How To Watch Tonight’s Gotham Awards Online

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November 29, 2021 1:12pm

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Gotham Awards

The 2021 Gotham Awards, traditionally one of the first awards shows of the movie-kudos season, is set for Monday in-person at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, with the red carpet and cocktail party to launch at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT and the ceremony to begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

The event will be streamed live on organizer Gotham Film & Media Institute’s Facebook page here. Deadline will also cover the awards show live.

The 31st annual Gothams will honor the best of the year in film and TV in 12 categories. The indie-slanted event recognizes films with budgets under $35 million, which will mean some buzzy awards-season titles aren’t eligible this year (i.e., tick..tick…Boom!, The French Dispatch, The Tragedy of Macbeth). This year’s Best Feature nominees are A24’s The Green Knight, Netflix’s The Lost Daughter and Passing, Neon’s Pig and Kino Lorber’s Test Pattern.

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Lost Daughter and Passing top all titles with five nominations apiece; A24 and Netflix lead all distributors with 10 noms apiece.

Among the winners recognized tonight, honorary awards will also be bestowed upon Kristen Stewart and Peter Dinklage (Performer Tributes), Jane Campion (Director’s Tribute), The Harder They Fall cast (Ensemble Tribute), Eamonn Bowles (Industry Tribute), The Actors Fund (Gotham Impact Salute) and filmmaker-activist Kathleen Collins (the posthumous Icon Tribute).

Last year, eventual Best Picture Oscar winner Nomadland took the top prize in a ceremony that was held virtually because of the pandemic.

Among the changes to this year’s Gothams: The best actress and best actor categories are combined in Outstanding Lead Performance and Outstanding Supporting Performance’ with 10 nominees each; the Gotham Breakthrough Actor Award, which was already gender neutral in practice, is renamed the Gotham Breakthrough Performer Award; and there are two new TV categories, Breakthrough Nonfiction Series and Outstanding Performance in a New Series.

Among the TV series up for awards tonight are Netflix’s record-breaking Squid Game.

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Arlene Dahl Dies: ‘Journey To The Center Of The Earth’ Star Was 96

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November 29, 2021 1:03pm

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Arlene Dahl
Everett Collection

Arlene Dahl, who starred in the 1959 sci-fi classic Journey to the Center of the Earth and many other films along with TV roles and also was an influential beauty and astrology writer, has died. She was 96.

Her son, actor Lorenzo Lamas, posted the news on social media but did not provide details.

“Mom passed away this morning in New York,” Lamas wrote. “She was the most positive influence on my life.” See his full post below.

Mason and Dahl in ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth,’ 1959

Dahl was born on August 11, 1925, in Minneapolis. By the time Dahl landed her signature role as Professor Carla Göteborg in Henry Levin’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, she already had appeared in more than 20 features — from 1947’s My Wild Irish Rose to 1957’s She Played with Fire. Her credits from the era also include The Bride Goes Wild — her first film under an MGM contract — The Outriders, The Diamond Queen, Inside Straight, Reign of Terror and Sangaree.

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She then played the female lead opposite James Mason and Pat Boone in Journey to the Center of the Earth. Based on the Jules Verne novel, the film follows a group tracing an explorer’s trail down an extinct volcano in 1880 Iceland.

Dahl also appeared on multiple TV soap operas including All My Children and One Life to Live and guested on such popular series as Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Love, American Style. She also played different characters on multiple episodes of Burke’s Law in the mid-1960s.

Ealry in her career, Dahl appeared on popular radio series including The Bob Hope Show, Martin and Lewis and Lux Radio Theater. She was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

In the early 1950s, she launched a syndicated beauty column called “Let’s Be Beautiful,” which would run for more than two decades. She later started Arlene Dahl Enterprises, which specialized in lingerie and cosmetics, and became a widely syndicated astrology writer in the 1980s. Her work was featured daily in major newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, and she would pen more than two dozens books on astrology and beauty.

Here is Lamas tribute to his mother:

“Mom passed away this morning in New York. She was the most positive influence on my life. I will remember her laughter, her joy, her dignity as she navigated the challenges that she faced. Never an ill word about anyone crossed her lips. Her ability to forgive left me speechless at times. She truly was a force of nature and as we got closer in my adult life, I leaned on her more and more as my life counselor and the person I knew that lived and loved to the fullest. My sympathies go to her loving husband @marcrosennyc who, for the last 37 years, made her life so wonderful and joyous. Love you mom forever ♥️ #ArleneDahl #Moviestar #legend #mom #RIP

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Los Angeles Now Enforcing Indoor Covid Vaccine Mandate At Movie Theaters, Restaurants, Gyms; Rule Among Nation’s Strictest

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November 29, 2021 1:03pm

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Anthony Behar/Sipa USA via AP Images

Los Angeles today began enforcing an ordinance requiring Angelenos patronizing indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and recreational facilities, personal care establishments and some city buildings to show proof of full vaccination against Covid-19. Business owners are expected to monitor compliance.

The law went into effect on Nov. 8, but enforcement begins today after a grace period. The Department of Building and Safety can issue administrative citations to businesses that violate the ordinance. The citations will include a $1,000 fine for a second violation, $2,000 fine for a third violation and a $5,000 fine for a
fourth and subsequent violations.

The city’s SafePassLA ordinance is one of the strictest mandates of its kind in the nation, requiring people over the age of 12 to show proof of vaccination at several indoor public spaces. Accepted forms of proof of vaccination include:

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– A vaccination card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or similar documentation issued by another foreign governmental agency

– A photocopy of a vaccination card or a photograph stored on a phone or electronic device

– A personal digital COVID-19 vaccination record issued by the state or similar documentation issued by another state, local or foreign government jurisdiction, or by a private company

– Documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare provider

People who appear over the age of 18 will also be required to show identification with their proof of vaccination.

People can be exempted from the mandate if they have medical conditions that restrict their ability to get vaccinated or a “sincerely held religious belief,” according to the ordinance. Those exemptions will have to be reviewed by the location the person is trying to enter.

People who are exempt will be able to use outdoor areas of the location, but if unavailable, they may be allowed to enter the indoor area by providing proof of a negative Covid-19 test that was conduced within 72 hours.

The ordinance also requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people, which is stricter than the Los Angeles County requirement, which applies to outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.

Los Angeles County’s rules, which are less expansive than the city’s, went into effect Nov. 4, requiring people patronizing or working in an indoor bar, winery, brewery, nightclub or lounge in the county to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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Broadway’s ‘Chicago’ Cancels Additional Performances Due To Covid

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November 29, 2021 1:03pm

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‘Chicago’
Courtesy Production

The Broadway production of Chicago has canceled two additional days of performances due to cases of Covid at the venue, producers said today. The musical is now scheduled to resume performances on Thursday, Dec. 2.

Over the weekend, producers canceled the Saturday night performance after employees at the Ambassador Theatre tested positive for the Covid virus. In a statement today, producers said that “out of an abundance of caution,” they made the decision to cancel the show’s Monday and Tuesday performances (Chicago does not play on Wednesdays).

Ticketholders for the canceled performances will be contacted by their point of purchase.

Chicago is the third Broadway production to cancel performances due to Covid since the industry reopened in August. Earlier this month, producers for Chicken & Biscuits announced that the play would close permanently on Sunday, Nov. 28, due to the financial impact of previous Covid-related cancellations.

In early October, Disney’s Aladdin paused production for about two weeks after some cast members tested positive.

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TIFF Names Jeffrey Remedios As Board Chair, Replacing Fest’s Vet Jennifer Tory

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November 29, 2021 1:00pm

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Jeremy Remedios
Courtesy of Universal Music Canada

The Board of Directors for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) today has appointed Jeffrey Remedios, the Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Canada, as Chair of the film festival’s Board.

Jennifer Tory, who has held the role since 2016, has completed her term.

