Pearlman's back, alright! The life and times of Lou Pearlman — the famed 1990s music manager and convicted Ponzi schemer who died in prison last week at the age of 62 — are heading to the small screen. The creator of boy-bands such as *NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, and O-Town will be the subject of a new limited series from Condé Nast and Magnet Management, which will chronicle Pearlman’s bumpy life "with details of his rise from blimp business owner to the music mogul and then his fall to fraud." The series will be based on the recent New Yorker article "We Live in the Pop-Culture World That Lou Pearlman Created" by John Seabrook, and a writer or director has yet to be attached. The soundtrack is sure to be good.
Because film and television producers are just so obsessed with reboots, sequels and adapting pre-existing material, NBC is developing a show about the story of Noah’s Ark — except, twist, it will be set in the present day and in space. Deadline is reporting that “The Ark originated at 20th TV’s cable division Fox 21 TV Studios,” when we all know it originated in the Book of Genesis. (Nice try, guys, but we’re paying too much attention to miss that one.) It will be produced by Robert Zemeckis, and the story will focus on an engineer who has a vision after the death of his wife in which he constructs a ship capable of taking humans to space and sustaining life. And, in case you hadn’t heard, the vision foreshadows the end of the world. Upon noticing this, “the engineer realizes there may be a larger story at play.” You don’t say.
All you fanfic writers out there on the internet who have been waiting for a movie that pairs Ty Burrell and Scarlett Johansson can take a break now, because Hollywood has finally answered your prayers. Burrell has just been cast in the blue comedy Rock That Body from Broad City executive producer Lucia Aniello. The script, from Aniello and her writing partner, Paul W. Downs, got a coveted Black List designation in 2015, and Sony snagged the rights to it in what Variety characterizes as “an aggressive bidding war.” (Despite having a name that evokes being placed in exile as well as the dark time in Hollywood when alleged communists were being expunged from the entertainment industry, the Black List is actually an annual collection of unproduced scripts that film studio executives have deemed the most desirable.) The sought after property focuses on five friends looking to throw down for a bachelorette party who rent a beach house in Miami for the occasion, and in addition to Johansson and Burrell, it’s also got Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Zoe Kravitz, and Demi Moore on board to stir up plenty of WTF in this “raunchy comedy.” It seems like an outside chance, but the Modern Family actor could make a great washed up go-go boy bumming around Miami Beach. Here’s hoping!
Harmony Korine is working on an adaptation of Alissa Nutting's Tampa, the filmmaker told the crowd at the Miami Beach Cinematheque according to the Playlist. The novel, which concerns a 26-year-old middle-school teacher's attempts to seduce the 14-year-old boy of her dreams, is so perfectly Korinian that Slate once begged Hollywood to hire him to direct the movie version. (Who ever said that #content can't accomplish anything?) Korine suggested the film might air on HBO, which would fill the inappropriately sexual student-teacher gap left by the ending of Girls.
Let's talk about Jason Bourne — Chinese audiences hate it! According to THR, Hollywood tried a weird trick in an attempt to boost the overseas grosses of the fifth Bourne movie by releasing it as a special 3-D edition in Asian marketplaces. (The film was shot in 2-D, and released in that format in North America and Europe, also 3-D tickets in China cost twice what 2-D ones do.) Now, as anyone who's seen a Bourne movie might have anticipated, that appears to have been a bad choice: Moviegoers in China are protesting the film, complaining the combination of 3-D and the film's handheld cinematography left them feeling sick. According to a viral Weibo post, one screening saw "a line of people throwing up in the restroom." Exacerbating the problem is the relative lack of 2-D screenings. The Global Times says only a tiny fraction of theaters in Beijing and Shanghai are offering non-3-D versions, and those are often on the outskirts of town, or only showing the film in non-peak hours. Universal claims it's working to offer more 2-D screenings of the film and is also delaying its 3-D theatrical release of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" video.
