Movies · News

Troopers Rebooted, Coens Bless Jesus, and TV’s Finest Hour (and-a-half) is Coming

By  · Published on November 5th, 2016

Movie News After Dark

The day’s top headlines in bite-size portions

The end of the week came with a few choice tidbits in the news category, and these are them.

Everybody’s favorite late-90’s sci-fi splatterfest, Starship Troopers, is officially getting rebooted by Columbia Pictures, who have charged producer Neal H. Moritz (the Fast & Furious franchise) and writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon (both of the new Baywatch movie starring Dwayne Johnson) with relaunching the film. This should not be misconstrued as a remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 project, but rather a ground-up reimagining based on the source material, a novel from Robert E. Heinlein that tells the story of brash young soldier Johnny Rico as he ascends through military ranks against the backdrop of a galaxy-wide skirmish with massive feral bugs.

Starship Troopers – which some folks will tell you has aged badly, but they’re wrong, it’s still as much fun as it was 20 years ago – has already spawned two sequels (the third of which was decidedly and oddly Christian, owing to the influence of original star Casper Van Dien) and an animated series, Roughnecks, so obviously Heinlein’s universe is ripe with narrative possibility. And if you take the somewhat campy tone of the original film out of the equation, boost it with some bigger star power and 21st century VFX, we could be looking at the next major sci-fi/action franchise. No timeline has been announced, but start thinking 2018. THR broke the story.

Last week we brought you the above image, the first official of actor John Turturro in costume as his beloved character Jesus Quintana, resurrected from the ashes of The Big Lebowski and now set to appear in Going Places, the remake of a French sex-farce that Turturro is also adapting and directing. This story has been developing for the last month or so, but the one piece that was always missing was any kind of response or word of a response from Joel and Ethan Coen, who created the character and therefore technically own him (although if you want to get technically-technical, the character was inspired by Turturro himself; the Coens saw him in the 1988 stage play Mi Puta Vida and crafted Jesus off that performance).

The question on everyone’s mind has been, is Turturro working with or without the Coens’ blessing? Well now we have the answer as well as a peek at how the idea came to Turturro thanks to a conversation he had recently with Screen Daily in which he says he was already working on Going Places when it occurred to him that Jesus would be a good stand-in for the existing lead character:

“I was calling him JC, and it reminded me of this character I’d done in a play many, many years ago that had inspired Joel and Ethan to write the character of Jesus Quintana … So I thought, ‘Wow! We’ve talked about doing something with Jesus Quintana but it was always silly.’ I started playing around with it and I thought we could be on to something with his irony and the irreverence of the character.”

So he called up the Brothers C and told them what he was thinking.

“It kind of blew their minds. They thought it was a great idea and told me, ‘We’ve taken a character inspired from a stage play and now you want to put him in a movie which is a French movie, which was inspired by American road movies.’ ”

All is well it seems, then, and the Coens are in full support of the continued life of Jesus Quintana, which Turturro also revealed will involve a glimpse at his past, and find him in a happier place than he was in The Big Lebowski. Excited yet? You should be. No release date is set but if there’s a god in heaven he’ll deliver Jesus to us sooner rather than later.

The Simpsons today (tentatively) broke TV’s biggest record when it was announced that Fox’s flagship animated series has been renewed for two more season, its 29th and 30th. This means that when all is said and done, The Simpsons will have eclipsed Gunsmoke in terms of aired episodes: Gunsmoke has 635, which The Simpsons will hit in the middle of season 29 before settling at 669 when season 30 closes. The series let Homer speak to the honor:

“Take that, Gunsmoke! You lost a race you didn’t even know you were running!”

Earlier this season, The Simpsons broadcast their milestone 600th episode, but it looks like now they’ve got a couple bigger celebrations in store. Expect plenty of Gunsmoke references in that eclipsing episode.

You might have seen this making the rounds, but it’s too good to skip so here it is anyway: a video from Netflix that animates the staggeringly-plausible fan-theory that Walter White, chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-cook of Breaking Bad, made the drug that caused the violence that led to the zombie apocalypse at the center of The Walking Dead. The theory’s been around a little while, bolstered by a handful of “Easter eggs” in each show, and the fact that both air on AMC, but after the success of this video – which has received nearly half a million hits in just a couple days – it’s now a bona fide part of both shows’ cultures. Sink your teeth into it below.

And we’re going to close things out with the greatest news of the week, the month, and maybe the history of television. On Saturday, November 12th, Saturday Night Live is going to be hosted by hilarious recluse Dave Chappelle in his triumphant return to the small screen. What’s more – and this in some ways is even cooler – the musical guest for the episode is going to be A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, who are releasing their first new album since 1998’s The Love Movement the day before. Take a minute to catch your breath.

Expectations were already high for this particular episode as it’s going to be the first after the Presidential election, but now they are safely through the roof and resting comfortably somewhere in the stratosphere over 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Make sure you have room on your DVR even if you do stay awake to watch as it airs, because this one’s gonna be a keeper.

That’s all we got, have a good weekend and we’ll see you back here Monday night.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist