Sam Flynn’s 7: The Week in Pop Culture – May 9-15

The week is long and hard, that’s why every Friday, you can relax and catch up on everything you need to know in Hollywood and beyond with Sam Flynn’s 7, my breakdown and analysis of the week in film and TV.

It’s May and that means the end of the networks’ regular TV season. An avalanche of news on the fates of many shows while over in France, the famous Cannes Film Festival sets filmmaking alight. Let’s dive in.

6-7. Network Upfronts:

Limited series revivals remain popular with Coach and The X-Files finding their ways back to the screens. Medical dramas are poised to either hit big or flame out across the networks. There’s a distressing trend of high-concept shows mashed with a procedural element that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Then again, I’m a serialized story kind of guy. My recommendations on what I’ll be sampling are bolded below.

  • NBC
    • New series: Blindspot, Chicago Med, Coach, Crowded, Emerald City, Game of Silence, Heartbreaker, Heroes: Reborn, Hot and Bothered, People Are Talking, The Player, Shades of Blue, Superstore, You, Me, and the End of the World
    • Cancelled: A to Z, Allegiance, American Odyssey, Bad Judge, Constantine, Marry Me, One Big Happy, Parenthood, Parks & Recreation, State of Affairs
  • ABC
    • New series: The Catch, Dr. Ken, The Family, The Muppets, Of Kings and Prophets, Oil, Quantico, The Real O’Neals, Uncle Buck, Wicked City
    • Cancelled: Cristela, Forever, Manhattan Love Story, Resurrection, Revenge, Selfie
  • CBS
    • New series: Angel from Hell, Code Black, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Life in Pieces, Limitless, Rush Hour, Supergirl
    • Cancelled: Battle Creek, CSI, The McCarthys, The Mentalist, The Millers, Stalker, Two and a Half Men
  • FOX
    • New series: Bordertown, The Frankenstein Code, Grandfathered, The Grinder, The Guide to Surviving Life, Lucifer, Minority Report, Rosewood, Scream Queens, The X-Files
    • Cancelled: Backstrom, The Following, Glee, Gracepoint, The Mindy Project, Red Band Society, Weird Loners
  • The CW
    • New series: Containment, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
    • Cancelled: Hart of Dixie, The Messengers

Runner-ups and/or shows that may also make it big are: Chicago Med, Game of Silence, The Catch, Of Kings and Prophets, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Supergirl, Screem Queens, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

Other tidbits:

  • Agents of SHIELD spinoff still alive – a proposed spinoff of Agents of SHIELD focused on divorced spy duo of Adrianne Palicki’s Bobbi Morse and Nick Blood’s Lance Hunter introduced in Season 2 – rumored to be titled Mockingbird after Morse’s superhero persona – was not ordered but is not dead yet either. ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee, during a Tuesday conference call, maintains interest in the project and the pairing but was (rightly) swayed by insistence the characters be kept with the mothership (both it and bridge series Agent Carter were renewed for a third and second season respectively). Another Marvel series is being developed by 12 Years a Slave writer and American Crime creator John Ridley, but Lee was mum on that project.
  • Cooper returns for LimitlessAccording to Deadline, Bradley Cooper will recur “as much as his schedule permits” after guesting on the pilot of the series version of his film Limitless, which he is also exec producing. I like Limitless quite a bit. It even made my Top 10 of 2011. But the CBS/forced procedural aspect concerns me. The pilot was directed by Marc Webb, who made (500) Days of Summer but also of Amazing Spider-Man infamy. So many layers I just have to see its great or terrible.

  • CSI retires – Unlike its procedural bedfellow Law & Order, the original CSI will go out with honor and respect. Original stars William Petersen (Gil Grissom) and Marg Helgenberger (Catherine Willows) will return for two-hour TV movie to air to Sept. 27 while current headliner Ted Danson (D.B. Russell) will transition to the recently-launched spinoff CSI: Cyber, starring Patricia Arquette. Various options were considered when it became apparent both CSI and Cyber couldn’t co-exist on CBS this fall. Deadline reported that the idea for a movie send-off came straight from CEO Leslie Moonves, who thought it gave it an “event” feel.

