New Projects: ‘Star Wars’, Kathryn Bigelow, and The Blob

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Disney has become well aware that even releasing just the tiniest hint of news about Star Wars is enough to send the blogs into a feeding frenzy. One of those bad habits is studios staking a claim on a calendar date far out in the future. And they’ve now revealed that the release date for Star Wars: Episode VIII will be May 26, 2017. Rian Johnson has also officially been confirmed to direct the film, with Josh Trank in line to direct yet another standalone film. No word on a subtitle for Episode VIII just yet, but one of the other unknown, nebulous Star Wars projects does; the first of the Star Wars spinoffs starring Felicity Jones is now known as Rogue One. I’ll leave that to you in the interwebs to figure out what that vague title actually refers to.

KathrynBigelow

After making two of this generation’s defining war films, Kathryn Bigelow can do just about any project she wants, and for a while it seems like she’s been juggling several. According to Thompson on Hollywood, the first starred Tom Hardy in a film called True American (perfect, cast a British actor in a film called True American), about a Bangladesh Air Force Officer. That film had the support of Annapurna Pictures and Megan Ellison and was thought to be her next film. She also had Triple Frontier, a South American crime drama compared to the intertwining stories in Traffic, but that project now appears to be shelved. But it turns out she has settled on the story of Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl was an Army soldier captured and tortured by the Taliban after wandering from the base. Upon his return Stateside, the media started to turn on him, questioning his patriotism, service and political beliefs (maybe this film should be called True American). It’ll be interesting to see Bigelow turn some of her attention to the homefront in addition to overseas.

In January, it was reported that Simon West (Con Air) was attached to direct a remake of the ’50s, B-movie monster film The Blob. Speaking with Den of Geek, West revealed how he intends to make the film more like Alien and Predator by taking the makings and workings of The Blob monster more sci-fi. “The blob itself will be more sophisticated, more along the lines of Alien and Predator and things like that – much more science-based, the way Jurassic Park made you believe you could bring back dinosaurs with a bit of DNA from a mosquito,” West said. “This will be much more explained on where the blob comes from and how it works. It’ll be a much more sophisticated creature – because it is a monster movie rather than a horror in that sense.”

Despite the sexual assault claims on Woody Allen, he’s a director who can still get just about any star he wants in Hollywood to work with him. His output over the last few decades, even if not in terms of consistent quality, has been staggering. Deadline is reporting that joining him on his latest are newbies Kristen Stewart and Bruce Willis as well as former Allen collaborator Jesse Eisenberg, who should in theory make a perfectly nebbish Allen surrogate. Allen’s next film will be Irrational Man with Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix, and he’s making his first foray into television with an Amazon original series.

Elizabeth Banks is set to play the tennis giant Billie Jean King alongside Paul Giamatti as Bobby Riggs in an upcoming HBO film. According to Deadline, the currently untitled film will recreate the 1976 Battle of the Sexes, in which King defeated the retired Riggs in what was the first ever match-up between a man and a woman on a tennis court. Tom Hanks is set to produce the project and David Auburn (Proof) will write the screenplay.

Gael Garcia Bernal, fresh off starring in Jon Stewart’s Rosewater, will take a seat in the directing chair once again to follow-up his 2007 directorial debut Deficit. Variety is reporting that Chicuarotes will be a “very dark comedy” about teens in Mexico City trying to live above their economic means. Bernal has directed a number of shorts in between these films, and he’s also led the development of several film festivals and other projects within Mexico.

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