Indie News

Haifaa Al-Mansour’s ‘The Perfect Candidate’ Acquired by Music Box Films Ahead of Sundance

  • The Wrap
Haifaa Al-Mansour’s ‘The Perfect Candidate’ Acquired by Music Box Films Ahead of Sundance
Music Box Films has acquired the North American rights to “The Perfect Candidate” from Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al-Mansour, an individual with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap.

The distributor plans to release the film theatrically in 2020 followed by a home entertainment release.

The Perfect Candidate” premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 2019 and was Saudi Arabia’s official submission to the Best International Feature race at the 92nd Academy Awards. It will next make its U.S. premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this month.

Al-Mansour is the director of “Wadjda,” which was the first Saudi film to be directed by a woman and the country’s first-ever submission to the Oscars. “The Perfect Candidate” is Al-Mansour’s return to her home country after a few projects in the English language.
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Hank Azaria Will No Longer Voice Apu on ‘The Simpsons’ — Report

  • Indiewire
Hank Azaria Will No Longer Voice Apu on ‘The Simpsons’ — Report
While no official statement from the series and its representatives has emerged so far, “The Simpsons” voice actor Hank Azaria has revealed in a new interview with /Film that he will no longer voice Apu, the Indian immigrant proprietor of the Kwik-e-Mart on the beloved animated show. In the interview, which took place during the ongoing TCA tour in Southern California, Azaria said, “I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something…What they’re going to do with the character is their call,” referring to the series’ creative team that includes executive producers Matt Groening and James L. Brooks. “It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore.”

Azaria has contributed voice work to the series since it began in 1989, and his character
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‘Watchmen’ Season 2 Is Still In Flux, and It Always Has Been

‘Watchmen’ Season 2 Is Still In Flux, and It Always Has Been
Since “Watchmen” ended its brilliant, well-rated first season, buzz has been building around a potential Season 2. Will we see more of Regina King’s instant-classic hero, Angela Abar? Will we see a new non-superhero story set within Damon Lindelof’s universe? Will we have to wait another three decades before an inspired creator revisits the iconic “Watchmen” world?

Much like the “Leftovers” creator’s penchant for ambiguity, those questions don’t have answers — not yet. Despite reports manufacturing a definitive position, “Watchmen” fans are still in the same purgatory they’ve been in since before the series launched, when Lindelof said his season was a complete story and HBO waited to see if that story was a hit worthy of expansion.

All that’s changed is HBO now knows it has a hit, hence the recent statements from HBO Programming President Casey Bloys. Speaking to Variety, Bloys said he’s
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‘Normal People’: Sally Rooney and Lenny Abrahamson Tease an Epic Romance on Hulu — Watch Trailer

‘Normal People’: Sally Rooney and Lenny Abrahamson Tease an Epic Romance on Hulu — Watch Trailer
Sally Rooney sees herself in both characters within her novel, “Normal People,” but don’t make her break it down further than that.

“I feel my psychological state as a child remains a mystery to me now,” Rooney said during a TCA panel for the upcoming Hulu series. “I don’t know why I am the way I am.”

That’s what the writing is for, after all.

“I felt, writing the book, that both characters were a projection of my point of view,” she said. “They both embody aspects of my own psychology. […] The challenge of adapting this for the screen is that they both have introspective qualities.”

To help with that challenge, Rooney turned to Oscar-nominated “Room” director Lenny Abrahamson, who helmed each episode of the 12-episode TV adaptation. Joining Rooney on the panel, along with executive producer Ed Guiney and actors Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones, Abrahamson
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Hillary Clinton Warns Voters to Take 2020 Election Seriously, Opens Up in New Hulu Documentary

Hillary Clinton Warns Voters to Take 2020 Election Seriously, Opens Up in New Hulu Documentary
It was a rested and relaxed Hillary Clinton that graced the stage at the Television Critics Association Winter 2020 press tour, ready and willing to delve into her own backstory in promotion of the Hulu four-part documentary series exploring her life.

‘Hillary’: Hulu Documentary Looks at a Historic Life, as Secretary Clinton Warns Voters

Hillary Clinton Warns Voters to Take 2020 Election Seriously, Opens Up in New Hulu Documentary

Joining Clinton on-stage was “Hillary” director Nanette Burstein, who explained why what began as a campaign documentary ended up as so much more.

