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Jack Whitehall Set to Star Alongside Dwayne Johnson & Emily Blunt in ‘Jungle Cruise’

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Rising British comedian and actor Jack Whitehall will join Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in Disney’s “The Jungle Cruise,” sources tell Variety.

Whitehall will play Blunt’s brother in the film — a key role in the storyline.

Jaume Collet-Serra is on board to direct the movie based on the classic theme park attraction, which operates in several Disney Parks across the globe and takes guests on a guided tour through the rivers of the world. Oscar nominee Michael Green (“Logan”) penned the most recent draft of the script. He rewrote a screenplay by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

Disney plans to develop the film as a possible franchise in the vein of its billion-dollar “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.

John Davis and John Fox will produce via Davis Entertainment; Beau Flynn will produce with his FlynnPictureCo. banner; and Johnson, Dany Garcia, and Hiram Garcia will produce through Seven Bucks Productions. Scott Sheldon is co-producing the movie, which is slated to go into production in May.

Whitehall is a stand-up comedian who created and starred in the hit British sitcom “Bad Education,” which went on to become a feature film. Whitehall also appeared in Garry Marshall’s “Mother’s Day” and has a role in Disney’s upcoming “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” directed by Lasse Hallstrom. His stand-up special “Jack Whitehall: At Large” is currently streaming on Netflix. He’s also in production on the Amazon mini-series “Good Omens” and the Netflix series “Travels With My Father” which is also in production. Whitehall is repped by CAA.

Seven Bucks is hot off the heels of its biggest hit to date, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” which starred Johnson, and was produced by Garcia and Johnson. The movie has grossed almost $1 billion worldwide, including $401.7 million at the domestic box office. Flynn, Johnson, Garcia, and Garcia most recently collaborated on “Rampage” for WB/New Line and “Skyscraper” for Universal. “Rampage” opens on April 13 while “Skyscraper” bows on July 13.

Editor-in-Chief of Movie Marker. Likes: Scorsese, Spielberg and Tarantino Dislikes: The film 'Open Water' I mean, what was that all about?

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James Cameron Confirms Avatar Sequels Have Wrapped Production

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In a video message, the director of the two highest-grossing films of all time (Avatar and Titanic) praised the ensemble of actors who have been filming Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 since September 2017.

“Hi, James Cameron here and today I’m coming to you from the set of the Avatar sequels — and behind me you can see our performance-capture stage. Today we’re capturing some stunt scenes filming some stunt scenes but our principal cast are all wrapped: Sam [Worthington], Zoe [Saldana], Sigourney [Weaver], Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet.”

The Oscar-winning filmmaker added: “They’re done now but they gave us incredible performances. And I can’t tell you how proud I am of the work that they did on these films.”

Avatar 2 is due in theaters on December 18, 2020, and will be followed by Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021. Two additional sequels are planned after that if the first pair deliver the kind of box-office success that Fox and Cameron are expecting.

In the video message, Cameron then turned to a different project as he explained the ambition and artistry of Alita: Battle Angel , which reaches theaters in February.

Cameron fell in love with the namesake source material, the cyberpunk saga created by Yukito Kishiro in the 1990s, and flirted with making it into a movie in the mid-2000s but ultimately set it aside in favor of making the first Avatar.

In 2015, director Robert Rodriguez (Sin CitySpy Kids) came on board as director for Alita with  Cameron producing (along with his longtime partner, Jon Landau). The film’s approach — a dreamy futuristic setting yet with photorealistic anime visuals — is being billed as a game-changer (not unlike Cameron’s Terminator 2 and Avatar) but that could be an elusive sell to moviegoers.

Which explains why Cameron was using his Avatar publicity and social media megaphone to tether the two franchises and boost the fledgling Alita.

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Best Popular Category Had ‘Stake Driven Through Its Heart’, But Isn’t Dead Says Oscars President

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John Bailey, the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (who oversees the Oscars), has spoken candidly about the awards show’s bid to bring in more viewers with a distinct ‘Best Achievement in Popular Film’ award.

You’ll remember it as being the category that suffered a very public and embarrassing controversy in which Academy members openly rejected it earlier in the year, prompting the organisation to ‘temporarily shelve’ their plans until they could conduct a proper review. Speaking at the EnergaCamerimage Film Festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Bailey stated that the award had “seemed like a good idea, the board approved it, announced it, but we got a lot of pushback.”

“So the board reconsidered and tabled it – which is not to say that the idea is dead. Even after a stake was driven through its heart, there’s still interest.”

The Academy has a “generous” deal with ABC, who have agreed to fund and air the telecast until 2028. The challenge, in those intervening years, is to somehow save the show from haemorrhaging even more viewers. As Bailey says: “We have another decade, and we’re already starting to deal with the problem. There’s desire to expand the awards to millennials, many of whom do not have TV.”

ABC, who are majority-owned by the Walt Disney Corporation, may take some umbrage with the idea of no longer being the sole home of the Oscars, but one idea that has been repeatedly floating around is to air the telecast on the forthcoming Disney+ streaming service – a more palatable option, perhaps, for younger viewers.

However, when it comes to the concept of new categories that aren’t Best Popular, Bailey was considerably more cagey. Asked if we could see awards for motion-capture, stunt-performers, or achievements in casting, the president said: “A number of different crafts would like to be represented and there are ongoing discussions about creating new branches, but right now we’re trying to reduce the size of the board. However, nothing is written in stone.”

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Pedro Pascal Confirmed To Be Under The Helmet Of The Mandalorian

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Game of Thrones and Kingsman: The Golden Circle actor Pedro Pascal has been officially named as the man under the helmet of the titular bounty hunter of Star Wars: The Mandalorian.

Little is known of the steaming-first live-action series, which will air on Disney+, save for a brief synopsis: “After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic...”

Helmed by showrunner Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book), the series recently announced its first crop of directors. Of note to Star Wars die-hards was the news that Dave Filoni, showrunner of fan favourite animated shows Clone Wars and Rebels, would be directing the series’ premiere episode. Meanwhile, Thor: Ragnarok’s beloved eccentric director Taika Waititi will helm an episode, along with Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of Solo: A Star Wars Story director Ron Howard), Rick Famuyiwa (Hope), and Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones).

In Star Wars canon, the Mandalorians are a fierce race of armoured warriors that exist in tribal ‘families’, and who – until the dawn of the Clone Wars – largely kept out of the way of the rest of the galaxy. Following the devastation of their kind in the galactic civil war their numbers dwindled, until few remain by the time of the new show (roughly seven years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and twenty-three years before The Force Awakens). The race are an integral part of the Star Wars mythos, and even once warred with the Jedi Knights.

Pascal’s involvement had been heavily rumoured for the past month. The Mandalorian is currently awaiting a release date.

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