Welcome back to your friendly reminder that today is Friday, which means many of us will get a couple days off after a week of hard work.
This past week (and last) was all about awards nominations from all the various guilds and societies. If you missed any of them, you can see the full line-up of nominations below for all the groups who have announced their nominees. (We’re still awaiting on the Society of Camera Operators‘ nominations, which will be announced on March 24.) We included the DGA and PGA just for further reference for our readers who perform double or even triple duties:
ACE (American Cinema Editors)
ADG (Art Directors Guild)
ASC (American Society of Cinematographers)
BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts)
CAS (Cinema Audio Society)
CDG (Costume Designer Guild)
DGA (Directors Guild)
Guild of Music Supervisors
MPSE (Motion Picture Sound Editors)
MUAHS (Make-up Artists & Hair Stylists)
PGA (Producers Guild)
SDSA (Set Decorators Society of America)
VES (Visual Effects Society)
In somewhat related news, rumors came from Deadline earlier this week that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been considering holding the 93rd Academy Awards at Los Angeles’ Union Station, presumably because it’s a larger overall space that can hold more people with social distancing considerations than the normal venue at the Dolby Theater, which holds 3,400 people but how many would it be hold safely? There’s been no confirmation that this plan might go ahead as of yet, so for now, it’s just an interesting rumor that’s going around.
We’ve heard a lot about Tom Cruise‘s two-film Mission: Impossible finale over the past year, mainly about the film’s stop and starts with production due to COVID, but it was announced by director Christopher McQuarrie this week that the cast has been joined by Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, Saw), Indira Varma (Rome), Rob Delaney (who recently appeared in Tom and Jerry), Charles Parnell (The Last Ship) and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock). He didn’t share much more information about who they might play and whether the new cast will be in Mission: Impossible 7 (due out later this year) or Mission: Impossible 8 (to be released in 2022) or both. He did share some beautiful black and white pictures of the new cast on his Insta account some of which you can see above and below. (All photos courtesy Paramount Pictures and McQuarrie.)
As far as new developments with new projects and casting, Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg announced that his next movie will be a semi-autobiographical biopic loosely based on his childhood growing up in Arizona for Amblin Partners, which he’s co-writing with Tony Kushner (Lincoln). Plans are to start filming this summer with Michelle Williams in talks to play a character inspired by Spielberg’s mother. The hope is to get this film out sometime in 2022.
Elizabeth Banks, who has made great headway from being a comedic actor to directing huge studio blockbusters like Pitch Perfect 2 and 2019’s Charlie’s Angels, has been picked by producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (22 Jump Street) to direct Cocaine Bear, also from Deadline. The project, which also hopes to begin filming this summer, is written by Jimmy Warden, and it’s a character-driven thriller inspired by true events that took place in Lexington, Kentucky in 1985. Apparently, a cocaine smuggler’s plane crashed in the rural area killing the pilot, and though his stash of coke-filled duffle bag was mostly retrieved, a dead bear was found three months later that seemingly had ingested a duffle bag full of 76 pounds of cocaine. It’s an interesting project for Banks to take on, one that sounds a little like the Doug Liman–Tom Cruise true-life film American Made.
Of course, one should remember that the best way to keep track of what’s going on in Hollywood re: development/production and most importantly, work, is to subscribe to Below the Line‘s Production Listings.
After the failure of his last venture, the streaming service Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg is back with a new venture that should help the project economy, his company WndrCo teaming with CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz to invest in Wrapbook, a company working to make the process of paying cast and crew faster and more efficiently through its platform. The company, co-founded by CEO Ali Javid in 2018, is targeting payroll, insurance, and compliance activity across all entertainment sectors, saying nearly all of that paperwork is still processed manually. Javid mentioned that the influx of funds will help accelerate the company’s “mission to increase the prosperity of the project economy.”
Katzenberg made a statement in a press release, saying, “It’s time we bring production financial services into the 21st century. We need a technology solution that will address the increasing complexities of production onboarding, pay and insuring cast and crew, only exacerbated by Covid-19, and I believe that Wrapbook delivers.”
Javis added, “Today is only the beginning. With this financing from the brightest minds in entertainment and technology, we will double down on what’s working and continue building out our platform based on your feedback.”
Since it was a relatively slow week in Hollywood, let’s go out East to Bollywood where the India film industry is getting back into business. Popular actress Alia Bhatt shared a few photos from the set of her new film Brahmastra, an epic production set to hit theaters later this year, with her 76 million social media followers. (Yes, you read that number right.) The movie is directed by Ayan Mukerji and co-stars Ranbir Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan; Mukerji and Kapoor can be seen in the photos with Ms. Bhatt.
Since we didn’t have many new trailers of note this week, we’ll wrap things up by looking at what has to be the oddest Oscar campaign ever, not by a studio or a publicist or talent, but from an actual town. Last year, Will Ferrell‘s Netflix comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga introduced many Americans to the popular global competition, but it was also filled with lots of catchy pop songs, including one called “Húsavik (My Hometown).” Well, guess what? Húsavic is a real fishing village in Iceland with a mere 2,300 inhabitants, and when said song was shortlisted for the Oscars, they decided to wage their OWN campaign to get their namesake song into the Oscar Original Song race by setting up OskarForHusavik.com to make their case. You can watch the village’s very creative Oscar campaign video below: