John Wick Creator Returns ; Bill Skarsgård in Boy Kills World; Zelensky Quotes Chaplin

The creator of John Wick readies his next franchise; Bill Skarsgård, the clown from It, has been working out for the new film Boy Kills World; Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky cites Charlie Chaplin to remind us that “the hate of men will pass, and dictators die.” All in today’s Movie News Rundown.

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Cruise at Cannes: Tom Cruise received an honorary Palme d’Or and Top Gun: Maverick received a five-minute standing ovation last night. Also, this:

Boy Kills World: With Cannes underway, there’s lots of sales and acquisitions news, including that Capstone Global is launching sales on director Moritz Mohr’s well-titled Boy Kills World, starring Bill Skarsgård, Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day), Michelle Dockery, and Sharlto Copley, among others.

What’s It About? Written by Arend Remmers and Tyler Burton Smith (Child’s Play), Boy Kills World is described as “a dystopian fever dream action film that follows Boy, a deaf mute with a vibrant imagination. When his family is murdered, he is trained by a mysterious shaman to repress his childish imagination and become an instrument of death.” Sam Raimi is among the producers, and the film has wrapped. It also released its first image: Skarsgård, best known for his hideous turn as Pennywise in the It films, in fighting mode.

Nightbitch: Speaking of great titles, Searchlight has picked up Nightbitch, starring Amy Adams and written and directed by Marielle Heller, who directed the fantastic Melissa McCarthy forgery film Can You Ever Forgive Me? The film will stream on Hulu, and is based on the Rachel Yoder novel about a mom who worries she may be turning into a dog that I am going to download and read right now. The Hollywood Reporter has details on the film.

Derek Kolstad: I’m especially excited to learn that John Wick writer Derek Kolstad’s original screenplay Acolyte has sold to Rivulet Films. This comes after Kolstad was not invited back to write John Wick 4 even though the first three films made more than $600 million. (Kolstad wrote the first two films solo and shares credit on John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.) The goal is for Acolyte, like the original John Wick, to inspire sequels and spinoffs.  “Derek has delivered the perfect follow-up franchise to John Wick and the ensemble of amazing characters he has intricately woven throughout the script offer us an endless array of stories to tell for many years to come,” say Rivulet Films’ Rob Paris and Mike Witherill, who are among the producers.

Again — What’s It About? “In the longtime Kolstad passion project, Robert Miller (aka Acolyte) returns to find his home ransacked and his wife Helen missing, along with top secret files from her harrowing NGO work in Syria,” Rivulet says. “Robert moves with an intense skill and determination that belies his everyman appearance, assembling his highly classified and long-disbanded team, Athena, Helios, Talos, Hades, Cerberus, Icarus, and Hermes, to execute a most lethal operation: rescuing Helen and bringing hell to her captors and their corrupt political allies.”

By the Way, When Is John Wick 4 Out? March 2023, and Kolstad has nothing but love for the character, who is named after his grandfather. “Yeah, it’s personal, so I’m never going to talk shit about John Wick,” he told Collider last year. “I want this thing to survive and thrive.”

Why Do I Like Derek Kolstad So Much? He’s extremely good at telling a straight story while elegantly dropping in the world-building elements that ignite sequels and spinoffs, like the upcoming The Continental TV show and the Ana de Armas-led film The Ballerina. Also, Nobody, the Bob Odenkirk action film released last year and written by Kolstad, was fantastically entertaining and rather moving, and Odenkirk has said in recent interviews that he’s hoping for a sequel.

Speaking of World Building: Here’s Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an address to Cannes in which he quotes Charlie Chaplin’s magnetizing speech from the end of The Great Dictator, about creating a world free of slavery and tyrants.

The Original: Here’s the full speech, as delivered by Charlie Chaplin.

Main image: Bill Skarsgård in Boy Kills World. Photo by Graham Bartholomew.