Honey, I Shrunk The Kids Reboot May Bring Back A Big Name From The Original

Director Joe Johnston has had an eclectic career in Hollywood – which each of his movies being significantly different than the last. His standout works include Jumanji, The Rocketeer, October Sky, and Captain America: The First Avenger, but where it all started was with 1989’s Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.

It was with that feature that Johnston made his directorial debut, and now it looks as though he will be returning to that franchise with the upcoming legacyquel, Shrunk.

News of the reboot first broke in May, with it being revealed that Josh Gad was developing the project at Disney and would be starring in the film as an adult Nick Szalinski, but at that time there wasn’t a director attached. That now seems to be changing, as The Hollywood Reporter says Joe Johnston is now in talks for that job.

The project is in the works at Disney, and the plan is to have it fit within the pre-existing Honey, I Shrunk The Kids canon – which expanded with the sequels Honey, I Blew Up The Kid and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (neither of which Joe Johnston directed). The story will follow Nick Szalinski as he follows in the footsteps of his scientist father and starts developing specialized shrinking technology.

As you would expect, things go wrong, and an adventure begins that sees certain characters become tiny – but what’s not clear at this point is exactly who is being shrunk (unlike the past films, the title Shrunk doesn’t provide any clues).

According to the new trade report, it’s believed by Disney that the feature has potential as a big screen project, which is a significant detail these days given the push that is being performed for Disney+. Just within the first few months of the streaming service’s launch there are some significant titles being made available, and it wasn’t unfathomable that the studio would put Shrunk in that particularly library to try and boosts its developing profile.

Joe Johnston is coming off of two very different projects in the crime thriller Not Safe For Work and the high-fantasy Nutcracker And The Four Realms, and it will be interesting to see what kind of magic he may employ in the making of the new Honey, I Shrunk The Kids movie. A big part of the sustaining magic of the original is the fact that it used practical effects – such as giant sets and massive ant puppets – and it will be interesting to see how Johnston may employ those tools while also taking advantage of all of the massive steps that have been taken in the realm of CGI since the late 1980s.

Right now Joe Johnston is only in talks to direct Shrunk, but the fact that the talks are happening suggests that Disney is turning gears on this project, and that we may hear a good deal more about its development in the coming months. The film doesn’t currently have a release date, but that news may be forthcoming.

We’ll continue to provide you with updates as they pop up, and to see what else is ahead in the near future, be sure to head over to our 2020 Release Schedule.

Why Maggie Smith Thinks Harry Potter And Downton Abbey Weren’t ‘Satisfying’

If there’s one thing you can count on Maggie Smith for, it’s her honesty. She’s honestly talked about how her Downton Abbey character should be long dead and gone by now, and now she’s being honest about both her Harry Potter role as Professor Minerva McGonagall and her Downton Abbey role as the Dowager Countess. Turns out, they weren’t ‘satisfying,’ according to the actress.

Well, dang Maggie Smith. What the heck does that mean? In a brand new interview, Maggie Smith openly called these particular movies out for not being “satisfying,” but on the bright side she did clarify her comments, noting,

For the record, Dame Maggie Smith is not trash-talking either of the major franchises she has been a part of in recent years. When one is a Dame, one does not trash talk. Regardless, she more mentioned she’s not really working hard to inhabit a character in either franchise.

She also told the Evening Standard that she and former Harry Potter co-star Alan Rickman used to joke about how their work together was all basically “reaction” shots. So why did she then take on a similar sort of role in the Downton Abbey universe? She also notes it is because the acting work she wanted to do in the theater wasn’t coming along.

It may be a little jarring to hear an acclaimed actress feel close to neutral on some of her most iconic roles in popular culture, but I guess if you think about it, Maggie Smith has had a full career, and she’s experienced the highs and lows of acting gigs. Now, she has enough clout to pick and choose her projects.  She’s no longer the new girl in the business and is not going to be the actress who’s just happy to be there.

I’d think the neat dialogue and period scenes in Downton Abbey could be tricky and fun on occasion, but the Dowager Countess isn’t one for the highs and lows of emotion or other acting facets that might come up in other acting jobs. In fact, she’s generally downright stoic. And in Harry Potter, a lot of the stuff Maggie Smith was tasked with doing did involve looking stern. At least Alan Rickman’s character got to do that and other things.

Ultimately, this quote from Maggie Smith is just the latest edition of “Bold Comments From Maggie Smith.” But I take her point and I appreciate it. She does say she’s “deeply grateful” for the roles after all.

