One Important Change Gina Rodriguez Pushed For In The Making Of Miss Bala

While Gerardo Naranjo’s 2011 film Miss Bala is an intense and well-made drama, it also has a significant flaw in its storytelling. Namely, the lead character, Laura Guerrero (Stephanie Sigman), is primarily a passive protagonist – moving through the narrative at the demands of others and not taking an active role in her survival through the danger. This is an element that is changed greatly in director Catherine Hardwicke’s upcoming remake, and I recently learned that was something star Gina Rodriguez was very much focused on in the making of the film. Said the actress,

Yeah, 100 percent, that was something that I pushed for… My only fight – and it wasn’t a hard one because everybody was in line – it was just at moments having to say, ‘If this was a man, what would he do?’ and finding out quite easily there was always an answer to that! And then the answer actually always aligned with something I would do. So that was something that me and Catherine [sic] both were very vocal [about], and I think everybody was very receiving and receptive of that because that’s what our goal was.

This was a subject that I specifically brought up in conversation with Gina Rodriguez earlier this month during the Los Angeles press day for Miss Bala. Discussing her character, Gloria, and the dangerous horrific circumstances in which she finds herself in the film, I asked if there was a special point made of having the heroine do more to put her fate in her own hands. It turns out this was something that Rodriguez was very insistent about in the development of the story, and it ultimately had an effect on the way the plot moved.

Based on a script by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, Miss Bala centers on Gloria, a young Mexican-American woman, who travels south of the border in hopes of using her makeup skills to help her best friend, Suzu (Christina Rodlo), win a local beauty pageant. Things go horrifically wrong, however, when a night out clubbing is interrupted by an assassination attempt. At first Gloria is able to get away, though unable to find Suzu, but she is then captured by a local cartel leader named Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova) and forced to cooperate with him – told that it will eventually lead her to being reunited with Suzu. As she gets roped into missions that are more and more dangerous, she starts to plan a way that she can regain her freedom and save her friend.

Danger is basically around every corner for Gloria in the film, and her motivation to stay alive and help her friend make it so that every choice is an important one. Taking into consideration the aforementioned “If this was a man, what would he do?” question wound up influencing these choices on a micro level, and let Gloria be an overall stronger character. Gina Rodriguez continued, saying,

We were just making sure that we were meticulous in every decision, and not every decision was always a good decision – which is life, right? Some of the decisions Gloria makes gets other people in trouble, and that’s very real. So she does have consequences to her decision making. And at the same time she has, very much, an agenda and nothing’s going to get in her way of that.

As noted by the actress, it wasn’t exactly a challenge for Gina Rodriguez to get everybody to see her point of view because she was working with people who had similar thoughts and perspective. This very much included Catherine Hardwicke, who I also had the pleasure of sitting down with during the Miss Bala press day. The director specifically referenced the inaction of Laura in the 2011 movie, and from the very start of her involvement made a point of having her vision for the feature be different in that arena. Said Hardwicke,

There were quite a few scenes where we tried to make Gloria as active as possible. Because in the original one she’s quite passive. And so that’s like, ‘No.’ In 2019? No; she’s going to do something. She’s not going to get attacked and beat up. She’s going to fight back. I tried to elevate it as much as possible so she’s active, active, active. Then when Gina came along, she pushed it even more! ‘Let’s go! Let’s go! Let her do this! Let her do this!’ So we’re always like, ‘What would she do?’ She’s a very active person. She boxes. I’m very active with mountain biking. We would not sit there.

The strength of Gloria as a protagonist was clearly something that was very important to Gina Rodriguez, but another aspect of the film that the actress very much appreciated is that it didn’t choose to whitewash the story. The movie being an American remake of a Mexican-made feature, few familiar with Hollywood patterns would have been truly surprised if the ethnicity of the characters and locations of the story had been changed – but that wasn’t this reimagining’s prerogative. Instead, as Rodriguez stressed, it was seen as a proper opportunity to be not just a female-driven action movie, but one with a Latina hero. Said the actress,

The reimagining of this film was to make sure we re-contextualized it, not just for today, but for the American girl to be Latina, which was huge. In Hollywood, they take it and they change it, and then they give it to somebody else to make it. In this case they reimagined it, they kept it with the community, for the bigger audience, made sure that it was grounded in its characters. There is nothing caricature about it, which is awesome.

You can watch Gina Rodriguez discuss the empowerment of Gloria and her influence on the development of Miss Bala by clicking play on the video below.

Also starring Anthony Mackie, Miss Bala will be hitting theaters everywhere this weekend – going into wide release on Friday, February 1st. Check your local listings and find a proper screening, and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interview with Catherine Hardwicke in the next few days.

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One Important Change Gina Rodriguez Requested When Signing On For Miss Bala

While Gerardo Naranjo’s 2011 film Miss Bala is an intense and well-made drama, it also has a significant flaw in its storytelling. Namely, the lead character, Laura Guerrero (Stephanie Sigman), is primarily a passive protagonist – moving through the narrative at the demands of others and not taking an active role in her survival through the danger. This is an element that is changed greatly in director Catherine Hardwicke’s upcoming remake, and I recently learned that was something star Gina Rodriguez was very much focused on in the making of the film. Said the actress,

Yeah, 100 percent, that was something that I pushed for… My only fight – and it wasn’t a hard one because everybody was in line – it was just at moments having to say, ‘If this was a man, what would he do?’ and finding out quite easily there was always an answer to that! And then the answer actually always aligned with something I would do. So that was something that me and Catherine [sic] both were very vocal [about], and I think everybody was very receiving and receptive of that because that’s what our goal was.

