Peter Farrelly Makes the Case For ‘Loudermilk’, Teases Season 3 & Beyond As 2 Former Audience Series Seek New Homes


October 19, 2020 2:20pm

AT&T Audience Network

In January, AT&T announced that DirecTV’s Audience Network was shutting down, transforming itself into an HBO Max Preview Channel. While not surprising, the move threw in limbo three original series on the channel, comedy Loudermilk and dramas Condor and Ms. Mercedes. 

While David E. Kelley’s Ms. Mercedes had just wrapped its Season 3 run on Audience, with its future beyond that in serious doubt, Loudermilk and Condor both had completed new seasons in the can that had not yet been scheduled by the network. As Audience ceased to exist on May 22, the rights to its original series were handed back to their producers.

The three existing seasons of Ms. Mercedes were recently acquired by NBCUniversal’s Peacock, while Netflix picked up another Audience drama, Kingdom, which aired on the network from 2014-2017.

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AT&T Audience Network

Skydance has been shopping thriller Condor, starring Max irons and William Hurt, which I hear remains in play and could lock in a new home by the end of the year. (Its third season already has launched internationally).

Loudermilk, created by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Mort, is produced by Primary Wave Entertainment and distributed by Sony TV. It stars Livingston as Sam Loudermilk, a rehab counselor running therapy sessions for a group of misfits who is a recovering alcoholic himself. Will Sasso, Anja Savcic and Laura Mennell co-star in the series, which will be taken to potential buyers shortly. Flying under the radar, it has earned 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and counts Bill Murray among its fans.

“No one really saw seasons one or two,” said Farrelly, who directs the series alongside his brother Bobby Farrelly. “We love that show. I stand by that show. I think it is as good as any show on TV.”

While most shows about sobriety focus predominantly on the pain associated with the struggle to overcome addiction, Loudermilk is taking a different approach.

“It’s about people in the program trying to be sober, so we wanted to play it straight because it’s a serious thing,” Farrelly said. “Bit there is a lot of laughs in sobriety and in these programs, It’s not just pain. There is a lot of camaraderie and there is a love in the room and there is hope.”

Farrelly said that he loves all three seasons but is particularly proud of Season 3.

“It goes places that are extremely heavy,” he said. “There is still comedy within the show but there is also some moments. It’s as good as anything I’ve done.”

One of the reasons Farrelly is so proud of Season 3 and wants people to see it is the performance of comedian Brian Regan, whose character Mugsy comes to the forefront in the new season.

“The performance he gives this year is the best performance on television this year,” Farrelly said.

Mugsy is an alcoholic with eight kids, none of whom was speaking to him.

“He gets sober with the program for three seasons and finally, gradually, one by one the kids are starting to coming back into his life. It’s a beautiful, heartwarming thing,” Farrelly said. “And then he falls off the wagon. It is one of the most realistic, heartbreaking arcs on TV.”

Contributing to show’s authenticity is the blurred line between fiction and real life.

Farrelly spoke of Danny Wattley, a member of Loudermilk‘s recurring cast who was prominent in Season 1.

“He fell off the wagon in real life, and we didn’t use him in seasons 2 and 3,” Farrelly said. “And then he got sober again went through the program, went through rehab, and we are taking him back in season 4.”

AT&T Audience Network

As Loudermilk is looking for a new home, Farrelly and Mort already have mapped out a fourth season.

“It is the year Loudermilk gets his mojo back,” Farrelly said. “He writes a book at end of Season 3, it’s all about the music world. It becomes a huge smash hit in Season 4. And all of a sudden, he is back in the game, people are inviting him to parties, and he is hanging out with real musicians. Now the question is, will he have time for that sad, sad group he has been babysitting for the last three years? Will he be able to maintain the sobriety now that he is back in the fast lane?”

While the cast of the series was released awhile ago, there will be no problem to reassemble it should the show gets picked up by another network and they want to order an additional season.

“Everybody wants to come back and do Season 4,” Ferrelly said. “We are going to get them back, we are going to do it, we just need to find the right home for it.”