Dr. Drew Pinsky's HLN show Dr. Drew on Call was canceled this week, making him the second personality to depart the network this year after Nancy Grace. According to the network, the move comes as HLN embarks on a rebranding that will focus more on straight news programming. However, the timing of the cancellation is interesting: The Washington Post points out that the cancellation was announced only a week after after Drew echoed comments made by Donald Trump and other Republicans that Hillary Clinton is physically unfit to be president. While appearing on the radio show KABC in the Morning, the former Loveline host said he was "gravely concerned not just about [Clinton's] health, but her health care" and accused her doctors of providing her "a 1950s level of care," remarks that were widely covered in the right-wing blogosphere. Pinsky also argued that the glasses Clinton wore after her 2012 concussion indicate that she is suffering from brain damage. (Clinton's doctor, by contrast, says her concussion symptoms ended within months.) This wasn't the first time Pinsky has repeated claims from conservative media; the host previously apologized after reporting on air that Clinton's late entrance in a debate was because of a brain injury. (She was in the bathroom.)
Helen Mirren is in talks to join Disney's upcoming live-action Nutcracker film, THR reports. If the Fast 8 star signs on, she'd be part of a cast that includes Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, and Misty Copeland. Mirren would play Mother Ginger, a powerful matriarch who lives in the Land of Sweets and traditionally wears a gigantic hoop skirt in performances of Tchaikovsky's ballet. Because of the physical demands of the costume, Mother Ginger is often played by a male dancer. Damn — first Ghostbusters, now this.
If you weren't satisfied with CBS, Lifetime, and Investigation Discovery's upcoming JonBenét Ramsey projects, A&E has one more television event in store for the fall. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the 6-year-old beauty-pageant contestant's still-unsolved murder, the network will air a two-hour documentary special, titled The Killing of JonBenét: The Truth Uncovered, on September 5. John Ramsey, JonBenét's father, in a rare interview will provide "unprecedented access" to the diaries he wrote during the time of his daughter's death and discuss what he and his wife, Patsy, went through during the investigation. The special — which promises "exclusive and shocking DNA evidence" that gives new insight into who "actually committed the murder"— will also include never-before-seen details from the case, including a 1998 interview with JonBenét's brother, Burke. True-crime has never been on such a hot streak ... truly.
Toni Collette is coming back to TV, and this time she'll be joining the brain trust behind Black-ish, Kenya Barris and Lindsey Shockley. Unit Zero will air on ABC and center around Collette’s Jackie Fink, a “brilliant, but unassuming CIA engineer and single mom” who heads up a team of green CIA spies. The hour-long dramedy sounds like it will have a heavy procedural feel. “Each week, this team of zeroes races against the clock to gather intelligence and solve cases of national security,” according to Deadline. Shockley will pen the script for Unit Zero, which is based on her own original idea, and Barris, who is the creator, showrunner, and executive producer of Black-ish, will write and produce the show with her. The two emphasized that the project is about celebrating outsiders and putting a female voice in a “historically male-dominated field.” If Barris keeps this up, he and Shonda Rhimes are going to have to thumb wrestle for who gets to fill the remaining hours in ABC's evening programming blocks.
On the same day that Gambit director Doug Liman became former Gambit director Doug Liman by taking a job with rival studio Warner Bros. to make a DC superhero movie instead of a Marvel one, the first former Gambit director, Rupert Wyatt, has some employment news of his own. Variety is reporting that the Rise of the Planet of the Apes director will assume the big chair for Captive State, a sci-fi movie that he co-wrote with his wife, Erica Beeney. Since Liman departed Gambit last fall, he has been working on TV projects, most notably Fox’s The Exorcist series, which he is executive-producing in addition to directing. His last feature film was The Gambler with Mark Wahlberg and Jessica Lange from 2014, and considering he is a serial walk-awayer with film projects, we’ll see if he follows Captive State through to the end. He wrote the screenplay with his wife, which probably ups the incentive to stick it out, but only time will tell.
Back in May, Fox agreed to a 13-episode order of Seth MacFarlane’s next TV project, an untitled live-action space dramedy created, executive-produced, and written by and starring MacFarlane. Now The Hollywood Reporter is saying that Jon Favreau will join the entertainment juggernaut’s first non-animated-series project as an executive producer, and he will also direct the first episode. We might not know the name yet, but we know the story is set 300 years in the future and that it will follow the crew of a ship called Orville, a vessel in Earth’s interstellar fleet, “as they explore the challenges of space and co-habituating with their colleagues.” The show’s log line promises MacFarlane and company will “boldly go where no comedic drama has gone before.” So, maybe Battlestar Gallactica with more jokes? Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, and J. Lee have been cast alongside the creator. In the event of an inter-Orville MMA tournament, we put strong odds on Palicki to beat everyone else onboard.
