Weekly news round-up: Benedict Cumberbatch goes to war, Cate Blanchett goes to Thor

benedict cumberbatch

by Phil de Semlyen |
Published on

This week in news: Benedict Cumberbatch joins The War Magician, Cate Blanchett heads to Asgard and Ant-Man And The Wasp staffs up.

Grimsby Sacha Baron Cohen

It’s Grimsby up north

Sacha Baron Cohen is back on the big screen in Grimsby, a spy comedy that promises to break the two remaining taboos he didn’t break in Borat and Bruno. The film had a new trailer to share showing his Wayne Slob-alike, Nobby, and his long-lost brother, MI6 black-ops man Sebastian Graves, reconnecting after many years. Then they go out for a coffee and share childhood memories before slowly rebuilding their relationship over a number of years. Nah, just kidding. They kill a lot of goons and blow stuff up.


Ant-Man And The Wasp finds a pair of writers

Team Ant-Man welcomed Transformers 5 brain trust members Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari to the sequel’s writing room this week. The pair are no Ant-newbies – both did uncredited work on this year’s micro-superhero hit – but this time they’re official, with keys to Marvel's executive washroom and their own coffee mugs. Ant-Man And The Wasp will see them nut out a storyline with Ant-Man writer Adam McKay and star Paul Rudd, before Rudd, Ferrari and Barrer turn all that plot into a script.

Cate Blanchett Thor image

Cate Blanchett heads to Asgard

They’re no mugs, Marvel. Canny casting of bankable, charismatic stars has underpinned the studio's strategy since Robert Downey Jr. signed up for Iron Man. The next Oscar winner to join the MCU? Quite possibly Cate Blanchett if her negotiations to join fellow Aussie Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok pay off. The actress may even have a third golden statuette – this time for Carol – by that point. That’s the kind of bling that always plays well in Asgard. We have the full story here.

Hunger Games

Are you not entertained (enough)?

Harry Potter’s had it and now it looks like Katniss is getting it too. The latest outbreak of Prequelitis has Lionsgate looking at ways of stretching its Hunger Games franchise in lucrative new directions as it fills a big Panem-shaped void in its balance sheet with, well, a Panem-shaped chunk of cash. [This week an executive revealed that the studio is looking at stories set before things went south for President Snow and his Capitol coterie](http://www.empireonline.com/movies/news/lionsgate-considering-hunger-games-prequels/

). More tributes and more killing, then? We may need some convincing.

The Sorcerer Supreme goes to war

Benedict Cumberbatch is so hot right now and only getting hotter. He’s Steven Strange in Doctor Strange and will be applying those magical powers to The War Magician, too. The latter has him playing real-life magician and illusionist Jasper Maskelyne, who, along with a group of pals called The Magic Gang, became an integral part of a unit focused on the action along the Suez Canal in World War II. We’re hopeful there’ll be at least one bit where he foils the Nazis by pulling a heavily-armed rabbit out of a hat.

David Oyelowo

‘Smoking' David Oyelowo?

David 'Mellow’ Oyelowo seems far too nice to punch people for a living, but if rumours linking him to the part of ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier amount to anything, he’ll be duffing up a variety of folk for Ang Lee. This week Variety revealed that the Brit is Lee’s top pick Frazier in his long-gestating project about the Thrilla in Manila, the heavyweight's fight with Muhammad Ali in 1975. Like Lee’s current film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, it’s a human drama set mostly behind the scenes of a major sporting event, but with 3D fight footage hurling audiences into the punch zone.

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