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End of Week Production Notes 5/7/21: Broadway is Back, HFPA Agrees on Changes, A New Red Sonja, and More News

May 7, 2021 09:30 | By

Production has begun to boom again both nationwide and overseas, and because of that, actors are starting to line up their next projects and various shows are starting to cast up, which means there’s been more news than there has been in previous months.

Chicago

Photo by Marc J. Franklin

But first, we’ll start with something a bit off our normal beat as there was good news in New York City, where it was announced that Broadway would be reopening in September with full capacity in theaters, although there might be some need for proof of vaccination to achieve full capacity. Either way, tickets for the show that would be reopening went on sale on Thursday with one of the shows to reopen being the long-running revival of the musical, Chicago, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Again, it might not necessarily be film or television but Broadway employs thousands of workers from stagehands to ushers, and being down for over a year has really hurt that industry.


GoldenGlobeLogoIf you’ve been paying attention to the controversy swirling around the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the group that gives out the Golden Globes,  over the past few months, many people were upset with the group’s lack of Black members (exactly zero) and recent charges of corruption, but there have been some developments to correct things.

On Thursday, the group passed new by-laws for the group to include inclusion and reform with a vote of 75 of the group’s 86 members choosing to make sweeping changes to the group’s membership and standards. This vote allows the HFPA board to hire a new CEO, a Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, as well as other executives, as well as to set up a hotline to report conduct violations. The HFPA will begin to look for new members with an aim to add 20 new members in the next year and up to a 50% new membership within two years.

HFPA President Ali Star made the following statement after the vote: “Today’s overwhelming vote to reform the Association reaffirms our commitment to change. That’s why we’ve already taken some action that will allow us to make swift progress, because we understand the urgency and issue of transparency, we will be continuously updating the members as we move forward in making our organization more inclusive and diverse. Again, we understand that the hard work starts now. We remain dedicated to becoming a better organization and an example of diversity, transparency and accountability in the industry.”


Last week, we reported that the Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, started production, and this past week, we got a first look at some of the characters on location as HBO revealed a number of first-look photos, including Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon; Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen with Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen; and a third photo of Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower. The series also stars Paddy Considine. (Pictures courtesy HBO; click on images for larger versions.)

House of Dragons

Steve Toussaint on set of House of Dragons

House of the Dragons

Emma D’Arcy and Matt Smith

House of Dragons

Olivia Cooke and Rhys Ifans


Hannah John-Kamen

Hannah John-Kamen (Photo: Marvel Studios/Disney)

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the long-in-development Red Sonja movie from Millenium has cast its title character with Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp) playing the sword-wielding she-devil first introduced by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith in the Conan and the Barbarian comic in the ’70s. Red Sonja was first played on-screen by Brigitte Nielsen in 1985’s Red Sonja, which acted as a sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s Conan the Barbarian. The character has been kept alive in comics published by Dynamite Entertainment with the new film directed by Joey Soloway, who co-write the script with Tasha Huoshowrunner and exec. producer of the upcoming Netflix animated Tomb Raider series.

In a statement, Soloway said, “Hannah is a very talented actress who we’ve been following for years and she IS Red Sonja. Her range, sensibilities and strength are all qualities we have been looking for and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this journey together.”

The vast line-up of producers on the film include Mark Canton (300), Courtney Solomon (After), along with Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman of Campbell Grobman Films. Andrea Sperling from Topple, and Millennium’ Yariv Lerner, Jeffrey Greenstein, Jonathan Yunger, Les Weldon, Joe Gatta, and Tanner Mobley also producing. Millennium’s Avi Lerner, Boaz Davidson, and Trevor Short are exec producing along with Luke Lieberman on behalf of Red Sonja LLC, and Nick Barrucci of Dynamite Entertainment. Dorothy Canton is also an executive producer.

Ben Mendelsohn (Star Wars: Rogue One) has been cast to star opposite Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) in Neil  Burger‘s The Marsh King’s Daughter with production scheduled to start in Canada next month.

John David Washington

John David Washington (Photo: Warner Bros.)

Speaking of Rogue One, that film’s director Gareth Edwards, who also directed Legendary Pictures‘  2014 Godzilla relaunch, is setting up his next film, True Love, at New Regency. Golden Globe and SAG-nominated actor, John David Washingtonhas been cast to lead the sci-fi film, produced and financed by New Regency with Kiri Hart on board as producer.

Netflix is also staying in the comic book business, hiring Oscar-winner Diablo Cody (Juno) to adapt the Dark Horse Entertainment comic Lady Killer from Jamie S. Rich and Joelle James for a feature film starring Blake Lively. Lively will play Josie Schuller,  seemingly a perfect 1950s housewife, who happens to be a highly-trained killer for hire, unbeknownst to her husband. The movie will be produced by Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg of Dark Horse Entertainment, along with Lively and Kate Vorhoff  for B for Effort. The initial comic book won an Eisner Award for Best Limited Series in 2016, and it continues Netflix’s collaboration with Dark Horse that includes the popular Umbrella Academy,  the Jonas Åkerlund film Polar, and the upcoming Mystery Girl, starting Tiffany Haddish.

Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding is joining Dakota Johnson in Netflix and MRC‘s update of Jane Austen‘s Persuasion, a modern-day telling of the romantic drama with Johnson playing the still unmarried Anne Elliot, whose snobby family is on the brink of bankruptcy when she reconnects with Frederick Wenworth, a man she was forced to reject by her family years earlier. It will be the feature film directorial debut of Carrie Cracknell, who directed Jake Gyllenhaal on Broadway in “Sea Wall/A Life,” with a screenplay by Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow. It begins filming this month.

To keep track of these projects and more, subscribe to our Production Listings, updated daily with new projects and updates on production locations and contacts.


Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus

Paramount Pictures intended to release the Antoine Fuqua-directed Mark Wahlberg sci-fi thriller, Infinite, based on D. Eric Maikranz’s novel “The Reincarnationist Papers,” theatrically this summer. Instead, it’s shifted the movie to its streaming service, Paramount+, for a premiere in August. This is part of the streamer’s plan to release a new or original movie every week, as it expands the service by adding 2,500 titles from the vast Paramount library. The plan is dubbed “A Mountain of Movies,” and it will include all new Paramount movies — including the upcoming A Quiet Place: Part 2, which opens theatrically on May 28 — getting a reduced 45-day theatrical window before hitting Paramount+. These plans were announced earlier in the week in a first-quarter earnings call from ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakishwho said that the popularity of Nickelodeon properties like SpongeBob Square Pants have been driving subscriber growth since the service’s March 4 relaunch. (It was formerly called “CBS All Access.”) A Quiet Place: Part 2 will be Paramount Pictures’ first theatrical release since Sonic the Hedgehog on Valentine’s Day 2020.


This week’s new trailer is the second one for Netflix’s fourth season of the popular series Stranger Things, dubbed “From Russia with Love,” which focuses on the Russian setting for the new season. This trailer drops nearly 15 months after the first teaser for Season 4, because production was delayed by the COVID pandemic for a number of months. The trailer seemingly teases the return of Matthew Modine‘s Dr. Martin Brenner as we hear his voice over footage from the Hawkins National Laboratory that he ran and where he performed experiments on children, including Millie Bobby Brown‘s Eleven, although it’s unclear whether this is a flashback or a new development that brought Eleven back to the lab.

Note: It is very likely, that we will be taking Monday off from the usual “Over the Weekend” news update, but we’ll incorporate anything important into the Wednesday “Hump Day Update” instead. This weekend, Guy Ritchie‘s Wrath of Man and Billy Crystal‘s Here Today, co-starring Tiffany Haddish, will hit theaters, and we’ll have updates on how they did on Wednesday as well.