*I skim the trades, so you don’t have to.
◊ David Cronenberg Breaks Down Cannes Walkouts, His New Film’s Sexuality, and Why Netflix Turns Him Down
My two-cent takeaway: Cronenberg talks about his script process and how he rewrites based on who is in it or where he’s shooting. He also talks about not permitting improvisation. He also talks about the walkouts that occurred during Crash. I was managing a movie theatre at the time, and sure enough, at the exact same moment at each screening, the doors to the auditorium would blow open. At least one guy (always a guy) would burst out and begin pacing around the lobby like an expecting father waiting for a baby to be born, waiting for the scene to be over, but they always went back in ― the draw of Cronenberg strikes again!
◊ ‘Black Mirror’ Returning To Netflix For Sixth Season
My two-cent takeaway: Great news for all Black Mirror fans. As mentioned in the article, Charlie Brooker took time off from the series during the pandemic because he felt it wasn’t right to be making a show while so many people were suffering. I get it because it sounds like a potential episode of the show.
◊ “Law & Order” lord Dick Wolf has taken his television operations to new heights during the 2021-22 television season.
My two-cent takeaway: A motivational interview about Wolf’s TV operation and how perseverance has paid off. I particularly like Wolf’s stacking approach, where any of the 56 actors on contract can appear in any nine shows. That may create too much possibility but opens up opportunities for the writers.
◊ Veteran German director Wim Wenders has signed on to direct a feature about public toilets in Tokyo, Japan. Yes, you read that right, toilets. The fictional film will star Japanese leading-man Koji Yakusho and will be set in a public restroom that’s part of a real-life urban renewal project.
My two-cent takeaway: Wenders, who has a writing hand in his movies, doesn’t have script details, except to say it’s about a cleaner of one of the toilets. Sometimes the most straightforward ideas can carry the most impact.
◊ “The Wonder Years” showrunner Saladin K. Patterson spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about plans for the recently-announced second season and the challenges of moving forward without an executive producer and director, Fred Savage; Savage was fired following an investigation into alleged misconduct on set.
My two-cent takeaway: Quick discussion about the motivation for the episodes and how day-to-day normalcy is an integral part of the storytelling process.
◊ Adult Swim has ordered an anime project from director Takashi Sano based on the Emmy-winning series. The network has ordered ten episodes of Rick and Morty: The Anime. Sano previously directed two acclaimed anime shorts in the Rick and Morty universe: “Rick and Morty vs. Genocider” and “Summer Meets God (Rick Meets Evil).”
◊ Helen Mirren, Harrison Ford to Star in ‘Yellowstone’ Prequel ‘1932’
The Taylor Sheridan series will stream exclusively on Paramount+, with a debut set for December.
My two-cent takeaway: Sheridan is becoming the “cowboy competitor” to Dick Wolf’s crime series.
◊ ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 Finale Will Be Over 2 Hours Long
My two-cent takeaway: Most of us won’t have the luxury to go long and should never take it as a potential option when writing since studios need to be particular about length for broadcasting purposes. For new writers, understand that you should stick to the guidelines and break them once you learn the ins and outs.
◊ Netflix’s efforts to promote Stranger Things season four have been turned upside down after images leaked online from an official Monopoly game tie-in pegged to the long-awaited new season of the retro sci-fi hit. The streamer wasn’t happy about the mishap, but sources say the show’s creators, The Duffer Brothers, weren’t consulted about the game and were livid. Matt and Ross Duffer have long valued maintaining story secrecy and were said to have had a “total meltdown” about the blunder.
My two-cent takeaway: This seems to be the biggest entertainment news of the week. If only we could have enough luck to have our plots spoiled by the release of board games or action figures.
◊ ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’: Filmmakers Say, Don’t Call It a ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Ripoff!
My two-cent takeaway: Julian Fellowes discusses his inspiration for A New Era, highlighting that it’s not a ripoff but rather based on a real-life story around the making of Hitchcock’s silent film Blackmail in 1929. As long as you’re not blatantly copying, don’t worry if your film idea is similar to past ones. Viewers and critics will always make a connection to earlier material.
◊ ‘Squid Game’ Creator: Season 2 Will Release in Late 2023 or 2024, Expand on Front Man Storyline
My two-cent takeaway: Hwang suggested he might use a writer’s room to put season two together. Diving into the Front Man’s story or the Agent at the subway station would be a deviation from what made the show famous. Killing off the entire cast in the first season presents an interesting problem for future seasons that a table of writers could take on with a unique vision. As Hwang has mentioned in many interviews, he was drained after the first season. It doesn’t have to be like that. He should put together a writer’s room. Let’s hope the future of series television doesn’t become a battle for auteurship.
◊ The Wonder Twins, a DC feature project for HBO Max, has been shelved. Riverdale star KJ Apa and 1883 actress Isabel May would have starred in the film by writer-director Adam Sztykiel. Sources tell THR’s Borys Kit that the leadership of Warner Bros. Discovery is pushing a strategy that DC movies should now be made with a theatrical-first goal, and Wonder Twins was “too niche.”
My two-cent takeaway: This was a quick about-face. DC only announced TWT recently. I wonder if Ironman was considered too niche.
◊ Two-time Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins is set to star as Sigmund Freud in a new project launching in the Cannes market. Freud’s Last Session is being directed by Matthew Brown (The Man Who Knew Infinity), working from a script by Mark St. Germain and adapted from his play of the same title.
My two-cent takeaway: St. Germain, who also wrote some Cosby episodes in the late 80s and early 90s, was nominated for the Equity Joseph Jefferson Award in 2012 for Freud’s Last Session.
◊ Alexis Soloski talks to Bros writer and star Billy Eichner and director Nicholas Stoller about making a rom-com that truly reflects gay life
My two-cent takeaway: Quick article outlining the importance of trying to write a script to make an LGBTQ movie relevant to all audiences. The trailer has some funny moments and is partly told from the perspective of Eichner being asked to write the script for the feature, which is a humorous take on reality.
◊ THR’s Borys Kit has the scoop on Universal picking up Shots! Shots! Shots!, an action-comedy starring and produced by Jason Momoa from scribes Matt Mider and Kevin Burrows. The story details are being kept under the umbrella, but the project is described as a family-centric adventure with True Lies, Taken, and The Lost City tones.
My two-cent takeaway: I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the writers Mider and Burrows are repped by WME, the same agency that reps Momoa. They both got their start in 2018 with the hilarious Gentlemen Lobsters.
◊ How Do You Make Audiences Feel Bad for Rich, Famous People? The ‘Pam & Tommy’ Team Explains
My two-cent takeaway: Co-showrunner D.V. DeVincentis talks about the process of recapturing the 90s, dealing with the sexualization of the show, and how to present the characters as real people.
◊ After several teases of characters from Netflix’s Daredevil show in the MCU, Marvel Studios finally moves forward with a Daredevil series for Disney+. Matt Corman and Chris Ord have been tapped to write, and exec produce a series that will be notable for being the first of the Netflix Marvel shows to get a new but continued series.
My two-cent takeaway: Daredevil is likely considered the strongest out of the Netflix Marvel series, but my guess is the others won’t be far behind. It would be stupendous if Jon Bernthal made a return as the Punisher. Corman and Ord have their work cut out for them, but with the success of their 2010 series, Cover Affairs, they’ve clearly got the writing chops to pull this off.
What’re your two cents?