Production on the Avatar sequel is set to begin in the fall, according to Sigourney Weaver.
“We’re starting!” the actress excitedly told The Hollywood Reporter at a screening of The Assignment, held Monday night at New York City’s Whitby Hotel. “We’re starting training, and we’re starting — hmm, I probably can’t say anything. We will be actually shooting it by the fall.”
James Cameron has previously noted that the scripts of all four Avatar films are completed, and stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are also set to return alongside Weaver. But fans were disappointed to hear that the second film would not be ready for a 2018 release date. Though the sequel to the 2009 sci-fi blockbuster, which grossed $2.7 billion at the global box office, had not officially been dated, it was expected for Christmas 2018.
Yet Weaver reassures that audiences’ patience will be rewarded in time.
“I’m telling you, these scripts are so amazing, I’m not worried about [disappointing fans] at all,” she told THR. “Am I worried about how we’re going to bring them to life? Yes, because they’re so ambitious. They’re so worth it. They’re well worth waiting for. I’m not worried about that at all. We’re trying to get it done as quickly as possible.”
Ridley Scott likes to move fast. Which, for his age and for the kinds of movies he makes, is kind of incredible. At 79 the guy is churning out almost a movie a year, but these aren’t Woody Allen comedies or Clint Eastwood dramas—they’re big, brash blockbusters like Prometheus and Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Martian. He most recently completed the Prometheus follow-up Alien: Covenant, and while Scott has talked in the past about continuing on with the franchise, he’s now saying the sequel to Covenant is already written and ready to go.
Buried in the bottom of a set visit report from the Sydney Morning Herald (via AVP Galaxy) is the news that Scott is ready to get moving on an Alien: Covenant sequel:
While working on Alien: Covenant, he had the next installment written so he is ready to keep advancing the saga.
“You’ve got to assume to a certain extent success and from that you’d better be ready,” he says. “You don’t want a two-year gap. So I’ll be ready to go again next year.”
It’s unclear when this interview was conducted (our set visit took place in 2016), so by “next year” he could mean 2017—meaning production could begin later this year.
Back in 2015, Scott said there would be two more Alien movies after Alien: Covenant, saying they would be “origin stories” that would answer “very basic questions” that were posed in Alien regarding who might have made it and where it came from. But before Prometheus was released, Scott was talking up sequels that would venture further away from the Alien franchise, focusing on Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender’s characters as they set off to find the home world of the Engineers. It doesn’t look like that’s the case in Covenant, which is yet another riff on a human crew encountering the alien threat, so it’s possible those plans have changed.
What Scott does seem to be consistent about over the past couple years is saying he intends for these movies to wrap around and connect back to the original Alien, leading right up to the events of Ripley and the original crew. When exactly that happens, what Covenant has to do with it, and even who wrote this Covenant sequel are still unanswered questions, but Scott seems to be in this thing for the long haul after taking a lengthy break from the sci-fi genre following Blade Runner.
What this also means is that Neill Blomkamp’s own Alien sequel is probably dead, or at the very least in a state of cryofreeze. The District 9 filmmaker shared some fan art of his online ahead of the release of Chappie and subsequently made a deal with Fox to actually turn his idea into reality—a film that would pick up after the events of Aliens and bring Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn back into the franchise. At that time Scott was busy with The Martian and it was unclear if/when Prometheus 2 would happen, but Blomkamp’s movie lit a fire under Scott, who subsequently forged ahead with Alien: Covenant and ensured that his movie would be made before Blomkamp’s. We’ve since heard nothing official about Blomkamp’s Alien sequel, and with Scott already gearing up to make the next Alien movie, we may not for quite some time.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has announced that two-time Golden Globe winner and Oscar and Tony nominee Sigourney Weaver will host its upcoming Lincoln Center Awards for Emerging Artists presentation on March 1. The evening will honor winners from across the performing arts, including filmmakers, musicians, and theatre artists.
Weaver joins Katherine Brown, Danny Burstein, Laura Osnes, and Desmond Richardson, who will perform at the ceremony. The awards night will be held at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse.
The 2017 winners are Calidore String Quartet (Chamber Music Society); filmmaker Dustin Guy Defa (Film Society of Lincoln Center); soprano Kiera Duffy (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts); dancer Joseph Gordon (New York City Ballet); violinist and concertmaster Frank Huang (New York Philharmonic); violinist Paul Huang (The Juilliard School); playwright Michael R. Jackson (Lincoln Center Theater); saxophonist Julian Lee (Jazz at Lincoln Center); singer-songwriter-actress Grace McLean (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts); baritone Yunpeng Wang (The Metropolitan Opera); director, producer, and performer Ben West (The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts); and dancer Andres Zuniga (School of American Ballet).
