Last (five) week(s) in pop culture: Cynthia Erivo in “Pinocchio” and more

One of the most talented actresses of recent times, Cynthia Erivo, is set to portray the Blue Fairy in Disney’s live-action “Pinocchio”, The Wrap reports. Additionally, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth will voice the title character of Pinocchio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt will voice Jiminy Cricket, Keegan-Michael Key will voice Honest John and Lorraine Bracco will voice a new character Sofia the Seagull. Hopefully, the new adaptation will be a creative reimagination of the source material worth seeing, because a cast like this deserves a great project.

Polish director Paweł Maślona (“Panic Attack”) will helm a picture about Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish military leader who also took part in the American Revolutionary War. The film has received Polish Film Institute’s funding and will be produced by Aurum Films (“Corpus Christi”) who, according to Variety, is searching for international production partners and is eyeing the start of filming in 2022. The story will focus on Kościuszko’s return to Poland after the American Revolutionary War, where he starts a national uprising against the Russian Empire.

Ariana Greenblatt has joined Eli Roth’s “Borderlands” adaptation as Tiny Tina. She will star opposite the impressive cast of Cate Blanchette, Kevin Hart, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jack Black. I am so excited — it looks like this is going to be a good year for video games adaptations. Who knows, maybe they’re the next big thing after superhero films?


Sissy Spacek and Ed O’Neill will star in “Lightyears” — the upcoming Amazon’s series. They will play Irene and Franklin York, a couple who, years ago, discovered a mysterious chamber buried in their backyard. The chamber is in reality a doorway to a mysterious deserted planet. They have kept its existence in secret ever since but suddenly a young man enters their life and complicating the matter. Sounds like my thing and I just love this is going to have older people as the leads.

Sarah Cooper, a comedian who came to fame thanks to her TikTok lip-sync spoofs on Donald Trump’s speeches, will have a series inspired by her book, “How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings”. Cooper will co-write the pilot episode with showrunner Cindy Chupack for CBS. The show will tell the stories of three women and their careers at a male-dominated company. Sounds like something I might get into.

Epic Games is a bit of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, their idea of being more studio-friendly when it comes to financial arrangements is commendable. On the other, however, their monopolistic inclinations are worrisome. Last week, the corporation announced its acquisition Tonic Games Group, the creator of “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout” and I can’t help but wonder if I should be mildly anxious or scared to the core.

Following the many Harry Potter controversies — J.K. Rowling being a transphobe and “Hogwarts Legacy’s” lead developer an alt-right gamergater — Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Avalanche Software are doing everything to save their images (and money). So, to address the (TE)R(F)owling controversy, they will allow transgender characters in their latest game. According to Jason Schreier, players “will be able to create a character that has a masculine or feminine voice no matter what their body looks like […] Players will then get to select one of two options — “witch” or “wizard” — that will determine the dorm they get placed in at the magical school of Hogwarts and how they are addressed by other characters in the game”. That’s a great step for inclusivity if you ask me, and a feature I, as a nonbinary person, still miss in many games.
Now, about this alt-right guy. Troy Leavit has announced he parted his ways with Avalanche Software, thus leaving the Harry Potter game. See the statements below.

While these are all steps in a good direction, I’m still conflicted about “Hogwarts Legacy”. But that’s perhaps a story for another article.

Good news: there’s a new “Alien” game coming. Bad news: it’s not a sequel to “Alien: Isolation”. Instead, we’ll be getting a co-operative shooter titled “Aliens: Fireteam”. Here’s the trailer:


Jessica Alexander has joined Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” in an undisclosed role, Deadline reports.

Gore Verbinski and Dennis Kelly will adapt George R.R. Martin’s “Sandkings” for Netflix.

Alain Chabat will return to the world of Asterix. This time, he’ll direct a 3D animated series for Netflix. The series will be based on “Asterix and the Big Fight” and is set to debut in 2023. Chabat’s sense of humour and the Asterix comics are a perfect match as evidenced by his previous venture into the Gauls’ world in “Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra”. Hopefully, he’ll bring the same kind of energy to the project this time too.

Speaking of “Asterix”, there’s a new 2D platformer featuring the mighty Gauls in the works. Here’s the trailer (which hits you right in the nostalgia).

Ridley Scott wants Jodie Comer to play Josephine in his Napoleon Bonaparte bio-film “Kitbag”. Comer is an absolutely fantastic actress but the choice is a bit problematic since Josephine is supposed to be a few years older than Napoleon. He will be played by Joaquin Phoenix who’s almost 20 years older than Comer and it begs the question: can Hollywood maybe also hire a bit older actresses in lead roles?

