters come out too late after the first movie. The problem with that argument, of course, is that there are other examples, like last week's Zombieland: Double Tap which came out 10 years after the first, which do justfine despite an even longer gap.The other possibility is that the timing has less of an impact than just the quality of the sequels, or other factors in demand from the target audience. That leads us to the news that Cedric the Entertainer is now producing and will return as the star of a sequel to his 2004 comedy Johnson Family Vacation Rottenat just 6% on the Tomatometer. The sequel will be called Johnson Family Celebration, and will be set “nearly two decades” later, which suggests a release around 2022 or 2023.
Dwayne Johnson has confirmed his long-awaited turn as DC’s Black Adam will start filming in 2020.
Black Adam is Shazam's arch-nemesis and a complex antihero with a rich history of his own. Johnson was to play the character in the first movie before the parties decided he warranted his own pic, and he came aboard in January 2017.
The project has since been in and out of development, with Johnson even offered the role of Shazam! before deciding to stick with Teth-Adam.
Shazam! was a hit when it bowed in April, grossing $362.7 million worldwide, with a sequel already in the works.
Johnson responded to an image of a sculptor’s model of what he’d look like as Teth, on Twitter. “Very cool man, thank you. Amazing detail. This project has been with me for over 10yrs🖤⚡️ Production begins this July. Appreciate the support.”
Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo is producing Black Adam with Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions; the two companies also teamed on Jungle Cruise, which is slated for a July 24, 2020 release. Scott Sheldon will oversee for FlynnPictureCo.
Collet-Serra is repped by CAA.
Very cool man, thank you. Amazing detail. This project has been with me for over 10yrs
This week's Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news the stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next, covering such titles as The Batman, Venom, and The Matrix 4.
This WEEK'S TOP STORY
ZOE KRAVITZ POUNCES ON CATWOMAN FOR THE BATMAN,PAUL DANO RIDES FOR RIDDLER
Photo by Gregorio T. Binuya/Everett Collection
Going into this week, the only actor that we had heard was in talks to play a villain in The Batman 6/25/2021 was Jonah Hill. Now we have two people confirmed, and none of their names' is Jonah. Zoe Kravitz isCatwoman.On Thursday, the news broke that Hill had dropped out of talks to play a Batman villain, potentially because Hill had asked for $10 million, twice what Warner Bros. was paying Robert Pattinson to beBatsy. Whatever his role was, The Riddler is now on the scene, who has signed on Paul Dano.Meanwhile, the search is still on forthe third villain:Penguin. In related news, Robert Pattinson also made a surprising revelation this week, saying that his versionof The Batman is “not a hero.”
Other Top Headlines
1. MATRIX 4:NEIL PATRICK HARRIS IN, JADA PINKETT-SMITH IN TALKS
Photo by Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection
Last week, we learned that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Black Manta from Aquaman had been cast in a new lead role AKA not Morpheus, etc.. And this week, we heard about two other possible new additions, plus a returning cast member from the two sequels. Let's start with Jada Pinkett Smith, who is now in talks with Warner Bros to repriseher character Niobe,the ship captain.Jada Pinkett Smith's recent roles have included Bad Moms, Girls Trip, and this summer's Angel Has Fallen. One of the new characters will be played byNeil Patrick Harris;various guesses online include a “Mr.” agent, the adult Spoonboy, or a younger version of The Architect. The third name in play this weekis Jessica Henwick, who is probably best known for playingColleen Wing in Netflix-Marvel's Iron Fist series.
2.ROBERT EGGERS'VIKING EPIC THE NORTHMAN ATTRACTS THE WITCH AND THE LIGHTHOUSEALUM
Photo by A24/courtesy Everett Collection
This month's spookyblack-and-whitedrama The Lighthouse is only director Robert Eggers' second feature film after 2015's The Witch, but already the guy appears to be developing his own regular cast of actors. Eggers' next film will be a Viking revenge film set in 10th century Iceland, and stars both previous and new to his troupe have been announced. Let's start with the new:Nicole Kidman and brothers Alexander andBill Skarsgård. The previous:Anya Taylor-Joy and Willem Dafoe. In related news, Willem Dafoe also this week officially joinedGuillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley remake.
