Seemingly freed from the Marvel machine, Ryan Coogler is set to reunite with Michael B. Jordan on a new project, recently picked up by Warner Bros. THR reports the period thriller will feature the undead, and potentially take place in Jim Crow-era South. While other details are under wraps, there are reports it will feature anime influences and has franchise potential. Production will kick off this April in New Orleans, so expect to learn much more soon.
After circling a few projects, we’ve been waiting to see what feature Derek Cianfrance would take on next in the nearly decade since The Light Between Oceans. He’s now settled on Roofman, which he scripted with Kirt Gunn, with Deadline reporting Channing Tatum will lead as the real-life Jeffrey Manchester, “an eccentric and charming serial robber who broke into more than 60 McDonald’s overnight via their roofs, then emptied the cash register in the morning after herding staff into freezers. The former U.S. Army Reserve officer became known as the ‘Rooftop Robber’ or ‘Roofman’ and was known for his gentle demeanor and for rarely resorting to violence.” He ended up escaping jail and lived in a Toys ‘R Us and Circuit City store in North Carolina where he was caught after leaving his fingerprints on a Catch Me If You Can DVD.
Another director we’ve been waiting to see return to feature filmmaking is Jody Hill, whose last film was 2018’s The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter. The Observe & Report director is now back with Famous, which is set to star Zac Efron, coming off his career-best performance in The Iron Claw. Based on Blake Crouch’s novel, adapted by Chad Hodge, Deadline reports the film will find Efron playing two roles: Hollywood heartthrob James Jansen and his overzealous fan Lance Dunkquist. Produced by Sam Esmail, here’s the logline: “The story follows Lance Dunkquist, who has one asset that’s about to change his life – he has the face of a movie star. And not just any movie star – Lance is the spitting image of a Hollywood icon, James Jansen. Lance is about to travel to Los Angeles to make his dream come true. Lance is going to be famous, no matter what it takes.”
Coming off the Hollywood blockbuster with Meg 2, Ben Wheatley is returning to the action thriller with the Bob Odenkirk-led Normal. Screen Daily reports John Wick writer Derek Kolstad’s script focuses on “Ulysses, who is thrust into the temporary role of the sheriff of the titular small sleepy town after the previous incumbent’s untimely death. When the town’s bank is robbed by an out-of-town couple, Ulysses begins to learn that the town is hiding secrets and everyone – from the bartender to the priest – is in on it. Ulysses will have to face his demons to uncover a conspiracy.”
Coming off Oppenheimer, Cillian Murphy has announced his next starring role, an adaptation of Max Porter’s novel Shy titled Steve. Backed by Netflix with production beginning soon, Deadline reports the film “traces a pivotal 24 hours in the life of its eponymous character, a headteacher (Murphy) of a last-chance reform school who struggles to keep his students in line, while also grappling with his spiraling mental health.”
Shia LaBeouf, Toby Kebbell, and James Cosmo will star in the boxing crime drama Salvable, which marks the directorial debut of music video directors Franklin & Marchetta (Björn Franklin and Johnny Marchetta). Deadline reports filming begins in April for the project following “Sal “The Bull,” a washed-up boxer on the brink of 40, who is fighting more than just his opponents. With a life of regrets and fading dreams, Sal’s chance at redemption comes knocking in the form of illegal boxing, introduced by the sudden return of his old friend, Vince. Sal faces the ultimate dilemma: seize this shot at resurgence or preserve the bond with his daughter, Molly.”
Lastly, a pair of biopics featuring screen legends are in the works. James Stewart’s life story will get the big screen treatment in A Truly Wonderful Life, currently in development by Aaron Burns and Stewart’s daughter, Kelly Stewart-Harcourt, Deadline reports. Deadline also notes Toby Jones will star as Richard Burton in Marc Evan’s Mr. Burton, which will tell the true story of the relationship between Welsh schoolmaster Philip Burton and a wild young schoolboy called Richard Jenkins. Richard dreamed of becoming an actor, but his ambitions were in danger of being derailed by a combination of family trouble, the pressure of war, and his own lack of discipline. Mr. Burton recognized the raw talent in his pupil, and made it his mission to fight for him, becoming his tutor, strict taskmaster and eventually his adoptive father.” Lesley Manville, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, and Aneurin Barnard round out the cast for the film that will shoot this spring ahead of a 2025 release for the centenary anniversary of Burton’s birth.