In August the world learned of the tragic and untimely death of actor Chadwick Boseman to colon cancer. Boseman, one of the most interesting actors working in mainstream cinema, left behind a legacy of incredible performances. Perhaps the role he will be best known for, though, is that of King T’Challa in Ryan Coogler’s excellent Marvel superhero epic, Black Panther.
Boseman’s death left uncertainty over the future of that particular franchise, with his performance in the film being key to the movie’s success, and the character’s iconic status across modern cinema. The question regarding the franchise moving forward was how could it be done without the man himself, and, perhaps even more importantly, should it be?
Well, Marvel has this week confirmed that they will indeed be continuing with the franchise, with Black Panther II scheduled to begin filming in July of 2021. The studio had already confirmed that they would not be recasting the role in respect to Boseman himself, but quite what this meant for the story remained to be seen.
We can now report that the sequel will place its focus on T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, who has been played in previous movies by the charismatic Letitia Wright. Wright became a fan favorite after her appearance in the first Black Panther film, and in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The character of Shuri has previously taken on the mantle of Black Panther in the comics, so this move is not unexpected.
The original film’s director, Ryan Coogler, is also returning to direct the second outing, as are other Black Panther cast members, including Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, and Winston Duke, but we also know that the film has several new characters joining the ensemble, including Narcos: Mexico actor Tenoch Huerta as one of the main antagonists.
An actor who is no stranger to Marvel superhero movies is Nicholas Cage, who starred in two Ghost Rider films and also appeared in the absolutely fantastic Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. While Cage’s filmography has always been interesting, to say the least, one upcoming project sounds like it could be just about the weirdest thing the actor has ever done.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is being billed as a dark comedy in which Cage plays himself. The film involves a wealthy Nicholas Cage super fan, played by Pedro Pascal of The Mandalorian and Game of Thrones fame, who hires the actor to perform highlights of his various movies when Cage is in desperate need of some extra cash. It’s one of those delightfully silly meta-narratives that gives new meaning to the idea of life imitating art and one that is rather tantalizing.
It just became even more tantalizing though, as this week we learned that none other than Neil Patrick Harris has signed on to play Cage’s agent in the film. It’s worth noting, I think, that NPH is no secret to going full meta, as he appeared in both Harold and Kumar movies as a heightened version of himself, which sort of makes his casting even more intriguing.
Joining NPH, Cage, and Pascal is Tiffany Haddish in as yet unknown role. Haddish has a busy slate ahead of her, mind, and this week she added to that with the news that she will be joining the cast of the long-awaited threequel to Lord and Miller’s fantastic 21 Jump Street movies.
The film will be titled 21 Jump Street: Now For Her Pleasure, and will be written by the sister team of Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Loeglin, who made the news last week for signing on to write the much anticipated Deadpool 3. Lord and Miller will reportedly remain on as producers, but it certainly seems that the intention is to move the franchise in a new direction.
Speaking of Lord and Miller, the duo who seem to turn everything they touch into a sure-thing, no matter how absurd it may sound (21 Jump Street, The LEGO Movie, Into The Spider-Verse…) are also busy with their own projects. Alongside the upcoming Jump Street threequel, they will also be producing a comedy thriller written by Reid Carolin, who wrote both Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL, which is being described as “a modern-day tongue-in-cheek thriller inspired by Universal’s classic monster legacy”.
What that means I’ve no idea, but given both Lord and Miller and Carolin’s involvement, it is perhaps no surprise that Channing Tatum has signed on to appear. This project seems to be part of an on-going attempt by Universal to wash away the bad taste of the Tom Cruise starring Mummy: Impossible and revamp their classic monsters for modern audiences. So far, this has been going well, with Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man, starring Elizabeth Moss, being one of the best movies of the year so far, and horror studio Blumhouse planning on taking on yet more of the classic monsters in the future.
And while we’re on the subject of Blumhouse, our final story today involves a film the studio first began working on back in 2018. Back then a live-action adaptation of the popular videogame series Five Nights at Freddy’s, which centers around a spooky Chuck E. Cheese-style restaurant, was supposedly set to be written and directed by the odd choice of Chris Columbus.
Given the lack of movement on this project, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it had died a death (I know I did), but as it turns out the film is still very much on the slate, with news coming this week from the original game creator Scott Cawthon, that Columbus had finished the script and plans to begin shooting the project in Spring of 2021.
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