3. GAL GADOT TO PRODUCE AND STAR IN WORLD WAR II POLISH UNDERGROUND BIOPIC
Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection
It has long been a Hollywood tradition that when movie stars get to a certain status, the opportunity opens up for them to guide their own careersand potentially, those of others through their own production company. Gal Gadot, whose next major film will be next summer's Wonder Woman 1984, has formed a company with her husband Jaron Varsano called Pilot Wave. The first announced filmfor the new companywill be Irena Sendler, a historical thriller about the life of Polish Underground leader, whom Gal Gadot will also portray. Sendler's organization worked in the Warsaw ghetto of World War II to save over 2,500 Jewish children, among other anti-Nazi efforts.
4. JOHN KRASINSKI AND RYAN REYNOLDS TEAMING UP FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS
Photo by Paramount /Courtesy Everett Collection
After two indie films Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and The Hollars, actor-turned-director John Krasinski had a surprise blockbuster hit with his third film, the sci-fi thriller A Quiet Place in which he starred with his wife, Emily Blunt. Krasinski quickly moved ahead with a Quiet Place 2 sequel 3/20/2020, but with this week's news, Krasinski appears ready for another original movie. Krasinski will both direct and costar in the comedy Imaginary Friends, with Ryan Reynolds. The high concept comedy will tell the story of a man Reynolds with the magical ability to see other adult people's imaginary friends, some of which, “lacking love and friendship, turn to the dark side.”
5. JURASSIC WORLD 3 RECRUITS NEW STARS FROM SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT AND SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS
Photo by Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection
A few weeks ago, one of the big stories of that weekwas that original Jurassic Park stars Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Sam Neill were all returning for Jurassic World 3 6/11/2021. This week, Universal Pictures appeared to be focusing instead on casting new roles. The first announced was Mamoudou Athie, who is probably best known for his role in Facebook Watch's Sorry For Your Loss, as well as in The Get Down and Patti Cake$. Then, earlier today, Variety also reported thatDeWanda Wise of Netflix's She's Gotta Have It is now in talks for a leading role. It's not yet known what sort of roles either Athie or Wise will be playing when Jurassic World 3 is released on June 2021, the same month as Micronauts, Sesame Street, and The Batman.
6. THE ADDAMS FAMILY SEQUEL ALREADY IN DEVELOPMENT FOLLOWING $30 MILLION OPENING WEEKEND
Photo by MGM / courtesy Everett Collection
MGM probably had ideas in the work for a sequel to The Addams Family far before its release last week, but following its $30 million opening weekend, it's go time. MGM has scheduled The Addams Family 2 forOctober 22, 2021, which is the weekend after Halloween Ends.It's not yet known if the original voice cast is also signedto return for the sequel.
7. NAOMIE HARRIS JOINING WOODY HARRELSON'S CARNAGE IN VENOM 2 AS SHRIEK
Photo by Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection
We've known since the ending of Venom that Woody Harrelson would be costarring in next year's Venom 2 10/2/2020 as the crimson symbiote-powered serial killer Carnage. It wasn't until this week that it was revealed that Tom Hardy's Venom and Woody Harrelson's Carnage would actually be joined by a third symbiote-possessed character,in the form of the female villain Shriek. Sony Pictures didn't delay much after letting that news out, however, as just before we went to “press” today, we learned that Shriek will be portrayed byBritish actress Naomie Harris Moonlight, Skyfall.
8. DANIEL KALUUYAWANTS TO GIVE THE WORLD A NEW BARNEY THE DINOSAUR MOVIE
Photo by Polygram Filmed Entertainment/courtesy Everett Collection
Last year marked the 20th anniversary of Barney's Great Adventure,which attempted to take the then-popular kids TV show, Barney & Friends and turn it into a movie franchise. The plan didn't work and the TV show went off the air in 2009. Even so, Barney & Friends obviously is remembered with some nostalgia by the now-adults who watched the show during its '90s heyday. And so perhaps it's not surprising that a Barney reprise is now in development. British actor Daniel Kaluuya, who is probably best known for both Get Out and his role in Black Panther, has teamed up with Mattel Filmvia his 59% production company to start development on a live-action Barney movie. It's not yet known in what form Barney will be depicted in this movie, but three possible options are: #1 a big purple foam costume like the original TV show, #2 a computer animated but still cartoony purple dinosaur, or #3, a full-giant-sized purple Tyrannosaur Rex the original dinosaurs stood anywhere from 12 to 20 feet tall.
