Associated Press AP

Sounds Like Tom Hardy Was Very Involved In Writing Venom 2

The superhero genre has been dominating the film world for years, with multiple studios attempting to create their own cinematic universes and compete for box office supremacy. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe continually breaks records, Sony was able to bring something unique to the table with Ruben Fleischer’s Venom. Director/actor Andy Serkis was recently announced to be helming the project, and it looks like star Tom Hardy will be intimately involved in the project’s writing.

Andy Serkis was confirmed as Venom 2‘s director just days ago, and shortly thereafter made an appearance at TCA to promote his role as the Ghost of Christmas Past in FX’s A Christmas Carol. He also briefly touched on his forthcoming director’s gig, revealing that the film’s star has been helping to write Venom‘s sequel. As he put it:

Well, this is exciting. Tom Hardy was an executive producer on the first Venom movie, in addition to playing his dual roles as Eddie Brock and the symbiote title character. He clearly knows the budding franchise well, and helped in forming the mysterious plot of Venom’s highly anticipated sequel.

CinemaBlend’s Nick Venable was there for Andy Serkis’ comments to TCA, which are sure to excite the many moviegoers who saw the first Venom in theaters. Heading into theaters, fans weren’t sure what they were going to be in for with Venom— especially given its poor critical performance. But Ruben Fleischer’s blockbuster really resonated with audiences, and made a ton of money at the box office.

Venom 2 was all but a sure thing, especially given the post-credits scene featuring Woody Harrelson’s Carnage. But it turns out that Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer wasn’t returning to the director’s seat, with the studio in need of a replacement for the follow-up movie. Andy Serkis was rumored for a few weeks before confirming it on social media.

Just what Venom 2‘s script entails is a mystery, but it’s exciting to see that the film’s star is so intimately involved in the story. Obviously Carnage will be part of the narrative, although it doesn’t look like Cletus Kasady had merged with that symbiote during Venom‘s mid-credits scene. It looks like we’ll get another origin story in that way, while Eddie continues living with his alter ego in San Francisco.

Michelle Williams’ Anne Weying is expected to return, having briefly merged with Venom herself. But she believes that Eddie is separated from his anti-hero partner, when he’s truly out there killing criminals. That lie is sure to factor into the narrative too, although the overall plot is a complete mystery. But it’s got Tom Hardy’s approval, and Andy Serkis is clearly excited to be attached to the project.

Venom 2 is currently set to arrive in theaters October 2, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Keep ‘Calm’: Taylor Swift Will Perform At The 2019 VMAs

The 2019 VMAs just got a little more lovely.

Three days after the release of her seventh album, Lover, Taylor Swift will hit the MTV stage for her first VMA performance in four years. The pop star is nominated for a whopping 10 awards at this year’s show, split between her whimsical “ME!” and colorful “You Need to Calm Down” videos. That places her at the front of the pack, tied with fellow 10-time 2019 nominee and pop titan, Ariana Grande.

While Swift is keeping the details of her latest VMA moment thoroughly under wraps (apart from it being a “world premiere performance”), her history of VMA domination means it’ll certainly be a must-see spectacle. She made her debut at the 2008 awards show, where she co-hosted the red carpet pre-show and introduced Jonas Brothers’s “Lovebug” performance. The following year, she rolled into the show on a Cinderella horse carriage, performed “You Belong to Me” in the New York City subway, and took home her first Moon Person trophy for Best Female Video.

In the ensuing years, Swift has performed four more times — “Innocent” in 2010, “We Are Never Getting Back Together” in 2012, “Shake It Off” in 2014, and a surprise mash-up of “The Night Is Still Young” and “Bad Blood” with Nicki Minaj in 2015. She also took home six more trophies, including Video of the Year in 2015, for the squad-starring “Bad Blood.”

Clearly, Swift’s VMA track record is the stuff of legend — and it’s far from over. Catch her performance when the show airs live on Monday, August 26, get voting for your faves now, and look out for more announcements soon!

