Paul Feig is putting together something of a ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ reunion, casting Simu Liu and Awkwafina in his latest, ‘Grand Death Lotto,’ with the additional bonus of John Cena.
The new action comedy, which Feig will direct from Rob Yescombe’s script, will kick off filming next week and will premiere on Prime Video worldwide.
Says Feig, “I love action comedy and extreme physical comedy and this movie has both in abundance, as well as a boatload of heart and hilarity. This lotto will make winners of us all.”
According to Amazon and MGM Studios boss Jennifer Salke,
“’Grand Death Lotto’ is the kind of original idea audiences have been craving, and there’s no one better than the endlessly talented Paul Feig to steer the ship. We can’t wait to watch John Cena, Awkwafina, and Simu Liu bring this fun, action-packed script to life for our Prime Video customers around the world.”
Though he’s mostly been known for more straightforward comedy, Feig is hardly a stranger to adding action in the mix –– 2016’s ‘Ghostbusters’ featured plenty of spooky combat, while there was espionage threats in ‘Spy’, cop shootouts in ‘The Heat’ and magical battles in his recent ‘The School for Good and Evil’.
Related Article: Director Paul Feig Talks Netflix’s ‘The School for Good and Evil’
What’s the story of Paul Feig’s new movie?
The official synopsis reads: “In the very near future, the Grand Lottery has been established in economically challenged California. The only catch? Kill the winner before sundown and you can legally claim their prize. New LA transplant Katie (Awkwafina) accidentally finds herself with the winning ticket and must join forces with amateur jackpot protector Noel (Cena) to make it to sundown in order to claim her multi-billion dollar prize, all while dealing with Noel’s protection rival Louis Lewis (Liu), who also wants to get her to sundown in order to claim his rich protection commission.
Awkwafina will next be seen in horror comedy ‘Renfield’ (in theaters on April 14th) and heard in Disney’s new version of ‘The Little Mermaid’, which will swim into theaters on May 26th.
Liu has ‘One True Loves’ due out on April 7th and has a role in Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’, which is out on July 21st.
And Cena –– assuming anyone can see him –– will reprise his role as Jakob Toretto in ‘Fast X’, headed our way on May 19th.
The fear of violent death is also something that will concern Isabela Merced, who is transitioning from the romantic complications of Hulu’s ‘Rosaline’ to the new ‘Alien’ movie that Fede Álvarez is making.
Having made the likes of ‘Don’t Breathe’ and ‘Evil Dead’, Álvarez surprised everyone by convincing Ridley Scott –– who is considered the man largely in charge of decisions about future movies containing killer xenomorphs and more –– to let him make a new entry in the long-running sci-fi terror franchise.
Merced, who has also been seen in movies such as ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ and the recent ‘Father of the Bride’, will join Cailee Spaeny in the film.
What is Fede Álvarez ‘s new ‘Alien’ movie about?
Little is yet known about exactly what will happen in the movie, but when the news first broke, 20th Century Studios boss Steve Asbell commented that Scott and the studio had been convinced by the director’s pitch, which will include “a bunch of characters you haven’t seen before”.
The new movie won’t directly follow the original series of extraterrestrial horror/action movies as kicked off by Scott’s ‘Alien’ in 1979, nor will it continue the story in the director’s ‘Prometheus’-led prequel films (Scott keeps saying he’ll make another of those himself). Instead, it’ll be set in the same universe following a new set of characters dealing with facehugger/xenomorph terror.
And we don’t, of course, know how Spaeny and Merced’s characters will factor into that, but we’d have to guess they’ll spend some time fighting for their lives.
Álvarez certainly has the horror chops to pull off a compelling new ‘Alien’ movie, which for the past few years has largely been the province of Scott. And though he’s been prolific of late, he hasn’t returned to the universe since 2017’s ‘Alien: Covenant’.
Neill Blomkamp took a crack around 2014/2015, releasing concept art for a movie that would follow Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley from the Scott films, but aside from a lot of social media activity, it eventually got delayed indefinitely so as not to muddy the xenomorph waters before ‘Covenant’.
You can imagine, then, that Álvarez must have come up with something interesting to have Scott give him the thumbs up. Either that, or the venerable filmmaker has so many other projects on his plate between directing and producing duties that he simply realized he needed to give someone else a chance for a while. He has his Napoleon film, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, in post-production now.
Though it has yet to announce a release date, we can imagine that, with filming underway, the movie could well hit theaters in 2024.
Merced has a couple of other movies on the way, including John Green adaptation ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ and Sony’s Spider-universe superhero film ‘Madame Web’, which will be out on February 16th next year.