We have news today in the arenas of both development and casting, so it's time for a crossover event of epic proportions, featuring everything from ROM to Netflix and some Blumhouse horror along the way for good measure.
First up: Deadline is reporting Ready Player One screenwriter Zak Penn has signed on to adapt ROM: Spaceknight for Hasbro's Allspark Pictures and Paramount. ROM was originally a toy, and was then put into comics — he is depicted as a being from a Utopian society who battles the forces of evil on Earth, as well as other planets.
Allspark Pictures is solely dedicated to producing films based on Hasbro toys, and the company has previously announced something along the lines of a Hasbro Cinematic Universe, which would include a reboot of G.I. Joe, as well as films based on M.A.S.K. and Micronauts. Though we had heard that ROM could get the axe due to Hasbro scaling back, the news about Penn would seem to indicate the opposite. According to Deadline, Penn is a "true fan of Hasbro's brands and has always loved the property." Deadline is also reporting ROM has long been considered "a potential tentpole for Hasbro."
Penn's writing credits include The Last Action Hero (which he sold when he was 23), X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, Elektra, and The Incredible Hulk. He's currently working on the mysterious Matrix-adjacent script for Warner Bros.
Moving over from films based on toys to TV shows based on the history of toys, Netflix is reporting today that the popular series The Toys that Made Us will receive a second season. The first season of the show gave us excellent toy-histories of Masters of the Universe, Barbie, G.I. Joe, and Star Wars— there is no word yet on what classic toy lines will be featured in the new season.
Time to cruise on over to the casting side of things — Variety is reporting British actor and comedian Jack Whitehall is set to join Disney's The Jungle Cruise, which is a film based on the Disney Parks ride that always seemed to be broken down every time we visited. He will join the previously announced Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, and will play Blunt's brother. Variety writes he will have "a key role in the storyline," but as for what that might be, it's anyone's guess. The original ride didn't have much of a story, so who knows what adventures the trio of Whitehall, Blunt, and Rock will get into.
Basing a movie on a story-light theme park ride might seem like a huge risk, but it's not like Disney hasn't done it before — the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has spawned billions of dollars and seen five films in total. If director Jaume Collet-Serra can capture some of that magic, then it's likely a winning strategy. Whitehall will soon appear in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and will also play Newton Pulsifer in Amazon's Good Omens miniseries.
Did we say good omen? There's no omen better than Blumhouse Productions, a company that is "so hot right now" thanks to the raging success of Jordan Peele's Get Out. According to The Wrap, the studio is now partnering with actor Kevin Bacon and screenwriter David Koepp to make You Should Have Left, based on a book by Daniel Kehlmann. The story has a bit of a Shining-esque vibe to it, as it features a screenwriter working in the Alps with his wife and daughter in tow. As should be expected, he quickly begins to go mad. Koepp will adapt the book, and Bacon will bring himself home as the lead character. Bacon will also co-produce the film with Jason Blum.
Are you ready to defend the cosmos with ROM? Looking forward to being made by some more toys? Are you ready to take a cruise with Jack Whitehall, and run away from Kevin Bacon in the alps? Let us know in the comments!