‘We Need To Talk About Cosby’ Team On Navigating Triggering Material, Importance Of Having Complex Conversations – Contenders TV: The Nominees

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August 6, 2022 12:56pm

Showtime

Director W. Kamau Bell, executive producer Katie A. King and editor Jennifer Brooks joined Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees award-season event to discuss working on the Showtime docuseries We Need To Talk About Cosby, and navigating triggering material.

The four-part series is nominated for three Emmy Awards, for Outstanding Narrator, Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program, and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program.

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In the series, Bell measures the groundbreaking accomplishments of Cosby versus his survivors who accused him of sexually assaulting them after drugging them. When asked how he felt reaching out to survivors and asking them to participate, Bell said, “I think the only thing we could do is be honest about what we were trying to create.”

King was asked why she joined the project and how it affected the culture at large. “We had to take care of our mental health throughout,” she said. “I think it’s important to have complex conversations like this, and our goals were bigger than telling you about what this one person did.”

When putting together the overall focus of the story, editing became essential. With so much footage, and so much to choose from, Brooks says she and the other editors found the right clips to create the story behind the man.

“It’s just brick by brick,” she says. “It was about finding out what we’re trying to achieve with this part, or where are we trying to go with this, and what do we want people to feel.”

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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Seth Meyers Says David Letterman Was Nervous In Return To ‘Late Night’ As Guest – Contenders TV: The Nominees

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August 6, 2022 12:22pm

NBC

Late Night with Seth Meyers host Seth Meyers said that when David Letterman was a guest this past season to celebrate the late-night show’s 40th anniversary, Letterman was still nervous.

Letterman was the original host of NBC’s 12:30 a.m. talk show, and returned for an interview on the show’s anniversary in February. Meyers, speaking during an appearance at Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees award-season event, said that Letterman still checked in with him during commercial breaks.

“The funny thing about Letterman is I think he said something along the lines of, ‘I hope that’s all okay,’” Meyers said. “He is forever a man of great humility but it is shocking to me that I was in a position to tell David Letterman, ‘Yeah, you’re doing great. Don’t worry, David Letterman, you are on a talk show and you’re doing great.”

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Having Letterman in the house kept Meyers and his staff in check. “The hardest thing about having David Letterman around is not blowing smoke the whole time because he would hate that,” Meyers said. “He would certainly hate it if you did it in a room full of people. It was just trying to stay within ourselves and realize he would only enjoy it if you did a good talk show.”

Late Night with Seth Meyers is nominated this year for Outstanding Variety Talk Series for the first time since Meyers took over in 2014. As the only 12:30 show nominated in the category, the host credits DVR and online replays with reaching Emmy voters and audiences.

“The internet helps there,” Meyers said. “It’s lovely, the longer we’ve done this show, how many people I meet who watch the show in the morning. Shout-out to online viewers.”

The show is also nominated for directing, and its segment “Corrections” is up in the short form content category. Meyers said the inspiration for “Corrections” came from the Covid pandemic. With the live studio audience gone, Meyers turned to YouTube for feedback.

“If you wanted to interact with an audience at all, there wasn’t going to be somebody in the room with you but there were people in the YouTube comment section,” Meyers said. “My ego was so desperate to get any kind of feedback I went there. Next thing you know, you’ve got an Emmy-nominated segment where you’re talking to online jackals.”

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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Showtime’s ‘Yellowjackets’ Was Never Meant To Be Told In A “Linear Path” – Contenders TV: The Nominees

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August 6, 2022 12:39pm

Showtime

Part survival story, coming-of-age drama and horror saga, Showtime’s Yellowjackets follows a plane crash in 1996 that leaves a high school girls soccer team stranded in the Canadian wilderness, as well as the lives of the survivors 25 years later.

Karyn Kusama, who directed and executive produced the pilot, said the intention was always to follow two parallel timelines.

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“A lot of great TV still has a very linear path and this was a great script that didn’t function in that way,” said Kusama during a panel at Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees awards-season event. “It was much more about the past and the present intermingling, almost as one seamless thread and tonally it was just really stormy weather.”

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Kusama was joined on the panel by series co-creator Bart Nickerson, showrunner/executive producer Jonathan Lisco, and cast members Christina Ricci and Melanie Lynskey.

Season 1 of the cult favorite premiered in November and ended with a series of cliffhangers, something Lisco and Nickerson said added to the show’s appeal.

“We always wanted there to be some amount of tension and a bit of mystery,” Nickerson said.

The series features an all-star female cast led by Ricci, Lynskey, Juliette Lewis and Tawny Cypress.

Ricci plays the troubled Misty, the type of role that doesn’t come along very often.

“She was a totally different character than I had ever played before and I didn’t really feel like I had seen that many versions of this character before,” said Ricci.

Lynskey co-stars as Shauna, who 25 years after the crash is a stay-at-home mom trying to keep her darkest secrets safe. The younger version of Shauna is played by Sophie Nélisse, who worked collaboratively with Lynskey to bring the character to life.

“We kind of focused more on getting her right as a person,” said Lynskey. “For me as the season went on, I was able to see what Sophie was doing and I stole a lot of stuff, to be honest.”

Yellowjackets is nominated for seven Emmy Awards including Outstanding Drama Series.

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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Elon Musk Says ‘Prove It’ To Twitter On Bot Account Analysis Controversy

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August 6, 2022 12:20pm

Elon Musk
Tyler Boye/PMC

In the latest volley of tweets in the Elon Musk/Twitter purchase saga, the entrepreneur threw down a challenge today: either Twitter provide its method of sampling 100 accounts and how it confirmed that the accounts are real, or the deal is canceled.

