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Hump Day News Update 7/21/21: American Horror Story Hit by COVID, Potential Blade Director, and More News


Happy Hump Day!

Unfortunately, we have to start things off with more bad news about a production being affected by COVID-19, just one single day after the unions and management came to a new agreement re: COVID protocols, incoporating the advent of vaccinatons that weren’t available last September when the original agreement was signed.

American Horror Story
American Horror Story (FX)

This time, it’s Ryan Murphy‘s American Horror Story that’s been affected, as it had to pause production for a few days after a positive COVID test, which has led to a number of others near to the person who tested positive being isolated, as reported by Deadline. This took place on the set of the tenth season of the long-running horror anthology series, dubbed American Horror Story: Double Feature. It’s been suggested that the new season will involve two stories, one at sea and one on the sand with the first part of the episode having been shot between December and May and the rest beginning production this month. It is filming concurrently with the spin-off prequel series, American Horror Stories, which is currently airing on FX on Hulu — that series is currently filming the season finale at the famed “Murder House” that launched the original series many years ago.

Final Girl Support Group
The Final Girl Support Group (Random House/Berkley)

Some happier news in horror from one of my very good friends, Mr. Grady Hndrix, whose latest book, The Final Girl Support Group, was released just last week. The news broke recently that his book is being developed into an HBO Max series by Oscar-winning actor Charlize Theron and Andy and Barbara Muschietti (It). Theron’s Denver & Delilah Films and the Muschietti’s Double Dream are developing the TV series along with Aperture Entertainment.

The book, released by Random House/Berkley, is literally about a therapeutic support group for “final girls” — the survivors of mass murders whose experiences inspired the slasher horror movies of the ’80s and ’90s.

Andy Muschietti will direct the pilot and will serve as an executive producer, along with Theron, AJ Dix, Beth Kono and Andrew Haas from Denver & Delilah, as well as Barbara Muschietti and Irene Yeung from Double Dream, Aperture’s Adam Goldworm, and Hendrix himself.

This isn’t Grady’s first book to be picked up for adaptation either as the rights to his previous book, the best-selling Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, were bought by Amazon Studios in a bidding war, and a feature adaptation of his earlier novel, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, is in post at Amazon, directed by Damon Thomas with Elsie Fischer and Amia Miller heading the cast and Happy Death Day‘s Chris Landon producing. Hendrix is also adapting his first novel Horrorstör for New Republic and Aperture, and it’s great to hear that there’s so much progress on projects based on the work of someone who is a truly talented, creative and wonderful human being. (But I’m clearly biased…)

Moving on to some other movie development news…

Blade Logo (Marvel Studios)

Marvel Studios may have found its director for its planned Blade movie, starring two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as the vampire hunter. Bassam Tariq, who directed Mogul Mowgli, looks to be the studio’s top choice to helm the superhero movie, which has yet to be dated. The script for the new film is written by Stacy Osei-Kuffour. The title character was previously played by Wesley Snipes in a trilogy of movies released between 1998 and 2004, released by New Line Cinema.

Filmmaker Debra Granik might not be the most prolific of filmmakers, generally making a film every six or eight years, but every single one of those movies is universally praised, including her last two films, Leave No Trace and Winter’s Bone, the coming out films for Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit) and Jennifer Lawrence, respectively. According to Deadline, Granik has optioned Una LaMarche‘s Y.A. novel, Like No Other, with her Still Rolling Productions partner Anne Rosellini, looking to co-write and direct the film. The 2015 novel, published by Penguin Young Readers imprint Razorbill, is compared to a contemporary take on West Side Story, about a Hasidic girl and a secular boy who enter into a forbidden romance. Mad Dog Film‘s Alix Madigan will produce along with Rosellini with Razorbill VP and Publisher Casey McIntyre as an exec. producer.

In a statement, author LaMarche said, “I have so much respect for this team and their incredible body of work. I could not be more thrilled that they are bringing Like No Other to life on screen.”

Granik and her production team added, “We were pulled in immediately by the strength and complexity of young Devorah and the journey she takes to find her path in life. The world Una creates is one we want to live in – where unexpected friendships are made and rigidity gives way to allowing for love and for the acceptance of the ‘other’.”

On the other end of things, Minari director Lee Isaac Chung has dropped out as director of Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot‘s live-action adaptation of the hit Japanese anime, Your Name, due to scheduling conflicts. Paramount is already looking for a replacement and is out to several possible candidates.

Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody is reuniting with Wes Anderson for the auteur’s next film, which is set in Spain and will film there. Anderson’s most recent film, The French Dispatch, just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival a few weeks back ahead of its release by Searchlight Pictures on October 16.

Prolific actor Judy Greer has signed on to star in the indie feature, LA Bound, written and directed by Chris McGowan. Greer will star as Carol Berry in the movie about a small-town high school soccer star ruins his college scholarship and moves to Los Angeles to pursue acting to pay homage to his late sister’s passion for the arts. Brec Bassinger will play the main role, and the movie is produced by David Brown. Greer’s talent and diversity can be seen in television shows like Arrested Development, as well as big studio features like Universal Pictures‘ Halloween reboot, directed by David Gordon Green, and Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man movies.

