The Past Week: Black Panther, Godzilla: King Of Monsters, Rebel In The Rye
For film fans, the past week was very eventful. Between all the news stories it was hard to decide which ones warranted analysis the most but in the end, several items managed to grab this writer’s attention. An actress was announced for a science fiction blockbuster and two cast members were officially confirmed for an upcoming Marvel film. Additionally, the director of a biopic about one of America’s most celebrated writers opened up about the project and explained how universal its story is.
Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis Confirmed For Black Panther
It will be a little over a year before Black Panther hits theaters, and there is much about it to keep Marvel fans wracked with anticipation until the moment of its release. The title character has a long, rich history and has never been explored in depth on the big screen (indeed, he only made his cinematic debut in last year’s Captain America: Civil War), so there is plenty for director Ryan Coogler to explore. As if this wasn’t enough to keep would-be viewers excited, there is a veritable litany of noteworthy actors attached to the production, including such talents as 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story‘s Forest Whitaker, and American Horror Story‘s Angela Bassett. Two other prominent names have been floated in connection with the project, but their involvement was only confirmed last week.
In news that will delight those who love Lord of the Rings as much as they do Marvel, Deadline reports that Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis have been announced as members of the Black Panther cast. While Freeman is obviously recognizable as the young Bilbo Baggins of Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy, Serkis might slip past one’s radar until they realize that he provided the motion capture for none other than Gollum in An Unexpected Journey as well as the original film series. Since neither is a stranger to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it makes sense that Freeman is reprising his role as Everett K. Ross from Civil War and Serkis his role as Ulysses Klaue from Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Millie Bobby Brown To Play Role In Godzilla: King Of Monsters
One story I covered earlier this week, from Superherohype, was the casting of Millie Bobby Brown in Godzilla: King of Monsters. As I noted there, I can’t help but feel a little cautious about the decision to feature a child as a prominent character in the film. This is in no way meant to cast aspersions on Brown’s acting abilities or Michael Dougherty‘s direction and writing: Brown more than proved her worth in Stranger Things (which, mind you, I haven’t even completed but already have been wowed by her performance) and Dougherty not only helmed the excellent modern-day monster romp Krampus but also directed Emjay Anthony, another child actor, to excellent effect. If anything, it is meant to cast aspersions on the track record of monster movies that featured kids as main or major characters.
Anyone even peripherally engaged with kaiju films (or at least Mystery Science Theater 3000) will likely be familiar with the “Kenny” – that is, a young, often annoying character who is given disproportionate screentime (or even the focus of the movie in certain cases) and inexplicably understands things about the monster that completely escape the scientists and military men tasked with stopping it. This was most prevalent in Daiei’s Gamera series, but the Godzilla franchise exhibited it at times as wells, with the most egregious example being 1969’s Godzilla’s Revenge, which consisted of an embarrassing amount of stock footage even by the franchise’s generous standards and is regarded by many as the absolute worst entry in the series. It is for this reason that I am skeptical, although I sincerely hope that Dougherty will manage to incorporate Brown in the sequel’s story that retains the carefully mature tone of its predecessor.
Danny Strong Discusses “Universality” Of Rebel In The Rye
I like Danny Strong‘s work on Empire and am interested to see his take on J.D. Salinger, author of every adolescent malcontent’s (a group that once included this writer) favorite book The Catcher in the Rye. I have yet to read Rebel in the Rye, the biography on which the upcoming film is based, but nevertheless look forward to seeing how Strong will show how “universal’ the notoriously reclusive writer’s story is. For your viewing pleasure, here is an interview with him and cast members Zoey Deutch and Nicholas Hoult courtesy of Deadline.