S.J. Clarkson Set As ‘The Defenders’ Director

Per Marvel, S.J. Clarkson will be helming the first two episodes of The Defenders and will serve as an executive producer on the first installment of the eight-episode miniseries. The filmmaker is no stranger to Marvel series, as she did a terrific job directing the first two episodes of Jessica Jones, which still stands as the best show Marvel has released thus far. Clarkson has also helmed episodes of Vinyl, Orange Is the New Black, and Dexter.

Marco Ramirez and Doug Petrie, the showrunners of Daredevil Season 2, are serving as the showrunners of The Defenders and are executive producing alongside Drew Goddard and Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb. The Defenders will bring together the stars of the individual Netflix shows—Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones)—as they team up to defeat a looming threat.

It’ll be interesting to see how these characters mesh together in The Defenders, and even more interesting to see just how long it’ll take to get them to team up. The Avengers only had two hours to have the group meet, break up, and become a team, but The Defenders has eight hours’ worth of storytelling.

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Bryan Fuller Not ‘Star Trek Discovery’ Showrunner Anymore

Per Variety, Fuller has stepped down as the day-to-day showrunner of the upcoming series. The report notes that Fuller will continue to be involved in breaking stories on the series as an executive producer, and that the show will continue his vision that he set when the series was first formed, but showrunning duties have been handed over to executive producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts. The reasoning? The report notes that there has been “strain” between CBS Television Studios and Fuller over the progress of the show, as the series’ January premiere date was recently pushed back to May. Not helping matters is the fact that Fuller is also serving as co-showrunner on the Starz drama American Gods and is prepping a reboot of Amazing Stories for NBC, and it sounds like CBS wasn’t crazy about Fuller splitting his time when the schedule for Discovery was beginning to fall behind.

Writer-director Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, Winter’s Tale) is expected to join the Star Trek Discovery team in a “top creative role”, serving as a support for Berg and Harberts alongside Fuller and executive producer Alex Kurtzman as they juggle the demands for the series.

Indeed, Discovery comes with lofty expectations as not only the first new Trek series in a long while, but also a major play for CBS’s streaming service CBS All Access. The pilot for Star Trek Discovery will air on CBS, but subsequent episodes will be available exclusively on CBS All Access in a digital capacity.

‘Deadpool’ – Tim Miller Leaves As Director

The pre-production of 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool sequel works great, but it turns out that some creative differences between director Tim Miller and star/producer Ryan Reynolds have led to the former exiting the picture. As Deadline reports, the split was amicable, but it’s an unfortunate turn of events for the team that brought audiences one of the wildest and most-successful adaptations in the superhero genre to date.

There are few details at this time as to what exactly those differences were, but considering that Reynolds is not only the (scarred) face of the franchise and that he’s also a producer on the project, he clearly wields a lot of power behind the scenes. There’s also no mention of a replacement at the moment, so we’ll keep an ear out for potential candidates.

Meanwhile, it’s not all bad for Miller. The VFX wiz who kept Deadpool‘s budget way down thanks to some clever filmmaking moves made his directorial debut with the Marvel antihero movie, but he’s now shifted to another project at Fox. He’ll now head up the in-development title Influx, an adaptation of author Daniel Suarez‘s best-selling cyber-thriller novel of the same name; Mark Bomback (War for the Planet of the Apes) penned the adaptation.

‘Barry’ – Synopsis For Obama Biopic Revealed

Netflix has unveiled the first teaser trailer for the thoughtful, surprising Barack Obama biopic Barry. Directed by Vikram Gandhi (Kumaré), the film takes a unique approach to the life of Obama, specifically focusing on the future president’s junior year at Columbia University in 1981. The drama premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this past September, and I was lucky enough to catch it (read my full review here). This is no Hallmark Original Movie or cash-grab, it’s a layered, artful film as we see “Barry” navigate a crime-ridden and racially charged New York City while striking up a relationship with a white woman (played by The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy) and struggling to reconcile his non-relationship with his estranged father.

One of the best things about Barry is how quickly you forget that it’s a Barack Obama movie. Devon Terrell delivers a star-making performance that fully realizes this character. The film overcomes the heavy baggage of our nation’s first black president, and would honestly work just as well if it were about a fictional character rather than a public figure.

