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MGM is developing a sequel to last year’s ‘Tomb Raider’ reboot with Ben Wheatley directing

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Despite underperforming at the domestic box office and receiving fairly mixed reviews from critics, MGM, much to our surprise, has opted to move forward with development on a sequel to last year’s Tomb Raider reboot, according to Deadline.

Indeed, Alicia Vikander will be reprising her role as the raider of tombs (the tomb raider, if you will) Lara Croft, but the real kicker here is the fact that MGM has tapped none other than Kill List and A Field in England director Ben Wheatley to helm the sequel from a script written by his wife and collaborator Amy Jump.

Wheatley is currently in post-production on his film new Netflix film Rebecca starring Lily James and Armie Hammer and once he has that project in the bag he’ll commence production on Tomb Raider 2 early next year in anticipation of a March 19, 2021 release date.

What a bunch of very strange developments we have here. A sequel to the movie that didn’t even cross the $60 million mark at the domestic box office despite its $94 million production budget? Surprising. Hiring the writer of Kill List and A Field in England to script it? Very surprising. Hiring the director of Kill List and A Field in England to direct it? Shocking.

But hey, I’m not complaining! As someone who wasn’t particularly impressed by the first of the Tomb Raider reboots, the involvement of Wheatley and Jump has certainly piqued and restored my interest in this franchise and I’m certainly more than curious to see what they bring to the table here.

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David Fincher, Robert Towne begin development on ‘Chinatown’ prequel series at Netflix

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Chinatown
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A prequel series to Roman Polanski‘s 1974 neo-noir classic Chinatown from David Fincher and Robert Towne is in early development at Netflix, Silver Screen Beat has learned.

Per Deadline, Fincher and Towne — the latter of the two having won an Oscar for his screenplay for the film starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway — have closed deals to begin working on a pilot script for the series.

The duo will also executive produce the project, which centers around “a young Jake Gittes (played by Nicholson in Polanski’s film) as he plies his business in a town where the wealthy and corruption involves areas like land, oil, and gangs.”

Fincher has reportedly expressed interest in directing an episode of the yet-to-be-titled series, though his current deal with the streamer only includes the pilot script and his handling of directorial duties would have to be negotiated into the agreement.

Netflix has developed quite a relationship with Fincher over the past several years, having collaborated with the director on series such as Love, Death & Robots, House of Cards, and Mindhunter.

Fincher’s latest collaboration with Netflix — a feature film about the life of Hollywood screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz titled Mank — stars Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, and Lily Collins, and is expected to begin shooting in Los Angeles later this month.

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Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver to be honored with acting award at Santa Barbara Film Festival

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Marriage Story Scarlett Johansson Adam Driver
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The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced Monday that it has selected Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as the recipients of this year’s Outstanding Performers of the Year award for their work in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.

The two stars — both of whom are considered to be major players this awards season — will be honored during a ceremony at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on January 17, where Martin Scorsese and Renée Zellweger are also set to receive awards.

“Scarlett and Adam have had such admirable arcs to their careers — making smart choices between independent films and big Hollywood franchises. They both are such lyrical performers, imbuing their acting with keen sensitivity and intellect. Together in Baumbach’s Marriage Story, they regaled us with their best work to date,” SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said.

Previous recipients of the award include Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney for I, Tonya, and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone for La La Land.

Marriage Story, which features an ensemble cast that also includes that likes of Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, and Merritt Wever, is currently playing in theaters in select cities and will begin streaming on Netflix next month on December 6.

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Nicolas Cage to play Nicolas Cage in meta drama ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’

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Nicolas Cage
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In a rather extremely unexpected development, Lionsgate is close to nearing a deal to acquire the rights to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a film that will find Nicolas Cage playing none other than Nicolas Cage, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film, written by Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten, centers on a fictionalized version of Cage who “is desperate to get a role in a new Tarantino movie while also dealing with a strained relationship with his teenage daughter.”

The plot only gets more bizarre from there, however, as Cage “is also under a mountain of debt and finds himself forced to make an appearance at the birthday party of a Mexican billionaire, who happens to be a fan of Cage’s work.”

It isn’t long, though, before Cage finds out that the billionaire “is actually a drug cartel kingpin who has kidnapped the daughter of a Mexican presidential nominee,” and that he will need to go undercover for the United States government to gather intelligence.

Gormican and Etten’s script reportedly features references to Cage classics such as Face-Off, Leaving Las Vegas, and Gone in 60 Seconds, and is tonally similar to JCVD starring John Claude Van Damme and Get Shorty starring John Travolta.

Cage is currently in talks to join the meta movie project, which has Gromican attached to direct and Kevin Turen to produce along with Cage and Mike Nilon.

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