9. MELISSA MCCARTHY'S SUPERINTELLIGENCE TO PREMIERE ON HBO MAX INSTEAD OF BIG THEATRICAL RELEASE
Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection
As we get closer to the end of 2019, we're close to having seen the trailer debuts for most of the year's remaining movies. One such film that we had still been waiting on was the Melissa McCarthy comedy Superintelligence, which had long been scheduled for theatrical release on December 20, 2019, up against Bombshell, Cats, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. All three of those are fairly impressive competition, each in their own ways, but even so, the next move for Superintelligence has to be seen as surprising. Melissa McCarthy's next comedy is skipping theaters entirely, and will instead debut on the new HBO Max streaming service when the app launches sometime in the spring of 2020. All involved are obviously breaking the news in a spirit of celebration, but another way to see Superintelligence not getting a theatrical release as planned is that it fits into the ongoing narrative of certain types of movies moving to streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, sometimes arguably due to the challenges of some genres thriving at the box office in a post-streaming marketplace. Disney did something similar last year, when they transitioned Anna Kendrick's Noelle away fromits theatrical relase date of November 8, 2019 to being a Disney+ launch title.
On the October 18, 2019 episode of /Film Daily, /Film senior writer Ben Pearson is joined by /Film weekend editor Brad Oman and writers Hoai-Tran Bui and Chris Evangelista to discuss the latest film and TV news, including Venom 2 casting, MoviePass’s latest shady dealings, a new Barney movie, Black Adam’s possible start of production, and more controversy for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
In The News:
Chris: Naomie Harris to Play Shriek in Venom 2 HT: MoviePass is Now a Zombie That Charges Your Cards From Beyond the Grave Chris: Robert Pattinson on Playing Batman: “He’s Not a Hero” Brad: New ‘Barney’ Movie in the Works, Produced by Mattel and ‘Get Out’ Star Daniel Kaluuya Chris: ‘Black Adam’ Production Will Begin in July 2020, According to The Rock HT: China Cancels Release of ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Over Bruce Lee Scene
Other Articles Mentioned:
All the other stuff you need to know:
You can find more about all the stories we mentioned on today’s show at slashfilm.com, and linked inside the show notes. /Film Daily is published every weekday, bringing you the most exciting news from the world of movies and television as well as deeper dives into the great features from slashfilm.com. You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the popular podcast apps RSS. Send your feedback, questions, comments and concerns to us at [email protected] Please leave your name and general geographic location in case we mention the e-mail on the air. Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes, tell your friends and spread the word! Thanks to Sam Hume for our logo.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson agreed to play Black Adam back in 2007 and was confirmed for the project yet again in 2014. But even as Shazam! went into production, the fate of the Black Adam movie remained up in the air. Now, it looks like the project is on the verge of finally getting off the ground. Johnson took to social media to confirm that the Black Adam production will begin in the summer of 2020.
Very cool man, thank you. Amazing detail. This project has been with me for over 10yrs???Production begins this July. Appreciate the support. #blackadam #dc https://t.co/h8TPXMbcTx
— Dwayne Johnson @TheRock October 18, 2019
Above you’ll see a retweet from The Rock confirming that production on Black Adam begins “this July.” Since “this July” has technically already passed, it’s safe to assume Johnson means next July – July 2020. Black Adam – traditionally a Shazam! villain – was originally supposed to appear in the Shazam! movie, back when New Line started developing it in the early 2000s. In 2007, Johnson became associated with the project in the Black Adam role, and by 2014, he was confirming it yet again on social media.
"Kneel at his feet or get crushed by his boot." My honor to become.. #BlackAdam #TheAntiHero #DCComics pic.twitter.com/Qk55eNf3R7
— Dwayne Johnson @TheRock September 3, 2014
But by the time the Shazam! movie finally went into production, things had changed. Black Adam ended up not being the film’s main villain, and a solo Black Adam movie was planned instead. And now it looks like that movie is finally happening. Jaume Collet-Serra, who directed Johnson in the upcoming Jungle Cruise, is attached to helm the movie, with a script by Adam Sztykiel. It’s unclear if Zachary Levi’s Shazam will appear in the movie in some capacity, or if they’re saving the eventual Black Adam/Shazam face-off for a Shazam! sequel.
Here’s some background on the character, via DC:
Thousands of years before Billy Batson became a magically-empowered hero, the wizard Shazam selected another champion. Teth-Adam or “Mighty Adam” began as a hero of humanity, but then allowed his power to corrupt his ideals and desires. Now labeled Black Adam, he was exiled by Shazam, but returned in the modern day. A frequent enemy to Earth’s heroes, Black Adam believes he is the right person to lead humanity and any action he takes is necessary for the greater good.
