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End of Week Production Notes: HFPA Hires Diversity Consultant, Wes Anderson’s French Dispatch Gets Date, and More News


It’s Friday… finally! And we get a longer weekend where there’s actually some cool movies in theaters again, particularly John Krasinski‘s long-awaited horror sequel A Quiet Place Part II, but also Emma Stone and Emma Thompson in Disney’s Cruella. If you get the long Memorial Day weekend off from production, it would be a great time to catch up on movies.

hfpa Golden Globes
Golden Globes

The long, ongoing controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), who present the Golden Globes each year — well, maybe not next year — continues, as the group announced this week that it has hired a Diversity Consultant, as well as two independent law firms that will investigate tips left on the group’s new hotline that was established last week when a contract was signed with Convercent. The plan is to “independently investigate any reports that are made to the previously announced hotline that will allow anyone to report an incident, complaint, or allegation, including on an anonymous basis.”

Leadership Lab International is the DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) consultant, while Kendall Brill & Kelly and Ramsey & Ehrlich are the law firms hired towards helping deal with reports pertaining to issues with the group.

In a statement, the HFPA said, “Our progress towards reform is continuing, as this week we have put two more key pieces in place that will help lead the transformational changes that we promised less than a month ago. We said on May 6th that we would move swiftly to show our commitment to reform and that we would regularly update the industry on our progress with our timeline.”

To many, this will still seem too little, too late for an organization whose corruption was a very poorly hidden secret in Hollywood for many decades, but at least they’re trying, right?

A few new projects and release dates announced over the past couple days…

Timothee Chalamet
Timothée Chalamet (Photo: AP)

First up, principal photography has begun on Luca Guadagnino‘s Bones and All (the film’s working title), the Call Me By Your Name/Suspiria filmmaker’s first movie filmed on American soil. The impressive cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Taylor RussellMark Rylance, André Holland, Jessica Harper, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Gordon-GreenFrancesca Scorsese and Chloë Sevigny. The movie is being filmed in the Ohio Tri-State area, telling the story of Maren (Russell), “a young woman learning how to survive on the margins of society,” and Lee (Chalamet), “an intense and disenfranchised drifter, as they meet and join together for a thousand-mile odyssey which takes them through the back roads, hidden passages, and trap doors of Ronald Reagan’s America.” The below-the-line crew includes Production Designer Elliott Hostetter (We Are Who We Are); Director of Photography Arseni Khachaturan; frequent Guadagnino collaborator, Costume Designer Giulia Piersanti; with makeup by Fernanda Perez and hair by Massimo Gattabrusi. Francine Maisler is the casting director on the film fully financed by Italian companies. It’s a Frenesy Film Company and Per Capita Productions movie, produced by Kajganich, Theresa Park for Per Capita, Guadagnino and Marco Morabito for Frenesy. The other producers are Francesco Melzi d’Eril and Gabriele Moratti for Memo, Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures (a Fremantle Company), and Peter Spears for Cor Cordium. Executive Producers are Giovanni Corrado and Raffaella Viscardi.

Actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson  (Avengers: Age of UltronKick-Ass) is switching sides by playing the Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter in the Sony Pictures movie slated for release on January 13, 2023. Director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) is directing from a screenplay by Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Richard Wenk.

John Carney
John Carney (center) on the set of Once (Searchlight)

Filmmaker John Carney has established a name for himself with his movie musicals, two of which went from the screen to Broadway, although Sing Street‘s premiere was scuppered by COVID. Still, Once was an even bigger hit on Broadway then when the movie was released by Searchlight, so Carney is in good stead when it comes to movie musicals. It was announced this week that Lionsgate won the rights to produce and distribute’s Carney’s next movie musical, Fascinating Rhythm, yet another wholly original musical, inspired by the life and music of American composer George Gershwin, with a screenplay by Carney with Chris Cluess.  Irwin Winkler and Martin Scorsese are producing the movie, along with Charles and David Winkler. Carney directs the movie about “a young woman’s magical journey through past and present New York City.” The film has the approval of the Gershwin family, who has granted the use of some of George Gershwin’s American Songbook standards, including the title tune.

“I couldn’t be more delighted,” Carney said in a statement. “From the moment we went out to the market, there was a great connection with the project from the whole team at Lionsgate. It was inspiring. I can’t think of a better place to make a modern musical story about the greatest American composer to have ever lived. The whole team are thrilled to have found our home.”

British production house Working Title is adapting Alison Rose Greenberg‘s novel, Bad Luck Bridesmaid, into a feature film.