Musk’s $44 billion deal to buy the company should proceed on its original terms if Twitter proves its account numbers are real, he added in his tweeting.

“However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not,” Musk tweeted early on Saturday.

Musk’s tweet came In response to a Twitter user asking whether the US Securities and Exchange Commission was probing “dubious claims” by Twitter. Musk tweeted in response, “Good question, why aren’t they?”.

Twitter declined to comment. It has previously denied that its methodology and reports on users hid that more than their stated 5% were bots.

On Thursday, Twitter said in a filing, “According to Musk, he — the billionaire founder of multiple companies, advised by Wall Street bankers and lawyers — was hoodwinked by Twitter into signing a $44 billion merger agreement. That story is as implausible and contrary to fact as it sounds.”

Musk filed a countersuit Twitter on July 29 against the social media company. He is attempting to walk away from the $44 billion purchase.

I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage.

Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 6, 2022

Less than 5% of Twitter daily users are fake/spam

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 6, 2022

 

 

 

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‘Stranger Things’ Matt & Ross Duffer And Barrie Gower On Creating A Frightening Vecna: “More Slime” – Contenders TV: The Nominees

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August 6, 2022 11:59am

Netflix

On the morning they opened the writers room for the fifth and final season of the Netflix series Stranger Things, Emmy-nominated creators Matt & Ross Duffer teamed with prosthetics designer Barrie Gower to relive for Deadline Contenders the events of Season 4.

Stranger Things got 13 Emmy nominations for a season that featured shocking cast deaths and reveals, a detour to a Russian prison and a messy climax that sets up a final battle between the teens of Hawkins, Indiana, and the psychopath Vecna. Being vanquished by Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) when he was a sociopath hospital orderly (Jamie Campbell Bower), the series villain became the slimy, tentacled Vecna, who secretly commanded the creatures that tormented the Stranger Things characters through the series in the alternate universe they called the Upside Down. It wasn’t until late in Season 4 that the Duffers finally revealed their supervillain and set the stakes for the final battle after Vecna breached the walls between his dark world and theirs.

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“We jokingly called it ‘Stranger Things Revelations’ because we were finally able to start showing our hand,” Matt Duffer said. “Season 3 was our ‘play in the sandbox’ season, which we really enjoyed, but here we got to tell more about the history of the villains and the Upside Down, a lot of the things we discussed and came up with all the way back in Season 1. A big chunk of the reveals came in Episode 7, and in the finale, our challenge was to reunite characters that had been separated. How would we bring them back together? We solved that with the ‘Piggyback,’ this massive mindfight between worlds.”

‘Stranger Things’
Everett Collection

Key to the finale was the emergence of Vecna, a nightmarish being. It wasn’t easy.

“The reality of the making and build of Vecna was actually the best part of 12 months,” said Gower. “We took a full body cast of our actor Jamie, pre-Covid, we started putting modeling clay over it, and the whole world shut down for Covid and we closed for three months and then came back and had a lengthy build. And then we did a camera test, three days prior to our first shoot day. The guys knew basically what they were going to be getting, but this was our first opportunity to put Jamie onscreen. To say we were slightly anxious is an understatement. It was the first opportunity to see Jamie perform as this character.”

Said Troy Duffer: “It was a great day. We had so much trust in Barrie, but it was the scariest thing we were doing in the show, putting an actor in a suit. He’s a monster but he’s talking, and if any element of that didn’t work, then we knew the season would collapse. Seeing Barrie’s beautiful work, seeing the lighting, and seeing what Jamie was doing, that was the biggest sigh of relief we felt we had all season.

“He became Vecna, and we had the Hellraiser music, the moody lighting coming through these gaps in the ceiling in the attic, and it was like — Bam! that’s it,” he added. “And the only discussion was how slimy he should be. Should we add more slime? Let’s try a little more slime.”

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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‘Squid Game’ Stars On Making History & Scoring Netflix’s Biggest Audience Ever – Contenders TV: The Nominees

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August 6, 2022 11:35am

Netflix

Squid Game may be the most watched Netflix original series ever, but for the Emmy-nominated stars of the Korean horror thriller, it’s all very personal.

“I am extremely grateful and thankful to all of the global audiences who have shown so much love for Squid Game,” Lee Jung-jae said of the huge and multi-Emmy-nominated dystopian hit created by Hwang Dong-hyuk. “I truly had not expected it to be this big of a success,” added the seasoned actor, who portrayed gambling addict Seong Gi-hun in the quickly renewed series. “I have to say, I still can’t really believe it, and I’m very grateful.”

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One of South Korea’s biggest stars for years and now recognized worldwide because of his character’s ultimate and costly victory in the murderous Squid Game competition, Lee was speaking today via translation at Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees event. He was joined on the panel by co-star and fellow Emmy nominee Jung Ho-yeon, who is up for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

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Penned and helmed by Hwang, Squid Game depicts 456 misfits willingly playing children’s games with a deadly twist in the hope of a $38.7 million payday.

The deadliest of twists in the ultraviolent tournament for the fun of the ultrarich is that everyone dies but the well-compensated lone winner.

Snaring an astounding 14 nominations for the Primetime Emmys including Outstanding Drama Series and a Lead Actor nomination for Lee, the acclaimed September 2021-launching first season has made history for more than just its massive viewership.

