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HomeColumnsEnd of Week Production NotesEnd of Week Production Notes 5/21/21: CBS Sets Up "FBI Night," New...

End of Week Production Notes 5/21/21: CBS Sets Up “FBI Night,” New Vampire Academy Series, and More News


Because it’s Friday, there are no new production announcements, which usually pour in on Mondays and Tuesdays, but we do have some series and casting announcements from the past couple days…


As mentioned previously, this week has been all about the television upfronts. Although we already shared some CBS show renewals and cancellations, the upfronts clarified what the CBS 2021-22 line-up would look like. There weren’t a ton of new announcements other than that NCIS would be leaving its Tuesday night slot that it’s held for 18 years, so that CBS could run a Tuesday night three-show Dick Wolf FBI marathon of FBI, the new show FBI: International, then followed by FBI: Most Wanted.  Some of the mid-season programmings announced include the drama Good Sam and the comedy Smallwood.

Comcast streamer Peacock has ordered a new series adapting the popular six-book Y.A. book series The Vampire Academy, from creator Julie Plec and Marguerite MacIntyre, the writer and producer of Plec’s The Originals, with the two of them acting as showrunners for the series. This project is being developed by Universal Television. In a statement, Plec said, “When I signed my new deal with Universal Television, they asked what project I had always been dying to make and my immediate answer was Vampire Academy.”

Kumail Nanjiani
Kumail Nanjiani

It looks like all that working out for Chloé Zhao‘s Marvel Studios movie, Eternals, has paid off, as actor/comedian Kumail Nanjiani has set-up the drama limited series, Immigrant, based on the origins of the male striptease troupe Chippendales at Hulu. The Silicon Valley star is developing the eight-episode straight-to-series order with Robert Siegel (Pam & Tommy) and he will play  Somen “Steve” Banerjee, the Indian-American entrepreneur who started Chippendales. The series will detail “the insane, darkly comedic, crime-ridden story behind the unique male revue that became a cultural phenomenon.”

It’s time for our Friday casting extravaganza!

Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson

Of course, we can’t go a single day without reporting on some casting for Rian Johnson’Knives Out 2 movie for Netflix, and the latest addition is none other than Golden Globe winner Kate Hudson (Almost Famous). The cast for Johnson’s sequel is definitely looking interesting as Daniel Craig‘s Benoit Blanc is already being joined by characters played by Dave BautistaEdward Norton and Kathryn Hahn.

Last week, it was reported that actor John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) would be reuniting with his Attack the Block director, Joe Cornishfor the long-planned sequel to the alien invasion comedy.

One of the last pieces of the puzzle for the HBO Max Green Lantern series is the casting of original Green Lantern Alan Scott, and Jeremy Irvine has been announced to fill that role. Obviously, the creators of the series, including producer Greg Berlanti, have decided to go younger with the classic character from the comics.

Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

My old boss Jeff Sneider over at Collider got the scoop that Mark Ruffalo would be joining Emma Stone in Poor Things, the adaptation of the Frankenstein story by The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos, based on the novel by author Alasdair Gray. Stone previously got an Oscar nomination for her performance in The Favourite.

Actors Kristin Chenoweth, Jeffrey Donovan (Wrath of Man) and  Lil Rel Howery have signed onto the STXfilms sports drama, National Champions. They join Stephan James and Oscar winner J.K. Simmons in the movie directed by Ric Roman Waugh. The ensemble cast also includes Uzo Aduba, Alexander Ludwig, Andrew Bachelor, David Koechner, Tim Blake Nelson, and Timothy Olyphant, with the script written by Adam Mervis, who adapted his own play about the big business of college sports.

Also from Deadline comes the news that Scott Mescudi (aka “Kid Cudi”) will be joining the Disney+/21 Laps sci-fi adventure, Crater, which already has Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Billy Barratt, Orson Hong, Thomas Boyce and Mckenna Grace as part of its cast. Kyle Patrick Alvarez (13 Reasons Why) is directing and Shawn Levy and Dan Levine are producing via their 21 Laps Entertainment. It’s described as a “coming-of-age story about a boy growing up on a lunar colony who takes a trip to explore a mysterious crater with his four best friends,” with Mescudi playing Russell Bailey’s father.

The team behind the popular HBO series, The Wire, Creator/Exec. Producer David Simon and Producer George Pelecanos are reuniting with the cable network for a six-hour limited series called We Own This City about the rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force. Actors Jon Bernthal, Josh Charles and Jamie Hector recently joined the project in key roles. Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men) will direct and executive produce the limited series with production set to begin in July.

Lastly, actor Jeff Hephner (MarsFor All Mankind) has joined the STARZ drama, Power Book II: Ghost.

Need we mention that you can subscribe to Production Listings in order to keep on top of all these projects and when they’re looking for crew?

While minds were still reeling from the Monday announcement about WarnerMedia and Discovery merging into a single streaming entity, HBO Max decided to get on top of any negative spin by announcing a $9.99 month version of the streaming service that includes ads, and then went ahead and released the first official teaser for Friends: The Reunion, a long-anticipated project that is being used to get more subscribers.

Another trailer released this week was the first for the Sony Pictures Animation animated feature, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, the fourth installment in the popular series which will hit theaters on July 23. It once again features the voices of Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez, joined by Kathryn Hahn and while Genndy Tartakovsky wrote it, the new movie is directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer KluskaAdam Sandler is also no longer voicing Dracula, replaced by Brian Hull.

Universal Pictures continues to build anticipation for next month’s F9 after it was delayed for over a year due to COVID with a new feature about the entire The Fast Saga, including early interviews with some of the cast who have been around since the very first movie twenty years ago.

Although the only new wide release this weekend is the true story dramedy, Dream HorseUniversal Pictures has been re-releasing each of the other chapters in The Fast Saga as part of “Fast Fridays,” and tonight’s offering is 2009’s Fast & Furious, the installment that brought back Vin Diesel and Paul Walker.

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.