Greg Berlanti doesn’t have enough to do. He’s only shepherding the CW’s superhero operations and the upcoming Riverdale series and the hit NBC show Blindspot. So why wouldn’t he also sign on to direct a reboot of an iconic musical? According to Deadline, Berlanti will be helming a new film version of Little Shop of Horrors, capitalizing on the current cultural hot streak being ridden by both musicals and remakes. Berlanti will be the third man to bring Little Shop to screen, following in the footsteps of Roger Corman and Frank Oz. This will be his first feature-length directorial effort since 2010’s Life As We Know It.
Whoopi Goldberg's contract with The View expires at the end of the season, which means she'll have time to work on a brand-new drama for Bravo, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The show will follow a Harlem crime boss who gets reunited with her oldest son, thought to be dead, once he returns to New York City to run for mayor. The son, able to pass as white, faked his death as a teenager and left New York for a new start. Goldberg will executive-produce the drama, and she might even go for the role of crime boss in the drama. As The View will be approaching its 21st season, now seems like the perfect time for Goldberg to get back into acting. Fingers crossed.
The Writers Guild of America has released its nominations for the top television, new media, news, and radio achievements of 2016, and many of the power players from 2015 remain on top. Four of the five nominees for outstanding comedy series are back in the running, with newcomer Atlanta taking the spot previously held by Broad City. In drama, three of the five best series contenders from last year held steady, with the absence of Mr. Robot and Mad Men, making way for freshman entries Stranger Things and Westworld. And when it comes to individual episode honors, Better Call Saul and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt each secured multiple nominations in their respective dramatic and comedic fields. The winners will be announced on February 19.
It took three years, upwards of $100 million in start-up costs, and one halt in production, but HBO’s Westworld ended its first season on Sunday as what’s arguably the network’s most successful drama launch since Game of Thrones. It’s not just that the ratings for the J.J. Abrams–produced fantasy thriller have been strong, though with each episode pulling in an average audience of nearly 12 million viewers across multiple platforms, HBO execs are extremely satisfied. Westworld also worked because it managed to generate intense and sustained buzz throughout the fall, despite facing off against the return of AMC’s behemoth The Walking Dead and the usual slew of broadcast network fall premieres. Much the way Netflix’s Stranger Things dominated the pop-culture discussion over the summer, Westworld broke through fall’s TV clutter in a big way, so much so that the writers of Saturday Night Live felt comfortable using its plot as a punch line. One season does not guarantee long-term success, but for now, Westworld is a big (and much-needed) win for HBO — one made all the sweeter by the fact that many in Hollywood were convinced the show was destined to be a massive misfire.
When CBS announced back in October that Bryan Fuller would no longer be the showrunner for its upcoming All Access series Star Trek: Discovery, the official word from the network was that he would still “continue to map out the story arc for the entire season” and “oversee the show with the existing writing and producing team.” But in a new interview with Newsweek, Fuller says he's "not involved" in production or postproduction. "I can only give them the material I’ve given them and hope that it is helpful for them. I’m curious to see what they do with it," Fuller said. The veteran TV man and known Trekkie — he got his start producing Star Trek: Voyager in the early 2000s — wrote the first two episodes of Discovery and mapped out the narrative arc for the first season. The word at the time of Fuller’s departure from the showrunner post was scheduling conflicts, and he maintains that position in the new interview, saying that “Ultimately, with my responsibilities [elsewhere], I could not do what CBS needed to have done in the time they needed it done for Star Trek,” citing his commitment to the Starz show American Gods as a primary reason his dance card was just too full to give Discovery the attention it deserved.
When Ava DuVernay set out to make Queen Sugar, the director of the Oscar-nominated Selma and Netflix documentary 13th realized she wouldn’t have time to direct the entire show herself. As she reflected on whom to trust with her TV adaptation of Natalie Baszile’s novel, the names that popped up in her head were filmmakers she’d known and admired through the independent-film festival circuit and other Hollywood circles. She wasn’t thinking about gender, but in the end, she quietly swung open a door for women in the TV industry when she hired only women to direct the 13 episodes of OWN’s critically acclaimed first season.
