Depp, Firth, Efron: Weekly Round Up

First Look: Johnny Depp In Minamata

Depp, Firth, Efron: Weekly Round Up – Alright, so I’m going to attempt to get this one out of the way quickly without bringing my own personal thoughts into the mix. Hard, I know, since I have a tendency to go off on a ramble and use these roundups as an excuse to vent my general frustrations. Let’s just say that I cared little for this franchise anyway, considering certain views held by those involved (well, held by one of the key creatives involved anyway), along with the fact that it’s just really not my cup of tea. The term flogging a dead horse springs to mind.

Anyway, Johnny Depp has been chucked off the new Fantastic Beasts movie after losing his libel case against The Sun newspaper. How this fits in with what has already been shot I’m not entirely sure, since the film has actually already begun shooting in the UK in September and was scheduled to continue filming in February.

The current working theory is that the role of Grindelwald, the character played by Depp in the previous films, will be recast and all the scenes involving the actor that have been shot thus far will be reshot with the new cast member. Who this new face will be remains a mystery, although there have been rumors that the studio will turn to Colin Farrell to take on the role, since he technically played the character in disguise during the original film. Tilda Swinton has also been suggested as a potential replacement.

The news does mean, however, that the film will be delayed, and as a result Warner Bros. have rescheduled from its expected release of November 2021 to sometime in the summer of 2022 – it’s worth noting, though, that Coronavirus may also have played a part in the films push back. 

For no reason at all, I’d also like to mention that Amber Heard is still cast in the upcoming Aquaman sequel.

Aquaman, of course, was directed by James Wan, who is perhaps best known for his work in the horror genre. Another horror director turned superhero helmer comes in the form of Scott Derrickson, who directed Marvel’s Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The sequel to Doctor Strange is being helmed by cult-favorite Sam Raimi, whose roots also lay within the horror genre, but Derrickson, it seems, isn’t done with the genre he once called home.

News this week broke that Derrickson is now attached to direct an upcoming Blumhouse horror, Black Phone. The film will be an adaptation of the horror novella by Joe Hill, son of Stephen King, and tells the story of “a dead cinephile, a lonely kid, an eight-foot-tall locust and a man locked in a basement stained with the blood of murdered children”.

And if that all sounds little heavy, I can assure you as a horror fan it sounds incredibly enticing. Blumhouse seem eager to get this one off the ground, as well, since they have already begun casting the project, with For All Mankind’s Mason Thames taking on a role alongside 11-year-old child actor Madeleine McGraw.

Staying on the horror theme for a moment, Colin Firth has this week signed on the dotted line to appear in an upcoming zombie-comedy currently titled New York Will Eat You Alive. The film will be an adaptation of the digital comic Zombie Brother and will be directed by Isn’t It Romantic’s Todd Straus-Schulson. Who Firth will be playing is yet unknown, as is the remainder of the cast. However, the film is being produced by none other than Channing Tatum, so it is possible we will see his name added to the cast last soon.

Firth, of course, has undergone something of a reinvention in more recent years, shedding his Mr Darcy shaped persona for something a little edgier. Another actor who seems keen to pull off a similar trick is Zac Efron, who is still perhaps best known to some audiences as the kid from High School Musical.

Efron will continue his transformation in a more dramatic actor with Anthony Hayes’ upcoming survival thriller Gold. The film will focus on Efron as one of two men who find a huge chunk of gold in the Australian outback. While the other man leaves to get the equipment required to dig the gold, Efron’s character remains to guard the find and will have to battle “desert elements, ravenous wild dogs and mysterious intruders, [and] the sinking suspicion that he has been left to die out there alone”.

This one sounds pretty good, if I’m being honest with you, so I’m quite excited to see this come together. I love a good survival thriller anyway, I actually think Efron has the chops to break through properly in a similar way as Robert Pattinson has done previously. – Depp, Firth, Efron: Weekly Round Up

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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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