Live-Action Lion King Getting a Sequel That’s Also a Prequel

Lion King Live-Action Sequel
(Disney)

Back in the day, Disney was really stingy with sequels, especially when it came to their animated movies. There was no Snow White 2, or Cinderella 2, or Aristocats 2, and when they did make the occasional sequel, to Aladdin or one of their modern classics, they went straight to video.

It was clear the studio didn’t want to sully their impressive track record with cheap cash-ins. Even Pixar, which Disney acquired, seemed reluctant to do sequels at first before they opened the floodgates to multiple Toy Storys and Cars movies. Disney has softened their stance – even Frozen got a sequel! And now they’re apparently going to make sequels to their live-action remakes.

The live-action Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau, was a big hit last summer, despite the fact that no one ever talks about it. Maybe the sequel will fare better, as it was just announced that Barry Jenkins, who directed the Best Picture-winning Moonlight, is directing a script from Jeff Nathanson, who also wrote the 2019 version.

Not much is known about the movie, but it will use the same technology as last time to make the talking and singing animals as realistic looking as possible, and apparently, it will tackle Mufasa’s origin story.

Deadline reports that the movie will expand the mythology of the Lion King universe, looking back on Mufasa’s life while also continuing to follow Simba. Shades of Godfather II!

Jenkins seems excited to tackle what is sure to be another Disney blockbuster, after having grown up on them like just about everyone else.

“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins said. “Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”

No word yet on whether or not the cast, which included Donald Glover and Beyonce, will be returning, or when the movie will be released.

Joaquin Phoenix Names Son ‘River’ After Late Brother

Joaquin Names Son River
(Getty/Dianna Whitley)

There are plenty of “what could have been” stories in Hollywood history, many of them focused on casting what-ifs, but some of them are based around a tragedy.

What could have been if Heath Ledger, after his iconic performance as the Joker, hadn’t accidentally overdosed? What could have been if James Dean hadn’t died in a car crash after starring in a mere three movies?

What could have been if River Phoenix, one of the most promising young actors of his generation, hadn’t died at the Viper Room at the age of 23? Maybe his career wouldn’t have been similar to the one his little brother Joaquin has made for himself. Unfortunately, we’ll never find out.

Over the weekend, Joaquin and his partner Rooney Mara welcomed their first child and named him River. Director Victor Kossakovvksy revealed the name after a screening of his documentary Gunda, which Phoenix produced, telling the crowd, “He just got a baby by the way … A beautiful son called River.”

It’s clear Joaquin had much admiration for his older brother, and naming his first-born after him is a touching tribute to a talented young actor who never had the chance to have a full career. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been all that unlike Joaquin’s impressive resume.

Joaquin won an Oscar for his role as the Joker in last year’s Todd Phillips movie, and he’s consistently been one of the most interesting and acclaimed actors of the decade. His older brother died before he had a chance to win an Academy Award, but his performances in Stand By Me, Running on Empty, and My Own Private Idaho suggest it wouldn’t have been long.

He may have never won an Oscar, but his memory lives on.

Chadwick Boseman Donated Salary So Sienna Miller Would Get Equal Pay

Chadwick Donates Salary
(Getty/David Livingston)

Whenever someone dies, it’s customary to say nice things about the person. Even if there aren’t that many nice things to say. When a celebrity dies, many of the stories that get told are a surprise to the public, most of whom have only known the deceased via their public personas, not their private lives.

When Chadwick Boseman died after a private four-year battle with cancer, it seemed that everyone who worked with him had something nice to say, and the sheer number of tributes and positive stories of the man makes it clear that he was truly special, not only as an actor but also as a human being.

The latest story to break only serves to further illustrate his goodness.

In the new issue of Empire Magazine, which was dedicated to Boseman, included a story from Sienna Miller, who costarred with Chadwick in last year’s action movie 21 Bridges. The actress revealed that Boseman, who was a producer on the movie, pursued her for a role.