Now, she’s doing the theater work her heart was pining for, in A German Life, which has landed her awards. Her last stage appearance prior to this was back in 2007 when the actress was in full Harry Potter swing.

Downton Abbey may be looking at a big screen sequel, but. – SPOILERSthe movie did give Maggie Smith an out should she want one. Producer Gareth Neame has joked about misdiagnoses, but the Dowager Countess may not be long for her fictional world. We’ll ultimately have to wait and see what happens, but this really seems like things could go either way.

Wonder Woman 1984 Merchandise Possibly Reveals Appearance Of Kristin Wiig’s Cheetah

If you thought 2019 was packed a punch for the superhero genre – just wait for 2020. The almost-new year is about to come in hot with new feature films prominently from both DC and Marvel. Along with Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff finally getting her own solo flick Black Widow at the start of summer, Gal Gadot will be returning for Wonder Woman 1984 and we now we have the first peek at her adversary: Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah.

Some early merchandise for the film has surfaced on Twitter and it looks to reveal one of the villain’s looks in the upcoming movie. Check it out:

Meow! The mug features Kristen Wiig’s character donning a leopard-print jacket and skirt, torn black shirt and loose blonde curls. It’s purr-fectly ‘80s! The character is posed with curled fingers, indicating the primal features of Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva. What do you think?

As some fans noted, the character famously looks all cheetah from head to toe, and this reveal seems to only show Dr. Minerva dressed in character but not completely transformed. Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah likely has more than one look, just as Gal Gadot has an additional gold suit for the movie’s poster. Check out Cheetah’s complete look, via the source material:

It will be interesting to see how Wonder Woman 1984 tackles Cheetah’s complete look without her looking like a CGI character straight out of the live-action Cats musical. What we see so far from this mug design certainly fits the era the movie will be set in and we can’t wait to see how the former SNL comedian will bring the comic book villain to life.

The sequel will follow Diana Prince decades after fighting in WWI. She’ll face off against Cheetah and Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor will return, but we have no idea how considering he died in the first movie. Oh, and how come he hasn’t aged?

Now it should be noted that merchandising doesn’t always reflect what’s specifically coming from the movie and this mug hasn’t been officially been released or made available to the public. But, the art does closely resemble Wiig’s likeness and looks quite official. Only time will tell.

Wonder Woman 1984 is coming to theaters on June 5, 2020 following the release of Birds of Prey from DC on February 7, 2020. Read up on everything you need to know about Cheetah ahead of the upcoming sequel!

How Cats’ Director Felt About The Online Response To The Trailer

Cats, man. Talk about a movie that’s sparked such a coal fire of response, especially when it came to the film’s first look revealed earlier this summer. As if the Andrew Lloyd Webber adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s rather eccentric collection of poems wasn’t weird enough, the art style of human and cat being fused together was something that most definitely turned heads. But to director Tom Hooper, this wasn’t a disappointment, or even a big shock. If anything, the man behind The King’s Speech and Les Miserables felt more curious about the hoopla than anything else.

Recently, Hooper revealed his thoughts on the internet field day that was had by all to be the following:

It’s certainly an interesting way to look at the moment that saw everyone both shocked and awed by just how Cats looked in its first glimpse shown to the masses. But considering that Tom Hooper has been living and breathing this project, and knew that those initial responses were to an earlier build of the film’s visual effects, it’s no surprise that it wasn’t all that huge of deal to him. Especially because those pointers given by the people were instrumental to Cats’ continued development.

Tom Hooper told Empire not only about how this reaction initially struck him, but ultimately how the more extreme reactions to the look of Cats helped his team to continue to carve out the final look of those infamous characters for the finished product. Though it’s not unclear if those changes were visible in the second trailer to the film which was released more recently. Should that be the case, the online response really hasn’t change all that much.

Which has to make us wonder: isn’t that the film’s biggest draw to begin with? Cats has always been, and always will be, regarded as an ultimately weird enterprise. You don’t make Broadway history by playing it safe, and Andrew Lloyd Webber certainly ran in the direction of that notion when first crafting the show in 1980. If there was a more “traditional” execution of this story, would have been as popular? Would Tom Hooper’s story of Cats as a trending topic have ever happened?

The fact is that what we’ve seen come out of Cats, no matter how weird it may seem, is par for the course. And you get to walk that course yourself when the film comes out on December 20th; provided of course you aren’t already otherwise booked in the realm of cinematic whimsy that very weekend. You may want to check the 2019 release schedule one last time, just to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.

