Brad Pitt and a Groundhog

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

Bill Murray and eternity, Double Mr. Smith, Tim Burton’s 50-foot woman, and a Pop-Tart.

Let’s go!


BILL MURRAY AND THE FAILURE OF NOSTALGIA

It’s Groundhog Day!

In Groundhog Day (1993), Bill Murray is forced to relive the same day over and over again.

In fact, some film “scholars” have calculated that Murray spent upwards of three decades locked inside Punxsutawney, where he very slowly became a better person.

What kept this sublime film from being dull was Bill Murray embracing his time-loop fate as both playground and purgatory. Murray’s ultra-commitment to the absurd is a trait carried through his most iconic work, from Caddyshack (1980) as the maniacal groundskeeper to his various roles in Wes Anderson’s films, like the melancholy aquatic explorer in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004).

His most commercially successful film is Ghostbusters. It has been through many iterations:

The latest, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, is a sequel to 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The new film takes place in NYC, where a supernatural force has frozen the city.

The trailer for Frozen Empire is quick to cash in on the nostalgia factor with the new cast plus Murray re-staging some of the standout moments from the iconic original. Like we’re living the same Ghostbusters over and over again…

While it’s not to say that an Unforgiven-esque sequel couldn’t elevate the entire series, we hope the new Frozen Empire isn’t a ghost of the original.

For More:

What does Bill Murray do with eternity? Find out in the Groundhog Day trailer.

Watch the actual Groundhog Day livestream.

New Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024) trailer. Original Ghostbusters (1984) trailer. Venn diagram not included.

The release date for the new film is March 22nd.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Tarantino + Pitt. The Movie Critic is Quentin Tarantino’s 10th and possibly final film. Brad Pitt has just been cast. Back in May, Tarantino opened up about the film, which centers on a real-life movie critic for a porno mag that Tarantino used to read religiously during his youth:

“He wrote about mainstream movies, and he was the second-string critic. I think he was a very good critic. He was as cynical as hell. His reviews were a cross between early Howard Stern and what Travis Bickle might be if he were a film critic.”

Tarantino continued:

“He wrote like he was 55, but he was only in his early to mid-30s. He died in his late thirties. It wasn’t clear for a while, but now I’ve done some more research, and I think it was it was complications due to alcoholism.”

No word yet on who will play the lead, although it’s assumed to be Pitt, who previously worked with Tarantino on Inglourious Basterds (2009) and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).

Next on Netflix. It’s going to be a big year for Netflix. Here’s a “short” list of their upcoming projects:

Logline:

Michigan 1963, business rivals Kellogg’s and Post compete to create a cake that could change breakfast forever.

Mini clip.

Logline:

Helen, who embarks on a passionate affair with a man who has no idea what her secret identity is. Caught in the crosshairs when her lover falls victim to the dangerous London underworld, Helen’s employers call in Sam to protect her.

Mini clip.

  • Atlas
    • Starring Jennifer Lopez & Sterling K. Brown

Logline:

A bleak-sounding future, where an AI soldier has determined that the only way to end war is to end humanity.

Mini clip.

Logline:

Former CIA spies Emily and Matt are pulled back into espionage after their secret identities are exposed.

Mini Clip. This one is very fun.

  • Eric (Series)
    • Starring Benedict Cumberbatch

Logline:

Vincent, a grief-stricken father whose son goes missing, finds solace through his friendship with Eric, the monster that lives under Edgar’s bed.

Mini-mini Clip.

And Squid Game Season 2. Mini clip.

Watch the full epic mash-up trailer here.

While it seems that no entity can compete with Netflix’s behemoth grasp on consumer attention when it comes to living room viewing hours, YouTube ranks higher. Both are aiming to capture larger market segments with live TV. Netflix just made a $500M/year deal for one WWE weekly broadcast.

Netflix bought their 5th project from Sundance: Will Ferrell’s documentary, Will & Harper.

Tim Burton is adapting Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) with Gillian Flynn (writer: Gone Girl). Details are thin, but the trailer for the original has Burton’s name all over it.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Michael Shannon is the president of the United States. In Death By Lightning, a new series by Netflix (not coming in 2024), he plays President Garfield, who was assassinated by Charles Guiteau (played by Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen).

Shannon’s looming presence makes his ability to bounce between insanity and stability remarkable to watch in nearly every role:

Plus, he was in Groundhog Day (clip). Possibly his most fun role?

Death By Lightning will be based on the book Destiny of the Republic.

Here’s how President Garfield is described in the text:

Wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, a renowned congressman, and a reluctant presidential candidate who took on the nation’s corrupt political establishment.

It’s a more buttoned-up role than Shannon’s typical fare. But a challenge he will, of course, rise to meet.

Mrs. Smith signs with WME. Maya Erskine, who plays opposite Donald Glover in the newly released Mr. and Mrs. Smith series, is perfectly cynical playing “mission,” while Glover plays “marriage.” (Trailer).

Erskine’s talents extend to playing a fictionalized middle school version of herself in Pen15, where she served as co-creator and writer. At times crass but very funny as “Maya,” the shy tween she played with childlike earnestness.

Next for Erskine is an HBO series, The Perfect Nanny, where she will co-star with Nicole Kidman. She also serves as creator and writer.

Jack Quaid is set to portray a man immune to pain in the forthcoming Novocaine. It’s a stark contrast to his character in The Boys, who grapples with intense physical and emotional distress. Though Quaid’s comedic tendencies sometimes seem in-authentic, his performances rooted in trauma resonate deeply. Paramount just acquired the project.

Production begins in South Africa in April.


FESTIVALS

Registration is now open for Venice’s 81st Film Festival. The festival has been active since 1934 when Teresa Confalonieri won Best Italian Film. Since then, there have been many achievements in cinema celebrated with the Golden Lion (top prize), but perhaps nothing sums up the allure and romance of the festival than this festival awards ceremony video of Italian master Michelangelo Antonioni winning for his film Red Desert (1964).

Submissions have just opened for 2024. Features and shorts can be submitted here.

The final deadline is June 13th for features and May 31st for shorts.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Hailey Gates has an excellent cast for her first feature. Callum Turner (Masters of Air, Tramps) and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, Search Party) star in Atropia.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Follows the story of an aspiring actress who is working on a U.S. military training base simulating an Iraqi war zone.

Gates has had a few small roles in sizable projects (Uncut Gems as a receptionist and the most recent season of Twin Peaks as a scary, drugged-out mom).

Atropia is based on Shako Mako, a Vimeo Staff pic short she directed and is being produced by Luca Guadagnino (dir: Call Me By Your Name).

Accidental Texan. The film, as discussed in last week’s edition, is directed by longtime storyboard artist Mark Lambert Bristol. The film stars Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix).

The team just dropped a trailer.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

US strikes impact the UK Film and TV market. According to a BFI report (overview, published studies), although production spending was down across the board because 2022 was such a record year, the 2023 numbers are close to pre-pandemic levels:

  • £4.23 bn total combined Film/TV spend
    • ↓32% from 2022
    • £2.87 bn TV
    • £1.36 bn Film
    • 78% from inward investment
  • £985.8 M box office

BFI CEO Ben Roberts said:

“Whilst a level of film and high-end television production in the U.K. was disrupted by strikes in 2024, our industry continues to contribute billions to the U.K. economy and support a huge range of jobs. At the same time, audiences showed up in record numbers for must-see movies including Barbie, Oppenheimer, and Wonka, all of which exemplify the talent and artistry of so many U.K. creatives.”

He continued:

“And despite notable recent successes such as The Great Escaper, Rye Lane, Scrapper, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and Polite Society, we cannot ignore that the statistics also highlight concerns for lower budget U.K. films, increasingly challenged in securing finance and visibility. Our work and commitment in this area continues.”

It was noted late last year that indie film in the UK was headed towards market failure.

Tom Tykwer, the German director behind Run Lola Run, after a TV hiatus, returns to film. