This year’s Academy Awards were barely over when it was announced that a remake of the International Film Oscar winner Another Round from Thomas Vinterberg is in the works after none other than Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio and his production company, Appian Way, picked up the rights to the Scandinavian comedy with Makeready and Endeavor Content. Presumably, Dicaprio is interested in playing an American version of the role played so indelibly by Mads Mikkelsen in the Oscar-winning film. It was quite a sharp shock for fans of the very recent movie, although one has to presume DiCaprio wants to create something that pays tribute to the original movie rather than taking away from it. Who knows? Maybe he’ll even convince his pal Martin Scorsese to direct it? But this could be another movie that goes into development and never comes out of it. We’ll just have to wait and see.
In the world of production, House of the Dragon, the prequel to HBO‘s Game of Thrones, has officially begun its journey towards its 2022 debut, made official on the Game of Thrones Twitter page with a photo from the table read of the series cast seated noticeably far apart for social distancing.
Based on George R.R. Martin‘s Fire & Blood, the series takes place 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, focusing on House Targaryen with Paddy Considine playing King Viserys Targaryen, and co-starring Olivia Cooke, Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy, Fabien Frankel, Rhys Ifans, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best and Sonoya Mizuno.
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) April 26, 2021
As shocking as this might sound to some, there is currently no mandatory vaccine clause in updated return to work protocols for film and television, according to a report by Deadline. Although it’s advised that cast and crew get vaccinated, it has not been made mandatory in the updated protocols that replace the ones that expire today.
A source told Deadline, “To mandate at this point may be premature. That subject has been skirted.” The original return-to-work agreement was signed on September 21 to create an accord between the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (aka management) and the Hollywood unions, SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, the Teamsters and the Basic Crafts. This was months before vaccines were widely available in the United States. The revised agreement still gives workers 10 days of paid sick leave but also adds 10 more sick days between May 1 and December 10, if someone had already used their 10 sick days during the initial period. Unused sick days will not be added to the 10 days guaranteed by the new agreement. L.A. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told Deadline backed the decision: “In our health officer order, we’re not changing any of our guidelines,” but she also said that there may be adjustments made for fully-vaccinated film and television workers in the “long term.”
Up in the Great White North, our Canadian pal Radheyan Simonpillai of Now Toronto has written a fairly comprehensive piece on the state of production in Toronto where television and film production was shut down last March but managed to reopen over the summer with COVID safety protocols in place. Now, Canada seems to be getting hit by a third wave of COVID as vaccines roll-out slower in Canada than in the States, and people are questioning whether it’s time to shut down production a second time. You can read the Now Toronto piece here.
Speaking of Oscars and remakes and production, Michel Hazanavicius, the Oscar-winning French director of the Oscar Best Picture The Artist, has begun production in the outskirts of Paris, France on his next movie, Final Cut — or Z (Comme Z), as it will be called in France — which is a remake of the 2017 Japanese cult hit, One Cut of the Dead.
Screen Daily reports that Hazannavicius’ The Artist star, Bérénice Bejo, has joined the cast, which already has Romain Duris in the lead, as well as co-stars Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Lutz, Sébastian Chassagne, Raphaël Quenard, and emerging talents, Jean-Pascal Zadi, Lyes Salem, Simone Hazanavicius and Luana Bajrami.
There’s a lot to absorb from this announcement, including it being Hazanavicius’ return to straight comedy for the first time in many years, but also, that someone involved with the Japanese zombie comedy, which mostly found its American fanbase through the movie’s film festival run prior to streaming, thought it would find an even bigger audience if the movie was remade into French.
The original movie involves a B-movie shoot that’s invaded by zombies, but it’s actually more than that, and it’s best going into it not knowing what is really going on. The original movie, directed by Shinichiro Ueda, was actually based on a play called Ghost in the Box by Ryoichi Wada, The remake is produced by La Classe Américaine and Getaway Films with SK Global Entertainment and BlueLight, and co-produced by France 2 Cinéma.
Time to get into some casting and development news from the past week.
Beginning with news from today, as Finn Wittrock from various American Horror Story series has been cast as Guy Gardner in HBO Max’s planned Green Lantern series from Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television. It’s the first new DC Entertainment series made specifically for HBO Max, rather than being ported over from The CW or DC Universe, and it’s written by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Seth Grahame-Smith. The series will rewrite the continuity from the comics to introduce a multitude of Green Lanterns from the cocky Guy Gardner, introduced in the ’80s, as well as original WWII Green Lantern Alan Scott and half-alien Bree Jarta (still to be cast), as well as other heroes in the Green Lantern Corps.
Next, some news on projects being developed for the Comcast/NBC/Universal‘s streamer Peacock, which was reported to have hit 42 million subscribers this week, presumably based partially on the service streaming all episodes of The Office, formerly on Netflix.
