Weekly Round Up: Doctor Sleep, Batman, Arachnophobia

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So, it appears horror is still on the up and up this week with the announcement that none other than everyone’s favourite Obi-Wan that isn’t Alec Guinness, Ewan McGregor, will be taking on the lead role of Danny Torrance in director Mike Flannigan’s Doctor Sleep, a movie adaptation of the 2013 novel by Stephen King, and a sequel to The Shining. Warner Bros. were no doubt keen to get this into production after the success of last year’s King adaptation, It.

Although there’s no word on whether Doctor Sleep the movie will serve as a sequel to Kubrick’s 1980 classic, chances are it’ll probably act more like a standalone. Especially considering King has given McGregor’s casting his blessing and, well, we all know how he feels about the Jack Nicholson one. It looks like we have more chance of this movie serving as a sequel to King’s own mini-series adaptation of the source material, and if you want to check that out… I don’t know how to help you.

Warner’s choice of Mike Flannigan as director also makes sense here, what with the success of Flannigan’s previous entries into the horror pantheon, including the underseen Oculus and the genuinely tense Hush, as well as Netflix’s Gerald’s Game, another King adaptation that was well received upon release. It appears the studio are looking to play this one relatively safe, which makes sense when you consider these guys are the folks behind the DC Expanded Universe… yeash!

You’ve got to hand it to DC, they’re not giving up without a fight. This week saw the announcement that Ben Affleck is likely out of the picture when it comes to The Batman, which will instead be looking for a younger actor to play the character. One can’t help but wonder if they’ve been doing things in the wrong order over there, or maybe just making it up as they go along, but that wasn’t all they had this week. Game Night co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein are reportedly using Back to the Future as a reference point on their Flash solo-outing and have thrown out any ‘sombre themes’ in favour of a more light-hearted adventure. Meanwhile, Todd Philips, director of The Hangover, is working on his Joker origin story and is rumoured to have cast Joaquin Pheonix in the titular role.

The new Wonder Woman movie has a title. Set in the year 1984 the film is inventively titled Wonder Woman 1984, meaning that there will confusion galore when general audiences find themselves wondering what happened to the 1,982 other movie between this and the first one. None the less, it’s understand Warner Bros. are keen to press ahead with this, given that so far Wonder Woman has been their only real hit and God knows they can’t just simply make better movies, so sequels are the only way forward.

Alongside Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, it appears Chris Pine is also returning, leading to speculation that he is playing a relative of his character in the first film. Isn’t it amazing how often relatives look near identical in movies?

Still, I’m sure fans of the only female superhero out there at the moment are jumping with joy at the announcement, if, apparently, you have quite had enough of all this superhero malarkey yet…

And while we’re on the subject of female superheroes, Marvel’s Captain Marvel has just announced that it will be the first major superhero blockbuster to be scored by a woman, with film and TV composer Pinar Toprak hired to score the movie. Toprak is perhaps best known for supplying additional music to last years Justice League, but we’re all just going to collectively pretend that didn’t happen.

Speaking of things we’re all going to collectively pretend didn’t happen, this week also saw the announcement that we’ll be getting a remake (yes, another bloody remake) of 1990’s Arachnophobia, bringing up full circle back to horror. The original Arachnophobia was a modest box office success upon its release but has since gone on to become something a cult classic and, in my opinion at least, an often-overlooked gem. Starring Jeff Daniels and John Goodman the film tells the story of a small America town that finds itself with an infestation of deadly spiders. It’s a stupid as it sounds and almost just as much fun, check it out.

The remake will be produced by James “jump scare” Wan and will be a co-production by Wan’s own Atomic Monster and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin. I’m going to hold out hope on this one.

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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.


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