Plemons, Paddington, Phoenix: Weekly Round Up – So, perhaps the biggest movie news this week to come from the old Hollywood machine is that a sequel for everyone’s favorite marmalade loving bear, Paddington 3 is officially in the works. Based on the classic children’s character who first appeared in the book A Bear Called Paddington in 1958, Paddington 3 will mark, unsurprisingly, the third big screen outing for the loveable Peruvian, and is sure to be hotly anticipated given the character’s two previous cinematic outings netted a tidy $280 million and $225 million worldwide (that’s a total of over $500 million combined and is not to be scoffed at).
Still, despite the universally welcome reception both Paddington films received – they were a hit with audiences and critics alike, something that is becoming ever more unusual in these days of cinematic universes and studio fan pandering – this third movie is sure to be something of an uncertainty given director Paul King, the man who helmed both the previous installments, has not only stated that he won’t be returning to oversee a third but has more recently announced that he himself is working on his own new project, a prequel to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory entitled simply Wonka.
Now, brushing aside the fact that literally no one on the face of the earth has ever read Dahl’s classic and wondered what the reclusive chocolatier was like as a child, King’s absence from a third Paddington movie does raise some alarm bells. Of course, it’s worth being cautiously optimistic, given how brilliant the first two are, but I am inclined to feel that a big part of what made the first two Paddington films as good as they were, was King’s directorial style and his unique approach to the material.
As a property it could so easily stray over the line and land in – shudder – James Corden as Peter Rabbit territory. In fact, I’ll hold my hand up and admit that when I first saw the trailer for the original Paddington outing, I dismissed it as a cynical and heartless studio cash grab, destined to disappoint purists and newcomers alike… I was happy to be proven wrong.
But without the inventiveness of Paul King’s singular voice, in which he seemingly blends the creativeness of early Disney animations with the oddity of Wes Anderson in a uniquely British way, is it then possible that something integral to the Paddington machine could be lost without his involvement. After all, what makes the first two Paddington films work so well is that there appears to be not only a genuine love for the character, but an understanding of what the character is and how he should work in an increasingly isolationist Britain.
What does a Paddington without that focus and understanding look like? And, perhaps more importantly, who will be up to the challenge of taking on Paddington in a post-Brexit Britain? Are we about see a Paddington movie where Mr Curry gets his wish and Paddington is shipped off back to Peru? I don’t know. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Now, if there is one filmmaker we can be certain will never shy away from tackling difficult and complex contemporary topics with masterful skill and genre thrills, it is Jordan Peele.
Peele, of course, brought us the groundbreaking horror of the academy award winning Get Out and then followed it up quickly with Us, which like its predecessor was aa critical and commercial success. Since then, though, he has taken a step back from directing and instead turned his attention predominantly to producing – Nia DeCosta’s Candyman reboot is one of my most anticipated films of the year – and hosting the reboot of The Twilight Zone. The all looks set to change, however, as his third film, an as yet untitled “horror event title”, seems to be gaining some real traction.
This week we learned that Jesse Plemons, who you may recognize from, among other things, Fargo and I’m Thinking of Ending Things, had to turn down a lead role in the project due to scheduling commitments with another project Plemons signed up for this week, Apple TV+’s Martin Scorsese movie, Killers of the Flower Moon.
Plemons on People TV:
But Plemons isn’t the only potential cast member we learned out this week, as we also got news that Daniel Kaluuya, who starred in Get Out, is currently in talks to reunite with the director, although the deal is yet to be finalized, and that should he come on board he will be joined by actor and singer Keke Palmer.
Any other details surrounding the film remain a mystery at this point but given the pedigree behind the camera and the intrigue in front of it, you can be sure to hear more about it in the coming weeks and months.
Another filmmaking who is often stated to be making ways in the horror genre is Ari Aster, who wrote and directed both Hereditary and Midsommar for A24. Despite his somewhat divisive reputation, Aster has become something of a poster-boy for that frustrating of all sub-genres, “elevated horror” (frustrating because, well… it just. Doesn’t. Fucking. Exist).
It would seem A24 are keen to reunite with the director, though, and for his third film Aster has cast none other than Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role. The film will be titled Disappointment Blvd., and while details are thin on the ground for this one, we do know that it is being described as “an intimate, decades-spanning portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time”.
If you’re confused by that description, then you’re about where I’m at. But if you want to be even more convinced, then keep reading, because the film was described by an entirely different report as being a “surrealist horror film set in an alternative present”.
Now, I’ll admit, I’m not a massive Aster fan – Midsommar is good, Hereditary is so dull and predictable outside of THAT scene – but I must say that I’m very curious about this one. Luckily, it would seem, we don’t have to wait too long to see what it’s all about, as the film will reportedly begin shooting later in the year. – Paddington, Plemons, Phoenix: Weekly Round Up
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