Sonic The Hedgehog: A History Of The Backlash And Delays So Far

Sonic The Hedgehog gestures that he doesn't know what to say

As if the genre of video game movies didn’t have enough criticism, delays and problems to deal with, the recent backlash to Paramount’s Sonic The Hedgehog movie has blackened the eyes of this character coming to the movie market just a little darker. It’s kind of sad really, especially with the lengthy history that’s been documented related to the Sonic movie project.

To think the simple beginnings of Sega’s first big foray into filmmaking would end up where we are now, afloat in a sea of delays and updates, still surprises me. In fact,  that a project as simple as a Sega Sonic-oriented movie would become such a hot button topic and earn such a tremendous online reaction is what’s most shocking.  The road has been long and rough, but next year Sonic The Hedgehog will finally blast into theaters for all of the world to see.

While we wait, let’s take a look at that eventful road, and all of the bumps that led us here. But first, let’s take a look at the trailer that got us here, before jumping all the way back to the year of 2014, where our story truly begins.

Sonic The Hedgehog Is Announced As A Sony Picture (2014)

Sonic The Hedgehog wasn’t even going to be a Paramount movie in its early days. When it was originally announced in 2014, the project was supposed to be a joint venture between Sony Pictures and Marza Animation Planet, an animation company that’s worked on several of the Sonic games since 2008.

Even in those early days, there was a fear the film could either be a great prospect for a live-action/CGI mashup, or a horrific one. With both doors in front of the team that would create Sonic The Hedgehog’s movie incarnation, it was just a matter of choosing one over the other.

Sonic The Hedgehog running fast alongside a building

Sony’s Sonic The Hedgehog Sets A 2018 Release Date (February 2016)

As the Sonic The Hedgehog film had been in development for a couple years at this point, the project finally landed itself its first intended release window in 2016. Announced as part of the 25th anniversary blitz of excitement, Sony was still involved with the film’s production at this point in the development and had a 2018 release year earmarked.

Things were looking up for Sonic The Hedgehog, as executive producer Tim Miller and director Jeff Fowler would also join the Sonic movie team. It looked like it was all going to kick into high gear from that point on. As it would turn out though, the first major hiccup awaited a little over a year and a half from that point, as Sonic was about to say goodbye to Sony Pictures for a brand new home.

Sonic The Hedgehog Dr. Robotnik shows off his lab

Paramount Acquires Sonic The Hedgehog In Turnaround (October 2017)

And now, a quick lesson in Hollywood terminology. When a project is said to have gone into “turnaround,” it’s what happens when a studio develops something like the Sonic The Hedgehog movie, but decides to sell the picture instead of pushing forward with production. Usually, this means the studio makes its money back and then some by selling to another studio.

Sony Pictures did just that with Sonic The Hedgehog, as the studio put the film into turnaround, allowing it to land on Paramount Pictures’ plate for further development. The creative team involved remained on board though, including Marza Animation Planet, and from this point on the film’s studio home was a done deal.

Sonic The Hedgehog Sonic and Tom driving on a country road

Sonic The Hedgehog Sets A 2019 Release Date With Paramount (February 2018)

Having landed a new studio toward the end of 2017, there was just no way that the original 2018 release window was going to work for Sonic The Hedgehog. Live-action/CGI films aren’t as simple as standard film products, and as such they require more time and effort to put together. As such, a new release date was required, and Paramount would announce their intended slot for the film early on in the very year it was supposed to be released.

Sonic The Hedgehog was officially given its first day and date release window in February of 2018, which was slated for November 15, 2019. From that point, the project would cast James Marsden and Tika Sumpter as its human leads, with Jim Carrey falling into the role of Dr. Robotnik and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic himself. Surely, with such promising plans, nothing could have possibly gone wrong from this point on!

Sonic The Hedgehog the motion poster

The Backlash Begins With The Arrival Of Sonic The Hedgehog’s First Poster (December 2018)

As early as December 2018, the backlash to Sonic The Hedgehog’s design was starting to rear its ugly head. Footage was shown at the CCXP convention in Brazil, and around that same time, a motion poster to the film was released to the public. Right then and there, the first big problem the internet would have with Sonic’s design was revealed.