“I actually did not know there was never a non-English series to be nominated for Best Drama, and to be nominated in so many categories,” Jung said of the barrier-breaking appreciation the series has received. “I am …really surprised to see how much history we are making,” the former model, who made her acting debut in Squid Game, added.

As well as making TV history with the Emmys, Squid Game already outflanked precedent by being the first foreign language TV series to be nominated for a SAG Award.

Earlier this year, the show shattered more ceilings when it won Outstanding Action Performance as a Stunt Ensemble at the SAG Awards, where Lee won Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series. Perhaps returning as another character for Squid Game’s second season, Jung Ho-Yeon triumphed with a SAG honor of her own for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series.

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: Queens And Team Reveal Why Season 14 Was The Most Emotional Ever – Contenders TV: The Nominees

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August 6, 2022 11:22am

VH1

There’s always plenty of fun to be had on RuPaul’s Drag Race, but Season 14 of the VH1 show was a standout because of the emotional moments. And there were many.

From Jasmine Kennedie coming out as a trans woman to Willow Pill’s frankness about battling a rare chronic illness, the latest season of the reality competition that earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Competition Show was really about “the tenacity of the human spirit,” judge and senior producer Michelle Visage says.

“That’s the beauty of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It is a safe space for these kids to be authentically themselves with one another and be there for one another,” added Visage, who was joined on Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees panel with Queens Kerri Colby and Kennedie, showrunner Mandy Salangsang and executive producer Michele Mills. “That’s really at the core of what RuPaul’s Drag Race is all about.” 

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“I feel like part of what makes this season so unique and so beautiful is, of course, we’re coming out of a pandemic. And of course, for all of us, this was our big moment to showcase who we are and how we want the world to see what we’ve spent so long formulating and talking to ourselves at home,” continued Colby. “If I ever get the opportunity or I ever have a camera in front of me, I’m gonna do this and be that. But I think what really knocked us on our tushies … was just the raw circumstance of being unleashed and us as sisters supporting each other, learning how to speak about things and come together. I think that’s what made everything so unique.

“A lot of us didn’t expect to be doing our mascara and all of a sudden get hit with an emotional moment and black is running down your face.”

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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‘Abbott Elementary’ Leads TCA Awards With Four Wins, Including Program Of The Year

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August 6, 2022 11:33am

The Television Critics Association (TCA) has announced the winners of the organization’s 38th Annual TCA Awards, recognizing the best television offerings from the 2021-2022 season.

ABC’s first-year public school sitcom Abbott Elementary made the grade as the night’s top winner with four victories. The series took home some of the TCA’s highest honors, including Individual Achievement In Comedy for series creator, producer, writer, and star, Quinta Brunson; as well as Outstanding Achievement In Comedy, Outstanding New Program, and the Program Of The Year Award.

Other winners include This Is Us star Mandy Moore, who earned the award for Individual Achievement In Drama after being snubbed by the Emmys; acclaimed Disney+ rock doc The Beatles: Get Back, which won the Outstanding Achievement In News And Information Award; CBS’ globe-hopping The Amazing Race, which shared Outstanding Achievement In Reality Programming with HBO Max’s glam Legendary; the surreal Netflix comedy I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson, which left with Outstanding Achievement In Variety, Talk, Or Sketch; Hulu’s opioid epic Dopesick, which scored the award for Outstanding Movie, Miniseries Or Specials; HBO’s dynasty hit Succession, which took home Outstanding Achievement In Drama; and the Netflix adaptation of The Baby-Sitter’s Club, which pocketed Outstanding Achievement In Youth Programming for the second-consecutive year.

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'Abbott Elementary's Quinta Brunson On Network Comedy As An Art Form, Diversity & More — Contenders TV: The Nominees

The TCA recognized the legendary CBS sitcom I Love Lucy with the Heritage Award. Airing from 1951 to 1957, the landmark series starred comedy powerhouse Lucille Ball alongside fellow legends Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. I Love Lucy is frequently heralded as one of the greatest television shows of all time, and its tremendous influence continues to impact generations of viewers, entertainers, and creators to this day. I Love Lucy boasted guest appearances from Hollywood icons such as Rock Hudson, John Wayne, Orson Welles, and Bob Hope, to name only a few. During its tenure, the series produced 180 episodes, several hour-long specials, and even a comic book—racking up five Emmy wins in the process.

In the TCA’s first tie for Career Achievement Award, Steve Martin and Ted Danson were honored for their unparalleled respective compositions of lifelong work. The TCA named both men as recipients of the 2022 Career Achievement Award for their significant accomplishments in television.

Martin, who was nominated for Individual Achievement In Comedy for his role on Only Murders In The Building, which he cocreated, has enjoyed a career as one of the industry’s most celebrated comedians. He has appeared on Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, 30 Rock, and The Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour, and starred in classic films such as The Jerk, Planes, Trains, & Automobiles, Three Amigos!, and many more.

With a career spanning nearly 50 years, multi-time Emmy-winner Ted Danson cut his teeth on series such as Laverne & Shirley, Taxi, and Magnum, P.I. Danson then took on the signature role of Sam Malone in the beloved barroom comedy Cheers. Since then, he has forged a lasting legacy that includes starring roles on hit series such as Becker, Damages, CSI, and The Good Place, and films such as Creepshow, Three Men And A Baby, and Saving Private Ryan, among others.

The winners were selected by the TCA’s membership of more than 200 TV journalists from across the United States and Canada. The awards were announced virtually because of concerns over the latest Covid-19 strain.

