We start the weekend wrap-up with a sad note about the passing of popular character actor Ned Beatty, who died over the weekend at the age of 83 from natural causes at his home in Los Angeles.
Beatty was best known for some of his roles from the ’70s, including Deliverance(1972), Nashville (1975), and All the President’s Men and Network in 1976. All four of those movies were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and Beatty received his first and only Oscar nomination for the latter. He also starred in 1977’s Superman as the sidekick Otis to Gene Hackman‘s Lex Luthor.
In 2010, Beatty provided his voice to Lotso in Pixar Animation‘s Toy Story 3, which won the Oscar for Animated Feature that year, while Beatty was nominated for an MTV Award as “Best Villain.” The following year, Beatty’s voice could be heard as the Mayor in Gore Verbinski‘s animated film, Rango, which won the Animated Oscar that year.
Beatty also was a regular guest on television shows like Gunsmoke, The Rockford Files, and Hawaii 5-0, something which continued into the ’90s with recurring roles on Roseanne and Homicide: Life on the Street. Beatty received two Prime Time Emmy nominations, one in 1979 for the limited series, Friendly Fire, and another nomination in 1989 for Last Train Home.
He is survived by his fourth wife, Sandra Johnson, and eight children, all from his three previous marriages.
Continuing with the bad news that the latest talks between the IATSE labor union and management in AMPTP for new film and television contracts, which began on May 17, have broken off with no deal in place and “very little progress” in achieving a deal. The talks, which were only scheduled to last two weeks, won’t resume until July 6, although the contract, which covers the union’s 13 West Coast production locals won’t expire until July 31.
Leaders of IATSE Local 600, the Cinematographers Guild, released the statement, “Very little progress has been made since we resumed this Monday. On Wednesday, we did not even meet, and today bargaining was suspended altogether until early July.”
The statement continued, “Although we continue to press the employers to develop proposals that address our priorities, we remain far apart in the most important areas. We believe that 2020 has proven that the employers can manage the work safely, and our proposals on rest periods, meal breaks and Fraturdays are designed to finally address the dangerous working conditions that exist in our industry.”
Many in the union have stated that the long hours on set are adding to the unsafe working conditions due to Covid.
The biggest casting news out of the ongoing Cannes Virtual Market was that Oscar winners, Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, would be headlining May December, the latest film directed by Todd Haynes, who has directed a number of actors (including Moore) to Oscar nominations. International sales are being handled by Rocket Science for the package based on a screenplay by Samy Burch (story by Burch and Alex Mechanik) about a couple, Gracie Atherton-Yu (Moore) and her husband Joe (who is 23 years younger) who are visited by actress Elizabeth Berry (Portman) who is spending time with the family to get to know Gracie better to play her in a film about the couple’s tabloid marriage twenty years earlier.
The project which is slated to start production in 2022 will be produced by Jessica Elbaum and Will Ferrell of Gloria Sanchez Productions (Hustlers, Booksmart, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar) and Haynes’ regular production partners, Christine Vachon (Shirley, Dark Waters) and Pam Koffler (Dark Waters, Colette) of Killer Films. Portman is also producing along with her MountainA production partner, Sophie Mas.
Another film to cast up out of the Cannes Market is the adaptation of Iain Reid‘s science fiction novel, Foe, which will be directed by Garth Davis (Lion) and has been joined by Saoirse Ronan, Paul Mescal and recent Oscar nominee LaKeith Stanfield, with plans to start filming in Australia next January. Davis adapted the book with Reid into a “taut, sensual, psychological mind-bender set in the near future where corporate power and environmental decay are ravaging the planet. Junior (Mescal) and Hen (Ronan) are a young couple married seven years and living a solitary life on their isolated farm. One night, a stranger named Terrance (Stanfield) knocks on their door, bringing news that throws their lives into turmoil: Junior has been randomly selected to travel to a large, experimental space station orbiting Earth. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Hen won’t have a chance to miss him, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Hen will have familiar company that pushes her to make a life-changing decision.”