“He was a fan of my work, which was thrilling, because it was reciprocated from me to him, tenfold. So he approached me to do it, he offered me this film, and it was at a time when I really didn’t want to work anymore. I’d been working non-stop and I was exhausted, but then I wanted to work with him.”

But negotiations stalled on the basis of salary, so Boseman stepped in.

“This was a pretty big-budget film, and I know that everybody understands about the pay disparity in Hollywood, but I asked for a number that the studio wouldn’t get to,” Miller said. “And because I was hesitant to go back to work and my daughter was starting school and it was an inconvenient time, I said, ‘I’ll do it if I’m compensated in the right way.’ And Chadwick ended up donating some of his salary to get me to the number that I had asked for. He said that that was what I deserved to be paid.”

Boseman gave her some of his salary so she could get what she deserves and appear in the movie. That’s not the kind of Hollywood story you hear very often.

“I think it’s a testament to who he was,” Miller said.

It’s becoming clear with every such story that Boseman wasn’t just royalty on screen. He was a true king.

Denver Broncos Fills Stands With Cardboard Cutouts of the Entire Town of South Park

Denver Broncos fill stadium with South Park characters
(Twitter/Broncos)

Oh my god, they built Kenny!

You know, out of cardboard. In fact, the Denver Broncos made the entire town of South Park out of cardboard and filled their stadium seats in the coolest possible way. The Denver Broncos are far from the first team to get creative with their empty stadiums, trying to fill the void left by formerly packed arenas and energetic crowds. They aren’t even the first to jump on the cardboard cutout train, but they took a different (*ahem* cooler) route than many other teams.

No matter where you live, South Park is iconic. Going into season 24, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have created one of the most consistently funny animated shows in the history of TV. What really sets South Park apart is that it somehow manages to weave complex social issues in with poop jokes, and it works.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone grew up in Colorado, even meeting and coming up with the idea for South Park while attending the University of Colorado. Both are big fans of their home team, throwing Denver Bronco references into their hit show on a fairly regular basis.

Now, it’s the Denver Broncos’s turn to make a South Park reference – and they freaking nailed it.

“Gang’s all here,” the Broncos tweeted with an incredible video panning the stands. They even created the South Park backdrop for full effect.

South Park tweeted out a message of support for their favorite team, taking a clip from season 3 episode “Spontaneous Combustion,” where a priest leads his congregation in a prayer for the Broncos. This time, they wove in clips of the cardboard South Park characters as if they were all praying for the Broncos to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

The only small detail amiss is that Randy is fully clothed and not trying to start a fight – though maybe that’s only a little league baseball thing.

Netflix Teases Their ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’ Animated Series

Resident Evil Teaser
(Netflix)

Recently, Netflix announced that they were entering the Resident Evil business.

We shared the news that the streaming platform was developing a new Resident Evil TV show that would feature an original story set within the Resident Evil world, an eight-episode series that will take place over two timelines.

But before we see frame one of that, we’re getting an entirely new Resident Evil movie, but not with Mill Jovovich. Unless she lends her voice. Because this new Resident Evil movie is an anime one, and you can see a trailer.

There’s not much to it, and there is precious little info about it, but the movie, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, features Resident Evil 2 protagonists Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy.

“[Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness] is scheduled for a global launch in 2021 exclusively on Netflix. Three years after 2017’s CG film Resident Evil: Vendetta, technology has further evolved, creating the groundwork for a new series in unprecedented full 3DCG animation,” Netflix said about the original series in a new statement. “Since the first game was released in 1996 on Sony PlayStation, the Resident Evil series is nearing its 25th anniversary. With the series continuing to evolve even now, a new title carves itself into the series’ history. This series is entitled RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness.”

The movie is set to hit Netflix in 2021. Check out the trailer:

Yippee Ki-Yay, Motherf*ckers! We Ranked Every Die Hard

(20th Century Fox)

It’s no secret we’re fans of the greatest movie (and Christmas movie) ever made, aka Die Hard. Heck, we’re even willing to keep an open mind about the forthcoming Disney Die Hard reboot.