“Tonight was supposed to be our first time celebrating the TCA Awards in-person since 2019—unfortunately, it was not meant to be,” said Melanie McFarland, TCA President and TV Critic for Salon. “Despite this development, we are proud to announce this year’s roster of talented TCA Award winners. Each of them played a vital role in making the 2021-2022 television season one of the best in recent memory. We sincerely congratulate all of our honorees, and we look forward to gathering in person once again in 2023.”

2022 TCA Award recipients are as follows:

●      Individual Achievement In Drama: Mandy Moore (THIS IS US, NBC)

●      Individual Achievement In Comedy: Quinta Brunson (ABBOTT ELEMENTARY, ABC)

●      Outstanding Achievement In News and Information: THE BEATLES: GET BACK (Disney+)

●      Outstanding Achievement In Reality Programming: TIE: THE AMAZING RACE (CBS), LEGENDARY (HBO Max)

●      Outstanding Achievement In Youth Programming: THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB (Netflix)

●      Outstanding Achievement In Variety, Talk Or Sketch: I THINK YOU SHOULD LEAVE WITH TIM ROBINSON (Netflix)

●      Outstanding New Program: ABBOTT ELEMENTARY (ABC)

●      Outstanding Achievement In Movies, Miniseries, Or Specials: DOPESICK (Hulu)

●      Outstanding Achievement In Drama: SUCCESSION (HBO)

●      Outstanding Achievement In Comedy: ABBOTT ELEMENTARY (ABC)

●      Program of the Year: ABBOTT ELEMENTARY (ABC)

●      Career Achievement Honoree: TIE: Ted Danson & Steve Martin

●      Heritage Award: I LOVE LUCY (CBS)

Past TCA Award winners are listed on the organization’s official website, tvcritics.org/tca-awards.

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Jason Blum On His ‘Exorcist’ Remake, The Evolution Of Blumhouse & His Desire To Win An Oscar

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August 6, 2022 11:17am

Jason Blum picked up Locarno’s Premio Raimondo Rezzonico award for Best Independent Producer.
Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

Blumhouse founder and CEO Jason Blum is at Locarno where he is set to be feted with the Swiss festival’s Raimondo Rezzonico award for Best Independent Producer. Prior to the event — which will take place at a rainy Piazza Grande — Blum spoke to Deadline about a range of topics, including the status of his upcoming Exorcist remake, the evolution of his micro-budget producing philosophy, and his desire to win an Academy Award. Check out the full interview below.

DEADLINE: How has your financial model of low production budgets and high rewards evolved?

JASON BLUM: The biggest way it’s changed is that our movies are not a million dollars anymore. Get Out was four and a half. And now we’re closer to ten million dollars than five. So low budget is more expensive. We do more IP now than we used to do. For example, Halloween, Invisible Man, and The Exorcist. We do that now because people let us. When we started no one would let us do those things. We also make fewer movies than we used to make, but we’ve gotten better at predicting the theatricality of our movies. So almost everything we make now for theatrical goes theatrical. Eight years ago, 50% of the movies went theatrical and 50% of them didn’t.

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DEADLINE: How is the company doing? Are you on the lookout for any investment?

BLUM: No, we’re not looking for investment. The company does very well and the financials of the company are great. As I said in an interview the other day, if someone offered me a trillion dollars, I would sell the company, but not for anything less than that.

DEADLINE: What can you tell me about Blumhouse’s upcoming Exorcist remake?

BLUM: I’m really excited about The Exorcist. The first person I approached when we picked up the film was David Gordon Green. I thought what David did with Halloween was great and I think he really found a great balance of respecting the original intellectual property, but also bringing something new to it. So it didn’t feel like a retread. So I was really happy when he wanted to do The Exorcist and we’re starting production really soon. We’re already setting up a framework and thinking about a trilogy. We also have a great cast.

DEADLINE: What are you most excited about from the Blumhouse slate coming out in the next year?

BLUM: I’m very excited about Spawn. I’m very excited about Five Nights at Freddy’s, which has been a long time coming, but we’re getting very close. As I tweeted the other day, dangerously close. And then we have three originals that we’re working on, which haven’t been announced yet but they’re all gonna go into production within the next 12 months.

DEADLINE: Have you seen Jordan Peele’s latest film NOPE? What are your thoughts? And why didn’t you produce the film?

BLUM: Jordan wanted to do that on his own, which I respect, but I would’ve if he had asked me to do it. But I thought the movie was really interesting and different and you could feel Jordan’s hand in it. I liked it.

DEADLINE: Do you have any goals left that you want to accomplish?

BLUM: I wanna win an Oscar. I’ve been nominated three times but I really wanna win an Oscar. I’d also love to work with Edgar Wright.

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Joe Biden Still Testing Positive For Covid But “Continues To Feel Very Well,” Doctor Says – Update

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August 5, 2022 10:31am

Joe Biden
AP

UPDATE, FRIDAY, AUGUST 5: Joe Biden continues to test positive for Covid, almost a week after it was revealed that he had a recurrence of the virus.

His physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, wrote in a memo that the president “continues to feel very well” and his cough “has almost completely resolved.”

Biden appeared early on Friday afternoon at the Blue Room balcony to give remarks on the latest jobs report and to sign two bills to address loan fraud.

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3: Joe Biden continues to test positive for Covid and will continue to isolate, but “continues to feel well,” his physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote in a memo Wednesday.

