Following the death of Burt Reynolds earlier this month, Deadline reports that Quentin Tarantino has replaced the late actor with Reynolds’ longtime friend Bruce Dern in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which revolves around the story of the infamous Manson family murders that took place in the summer of 1969.
Dern, who previously worked with Tarantino on his last feature, The Hateful Eight, will take over the role of George Sphan, “a near-blind 80-year-old man who rented out his L.A. ranch to be used as the location for Westerns. Manson convinced Spahn to allow him and his followers to live on the ranch, in the months before they murdered Tate and six others.”
However, Sphan wasn’t just some innocent, unsuspecting old geezer. As Deadline notes, in exchange for rent, “Manson coerced his female followers into hopping into bed with the ranch owner and serving as his seeing-eye guides” and that whenever Spahn touched Squeaky Fromme, a member of the Manson cult, she would make a squeaking noise, which is how she got her name. Fucking weird, right?
Dern joins an ensemble cast that also includes Leonardo DiCaprio as former Western TV star Rick Dalton, Brad Pitt as Dalton’s longtime stunt double Cliff Booth, Margot Robbie as actress Sharon Tate, Al Pacino as Hollywood agent Marvin Shwarz, Damian Lewis as iconic actor Steve McQueen, and Dakota Fanning as Squeaky Fromme.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will open in theaters on July 26, 2019—just weeks before the 50th anniversary of the murder of Tate and four other victims at her Hollywood Hills home at the hands of the Manson family.
Taika Waititi’s ‘Next Goal Wins’ rounds out its cast as production gets underway in Hawaii
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.
Ben Affleck struggles with alcohol addiction, recovery in Gavin O’Connor’s ‘The Way Back’ trailer
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.
Spike Lee to direct ‘Prince of Cats,’ a hip-hop retelling of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ set in the 1980s
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.