The Rise Of Skywalker Offers First Look At Maz Kanata

Ian McDiarmid’s Darth Sidious and Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker aren’t the only two characters that have been conspicuously unseen in the trailers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata has also been largely MIA, but fear not, because she actually is in the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga. You can check out the first look at Maz Kanata from the Rise of Skywalker below.

There she is, and in the orange flesh no less! These images courtesy of Star Wars News Net were snapped at the press conference for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as they played behind the assembled cast. The photos are seemingly images from the film, confirming that Maz will be back and she won’t only be seen via hologram this time around.

The first look at Maz Kanata from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a close-up, so it doesn’t offer much in the way of clues as to what her role will be in the film. We don’t see where she is or whom she is with. She is however still sporting her variable lens corrective goggles, which she used in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to look at Finn and apparently see into his heart. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her give similar insight and judgment in Episode IX.

It is good to see Maz back after what some found to be a disappointing appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, where she only showed up in a hologram message amid a firefight to help Finn and Rose find a master codebreaker. That said, given her relative absence from the marketing for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, she may have a relatively small role in this film as well.

However, her role is probably bigger than what amounted to a cameo in The Last Jedi. But even if it is small, it can still be important with her providing a place for the heroes to lay low or a bit of crucial information.

According to a rumor from last year, and just to be safe, potential spoilers ahead, Maz Kanata will have a more substantial role in The Rise of Skywalker than in The Last Jedi. The rumor stated that Maz Kanata will actually be traveling with Rey early in the film and as a part of that, she will finally reveal how she acquired Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber that she gave her in The Force Awakens.

This would tie back to Lando Calrissian and Cloud City and with Lando in this film, it certainly seems possible that Maz Kanata can bridge those elements from the Original Trilogy to the Sequel Trilogy. Prior to The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata seemed like she could be a Yoda-esque figure and while that may not ultimately happen, her interaction with Rey in the Takodana castle felt important and it would be nice to see that revisited.

Plus, Maz Kanata, although not a Jedi, is a Force user, and those abilities will certainly be needed in the climactic battle against the First Order and the Emperor.

As you can see, the images above also give us another look at Kylo Ren and Allegiant General Pryde. This shot of Kylo appears to be from the battle he has with Rey aboard a structure surrounded by the raging sea. It looks as though maybe Rey fled the battle with him and he is watching her go.

We also see Richard E. Grant’s General Pryde who looks like a perfect Imperial figure. The high-ranking member of the First Order looks cold, cruel and cut from the same cloth as predecessors like Director Orson Krennic and Grand Moff Tarkin.

You can catch Maz Kanata and all the friends from a galaxy far, far away when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of what’s coming out next year.

Tom Holland’s Drunken Phone Call With Bob Iger May Have Helped Spider-Man Return To The MCU

Remember when the news broke that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man would no longer be part of the MCU, three months back? It shook Marvel fans to our very cores. The idea of Spidey no longer swinging through the established universe just didn’t feel right. Thankfully, Disney and Sony ultimately decided to share custody of the friendly neighborhood web slinger again. And with the help of drunken Tom Holland no less.

Reports had surfaced that the 23-year-old Spider-Man actor had something to do with the new deal before. But, now Tom Holland has spilled the whole story. Apparently, it all started at this summer’s D23 convention. The actor was in attendance to promote his upcoming Pixar movie Onward on the same day tons of Marvel actors were on site for reveals about the MCU’s future.

When Tom Holland took the D23 stage, he emotionally told fans “I love you 3000” as he admits he was “devastated” over the recent news Spidey was out of the MCU. He longingly watched as his former Marvel co-stars took part in group pictures without him. It inspired him to ask for Disney CEO Bob Iger’s email, just to send him a “thank you” for the past five years he’s been Spider-Man for the studio.

Tom Holland recalls Bob Iger swiftly responding to him, asking the actor if they could talk on the phone soon. But, he wasn’t going to give the studio head a particular time and day and after a few days, Iger got back to him while he was a few beers in at a pub trivia night with his family. As Holland tells it:

Maybe all Bob Iger needed to hear was Tom Holland’s wistful voice to strike another deal with Sony again? The actor isn’t giving himself all the credit here, after their phone call, he mentions that Iger and Sony chairman Tom Rothman had a few back-and-forths before shaking hands on working together on Spider-Man again.