French Dispatch
The French Dispatch (Searchlight)

Searchlight Studios has set a date for Wes Anderson‘s next film, The French Dispatch — also starring Chalamet! — Anderson’s first live action feature since 2014’s Oscar-winning The Grand Budapest Hotel, and his feature feature since the 2018 animated Isle of Dogs. The movie will premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in July, then play at the New York Film Festival  in September before debuting in theaters on October 22. This is fairly big news, because if there was any doubt that Searchlight’s 2021 awards plans wouldn’t include Anderson’s latest movie, then that release date and those festival premieres pretty much quash them.

Rupert Evans
Rupert Evans

There’s some late-breaking news about actor Rupert Evans  (Charmed) joining the cast of Season 2 of Netflix and Shondaland‘s hit drama, Bridgerton, playing Edmund Bridgerton, the Bridgerton siblings’ late father. The second season of the popular show is already amidst production in London, adapting Julia Quinn’s second Bridgerton book, The Viscount Who Loved Me, which focuses on the quest by Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) to find love.

Also in the casting realm, it was announced that veteran character actor Christopher McDonald, currently on HBO’s Hacks, will be joining Marvel Studios‘ Secret Invasion, which reunites the MCU characters Nick Fury and Talos, played by Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn, from Captain Marvel. McDonald will play a new character as he joins the cast that includes Olivia ColmanEmilia Clarke, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Killian Scott.

KJ Apa
KJ Apa (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

It looks like Filmmaker Rod Lurie (full transparency: someone I consider a good friend) is moving forward with his next movie, West Pointer, also over at Lionsgate. This past week, it was announced that Riverdale star KJ Apa would be starring in the movie set against the back drop of Lurie’s own alma matter, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where Apa will play a plebe who has trouble adjusting to life after graduating. Lurie writes, directs and co-produces the film with his longtime producing partner Marc Frydman, along with Matt Luber and Mike Weber. Apa is an Executive Producer.

In a statement, Lurie said, “Ever since I was a cadet I daydreamed about one day making a movie set at West Point, which I believe to be the greatest college in the world. As they say, the history they teach there was made by the men and women they taught. A motion picture has not been shot at the Academy since the 1950s. It would be the honor of a lifetime to be granted that permission. I want the world to learn what I know about my alma mater.” On Facebook, he added, “The Academy has not yet given us the right to shoot on post – but I certainly hope we earn that privilege.”

Lurie’s most recent film was 2020’s The Outpost, which received two Critics Choice nominations.

Japanese-British pop superstar Rina Sawayama has been tapped to make her acting debut opposite Keanu Reeves in next year’s John Wick: Chapter 4, directed by Chad Stahelski from a script by Shay Hatten and Michael Finch. Production begins this summer on location in France, Germany and Japan with Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, and Stahelski producing, and Reeves and Louise Rosner as Executive Producers. On the casting, Stahelski made the statement, “I’m so glad to have Rina on board to make her feature film debut in John Wick: Chapter 4. She’s an incredible talent who’ll bring so much to the film.”

Lastly (at least in terms of casting), we missed reporting that Veep and Seinfeld‘s Emmy-winning star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, had joined the cast of Daina O. Pusic‘s directorial debut, Tuesday, last week. Deadline is now reporting that she will be joined by Leah Harvey from Foundation, who will be playing her daughter in the A24 release.

Remember to subscribe to our Production Listings to keep track of all the projects above and production as it progresses.

Maybe something that will excite me and a few others is the fact that the Canadian comedy troupe, the Kids in the Hall, are having a reunion, and they posted on their Twitter account that they’ve just started shooting eight brand new episodes as an Amazon Original series. Pretty exciting news for fans of the venerable comedy group.

This summer’s “Trailer Season” continues with the first full-length trailer for M. Night Shayamalan‘s Old, a Universal Pictures thriller set on a beach where everyone ages rapidly and to quite eerie results. The movie, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Rufus SewellKen LeungNikki Amuka-BirdAbbey Lee (Lovecraft Country), Aaron PierreAlex WolffEmbeth Davitz, and Thomasin McKenzie, will be released in theaters on July 23.

Another trailer released this week was the newest one for Disney’s Jungle Cruise, an period action-adventure movie loosely based on the popular theme park ride, starring Dwayne Johnson  and Emily Blunt, which will get a theatrical release (with a Disney+ Premium component) on July 30.

This week’s final trailer is for the Hulu/A24 pregnancy thriller, False Positive, starring Broad City’s Ilana Glazer in a rare non-comedic role. Also starring Justin TherouxPierce Brosnan Sophia Bush, and Gretchen Mol, the first trailer was released a few weeks before the movie’s premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival ahead of its streaming release on Hulu on June 25.

That’s it for this week. Have a great, hopefully long weekend, and I’ll probably be taking off on Monday from the usual “Over the Weekend,” so look for all or any pertinent news in next week’s “Hump Day News Update” on Wednesday.

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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