This was a subject that I specifically brought up in conversation with Gina Rodriguez earlier this month during the Los Angeles press day for Miss Bala. Discussing her character, Gloria, and the dangerous horrific circumstances in which she finds herself in the film, I asked if there was a special point made of having the heroine do more to put her fate in her own hands. It turns out this was something that Rodriguez was very insistent about in the development of the story, and it ultimately had an effect on the way the plot moved.

Based on a script by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, Miss Bala centers on Gloria, a young Mexican-American woman, who travels south of the border in hopes of using her makeup skills to help her best friend, Suzu (Christina Rodlo), win a local beauty pageant. Things go horrifically wrong, however, when a night out clubbing is interrupted by an assassination attempt. At first Gloria is able to get away, though unable to find Suzu, but she is then captured by a local cartel leader named Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova) and forced to cooperate with him – told that it will eventually lead her to being reunited with Suzu. As she gets roped into missions that are more and more dangerous, she starts to plan a way that she can regain her freedom and save her friend.

Danger is basically around every corner for Gloria in the film, and her motivation to stay alive and help her friend make it so that every choice is an important one. Taking into consideration the aforementioned “If this was a man, what would he do?” question wound up influencing these choices on a micro level, and let Gloria be an overall stronger character. Gina Rodriguez continued, saying,

We were just making sure that we were meticulous in every decision, and not every decision was always a good decision – which is life, right? Some of the decisions Gloria makes gets other people in trouble, and that’s very real. So she does have consequences to her decision making. And at the same time she has, very much, an agenda and nothing’s going to get in her way of that.

As noted by the actress, it wasn’t exactly a challenge for Gina Rodriguez to get everybody to see her point of view because she was working with people who had similar thoughts and perspective. This very much included Catherine Hardwicke, who I also had the pleasure of sitting down with during the Miss Bala press day. The director specifically referenced the inaction of Laura in the 2011 movie, and from the very start of her involvement made a point of having her vision for the feature be different in that arena. Said Hardwicke,

There were quite a few scenes where we tried to make Gloria as active as possible. Because in the original one she’s quite passive. And so that’s like, ‘No.’ In 2019? No; she’s going to do something. She’s not going to get attacked and beat up. She’s going to fight back. I tried to elevate it as much as possible so she’s active, active, active. Then when Gina came along, she pushed it even more! ‘Let’s go! Let’s go! Let her do this! Let her do this!’ So we’re always like, ‘What would she do?’ She’s a very active person. She boxes. I’m very active with mountain biking. We would not sit there.

The strength of Gloria as a protagonist was clearly something that was very important to Gina Rodriguez, but another aspect of the film that the actress very much appreciated is that it didn’t choose to whitewash the story. The movie being an American remake of a Mexican-made feature, few familiar with Hollywood patterns would have been truly surprised if the ethnicity of the characters and locations of the story had been changed – but that wasn’t this reimagining’s prerogative. Instead, as Rodriguez stressed, it was seen as a proper opportunity to be not just a female-driven action movie, but one with a Latina hero. Said the actress,

The reimagining of this film was to make sure we re-contextualized it, not just for today, but for the American girl to be Latina, which was huge. In Hollywood, they take it and they change it, and then they give it to somebody else to make it. In this case they reimagined it, they kept it with the community, for the bigger audience, made sure that it was grounded in its characters. There is nothing caricature about it, which is awesome.

You can watch Gina Rodriguez discuss the empowerment of Gloria and her influence on the development of Miss Bala by clicking play on the video below.

Also starring Anthony Mackie, Miss Bala will be hitting theaters everywhere this weekend – going into wide release on Friday, February 1st. Check your local listings and find a proper screening, and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interview with Catherine Hardwicke in the next few days.

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Zack Snyder Is Heading To Netflix For His First Movie Post-Justice League

Zack Snyder’s last movie, Justice League, came out in November 2017, and while Snyder is listed as an executive producer on several upcoming DC Extended Universe projects, it appears he’s done directing for the franchise. Which has begged the question: what will he helm next? Well wonder no longer, because it’s been announced that Snyder’s next cinematic endeavor will be a zombie movie for Netflix.

Zack Snyder has signed on to direct Army of the Dead, a zombie horror thriller which he’ll produce with his wife/partner, Deborah Snyder, through their Stone Quarry production company. The story, which Snyder came up with himself and Joby Harold wrote the script for, is set during a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, and follows a man who assembles a group of mercenaries to venture with him into the quarantined zone to pull off “the greatest heist ever attempted.”

Army of the Dead was originally set up at Warner Bros back in 2007, but Netflix has now acquired the project, and the “dealmaking” could lead to the major movie studio selling other projects to the streaming company, which previously happened with Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. Army of the Dead is set to begin shooting this summer and the budget could end up being as high as $90 million.

In a way, Army of the Dead is allowing Zack Snyder to come full circle, as he made his feature film making debut with the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, which was met with many positive reviews and made over $102 million worldwide. Now that his work in the superhero world is finished (for now), Army of the Dead allows him to put a new spin on the zombie genre, and Snyder is clearly excited about making the movie, calling it a “good palette cleanser” that allows him to make “something fun and epic and crazy and bonkers in the best possible way.” He continued in his interview with THR:

It’s worth noting that when asked last year what his next project would be, Zack Snyder answered it’d be an adaptation of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Whether or not that’s still on his radar, Army of the Dead is clearly going to come beforehand, and given how many behind-the-scenes looks he’s shared on Vero of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, it’s possible he’ll chronicle the making of Army of the Dead on the social media platform as well.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates about Army of the Dead, including when it will arrive on Netflix. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release schedule to learn what movies are hitting theaters this year.

