Thank God It’s Friday!
Before we all get to our summer weekend fun, let’s look at some news from earlier in the week…
Actor Robert Pattinson‘s first acclaim to fame came from playing glittery vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight movies, and next year, he’ll be making his debut as DC Comics’ The Batman. With that in mind, it almost makes perfect sense that he’s now rumored to play Nosferatu in the remake of the original vampire movie from The Witch Director Robert Eggers, who had already cast his debut film’s star, Anya Taylor-Joy, four years ago. The original silent film, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, directed by F.W.
Murnau came out in 1922, predating the original Dracula movie by nine years, although both of them were based on Bram Stoker‘s Dracula novel. Stoker’s heirs sued the filmmakers behind Nosferatu and the court had all copies destroyed although surviving remastered versions have emerged since that court ruling. It was previously remade in 1979 by Werner Herzog as Nosferatu the Vampyre, starring Klaus Kinski. Another version starring Doug Jones (The Shape of Water) as Count Orlok has also been in development for years.
Pattinson’s casting hasn’t been confirmed by any of the trades yet, but it would be an interesting choice despite any connections to previous roles, since the actor has generally been trying to change things up from his franchise work.
Staying on the horror side of things, the creators of The Conjuring franchise, writers Chad and Cary Hayes, and producers Faster Horse Pictures (The Tax Collector) have tapped Spiral Director Darren Lynn Bousman to helm their new horror franchise, set in the infamous The LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans. The brothers wrote the screenplay in the actual house and plans are to shoot portions of the production on-site, even though there hasn’t been any public access to the house since 1932. Bousman is coming off his return to the Saw franchise, having directed Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson in the attempted relaunch, Spiral, which has grossed less than $22 million domestically.
Actress Sanaa Lathan will make her feature film directing debut on Paramount Players’ adaptation of Angie Thomas‘s bestseller, On the Come Up, according to Deadline. Thomas’ other bestseller, The Hate U Give, was turned into a 2019 movie for Fox 2000. The Tony-nominated Lathan recently joined the cast of HBO‘s Succession, but she’s previously directed the short film, Leap, and part of the anthology film, With/In, which is premiering at the Tribeca Festival this week.
We’re going to shift into some television news…
The sad news came this week that NBC has decided not to renew the seemingly popular Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist after two seasons, but the series won’t be moving to the streamer Peacock like so many others. Instead, Lionsgate Television likely will shop the series elsewhere, and it’s probably going to be a solid purchase for whichever network or streamer jumps on it, since the series has shown a lot of potential over its first two seasons. (You can read Below the Line‘s interview with Choreographer Mandy Moore here, and look for an interview with the show’s Music Supervisor soon.)
Apple Studios has renewed its charter series See, starring Jason Momoa, for a third season in advance of the second season debuting on Friday, August 27. Apple also debuted a teaser trailer for Season 2, which introduces a new character played by Dave Bautista (Army of the Dead), playing Edo Voss, the brother of Momoa’s Baba Voss. Yes, Momoa AND Bautista on the same show. Mind blown?
Fresh off the global success of his latest Fast and Furious movie, F9 (hitting American theaters on May 25), Director Justin Lin has been tapped to direct and exec. produce a new NBC drama pilot currently known as Untitled Nick Wootton/Jake Coburn Project.
Written by Nick Wootton (NYPD Blue) who exec. produces with Jake Coburn (Arrow), the show is a high-stakes two-hander about an international arms dealer and criminal mastermind named Elena Federova, who orchestrates a number of bank heists in New York City, and a FBI agent named Val Fitzgerald, who is tasked with foiling Federova’s plans. Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries) and her My So-Called Company partner Emily Cummins are also exec. producing with Lin’s Perfect Storm Entertainment, all working with Universal Television (a division of Universal Studio Group).
Also over at NBC, the pilot for the sequel to the popular ’90s sitcom Night Court has added Ana Villafañe, best known for her stint on New Amsterdam, playing Dr. Valentina Castro. The new series written and exec. produced by Dan Rubin (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) based on the original series by Reinhold Weege, will star Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) as Abby Stone, daughter of Harry Anderson‘s Harry Stone from the original series. Villafañe will play Monica, the court’s assistant district attorney, joining Rauch and the returning John Larroquette reprising court prosecutor Dan Fielding.
It certainly seems like Comcast is making all the moves this week, as streamer Peacock added more cast to the planned MacGruber series that brings back Will Forte and Kristen Wiig from the popular SNL sketch and cult movie, as well as Ryan Phillippe from the latter. Actors Sam Elliott, Laurence Fishburne and Mickey Rourke are the latest to join the series
Another Universal Pictures movie — a much bigger hit than MacGruber (sorry, but it’s true) — is also looking to become a Peacock series, and that’s a series based on Seth MacFarlane‘s Ted, which has been ordered to series by the Comcast streamer with UCP and MRC producing. The movie that teamed Mark Wahlberg with a filthy-mouthed teddy bear, voiced by MacFarlane, opened in the summer of 2021 and grossed $556 million worldwide. Its 2015 sequel, Ted 2, only grossed $217.2 million worldwide, less than half its predecessor, so a streaming series seems like the right way to go with the franchise.
