Back to the future

From new releases in the Bond and Batman series to follow-ups to Blade Runner and Beetlejuice. 

Sequels to a number of classic films, plus new instalments in long-running movie franchises are on the horizon. Here's our pick of the crop.

Sequels

Blade Runner 2

British director Ridley Scott will make a follow-up to his 1982 cult classic, Blade Runner, arguably one of the finest sci-fi films ever made. Inspired by Philip K Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the original film was set in a dystopian Los Angeles in 2019. Humans have genetically engineered "replicants" who take on the human form but were designed to serve exclusively as labourers and entertainers. "Replicants" are illegal on earth and "blade runners" like Deckard (Harrison Ford) are employed to root out and kill them. The film combines stunningly surreal imagery with an atmospheric soundtrack. As well as being an impressive thriller, the film explores what it means to be human.

Producers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove say: "It would be a gross understatement to say that we are elated Ridley Scott will shepherd this iconic story into a new, exciting direction ... This is a once in a lifetime project for us." Kosove added that filming could begin in 2013 at the earliest, with the film not being in cinemas until at least 2014.

Last year Ridley Scott directed Robin Hood and next year sees the release of Prometheus, an adventure film set in outer space. 

Beetlejuice

The writing and producing pair David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith are working on a sequel to Tim Burton's 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice.. The original was about a couple of ghosts, Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis), who find that a family is moving into their new home. Their attempts to scare the family away fail because their eery ways become a money-making scheme. The ghost couple recruit Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) to help, but soon find him hard to control.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly Katzenberg and Grahame-Smith said that the film will not be a remake and will advance the plot of the original:

When Warner Bros. came to us about it, we said the only way we'd do it if we got Tim [Burton's] blessing and involvement, and we got that, and the star of the movie has to be Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice, and it's a true continuation 26 years later. Not just throwing him in as a cameo going, "Hey, it's me. I endorse this movie." We're not there yet [with Keaton] because we don't have a film to present to him.

Last year Keaton was the voice of Ken in the critically-acclaimed Toy Story 3 and played Captain Gene Mauch in Adam McKay's The Other Guys.

Tintin 2

The first person to direct three major films simultaneously, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson will direct Tintin 2 after The Hobbit. Anthony Horowitz, author of the popular Alex Rider spy novels series was hired last year as the writer for the project. Horowitz's script is likely to be based on an amalgamation of two adventures: Prisoners of the Sun and The Seven Crystal Balls and might be called The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun

The first film in the Tintin series is released this December, directed by Stephen Spielberg and produced by Jackson. The details of the third instalment are to be confirmed.

New instalments

Bond 23 "Skyfall"  

Following on from Quantum of Solace, shooting has begun for the the 23rd Bond film, Skyfall, which will be released in October 2012. Revelations about M's (Judi Dench) past test Bond's loyalty to her, and he must also protect MI6 from attack. The new Bond girl is Sévérine played by Bérénice Marlohe, a French television actor. The film's budget is rumoured to be £125m.

Director Sam Mendes talked about Skyfall at its launch in London: "I'm incredibly excited to be doing it and it has, I think, all the elements of a classic Bond movie including, to quell rumours, a lot of action and many other things too." he added that the action would "co-exist with the drama ... That's the balancing act to strike."

The Dark Knight Rises

Christian Bale is back as Batman in Christopher Nolan's last film in the series. Set for release on 20 July 2012, the film is currently in its post-production stage.The cast includes Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, Tom Hardy as the villanous Bane, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

From TV to film: Arrested Development

Five years since it was on television screens, the Emmy-award winning American sitcom Arrested Development will now become a film. Earlier this year, Arrested Development's creator Mitchell Hurwitz told Digital Spy that he was starting work on a feature film adaptation with co-writer Jim Valley. The film will follow the shooting of the long-awaited fourth season of the sitcom next summer. The film does not have a release date yet, although Hurwitz has said that its creative side is mostly already planned out.

Arrested Development focuses on the life of the formerly rich and dysfunctional Bluth family. The cast includes Jessica Walter, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi and Michael Cera. Although the sitcom never achieved especially high ratings, it attracted a strongly devoted fanbase. The sitcom is so funny that the viewer hardly has time to laugh at all of the jokes and its return is very welcome.

