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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ production on hold as the search for a new director continues

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Guardians of the Galaxy
MARVEL STUDIOS

Following the firing of director James Gunn last month, production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is temporarily being put on hold as Disney and Marvel “regroup” and continue their search for a replacement for Gunn, sources close to the project tell The Hollywood Reporter.

A small group of crew members who had assembled for pre-production in Atlanta have reportedly been “dismissed” from the project by the studio and “are free to look for new work” in the meantime. Cameras were expected to start rolling on Guardians 3 in the winter.

Gunn was fired by Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn in July after old, offensive tweets the filmmaker wrote nearly a decade ago began to resurface as part of a smear campaign spearheaded by right-wing blogger and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich.

Earlier this month, 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, but Disney has no plans to reinstate him as director.

Although Disney never officially announced a release date for the next Guardians movie, it was widely speculated that the film would be released on May 1, 2020. But given the delay in production, the timeline for the film will undoubtedly grow, pushing the release back much further.

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Taika Waititi’s ‘Next Goal Wins’ rounds out its cast as production gets underway in Hawaii

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Taika Waititi Next Goal Wins
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Fox Searchlight announced Wednesday that it has acquired worldwide rights to Next Goal Wins, writer-director Taika Waititi’s follow-up to his World War II satire Jojo Rabbit, which opened in theaters last month.

Production is currently underway in Honolulu, Hawaii on the film, which stars Michael Fassbender and Elisabeth Moss and tells the story of the American Samoa soccer team, who suffered the most devastating loss in World Cup history, losing to Australia 31-0 in 2001. With the 2014 World Cup approaching, the team recruits a down on his luck, maverick coach (Fassbender) to help turn their fate around.

In addition to Fassbender and Moss, the film’s cast also includes the likes of Oscar Kightley, Beulah Koale, Lehi Falepapalangi, Uli Latukefu, Rachel House, and Kaimana in their debut role.

“I’ve just started production on my next film Next Goal Wins,” Waititi said in a statement. “We have such an amazing cast and crew behind this film, and I’m stoked to be partnering once again with the lovely people at Fox Searchlight Pictures.”

Waititi wrote the script for Next Goal Wins along with Iain Morris, based on the 2014 documentary of the same name. Jonathan Cavendish, Garrett Basch, and Waititi are producers, with Andy Serkis, Will Tennant, and Kathryn Dean executive producing.

“Taika is an incredible talent and master at bringing honesty and humanity to the surface in any story. We are thrilled to be working with him again on such an extraordinary true story of perseverance in the face of defeat. He has brought together a terrific group of actors, craftspeople and sports players to bring this unique story to life,” said Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum, presidents of production at Fox Searchlight.

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Ben Affleck struggles with alcohol addiction, recovery in Gavin O’Connor’s ‘The Way Back’ trailer

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The Way Back
WARNER BROS.

Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for The Way Back, which finds director Gavin O’Connor reuniting with his The Accountant star Ben Affleck for what appears to be a heavier sort of sports drama that explores alcohol addiction and recovery.

Affleck stars here as Jack Cunningham, a one-time high school sports prodigy whose life is spiraling downward due to the alcoholism that cost him his marriage and any hope for a better life for himself.

However, Jack’s opportunity for a better life eventually comes when he’s asked to go back to his alma mater to coach the basketball team, which has been underperforming and desperately needs new leadership in order to succeed this season.

Slowly but surely, the team starts to get their act together and manages to start winning some games, proving Jack’s ability to coach, but whether that’s enough to help him cope with his addiction and set him on the road to redemption remains to be seen.

Brad Ingelsby scripted the film, which is produced by O’Connor along with Gordon Gray, Jennifer Todd, and Ravi Mehta. Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, Janina Gavankar, and Glynn Turman also star alongside Affleck.

The Way Back opens in theaters March 6, 2020.

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Spike Lee to direct ‘Prince of Cats,’ a hip-hop retelling of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ set in the 1980s

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Spike Lee Prince of Cats
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Spike Lee has been set to direct Legendary’s adaptation of Prince of Cats, the graphic novel hip-hop retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in 1980s Brooklyn, New York, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Lee will work with Prince of Cats author Ron Wimberly and screenwriter Selwyn Seyfu Hinds on rewriting the original draft of the script, which “is described as a 1980s hip-hop take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, with the tragic star-crossed love story seen through the eyes of Tybalt, Juliet’s angry and duel-loving cousin.”

Janet and Kate Zucker of Zucker Productions are producing the film, with Legendary’s Jon Silk and Ali Mendes overseeing the production for the studio. Casting is expected to get underway some time early next year.

Lee most recently directed last year’s BlacKkKlansman, which earned him a number of Oscar nominations — including Best Picture — and a win for Best Adapted Screenplay. He’s currently in post-production on the thriller Da 5 Bloods starring Chadwick Boseman.

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