Part of me wanted to just go with “End of Week Production Notes” a couple days early, because most of us will be off for the next few days as we head into the official holiday season. Presumably, some productions may still be catching up due to COVID shutdowns and will continue to work right up until Dec. 23 with just a few days off, but hopefully, the coming weekend won’t open things up to yet another COVID spike like we saw last year.
Speaking of productions wrapping, Marvel Studios‘ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the third movie in that franchise starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly has wrapped, as noted on Twitter by Director Peyton Reed, accompanied by some neat concept art by Mark James Hiblin.
Principal photography on ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA is now complete! Can’t wait to show you all what we’ve been up to…
(Art by Mark James Hiblin) pic.twitter.com/wgPcewSakx
— Peyton Reed (@MrPeytonReed) November 23, 2021
According to Variety, Amazon Prime Video has already set a few UK locations for the second season of its Lord the Rings series, which has moved the production from the New Zealand locations where the first season was shot. That first season won’t even air until Sept. 2, 2o22, but Season 2 will already be well into pre-production beginning in the spring of next year. Reportedly, the production will be filming at the 54,000 square feet Bray Film Studios in Maidenhead, to the west of London, and Bovingdon Airfield in Hertfordshire, northwest of London, which has 60 acres of open land. Other filming locations will also be scouted for what should be a huge production for the UK.
It also looks like David Gordon Green‘s Halloween Ends, the third part of his horror trilogy, will begin shooting in January, which should give it just enough time to make its October 2022 release date. It’s scheduled to film in Savannah, Georgia, and in Salt Lake City, Utah.
If you’re anything like me, you may have wondered what has happened to Kevin Spacey since he was accused of unwanted sexual advances during the rise of the #MeToo movement. (Other than this awkward annual holiday greetings on his social media channels.) The first accusation against Spacey came from actor Anthony Rapp in late 2017, and then eight anonymous crew members complained about harassment and groping from the Oscar-winning actor, leading to an investigation by House of Cards production company, MRC. Besides being ousted from that Netflix series, Spacey was also replaced in Ridley Scott‘s film All the Money in the World by the late Christopher Plummer. In fact, Scott did an extra week of reshoots in order to redo Spacey’s scenes with Plummer. That’s how serious the allegations were.
Now, it looks like Spacey will be paying even more for his sexual misconduct, and this time it will be in the form of actual money. In a ruling made in Oct. 2020, arbitrator Bruce Friedman ruled in favor of House of Cards production company MRC in its case against Spacey over his firing from the show, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. From this ruling, MRC will be awarded $29.5 million in damages and $1.4 million in attorney fees and costs, sought in revenue that was lost from Spacey’s sudden exit. Although the arbitration had remained confidential for a year, it became public when MRC filed a motion in Los Angeles Superior Court to confirm the amount t was to be awarded.
“The safety of our employees, sets and work environments is of paramount importance to MRC and why we set out to push for accountability,” MRC said in a statement, adding that Friedman “found that Spacey—as a result of certain conduct in connection with several crew members in each of the five seasons that he starred in and executive produced House of Cards— had repeatedly breached his contractual obligations to provide his services ‘in a professional manner’ and ‘consistent with [MRC’s] reasonable directions, practices, and policies,’ including MRC’s Harassment Policy—all without the knowledge of MRC.”
In 2017, MRC’s workplace investigator stated that Spacey breached his acting and producing agreements “that set standards for his workplace conduct, including by breaching MRC’s Harassment Policy.”
According to MRC, the arbitration hearing included 8 days of live testimony and 20 hours of videotaped deposition testimony with MRC filing, “With one exception, the Arbitrator found the third party witnesses to be credible, and found the allegations against Spacey to be true.”
A three-judge arbitration panel also rejected an appeal from Spacey and his production entities, Profitt Productions and Trigger Street Productions. Spacey had filed a counterclaim, alleging he was owed money after being dropped from the series, and stating that he did not breach his contract.
One movie we can start looking forward to for 2022 is the latest from Todd Field. Tár is the three-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker’s first film since 2006’s Little Children 15 years ago, and it’s currently filming in Berlin, Germany. (Field was working on another movie since then but it was “abandoned,” according to IMDb. )
Tár stars Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (next starring in Adam McKay‘s Don’t Look Up for Netflix), and according to Deadline, Focus Features will be releasing the movie on Oct. 7, 2022, and the cast also includes Nina Hoss (Jack Ryan), Noémie Merlant (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), cellist Sophie Kauer, Julian Glover, Mark Strong (Shazam!), Allan Corduner, and Sylvia Flote. In the movie, Blanchett plays orchestra conductor Lydia Tár, the first female chief conductor of a major German orchestra with the score for the film being composed by Joker‘s Oscar-winning composer, Hildur Guðnadóttir, who became the first woman to win the Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA for Original Score. Field is producing Tár under his Standard Film Company banner with Alexandra Milchan & Scott Lambert for Emjag Productions. The pic is currently shooting in Berlin. Field previously directed the 2006 New Line drama Little Children starring Kate Winslet.
Maybe one movie that few expected to see is a sequel to Paramount Pictures‘ family film, Clifford the Big Red Dog, since it was delayed a number of times and then ended up on Paramount+ day-and-date with its theatrical release, but guess what? It’s considered a hit since it fared far better in theaters than most expected, having grossed $33 million after less than two weeks in theaters, and so Paramount is indeed developing a sequel.
Now that the Brian Epstein biopic, Midas Man, is back up and running with new director Sara Sugarman (Vinyl), it’s starting to add more cast, and one interesting bit of casting is that former Tonight Show host Jay Leno will be playing television variety show host Ed Sullivan in the biopic. Being that Epstein was the manager of The Beatles, the biggest band on the planet during the ’60s, it makes sense to include the band’s famous debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
Actress Zoey Deutch (Before I Fall, Zombieland: Double Tap, Buffaloed) has been cast as the lead in Daryl (How It Ends) Wein‘s romantic comedy, Something from Tiffany’s, an Amazon Original movie based on Melissa Hill‘s novel of the same name. It’s a co-production between Amazon Studios and Reese Witherspoon‘s Hello Sunshine, which was recently acquired in a deal worth $900 million by Blackstone. Wein will direct from a script adapted by Tamara Chestna, and it will be produced by Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter for Hello Sunshine, and executive produced by Deutch. In the comedy that will debut exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in 240 countries, Deutch will play a woman whose life is upended when an engagement ring meant for someone else leads her to the person she’s meant to be with.
Ben Young‘s adaptation of David Joy‘s novel Where All Light Tends To has already been filming in Atlanta, Georgia since the start of this month with leads Billy Bob Thornton, Robin Wright, and Hopper Penn, and they’re being joined by Emma Booth, Brian d’Arcy James, and Jackie Earle Haley (the latter who received an Oscar nomination for Todd Field’s last movie, Little Children). The film is produced by Griff Furst of Curmudgeon Films, Josh Kesselman of Thruline Entertainment and Wright with Ruth Bornhauser co-producing. The story is set in North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains, where Jacob McNeely (Penn’s character) is torn between appeasing his meth-dealing kingpin father and leaving the mountains forever with the girl he loves.
We’ll wrap up our movie news coverage with the report that Thembi Banks will be directing Grammy-winning pop star Cardi B in Paramount Players‘ comedy Assisted Living. This will be Banks’ first directing job at a major studio for the comedy that’s being produced by Temple Hill and Stephen “Dr” Love from an original spec written by Kay Oyegun, which Paramount bought in 2019 and is still developing. The comedy will follow Cardi B’s Amber, “a small time crook, who finds herself in over her head when a heist goes wrong. On the run from both the cops and her former crew, she struggles to find anyone to take her in. Running out of options, Amber disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out in the one place no one will look – her estranged grandmother’s nursing home.” Cardi B last appeared in the summer’s F9, the ninth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise.
A reminder that if you’re a subscriber to Below the Line‘s Production Listings, you can keep tabs on all the projects above and below well in advance of cameras rolling.
In the world of television, the planned Law and Order reboot continues to add cast including Hugh Dancy (Hannibal), who will play one of the leads in the revival of Dick Wolf‘s popular crime drama. Also, Anthony Anderson became the first of the actors from the original series to sign a one-year deal to reprise his character of Detective Kevin Bernard, who appeared on the 18th through the 20th seasons of the original series. Sam Waterston has also been approached and is still in discussions to return. Dancy will play a new Assistant District Attorney character, joining Jeffrey Donovan, who has been cast as the series’ other lead, a NYPD detective.
