COVID, Cage, Miller: Weekly Round Up

Cage Southern Fury

COVID, Cage, Miller: Weekly Round Up – The COVID-19 crisis may have forced us all to change the way we work and think about things, but just because no productions can currently take place that doesn’t seem to have stopped Hollywood from continuing with certain aspects of their business.

For example, distributor Neon have had several announcements since the Quarantine began with regards to films that they’ve acquired during this period of uncertainty.

First up they have Pig, an independent production starring Nicholas Cage. Neon won a bidding war to get their hands on the rights of this movie, and, in true Nicholas Cage fashion, it sounds as insane and crazy and you would expect. Cage plays a truffle hunter who begins a murderous rampage of violent revenge when his prized pig is kidnapped.

If that summary doesn’t have you sold, then I honestly don’t know what else will. To me this sounds absolutely mad and I’m all for it. Anything with Nicholas Cage allowed to go full Nicholas Cage is a win as far as I’m concerned, so Pig could well be one of my most anticipated movies.

Neon does have a distribution deal with streaming service Hulu, but the company have said that Pig will receive a theatrical release, so it looks like COVID-19 hasn’t steered them toward straight to Video on Demand forms of distribution just yet.

The distributors over at Neon also managed to get themselves the rights to one of my most hotly anticipated movies of this year, Brandon Cronenberg’s sci-fi thriller Possessor, starring Christopher Abbott, Andrea Riseborough, Sean Bean (anyone want to place bets on whether or not he dies in this one?), Tuppence Middleton, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Just in case you’re not aware, Brandon Cronenberg is the son of acclaim Canadian horror auteur David Cronenberg, who is perhaps best known as the so-called “father of Body Horror” with his films The Fly, Videodrome, Scanners, The Brood, Existenz, and Rabid. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to the Cronenbergs, as Brandon’s previous movie (also his debut), Viral, was suitably gloopy, and Possessor looks set to be just as wild and inventive.

According to the official synopsis, Possessor is about Tasya Vos “a corporate agent who uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies, driving them to commit assassinations for the benefit of the company”. Of course, as is always the case with these kind of high sci-fi concepts (and let’s not forget this is a Cronenberg Jr. movie), these experiences have left a mark on Tasya, who “struggles to suppress violent memories and urges. As her mental strain intensifies, she begins to lose control, and soon she finds herself trapped in the mind of a man whose identity threatens to obliterate her own”.

I mean, doesn’t that just sound absolutely great?

Don’t worry, it’s not all Neon distribution deals though, as there are many other people working in the Hollywood machine who seem determined not to allow the current situation to prevent them from getting their work done.

One such person is director George Miller, the man behind the Mad Max franchise and, er… Babe: Pig in the City. Miller has been busy working on pre-production for his spin-off to Mad Max: Fury Road, currently titled Furiosa. The film will reportedly focus on the character played by Charlize Theron in Fury Road during her time before meeting Max.

To this end, Miller is looking for a younger actress to take on the role, and he has “Skype-tested” several actresses during this period. The most intriguing of these actresses is Anya Taylor-Joy, who people will know from The Witch, Split, and this years Emma. Miller hopes to start filming Furiosa sometime next year in 2021, so we’ll be seeing Taylor-Joy in Edgar Wright’s crazy sounding horror Last Night in Soho before then.

Of course, there are plenty of productions that have been postponed or outright shut down thanks to the COVID-19 global crisis, and one of the biggest of those was Disney’s upcoming live action remake of The Little Mermaid.

The film was set to begin shooting in London just last week, but thanks to the pandemic the entire production has been cut for the time being, and we’re uncertain when it’ll get back up and running.

That hasn’t stopped the filmmakers from revealing little details about the film though, and this week composer and songwriter Alan Menken revealed that he and Lin-Manuel Miranda have written a grand total of four new songs for the live-action reboot. This could possibly suggest that some of the original songs will be cut from the remake, but musical fans should be happy to hear that they’ll be getting some new content to sing along to.

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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.