LeBron James: ‘Space Jam 2 is still on target’

LeBron James is confident production on Space Jam 2 is “still on target” for its 2021 release date. The famed basketball player has been attached to star in the live-action/animated sports comedy film, a sequel to the 1996 movie, since 2014, and after…

LeBron James is confident production on Space Jam 2 is “still on target” for its 2021 release date.

The famed basketball player has been attached to star in the live-action/animated sports comedy film, a sequel to the 1996 movie, since 2014, and after multiple delays, filming finally got underway last year, with principal photography wrapping in September.

While production has been halted on many film and TV projects, meaning they will likely miss their scheduled release dates, the Los Angeles Lakers star has insisted his feature is on track to be ready on time for its July 2021 release as the crew is currently in the animation phase.

“Space Jam has always been scheduled to come out in June of 2021 (sic). So, we’re kind of (OK),” he said during an appearance on the Road Trippin’ Podcast. “And a lot of it right now is animation, so being indoors is actually great for us. We’re still on.

“Just like everything in the world, everything is slowed down a little bit, but we’re still on target. I’m looking forward to it. During this time right now, I wish we could release it right now, man, and give people some things to watch in their households. But we got until next year, next summer. We’re excited about it.”

Talk of a Space Jam sequel has been ongoing ever since the release of the original, which starred basketball legend Michael Jordan alongside animated Looney Tunes characters like Bugs Bunny. James’ movie was also hit with development issues, including director Terence Nance leaving the project after filming had begun in June last year. Girls Trip filmmaker Malcolm D. Lee came in as his replacement.

The script was written by Black Panther’s Ryan Coogler and Sev Ohanian.

Space Jam 2, which also stars Don Cheadle and Sonequa Martin-Green, is due to hit cinemas from 14 July 2021.

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John Boyega hoping to work with Lena Waithe

John Boyega is excited about a possible collaboration with Lena Waithe.The British actor, who rose to fame playing Finn in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has got a long list of acting projects lined up following the conclusion of the trilogy, a…

John Boyega is excited about a possible collaboration with Lena Waithe.

The British actor, who rose to fame playing Finn in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has got a long list of acting projects lined up following the conclusion of the trilogy, and he’s hoping to add a collaboration with Queen & Slim screenwriter Lena Waithe to his schedule.

“She stopped me at the Met Gala, and she was like, ‘Imma get you a role, ain’t no one hitting it with you just yet,’” he recalled to Hypebeast magazine. “I loved that talk. She came up to me at the Met Gala just like, ‘Yo, I think you something and I think that I can brainstorm something just for you.’”

Boyega hopes to follow in the footsteps of Waithe and filmmakers like Jordan Peele and Ryan Coogler, who have made popular films with black leads, with his production company.

“I’ve just been trying to gather up stories that I know that would be significant of solid interest. But also support directors who are developing original stories. What is the next Star Wars? What is the next franchise?” the 27-year-old added.

Boyega recently finished filming Steve McQueen’s next movie Small Axe and already has a Netflix movie called They Cloned Tyrone, an action film called Rebel Ridge, which co-stars Kevin Costner, and The Naked Singularity with Bill Skarsgard and Olivia Cooke, lined up.

When asked if he would return to the role of Finn, he said he only would consider it if the film focuses on “the banter, the bickering, the undercover romances” and “connection, family, friendship”.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in cinemas now.

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Bob Iger fires back at criticism of Marvel movies

Disney boss Bob Iger has hit back at Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola over their criticism of Marvel movies.Iger, who serves as chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, which owns Marvel Studios, made an appearance at Th…

Disney boss Bob Iger has hit back at Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola over their criticism of Marvel movies.

Iger, who serves as chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, which owns Marvel Studios, made an appearance at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference in California on Tuesday night, and during an interview, was asked what he thought of Scorsese’s view that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) flicks are “not cinema”, and Coppola’s opinion that such blockbusters are “despicable”.

“Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese are people I hold in the highest regard in terms of the films they’ve made, the films I’ve liked, the films we’ve all watched,” he stated, according to reporters at Fast Company. “But when Francis uses the words ‘those films are despicable,’ I’d reserve the word ‘despicable’ for someone who had committed mass murder.

“I don’t get what they’re criticising us for when we’re making films that people are obviously enjoying going to and they’re doing so by the millions.”

Iger then insisted that Marvel films actually support the wider movie industry because they draw in viewers and allow cinema executives to show more independent films. He also compared Ryan Coogler’s box office smash, Black Panther, to Scorsese and Coppola’s movies.