Davis told Deadline, “I’ve been on the hunt to do something in sci-fi, it was always on my bucket list, and also to find material I could make an actor’s piece with a Cassavetian level of performance. I read Foe and could not put it down. It’s incredibly suspenseful, very moving and dealt with sci-fi in a most grounded way that spoke to where we are heading as a society, with a lot of the questions we all have, explored in a profound way. And the love story just broke my heart, this story of self-determination, fighting for the things that are most precious in our lives, and reminding audiences that this time we have here is precious and the way we treat each other is the way we need to be treating the planet. Foe was just a bull’s-eye, for me.”
Producing the film are Kerry Kohansky-Roberts of Anonymous Content, Davis through his I Am That company, and See-Saw Films’ Emile Sherman and Iain Canning. Reid and Samantha Lang are executive producers for the Anonymous Content Studios production that will have international sales handled by FilmNation and domestic rights co-handled by CAA Media Finance and UTA’s Independent Film Group.
Also out of the Cannes Virtual Market comes word that Oscar-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne will reunite with his Sideways star, Paul Giamatti, for the comedy, The Holdovers, written by David Hemingson and produced by Mark Johnson with FilmNation handling international rights and CAA Media Finance handling domestic.
Giamatti will play “a universally disliked teacher at the prep school Deerfield Academy. His non-fans include his students, fellow faculty and headmaster who all find his pomposity and rigidity exasperating. With no family and nowhere to go over Christmas holiday in 1970, Paul remains at school to supervise students unable to journey home. After a few days, only one student holdover remains — a trouble-making 15-year-old named Angus, a good student undermined by bad behavior that always threatens to get him expelled. Joining Paul and Angus is Deerfield’s head cook Mary—an African American woman who caters to sons of privilege and whose own son was recently lost in Vietnam. These three very different shipwrecked people form an unlikely Christmas family, sharing comic misadventures during two very snowy weeks in New England, and realizing that none of them are beholden to their past.”
Also from Deadline, actress Michelle Monaghan has been cast to co-star opposite Anna Diop in the Stay Gold Features and Topic Studios thriller, Nanny, written and directed by Nikyatu Jusu, and produced by the two companies with LinLay Productions. The film follows “an undocumented nanny named Aisha (Diop) who takes a job caring for the privileged child of a wealthy Manhattan family on the Upper East Side in the hopes that she may earn enough money to bring her six-year-old son from West Africa to live with her in New York. As Aisha prepares for the arrival of her young son, a violent supernatural presence invades her reality, threatening the “American Dream” she so painstakingly pieced together.”
More casting news comes in the form of Freya Allan, the breakout star of Netflix‘s The Witcher, starring in Studiocanal and The Picture Company‘s Baghead, which start production in Berlin in this fall. Alberto Corredor, who directed the short film on which the feature is based, will also direct the feature-length horror film from a script written by Christina Pamies and Bryce McGuire. It involves a mysterious figure named Baghead, a tiny wrinkled-up person able to manifest the dead and bring them back to life for short intervals. It will also hit the Cannes Market with Studiocanal handling worldwide sales.
Also out of the Cannes Market is word that Gerard Butler will be reuniting with Director Ric Roman Waugh for the action-sequel, Greenland: Migration, reprising his role as John Garrity, as the duo work from a script by Greenland writer, Chris Sparling. Butler’s co-star Morena Baccarin will also be returning as his wife, Allison, as the film covers the events after the family survives an extinction-level event in the first movie. The project, produced by Thunder Road Pictures‘ Basil Iwanyk and Brendon Boyea, Butler with his G-BASE partner Alan Siegel, and Anton‘s Sebastien Raybaud and John Zois, will be fully financed by Anton, who controls all the rights with CAA Media Finance co-repping the movie in the U.S., where it’s unlikely to be released by STXfilms, who dumped the first movie to SVOD in the States.
On the TV side of things…
Demi Lovato‘s NBC comedy pilot, Hungry, continues to pull in talent, and a TV icon has joined the mix as Valerie Bertinelli, who first made her debut on the original One Day at a Time, has joined the cast. Bertinelli will play co-lead opposite Lovato, actually playing the mother of her character. It will be Bertinelli’s first series regular role since her six years on TV Land‘s sitcom, Hot in Cleveland. The series, written and executive produced by Suzanne Martin, follows a group of friends who belong to a food-issues group helping one another as they look for love, success and the perfect thing in the fridge that’s going to make it all better. Lovato plays food stylist Teddy who tries to have healthier relationships with food and men.