“The awardees we honor this year follow in the steps of former honorees, such as the great cellist Alisa Weilerstein, renowned choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, and Oscar-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras. The members of this class have already contributed great works of music, theater, dance, and film to the Lincoln Center campus and beyond, and we are delighted to help them pursue new projects that will undoubtedly challenge, stimulate, and inspire us,” commented William H. Donaldson, co-chair of the Emeritus Board of Lincoln Center, in a press statement.
The work of legendary gorilla scientist Dian Fossey will be brought back to life in a new three-part documentary series for National Geographic television, now in production. Scheduled to air this fall, the series will feature narration by actress Sigourney Weaver, who played Dian Fossey in the 1988 movie “Gorillas in the Mist,” based on Fossey’s book.
“I had the amazing experience of portraying Dian Fossey in ‘Gorillas in the Mist,’ spending months with the majestic mountain gorillas,” says Weaver, who also serves as the honorary chair of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
“In the 50 years since Dian founded the Karisoke Research Center, scientists have safeguarded the gorillas and increased awareness about conservation all around the world. I am honored to be working with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and National Geographic on what promises to be a remarkable documentary of Dian’s courageous life and legacy.”
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund President and CEO/Chief Scientist, Dr. Tara Stoinski, says there couldn’t be a better time to re-tell the story of Fossey’s work, which has since been greatly expanded and has helped the critically endangered mountain gorilla population to grow and stabilize.
“The Fossey Fund has not only carried on the important gorilla protection and scientific research that Fossey started, but has expanded it to include helping local communities, building the next generation of conservationists in Africa, and helping other gorilla species in danger of extinction,” says Dr. Stoinski.
“The National Geographic special will be a definitive biography of Fossey’s work, life, death and legacy, and will include never-before-seen footage from both National Geographic and Fossey Fund archives, a fitting endeavor for this 50th anniversary of her work,” adds Dr. Stoinski
In addition, the series, titled “Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist,” will include footage shot recently of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and with Fossey Fund field staff. Tigress Productions, the company producing the series, is filming an historic group of gorillas who were among the first studied by Dian Fossey. Originally named Group 5, the group split in 1995, with one of the offshoots being the modern day Pablo’s group. Pablo’s group’s most famous member is elderly silverback Cantsbee – the last of the silverbacks first seen and named by Dian Fossey and then monitored throughout his 38 years. Amazingly, Cantsbee suddenly reappeared on Jan. 4, after being missing for months and presumed dead, adding yet another chapter to the amazing story of these gorillas and Fossey’s legacy.
Tigress Productions also produced the 2007 documentary on silverback Titus, which aired on PBS “Nature” in 2008.
“Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist” is also being produced in partnership with Academy-Award-winning executive producer James Marsh. It will air globally in 171 countries and in 45 languages this fall.
Come as you are, Defenders. There’s a new enemy in town.
Meet Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra, the villain of Marvel’s The Defenders impressive enough to draw the attention of Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). She’s an “utter badass,” showrunner Marco Ramirez says of the character, who is the perfect fit for the Sigourney Weaver, of Alien and Avatar fame. “Sigourney is the kind of person you can buy as the smartest person in the room, who you can also buy as a person holding a flamethrower. Her character is a very powerful force in New York City. She’s everything Sigourney is: sophisticated, intellectual, dangerous.” He pauses. “I’m sorry. I can only say a bunch of adjectives right now.”
A flurry of adjectives sounds about right for Alexandra, and not just because Marvel’s keeping further details about her character under tight wraps, so much so that probing Ramirez for more on Weaver’s character is like trying to stick a needle through Luke Cage’s unbreakable skin. After all, she (or whatever she’s fighting for) has to walk a very difficult, spoiler-ific line when it comes to the team-up series. “We knew it would take something massive to pull these four characters from their individual worlds to work together,” Ramirez says, “but also small enough that it felt like it existed in our world.”
For now, EW has the exclusive first look at Alexandra sitting high above the New York skyline, dressed in angelic, rabbit-in-a-snowstorm white and looking up at… someone?… Or something? She has no code name and no comic-book history, but Ramirez teases that she brings an “intellectual sophistication” that matches former big bads like Daredevil‘s Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). In that case, may we suggest Queenpin as a moniker?