The Countdown

The Week In Movies

While it used to be a rarity for a studio to remove a director from a high profile project, it currently seems a weekly occurrence. The latest directorial casualty is Bryan Singer, who has been removed from Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody for what 20th Century Fox described as the “unexpected unavailability” of the filmmaker.

Singer had not returned to the set following Thanksgiving, causing the studio to halt production on December 1 with only two weeks of shooting left to go. The director’s absence and unprofessional behaviour also caused clashes with star Rami Malek (playing Freddie Mercury) and Tom Hollander who took his own leave of absence in protest. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel stepped in to direct on days the director went missing.

Singer later declared Fox had refused to let him deal with a ‘gravely ill parent’. On December 7, Fox announced that Dexter Fletcher, who was initially attached to the project, will complete filming. Fletcher directed Eddie The Eagle for the studio so is used to things flailing out of control.

In happier news, Quentin Tarantino has pitched an idea for a Star Trek movie to JJ Abrams and Paramount. QT has a history of dreaming up new angles for franchises — he once suggested a ’60s set Casino Royale starring Pierce Brosnan as Bond — but this one looks like it has traction.

Writers Mark L. Smith (The Revenant), Lindsey Beer (the upcoming Godzilla Vs. Kong) and Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) and Megan Amram (Parks And Recreation) have all been in a brainstorming session with Tarantino (wonder if they used the phrases “low hanging fruit” and “going forward”). Tarantino is insisting the project be rated R, featuring his trademark colourful language. Live long and prosper [email protected]%£*ers.

The week in awards: the latest round of prize-giving and nominations seems to be narrowing down the main contenders to challenge for Oscars on March 4; The Shape Of Water, Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, Lady Bird and The Post seem to be the frontrunners, with outside bets going to The Big Sick, Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman looks a lock for a Best Actor Oscar), The Florida Project, Get Out and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The American Film Institute’s ten best of the year also included Wonder Woman, which hints Patty Jenkins’ film might be the first Best Picture winner to feature a Lasso of Truth since Spotlight.

It wasn’t all good news for Warner Bros. this week. The studio is shaking up the DC cinematic universe. Jon Berg, who was brought in to work alongside Geoff Johns following Batman Vs. Superman, is leaving to become a producer. No decision has been made about his replacement but the restructure is looking to take place in January.

It appears to be the first sign that WB is outwardly unhappy with the performance of Justice League. Trade bible Variety reports it is ‘highly unlikely’ that Ben Affleck will not return for Matt Reeves’ The Batman, with the director looking at other options, although he will still appear in The Flash standalone Flashpoint. Zack Snyder is developing The Last Photograph so doesn’t look like he is returning to the DCEU anytime soon so it looks like fresh blood is needed. Ken Loach is probably free. Just sayin’. He can’t make it any more miserable than Batman Vs. Superman.

It’s a week that started with rocking dinosaurs under siege and ended with rocking dinosaurs under siege. The first full-blown look at Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom debuted on Thursday. The trailer revealed the plot — Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) attempting to save the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar from an active volcano — and traded in the series’ patented brand of running, screaming and Jeff Goldblum warning us about stuff.

The Internet seemed to me most pleased Dallas Howard is running in trainers rather than the high heels she wore in the 2015 film. If Jurassic World characters don’t learn lessons about returning to islands with killer dinosaurs, at least they take on board the importance of sensible footwear.