Remedios has served on the TIFF board for the past five years. As an executive in the music sector, he’s navigated digital transformations with
entrepreneurial creativity with a strategic focus. He’s known as a champion for ground-breaking artists, promoter of independent thinkers and advocate of distinct voices.

During her time at TIFF, Tory served as the Chair of TIFF’s Philanthropy Committee for six years, led the development of the strategic plan exercises, championed the organization’s leadership transition committee, and was Board lead on the TIFF Tribute Gala, now known as the TIFF Tribute Awards.

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“I’d first like to congratulate and thank Jennifer Tory for her impeccable leadership and years of commitment and contribution to TIFF, particularly in recent years as the organization navigated these unprecedented times. I’d also like to thank our departing Board colleagues – Ellis, Wade, Shabin, Francis, Frank and Geoff – for their dedication and countless contributions. I’m humbled and honored to serve TIFF’s mission in the role of Chair
alongside my esteemed existing and new Board colleagues.”

“It has been a true privilege to lead this dynamic group of people and serve our beloved TIFF over the past 10 years,” said Jennifer Tory. “Together with TIFF’s leadership we have celebrated many wonderful moments of success, just as we have also faced incredible challenges. I am so proud of the work we have accomplished during this time and our incredible ability to pivot when we had to. I have had the privilege of working alongside Jeffrey for several years and his business acumen and steady poise are exactly what the organization needs in its next chapter and I have no doubt that TIFF will thrive under his leadership.”

TIFF also announced the departure of long term members Ellis Jacob who sat on the Board for 17 years, Wade Oosterman for 13 years and Shabin Mohamed for nine years. Other members stepping down are Francis Shen, Frank Kollmar and Geoff Beattie. Joining the Board are Mary DePaoli, Danis Goulet, Allen Lau, Devorah Lithwick, and Laurie May.

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‘Hawkeye’ Viewership 40% Behind ‘Loki’ Premiere In Samba-Measured Disney+ Homes

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November 29, 2021 12:46pm

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The first episode of Marvel’s Hawkeye on Disney+ drew 1.5M U.S. households over the Wednesday-Sunday holiday stretch, while 1.3M stuck around and watched the second episode.

This is according to the latest streaming viewership stats from Samba TV which measures 3M U.S. households, and what they watch on streaming over a five-minute increment. That first episode number for Hawkeye trails the 5-day U.S. household viewership figure for Disney+/Marvel’s Loki which was watched by 2.5M homes over June 9-13 by -40%. Hawkeye‘s first episode premiere also ranks behind Loki‘s finale which pulled in 1.9M homes over five days per Samba TV. Hawkeye‘s 5-day is also behind the 3-day premieres of Disney+/Marvel’s Falcon and the Winter Solider (1.8M) and WandaVision (1.6M).

The number of Disney+ subscribers stands at 118.1M worldwide, with roughly more than a third of that coming from North America.

Hawkeye, which critics have praised at 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, follows Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) as she takes up the bow and arrow and title of the Avenger Hawkeye, as she encounters the original hero Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) in NYC while he’s on holiday with his family.  Hawkeye is the fourth live-action MCU series on Disney+.

The US audience of Hawkeye‘s first episode skewed slightly female (+4%). Of the top 25 largest markets for the show, Portland, OR over-indexed the most (+34%), followed by Seattle, WA (+31%) and Philadelphia, PA (+21%) for episode one.

Samba TV recently began monitoring viewership on Netflix, and to give you an idea of what a behemoth that streamer is stateside versus two-year old Disney+, the Reed Hastings-Ted Sarandos’ led studio saw 4.2M U.S. households tune into the opening weekend of the Dwayne Johnson-Gal Gadot-Ryan Reynolds $200M action movie Red Notice over Nov. 12-14, decimating all HBO Max/theatrical titles and Disney+ movies and series premieres, as measured by Samba TV. Samba TV’s measuring doesn’t include mobile views.

Hawkeye episode 101 over five days drew 199K UK homes, 63K German homes, and 10K in Australia over Wednesday-Sunday. The second episode counted 177K UK homes, 60K in Germany, and 7K in Australia.

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Take A Tour Of ‘Nightmare Alley’ With Guillermo Del Toro, Bradley Cooper And J. Miles Dale

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November 29, 2021 12:01pm

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EXCLUSIVE: It has been nearly two full years since Guillermo del Toro started shooting Nightmare Alley. But now, finally, four years to the day since The Shape of Water’s US release, the cast and crew are preparing to gather in New York City for the movie’s global premiere at Alice Tully Hall Wednesday night. A simultaneous premiere will happen in Los Angeles and in other cities, and the events are taking place in association with Film at Lincoln Center, TIFF and the Telluride Film Festival, a nod to the disruption that meant Nightmare would not be able to complete the same festival circuit that had started Shape on its journey to becoming a four-time Oscar winner.

That disruption, of course, was a global pandemic that shut down production in March 2020. While Nightmare Alley became the first major Canadian production to return, it would take six months to do so. It was a disruption, del Toro, producer J. Miles Dale, and star and producer Bradley Cooper tell Deadline, that ultimately allowed them to deepen their understanding of the picture they were making and return with fresh ideas. Cooper lost weight to play a scrawnier version of his character in the first half of the movie (they’d started by filming the second half) and del Toro refined the edit to clarify exactly what he would need when production resumed.

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Nightmare Alley, adapted by del Toro and Kim Morgan from the noir novel by William Lindsay Gresham, tells the story of Stanton Carlisle (Cooper), an ambitious carny who discovers a talent for showmanship and sleight of hand, and who heads to the big city in search of ever-deeper pockets to empty. As Stan begins to exploit the pain and grief of his well-heeled clients, his attempts to escape his own dark destiny become ever more desperate. With an all-star cast that includes Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, and many more, Nightmare Alley releases in the US on December 17.

The book had previously been adapted in 1947, shortly after its publication, as a passion project for 20th Century Fox star Tyrone Power. It was Perlman, del Toro’s long-time collaborator, who first mooted the notion of remaking the movie when they met on the set of del Toro’s debut, Cronos, in 1992. But with the rights tied up at Fox, the young del Toro’s desire to return to the source novel for a new adaptation faltered before it ever took flight. Nearly 30 years later, it was Kim Morgan who brought the project back up, suggesting now might be the time to take another stab, particularly in the aftermath of del Toro’s success with former Fox division Searchlight Pictures on The Shape of Water.

In their first in-depth interview on Nightmare Alley, del Toro, Cooper and Dale detail exclusively to Deadline the intense collaboration that brought the movie to the screen and the effect the Covid lockdown had on the movie’s production.

01

DEADLINE: Guillermo, Ron Perlman first brought Nightmare Alley to your attention in 1992. And then it was Kim Morgan who renewed your interest in adapting it. Give us a sense of that history.

GUILLERMO DEL TORO: Ron originally wanted to play Stanton Carlisle when he was 30-something, which is 30 years ago now. And he was thinking about a real carnival-looking guy; he was thinking of Elmer Gantry, he was thinking of revival tents. I watched the movie. I was 29 and what I saw was the exoticism of the atmosphere. The screams, the carnival, the Tod Browning of it all. Which would have been, in my opinion, frankly the wrong way to go in every possibility. So, life denied it to us. Fox said, “It’s a library title, we’re not giving it away. We won’t give it away.”

And then, in my 50s, when Kim brought it back up, I thought, Well, let’s approach it. How could we do that? We thought to approach it not as the downfall of a character, but the revelation of a character. The reveal of a man; how the most sacred moment you have in your life is the moment you face yourself. Whether it happens at the end of your life or in the middle of the road, this is the most sacred moment for any human being, when you go, “Oh. This is who I am.” So, we thought, let’s head towards that.

We crafted the screenplay, and from the beginning, on the last page, it was indicated what the last shot of the movie would be. Without giving it away, I think what we established in that shot, and what we realized, was that this was going to basically be a portrait of one character through the light of others. That seemed like a good way to go, but it also revealed itself to be so as we shot and as we edited.