Will Tony Stark And Pepper Have A Daughter In Avengers: Endgame?

As the premiere of Avengers: Endgame draws ever closer, fans are continuing to drill down on the popular theories that have popped up on the web since Avengers: Infinity War. While some remain highly speculative, others have legs thanks to toy leaks and slip ups of actors and actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow. Whether intentional or not, the actress has revealed some pretty big things about her character, and may have spoiled some story elements ahead of the film’s release.

One of these reveals came not long after the release of Avengers: Infinity War, in which the actress stated that Pepper and Tony have a child together. If she is correct and it is indeed a spoiler, as Tony flat out asked Pepper if she was pregnant during Infinity War and she said she wasn’t. I’m more inclined to believe Paltrow over Pepper at the moment, and think that it’s certainly plausible that Avengers: Endgame will introduce the couple’s daughter.

This may seem like an odd prediction, especially given that Tony explicitly mentioned he dreamt of them having a boy named Morgan before asking Pepper the pregnancy question. On that note, the Russos have confirmed Tony wasn’t having some sort of vision when he had that dream (via Twitter), so those thinking Morgan will appear exactly how Tony dreamed in Avengers: Infinity War are most likely wrong.

With that said, it’s a strong likelihood the movie wouldn’t have included that moment if it meant nothing. Pepper could’ve been pregnant like Tony suspected, and Morgan will appear as a girl. It’s awfully suspicious that the Russos confirmed Tony’s dream was “mysterious,” and he just happened to pick a name that can be used for a child of either gender. Take that with Paltrow’s reveal, and it seems as though the Starks are gonna have a baby girl.

Not only that though, it appears as though Tony might get a chance to meet his daughter as an adult. That’s what some are thinking anyway, as some mystery behind Katherine Langford’s role in the ensemble movie may have been decreased thanks to her Instagram. Langford has a new look as of late, and her red hair and usual blue eyes certainly has her looking like the child of Pepper Potts.

Of course, there’s the simple question of how the Starks go from a childless rich couple to an adult daughter in the course of one film. There are a couple ways this could go down, with arguably the most popular suggestion being that Tony meets her in some time jump into the future. Time travel has been long speculated for Avengers: Endgame via leaks, and it’s looking increasingly likely that it will be key to defeating Thanos.

With that said, there’s a valid question as to why the Avengers would need to travel to the future to counteract the past events Thanos is responsible for. It’s possible they end up in the future as the result of an accident, or they’re required to travel to the future to figure out some unknown information in the past. Also, the Time Stone is capable of moving forward and backward in time, so perhaps that justifies the group’s journey to the future.

These all seem like viable options, plus the possibility of Tony meeting his future daughter lays the groundwork for what could be a very interesting story arc. Audiences will get to see whether or not the Stark legacy is preserved, and if “Morgan” has followed in her father’s footsteps and become a superhero protector of Earth. I’m not saying she has to be Iron Woman, but it would be cool to see her zipping around in a future tech suit.

Plus, imagine the emotional stake of meeting a daughter and seeing where she ends up in life. Should the Avengers go from there back to the past, Tony may be worried his smallest action could affect his future daughter’s life greatly or possibly erase her from existence entirely. That’s some pretty heavy stuff to consider, and may make the ever-confident Iron Man second guess his actions in an adventure where doubting oneself is far from ideal.

One thing that seems sure, at least in these circumstances, is that Tony generally seems like the type of person who would put his future family above his own. If sacrificing himself meant Pepper and Morgan could live, there’s no question Tony wouldn’t lay down his life in a heartbeat to ensure that. With so much speculation that Robert Downey Jr. is out of the MCU after Avengers: Endgame, it’s possible a scenario like this may lead to Tony dying.

It could be a coincidence that Katherine Langford decided to change her hair color right as Marvel was in the midst of reshoots for Avengers: Endgame. Actresses are allowed to change their hair, and one would think Marvel might’ve given her a heads up not to post pictures to keep fans from jumping to conclusions. That said, if she changed it and a tabloid snapped a photo of her without her announcing it, would that make it more suspicious?

I’m not saying I’m 100% certain Tony and Pepper will have a daughter in Avengers: Endgame, but the aforementioned evidence has me much more convinced Katherine Langford is playing Tony’s daughter in Avengers: Endgame than I am she’ll be playing someone like Kate Bishop. Plus, what’s the alternative? Gwyneth Paltrow is just making up Pepper and Tony fan fiction in her spare time and got her work confused with MCU canon during an interview?

We don’t have long until the answer is revealed, as Avengers: Endgame is due in theaters Friday, April 26. CinemaBlend is the source for all things related to the film in the meantime, as we’re working day in and out to provide the latest news, leak, and theories on what will be one of the biggest films of 2019. For example, check out how the latest Loki rumor could impact the MCU in a major way.