Netflix has announced a December 16th release date, and I’ll be curious to see if the film cracks this year’s awards race. Reviews out of TIFF were glowing, especially for Terrell, and the film boasts a thoughtful script from Adam Mansbach and tremendous cinematography by Adam Newport-Berra.

Here’s the official synopsis for Barry:

A young Barack Obama, known to his friends as “Barry,” arrives in New York City in the fall of 1981 to begin his junior year at Columbia University. In a crime-ridden and racially charged environment, Barry finds himself pulled between various social spheres and struggles to maintain a series of increasingly strained relationships with his Kansas-born mother, his estranged Kenyan father, and his classmates. Barry is the story of a young man grappling with those same issues that his country, and arguably the world, are still coming to terms with 35 years later.

Disney Developing ‘Don Quixote’

The studio is developing an adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra‘s classic 1605 novel with producers Gordon Gray (Million Dollar Arm, Secretariat) and Billy Ray. Ray, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Captain Phillips will also pen the script. Fully titled The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, Don follows Alonso Quixana, an older man in the Spanish countryside obsessed with tales of chivalry who loses his grasp on reality, refashions himself in the image of a valiant knight by the name of Don Quixote, and sets off “tilting at windmills”.

THR reports that the plan is to reenvision Don Quixote with a tone that “recalls the madcap and fantastical nature” of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. That seems a fine comparison since those stories also follow an affable and courageous semi-madman.

In addition to Gilliam’s famously beleaguered project, Don Quixote has hit the big screen a couple times. Most notably with the 2002 TV movie that starred John Lithgow and Bob Hoskins and the 2015 adaptation Don Quixote: The Ingenious Man of La Mancha that premiered at Palm Springs International Film Festival.

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‘Doctor Strange’ Runtime Revealed

When it comes to superhero movies, 2016 has seen no shortage of long films. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was 2 hours and 31 minutes. Captain America: Civil War was 2 hours and 27 minutes.

JoBlo now has uncovered the runtime for the year’s final superhero movie, Doctor Strange, and discovered that it comes in at 1 hour, 54 minutes, and 49 seconds according to the British Board of Film Classification.

Most Marvel movies run over two hours, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that (Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy don’t feel like they’re over two hours), it’s a bit of a relief that we can still get a big superhero film that doesn’t feel like it needs an epic runtime to tell an epic story. In fact, Doctor Strange is the second-shortest Marvel film to date, running just a couple minutes ahead of Thor: The Dark World.

Doctor Strange opens November 4th and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong, and Tilda Swinton.

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‘Fantastic Beasts’ Will Be the First of 5 Movies

Warner Bros. has apparently gone all in on J.K. Rowling‘s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise. It was announced during the upcoming film’s live event earlier today that the magical adventure debuting this November will be but the first in a total of five feature films. That means Rowling, the studio, and their creative team has a lot of faith (and finances) invested in the world that director David Yates and leading man Eddie Redmayne have helped to bring about.

Additionally, over three minutes of footage was screened at the event, and we have provided it below for your viewing pleasure from the comfort of your own homes. And while we also have a look at a new Fantastic Beasts poster, unfortunately that one only went out to folks who were actually in attendance for the event; sorry!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also stars Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Carmen Ejogo, and Ron Perlman, and opens in theaters on November 18th.

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Daniel Craig On Bond Return: “I Would Miss It Terribly”

One of the biggest questions is, will Daniel Craig return to play 007 one more time? He’s said multiple times Spectre would be his last go in the iconic role, but he’s also vaguely kept hope alive.

When you’re asked 20 feet from the end of a marathon whether you’d do another marathon, the answer is simple. It’s like, “No, I won’t.” But the things I get to do on a Bond movie and what the type of work it is, there is no other job like it, there is no other job like, and if I were to stop doing it, just say, I would miss it terribly because you are working with — I maybe disparagingly said the movie industry’s getting a little bit of, you know, of the focus group thing and the whole thing. A Bond movie doesn’t work like that, it’s literally from the skin of your teeth you get it out and then it’s released less than six months later after you finish it. There’s no time for focus groups. There’s no time for that. You make the movie, it gets out. It’s one of the most thrilling things as an actor you can do.

Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson told reporters on the set of Spectre that Craig now has an “open-ended contract,” though executive producer Callum McDougall recently said he’s “absolutely” their “first choice.”

The first order of business, however, is finding a distribution home for Bond, as Spectre marked the end of EON’s deal with Sony Pictures. A bidding war is expected to ensue, with Sony keen on continuing the partnership while folks like Warner Bros. would love to bring Bond into their fold. Once that’s settled, the “Daniel Craig” question will likely be answered once and for all.

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‘Finding Dory’ Crosses $1 Billion

After opening this past June, Finding Dory finally crossed the $1 billion worldwide box office mark this weekend. The movie has grossed $485 million domestically and $517 million internationally for a total of $1,001.5 million worldwide. It becomes Pixar’s second movie to gross $1 billion worldwide (the first being Toy Story 3, which made $1,067 million worldwide).

Finding Dory is currently the highest-grossing domestic release of the year, and it may very well keep that record. Its only serious competition for the crown is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and I don’t see either of those outgrossing Dory because even though one is a Harry Potter spin-off and the other is a Star Wars spin-off, that’s their issue: they’re spin-offs. I don’t think they’re going to make more than a bona fide sequel, especially one that has the built-in love that Dory had.

I’m curious to see if Dory has any staying power in the long run. Finding Nemo wore out parents’ DVD players, but I don’t think Dory is going to be at the level of a Toy Story 2 where it’s as beloved as the original. It’s probably going to operate at the level of Toy Story 3.

‘Enchanted’ Sequel Lands New Director

Enchanted 2, otherwise known by its official title Disenchanted, has struggled to get its mojo working over the last decade. The last news we’d heard about the sequel was confirmation of that title just over a year ago when Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) was still attached to direct.

As THR reports, Adam Shankman (Hairspray) is in negotiations to direct Disenchanted. Adams is expected to return for the musically inclined sequel and current plans are to get the picture filming before the summer of next year.

The original film saw the animated Princess Giselle (Adams) prevented from marrying her Prince Charming (James Marsden) due to an evil queen (Susan Sarandon) flinging her into the live-action world of New York City. There she met a lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) who was engaged to someone who wasn’t his soul mate (Idina Menzel).

The sequel is expected to take place 10 years after the events of the first movie “with Giselle finding herself questioning her happily ever after, and accidentally triggering events that make everyone’s lives turn upside down in both the real world and in the animated kingdom of Andalasia.”

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Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’ Movie Gets Release Date

Back in March of 2015, it was reported that Disney was working on a live-action adaptation of their animated property Mulan. One of those dates that were announced back then – specifically the November 2018 release–has been now confirmed to be a live-action take on Mulan.

The modern, live-action adaptation of the 1998 animated film based on the Chinese legend of the female Chinese warrior Hua Mulan was originally scripted by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek, though Variety reports Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver will pen the current draft. Presumably, producers Jason ReedChris Bender and Jake Weiner will soon begin searching for a director before preparing the casting search for a Chinese lead and supporting cast (hopefully Ming-Na Wen will also return in some capacity), and you’d better believe the coveted voice role of Mushu the Dragon is one that anyone and everyone will be angling for. Should Eddie Murphy return for the role?

Here’s Disney’s official announcement:

MULAN (Live Action) is final title of previous UNTITLED DISNEY FAIRY TALE – previously announced 11/2/18 wide playdate is unchanged and will be in 3D

Stay tuned for more news on cast and crew announcements in the coming weeks and months. Please share and follow!

‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Synopsis Teases Epic Battle

It was announced today that the first footage from the sequel will be unveiled at New York Comic-Con, with director Matt Reeves, star Andy Serkis, and producer Dylan Clark sharing a first look at the film on Thursday, October 6th.

The first official synopsis for War for the Planet of the Apes has also been unveiled:

In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins this own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

Aided by absolutely stunning motion-capture technology, Rise of the Planet of the Apes offered up a compelling origin story for Caesar and the eventual rise of the Apes. And now with War for the Planet of the Apes, it appears we’ll get to see the turning point in the war that finally tips the apes in favor of the humans.

Be on the lookout for the first look at footage or imagery from the film soon as the NYCC panel kicks off next week. War for the Planet of the Apes opens in theaters on July 14, 2017.