Weekly Round Up: Ben Wheatley, Garfield, Zemeckis

Weekly Round Up: Ben Wheatley, Garfield, Zemeckis

Any Ben Wheatley fans out there? Well, I mean, there must be some. But any reading this? Personally, I’m a big Ben Wheatley fan. I’ve seen all his movies and I thoroughly enjoy them. For those of you who don’t know; Ben Wheatley is a British director who works outside of the studio system and is responsible for films such as Down Terrance, Kill List, Sightseers, A Field in England, High Rise and Free Fire.

His latest movie, Happy New Year, Colin Burstead (it was originally titled Colin, You Anus), was shot in 2 weeks and is primarily improvised. As an aspiring filmmaking myself Wheatley’s work is something of an inspiration, but he also makes interesting and unique pieces that have a lot to unpick and discuss.

Well, it seems Mr Wheatley has struck a deal with Netflix to board their proposed remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. As a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, and Rebecca, this intrigues me. Quite what Wheatley will be bringing to this tale remains a mystery, but I’m sure it’ll be interesting whatever it is. The original Rebecca was released in 1940 and marked Hitchcock’s Hollywood debut (although he has several films under his belt by that point). It was based on the 1938 novel by Dame Daphne du Maurier and starred Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.

Wheatley usually works with Amy Jump, a screenwriter, but it would appear that Rebecca already has a script, one that’s written by Kick Ass, Kingsman and X-Men: First Class scribe Jane Goldman, although perhaps her work on The Woman In Black is a more suitable comparison. Wheatley’s Rebecca will star Lily James, who featured in Downton Abbey and Baby Driver, as the title character, and Armie Hammer will play her husband.

It’s not quite news that isn’t on a remake, reboot, sequel, prequel or spin-off, but it’s still pretty damn good news, and I for one am going to be eagerly awaiting the adaptation.

Speaking of Netflix, they could be in for a tough year next year, what with Disney launching their very own streaming service alongside AT&T/Warner. But it also appears that both Amazon and Apple are preparing to take on the streaming giants as well, with Amazon’s streaming service signing a deal with Blumhouse to produce eight feature length thrillers and Apple signing a deal with independent film kings A24, the studio behind Hereditary, Lady Bird and Moonlight.

Somehow I doubt their Wheatley directed Rebecca remake will be enough to tantalise viewers in (other than me at least), but they may be ready as J J Abrams’ production company Bad Robot is currently looking for a new home and has recently announced six new projects. So we’ll see.

Another classic movie is getting the remake treatment this week, with news dropping that High Noon director Stanley Kramer’s widow has signed a deal allowing a remake to happen. No further news is known on this particular iteration of the film yet, but the original saw Gary Cooper preparing for a train of killers to arrive in town, ready to enact revenge upon the man who killer their gang leader. The film won Cooper an Oscar.

And those aren’t the only two classic movies getting reboots either! Everyone’s favourite lasagne loving cat, Garfield, is currently getting a new animated movie, under the direction of The Emperor’s New Groove’s Mark Dindal. Presumably this is because he wants people to suffer, and Garfield seems to be the quickest and easiest way to achieve this, considering the last two theatrical Garfield movies are only good for that bit in Zombieland where Bill Murray points them out as his biggest regret just before he dies. Ouch.

Rather excitingly, we do have a piece of news on an original production, and it’s not as low-key as one might expect.

It would seem Robert Zemeckis, the director behind Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and, more recently, Flight, is reteaming with his Forrest Gump/Castaway star Tom Hanks (you know who Tom Hanks is) for a brand new original production entitled Bios.

The production will begin shooting next year and tells the story of the last man on earth, who decides he must plan for the future by creating a robot that will care for his dog. I guess that makes it kind of like Castaway but in the future? Which, yeah, sure, let’s go with that.

Zemeckis hasn’t always been a hitter, but he does hit more often that he misses, and considering his last two live-action movies starring Hanks turned out to be two all-time classics, fingers crossed this one turns out to be something worthwhile as well. It sounds interesting enough, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Glad to have two Hollywood heavyweights pushing something original through though.

Three weeks, that took. Hopefully it’ll be less before we hear some more original movie news next time.

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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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