He does not plan to stop at Season 4.

“We want to do Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7,” he said. “I want to keep going because I know where it is going, where I want it to be in 6-7 years.”



‘Triage’: Jamie-Lynn Sigler Joins ABC Medical Drama Pilot


October 19, 2020 1:58pm


EXCLUSIVE: Jamie-Lynn Sigler is set as a series regular opposite Parisa Fitz-Henley and Michael Ealy in Triage, ABC’s second cycle medical drama pilot from David Cornue, Erica Messer, Jon M. Chu and 20th Television.


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Created by Cornue, Triage is a character-driven medical drama that follows pioneering surgeon Finley Briar (Fitz-Henley) over three distinct decades at the same hospital. With the evolution of medicine as the backdrop, the show explores the interconnected careers, friendships and romances of Finley and her colleagues, and their tenuous relationship with time.

Sigler will play Dr. Elisa Jeffers, a no-nonsense New Yorker and Finley Briar’s (Fitz-Henley) best friend and roommate.

Cornue executive produces alongside Messer who serves as showrunner. Chu will executive produce and direct. Steven Marrs and Courtney Hazlett of OutEast Entertainment also executive produce alongside Caitlin Foito.

Sigler, best known for her role as Meadow Soprano on The Sopranos, recurred for two seasons on HBO’s Entourage and was a series regular on NBC’s Guys With Kids. She just booked a starring role in the new Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker Adult Swim series, Beef House. On the feature side, she starred in Gangster Land and will be seen opposite Penelope Ann Miller in indie feature All The Leaves Have Fallen. She’s repped by A3 Artist’s Agency and John Carrabino Management.

Lauded Docu Helmer R.J. Cutler Launches This Machine Production Shingle With Industrial Media Backing


October 19, 2020 1:45pm

Matt Sayles

EXCLUSIVE: As his superb Showtime documentary Belushi premieres next month and with Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry upcoming from Apple TV+, R.J. Cutler has launched the production company This Machine, with an investment from Industrial Media. Cutler sealed the deal with Industrial Media’s CEO Eli Holzman and President Aaron Saidman.

In the new company, Industrial Media will have an ownership stake. Producer Elise Pearlstein will join Cutler’s This Machine as EVP of Documentaries, and Devon Hammonds — who had been Industrial Media SVP of Development & Current Programming – East Coast — will now serve in a dual role as EVP of Non-Fiction TV for This Machine. Hammonds’ focus will be returning series development for the new company. Trevor Smith, Cutler’s longtime producing partner, will serve as producer for the company’s original content.

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In in its first talent deal, 14-time Emmy Award-nominee Jane Cha Cutler has signed a first look with This Machine. Cha Cutler and Holzman first worked together on the Bravo series Project Runway, which Holzman created with Cha Cutler.

“R.J. is a gifted filmmaker and a longtime friend,” said Industrial Media’s Holzman. “Aaron and I both have long admired his creative range and have envied his eye for compelling stories that reach broad audiences. We are so excited to be a part of the promising future that This Machine has in store.”

Saidman added: “Our shared creative enthusiasm and commitment to excellence in production makes for an excellent partnership and we greatly look forward to welcoming This Machine into the Industrial Media family.”

For his part, Cutler expressed “deep admiration for Eli and Aaron and the companies they have built. The opportunity to build a team to expand the work that Trevor and I have been doing for years is a dream come true and we are thrilled to have this new platform to tell high quality stories about the times in which we live.”

The investment gives Cutler the backing to add to a distinguished list of credits that includes The War Room, A Perfect Candidate, The September Issue, The World According to Dick Cheney, Thin and Listen to Me Marlon. His small screen work includes American High, Freshman Diaries, 30 Days and many others. Scripted credits include hatching and directing the series Nashville, and directing If I Stay. He also created, writes, directs and produces the podcast The Oval Office Tapes. Cutler won two Emmys and has been Oscar-nominated. His deal was brokered by by Lighthouse Management & Media, CAA and Jeanne Newman at HJTH.

