Weekly Round Up: Idris Elba, Keri Russell, Chucky

Weekly Round Up: Idris Elba, Keri Russell, Chucky

Remember when we all collectively wondered when we’d be getting a Child’s Play remake? No? Me either, but good news everyone, MGM have announced plans this week that they will be hitting the reboot button on the popular horror franchise, which will see up-and-coming director Lars Klevberg (of the as yet unreleased Polaroid) taking the helm.

The announcement has generated some backlash within the horror community, specifically those who are disappointed that the only 80s horror franchise to have kept to its original continuity after all these years is getting the remake treatment.

The Child’s Play franchise, or Chucky franchise as it was later rebranded, focused on a child’s doll that harboured the reincarnated spirit of a serial killer. The films range from genuine horror to absurd and surreal comedy, but each one has always followed on from the last in some way, shape or form. With the new announcement of a reboot it looks like the original continuity will be done for as well, with the last two entries into the franchise only receiving release on VOD platforms.

But that’s hardly the biggest controversial announcement this week.

Scarlett Johansson seems to be intent on creating controversy around herself these days. The actress was at the centre of a storm of outrage over last years box-office bomb Ghost in the Shell, in which Johansson starred as The Major, a role originally meant to be of Asian heritage. The movie was called out for being a prime example of whitewashing in Hollywood cinema, and Johansson singled out as a key player.

So, one would assume she’d seek to avoid further controversy, either by refusing to work with the team behind the live action adaptation or simply just avoiding controversial role choices, at least for a little while, allowing the dust to settle.

Apparently, she’d rather just keep on irritating people though, as this week saw the announcement that Johansson will be reteaming with Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders in a biopic of the infamous Dante “Tex” Gill, going under the working title of Rub & Tug.

Gill was born Jean Marie Gill but later in life identified as a man when he became something of a crime king-pin, heading an empire of illicit massage parlours and an antibiotic steroid ring in the 1970s. Johansson will be starring in the film as Gill, an announcement which has angered the trans community in particular, who believe this role would have been a chance for better representation within the Hollywood system.

Johansson responded to the criticism by releasing a statement which said; “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffery Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment” which seems a tad aggressive and completely refuses to acknowledge why this situation may be seen a problem within some communities.

Meanwhile in Hollywood-land everyone’s favourite hardman Idris Elba is in advanced talks to play the villain in Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs and Shaw.

Hobbs and Shaw is set to be released on July 26th 2019 and will star Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprising their characters from the Furious franchise. The film is to be director by none other than David Leitch, who is coming off a string of critical and commercial successes.

I, for one, am actually half looking forward to this, with the Furious franchises knowing winks at the audience and its commitment to practical, albeit ridiculous, stunt-work, a spin-off starring the two most testosterone pumped characters in the franchises history could well be a fun ride. As since Leitch was responsible for last years woefully underappreciated gem, Atomic Blonde, as well as the first John Wick, then this could turn out to be a real good time at the theatre.

One film I can’t say the same about, however, is the JJ Abrams directed Star Wars Episode XI. This week saw the announcement that Abrams has cast none other than Keri Russel in a role that reportedly calls for lots of action heavy fight scenes.

Russel and Abrams have worked together before, with the actress starring in the director’s first major success in entertainment, the television show Felicity. Felicity also marks the one and only time Abrams has ever stuck around to actually finish something, and since Episode XI is set to round-out this new trilogy perhaps his looking back to that show is a good sign. But who knows? Or cares?

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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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