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James Gunn is in talks to direct ‘Suicide Squad 2’ months after being hired as screenwriter

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Months after being fired by Disney as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 following what seemed to be a targeted smear campaign by right-wing media figures, THR is reporting that James Gunn is officially set to return to the director’s chair with DC’s forthcoming Suicide Squad film.

Indeed, Gunn, who was hired by Warner Bros. last October to begin writing the screenplay for what is being titled The Suicide Squad, is now in active negotiations to direct the film, which will not be a direct sequel to David Ayer’s 2016 film but rather a complete relaunch of the DC franchise.

“Sources say that Gunn’s focus is to take the franchise in a new direction with a mostly all-new cast of characters and actors,” writes THR. “Sources also say that the project is also very much rooted in Gunn’s vibe, as seen in the Guardians movies.”

Charles Roven and Peter Safran are producing The Suicide Squad with Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder serving as executive producers.

Despite being panned by critics, 2016’s Suicide Squad, which has a measly 27% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was actually a massive box office success, earning more than $325 million domestic and more than $746 million worldwide.

The film starred Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Will Smith as Deadshot, Jared Leto as the Joker, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, and Karen Fukuhara as Katana. It’s currently unclear as to whether or not the cast will reprise their roles for the new Suicide Squad film.

The Suicide Squad will hit theaters on August 6, 2021.

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Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in talks to star in drama about Black Panther Party leader

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Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, who both starred in Jordan Peele’s psychological thriller Get Out in 2017, are set to reunite for the upcoming film Jesus Was My Homeboy, a historical drama detailing the controversial death of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton.

The film, which is being produced by Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and Charles King, will reportedly “follow the rise and untimely demise of Hampton as seen through O’Neal’s eyes,” according to Deadline.

Shaka King is directing and producing Jesus Was My Homeboy, working from a script he co-wrote along with Will Berson.

Kaluuya is in talks to play Hampton, while play Stanfield is in talks to play William O’Neal, a federal government informant who infiltrated the Black Panthers and provided authorities with key details about Hampton the layout of Hampton’s apartment.

Hampton and Mark Clark, another Black Panther Party member, would later be killed in Hampton’s Chicago apartment by a tactical unit of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, who were carrying out orders from Chicago police and the FBI in December 1969.

While their deaths were ruled to be a “justifiable homicide,” a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of relatives of Hampton and Clark found otherwise, and the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the federal government were required to pay $1.85 million to the plaintiffs.

Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Kim Roth, and Poppy Hanks are executive producing the film, which is expected to begin production later this year.

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New photo teases Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys in Marielle Heller’s Mister Rogers biopic

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
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Tristar Pictures has released a new image from A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the upcoming Mister Rogers biopic starring Tom Hanks in the role of the beloved children’s television show host. The film comes courtesy of Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller.

Per the film’s official synopsis, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is “a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod,” who you may have seen featured in the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? last year.

Written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, the story begins when a jaded magazine writer (Matthew Rhys) accepts an assignment to write a profile piece on Mister Rogers, following him as he overcomes his skepticism about Rogers and learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor in the process.

Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf, and Youree Henley are producing the film, which also stars Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson, Enrico Colatoni, Maryann Plunkett, Tammy Blanchard, Wendy Makkena, Sakina Jaffrey, Carmen Cusack, Noah Harpster, and Maddie Corman.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will open in theaters just in time for awards season on November 22, 2019.

You can check out the newly released image above.

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Amid an intense wave of backlash, the Academy has decided to air all Oscar categories live

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In the wake of an intense wave of backlash, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday that they will be reversing their controversial decision to present four technical categories their awards during commercial breaks at the 91st Oscars ceremony next Sunday.

“The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling,” the AMPAS board of governors said in a statement. “All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format.”

Sources familiar with the matter tell Silver Screen Beat that the Academy’s change of heart came after AMPAS president John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson met with members of the group’s cinematography branch Thursday evening to discuss the decision, which did not go over well with many Hollywood filmmakers and craftspeople.

“Relegating these essential cinematic crafts to lesser status in this 91st Academy Awards ceremony is nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession,” read an open letter to the Academy signed by dozens of industry figures, including directors Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee and cinematographers Roger Deakins and Rachel Morrison.

The letter ends with a quote from Academy member Seth Rogen, who tweeted earlier this week, “What better way to celebrate achievements in film than to NOT publicly honour the people whose job it is to film things.”

The 91st Oscars will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 24 on ABC.

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