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HomeIndustry SectorFilmOver the Weekend 7/26/21: Jackie Mason Dies, Michael Jordan Developing Val-Zod Project...

Over the Weekend 7/26/21: Jackie Mason Dies, Michael Jordan Developing Val-Zod Project for HBO Max, And More News


Happy Monday, and we hope everyone had a good weekend!

If nothing else, it’s nice to see that there were no more production shutdowns due to COVID over the weekend to report, although things are still looking like we’ll be getting a third or fourth wave in the pandemic, depending on how you count those waves. In fact, most of the weekend news was coming from out of Tokyo where the Summer Olympics are … going.

Jackie Mason
Jackie Mason (Photo by Carl Lender)

Unfortunately, we had a number of deaths over the weekend, including actor, comedian and author Jackie Mason at the age of 93, although a cause of death was not disclosed. Mason studied at Yeshiva University and worked as a rabbi in North Carolina and Pennsylvania before beginning his comedy career in the Catskills.

Also, actor and bodybuilder Mike Mitchell,  who appeared in Gladiator and Braveheart, died of natural causes on a boat in Turkey at the age of 65.

Val-Zod (DC Comics)

According to ColliderMichael B. Jordan and his banner Outlier Society are reportedly developing his own Black Superman movie for HBO Max, which will focus on the Val-Zod character, although it hasn’t been nailed down whether this might be a movie or a limited series. Val-Zod is an incarnation of Superman from Earth-2, but apparently, this is a different project than the one being developed by J.J. Abrams that’s being written by Ta-Henesi Coates, which will feature a Black Clark Kent

Variety reports that the legendary Pam Grier is joining the Paramount Players prequel to Stephen King‘s Pet Sematary, which will serve as an origin story for the titular graveyard. Grier will be joining the cast that includes Jackson White, Forrest GoodluckJack Mulhern, Natalie Alyn Lind, and Isabella Star LeBlanc. The untitled prequel will begin filming in August, the directorial debut by Lindsey Beer, who wrote the coming-of age movie, Sierra Burgess is a Loswer, and the Millarworld series, The Magic Order, both for Netflix.

Danielle Deadwyler (The Haves and the Have Notes) and  Whoopi Goldberg are joining Chinonye Chukwu‘s film Till, for Orion, the Emmett Louis Till biopic, in which Deadwyler will play the murdered boy’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, and Goldberg will play Till’s grandmother, Alma Carthan. The film focuses on Mamie’s pursuit for justice for her teen son that helped pave the way for the civil rights movement. Chukwu previously directed Clemency, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and she wrote the screenplay for Till, based on a previous draft by Keith Beauchamp and Michael J P Reilly. Beauchamp previously directed the documentary, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, and he is producing Chukwu’s film, along with Barbara Broccoli, Goldberg, Thomas K Levine, Reilly and Frederick Zollo with production scheduled to start in Atlanta this September.

Meanwhile, Judy Greer continues to be the busiest actor in Hollywood, as she has joined the indie movieMabel, less than a week after she was tagged to star in LA Bound, directed by Nicholas Ma from a script by Joy Goodwin and Ma. It’s about a girl named Callie whose only friends are plants and trees, specifically a potted plant named Mabel. Greer is playing Mrs. G, presumably Callie’s mother.

20th Century Studios‘ Rosaline, a revisionist rom-com based on Romeo & Juliet, has added another funny actor in Bradley Whitford from Get Out and  The West Wing.

Keep an eye on all these projects by subscribing to our Production Listings, which are updated daily.

The 78th annual Venice Film Festival announced its festival line-up this morning, and it included a number of anticipated studio movies, including Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune, David Gordon Green‘s Halloween KillsEdgar Wright‘s Last Night in Soho, and Ridley Scott’The Last Duel, all out of competition — at least two of those are thought to be big below-the-line awards players. Films in competition include Pedro Almodovar‘s Madres ParalelasAna Lily Amirpour‘s Mona Lisa and the Blood MoonJane Campion‘s The Power of the DogPablo Larrain‘s SpencerMaggie Gyllenhaal‘s The Lost Daughter, and many more.

