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Beetlejuice 2 : Where did it go, WB?

Have the studio and Tim Burton given up the ghost (with the most)?

Caffeinated Clint

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A sequel to Tim Burton’s hit horror-comedy “Beetlejuice” (1988) has been in the works longer than, well, Michael Keaton hasn’t had to put his curlers in at night. Hindrance and a lack of studio fervour might now have waned the filmmaker’s interest in doing it at all.

Warner Bros nearly pressed go on a sequel in the early ‘90s with the Jonathan Gems -penned “Beetlejuice goes Hawaiian” which would apparently be set in the tropics with the undead soaring the waves, dancing the limbo, and controlling the beaches.

The script saw the Deetz family moving to Hawaii, where Charles (Jeffrey Jones) is developing a resort. Soon enough the twice-unlucky clan discover they’re building on top of an old ancient Hawaiian Kahuna’s burial ground. Warner Bros had only approached Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder about reprising their roles from the original film.

Michael McDowell, who wrote the very first draft of the 1988 film, also took a stab at writing a sequel around that time.

In more recent years, the studio revisited the idea tapping genre regulars Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg of KatzSmith Productions to weave some magic.

Grahame-Smith said the biggest challenge was trying to come up with a script and story that was worth doing.

“Look, there’s a desire, a real desire from Mr. [Michael] Keaton to come back and do it; there’s certainly a real desire on the part of Warner Bros”, he told Collider. “Tim is amenable, he’s going to produce it with us if it goes, but he’s not opposed to the idea, he likes the idea in concept. It’s just, “Can I crack the story?””

Whatever the duo presented (they took a stab at writing it, then later Mike Vukadinovich, of “Marvel’s Runaways”, was working on it), it seemingly didn’t put Warner Bros under any kind of spell.
While lesser, unwarranted sequels continue to get up, the “Bettlejuice 2” engine just won’t crank over. Shame, because everyone involved in that original film is seemingly keen to do it.

Tim Burton said in 2015 that it was closing in on a greenlight, “It’s a character that I love and I miss and I miss actually working with Michael. There’s only one Betelgeuse. We’re working on a script and I think it’s probably closer than ever and I’d love to work with him again.”

“At one point, I had the conversation with Tim, saying “I love this movie so much; I think there’s one more in there somewhere”, star Michael Keaton told JoBlo in a 2005 interview. “And we both talked about it, and I think there was a script written once years ago that wasn’t quite it. I would consider that, yeah, a lot. I would seriously consider that.”
In 2015, Winona Ryder even suggested it was as good as ‘on’.

“I think I can confirm it because Tim Burton did this interview. It was very hush-hush, top secret, ‘I don’t know what may happen, I don’t know,’ and then he was doing some press for Big Eyes and he did an on-camera interview and he said, ‘Oh yeah, we’re doing it and Winona’s gonna be in it.’ So can I say…? I mean if he said it. But I really don’t know much more than anybody else.”

Out stumping “Accidents Happen” in 2010, Geena Davis told Moviehole she’d love to see a sequel come to fruition.

The actress, who played one-half of the recently-departed Maitland outfit (Alec Baldwin playing her hubby), says she’d be definitely keen to tap into her, er, ‘spiritual’ side again.

“It’s funny, [another journalist] just asked me about a sequel to Beetlejuice – which, though I haven’t heard anything about it, might be interesting”, Davis told me yesterday. “I would do that!”.
“Thing is, do ghosts age?”, asks Davis. “Wouldn’t we be stuck in the age we were? Alec [Baldwin] and I would have to look as we did then – who knows, maybe we could? I better get in touch with Tim Burton”.

Speaking on the press trail for his live-action take on “Dumbo” (the middling B.O figures of which won’t help the case for a “Beetlejuice” sequel), Burton was asked by USA Today for an update on the project.

Unfortunately, it’s not good.

‘So, what’s happening on it?’

“Nothing, nothing”, said Burton, adding that he doubts the movie will ever happen.

A Warner Bros spokesperson reiterated that, confirming that the movie – unlike, say, surprising WB sequels like “Lethal Weapon 5” and “Edge of Tomorrow 2”, which are – isn’t in active development.

Larry Wilson, one of the writers on the original film, says the proposed sequel has been on and off more times than Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.

“The bottom line is Tim Burton and Michael Keaton are not going to think about a ‘Beetlejuice’ sequel unless it somehow catches the energy of the first film. And that’s not easy,” says Wilson. ” ‘Beetlejuice’ really was lightning in a bottle. But there have been discussions since it really shocked everyone in 1988. And in terms of ‘Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian,’ wiser heads prevailed. Thank God there’s a level of integrity here.”

Wilson said all eyes will be on the upcoming Broadway version of “Beetlejuice” and suggests that if it’s successful, the powers-that-be might look at the sequel idea again.

It’s not looking good, I gotta say, but with Warners sequelizing or rebooting so many, some might say lesser, comedies of the ‘80s – like “Police Academy”, “Spies Like Us” and “Wildcats” – it’s a wonder they’re not trying harder to make this happen? Is it because, as Seth Grahame-Smith said, everyone went cold on the idea because they couldn’t come up with a story as good as that of the original? Maybe.