“It wasn’t — let’s find all women,” DuVernay said. “It was more like, I would really love Kat Candler to do it. Wouldn’t Victoria Mahoney kill it? Would Tanya Hamilton be interested? What would So Yong Kim do with Ralph Angel? My mind started working that way." When DuVernay told executive producer Oprah Winfrey what she was thinking, Winfrey replied, "Yes! Let's do this!"
"Diversity is real and possible," Winfrey told Vulture in an email. "The power of the feminine energy to come together to put this art into the world comes through in this series. It is extremely powerful."
Way back in 1995, Joaquin Phoenix gave a star-making performance in Gus Van Sant’s dark comedy To Die For. Now, according to Variety, it looks like a quick 21 years later the two will come together again for Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, an adaptation of cartoonist John Callahan’s autobiography, Will the Real John Callahan Please Stand Up? Callahan’s misspent teenage years were marred by drug and alcohol abuse, and at 21 he got into a car accident that left him a quadriplegic. (Callahan was not driving, but the driver had been drinking with him that day.) He relearned to use his hands and pursued drawing as a form of therapy, eventually becoming a cartoonist whose work was viewed as controversial for its depictions of people with disabilities. Don’t Worry’s roots in Hollywood go deep, too. Robin Williams was especially connected to the material, having written the introduction to Callahan’s memoir, and was originally meant to star in and produce the film back in the 1990s. And Van Sant was even attached to direct the project as far back as the early 2000s, but it eventually lost momentum and Callahan died in 2010. If the director's previous work with both of the Phoenix brothers is any indication, this one should take you on a real emotional ride.
Jodie Foster is ceding the director’s chair for her next project. We haven’t seen Foster in an onscreen capacity since 2013’s Elysium, but she’ll move back in front of the camera for Hotel Artemis, a thriller that takes place in the near future and “is set in its own distinctive crime universe,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Foster will play a character simply called The Nurse, and it sounds like she’s going to have a lot on her plate if she’s dealing with a whole universe of crime around her. Artemis will be the directorial debut from Drew Pearce, who also wrote the original screenplay. Let’s start hoping the impending press tour results in Kate McKinnon dusting off her excellent Foster impression on Saturday Night Live.
Lin-Manuel Miranda has apparently just been bottling up all his creative energy over his first three decades on this planet, biding his time to let loose a cultural juggernaut that will provide us with hope in these trying times. It’s just been announced that Miranda is partnering with Lionsgate to develop film and TV properties based on The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. The fantasy book series tells the story of Kvothe, a man who possess the gifts of both music and magic and becomes a world famous wizard. So depending on what we find out about LMM’s wizarding abilities, this adaptation could prove to be somewhat autobiographical. The series includes two books (with a third on the way) and three novellas, and in the years to come they’ll have major motion pictures and a “premium quality drama series” as well. "Pat Rothfuss’ Kingkiller books are among the most read and reread in our home," Miranda said in a statement. "It's a world you want to spend lifetimes in, as his many fans will attest. Pat also writes about the act of making music more beautifully than any novelist I've ever read.” No word yet on whether or not he will loop in his new BFF Dwayne Johnson, but it is confirmed that Miranda will compose the original music and write the songs for the films.
Close your eyes and imagine Ryan Reynolds as a struggling young folk singer trying to make his way in 1960s New York City. If you just can’t conjure it, don’t feel bad: According to Ryan Reynolds, the Coen Brothers couldn’t wrap their minds around it either, which is why he didn’t end up getting cast in Inside Llewyn Davis. Speaking with Taraji P. Henson for Variety about the last film he auditioned for, Reynolds explained how he just wasn't the right fit for Joel and Ethan Coen’s melancholy character study. “I auditioned and failed for the Coen brothers,” Reynolds said. “It wasn’t the right fit, mostly because they’re very high class. They were just quietly shaking their heads, like, ‘What are you doing here? Do you have a SAG card? Or do you have the Canadian version? How did you get here?’” So it wasn’t a victory for Reynolds, but if the Coens ever decide to make a superhero movie, we’ll see who’s calling who for advice then!