The Hulu limited series The Dropout about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes (to be played by Mank‘s Amanda Seyfried), has put together its impressive supporting cast, which will include William H. Macy, Laurie Metcalf, Elizabeth Marvel, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Kate Burton, Stephen Fry, Michel Gill, Michael Ironside, Bill Irwin, and Josh Pais.
Also, Danish actor Claes Bang (The Square, The Last Vermeer) is joining Stephen Merchant‘s BBC/Amazon comedy, The Offenders, about a group of strangers completing their community payback sentence in Bristol, England. Merchant, best known for co-creating The Office and Extras with Ricky Gervais — as well as the star of Hello Ladies — is leading the cast that includes Christopher Walken, Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Darren Boyd, Clare Perkins, Eleanor Tomlinson, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells and Julia Davis.
You can keep up with all these projects and more by subscribing to Production Listings.
Now let’s get into some casting and film packages that have been put together and will be looking for buyers in next month’s Cannes Virtual Market.
With roles in this week’s theatrical release Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and her upcoming Apple series Physical next week, Rose Byrne seems to be on a winning stream. She’s just been cast in They Are Us as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the movie about the response to the 2019 Christchurch Attacks. The Australian star, who has become more known for comedy thanks to appearances in Paul Feig‘s Bridesmaids and Spy, is returning drama to play the political leader who came more into the global narrative due to her unparalleled handling of the COVID-19 virus in New Zealand.
Also out of Cannes, the long-absent Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman will be joining Sissy Spacek in Darren Le Gallo‘s feature directorial debut, the family dramedy Sam & Kate. Co-starring Jake Hoffman and Schuyler Fisk, the film will be produced by Ben Shields Catlin, Orian Williams, Ford Corbett, Cindy Bru and Le Gallo with Amy Adams and Stacy O’Neil exec producing for Bond Group Entertainment.
Harry Melling (The Queen’s Gambit) will play a young Edgar Allan Poe in Scott Cooper‘s The Pale Blue Eye, opposite Oscar winner Christian Bale. In the movie, Bale plays a veteran detective investigating murders at West Point who gets help from the young cadet who hasn’t yet become a famous author. Cooper (Black Mass) adapts and directs the film based on Louis Bayard’s novel, and it reteams him with Bale, who will produce along with Cooper, John Lesher, and Tyler Thompson of Cross Creek Pictures. Cooper has been trying to make this film for over a decade.
Actor Shameik Moore, who voiced Miles Morales in the Oscar-winning animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is joining Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria) in the crime-drama Silver Star. In the package being shopped by MK2 Films, Moore will play a 20-year-old Civil War re-enactor who tries to reconnect with his estranged parents after being released from jail. During a botched bank robbery meant to get the money to save their home for foreclosure, he takes Sweeney’s pregnant 19-year-old Franny as a hostage, and they set off on a road trip across America.
We generally try to keep an eye on new production hot spots in the country and abroad here at Below the Line, and Oklahoma seems to be having a moment right now with Martin Scorsese filming his next movie, Killers of the Flower Moon, there. Lee Isaac Chung‘s Oscar-nominated Minari also filmed in the state, standing in for Arkansas.
Deadline recently ran a profile of the new Prarie Surf Studios in Oklahoma City, which hopes to continue the state’s production business with the new incentives being offered. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently signed a cash-back film rebate program called the “Filmed in Oklahoma Act of 2021” on May 25 which is offering a rebate with a rolling $30 million cap and up to 38% for qualified expenditures.
The soundstages at Prairie Surf Studios range from 25,000 to 32,000 square feet, taking up the old Cox Convention Center, as a project created by Prairie Surf Media, founded by industry veterans and Oklahoma natives, actress Rachel Cannon (Fresh Off the Boat, Two and a Half Men, Mad Men) and Screenwriter Matt Payne (Vegas, The Defenders, Memphis Beat).
A big trailer debut this week was the teaser for Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s feature directorial debut, tick, tick… BOOM!, timed to the release of the Warner Bros. movie based on Miranda’s early musical, In the Heights, into theaters and HBO Max this week. Based on the musical by Jonathan Larson (Rent), the movie stars Andrew Garfield as a young theater composer waiting on tables in 1990 while trying to write the great American musical. Produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Julie Oh and Miranda, the movie also stars Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, MJ Rodriguez, Bradley Whitford, Tariq Trotter, with Judith Light and Vanessa Hudgens. It’s slated to hit theaters and then Netflix in the Fall.
Netflix also released the first trailer for its Fear Street trilogy that will launch in July, based on the horror book series by R.L. Stine, with all three movies directed by Leigh Janiak. The trilogy — Fear Street Part 1: 1994, Fear Street Part 2: 1978, and Fear Street Part 3: 1966 — will be streamed on Netflix one-a-week starting July 2. Each of the films has a different cast as it follows the sinister history of Shadyside over 300 years.