“It was so remarkably emblematic of our history over the last 40 years, particularly when it comes to women’s rights,” Burstein said. “The way that [Clinton] has been the tip of the spear in various ways and how it overlapped with these various, huge historical moments.”

“More than anything, I wanted people to understand that this is a historical figure
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‘Little Women’: How Composer Alexandre Desplat Channeled Mozart and Bowie for Saoirse Ronan’s Jo

‘Little Women’: How Composer Alexandre Desplat Channeled Mozart and Bowie for Saoirse Ronan’s Jo
After reading Greta Gerwig’s radical, non-linear adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” composer Alexandre Desplat asked the director what she musically had in mind: “Mozart meets David Bowie,” was her unexpected reply. He was taken aback, but had no intention of creating some sort of retro/modern fusion. Yet after digging deeper, he began contemplating the youthful energy of Mozart and the restless energy of Bowie.

“I thought of it as ambivalence,” said Desplat, the two-time Oscar winner. “The music should always have gravitas and be joyful and have a lot of rhythm, like Mozart had, and like David Bowie had. Some melody line that you can follow.”

But the best musical strategy was capturing the creative thought process of Saoirse Ronan’s Jo as she’s writing her autobiographical novel about her family. That was inherent in Gerwig’s storytelling in the way she championed Jo as a literary,
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Oprah Says Russell Simmons Tried to Pressure Her to Drop Sex-Abuse Doc Headed for Sundance

  • Indiewire
Oprah Says Russell Simmons Tried to Pressure Her to Drop Sex-Abuse Doc Headed for Sundance
The filmmaking community was rocked last week when Oprah Winfrey pulled her name as executive producer from a Sundance Film Festival documentary alleging sexual assault against hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. Directed by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, the film now titled “On the Record” was set to be distributed by Apple TV+ following its Park City bow next week, but in a swift chain of events, Oprah’s split from the project by way of a statement shared with media last Friday effectively killed Apple’s commitment to stream the documentary.

A report from The New York Times on January 17 details what went on behind the scenes of Oprah’s departure from the movie centered on former music executive Drew Dixon’s accusations, including that Simmons raped her after luring her to his apartment (a testimony first revealed in a December 2017 Nyt story). “What preceded Ms. Winfrey’s announcement was
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‘High Fidelity’: Zoe Kravitz Personally Called Colleen Atwood About Costumes for the Hulu Update

‘High Fidelity’: Zoe Kravitz Personally Called Colleen Atwood About Costumes for the Hulu Update
When the upcoming “High Fidelity” TV show was nearing the start of production, there was no one in place to head up the costume department. Luckily, series star Zoe Kravitz knew exactly who to call.

Colleen Atwood is a legend. I had worked with her on ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and we were having a really hard time finding someone to do the costumes and that’s a really important element to the story. I called Colleen asking her if she knew someone who could do it…and she said ‘I love ‘High Fidelity!’ I love you. I’ll do it.’ And we were all shocked,” Kravitz said.

Atwood has had a prolific and acclaimed career working on period pieces and contemporary stories, collaborating with Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Jonathan Demme, and Michael Mann, among others. The demands of “High Fidelity,” which stars Kravitz as Rob, a record store owner dealing with
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‘The Great’ Teaser: Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult Are From Russia, but Not With Love

Here’s “The Great” creator Tony McNamara on his upcoming Catherine the Great-focused comedy:

“On one level, she’s Catherine the Great, who marries [the son of] Peter the Great, and that’s a big story,” McNamara said during the series’ Television Critics Association panel. “On another level that’s quite contemporary, it’s about a woman who marries the wrong person and then has to go, ‘What do I do? Do I kill him?’”

The joke scored plenty of laughs at the TCA 2020 Winter Press Tour in Pasadena Friday morning, but also serves as an apt descriptor of the Hulu series, which premieres May 15. McNamara was joined by series Executive Producer Marian MacGowan and series stars Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult to discuss the show, which will offer a comedic take on Catherine the Great’s (Fanning) rise to power in the late 1700s and detail her relationship with her husband Peter (Hoult), the emperor of Russia.
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Oscar Isaac To Star In Political Superhero Film ‘The Great Machine’

Fresh off his time in the “Star Wars” universe, it appears that Oscar Isaac might be stepping into another possible franchise, this time as the lead in the upcoming film “The Great Machine.”

