INDIEWIRE – Marvel’s long-anticipated “Black Widow” movie is inching closer to production with the reveal of the studio’s shortlist for potential directors. Deadline reports Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland is the frontrunner contender to direct the standalone movie, which will find Scarlett Johansson at the center of her own Marvel film. The report also has indie favorites Amma Asante and Maggie Betts high on the list of contenders.
Read More:Scarlett Johansson: A Standalone Black Widow Movie Needs to be ‘Groundbreaking’ and ‘Incredibly Badass’

The “Black Widow” standalone movie first made news at the start of 2018 with the news Jac Schaeffer had been hired to write the screenplay. Schaeffer is an up-and-coming talent who wrote the script for Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway’s female-centric spin on “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Rumors circulated in late April that Marvel was looking at directors such as “The Rider’ helmer Chloe Zhao and “Mustang” filmmaker Deniz Gamze Ergüven to direct. The studio is reportedly adamant about landing a female director.

Shortland is best known for the films “Somersault,” “Lore,” and “Berlin Syndrome.” The latter, a psychological kidnapping thriller starring Theresa Palmer, played at Sundance 2017 and earned strong notices for Shortland’s direction. Asante is the British filmmaker behind indie favorites “Belle” and “A United Kingdom,” while Betts made her feature debut with last year’s acclaimed nun drama “Novitiate.”

While Marvel has not officially announced the “Black Widow” film, it’s clear development is coming together. Scarlett Johansson addressed the standalone film rumors on “Ellen” earlier this year by saying she is on board for a “Black Widow” movie as long it’s “groundbreaking” and “incredibly badass.” The character appeared in this summer’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and is said to have a more sizable role in next summer’s fourth “Avengers” film.

Whoever lands the “Black Widow” gig will become the first woman to individually direct a Marvel tentpole. Anna Boden is co-directing “Captain Marvel” with Ryan Fleck.

IndieWire has reached out to Disney for further comment.

Labels: Projects, Rumored Roles

VARIETY – As his current film “The Meyerowitz Stories” readies for an awards season push, Noah Baumbach has lined up an all-star cast for his next movie.

Sources tell Variety that the auteur has tapped Adam Driver, Laura Dern, and Scarlett Johansson to star in his next film. Merritt Wever and Azhy Robertson are also on board.

Plot details are unknown at this time, but Baumbach is preparing to write and direct the film. Netflix, who is handling the distribution of “The Meyerowitz Stories,” is handling financing and distribution of this movie as well.

Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” stars Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller and has received some of the best reviews of Baumbach’s career.

Driver, who also appears in “The Meyerowitz Stories,” can be seen next in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” He was also recently cast in “Black Klansman.” He is repped by Gersh.

Johansson is currently filming “Avengers: Infinty War” and recently signed on to star in “Reflective Light” at Focus Features. She is repped by CAA and LBI Entertainment.

Dern is coming off her Emmy-winning performance for HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and is expected to participate in Season 2, which starts filming next spring. She is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.

Baumbach is repped by UTA.

Labels: Projects, Rumored Roles

VARIETY – Scarlett Johansson is in early talks to star in the Focus Features drama “Reflective Light,” sources tell Variety.

Art photographer Gregory Crewdson is making his directing debut with Marc Platt producing along with Platt Productions’ Jared LeBoff. The film is an adaptation of the 2014 Carla Buckley novel “The Deepest Secret,” which Crewdson and partner Juliane Hiam have adapted.

The pic follows a teenage boy who suffers from a malady that makes him gravely allergic to sunlight. If Johansson’s deal goes through, she would play his mother, so devoted to her son’s care that she has alienated the rest of their family, creating an oddly sustainable nocturnal lifestyle for him at the expense of her own well-being. When a neighborhood girl goes missing, the balance that kept them afloat begins to unravel.

Focus acquired the rights to the movie right before this year’s Cannes Film Festival and hopes to start production next year.

The film would mark a change of pace for Johansson, who has been busy in action and comedy movies including this year’s “Ghost in the Shell” and the Sony comedy “Rough Night.” She can be seen next in “Avengers: Infinity War” and is also lending her voice to Wes Anderson’s animated “Isle of Dogs.”

She is repped by CAA and LBI Entertainment.

Labels: Projects, Rumored Roles

THE WRAP – Scarlett Johansson is in final negotiations to star in Sony’s raunchy comedy “Move That Body,” TheWrap has learned.

Sony acquired the script by Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs in a heated bidding war over the summer. The project has been described as “The Hangover” meets “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

Aniello (“Broad City”) is set to direct, while Downs is attached to co-star. The duo will also produce under their Paulilu banner along with Matt Tolmach and Dave Becky.

The script, which was voted to the 2015 Black List on Monday, follows five friends who rent a beach house in Miami for a bachelorette weekend and accidentally kill a male stripper.

Johansson is coming off “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and will next be seen in the Coen brothers’ showbiz comedy “Hail, Caesar!” She has Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” and Disney’s “The Jungle Book” on the horizon, and is also attached to star in “Ghost in the Shell” for DreamWorks.

Johansson is represented by CAA, LBI Entertainment and attorney Kevin Yorn of Morris Yorn.

Labels: Projects, Rumored Roles

THE GUARDIAN – Scarlett Johansson has been offered $10m to star in the long-gestating live action remake of Ghost in the Shell, reports Deadline. The top dollar pay cheque recognises the US actor’s newfound status as an A-list action star following standout turns in Lucy and Marvel Studio’s Avengers series of superhero films.

Hollywood’s plan for a debut English language take on the seminal 1995 Mamoru Oshii anime moved a step closer to reality in January when Snow White and the Huntsman’s Rupert Sanders was hired to direct by studio Dreamworks. Reports back then suggested the remake would be based on a new screenplay by The Reluctant Fundamentalist’s William Wheeler.

The Ghost in the Shell comic book series, film rights to which were picked up by Dreamworks co-owner Steven Spielberg in 2009, follows cyborg detective Major Motoko Kusanagi, team leader of a futuristic Japanese counterterrorism organisation focused on cyber-crime. Three anime films (one made-for-TV) have been based on the comic, of which the 1995 Ghost in the Shell was the first, as well as an animated Japanese TV series and three video games. Spielberg’s planned 3D movie failed to make it to the production stage but the approach for Johansson suggests the new iteration may have legs.

Labels: Projects, Rumored Roles