Given Die Hard 2 just turned 30 years old on July 4th, we thought it’d be nice to look back at the franchise that birthed a whole new sub-genre of action flicks. There’s a reason you’ll hear a movie like Air Force One described as “Die Hard on a plane.”

So to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Die Hard 2, here is our ranking of all five movies in the series.

5. A Good Day To Die Hard

(20th Century Fox)

This one’s a no-brainer. Save for a handful of decent action sequences (this car chase has its moments!), the fifth and final Die Hard installment is a massive misfire. The story is uninspired, the exposition is tedious, and the John McClain character we know and love is nowhere to be found. He’s just sort of… Bruce Willis. Easily the worst entry in the franchise. Skip it.

4. Die Hard 2

(20th Century Fox)

Remember how Air Force One was basically Die Hard on a plane. Well, technically Die Hard 2 is Die Hard on a plane. Kinda similar to the original, but still a really solid action flick, with no shortage of big fiery explosions and McClain’s brutal one-liners. Plus you get to see him in a cardigan this time! A great movie that doesn’t deserve to be touching #5 on this list.

3. Live Free Or Die Hard

(20th Century Fox)

Many fans wrote off the fourth Die Hard as being too over-the-top and outlandish, but that is precisely what makes it so damn entertaining. Launching cars at helicopters midair, dodging missile fire from fighter jets while commandeering semi trucks under crumbling freeway infrastructure… this is why we have movies, gang. Likable supporting characters and a never-ending supply ludicrous stunts make Live Free is a really fun and slept-on entry in the franchise.

2. Die Hard With A Vengeance

(20th Century Fox)

We’re pretty sure the third Die Hard is so phenomenal in part because it’s the one time we get to see our hero in his natural element. Despite being an NYPD detective, this is the only movie where we get to see John McClain in New York City. He uses this familiarity to his advantage, and it’s nothing short of breathtaking watching him and Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson) race across Manhattan to intercept explosives planted on a Brooklyn-bound subway. Every bit as fun as the first one. Which brings us to…

1. Die Hard

(20th Century Fox)

The first one. The movie that inspired a whole flavor of movie. SpeedWhite House DownThe Rock—hell, even Paul Blart: Mall Cop—all owe a debt of gratitude to what’s widely regarded as the single greatest action movie ever made. The script is ingenious. Every seemingly innocuous thing from the first act, from the plane passenger who suggests he not hesitate to get barefoot at the hotel, to Holly’s maiden name, to the fact that it’s Christmas and on Christmas there is an abundance of tape

No action is wasted, no dialogue is unnecessary. Everything you see matters. Flawless cast, jaw-dropping practical stunts, endlessly quotable. It’s a truly perfect movie, and for that reason it’s forever cemented its rank as #1.

Do you disagree with our ranking? Drop your top 5 in the comments!

Ryan Reynolds Releases Aviation Gin Home School Edition, for E-Learning Support

Ryan Reynolds Aviation Home School Gin
(Twitter/VancityReynolds)

So uh, how’s virtual learning going? You know what, don’t answer that. Father of three and big-hearted goofball Ryan Reynolds feels your pain, and he’s here to help. Aside from his passions for acting and philanthropizing (just go with it), Reynolds takes his gin very seriously.

After acquiring a stake in Aviation Gin in 2018, Reynolds has become the face and the smartass behind the popular gin company. Reynolds is one of the rare celebrities who uses both his money and influence for good, and unsurprisingly, he’s doing the same with Aviation Gin. He donated 30% of his gin proceeds for over a month to bartenders suffering income loss due to COVID, and now, he’s got a little something for the parents.

Reynolds announced that Aviation Gin would be releasing a new product to give parents a little – uh – boost, while helping guide their kids through virtual learning.

“Aviation Home School edition. Official sponsor of Parent-Gin conferences,” Reynolds’s posted on Twitter, along with the special-edition gin’s commercial.

The commercial opens with Reynolds seated at a desk, staring at the camera with the powerful intensity of a dad who was just asked “what’s for dinner?” right after he threw a steak on the grill.

