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HomeColumnsHump Day News Update 5/5/21: More Oscar Controversy, Kingsley as Dali, McGregor...

Hump Day News Update 5/5/21: More Oscar Controversy, Kingsley as Dali, McGregor as Halston, and More News


I’m guessing many people reading this might be thinking, “What is this?” Well, it was bound to happen, but the industry is actually getting to the point where there’s a lot more news each day, so by the time I finish the Over the Weekend column on Mondays, there’s already so much news that it doesn’t make sense to save it all until Friday.

So for the time being, the Hump Day News Update will be joining Over the Weekend and the End of Week Production Notes, and then next week, Below the Line will be debuting a new weekly column from none other than writer Neil Turitz.

A picture from Daliland (photo: Pressman Film)

Earlier in the week, Deadline debuted the first image from Mary Harmon‘s feature, Daliland, starring Sir Ben Kingsley as Salvador Dali, which will co-star Barbara Sukowa as Dali’s wife and muse, Gala, and model and actress Andreja Pejić  as Dali’s OTHER muse, Amanda Lear. Both of them are pictured with Kingsley. Set in New York and Spain in 1973, the film tells the story of Dali’s later years trying to keep his marriage to Gala intact while preparing for a big gallery show. The film also stars Ezra Miller as the younger Dali in flashbacks, newcomer Christopher Briney as a young art enthusiast named James, Sherlock’s Rupert Graves as his right hand man, Captain Moore; Suki Waterhouse; and Mark McKenna as Alice Cooper. John C. Walsh wrote the script.

This seems to be a good week for television renewals as The CW has renewed both Kung Fu and Star Girl, while Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and Assisted Living have both been renewed by BET even before the latest seasons have premiered. ABC also went ahead and renewed The Good Doctor, starring Freddie Highmore, for a fifth season, as well as renewing Big Sky for a second season with Elwood Reid, exec. producer of The Chi and The Bridge, being elevated to showrunner for the new season.

On the other side of things, Netflix has cancelled its Sherlock Holmes drama, The Irregulars.

Furthermore, it looks like the Pennyworth DC series based on Batman’s butler is looking to move to HBO Max from its present home at cable/streamer Epix.

Two Distant Strangers
Two Distant Strangers (Photo: Netflix)

There’s some controversy surrounding one of the winners of April 25’s Academy Awards, as claims of plagiarism have been mounted against the Netflix short, Two Distant Strangers, which won the Oscar for live-action short. Filmmaker Cynthia Kao took to TikTok to point out that the premise for Two Distant Strangers is eerily similar to her own 2016 short film, Groundhog Day for a Black Man, which was released on YouTube in December 2016.  She states that a company called NowThis News reached out to her in May 2020 after the killing of George Floyd, offering to “amplify” her short on its social pages.  The short, Two Distant Strangers, debuted on Netflix on April 9 of this year after having already been nominated for an Oscar. NowThis is given an “In Association With” credit in the film, which does make one question whether Oscar-winning filmmakers, Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe were aware of Ms. Kao’s work when they made their own short film. This is a developing story to see how it pans out, because it’s not often that an Oscar winner is questioned AFTER it won.

Alexander Skarsgard
Alexander Skarsgard (Photo: Warner Bros.)

Alexander Skarsgard, who starred in the HBO series, True BloodGeneration Kill, and the limited series Little Big Lies  — for which he received a Golden Globe and Emmy — will be returning to the cable network to play a new role in the third season of the Emmy-winning hit Succession. He will play Lukas Matsson, described as a “successful, confrontational tech founder and CEO, joining the cast that includes Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Hiam Abbass, Nicholas Braun, Peter Friedman, and more. Production on Season 3 of Succession was delayed due to the pandemic, but it’s currently in production in New York.

Taylour Paige, star of A24’s Zola who first broke out in the indie Waves and appeared in Eddie Huang‘s Boogie, will be co-starring with Peter Dinklage in Legendary Pictures planned reboot of Troma Entertainment‘s The Toxic Avenger, according to Deadline. She will play the female lead opposite Dinklage in the film that also co-stars Jacob Tremblay and will be directed by Macon Blair.

Elizabeth Olsen
Elisabeth Olsen (Photo: Marvel Studios)

Fresh off her starring role in Marvel Studios‘ Disney+ series, WandaVisionElizabeth Olsen will star in the HBO Max limited series, Love and Death, which tells the true story of Wylie, Texas housewife Candy Montgomery who murdered  Betty Gore in 2020. Inspired by Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs and a collection of articles from Texas Monthly (Love & Death In Silicon Prairie, Part I & II), Olsen will play Montgomery in the series from David E. KelleyNicole Kidman and Lionsgate Television, who had such huge success with Big Little Lies and The Undoing. Kelley wrote the script with Homeland‘s Lesli Linka Glatter directing.

Olivia Wilde has picked New Zealand actress Thomasin McKenzie from Jojo Rabbit and Leave No Trace to play Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug in her biopic, Perfect, for Searchlight Studios. Wilde will direct the script by Ronnie Sandahl with Nik Bower & Jeremy Baxter producing for Riverstone Pictures as well as Thomas Benski & Moss Barclay for Pulse FilmsDeepak Nayar and Marisa Clifford will exec. produce for each respective company along with Wilde and Sandahl.

Lastly, another one from Deadline, as more cast has been announced for the Elizabeth Banks womens’ rights drama, Call Jane, which is now filming in Connecticut. The cast is joined by Chris Messina (Birds of Prey), Cory Michael Smith (Carol), Aida Turturro (The Sopranos), Wunmi Mosaku (Lovecraft Country), and newcomer Grace Edwards.  The film with a script by Hayley Schore & Roshan Seth, is directed by Carol screenwriter Phyllis Naga and also stars Sigourney Weaver and Kate Mara. Banks plays Joy Griffin, a housewife and mother who faces a life-threatening pregnancy in 1968 that no doctor will terminate until she finds a network of women who help women get safe abortions.

You can read more about these projects and thousands more in our Production Listings.

We have a midweek trailer from the Netflix limited series Halston, starring Ewan McGregor as legendary fashion designer Halston, who became the definition of fashion in New York of the ’70s and ’80s. Exec. produced by Ryan Murphy, Ian BrennanAlexis Martin Woodall, Director Daniel Minahan, McGregor, and Christina Vachon and Pamela Koffler of Killer FilmsHalston will premiere on the streamer on May 14. It co-stars Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli, Rebecca DayanBill PullmanVera FarmigaRory Culkin  as Joel Schumacher and more.

Speaking of fashion, Walt Disney Pictures just released a new featurette for its upcoming prequel, Cruella, starring Emma Stone. Titled Becoming Cruella, it gives us a look at some of the crafts behind turning Stone into the classic Disney villain, Cruella de Ville.

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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