[Editor’s Note: The following review includes spoilers for “Ballers,” including Season 5, but not the series finale.]
“Ballers” never felt like a serious TV program. Offering a glammed-up look inside the life of ex-NFL star Spencer Strasmore played by a besuited Dwayne Johnson, Stephen Levinson’s HBO pseudo-comedy kept the stakes pretty low, even in its final season. Big spending led to big paychecks, which led to bigger spending and bigger paychecks, until Spencer had accumulated enough wealth to be a viable option for NFL ownership. Audiences never needed to worry if ol’ Spence was gonna be okay, just if he was going to be able to afford the expensive things — his own agency, acquiring other agencies, an NFL team — he craved.
And yet serious issues still popped up, like a tag-along tax on all that big money being thrown around. As Levinson and his team of writers searched for appropriate challenges for their uber-rich characters, the real-world weaved its way into “Ballers.” But rather than engage with such relevant matters as CTE, corporate censorship, and racial inequality, the series fought its way back to neutral. Such maneuvering helped preserve the easy viewing experience desired for HBO’s ultimate guilty pleasure, but the guilt of what wasn’t said often outweighed the pleasures of what made it to screen.
Early on, Spencer suffers from serious medical issues. He worries about his fertility. He’s racked with guilt over permanently injuring another player. He becomes dependent on pain medication. But all those issues are resolved with a bit of luck or a bit of privilege. Doctors help a bit because his new job offered medical insurance the NFL did not, and Spencer buys his way into the good graces of that banged up ex-athlete.
Then came the broader issues. While early episodes fleeted with CTE issues, later seasons started dealing with NFL ownership. Season 3 focuses on Spencer’s efforts to put a professional football team in Las Vegas — which brought to mind the crippling financial debt cities incur when bending to the NFL’s stadium demands — while Season 5 addresses the racial disparity in wealth and power within the league without commenting on Colin Kaepernick. Spencer wants to buy an NFL team, and thus becomes the first black owner in the sport’s history.
Dwayne Johnson in “Ballers”
Heading into the series finale, his historic new job is in jeopardy. Why? Spencer meets with the NFL Players Association to get veteran athletes lifetime health insurance. Now, lifetime health insurance isn’t something the NFL currently offers — not in “Ballers,” and not in real life. It’s been a sticking point among early negotiations, along with a slew of other points that divide a wealthy white ownership and the black athletes risking their lives for less than 50 percent of the proceeds. So while it’s admirable to see Spencer using his position of power to fight for the little guy, it’s still a reminder that his onscreen quest is merely a fantasy.
If that’s a problem “Ballers” successfully calls out, then there are even more it can’t or won’t reckon with. Take Vernon Donovan W. Carter, the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive tackle who’s battled injuries throughout the series. Of late, he’s in love with competitive gaming — so much so, he tells his friend and manager Reggie London Brown that he wants to retire from football early and game full-time. That may sound crazy to football fans, or anyone who can’t imagine leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table, but it’s becoming a more reasonable and accepted choice. Just look at Andrew Luck: the All-Pro Indianapolis Colts quarterback who shocked the nation this year by retiring at age 29. He’s been hurt often throughout his career, and he made the choice to preserve his mental and physical faculties instead of cashing in for big bucks.
Here, Vernon’s new passion is only treated like a mental break; as if he’s nuts to think about leaving the NFL for another job — a job he happens to be pretty good at. The same can be said about Ricky Jerret John David Washington, who trades in watching game tape for making movies. It’s not that he should leave or even that he feels like he has to leave; he just does, because he’s a baller, and ballers do what they want.
There are plenty of other serious issues surrounding the NFL that “Ballers” only touches on briefly. Unlike the show, let’s not forget that someone died in a nightclub shooting earlier this season. But this is still, above all else, a series that bounces between fun and inspiring! Dwayne Johnson flashes that giant smile every week! Only so much time can go by between gratuitous bikini shots! Russell Brand was a recurring guest star for the whole season, for Pete’s sake.
“Ballers,” with its Emmy-nominated cinematography, affable cast — Rob Corddry defied all logic by making his lewd character insanely likable — and smooth, low-stakes storytelling, could be a very easy show to fall into. Surely, plenty of future HBO subscribers will stumble across it and watch all five seasons in a few days. But the state of the NFL will likely affect their experience as much as it affected ours. How much fun can you have watching a show about football? About as much fun as you can have watching football at all, I guess.
“Ballers” airs its series finale Sunday, October 13 on HBO.