Donald Trump’s Campaign Objects To Debate Topics, Possible Rules Changes For Next Event


October 19, 2020 1:17pm


Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IP

UPDATED with Biden campaign statement: Donald Trump and Joe Biden are scheduled to meet again on Thursday for the second and presumably final presidential debate, and Trump’s campaign has again weighed in with complaints about the format.

Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, wrote in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates that the focus of the next event should be on foreign policy, not on the list of topics selected by moderator Kristen Welker. They are fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership.

“As is the longstanding custom, and as had been promised by the Commission on Presidential Debates, we had expected that foreign policy would be the central focus of the October 22 debate,” Stepien wrote, accusing the commission of trying to “insulate Biden from his own history.”

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While it is true that foreign policy has been a focus of a presidential debate in past cycles, the commission announced in June that the topics would be selected by the moderator. It’s the same format that was used in 2012 and 2016, the commission said.

Stepien also pushed back against potential rules changes. The commission reportedly is considering proposals to try to rein in candidates, after Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden during the first presidential debate last month. Stepien said it would be “completely unacceptable” for a moderator to have the ability to shut off a person’s microphone.

Trump already has been criticizing moderator Welker as “terrible and unfair,” even though he congratulated and praised her back in January when she was named a weekend co-host of Today.

The debate is scheduled to take place in Nashville. The commission canceled what was to be the second presidential debate last week, a town hall event. Instead, Trump and Biden each participated in separate town halls.

Our letter to the BDC (Biden Debate Commission)

— BillStepien (@BillStepien) October 19, 2020

T.J. Ducklo, national press secretary for Biden’s campaign, said in a statement, “The campaigns and the Commission agreed months ago that the debate moderator would choose the topics. The Trump campaign is lying about that now because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous COVID response. As usual, the president is more concerned with the rules of a debate than he is in getting a nation in crisis the help it needs.”

‘The Flight Attendant’ Gets Premiere Date On HBO Max, Key Art Unveiled


October 19, 2020 1:02pm

Phil Caruso/HBO Max

HBO Max has slotted Thursday, November 26 for the premiere of The Flight Attendant, starring and produced by Kaley Cuoco. The streaming service also unveiled the key art, featuring Cuoco, with the tagline “A Deadly Mystery With A Turbulent Descent”. You can see it below the story.

The Flight Attendant is among shows whose production was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It resumed production in New York this fall after shutting down in March.

Based on Chris Bohjalian’s novel of the same name, the series stars Cuoco as Cassie, a flight attendant who wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man. Michiel Huisman, Rosie Perez, Zosia Mamet, Michelle Gomez, T.R. Knight, Colin Woodell, Merle Dandridge, Griffin Matthews and Nolan Gerard Funk also star.

The eight-episode limited series is produced by Warner Horizon Scripted Television, Berlanti Productions & Cuoco’s Yes, Norman Productions. Greg Berlanti, Kaley Cuoco, Steve Yockey, Marcie Ulin, Meredith Lavender and Sarah Schechter serve as executive producers, and Suzanne McCormack is Co-Executive Producer. Susanna Fogel directs and executive produces the first two episodes.


New California Theme Park Guidelines Coming Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom Says; No Widespread COVID Vaccine Until 2021


October 19, 2020 1:03pm


California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that new guidelines on theme parks and team sports events are coming tomorrow.

“We are going to break up the theme parks,” the governor said in his COVID-19 and wildfires update this afternoon. “Not just one or two brands, it is many different parts of the theme park industry.”

Teasing out the results that Bob Iger and Jeff Shell have been seeking for months, Newsom said that the state’s Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly will reveal the new guidelines on Tuesday at noon PT.

Whatever form those procedures will take, Newsom said he remains “stubborn on a health-first data-driven process that is done with our eyes widen open … so we avoid any further increase in transmissions.”

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Last week, Gnaly addressed the contentious theme park issue: “It will come out when we’re ready. We are working closely with our industry partners.” Ghaly continued: “We will continue to lead with public health and look at our data … slow and stringent, moving forward.”

