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HomeIndustry SectorFilmHump Day News Update 9/29/21: SNL Gets New Cast & Director, Law...

Hump Day News Update 9/29/21: SNL Gets New Cast & Director, Law and Order Returns, and More News


While we’re all waiting to find out what happens with IATSE‘s vote on Friday for a strike authorization, let’s look at some of the other news that’s been circulating in the industry over the past few days.

If you live or work in Hollywood, then you’re probably aware of the COVID return-to-work protocols that were set up last year, but did you realize that they’re about to expire tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 30? The 100-page document has been extended before, and it likely will be extended again, but with the problems IATSE has had in negotiations with AMPTP and a possible strike on the way, can the two parties come to agree that these COVID protocols — complete with testing, masking, disinfection, and even some vaccine mandates — have been pivotal in crew returning to work in production?

Some big news comes from above the line with the news that talent agency CAA has acquired ICM Partners, a major move that will guarantee that CAA is the biggest and most powerful agency in the world. Both CAA and Endeavor were formed by star agents from WMA  and ICM, and the acquisition of the latter continues the consolidations in that business. Deadline has a pretty good analysis of what the acquisition can mean for CAA and the other talent agents in town.

Not really related to the movie or television biz, but R&B singer R. Kelly was found guilty on all counts in his sex trafficking and racketing trial, so you can expect him to be in jail for a very long time.

Beck Bennett
Beck Bennett on Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Last week, we shared the line-up of hosts for the upcoming season of Saturday Night Live, but we just learned that Beck Bennett and Laurent Holt may be the only two castmates not returning for the 46th Season. Holt joined as a featured player last season while Bennett has been on the show since 2013. New featured players for the season will be Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson, and Sarah Sherman, as featured players Chloe Fineman and Emmy nominee Bowen Yang have been promoted to the main cast. Some thought that Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, or long-time SNL vet Kenan Thompson might depart since they each have outside projects and series, but they will remain as will Beckett’s long-time collaborator, Kyle Mooney.

On the other hand, longtime SNL Emmy-winning director, Don Roy King, is retiring, and he’ll be replaced by The Ellen Degeneres Show director, Liz Patrick. King has won 11 Emmys for his directing work on the show with four more nominations, having started on the show in 2006 and having directed 293 episodes in all. It’s an amazing run that’s helped definite the popular late-night sketch show for the past 15 years, so we’ll see if much changes in this upcoming season.

JK Simmons
J.K. Simmons in Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics)

As far as movie casting, Oscar winner J.K Simmons, Allen Leech, and Fernanda Urrejola will star in the thrillerThe Woods, for director Michelle Schumacher, working from a screenplay she co-wrote with Carolyn Carpenter, which will be produced by Randle Schumacher for Rubber Tree Productions. Starring Isabelle Anay, the movie is about a teen girl suffering from anxiety due to a tragic event from her past who finds herself hunted through the woods by a sociopath on a murderous rampage. Simmons will play the latter, and he said about taking the role, “I didn’t want to play any truly scary bad guys when our kids were young, partly because of how it might affect them if they saw the film and also because I didn’t want to bring that energy home with me after an intense day on the set.”

What do you do when your movie wins Best Picture at the Oscars and you’re being taken more seriously as a filmmaker? Going by the title of Peter Farrelly‘s new Apple Original and Skydance movie, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, you might think he’s returning to low-brow comedy, but maybe not. According to Deadline, Jake Picking, Will Ropp, Archie Renaux, and Kyle Allen are joining Zac Efron and Russell Crowe in the cast of a movie that might be more serious than we think. All kidding aside, the movie is actually adapted from the New York Times bestseller, The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty and War from authors Joanna Molloy and John “Chickie” Donohue, which tells the true story of Donohue, a man who went from New York to  Vietnam in 1967 to track down and share a few beers with his childhood friends while they were serving in combat.

This past Sunday, Adrienne Warren won a Tony for her performance as Tina Turner in the Broadway musical, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, and she’s now joining Viola Davis in TriStar Pictures‘ historical epic The Woman King, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard). Sheila Atim also joins the cast that co-stars Thuso MbeduLashana Lynch (No Time to Die), and John Boyega.

Despite deciding to bow out of the Sex and the City spin-off, And Just Like That…Kim Cattrall is joining the cast of the Sebastian Maniscalco and Robert De Niro comedy for LionsgateAbout My Father, inspired by Maniscalco’s own life. She will play the U.S. Senator mother of Ellie, played by the recently-cast Leslie Bibb, who is the fiancé of Manicalco’s character.

Remember that you can keep track of all the projects above and below and when and where they’re shooting, by subscribing to our Production Listings.

We’ll start our television coverage with info about a few new projects based on popular properties.

Law and Order
Law & Order (NBC)

Although NBC‘s long-running procedural drama Law & Order was set to make history before it was unceremoniously canceled in May 2010, it looks like it will now get its 21st season as NBC has now greenlit a new installment of the series from Dick Wolf and writer-showrunner Rick Eid, which will continue the original format of the show in examining the police who investigate crimes and the D.A.s that prosecute the offenders. Many of the characters from the original series will likely return, including Sam Waterson’s Jack McCoy, but no cast has been confirmed as of yet. Despite the cancellation of the Law and Order charter series, Wolf went on to hold a record for the longest-running show when the spinoff Law & Order: SVU began its 23rd season.