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Why Dwayne Johnson Probably Won’t Be Back For Fast And Furious 9

Although he hasn’t been part of the Fast and the Furious franchise since the beginning, ever since he jumped aboard during 2011’s Fast Five, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Luke Hobbs has become an integral character in this fictional universe. So much so that later this year, we’ll see him team up with Deckard Shaw again in the appropriately titled Hobbs and Shaw, the franchise’s first spinoff. However, because Johnson’s still working on Hobbs and Shaw, and because Fast & Furious 9 is gearing up to begin production, it’s unlikely he’ll appear in the latter movie. As Johnson put it:

Dwayne Johnson’s comment makes it sound like this rules out Jason Statham from appearing in Fast & Furious 9 as well since he’s Johnson’s costar on Hobbs and Shaw. But even assuming this holds true, as Johnson acknowledged to MTV, just because Luke Hobbs won’t be around for Fast & Furious 9 doesn’t mean he’s done with the main film series entirely. As long as he and Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto have this “unfinished business,” those two crossing paths again is bound to happen.

It should be noted that Fast & Furious 10 is intended to be the final film of the main Fast and the Furious film series, so having Luke Hobbs return then seems logical. However, like Johnson mentioned, this “universe” is growing, and along with Hobbs and Shaw paving a new direction, there’s also a female-centric spinoff in the works. So even after the main series wraps up, there will be other opportunities for many of these characters to return, possibly allowing for Luke Hobbs to reunite with either Dominic Toretto or one of his other allies.

We still don’t have any details yet about what’s in store for Fast & Furious 9, but whatever goes down, Dominic Toretto and his gang/family will have to make due without Luke Hobbs providing extra muscle. Daniel Casey is writing the script, Justin Lin is reportedly lined up to direct and Jordan Brewster will return as Mia Toretto, who was last seen in Furious 7.

As for Hobbs and Shaw, the spinoff will see its eponymous protagonists facing off against Idris Elba’s Brixton, an international terrorist leader. The spinoff also stars Vanessa Kirby as Deckard Shaw’s sister Hattie, Eiza Gonzalez as Madam M, Roman Reigns as Luke Hobbs’ brother and Eddie Marsan, among others. Deadpool 2’s David Leitch directed and longtime Fast and the Furious contributor Chris Morgan wrote the script.

Hobbs and Shaw charges into theaters on August 2, and Fast & Furious 9 will follow on April 10, 2020. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates about the franchise, and look through our 2019 release schedule to learn what else is coming out this year.

No, Patty Jenkins Isn’t Directing The Barbie Movie

Among Margot Robbie’s many exciting upcoming projects, which include her return as Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey and portraying Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, she is also set to play the leading doll in the first live-action Barbie film.

When Robbie was announced to star in Barbie back in October, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins was reportedly being eyed to direct. However, when Jenkins’ was recently asked, she explained that she never signed on. Here’s what she said:

Bummer! Patty Jenkins would have been a great choice to helm the upcoming Barbie movie and it makes a lot of sense why she was approached for the job. 2017’s Wonder Woman was met with warm positive reception, namely because of how it portrayed the iconic female superhero, along with making over $821 million worldwide at the box office.

Patty Jenkins was the first woman to ever direct a studio superhero film, and with the $9 million she will get for helming the sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, she’s the highest paid female director in history. So why not get her to lead the movie about the most iconic doll there is?

As Patty Jenkins told recently Deadline, she just doesn’t have the time to direct Barbie at this time. She recently wrapped filming Wonder Woman 1984 and will likely be working on finishing the product until its release in summer 2020.

Patty Jenkins hasn’t announced any projects after the Wonder Woman sequel is finished, but has recently expressed her interest in concluding Diana Prince’s story with a third film. Wonder Woman 3 has not yet gotten the green light by Warner Bros., but Jenkins revealed she has plans about how she’d want to end the trilogy.

If the director’s heart (and time) wasn’t set on Wonder Woman and/or some potential unannounced projects she has in the works, she seems otherwise interested in directing Barbie. The film is currently being developed by Warner Bros., Mattel Films and Margot Robbie’s production company, LuckyChap Entertainment.

When Margot Robbie was confirmed to play Barbie, she expressed her interest to help make the film empowering to young audiences, as well as reflect the element of imagination and discovery that comes with playing with the popular toy.

A live-action Barbie movie has been in development since 2014, originally under Sony, with Amy Schumer and Anne Hathaway previously attached as to star on separate occasions. When Mattel decided to create their own film division, the project changed directions.

There’s no word yet about filming details or a release date for the live-action Barbie film, but check out what movies are coming out this year with our 2019 release guide.

Zombieland 2 Has An Official Title, And It’s Perfect

Now that Venom, one of 2018’s biggest box office smashes, has had its time to shine, director Ruben Fleischer has turned his attention to a world he first visited a decade ago, one filled with the undead. The Zombieland sequel, which was officially announced back in July, is a week into filming, and today it was finally announced what said sequel will be called: Zombieland: Double Tap. Additionally, Sony also dropped the first poster for Double Ta, which you can compare to the original Zombieland poster below.

For those of you who haven’t seen Zombieland, the Double Tap refers to the #2 rule when battling zombies: even if you think the zombie is “dead” after shooting it once, shoot it again just to make 100% sure the deed is done. So yes, calling the sequel Zombieland: Double Tap is most fitting. It had previously been reported that the project would be called Zombieland Too, but that was debunked earlier this month.

As you can see from the first Zombieland: Double Tap poster, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin will all be back reprising their respective roles. While Breslin has had quite the growth spurt in the decade since Zombieland came out, the other three look the same for the most part, although one can imagine that their characters have become even more hardened since the last movie given that they still have to gun down zombies on a regular basis.