4-5. Cannes sales and casting news 

  • Anne Hathaway vs. Giant Monster 

In the best news of this year, Anne Hathaway will fight a giant monster or some shit on screen in proposed sci-fi film Colossal. The plot, if you really need anything beyond the headline, concerns Gloria, a seemingly-ordinary woman who leaves New York for her hometown while a giant creature attacks Tokyo, Japan. Of course, she finds herself connected to this far-away event by the power of her mind and quests to find answers to her “colossal (see what they did there?) effect on the fate of the world.”

The project, from Timecrimes filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo, is being sold at Cannes. The Hollywood Reporter (THR) describes it as “Transformers meets Adaptation” or “Godzilla meets Being John Malkovich.” Seems straightforward enough.

  • Oscar-winning Eddie Redmayne to lead Harry Potter prequel trilogy 

Long-rumored, Eddie Redmayne who won an Oscar in February for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in A Theory of Everything, is officially set to become the lead of a new Harry Potter prequel trilogy for Warner Bros. straight from the pen of J.K. Rowling in her screenwriting debut.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on a companion book Rowling published and that exists in-universe, follows said book’s author Newt Scamander as he navigates the magical world as it was in 1930s New York. David Yates, who helmed the final four Harry Potter films, will return to direct the first in this series. The films are set to arrive in November 2016, 2018, and 2020.

  • Charlize Theron: Action Star

John Wick was fucking amazing because of its expert action direction by stunt choreographers-turned-directors David Leitch & Chad Stahelski. Mad Max: Fury Road (review coming soon) is fucking amazing and Charlize Theron is fucking amazing in it. So it stands to reason a Cold War-era spy-fi action movie from the directors of Wick and starring Theron will have a high probability of being (say it with me) fucking amazing.

The film The Coldest City, being sold at Cannes, would film this October based on a script by Kurt Johnstad adaptaing Antony Johnston’s best-selling graphic novel. Theron will play a spy who springs into action after an underground MI6 officer is killed just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. She must find a list he was smuggling into the West to protect herself and the counter intelligence community.

  • Star Wars: Anthology: Rogue One casts another lead

Diego Luna is joining the cast of Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, Variety exclusively reported. The plot focuses on the rebels and soldiers who stole the Death Star plans prior to the events of 1977’s original film. Already set to star is Oscar-nominee Felicity Jones (A Theory of Everything), Bloodline star Ben Mendelsohn, and Riz Ahmed with Sam Claflin also rumored. Jones is the lead while Mendelsohn is the main villain. Ahmed, Luna and Claflin will portray Alliance soldiers.

  • Natalie Portman is back – with a vengeance 

With her directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness making its premiere at Cannes today and her troubled Western Jane Got a Gun coming this fall, Natalie Portman has been lining up her return to our cinemas, nagging no less than four roles in various projects.

She will portray real-life figures Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Jackie Kennedy in the films On the Basis of Sex and Jackie respectively . She is circling writer/director Alex Garland’s follow-up to Ex Machina (my review here), sci-fi adaptation Annihilation. She just signed as a co-lead in French period film Planetarium alongside Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose. And given recent Marvel Comics happenings, I certainly hope she makes time to reprise her Jane Foster role in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok.

  • Asa Butterfield in early talks to be new Spider-Man 

After being heavily, heavily, heavily speculated, favorite El Mayimbe first reported then Deadline confirmed that Asa Butterfield has finally secured the coveted role as the world’s new Peter Parker / Spider-Man. I’m happy, he was my choice. In a bit of a timely metaphor, Spider-Man’s like a train. He’s going to keep coming so it’s best to get out of the way and hope those who get on-board aren’t dumb enough to drive it off the tracks (or that the government isn’t dumb enough to not properly fund infrastructure).

Butterfield will film his Captain America: Civil War role in June and prepare for his big solo outing in 2017’s Spider-Man reboot, rumored to be titled Spider-Man: The New Avenger.

