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End of Week Production Notes 11/5/21: The Rock Says No Guns On His Sets, Gal Gadot Joins Snow White, and More News


Happy Friday!

Since we’re still reeling from the tragic and preventable death of Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, it’s still very much in the news cycle, and earlier this week, a group of prestigious DPs released a statement and petition demanding that functional firearms be banned from sets. (In turn, Hutchins’ husband has hired a law firm, specializing in wrongful death cases.)

They have support from a true A-list superstar, as Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock spoke to Variety on the red carpet a day later, and he declared that his production company, Seven Bucks, would no longer212222 allow real guns on set for its productions…  that is, except his own physical guns that he works very hard to attain with intense daily workouts.

Red Notice
Gal Gadot in Red Notice (Netflix)

Johnson’s action-comedy Red Notice hits select theaters today before streaming on Netflix on Nov. 12, and his co-star Gal Gadot seemed to relish in her more villainous role in the movie, because she’s signed onto the Walt Disney Studios live-action remake of Snow White, as reported by Deadline. But she won’t play the eventual sleeping beauty that’s friend to dwarves everywhere. No, Gadot has signed to play the Evil Queen that puts the title character, played by Rachel Zegler, to sleep. Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man) is directing with Marc Platt producing with production to begin in 2022. The original animated Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was released in 1938, and it became the beginning of over 80 years of animated features from the Mouse House. Apparently, the studio long had its eye on Gadot for the role of the classic Disney villain.

Werewolf by Night
Werewolf by Night (Marvel Comics)

From Gal to Gael, as BAFTA-nominated Mexican actor Gael García Bernal looks to have finally signed up for the Marvel Universe, according to The Wrap‘s Umberto Gonzalez. Bernal will be playing the lead in a Halloween special for Disney+, which will begin production in early 2022, and which is rumored to be based on Marvel’s ’70s horror character, known as Werewolf by Night. It has not been reported whether Bernal will actually play said werewolf, a character created by Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog for a 1972 issue of Marvel Spotlight before getting his own Werewolf by Night series. Last year, Marvel introduced a Latino version of the character, Jack Gomez, a member of the Hopi tribe who has been cursed with lycanthropy. In theory, Bernal could be playing this version of the character.

And speaking of Snow WhiteJon M. Chu delayed the start of production of his movie version of the beloved Broadway hit musical, Wicked, for Universal Pictures. Even so, he has already cast two of the movie’s stars, as we learned from the Instagram accounts of Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo, who have been cast as Glinda and Elphaba, respectively. Wicked has been running on Broadway for 18 years, and the Tony and Grammy-winning Erivo is no stranger to the stage, having caused quite a stir in the production of The Color Purple before making the transition to movies and television. Erivo’s character, Elphaba, was originated on Broadway by fellow Tony winner, Idina Menzel, while Glinda was first played by Kristin Chenoweth. Both were nominated for Tonys but only Menzel won, and the overall cast recording album won a Grammy in 2005.

Production is set to start in the summer of 2022 with producer Marc Platt (also directing that live-action Snow White movie) and his Marc Platt Productions. Universal’s Senior Executive Vice President of Production Erik Baiers and Vice President of Production Development Lexi Barta will oversee.

You can see both their announcements below:



The Incal (Humanoids)

It looks like Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) is going to be keeping busy until the year 2050 (at least), because he keeps signing on and being attached to direct various projects. This week, it was reported that he will direct a movie version of the graphic novel, The Incal, which was penned by cult filmmaker  Alejandro Jodorowsky. It’s the first foray into film by the book’s publisher, Humanoid, who reissued the series illustrated by the late Jean Giraud, better known as “Moebius,” in 2001 and 2002. The character was first introduced in French comics released in the ’80s that were eventually translated and released in the States by Marvel Comics‘ Epic imprint. The series involves private investigator John Difool, who happens upon a mystical artifact known as the Incal, an object of great power coveted by many factions across the galaxy. As Difool learns of the Incal’s powers and purpose, he teams with a ragtag crew on a mission to save the universe. Humanoids is producing with David Jourdan‘s Primer Entertainment, which acquired a stake in the publisher in 2019.

Humanoids CEO Fabrice Giger said about the project, “It began as the adventures of a jackass named John Difool, and then it became something else — we called it ‘The Incal’ — something that has transformed everything it’s ever touched and continues to do so: its creators, the other artists who later became a part of John’s journey, its publisher Humanoids and myself in the process, countless readers, writers and directors around the world, and soon, I believe, the great Taika Waititi himself and everyone who looks to him for inspiration.”

Taika Waititi
Taika Waititi in Free Guy (20th Century)

Giger introduced Jodorowsky to Waititi’s previous work about which Jodorowsky said, “I fully trust Taika’s creativity to give ‘The Incal’ a stunning take, intimate and at the same time of cosmic proportions.” 