Along with the title and poster reveal, it was also reported by Deadline that Rosario Dawson has been cast in Zombieland: Double Tap. No details about her role were revealed, but she is the latest new face to board the sequel, following behind Zoey Deutch and Avan Jogia In the past several years, Dawson’s credits have included playing Claire Temple on the Marvel Netflix shows, Unforgettable, Sorry to Bother You and Jane the Virgin. She’ll appear this April in the Netflix movie Someone Great and has been tapped to lead the USA Network series Briarpatch.

Along with Ruben Fleischer sitting back in the director’s chair and the core quartet of actors stepping back in front of the camera, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick also returned for Zombieland: Double Tap. Their new story sees the starring humans facing off against new kinds of zombies that have sprung up since the events of the first movie, all the while still keeping their unusual family together. It’s also been reported that Bill Murray will be back as well, and he’ll supposedly be accompanied by his Ghostbusters co-star Dan Aykroyd.

Zombieland: Double Tap scares its way into theaters on October 11, so keep backing back with CinemaBlend for more updates on its progress. Don’t forget to look through our 2019 release schedule to learn what other movies open later this year.

Liam Neeson Really Wrestled With The Amount Of Plow Violence To Put In Cold Pursuit

If there’s one guy that’s known for being an onscreen badass, it’s Liam Neeson. The 66 year-old actor is synonymous with movies where he kicks ass and takes names, including high profile projects like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Batman Begins, and the Taken franchise. The beloved actor is at it again with Hans Petter Moland’s Cold Pursuit, playing a snowplow driver with a penchant for revenge.

I recently had the privilege to speak with Liam Neeson about Cold Pursuit, and his character Nels Coxman. I asked if he wanted more time behind the wheel of Nels’ massive snowplow to kill his enemies, but Neeson actually had the opposite feeling. As he told me,

Throughout the course of Cold Pursuit, audiences get to watch Liam Neeson dispatch his enemies in a variety of grisly and sometimes hilarious manners. Rather than simply getting behind his giant rig and making the movie one long car chase, director Hans Petter Moland used that signature vehicle sparingly. And that’s exactly how Liam Neeson liked it.

I also got the chance to speak with Hans Petter Moland himself about Cold Pursuit, which is actually an American adaptation of his Norwegian movie In Order of Disappearance. In our conversation, he spoke to balancing the use of the snowplow, and enjoying using a variety of other tools to bring Nels’ revenge to life on the silver screen. He said,

Cold Pursuit is clocking in at 118 minutes, so Hans Petter Moland clearly wanted to make sure it wasn’t a repetitive experience. Furthermore, the movie shows how everyday tools can become weapons, especially in the hands of someone with nothing to lose.

You can check out my conversation with Liam Neeson and Hans Petter Moland below.

Clearly Liam Neeson and Hans Petter Moland have thought this process out, and are eager for moviegoers to finally get the chance to watch the snowy destruction for themselves.

Cold Pursuit arrives in theaters on February 8th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Spider-Man: Far From Home, What We Know About The Homecoming Sequel

After years of waiting, Spider-Man is now firmly a key figure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and it looks like things are going to stay that way for at least the next few years. Not only did the character have a very significant part in Avengers: Infinity War, but we also know that he’ll have a role to play in Avengers: Endgame. And, the character’s part of the action in that superhero team up sequel will lead right into the Web-Slinger’s solo sequel for Marvel and Sony  — a project that’s been officially titled Spider-Man: Far From Home.

So, what can we expect from this sequel? When will it be released? Which characters will return? What will it be about? We’ve built this feature with the exact purpose of answering those questions, so read on to learn what we know so far about the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming!

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War. If you have not yet seen the films, and don’t wish to have any specific details ruined, please bookmark this page and come back after your screening!

What Have We Seen From Spider-Man: Far From Home?

For a while, our only looks at Spider-Man: Far From Home came from leaked set photos and videos, but, at the beginning of January, the first trailer finally dropped. As you can see from the video above, there have been a few reveals that let us in on the storyline. An international Far From Home trailer was also released that has a different opening sequence of events. So, at least now we have two different videos providing footage for the Wall-Crawler’s next adventure, but you can be sure more previews are on the way in the coming months.

Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Release Date

While Marvel Studios has always been a house of secrets, what they have planned beyond Avengers: Endgame was kept mostly under lock and key for a while. This is primarily so that fans have no idea what to expect in the outcome of Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel. However, that’s finally started to change, as a number of post-Phase 3 projects have slowly been announced or reported. Nevertheless, Spider-Man: Far From Home was announced long before those others, so, naturally, it will be the first of this bunch to come out.

To be specific, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have jointly announced that Peter Parker’s next solo adventure will be hitting the big screen on July 5, 2019. As such, it will be the first title to kick off Phase 4 — if that’s even still a thing after the fourth Avengers movie. It’s noteworthy how close the release dates are for Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, but there’s a good reason for that, and we’ll get into it in a bit.

Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Rating

Between 2004 and 2007, Marvel Comics did published Spider-Man issues that had a more mature edge to them (specifically under their ‘Marvel Knights’ banner), but that’s hardly the Spidey that audiences recognize. The Web-Head is famously kid-friendly and fun, and there are no future plans to release an R-rated title featuring the character.