Show Hide image

Meet Anne Marie Waters - the Ukip politician too extreme for Nigel Farage

In January 2016, Waters launched Pegida UK with former EDL frontman Steven Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson). 

There are few people in British political life who can be attacked from the left by Nigel Farage. Yet that is where Anne Marie Waters has found herself. And by the end of September she could well be the new leader of Ukip, a party almost synonymous with its beer-swilling, chain-smoking former leader.

Waters’s political journey is a curious one. She started out on the political left, but like Oswald Mosley before her, has since veered dramatically to the right. That, however, is where the similarities end. Waters is Irish, agnostic, a lesbian and a self-proclaimed feminist.

But it is her politics – rather than who she is – that have caused a stir among Ukip’s old guard. Former leader Paul Nuttall has said that her views make him “uncomfortable” while Farage has claimed Ukip is “finished” if, under her leadership, it becomes an anti-Islam party.

In her rhetoric, Waters echoes groups such as the English Defence League (EDL) and Britain First. She has called Islam “evil” and her leadership manifesto claims that the religion has turned Britain into a “fearful and censorious society”. Waters wants the banning of the burqa, the closure of all sharia councils and a temporary freeze on all immigration.

She started life in Dublin before moving to Germany in her teens to work as an au pair. Waters also lived in the Netherlands before returning to Britain to study journalism at Nottingham Trent University, graduating in 2003. She subsequently gained a second degree in law. It was then, she says, that she first learnt about Islam, which she claims treats women “like absolute dirt”. Now 39, Waters is a full-time campaigner who lives in Essex with her two dogs and her partner who is an accountant.

Waters’s first spell of serious activism was with the campaign group One Law for All, a secularist organisation fronted by the Iranian feminist and human rights activist Maryam Namazie. Waters resigned in November 2013 after four years with the organisation. According to Namazie, Waters left due to political disagreements over whether the group should collaborate with members of far-right groups.

In April 2014, Waters founded Sharia Watch UK and, in January 2016, she launched Pegida UK with former EDL frontman Steven Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson). The group was established as a British chapter of the German-based organisation and was set up to counter what it called the “Islamisation of our countries”. By the summer of 2016, it had petered out.

Waters twice stood unsuccessfully to become a Labour parliamentary candidate. Today, she says she could not back Labour due to its “betrayal of women” and “betrayal of the country” over Islam. After joining Ukip in 2014, she first ran for political office in the Lambeth council election, where she finished in ninth place. At the 2015 general election, Waters stood as the party’s candidate in Lewisham East, finishing third with 9.1 per cent of the vote. She was chosen to stand again in the 2016 London Assembly elections but was deselected after her role in Pegida UK became public. Waters was also prevented from standing in Lewisham East at the 2017 general election after Ukip’s then-leader Nuttall publicly intervened.

The current favourite of the 11 candidates standing to succeed Nuttall is deputy leader Peter Whittle, with Waters in second. Some had hoped the party’s top brass would ban her from standing but last week its national executive approved her campaign.

Due to an expected low turnout, the leadership contest is unpredictable. Last November, Nuttall was elected with just 9,622 votes. More than 1,000 new members reportedly joined Ukip in a two-week period earlier this year, prompting fears of far-right entryism.

Mike Hookem MEP has resigned as Ukip’s deputy whip over Waters’ candidacy, saying he would not “turn a blind eye” to extremism. By contrast, chief whip, MEP Stuart Agnew, is a supporter and has likened her to Joan of Arc. Waters is also working closely on her campaign with Jack Buckby, a former BNP activist and one of the few candidates to run against Labour in the by-election for Jo Cox’s former seat of Batley and Spen. Robinson is another backer.

Peculiarly for someone running to be the leader of a party, Waters does not appear to relish public attention. “I’m not a limelight person,” she recently told the Times. “I don’t like being phoned all the time.”

The journalist Jamie Bartlett, who was invited to the initial launch of Pegida UK in Luton in 2015, said of Waters: “She failed to remember the date of the demo. Her head lolled, her words were slurred, and she appeared to almost fall asleep while Tommy [Robinson] was speaking. After 10 minutes it all ground to an uneasy halt.”

In an age when authenticity is everything, it would be a mistake to underestimate yet another unconventional politician. But perhaps British Muslims shouldn’t panic about Anne Marie Waters just yet.

James Bloodworth is editor of Left Foot Forward

This article first appeared in the 17 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump goes nuclear