It’s been a tough week for a number of reasons, but there is a light on the horizon, and it begins with Los Angeles County finally reopening many movie theaters with limited capacity. There isn’t much in terms of new movies playing to get the throngs of movie lovers back into theaters other than a Benedict Cumberbatch political thriller called The Courier, but there’s still lots of Oscar-nominated movies that people in L.A. will finally get to see in the big screen for the first time.
Let’s start things off with some production news, as a number of big movies have begun to roll cameras, including Paramount Pictures‘ Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the sequel to the family movie based on the popular Sega video game, which opened last February before the world went to hell and managed to make $319 million worldwide. It has a lot of locations listed for the half-CG hybrid comedy that brings back Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, including Vancouver, Canada. Director Jeff Fowler celebrated the first day of shooting on Twitter:
Lights, camera, hedgehog. Production on Sonic the Hedgehog 2 starts TODAY! #SonicMovie2 pic.twitter.com/UsIgtZqn3s
— Jeff Fowler (@fowltown) March 16, 2021
Also up in Vancouver, principal photography has begun for Disney’s live action Peter Pan & Wendy, directed by David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon) and starring Jude Law as Captain Hook, Yara Shahidi as Tinkerbell, Ever Anderson as Wendy, Alexander Molony as Peter Pan, Molly Parker and Alan Tudyk as Mrs. and Mr. Darling, Jim Gaffigan as Smee, Jacobi Jupe as Michael and Alyssa Wapanatâhk as Tiger Lily.
If that isn’t a sign that things are getting back to normal with more opportunities for crew, then we can look at the news that Blumhouse Pictures is once again teaming with another network, this time with the cable/streamer Epix to make eight new films that will air on Epix in 2021 and 2022. This follows previous deals between Blumhouse with Hulu and Amazon Prime Video that has delivered a lot of content and kept a lot of crew working over the past couple years.
Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci has been filming in various parts of Italy over the past few weeks, and a few shots have been released showing actors Adam Driver, Lady Gaga (below) and a barely recognizable Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci (left). Scott is once again working with Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, ASC, who was just nominated for an Oscar for his work on News of the World. Scott is making the movie about how Patrizia Reggiani (played by Gaga) plotted to kill her husband Maurizio Gucci (Driver) for United Artists Releasing/MGM, who has dated the movie for November 24. From the looks of Leto, we may already have an early contender for Hair and Make-up awards next year.
Remember that by joining BTL’s Production Listings at FindFilmWork.com, you can keep track of projects like these before they crew up as project statuses are updated daily.
While HBO‘s first Game of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, began filming in England last month, the cable/streamer is already developing three other Game of Thrones prequel projects, according to Deadline. This is despite the planned prequel project starring Naomi Watts having been squelched after shooting its pilot.
The first new planned project, which has the working title 9 Voyages, from Rome creator Bruno Heller, follows Lord Corlys Velaryon, aka The Sea Snake, the Lord of the Tides and head of House Velaryon, a character also slated to appear in House of the Dragon, played by Steve Toussaint.
The second project with the working title, 10,000 Ships, is set roughly 1,000 years before the events in Game of Thrones, and that follows warrior queen Princess Nymeria, a revered ancestor of House Martell who founded the kingdom of Dorne, while the third project is set in the King’s Landing slum, Flea Bottom, where characters like Davos Seaworth and Gendry Baratheon were born.
Set 300 years before the events in Game of Thrones as it tells the story of House Targaryen, House of the Dragon stars Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Paddy Considine and Matt Smith, and it’s scheduled to premiere in 2022. These new projects join a few others in various stages of development, including an adaptation of Martin’s Tales of Dunk & Egg novellas and a possible animated Game of Thrones series for HBO Max.
There was a lot of news this week on actors being linked to new projects, including One Night in Miami…‘s Kingsley Ben-Adir playing a key role in the Marvel Studios series, Secret Invasion, according to Deadline. The series stars Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn, reprising their roles from 2018’s Captain Marvel as they fight against shape-shifting Skrulls invading earth. Ben-Adir is set to play one of the series’ primary villains.
Over at The CW, casting is underway for the pilot for a series based on Brian Michael Bendis‘ DC Comic Naomi, being produced by Ava DuVernay (When They See Us) and Jill Blankenship (Arrow). Kaci Walfall (Power) will star in the title role as a nerdy but confident and popular high school student who gains superpowers during a supernatural event. Also joining the cast are Alexander Wraith (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as tattoo parlor owner Dee, Cranston Johnson (P-Valley) as Zumbado, who owns a used car lot, and Camila Moreno making her screen debut as Lourdes, a young woman who shares Naomi’s love of classic comics and has an unrequited crush on Naomi.
