Our weekly mid-week news update kicks off with the shocking news that actor Bob Odenkirk collapsed on the set of Better Call Saul yesterday and had to be rushed to the hospital, according to TMZ. The 58-year-old act was filming the sixth and final season of the AMC show in New Mexico when he collapsed last night, although there have been no new reports about his condition and when production might resume. (The series producer, Sony Pictures Television, had no comment.) Production on the 12-episode final season resumed in March after COVID-related delays and depending on Odenkirk’s condition, production will resume in order to meet the plans to release the season in the first quarter of 2022.
UPDATE: Reports have come in that Odenkirk is in stable condition after having a “heart-related incident” on set. AMC releaed the following statement: “We can confirm Bob is in stable condition after experiencing a heart related incident. He and his family would like to express gratitude for the incredible doctors and nurses looking after him, as well as his cast, crew and producers who have stayed by his side. The Odenkirks would also like to thank everyone for the outpouring of well wishes and ask for their privacy at this time as Bob works on his recovery.”
The 2021-22 awards season is starting to shape-up, as more groups announce their award dates. The Producers Guild of America (PGA) was one of the latest to announce its ceremony date and timeline for awards with the honors being handed out on Saturday, Feb 26, 2022, at the newly renovated Fairmont Century Plaza (formerly the Century Plaza Hotel). The 2022 awards will take place a day before the SAG Awards on February 27, and roughly a month before the planned March 27, 2022 date for the 94th Oscars. The Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television, the Visionary Award and Milestone Award are all expected to return after being put on hold this past year due to COVID. The nominees in the television and motion picture categories will be announced on January 27, 2022.
An esteemed horror franchise looks to be making a comeback as Universal Pictures and streamer Peacock have closed a $400 million deal for a new trilogy based on The Exorcist with Oscar-winning actress, Ellen Burstyn, returning to reprise her role from the 1973 horror classic. Previously, it was reported that David Gordon Green (Halloween) would be directing a new Exorcist movie with Leslie Odom, Jr. from Hamilton starring, but Comcast announced that the plan will include two sequels that will debut via its streaming platform. That amount is similar to the amount paid out by Netflix to release two sequels to Rian Johnson‘s hit, Knives Out, the first of which is already in production in Greece. Reportedly, Odom will play the father of a possessed child who turns to Burstyn’s Chris MacNeil for aide and advice. Like Green’s Halloween movies, his Exorcist will be marketed as a “continuation” rather than a remake of the original movie.
Anyone hoping that Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page might be cast as the next James Bond might have to wait, since he’s just signed on to star in Paramount Pictures‘ “reimagining” of The Saint, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah, who wrote Paramount’s upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie, has been hired to write this reboot of the adventure novels by Leslie Charteris that were turned into a popular ’60s television series starring a pre-bond Roger Moore and a 1997 film, starring Val Kilmer.
Nearly one year after her Emmy win for her role on Schitt’s Creek, Canadian actress Annie Murphy will star and exec. produce the film Witness Protection for MRC Film‘s female-centric comedy label and Alloy Entertainment. The project will reunite Murphy with Schitt’s Creek writers Rupinder Gill and David West Read, who will write and exec. produce the feature. It centers on a “woman who has always defined herself by her romantic relationships, but when she is forced to enter witness protection, she must try to figure out who she really is for the first time while maintaining her cover and keeping the criminals at bay.” Alloy’s Elysa Dutton and Leslie Morgenstein developed the project and then packaged it with Murphy to sell to MRC, and they will produce it along with MRC’s Becky Sloviter. (A little fun factoid: Murphy’s Schitt’s Creek co-star, Eugene Levy, starred in Tyler Perry‘s Madea’s Witness Protection.)
Netflix has acquired international rights to “hot package” action-thriller Fast & Loose from STXfilms, which will team superstar Will Smith (who starred in Netflix’s Bright) with Director David Leitch (Deadpool 2). Netflix won an intense bidding war for the film written by Jon and Erich Hoeber (Red, The Meg), which is about a man who wakes up in Tijuana, Mexico with no memories, only to discover that he’s been living a dual life as a crime kingpin and an undercover CIA agent.
A24 has landed the rights to Octavia E. Butler’s science-fiction novel Parable of the Sower, the first of a two-book series, and has set Garrett Bradley, director of last year’s award-winning Amazon doc Time (and the current Netflix docuseries about tennis great, Naomi Osaka), to direct it. The book, set in a near-future Los Angeles devastated by societal collapse, was first published in 1993 but recently appeared on the New York Times bestseller list last September, as new readers discovered it. It follows a teen with a unique gift who must prevent humanity from extinction. Paul Mezey will produce the film with A24 financing and distributing.
