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End of Week Production Notes 10/15/21: Netflix Unveils David Fincher Docu-Series, and More News

October 15, 2021 08:30 | By

While we anxiously await the answer to whether 60,000 IATSE workers will be on strike starting Monday — did you have a chance to look over IATSE’s FAQ providing information and answering questions about said strike? — we have some other industry and production news to share for those interested in what else is going on in Hollywood and across the globe.

By the way, did you see IATSE International President Matthew Loeb on CBS Mornings this morning? Yes, the IATSE strike has finally hit the national mainstream media, and Loeb provided a quote for the short segment, which also mentioned the strikes at John DeereKellogg‘s, and Kaiser Permanente — as mentioned by Mark London Williams in his Strike Alert column earlier this week. You can watch that news segment here, but now let’s get to some of that other news, which is not particularly abundant.


David FIncher

David Fincher on the set of Mank (Netflix)

Somewhat of a surprise this week was Oscar-nominated filmmaker David Fincher teasing something new that ended up being a new docu-series called Voir for Netflix, where he has set up shop for the past few years, including his Oscar-winning Mank last year.

The series was described in a Twitter announcement by the streamer as “a new documentary series of visual essays celebrating cinema, from the mind of one of film’s modern masters,” which will premiere at AFI Fest, which runs from November 10 through 14.

Following the multiple Emmy wins for Ted LassoApple TV+ is tripling down with the show’s Emmy-winning creatives Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein, giving a formal green light to a 10-episode comedy series called Shrinking that the duo have written and will exec. produce with actor Jason Segel. According to the tagline, Shrinking “follows a grieving therapist (Segel) who starts to break the rules and tell his clients exactly what he thinks. Ignoring his training and ethics, he finds himself making huge, tumultuous changes to people’s lives…including his own.” (Oddly, Apple’s streamer has another comedy series called The Shrink Next Door, starring Will Ferrell and Segel’s I Love You, Man co-star, Paul Rudd, debuting next month)

Warner Bros. Television and Lawrence’s Doozer Productions (which is set-up at WBTV) will produce along with Doozer’s Jeff Ingold, while Liza Katzer is a co-executive producer. Segel also stars in Apple Original FilmsThe Sky is Everywhere, based on the best-selling YA novel, and Shrinking will be Apple’s third series from Lawrence, along with the recently announced Bad Monkey.

The amazing Lin Shaye of the Insidious movies will star in and exec. produce the action-thriller limited series, Ellen, from New Regency and QCode, based on an original idea from Jalmari Helander (Big Game). It follows a “nefarious land developer who gets more than he bargained for when he tries to intimidate an 80-year-old widow* into abandoning her Montana ranch,” and it will be directed and executive-produced by filmmaking duo Clif Prowse and Derek Lee (Afflicted) from a script by Tim Walker. Exec. producers include Ben Pugh and Charlie Morrison from 42, Petri Jokirantaa and Jalmari Helander, Josh Horsfield, Automatik, Oddfellows, New Regency, and Walker. (*We feel the need to mention that Shaye recently turned 78, so her acting prowess will be required.)

Misfit City

Misfit City (BOOM! Studios)

HBO Max is developing a series adaptation of the BOOM! Studios graphic novel, Misfit City, created by Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith and Kurt Lustgarten, and illustrated by Naomi FranquizHannah Hafey and Kaitlin Smith, writers of the HBO Max series Popular, will serve as creators and executive producers for the series, which is described as being in the vein of The Goonies and Stranger Things. It follows Wilder, a teenage girl smothered by her backwater hometown, but when Wilder and her friends discovers a centuries-old pirate map, she may find out that real adventure was in their tiny town all along. Stephen Christy, Ross Richie, and Mark Ambrose from BOOM! Studios will also executive produce, along with Mette Norkjaer as co-executive producer.

As far as series renewals, Starz has renewed Blindspotting for a second season, while Netflix renewed You for a fourth season this past week. Amazon has renewed its popular spy series, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski, for a fourth season after the recent wrap of Season 3, which will have its premiere date on Prime Video announced shortly. Actor Michael Peña will be joining the cast of the fourth season in an undisclosed role.


Diane Weyermann

Diane Weyermann (Photo: Participant)

Sadly, we have to report on a sad death in the industry as Producer Diane Wyermann, the Chief Content Officer at Participant and the producer of docs like the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth, died this week at the age of 66 from cancer. Wyermann was nominated for a second Emmy nomination this year for her role as exec. producer on David Byrne’s American Utopia, Spike Lee‘s capturing of the hit Broadway musical for HBO.


Hopefully, doing television stuff first today doesn’t throw anyone off too much, but there was some movie casting news as well with the news that Oscar winner Rachel Weisz has been cast to star in and produce Legendary‘s adaptation of Seance on a Wet Afternoon, with Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One InTinker Soldier Sailor Spy) directing. Alfredson replaces Harry Bradbeer, who went back to direct the sequel to Netflix’s Enola Holmes. Bradbeer, who co-wrote the screenplay with BAFTA and Tony-winner Jack Thorne, based on Mark McShane‘s 1961 suspense novel will remain on as exec. producer. Robyn Slovo also produces, along with Legendary, Emma Forbes, and Michael Attenborough. Weisz’s production partner Polly Stokes exec. produces for Appetite Pictures, while Thorne also is an exec. producer. The novel, which was adapted in 1964 by Richard Attenborough with Kim Stanley in the lead role, is about a self-proclaimed psychic medium who convinces her husband to kidnap a child so she can help the police solve the crime and achieve renown for her abilities. When her true intentions come to light, however, her husband realizes the plan threatens to consume them both.