Waititi himself added, “The films and graphic novels of Alejandro Jodorowsky have influenced me and so many others for so long. I was stunned to be given the opportunity to bring his iconic characters to life.”

Created by filmmaker and writer Jodorowsky and French artist Moebius at the end of the ’70s, “The Incal” has a devoted readership, having become the highest-selling science fiction graphic novel in history. The graphic novel is the foundation of the “Jodoverse,” which encompasses best-selling comic book series such as “The Metabarons” and “Megalex.”

It looks like Waititi’s Star Wars movie is also still happening, and he has a superstar co-writer working with him on the script, as Oscar nominee Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917Last Night in Soho) told Variety‘s Marc Malkin that she’s been doing a lot of research for the project.  “You have to research, study and spend a lot of time to get it right,” she told the trade at a recent premiere.  “It’s really important to honor not only your commitment to it but also to the legions of fans out there.” Apparently, she even has Darth Maul pajamas, apparently.

Neil Phillips
Neil Phillips (HFPA)

After a year full of controversy over the group’s lack of diversity, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has finally hired its first Chief Diversity Officer in Neil Phillips.

“Neil brings a powerful voice for inclusion and diversity not just to the HFPA, but also to the Hollywood community and media industry. Through our reform process, we believe it is not sufficient to just make progress internally, but also necessary to provide a platform for greater diversity and inclusion in our industry and the entertainment community our members cover,” said HFPA President Helen Hoehne in a statement. “His willingness to talk openly about uncomfortable subjects and lead by example makes him an exceptional voice for change and we look forward to supporting his work.”

Phillips responded in kind by saying, “The HFPA has welcomed me and given me the opportunity to work not only with them, but the broader Hollywood and media industries that have struggled to discuss these issues of race openly and candidly without fear. I have always believed love is the answer to just about everything and if that makes people uncomfortable, that’s okay because discomfort signals an opportunity for growth and discussion. I’ve spent my entire career managing my own discomfort and diving deeply into the realm of breaking the bonds of systemic racism and having the uncomfortable, yet productive, conversations that can radically change organizations and individual lives.”

A scene from Belfast (Focus Features)
A scene from Belfast (Focus Features)

On Wednesday, we missed reporting on a few stories, including the nominees for the 2021 British Independent Film Awards, where Kenneth Branagh‘s Belfast, which will be released in North American theaters next Friday, Nov. 12, and Philip Barantini‘s Boiling Point led others with 11 nominations apiece. Oddly, Belfast was not nominated for Best British Independent Film or Branagh for Director, maybe because it’s considered an Irish film? 

Instead, the five features selected were Boiling Point; Sean Durkin‘s The Nest; Joanna Hogg‘s The Souvenir Part II; Aleem Khan‘s After Love, the only film nominated from a first-time filmmaker with Director and Screenplay nods as well; and Clio Barnard‘s Ali and Ava (which received 7 nominations). Barantini, Durkin, Hogg, and Barnard filled out the Director nominations.

Belfast instead thrived with four acting nominations for Caitríona BalfeDame Judi Dench, and Ciarán Hinds, while newcomer Jude Hilwas nominated for his Breakthrough Performance. Branagh’s film also received nominations for Cinematography, Costume Design, Editing, Music (to Van Morrison!), Make-up and Hair, Production Design. It’s probably one of the few movies nominated that stands a real chance at getting into this year’s Oscar race. (You can read my review here.)

You can see the full line-up of below-the-line nominations below:

Best Cinematography sponsored by Dirty Looks & Kodak






Best Costume Design

MICHAEL O’CONNOR The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

GRACE SNELL The Souvenir Part II

GUY SPERANZA Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

ANNIE SYMONS Benediction


Best Editing

HELLE LE FEVRE The Souvenir Part II





Best Music sponsored by Universal Music Publishing



JED KURZEL Encounter



Best Make-Up & Hair




NADIA STACEY Everybody’s Talking About Jamie


Best Effects



RUPERT DAVIES The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Best Production Design

JIM CLAY Belfast


SUZIE DAVIES The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

AIMEE MEEK Boiling Point


Best Sound supported by Halo


JAMES DRAKE Boiling Point




Speaking of awards, were you aware that there was a World Choreography Awards?

You do now, and they just announced their own awards nomination for film and television, the “Choreo” awards to be held on Monday, Dec. 13 at the Globe Theater in Downtown L.A. The film nominees are Ashley Wallen (Jingle Jangle, A Christmas Journey), Aakomon Jones (Work It), Casey Nicholaw (The Prom), Chris Scott (The Spirit of Christmas), and Jennifer Weber and Jeffrey Mortensen (Zombies 2)(These may be for 2020 films, since there have been so many musicals this year, and none were nominated.) The television episodic nominees were Kenny Ortega & Paul Becker for Julie & the PhantomsTommy Tonge for Penny Dreadful, City of AngelsChristian Vincent for Self MadeMandy Moore (of course), for Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, and Alfred Noland Thomas IIAnthony AJ Jackson Josh Killacky for Howard High.

You read the full list of nominees at WorldChoreographyAwards.com/

Boondock Saints
Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery in Boondock Saints

We missed a few bits of movie news on Weds, including the news that filmmaker Troy Duffy is going back to the well for a Boondock Saints III, with Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) and Sean Patrick Flanery in talks to reprise the popular characters of brothers Connor and Murphy McManus in the crime-action thriller franchise, who are always looking to rid their Boston hometown of crime. Impossible Dream Entertainment has partnered with Shaun Redick (Get Out, BlacKkKlansman) and Yvette Yates Redick to produce the package with Don Carmody (Good Will Hunting) and Duffy, who wrote the script for the film with Flannery with input from Reedus. Todd MyersDragonfly Films financed the film, and The Exchange brought it to the virtual American Film Market, which is just wrapping up.

Duffy said, “The fans have loved these characters for 20 years. They use terms of endearment like ‘the Brothers’ or ‘the Boys.’ We left them in jail at the end of Boondock 2 and fans want to know what happened to them. Norman and Sean have been a driving force to keep this franchise on track and break some new ground story-wise. The fans have been waiting. They literally ask about it daily, and I am really excited to be working with Impossible Dream to make Boondock III a reality.”

GANTZ Omnibus (Dark Horse Comics

Also, Overlord director Julis Avery has signed on to direct Sony Pictures‘ Gantz, based on the popular Japanese manga comic, according to Deadline. (It looks like comic books will forever be considered the perfect source material/IP for film studios.) Avery just wrapped production on his star-studded action movie Bullet Train for Sony, and he’s looking into tackling the manga series written and illustrated by Hiroya Oku next with the adaptation written by Marc Guggenheim (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) and produced by Temple Hill. Oku’s series tells the story of two men, Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato, who died in a train accident and are taking part in a semi-posthumous “game” in which they and several other recently deceased people are forced to hunt down and kill aliens armed to the teeth with all sorts of futuristic weapons and gadgets. The series has been adapted into a number of anime series as well as a Japanese feature. There is no production start date yet.

In an interview with Millenium boss, Jeffrey Greenstein, at AFM,  The Hollywood Reporter has learned that the production banner’s Red Sonja movie will begin production in the spring of 2022 with Hannah John Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp) in the lead role. Millennium is also looking to expand some of its successful film franchises like the Has Fallen series, starring Gerard ButlerSylvester Stallone‘s Rambo; Hellboy; and yes, even The Expendables (currently filming its fourth installment) into television series. No details on whether these will be spin-offs, prequels, or whether they might star any of the original stars.

A few quick casting bits…

Joe Alwyn is joining Margaret Qualley in Claire Denis‘ The Stars at Noon, being produced for A24. He replaces Taron Egerton, who had to leave for another project. Denis adapted and will direct the romantic drama from Denis Johnson‘s novel set in the Nicaraguan Revolution of 1984.

Mel Gibson is joining the family fantasy-adventure, Boys of Summer, written by Cornelius Uliano and Bryan Schulz, directed by David Henrie, as is Mason Thames. It’s produced by Mark Fasano of Nickel City Pictures and James Henrie of Novo Media Group and will be financed and executive produced by John Blandford and Dan McDonough of Pastime Pictures. Tobias Weymar and Annie Mahoney of Nickel City, and Lorenzo Henrie and Amanda Devine of Novo Media Group are exec. producing.

If you haven’t checked out or subscribed to our Production Listings, now is the perfect time as they’re available (and updated daily) at a new low subscription rate.

Miracle Workers
Danielle Radcliffe (L) and Geraldine Viswanathan in Miracle Workers (TBS)

Shifting deeper into television, WarnerMedia‘s cable ventures TBS and TruTV has announced (via Deadline) some renewals, TBS renewing the comedy anthology Miracle Workers, starring Daniel Radcliffe, while also giving Damon Wayans comedy series, Kill the Orange-Faced Bear for a ten-episode order. TruTV has renewed its own comedy series, Tacoma FD, for a fourth season. It has also assigned a date for a return of the dystopian thriller series, Snowpiercer, which will return for its third season on Jan. 24. The seventh season of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee will debut a few days earlier on Jan. 20, while the Season 17 premiere of the animated American Dad! will also premiere on Jan. 24.

It’s also been announced that Fox has renewed its Fantasy Island unscripted series for a second season.

