John Cena in talks to join 'The Suicide Squad' - Silver Screen Beat
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John Cena is in talks to join Margot Robbie and Idris Elba in James Gunn’s ‘Suicide Squad’

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John Cena
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With pre-production on James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad beginning to ramp up, sources close to the production of the film tell Variety that wrestler-turned-actor John Cena is in talks to join Margot Robbie and Idris Elba in the upcoming DC Comics adaptation.

Cena is believed to be playing Peacemaker, a role that was originally intended to go to Dave Bautista, who was forced to turn down the job due to scheduling conflicts, according to one studio insider.

Originally a Charlton Comics character, Peacemaker was created by Joe Gill and Pat Boyette and made his DC Comics debut in Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 in 1985. Utilizing his arsenal of special non-lethal weapons, Peacemaker is an extreme vigilante hellbent on bringing peace to the world.

Gunn is writing and directing The Suicide Squad, which will also star Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Idris Elba, who was originally meant to play Deadshot, in an unspecified role.

Charles Roven and Peter Safran are producing the film, with Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder serving as executive producers. The project is expected to commence production in the fall.

The Suicide Squad will open in theaters on August 6, 2021.

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

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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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