Bradley Cooper (Stan)
Kerry Hayes/20th Century Studios

This is a case of a movie that spoke very loudly to all of us, and we said, “It’s through Stan that we get to know the world.” I said, “We shouldn’t cut away from that.” Although… I was very tempted by the one-eyed fetus in the jar on that set as I was shooting the movie [laughs]. Bradley kept looking at the fetus and saying, “How come his face is lit?”

DEADLINE: Bradley, aside from having to compete for screen time with the one-eyed fetus, what compelled you to take on this role?

BRADLEY COOPER: Originally for me, it was truly about the people I was getting to work with, which was Guillermo and Miles, and then the cast, which had basically already been assembled before I joined. I mean, that’s just a dream for an actor.

The role terrified me, for many reasons. But as we started to delve into it—and we had the real benefit of time and prep to work on this—the idea of inhabiting somebody who doesn’t know who they are, and who’s in search of who they are through the whole film, right up until the last scene. I thought, Maybe that’s where I am in my life as an actor and a human being. I remember Clint Eastwood in A Perfect World saying, “I don’t know nothing. Not one damn thing.” As you get older, the more questions one has, not the more answers. And I think I was in a perfect place in my life, at 46, to engage in exploration with Guillermo and Miles and everybody in this story. What is that? What don’t we know about each other? How lost are we?

It was important to go there, unflinchingly and boldly, which I was able to do with Guillermo hand-in-hand. It cost something for us emotionally, making this movie. It was very risky to go to these places of, “Are we this person? Is this a side of ourselves? Is this who we really are?” I found that to be quite vulnerable as an actor. All my characters tend to linger, but this one, I have to say, was an especially hard one.

DEL TORO: When we met, the only information I had was the movies he had done. But one of the things that gave me great hope and gave us kinship was that he had played Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man. This sounds strange because The Elephant Man is almost on the opposite side, but there’s something where you understand the otherness with compassion. I think we come to Stan judging him, we’ll never understand him. We’re done. The guy is surrounded by freaky things, but the freakiest thing about Stan is on the inside. The most terrified and lonely character in the whole movie is him. And this is where we start latching onto common ground, to understand this guy.

DEADLINE: It’s interesting you mention The Elephant Man. Bradley, you played that role on stage in the West End and on Broadway, and you were Tony-nominated. I had wondered coming into this conversation if you saw a point of comparison there.

COOPER: I would say they’re opposites. I think Joseph was blessed with all the tragedy that occurred to him, and the love of his mother, that he knew clearly who he was. It was his knowledge of who he was that allowed him to be such a survivor throughout his life. That’s my feeling, and I say that having not known him. But Stan is quite the opposite. He was so traumatized by whatever he went through that there just is no North Pole.

But, I will say this: having done 365 or 370 performances of The Elephant Man—which was the reason I wanted to be an actor and even my thesis in grad school—being with Guillermo when we walked for the first time through the carnival set, I just couldn’t believe that the manifestation of the imaginary circumstances that I’ve been playing in my head since I was 11 is now a full Guillermo del Toro vision, and able to be inhabited. That was incredible. And because of that, I did feel very comfortable.

DEL TORO: The beauty of it is that they are the yin and yang of human nature. Anyone that understands, quote-unquote, ‘otherness’ on the outside, also understands otherness on the inside. The compassion that allows you to understand one character allows you to understand the opposite, which is beautiful.

But yeah, I remember us both walking through that set…

COOPER: I think I must have taken 100 photographs. I just kept sending them to people, even though I wasn’t allowed to.

DEL TORO: Well, now we know where they came from [laughs].

DEADLINE: Miles, you’d already gone on this crazy adventure with Guillermo and with The Shape of Water, and of course your collaboration stretches further than that. What did you make of this project when Guillermo brought it to you?

J. MILES DALE: What was most interesting for me was that Guillermo’s films typically have some sort of supernatural element to them, and this is all naturalism. I mean, not everybody knows that he’s a student of noir. He could do two hours on any Hitchcock movie, including the ones you’ve never heard of, and so much more. So, it had always been in his thinking to do something like this eventually. And then, of course, the reality is that, like many of his other films, the carnival ‘freaks’, the ‘monsters’, are really the most normal people—they’re the family—and the industrialists and the city-folk are the real monsters. That kind of parable held true.

So, I could see it pretty clearly when he told me about it, and when I read the book and watched the 1947 movie, and certainly when I heard the Ron story of 30 years ago: the thwarted what-if of it all. And then, as usual, we just start. But it was interesting because, I mean, this is like an all-time cast. The kind you dream about. And they were all incredible. It’s hard to say they made each other better because they’re always so good, but it was such a dream to watch this group work together.

Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale on set.
Kerry Hayes/20th Century Studios

What was interesting was that we shot the second half of the movie before the first half. With the odyssey of what happened next [with the pandemic], we planned to build the carnival while we were shooting the rest of the movie and then go to that set. We had the carnival built in the Spring, and then of course it sat there, aging in the rain and the wind all summer, and so by the time we got there in the fall, it had been authentically beaten up in a lovely way.

It took a long time in prep, a long time to shoot, and a long time to post. But we figured stuff out in all of those stages. I don’t think the movie would have been what it was now, if not for those stages.

DEL TORO: What was funny, Joe, is every week, Bradley and I would have a coffee or a dinner or a breakfast. We would say, “This week is with Willem Dafoe,” or, “This week is with Rooney Mara,” and every week it would be, “What treats are we going to have this week?”

Curiously enough, it has no supernatural element, but it is the ultimate movie about the question I’ve asked in all my movies, which is what makes a person monstrous and what makes a person human? Ultimately, it’s not purpose and it’s not outside appearance. I think, without revealing the ending, every time I watch it, I feel a complete kinship with Stan. I weep, I feel it, and I understand him and what he is. The monstrosity of his actions is only monstrous when there is awareness and yet you still do them. He gains that awareness toward the end of the movie, and that makes a journey that is, for me, incredibly moving.

DEADLINE: The supernatural is your safe space. But Stan uses people’s belief in the supernatural almost like a weapon, as a way of exploiting them, of trapping them into their fears. The movie is very clear that Stan is a conman, not a literal medium. Did you feel a certain sense of self-examination of your own dalliances with the supernatural over the years?

DEL TORO: Well, to me, the danger of what happens with the discourse in the movie is sort of populist emotionality. Whether it is spiritual or religious, or whatever type it is, when this type of charismatic figure emerges who can talk to people that are hungry for belief, that’s a really interesting thing to examine. I always say, “The most monstrous creatures in my movies are the humans.” Well, OK, make a movie about one of them where you know that [laughs]. That was the challenge that was interesting for me.

COOPER: It’s funny, I never thought of it until just now, with the way you framed the question, but it’s almost like… I remember watching Unforgiven for the first time. Clint is taking all the things from the Westerns he’s been a part of and sort of unveiling the myth and going in for a deeper examination. It’s almost what you, Guillermo, have done here with the supernatural.

DEL TORO: Yeah, it is true.

COOPER: Morgan Freeman talks about the myth to Clint’s character, Bill Munny, so it’s like, OK, let’s get rid of that—what the other movies have done—now, how much deeper can we go?

DEL TORO: Yeah, when he says, “At the end of the day, there are no heroes. There is no violence. It’s just killing.” That was the thing. I feel that all the characters in the movies I make are ultimately, most of the time, alone. It’s about coming together, or not, and where they go from there.

I’ll tell you, the partnership we had all the way from the beginning right through to the end is letting Stan tell us, and letting the movie tell us. It wasn’t a matter of decision-making; the material spoke to us. I know it sounds like a cliché now in a pamphlet about moviemaking, but this movie spoke loud and clear. There were times we’d set up some gorgeous crane shot and high-five each other about it, and then guess what? The crane shot gets cut.

