It’s been two years since we heard Ryan Reynolds was producing a new adaptation of the classic murder mystery board game Clue from Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Since then, Jason Bateman boarded the project as director, but unfortunately, his commitment to the Netflix series Ozark will keep him from following through. Now the project set up at the newly branded 20th Century Studios has brought on a new filmmaker from Disney’s neck of the woods: The Muppets director James Bobin.
Variety has word on the new Clue remake director stepping up to take the reins from Jason Bateman. Even though James Bobin’s most recent film was Dora and the Lost City of Gold at Paramount Pictures, the director was previously comfy at Disney, having helmed The Muppets, the disappointing sequel Muppets Most Wanted, and the fantasy sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass.
That might sound like a resume that only gets worse as it goes on, but don’t underestimate James Bobin as a comedic director. He’s also been behind 11 episodes of the hilarious HBO series Flight of the Conchords, not to mention 16 episodes of Da Ali G Show with Sacha Baron Cohen. So he knows how to direct good comedy for adult audiences.
At the same time, it’s a shame we won’t get to see how Bateman handles a major studio comedy like this, especially since his feature debut Bad Words showed some promise. Bateman has certainly proven he has skills behind the camera recently, earning Emmy nominations for directing, as well as a nod from the Director’s Guild of America Awards, all for his work on the Netflix series Ozark. Bateman was also planning on having a role in Clue, but if his schedule will keep him from directing the movie, he likely doesn’t have time to have a role in the movie now either.
Thankfully, 20th Century Studios intends to surround Ryan Reynolds with a lot of high-profile talent. Could we be looking at a Murderer’s Row of comedic talent akin to the all-star cast assembled for Knives Out or Murder on the Orient Express? That would be amazing. After all, the original 1985 adaptation of Clue had some of the best talent of the 1980s with Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Lesley Ann Warren, Michael McKean, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn and Martin Mull playing the characters from the board game. I can only imagine what kind of high profile talent Reynolds could assemble from his famous friends.
There’s potential in a Clue remake, but it still has a lot to live up to since the original is considered a comedy classic. It was rather innovative at the time of release because it featured three different endings in theaters. It didn’t help the movie become a box office draw, earning less than $15 million, but the movie became a hit on home video where all three endings were included at...
It took more than 90 years, but Mickey Mouse finally got a theme-park attraction at the beginning of March 2020. Ah, the beginning of March 2020, when the Disney theme parks were…y’know, open. It was a simpler time, two whole weeks ago. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, currently at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the Walt Disney World Resort and currently in construction at Disneyland Park, arriving in 2022, takes guests on a wild ride themed to the modern, Flash-animated Mickey Mouse shorts that can be found on Disney XD and Disney+. One of the crucial elements of the new attraction is its linchpin song, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now”. The song’s co-writers, husband-and-wife team Christopher and Elyse Willis, talked to Slashfilm recently via phone about writing for theme parks, working as a married couple, and more.
You’ve written a song “Nothing Can Stop Us Now” that’s for this big new attraction. How conscious were you both in terms of the expectations people have surrounding other theme-park songs like “It’s A Small World” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”?
Christopher: I feel like you’re saved by the long working process of Imagineering. If we had to write the song a month ago, I think it would’ve been a lot more scary than writing it two years ago. You know, showing up and having fun with the Imagineering team, like we were all sort of in our sandbox and trying things out. First and foremost, one difference between Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and those other rides is that the song has to help tell the story. The first thing that happens when the cartoon starts is that the song begins, so the song is wrapped up in the story. In a way, we weren’t thinking too strongly about the precedent and the tradition. Would you agree?
Elyse: Yeah. You know, I grew up in California so I grew up going to Disneyland, and those songs were certainly a big part of my childhood and my development. It was always in the back of our minds. Of course, we’re both big Sherman brothers fans, and we really respect the art of songwriting, whether it’s for a ride or not. So we were concerned with making something that’s good, and also something hopefully…slightly less obnoxious than Small World [laughs]. But Chris is right, we were mostly trying to serve the story, make something that works for the kind of ride-through attraction that they were working on. And hopefully in the process, we wrote a song that people really enjoy listening to.
I’ve yet to experience the attraction, but I heard the song once earlier this week and it hasn’t left my head. So it’s definitely fitting that catchy vibe. Along with my family, I’ve watched many of the newer Mickey Mouse shorts. So what has it been like for you, Christopher, composing for those shorts versus this one attraction?...