New week, new “Dungeons & Dragons” news. This time, Hugh Grant and Sophia Lillis have joined the impressive cast and it looks like Grant is going to be the villain! Fantastic.

Ray Fisher is unyielding in his fight against the culture of abuse and racism within Warner Bros. This time, he took to Twitter to detail his experiences with Geoff Johns and it all seems really disturbing. Read it all below.

According to Bloomberg, the anticipated new version of Nintendo Switch will feature 7-inch, 720p-resolution OLED screens. Not such a great upgrade but then again, Nintendo’s strength isn’t necessarily hardware.

Netflix has released the trailer for “Thunder Force”, a superhero comedy with Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer.

Matthew Sato, Emma Meisel and Ronny Chieng have joined Disney+’s remake of “Doogie Howser”. This reimagined version will follow Lahela “Doogie” Kameāloha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a 16-year-old mixed-race girl who juggles a budding medical career and life as a teenager. The series will be set on Hawaii and titled “Doogie Kameāloha”.

Derek Kolstad, the screenwriter behind “John Wick”, will work on a live-action adaptation of the “Hellsing” manga. I don’t want to be a party-pooper but I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

The Duffer brothers (of “Stranger Things” fame) and Steven Spielberg will adapt Stephen King’s “The Talisman” as a series for Netflix, Deadline reports. That’s the project that certainly suits their creative sensitivities so it would be interesting to see the effects.

A film about Stefan Bertram-Lee, a British-born non-binary millennial who, tired of a life that is only lived online, flew to Syria and joined a group of Kurdish freedom fighters, is in the works. The story was described in the article „The Online Left Goes to War”. It’s fantastic that this fascinating story will be translated to the big screen, highlighting different timely issues and giving representation to non-binary folks.

Kiersey Clemons will reprise her role as Iris West in “The Flash”. The actress previously played her in “Justice League” but was cut in the theatrical version of the film and only recently reinserted in the director’s cut of the film. Additionally, Spanish actress Maribel Verdu will play Barry Allen’s mother — a crucial character for all those who know the Flash lore. Unfortunately, one actor from the previous DC cinematic entries won’t return. Billy Crudup who portrayed Barry’s father dropped out of the film due to scheduling conflicts. Instead, Ron Livingston will take on the role.

Ruby Cruz was cast alongside Ellie Bamber and Erin Kellyman in Disney+’s follow-up to “Willow”. No details are available as to what the storyline is but I’m hoping for a worthy sequel.

DC Comics will release “DC Pride” — an 80-page anthology comic featuring LGBTQIA+ characters across the DC Universe to celebrate the Pride Month. The anthology will come out on June 8th.
Two weeks later, on June 22th, they will also start a new miniseries, “Wonder Woman Black and Gold” to commemorate the character’s 80th Anniversary.

One of my favourite actresses, Toni Collette, will make her directorial debut. She’ll helm the adaptation of “Writers And Lovers” by Lily Kin — a best-selling book about a writer ending one phase of life and starting another. Fingers crossed for the project to turn out exceptional.

“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s” Michelle Gomez has been cast in “Doom Patrol” as Madame Rouge. Brilliant casting decision.

Annie Murphy and Carolyn Michelle Smith have joined the second season of the “Groundhog Day”-like series, “Russian Doll”.

Josh Holloway, aka “Lost’s” James “Sawyer” Ford, will reteam with J.J. Abrams for a new show, “Duster”. Variety reports, the series will tell a story of a getaway driver for a crime syndicate. The story will be set in the 1970s and Holloway will star in the main role. Can’t wait!

Michelle Williams is in talks to star in Steven Spielberg’s new film vanity project, which will be loosely based on his childhood in Arizona.

Peacock has given a series order for “Dan Brown’s Langdon”. The series will be based on “The Lost Symbol” and follow young Robert Langdon who must save his kidnapped mentor and solve deadly riddles to prevent a global conspiracy. This sounds like fun, though I must admit that the book was not as good as Brown’s earlier entries in the series.

Warner Bros. has released two new trailers for its upcoming adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights”.

Directed by “Crazy Rich Asians’” Jon M. Chu, the film musical will hit cinemas and HBO Max on June 18th.

Disney has released a new teaser for “Cruella”.

With each new video, the film looks more and more interesting — especially compared to most of the generic live-action remakes of the studio’s animations.

Principal photography for Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” has been finished.