COOPER: It’s true: the movie challenged us to reconcile with what it really takes to investigate and explore this theme, and are you willing to risk it all in the exploration? Are you willing to be vulnerable as storytellers, as actors, and do it? That’s why I think we’ll be friends for the rest of our lives, and why it was so rewarding. It really did challenge me in a way I know I’ve never been challenged. The willingness to risk doing things we could have avoided doing and still scored… It was like, “No, you’re going to have to take another path to tell this story, and it’s going to be riskier in terms of gratification, potentially, but it’s the truest way to do it.”

DEL TORO: There was a strange test that revealed itself as the material advanced, which is Stan was cinema, in an odd way. The moments he didn’t speak, the camera followed. But when they were talking, the camera went quiet, which is also quite a challenge. The distinction from a directorial and editorial standpoint is you could choose to show off brutally, or you could choose the simplicity and the power of being truthful and listening; being there. There’s a resistance to that from a director that loves those sweeping moments [laughs]. I had to restrain. And for an actor given a monologue, he can deliver them one way or just save the words and save the moment. We were grappling with ourselves, I believe—certainly on my part, in a way I never had to do on any other movie, because there, the fantasy allowed for being fancier, and for taking other flights.

Richard Jenkins, Guillermo del Toro and Bradley Cooper on set.

DEADLINE: I came to visit you all on set in mid-February of 2020. At that point, the pandemic wasn’t yet a pandemic. And yet, one month later, production was abruptly halted, and you wouldn’t resume for six months. What do you remember of the lead-up to that?

DALE: It snuck up on us. We started to hear about Covid being a potential disruption when we were in Buffalo on location. We went to Buffalo, had a week off, and then we had another week on set before we stopped. I remember clearly standing in the lobby of Buffalo City Hall in between shots, talking with Rooney. She was like, “What do you think about this Covid thing?” And wanting to be the positive producer, I said, “I don’t know, we’re keeping an eye on it.”

When we got back to Toronto, people were starting to get really nervous about it. We did a night shoot, and that was the night the NBA shut down, and the NHL shut down. The next day we were in the studio, and everyone was just way too nervous.

We finished at midnight of March 12, and we had shot the master for the lie detector scene but not the close-ups.

DEL TORO: I remember the moment that Bradley and I were talking about the shot we had just finished, which was the lie detector test. We were excited shooting it; it’s a very nice shot that sweeps from one character to the next. We were saying, “Oh, this is so much fun.”

And then, three hours later—because all day the news had kept coming about the pandemic escalating—we were in a completely different mood. We had a meeting over lunch, and we said, “Let’s leave it there.”

DALE: We called the studio and we said, “Guys, you know what? We got to shut down. We cannot in good conscience keep going.” I spoke to the crew; told them I didn’t know how long it would be but that all we know is we want everyone to be safe and we’ll keep paying you for as long as we can. And then we went off. We thought it could have been for a week, maybe two weeks, maybe a month. In the end, it was six months to the day. We stopped in mid-March, and we started again in mid-September.

I remember when we came back, I said to Guillermo, “Should we start again at the top of the scene, just for the actors to get rolling into it again?” He’s like, “Nope, let’s get right into it.” It was an amazing vote of confidence to the examination that the material had taken, and about the path going forward.

And then there’s the scene at the bus station, where Stan goes to get Molly. He grabs her and goes through the door into the bathroom. We shot each side of that door in two different countries, nearly a year apart. There were a few remarkable things like that, but I don’t think we reshot anything.

COOPER: Yeah, none of that was reshot, it was all two different parts of the scene.

DEADLINE: What did that break do to each of you, psychologically?

COOPER: If anything is halted, you have to hope that fire inside of you—the creative fire to invest the time in the work—is burning bright. If you’re not careful it can go out. Luckily for all of us, that fire came back even brighter during the hiatus, because of everything we went through in order to make this movie.

I also think that restriction is a friend to creativity, and time is also your friend when you take a moment to look at and work on and continue to mold. I think we were able to take a look at what we had done. It informed, as it always does, and the more you explore and learn about what the story is, it keeps telling you things. We learned so much leading up to March 12, 2020, and that allowed an incredible opportunity to look at what the carnival could be, and what avenues we’d want to explore with these characters when we returned. That was invaluable.

From an aesthetic and storytelling point of view, for Stan, we loved the idea that when we meet him at the start of the movie, he isn’t eating well. So, I was able to lose weight. The difference between what he looks like in Buffalo [in the second half of the movie] is about 15 pounds. In that perspective, we were lucky because we were able to change the aesthetic of Stan in ways an audience might not even notice, but they will feel when they meet him again in the city.

Bradley Cooper (Stan)
Kerry Hayes/20th Century Studios

DALE: We were able to say, “OK, what do we have with the footage we’ve shot? What are we going to do to make the movie better? What could happen in the script?” For me, more than anything, it was just knowing what we had done in that first block, and this fear of losing something so amazing that was within your grasp. So, you have to stop, but you also have to do everything possible to keep it going. For everybody, that was a real mission.

Bradley, you talk about those creative fires. Mine was a fire of a different kind because there was no way we could let this thing not continue, once you figure out how to do it safely without getting in the way of public health.

COOPER: The one thing Guillermo won’t say is: we’re all here for him. That’s the reason why everybody showed up, and everybody did it for the love of the game. I was constantly blown away by how many hours in the wet and cold actors would wait just for the thing, with no complaining. And not just actors, the whole crew. We were there because we believed in his vision, we wanted to be a part of his storytelling. Everybody stayed true to it [during the break] and came back and worked their tails off to the end.

So, it was a wonderful feeling, to be at that carnival knowing we’d all assembled again. It was the most inspiring thing. And it’s what I love so much about this profession, is the collective, the group effort, the collaboration. I really felt it on this one.

DEL TORO: The three of us collectively decided when to stop. We said, “This is the time,” before anyone came in with even the slightest doubt about whether we’d be able to carry on shooting.

The material then lived with us for those months, which clarified a lot of things. And by the way, we originally were going to do it the other way round. We wanted to start with the carnival and shoot in sequence, and it was so much better to have shot Stan in the city first and then to go to the carnival for a more youthful Stan, a more wide-eyed version.

COOPER: It’s crazy, Guillermo, when you think about it, because I remember that we pushed the movie because of my schedule here in New York and my family. The movie would have been finished before the pandemic.

DEL TORO: It would have been finished. And look, the partnership between a director and actor when you’re working with a character like Stan is that you’re living and breathing the same air for 99.9% of the day. And when you’re not, you’re having a meeting about it. It’s a three-legged race. That’s what it is. For six months, we introspected that character. We’re looking at him on the screen, refining, recutting. You have time to change your choices in the editorial room. And then you come back with a different understanding.

This pandemic was a moment of great, great tragedy for millions of people. We have to be responsible. We realize it is a blessing to come back and restore the business on which hundreds of families depend, but also, we have to do it responsibly and not get carried away. To count our blessings. The blessings it brought were very much creative.

DEADLINE: What do you think the movie would have been without that disruption?

DEL TORO: Well, I’ll be disarmingly sincere about it: the fact was that the movie was throwing itself at me in the first part of the shoot at 100MPH every goddamn day. We were trying to find that truth and reality in cinema without being artificial. I wanted a certain simplicity. And to be honest, when we were prepping, I thought, I’m going to shoot this movie easy. It won’t be complicated like Pacific Rim. There’s no make-up, no visual effects, no creatures at the center of it. I imagined relaxed dinners every night, the whole nine yards.

In the end, there was not a moment where I didn’t even dream about the movie. That six-month stop, as a human being and as a director, allowed me to readjust a bunch of things. And then I approached the material differently. I was able to find the two parts of the movie stylistically slightly differently, I was physically seeking something different. I don’t know what the movie would have been otherwise. But I think the movie is better for everything that happened.

