Movie news roundup: Stories from last week that sounded like April Fools' gags (but weren't)

Posted April 4

Channing Tatum as Caine Wise in "Jupiter Ascending." (Deseret Photo)

It’s safe to assume that everything you read on April 1 is a lie, no matter how plausible it might sound.

Unfortunately, though, even that isn’t always enough to guard against the minefield that is April Fools’ Day, especially when a lot of the stories circulating throughout the week all sound kind of bogus for one reason or another.

So to help in the never-ending quest to separate truth from fiction, here are a few movie-related news stories from last week that, at first blush, might have sounded like they were April Fools’ Day gags but weren’t.

Aaron Sorkin is really meeting with Marvel and DC about writing a comic book movie.

If one were to compile a list of people least likely to ever pen a superhero movie, Sorkin would probably be pretty high up there, right alongside Wes Anderson and Terrence Malick. But comicbook.com caught up with the Oscar-winning writer of “The Social Network” and “Newsroom” at CinemaCon last week and learned that both Marvel and DC are actively pursuing him to write superhero movies for them.

“I happen to have meetings coming up with both DC and Marvel," Sorkin said. "I have to go into these meetings and tell them as respectfully as I can that I’ve never read a comic book. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just that I’ve never been exposed to one. So, I’m hoping that somewhere in their library is a comic book character that I’m gonna love and I’m going to want to go back and start reading from the first issue on.”

Joss Whedon is really directing a solo Batgirl movie.

No, it’s not some cruel joke. The writer-director responsible for the first two Avengers movies has defected to DC, abandoning his Marvel roots for the enemy, according to variety.com.

Looking back, all the signs were there. Before Marvel hired him, he’d already worked extensively on a rejected Wonder Woman script for DC. Then, doing press for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” he discussed his desire to someday helm a Batman movie.

“If I could get my hands on absolutely anybody, it would be Batman. He’s a Marvel character in the DC universe,” he said, according to superherohype.com.

But his dream project, he told Buzzfeed, might actually be a “turn-of-the-century female Batman.”

“Not Batman actually. But, you know, something cool. One person. Can’t stress that enough. Movie about one person — not a team, not 10, just one. But do a nice sort of hard action movie that combined all my favorite things.”

In other words, this is a pretty natural fit.

Given that, one of Whedon’s fictional “Firefly” crew members may have said it best: “Curse your sudden and inevitable betrayal!”

Channing Tatum is really going to play George Washington.

To be fair, “America: The Motion Picture,” as the project is being called, probably isn’t going to be marketed toward quite the same crowd as something like Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” Said to be an R-rated animated comedy, according to Screenrant, Tatum will star as America’s Founding Father with a script by Dave Callaham (the Expendables series, of course).

Spider-Man is really leaving Marvel (right after he got there) … maybe.

Just as audiences were starting to get used to the idea of Peter Parker/Spider-Man being in the same movie universe as Captain America and Iron Man, former Sony head Amy Pascal dropped this bomb while speaking at CinemaCon, according to IGN. Describing the landmark deal that led to Spidey being able to pop up in Marvel, despite the fact that Sony has exclusive rights to the character’s movie appearances, she said, “You don’t have studios deciding to work together to make a film very often. In fact it may never happen again, after we do the sequel (to Spider-Man: Homecoming)."

In other words, not immediately, but soon (as in sometime after 2019 when the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” sequel is slated to come out), the character might part ways with Marvel all over again if the two companies can’t strike another deal that’s mutually beneficial.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is really going to sing country music in his next movie.

The Austrian Oak gets to flex his comedic muscles once again in his next movie, “Why We’re Killing Gunther.” But even more surprising than Arnold’s genuinely excellent comic timing (for proof, just look at anything from “Terminator 2” to “Kindergarten Cop” to “True Lies” — but not “Batman & Robin”) is the fact that in this new movie, he also gets to sing … country music.

Speaking with ArnoldFans.com, the body builder/actor/former governor said, “From 1 to 10, if I had to rank myself on singing, it’s definitely a minus 1. So when you see me singing, it is dreadful!”

“Why We’re Killing Gunther,” directed by "Saturday Night Live" alum Taran Killam, has a summer release planned, although no specific date is set.

Sony really did just delay its long-awaited “Dark Tower” adaptation again, this time to give “The Emoji Movie” a prime release window.

Although not as well-known as some fantasy series, those who have read Stephen King’s genre-bending fantasy Westerns starring Roland Deschain (Idris Elba in the upcoming movie) have been eagerly waiting for it to make its way to either the big or small screen for a long, long time, watching as multiple creative teams, including J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard, all failed to bring it to life.

Even this version (directed by Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel) was originally slated to come out in February before it got pushed to July.

Now, when it finally seemed like it might finally, really happen, it gets delayed one more week so that Sony’s movie about the secret lives of emojis living inside your smartphone can get as much summertime play as possible before school starts up again, according to slashfilm.com

As of right now, "The Dark Tower" is slated for release on Aug. 4.

Jeff Peterson is a native of Utah Valley and studied humanities and history at Brigham Young University. Along with the Deseret News, he also contributes to the film discussion website TheMovieScrutineer.com.


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