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End of Week Production Notes 4/9/21: The Academy Closes Downtown L.A., FilmLA Increases Fees and More News

April 9, 2021 09:00 | By

Welcome back to the End of Week Production Notes, looking back at the relevant production and industry news from the week.

Before we get to that news, a little bit of a Below the Line exclusive as we spoke with some of the VFX people behind the blockbuster Godzilla vs. Kong this past week — those interviews are forthcoming — and we learned that the movies’s VFX Supervisor, John “DJ” DesJardin, is moving over to Warner Bros. upcoming The Flash movie, directed by Andy Muschietti (It), which makes sense since he was also in charge of the VFX in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which featured the title character, played by Ezra Miller. He’ll be joined on this venture by long-time friend and colleague, Bryan Hirota from Scanline VFX, who also worked on both those previous projects. Look for our 3-part series on the VFX of Godzilla vs. Kong — with some more on Zack Snyder’s Justice League — next week.


oscarThe Oscars are just over two weeks away, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is planning for the big event… with some street closures. Yes, that was what the press release we received earlier in the week was about, because in order to hold an awards ceremony at two locations, including Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, that would require some street closures. It’s nice that they informed those who regularly drive downtown in advance.

Those closures, which might include additional streets and sidewalk closures between Sunday, April 4, and Sunday, April 25, are:

Alameda Street between Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and 1st Street, Los Angeles Street between Alameda Street and 1st Street, and intersecting streets will be closed beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, April 25, and will remain closed until 4 a.m. on Monday, April 26.  The 101 Freeway off-ramp and on-ramps at Los Angeles Street will also be closed during this period.

The press release adds that Union Station will remain open to transit riders throughout this period, and riders will be able to access all bus, rail, Metrolink, Amtrak and private transportation providers, along with vendors.  Furthermore, Olvera Street merchants and area churches will remain accessible to the public, and the Academy is working in partnership with community organizations and the city to conduct outreach on the ground to ensure minimal disruption to all residents in the area.

The 93rd Oscars will take place on Sunday, April 25, 2021, and be broadcast on ABC at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific.


FilmLALogoWe don’t like burying the lede here at Below the Line, but we clearly missed something in yesterday’s FilmLA sound stage report, which is that FilmLA will be raising its service fees roughly 13-15% for film permits starting May 6.

About the decision, the company stated, “The decision to increase fees was made in consultation with our government clients and the FilmLA board of directors, which is comprised of film industry and community representatives. It follows a thorough analysis of current program and personnel expenses, and the impact of COVID-19 on our financial reserves and revenue from permit operations.”

FilmLA are hoping that over an eight-year period, the fee increase will help restore the company’s financial position from before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As always, FilmLA strives to keep fees reasonable and necessary to meet the service expectations of our film industry and municipal clients,” the statement continues.“We last adjusted our fees in July of 2019. Following this year’s adjustment, FilmLA permits will still be priced competitively, compared to regional alternatives, while ensuring no reductions in service quality for all.”

You can see the full list of the new service fees over at FilmLA.


Director Ava Duvernay tweeted out that production had begun on her CW pilot for Naomi, based on the DC Comics character, created by Brian Michael BendisDavid F. Walker and Jamal Campbell.


Earlier in the week, it was announced that Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page and his popular character, Simon Bassett, would not be returning for Season 2 of the show. Besides a few tidbits about why that wasn’t happening, the Netflix series announced new cast for the 2nd season of the popular period drama series. Apparently, Page was only contracted in a deal to play the character for one season, but The Hollywood Reporter found out that Page was offered $50,000 an episode to appear in three to five episodes of the second season, but he declined for a number of reasons.

A statement on the show’s

“We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family,” said a message on the show’s official social media accounts. “Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer – more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear.”

As far as the new cast joining Simone Ashley as Kate for the 2nd season of the Shondaland and Netflix series, they are Charithra Chandran, Shelley Conn, Calam Lynch, and Rupert Young. Chandran will play Kate’s younger sister Edwina Sharma, Conn will play Mary Sharma, Lynch will play the printer’s assistant. Young will play Jack, the newest member of “the Ton” with a connection to one of its families.