“It’s back to school time, which this year, has a whole new meaning,” Reynolds begins. “That’s why today, I’m introducing Aviation American Gin-” he says, slamming a huge freaking bottle down on his mahogany desk, “-Home School edition. It’s just like the classic delicious Aviation Gin that you love, but with more ounces.” Nearly 60 ounces, which should last, you know – a little while.

“It can help with a variety of subjects,” Reynolds continues, “Fourth-grade geography, whatever the f*** new math is. And revisiting your own long-forgotten middle school traumas.”

The commercial concludes with the hauntingly-familiar sound of a school bell, as Reynolds voices what we’re all thinking – “Middle school is the f****** worst.”

Sitting down with your kids to help them through virtual learning can leave you feeling like Billy Madison but without the cool hat. School was tough enough the first time through, but at least this time we can legally drink. Just, you know, save it for after class.

Disneyland Unveils Artist’s Stunning Chadwick Boseman Mural

Chadwick Mural Disneyland
(Instagram/nikkolas_smith)

It’s only been a few weeks since Chadwick Boseman tragically, and unexpectedly, for the general public, succumbed to colon cancer and passed away after a four-year fight with the disease.

In the days and weeks since his passing, the tributes have hardly stopped. His friends and coworkers eulogized him with touching remembrances of his kindness, dignity, and work ethic, while fans praised him for being a role model to their children, especially to the young black children who’d finally had a superhero of their own to look up to.

Now, many of these children will have a chance to pay tribute again, should they visit Disneyland in the coming years.

The park just unveiled a stunning mural of the star in the Downtown Disney shopping district portion of the park. The mural depicts Boseman kneeling and making the Wakanda salute to a young child in a hospital gown and Black Panther mask.

“This one is special. My King Chad tribute is now on a wall on display at Downtown Disney,” the mural’s designer, Nikkolas Smith wrote in the caption to his Instagram post of the mural. “It is a full circle moment for me: my final two projects as a Disney Imagineer last summer were working on the children’s hospital project and the Avengers Campus.”

The mural is titled “King Chad” and pays tribute to the star’s work with children, specifically his visits to young cancer patients on St. Jude’s campus, even while secretly suffering from the disease himself.

“To millions of kids, T’Challa was a legend larger than life, and there was no one more worthy to fill those shoes than Chadwick Boseman,” Smith continued. “I’m so thankful to be able to honor Chadwick’s life and purpose in this way. I am grateful to the Disney family for being so supportive of my journey as an artist.”

Boseman has left a huge legacy in his short career, and his memory will live on via the films he appeared in and the many people he inspired and touched along the way. Now, at Disneyland, thousands will get reminded of that every day when they walk past Smith’s stunning mural that captures the kindness of the star that extended past his performance and into his daily life.

Ryan Gosling Teaming With John Wick Director for Fall Guy Movie

Gosling is The Fall Guy
(Getty/Elisabetta A. Villa)

Sometimes it seems like every TV show from the 80s and 90s is getting rebooted or remade or turned into a movie.

The Fresh Prince is coming back as a drama, Who’s the Boss is coming back with much of the original cast, Roseanne came back, even Twin Peaks had a sequel. At one point Mark Wahlberg was supposed to star in a movie version of The Six Million Dollar Man.

That project is stalled somewhere in Hollywood development hell, but a new movie based on a Lee Majors show just got announced, and with Ryan Gosling and the director of the John Wick movies involved, it’s sure to get made.

The movie is about a stuntman, and it’s at least going to be loosely based off of the 80s show The Fall Guy, that starred Majors and the other big Heather from the 80s, Heather Thomas.

The show, which was created by Glen Larson, the producer behind the 80s shows Battlestar Galactica and Magnum P.I. (both of which were remade this century), was about a Hollywood stuntman who moonlighted as a bounty hunter to make ends meet. Hollywood has tried to make this movie a few times, most recently with Dwayne Johnson, but it seems like this it’s finally going to happen.

