'The Accountant' helmer Gavin O'Connor will write and direct the 'Suicide Squad' sequel
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‘The Accountant’ helmer Gavin O’Connor is writing and directing the ‘Suicide Squad’ sequel

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Following an extensive search to find a replacement for David Ayer as the director of Suicide Squad 2, a search that once had Mel Gibson in talks to take the gig, Deadline is reporting that The Accountant helmer Gavin O’Connor is finalizing a deal with Warner Bros. to write and direct the upcoming sequel.

As per the original report, O’Connor is stepping in for Ayer after the latter decided not to return for Suicide Squad 2 in favor of turning his attention to Gotham City Sirens, a DC spinoff movie centering on Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn character. Once the deal is finished, O’Connor will begin crafting a script with his frequent writing partner Anthony Tambakis, whose credits include Warrior and Jane Got a Gun.

Despite being panned by critics upon its release last August, earning it a 25% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and prompting a number of angry DC fanboys to sign a Change.org petition to shut the site down, Suicide Squad was ultimately a box office success, grossing more than $745 million worldwide.

It’s unclear as to when Suicide Squad 2 is scheduled to begin production, especially since the entire cast is expected to return and, well, they’re all pretty busy people. Will Smith, who plays Deadshot, one of the members of the dangerous crew of criminals assembled by the U.S. government to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity, is in England shooting Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, with one other project lined up after that, while Robbie is currently in production on Mary Queen of Scots, so one could only imagine how the studio plans on getting them all together for the sequel.

On the other hand, O’Connor has been hard at work developing The Accountant 2, which he will return to direct and Ben Affleck will be back to star in, so, most likely, we won’t see Suicide Squad 2 begin shooting by mid-to-late 2018, or the end of next year, at the very latest. One thing’s for certain, though; we’re not excited for this at all.

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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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Taika Waititi Thor 4 Akira release date
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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 Babylon
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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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