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Friday, September 24, 2021

This Week in Movie News: ‘Jungle Cruise’ and ‘Expendables’ Sequels Announced, Lashanna Lynch Joins ‘Woman King’ and More

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Need a quick recap of the past week in movie news? Here are the highlights:


Another Jungle Cruise: It’s been a big week for Disney’s Jungle Cruise. The new adventure movie, which is based on the theme park attraction of the same name, crossed the $100 million mark at the box office domestically over the weekend. And on Tuesday, it debuted on VOD platforms, including Vudu, to purchase digitally. Last, but certainly not least, a sequel was announced. According to The Hollywood Reporter, stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt will return for Jungle Cruise 2. The follow-up will be scripted by Michael Green, who co-wrote the first movie, while Jaume Collet-Serra is reportedly expected to return to direct.


The Return of the Expendables: Speaking of sequels, The Hollywood Reporter brings word that another Expendables movie is in the works. Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren, who all appeared in the first three installments, are returning to the ensemble action franchise for a fourth. But this time Statham will be the lead, instead of Stallone. The cast will also include Megan Fox, Tony Jaa and Curtis Jackson, a.k.a. 50 Cent. Act of Valor director Scott Waugh will be at the helm, working with a screenplay written by Spenser Cohen (Extinction). The last sequel, The Expendables 3, was released in 2014.


48 Hours In Vegas: Speaking of action movie heroes, Double Team star and former basketball pro Dennis Rodman has inspired a new movie based on one of his wildest exploits. According to Deadline, Lionsgate is teaming with Lego Movie directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord for 48 Hours In Vegas, which will depict the titular amount of time in the titular city, when and where Rodman partied hard as imaginably possibly with an assistant GM — during the 1998 NBA Finals. The script was written by Jordan VanDina (The Binge) based on the legendary story, which was recently told in the Michael Jordan documentary series The Last Dance.


Kasi Lemmons to direct Whitney biopic: Speaking of biographical stories, the TriStar Pictures’ I Wanna Dance with Somebody has a new director. Deadline reports that Harriet director Kasi Lemmons will take the helm of the Whitney Houston biopic, replacing Stella Meghie. Actress Naomi Ackie (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) has been cast as the late singer, whose hits include the eponymous tune, and has already been preparing extensively for the role. The movie is written by Oscar-nominee Anthony McCarten, whose previous biopics  include Bohemian Rhapsody, Darkest Hour, The Theory of Everything and The Two Popes.


Lashana Lynch joins The Woman King: Speaking of biopics from TriStar about iconic Black women, Captain Marvel and No Time to Die co-star Lashana Lynch has joined The Woman King. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she will join Viola Davis, who has the title role, a general who led a real-life all-women military unit, the “Dahomey Amazons,” who are best known as the inspiration for characters in Black Panther. Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard) is directing the historical drama, which will also feature Thuso Mbedo (The Underground Railroad) as a new recruit. Lynch will reportedly play a “charming veteran warrior.”


H.E.R. is Squeak in The Color Purple: The singer and songwriter known professionally as H.E.R. recently won an Oscar for her tune “Fight for You,” from Judas and the Black Messiah. Now she’s ready to wow audiences in front of the camera as well. The Hollywood Reporter shares news that H.E.R. will make her feature film acting debut in the musical adaptation of The Color Purple. She will play the part of aspiring singer Squeak (Rae Dawn Chong’s role in Steven Spielberg’s dramatic 1985 version). Blitz Bazawule (Black Is King) is directing the movie, which is based on the Broadway production based on Alice Waters’ novel.

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