Linklater, Waititi, Landon: Weekly Round Up


Linklater, Waititi, Landon: Weekly Round Up: So, D23 was this week and there’s a whole load of announcements I must (begrudgingly) bring to you from that, but before we jump into the news from our dark overlords over at Disney, can we all just take some time out to appreciate Richard Linklater.

Arguably one of the most influential and interesting directors working today, Linklater has a filmography broader and more varied than any number of other “auteurs” in the industry. From slacker comedy classics like Dazed and Confused, through to trippy sci-fi cult movies like A Scanner Darkly, the man is even responsible for the best Jack Black movie, School of Rock – which is a movie that remains way better than it has any right to be.

And that’s without even mention fan favorites like the Sunset trilogy.

Linklater’s most ambitious project was the excellent, and critically acclaimed, Boyhood. Shot over 12 years, Boyhood follows Mason Evans, played by Ellar Coltrane, who quite literally grows up on screen. It’s a moving, fascinating and brilliant film filled with wonderful performances and genuine relatable moments.

But, never content to simply sit-still, Linklater appears eager to once again take his time on a project. Following the Boyhood method of shooting annually over several years, Linklater’s new film, Merrily We Roll Along. This time, however, it’ll be a whopping 20 years the director will be spending on the project, which is an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s 1981 musical.

Listen, say what you want about Linklater, but no one is making movies like he makes movies, and that means that I will be there to support it (assuming I’m still alive, of course… or, indeed, assuming he is). The guess is that the movie will be released around 2040, but with such a long production period it’s hard to know just what might happened.

We’ll try to keep you updated but… news may be slow going on this one (see what I did there…).

Another great piece of news this week came in the form of pissing off Disney, and trust me, that will always be funny. Of course I have no way of knowing if Disney execs actually were frustrated by this movie, but this week saw the announcement that Thor: Ragnarok director and all round hilarious legend – seriously, watch What We Do In The Shadows – Taika Waititi will be joining James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad over at DC.

Waititi is also directing Thor: Love and Thunder over at Marvel, so presumably it can’t have bothered them that much, while Gunn was rehired as Guardians of the Galaxy director after some nonsense controversy about what a dick Donald Trump is or something (news flash: he is). But The Suicide Squad continues to shape up to be a genuinely tantalizing prospect now that Gunn is on board.

Not only did we learn this week that Waititi will be joining the cast, we also learned that frequent Gunn collaborator, Malcolm Reynolds himself, Nathan Fillion will have a role.

Now, I don’t know about you guys but Nathan Fillion appearing in absolutely anything is enough to get me to watch it, throw in Gunn, Idris Elba, Margot Robbie and now Taika Waititi and you’ve got something I will most definitely be keeping an eye on. How this all turns out remains a mystery, but as it currently stands, this might be one of those movies that keeps me on the superhero side just a little bit longer.

Alright, so now we’ve done the actual worthwhile stuff let’s get on to D23, shall we? I know some of you must be interested in it.

So, first up, we have a new addition to Marvel’s The Eternals. Interestingly it’s another Game of Thrones alumni (the first is Richard Madden, who played Robb Stark, as Ikaris). Kit Harrington, who played Jon Snow of the (s)hit HBO show – that’s harsh, it was just the end that sucked – has joined the cast, and reports have it that he’ll be playing Dane Whitman, aka Black Knight.

Black Knight, if my research is to be trusted, is a member of The Avengers in the comics, and his inclusion here, along with Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, who is reprising her role from Captain Marvel, suggests that The Eternals may hint toward what the future Avengers movies may look like moving forward post-Endgame.

And that’s it, really from D23. Happy now? Can I do something else I’m interested in? Okay.

Chris Landon’s Happy Death Day was an absolute blast, cleverly taking a Groundhog Day premise and infusing it with a slasher to create something funny, engaging and all together well made. Sadly it looks like we probably won’t ever get to see how the story ends, because despite it’s sequel, Happy Death Day 2U, also being a hell of a lot of fun, the poor box-office takings mean it’s unlikely we’ll ever be returning to that world.

But it’s okay, because Landon has another cheesy 80s premise he wants to slasher-ize.

That’s right, for his next film Landon will be directing a body-swap movie. Only, unlike Freaky Friday, in which a mother and daughter body swap and it leads to all sorts of hilarious hijinks, this one looks set to take a more sinister turn as Kathryn Newton (who appeared in Paranormal Activity 4 and Detective Pikachu) will swap bodies with Vince Vaughn’s deranged serial killer.

If Landon’s entire MO is to just update 80s movie premises as kind of meta modern horror movies, then I’m fine with that. I’m hoping next up we get The Breakfast Club picked off one by one during Saturday morning detention.

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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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