Potential franchise reboots excite film industry

Spielberg refutes Indiana Jones casting rumor with passioned defense of beloved Jones actor Harrison Ford, pictured above. (credit: Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) Spielberg refutes Indiana Jones casting rumor with passioned defense of beloved Jones actor Harrison Ford, pictured above. (credit: Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Universal Studios in talks with Tom Cruise for The Mummy reboot

On Nov. 23, it was reported that Universal Studios’ upcoming “Monsters Universe” was putting its pieces on the board with a selection of writers developing production strategy for reboots of the studio’s classic films. A reboot of The Mummy will be the first to emerge from the pack, and the studio is eyeing A-list action star Tom Cruise to play a leading role. Though this does not come as a shock, casting Cruise would be a home run choice for Universal. Cruise is one of the few true “action stars” remaining (along with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel, and Jason Statham) but he brings an additional level of acting talent that most others attempt to imitate. Cruise has been nominated for three Academy Awards and has been cranking out action hit after action hit in the past few years. The Mission: Impossible series just saw another success with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Edge Of Tomorrow was one of 2014’s most pleasant surprises, and Cruise is currently filming the sequel to Jack Reacher, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The deal between Cruise and Universal is not finalized yet (at least, not publicly) but adding his caliber of talent would only increase the value of the new shared “Monsters Universe.” The Mummy is set for release in March 2017.

Steven Spielberg comments on recasting Indiana Jones

Recasting roles is not a new phenomenon in Hollywood, especially iconic roles. Seven different actors have played James Bond since the early 1960s. We are about to meet our third Spider-Man since 2002 with Tom Holland. The first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, was released in 1982 and was quickly followed by two more films and a third in 2008. Steven Spielberg, director of all four Indiana Jones films, has been hearing all the chatter about recasting the role with the likes of Chris Pratt or Bradley Cooper. As far as Spielberg is concerned, Indiana Jones is Harrison Ford and Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones.

“I don’t think anyone could replace Harrison as Jones, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen,” Spielberg said in an interview with Screen International. “It’s certainly not my intention to ever have another actor step into his shoes in the way there have been many actors that have played Spider-Man or Batman. There is only going to be one actor playing Indiana Jones and that’s Harrison Ford.”

Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm and producing partner with Spielberg, has confirmed a fifth film is on their radar, but has no timetable for production or release. There is no denying Spielberg’s power in Hollywood, and the exponential growth of that power when discussing a film series he is synonymous with building into the cinematic juggernaut it became. Personally, I think recasting the character would offer more opportunities for the survival of Indy. Obviously, should Harrison Ford return to the character, I would be first in line at the theater, but considering Ford is entering his mid-70s, I am willing to put the character and the story in front of the man. Harrison Ford brought Indy to life and I’ll always be able to go back and watch The Temple of Doom whenever I need a dose of Harrison charm, but recasting the character would give Lucasfilm the freedom to think long-term about the franchise and develop any of the numerous stories that have been formed around the character. The creative team behind Indy is the same team behind Star Wars, but the franchises are very different. Indiana Jones needs a refreshing start to attract new audiences, especially in international markets, and attaching a new face may be just what the doctor ordered.

Universal Studios eyeing Ryan Gosling for Neil Armstrong biopic

Based on the James Hansen novel “First Man: A Life of Neil A. Armstrong” Universal Studios is looking to secure The Notebook star Ryan Gosling to star as the famous astronaut in the upcoming biopic aptly titled First Man. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) is attached to direct, and this would not be the first time Gosling and Chazelle would work together. The two are currently filming La La Land, a musical starring Gosling as a jazz pianist who falls in love with an aspiring actress played by Emma Stone. Chazelle made his directorial feature film debut with Whiplash and directed J.K. Simmons to an Academy Award win, so his ability to draw out amazing performances is tested and proven.

The “Space Race,” as it was called, is an extraordinary time in American history and Armstrong made world history in 1969. Nearing the 50th anniversary would be a real treat to learn about the man’s story and re-experience the magic that space travel offers. As far as Gosling is concerned, La La Land is still shooting, and he is slated to star in the sequel to Blade Runner. That film begins production next summer, and First Man would likely follow. Gosling can be seen in The Big Short, hitting theaters December 11, 2015, and in La La Land, which is set for release on July 16, 2016.