The Past Week: Gotham, Widows, The Wizard Of Oz
While everybody’s attention might have been on the litany of superhero film-related headlines, there were also a number of noteworthy news items that involved comic book-based TV shows as well as non-superhero related projects during the past week. Indeed, some of the biggest stories this week revolved around FOX and ABC‘s multiple announcements regarding who they had cast in their upcoming X-Men and Inhumans series respectively. And although these are certainly exciting, they aren’t the cases I had in mind, so let’s talk about the ones I did.
Alexander Siddig To Play Ra’s Al Ghul In Gotham
Growing up in the 90’s and 2000’s, my first exposure to Batman‘s Ra’s Al Ghul was Liam Neeson‘s take on the character in Batman Begins. Although he lacked the flair of Heath Ledger‘s Joker or even Tom Hardy‘s Bane, the Irish thespian managed to make the mysterious mastermind not just real, but compelling to me in a way that few villains were at that point. I would later learn that the figure Christopher Nolan crafted for his movie was originally meant to be thousands of years old and immortal as portrayed in the comics, but I didn’t care: I was more than satisfied with Neeson’s non-superpowered but by no means powerless performance.
So imagine my shock at reacting as well as I did to the news from Superherohype that Alexander Siddig, best known as Dr. Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, would play the villain on Fox’s Gotham. Of course, it probably helps that Deep Space Nine is one of my favorite TV shows of all time and that the Anglo-Sudanese Siddig has the perfect pedigree for Ra’s. I have yet to see Gotham, but it definitely is much higher on my list due to this inspired casting.
Liam Neeson In Negotiations For Widows
Speaking of Liam Neeson, he figured into news of his own this week when it was reported that he was being eyed for a role in Steve McQueen‘s next movie. According to Comingsoon.net, the Academy Award-winning 12 Years A Slave director wants him to play a role in his feature film adaptation of Widows, a UK crime drama that aired in the 1980’s. The article notes that the program has already been remade for American audiences back in 2002, but this would be the first time it was made into a movie.
I can’t say that I am terribly familiar with the original show, but the little that has been revealed about the planned film is encouraging. Revolving around the attempts of three widows to carry out the heists their deceased husbands tried and failed to do, the movie will feature Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Rodriguez, and Viola Davis (yes, she of the Triple Crown of Acting acclaim) in leading roles. Again, I don’t know how Neeson will fit into all this, but it will be a treat to see him acting alongside such undeniable talent in the same movie.
New Line Cinema Developing Wizard Of Oz Horror Film
Remember a couple years back when it seemed like every other movie was a “reimagining” of some classic property? Sure you do: Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland. That all these movies are Tim Burton productions is both coincidental and beside the point: the point is that there is a reason, almost certainly related to the less than stellar reception said films received, that studios quietly lay that tired phrase to rest and decided to refer to such projects as “reboots”.
However, there might be one proposed project that might actually warrant the label. As Comingsoon.net reports, New Line Cinema has revealed its plans to produce a horror film set in author L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz world. If you’re like me and have never read any of the 13-plus books that the 1939 classic that I can only imagine was loosely-based off of, then you have little by which to evaluate this announcement. We know Oz can be scary, as anybody who saw those Wheelers in Return to Oz can tell you, but whether the finished product will be good is probably something the great and terrible himself can’t tell us.