While it was fine to consider that Sony’s Venom spin-off could be restricted to those aged 18 years or older (that ended up not being the case), having an R-rated Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man film really just wouldn’t make any sense. There are a whole lotta kids out there who just flipped their collective lids for Tom Holland’s new big screen version of the Wall-Crawler, and it would be insane to bar them from getting to see his second solo adventure in the franchise. Obviously, official decisions regarding the rating are only decided when a final cut is assembled and screened for the MPAA, but you can be sure that Spider-Man: Far From Home will be made with a PG-13 rating in mind.

Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Director

Following the Sundance premiere of his critically-acclaimed sophomore feature, Cop Car, director Jon Watts was brought on board to take the helm of Spider-Man: Homecoming. It was a decision that met with a good deal of head-scratching, given Watts’ lack of experience with big projects — but he wound up proving all doubters wrong. He provided fans with a great Spidey full of energy and spirit… but for a long time we weren’t quite sure if he would get the chance to do it again. But, at the beginning of 2018, during Brazil’s Comic-Con, reports came out that Kevin Feige announced Watts’ return as director during the Marvel panel, and it was later confirmed that Watts would reprise his helming duties on Spider-Man: Far From Home.

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for fans. His first superhero movie was not only monstrously successful at the box office, but also stands as one of the best-reviewed installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Watts oversaw Spider-Man: Far From Home‘s principal photography from July to October of 2018, but there’s likely still some post-production work to be done for Watts to supervise.

The Story

The events that go down in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame will have a serious impact on Spider-Man: Far From Home — and we’re not only saying that because the Wall-Crawler has a part in both movies. As alluded to earlier, it has been confirmed that the events that play out in the sequel will begin literally minutes after the end of Endgame. Obviously, Infinity War saw young Peter Parker slowly turn to dust after Thanos gained full control of the Infinity Gauntlet, in one of the most heart-breaking scenes the MCU has ever brought us. Avengers 4, then, will need to restore the hero in some way, though we have no clue how that could work right now. However this is accomplished, it’s entirely possible that the events of Infinity War and Peter’s resurrection could be addressed in Spider-Man: Far From Home, unless, of course, that some timey-wimey goings on in Avengers: Endgame mean that said events never occurred in the new timeline, in which case from Peter Parker’s perspective, there’s nothing to address.

As for where we’ll find Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home, it was previously hinted that the sequel, which was written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (who also worked on the original), will move the hero up a grade — from sophomore to junior. But, more importantly, it was revealed that Far From Home will see Peter traveling to Europe with his classmates during summer vacation. We will see a little bit of Spidey in his native New York, but otherwise he won’t technically be a Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man in Far From Home since he’ll be swinging around London, Venice and other European locales. And, needless to say, this trip won’t be as relaxing for Peter as he hoped, because (as is the life of a superhero) eventually he’ll have to clash with supervillains.

As for who the primary villain is, there was certainly no shortage of individuals to choose from since Spider-Man has one of the biggest rogues gallery in all of superhero comics history. And as most of you reading this already know, many of Spider-Man’s greatest foes have already been on the big screen — including Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Venom, Lizard, Rhino, and Electro — but the good news is that the Web-Slinger has one of the deepest villain benches around, and we still haven’t seen notable baddies like Kraven The Hunter, Mysterio, Morbius The Living Vampire, Chameleon and Hobgoblin. One of these villains has now been confirmed to appear and is possibly being the Big Bad of Spider-Man: Far From Home, and we’ll get into that a bit later.

Peter Parker/Spider-Man

While Spider-Man: Homecoming wasn’t a traditional origin story for the hero — not featuring Uncle Ben or radioactive spider bites — it is still very much an introduction to him and his world. The movie lets us get to know the kid superhero, reveals the people in his life who are closest to him, and even still manages to give us a proper training montage as he learns to use all the aspects of his new suit. Now that that’s all out of the way, however, there are no limits to what the next story can do, and what growth we may see from both Peter Parker and Spider-Man.

Thus far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man has faced off against both rogue superheroes and alien tech-wearing villains, but in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, we expect that the teenager is going to see things far, far more intense. As such, Peter Parker may be a totally different person by the time we meet him again in Spider-Man: Far From Home… but he still has to be a high school student working towards building a future for himself. There should be plenty of drama and conflict as a result, but that all just makes for good storytelling.

One of the cool things about the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel is we will definitely see a version of the titular hero who is much more adept with both his own abilities and technology. Not only is it possible that we will see a stronger manifestation of the character’s famed spider-sense (which made a brief appearance in Infinity War), but also much greater creativity when it comes to utilizing ‘Karen’ and the various capacities of his Stark Industries-designed suit. Plus, Peter will also be donning a new stealth suit during Far From Home, indicating that he’ll be on a mission requiring him to maintain a lower profile.

Michelle/Mary Jane

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker spends most of the movie pining for the girl who is his true first crush in the comics: Liz Allen (Laura Harrier). That being said, the fact that Liz is moving across the country following her father’s incarceration means that romance is probably dead. The good news is that real love has been under Peter’s nose all along.

The final high school scene of the latest Spider-Man movie ends with Michelle (Zendaya) exposing that she’s not just some ordinary original character made up for the reboot. Instead, by noting that her friends call her M.J., she is revealed as the woman who Peter Parker will ultimately be with forever. Her name clearly isn’t Mary Jane Watson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she is Michelle J.-Something.