According to Collider, Oscar-nominated actor Demián Bichir (A Better Life) is joining the planned series based on the Swedish vampire film, Let the Right One In, which has been rescued by Showtime after TNT decided not to move forward with it. Bichir will play Mark, the father of the 12-year-old girl Eleanor, who he keeps locked in their house providing her with human blood to fulfill her vampiric cravings. The series comes from award-winning playwright, writer and producer Andrew Hinderaker (Penny Dreadful), who will act as showrunner and executive producer Seith Mann (Homeland), who will direct the pilot.
Haley Bennett (Swallow) is joining the ever-growing cast of Eli Roth‘s adaptation of the video game Borderlands, which already has Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Cate Blanchett and Jamie Lee Curtis among its illustrious cast. It’s scheduled to start filming in Budapest, Hungary next month, but Bennett is playing a new character rather than one from the games.
According to Deadline, Jacob Vargas (Mayans M.C.) has joined Steven Soderbergh‘s feature film, KIMI, for New Line and HBO Max, starring Zoë Kravitz, Byron Bowers and Jaime Camil. The script is written by David Koepp, who will produce along with Michael Polaire. The movie will premiere exclusively on HBO Max, similar to Soderbergh’s last film, Let Them All Talk.
Natasha Lyonne, star of the Netflix series, Russian Doll, will star in Knives Out writer/direcor Rian Johnson‘s new mystery series, Poker Face, for Peacock, with Johnson writing, directing and producing and Lyonne exec-producing. Peacock has ordered ten episodes of the series.
Mindy Kaling from The Office and The Mindy Project is joining the voice cast of the Disney+ original animated series, Monsters at Work, spinning off from the 2001 animated feature, Monsters Inc., and its 2013 prequel, Monsters University. It takes place after the Monsters, Inc. plant begins harvesting laughter from kids rather than fear in order to run Monstropolis. Kaling will voice a monster called Val Little, a member of a group called MIFT (the Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team) along with Henry Winkler voicing their boss Fritz, Lucas Neff as Duncan the plumber, and Alanna Ubach as Cutter. Billy Crystal and John Goodman are back to voice their characters, Mike Wazowski and Sulley, as will Bonnie Hunt as Ms. Flint, who manages the department for recruiting and training the funniest monsters. Ben Feldman voices Tylor Tuskmon, a young monster who graduated at the top of his class at Monsters University who wants to become a Scarer but once he gets a job at Monsters, Inc., he finds that laughs are the new scares and he is reassigned to the oddball group in MIFT to work his way up to becoming a Jokester.
The first episode of the new series will stream exclusively on Disney+ starting July 2.
And there’s more!
The team behind the popular FX show Justified are reuniting to develop another Elmore Leonard novel, City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit, with Timothy Olyphant potentially reprising his character Raylan Givens from the previous series. Justified creator Graham Yost will executive produce with Justified writers and executive producers Michael Dinner and Dave Andron, who will write and act as co-showrunners with Dinner directing for Sony Pictures Television, which also produced Justified.
Director Colin Trevorrow may be finishing up the third movie in his Jurassic World trilogy, but he’s already looking forward on what to do next. He’s just been attached to Studiocanal‘s adaptation of David Fisher‘s book, War Magician, a former Tom Cruise project that now stars Benedict Cumberbatch. The script is written by E. Nicholas Mariani with earlier drafts written by Richard Cordiner and Gary Whitta. It tells the story of Jasper Maskelyne, a British illusionist who used magic to defeat Erwin Rommel in World War II with Trevorrow’s version including a “magic gang” from various countries who work with Maskelyne to defeat the Nazis.
A24 is developing a 10-episode limited series that will pair Minari‘s recent Oscar nominee Steven Yeun with comedian, Ali Wong, with creator-writer Lee Sung Jin (Dave) acting as showrunner. Not a lot has been revealed about the project or its tagline, but apparently, there was a pretty big bidding war with Netflix, Amazon, FX and Apple all in the mix.
Lupin has become another popular hit for Netflix, and its star Omar Sy (The Intouchables) will reteam with one of the series directors, Louis Leterrier, for a sequel to Sy’s 2012 French action-comedy, On the Other Side of the Tracks, which will be produced and streamed on Netflix. The Weinstein Company distributed the previous movie after doing the same for Sy’s breakout film, The Intouchables.
All good news must come with some bad, and it looks like the popular BBC show Killing Eve, starring Emmy winners Sandra Oh and Jodi Comer, will be coming to an end with its fourth and final season, which is scheduled to roll cameras this summer. On the brighter side, the Syfy show Resident Alien, starring Alan Tudyk, has been renewed for a second season. This is before the conclusion of Season 1 with its season finale landing March 31.
This week’s new trailer is for Ricky Staub‘s movie, Concrete Cowboy, starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin, which hits Netflix on April 2. Based on the novel “Ghetto Cowboy” by G. Neri, it co-stars Jharrel Jerome, Byron Bowers, Lorraine Toussaint and Clifford “Method Man” Smith. It takes place in North Philadelphia over a summer where a troubled teen (McLaughlin) gets caught between a life of cim and the urban cowboy subculture of his estranged father (Elba). The movie premiered at the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF) last September.