Al Pacino’s madness

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Al Pacino’s mad king, Fanning and Fassbender, two Shyamalans, Gerard Butler has fallen and a double life.

Let’s go!


AL PACINO’S MADNESS

Al Pacino is King Lear.

Pacino is about to play the greatest character ever written for an octogenarian in Lear, Rex, a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear.

In this tragic masterpiece, Lear, an aging monarch, divides his kingdom among his eldest daughters after they offer him flowery overtures about their unwavering love. Lear’s youngest is denied this territorial birthright when she shares the honest truth that she loves her father in accordance with her duty as a daughter.

After the elder daughters take over the kingdom, they banish King Lear, and he descends into madness.

Here’s a snippet of Lear’s ravings as he fumbles through a storm:

“You sulph’rous and thought-executing fires // Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts, // Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder.”

Lear continues:

“Here I stand your slave, // A poor, infirm, weak, and despis’d old man.”

Imagining Pacino recount these lines is pure symphony.

Pacino has been playing on the razor’s edge of benevolence and madness for the majority of his career. From his righteously deranged cop in Serpico (1973) to his unhinged bank robber with a heart of gold in Dog Day Afternoon (1975). To career favorites as the operatic Tony Montana in Scarface (1983) and the calculating, devoted son in The Godfather (1972).

Pacino has previously co-starred in a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (2004) as Shylock.

The director, Michael Radford, stated:

“Lear is the one that everyone aims for. Al has been toying with the idea for a long time. There’s a difference between Shylock, who’s only in five scenes, and Lear, who is in every scene, pretty much. It’s enormous. I think [Pacino] would like to have that kind of kudos because he’s a terrific actor.”

With Lear, we may see a late-stage Pacino renaissance, blending Shakespeare’s poetry with Pacino’s madness.

Lear, Rex will shoot this summer.

For More:

“There is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit.” Eternal words spoken by Al Pacino, playing a blind man in Scent of a Woman (1992), his only Oscar-winning performance. Scene.

When Scarface (1983) was released, the premiere went so poorly that one of the actors in the film (Mark Margolis) slid down in his seat to hide his shame. Here’s to Pacino’s operatic acting (“Say hello to my little friend” scene).

In the climatic scene of The Godfather (1972) Italian was being spoken so fast that subtitles were impossible to use. Instead the great editor and sound designer Walter Murch enhanced the diegetic sound of the nearby subway in this famous scene where Pacino becomes a killer.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Apple TV+ shows will be granted a second life in international markets. Fifth Season is the production company behind the Apple TV+ shows:

Fifth Season is selling these shows to secondary markets at the London TV Screenings.

Prentiss Fraser, Fifth Season’s president, said:

“The opportunity for linear broadcasters here is incredible. It’s not often that they get the ability to access shows at these budget levels, and at the same time, the talent are really excited to reach a broader audience on a market by market basis. They are huge stars who are often asked by fans, ‘When can I see your shows?’.”

These shows cost Apple upwards of $1 bn to make, yet Apple TV+ has the lowest share of the streaming market in the US:

  1. Amazon Prime: 22%
  2. Netflix: 21%
  3. Max: 15%
  4. Disney+: 12%
  5. Hulu: 11%
  6. Paramount +: 8%
  7. Apple TV+: 7%

However, for Apple, the strategy of having a streaming service is just a branding play so they can keep eyeballs in the Apple ecosystem and fuel sales for the iPhone, MacBook, AppleTV, and recent Vision Pro.

Warner Bros. Discovery will not merge with Paramount. After Shari Redstone, president of Paramount’s parent company signaled she is looking to sell the company, many companies have thrown their hat in the ring.

Byron Allen put in a $30 billion offer for Paramount Global, which includes debt and equity. David Ellison is also considering acquiring Shari Redstone’s stake in National Amusements.

Following early interest in December, Warner Bros. Discovery, in light of their lackluster earnings call last Friday, is halting their talks of a merger.

One more tidbit: the new Jurassic Park film, written by David Koepp, who penned the original, is set to shoot at the end of July. Gareth Edwards (dir: The Creator, Rogue One) is set to direct.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Dakota Fanning is being watched. Fanning stars in Ishana Shyamalan’s (M. Night’s daughter) directorial debut, The Watchers.