The new Cary Fukunaga–produced series at TNT just picked up its two male leads. Deadline reports that Daniel Brühl and Luke Evans will star in The Alienist, a turn-of-the-20th-century crime drama set in New York City that Fukunaga was originally signed on to direct, but will now executive produce. Brühl will play Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a criminal psychologist specializing in mental pathologies who gets tapped by the city’s police commissioner (a guy named Theodore Roosevelt) to investigate the murders of several young male prostitutes. And after meeting a reporter named John Moore (Evans) at the scene of a crime, the two band together to tackle the savage killings. Given that the show will take place in 1896, we can expect a Knick-esque kind of approach to nascent technologies in service of the narrative that will make us all think, “How did people even get anything done back then?!” as the series promises Moore and Kreizler will use “the emerging disciplines of psychology and early forensic investigation techniques" to track down one of New York’s first serial killers. And since The Knick has sadly left us, we can just pretend that the heroes of Alienist will be sending bodies down the street to the Knickerbocker Hospital for Dr. John Thackery and his wild hair to examine.
Beloved as it was by critics and fans, Gilmore Girls was never known as a ratings blockbuster back when it first aired on the dearly departed WB network (and, for a season, the nascent CW). For most of its original 2000-2007 run, the show reached close to 5 million viewers each week — a decidedly modest number during a time when hits such as Friends attracted 25 million and even a flop like CBS’s short-lived The Eduction of Max Bickford could bring in 10 million. But it would also be a mistake to write off Amy Sherman-Palladino’s family dramedy as an Arrested Development–like cult classic being revived this week by Netflix in a bid to micro-target a small sliver of its subscriber base. Fact is, even if Gilmore was never a juggernaut overall, it was actually a sizable hit among early-2000s millennial women. And based upon a close examination of Nielsen ratings data, there’s ample evidence to suggest its fan base has grown exponentially in the decade since it left the air thanks to heavy exposure on the network formerly known as ABC Family. This combination of OG (original Gilmore) viewers and more recent converts means there’s a pretty good chance Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life will break the Internet — or at least heavily tax Netflix’s servers — when it launches Friday.
Reese Witherspoon Is Launching Her Own Women’s Website Called Hello Sunshine, For the Supportive Mom in All of UsBy Jordan Crucchiola
Women-centric content endeavors like Hello Giggles and Lenny Letter are about to get a friendly Southern neighbor on the ladies only cul-de-sac. Reese Witherspoon will launch her own “cross-platform brand and consumer-facing content company” called Hello Sunshine, which will come complete with a website housing “powerful content by and for women across all platforms," THR reports. Hello Sunshine is set to launch next year, and Witherspoon’s production company, Pacific Standard, will become a part of it, which might help with putting out the “short form digital content” and possible TV shows that the Sunshine announcement also mentions. Considering that Witherspoon already has her own clothing and interiors line, Draper James, the businesswoman is now a little bit Goop, a little bit Giggles, and perhaps now even a little bit of a burgeoning Shondaland with Lenny Letter's feminist DNA. In October, the mini-mogul even announced she'll be writing a lifestyle book, making her a vertically integrated personality industry capable of shaping millions of women in her own image. So enrobe yourself in a cozy southern knit and learn what it takes to be a real Tennessee belle. Reese will see you now.
Get the taste of all those Trump and Hillary jokes out of your mouth with some hearty, old-fashioned drama. Adam McKay has fully transitioned into the Academy Award–winning phase of his career, and what better subject to tackle after the collapse of the American housing market than former Vice President and Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney? Deadline reports that The Big Short director wrote and will direct a Cheney movie, which he hopes to release in late 2017. McKay is also signed on to direct Bad Blood, the upcoming Theranos movie starring Jennifer Lawrence. While McKay's Dick Cheney film is nominally a drama, one has to assume it will be a drama in the vein of The Big Short, meaning it's sprinkled with comedic moments. Here's hoping it includes that time Dick Cheney accidentally shot his friend in the face while hunting.
The Ghost of Dune Returns to Haunt Hollywood As Legendary Acquires the Rights to Frank Herbert’s Sci-Fi ClassicBy Jordan Crucchiola
Hollywood will once again try to master the Wyrding Way. It was announced today that Legendary Entertainment has acquired the rights to Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune. The studio that brought you World of Warcraft, Interstellar, and Pacific Rim now has permission to throw what we assume will be big money at a property that has confounded filmmakers for decades. There’s a whole documentary devoted to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ill-fated epic, and David Lynch’s big-screen adaptation from 1984 was a box-office flop that has stayed alive thanks mostly to a cult appreciation for how bad it is. There was also a pair of three-part mini-series made by the Syfy channel between 2000 and 2003 that were more well-received — which still isn’t saying a whole lot. The new Legendary deal encompasses both film and TV projects, but the last time a major studio attempted to resurrect Dune it didn’t get very far. Paramount had Peter Berg attached to direct a fresh attempt at the story in 2007, but he dropped out and the reigns were given to Pierre Morel. In 2011, Paramount lost the rights and Dune has been lying dormant since then. Best of luck to you, Legendary. History says you’re going to need it.