Read More: Brian K. Vaughan’s ‘Ex Machina’ Is Headed To The Big Screen

According to THR, Isaac is set to play the role of Mitchell Hundred in the upcoming big-screen adaptation of the comic book series “Ex Machina,” titled “The Great Machine.” If that last sentence confused you, here’s likely why: Yes, Isaac previously starred in a film called “Ex Machina.” No, this isn’t a sequel.

Continue reading Oscar Isaac To Star In Political Superhero Film ‘The Great Machine’ at The Playlist.
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‘Little Fires Everywhere’ Teaser: Watch Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington’s Emmy Contender

Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere” is based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestselling novel, and a teaser released Friday hints at the questions of class privilege, gender, and race explored by the story — all framed by the arson that gives the book its title. At the TCA 2020 Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, CA, stars and executive producers Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington delved into the process of bringing the acclaimed story to screen.

“We’ve been looking for a project to do with Kerry for a long time,” Witherspoon said. “When I read the book it had so many themes in it that were very complex. … My first instinct is ‘Who is going to show up and do the work?’ Because it’s a lot of work. Everything [Kerry] does she brings a grace to it. She deepens the conversation.”

For her part, Washington appreciated how the tale deals with perception created
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‘Hillary’ Trailer: Hulu’s Upcoming Sundance Doc Premieres In March

“I provoke strong opinions,” states Hillary Clinton in the opening moments of the new trailer for the Hulu docuseries, aptly titled “Hillary.” And that is clearly an understatement.

Read More: Ethan Hawke, Dee Rees & Isabella Rossellini Set For 2020 Sundance Film Festival Juries

For decades, Hillary Clinton has found herself morph into one of the most polarizing figures in American political history.

Continue reading ‘Hillary’ Trailer: Hulu’s Upcoming Sundance Doc Premieres In March at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

‘Solar Opposites’: Hulu Unveils New Animated Comedy From ‘Rick and Morty’ Team

‘Solar Opposites’: Hulu Unveils New Animated Comedy From ‘Rick and Morty’ Team
Hulu’s next animated series is “Solar Opposites,” an adult-oriented comedy from “Rick and Morty” alums Justin Roiland and Mike McMahn. Craig Erwich, senior vice president of Hulu originals, announced the series amid offered a host of other updates during his executive session at the Television Critics Association 2020 Winter Press Tour in Pasadena Friday morning.

Solar Opposites” will focus on a family of aliens from an advanced planet who are forced to live in middle America. The extraterrestrial protagonists must determine whether this is “awful or awesome.” The jury’s still out on that one, but the answer will become clearer on May 8, when all eight “Solar Opposite” episodes hit Hulu.

Erwich also announced that “Dollface” and “Wu Tang: An American Saga” had each been renewed for second seasons. He noted that the former series, a Kat Dennings-led comedy about a young woman who rekindles her friendships with women
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SAG Awards Predictions: Who Will Win for Film and TV in 2020

  • Indiewire
On the film side, SAG nominations are often seen as a bellwether for the Oscar race since the Academy acting branch dominates the votes. As usual, this year’s SAG nominations don’t entirely overlap with the Oscar race; SAG voting closes Friday. Last year’s upsets included winner Emily Blunt for her non-Oscar-nominated role in “A Quiet Place” and musical Globe winner Rami Malek prevailing over Drama Globe and Critics Choice winner Christian Bale. Could snubbed Oscar hopefuls Lupita Nyong’o, Taron Egerton, or Jennifer Lopez pull sympathy upsets? Tune in Sunday to find out.

While “The Irishman,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Jojo Rabbit,” and “Parasite” could build some momentum for their Oscar bids by winning SAG Ensemble, “Bombshell” didn’t score a Best Picture nomination, but could pull a surprise win for Charlize Theron or Margot Robbie. And while “Marriage Story” and “Joker” didn’t make Ensemble,
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Facebook Cancels ‘Sorry For Your Loss’ & ‘Limetown’ As Platform Transitions Away From Scripted Series

Despite strong critical reviews, it appears the Facebook Watch is not moving forward with the third season of “Sorry for Your Loss.” The news comes as speculation centers on the future of the streaming platform in regards to scripted programming.