Moving onto some TV news…

Olivia Colman
Olivia Colman in The Kármán Line

British filmmaker Oscar Sharp (the 2014 short The Kármán Line, starring Olivia Colman) is teaming with Damon Lindelof and Matt Reeves to develop The Human Conditions, a “magical realist” medical drama for HBO Max. The original series follows a young British doctor who must learn to treat impossible, fantastical illnesses by healing the emotional issues that underlie them — and confronting her own along the way. It will be produced by Reeves’ 6th & Idaho banner, UK production company Brightstar, and Warner Bros. Television with Sharp writing and directing as well as being one of the show’s EPs, along with Lindelof, Reeves, 6th & Idaho’s Daniel Pipski and Rafi Crohn, and Brightstar’s Tanya Seghatchian and John Woodward.

Screenwriter Lana Cho (ArrowFour Weddings and a Funeral), has sold her spec script for her hour-long drama, American Seoul, to Hulu, according to Deadline. It’s about a  young Korean-American adoptee who moves to Seoul for a job opportunity and discovers that she is the heir of a dynastic Korean family. Cho will write and exec. produce the project, along with exec. producers Sebastian Lee and David Kim from ABC‘s The Good Doctor and the upcoming Apple series, Pachinko. Cho recently sold her adaptation of the K-pop rom-com, Somewhere Only We Know to Netflix with Escape Artists producing.

NBC, who has been the most active network in terms of cancelling and dropping series, has announced that the ensemble drama pilot for At That Age won’t be going forward. Directed by Space Jam: A New Legacy director Malcolm B. Lee from his own original idea, the pilot starred Adrian Holmes, Nicole Ari Parker, Brad James, Jade Eshete, Sinqua Walls, Emayatzy Corinealdi and Christian Keyes, and Universal Television, who produced the pilot, will likely try to sell it to another network before the actors’ deals lapse on July 31.

Thomasin McKenzie (L) and Alex Wolff in Old (Universal)

It was another tough weekend at the box office as two new wide releases debuted and neither did particularly well, although M. Night Shyamalan‘s thriller Old from Universal Pictures managed to win the weekend with $16.5 million in 3,355 theaters, which was slightly less than projected. Still, it ended up defeating Paramount Pictures‘ Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, an attempt to reboot Hasbro Films‘ G.I. Joe franchise with Henry Golding from Crazy Rich Asians playing the title character. Snake Eyes debuted in a few hundred more theaters but still ended up with only $13.3 million for second place. Last week’s #1 movie, Space Jam: A New Legacy from Warner Bros. took a massive 69% plunge to fourth place with $9.6 million and $51.4 million domestic gross so far. Marvel Studios’ Black Widow dropped to third place with $11.6 million and $154.8 million domestic, which puts it in third place for the year in terms of domestic box office.

Also, the Mark Wahlberg drama, Joe Bell, was released by Roadside Attractions into 1,094, but it barely made a mark, debuting with $707,000, which will put it outside the Top 10 for the weekend.

The virtual Comic-Con @Home took place over the weekend, so there was lots of news and trailers about genre series and films. A few new series dates were announced, including Netflix announcing that its series Lucifer will get a sixth and final season on the streamer on September 10, even releasing a teaser for the series return:

Another teaser trailer that debuted at Comic-Con @Home was the first teaser for Army of Thieves, the Netflix prequel to Zack Snyder‘s Army of the Dead, starring safe cracker Dieter, played by Matthias Schweighöfer, who also directed the feature.

If there weren’t enough zombies for you in that one, then AMC premiered the first trailer for the final eleventh season of The Walking Dead at Comic-Con @Home. It will debut on AMC on August 22, but it will premiere a week earlier on August 15 on the streamer AMC+.

AMC also announced that the seventh season of Fear the Walking Dead would debut on October 17 and showed two “First Look” clips of what to expect in Season 7.

Staying in the horror vein, apparently USA and Syfy Network are debuting a new Chucky series on October 12, and that also got a first trailer over the weekend at Comic-Con @Home.

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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