Christoph Waltz could be joining a movie based on a popular manga graphic novel that is being produced by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez. Color us curious! According The Hollywood Reporter, Waltz is in early talks to co-star in Alita: Battle Angel as Doctor Dyson Ido, a man who finds a female cyborg in a scrap yard and becomes her mentor. That cyborg will be played by Rosa Salazar, whose highest profile project to date is Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. The story takes place in the 26th century, and when Ido finds Alita, the only thing she can remember about her life before is the exceptional combat training that’s turned her into a walking weapon. Naturally, Cameron and company are eyeing the film as the first in a franchise with a major budget attached, and as THR says, “The action-adventure story is meant to serve as a backdrop to themes of self-discovery and the search for love,” which is just so James Cameron. But maybe he should finish that one-billion-dollar franchise before he starts another one? Just a suggestion.
Lifetime is taking on a Herculean task. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network has optioned the life of Britney Spears for a biopic called Britney Jean, and it is set to star young actress Natasha Bassett, who most recently appeared as Gloria DeLamour in Hail, Caesar! With Britney’s new album, Glory, on the way and a return to live TV with her upcoming Video Music Awards performance this weekend, Lifetime is right on schedule to cash in on all the Brit buzz with its announcement. The movie will be two hours long and track the "'tumultuous true story’ of her rise to fame, fall from grace and triumphant resurrection." The icon’s life story will be recapped (re: dramatized) from Spears's humble days in Kentwood, Louisiana, all the way up to her present return to the Billboard charts and mainstream cultural consciousness. And, of course, it will explore the breakups of her relationships with Justin Timberlake, Jason Alexander, and Kevin Federline. Honestly, two hours doesn’t seem like nearly enough time, considering you could probably make a miniseries just about the conservatorship years, which are still ongoing. So while Lifetime churns out Britney Jean, hopefully Ryan Murphy is getting to work on American Crime Story: Sam Lufti v. The Family Spears.
Well, here’s some good and bad superhero news for you. According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Doug Liman has left the helm of the deteriorating pirate ship that is 20th Century Fox’s Gambit property. Channing Tatum is still attached to star, but he’s been talking about this role since 2013, and now it’s losing its second director. (Rupert Wyatt walked away last fall.) So where is Liman going while poor Channing’s passion project slips back into purgatory? To another super-film, of course, but according to Variety, this time he’s signing on the dotted line with Warner Bros. and DC to direct its Dark Universe adaptation, otherwise referred to as Justice League Dark (which pretty much sounds like the marketing pitch for Suicide Squad). The heroes of record for JLD will be Det. John Constantine (formerly realized on the big screen by Keanu Reeves), Swamp Thing, Deadman, Zatanna, and Etrigan the Demon. They occupy a more magical quadrant of the DC space, much like Marvel is getting into with its Dr. Strange property.
It makes sense why Liman would skip out for DC, because who wouldn’t want to go to the competitor with a clear mission and proven track record of success with putting out critically well-received populist fare that honors iconic source material while creating independently valuable entries into the pop-culture canon? Wait, sorry. We’re not talking about Marvel. Never mind! Stay tuned for more drama.
The BBC has signed a new deal for seven more Agatha Christie adaptations, THR reports from inside a locked room where the window is just slightly cracked. The deal with Agatha Christie Productions comes on the heels of the BBC version of And Then There Were None, which aired last Christmas, as well as the broadcaster's upcoming Witness for the Prosecution, not to be confused with the Ben Affleck version. (In a repeat of the Capote-Infamous phenomenon, the BBC one stars Toby Jones.) The new adaptations will begin with Ordeal by Innocence, and also include the historical whodunnit Death Comes As the End, and the Hercule Poirot mystery The ABC Murders. Watch them with a motley group of strangers who are all hiding secret pasts.