Cable network Starz has set the return date for the 6th season of its popular series, Outlander, which will air across all Starz platforms on Sunday, March 6, 2022, at 9 pm. It will be based on Diana Gabaldon‘s sixth book in her Outlander series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
HBO has given a series order to the music industry drama limited series, The Idol, and actress Suzanna Son, who is absolutely amazing in Sean Baker‘s Red Rocket (out in a few weeks) is joining the cast that includes Grammy-winning pop star The Weeknd (Uncut Gems) and Lily-Rose Depp, who appears in Focus Features’ Wolf, which will hit theaters on December 3. All six episodes are directed by Amy Seimetz (She Dies Tomorrow).
Meanwhile, the venerable soap, General Hospital, has now lost its SECOND cast member due to its vaccine mandate, as Steve Burton parted ways with the ABC daytime drama with his last day being October 27, something which the actor announced via (what else?) Instagram:
You can read what Below the Line columnist, Neil Turitz, had to say about actors leaving projects due to vaccine mandates in last week’s The Accidental Turitz, but also check out this week’s new column (which is about the lawsuit over the “non-existent profits” for the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody.)
The Fox drama series, Monarch, has named its new showrunner, as Jon Feldman (Designated Survivor) will be replacing Michael Rauch in that role to lead the country music series, starring Susan Sarandon, Trace Adkins, and Anna Friel. The series will debut on Sunday night, January 30, at 10 pm.
Season 3 of Amazon Prime Video‘s hit series, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan has wrapped with a premiere date still to be set, but five actors have been announced to join the series’ 4th season. The new cast includes Zuleikha Robinson (The Exorcist) as Zeyara, Louis Ozawa (Hunters) as Chao Fah, and Grammy winner Okieriete Onaodowan (Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Station 19) as Adebayo “Ade” Osoji. They’re also joined by Derek Cecil (House of Cards) who will play Senator Morgan, while Nancy Lenehan (People of the Earth) will recur as Senator Joan Henshaw. The series is a co-production of Amazon Studios, Paramount Television Studios, and Skydance Television. It’s EPed by Andrew Form, Allyson Seeger, star John Krasinski, Vaun Wilmott, Brad Fuller, and Michael Bay. Furthermore, Tom Clancy and Skydance Television’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Bill Bost all exec. produce with Mace Neufeld and Carlton Cuse.
Since this will be our last news column for the week, we’re gonna share a few longer-form teasers than usual, oddly two of them from NBCUniversal companies. The first is from streamer Peacock, which released an extended Red Band (for language) teaser for its upcoming MacGruber series, which will debut on December 16, bringing back the popular Saturday Night Live characters created by Will Forte and Kristin Wiig, who also appeared in the 2010 film of the same name.
A day later, Universal Pictures released “The Prologue,” a five-and-a-half minute look at its summer 2022 release, Jurassic World Dominion, although it included a statement that this was not a scene from the movie but separate original content also directed by Director Colin Trevorrow. It also features seven new dinosaur species and is scored by Michael Giacchino, who also scores Jurassic World and next year’s The Batman. Universal will release Jurassic World Dominion on June 10, 2022, after delaying it nearly a year.
Being Thanksgiving weekend, we’ll end things on a family film with the first official trailer for DC League of Super Pets, the animated family film that Warner Bros. will release in May 2022, featuring the voices of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart as Krypto the Super-Dog and Ace the Bat-Hound. It looks like a cute option for the younger set not quite old enough to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and as with most of WB’s 2022 releases, it will only be in theaters.
Enjoy the long weekend. Lots of great movies to see in theaters, including Disney’s Encanto, Jason Reitman‘s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Will Smith‘s King Richard, but also good stuff on streaming, including Disney+’s new Hawkeye series and Peter Jackson‘s docuseries, The Beatles: Get Back.
We’ll be back here on Monday for the “Over the Weekend” wrap-up, although I expect it will mostly just be about the Thanksgiving box office.
Have a great Thanksgiving!