Although it’s been almost three decades since the hit movie, The Fugitive, which earned actor Tommy Lee Jones his Oscar, Jones seems to still be chasing after Harrison Ford, his co-star from the film, at least for his role opposite Jamie Foxx in Amazon Studios‘ The Burial, directed by Maggie Betts (Novitiate). Ford likely had to drop out due to delays in filming the fifth Indiana Jones movie due to Ford’s injury. Based on an article in The New Yorker by Jonatha Harr, which has been adapted by Doug Wright, the film is based on the true story of a bankrupt funeral home owner deciding to sue a rival businessman over a handshake deal gone wrong and hiring a flamboyant attorney to handle the case. The film is produced by Amazon Studios, Bobby Shriver of Bobby Shriver Inc., and Double Nickel Entertainment‘s Adam Richman and Jenette Kahn, along with Foxx.  Datari Turner is also producing.

Millicent Simmonds

Millicent Simmonds in A Quiet Place (Paramount)

Filmmaker Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice) has cast Millicent Simmonds from A Quiet Place and Rachel Brosnahan, star of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, as deaf and blind author/activist Helen Keller and her translator/companion Anne Sullivan, in Helen & Teacher, based on the original screenplay by Laetitia Mikles and Westmoreland, in consultation with a team at Helen Keller National Center for Youth and Adults. Apparently, Simmonds is a distant cousin to Keller. The tagline: “Set during the early 1900s, the movie will follow Keller’s tumultuous time at Radcliffe College of Harvard University when her rapidly expanding worldview and sexual awakening brings her into direct conflict with the more conservative Sullivan. When Ms. Sullivan is courted by the young and brilliant publisher, John Macy, tensions escalate between the two women threatening the bonds of their friendship.” Cornerstone will handle international sales and distribution at November’s American Film Market, taking place Nov. 1 to 5, while UTA Independent Film Group and WME are overseeing U.S. sales.

Also from AFM and Cornerstone comes info from Catherine (TwilightHardwicke‘s next movie, a comedy called Mafia Mamma, which will star Oscar nominee Toni Collette and Monica Belluci, as well as Rob Huebel (The Descendants). Hardwicke’s comedy is about a “suburban American woman who inherits her grandfather’s Mafia empire, and guided by the Firm’s trusted consigliere defies everyone’s expectations, including her own, as the new head of the family business.” CAA Media Finance is handling the U.S. sales for that one.

One last project/package from AFM is a potentially controversial biopic about U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy from The Painted Bird Director Václav Marhoul, who has cast Oscar nominee Michael Shannon as the senator. He will be joined by Game of Thrones’ Emmy-nominated Emilia Clark, and actors Dane DeHaan and Scoot McNairy. Clarke will play McCarthy’s politically ambitious wife Jean Kerr, while DeHaan will be his ruthless young lawyer, Roy Cohn. The movie will go into production in the fall of 2022 in Prague and the United States, going from a screenplay by The Hitman’s Bodyguard scribe Tom O’ConnorHanWay Films will handle international sales and distribution with CAA Media Finance handling U.S. for the film produced by Zach Studin with O’Connor. Rick McCallum, producer of the Star Wars prequels, will exec. produce.

Last week, we reported on the Studiocanal and New Yorker Studios thriller Cat Person, when Geraldine Viswanathan joined leads Emilia Jones and Nicholas Braun. According to Deadline, the Susanna (The Flight Attendant) Fogel-directed adaptation of Kristen Roupenian‘s short story added more cast in the form of Hope Davis, Michael Gandolfini (The Many Saints of Newark), Liza Koshy, Fred Melamed, Isaac Powell, Isabella Rossellini, and Donald Elise Watkins.  Production started this week on the story about a 20-year-old college student (Jones) who works at a movie theater and her relationship with a much older regular at the movie theater (Braun). The short story from The New Yorker that was published in 2017 was adapted by Michelle Ashford, and it’s being produced by Jeremy Steckler and New Yorker StudiosHelen Estabrook. Fogel, Ashford, Daniel Hank, and Gino Falsetto will executive produce with Studiocanal fully financing and handling worldwide sales.


Earlier this week, Amazon Studios released the first trailer for George Clooney‘s upcoming drama film, The Tender Bar, starring Ben AffleckTye Sheridan, and introducing Daniel Ranieri. Adapted by Oscar winner William Monahan (The Departed) from J.R. Moehringer‘s Pulitzer-winning memoir, the film has been screening in New York and L.A. for awards movers and shakers over the past few days ahead of its nationwide theatrical debut on Dec. 22 before streaming globally on Amazon Prime Video on Jan. 7, 2022. According to the tagline, “The Tender Bar tells the story of J.R. (Sheridan), a fatherless boy growing up in the glow of a bar where the bartender, his Uncle Charlie (Affleck), is the sharpest and most colorful of an assortment of quirky and demonstrative father figures. As the boy’s determined mother (Rabe) struggles to provide her son with opportunities denied to her — and leave the dilapidated home of her outrageous if begrudgingly supportive father (Christopher Lloyd) — J.R. begins to gamely, if not always gracefully, pursue his romantic and professional dreams — with one foot persistently placed in Uncle Charlie’s bar.”

That’s it for this week, other than for any breaking news relating to the IATSE strike.