Superstar stand-up comic Sebastian Maniscalco, who made his film debut in the Oscar-winning picture “The Green Book” (as Johnny Venere) and then played “Crazy Joe” Gallo opposite Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” will now STAR opposite De Niro in “About My Father.” The script, written by Maniscalco and based on his relationship with his real father, starts shooting later this year. When Maniscalco asked his father who should play him, his answer was, “De Niro, who else?!” De Niro, picky about what he acts in, obviously loved the script because he immediately said “Yes.”
Chris Rock, a huge fan of the “Saw” franchise, approached Lionsgate with his ideas on how to extend the franchise from “Jigsaw” (“Saw 8”) to a ninth film, which opened May 14 to favorable reviews. Rock had a dramatic role in 2020 in 10 episodes of “Fargo” (as Loy Cannon), and he enjoyed it so much that he wrote the starring role (with touches of comedy) in “Spiral: From the Book of Saw” for himself.
With Rock on board, Lionsgate was able to sign Samuel L. Jackson and Max Minghella to join him. It started shooting July 2019 and wrapped that August. Originally scheduled for release in October 2020, it was rushed to release May 2020, then delayed due to the pandemic. A sequel, “Saw X,” is already in the works, along with a possible TV series.
Sequels, sequels, sequels! “Knives Out 2” will again star Daniel Craig, as well as Edward Norton and Dave Bautista, when it begins shooting in Greece. Netflix has allotted $400 million, aiming at a December 2022 release for “KO2,” followed by “Knives Out 3,” being shot back-to-back. And “Venom,” which grossed $855 million in 2018, has the sequel “Venom 2, Let There Be Carnage” already shooting with Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams and Reid Scott returning, adding Woody Harrelson and J.K. Simmons to the mix.
Two-time Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank (best supporting actress for “Boys Don’t Cry” in 1999, and best actress for “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004) seemed to disappear during the pandemic, but she was in Australia in June 2019 making the sci-fi thriller “I Am Mother,” with Rose Byrne; the horror/thriller “The Hunt,” with Betty Gilpin, Amy Madigan and Emma Roberts (in New Orleans); as well as “Fatale,” with Michael Ealy and Mike Colter (shot in L.A.). She also starred in the Netflix series “Away.”
But she’ll return in a blaze of glory playing racing pioneer Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, in “Speed Girl.” If that doesn’t get her career racing again, nothing will!