Movie News

A new look at the J.J Abrams’ Superman

Remember this one? Brett Ratner was going to direct it in the early noughties

Ali

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Before being crowned diet Spielberg, not to mention one of the busiest producer-director units around, J.J Abrams (“Mission : Impossible”, “Star Trek”, “Super 8”, “The Force Awakens”) was making a plum living for himself as a well-respected screenwriter.

In the ’90s, he wrote such films as “Regarding Henry” with Harrison Ford and “Forever Young” with Mel Gibson, and a couple of years after, co-wrote “Armageddon” for Michael Bay, the Danny Glover-Joe Pesci comedy “Gone Fishin'”, and “Joy Ride” starring the late Paul Walker.

At the same time he was celebrating big-time TV success with “Felicity” and “Alias”, and later “Lost” and “Fringe”.

Now around the time that he was penning lines for then curly-haired heroine Keri Russell, Abrams was working on a ‘Superman’ script for Warner Bros.  Abrams’ take on the man of steel would be fun but radical, as the Fandom page for the film reminds us :

Flyby was an origin story that included Krypton besieged by a civil war between Jor-El and his corrupt brother, Kata-Zor. Before Kata-Zor sentences Jor-El to prison, Kal-El is launched to Earth to fulfill a prophecy. Adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, he forms a romance with Lois Lane in the Daily Planet. However, Lois is more concerned with exposing Lex Luthor, written as a government agent obsessed with UFO phenomena. Clark reveals himself to the world as Superman, bringing Kata-Zor’s son, Ty-Zor, and three other Kryptonians to Earth. Superman is defeated and killed, and visits Jor-El (who committed suicide on Krypton while in prison) in Kryptonian heaven. Resurrected, he returns to Earth and defeats the four Kryptonians, while the script ends with Superman off to Krypton, leaving a cliffhanger for a sequel.

Brett Ratner, then a much hotter commodity than he is today (aaargh), was attached to direct the film before McG (“Charlie’s Angels”) took over. Warner’s choice for the title role was then it-boy Josh Hartnett and, if I recall correctly, Robert Downey Jr was even attached to play Luthor!

Here are some previously released concept sketches for the big guy…

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The film, of course, didn’t end up coming to fruition and Warners opted to go a safer route with the “Superman” movie franchise and instead greenlight a version that would play as the fourth sequel to the Christopher Reeve-starring films. “Superman Returns”, directed by Brian Singer, was released in 2006.

And that was that for Abrams and his ‘Superman’ dream… or is it? Chatter of late has Abrams and his Bad Robot outfit circling Warner’s next take on the Man of Steel. And as opposed to the aforementioned incarnation, this is a film that he’d likely write but also produce and direct.

Anyway, over on Twitter today, “Spider-Man : Into the Spider-Verse” helmer Peter Ramsey dropped some storyboards that he’d designed for the proposed 2002 film, which gives us a pretty decent idea as to what the studio were hoping to accomplish with the film. Cool stuff!

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Movie News

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 plot leaks!?

Two hot new additions to the franchise revealed

Ali

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More fuel for the ‘Efron in the MCU’  fire today, with a report from oft-reliable Marvel insider ‘4Chan’ (via That Hashtag Show) suggesting the former Disney-staple and “Greatest Showman” star is the studio’s pick to play Adam Warlock in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”.

According to the report (which has since been deleted- interesting..), Efron would play the golden-skinned superhero in this film and possibly other, non-“Guardians” films (Considering the character’s debut in early “Thor” comics, we be thinking there’s  a chance he might pop up in the fourth film in that series.)

The main gist of this film reportedly involves Rocket’s creator, The High Evolutionary, who is the film’s main rogue. The racoon will get loved up with Llyla, who is one of the villain’s experiments. There will be good news for Drax (Dave Bautista), who discovers his daughter is still alive, and Nebula (Karen Gillan) grows closer to her sister’s former flame Star-Lord (Chris Pratt).

Efron won’t be the only ‘hunky’ new addition to the franchise, with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor also expected to join the ‘guardians’ for the threequel. In the film, the hammer-wielding Asgardian is said to be stumbling upon Beta Bay.

According to the aforesaid tipster, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3” is designed to be the last instalment in the franchise.

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Movie News

Beowulf star boards Black Widow

Versatile thesp joining Scarlett Johansson “Avengers” prequel

Ali

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Ray Winstone, the Essex-born thesp who has proven more adaptable than a universal remote control over the years, has signed on for Marvel’s “Black Widow” film.

The 62-year-old actor, known for such films as “Sexy Beast”, “Indiana Jones the Crystal Skull”, “Beowulf”, “The Departed” and “King of Thieves”, joins a cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, reprising her MCU-staple role of Natasha Romanov, with David Harbour, Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz.

Marvel have yet to comment on the casting, first revealed by Variety, let alone reveal details of Winstone’s character.

“Black Widow” is currently filming in London.

 

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