The words and tone did not go down well with theme park owners that Deadline spoke with at the time. Disney and NBCUniversal, which run Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, respectively, did not respond to request for comment on today’s news.

Still, this upcoming latest move for the shuttered Disneyland, Universal Hollywood, Six Flags and others comes as Disney and the Comcast-owned company are severely tightening belts and cutting workforce as profits dive. Newsom’s move Tuesday also comes as the Coalition of Resort Unions sent a letter to the governor to unchain the gates at Disneyland when Orange County moves into the “orange tier” based on COVID-19 infection rates. It is currently in the “red tier.”

The latest data has Orange County with one new death from the coronavirus and 203 new confirmed cases, for a total of 57,071 cases over the course of the pandemic so far.

Actually, infection rates and potential vaccines made up the majority of the governor’s remarks on Monday. Lamenting the new state COVID-19 caseload of 3,474 and a seven-day average of 2,966, Newsom said that the seven-day positivity rate is 2.4%. “We’re seeing a decline in the rate of decline of hospitalizations,” the governor said, viewing the current cycle as a second wave.

Coming off remarks October 16 that he is holding to a further re-opening for California “methodically and stubbornly,” Newsom started today’s press talking about vaccine trials and the state’s scientific safety working group. Using the phrase “bottom line” repeatedly, he also cautioned citizens not to expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be landing anytime soon this year and will be “limited” to essential workers, first responders and high-risk groups when it does arrive.

Looking at the developments coming out of Big Pharma’s Pfizer and Moderna, there will be around 45 million doses by the end of the year, which would be “1.5 to 2 million tops” in the Golden State when you consider the current protocols involve two doses per person, Newsom said. More realistically, when you take storage needs into account as well, most people may be looking getting their vaccine shots in mid-2021, he added. “This vaccine will proceed at the speed of trust,” the Governor went on to say, with swipes at unnamed others who play fast and loose with facts.

As he always does, with a display of the “correct use” of mask wearing, Newsom strongly advocating the wearing of masks, social distancing, staying within your household and “accountability” among all Californians. He also unveiled an update for next Monday on the state’s increased testing strategy that has come out of a panel he put together earlier this summer.

Taking a swipe at “TV punditry,” Newsom today also made a point of repeating that the “sober reality” was that the coronavirus will be with the Golden State, America (regardless of who the POTUS is) and the world, even with the widespread distribution of a vaccine.

ICM Partners Names APA’s Julia Johnson General Counsel & Head Of Business & Legal Affairs


October 19, 2020 1:00pm


Courtesy of ICM Partners

ICM Partners has tapped Julia Johnson as its new General Counsel and EVP, Head of Business and Legal Affairs. Johnson, who moves to ICM Partners from APA, replaces longtime ICM Partners General Counsel Rick Levy, who announced earlier this year he would be leaving the agency at the end of 2020. Johnson is expected to start at ICM in November.

During her tenure at APA, where she served in the same role, Johnson was responsible for setting all legal policies and procedures covering all legal matters and helped launch APA Elevate; APA’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force; APA’s Anonymous HR Hotline; and APA’s Leadership Program. Prior to APA, she served in senior business and legal executive roles at major studios and networks, including ABC Studios, Fox21 and Universal Television, where she was head of business and legal affairs as well as at Lifetime Television networks and BBC Worldwide Productions overseeing all deal making inside and outside the US.

“We did a long and thorough search to fill this vitally important position within our agency and Julia’s experience, credentials, winning reputation and personality make her a perfect fit for ICM Partners,” said ICM Partners’ Co-Presidents Sloan Harris and Kevin Crotty in a joint statement. “We could not be happier or prouder to have her join our senior executive team.”

Film Review: ‘Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation’


October 19, 2020 12:41pm

‘Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation’

Two of the most engaging and beguiling talkers—and, oh yes, two of the better writers—of the last century share the spotlight in Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation. Good friends in real life—both were from the South and gay, had difficult upbringings, made it big with early works that were made into popular films and battled drink and drug issues—the two men make for easy and natural stablemates in Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s sympathetic and nicely shaped documentary, which takes their great talents as a given and happily refuses to sensationalize their struggles. The film world premiered at the recent Hamptons Film Festival.

