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The Emmys Are Getting Two New Categories This Year

No, the Emmys aren’t getting a reboot, but you can expect to see some changes when the 2017 ceremony arrives this fall. The Television Academy has announced that two new categories encompassing achievements in music and casting will be added to the overall awards list this year — Outstanding Music Supervision will acknowledge “the creative contributions made by the music supervisor to the music of any television program,” while Outstanding Casting in a Reality Series category will recognize “casting directors responsible for identifying and assembling ensemble casts for structured, unstructured or competition programs within the reality genre.” Additionally, there’s going to be a tweak to the Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series honors, as it will now be split to recognize cinematography for both a one-hour series and a half-hour series. You can thank Peak TV for that.

How BBC America Is Defining Itself Beyond British TV

When it premiered in the United States a decade ago, Planet Earth was a bona fide phenomenon. The BBC-produced mini-series, touted at the time as the most expensive nature documentary ever made, racked up huge ratings for Discovery Channel, earned multiple Emmys, and even inspired millions of Americans to upgrade their home theaters so they could enjoy the spectacle of it all in then-fledging high-definition television. On Saturday, an equally lavish sequel, Planet Earth II, debuts — but this time, you won’t find the pretty pictures of natural beauty on Discovery. Instead, the six-part epic will be seen on BBC America, the nearly 20-year-old cable network co-owned by BBC Worldwide and, as of 2014, AMC Networks. It’s a potentially big moment for BBCA, which has already been on a hot streak in recent years with breakout hit Orphan Black and the continuing success of Doctor Who. If the sequel brings in even half the audience of the original, it will dramatically boost BBCA’s ratings over usual levels and expose the network to millions of potential new viewers. Vulture rang up BBC America president Sarah Barnett recently to talk about why Planet Earth II could be essential viewing in the Age of Trump and how she hopes to leverage the series to bring eyeballs to her network’s other shows. We also grilled her about the possibility of a sequel to the almost-over Orphan Black and whether or not she’ll have a say in picking the next Doctor.

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Jared Leto to Direct 77, a Movie About the Kidnapping of Patty Hearst

Are Jared Leto and Patty Hearst a match made in cinema heaven? We the people will have a chance to find out, because Leto is making his narrative feature directorial debut with 77, a crime thriller that focuses on the rescue of the kidnapped heiress. The original screenplay was first written by L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy, with revisions done by David Matthews, who worked on Narcos and Boardwalk Empire. The movie will be set in Los Angeles in 1974, and it will tell the story of two police officers who set out to recover Hearst, and also to investigate the murder of a fellow officer. In the process, they find corruption and violent conspiracy. Even if this is Leto’s first time directing a drama, he has helmed multiple documentary efforts, including Artifact, Great Wide Open, and Into the Wild. He has also directed a bunch of music videos and commercials under the pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins, which is so perfect and obvious a choice for Leto we’re bummed we didn’t think of it first.

  • Posted 2/15/17 at 6:08 PM
  • Remakes

The Raid Is Getting a ‘Reimagining’ for American Audiences, Because Clearly Not Enough People Saw Dredd

If there’s one thing we can all agree the dazzling 2011 Indonesian movie The Raid was missing, it was … absolutely nothing. The Raid is essentially a perfect pure action film, with damn near every minute filled by stunning fight choreography the likes of which we had rarely ever seen here in the United States. So, naturally, it’s getting a domestic remake. Well, it’s not a remake so much as it is a reimagining, according to director Joe Carnahan, who will also produce alongside Gareth Edwards.

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Why The Young Pope Was an Unexpected Victory for HBO

Before it launched, HBO executives didn’t have particularly high hopes for The Young Pope, either in terms of critical reaction or audience response. Sure, it had a great cast (Jude Law!) and an Oscar-winning director (Paolo Sorrentino) attached, but the show wasn’t a born-and-bred HBO original such as Westworld or the upcoming Big Little Lies. Instead, the network was a mostly silent co-producer of Young Pope, contributing to the show’s international co-financing but leaving the creative heavy lifting to the Italian production company Wildside. And yet, despite modest expectations — or perhaps because of them — there’s a strong case to be made that The Young Pope ended its first season Monday as a decent-sized win for HBO.