Hulu has renewed Wu-Tang: An American Saga for its third and final season.

Deon Taylor‘s Hidden Empire Film Group is developing a 10-episode scripted limited series on hip-hop mogul, Percy Miller aka Master P, with Matthew Carnahan (House of Lies) set as the showrunner. Taylor is developing with his production partner wife, Roxanne Avent Taylor, the two having had a number of theatrical hits with The Intruder and Black and Blue. The series will span 30 years of Master P’s life, charting his journey from childhood through his success in the music business. Carnahan and Taylor are co-writing the series, while Deon Taylor will direct and exec. produce with Avent Taylor. Master P, Wayne Barrow, and Kristi Kilday are also exec. producing for the former’s CP3 Productions, with Hidden Empire’s Omar Joseph serving as co-producer.

On the project, Master P stated, “My life has been a whirlwind journey and starting at such a young age I learned that if you want something in life, you need to chase after it. Whether it was playing pro basketball or coming up with a new path, the hustle was always there. To be working with Deon Taylor, Matthew Carnahan and the rest of our team to tell my story is something I never expected in life but am truly honored and blessed by. I look forward to sharing my story and share the message that you can do anything you put your mind to with hard work, dedication and putting God first.”

Deon Taylor added, “Master P is one of the most iconic names in all of hip-hop, but his legacy is even more inspiring. He is someone who I and many others have looked up to not only for his music, but also for his business savviness and entrepreneurial skills. We have all learned something from him and it is an honor to be able to tell his story in an elevated way.”

Carnahan also stated, “Master P has always been a larger-than-life superhero to me, but digging into his true story, it becomes even more remarkable to see that Percy has created his mythos out of will, faith, determination and a deep love and devotion to his family. I can’t wait to help bring this story to the screen.”

Meanwhile, a docuseries about basketball superstar, Magic Johnson, who recently commemorated the 30th anniversary of declaring that he had HIV, has landed at Apple TV+.

Sex and the City Star Kim Cattrall is joining Hulu’s How I Met Your Mother spin-off series, called (what else?) How I Met Your Father, in a recurring role as the older version of Hilary Duff‘s main character, Sophie. The other cast joining Duff in the “flashbacks” to 2021 are Chris Lowell, Francia RaisaTom Ainsley, Tien Tran, and Suraj Sharma.

Season 2 of HBO‘s Emmy-nominated drama series, Perry Mason, will add some new cast, including Katherine Waterston, Hope DavisJon Chaffin, Fabrizio Guido, Peter Mendoza, Onohoua Rodriguez, and Jee Young HanDiarra Kilpatrick, who played Clara Drake in Season 1, has been promoted to a series regular. Season 2 of the series will begin months after the big trial that ended Season 1.

Daniel Dae Kim from Lost is joining Netflix’s new live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series, playing “Fire Lord Ozai,” the ruthless leader of the Fire Nation. He joins Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko, Gordon Cormier as Aang, Kiawentiio (who stars in the indie Beans, in theaters and VOD today) as Katara, and Ian Ousley as Sokka. Albert Kim is the showrunner, executive producer and writer on the series, with Rideback’s Dan Lin and Lindsey Liberatore executive producing, along with Michael Goi. Roseanne Liang is co-executive producer and is directing along with Goi, Jabbar Raisani, and Jet Wilkinson. The popular Nickelodeon animated series was previously adapted into a live action feature directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

In exec. news, 20th TV‘s Erin May is joining Apple TV+ as Senior Creative Executive.

Getting into some trailers, Universal Pictures released the second trailer for its upcoming holiday animated release, Sing 2, which follows the 2016 movie that grossed $634 million worldwide. This one is also directed by Garth Jennings (who we’re hoping to speak to), and it features a terrific voice cast that includes Matthew McConaugheyReese WitherspoonScarlett JohanssonTaron Egerton, Nick KrollBobby Cannavale, and Bono. (Yes. THAT Bono.)

That’s a wrap on this week. Marvel Studios‘ Eternals opens in theaters nationwide today, so check back on Monday for how it fared at the box office. (It has grossed $9.5 million from its Thursday previews last night.)

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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Vicon Introduces Mobile Mocap at SIGGRAPH

Motion capture systems developer Vicon is previewing a futuristic new “Mobile Mocap” technology at SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver. Moving mocap out of the lab and into the field, Vicon's Mobile Mocap system taps several new technologies, many years in the making. At the heart of Mobile Mocap is a very small lipstick-sized camera that enables less obtrusive, more accurate facial animation data. The new cameras capture 720p (1280X720) footage at 60 frames per second. In addition, a powerful processing unit synchronizes, stores, and wirelessly transmits the data, all in a tiny wearable design.

Beowulf and 3-D