Vreeland, whose previous documentaries over the past decade have focused upon Diana Vreeland (her husband’s grandmother), Peggy Guggenheim and Cecil Beaton, is right at home with fashionable greats of the past century. But in addition to the usual archival material, which includes significant amounts of TV interview material (thank goodness for Dick Cavett’s and David Frost’s taste in guests), the director has brought in two actors from the recent stage and film remountings of The Boys in the Band, Jim Parsons and Zachary Quinto, to provide first-person voice-over perspectives taken from the work of the subjects themselves (Williams had a tremendously alluring, honey-coated drawl that Quinto conveys reasonably well, but Parsons misses the impudent, insinuating tone that came through in much of Capote’s teasing banter).

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This use of confessional material from the horses’ mouths significantly upgrades the intimacy level of the experience, providing a welcome bonus for viewers who might otherwise feel they more or less know all they need to know about these not exactly publicity-shy men. (Everyone in this film is on a first-name basis, and it’s such a frank and friendly affair that inspires even a critic to take the same posture.)

The two first met when Truman was just 16 and quickly learned that both he and Tennessee had major father issues and found early refuge in books. Truman says that, from the start, it was “an intellectual friendship” and that the older man was “a compulsive writer,” while Tennessee merely laughs that the precocious teenager “was adorable.” But Truman quickly changed that to “provocative,” based on the outrageous “come hither” portrait of the blond lad that peered out from the back cover of his first book, Other Voices, Other Rooms, an instant success upon its publication in 1948, shortly after Tennessee’s A Streetcar Named Desire opened on Broadway (The Glass Menagerie had appeared three years earlier).

Once the careers are in sync and underway, Vreeland’s film just glides along with seeming effortlessness, shifting back and forth between the two men. Both are pretty frank about their private lives: While claiming on the one hand that he was “just terribly, terribly oversexed,” Tennessee then makes the startling confession that “I never had a consummated love affair until I was 27” (and that he had never even masturbated until he was 26!). But he was openly homosexual by the following year, when he entered into what became a 14-year relationship with Frank Merlo.

Truman, as always, is disarmingly blunt: Noting that he thought things would have been easier for him if he’d been a girl, he frankly adds that, “I was homosexual and I never had any guilt about it at all,” adding nonchalantly that, “I was the only character who was way beyond the pale. I didn’t care.”

As did many Hollywood personalities, both men spent much of the 1950s abroad, and there is a rich smorgasbord of home movie and other footage of them (separately) galavanting around Europe. Unfortunately, there is nothing of Capote mixing it up with Bogart and John Huston, two macho guys who were nonetheless disarmed by the ever-mischievous imp while in Italy working on Beat the Devil.

All of Williams’ major plays during this period were made into films, but the author says he was invariably disappointed because of what was eliminated due to the era’s censorship restrictions. Capote adds the provocative opinion that his friend “is a genius, but he’s not intelligent,” and that his life was usually in “a chaotic state.”

Capote’s own greatest triumph and personal devastation came with the publication of his 1966 “non-fiction novel” In Cold Blood, a meticulous account of two real-life drifters who murdered four members of a Kansas family. “It scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones,” we hear him confess. “It nearly killed me. I think, in a way, it did kill me,” adding that he had once been a stable person but, “Afterwards, something happened to me.”

What happened is that the bestseller turned him once and for all into a party boy of international renown. First came his gala-of-the-century blowout at the Plaza Hotel (Tennessee was invited but didn’t attend) in November 1966. Truman swanned around later saying things like “Success is a bore,” drinking more, becoming a drug-addled fixture at Studio 54 (“Isn’t it too bad Proust didn’t have something like this?” he remarks) and never managing to finish his long-discussed novel about his rapidly diminishing circle of society friends, Answered Prayers.