Bradley Cooper (Stan)
Kerry Hayes/20th Century Studio

DEADLINE: You have partnered with fall festivals for the premiere, which will happen in New York at Alice Tully Hall. Would you have liked to do the festival circuit in an ideal world, just as you’d done with Shape?

DEL TORO: Yes and no. This same group, the three of us, and the studio, we made a clear decision: let’s land this movie in the way it needs to be landed, let’s have it take the time it needs.

And we’re not being casual. 10 days ago, I was still doing the final color. We wouldn’t have made it to the festivals. We wouldn’t have made it to service the movie that is there now. And that’s the only movie I understand that needed to be made; the one we’ve ended up with.

DEADLINE: Even on set, you were editing the movie. You were able to show complete scenes, some that you’d shot just the day before. 

DEL TORO: That [approach] started when I was getting fired on Mimic. 1997, 1996. I was with Miramax and I knew we were at odds. And in my stupid, innocent thinking—my naivety—I thought I would edit the movie every day so that if they tried to fire me, I could show people 40 or 60 minutes of the movie.

It came in handy because I did get fired on a Friday and Mira Sorvino saved me. Bob Weinstein said, “OK, come and see me and my brother Harvey on Monday, and you have the weekend to edit the movie.” That was Friday night, but then Saturday at 7 a.m. I get a phone call, “You’re going to be on a plane to New York right now.” They were trying to trick me into not having the movie in any shape. But I was already cut. I was completely cut. I came to New York and had the meeting, and then on Monday I was back directing.

That has stayed with me to this day, and on any movie I shoot, I edit it the same day. It’s not a security blanket anymore, it’s just the way I shoot. I like to show it to the actors and it’s helpful for me in tracking them.

20th Century Studios

DEADLINE: How much of a resource was that for you, Bradley, as you tried to find Stan? Especially given what you were able to review again after the break.

COOPER: It was all invaluable for us to take what we had done, put it together, analyze it, take it apart. It informed all that we hadn’t yet shot.

And I think the time we had was valuable more than anything in that we were able to be even bolder in our choices when we returned and to risk more in the exploration of this theme of Stan as a man who wanted to have some kind of meaning; wanted desperately to know who he is. What he says to Lilith (Cate Blanchett) is, “What do I want? To be found out just like everybody else.” What does that mean, cinematically? What does that mean story-wise? How can we best pursue that? So, that time and that footage allowed us to home it and be more vigilant about how we would pursue that.

DEL TORO: Every day on set I show a little bit from the scenes we shot the day before, for anybody who wants to come to the monitor. But, when we finished the first half, we had access to more than 90 minutes of edited footage. And some key choices came from that: shooting Stan from behind, shooting him from the shadows, hiding his face when he’s talking. These are choices that came from what we discovered in the first half, and they were bold choices.

I mean, the first time Stan talks in the movie is in the darkness. We don’t see his face as he’s talking to the geek. Those are choices we knew early on. The goalposts kept changing as we edited, but we knew, Jesus, it’s going to be so important when he first says those words. And what are they going to be?

COOPER: What I’ll say as the grateful actor in this triumvirate is that it never felt like we left the field without trying everything, from the very beginning. Guillermo and I didn’t know each other before this movie. We had met twice: once heading to Comic-Con, and the other time on the pier in Venice [laughs]. But very early on I found a partner. There were no re-shoots on this movie, but no stone was left unturned. We would talk late at night, and in the morning before going to set. If we needed to explore something, we did it.

And I think part of why I’m so proud of this film is that I can absolutely say that the very best we could do is what you see. We tried it all. It’s a wonderful feeling that one doesn’t always get to have on a movie.

DEADLINE: Guillermo, tell me about that partnership from your perspective. In Bradley, you’re not just getting a seasoned actor and a producing partner. He’s also a seasoned director. Does that make a difference to the collaboration?

DEL TORO: For me, the partnership is always with filmmakers, period. Whatever the description is on the call sheet is immaterial. When you’re lucky enough to have somebody in front of the camera that knows exactly where the lens begins and ends and knows whether the camera is coming to him or whether he’s going to the camera, these are all blessings.

But it’s beyond the moment. It’s about having somebody who can keep all the cards in the Rolodex spinning at the same time. So, you’re not making a decision about a shot. You’re making a decision about that character in that moment, in the entire flow of the movie. I kept telling Bradley, “If it escapes my right eye and it escapes my left eye, then we have your left eye and your right eye.” There are four eyes on it at all times, you know?

I think that’s a privilege and a dynamic that I’ve never had before, and that I enjoy. It’s really never talking about the shot, never talking about how great this push-in is going to be, or how great that line will be to read. A director keeps all the Rolodex cards spinning, and it can go really fast. Somebody says, “What if I do this?” And you flip through the cards and pull a yes or no. Having someone that can do the same is the deepest partnership you can have.

For me, the difference between him being a director that acts or an actor that directs is immaterial. It is the person, the artist as a complete entity. That’s what’s fantastic to have on this journey. I don’t imagine this working any other way, because Stanton is on screen for 99.9% of the movie.

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Miley Cyrus & ‘SNL’s Pete Davidson To Host New Year’s Eve Special On NBC

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November 29, 2021 12:00pm

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Miley Cyrus and Saturday Night Live‘s Pete Davidson will help NBC ring in 2022 with Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party special hosted by Cyrus and Davidson, from SNL creator and exec producer Lorne Michaels.

The special will air live on NBC from Miami, FL on Friday, December 31 from 10:30pm-12:30amET, and will also be live-streamed on Peacock. Michaels will executive produce for NBC and Peacock. NBC promises “a star-studded lineup of special guests and musical performances for a must watch evening” TBA at a later date.

“In what is sure to be an exciting and fun evening, we are looking forward to partnering with Lorne Michaels and ringing in 2022 with a night of incredible entertainment, led by Miley and Pete.” Said Jen Neal, Executive Vice President, Live Events, Specials and E! News, NBCUniversal.

The announcement confirms a speculative report back in September about Cyrus hosting a Lorne Michaels-produced NBC New Year’s special.

Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party succeeds NBC’s New Year’s Eve special, hosted and produced by Carson Daly, which aired on the network from 2004 until last year (except for Dec. 31, 2017 when it was preempted for an NFL game.)

Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party will take on the top-rated ABC Dec. 31 special Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, which beat the Oscars in ratings this year and ranked as the top-rated entertainment show on television last season.

Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party Hosted By Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson is executive produced by Michaels, Cyrus and Lindsay Shookus. It is produced by Den of Thieves with Executive Producers Jesse Ignjatovic, Evan Prager and Barb Bialkowski. It is also produced by Hopetown Entertainment, Miley Cyrus’ and Tish Cyrus’s production company. Joe DeMaio directs.

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Colman Domingo Boards Oscar Entry Short ‘Leylak’ As EP

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November 29, 2021 11:51am

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EXCLUSIVE: Colman Domingo is executive producing Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos’ short Leylak.

The short, shot during the pandemic, follows an immigrant gravedigger, a frontline worker, who buries his pain in order to shelter his daughter from an unspeakable loss but learns that the only way forward is together.

Also joining The Candyman and Fear the Walking Dead actor as EP is is Oscar nominated filmmaker Doug Roland, whose film Feeling Through was nominated for Best Live Action Short at the 93rd Academy Awards.

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Leylak made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize, going on to garner top awards at such international film festivals as Galway Film Fleadh in Ireland, Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival, Port Townsend Film Festival, Leiden International Film Festival, Tacoma Film Festival, New York Shorts International Film Festival, and many more.

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Domingo said, “Leylak’s setting couldn’t be more timely, but it’s the film’s piercing and honest look at loss, guilt, anguish, love and hope that make it timeless. With quiet intensity, Leylak is executed with such nuance in its portrayal of how unbearable circumstances can splinter people apart, but at the same time, bring them even stronger together.”

