Scorsese, Animal Farm, Sony: Weekly Round Up


For many, many years I’ve been a Scorsese fan, and I’ve followed his career with great interest. My introduction to Scorsese was through his collaborations with Robert De Niro, which is one of the best actor-director working relationships of all time. Then there were his collaborations with Leonardo DiCaprio, which saw the pin-up poster boy slowly evolve into one of the best actors working today.

If there is one thing that I have eagerly awaited and dreamed might one day come true during my life as a film fan, it’s that one day Scorsese might make a film that would see his two frequent collaborators join forces on the big screen together.

Well, it seems like that day might finally be coming, as this week we got news that Scorsese is currently in talks with De Niro to take on a key role in his and DiCaprio’s upcoming next movie, Killers of the Flower Moon, which is based on the 2014 non-fiction book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.

The film tells the story of the investigation into the murders of over 20 Native Americans in Oklahoma when oil is discovered on their tribal land. 

For me, this is an incredibly exciting prospect. As I already said, this is something that I have been hoping would happen for what seems like the longest time, and the idea that it finally might be is absolutely brilliant.

Before then, of course, Scorsese has The Irishman coming out, which sees him reteam with De Niro, as well as Joe Pesci, and also sees Al Pacino join the crew. The film is a Netflix release, and this week saw the trailer drop online. It looks like pure Scorsese goodness, and I’m happy to see him returning to the gangster genre, and with a trio of actors as brilliant as De Niro, Pesci and Pacino… Words cannot describe.

Sony Pictures are still keen to move forward with their Venom sequel, and this week we got news that they’re meeting with new directors to take on the project.

Presumably this means that Rueben Flescher is out, which makes sense since the first film, while a box office smash – it made over $856 million at the box office – was hardly a critical success. It suffered from poor pacing, an odd tonal issue and just generally being a little bit… well, ridiculous.

But it seems that Sony are looking to take the franchise in a more serious direction. The directors they have been meeting for have all had experience in motion capture and animation in one shape or another, which is of course a plus when making a Venom film, since the title character is mainly a CG creation.

Travis Knight, who most recently directed the Transformers spin-off, Bumblebee, is in the running. Knight is perhaps best known for his work with stop-motion animation house Laika, who produce films such as ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings.

Rupert Wyatt is also being considered. Wyatt has several movies under his belt, but he is perhaps best recognized as the man behind the first Planet of the Apes reboot, which saw him work with Andy Serkis to bring Caesar to life in all his motion capture glory.

But, speaking of Andy Serkis, the man behind Gollum, Kong, and Captain Haddock is perhaps the most interesting choice for director of the Venom movie. Sony have been meeting with Serkis as well to see if he is interested. And while Serkis is probably the biggest name of the three being considered, I’m not sure how his taking on this film would affect his long-awaited Animal Farm movie, which I’m still eagerly anticipating.

Venom 2 is scheduled for an October 2020 release date and is set to see Tom Hardy return to the title role, while Woody Harrelson joins as villain Carnage. So… Sony better get a move on, really.

And last, but not least, the absolute strangest news of the week.

Back in the 2000, nineteen freaking years ago, there was a movie adaptation of iconic role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. Most people, I’m sure, haven’t seen the film, and there are some who are entirely aware of its existence. These people are lucky, as the 2000 Dungeons and Dragons movie is an absolutely travesty of the highest order and one of the single worst films ever made… in my opinion.

But, what with fantasy no longer seen as something just for the “geeks”, what with that Game of Thrones sized hole in lots of people’s viewing habits, and the game Dungeons and Dragons itself making something of a comeback to popular culture with the likes of Stranger Things, perhaps now the time is right to try and adapt it for the big screen again.

So far, so whatever. Although this story takes a somewhat interesting turn when we learn that John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the screenwriters behind Horrible Bosses and Spider-man: Homecoming, and the writer/directors behind the absolutely excellent and underseen Game Night, are in talks with Paramount Pictures to take on the project.

The original adaptation has still left me really sour, so I’m going to be watching this one from a distance for now.

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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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