Tennessee also went into decline. “I never got a good review after 1961,” he laments, and Frank died (of cancer) two years later. “Everything went wrong—private and professional—and ultimately my mind broke,” he says. After having soared so high, Tennessee and Truman died within a year of each other, in 1983 and 1984, having produced little of note for a long time.

The film could have been even gamier and boisterous, but the intimacy promised by the documentary’s title is largely delivered and makes both men vividly present and, ultimately, rather sad: They both rocketed to the heights, only to come crashing down. Different conclusions can be drawn about what self-destructive impulses might have been involved, but the film succeeds in bringing these remarkable figures a bit closer to us.

Ayo Edebiri, Nico Hiraga, Others Round Out Cast Of Ace Entertainment’s ‘Hello, Goodbye And Everything In Between’


October 19, 2020 12:51pm

ACE Entertainment

Ace Entertainment’s Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between has rounded out its cast adding Ayo Edebiri, Nico Hiraga, Jennifer Robertson, Patrick Sabongui, Eva Day, Julia Benson, Dalias Blake, Sarah Grey and Djouliet Amara to the ensemble. They join Jordan Fisher and Talia Ryder, who are set to star.

To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You producer Matt Kaplan will produce through Ace Entertainment with Fisher exec producing. The two recently worked together on To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You.The film is currently in production in Vancouver.

Michael Lewen is directing the film. The book by Jennifer E. Smith was originally adapted by Ben York Jones with the current draft of the script having been written by Amy Reed.

The story follows Clare and Aidan, who after making a pact that they would break up before college, find themselves retracing the steps of their relationship on their last evening as a couple. The epic date leads them to familiar landmarks, unexpected places, and causes them to question whether high school love is meant to last.

The project is one of 10 features ACE has set for production within the next year.

‘Succession’s Jeremy Strong To Play Biographer John Gruen In Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein ‘Maestro’ At Netflix


October 19, 2020 12:33pm



EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Strong is negotiating to co-star in Maestro, the Bradley Cooper-directed drama on composer Leonard Bernstein for Netflix. Strong just won the Emmy for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for the HBO series Succession, and he plays Jerry Rubin in the Aaron Sorkin-directed The Trial Of The Chicago 7 which just premiered on Netflix.

Gruen, a renaissance man and critic for The New York Herald Tribune and New York magazine, wrote the authorized biography The Private World of Leonard Bernstein.

In his directorial followup to A Star Is Born, Cooper will star as Bernstein, and produce from the script he co-wrote with Oscar-winning Spotlight scribe Josh Singer. The drama spans over 30 years. Bernstein’s career is enough to fill a miniseries: his conducting debut at the New York Philharmonic at 25 when the conductor took ill; without even rehearsing, Bernstein did so well his star was launched the next day when his feat made the front page of the New York Times. He was blacklisted before being cleared of being a communist just before he composed the Oscar-nominated score for On the Waterfront; and he was an activist in the civil rights movement, and outspoken on issues including ending the Vietnam War. But the through line for the movie is the beautifully complex story of the marriage between Bernstein and his wife, Felicia Montealegre. Carey Mulligan is set to play Bernstein’s wife.

Pic is produced by Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Cooper and his Joint Effort producing partner Todd Phillips, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and Fred Berner and Amy Durning.

WME and Mosaic rep Strong.



‘The Underground Railroad’ Teaser: Barry Jenkins Shares Moving “Preamble” To Amazon Series Based On Colson Whitehead’s Novel


October 19, 2020 12:35pm


Screenshot via Vimeo

Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins took to social media to share a hauntingly beautiful look at his upcoming Amazon limited series The Underground Railroad based on based on Colson Whitehead’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel for fiction.

Jenkins posted the video on Twitter with the caption “We the People…” The stunning teaser trailer pans across a sea of gorgeous Black people in a train station staring into the camera with dignity, quiet passion and a touch of fury. Set to a score from Nicholas Britell, we travel through the crowd and end on a group of women dressed in train station uniforms. In a voiceover we hear “Who built all this?” Someone else responds, “Well, who builds anything in this country?” It’s just enough to entice the senses.