Domingo’s critically acclaimed film work includes If Beale Street Could Talk, Selma, Lincoln, Candyman, Without Remorse, Zola, and he was a Film Independent Spirit, NAACP, SAG and Critics Choice Award nominee for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. He also won the Best Supporting Actor Imagen Award for HBO’s Euphoria.

As a writer, Domingo’s plays and musicals include the Tony Award nominated Broadway musical Summer: The Donna Summer Musical and Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole. The multi-hyphenate is currently shooting season 4 of his series, Bottomless Brunch at Colman‘s for AMC, and is developing various TV, film, theater and animation projects with his production company, Edith Productions. He is currently shooting a new film called, Rustin, where he has landed his title role and set to play gay rights activist Bayard Rustin, which is the first film production from Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground.

New York-based filmmakers Aharoni and Latos directed and co-produced Leylak. The short’s story was written and co-produced by Mustafa Kaymak, the award-winning writer and producer of Green, the winner of the 2019 short film U.S. Jury Award at Sundance Film Festival.

Laura Valladao serves as Leylak‘s DP, her previous credits including the Oscar nominated film My Nephew Emmett. Leylak stars Nadir Saribacak as Yusuf who is known from Winter’s Sleep, winner of the 2014 Palme d’Or and Sarmasik, which was a 2015 Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Dramatic Competition nominee.

 

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‘Sons Of Anarchy’s Kurt Sutter Sets Western ‘The Abandons’ At Netflix; Shoot-Em-Up Vet On ‘Rust’ Tragedy & Reforms: ‘I Can’t Wrap My Brain Around The Fact Live Ammo Was Anywhere Near The Set’

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November 29, 2021 10:56am

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EXCLUSIVE: Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. co-creator Kurt Sutter has set what he hopes will be his next series. Sutter has made a deal with Netflix to create The Abandons, a potential hourlong that has all the mythology and action of his other show creations, set in the Old West.

It isn’t clear how quickly this all will happen because Sutter has been prepping his feature directorial debut on This Beast, about a trapper’s battle with an elusive beast that is ravaging an 18th century English village. He’s making that one also for Netflix, giving him two projects at the streamer after leaving FX. For Sutter, The Abandons will be the realization of a desire that predates his work on The Shield, Sons, Mayans and The Bastard Executioner.

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“I’ve always wanted to do a western, even before Sons, and then Deadwood came out,” Sutter told Deadline. “There’s that great lore of Ian Anderson wanting to be a great rock guitarist, and he saw Clapton play, and he said, ‘F*ck, I’m going to become the best rock flautist that ever lived.’ And he did just that for Jethro Tull. This is how I felt when I saw Deadwood. I said, ‘Let me stick to the crime genre” and then used just about every actor that was on that show. But I do love the genre, and over the pandemic, I tried to get a western IP.”

That attempt to marry an original series with a pre-existing property he declined to name didn’t work. He continued work on This Beast and then hatched the idea for The Abandons, at the same time one of his favorite FX execs, Danielle Woodrow, moved to Netflix, which was hungry for a Western series. She set Sutter into a pitch meeting, and it turned out to be the fastest he ever set up a show.

So what is The Abandons?

“I’ve always been fascinated with the origins of La Cosa Nostra, how these Sicilian peasant families were being more than marginalized by the land barons and the aristocrats,” he said. “These families banded together to defend themselves from these abusive land barons, and from that taking those matters into their own hands, La Cosa Nostra was born and became the authority and the law and the order of the land. There are other influences. Over the pandemic, I was watching reruns of Bonanza, and first of all, it completely holds up. I remember watching it as a kid, but I just remember there’s an episode where somebody gets killed, and Hoss just wants revenge, and I mean, like, dark f*cking revenge. Ultimately, it’s a Sunday network TV ending, but I just realized that the Cartwrights were a bullet away from being outlaws, right? And I loved that it all came from that deep sense of loyalty to the family, the land, the town. Those were the origins of this, with the working title The Abandons.

“That was an actual term of the period where it was this kind of catchall phrase that described the outliers, the orphans, the prostitutes, the cripples, the bastards — basically the kind of lost souls living on the fringe of society. That is my favorite neighborhood. We are on the Western Frontier, somewhere between the Dakotas and California, small cattle town, circa 1850. So, it’s post-Gold Rush, pre-Civil War, and then, some natural resource is discovered. You have this wealthy family, where the Hearst-like character comes in, and the aristocrats in Italy, and they try to buy out the ranchers. Most sell out, and then the ones that sort of refused are kind of forced out or tragically go away. But there’s this one group of families that won’t sell. They band together. They stand up to the oppressor. Choices are made. Some of them violent, and then, like the peasants in Sicily, they take matters into their own hands and create their own destiny. You have these humble, God-fearing, hardworking people who are forced to become the line in the sand. And of course, ultimately that line is drawn in blood. Thematically, it’s all the shit I love; family, that fine line between survival and law, the consequences of violence, and my favorite and the thing that was so prevalent in Sons: the corrosive power of secrets.

“That whole first season will be about the evolution of them as, you know, turning into outlaws, in a period before all the iconic outlaws that we know, like Jesse James and Billy the Kid,” Sutter said. “All those cats didn’t happen until after the Civil War, but the Pinkertons were around, so you know there were outlaws. So, it’s sort of like the precursor to the James Gang and other sort of iconic outlaws that we associate with the Wild West. So we might wink at history, say in Season 2 or 3 crossing paths with an 11-year-old Billy the Kid, and yet still be able to play in the fictional world, to me, is cool. And it helps me avoid the gunfights in the street and experience the Western while I get to lean away from some of the expected tropes.

The period allows for exploration of themes and representations that have relevance 170 or so years later, he said.

“The thing Netflix was excited about, as well, is because the West is literally wild … in that period, most were territories and the typical boundaries of civilized society didn’t apply to the frontier. So you get to play with race, gender, morality in a really kind of organic and meaningful way, right? Because there are so many f*cking stories to sort of draw from,” Sutter said. “Without preaching, there’s an organic way to pull those elements into stories that really parallel this ongoing tragedy we’re experiencing now. I get to deal with meaningful subject matter in a way that is not shining a light on it, and not on the nose, but a snapshot from a different period that definitely reflects back to what we’re experiencing today. So, that’s the bones of it.”

He said the premise puts the Abandons on the run, meaning they can shift locations if a series goes multiple seasons.

Since Sutter has spent the past 20 years writing dramas where gunplay is plentiful, I asked for his assessment in the ongoing discussion of what steps might be taken to ensure the gunfire tragedy on the set of Rust is not replicated, where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot and director Joel Souza injured when Alec Baldwin demonstrated in rehearsal how he would draw a pistol, which loaded with a live round. Among those who have ventured opinions was Dwayne Johnson, who declared that only rubber guns will be used on his future action films, and Matthew Vaughn’s suggested than a gun-crazy U.S. mentality could have contributed to lax precautions.

“I have tried to avoid talking, because anything I might say would feel like judgment,” he said. “On all my sets, from The Shield to Sons, we had guns in almost every scene, but we never had an incident. We had a machine in place for props and safety. We had some motorcycle spills but never an incident with a weapon.

“That’s because we followed protocol. Especially after what happened to Brandon Lee, that kicked a certain amount of safety protocols into gear. We hired competent prop people, and we had actors who were smart, and there were always gun tests in front of cast and crew. There was always an announcement of ‘hot gun’ on set, meaning that there was a sound load in it, and then everything else was always rubber. I don’t know what went down on that set. My sense, from listening to the information that’s coming in, the letting go of union crew, and bringing on non-union crew, that those safety protocols were not met. You didn’t have people that either knew about them or thought they were important, right? Because, experientially, they didn’t know. Now, whose fault is that? Is it the producer’s fault? Is it the director’s fault? I don’t know where the blame lands, but to me, that’s the hole, right?”

