A Quiet Place, Searching, Russell Brand: Weekly Round Up

A Quiet Place

After last years A Quiet Place became a box-office smash, raking in $340 million, it was no surprise that Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the film, were keen to get a sequel into production. While the details of the sequel were original sparse, more recently we’ve learned that John Krasinski is returning to direct and has also worked on the script, that Emily Blunt will be returning to reprise her role from the original, that Cillian Murphy has joined the cast in an as yet unspecified role, and that the film will be titled A Quiet Place: Part II (presumably because A Quieter Place would be a really dumb choice. Personally, I’d have gone with A Quiet Place 2: Die Quieter)

Well, this week we can ass another bit of information to the pile, as news broke that Djimon Hounsou, who appeared in Shazam! as “The Wizard”, and is perhaps best known for his work saying the word “who?” to hilarious effect in Guardians of the Galaxy, will be joining the production.

Quite what role Honsou will be taking on is at yet unknown, although we do know that he has been brought in to replace actor Brian Tyree Henry, who appeared in Widows, Child’s Play and on the TV show Atlanta. Bryan Tyree Henry had to leave the project due to scheduling conflicts.

Paramount have scheduled A Quiet Place: Part II for release in March of next year, and it will be dropping the week after both Godzilla vs Kong and Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man (which is a movie I am extremely excited about), while just a week later will see the release of Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan.

I’m still curious about just how Part II of this particular franchise will pan out. The first one was a lot of fun, and the premise was inventive, but I can’t honestly say I came away from it wondering what happens to these characters next. Despite the slight “cliffhanger” nature of the climax, overall the original felt like a solid, complete story, and there is always a danger in instances like this that returning to the pool could diminish the appeal.

Having said that, the original was a very small story centered almost entirely around just four people, so the addition of new cast members to the sequel does seem to suggest that they are at least attempting to expand the world and bring new dynamics into play, which is always a good jumping off point for a follow-on.

Speaking of films that never really felt like they required a sequel but are getting one anyway, Sony Pictures’ Stage 6 Films production company are currently developing a sequel to last years thriller/mystery Searching. Told entirely through computer screens and smart phones, Searching starred John Cho as a distraught dad who desperately tries to discover what happened to his missing daughter.

The film was surprisingly good, and the inventive premise meant that the filmmakers managed to inject new life and an engaging twist to what was, ultimately, a somewhat predictable plot.

The sequel, it is being reported, will not see any of the original characters returning, but will instead center on an entirely new cast and feature and entirely new premise. What this is going to be is, at this point, anyone’s guess, but the idea of an almost anthology-like film series, connected through loose thematic recurrences rather than story elements or returning cast members, is rather tantalizing.

John Carpenter famously tried to achieve something similar with the Halloween film series, with Halloween III: Season of the Witch, being the sole attempt at crafting a brand new story, before the studio demanded they return to the original formula. JJ Abrams’ Cloverfield series also does something similar, to varying degrees of success.

A straighter approach to sequels can be seen in Kenneth Branagh’s follow-up to his 2017 Agatha Christie adaptation, Murder on the Orient Express. In that film he both directed and starred as the iconic detective Hercule Poirot (and had an epic moustache). Branagh is returning to play the famous mystery-solver in Death on the Nile, which, must like the 2017 film, will also feature an ensemble cast.

So far assembled for the film are the likes of Annette Bening, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, and Letitia Wright. But, perhaps most interesting, was the name who this week was revealed to be in talks about joining the cast.

Comedian Russell Brand is perhaps best known for his appearances in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The Greek, as well as his stand-up comedy. What role he’s up for in Death of the Nile remains a mystery, but I have to admit the idea of seeing Brand tackle something a little more serious is rather interesting.

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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.