It’s been more than two weeks since Disney announced their decision to fire James Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after old, offensive tweets the filmmaker wrote nearly a decade ago began to resurface as part of a smear campaign led by right-wing blogger and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich. However, the discussion surrounding the company’s controversial decision hasn’t cooled down one bit.
Last week, the Guardians cast, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff, and Michael Rooker, all signed an open letter in support of Gunn, who was set to begin shooting the third installment in the critically acclaimed franchise this fall.
Bautista has been particularly vocal about Gunn’s firing, writing on Twitter yesterday that he will do what he is contractually obligated to do with Disney, but “Guardians without James Gunn is not what I signed up for” and that “it’s also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists.”
Cernovich was just one of the many people who actively promoted the fake “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory during the 2016 presidential election, which falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, were running a child sex trafficking ring out of a pizzeria called Comet Ping Pong in Washington D.C.
But what made Gunn a prime target for Cernovich’s latest smear campaign? It was his outspoken criticism of President Donald Trump, the entire current White House administration, and other Republican figures devoted to the “Make America Great Again” agenda. Some even saw Gunn’s firing as revenge for what happened to Roseanne Barr in a similar situation just a few months earlier.
In a recent interview with ShortList, Bautista talked about Gunn’s firing a bit more and revealed that if Marvel doesn’t use Gunn’s script for the next Guardians movie, he will begin exploring the option of being released from his contract with the studio.
“Nobody’s defending his tweets, but this was a smear campaign on a good man,” Bautista said. “I spoke to Chris Pratt the day after it happened and he’s a bit religious so he wanted time to pray and figure it out, but I was more like: fuck this. This is bullshit. James is one of the kindest, most decent people I’ve met.”
He added, “Where I’m at right now is that if [Marvel] don’t use that script, then I’m going to ask them to release me from my contract, cut me out or recast me. I’d be doing James a disservice if I didn’t.”
Despite the immense amount of backlash from fans and the film’s own stars, one source with insider knowledge tells Silver Screen Beat that, at this point, it doesn’t seem likely that Gunn will be rehired by Disney because the company “doesn’t want it to look like they can be pressured or pushed around” into making decisions.
If that really is the case, by responding to the demands of a radical right-winger like Cernovich and his horde of online trolls, Disney has already let the public know that they can be pushed around into making decisions, so what are they really worried about here?
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson save the world in a new ‘Men in Black: International’ trailer
Sony Pictures has released a new trailer for Men in Black: International, the newest installment in the long-dormant franchise that originally starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, which now finds Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in the lead roles.
MIB: International follows Agent H (Hemsworth) and Agent M (Thompson) as they carry out their usual duties of protecting the Earth from the alien scum of the universe. However, things become increasingly more dangerous for the pair when they’re assigned to their biggest mission yet: identifying a mole in the Men in Black organization.
In addition to Hemsworth and Thompson, the reboot also stars Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, and Emma Thompson, who reprises her role from Men in Black 3.
F. Gary Gray, who directed 2015’s Straight Outta Compton and 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, helmed MIB: International using a script written by Art Marcum and Matt Halloway, based on the Malibu Comic by Lowell Cunningham.
Men in Black franchise veterans Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald produced the film, with Steven Spielberg, E. Bennett Walsh, Riyoko Tanaka, David Beaubaire, Edward Cheng, Howard Chen, and Barry Sonnenfeld serving as executive producers.
Men in Black: International will hit theaters on June 14.
‘Bond 25’ reveals full cast and plot details, but no title, as production begins to get underway
In a special live streamed announcement on Thursday, the team behind Bond 25, including producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and director Cary Joji Fukunaga, revealed a number of key details about the long-awaited next chapter in the classic British spy franchise, stopping just short of the film’s title.
Fukunaga, who signed on to direct Bond 25 following the departure of Danny Boyle last year, confirmed the returning cast which, in addition to Daniel Craig in the titular role, also includes Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright.
As for the newcomers, Ana de Armas is set to join the cast along with Dali Benssalah, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen, and Rami Malek, who confirmed that he will be playing the film’s main villain, adding that he promises to make sure “that Mr. Bond does not have an easy ride in this.”
The film will find Bond having left active service and enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. However, his peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade wrote the screenplay for the movie along with Fukunaga, Scott Z. Burns, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with the latter two having taken the most recent pass at the script.
Production on Bond 25, which will commence on Sunday, April 28, will be based at Pinewood Studios in the UK and on location in London, Italy, Norway, and Jamaica, where today’s announcement took place at GoldenEye, the former home of Bond creator Ian Fleming.
“We’re thrilled to return to Jamaica with Bond 25, Daniel Craig’s fifth installment in the 007 series, where Ian Fleming created the iconic James Bond character and Dr. No and Live And Let Die were filmed,” Wilson and Broccoli said.
Bond 25 is set to be released in the U.K. on April 3, 2020 and April 8, 2020 in the U.S.
Lili Taylor and Stefania LaVie Owen to star in the coming-of-age indie drama ‘Paper Spiders’
Lili Taylor and Stefania LaVie Owen have been cast as the leads in Inon Shampanier’s indie drama Paper Spiders, a bittersweet story about coming-of-age in the shadow of mental illness. The film is expected to begin production in Syracuse, New York later this month.
Written by Inon and Natalie Shampanier, Paper Spiders follows Melanie (Owen), a high school senior struggling to help her mother Dawn (Taylor), whose paranoid delusions spiral out of control.
“I am thrilled to work with these incredibly talented actresses,” Inon Shampanier said in a statement. “Lili Taylor and Stefania Owen bring great tenderness and depth to this mother-daughter story.”
Anne Clements is producing Paper Spiders for Idiot Savant Pictures along with Ash Christian for Cranium Entertainment.
Taylor, repped by APA and Untitled Entertainment, was seen most recently in last year’s The Nun, where she reprised her role from the 2013 blockbuster horror hit The Conjuring. She can be seen next in the upcoming indie The Evening Hour.
Owen is repped by McKeon/Myones Entertainment and Paradigm Talent Agency and can currently be seen onscreen starring opposite Matthew McConaughey in Harmony Korine’s stoner comedy The Beach Bum. She’ll appear next in Netflix‘s thriller The Messiah.
Inon and Natalie Shampanier, whose previous credits include 2015’s Beautiful & Twisted and 2012’s The Millionaire Tour, are repped by Chris Sablan of Avenue 220 and attorney Jacob Shapira.