According to Deadline, “Sorry for Your Loss” is joined by the Jessica Biel-starring series “Limetown” as canceled series not returning to Facebook Watch for another season.

Continue reading Facebook Cancels ‘Sorry For Your Loss’ & ‘Limetown’ As Platform Transitions Away From Scripted Series at The Playlist.
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‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ Comes To The Criterion Collection In April

Perhaps the best part about The Criterion Collection is the way that the library can house such unique and eclectic films, while still keeping the reputation of releasing the very best that cinema has to offer. And for the month of April, that continues, as the recent Criterion announcement contains a perfect cross-section of titles that shows just how much variety exists in the catalog.

Read More: ‘Man In A Room’: Criterion Channel Says Alex Ross Perry’s Doc About Paul Schrader Will Stream Later This Month

Leading the class of April 2020 is the most recent live-action film from acclaimed filmmaker Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” One of the best films of the last decade is finally coming to Criterion and the special edition release is chock full of brand-new extras.

Continue reading ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ Comes To The Criterion Collection In April at The Playlist.
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‘Normal People’ Trailer: Hulu/BBC’s Upcoming Limited Series Is Directed By Lenny Abrahamson

Odds are, if you’ve browsed the paperback section of your local bookstore, then you probably have come across the novel, “Normal People.” It’s a massive bestseller and, as you might expect, it’s now set to become a limited series that will air on BBC and Hulu.

Read More: The 60 Most Anticipated TV Shows Of 2020

As seen in the new trailer for “Normal People,” the series tells the story of the on-again/off-again romance between Marianne and Connell that spans their high school years and through college.

Continue reading ‘Normal People’ Trailer: Hulu/BBC’s Upcoming Limited Series Is Directed By Lenny Abrahamson at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

‘No Time to Die’: Hans Zimmer Brings the Smiths’ Johnny Marr Aboard Bond 25 Score

  • Indiewire
‘No Time to Die’: Hans Zimmer Brings the Smiths’ Johnny Marr Aboard Bond 25 Score
The soundtrack for director Cary Fukunaga’s upcoming James Bond film “No Time to Die” is shaping up to be quite the mind meld. Earlier this week, it was announced that vocal-fried pop queen of doom du jour Billie Eilish has written and will perform the film’s theme song — and, at 18, she’s the youngest artist ever to do so. Now, Johnny Marr will be joining composer Hans Zimmer to write the score, as revealed today by NME.

The lead guitarist behind The Smiths, everybody’s favorite gloomy English rock band of the 1980s, will, like Academy Award-winning composer Zimmer, be making his James Bond debut here. It’s the 25th film in the franchise, and will be the last one to star Daniel Craig in the role of 007. The last Bond score, for “Spectre,” was penned by Thomas Newman, an Academy Award nominee this year for “1917,” and
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The Merovingian Will Return In ‘The Matrix 4,’ According To Actor Lambert Wilson

While we know that “The Matrix 4” is set to go into production soon and hit theaters in May 2021, we still don’t have much of a clue about what the story is about. By the end of the third film, ‘Revolutions,’ the story seemed to be pretty well wrapped up. But Lana Wachowski definitely has a story in mind, as she is writing and directing the film.

Continue reading The Merovingian Will Return In ‘The Matrix 4,’ According To Actor Lambert Wilson at The Playlist.
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How ‘Parasite’ Changed What Foreign-Language Films Can Do At the Box Office

  • Indiewire
How ‘Parasite’ Changed What Foreign-Language Films Can Do At the Box Office
This week, “Parasite” received six Oscar nominations; this weekend, Neon will place Bong Joon Ho’s film in 843 theaters. Its widest release to date, concurrent with its introduction to home viewing, are timed to improve Oscar odds and maximize the already-stellar performance of the foreign-language arthouse movie.

Full credit goes to Neon cofounders Tom Quinn and Tim League for their smart strategies, but what’s also notable is the context of its success. By today’s standards, it’s a near miracle; at another time, it would have been just another job well done. Here’s some perspective on its achievement:

Parasite” Defied 21st-Century Odds

The last major foreign-language hit was the French comedy “Intouchables,” at $10.2 million. Since “Amour” in 2012 ($6.7 million), only Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster” has even grossed $5 million (unless Netflix’s unreported “Roma” managed that; it likely came close). Recent successes like “Pain and Glory” ($4 million
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