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The Monday Mop-Up – 07/17/17 Edition

The Monday catch-all news column returns with another round of smaller stories that didn’t get their individual due on Cinema Runner over the past week. What’s on deck for today in terms of smaller, but notable news? How about some nuggets revolving around Ready Player One, Oliver Stone, Batman, Martin Scorsese, Scarface, Ryan Reynolds, “The Exorcist“, and more!

At the top of this piece you’ll notice a photo. What is it? It’s the first official still from Steven Spielberg‘s adaptation of the popular science fiction novel. Ready Player One. Based on the book by Ernest Cline, the film stars Tye Sheridan (pictured above), Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, T.J. Miller, and a host of others. It is currently scheduled to hit theaters on March 30th, 2018, courtesy of Warner Bros.

Kelsey Asbille has joined the cast of “Yellowstone“, Taylor Sheridan’s (Hell or High Water) upcoming period piece series for The Paramount Network (the soon-to-be rebranded Spike TV). Asbille will play the Native American wife of Luke Grimes’ ex-Navy SEAL character on the modern western series. She joins an impressive cast that already includes Kevin Costner, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Wes Bentley, Mary Reilly, Cole Hauser, and the aforementioned Grimes. Production begins on the 10-episode first season in August, ahead of an mid-2018 premiere.

Oliver Stone will helm the two-hour pilot for Showtime‘s upcoming series, “Guantanamo“. The series, which is produced by Weinstein Television and Alexandra Milchan, will center around the infamous detention center. Showtime won the series in a heated bidding war, with production set to begin later this year.

Director Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) has confirmed that he has tossed out Ben Affleck and Geoff John’s existing script for the upcoming Batman film. Instead, the trio will begin start from scratch with a new direction for the project. Where this leaves actor Joe Manganiello and his initially intended portrayal as the villainous Deathstroke is anyone’s guess. I doubt WB will waste his casting, however. If he doesn’t end up a major player in the Batman film, look for him to appear in Suicide Squad 2 or Gotham City Sirens instead.

It’s official! After years of hopes and rumors, actor Joe Pesci is officially on board to star in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. Pesci will portray Pennsylvania mafioso Russel Bufalino. This will mark Pesci’s fourth film for Scorsese and their first collaboration since 1995’s Casino. The actor joins a cast that already includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Ray Ramano. Harvey Keitel and Bobby Cannavale close to signing on as well. The Netflix-produced crime epic is set to begin filming next month, ahead of a 2018 release.

David Ayer has departed the director’s chair on Universal’s latest version of Scarface. The filmmaker had taken over the project from Antoine Fuqua, who left earlier this year to focus on The Equalizer 2 instead. Word is that Ayer’s take on the material was darker than Universal liked, with the departure chalked up to the usual “creative differences”. The search for a replacement is already underway, with past candidates such as Peter Berg and David MacKenzie possibly getting a call again. There’s no word on what Ayer might make next instead, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Gotham City Sirens comes together faster now.

Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds is currently being sought to headline Paramount’s adaptation of Rainbow Six. Based on a novel by Tom Clancy, its story is set within the Jack Ryan universe and centers on a special forces team led by John Clark. Clark is no stranger to film, having been portrayed by Willem Dafoe (Clear & Present Danger) and Liev Schreiber (The Sum of All Fears) previously. With Ryan himself moving to Amazon in a John Krasinski-starring series, the goal now is to give Clark his own film franchise. Should Six take off, an adaptation of Without Remorse could follow.

Speaking of Deadpool, actress Brianna Hildebrand, who portrays Negasonic Teenage Warhead in that gonzo superhero franchise, has been cast in Fox’s “The Exorcist“. She will take on the role of Varity, one of the troubled foster teens living within a secluded home under attack by demonic forces. The horror series returns this fall for a second season.

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