Biden is still experiencing an occasional cough, but less frequently than on Tuesday, O’Connor wrote. “He remains fever free and is in good spirits,” he wrote.

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Biden tested positive again for Covid on Saturday, a rebound of the virus after he took Paxlovid.

UPDATE, SUNDAY, JULY 31: President Joe Biden continues to feel well, despite still showing as positive for Covid. He will remain in isolation, according to physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor. He will continue in isolation but will be working during that time and taking precautions to insulate staff, O’Connor said.

PREVOUSLY, July 30 AM: President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 again Saturday morning, per a letter from presidential physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor. The results are what is termed a “rebound” Covid-19 positivity. It is “observed in a small percentage of patients treated with Paxlovid,” the doctor said.

The President is not experiencing any symptoms, but will isolate at the White House. Biden is said to be feeling well and will not resume treatment, the White House said.

O’Connor claimed Biden tested negative on Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning, Thursday morning and Friday morning. He then tested positive on Saturday morning. “However, given his positive antigen test, he will reinitiate strict isolation procedures,” the doctor noted.

Biden stopped his isolation on Wednesday, celebrating his return in remarks from the White House Rose Garden.

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‘The Horror Crowd’ Gets Buffalo 8 Release Date; Sana Soni Joins Giant Pictures; IDA Logan Elevate Grantees; Castings For ‘Macho!’, ‘Finding Nicole’, ‘What Rhymes With Reason’, ‘Site’, ‘Ganymede’ And ‘This Time’; More – Film Briefs

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August 5, 2022 10:29am

‘The Horror Crowd’
Buffalo 8

EXCLUSIVEBuffalo 8 has announced that it will release Ruben Pla’s feature directorial debut The Horror Crowd on digital and VOD on September 2nd.

The doc brings together an all-star cast of actors and filmmakers to discuss the Hollywood horror community, covering such wide-ranging topics as women in horror, race relations, “being the weird kid,” and film festivals, as well as the unique community and support that exists in the space. Among the near-40 people who appear are filmmakers Russell Mulcahy (Highlander), Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity), Ernest R. Dickerson (The Walking Dead), Adam Robitel (Escape Room), Chelsea Stardust (Satanic Panic) and Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw franchise), as well as actors Lin Shaye (Insidious), Brea Grant (Dexter), Greg Grunberg (Star Wars: Episode IX) and Clare Kramer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Blumhouse’s Director of Development Ryan Turek.

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The Horror Crowd has played to film festivals like FrightFest and Grimmfest and has earned several festival honors as the Santa Fe Film Festival’s Best Director, Best Horror Feature from the London Independent Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Seattle Film Festival. Buffalo 8’s Head of Distribution Nikki Stier Justice negotiated the film’s acquisition on behalf off the company, with Eric Miles of Miles Media Entertainment on behalf of the filmmakers.

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EXCLUSIVE: Sana Soni has joined the digital distributor Giant Pictures as Director of Sales & Distribution. In this new role, she will be responsible for all sales and rights-out monetization across Giant’s rapidly growing content portfolio and client roster, which includes Tribeca Enterprises, Participant, Topic Studios, Passion River, Indican Pictures, Magic Light Pictures and more. Soni will also work across Giant’s newly acquired specialty label Drafthouse Films and its upcoming slate of theatrical releases. She comes to the company after serving as the Director of Sales at Screen Media Ventures (formerly 1091 Pictures).

Sana Soni
Personal Courtesy

During her decade spent working in sales and distribution, Soni has played a key role in increasing visibility for independent film. She has spearheaded hundreds of sales, both in the United States and during her time in London at Signature Entertainment, where she served as Sales Executive co-managing DVD, theatrical, and digital distribution for a wide variety of films.

“As Giant Pictures continues to grow, having an executive who understands the streaming market and the specific tastes of our audience is key to our success,” said General Manager Nick Savva. “Sana embodies that perfectly and we are excited to have her on our team leading the charge and bringing new content to digital platforms.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the small but powerful Giant Pictures team,” added Soni. “Giant’s combination of streaming and traditional modes of distribution is unique and their strong ties to brands like Tribeca and Drafthouse continue to bring critic and fan favorite titles alike. I am privileged to be working closely with this stellar team.”

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EXCLUSIVE: The International Documentary Association has named Paige Bethmann (Remaining Native), Chelsea Hernandez (The Untitled 19th* News Film) and Zippy Kimundu (The White Doctor) as the recipients of this year’s Logan Elevate Grants, with a total of $30,000 going to the trio.

IDA

The grant supported by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation has bee providing funds to emerging women and non-binary filmmakers of color that are directing feature-length journalistic documentary films since 2018. It allows for story consulting for grantees, also funding educational programming throughout the year.

More information about the 2022 grantees and their projects can be found here.

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EXCLUSIVE
Elijah Rodriguez (Sicario: Day of the Soldado) and Mia Sanchez (Memory) have signed on to star alongside Rudy Youngblood and Antonio Jaramillo in Verloren Productions’ drama Macho!, based on the book by Victor Villaseñor.

