Anthony Hopkins’ island of solitude

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

Anthony Hopkins is a mad doctor, STEVE! Martin in two parts, Lionsgate’s roar, Rosemary’s Baby meets Network and a lifeline.

Let’s go!


ANTHONY HOPKINS’ ISLAND OF SOLITUDE

Anthony Hopkins thrives in solitude.

In Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hopkins’ charming serial killer, Hannibal Lecter, wishes to escape his prison. And that singular need is the only tactical advantage that Jodie Foster ever has over him.

Hopkins discussed that role:

“I do have an instinct about these roles. I could understand Lecter. I could understand the mystery of the man, the loner, the isolated voice in the dark, the man at the top of the stairs who’s not really there.

In Hopkins’ most recent Oscar-winning performance in The Father (2020) in the titular role, he also plays a man who’s not really there: a man who experiences temporal dislocation due to his dementia, skirting in and out of reality to heart-breaking effect.

Hopkins has just been cast as Dr. Moreau in Eyes In The Trees, based on the H. G. Wells science fiction classic The Island of Dr. Moreau.

The novel has been adapted into a film three times, most recently in 1996 when Marlon Brando played Dr. Moreau.

In the film Dr. Moreau has created an island where he breeds chimeras as a form of purifying the human race. While Brando leaned into the familial aspect of the mad scientist, e.g., “These [chimeras] are all my children,” Hopkins may bring a different dimension.

Perhaps he will play the role as a man trapped by the solitude of his own ambitions.

It’s a place where we’ve seen him thrive before, and it will be delicious to see him take on this new character.

For More:

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) full film. Cued up to Brando’s entrance.

“I want a window where I can see a tree.” Hopkins pines for freedom in Silence of the Lambs. Clip.

The Father (2020) trailer.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Rust armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. It marks the close of the first chapter of a tragic case of disregard for safety regulations amidst a production that cut corners on cost.

Here’s a portion of the defense’s closing statement:

“There’s reasonable doubt she had anything to do ultimately with Halyna Hutchins’ death… The buck stops with production… as in any organization, it starts at the top.”

Here’s a portion of prosecution’s closing statement:

“[Gutierrez-Reed] was negligent, she was careless, she was thoughtless… [there is] a mountain of circumstantial evidence [against the defendant].”

Sentencing is expected to take place next month, Gutierrez-Reed may receive up to 18 months in jail. For more details on the trial check out this article from the NY Times.

July 9, Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial will begin. Baldwin served as the star and producer of Rust. Earlier this year new details came to light that conflicted with Baldwin’s account that he did not pull the trigger.

If convicted, Baldwin could also face up to 18 months in prison.

Lionsgate roars with a slate of new projects and partnerships. Here’s the line-up:

  • Signed multi-year first-look deal w/ Chad Stahelski (dir: John Wick series)
    • Stahelski will produce original action pics
  • Twilight animated series
    • Adaptation of the Twilight film series that grossed $3.4 bn
  • John Wick TV series
    • Different than The Continental (Peacock)

Lionsgate will also officially split from Starz in April.

Vice Chair Michael Burns said:

“Ultimately, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do believe that there are very interesting opportunities with Starz in the consolidation of independent channels. And Lionsgate, with the library and TV and film business, will be a very interesting strategic alliance partner — that is euphemistically put — with other players.”

Splitting from Straz allows Lionsgate to garner a larger valuation if it sells.

David Simon (creator: The Wire) is developing an HBO series. Here’s the official synopsis:

Will examine the foster care and child protective service systems from the viewpoint of family court judges and lawyers, as well as social workers, caretakers, mothers, and the children themselves, and will probe the risks and benefits of removing children from families of origin.

Simon will EP. The series will be co-written by Larissa MacFarquhar. The series will be based on her work on the subject at The New Yorker.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

STEVE! Martin is a wild and crazy guy. The new two-piece Apple TV+ documentary, STEVE! Martin tells the tale of Martin’s rocket fuel ascent from standup to stardom in the 70’s and beyond. Morgan Neville (dir: Roadrunner, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?) made the decision to split the documentary into two parts the Then and the Now, the former chronicling Steve’s ascent and the later giving a more current view into the actor’s happy semi retirement in 2022 (trailer).

Martin stated:

“When I finished stand-up comedy in 1980, I never wanted to see a live audience again. I did movies for 10 or 20 years and only occasionally would be found in front of a live audience for, you know, awards shows or charity events or something like that. And now, it’s the only place I want to be.”

Some of Martin’s best work includes:

STEVE! Martin will be released on Apple TV+ on March 29th.

Rosemary’s Baby meets Network. We’re usually against sensational mash-up film loglines, but Late Night With the Devil earns it. The trailer features David Dastmalchian as a talk-show host who, in an effort to boost ratings (sound familiar?) brings increasingly paranormal guests onto his show. Until one night when an on-air exorcism brings out the devil (trailer).