“There are very few things in life that are literally dreams come true. This is mine,” Wolf said about NBC calling for a 21st season of his charter show.

J. Michael Straczynski‘s popular Emmy-winning sci-fi series, Babylon 5, is about to get a “from the ground up” reboot at The CW, which Straczynski will exec. produce while developing it with Warner Bros. Television. The reboot will revolve around John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner‘s character in the original 1993 series), “an Earthforce officer with a mysterious background, who is assigned to Babylon 5, a five-mile-long space station in neutral space, a port of call for travelers, smugglers, corporate explorers and alien diplomats at a time of uneasy peace and the constant threat of war. His arrival triggers a destiny beyond anything he could have imagined, as an exploratory Earth company accidentally triggers a conflict with a civilization a million years ahead of us, putting Sheridan and the rest of the B5 crew in the line of fire as the last, best hope for the survival of the human race.”

Amazon’s hit Emmy-nominated drama based on Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson‘s The Boys is getting a Y.A. spin-off from Amazon and Sony Pictures Television with Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters being hired as its showrunners and EPs on the untitled series, which already has a cast that includes Jaz Sinclair, Lizze Broadway, Shane Paul McGhie, Aimee Carrero, Reina Hardesty, and Maddie Phillips as young superheroes in America’s only college for young-adult superheroes. The untitled series is described as “an irreverent, R-rated series that explores the lives of hormonal, competitive Supes as they put their physical, sexual, and moral boundaries to the test, competing for the best contracts in the best cities. It’s part college show, part Hunger Games— with all the heart, satire, and raunch of The Boys.” Eric Kripke, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, Neal H. Moritz, Ori Marmur, Pavun Shetty, Ken Levin, Jason Netter, Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, and Michaela Starr are the other EPs on the spinoff show produced by Sony Television and Amazon, in association with Kripke Enterprises, Point Grey Pictures, and Original Film.

Playwright and filmmaker David E. Talbert is developing the musical series, Madelyn Square Gardens, for Disney Branded Entertainment, following the success of his Netflix musical, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. It’s the first project announced for the network since Ayo Davis was made President of the division. It tells the story of a “young woman named Madelyn as she moves to New York from Mississippi, thinking her dreams of being on Broadway are about to come true. But she soon discovers that she will need more than raw talent to beat out the competition at her elite performing arts school. She will also set off on an unexpected journey that will reveal why her grandfather ran off to New York City with his own Broadway ambitions, never returning home.” It’s produced by Talbert and his wife and partner Lyn Sisson-Talbert through their Golden Alchemy Entertainment company. Talbert is also developing a single-camera comedy called Better Late over at ABC.

A few quick tidbits before we turn to trailers…

R&B and pop star Toni Braxton will star in and EP the Lifetime multi-movie event, The Fallen Angels Book Club from Rhonda Baraka

Fresh from…um… jail, Lori Loughlin will return to acting by reprising her When Calls the Heart character Abigail Stanton from the Hallmark Channel series for Season 2 of the spinoff, When Hope Calls, on GAC Family.

Furthermore, the popular FX animated comedy, Archer, has been renewed for a 13th season, although it will be one without the late Jessica Walters.

Our first trailer today is the one for Netflix’s upcoming Western, The Harder They Fallwhich is directed by Jeymes Samuel and stars Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, LaKeith Stanfield, RJ Cyler, Edi Gathegi, Danielle Deadwyler, and Deon Cole. Produced by Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter, James Lassiter, Samuel, and Lawrence Bender, the Western will hit select theaters on Oct. 22 and then stream on Netflix starting Nov. 3.

Independent films don’t often receive sequels, but that’s not the case with Joanna Hogg‘s The Souvenir, Part II, which was always designed as a multi-part project with Honor Swinton Byrne returning to play young female filmmaker Julie (presumably playing a version of Ms. Hogg, since these films are semi-autobiographical). Also returning is Honor’s mother, Tilda Swinton, and they’re joined by Jaygann Ayeh, Richard Ayoade, Ariane Labed, James Spencer Ashworth, Harris Dickinson, Charlie Heaton, and Joe Alwyn. The second part will hit theaters on October 29.

Next up is the new trailer for the upcoming Walt Disney Animation Studios film, Encanto, which will be released on Nov. 24 in time for Thanksgiving.  It tells the story of a Latin American family called the Madrigals, who live in a place called Encanto, which has given all of the family powers except for Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz), who may be the family’s only hope when their family home is put in danger. The voice cast includes María Cecilia BoteroJohn LeguizamoAngie CepedaWilmer ValderramaDiane Gus i ererroJessica Darrow, and more. As with seemingly every movie this year, it features songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who should finally complete his EGOT if any of the dozen original songs he’s written for movies this year gets nominated for an Oscar. It’s directed by Byron Howard and co-directed by Jared Bush (both from Disney’s Zootopia) and Charise Castro Smith.

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.