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News Shotgun 3/7

  • James Wan signs on for Universal Monster movie: After so many misfires, Universal finally got a financial and critical success last weekend with The Invisible Man and they are moving ahead with another modern spin on one of their classic characters from James Wan.  Wan signed on to direct a new horror movie based on a Universal Monster, although the exact one is not known.  Given his ties to Aquaman, maybe (hopefully?) Creature from the Black Lagoon?
  • Coronavirus cancellations: As Coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, several high profile events are being canceled or postponed.  The Game Developers Conference was postponed to summer last week and this week the biggest news was probably that No Time to Die was being pushed from next month to November 25th due to virus concerns.  SXSW in Austin is also canceled after most of the major content providers pulled out and Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle was also postponed to summer.
  • Christian Bale confirmed as the villain of Thor: Love & Thunder: While out on interviews for next weekend’s Westworld Season 3 premiere, Tessa Thompson seemingly confirmed that Christian Bale is playing the villain of the upcoming Thor: Love & Thunder.  It’s not clear which character Bale would actually be playing but we don’t really care about anything in this movie unless Beta Ray Bill shows up.
  • Beauty & The Beast prequel coming to Disney+: Josh Gad and Luke Evans are returning to Disney+ for a prequel series based on their characters from the live-action reboot of Beauty & The Beast.  The pair played LaFou and Gaston respectively and are back for a six-episode musical series, with the legendary Al Menken writing new songs for the series.
  • The Kids in the Hall are coming back: The legendary cult sketch comedy group The Kids in the Hall are reuniting for new episodes of their classic sketch comedy TV series on Amazon. Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson are all back for the upcoming eight-episode series that will be available on Amazon Prime.
  • HBO and Naughty Dog developing The Last of Us series: HBO and Naughty Dog are teaming up to bring The Last of Us to HBO as TV series.  Craig Mazin, the showrunner of the incredible miniseries Chernobyl, and Neil Druckman, writer and creative director of the games at Naughty Dog, are working on turning the first game into a TV series.  It will be the first TV show from Playstation Productions, which was created by Sony to work on turning Playstation properties into TV shows and movies.
  • Taika Waititi working on two Roald Dahl series for Netflix: Taika Waititi is putting his spin on two new Netflix projects that will explore the world of Willy Wonka.  Taika will write, direct and executive produce two animated shows, one seems to be a new adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the other will dive into the unseen world of the Oompa Loompas.
  • Hocus Pocus 2 gets a director: The upcoming sequel to cult favorite Hocus Pocus on Disney+ has found a director in Adam Shankman.  Shankman previously directed the John Travolta version of Hairspray.  At this time, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy are not signed on to reprise their roles as the Sanderson sisters but Disney is still hopeful they will appear in some capacity.
  • The Magicians canceled by SyFy: Despite slowly growing a dedicated fanbase over five seasons, SyFy has canceled The Magicians and the current fifth season will be its last.  Based on a series of novels, the show was the top SyFy series for it’s first few years but it had slowly dropped off till this current season was about half as many viewers as the first two seasons. The showrunners were prepared for this current season to be its last and crafted a season finale that will function as a series finale.
  • RIP James Lipton: The incomparable host of Inside the Actors Studio, James Lipton, passed away this week at age 93.  Lipton hosted Inside the Actors Studio for over 20 seasons on Bravo and interviewed a who’s who of actors and directors over the years, digging into the stories behind iconic roles and how they crafted the performances.  He was also an actor, writer, lyricist and dancer who was memorably parodied by Will Ferrell on SNL but also had a sense of humor himself, as he frequently appeared as himself in movies or on Conan, where he would help with the classic “In the Year 2000” sketch or read Kevin Federline lyrics verbatim.
  • Antonio Banderas joins Uncharted: The Uncharted movie is still apparently moving forward and it added a few new cast members this week in undisclosed roles.  Antonio Banderas, Sophia Ali and Tati Gabrielle joined the cast and it was confirmed that Ruben Fleischer is the new director, the seventh director attached to the project since it was first announced.

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