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Richard Linklater to Direct Robert Downey Jr. in a Movie Based on Reply All Podcast Episode

Iron Man, Richard Linklater, and goat testes? Was this film made bespoke exclusively for you? Variety reports that Robert Downey Jr. has been cast in Richard Linklater’s upcoming film based on the January 19 episode of Gimlet Media’s Reply All podcast. Entitled “Man of the People,” the program unspooled the story of “Dr.” John R. Brinkley, a self-proclaimed medical specialist who in the early-20th century touted the transplant of goat testicles into human beings as a medical marvel. (Brinkley was not an accredited doctor nor did his goat-testicle theory hold much water, let alone goat testicles.) It’s unclear whether Downey Jr. will play Brinkley or Dr. Morris Fishbein, the actual doctor and editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association determined to expose him for the fraud he was, but considering the subject matter, it would be fitting if RDJ played the pair.

Taika Waititi Co-Directing Michael Jackson Movie From the Perspective of His Chimp, Bubbles

Taika Waititi might’ve wrapped filming on the Thor-Hulk buddy movie Thor: Ragnarok, but he isn’t leaving unlikely pairings behind. Waititi is set to co-direct Bubbles, a stop-motion-animation movie about the life of Michael Jackson as seen through the perspective of his pet chimp, Bubbles. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Waititi is sharing directing credit with Mark Gustafson, who will give the film a visual style similar to that of Anomalisa, while Isaac Adamson penned the 2015 Black List script. Bubbles won’t be Waititi’s first foray into translating his love of Michael Jackson to the big screen, after his 2010 film Boy depicted an obsession with the King of Pop. Oh, and if the chimp-perspective bit didn’t give it away, Waititi also clarifies that while Bubbles depicts events in Michael Jackson’s life, it is not a Michael Jackson biopic. “This film is not about Michael Jackson because that’s not a story for me to tell — or a story I’d be comfortable telling — it’s about a chimpanzee’s fascinating journey through the complex jungle of human life,” he said. Sounds like a tricky feat; here’s hoping Waititi doesn’t blow Bubbles.

War for the Planet of the Apes’ Matt Reeves Will Put On His Directing Cape and Cowl for The Batman

Bats seem way easier to direct than apes, especially when there’s only one of them and it’s Ben Affleck. Less than two weeks after the Live by Night actor turned off his own Directing signal, opting to focus on his starring role in The Batman rather than pull double duty as director, The Hollywood Reporter claims Matt Reeves is now in talks with Warner Bros. to step into Ben Affleck’s hard, black, rubber directing shoes. For those unfamiliar with his oeuvre, rest assured that Reeves knows how to create an appropriately dark cinematic atmosphere, as he also directed Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Let Me In. Reeves also knows what it means to depict a protagonist consumed by their potentially misguided mission and driven to haunt the streets of Gotham, as he co-created Felicity.

All of Shonda Rhimes’ Shows Have Been Renewed, In Case You Had Any Doubts

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Shonda Rhimes’s ABC TGIT lineup is still going strong. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder have each been picked up for another season, ensuring that you should continue to block off your Thursdays. (We know, it’s hard, you have super-packed Thursdays.) Next season will be the 14th for Grey’s, seventh of Scandal, and HTGAWM will be on its fourth. Collectively, that means there will soon be 25 seasons of Shonda plot twists available for your viewing pleasure. We hope you’re ready.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Stars Detox and Alyssa Edwards Are Getting Their Own Spin-Off Shows

RuPaul’s drag empire continues to expand. Variety reports that RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Alyssa Edwards and Detox will be getting their own digitally based half-hour shows set to air on the World of Wonder Productions YouTube channel, WOW Presents. Haus of Edwards will focus on the life and work of Justin Johnson, who performs as Alyssa Edwards, as he runs his dance studio in Mesquite, Texas, and chronicle his exploits with his “drag daughter” Laganja Estranja. Detox’s Life Rehab will feature the eponymous queen dispensing life advice with a rotating cast of surprise guests each week. The new series will join a stable of 12 programs already in place on WOW’s digital network, and are slated to premiere in late April.

Lee Daniels in Talks to Direct Oprah in Terms of Endearment Remake

Lee Daniels and Oprah Winfrey will reunite for another film partnership with Terms of Endearment. According to The Wrap, Daniels is in talks to direct the remake with Winfrey set to take over the role of Aurora Greenway from Shirley MacLaine, who won an Oscar for her performance in the film back in 1983. The shadow of the original Terms is long, having earned 11 Academy Award nominations and winning five, including Best Director, Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (for Jack Nicholson), and Best Picture. The story follows the evolution of a mother and daughter’s relationship over the course of 30 years, and it is replete with all the love and loss one could expect from examining two parallel lifetimes in the course of a single movie. With Winfrey playing the mother, you may now start fantasy casting the role of her daughter, Emma.