A month after Tim Miller’s exit from the Deadpool 2 director’s chair the production has found his successor, and it seems like a pretty great fit. David Leitch, the director of the excellent action-party John Wick, will now take the helm of Deadpool 2. Considering that Deadpool is a rare screen comic hero who loves using all the guns, the man in charge of 2014’s Gun-fu smash has the potential to be an exciting union. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Leitch got the green light a few days after he met with Ryan Reynolds to discuss the project, which means he has the direct seal of approval from the face of the franchise. THR also says that Fox is starting to get the wheels turning for Deadpool 3 as well, but that the studio will reportedly be going with yet another director for that third installment.
With so many Star Wars movies being developed, we are awash in news about those galaxies far, far away. And here’s the latest: StarWars.com announced today that Emilia Clarke will be joining the cast of the upcoming stand-alone Han Solo film. The Mother of Dragons’ role has not been announced yet, but she will, in some capacity, be playing opposite Alden Ehrenreich as Han himself and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. Tessa Thompson, Zoe Kravitz, and Naomi Scott have all reportedly been testing for roles in the movie, but since we don’t know who Clarke’s playing, we can’t say if this casting news rules any of them out. But no matter who the actress turns out to be, it’s highly likely that this contractual commitment will have better legs than her brief stint in the Terminator universe.
Stranger Things Season Two Will Feature a Conspiracy Theorist Who Will Probably Turn Out to Be Right About EverythingBy Jordan Crucchiola
Netflix's Stranger Things has a new recruit. According to The Hollywood Reporter, actor and comedian Brett Gelman will enter season two of the breakout show as Murray Bauman, a disgraced journalist who turns up in Hawkins, Indiana, to investigate a cold case. He’s also a conspiracy theorist, so Hawkins is either going to be utopia for Mr. Bauman, or it’s going to drive him totally insane. This is just the latest buzzy casting news for Gelman, as he’s set to appear in the Twin Peaks revival on Showtime, and was recently seen in the fantastic Fleabag on Amazon. He was also in the news this week for severing his relationship with Adult Swim. Gelman had starred in shows like Eaglehart and Brett Gelman’s Dinner in America for the programmer, but cited the company’s terrible track record with women as his reason for ending the business relationship. Stay woke, Brett.
Every bit of buildup to Mariah Carey's E! reality show (ahem, eight-part docuseries) Mariah's World has teemed with spectacle. First, at the NBC upfronts in May, Mariah Carey roused a room full of advertising executives from their slumber when she came in on a loveseat carried by two shirtless men, thus creating new commuting goals for everyone. Then, at the show's Television Critics Association press event in August, the eminently quotable songbird — accompanied this time by six half-naked men — released a new trailer for her eponymous television event, and explained why this isn't just some reality-TV show: "I don’t even watch reality. I don’t even know what reality is. Literally. In terms of like, real or not real.” Now, a third trailer for Mariah's World drops in the wake of Carey's tumultuous severed engagement with James Packer, and the footage shows her in her wedding dress to boot. You can watch Carey drink Champagne and speak her truth starting December 8, with an early glimpse in the newest trailer above and the first two trailers below.
The last time we saw the Green Hornet, a.k.a Britt Reid, on the big screen it was 2011, and a kind of weird time for superhero movies. Studios hadn’t fully launched their grand interconnected universe visions yet, and there was an awkward middle class of releases like The Green Lantern, The Green Hornet, and R.I.P.D. that failed to resonate with audiences because, well, they weren’t very good. But director Gavin O’Connor, fresh off the success of The Accountant, is ready to revamp his favorite vigilante and repackage him for the current era of superhero-movie domination, and his plans are apparently quite serious. “My intention is to bring a gravitas to The Green Hornet that wipes away the camp and kitsch of the previous iteration," O'Connor told Deadline.
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