3. TRAILERS: True Detective Season 2 and Crimson Peak get new trailers 

Best trailer(s) of the week awards go to True Detective and Crimson Peak. True Detective posted a relatively mundane but atmospheric teaser laced with foreboding music a while back. This one lets the characters talk and some of the actual plot to seep in so we can see the edges of the things that made us love Season 1. Series creator Nic Pizzolatto recently confirmed the occult aspects of the story were dropped early in the development, a disappointment for me but I hope he compensates and makes up for the ethereally eeriness that set the show’s first season apart from other detective models.

Speaking of ethereal eeriness, the trailer Guillermo del Toro’s ode-to-haunted house films has it in spades. Starring Mia Wasikowska, Charlie Hunnam, Loki himself Tom Hiddleston, and Jessica Chastain, the gothic horror releases October 16. As a del Toro acolyte, I’m as excited as can be.

2. 28 Months Later still a possibility says Ex Machina helmer 

After reinventing the zombie genre in a world without The Walking Dead in 2002’s 28 Days Later, recent Ex Machina helmer and writer of that film Alex Garland has little-to-no involvement in the better-than-anyone-could-have-expected sequel (I actually prefer the sequel, but I prefer anything with Jeremy Renner in it). After that film hit in 2007, the idea for a final film in the trilogy floated with the assumed-titled of 28 Months Later sat in development hell, with rumors of Boyle’s return to direct and a Russia setting ultimately coming to nothing.

However, despite Garland’s lack of trust in sequels, he may have stumbled upon the story for the new film and now, it might actually happen. Speaking with The Playlist, he said:

“About two years ago, Danny [Boyle, director of the original] started collaborating on the potential to make ‘Trainspotting 2,’ another sequel. In that conversation, an idea for ’28 Months’ arrived. I had a sort of weird idea that popped into my head. Partly because of a trip I’d taken. I had this thought, and I suggested it to Andrew and Danny, but I also said I don’t want to work on it. I don’t really want to play a role, and Andrew [MacDonald, his producing partner] said, ‘Leave it to me.’ So he’s gone off and is working on it. It’s pretty simple [of a concept]. Don’t you think those are, in a way, better? Because there is no momentum now, and you’ve had an organic, real spark about where I can take this. And it just popped into your head, kind of thing. Rather than, ‘Okay, I’m going to make a sequel’.”

Garland is a superb genre writer with proven success on 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go, Dredd and the recent Ex Machina (my review).

1. Superheroes Diversify: “Selma” director meets with Marvel, FOX plots “X-Men” future

In some news that was met with tentative approval by the fan community, TheWrap reported Ava DuVernay, who was unjustly shut out of the Best Director category at this year’s Oscars, and Marvel have reportedly shared interest on a future project, likeliest bets being Black Panther or Captain Marvel.

Unfortunately legendary scooper El Mayimbe, who announced this morning the official title of his brand-spanking new outlet Heroic Hollywood, said during a Twitter Q&A last night that the two parts were unlikely to be compatible.

Still, this is a reminder there is a growing hunger for female representation across the board behind and in front of the camera, no matter what crusty old Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter thinks. No matter the misogynist emails of their overseer, TheWrap says Marvel remains “intent on hiring an African-American director for “Black Panther” and a female filmmaker for “Captain Marvel.” DuVernay’s hiring would make her Marvel’s first African-American and first female director, which would no doubt double as a public relations boon for the company.”

 

On the non-Marvel/Disney front, FOX is looking to keep their X-Men franchise fresh after Hugh Jackman announced his final turn as Wolverine and rumors surfaced that next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse might be the end of the Bryan Singer Era of X-Men films.

Spinoffs like Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds, and Gambit, starring Channing Tatum, are filming and in development respectively. FOX had previously looked to adapt X-Force with Jeff Wadlow though little news has been heard on that front. Instead, Deadline revealed Wednesday that Josh Boone, the blooming director of The Fault in Our Stars, has signed on to co-write and direct The New Mutants, based on one of the many X-Men comic off-shoots.

The film is still a ways off as Boone next turns his attention to an adaptation of Ann Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles and still has a film version of Stephen King’s epic doorstopper The Stand to make directly after.

Until next Friday!

About Sam Flynn

Wasting oxygen since 1992, Sam thanks the gods he doesn't believe in everyday his parents didn't discard him as an infant. It would have been the sensible thing to do.
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