  • Posted 2/8/17 at 5:43 PM

Drive’s Nicolas Winding Refn Will Return to His Gritty Crime-Drama Roots for a New Amazon Series

Nicolas Winding Refn has spent the last few years making art in reality-adjacent dreamscapes — meditations on violence (Only God Forgives) and idol worship (Neon Demon) that are defined by lush color palettes and sparse dialogue. They’re movies with loosely established narratives that viewers are meant to exist inside of and then extract their own moral conclusions, and the results have been pretty polarizing. That’s all a distant cry, however, from where he started, making visceral, urban crime dramas in his native Denmark. Variety is reporting that the Drive director will get back to his gritty roots with a new Amazon series called Too Old to Die Young, which will go straight to series with a ten-episode order and focus on the criminal underworld of Los Angeles. Variety frames it as similar to Refn’s Pusher trilogy, which followed the interweaving lives of a group of drug traffickers and thugs, and garnered Refn international attention as a rising film star back in the mid-1990s. This will be the director’s first TV project, and second production for Amazon. There will almost certainly be lots and lots of violence.

Jessica Chastain Might Star in a TV Series About Female Astronauts Shut Out by NASA in the ’60s

Much like Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman before her, Jessica Chastain is developing a female-centric TV series that could also serve as a starring vehicle for her, according to Deadline. In collaboration with Sully writer Todd Komarnicki, Chastain will executive produce an event series tentatively titled Mercury 13 about the women who went through test training to become astronauts for the Mercury space program. The show would be set in the early 1960s, and tell a kind of complementary story to the one told in Hidden Figures, which focused on the black female mathematicians behind NASA’s Project Mercury. The team of women at the center of Chastain’s project were essentially beta astronauts, dubbed the Mercury 13, who went through the same testing process as their male counterparts in the Mercury 7 mission, but NASA, President Kennedy, Vice President Johnson, and Congress determined that women should not be allowed in the space program, and so the 13 were grounded. A woman would not actually reach orbit until 1983, and it would be an additional 32 years before Chastain played a fictional astronaut in The Martian — though she did solve the mystery of the fifth dimension by 2014 in Interstellar.

Shailene Woodley Officially Diverges From Divergent’s Final Film as It Heads to TV

Whether she’s up against a totalitarian dictatorship in a futuristic dystopia or just not interested in doing action on the small screen, Shailene Woodley knows how to take a hard pass when need be. The Divergent star talked openly last year about her disinterest in starring in Ascendant, the final film in the Divergent franchise, should it be made as a TV movie intended to launch a spinoff series, as is rumored. When discussing the fourth installment with Vanity Fair this week, the actress made it clear humanity will have to survive its transition to television without her. “No,” Woodley said at the premiere of her new HBO show Big Little Lies. “I’m not going to be on the television show.” They should have gone ahead and cast someone from the Abnegation faction. They’re not really going to argue with you.

Trump Bump Helps Stephen Colbert Beat Jimmy Fallon for the First Time Since 2015

Stephen Colbert, citizen of the United States, hasn’t been shy about expressing his concerns regarding President Donald Trump. But Stephen Colbert, CBS late-night host? You can bet that Colbert is quite a fan of POTUS, after seeing the ratings for last week. Per Nielsen, Colbert’s Late Show — airing its first full week of original episodes since Trump’s inauguration — finished No. 1 in total viewers for the five-day period ending February 3, beating long-time late-night leader The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The victory is something of a momentum-shifter in the late-night race: It’s the first time Colbert has beaten Fallon head-to-head with original episodes since Colbert’s first week on CBS, back in September 2015. While Fallon has gotten drubbed in certain quarters for his relatively uncritical treatment of candidate Trump (and generally doesn’t focus much on political humor), Colbert has been pretty relentless in hammering the new president, particularly since last November’s election. The mini-surge in ratings indicates at least one segment of the audience is rewarding Colbert for his focus, though it’s worth noting that Fallon has hardly collapsed.

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Carol Burnett Is Coming Back to TV in ABC Comedy From Amy Poehler

In news that will please comedy fans of many a generation, Carol Burnett’s return to TV is nearing fruition. Household Name, the sitcom that’ll star Burnett and be executive-produced by Amy Poehler, has received a pilot order from ABC, Deadline reports. It’ll star Burnett as an older actress (for shame!) who offers to sell her house to a family on the cheap — just so long as she can stay till she dies. Michael Saltzman (Murphy Brown) is writing and executive-producing the project, which marks Burnett’s sitcom-starring debut. Best-loved for The Carol Burnett Show (so that title was taken), Burnett has made a few TV appearances in recent years, on shows including Glee, Hot in Cleveland, and Hawaii Five-0. Best of luck to Poehler, Saltzman, and the rest of the show’s creative team in their endeavor to sell bunking with Carol Burnett as some kinda chore.

