Mikkelsen, Johnson, Krasinski: Weekly Round Up

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Okay, so once again I’m going to attempt to avoid putting my own personal bias into my coverage of this story, but apparently, after letting Johnny Deep go from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, in a move that caused some controversy in and of itself, Warner Bros. studios are now looking to recast the role Depp would have played – Grindelwald – with a new actor. And this week we learned that Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is currently in talks to be that actor.

Mikkelsen is no stranger to playing villains, of course. Alongside turns as James Bond baddie Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, the actor is perhaps best known for his portrayal of psychotic psychiatrist cannibal, Doctor Hannibal Lecter, is the absolutely excellent TV show Hannibal. No doubt this news will come as a pleasant surprise for many fans of the franchise.

Once again, I’d like to reiterate that I’m not going to let my own bias impact my coverage of this particular story, but I will say this; DON’T DO IT MADS! DON’T DO IT! YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS! PLEASE! JUST DO HANNIBAL SEASON 4 INSTEAD!

Anyway, um… yeah.

Jeff Nichols quite quickly made a name for himself as an interesting director of original and exciting indie films with his output, including films such as the excellent Michael Shannon starring drama Take Shelter, the brilliant Matthew McConaughey starring Mud, and the superb but underseen 80s throwback Midnight Special, but his last film was way back in 2016.

Having sat the last four years out (who could blame him, right?) Nichols is set to return to the screen and make a start on his first franchise film after working solely on his own original content.

Don’t worry though, the director hasn’t gone all superhero on us, instead Nichols will be working on a spin-off to the hugely success A Quiet Place, and, presumably, A Quiet Place Part II. Of course, Part II was original slated for release in March of this year, but due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, the film has had its release date pushed back to 2021, almost an entire year later.

Way back during March when the film was original scheduled for release, director of both Quite Place movies, John Krasinski (who also stars in the films alongside his wife, Emily Blunt) was quoted as saying he had a concept in line for a third entry to the series. Now, it is currently not yet known whether the concept Krasinski was referring to is the same one Nichols has come on board to direct, or whether the Nichols project is an entirely new film set within the same universe.

It’s worth noting, I think, that the film is being referred to as a spin-off and not simply a sequel, suggesting that we may be about to explore the A Quiet Place Cinematic Universe. It makes sense, considering the films premise involves a post-apocalyptic world in which humans are stalked by killer aliens with super-hearing. I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to leap across the country – or even the world – and explore what someone else was up to during that time.

Speaking of horror movie spin-offs, do you guys remember The Scorpion King?

Well, for those of you who don’t; The Scorpion King was a character first introduced in the God awful The Mummy Returns (a sequel to the totally fantastic pure classic that is The Mummy) as that film’s main foe. The character was ultimately taken out by everyone’s favorite hero, Brendan Fraser, but that didn’t stop him from being revived in five of his own spin-off movies.

But, perhaps what the character is best known for is being Dwayne Johnsons feature film acting debut. Johnson returned to play the role in the first spin-off before stepping down from the franchise to pursue other things. Over the course of the next four movies the character has been played by three different actors: Michael Copon, Victor Webster, and Zach McGowan. Now, that should really tell you everything you need to know about the quality of those films.

Despite his distance from the franchise, Johnson is now reportedly working with Universal to reboot the character. His Seven Bucks Productions is partnering with the studio, and they are currently looking for yet another actor to take on the role. Now, although there is very little known at this point, we do know that the film will be set in “modern times” and that the script is being written by Jonathan Herman, who wrote the Oscar nominated screenplay for Straight Outta Compton, and who is also working with Universal on their upcoming Scarface reboot.

This one is weird. Part of it sounds good, part of it sounds bad, none of it sound great, but most of it sounds so bad it’s brilliant. I’d be interested to see if Johnson does decide to appear in some other role, and Herman’s involvement suggests at least a certain level of quality. I guess we’ll have to wait and say.

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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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