Truth be told, we don’t really learn much about Michelle in the first movie — though the fact that she keeps following Peter around and keeping tabs on him clearly demonstrates a crush. Hopefully she will wind up getting much more to do in Spider-Man: Far From Home, now that she doesn’t have to lurk in the shadows in order to conserve a twist. Peter is definitely interested in exploring a romantic relationship with her, and she might feel the same way with him.

Ned Leeds

In the modern age, no hero is truly complete without their “Man In The Chair,” and for Peter Parker that man is Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon). Ned is one of the few people in the world that know that Peter is actually Spider-Man, and while that information caused him to freak out a bit at first, he eventually settled down enough to be a real asset to Peter when things go seriously wrong in the third act of Spider-Man: Homecoming.

So, what does the future hold for Ned Leeds? It’s really impossible to say at this point. On the optimistic side of things, we can probably expect him to continue helping Peter Parker in the sequel, and perhaps pester him for endless details about fighting with The Avengers. There is a serious downside to knowing Spider-Man’s real identity, however, in that it basically puts a target on his back. It’s cool that Peter has a friend his own age with whom he can talk about Spidey activities, but it also means that he’s constantly in very real danger. Of course, he’s not the only person who knows…

Aunt May

In the comics, Peter Parker has typically been very successful when it comes to hiding his Spider-Man activities from Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), but apparently that’s not the case in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter successfully dodges the Civil War-esque press conference that would reveal his identity to the world, but one person he’s unable to hide this secret from is May, who accidentally walks in on him while he’s putting on his costume in his room.

If this Aunt May knows that Peter is Spider-Man, she’s not going to have to wonder what it is that he gets up to at night when he’s fighting crime — though surely she will still be very concerned about her young nephew’s safety. We probably won’t really get to see her fully come to terms with it all because her discovery is literally the last thing that happens in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame happen between now and Far From Home, but it will be great to see May and Peter have a dynamic that is completely different than anything we’ve seen before. Judging from the trailer, she seems to be very supportive of Peter playing superhero. Plus, it looks like romance might be in store for May in this movie as well, as she appears to have sparks with Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan.

Mac Gargan/Scorpion

The folks at Marvel Studios have found many different ways to utilize their trademark post-credit scenes, and part of that tradition is teasing villains for the follow-up film (recently seen in both Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). It certainly looks like the Spider-Man movies are going to follow in that tradition as well, as Spider-Man: Homecoming definitely sets up the possibility of seeing Mac Gargan a.k.a. Scorpion as an antagonist in the sequel.

Played by Michael Mando, Mac Gargan first shows up in the Staten Island Ferry sequence in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and winds up getting seriously injured during his battle with the web-slinger. It’s an event that puts a rather sizable chip on his shoulder, and leads him to confront Adrian Toomes in prison about attacking Spider-Man. Toomes rejects Gargan’s offer, but it’s easy to imagine that not stopping Gargan from trying to get some revenge.

The fact that Mac Gargan was dealing with Adrian Toomes means that he is interested in utilizing alien tech for crime purposes, so is it possible that he could track down The Tinkerer and get him to build a Scorpion suit — complete with barbed tail? Homecoming co-producer Eric Hauserman Carroll has already intimated that we could see The Tinkerer again, since he was never apprehended at the end of the movie, so it’s an absolute possibility. This could certainly be a B-plot in Spider-Man: Far From Home, but we don’t expect that Scorpion will wind up being the sequel’s central villain. Not to mention that so far, Michael Mando hasn’t been announced to appear in Far From Home.

Adrian Toomes/Vulture

While Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have a history of less-than-fantastic villains, Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes does not belong on that list. In fact, with the exception of Loki, he may be the best we’ve seen from the franchise. The guy is not only excessively menacing and dangerous, but he also has understandable motivations and a plan that actually makes sense. Add in the fact that he survived Spider-Man: Homecoming and knows Peter Parker’s biggest secret, and it wasn’t hard to imagine him finding some way to be included in the 2019 sequel.

Barring a jail break, Adrian Toomes will still be in prison when the story of Spider-Man: Far From Home begins, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll just be sitting on his hands. The guy is clearly very smart and very passionate, and those two elements can be very dangerous when combined with the wrong personality. Sure, he turns down Mac Gargan’s offer to form some kind of anti-Spider-Man team, but that hardly means his days of villainy are totally behind him. It should be noted that May 2018 brought us the news that Michael Keaton will be back as Toomes in the sequel, so we can likely count on him causing trouble for Peter in the next film.

Herman Schultz/Shocker

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies weren’t really made with a massive franchise in mind, and yet it’s still disappointing that all three titles wind up killing one of the primary antagonists. Fortunately, this wasn’t a mistake made by Spider-Man: Homecoming, and as a result we not only have Adrian Toomes being incarcerated, but also Bokeem Woodbine’s Herman Schultz, a.k.a. Shocker, still walking around.

Shocker is able to deliver Spider-Man a rather excessive beating in his final scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming, meeting the hero outside of the Midtown School Homecoming Dance, but it’s thanks to the bravery and good timing of Ned Leeds that he is stopped and webbed up against a school bus. We don’t know if he was ultimately arrested, or managed to escape the sticky net, but one thing is for certain: he’s going to want to get some payback. Hopefully the next time we see him he’ll be wearing an entire costume made of the yellow, quilted material that insulates him from the energy of his own gauntlet, which is to say, as he appears in the comics.