The terrific film website The Film Stage seems to have become the go-to source for all things Noah Baumbach, especially when it comes to his upcoming adaptation of Don DeLillo‘s White Noise for Netflix, which will star Adam Driver and Baumbach’s partner, Greta Gerwig. First, they’ve learned that film co-stars Emily Mortimer and Alessandro Nivola‘s real-life children, 11-year -old May and 17-year-old Sam, have joined the ensemble, as revealed in Bazaar UK via a tweet about the story:

https://twitter.com/yasmin_omar6/status/1379731333233119234

The two young actors appear in the upcoming anthology film With/In, while May was also in Head Full of Honey and Sam was in Doll & Em and River of Fundament.

The Film Stage also learned that production on the movie will begin in June for seven months in Northeast Ohio with a budget of $80 million, which has to be Baumbach’s most expensive film, although the production is receiving $24 million in tax credits, according to the same story.


Some more casting news from the past week…

Jack Fisk

Jack Fisk

Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon marks the ninth collaboration between Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and it’s being produced by Apple Originals for eventual release on Apple TV+. This past weekend, the film added two musicians to the cast, Grammy-winning singer/songwriters Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson, as well as actors Louis Cancelmi from The Irishman and William Belleau. Those eagle-eyed editors at Film Stage also found Graphic Designer Karen Teneyck‘s personal resume, which listed two-time Oscar nominee, Production Designer Jack Fisk, as part of Scorsese’s team. Fisk’s last Oscar nomination was for The Revenant, for which DiCaprio won an Oscar, and he’s also worked extensively with Terrence Malick and P.T. Anderson. This will be the first time that Fisk and Scorsese will work together.

Renee Elise Goldsberry

Renee Elise Goldsberry (Photo: Disney)

Hamilton‘s Renée Elise Goldsberry is joining Tatiana Maslany‘s lawyer-turned-superhero Jen Walters in Marvel Studios‘ Disney+’s upcoming legal comedy She-Hulk, based on the Marvel Comics character. She will play a character named Amelia, joining the previously-announced Ginger Gonzaga as Walters’ best friend. Mark Ruffalo will be reprising his role as Bruce Banner aka The Hulk, while The Incredible Hulk’s antagonist The Abomation, played by Tim Roth, will also appear on the series.

Actress Nia Long has joined Storm Reid and others in Searching 2, the sequel to Aneesh Chaganty‘s 2018 hit thriller that will not be a direct sequel to that film. In fact, it will be directed by Will Merrick & Nick Johnson, making their directorial debut. The other actors joining the project are Joaquim de Almeida, Ken Leung, Amy Landecker, Daniel Henney, Megan Suri and Tim Griffin.

Benny Safdie, one half of the the filmmaking Safide Brothers (Uncut Gems), has been branching out more into his acting with last year’s Pieces of a Woman, and he’s continuing in that track, having scored a role on Lucasfilm‘s Obi-Wan Kenobi.  It was just announced this week that he will be joining the cast of the adaptation of Judy Blume‘s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen), playing Margaret’s father, Herb.

Two more actors have joined the cast of Warner Bros’ Black Adam movie, starring Dwayne Johnson: 13-year-old Bodhi Sabongui will play a key role that’s being kept under wraps, while Tony-nominated James Cusati-Moyer, who just wrapped Shondaland’s new Netflix series, Inventing Anna, starring Julia Garner, will also play an undisclosed character.


For anyone reading this who doesn’t spend as much time on set as others or maybe who doesn’t know what everyone in each individual department does on set, Filmmaker IQ has offered a helpful video about all those jobs you see listed at the end of a movie and what they all do, both those above the line as well as those below it. (Heads up to Film School Rejects, who brought this to our attention.)


We caught a number of new trailers this week, including two amazing Oscar-caliber actors in straight-up thrillers. First, we have Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie in Those Who Wish Me Dead, based on Michael Koryta‘s novel and directed by Taylor Sheridan (writer of Hell or High Water) from a screenplay he co-wrote with Koryta and Charles Leavitt. It will be released by New Line Cinema on May 14.

Next, we have the upcoming Hitchcockian thriller, The Woman in the Window, starring multiple Oscar nominee Amy  Adams as an agoraphobic woman who witnesses a horrifying act of violence. The movie is directed by Joe Wright (AtonementDarkest Hour) based on Tracy Letts‘ adaptation of A.J. Finn‘s bestselling novel, and that will also be out on May 14, only this one will stream on Netflix.

Lastly, we have the first trailer for Jupiter’s Legacy, the new Netflix series from Mark Millar, the co-creator of Kick-Ass and Wanted, which is also the first release from the Netflix acquisition of his company Millarworld way back in August 2018. Based on the comic of the same name, Jupiter’s Legacy is a snarky R-rated superhero series in the vein of Amazon’s The Boys.