While it sounded like to him, the problem wasn’t the prevalence of “hot” guns on set as much as an inexperienced armorer and a production cutting corners and in a rush, Sutter said his future shows will conform to whatever reforms are put in place by unions and broadcasters.

“If, ultimately, rubber guns is the way it has to go, and becomes the next level of safety, I completely understand and let’s do that because you can do so much with CG now,” Sutter said. “I’ll land on and support whatever the empirical data proves, and whatever the unions decide, and I will wholly support that. But here’s the deal, Mike: I’m sure there have been accidents and near accidents on sets in the past that we’ve never heard of. So the fact that this happened in such a tragic and ultimately, and rightfully so, in a very public way, I don’t think that happens in a vacuum, right? So, perhaps we need to take this as a signal in terms of let’s re-evaluate how we do things.”

Sutter said it needs to be taken as seriously as the Covid protocols that allowed the industry to resume. “Was what happened an isolated incident? Maybe. Maybe not, and I don’t think we can take that risk. So whatever the decision is, I think the point is let’s look at shit and re-evaluate how we do things so that these circumstances can’t manifest into the perfect storm that creates this bizarre and tragic incident.”

As for the finding there were live rounds on the Rust set, Sutter said, “As soon as an actor finishes a scene, a prop master comes, takes the knife, the gun, and puts it in a box in their weapons bin and puts a lid on it and puts it on the tray. If there’s more scenes to do, that tray stays with the prop person. If not, then they’re taken into the prop house, and they’re stored until the next time they’re used. An actor never walks around with any kind of weapon, even if it’s a rubber gun. That’s the first thing they take, and that’s what I saw happen on The Shield, and that’s what happened on all of my shows.”

And the live rounds that led to the fatality?

“That’s idiocy,” he said. “That is people that who don’t give a f*ck and yeah, are using the weapons to shoot tin cans or shoot rats, and that behavior. I don’t know where that comes from; maybe those were the non-union folks that came in, but that, to me…when I heard that, I associated it with what happened with Brandon Lee, which, even though that was obviously a tragedy and lack of protocols were there, but that wasn’t live ammo, but a piece of a shell, a malfunction. As I was thinking, how did [the Rust tragedy] happen and create that kind of devastation? The fact that it was live ammo never even entered my mind until it came out in the press. I couldn’t even wrap my brain around the fact that there was live ammo, in the vicinity of a set, right? That’s just negligence, people not paying attention or not having people who know what the protocol is and aren’t checking. That creates the perfect storm.

“Whatever the potential danger is, you have to have those protocols around, and it always has to be about how do we keep everybody safe? Look, we’ve seen the tragedy that comes with, f*ck it, just get the shot. We see the tragedy of that attitude, time and time and time and time again. It’s great to get the shot, but it’s not about the shot. It’s about the filmmaking experience and about the production. Maybe I’m oversensitive to it because of the world I live in, and it is a violent world, but you have to be hyper vigilant about putting that safety first, and that can never be the fucking corner you cut.”

Sutter’s Abandons deal was brokered by WME and attorney Michael Gendler.

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‘To Live And Die In Alabama’: Latest Doc In ‘New York Times Presents’ Series Gets FX/Hulu Premiere Date

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November 29, 2021 10:56am

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To Live and Die in Alabama, the latest film in the New York Times Presents docuseries, will premiere on FX and Hulu on December 3 at 10 p.m. ET, it was announced today.

The film from director-producer Matt Kay examines the aftermath of the killing of three police officers in a shootout at an Alabama drug house. One man, Nathanial Woods, was sentenced to death for the shootings, even though he was never accused of even touching the murder weapon. The doc will examine Woods’ case in full, including allegations of police misconduct that were never raised in his trial. It will feature original reporting from Abby Ellin, Cydney Tucker and Dan Barry, along with producing from Lora Moftah.

The New York Times Presents is a series of standalone documentary films produced by The New York Times and Left/Right, a Red Arrow Studios company. Ken Druckerman, Banks Tarver, Mary Robertson, Jason Stallman, Sam Dolnick and Stephanie Preiss exec produce the series, with Robertson also serving as showrunner.

To Live and Die in Alabama comes on the heels of such topical feature documentaries as Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson, Controlling Britney Spears and Framing Britney Spears, the latter of which received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program, along with the TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information. The New York Times Presents also previously won the the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special) for the film, The Killing of Breonna Taylor.

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Property Masters Guild Formed; Joshua Meltzer Is Professional Association’s First President

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November 29, 2021 10:51am

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A new organization – the Property Masters Guild – has been formed “to provide professional continuing educational opportunities, cultivate future generations of property masters, and foster greater collaboration amongst property masters and the craft.”

Joshua Meltzer, whose many credits include Dexter, Will & Grace and 2 Broke Girls, is the guild’s first president. With 78 founding members, the guild was started by Meltzer and three other veteran prop masters — Gregg Bilson, Hope Parrish and Chris Call — who first met to discuss the formation of the group in 2017.

The new nonprofit professional association is not a labor union, however. For collective bargaining purposes, prop masters are covered by IATSE Prop Local 44, and the newly launched guild says that it “believes strongly in the union’s authority and leadership.”

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Joshua Meltzer via Instagram

“The Property Masters Guild has long been a dream for many of us in the craft,” Meltzer said. “The property master is arguably one of the most important people on a film set. I have no idea why it has taken so long, but I am honored to be part of the first organization dedicated to elevating our craft and educating the industry and the public on the essential contributions and varied skills property masters possess.”

The guild said that its mission is to:
• Raise awareness of the craft of property master to those both within and outside the entertainment industry.
• Educate its members so they can maintain the highest quality of standards within the craft.
• Cultivate, inspire, and train future generations of property masters, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.
• Foster a greater collaboration amongst property masters and our craft.

Captain America’s shield and the Hoverboard from ‘Back to the Future’
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“For far too long, the property master has gone unrecognized in film and television,” said Call, a founding board member whose latest credits include Mr. Mayor and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. “Props are the objects of life, we all have them, cherish them and use them to help express who we are. In film, it is the property master, working with creators, the director and the actors that help define their character through their possession. On set, it is the property master who maintains the integrity of the artistic design created by the art department. When the camera is about to roll and the director or an actor is struck with an idea to help tell the story – it is the property master they turn to who pulls the rabbit out of the hat.”

The guild’s first awards program is tentatively set for May. Membership in the guild is open to individuals who are active prop masters in the film, television and commercials industries. The guild’s website can be viewed at propertymastersguild.org.

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Virgil Abloh Dies: Fashion Designer And Founder Of Louis Vuitton’s Off-White Label Was 41

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November 28, 2021 12:45pm

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Virgil Abloh, the founder of fashion label Off-White and Artistic Director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, died Sunday after a long battle with a rare cancer. He was 41 years old and his death was confirmed by the French fashion house.

Abloh had cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer, for at least two years, said parent company LVMH.

“We are all shocked after this terrible news,” company CEO Bernard Arnault said in a statement on Twitter. “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom. The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother, or their friend.”

Abloh became LVMH menswear line creative director in 2018, the first black designer in that role.

He is survived by his wife, Shannon, and his two children, Lowe and Grey Abloh, as well as his sister and his parents.

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‘Licorice Pizza’ Delivers: Paul Thomas Anderson Pic’s Opening Among Filmmaker’s Best With Record Screen Average – Specialty Box Office

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November 28, 2021 11:41am

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Remember when New York and Los Angeles use to post big figures for the opening of a specialty film at the box office?

Well, those days look to be coming back.

United Artist Releasing’s MGM Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1970s teen comedy Licorice Pizza posted a huge $83,8K opening screen average from four theaters, which the studio is calling an-all-time record.

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How is that? Well, when it comes to the top opening theater averages, many of those are comprised of multiple screens a theater, while Licorice Pizza is literally making its moola from four screens at the LA Regency Village, NYC’s Lincoln Square, Village East and Alamo Brooklyn. All of them are 70MM prints.