The Kickstarter-backed indie film Unlovable has had something of a dream run on the crowd-funding site. On August 20, with one week left to go in its campaign, filmmaker Mark Duplass pledged to match every donation that came in during the final seven days, dollar for dollar. Now today, project creator Charlene deGuzman gets to make a few more big announcements. She hit her $50,000 funding goal and landed Patton Oswalt as an associate producer and Melissa Leo as a star. Unlovable will be based on deGuzman’s own life as a woman dealing with sex and love addiction, and the story will follow the lead character, Joy, who is described as “a twenty-something lost soul with a tiny body and a giant heart” on the movie’s Kickstarter page. Leo will play Maddie, “a powerful, grounded force” who becomes Joy’s sponsor. The project came about after deGuzman sent the Duplass brothers a comedy pilot she had written about the experiences that would become the foundation for Unlovable, and they introduced her to producer Jen Suskind (who worked on HBO’s Animals), which eventually led to her meeting another writer, Sarah Adina Smith, and the film’s director, Suzi Yoonessi. On the film’s campaign page, deGuzman says, “It's important to me to bring awareness to sex and love addiction, and to help people feel less alone. With comedy, music, and a whole lot of heart, I want to make a feature film that shows the world the power of true intimacy and human connection.” And it seems like karma is majorly rewarding her for those efforts.
Matt Birkbeck’s book A Deadly Secret: The Bizarre and Chilling Story of Robert Durst has the most Lifetime-movie title possible. So it makes sense that Lifetime would option it to develop as one of their signature original-movie events. The network just picked up the print property so there are no more details beyond the fact that some creepy soul will be cast to play Robert Durst in a story that will be told from the perspective of his late wife, Kathleen Durst, whom he may have murdered. The script will be written by Bettina Gilois, who received an Emmy nomination for her work on HBO's Bessie. The news comes as Durst awaits arraignment in Los Angeles for the alleged murder of Susan Berman, a former close confidante of his.
Casey Wilson is back in business with Hulu. Having previously starred in Hulu’s The Hotwives of … franchise, the Happy Endings alum and her frequent writing-production partner, June Diane Raphael (Grace & Frankie), have created a new comedy series project for the streaming network, Vulture has learned. Tentatively titled Unhinged, the potential show — produced by John Riggi — revolves around a woman with anger issues. Wilson said that she and Raphael have been working on the project for over a year. “June had the idea,” added Wilson, who will star as the woman with the storm cloud above her head. “We're just now getting comfortable with our anger and able to look at it with fondness.”
Martin Lawrence hasn't had a stand-up special since 2002's Runteldat, but that's about to change: On September 9, Showtime will air the comedian's third special, Martin Lawrence Doin' Time: Uncut, the premium-cable network announced today. Filmed at Los Angeles' Orpheum Theatre, the special will reportedly feature Lawrence's jokes about "sex and relationships ... President Obama, Bill Cosby, Hollywood, and more." Sounds good, but it's not a real Martin Lawrence stand-up special unless he wears an amazing leather shirt.
Michael Strahan continues to win the post-NFL career competition, as the Good Morning America and $100,000 Pyramid host (and former other half of Live With Kelly and Michael) has just sold his first scripted series to ABC. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Strahan and ABC will develop Hobbs, a drama about a former Heisman winner named Tommy Hobbs, who doesn’t get picked up in the NFL draft and so decides to join the Miami police force. Hobbs is entering law enforcement at the same time as a “meticulous, rule-following detective who has trained her whole life to become a police officer.” The two will presumably be partners, and he will presumably be the likable one that most people on the force admire while she will be the cold, type-A shrew. He will show her how to lighten up and she will teach him that he’s not better than a day job just because he used to be a vaunted football star and now works among the lower caste — or something like that. The script will be written by Michael Caleo, who has worked on The Sopranos and Rescue Me.
- Culture Editor
- Lane Brown
- Editorial Director
- Neil Janowitz
- West Coast Editor
- Josef Adalian
- Hollywood Editor
- Stacey Wilson Hunt
- Senior Editor
- Kyle Buchanan
- Senior Editor
- Jesse David Fox
- Senior Editor
- Gazelle Emami
- News Editor
- Samantha Rollins
- TV Reporter
- Maria Elena Fernandez
- Movies Reporter
- Kevin Lincoln
- Music Columnist
- Frank Guan
- Associate Editor
- Nate Jones
- Associate Editor
- Dee Lockett
- Associate Editor
- E. Alex Jung
- Associate Editor
- Abraham Riesman
- Associate Editor
- Jackson McHenry
- Associate Editor
- Jordan Crucchiola