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WIRE Buzz: Space Jam 2 gets new director; Stephen King Sleeping Beauties comic; more

By Jacob Oller
Malcolm D. Lee Getty

Today’s WIRE Buzz is full of Looney Tunes, horror legends, and superhero directors — basically, some of the most recognizable figures in pop culture. And they’ve all got a little bit new for fans to mull over.

First is Space Jam 2. The LeBron James-starring sequel hopes to rekindle the crossover magic between the NBA and Looney Tunes that made Michael Jordan’s original such a hit ... but it needs to adopt a new strategy now that it’s lost its original director.

Deadline reports Terence Nance has left the project over creative differences, letting Night School/Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee take over. Nance is known as a more experimental and creative director, while Lee’s standard comedies still made box-office bank. The film has already had a few hoops to jump through thanks to its pro athlete cast having warring brand sponsorships, but with the star power of key players like Ryan Coogler and Don Cheadle still on board, King James might still be able to pull this trick shot off in the end.

Space Jam 2 is expected to slam down to Earth on July 16, 2021.

Next up, another adaptation is coming from prolific horror scribe Stephen King. This time it’s a comic project adapting a recent novel that King co-wrote with his son Owen. Sleeping Beauties, the supernatural story of an epidemic-stricken world where all the women are unconscious and the men run amok, is coming to IDW Publishing.

According to a release, writer Rio Youers and artist Alison Sampson will adapt the Kings’ story into a ten-issue limited run.

Sleeping Beauties comic cover

“The story is very suggestive for interesting art," Sampson said in a statement, "with magical themes interwoven through a very real place setting in Appalachia, and the opportunity to draw some truly diverse people. Places, spaces, gender, bodies, character, relationships, political themes, emotions, a challenging (and almost certainly innovative) design job, and a great story – it’s all here. I cannot wait to share what we are making.”

Sleeping Beauties recently landed a pilot commitment from AMC, though not much has yet spun out of that investment. Perhaps this comic, which comes out in early 2020, looks to capitalize on some newly-revitalized interest in the property.

Finally, director Zack Snyder’s first Netflix project has rounded out its cast. The DC standby has returned to directing for Army of the Dead, a Vegas-set zombie heist film currently in production in Albuquerque. The film — which stars the likes of Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana De La Reguera, Theo Rossi, and Huma Qureshi — has added Omari Hardwick, Chris D’Elia, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Matthias Schweighöfer, Raúl Castillo, Nora Arnezeder, Samantha Win, and Rich Cetrone to its stacked roster.

That’s quite a cast, considering the film about a mercenary group diving into a quarantine zone sounds like it should mostly be populated with zombies. But even mercs under threat of the undead need to be yelled at by the government. Army of the Dead next heads to Atlantic City to film its casino sequences.