WE TAKE YOU INSIDE THE BLOCKBUSTERS COMING SOON TO STAGE AND SCREEN
BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI
HOLIDAY 2018 FILM BUZZ
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
A Harry Potter-related movie at Christmastime is the ideal gift for fans. This sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on the fictional Hogwarts schoolbook written by former student Newt Scamander, takes place in 1920s Paris. Devotees will recognize such Wizarding World staples as the deluminator, bowtruckles, and flying coaches drawn by Thestrals, while reveling in the familiar music and the knowledge that writer J.K. Rowling, director David Yates, and producers David Heyman and Steve Kloves remain at the helm.
Jude Law plays young Dumbledore, while Eddie Redmayne returns as Scamander. Johnny Depp plays Gellert Grindelwald, Dumbledore’s teenage-era “friend” who went seriously to the dark side, while Zoe Kravitz is a Lestrange family member.
Intriguingly, Sorcerer’s Stone creator Nicolas Flamel also makes an appearance. The total five Fantastic Beasts films will span 19 years in the saga, leading up to the epic 1945 battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. “Lumos maxima!”
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
In Depression-era London, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) resumes her relationship with the now-grown Michael and Jane Banks, whose lives have become rather complicated. While fans of the 1964 original are psyched to see Dick Van Dyke, now 92, make a return appearance as banker Mr. Dawes Jr., Van Dyke’s iconic chimney sweep character, Bert, is now a lamplighter named Jack, played by Lin Manuel Miranda. Look for Angela Lansbury as a balloon lady and Meryl Streep as “Topsy,” Mary’s cousin. Also starring Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, and Colin Firth. All new original songs and score have been created by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray). The original Mary, Julie Andrews, reportedly turned down a cameo in this version so as not to distract from Blunt’s interpretation of the beloved, mysterious nanny from P.L. Travers’s novels.
HOLMES & WATSON
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly portray the legendary detectives Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in this adventure comedy, infused with requisite mystery a based on a Farrell-starring
Saturday Night Live sketch. Ralph Fiennes takes the villainous Moriarty role, and the film is further supported by cast members Kelly Macdonald and Hugh Laurie. This marks the fourth collaboration of Ferrell and Reilly, following Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Step Brothers (2008), and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013). Etan Cohen (script writer of Tropic Thunder and Madagascar) wrote and directed this latest adaptation of the iconic Arthur Conan Doyle novels.
THE NUTCRAKER AND THE FOUR REALMS
The traditional Christmas ballet—composed by Tchaikovsky, with choreography by Marius Petipa
and Lev Ivanov and based on the story ”The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” written in 1816 by German author E. T. A. Hoffmann—is transformed into a battle royale starring real-life prima ballerina Misty Copeland in the fi lm’s only dance sequence. Keira Knightly is the Sugar Plum Fairy, while Morgan Freeman plays Drosselmeyer and Helen Mirren is Mother Ginger. As Clara, Mackenzie Foy (seen here) seeks a special key to unlock a box holding a priceless gift from her late mother, leading her to a mysterious parallel world of toy soldiers, mice, and strange lands. Clara and soldier Phillip brave the challenges, and hopefully return harmony to an unstable world in this family-friendly fantasy adventure from Disney Pictures.
FILMS IN PRODUCTION
Bust out the whip and dust off the hat and leather jacket. Filming is set to begin in April of next year on the fifth installment of the Indiana Jones series, with Harrison Ford, now 75, once again playing Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones, Jr., perhaps for the final time. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg revealed this news in an interview with The Sun in the UK, adding the franchise might still continue…possibly with a woman in the lead. And we can’t blame either him or production company Lucasfi lm, as the movie franchise has to date hauled in just shy of $2 billion in box offi ce receipts. “We’d have to change the name from Jones to Joan, and there would be nothing wrong with that,” Spielberg said of a new colorful treasure-hunting archeologist/professor.
Zachary Levi entered the pop culture zeitgeist playing a tech geek turned spy on TV’s Chuck (2007 to 2012). The versatile actor/singer has since voiced a Disney character (Tangled, in 2010) and appeared on Broadway (She Loves Me, in 2016). Now, he dons the lightning bolt bodysuit of the DC Comics’ hero (aka Captain Marvel) in an upcoming Warner Brothers/DC Films flick slated for release in the spring of next year. Levi’s self-deprecating Instagram post, showing him working out in preparation for the role, caused a disturbance amongst fans, who debated both the red suit and the body Levi will put in it. Filming began in early 2018. The cast includes Mark Strong and Ron Cephas Jones.
Daisy Ridley, Tom Holland, and Nick Jonas head the cast of this sci-fi /action fantasy, based on Carnegie Award-winning author Patrick Ness’s young adult novel The Knife of Never Letting Go
(published in 2008 by Walker Books, and the fi rst of the Chaos Walking trilogy), about perilous life on the distant planet of New World. Robert Zemeckis is among the producers. The storyline: hopes for a fresh start for humanity are imperiled when a virus termed “The Noise” invades inhabitants’ thoughts. Ridley plays Viola, who may hold the planet’s secrets. Filming is ongoing in Canada for an anticipated March, 2019 release. Mads Mikkelsen and David Oyelowo also star.
Lorne Michaels, creator and producer of Saturday Night Live—and also principal or co-producer of an astounding 23 fi lms, as well as various other TV shows—launched his new deal with Universal Pictures this spring by announcing this comedy, starring current SNL stalwarts Colin Jost and Leslie Jones. The title refers to Jones’s character, a special agent assigned to a “humbling” undercover role for the FBI. Michaels will produce, while Jost serves as executive producer. A release date, full cast list, and other details were unknown at press time.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
Director Quentin Tarantino electrified Las Vegas CinemaCon when he appeared with Leonardo
DiCaprio to announce details of his next film, set in the 1960s at the time of the Manson
Family murders. He predicted Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will be, “probably the closest to
Pulp Fiction that I have done.” Set for August, 2019 release, it reunites DiCaprio and Tarantino following 2012’s Django Unchained, and includes Brad Pitt, who starred in the director’s 2019 film, Inglourious Basterds. Not prone to subtlety, Tarantino predicted DiCaprio and Pitt will deliver, “the most exciting star dynamic since Paul Newman and Robert Redford.”
From Sony Pictures comes this remake of the 1985 courtroom thriller, originally starring Glenn Close, Jeff Bridges, and Robert Loggia, who received an Oscarnomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a private detective. That screenplay was written by Basic Instinct stribe Joe Eszterhas. This time, Halle Berry stars as a lawyer hired to litigate the murder case of an heiress, amidst various plot twists and turns. The film was in early production stages this spring, with no release date announced by press time.
“TELL ME YOU LOVE ME” WORLD TOUR
Late May finds the songstress in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Denmark as she continues a tour promoting her 2017 album of the same name. Much of the 25-year-old’s summer will be spent in Spain, Italy, and Portugal, followed by the California Mid-State Fair on July 22. She then heads to Mexico and South America, ending these ambitious travels with three shows in Brazil through November 27. The tour traversed the U.S. earlier this year, including an April stop at Newark’s Prudential Center.
The Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum singer/songwriter was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1992 to onetime Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Dianna De La Garza (née Dianna Lee Smith) and engineer and musician Patrick Martin Lovato, and began her career on the children’s television series Barney & Friends. She has also appeared in several Disney productions, voiced a Smurfette, and appeared on television’s Glee. demilovato.com
JARED LETO’S THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS MONOLITH TOUR
America, the fifth album from the rock band led by actor Jared Leto (Fight Club, Suicide Squad) provides the set list highlights during the group’s North American tour, one that began in Canada and runs through the Camp Mars Music Festival in Malibu, California on August 12.Leto, who won a best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his heart-wrenching performance in 2014’s Dallas Buyers Club, fronts a group that also features his brother, Shannon. It hits our area June 17 (BB&T Pavilion, Philadelphia), June 20 (Madison Square Garden), and June 21 (Garden State Arts Center). Other stops include Washington, D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Mexico. Interspersed with those dates are treks overseas to perform in Russia, the U.K.,France, Germany, and Sweden. thirtysecondstomars.com
ED SHEERAN NORTH AMERICAN TOUR 2018
In December of last year, the British singer/songwriter was made a member of the Most Excellent
Order of the British Empire for his services to music and charity, receiving the honor from Prince Charles. He’ll take the Rose Bowl Stadium stage in Pasadena, California on August 18 to begin the American leg of a tour that lands at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on September 21 and 22. Through November 10, he’ll also visit Canada, Philadelphia, Chicago, Nashville, and New Orleans. The “I’m in Love with the Shape of You” singer/songwriter/musician has sold out shows in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and elsewhere on that continent. edsheeran.com
LIVE NATION EXPANDS REACH
The most popular music and camping festival in New Zealand, Rhythm and Vines, takes place over
three days in Gisborne wine country, culminating on New Year’s Eve. Live Nation recently acquired a controlling stake in the event, which draws fans from around the world. Past acts have included Public Enemy, Moby, Wiz Khalifa, and Chance the Rapper. According to MSN Money, Live Nation now has interests in over 100 festivals worldwide.
MAROON 5 RED PILL BLUES TOUR
Beginning Memorial Day weekend, Maroon 5, featuring lead singer Adam Levine, will hit the road
for a 33-date North American Tour in support of the band’s new album, Red Pill Blues. Through June 17, along with special guest Julia Michaels, they’ll play in California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, then take July and August off. The tour resumes September 7 in Salt Lake City and travels the U.S. until arriving at Newark’s Prudential Center on October 6. The tour finale takes place at Madison Square Garden October 14 and 15. redpillbluestour.maroon5.com
TELEVISION & STREAMING
No, it’s not a Murder She Wrote remake. Instead, the gloriously funny Kathryn Hahn (from the
TV comedies Transparent and Parks and Recreation) stars as an empty nest divorcee in this
half-hour comedy series based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta (who also wrote
the novel The Leftovers, which was adapted for the HBO series). After Eve Fletcher drops her son off at college, the impact of social media and the internet are fodder for commentary on today’s dating scene.
This science-fi ction fantasy/drama from J.J. Abrams will be the producer’s fi rst television project since Fringe (2008), and follows a bidding war with Apple. The story involves a scientist, her husband, and their daughter, who are involved in a car crash. With mom in a coma, the daughter Westworld series (also on HBO) was said to be a factor gets transported to another world while investigating her mother’s experiments in the basement. Abrams’s satisfaction with the success of his in selecting that network over Apple.
Nicole Kidman teamed with prolific writer/ producer David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Doogie Howser, M.D., Big Little Lies) for this mini-series— a psychological thriller based on the book You Should Have Known (Grand Central Publishing, 2014) by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Kidman plays a therapist, wife, and mother whose life spirals out of controlafter a string of tragic events. No air date had been set by press time.
Now filming in Hawaii and scheduled for a 2019 release, this crime/action/adventure stars Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, and Oscar Isaac. The plot: five friends reunite totake down a South American drug lord. A slew of A-list actors were originally attached to the project, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Mark Wahlberg, Channing Tatum, and Tom Hanks. Perhaps all that drama is why Affl eck threw a lavish luau for cast and crew in April.
…and there’s more!
According to Variety, Netflix plans to release some 80 original films between this year and next—comedies, dramas, anime, action and foreign fi lms, and documentaries. Among them are Bright, a police action-thriller starring Robert DeNiro; a mini-series about the Central Park Five from writer/director Ava DuVernay; a coming-of-age story about cricket, Selection Day, to be made in India and distributed globally; and the highly anticipated The Irishman, another DeNiro vehicle, directed by Martin Scorsese and based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses (Steerforth, 2004) by Charles Brandt, about a real-life hitman allegedly involved in the death of union boss Jimmy Hoffa. Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Bobby Cannavale, and Ray Romano co-star.