Firstly, Peacock is producing the new six-part series The Undeclared War with Channel 4, written and directed by Peter Kominsky, the seven-time BAFTA winning director of the Golden Globe-winning Wolf Hall. The project will reunite Kominsky with Wolf Hall star, Mark Rylance, and it will take place in 2024 and will involve spies and political intrigue. Simon Pegg, Adrian Lester, Maisie Richardson-Sellers (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), The Crown‘s Alex Jennings, and newcomer Hannah Khalique-Brown co-star.
Reportedly, Kominsky has been doing research for this project for three years with Lester playing the UK’s first Black Conservative prime minister, and the story being set in the UK’s spy agency GCHQ, as they try to fight off a cyber-attack on the country electoral system. Pegg plays the head of GCHQ’s head of operations to Rylance’s old hand who is brought back into the fold to help fight this attack.2018
Also, actress Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) will direct the first four episodes of the eight-episode Peacock series, Girl in the Woods, based on the Crypt TV horror property that spawned the short film, The Door in the Woods, and its feature-length sequel, The Girl in the Woods. The series will have a different cast than the movies, but it will similarly follow a young woman named Carrie, who escapes from a cult-like colony that protects the world from monsters hidden behind a door. Although the 2020 film starred Kal Penn and Peyton List, it’s expected that their roles will be recast for the series. Crypt TV is the horror content creator formed in 2015 by Jack Davis and Eli Roth with funding by Blumhouse Productions that has created five original Facebook Watch series.
It looks like horror master David Cronenberg is heading back behind the camera to begin production on his next movie with plans to film in Athens, Greece over the summer.
The sci-fi thriller Crime for the Future, written and directed by Cronenberg and produced by long-time collaborator Robert Lantos was announced by Neon and Serendipity Point Films earlier this week. It stars Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart and co-stars Scott Speedman, Welket Bungué, Don McKellar and Lihi Kornowski. It is the first original science fiction movie by Cronenberg since eXistenZ over 20 years ago, this one involving mankind learning to adapt to its synthetic surroundings with Mortensen playing Saul Tenser, “a beloved performance artist who has embraced Accelerated Evolution Syndrome, sprouting new and unexpected organs in his body.” Lantos and Cronenberg previously teamed on Eastern Promises (for which Mortensen received his first of three Oscar nominations), eXistenZ and Crash.
It probably isn’t too surprising to get some Bruce Willis casting news, because the ’90s action-star appears in a LOT of movies. It was announced this week that Willis has joined Jesse Atlas‘ Soul Assassin for Brickell & Broadbridge International with production to begin in June. The movie revolves around a woman’s husband killed in action as part of an experimental new military program and the black-ops soldier then takes his place to find his killer. Atlas makes his feature directorial debut helming the script co-written with Aaron Wolfe, based on their short Let Them Die Like Lovers, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Nomzamo Mbatha from Coming 2 America and Dominic Purcell (Prison Break) are in talks to join the cast.
Emmy winner Maya Rudolph is joining the planned Disney+ sequel Disenchanted, along with Yvette Nicole Brown and Jayma Mays, according to Deadline. The sequel to the 2007 Disney family musical-comedy was announced last December by Disney Studios Head of Production Sean Bailey with Amy Adams, Idina Menzel and James Marsden reprising their roles from the original film, as well as Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken returning to provide songs and music. Apparently, all three of the new cast will play villainous roles.
Lastly, STXfilms announced this past week that it will reteam with Greenland Director Ric Roman Waugh for the sports drama, National Champions, starring Stephen James (If Beale Street Could Talk) and J.K. Simmons, which is being produced by Thunder Road.
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This week’s trailers includes the first teaser for the animated Vivo, featuring the voice of Lin Manuel Miranda, which recently gave up its theatrical release plans by Sony Pictures Animation to be sold to Netflix. For those keeping track, this is the second movie of the year that Sony Pictures sold to Netflix, who seem to want to add to their Oscar ammo to take on Pixar Animation, who have also been throwing their movies onto streamer Disney+. Pixar’s next film, Luca, will hit Disney+ on June 18, two weeks after Vivo hits Netflix.
Next up is the first teaser for The Tomorrow War, another movie that was supposed to get a theatrical release by Paramount Pictures, but instead became the third movie sold to Amazon Prime Video to stream on July 2. The sci-fi epic marks The Lego Batman Movie director Chris McKay‘s live-action feature debut with The Lego Movie voice star Chris Pratt in the lead role. Despite the title, this is not based on a classic science-fiction novel series.
Last but not least, something a little different, as we shift to a new Apple TV+ series starring the wonderful Rose Byrne, called Physical, which seems like it could finally give the actress the spotlight she deserves. The show is directed by Craig Gillespie, director of I, Tonya, Liza Johnson (Elvis & Nixon) and Stephanie Laing (Made for Love), who also act as exec. producers.