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Ridley Scott moves forward with development on a ‘Gladiator’ sequel, which he plans to direct

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Gladiator
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Say what now? According to Deadline, Ridley Scott is moving forward with development on a sequel to his Oscar-winning 2000 film Gladiator, which he plans to direct from a script that is to be written by The Town scribe Peter Craig. The sequel will, of course, be sans Russell Crowe.

That’s not because Crowe doesn’t want to a return for a sequel, it’s just that, well, spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t seen this 18-year-old movie by now, his Maximus Decimus Meridius bites the dust in the previous film. So who will be taking the lead this time around?

The report notes that “Gladiator 2 will follow the continuing story of Lucius,” who was the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and the nephew of Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the villainous son of Marcus Aurelius who ends up facing off against Maximus in the gladiator ring.

Apparently, Maximus “left a strong impression on the young Lucius” after defeating Commodus at the end of the original Gladiator, and so he’ll be picking up a sword and shield himself in the sequel to follow in the footsteps of the late commander-turned-gladiator.

Frankly, these days, sword-and-sandal movies, which once prospered during the golden age of Hollywood, have had a tough time winning over the interest of modern-day audiences and pretty much flop at the box office every time a studio tries to push one out. However, a sequel to a film as beloved as Gladiator could turn that around for the genre.

Scott has a lot on his plate at the moment, including his first ever TV series for TNT, which he’s currently shooting in South Africa, and a drama about photojournalist Lyndsey Addario starring Scarlett Johansson, so it’s currently unclear as to when he’ll get around to doing this Gladiator sequel.

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Taika Waititi signs on to direct ‘Thor 4’ as the live-action ‘Akira’ movie gets delayed indefinitely

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In a move that will force him to put the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of Akira on the backburner indefinitely, Taika Waititi has officially closed a deal to direct Thor 4 for Marvel Studios, sources tell Silver Screen Beat.

The development is a rather surprising one considering Akira — which has been in development at Warner Bros. ever since the studio acquired the rights to the popular Japanese manga in 2002 — was as close as it ever was to getting made.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, pre-production on Akira had been moving along smoothly — despite some concerns with the script that were later resolved — and Waititi had been meeting with and testing young Japanese actors for roles in the film as part of a worldwide search for talent.

But now that the project has experienced yet another major setback, execs can only hope that Waititi will pick up where he left off once he completes Thor 4, which will once again see Chris Hemsworth reprise his role as the titular God of Thunder.

Waititi is currently prepping to hop on the fall festival circuit with his World War II-era satire Jojo Rabbit, which he wrote, directed, and stars in alongside Scarlett Johansson, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, and Sam Rockwell. Fox Searchlight will release the film on October 18.

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Warner Bros.’ live-action ‘Barbie’ movie taps Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach as writers

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As Greta Gerwig prepares to debut her sophomore effort Little Women on the fall festival circuit in the coming months, the Oscar-nominee has been tapped to co-write and possibly direct Warner Bros.’ live-action Barbie movie.

Gerwig will pen the script for Barbie along with Noah Baumbach, while Gerwig is also likely to helm the high-profile project, though negotiations are still underway and no deals have been finalized as of yet.

Margot Robbie, who is on board to star as the iconic Mattel toy, will also serve as a producer on the film along with Tom Ackerly for LuckyChap Entertainment and Robbie Brenner of Mattel Films. Josey McNamara and Ynon Kreiz are also producing.

Gerwig is currently in post-production on her star-studded Little Women adaptation for Columbia. The film, which is expected to be a strong contender in the forthcoming awards season race, stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep.

Baumbach, who last directed The Meyerowitz Stories, is also in post-production on his untitled dramedy for Netflix starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple who are getting divorced. The cast also includes Dern, Merritt Wever, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, and Azhy Robertson.

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Damien Chazelle shops new project ‘Babylon’ to studios as Emma Stone circles lead role

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Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning writer-director of the 2016 musical La La Land, has begun shopping around the script for his next project titled Babylon, which is yet another story set in Los Angeles that will this time focus on the film industry in the 1920s.

While multiple studios have shown interest in the project — including Paramount and Netflix — Chazelle is most likely to bring Babylon to Lionsgate, the same studio that distributed La La Land and ran its extensive awards season campaign that earned the film a whopping 14 Oscar nominations.

Although specific plot details are being kept tightly under wraps for the time being, the film is said to be a drama set during the Roaring Twenties that examines Hollywood’s transition from silent films to talkies and will feature characters both fictional and not.

Emma Stone, who an Oscar for performance opposite Ryan Gosling in La La Land, is circling the lead role in the film — which is rumored to be iconic Hollywood “It” girl Clara Bow — though talks are still preliminary and any type of formal negotiations have yet to get underway.

Despite the attention that Babylon has caught, though, studios are hesitant to move on the project given its rather lengthy 180-page-long script and estimated $80 million to $100 million production budget, which some execs feel might be too big of a risky investment for their studios.

Chazelle, who last directed the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man starring Gosling, is currently working on two other projects in addition to Babylon, including the musical drama series The Eddy for Netflix and an untitled drama series for Apple’s forthcoming service service.

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