With David Leitch, the former stuntman and coordinator who co-directed the John Wick movies and handled Atomic Blonde by himself, behind the camera, Gosling may be our next unlikely action star especially when you pair this with the spy thriller he’s doing for Netflix.

No word yet on when this will be out – the deal was only just struck, so it will be a while – but it seems to me that turning a fun but largely forgotten TV show with a cool premise into a movie is a decent bet. Especially with this team.

Keanu Reeves Was “Mauled” While Adorably Reporting on Teddy Bears In 1984

Keanu Reeves Teddy Bear Convention
(Twitter/CBC)

A lot of unsavory things have come back to bite celebrities in the butt lately – poor decisions from their pasts resurfacing, forcing them to face the repercussions of their actions. In the least surprising turn of events, a vintage video of Keanu Reeves has made its way back to the public eye, and as it turns out, he’s even more pure than we previously thought. Before there was John Wick, before The Matrix, even before Bill & Ted, Keanu Reeves turned his attention to the world of Teddy Bears.

After decades in the spotlight, Keanu Reeves has demonstrated time and time again that the only thing as massive as his talent is his heart. He goes above and beyond for his fans, is generous with both his time and money – overall, he is a most excellent human being. Somehow, through all of it, he’s managed to stay incredibly humble.

Completely in keeping with his character, an adorable video from 1984 recently resurfaced, showing a Keanu that looks about five years younger than he does now. Nearly four decades ago, Reeves worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation show “Going Great” as a kids news correspondent. Reeves really went for it, throwing himself into the mission at hand-deliver the most pressing info about the first-ever Canadian International Teddy Bear Convention.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation dug up this gem in early September for National Teddy Bear Day (forgot to mark my calendar again), and we’re so happy they did. Little Keanu hits the convention-goers with hard-hitting questions right from the start, asking head-scratchers like, “Why are all the bears’ first names Teddy?” which is a thing that will absolutely keep me up at night.

Keanu digs deep, finding out the koalifications of the bears attending the convention. He approaches a woman asking, “what college did he go to?” which she answers without missing a beat. In fact, the bear is even repping his alma mater with a Paws Preparatory School t-shirt (but he didn’t flash a diploma, so we’re skeptical).

This simple yet delightful video is exactly the palate cleanser we need right now. Incredibly, even four decades after he ventured into the world of teddy bear conventions, Keanu Reeves is still bursting at the seams with a lighthearted youthfulness – congratulations, Keanu, on nearly 40 years of being pawsitively endearing.

Watch Matthew McConaughey Watch His Dazed and Confused Audition

McConaughey Watches Dazed and Confused Audition
(Twitter/McConaughey)

It’s not often that you see a performance in a movie and immediately know that a star is being born.

One such performance is Matthew McConaughey as Woody Wooderson in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. Thirty years later, McConaughey is a beloved Hollywood figure, a household name with a good time guy persona, a penchant for going shirtless, and an Oscar under his belt.

But thirty years ago, he was just another struggling actor looking for his big break, which he got when he landed the part of a skeevy high school hero who everyone knows is too old to be hanging with high school kids but nobody really minds because he’s charming and laid-back and Matthew McConaughey.

Of all the memorable characters and quotes from Dazed and Confused, McConaughey somehow manages to walk away with the movie. He went to the audition to get a summer job and ended up a Holywood mainstay for the next three decades and counting.

Recently, McConaughey watched his audition tape for Wooderson, in which he recites a couple of his iconic lines. Somebody filmed the actor watching himself try out for the role, and as he always seems to, the actor had a great time.

Obviously his audition went alright alright alright, because he landed the role, and soon after it landed A Time to Kill, and he was off and running.

It’s fun to see him watch his audition, and then explain what we just saw, as if we didn’t know. In the short clip, he shows off the qualities that make him such a popular star. He’s humble, eternally likable, and cool as a cucumber; that’s what we love about Matthew McConaughey, he keeps getting older, but he stays the same age.