Curiously enough, the two studio chairmen turned to Tom Holland for his opinion on the matter, which he definitely wasn’t expecting as an actor. Thankfully, Tom Holland decided to reach out to Bob Iger after the door was previously “closed”. The young actor admitted to crying on the phone with the Disney head. In his words:

Tom Holland explained the situation during an interview on Jimmy Fallon Live. Check out the full interview below:

No Time To Die’s Director Teases Blofeld’s New Role

In the most recent generation of the James Bond franchise, the character arc of Ernst Stavro Blofeld got off to a bit of a rocky start. Though the production certainly got an ace performer to play the role in two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, but his introduction in Spectre was fumbled with a mix of less-than-stellar plotting and unfortunate marketing.

The legendary villain will soon be getting his chance at redemption, however, as Christoph Waltz will be reprising the role in director Cary Fukunaga’s No Time To Die. Having been revealed as the head of the world’s most sinister organization, his role in the new movie will be very different this time around, and Fukunaga confirmed as much during a recent interview:

Cary Fukunaga sat down with Empire in coordination of the release of the first trailer for No Time To Die, and while the director was certainly a big cagey about the topic, the role of Blofeld in the new blockbuster was among those brought up in conversation. As noted by Fukunaga, the villain will be in prison at the start of the movie, but that doesn’t mean that he’s rendered harmless.

In Spectre, audiences learned that Ernst Stavro Blofeld is actually Franz Oberhauser, who was James Bond’s brother growing up following the death of 007’s parents. By the end of the 2015 film, Bond was able to unravel Blofeld’s plot and have him arrested, but given both his intelligence and connections, it’s really impossible to stop a man like him from doing what he is intent on doing.

Plus, it’s worth noting that imprisoning a terrifying villain isn’t really something that remains as a permanent status in these films. Those of you who saw Skyfall will remember that MI6 was able to capture Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva and put him behind bars, but that didn’t last very long at all (in fact, it lasted exactly as long as Silva wanted it to last).

It should be noted that while Blofeld will presumably have a key supporting role in No Time To Die, he won’t be the film’s central antagonist – as that particular honor this time out belongs to Academy Award winner Rami Malek, who is playing a new villain named Safin.

Daniel Craig as James Bond, Rami Malek, and Christoph Waltz together make for an impressive trio to star in a blockbuster, but the are really only a fraction of the awesome ensemble that has been brought together for the 2020 release. Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, and Ralph Fiennes are all set to reprise their roles from the previous set of three James Bond movies in No Time To Die, while Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch will be introduced as original characters.

The story begins with James Bond being out of active service, but being called upon by Felix Leiter with a mission. A scientist on the CIA’s radar has gone missing, and Bond’s assisstance is needed to find out where he has gone. Like all of the franchise’s films in the past, it will lead to a globetrotting adventure that sees him squaring off against a maniacal new evil.

No Time To Die will be in theaters on April 8, 2020, and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates about the film. To see what else is heading to theaters in the coming new year, be sure to check out our 2020 Release Calendar.

Why Knives Out’s Rian Johnson Gave Chris Evans That Milk And Cookies Scene

Since 2011, Chris Evans has been largely known to the world as Captain America. However, those days are behind him now, and he may have found the perfect film to make a clean break with Rian Johnson’s detective story Knives Out.

The movie is a classic whodunit, with a Rian Johnson twist, that sees Chris Evans as Ransom, the entitled grandson of his family’s newly deceased mystery author patriarch. Evans’ character is the family slacker who only arrives in the movie (outside of flashbacks) when it’s time for the reading of the will, and when he does, it’s one hell of an entrance.

He walks in the door chomping on cookies and the first thing he does is ask the housekeeper if she could get him a cold glass of milk. He’s instantly seen as terrible, which is exactly why Rian Johnson wrote the scene that way. As the director explained on our own Reelblend podcast...

As Rian Johnson says, we know from what other characters have said about Ransom that he’s just an entitled, awful, person. When he arrives, he successfully proves everybody right. He’s rude to literally every person in his family, He clearly has no respect for them.

A good murder mystery needs lots of suspects, and Knives Out has one of the best casts of the year that includes not only Chris Evans, but Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson and more. With so many characters to juggle, there is a lot of information that Knives Out needs to get across quickly and cleanly, and it’s moments like this that very much do that. You know everything you need to know about Chris Evans character (at least up to that point) after only spending a couple of minutes with him.

While Knives Out isn’t quite a traditional whodunit parlor mystery, it contains all of those classic elements, and fans of those sorts of stories are almost certainly going to enjoy themselves. I don’t know what the chances are that Daniel Craig’s private detective character Benoit Blanc might be seen again solving another mystery, but I for one would love to see that happen.