“Are you telling me that Ryan Coogler making Black Panther is doing something that somehow or another is less than anything Marty Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola have ever done on any one of their movies? Come on,” the 68-year-old asked.

Following Scorsese and Coppola’s criticism, the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, Robert Downey, Jr., Natalie Portman, and Sebastian Stan have all defended the MCU. However, Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch expressed support for both sides of the argument during a chat on SiriusXM’s The Jenny McCarthy Show on Tuesday.

“I know there’s been a lot of debate recently with some very fine filmmakers coming to the fore saying these film franchises are taking over everything,” he explained. “But, lucky us actors who get to do both kinds of variety, at either polarity (in terms) of budgeting.

“I agree, we don’t want one king to rule it all and have a monopoly and all that, and it’s hopefully not the case and we should really look into continuing to support auteur filmmakers at every level.”

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Michael B. Jordan plans to quit acting and direct movies instead

Michael B. Jordan eventually wants to quit acting and direct films instead.The 32-year-old won critical acclaim for his role in The Wire back in 2002, before landing parts in other U.S. TV shows including Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. However, it…

Michael B. Jordan eventually wants to quit acting and direct films instead.

The 32-year-old won critical acclaim for his role in The Wire back in 2002, before landing parts in other U.S. TV shows including Friday Night Lights and Parenthood.

However, it was his role in Ryan Coogler’s film Fruitvale Station in 2013 that catapulted Jordan to superstardom, and the actor has gone from strength to strength ever since, starring in movies such as Fantastic Four, Creed, and Black Panther.

And he’s determined to make a lasting impression on Hollywood and plans on turning his hand to making movies.

“I see a world where I’m just directing,” he told Time magazine in a new interview. “Or maybe doing a movie once every two or three years.

“How you make the most impact is: become the biggest. Build your brand so it’s global, so you can attack global issues. Every move matters.”

Next up for Jordan is Just Mercy, starring Oscar winners Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson, which tells the true story of Walter McMillian, who successfully appealed his murder conviction in the 1990s with the help of lawyer Bryan Stevenson.

Jordan plays the young attorney to Foxx’s McMillian in the movie, which he also co-produced, and wants audiences to be inspired to make a difference after watching the powerful film.

“I want people to feel angry, upset, passionate, sad, inspired and optimistic that you can make a difference,” he stated. “When you leave this movie, I want you to question what you think is normal.”

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Martin Freeman: ‘I will be returning for Black Panther 2’

Martin Freeman believes he will be reprising the role of Everett K. Ross in the next Black Panther movie. The Sherlock actor first played the CIA operative, who had been tasked to control and regulate the actions of the Avengers, in Captain America: C…

Martin Freeman believes he will be reprising the role of Everett K. Ross in the next Black Panther movie.

 The Sherlock actor first played the CIA operative, who had been tasked to control and regulate the actions of the Avengers, in Captain America: Civil War, and returned for 2018’s Black Panther, where he was injured in the line of duty and saved by Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, before going on to help Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa and his forces battle Michael B. Jordan’s antagonist Erik Killmonger. 

 Original director Ryan Coogler has signed on to direct a follow-up, but further details are currently unknown. However, in a new chat with Collider, the British actor said he expected to be back for the sequel.  

 “As far as I know, I will be returning,” he shared. “As far as I know, I will be in another Black Panther. That’s my understanding. As to when that will happen, I don’t know.”  

 It isn’t known when the sequel will be released, but as it didn’t appear on Marvel’s slate for 2020 and 2021 during their San Diego Comic-Con presentation, it’s likely it won’t be due until at least 2022.  

 Alongside Freeman, other castmembers expected to return for the sequel include Wright, Boseman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, and Winston Duke. 

 Last year, Marvel boss Kevin Feige told Entertainment Weekly the plot for the sequel was coming together and he teased that audiences would be seeing more of Wright’s Shuri.   

 “One of the favourite pastimes at Marvel Studios is sitting around on a Part One and talking and dreaming about what we would do in a Part Two. There have been plenty of those conversations as we were putting together the first Black Panther. We have ideas and a pretty solid direction on where we want to head with the second one,” he said. 

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Tessa Thompson: ‘People of colour are giving each other the best film opportunities’

Tessa Thompson believes working with directors of colour has been the only way for her to get interesting roles.The Men in Black: International actress, who has Afro-Panamanian, Mexican, and European heritage, has been working solidly for the past five…

Tessa Thompson believes working with directors of colour has been the only way for her to get interesting roles.