Here’s the official synopsis:

A young artist gets stranded in an extensive, immaculate forest in western Ireland, where, after finding shelter, she becomes trapped alongside three strangers. Mina finds herself in a room with a wall of glass, and an electric light that activates at nightfall, when the Watchers come above ground. These creatures emerge to observe their captive humans and terrible things happen to anyone who doesn’t reach the bunker in time.

There’s a pitch-perfect terror that Fanning inhabits in the teaser trailer.

Perhaps it is because Fanning has been watched ever since she debuted at age seven in I Am Sam (2001), where she played the tenacious daughter of her developmentally disabled father, Sean Penn. She became the youngest actress to receive a SAG Award nomination for that performance.

After acting across from modern cinema greats like Denzel Washington in Man on Fire (2004) and Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds (2005) as a child actor she hasn’t fully found her stride.

Recently though she had a great bit role in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (2019) where she gave Brad Pitt a tough time (scene).

Hopefully, the lead role in The Watchers will allow her to showcase the heights of her talent.

The Watchers is in theaters June 7th.

Don’t give Michael Fassbender a gun. He is in talks to star in the George Clooney-directed espionage thriller The Department, based on the brilliant French series The Bureau (trailer). The French series centered on an undercover agent who spent six years undercover in the Middle East and reckons with his new identity as he returns to France amidst the baggage of a Syrian love affair and a geo-political entanglement.

Fassbender should be great in this role. He’s recently played two excellent killers, the first in David Fincher’s The Killer as an OCD assassin (trailer) and the other in the Sundance Irish hit Kneecap.


FESTIVALS

A flurry of projects are “falling” into place at the London TV Screenings, a marketplace for existing TV shows to find international buyers.

Here are the top projects:

  • Paris Has Fallen
    • Adaptation of the Gerard Butler series
    • Studiocanal’s biggest TV production
    • 8-episode high-octane series

Synopsis:

Centers on a member of a security deal guarding a high-ranking politician, like Butler’s Banning in the film series. Here, the target is France’s Minister of Defense, attacked by a terror force at a high-profile event.

  • Fallen
    • Created by Camilla Ahlgren (The Bridge)
    • Produced by Banijay
    • 10% of Sweden has watched
    • Trailer (in Swedish, but you get the idea)

Synopsis:

Iris Broman, a newly widowed police officer, moves to Ystad, Sweden, to heal and lead a cold case unit in Malmö. Her work and personal struggles intertwine as she investigates a decade-old murder, complicating her relationship with her half-sister Kattis.

While there’s no official synopsis, it’s said to be a political thriller.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Kino Lorber buys Sundance thriller. The film is Sebastian, directed by up-and-comer Mikko Mäkelä.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Max, a 25-year-old aspiring writer living in London, begins a double life as a sex worker in order to research his debut novel.

The teaser trailer is heart-pounding.

Wendy Lidell, SVP at Kino Lorber said:

“Mikko Mäkelä’s sensual, sophisticated debut offers an engrossing and provocative look at the intersection of sex work, art, identity and authenticity.
Sebastian hardly shies away from frank depictions of sex on screen, but what impressed me most about it at Sundance was that the carnal acts on display were never gratuitous, but rather suffused with intellectual and artistic purpose.”

The film builds on Mäkelä’s previously directed feature, A Moment in the Reeds (2017), about an LGBTQ Finnish-Syrian relationship.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

UK Broadcasting Union Bectu urges action. Bectu has demanded a summit with UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer to address the dire situation facing Film and TV freelancers.

68% of freelancers report being out of work.

Bectu criticizes the government’s portrayal of a “booming” creative industry, highlighting the grim reality many workers face post-pandemic and post-industry strikes.

The summit would aim to ensure the sustainability of the UK’s freelance workforce.

Japan opens a 50% production incentive. Japan introduced a 50% reimbursement on qualifying expenses, capped at $6.66 M/project.

The kicker is that eligible productions must meet one of the following criteria:

  • $3.3 M minimum spend in Japan
  • $6.66 M minimum budget
    • $1.33 M local spend

The incentive aims to enhance the global appeal of Japan as a viable shooting alternative (see yesterday’s edition on the Los Angeles tax incentive).

The first application cycle is March 4 – 15. You must apply through a Japanese production company.


ON THIS DAY

1951 8th Golden Globes: Sunset Boulevard, Jose Ferrer, & Gloria Swanson win.


See you Thursday.


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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