Anderson shot the movie, which showcases the frosh on-screen talents of indie rocker Alana Haim and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son Cooper Hoffman, in 35MM but had the prints blown up. Anderson made the movie old school using physical film stock and lenses to achieve an authentic retro-look.

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Licorice Pizza is loosely based on the teenage actor days of Tom Hanks’ producer Gary Goetzman, and follows a young actor’s pursuit of a girl in her early 20s as they try and launch a waterbed business together in the San Fernando Valley, and hang out with their friends. The title of the movie is named after an old record-store in the Valley which was a big hang for local teens. The movie also stars Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper.

The movie is booked at LA’s Regency Village for the next month, and it turned in the best gross at the venue in 25 years; Licorice Pizza reaping close to half of its weekend gross from that cinema.

The pic’s total weekend of $335K bests the specialty launches of previous Anderson fare including 2014’s Inherent Vice ($328K, 5 theaters), 2017’s Phantom Thread ($216K, 4 theaters), 1999’s Magnolia ($193,6K from 7 theaters), 2007’s There Will Be Blood ($190,7K, 2 theaters), 1996’s Hard Eight ($69,4K, 29 theaters) and 1997’s Boogie Nights ($50,1K, 2 theaters). Licorice Pizza‘s debut ranks behind the openings of the 8x Oscar nominee’s The Master ($736K, 5 theaters) and 2002’s Punch Drunk Love ($367K, 5 theaters). UAR Distribution Boss Erik Lomis worked with Anderson on the release of The Master at Weinstein Co. which also had 70MM bookings.

According to studio polling, those who ordered Licorice Pizza had been waiting to see it for quite some time: Over 55% of the audience decided they were going to watch Anderson’s latest either a year or months ago. The 18-34 demo was enormous at 72% who gave it an 87% positive rating and 73% definite recommend.  Diversity demos were 70% Caucasian, 19% Hispanic and Latino, 3% Black and 8% Asian. Close to 70% of the audience were college graduates. Guys repped 66% of the audience.

UAR plans to sneak the movie in a few markets this coming weekend before going wide with it at Christmas.

UAR also had extra bragging rights in bringing adults back over Thanksgiving with Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci which opened to $21.8M over 5-days, the best opening for a drama film since 2019’s Little Women. 

Of those arthouse titles expanding due to the holiday and seeing a boost in their ticket sales are A24’s C’mon, C’mon (+119%), Focus Features’ Belfast (+3%), and Sony Pictures Classics’ Julie Cohen-Betsy West documentary Julia (+126%).

Notable performances at Thanksgiving box office for Nov. 24-28.

Caitríona Balfe and Jamie Dornan in ‘Belfast’
Focus Features

Belfast (Foc) 1,128 (+544) theaters, Wed $170K (+36%),Thurs $150K/ Fri $380K/Sat $350K/Sun $240k/PTA $860/3-day $970K (+3%), 5-day: $1.3M/Total $4.99M/Wk 3
New York continues to be the top market for the Kenneth Branagh-directed black and white movie, seeing 11% of the weekend followed by Boston (5%), Philly (4.7%), LA (4.5%), and Chicago (4%). Canada is drove close to 10% of the weekend’s gross with Toronto accounting for 2.2% of the weekend. Finale domestic endgame here is looking like $7M.

The French Dispatch (Sea) 450 (-355) theaters, Wed $122K,Thurs $109K/ Fri $235K/Sat $250K/Sun $137k/PTA $1,38K/3-day $622K (-38%), 5-day: $853K /Total $14.4M/Wk 6
The Wes Anderson directed movie which dynamited the specialty box office with $1.3M opening at 52 locations will likely end its stateside run at $16M.

Licorice Pizza (UAR) 4 screens, Fri $142K/Sat $105K/Sun $89K/ $83,75K PTA/3-day $335K/Wk 1

Tobin Yelland

C’mon, C’mon (A24) 102 (+97) theaters Wed $54,2K,Thurs $30K/ Fri $96,3K/Sat $109,7K/Sun $87,7k/PTA $2,88K/3-day $293,8K (+119%), 5-day: $378K /Total $528,8K/Wk 2
We are hearing that the Mike Mills directed movie is seeing most of its business in its expansion from NY, LA, Boston and Toronto despite a footprint in 36 markets. A24 also had The Humans booked at 17 runs in 17 markets, but that was day-and-date on Showtime, and we hear the figures are around $13K for the five-day weekend.

Antim: The Final Truth (Zee) 310 theaters Fri $85K/Sat $113K/Sun $7k/PTA $887/3-day $275K, 5-day: $361,5K /Wk 1
Mahesh Manjrekar directed action-crime drama follows a cop coming up against the land mafia.

Maanaadu (GINF)110 theaters/Fri $70K/ Sat $76K/ Sun $37,5K/ 3-day $183,5K, 5-day $300K/Wk 1
Venkat Prabhu directed movie follows a state’s chief minister, who on the day of a public conference, finds himself in a time loop with a police officer and bodyguard.

For the Love of Money (Freestyle) 519 theaters, Wed $28K,Thurs $50K/ Fri $80K/Sat $85K/Sun $67k/PTA $447,3-day $232K , 5-day: $310K /Wk 1

Spencer (NEON) 346 (-608) theaters Fri $79,6K/Sat $82,1K/Sun $49,2K/PTA $610, 3-day $211K (-70%)/Total: $6.6M/Wk 4

Sooryavanshi (Rel) 59 (-156) theaters Wed $26K,Thurs $31,3K/ Fri $24,7K/Sat $30,7K/Sun $25k/PTA $1,3K/3-day $80,4K (-67%), 5-day: $137,7K /Total $3.5M/Wk 4

Sony Pictures Classics

Julia (SPC) 288 (+241) theaters, PTA $332, 3-day $95,6K (+126%), Total $197,6K/Wk 3

India Sweets & Spices (BST) 121 (-222) theaters Wed $11,6K/Thurs $10,6K/Fri $10,5K/Sat $13,1K/Sun $9,5k, PTA $273, 3-day $33,1K (-81%), 5-day $55,3K/Total $247,8K/Wk 2

Drive My Car (Sideshow/Janus) 2 theatres, 3-day $14,9K, PTA $7,4K, 5-day, $20,35K/Wk 1

 

 

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Jussie Smollett Trial Expected To Open Monday In Chicago In Infamous ‘MAGA’ Attack

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November 28, 2021 11:12am

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A disorderly conduct trial that is expected to start Monday in Chicago will be drawing worldwide attention. That’s because the accused is former Empire actor Jussie Smollett, whose now-discredited claim of a racially motivated attack in January 2019 shocked the world.

The twists in the Smollett saga are legendary. After claiming he ventured forth on a freezing cold night at 2 AM to get a sandwich, Smollett said he was attacked by two men wearing “MAGA” gear. After a struggle, they left him battered and with a noose around his neck.

Subsequent investigations purportedly showed Smollett staged the attack with the help of two brothers he met at a local gym. He was severed from his Empire role and has since occupied himself with producing and directing an independent film, B-Boy Blues, which opened last week.

Smollett was eventually indicted on 16 counts of providing false information, but had them all dismissed by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, with a $10,000 bail forfeited as the only real penalty. After heavy criticism of Foxx’s action, a special prosecutor brought new disorderly conduct charges against Smollett.

New prosecutor Dan Webb and his team brought the new indictment against Smollett in February 2020, but the trial has been delayed by the pandemic.

The stakes are low in this new trial. If convicted on any of the six disorderly conduct counts in the indictment, Smollett could face from one to three years in prison. But it’s equally likely that he could receive probation, since he has no criminal past. ,

Jurors will be asked to determine if Smollett staged the phony hate crime on himself. The trial is expected to last at least a week. Cameras have been banned from the courtroom.

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