The Underground Railroad stars Thuso Mbedu as Cora, Chase W. Dillon as Homer and Joel Edgerton as Ridgeway. The limited series chronicles young Cora’s (Mbedu) journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping her Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.

Jenkins directs all 9 episodes of The Underground Railroad and serves as executive producer alongside Whitehead, Adele Romanski, Mark Ceryak, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Sara Murphy, Sarah Esberg, Richard Heus and Jackie Hoyt. The Amazon Prime limited series is a Plan B, Big Indie and PASTEL Production.

Watch the teaser below.


Coalition Of Resort Unions Urge California Gov. Gavin Newsom To Reopen Disneyland In “Orange” Tier


October 19, 2020 12:31pm

Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP

A coalition of unions Monday added its voice to the chorus asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen Disneyland when Orange County moves into the Orange tier from its current Red based on COVID infection rates.

In a letter to the governor, the Coalition of Resort Unions said it believes conditions are in place for the theme park to reopen safely given Disney’s safety protocols and health measures. The unions asked for a meeting with the governor’s taskforce, according to news reports. The coalition had been dubious back in June about park safety but has since shifted its stance. Walt Disney World in Orlando opened at reduced capacity in July. Since then, Disney has announced 28,000 layoffs at its U.S. parks. Comcast’s Universal Studios has also been shedding workers in Orlando and Los Angeles.

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At a briefing today, Newsom said long-awaited guidelines for the state’s park reopening would be coming on Tuesday.

The unions thanked Newsom for his leadership on the COVID-19 crisis and said, “We believe the measures you have taken have saved thousands of lives among our membership and the general public. We appreciate the difficulty you face as you weigh getting people back to work along with ensuring their safety.”

“We wrote you in June 2020 to tell you that we were not yet convinced that it was safe to reopen the parks on Disney’s timetable. Since then, Disney has taken safety measures we advocated, and engaged with their workers representatives, that our original position has changed. The company has provided detail on serious measures to protect workers via social distancing, providing PPE, addressing ventilation, and more. Most recently, the company unveiled a testing program,” said the letter, which was signed by Workers United Local 50; Unite Here Local 11; Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union Local 83; Independent Employee Service Association; United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324; American Federation of Musicians Local 7, and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 504.

“In consideration of all the aforementioned we believe a path exists where Disneyland would be able to open safely when Orange County moves into the Orange tier.”

Mads Mikkelsen Comedy ‘Another Round’ Wins Best Film At BFI London Film Festival


October 18, 2020 12:33pm

‘Another Round’

The 2020 BFI London Film Festival has unveiled its virtual audience award winners, with Thomas Vinterberg’s Mads Mikkelsen-starring Danish comedy Another Round scooping Best Film.

The awards replaced the typical jury-voted prizes, which didn’t happen this year due to the pandemic forcing the majority of the fest online.

Also awarded tonight was the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary, with Wildfire filmmaker Cathy Brady receiving the £50,000 grant, which goes to a first or second time UK filmmaker presenting work in the fest.

Further prizes were handed out to Benjamin Ree’s The Painter And The Thief, which took Best Documentary, Tommy Gillard’s Shuttlecock, which won Best Short Film, and Anna West and David Callanan’s To Miss The Ending, which took Best XR/Immersive Art.

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“I’m deeply honoured to receive the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary. In a year that has been so turbulent for so many, it feels like a safe harbour and for a first feature filmmaker, the chance to recalibrate, dream and immerse myself in the next project is such an incredible gift,” commented Brady.

“Thank you to the audience at the London Film Festival for bringing this award to us. We are very proud to receive this from a British audience; it’s a great honour. We are so sad that we can’t be there,” said Vinterberg on today’s win.

Another Round was selected for this year’s Cannes Label (which was awarded in lieu of the French fest’s cancelled physical edition) and screened at both Toronto and San Sebastian. The film is making headlines in its native Denmark after clocking 800,000 admissions, a three-year record for a local title, despite the pandemic’s impact on cinemas. Samuel Goldwyn Films has U.S. rights to the pic.