To hear more of Rian Johnson’s ReelBlend interview, check out the complete episode below.

Venom 2’s Producer Will Consider An R-Rated Version Due To Joker’s Box Office Success

As far as comic book characters are concerned, Venom is an obvious candidate for an R rating. And for a while an R rating appeared to very much in play for Sony’s solo film for the Spider-Man villain starring Tom Hardy. Ultimately, Venom was PG-13, not rated R, but that doesn’t mean its sequel can’t explore an R rating. In an exclusive interview with CinemaBlend, Venom producer Matt Tolmach said that the sequel will consider an R-rated version due to Joker’s box office success, saying:

While projects like Blade, Watchmen and Kick-Ass laid the groundwork, it was really Deadpool and Logan that began to change the narrative about how an R-rated comic book movie could succeed. Then Joker came along and completely blew all of the beliefs about the limitations of such a thing out of the water. That kind of unprecedented success can’t be ignored and as a producer, Matt Tolmach has to take it into account for Venom 2.

It would be foolish to not consider all the options and the producer admits as much, saying that an R-rated Venom 2 is something to think about after Joker showed how well it can work. Yet, just because it is something they will think about, doesn’t mean that you should expect director Andy Serkis’ Venom 2 to be R-rated. That’s because Venom already found a winning formula in the first film with the limits of a PG-13 rating.

As the producer notes, the first film from director Ruben Fleischer worked really well. While there will be some debate about that creatively, there is no doubt that Venom was a success financially, making $856 million worldwide. It’s not quite Joker’s $1 billion, but it is more than Logan or either Deadpool film made. The Venom franchise has succeeded and been established as PG-13 so Matt Tolmach believes in a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach.

What Joker did, is put an R rating on the table as a viable option for comic book fare, particularly those featuring villains. If he didn’t know before, Matt Tolmach now knows for sure than an R-rated version is an option, but it’s not a card that Venom 2 needs to play. The producer does seem to be thrilled that Joker has done what it has and changed the narrative on R-rated comic book movies. Because it proves there is an appetite for that kind of thing and opens up opportunities for more storytelling in that realm.

So it sounds like Venom 2 probably won’t be rated R, but we’ll have to wait and see. Maybe during production Andy Serkis really feels strongly about certain borderline material that he would like to include and things could change. Or maybe there will be an unrated cut for the eventual home video release.

Even if Venom 2 isn’t R-rated, other films certainly will follow in Joker’s footsteps, including some at DC. You can also understand why Venom would strive to stay PG-13. Although the character might warrant an R-rating, Sony’s Venom doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Joker had the luxury of being a standalone film, where neither the rating nor the content had any bearing on what came before or after.

Sony is building out its Spider-Verse, a cinematic universe that may one day integrate Tom Holland’s Spider-Man from the MCU. So any mixing of tones and ratings could complicate matters.

Jon Bernthal’s ‘Long-Ass’ Answer To Why The Accountant Still Resonates So Much With Fans

While many fans are busy talking about Ben Affleck in relation to Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League, there’s another fanbase that’s still talking about a popular Affleck product years later. That project would be none other than The Accountant, a 2016 movie that has had people excited for a potential sequel for a while now. Another Accountant actor Jon Bernthal thinks he knows why the property still resonates so much with the fans.

In fact he has a “long-ass answer to a really short question,” noting that the secret sauce for The Accountant was that people who were involved with it really cared about the project and really worked to make it something different. Per Jon Bernthal:

Touching on the special needs aspect of The Accountant, which stars Ben Affleck as an autistic man wielding his special skill set as a special needs person to uncook the books of criminals. He also is basically a superhero with martial arts skills and more. The first movie ties brotherhood and family into a crime drama, and includes Anna Kendrick to boot.

In short, people loved it and it went on to make over $155 million worldwide. More importantly, however, Jon Bernthal told Uproxx that people ask about the movie and the potential for The Accountant 2 all the time. He also said,

The last time we checked in with The Accountant 2 was about eight months ago, when Ben Affleck actually spoke out about wanting to make another, noting at the time:

Still, it’s nice to hear that The Accountant is something that really resonates with the fanbase, and that Jon Bernthal still has that movie on his mind, even as he moves on to projects like Ford v Ferrari, out in theaters now. I’m personally still hoping for The Accountant 2 as I found it to be one of the most heartfelt action movies in recent memory and would like to see where its unique story goes next, in case you wanted my own “long-ass” opinions on the matter.