Elijah Rodriguez, Mia Sanchez
Courtesy of Laura Joyce; Guido Venitucci

The coming-of-age tale taking place during the 1960s centers on Roberto Garcia (Rodriguez), who at age 17, already has big dreams of making his fortune, building a family, and gaining the respect of his community. With ambition to burn and a passion to prove his manhood, Roberto takes the dangerous journey north, crossing the Mexican border to pick fruit in the “golden fields” of California. It is said that a good man can make more money there in a week than in an entire year in the mountains of Michoacán, his home. With dreams that overshadow harsh realities, Roberto is unprepared for the jammed boxcars and bolted trucks that carry undervalued migrant workers through the searing desert to long days of harsh labor. The film will examine the brutality of migrant labor, as well as Cesar Chavez’s efforts to unionize workers, offering vivid portrayal of the immigrant experience through the eyes of a brave young man who bids goodbye to everything he knows to follow his dreams.

Verloren Productions Founder Walt Perez adapted the screenplay and will produce alongside Soren Odom, Melanie Tirado and Ralph Esparza. Jaime Peralta is serving as associate producer, with production to kick off next spring. Rodriguez is repped by Amsel, Eisenstadt, Frazier & Hinojosa and Artistic Endeavors; Sanchez by Lil Angels Unlimited and Innovative Artists.

EXCLUSIVESean Whalen (The People Under the Stairs) and Richard Tyson (Black Hawk Down) have joined the real-life domestic abuse drama Finding Nicole, based on the Chris Cuomo-fronted Inside Evil episode Til Death Do Us Part.

(L-R) Sean Whalen, Richard Tyson
GI

The film, which will soon head into production in Michigan, chronicles the life of Nicole Beverly (Kaiti Wallen), a domestic abuse survivor and advocate for domestic violence awareness. Shomari Giles, Shawntay Dalon, Vida Ghaffari, Blanca Blanco, Michael Alexander, Pierre Aristide and Debra Lamb will also star in the pic from director Harley Wallen. Geoffrey Calhoun wrote the script, with Harley and Kaiti Wallen, Beverly, Joseph K. Williamson, Joseph Victor and Jeffrey Berry to produce. The production company involved is Painted Creek Productions.

Whalen is repped by Metropolitan Talent Agency and Advanced Management; Tyson by American Artists Group Talent Agency. The Wallens are with The Williamson Management Company and Dobreff & Dobreff Law.

EXCLUSIVE: Gattlin Griffith (The Boys), Katie Burgess (The Jurassic Games), LaRonn Marzett (Birdie) and Ricardo Hurtado (Malibu Rescue) will topline the coming-of-age pic What Rhymes With Reason, which heads into production in September.

(L-R) Gattlin Griffith, Katie Burgess, LaRonn Marzett and Ricardo Hurtado
Courtesy of Jay Parenteau; John Faust; Ira Carmichaell; Brandon Andre

The film from director Kyle Roberts centers around high school senior Jesse Brandt (Griffith), who loses himself in the darkness of depression. In an attempt to find direction, he and his friends (including one played by Hurtado) embark on a quest from his father (Bart Johnson) to find a legendary landmark hidden in the Oklahoma wilderness.

The creatives behind What Rhymes With Reason have partnered with Oklahoma’s 988 Mental Health Lifeline to spotlight the new resource, providing an easy-to-remember three-digit number to replace the 11-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The 988 Mental Health Lifeline operates 24/7/365 and offers services for mental health crisis calls, with licensed operators and certified health crisis specialists answering them, and dispatching local services and mobile crisis teams as needed.

Griffith is represented by Curtis Talent Management; Burgess by Reel Talent Studio in Oklahoma and Mitch Clem Management; Marzett by People Store and Triniti Management; and Hurtado by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.

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EXCLUSIVE: Yoson An (Mulan), Danni Wang (The Morning Show), Corey Jung (Doom Patrol), Clyde Kusatsu (Young Rock), Hiroshi Otaguro (The Detour) and Kavi Raz (The Black Prince) have signed on for roles in the sci-fi thriller Site, which Jason Eric Perlman wrote and is directing for the newly-formed shingle Entelekey Media. The actors join an ensemble that also includes Jake McLaughlin, Theo Rossi, Miki Ishikawa and Arielle Kebbel, as previously announced.

(Top L-R) Yoson An, Danni Wang, Corey Jung, (Bottom L-R) Clyde Kusatsu, Hiroshi Otaguro and Kavi Raz
Devon Wycoff; Matt Schmidt; Megan Dougherty; Personal Courtesy; Ryuji Yamakita; Personal Courtesy

The film currently in production centers on Neil Bardo (McLaughlin), a commercial real estate inspector and committed family man who accidentally injures his only son. To keep his marriage to Elena (Kebbel) intact while facing crushing medical costs, Neil begs for additional shifts from his mercenary boss, Garrison (Rossi). While inspecting an abandoned government facility, he’s confronted by nightmarish visions that now begin infiltrating his waking life. Desperate for answers, Neil enlists the help of ex-girlfriend turned journalist Naomi (Ishikawa). And together they unravel the mystery of the covert government site and its soul-bending experiments.

Site‘s story examines historical incidents and atrocities that took place in China during WWII. An, Wang and Jung will respectively play Jian, Xifeng and Guang, members of a Chinese family who struggle against a ruthless military general (Otaguro). Kusatsu and Raz will portray former American military personnel, Ronith Nanda and Kenneth Tanaka. The film’s producers are Kelly Hayes and Benjamin Cooke. Yvonne Supangkat is exec producing the pic, slated for release in 2023, for Entelekey Media.

An is repped by CAA and Auckland Actors in New Zealand; Wang by Buchwald and AFA Prime Talent Media; Jung by East Coast Talent Agency in Georgia; Kusatsu by Artists & Representatives and DPN; Otaguro by Miramar Talent Agency and Sheer Talent Management; and Raz by Heartrock Pictures in the UK.

