Beyond the Screen #7: Oppenheimer Additions, New Pixar Film, Patty Swaps, New Phantom and Nic Cage as Nick Cage

We take a look back at news of note in the world of film.

Oppenheimer Adds To Extensive Cast

Christopher Nolan’s next film, a biography of Robert Oppenheimer, “father of the atomic bomb”, has added three new cast members. Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, and Benny Safdie (best known as half of the directing duo the Safdie brothers), will join the likes of Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt, and Cillian Murphy. The director typically draws crowds, but with a lineup as weighty as this, Oppenheimer has a shot at being blockbuster material despite it seemingly lacking the genre spin of most Nolan films.

New Pixar Film Unveiled

Pixar’s newest will be an exploration fantasy; Strange World, coming Thanksgiving 2022 (the studio took the opportunity to also reveal some concept art). The film has no official cast yet, but per the announcement, Strange World centers on Clades, a family of explorers setting out on a mission which may be compromised by familial disagreements. Disney Animation also revealed on Instagram that Strange World “journeys deep into an uncharted and treacherous land where fantastical creatures await.” Don Hall who has recently seen success with Raya and the Last Dragon is directing.

strange world pixar

Cleopatra Swaps Directors

Patty Jenkins has shifted her focus to work on Wonder Woman 3, and will be replaced by Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland. Delays in production may result in a fascinating first- two big budget Cleopatra films competing at the Box Office. Denis Villeneuve plans for his next film, following Dune Part Two, to be a Cleopatra movie as well, and should schedules remain as they are now, the films could be duking it out at the box office. Skogland may have a trump card in casting one of the world’s biggest stars; Gal Gadot.

New Phantom of the Opera Set in New Orleans

With John Fusco as writer and John Legend as producer, the upcoming adaptation of Phantom of the Opera has decided on New Orleans for its setting. Fusco explained in a statement: “I have long wanted to explore The Phantom of the Opera in a contemporary and new way and in a French Quarter setting. New Orleans is not only known as America’s most haunted city, but the music, Creole culture, voodoo mystique, and the pageantry of Mardi Gras, inspire a natural adaptation of the original Paris setting.”

West Side Story Box Office

Steven Spielberg’s big budget adaptation of the original Broadway show has been greeted with a disappointing opening weekend of $10,574,618. Some have snatched the opportunity to lay blame upon the “go-woke-go-broke” phenomenon, claiming the film’s lack of subtitles for Spanish lines and overall political correctness was rejected by audiences (a particularly ludicrous conclusion since the plot and nearly all of the characters haven’t changed in 63 years). The real answer is this: West Side Story’s genre, plot, director and setting were aimed at adult audiences (slanting towards the older crowd even in that category), with an edge toward women, whilst the only corner of the audience that has shown financially viable enthusiasm to return to the movie theater has been men under 25. Combine that with a lack of already established stars, a massively hostile environment for musicals, and a movie-going populace who are holding off on buying tickets to see Spider-man: No Way Home instead (releasing next week), and you have a flop, performing admirably when everything is taken into consideration. Hopefully its warm reception leads to strong legs once the Spider-hype has worn down, since West Side Story is one of the year’s best films.

First Look at Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Some enticing first look material at two of our most anticipated releases of 2022, which have absolutely nothing else in common. The first is a clip (above) from the second of Sony’s Spiderverse films, complete with a beguiling (Part One). The clip features a reunion between Miles and Spider Gwen, and a tease of the film’s villain.

Then there’s a film of seemingly equal ambition; The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a comedy in which Nicolas Cage plays a version of himself hence Nick Cage. The teaser trailer promises at least a few laughs to accompany the gonzo plot involved.