People of Color Directed Fewer Than 10 Percent of the Last Decade’s Top-Grossing Films, Report Shows

Researchers at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative have assembled a study called Inclusion in the Director’s Chair? that examines race, gender, and age diversity of directors across 1,000 surveyed films released in the past ten years. Based on data drawn from looking at the top 100 grossing films each year from 2007 to 2016, only 5.6 percent of those movies were led by a black director. Of the major studios, Lionsgate fared the best, with black directors helming 16 of its 86 qualifying movies (18 percent). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Disney fared the worst. With 101 films in the sample size, none were directed by a black person, making it the only big studio to put up a disappointing donut, though they did have one of the higher numbers when it came to hiring Asian directors with a staggering four (it should also be noted that the studio does have two upcoming projects from black directors in the works: Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time and Ryan Coogler's Black Panther). In total, Asian directors accounted for just 3.3 percent of the top 1,000 films, and similarly dismal numbers were reported earlier today regarding female film direction. Of the 1,114 people who directed the top-grossing fictional films over the past decade, 4.4 percent were women. Data was not available to track the number of Latino directors or those of Middle Eastern descent, but the reasonable deduction lands on underrepresentation.

We Finally Have More Details About Paul Thomas Anderson’s Next Film With Daniel Day-Lewis

Ten years ago, director Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis spun gold together with There Will Be Blood. Now, they’ve started shooting Anderson’s next feature, an untitled period drama set in 1950s London that focuses on a highly sought-after dressmaker who designed for the royals and British society (Vulture's guess is that it's about real-life capricious fashion designer Charles James). The movie, which has a title card reading Phantom Threads floating around online in some set photos, also brings Anderson back together with other longtime collaborators, including Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges, who has worked on eight straight projects with the director, as well as composer Jonny Greenwood, who previously composed scores for There Will Be Blood, The Master, and Inherent Vice. We would now like to preemptively congratulate Daniel Day-Lewis on his future Academy Award nomination for whatever year this movie comes out.

Leonardo DiCaprio Will Fight Gangsters Yet Again in New Movie

Leonardo DiCaprio is going back to fighting gangsters for his new project, according to Deadline. The Black Hand, based on the book of the same name by Stephan Talty, tells the story of an NYPD officer who fervently pursued a crime organization known as the Black Hand. It’s set in the early 1900s (so a few decades after Bill the Butcher would have been ruling over the Five Points à la Gangs of New York) when the group of vicious criminals who had migrated to the United States from Italy was terrorizing the local community with kidnappings and extortion. DiCaprio, who will produce, stars as Joe Petrosino, a fellow Italian whose connections to the community and fluency with the language helped him to arrest or deport dozens of Hand members before he was murdered by them in 1909.

Most Top-Grossing Women Directors Made Only One Movie in the Last Decade, Research Finds

You don’t need science to glean the obvious truth about equity in directing: White men make more movies than anyone else. But when USC crunched the numbers, female directors working in Hollywood are even more rare than you might think. Not only do women in the industry make fewer top-grossing movies, but many only helmed one big feature in the last decade. According to an analysis of race, gender, age, and equity across 1,000 films released between 2007 and 2016, the majority of women spearheading these productions are from a narrow pipeline, and they rarely released more than one film in the nine years analyzed. Even though many of the names are recognizable — Angelina Jolie, Nora Ephron, Gina Prince-Bythewood, and Ava DuVernay — the study’s data showed that there were only 35 unique female feature-film directors who made a movie that made a lot of money. This isn’t a talent problem, but a pipeline problem: White men of all ages release big features, while the study found women directors were all in a narrower age range, between their 30s and 60s. For women of color, the breakdown of opportunity is even more stark: “Across the 10‐year sample, it is important to note that only three of the female directors were black (i.e., Ava DuVernay, Gina Prince‐Bythewood, Sanaa Hamri), and two were Asian (i.e., Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Loveleen Tandan). Though ethnicity was not evaluated in this report, there was only one Latina (i.e., Patricia Riggen).” Just in case you’re not a big studio executive in charge of hiring directors, paying to see shorts, indies, and big feature films directed by women is a good place to start tackling this disparity.

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