David Dastmalchian does a masterful job as master of ceremony, playing a much more grounded character than we’re used to (see his beautifully deranged performance in The Dark Knight – clipand Prisoners clip).

IFC Films will release Late Night With the Devil theatrically on March 22nd.

John Cena plays Ricky Stanicky. It’s great to see Cena doing outlandish comedy work. Especially because his latest film has fallen off a cliff. Coyote vs. Acme, a live-action animation hybrid by Warner Brothers, seems to be permanently canned.

His new film is Ricky Stanicky.

Here’s the official synopsis:

When three childhood best friends pull a prank that goes wrong, they invent the imaginary Ricky Stanicky to get them out of trouble. Twenty years later, they still use the nonexistent Ricky as a handy alibi for their immature behavior.

The childhood best friends (including Zac Efron) hire a celebrity impersonator to play Stinicky. And that’s Cena.

In the trailer, he brings a bombastic die-hard commitment to his newfound role that’s totally hilarious.

Streaming on Amazon Prime starting today.

A tidbit: Denzel Washington will play Othello, and Jake Gyllenhaal will play the treacherous Iago in a Broadway production of Othello, slated for 2025. Gyllenhaal as the conniving servant to the general Iago sounds like perfect casting. Washington recently played Macbeth in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth.


FESTIVALS

The Berlin Film Festival ended last month. But some great snippets of press conferences have just been released. Here’s a short list of our favorites:

Key García Bernal quote from the press conference video:

“An interesting contradiction. It places in Western culture like we normally think that the body is not the person. The body is a disposable vessel in a way. But what this film does is it challenges that notion in a very sensorial and kind of instinctive way, in an elemental way. And I love that question because it is not so linear, the answer. It is more complex, systematic, and definitely the body is also part of the person. The body is also part, the biological complexity is part of the life that is lost in the memory as well.”

  • Architecton

Key director quote from the press conference video:

“We need to use concrete, but we usually need overuse. Do you know that last two years, China produced more concrete than 100 years of the United States before? Do you know that for last year, we produced enough cement to build a wall 1,000 meters tall, 1 meters thick, around all the globe equator? Can you imagine what we do? Do you know that little factory working 24 -7 needs 26 stone of coal per hour? Do you understand what we are doing?”

We can’t wait for Architecton… and the director’s commentary.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Brantley Gutierrez directs a dream cast in the neo-noir thriller Lips Like Sugar. The first-time feature director has lined up:

  • Owen Wilson
  • Woody Harrelson
  • Juliette Lewis

Here’s the official synopsis:

A pair of homicide cops (Harrelson and Wilson) working to solve a possible serial killer case while police and city officials demand that all murders in LA be labeled Missing Persons until the Olympic torch is doused and the international media has left town. The detectives’ paths cross with a pair of teenage girls who have formed a fast and intense friendship. When one of the friends disappears, her mother (Lewis) and everyone else races against the ticking clock to find her.

The nostalgia factor in this film is big. Harrelson, for the first time since True Detective, is back on the beat. Although to see him play a dirty cop, look no further than the brilliant and chilling Rampart (2011, trailer).

And hard-core fans of Natural Born Killers (1994, trailer), which is the single greatest meditation on how media corrupts culture, will delight in seeing Lewis and Harrelson share screen time.

Gutierrez has an eye for casting. He directed Paul McCartney’s Who Cares music video. McCartney plays Emma Stone’s therapist to fantastic effect.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

UK announces 40% tax relief for indie films. UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt laid out the following deal terms:

  • 40% tax relief to movies made under £15M ($19M)
  • Start date: April 1
  • 40% business rates relief
    • Helps studios like Pinewood for 10+ years
    • Worth £470M

The move was celebrated by indie producers across Britain as well as Christopher Nolan who said:

“Independent and lower-budget filmmaking is where we had our start and where new voices and innovations vital to the entire industry are born. This enhanced tax relief builds on the incredible work already being done by British filmmakers and will create new opportunities for British crews, filmmakers, and cast members for years to come.”

The credit should bring a much-needed lifeline to the struggling industry.

StudioCanal launches genre films. Jed Benedict, former Vice President of International Acquisitions and Production of StudioCanal UK, who oversaw Hell or High Water (2016) and Another Round (2020), will be helming this new label.

Benedict stated:

“Horror, thriller, sci-fi and action where storytellers need not run from the darkness. Our goal is to be synonymous with films that dare to explore, that are fearless in their storytelling, which unlock the imagination with high concept narratives and above all else, give audiences one hell of a ride.”

This venture seeks to leverage StudioCanal’s vast 9,000-title catalog. Under Benedict’s stewardship, backed by CEO Anna Marsh, the label is poised to captivate genre aficionados with its daring, high-concept projects.


ON THIS DAY

2010. 82nd Academy Awards: The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Jeremy Renner wins best picture.


See you Friday!


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Written by Gabriel Miller and Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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