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Keanu Reeves and Ian McShane to Return in Their ‘John Wick’ Roles in Spinoff Film, ‘Ballerina’

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It appears The Continental Hotel is filling up quickly, even with some familiar faces so to speak. Ana de Armas, who recently played Marilyn Monroe in Netflix’s Blonde, signed on last year to lead the John Wick-universe based spinoff film, Ballerina. Today, two stars from previous chapters within the franchise have signed on to return, as well.

According to separate exclusive reports from both Collider and The Hollywood Reporter, respectively, it appears that Keanu Reeves and Ian McShane will be reprising their roles as John Wick and Winston in Ballerina. The spinoff film, led by de Armas, just began filming this week in Prague.

This is not the only John Wick project in the works currently as John Wick: Chapter 4 will release in theaters on March 24, 2023. Additionally, the television series, The Continental, another spinoff that will serve as a prequel telling earlier stories from the hotel that houses the criminal underworld and the hired assassins we see throughout the franchise, will premiere in 2023 on Peacock.

Ballerina was co-written Shay Hatten and Emerald Fennell and will be directed by Len Wiseman. Fennell recently won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in her directorial debut, Promising Young Woman so her voice in a female-fronted spinoff is most welcome and could serve well to benefit the action movie.

Reeves recently signed on to reprise his role as John Constantine in Constantine 2. He’s also set to star in a live-action, feature film version of his original comic book, BRZRKR for Netflix. McShane will next voice the character Saiwa in the Netflix’s animated movie, My Father’s Dragon.

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‘Blade’ Finds Its Director as Marvel Hires ‘Lovecraft Country’s’ Yann Demange for the Job

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It has been since July 2019 that 2-time Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali was brought in for a meeting with Marvel and asked to “pick a character” that he would want to play within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He selected the sword-wielding vampire hunter Blade, who was previously portrayed by Wesley Snipes on screen from 1998-2004. Though the announcement of Ali joining the MCU came before the 2020s, there has been a lack of news, and maybe even some that would categorize as bad news since hiring and then losing director Bassam Tariq due to creative differences. However, there is finally news on who will come in to right the ship for Ali and Marvel.

It has been reported by multiple outlets that Yann Demange (’71, Lovecraft Country) is set to helm the reboot of Blade for Marvel and will come along with a new writer as Michael Starrbury (When They See Us, Colin in Black and White) will write the newest draft of the script. Marvel has said that it aims for Blade to have a darker tone than other MCU projects. With Demange’s resume, his hiring makes sense in relation to past projects that he could be an inspired choice to direct this particular film. 

The film was originally set to begin filming this month but due to Tariq’s falling out with the studio, Marvel took their time taking pitches for weeks to find the tonal remedy and cohesiveness needed to move forward with the pic. Demange has other high-profile projects in development currently in addition to Blade including a reboot of 1981’s sci-fi thriller Scanners and Exit West, feature film collaboration for Netflix with Demange directing Riz Ahmed for the Obamas production company, Higher Ground.

Mahershala Ali is a 2-time winner in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role at the Academy Awards for Best Picture winners Moonlight and Green Book. Additionally, Ali was most recently seen (or heard) in Swan Song for AppleTV+ and his first role as Blade in a short off-screen voiceover in a post-credit scene in Eternals interacting with Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman. He’ll star next in the animated film, Wildwood from Laika Studios along with Carey Mulligan, Angela Bassett, Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay which is set to be released in 2023.

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Angela Kang Joins as Showrunner for Amazon/MGM+ Series Revolving Around Spider-Man Character Silk in ‘Silk: Spider Society’

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Ever since the release of Oscar-winning animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Sony has been looking to expand their catalogue of Spider-Man comic book characters to live-action and animation. Venom, Morbius as well as the upcoming films, Kraven the Hunter and Madame Web have brought some of these characters to fruition on the big screen but the long-rumored project revolving around the character Silk is finally getting some updated news. 

According to The Hollywood ReporterSilk: Spider Society is finally moving along in development as the show has set a showrunner in Angela Kang. Kang is best known for show running and producing The Walking Dead from Season 3 onward to its final season which episodes are airing now on AMC. She’s also set to produce a spinoff series revolving around Norman Reedus’ character, Daryl Dixon which will take place in Paris. Kang recently moved her overall deal to Amazon where she’ll also overlook and produce the drama series, Black Sun for the streamer as Silk: Spider Society is being developed.

The series is set to air first on MGM+, which is Epix’s new rebrand that launches in Janury 2023 before airing on Amazon Prime Video. Silk: Spider Society will be produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who helped shepherd Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The character, Silk or Cindy Moon is a Korean-American woman who is bitten by the same spider that bit Peter Parker and gains the same powers as Spider-Man. She begins to use these powers to escape imprisonment and go on the lookout for her missing family. I, for, one would love to see Squid Game star Hoyeon star as Moon in the series, she’s still very young and is already appearing in American projects after her starring role as Kang Sae-byok in the biggest Netflix series of all-time.

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Bradley Cooper Set as Lead in Steven Spielberg’s Reimagining of 1968’s ‘Bullitt’

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 It was just a few years ago that Oscar-nominated actor Bradley Cooper was courting offers from tons of directors such as Adam McKay, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino before settling on two films that released last year and were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Cooper selected the lead role in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley and a small, supporting role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza. Following the success of his own directorial debut, A Star is Born, Cooper was highly coveted and now, he’s about to work with the most famous filmmaker of all-time. 

According to Deadline, Bradley Cooper will star in the latest film from Steven Spielberg which will be a new original take on the legendary character Frank Bullitt played by Steve McQueen. The report details that the movie is not a remake of the original film, Bullitt, but a completely new idea that is centered around the character from the 1968 crime thriller. In the original movie, Bullitt is a sensible police officer from San Francisco who’s on the hunt for a mobster that killed one his witnesses in a case he’s on. The role is one of the more quintessential roles of McQueen’s career, so it’s interesting that someone of Spielberg’s stature would want to recreate the character for an actor such as Cooper. Having said that, this is an all-star pairing and continues Cooper’s streak of working with some of the best working directors in Hollywood. The film will be written by Josh Singer, who previously penned Spotlight and The Post.

The report also notes that the development of this project has been in the works since the COVID-19 pandemic. Spielberg and Cooper have been trying to work together ever since American Sniper, a film for which Cooper earned his third and fourth Oscar nominations, which eventually was helmed by Clint Eastwood. After that partnership fell through, Spielberg reached out to Cooper to direct his Leonard Bernstein biopic, Maestro, which Cooper eventually obliged. Following his performance and achievement in directing A Star is Born, Spielberg thought that after years of developing Maestro but maybe not having the time to direct himself, he handed the film off to the multihyphenate. Spielberg is currently on a press tour for his semi-autobiographical film, The Fabelmans which stars Paul Dano, Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen coming off of the heels of his incarnation of West Side Story which released in 2021.

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