It was all in Sonic’s muscular legs, as the internet was officially creeped out by the sinewy silhouettes that made up the titular creature’s lower half. Perhaps the marketing team was purposefully playing it coy with the rest of Sonic The Hedgehog’s character design, as we still hadn’t seen his face at this point. While that particular detail would leak out in alleged promo art, it would be another few months before everyone’s worst nightmares were confirmed.

Sonic The Hedgehog looks shocked, teeth and all

The Infamous Sonic The Hedgehog Trailer Drops (April 30, 2019)

April 30, 2019: a date which will live in Hollywood infamy. That morning, an unsuspecting public would get their first look at Paramount’s Sonic The Hedgehog, as the first trailer was revealed early in the day. It had a random Coolio needle drop, some retro ‘90s Jim Carrey comedy action, and the design that would trigger fans into deeming the blue speedster to be “nightmare fuel.”

Everywhere you looked, there were hot takes (including some who liked the design, but more that offered freaked out reactions), and soon fan art even reworked the character of Sonic into a more traditional-looking form. It was not a good time for the Sonic fandom, and the backlash would only continue. Some would say that something had to be done, and director Jeff Fowler would be one of those folks, as he would announce the next step in Sonic The Hedgehog’s evolution in the days that would follow the trailer’s release.

Sonic The Hedgehog waits for the rockets to get closer

Sonic The Hedgehog’s Redesign Is Announced (May 3, 2019)

A mere three days after Paramount’s first trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog’s dropped, Jeff Fowler made an announcement that most directors would probably dread. The character of Sonic was going to be changed from a design standpoint, in response to the massive fan backlash that flooded the internet upon the debut of the trailer.

Citing how he and his team wanted to make the best version of Sonic The Hedgehog they possibly could, the die was cast. Sonic would, indeed, look different in the finished film. Initially, folks thought that big change would lead to that dangerous video game industry practice of round the clock crunch time sessions being implemented in the redesign process. Instead, a more practical solution was instituted.

Sonic The Hedgehog new release date graphic

Sonic The Hedgehog Is Delayed Until 2020 (May 24, 2019)

Once more taking to the internet to reassure the fandom that everything was going to be ok, Jeff Fowler made the most recent, and most impacting announcement involving the status of Sonic The Hedgehog’s status. Within a month of releasing the first trailer to the film, the release date to the film was pushed to February 14, 2020 – almost three full months past the original date set back in 2017.

In such a short span of time Sonic The Hedgehog went from an internet curiosity to a pariah, which in turn triggered the wheels of fate to shift this production into uncharted territory. It’s not every day that something like a design change so late in the game would come around, but like it or not, it happened. Whether the studio was right to institute this delay or not, once more the die has been cast. Though now there’s even more competition for the honor of the internet’s most infamous trailer.

Cats the white cat sitting at the table, with utensils, waiting for food

The Cats Trailer Drops, Distracting Everyone From Sonic The Hedgehog (July 2019)

Just when you thought it was safe to go onto the internet, a trailer for director Tom Hooper’s live-action/digital fur enhanced adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats made its way into the world. With a reaction similar to Sonic The Hedgehog’s unveiling –albeit with more fans this time around — the world naturally had a field day with how this fusion of human and cat looked on the screen.

As animators work hard to create a more palatable version of Sonic for his upcoming live-action debut, the internet is still debating whether or not these felines of unusual appearance are going to help or hinder the film’s chances at being a box office sensation. Certainly, the attention has been taken off of Sonic The Hedgehog for the time being, but some have still found a way to navigate themselves to the crossroads between the two projects, such as the fan made YouTube video shown below.

There are still months to go before Sonic The Hedgehog is unleashed upon the populace, and the new look for the Sega character still hasn’t been made available to the public just yet. All that’s been said recently is by two key members of the Sonic team. On one hand, we have executive producer Tim Miller saying that fans will be quite pleased with the efforts the team has put into this new, and supposedly finished, look for Sonic.

Meanwhile, Dr. Robotnik himself, Jim Carrey, thinks it was sort of a mistake to let fans dictate the design process to begin with, but as such hasn’t seen the new look with his own eyes. These opposing viewpoints can be debated until the hedgehogs come home, but change is definitely in the air; it’s only a matter of time until the world gets to react to another look at Sonic The Hedgehog.