The Men in Black: International actress, who has Afro-Panamanian, Mexican, and European heritage, has been working solidly for the past five years on films such as Selma, Creed, and Sorry to Bother You, helmed by the likes of Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler and Boots Riley, respectively.

When it was observed during her cover interview with Marie Claire magazine that she has worked with a lot of black directors, Tessa explained that it’s because people of colour have been better at offering interesting roles to other people of colour.

“It remains the only way,” she declared. “I look at actresses who are not of colour and at the opportunities that they’re presented in terms of directors wanting to make work for them. When I look at my contemporaries of colour, it’s only other artists of colour who are doing that in a real, robust way.”

Since filming Men in Black, the 35-year-old has lent her voice to Lady in the Disney remake of the Lady and the Tramp, filmed Sylvie, a love story set in midcentury Harlem, and is gearing up to reprise the role of Charlotte Hale in the third season of TV series Westworld.

Accordingly, Tessa admitted that her schedule is well and truly filled up.

“I’m really lucky to be inside of projects that I’m obligated to, but it means that I’m increasingly aware of the finite time that I have to make the things I just want to do,” the Los Angeles native explained. “I’ve slotted them into any little window, which means I just don’t have any windows right now.”

Men in Black marks her third time working with Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, after they previously teamed up for 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok and this year’s Avengers: Endgame, and the Dear White People star joked that they were like the new Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, who had an onscreen and offscreen partnership for more than 20 years.

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Black Panther cast members excited for planned sequel

The cast of Black Panther has described their excitement over a planned sequel.At the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday night (27Jan19), the Marvel Studios superhero feature won the prize for Outstanding…

The cast of Black Panther has described their excitement over a planned sequel.

At the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday night (27Jan19), the Marvel Studios superhero feature won the prize for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

Director Ryan Coogler is already developing a follow-up to the hit film, and in a backstage chat at the SAG ceremony, a reporter asked the cast if they had any hesitations about participating in a sequel, because “it could be The Godfather Part II, or it could be Grease 2”.

“It’s one of those things where honestly, to be able to build on that legacy and those characters and the world that Ryan built – you know, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created years ago – but allow Ryan to actually tell that story, if there’s an opportunity to come back and do a second one,” responded Sterling K. Brown, who played the character of N’Jobu in the original.

Michael B. Jordan, who played villain Erik ‘Killmonger’ Stevens, went on to explain that he had every confidence in Coogler’s ability to come up with another original story.

“I mean, take myself out of that situation,” he laughed. “But for everybody to come back, I think I speak for everybody up here, it would be a tremendous accomplishment.

“Sequels, I think, are one of the hardest films to make, and I feel like to create a world and build upon it that’s so beautifully and delicately woven into the world of the Marvel Universe – but throughout cinema in general, you take Marvel out of it, I think it’s a movie that stands against all film across the board. So yeah, I think if there was an opportunity, I think everybody would be pretty excited to come back around.”

In addition, lead actor Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed T’Challa / Black Panther, noted that there was “no question” of his return, while Brown described Coogler, who also helmed films like Creed and Fruitvale Station, as a “beast”.

“He ain’t going to slip. Godfather II. Like, be ready,” he smiled.

Black Panther was widely praised by critics and grossed $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office, making it the second-highest grossing movie of 2018. The film has also garnered six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

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Ryan Coogler feels ‘naked’ when directing

Ryan Coogler can’t help but feel “naked” when he’s directing in front of a crowd.The director was the brains behind Black Panther, one of the most talked about films of 2018 and the highest-grossing film ever made by a black director.Coogler ha…

Ryan Coogler can’t help but feel “naked” when he’s directing in front of a crowd.

The director was the brains behind Black Panther, one of the most talked about films of 2018 and the highest-grossing film ever made by a black director.

Coogler has been praised for his work on the Marvel juggernaut, as well as other films including Fruitvale Station and Creed, but he has now admitted that he often doesn’t feel comfortable while helming a large project.

“What I found made it a lot harder on Black Panther was you’re dealing with so many more people,” he explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “You’ve got to get comfortable directing in a room full of 75, 100 people sometimes. A lot of times, I find directing can make you feel like you’re naked, you know what I mean? So, directing on a 10-person crew is like being naked in front of 10 people, but with 200 people, it’s a different ballgame.”