Hollywood’s most anticipated sequel finally has got a release date. I’m talking about “Puss in Boots”, of course, which is set to open on September 23, 2022. Can’t wait!

Warner Bros. is developing a film based on the “Hourman” comics, Deadline reports. The adaptation will be written by Gavin James and Neil Widener. While Rex Tyler is probably one of the more obscure characters from the DC Universe, it’s interesting to see the studio reaching for these lesser-known properties and turning them into films. Hopefully, it will pay.

“The Witcher” has added seven new actors to its cast and wrapped season 2 production.

Bad news: “Killing Eve’s” fourth season will be its last. Good news: there is a chance for some spin-offs. More Villanelle and Jodie Comer, please!

The production on “Sonic 2” has begun on March 16th.

CW’s “Naomi” — Ava DuVernay’s TV series based on the DC character created by Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker and Jamal Campbell — has found its lead. The title character will be played by Kaci Walfall, a sixteen-year old actress known for her role in “Army Wives”.

Following Nintendo and Sony, Square Enix also made an online presentation of their upcoming games, Square Enix Presents. Here are the highlights:

    • A new trailer for “Outriders” was shown together with an in-depth gameplay dissection:

    • This year marks Tomb Raider’s 25th anniversary and Square is celebrating with an announcment of an anime series, a *checks notes* cookbook 😬, Lara’s appearance in Fortnite and a bundled reissue of the latest three games in the series. Cool stuff 🙃

    • “Just Cause” is coming to mobiles as well as a new “Hitman” game and a “Space Invaders” AR game.

    • “Tohou Spell Bubble” got a “Side Story Pack Sanae Arc” expansion pack.

    • “Darius Cozmic Revelation”, a compilation of horizontal-scrolling shooters was made available for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

    • “Bubble Bobble 4 Friends” was released on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Steam.

    • “Marvel’s Avengers” launched on PS5 and XBOX X/S with 60 FPS, 4K, higher resolution textures, improved destruction physics and faster load times. The game is still getting additional content, with such missions as “Tachyon Anomaly”, “Red Room Takeover”, “Project Omega” and “Wasteland Patrol” coming this year. There is also a Black Panther expansion in the works.

    • A new trailer for the recently released “Balan Wonderworld” was shown.

    • A new “Life is Strange” game has been announced. This time, it stars a female protagonist, Alex Chen, who is able to feel other people’s emotions. The game will come from the makers of “Life is Strange: Before The Storm”, Deck Nine. It will be released on September 10th in a single installment together with a remastered edition of “Life is Strange” and “Life is Strange: Before the Storm”.

    • The reviously announced “Project Athia” has got a final title — “Forspoken”. The game will feature Ella Balinska as the protagonist and is set for release in 2022.

    You can watch the whole Sqaure Enix event below.

    An “Ally McBeal” revival is in the works, TVLine reports. Calista Flockhart is expected to return as the famous lawyer and creator David E. Kelly would once again be involved although the project would be showrun by a female writer.

    Randy McKinnon, the writer of Disney+’s “Safety”, will pen the upcoming live-action adaptation of “Static Shock”, making the film one step closer to reality.

    Warner Bros. released two trailers for “The Suicide Squad” — James Gunn’s follow-up to/soft reboot of the 2016 David Ayer’s film.

    While it certainly looks grand and action-filled, I’m getting the vibes of too much bathos (i.e. undermining dramatic elements with humour). Let’s hope the film will be better than the trailer.

    Neon showed the first photo of Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer”. The film is set for release in autumn 2021.

  • “Ghost of Tsushima” is coming to the big screens. Chad Stahelski will direct the live-action adaptation of the hit game, which is equally exciting (he certainly is a visionary director) and disappointing (like — couldn’t you hire a Japanese director?).

    A new trailer for the upcoming “The Nevers” has been released. Looks great!

    Amazon released a trailer for Little Marvin’s anthology horror series, “Them” and it’s terrifying!

    Emerald Fennel (“Promising Young Woman”) is set to write the upcoming adaptation of DC’s Zatanna. This is a brilliant choice, if you ask me — one that should make “Zatanna” an exceptional superhero film. Can’t wait!

    Daedalic Entertainment showed their first “gameplay” trailer for “The Lord of the Rings: Gollum”. Not much to see here, to be honest, but the game does look promising.

