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MOVIE CHEAT SHEET: Peak at boffo Blade Runner 2036

Brian Gasparek says the mini-movies bringing fans up to speed for Blade Runner 2036 are spectacular.

Brian Gasparek says the mini-movies bringing fans up to speed for Blade Runner 2036 are spectacular.

BRIAN GASPAREK/ 24 HOURS

THE BIG STORY:

But first, Blade Runner 2036

The coolest item from the film world this week was delivered courtesy of my favourite Canadian director (and likely yours), Denis Villeneuve. In an effort to get us extra amped up about the release of his awesome-looking Blade Runner 2049 in October, Villeneuve released the first of three prequel shorts that have been created to catch fans up on what's happened in the film's world between 2019 (when Ridley Scott's original movie took place) and 2049, where Denis'sequel will take place. And the coolest part is that he commissioned each of the three shorts to be helmed by one of his hip director pals. In case you haven't stumbled upon the first prequel yet on your favourite movie blog, you'll need to get streaming, stat. The short, directed by Ridley Scott's son, Luke, is called 2036: Nexus Dawn, and introduces us to Jared Leto's uber creepy villainous character Niander Wallace and his new batch of replicants. Without any spoilers, I'll just say that in terms of tone, visuals, and acting, it's five-and-a-half minutes of awesome. And that's from a guy who can't stand Jared Leto. I'm loving Villeneuve's vision for Blade Runner 2049, and if these prequels are any indication of how the film is going to shake down, we should all be losing our minds with excitement.

FLICK HITS:

Keanu & Winona 3.0

One of our favourite on-screen couples (for no good reason other than just liking them both immensely) is getting reunited for a third romp. And we should all be excited. It was announced this week that Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder are reuniting for a rom-com called Destination Wedding. The film will be about "two miserable and unpleasant wedding guests who develop a mutual affection despite themselves over the course of the weekend event." Kenona (you heard it here first) were previously on-screen lovers in 1992's not great Bram Stoker's Dracula and 2006's much better A Scanner Darkly. But this rom-com will obviously be their best union.

Skrein vs. Whitewashing

Major props go out to Brit actor Ed Skrein this week for taking a personal stance against Hollywood whitewashing. Less than a week after being cast as Japanese-American Marine, Ben Daimio, in the upcoming Hellboy reboot, Skrein announced that he was pulling out of the film because it was wrong. In a Twitter statement, Ed explained, "I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage. There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement and I must do what I feel is right. It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts. I feel it is important to honour and respect that. Therefore, I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately." Respect.

TG2 gunning forward

As if you thought Tom Cruise's brutally broken ankle and the supposed need for a new scriptwriter would halt production on the long awaited Top Gun sequel that we're all eagerly anticipating. Sarcasm aside, Top Gun: Maverick is on schedule to start production in January or February, and is still in line for a July 2019 release. At least according to producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Jerry B says Tom's busted ankle is a non-factor. Oh, and don't worry about this supposed new scriptwriter. It's screenwriter Eric Warren Singer, who's penned American Hustle and Only the Brave. He's apparently just giving Justin Marks'original TG2 script one final pass over before it goes into production. Maverick and Ice Man are coming back to us, baby.

Lordess of the Flies

Forget about the lull in the gender-swapping remake trend. Hollywood is back to whipping them out fast and furiously. The latest flick to receive an all female reboot (as of press time) is going to be Lord Of The Flies. Warner Bros. announced this week that they've hired mediocre directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel to write and helm a new adaptation of the classic William Golding novel, but this time, from the perspective of a pack of young girls. Hmm. Anyone else wondering why two men are in charge of all the creative on this? I'm already out.

Darkest Joker?

Unless someone underwent a recent common sense lobotomy, none of us are assuming that the Todd Phillips and Martin Scorsese Joker origin flick is going to be a colourfully comedic affair. (Only Joel Schumacher could botch a DC flick that badly). But it was revealed this week that Phillips and Scorsese's Joker could be the darkest and heaviest portrayal of Gotham City's sinister clown yet. On a podcast interview this week, MMA fighter-turned-actor Brendan Schaub, who shares the same agent as Phillips (Todd Feldman), leaked some inside information on the film. According to Schaub, "My boy Todd Feldman put this together with Todd Phillips. It's dark. It's like a dark Joker. As a kid, he had a permanent smile and everyone made fun of him. It's like on the streets of Brooklyn. It's super dark and real." Not so eloquently spoken, Mr. Schaub, but I like the sound of the intel. Now let's just make sure that Schaub doesn't get a speaking role in this film.