Heather Locklear will star in the Lifetime movie Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story, which will be exec. produced by Meghan McCain, her first project since leaving her role as co-host of ABC‘s The View. The film will tell the story of Carlson, the co-author or the best-selling book series, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, with her husband, Dr. Richard Carlson, who will be played by Jason MacDonald (Vampire Diaries). The film follows how Kristine Carlson dealt with the sudden death of her husband, as she had to find her own way. It’s produced for Lifetime by The Johnson Production Group and Teitelbaum Artists. Maura Dunbar and Mark Teitelbaum are exec. producers along with McCain. Ellen S. Pressman will direct from a script written by Shannon Bradley-Colleary. Also starring Emily Rose as Richard’s booker, Brianna, the biopic will premiere on Lifetime later this year.
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In television news…
There might be a hurdle in the plans to try to continue NBC‘s cancelled Manifest series at another network, as one of the show’s main cast, Matt Long, has just booked a new drama pilot for NBC called Getaway, along with Marg Helgenberger from CSI, Jasmine Mathews (The Rookie) and E.J. Bonilla (upcoming FX on Hulu series, The Old Man). It comes from The Blacklist duo of John Davis and John Fox, producing with Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group. Long’s option for Manifest expired last month as its studio, Warner Bros. Television, tried to shop a fourth season of the show to other networks and failed to come to an agreement with Netflix, which has found a new audience for the series by streaming earlier seasons.
Written and executive produced by JJ Bailey (Echo) and Moira Kirland (Madam Secretary), Getaway centers on a destination wedding at an isolated luxury resort that quickly descends into chaos after a group of dangerous criminals takes the island hostage. The small group of guests, led by a fearless female Army vet (played by Annie Ilonzeh), will do everything they can to stay alive. Helgenberger will play Sen. Charlotte Pierce, a senior Democratic senator from New York, while Long will play her son Jack and Matthews will play his new bride, Grace.
HBO Max’s reboot, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, has just added Bailee Madison from ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Good Witch, who will co-star opposite Chandler Kinney and Maia Reficco in the dark present-day version of the popular 2010 to 2018 series, Pretty Little Liars. This new iteration comes from Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Lindsay Calhoon Bring, Alloy Entertainment and Warner Bros Television. Aguirre-Sacasa and Calhoon Bring write the horror-tinged reboot based on Sara Shepard‘s books with Madison playing Imogen, a horror “final girl” who has to fight for her life along with other “final girl” friends against an unknown assailant who wants them to pay for sins committed by their parents two decades prior.
TBS has set-up a development deal with television legend and recent birthday boy (99 years young!), Norman Lear, for a Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman reboot, starring Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek), who will co-write, exec. produce and star as the title character, Mary Hartman. Letterkenny creator Jacob Tierney will co-write with Hampshire and executive produce, along with Lear and Brent Miller, ep’ing for Act III Productions. Tierney will be the series showrunner, and it will be produed by Sony Pictures Television, who has been developing the project since February before TBS landed its script development deal.
Lastly, Peacock has ordered a Days of Our Lives limited series, called Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem, which will bring together past and present residents of the soap opera’s central town of Salem, with Lisa Rinna reprising Billie Reed, Deidre Hall returing as Dr. Marlena Evans, Drake Hogestyn as John Black, Jackée Harry as Paulina Price, James Reynolds as Abe Carver, Victoria Konefal as Ciara Brady, Robert Scott Wilson as Ben Weston, Billy Flynn as Chad DiMera, Lamon Archey as Eli Grant, and Sal Stowers as Lani Price. The limited series takes place over a long weekend with a number of the characters visiting different locations across the globe who find themselves caught in a mystery involving stolen jewels, which finds Rinna’s ISA agent Billie Reed travelling the globe trying to find the missing jewels.
Peacock has been the exclusive streaming home for the NBC soap produced by Corday Productions with Sony Pictures Television. Ken Corday is the executive producer with co-executive producer Albert Alarr, and Ron Carlivati is the show’s head writer.
We got a slew of new trailer since Monday, probably in preparation for new movies coming out this Friday. First up, Sony Pictures released a new trailer for Jason Reitman‘s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, starring Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace, Carrie Coon, and maybe a few familiar faces from Reitman’s father, Ivan Reitman‘s original Ghostbusters movies. The movie has been delayed a number of times due to COVID but will finally open over Thanksgiving weekend in November of this year.
We also got our first look at Director Paul Schrader‘s The Card Counter, which will debut at the Venice Film Festival in September before its September 10 North American theatrical release. The movie stars Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan and Willem Dafoe.
And we saved the weirdest for last, as A24 released the first trailer for Valdimar Jóhannsson‘s Lamb, starring Noomi Rapace, which will hit theaters on October 8 after premiering at the Cannes Film Festival.