Your regular Mysterious Universe entertainment news round-up, covering the latest developments in the worlds of sci-fi, fantasy and horror…
Clooney's sci-fi thriller
When he’s not busy supping Nespressos and being the suavest star in Hollywood, George Clooney can occasionally be found calling the shots in a director’s chair. As an actor, he was last in sci-fi territory in 2015 in Disney’s underrated Tomorrowland: A World Beyond. Now, Clooney is in early talks to helm a sci-fi thriller called Echo. The screenplay, written by Christopher McBride, focuses on a CIA drone co-ordinator who begins to doubt his own mind when he tries to figure out whether his wife is still who she claims to be. Has she been replaced? Is he just paranoid? As he digs into his concerns, his psychological crisis deepens. It’s too early for a predicted release date at this point, but it will eventually come to us via 20th Century Fox.
Roald Dahl fans, rejoice! Or not… The famed author’s classic book, The Witches, is coming to the big screen. But wait, didn’t cult director Nicolas Roeg already make a perfectly good Witches movie in 1990 starring Angelica Houston in a gleefully twisted turn as the Grand High Witch? Yes, he did. But Hollywood will be Hollywood, and remakes are the order of the day. Encouragingly, however, this remake is in the very capable hands of director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forest Gump, Contact). Zemeckis will also pen the script, and he’ll co-produce with partner Jack Rapke under their ImageMovers banner, along with Guillermo del Toro, who was long attached to direct the project before a scheduling conflict led to the Mexican maestro stepping aside. There’s currently no release date as the production deal is still being squared away.
Diabolical AI system has British accent (naturally)
Late Late Show host James Corden is joining the cast of Melissa McCarthy's latest comedy, Super Intelligence. Corden will lend his English accent to the role of a hyper-intelligent AI system that may end up taking over the world. McCarthy will play Carol Peters, a former corporate executive who, Corden’s AI is tasked with observing. McCarthy has written the script with her husband and regular collaborator Ben Falcone, who will also direct. Superintelligence starts shooting next month and is expected in cinemas December 2019.
Brace yourselves for another remake. This time: Arachnophobia. The original Spielberg-produced horror-comedy was released in 1990, directed by Frank Marshall. It saw a deadly species of Venezuelan spider finding its way to a sleepy American town and picking off the unsuspecting residents as the town’s new doctor (played by Jeff Daniels) tries desperately to convince local authorities of what’s happening. It was an entertaining movie and a hard watch for anyone with an aversion to arachnids, especially since most of the spiders in the original movie were REAL (this was before the CGI revolution).
The remake will be produced by modern horror master James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious). A writer and director have yet to be announced, but it’s likely that whomever helms the movie won’t have to contend with any real eight-legged freaks. CGI will almost certainly bring most of the new spiders to life; not only for practical reasons, but also due to probable animal rights concerns (PETA wouldn’t hesitate to stop on the production).
If you believe they put a man on the moon...
Flat-Earthers and moon landing conspiracy theorists, ready your picket signs! The full trailer for The First Man is now online. This epic true tale of NASA’s efforts to land a man on the moon will see Ryan Gosling in the role of Neil Armstrong under the direction of Damien Chazelle (La La Land).
The story will centre around Armstrong and wife Janet (Claire Foy) in the years 1961-1969. The screenplay by Josh Singer (Spotlight) is an adaptation of James R. Hansen's eponymous book, which explores the personal and national sacrifices involved in getting Armstrong and co. to their lunar destination.
The cast also includes Kyle Chandler, Pablo Schreiber, Jason Clarke, Ciaran Hinds and Corey Stoll. First Man is set for launch on October 12 this year.
Love on the Red Planet
From the moon to Mars next as Netflix has just given the order for Away, a 10-episode series described as an epic love story and a thrilling tale of survival set against humanity’s greatest endeavour—the first human mission to Mars.
According to Deadline, Away will centre on the character of Emma Green, “an American astronaut who must leave her husband and teenage daughter behind in order to command an international space crew embarking upon a treacherous, year-long mission. It is a series about hope, humanity and how ultimately, we need one another if we are to achieve impossible things.”
The show is coming from playwright Andrew Hinderaker, Jason Katims and Matt Reeves. It loosely inspired by Chris Jones’ Esquire article of the same name.