Black Panther features Chadwick Boseman as the titular character as well as Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira.

The film was widely praised for its cultural significance and importance to the black community, and in hindsight, Coogler agrees the movie is political.

“Yeah. It’s about a politician, you know?” the 32-year-old considered. “So, there was no way for it not to be. It’s a character who is the political leader of a fictional country, but we put it on a real continent, we wanted to set it in the real world. So, it’s definitely a political film.”

Black Panther was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and is in the running for two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

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Michael B. Jordan keen to make more Creed movies

Michael B. Jordan wants to make more Creed movies in a bid to create a legacy similar to the Rocky franchise. The actor reprises his role as Adonis Creed – the son of boxer Apollo Creed from the original Rocky movies – in Creed II, and he has now re…

Michael B. Jordan wants to make more Creed movies in a bid to create a legacy similar to the Rocky franchise. 

The actor reprises his role as Adonis Creed – the son of boxer Apollo Creed from the original Rocky movies – in Creed II, and he has now revealed that when he first discussed doing the 2015 movie, with Creed and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, he envisaged working on a series of sequels.

Speaking at a Q&A held at the BFI Southbank on Wednesday night (28Nov18) alongside his co-stars Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu, Brigitte Nielsen, and Creed II helmer Steven Caple Jr., Michael shared that he is ready to do another instalment and would consider doing even more movies.

“I would do a Creed III,” he confirmed, when asked by the director if he was up for doing another flick.

“I mean do y’all wanna see a Creed III?” the 31-year-old then questioned the audience, who burst into a round of applause.

Michael, a virtual unknown in Hollywood prior to the release of the critically acclaimed 2013 movie Fruitvale Station, then pondered the possibility of the film turning into a franchise like Sylvester Stallone’s hugely successful Rocky series.

“We hadn’t even started shooting Fruitvale Station yet – I think we were in pre-production for that. And Ryan was like, ‘Hey man, I’m thinking about doing this story about Apollo Creed’s son… do you wanna play him?’ And I was like, ‘Hey man cool let’s do it.’

“In my brain, I started thinking about it. I was like, ‘OK well how many Rocky films was there? Alright well, we could deal with a lot of Creeds if it works so it was something I thought about,’” the star admitted. “I knew that (if it was a) success it was something I would be willing to do. So yeah I’m down.”

Tessa, who plays Adonis’ musician girlfriend Bianca in the franchise, weighed in with ideas for a potential movie title too.

“Yes. Like Creed III – Redemption,” she joked, before teasing her co-star Michael’s idea for the title of Creed II. “It could’ve been Creed II: The Big Payback… It was a bad pitch.”

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Ryan Coogler to write and direct Black Panther sequel

Ryan Coogler has signed on to write and direct Black Panther 2.The filmmaker will begin working on the script for the new movie, a sequel to the hit superhero film featuring Chadwick Boseman as lead character T’Challa / Black Panther, next year (19), s…

Ryan Coogler has signed on to write and direct Black Panther 2.

The filmmaker will begin working on the script for the new movie, a sequel to the hit superhero film featuring Chadwick Boseman as lead character T’Challa / Black Panther, next year (19), sources close to the project have told The Hollywood Reporter.

It is believed that executives from Marvel Studios and parent company Disney are looking to begin production in late 2019 or early 2020. Producers have not yet commented on the news.

Soon after Black Panther’s premiere in January, talk of a sequel with Coogler attached began, however, bosses at Disney have not officially added the film to the list of upcoming Marvel movies, with Captain Marvel, an untitled Avengers film and Spider-Man: Far From Home, among the flicks currently scheduled for release in the coming years.

Boseman is expected to reprise his role, alongside other key castmembers including Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright. The original story followed the character of T’Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, as he stepped forward to lead his people into a new future by confronting a challenger from his nation’s past.

Previously, Coogler explained that he wanted to further explore what being king meant for T’Challa.

“You know, in the comic books, he’s very young when (his father) T’Chaka is killed. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he’s a man, you know? And those are two different things,” he told film website Screen Rant in February. “So I’d be really interested to see, you know, what kind of king he is with experience and how that affects his performance in the stories.”

Black Panther was widely praised by critics and grossed $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office, making it the second-highest grossing movie of the year and a contender for Oscar consideration.

At present, Coogler is working as an executive producer on boxing movie Creed II, a follow-up to 2015’s Creed starring Michael B. Jordan, which he wrote and directed.

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