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EXCLUSIVE: Jordan Doww (Reach) and Pablo Castelblanco (Alaska Daily) will topline the LGBTQ+ horror-thriller Ganymede from directors Colby Holt and Sam Probst (Pig Hag), which has wrapped production. Additional cast set for the indie includes David Koechner (Anchorman), Robyn Lively (9-1-1: Lone Star), Joe Chrest (Stranger Things) and Marissa Reyes (Spirit Halloween).

Jordan Doww, Pablo Castelblanco
Courtesy of Luke Fontana; Stephen Busken

Ganymede tells the story of Lee Fletcher IV, a high school senior and third generation heir to a local political dynasty in a small town in the South. When he develops a crush on his openly gay classmate, Lee finds himself stalked by a grotesque, faceless creature that increasingly inhabits his thoughts and threatens physical harm. The film is being produced by Stephen Stanley (What Lies Below), Kevin Greene and Mark Goldberg, in association with Iris Indie International. Geneva Wasserman of dentsu’s The Story Lab (Spiderhead), J Craig Gordon, Kevin Stansberry and Sean Fernald are serving as EPs. The filmmakers are looking at a 2023 festival debut, with the title currently up for sales in all territories.

Doww is represented by CAA, Scale Management and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman; Castelblanco by Stewart Talent, Creative Talent Company and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.

EXCLUSIVEKen Kirby (Good Trouble) will star opposite Leila Perry (Filthy Animals) in the romantic drama This Time, from writer-director Sebastien Tobler.

Ken Kirby, Leila Perry
Matt Winkelmeyer/GI; Jhovany Quiroz

The indie follows Laela Sagan and Colin Lang, two high school sweethearts separated during the 1998 riots in Jakarta, Indonesia, who unexpectedly reunite in L.A. for one day 23 years later. A sculptor at the top of her game, Laela travels the world engaging in art and philanthropy but will never admit to her loneliness or its impact on her work. Meanwhile, Colin is packing up his house in East L.A. and finalizing his family’s move to Pennsylvania, where he’ll become a stay-at-home dad and support his wife’s career. Despite not wanting to relocate, he’d rather leave than be left behind. As the star-crossed lovers examine the choices that led them down their separate paths and back again, Laela and Colin must decide if they’re still in love or just nostalgic for the past.

Rounding out the film’s supporting cast are Mitch Narito (The Good Place), Earl Baylon (Tomb Raider), Diane Robin (RoboCop), Carlos Carrasco (Speed) and Marc Forget (The Gray Man). Theresa Chiu is serving as producer, with Garrett O’Brien and Jaime Gallagher as co-producers. Kirby is repped by Gersh and AFA Prime Talent Media.

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EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the Las Vegas sex trafficking thriller Beyond the Neon, with plans to release it across VOD platforms in October.

Gravitas Ventures

The film from director Larry A. McLean (Vanished) stars YouTube personality Joey Salads—who plays a reckless version of himself—watching as he and his apprehensive film crew plunge into the high-stakes escort system to perform a dangerous “social experiment” on the Las Vegas strip. While the story is fictional, it’s based on true accounts. The project was developed over three years of undercover research in the Las Vegas area consulted by law enforcement, anti-trafficking organizations, and an advisory committee of American sex trafficking survivors assembled by Magnum Opus Pictures.

Beyond the Neon was produced by Magnum Opus Pictures’ Woodrow Wilson Hancock III and Madero Films, with Christopher Thellas exec producing the pic scripted by Hancock and Marisa Dzintars. The film was financed by cryptocurrency and will get its own set of charitable NFTs via a partnership with Phantasma blockchain, which will fund initiatives assisting those affected by American trafficking.

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EXCLUSIVE: Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the drama Forbearance, from director Lana Read. The digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group has slated the pic for release across VOD platforms on August 30.

Forbearance
Freestyle Digital Media

Forbearance is the story of a couple in crisis. With their marriage teetering on the edge of divorce, a teacher, Callie (Juli Tapken), and her factory worker husband, Josh (Travis Hancock), have their world rocked when Josh is suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer. Forced to reckon with Josh’s fractured relationship with their son, Jonah (Cedric Gegel), Josh and Callie must overcome the effects of cancer, the tension between Callie and Josh’s best friend Bo (Paul Logan), and what the world will look like for Callie when it has all been turned upside down.

The film penned by actor, screenwriter and cancer survivor Gegel was produced by Read, Mark H Stewart, Jessica Dunham and Vernon Wells, with the latter also playing a role on screen. Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deal to acquire the pic directly with Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films. Watch the trailer for Forbearance below.

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Dave Bautista & Director Jeff Tomsic Circling ‘Unleashed;’ Netflix Pic One Of Trio For ‘Blockers’ Scribes Jim & Brian Kehoe

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August 5, 2022 10:24am

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 08: Dave Bautista visits Build Series to discuss ‘Stuber’ at Build Studio on July 08, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
Courtesy Dave Bautista

EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has Dave Bautista circling to star in Unleashed, with TAG‘s Jeff Tomsic attached to direct a script by Blockers scribes Jim & Brian Kehoe.