Quentin Beck/Mysterio

Now, here’s where we get to the part where we need to talk about the possible Big Bad that’s being looked at for Spider-Man: Far From Home. In mid-May 2018, THR reported that the film was looking to cast Jake Gyllenhaal as classic Spidey villain Mysterio for the sequel. The stuntman/failed illusionist was known to use his own brand of movie magic to help hide his criminal activities. He’s also, of course, known for his crazy costume, which features a fishbowl-style helmet, green and purple suit and massive cape. It’s since been confirmed that Gyllenhaal is indeed playing Mysterio, but rather than being the main antagonist, he’s been tasked by someone (we’ll tell you who in a bit) to help Peter Parker battle strange creatures called Elementals in Europe.

The Far From Home trailer showed a little bit of Quentin Beck in action, and on the surface, he appears to wield tremendous power. However, misdirection and illusions are Mysterio’s bread and butter. Not only could these abilities be the product of advanced technology, it’s also possible that, like his comic book counterpart, Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio is a tried-and-true villain. Maybe he’s behind the rise of the Elementals, using them as a way for him to “save the day” and look like a hero to the public.

The “Femme Fatale”

Here’s where we get into some major speculation. It was revealed in early 2018 that the production was looking for a European actress in her twenties to play the role of a “femme fatale” in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the problem, of course, is that we have no solid idea right now as to who this character will actually be. Since the film is going to shoot in Europe for at least part of production, and they’re looking to cast a European actress, one of the possibilities for this unnamed character is Jessica Drew, a.k.a. Spider-Woman. In the comics, the character is British, so this would make her a natural fit for this addition to the cast.

Of course, the other major possibilities are Black Cat and Silver Sable. The master thief and mercenary (respectively) have storied histories with Spidey in the comics, and with the plans to develop a movie around those two currently pushed back, it’s not completely unlikely that a new plan is in place to introduce one or both of the characters in Homecoming 2, provided that there’s another agreement between Sony and Marvel over how they could be used. Yet another option for this casting would be Gwen Stacy, seeing as how an audition video surfaced a while ago showing an actress trying out for the role.

Nick Fury

Just like Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home will have a certain team-up element. In Tom Holland’s first solo Spider-Man adventure, the young Peter Parker found himself interacting quite a bit with Tony Stark/Iron Man, and for Far From Home, Peter will finally come face-to-face with spy extraordinaire/ex-director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury.

While Captain Marvel brought Samuel L. Jackson in to play a two-eyed Nick Fury in 1995, Spider-Man: Far From Home is reuniting us with the present day Fury, who was last seen turning to dust in the Avengers: Infinity War post-credits scene. We don’t know for sure if Fury is in Avengers: Endgame yet, but the fact that he’s appearing in Far From Home means he will be restored to life, just like Spider-Man. As for why he’s finally crossing paths with Peter Parker, Fury is the one who’s tasked Quentin Beck with helping the Web-Slinger fight the Elementals. Beyond that, we have no idea about what to expect from Fury, although given that he and Peter form a mentor/mentee relationship in the Ultimate universe, perhaps this means Jackson’s iteration of the character will form a soft spot for the teen hero as well. Fury will also be accompanied by his second-in-command, Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill.

We only have a few months now until Spider-Man: Far From Home arrives in theaters, so be sure to bookmark this guide to stay up to date on all the latest news about the film as it becomes available!

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Expect Far Fewer Super Bowl Movie Trailers This Year

Amidst the excitement of the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams going head-to-head at Super Bowl LIII this Sunday, movie fans be warned: much fewer movie trailers are expected to debut alongside the other buzzy commercials during the game.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, as few as three to four movie spots may premiere on Super Bowl Sunday, in comparison to the typical eight to ten from the major studios. Splurging on a 30-second game spot is a steep $5 million, a price the major studios seem to be treading lightly on this year.

As Disney approaches a jam-packed year of huge releases, a sneak peek at least one of the studio’s offerings is sure to make an appearance. But which one? The studio’s line-up includes Captain Marvel, Dumbo, Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, Artemis Fowl and Star Wars: Episode IX all coming this year.

Per the report, a Star Wars: Episode IX Super Bowl trailer isn’t likely to show since there are six big releases coming before it. However, since every Avengers film has made an appearance at the Super Bowl, bets are in favor of a new Endgame trailer. Of course, the upcoming Marvel film isn’t like the other before it: there’s a lot of secrecy and anticipation already surrounding it. Will the studio break this tradition?

At last year’s Super Bowl, a 30-second spot for Avengers: Infinity War premiered during the game and generated the most views and social conversation than any other spot that day. The studio may also use the big television event to raise up their other upcoming releases. In 2018, the studio premiered the trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story ahead of its May release alongside promoting Infinity War.

Universal is expected to release a first look at the Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs and Shaw coming this August, which will star Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as the franchise’s unlikely pair, as they face-off against a villain played by Idris Elba. Similarly to the Avengers films, Fast installments have always had a place at the Super Bowl. In 2018, spots for Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Skyscraper premiered.

Sony and Warner Bros are not investing in Super Bowl airtime for their upcoming releases, and 20th Century Fox’s standing at the game are unclear considering its merger with Disney. Fox might choose to promote Dark Phoenix heading to theaters in June. Paramount will be showcasing its March animated release Wonder Park during the pregame show, following the presence of Mission: Impossible – Fallout during the Super Bowl last year.

While there is said to be fewer trailer debuts during Super Bowl LIII, there are some exciting possible debuts coming our way this Sunday, February 3 during the 3:30 p.m. PST live broadcast from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.