Week in review: 12/19-12/23


Disney has secured a familiar face for their Emily Blunt-starring Mary Poppins sequel: Dick Van Dyke, who played chimney sweep Bert and bank chairman Mr. Dawes Senior in the original film. This time around, the role will reportedly be a small one.

The BAFTAs have instituted new criteria geared towards promoting diversity in the film industry. Starting in 2019, films will not be eligible for two major awards--Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer--unless they, per Vanity Fair, "show some significant effort to improve diversity in 'onscreen characters and themes, senior roles and crew, industry training and career progression, and audience access and appeal to under-represented audiences.'"

James Franco has reportedly joined the cast of Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant, the sixth film in the Alien franchise and first since 2012's Prometheus. Franco, if the casting rumor proves correct, will join franchise newcomers Katherine Waterston, Guy Pearce, Carmen Ejogo, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride and Demián Bichir in addition to Prometheus' Michael Fassbender, reprising his role as the murderous android David.

Elsewhere in the Ridley Scott-adjacent universe, Denis Villeneuve, director of the upcoming sequel to Scott's Blade Runner, is reportedly in the running to direct Legendary's reboot of Dune. Based on the classic sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert, Dune was originally adapted for the big screen by David Lynch in 1984; the film was a critical and commercial failure but has since gone on to acquire something of a cult following. Villeneuve's previous films include Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival.

Quirkmeister supreme Wes Anderson has locked in his next movie: Isle of Dogs, an animated film about a boy's quest to find his dog. Fox Searchlight has acquired worldwide rights to the film, which features the vocal talents of (deep breath) Ed Norton, F. Murray Abraham, Bob Balaban, Bud Cort, Bryan Cranston, Greta Gerwig, Jeff Goldblum, Akira Ito, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Kunichi Nomura, Yoko Ono, Koyu Rankin, Liev Schreiber, Tilda Swinton, Akira Takayama and Frank Wood. Gotta love those enormous Wes Anderson casts. The film is expected to come out in 2018.

Martin Scorsese will digitally de-age Robert De Niro for their upcoming gangster-themed collaboration The Irishman.