Sonic The Hedgehog will be in theaters on February 14, 2020.

Blended From Around The Web

 

The Mummy Producer Says Dark Universe Came Together ‘Too Quickly’

Following on the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe there have been many attempts at creating large, interconnected franchises. None of them have been as successful as Marvel, but many have had trouble simply getting off the ground. One of the highest profile missteps has been Universal’s Dark Universe, which was set to bring all the classic monsters back to the big screen.

Chris Morgan was a producer on The Mummy, the 2017 Tom Cruise film that was meant to launch the Dark Universe. Unfortunately, the movie, and therefore the franchise, failed to find an audience. Morgan says that, while he doesn’t have any regrets with the way things went, he thinks the franchise tried to do too much too quickly, which was ultimately it’s downfall. According to Morgan…

It’s certainly true that the Dark Universe had a lot of big hopes very quickly. Even before The Mummy hit theaters it had already been announced that we would be getting movies focused on The Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Major names like Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, and more were attached to star in these films.

However, while The Mummy ended up making $400 million globally, it didn’t break $100 million domestically, and that meant the Dark Universe was in trouble before it got started. The Bride of Frankenstein was set to be the next film in the franchise, but it ended up being delayed before eventually being cancelled.

While we haven’t heard much about the Dark Universe recently, there have been indications that the concept isn’t completely dead. From Chris Morgan’s comments to i09, it sounds very much like there are still people trying to make it happen, and it’s simply that those people are now taking their time with the idea, having realized that they moved too quickly last time.

Considering the fact that the Universal Monsters were essentially the first cinematic universe, before such a name existed, it seems quite likely that we haven’t seen the last of them. A film franchise that brings them back, and eventually together, is not a bad idea, it’s actually a great one, but of course, we all just need it to be good. If everybody takes their time, hopefully it will be.

Ariana Grande Is ‘Shaking and Crying’ After Duet With Barbra Streisand

Ariana Grande completely shocked fans on Tuesday night (August 6) when she appeared at Barbra Streisand‘s Chicago concert for a duet that was nothing short of iconic. Together, they took the stage at the United Center and sang a very powerful rendition of Streisand’s “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” which she originally recorded with Donna Summer in 1999. And of course, they crushed it.

But if diehard fans of Grande and Streisand had been paying attention, they probably would’ve seen this secret duet coming from a mile away. Why? Because the two got manicures together earlier that day, and Streisand took to Instagram to show off their fresh nails. “Made a new friend…” she wrote before Grande took to the comments with a black heart emoji.

Once the duet actually happened, Streisand took to the social media app yet again to post an adorable photo with the “Boyfriend” songstress. “Secret’s out,” she wrote. “Thank you @arianagrande.” Grande then hit up the comments of the post to express her gratitude for the amazing opportunity. “i’m sobbing,” she said. “love you so much. i cant. get over this. it’s just…. the most special and cherished experience ever. thank you.” She then shared the same photo on her own Instagram, writing, “cherishing this moment forever.”

Grande also hopped on Twitter to fangirl over singing with the music icon, which was a total dream come true for her. “hello shaking and crying,” she tweeted. “thank u @barbrastreisand. don’t have words yet goodbye.” But Grande wasn’t the only one freaking out — fans were, too! “Barbra and Ariana really did Enough is Enough tg last night I’m actually crying,” one fan tweeted about the surprise performance. “They sound so incredible together i NEED an ariana x barbra collab pls.” another person wrote. Yeah, we can definitely get down with that.

James Blake Shows Life’s Messiness (Thanks To Bird Poop) In ‘Can’t Believe The Way We Flow’

Start, stop. Start, stop. Start again, then pause the video when you see the cartoon. You’ll do that a lot watching James Blake‘s new video for “Can’t Believe The Way We Flow” from his fourth studio album Assume Form. It’s like a scrapbook of faces and places, gradually connecting together while bird poop rains from the sky and eggs get scrambled in pans. That’s a wild description, but that’s probably the easiest way to find sense in what’s being presented to viewers. Just keep playing and pausing the video at different points and you’ll see what we mean.

There’s a lot going on in “Can’t Believe The Way We Flow” that opens your eyes, but perhaps its most shocking initial move is to show us a shiny leather jumpsuit that looks like it’s straight out of a horror movie. James Blake, who’s in the video for no more than five seconds, makes a quiet first appearance, sitting on a bench, pondering the intricacies of the universe. He looks up to the sky and gets bird pooped drizzled on his brow like caramel sauce on french vanilla ice cream, and then we’re taken into this vast Rolodex of spaces and faces.

The leather jumpsuit worn by an unidentified elderly man, an exotic dancer lacing up her heels, lovers saying their goodbyes for the day in the doorway while one holds a cat – these scenes and more are snapshots of the energy that exists within the world. Like a storm, faces begin swirling and flying in front of the camera at blinding speeds as if propelled by wind, showing an entire community of people. We’re eventually shown faces coming together for kisses and other kinds of embraces. It’s energy connecting to synthesize new beginnings and it’s beautiful to watch. The bird poop manifests itself again at the end, quite possibly even grosser than before. But it’s all in the magically realistic world that Blake has prepared for us.

Assume Form came out in January. The LP features the previously released tunes “Barefoot In The Park,” with Rosalía, and “Mile High” with Travis Scott.

Take a look at James Blake’s “Can’t Believe The Way We Flow” video up above.

X-Men First Class Writer Wants Giancarlo Esposito For Marvel’s Magneto

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in an interesting place right now. We’re in between phases, and will be left to wonder and theorize about the future of the franchise until Black Widow arrives May 2020. Additionally, Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox will bring iconic characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four to the MCU. Although just when the studio will do that is a complete mystery. Still, X-Men: First Class writer Zack Stentz knows who should play the new Magneto: Breaking Bad standout Giancarlo Esposito.

Marvel Studios has revealed its original schedule for Phase Four, with both movies and Disney+ series coming. As such, there will be plenty of rumors about possible casting choices. One such rumor claimed the Giancarlo Esposito was up for a major Marvel role, prompting Zack Stentz to chime in about who he should play. Check it out below.

Does anyone else have chills? Magneto is one of the most iconic villains in Marvel lore, and Giancarlo Espositio has certainly proved his penchant for playing such a character on the small screen. And really, who doesn’t want to see Gus Fring with superpowers?

Zack Stentz’s tweet is sure to excite the countless Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul fans out there. Giancarlo Esposito’s character Gus Fring really amped up Breaking Bad when he appeared late in Season 2, raising the stakes and giving the drama a bonafide villain. The Emmy nominated actor certainly has the chops to play the Master of Magnetism, possibly with a new twist on the character’s backstory.

On both the page and screen, Erik Lehnsherr/ Magneto is typically portrayed as a Holocaust survivor. This is where his mutants powers develop, and his childhood trauma informs his extreme views on the conflict between mutants and humans. Zack Stentz suggested a new take on the character to accommodate Giancarlo Esposito’s role as Magneto: making him a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It would be a bold narrative pivot, and a powerful new way to bring the character’s story to the modern MCU.

Logistically, it would be difficult to bring Magneto into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while still retaining his roots in the Holocaust. It’s currently the year 2023 following Avengers: Endgame‘s time jump, so the villain would have to be a very old and frail man in order for the timeline to match up. On the flip side, the Rwandan genocide only happened a few decades ago, allowing for a man of Giancarlo Esposito’s age to embody the part.

Zack Stentz clearly knows the X-Men well, and helped bring Michael Fassbender’s Magneto to life with X-Men: First Class. The movie once again showed Erik Lehnsherr’s tragic story, and followed a deeply vengeful mutant who was hunting down those responsible for concentration camps. The movie was a massive success, and three sequels followed.

Right now it’s unclear if/when the X-Men will be brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Dark Phoenix only recently ended its theatrical run, so Marvel Studios is likely going to give it a few years before finally bringing mutants into the massive franchise. But it’s something the fans have been waiting for, so these rumored casting aren’t going to stop anytime soon.