Bautista is in talks to star and produce with his partner Jonathan Meisner alongside Good Fear’s Chris Bender and Jake Weiner. He’ll play a police officer who’s best friends with a canine partner that can sniff out any crime. When Boomer dies on the job, the cop pledges no more pooch partners, until he is teamed with Zeus. Bautista will next be seen on Netflix in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, which premieres next month at TIFF, and he wrapped Knock at the Cabin for Universal and is shooting Dune 2 for Warner Bros.

The Kehoes are exec producing, and this is the third star-driven project set up this year for them. Their comic script Double Fault has Rebel Wilson attached to star and produce with Todd Garner’s Broken Road. She plays a former tennis phenom who tries to rebound from a McEnroe-esque meltdown by coaching a young player to take a flamethrower to the sport.

They also scripted Luck Key, a remake of the Korean film of the same title, that will star Marlon Wayans. AGC’s Stuart Ford is producing alongside Wayans and producing partner Rick Alvarez. It’s about an assassin and an actor who switch lives and find out what’s really important to them.

The Kehoes created the animated series Futha Mucka, which stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson.

The scribes are repped by Entertainment 360 and lawyer Sean Marks; Bautista is CAA, manager Jonathan Meisner and Jackoway Austen Tyerman, and Tomsic is represented by UTA, 3 Arts and attorney Isaac Dunham at Schreck Rose.

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New 20 Questions On Deadline Podcast: Jennifer Coolidge Reveals Her ‘White Lotus’ Season 3 Dream & The Real ‘Bend And Snap’ Technique

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August 5, 2022 10:20am

Welcome to 20 Questions on Deadline, our new interview podcast with a twist. Every week I’ll be asking onscreen stars a set of quirky questions designed to dig into their best advice, biggest fears and fondest memories.

For this first episode, I sat down with Emmy nominee Jennifer Coolidge. Hot from the Sicilian set of The White Lotus Season 2, she’s already raring to go for a third go-round and reveals a very special co-star she’d like to join that cast.

Having loved the experience of making Season 2’s “incredible story”, Coolidge expects the audience reaction to be very positive. “It would probably be impossible to not like it,” she says.

We also get into how the show’s creator Mike White based her character Tanya McQuoid on Jennifer herself, but how secretly she’d much rather be like her iconic American Pie role, Stifler’s mom.

Plus, she reveals how to pull off a truly successful ‘bend and snap’ move.

Listen to the podcast above and subscribe and listen to 20 Questions: On Deadline on Spotify and on Apple podcasts.

A version of this interview will also appear in print in our AwardsLine magazine and at Deadline.com from August 10th.

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Wide Swoops On Breakout Angolan War Of Independence Locarno Competition Title ‘Tommy Guns’

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August 5, 2022 10:18am

Tommy Guns
Terratreme Filmes

EXCLUSIVE: Paris-based sales company Wide has acquired world sales rights to Angola-born Portuguese filmmaker Carlos Conceição’s Angolan War of Independence drama Tommy Guns, which made a well-received debut in Competition at the Locarno Film Festival on Friday.

Set against the final violent days of the conflict in 1974, the film gives a dual perspective of the conflict through the tale of a young local girl who discovers love and death when her path crosses that of a young Portuguese soldier.

The film is lead produced by Terratreme Filmes, the Lisbon-based collective created by award-winning Portuguese directors João Matos, Susana Nobre, Tiago Hespanha, Pedro Pinho, Leonor Noivo and Luisa Homem in 2008.

Virginie Lacombe and Arnaud Quesada at Paris-based Virginie Films are on board as co-producers and Conceição and Margarida Ventura take associate producer credits under their Portuguese Mirabilis banner.

Wide head of acquisitions Maxime Montagne, who finalised the deal in Locarno said of the film: “Tommy Guns is an impactful film that will certainly raise the interest of the buyers and festival programmers during Locarno and festivals to come,” he said

Tommy Guns is Conceição’s second feature after Serpentarius which debuted at the Berlinale in 2019 and award-winning medium-length film Name Above Title and shorts Versailles and Goodnight Cinderella.

He describes his new film as “a reflection on history, on war and fear, and a portrait of the metaphysics of tyranny”.

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AMC Entertainment Q2 Losses Narrow, Issues Special Dividend To Reward APE Investors

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August 4, 2022 2:11pm

AP

AMC Entertainment saw revenue surge and net losses continue to narrow last quarter on a string of blockbusters led by Top Gun: Maverick. Comparisons with 2021 aren’t hard but exhibitors are seeing ticket sales moving closer to 2019 levels.

The nation’s biggest movie chain saw sales of $1.16 billion compared with $444.7 million for the second quarter of 2021. A net loss $121.6 million compared with $344 million in red ink for the second quarter of 2021.

Losses were impacted by a dip in the share price of Hycroft Mining, a Nevada gold mine AMC sank $28 million into to the surprise of Wall Street and the industry in general. In Q2, “We wrote down much of the large gains that were booked in the first quarter. While our reported losses will continue to be impacted by market price volatility, we continue to believe strongly in the potential value of our $28 million Hycroft Mining investment,” Aron said.

AMC also announced plans to issue a dividend in the form of preferred shares — equity units which it has applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol APE, referring to its band of vocal, individual investors who have mostly replaced institutions as stockholders.

Each AMC preferred equity unit is designed to have the same economic and voting rights as one share of common stock. The ex-dividend date will be August 22.

Adjusted EBITDA improved by $257.5 million to a positive $106.7 million compared to a loss of $150.8 million for the second quarter of 2021.

“AMC just completed a spectacularly encouraging second quarter that boosts our mood and brightens our prospects as we look ahead,” said Aron.

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