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Beasts Fantastic and Otherwise, and Obama’s Favorite Sci-Fi

By  · Published on November 3rd, 2016

Movie News After Dark

The day’s top headlines in bite-size portions

Before we get into the biggest stories from today, let’s check in with one that broke after our press time last night, namely Deadline revealing Johnny Depp as the co-star of the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel. You’ll recall that though the first film has yet to bow, already not one, not two, not even three but four sequels have been announced, and it seems at least one of them will feature the drunken prancing Depp calls acting these days. Furthermore, Depp’s already started shooting his supposedly-unknown role for a cameo in the first film. The still below, which is totally the back of Depp’s head as taken from a Fantastic Beasts… featurette, has folks assuming he’ll be playing Gellert Grindelwald, a powerful dark wizard. This has yet to be officially confirmed.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, directed by David Yates, who’s returning to the Potterverse after helming both installments of Deathly Hallows, opens November 18th and stars Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, and Colin Farrell.

Speaking of beasts (and the Potterverse), EW released its newest cover story today on the upcoming live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson (you know who she is) and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, Legion), a spread that includes nine exclusive photos, one of which you can see above and the rest to be found at the link. By all accounts, this looks to be pretty faithful to Disney’s earlier version of the film right down to the iconic color scheme. The film co-stars Kevin Kline, Josh Gad and the voices of Ian McKellan, Emma Thompsom, Ewan McGregor, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. It’s directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) and releases March 17th, 2017.

Proving he’s not just one of our best Presidents but also one of our coolest, Barrack Obama dropped in on Wired to give them a rundown of his ten favorite sci-fi films of all-time. There are few surprises here, basically it reads like a general best-of-genre list, and technically two of his entries are television programs, but in his brief explanations POTUS demonstrated a keen awareness of sci-fi and its history on film. Check out the list below, then jump to Wired for Obama’s reasoning. My favorite? The Matrix, which the Commander-in-Chief said “looks very cool.” So do you, Sir, so do you.

· 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

· Blade Runner (1982)

· Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

· Star Wars (1977)

· Stark Trek (1966–9169)

· The Martian (2015)

· The Matrix (1999)

· Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980)

And lastly, in upcoming film news a couple of interesting projects were announced today. Nic Pizzolatto, creator of True Detective, has finally gotten his long-gestating project Galveston off the ground. Based on a novel Pizzolatto wrote before True Detective, the film has had various actors and directors attached over the years but is now going forward with Ben Foster (Hell or High Water) and Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon) in the leads for director Melanie Laurent, who is best known stateside as an actress (Now You See Me, Enemy, Inglourious Basterds). The film – which tells the story of a knee-breaker, a “dancer,” and a heap of trouble – will mark Laurent’s English-language debut as a director, and is set to start shooting in January 2017. Variety has the details.

And Gareth Evans, the mad action-genius behind The Raid and The Raid 2: Redemption is finally getting back behind the camera for his fifth feature, which he also wrote, Apostle. Though there’s no cast in place yet, the story centers on a young woman who becomes the captive of a cult on a remote island, and the (probably badass) big brother who goes to demand her release. This is another project eyeing an early-2017 start date.

That’s it for now. Chew on these while you watch the end of the Cubs/Indian World Series, and find out if FSR Head honcho Neil was right.

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