Peacock has called for a series order for the family musical comedy, Take Note, from Lambur Productions, ordering a ten-episode half-hour series. The series follows a group of contestants from around the country as they take part in a reality singing competition, and it stars Braelyn Rankins (Doom Patrol), Nadine Roden (Designated Survivor), Aadin Church) (Dreamgirls on Broadway, and Sebastian Spencer (Overlord). It centers on Rankins’ 14-year-old Calvin Richards (Rankins), who has a wonderful, close-knit family who can survive anything as long as they’re together, put to the test when Calvin takes part in the tween reality singing show, also called Take Note.
Peacock has also renewed Girls5Eva for a second season.
We just reported on Friday about F9 director Justin Lin helming the pilot for the Untitled Nick Wootton/Jake Coburn NBC Drama, and it’s now been reported that the show will be headlined by Morena Baccarin (Deadpool) and Ryan Michelle Bathé (The First Wives Club, All Rise). In the “high-stakes two-hander” Baccarin will play international arms dealer and criminal mastermind Elena Federova, who orchestrates a number of bank heists in New York City, while Bathé will play FBI agent named Val Fitzgerald, who is tasked with foiling Federova’s plans.
The Amazon Studios series With Love has cast up, adding Constance Marie, Benito Martinez, and Vincent Rodriguez III as series regulars opposite Emeraude Tobia and Mark Indelicato in the one-hour romantic comedy series created and written by Gloria Calderón Kellett and produced with Amazon by her GloNation Studios. The series follows the Diaz siblings, Lily (Toubia) and Jorge (Indelicato), who are on a mission to find love and purpose. The Diaz siblings cross paths with seemingly unrelated residents during some of the most heightened days of the year — the holidays.
Things did not go well at the box office this weekend, as Warner Bros. Pictures‘ musical, In the Heights, which was presumed and predicted by most to be the #1 movie for the weekend with $20 million plus, ended up having to settle for second place as Paramount Pictures‘ A Quiet Place Part II pulled a surprise upset, returning to the #1 spot with $11.6 million. Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise for those who remember John Krasinski‘s original A Quiet Place, which pulled the exact same feat in its third weekend in 2018. A Quiet Place Part II also became the first movie since the pandemic began to gross more than $100 million domestic, as it reached $109 million over the weekend. Warners’ Godzilla vs. Kong came close, but it just didn’t crack it.
Back to In the Heights, the Jon M. Chu-directed musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda, which predated Hamilton, opened in 3,456 theaters on Thursday, but when the $5 million combined number for Thursday and Friday came in, it was obvious it wasn’t cracking $20 million for the weekend. In fact, it ended up with an estimated $11.4 million, which put it in second place, less than $300,000 behind the horror sequel. (When actual Sunday numbers are reported, the positioning could switch and clearly, the studios will be watching the numbers come in with bated breath.) Some suggested that the decision by WarnerMedia to put In the Heights on HBO Max simultaneously with its theatrical release ended up hurting its chances, although the movie, as expected, ended up doing better in New York City, where it opened the 20th Tribeca Festival on Wednesday, than in other regions. (UPDATE: It’s official. A Quiet Place Part II has won the weekend with $12 million to In the Heights‘ $11.5 million.)
Sony Pictures made a return to ultra-wide releases with its own sequel, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, directed by Will Gluck — you can read Below the Line‘s interview with Gluck right here — which reunited Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson with voice actor James Corden and others. The family hybrid sequel ended up grossing an estimated $10.4 million in 3,346 theaters, averaging $3,108 per venue, just slightly less than the top two movies.
Filmmaker Deon Taylor also brought out his own sequel, the horror-comedy The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2, which grossed just over a million in significantly less theaters (420) and averaged $2,533 per theater. Lionsgate will be attempting to expand the movie into more theaters this Friday, even though it will also be releasing its own sequel, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.
No new trailers this past weekend, so I guess we’ll officially call this column wrapped, but check back on Wednesday for our weekly Hump Day News Update.