“There was never a moment in this utterly crazy year when we considered not delivering a BFI London Film Festival,” said LFF Director Tricia Tuttle. “We know LFF means too much to both filmmakers and audiences. So how fitting, then, that we put audiences in control of the Awards this year with our first Virtual LFF Audience Awards. And dammit, don’t our audiences have great taste.”

Los Angeles County COVID-19 Report: 13 New Deaths, 358 Positive Cases – Update


October 18, 2020 1:43pm


Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/Shutterstock

UPDATE: On Sunday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released the latest coronavirus numbers. They have reported 13 new deaths and 358 new positive COVID-19 cases. The numbers are down, but as with every weekend, the figures reflect reporting delays.

This brings the tally of positive COVID-19 cases in L.A. County to 288,451 and deaths to 6,876. 752 of cases are currently hospitalized with 27% are in the ICU.

PREVIOUS: Los Angeles Public Health reported 10 new deaths due to COVID-19 on Saturday. The latest update shows a drop in the death count from Friday’s numbers and also confirms an additional 953 positive COVID-19 cases.

The positive cases count dropped from Friday’s of 1,072, but the low number can be attributed to several missing reports, L.A. Public Health confirmed. 746 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, with 24% of patients in the ICU.

To date, Los Angeles County has a total of 6,863 deaths and has confirmed 288,136 positive cases of COVID-19.

With nearly a thousand new positive COVID-19 cases on Saturday alone, Los Angeles county continues to see high transmission rates of the infectious disease and will remain in Tier 1, the most restrictive tier, in the state’s plans of reopening. L.A. officials continue to urge residents to wear face coverings in public spaces and to maintain safe social distance when possible.

But as the holidays begin to roll around, officials have updated the Health Officer order to match with State guidelines regarding private gatherings.  Officials limited gatherings to those with attendees from three or fewer households. Visitors must also wear face coverings when they are in close contact, except while eating and drinking, and must stay at least six feet apart.

Public Health Urges Residents to Be Cautious as Community Transmission Continues to be Widespread in L.A. County; Reports 10 New Deaths and 953 New Positive Cases of #COVID19. View for More Information.

— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) October 17, 2020

Japan’s ‘Demon Slayer’ Kills It With Record Opening – International Box Office


October 18, 2020 11:12am


Refresh for latest…: Big news this weekend out of Japan where anime adaptation Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train shattered all-time opening records. The film, which opened on Friday October 16, as opposed to the usual Saturday/Sunday weekend, is estimated to have grossed upwards of $30M for the three-day. This number could rise above $40M, but box office figures are tightly controlled out of Japan, and so we won’t know for sure on an actual until tomorrow. Regardless, it’s agreed, the debut is wild.

Putting it into some perspective, Frozen 2 opened to a 3-day of $18.2M at historical rates.

IMAX, for its part on Demon Slayer, says it is currently enjoying a record-setting opening weekend. However, due to local customs, the official weekend number isn’t coming until tomorrow.
Such was the anticipation for this Haruo Sotozaki-directed Demon Slayer locally that screenings began at 7AM on Friday and some theaters, according to reports, were playing it up to 40 times per day. From Aniplex and Ufotable, and released by Aniplex and Toho, Demon Slayer is based on the manga Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba by Koyoharu Gotoge. It was then adapted into a TV series and Mugen Train (aka Infinity Train) is the direct follow-up to that.

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The Japanese government relaxed cinema capacity restrictions in mid-September, but some are understood to nevertheless have been cautious about the number of seats they sell, and concessions are not available everywhere.

The Demon Slayer story sees Tanjiro Kamado and friends from the Demon Slayer corps board the Infinity Train on a new mission to investigate a mysterious series of disappearances perpetrated by a demon who has been tormenting people and killing the demon slayers who oppose it.

Japan has had some notable local successes as moviegoing has ramped up again in the past few months. They include the latest Doreamon ($30M+ cume) and From Today, It’s My Turn with $48M. Both pictures released over the summer. Japan is also a big market on Christopher Nolan’s Tenet with $21.6M after five sessions.