John Cena Is ‘Peacemaker” in James Gunn’s Suicide Squad Spin-off on HBO Max

John Cena is Peacemaker
(HBO Max/Warner Bros Pictures)

Last month, DC made a big splash at the DC Fandome, during which we got the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984, some news on The Rock’s Black Adam and Shazam 2, the first look at a darker than ever The Batman movie, and a glimpse of James Gunn’s Suicide Squad sequel.

Gunn came over from Marvel to helm the sequel to David Ayer’s shoddy Suicide Squad movie, and based on the character introductions and tiny bits of footage we were treated too, it’s clear he’s infused the Suicide Squad with the same anarchic and goofy energy that made Guardians of the Galaxy a big hit. Along with his new tone, Gunn brought in an almost entirely new squad of costumed anti-heroes, one of which is Peacemaker, portrayed by former wrestler John Cena.

It seems that Cena and Peacemaker have made a good impression, as Gunn just announced on Twitter that Cena would be taking the character to HBO Max for a spin-off series.

Peacemaker is a man of contradictions, a hardcore pacifist who’s willing to kill for peace. Not exactly a straightforward hero, as Gunn explained in a press release about the HBO Max show.

“Peacemaker is an opportunity to delve into current world issues through the lens of this superhero/supervillain/and world’s biggest douchebag,” said Gunn in a press release. “I’m excited to expand The Suicide Squad and bring this character from the DC film universe to the full breadth of a series. And of course, to be able to work again with John, Peter, and my friends at Warner Bros. is the icing on the cake.”

Like the Suicide Squad sequel, there’s clearly going to be an element of comedy to the Peacemaker series, and, like Dave Bautista, another wrestler Gunn helped turn into a movie star by leaning on his deadpan humor, Cena is more than game for comedy, having already proven his chops in movies like Trainwreck with Amy Schumer, as well as in bits on SNL and Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver.

HBO Max seems to be diving headfirst into DC’s comic book properties, moving forward with Zack Snyder’s Justice League and now developing multiple DC universe TV shows, with Peacemaker joining the previously announced Gotham PD series. If Wonder Woman 1984 and Matt Reeves’s The Batman deliver, and they can finally straighten out Superman, they might finally have something going.

 

New ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ Trailer Leaves Us at the Edge of Our Seats

Haunting of Bly Manor Trailer
(Youtube/Netflix)

In October of 2018, Netflix released its chilling original series, The Haunting of Hill House. The series exploded in popularity, becoming one of Netflix’s most beloved series. The story followed five adult siblings with pasts that continued to haunt them. The show brilliantly alternated between the lives of the adults and the horrible things they endured growing up at Hill House, beautifully demonstrating how their traumatic childhoods followed them like ghosts as they tried desperately to escape their pasts.

The 10-episode series was so enthralling, social media blew up with discussions and praise for the show within roughly the amount of time it would take a person to watch all 10 episodes consecutively. Fans asked, and now Netflix is delivering – season two of the show, The Haunting of Bly Manor, will premiere on October 9.

The show is set in 1980s England and is based on the 1898 horror novella by Henry James, The Turn of the Screw. Henry James steered away from typical horror tropes, choosing instead to give everyday situations and seemingly normal people sinister twists. Mike Flanagan, creator of The Haunting of Hill House returned for The Haunting of Bly Manor, meaning we can likely expect a similar level of elegant terror in season two.

The synopsis explains, “After an au pair’s tragic death, Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas) hires a young American nanny (Victoria Pedretti) to care for his orphaned niece and nephew (Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) who reside at Bly Manor with the estate’s chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve) and housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (T’Nia Miller). But all is not as it seems at the manor, and centuries of dark secrets of love and loss are waiting to be unearthed in this chilling gothic romance. At Bly Manor, dead doesn’t mean gone.”

The show’s second trailer is somehow more beautiful and unsettling than the first, with the stunning cinematography and the spine-chilling music that help make this series far more evocative than your typical horror flick. Watch the full trailer below, and look out for The Haunting of Bly Manor on October 9.