SAG-nominated actress Hong Chau (Downsizing) will be joining Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes in Searchlight’s dark comedy-psychological thriller, The Menu, directed by Succession‘s Mark MylodAdam McKay is producing the film through his Hyperobject Industries banner with Betsy KochThe Menu takes place in the world of culinary culture, focusing on a young couple who visit an exclusive restaurant on a remote island where an acclaimed chef has prepared a lavish tasting menu.

Rosaline, 20th Century’s rom-com update of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, continues to cast up with Sean Teale (Incorporated) joining the film’s stars Kaitlyn Dever, Kyle Allen and Isabela Merced. Dever plays the title role, while Allen and Merced play Romeo and Juliet, respectively, in the contemporary film directed by Karen Maine, based on the book When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle.

Actors George Mackay (1917), Kelly Macdonald (Trainspotting) and Hugh Bonneville will lead the cast of Babak (Under the Shadow) Anvari‘s Netflix thriller, I Came By. Set in London, the neo-noir thriller will shoot in the UK for release on Netflix in 2022. It follows “a rebellious young graffiti artist who targets the homes of the wealthy elite but discovers a shocking secret that leads him on a journey endangering himself and those closest to him.” The film is the first title in Netflix’s UK initiative led by the company’s Director Of UK Features Fiona Lamptey, which will focus on UK productions. Anvari directs and co-writes the film with Namsi Khan from His Dark Materials, as a follow-up to his horror film, Wounds, which is available on Netflix everywhere except the United States.

You can keep up with all the projects mentioned above and more on Below the Line‘s Production Listings.

Good FIght
The Good Fight (Paramount+)

In television news, The Good Fight has been renewed for a sixth season by Paramount+. This news comes shortly after the announcement that Robert and Michelle King‘s other series, Evil, has also been renewed by the ViacomCBS streamer. Both series began life on CBS before shifting over to the streaming network with four episodes of the current season of The Good Fight available to watch on Paramount+ and six more to come.

Nicole Clemens, President, Paramount+ Original Scripted Series, said in a statement, “The Good Fight’s provocative, whip-smart, and no-holds-barred world remains as relevant as ever, continuing to entice new audiences as one of Paramount+’s top performing original series and acquisition drivers. We are thrilled to continue The Good Fight’s enduring legacy with a sixth season and can’t wait to see what the brilliant minds behind the series, Robert and Michelle King, tackle next.”

Manifest (NBC)

In other good news, it looks like the canceled NBC series, Manifest, may have a savior in the form of streamer Netflix, who has been in talks with the venerable network to produce a possible new season for the recently-canceled missing plane drama. If this deal happens, Manifest would follow Timeless as another popular NBC sci-fi drama that got a new life after being canceled by NBC. The first two seasons of Manifest have been gaining viewership streaming on Netflix, and there has been an ongoing campaign to #SaveManifest. Manifest was one of over a half dozen series canceled in a slew of news a month back, including Good Girls and the spinoff, Law & Order: For the Defense. Although Netflix passed on the show back in June, it’s looking at the numbers for series, which remains in the top 10 after topping the Nielsen streaming ratings n release.  There are complications to this deal happening, but it does offer a ray of hope for those who hoped to see more of the story following Season 2.

Five actors have joined the cast of Olivier Assayas’ HBO limited series adaptation of his 1996 drama film, Irma Vep, which starred Assayas’ future ex-wife, Maggie Cheung.  The actors are Adria Arjona (Pacific Rim: Uprising), Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia), Jerrod Carmichael (On the Count of Three), Fala Chen (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) and Devon Ross, who will star with already-cast Oscar-winning actor, Alicia Vikander. The series is written and directed by Assays and produced by A24Sam Levinson, and Kevin Turen, the same production team behind HBO’s Emmy-winning hit Euphoria. The series is set against the backdrop of a crime-thriller, starring Vikander’s Mira, an American movie star who has come to France to star as the lead character Irma Vep in a remake of the French silent film classic, Les Vampires. (Assayas’ original version of the film is one of my personal favorites by the prolific director, featuring a terrific performance by Ms. Cheung. You definitely should check it out as reference before watching the HBO series.)

Wrapping up today’s TV casting, Victoria Cartagena will (sort of) reprise her Gotham role of Gotham PD detective Renee Montoya in the third season of the popular CW series, Batwoman. Apparently, she will be playing a different version of the same character just to confuse anyone hoping for any sort of continuity between the series from two different networks. (Gotham aired on Fox.)

We got some interesting trailers this week, including the first trailer for Sir Ridley Scott‘s period drama, The Last Duel, starring Jodie Comer (from Killing Eve), Adam DriverMatt Damon, and Ben Affleck — apparently, this will be the first time the latter duo have appeared on screen together — outside of a Kevin Smith movie — since Good Will Hunting. The movie, expected to be an awards player, will hit North American theaters on October 15.

We also got to see the first trailer for James Wan‘s upcoming horror film, Malignant, starring Annabelle WallisMaddie Hasson, George YoungMichole Briana WhiteJacqueline McKenzieJake Abel, and Ingrid Bisu, the latter who came up with the story with Wan and screenwriter Akela Cooper.  The creepy and strange horror movie will hit North American theaters on September 10, as well as stream on HBO Max.

Sharing under protest, Paramount released the first trailer for Jackass Forever, the latest movie from Johnny Knoxville and his daredevil friends. Honestly, I haven’t seen any of the previous movies, and I don’t expect to watch this one, but I understand that some people enjoy these movies and find them funny, so more power to them. The movie will be released in theaters on October 22.


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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