Week in Review: Rick Baker announces his retirement

Rick Baker

Special effects legend Rick Baker formally announced his retirement this week. Baker cited a “cheap and fast” philosophy in the movie industry that was at odds with his desire to ensure things got done right as the catalyst for his retirement. Baker’s work stretches across several prominent films, from An American Werewolf in London to Videodrome to The Rocketeer to Ed Wood to Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes and Tropic Thunder. Baker also worked on the Men in Black films and Michael Jackson’s famous “Thriller” music video. The 2014 feature Maleficent will now stand as his last work.

Baker will, however, be auctioning off his famous work via The Prop Store, beginning today.

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain and Amy Schumer are poised to work together on a new comedy. The Tracking Board has reported that Chastain, known mostly for her dramatic work in features such as The Tree of Life and Zero Dark Thirty, has signed on to the lead role in the upcoming comedy Plus One. The movie is scripted by April Prosser, who has previously been an assistant to the writers on Human Giant, and has also worked on shows like Charmed and The Middleman.

Plus One revolves around Rachel, a woman whose long term relationship just ended. With most of her friends now married, Rachel turns to her friend Summer to help her navigate the single life. With Chastain playing Rachel, the studio is in talks with Amy Schumer to play Summer, and is waiting to pick a director until after the role has been officially cast. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are onboard as producers.

Chastain will next be seen on the big screen in Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak, while Amy Schumer will be appearing in this summer’s Trainwreck, with the third season of her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer currently airing.

RZA’s next directorial effort has found its leading lady in the form of Azealia Banks. Deadline reports that Banks has signed on to the titular role in the upcoming film Coco, in what will be the first leading role and acting debut for the hip-hop star. Coco will also be the second film from RZA, following 2012’s The Man With The Iron Fists, and will follow a twentysomething character named Coco who wants to pursue a career as a rapper, and finds a way to hone her talent while attending college on the wishes of her parents. Common, Lorraine Toussaint, Jill Scott, and Lucien Laviscount also star. The script comes from Nicole Jefferson, who will be making her feature film writing debut with the project.

Warner Bros’ live-action reboot of the animated series Jonny Quest has found a director. The adaptation of the cartoon, which ran from 1964 to 1965, has tapped Robert Rodriguez to take over the project, and he will assume directing duties along with co-writing the script with Terry Rossio. Rossio has been involved in numerous screenplays over the years, including Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and The Lone Ranger. Rodriguez was last seen in theatres with the 2014 sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

Jonny Quest revolves around the adventures of the titular character, a young boy who travels around the world with his father, his friend Hadji, and his father’s bodyguard and his daughter, getting into numerous adventures. There is no word yet on casting for the central roles, though Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson have been previously rumoured for the cast.

In Casting News, Tilda Swinton is in talks to play The Ancient One in Marvel’s upcoming feature Doctor Strange. Will Forte has signed on to Keanu, the upcoming comedy feature starring Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele in the lead roles. Forte joins previously announced castmembers Gabrielle Union and Method Man. BJ Novak has joined John Lee Hancock’s The Founder, a biopic of McDonald’s executive Ray Kroc. Jackie Earle Haley and Mark Boone Jr. have joined Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation.

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