The next installment in the MCU is Black Widow on May 1, 2020. Dark Phoenix will be available digitally on September 3, and on Blu-ray, and DVD on September 17, In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

The Best TV Shows on Netflix in August 2019

Netflix is officially a destination for television, which is fantastic, but that makes finding something to watch 10 times more difficult. There’s just too much good content to choose from, and it ranges in style, genre, and taste. For comedy lovers, there’s classics like The Office and Parks and Recreation. Netflix originals like Grace and Frankie and GLOW are entertaining too. Our favorite Shondaland shows, including Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, are also on Netflix, so it’s easy to just get sucked into those. Add with thrillers like You, Black Mirror, and Mindhunter, and it’s like, why would we ever leave the couch?

But when it’s Wednesday night or Sunday morning and all you want to do is unwind, deciding on a show can be stressful in itself. That’s where we come in. We’ll be periodically updating this post every week with the absolute best shows streaming on Netflix right now. Give the below fan favorites a whirl. They never disappoint.

Disney Is Remaking Home Alone, But Not How You’d Think

Disney has been doing quite well remaking its animated classics, so it’s little surprise that Disney is already turning to the vast Fox library it just acquired and is already looking to see what it can do to bring back those movies as well. Yesterday, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed the studio already has plans for the comedy hit Home Alone as well as several other Fox brands. However, Iger called these movies re-imaginings, rather than remakes. Also, they’re all planned for Disney+ rather than the big screen.

Yesterday, the Walt Disney Company held it’s regular quarterly conference call for investors and Bob Iger revealed that Disney is already looking at ways to leverage the various film properties it now owns following the Fox merger. As part of that, the studio is planning to re-imagine Home Alone, Cheaper by the Dozen, Night at the Museum, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, among, one assumes, many more. All of these projects are apparently planned for Disney+ rather than traditional theatrical release.

This isn’t really too much of a shock considering that leveraging Fox’s library for streaming content is the main reason Disney bought the studio in the first place. Putting the original content on the service is certainly part of the equation, but building on it is standard Disney operating procedure, so we can expect this won’t be the last Fox titles that we’re going to see brought back on Disney+.

What’s interesting here, at least potentially so, is the use of the word “reimagining” rather than remake. It’s at least possible that we’re not looking at direct remakes of these films, at least not of all of them. We could see new twists in the formula, or perhaps some of them could become series rather than films.

Home Alone was the highest grossing domestic movie of the year (and number 2 globally) when it was released in 1990. It’s certainly the biggest name of those revealed by Bob Iger. It made a superstar out of Macaulay Culkin when he was just a kid. Culkin made one sequel and a pair of additional sequels, including a Made-for-TV follow up in 2012, were subsequently released.

Disney+ is looking to have a mass of both library and original content when it launches in November, and in the months and years that follow. It’s going to make the service incredibly attractive to a lot of people, likely making the service a major player in the streaming game from the beginning.

11 Times Celebrity Moms Got Real About Breastfeeding

It’s unfortunate that in 2019 women are still being criticized about whether or not they choose to breastfeed their children—or even where they decide to do so. Feeding your child is a good thing! But when celebrity moms like Amy Schumer, Hilary Duff, Jessica Alba, and Khloé Kardashian publicly speak out about the struggles (and joys) of breastfeeding and pumping (or not), it helps to normalize the conversation for all women.

Below are some of the best quotes on the topic.

Amy Schumer

The comedian gave birth to her son, Gene Attell Fischer, in May. In true Schumer fashion, she was honest and hilarious about her pregnancy and breastfeeding. “Guys what are we doing tonight? #schumerpump #ootd @stassischroeder,” she captioned a photo of herself attached to a breast pump and jokingly tagging Stassi from Vanderpump Rules with her “outfit of the day.”

Jessica Alba

Alba, an actress and founder of The Honest Company, often shared photos of herself feeding her son, Hayes, everywhere from the boardroom to a Target dressing room. “I felt like he wanted to nurse 24/7, which was obviously really challenging when you’re trying to go back to work,” she told Motherly. “Also my milk supply was challenged with him. I felt like I had the most milk with Honor and then it got less with Haven and even less with Hayes. And so that was just tough for me.”

Rachel McAdams