    Disney made a few adjustments to its upcoming films slate. “Black Widow” and “Cruella” will premier both in cinemas and on Disney+ Premier Access on the same day, with “Cruella” arriving on May 28th and “Black Widow” on July 9th. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” will be released as cinemas exclusive on September 3rd. Pixar’s “Luca” won’t be coming to the cinemas and instead will be streamed exclusively on Disney+ on June 18th. Other dates include: “Free Guy” (August 13th), “The King’s Man” (December 22nd), “Deep Water” (January 14th, 2022) and “Death on the Nile” (February 11th, 2022).

    Speaking of “Black Widow”, here’s a new trailer for the film.

    Remember “National Treasure” The film series is getting a TV revamp with a new protagonist, Jess Morales. She is “a twenty-year-old dreamer who, with her diverse group of friends, sets off on the adventure of a lifetime to uncover her mysterious family history and recover lost treasure”. The series will be written by the film’s writers Marianne and Cormac Wibberley and directed by Mira Nair.

    Amanda Seyfried will replace Kate McKinnon as the lead in Hulu’s “The Dropout” — a series about the Silicon Valley conwoman Elizabeth Holmes.

  • Russel Crowe landed a role in “Thor: Love and Thunder”, Deadline exclusively reports. The details are kept under wraps but, hopefully, Crowe’s talents won’t be wasted as much as Cate Blanchett’s were.
  • Lucasfilm announced the cast of the upcoming “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series.
  • The Rock went big with the announcement of “Black Adam’s” release date. See it below:


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    Additionally, Pierce Brosnan(!) has been cast as Dr. Fate in the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    Lucasfilm released a trailer for “The Bad Batch”. You can watch it below.

    Donald Faison has been cast as Professor Utonium and Nicholas Podany as Mojo Jojo’s son in CW’s live-action reimagining of “Powerpuff Girls”.

    There’s a new speedster coming to CW’s “The Flash”. This time it will be Bart Allen aka Impulse (aka Kid Flash in some incarnations). The character will be played by Jordan Fisher and is set to debut in the series 150th episode.

    A new trailer for “Spiral: From the Book of Saw” has been released and it looks very promising — despite being the ninth entry in the series.

    Netflix offered an insane amount of 400 million dollars for the rights to make sequels to Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out”. The first part, while full of Johnson’s typical logical inconsistencies, was a great reimagining of classical Agatha Christie tropes and quite a successful social satire. Here’s hoping the sequels will be just as good.

    Sarah Michelle Gellar is returning to TV. She will headline “Hot Pink”, a coming-of age comedy made for Amazon.

    The Hollywood Reporter has revealed the cast of the upcoming animated adaptation of my favourite Batman story, “The Long Halloween”. Jensen Ackles will voice Batman and will be joined by: the late Naya Rivera as Catwoman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as James Gordon, Titus Welliver(!) as Carmine Falcone, David Dastmalchian(!!) as Calendar Man, Troy Baker as Joker, Amy Landecker as Barbara Gordon, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, Jack Quaid as Alberto, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy, and Alastair Duncan as Alfred. The adaptation will be split into two parts and I can’t wait to see them!

    NBC has given a series pickup for Matt Reeves’ passion project “Ordinary Joe”. It explores three alternative timelines after the main character of the story makes an important choice at a crossroads in his life. The series will star James Wolk, Natalie Martinez, Charlie Barnett and Elizabeth Lail.

    The second series of the reality show “The Circle” is coming to Netflix on January 14th. Here’s the trailer.

    Warner Bros. did something totally illogical and cancelled Ava DuVernay’s “New Gods” (along with James Wan’s “Aquaman” spin-off, “The Trench”). It’s a great shame, as “The New Gods” would adapt Jack Kirby’s ambitious epic and delve into the fascinating mythology of such DC characters as Darkseid, The Highfather, Mr. Miracle or Big Barda. It’s also a pity that a director as visionary as DuVernay was shut out of the project and the greater DC Universe (though it’s worth noting she’ll be helming “Naomi” series for CW).

    The first trailer for the hotly anticipated “Space Jam: A New Legacy” has been released. And let me tell you — I’m as excited as I was when I was a kid and saw the first film.

    Additionally, EW is reporting that Zendaya is going to lend her voice to Lola Bunny, who was previously voiced by the likes of Kath Soucie and Kristen Wiig among others.

    Missing Marvel’s Loki? Here’s a new trailer before the series hits Disney+ in June.

    Quite a few awards ceremonies were held. Here are the links to the winners lists for the most important ones: 26th Critics’ Choice Awards, 63rd Grammy Awards, 2021 BAFTA Game Awards.

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the list of this year’s nominees for Oscars. We’ll go deeper into the list closer to the ceremony, so for now we’re posting the link.

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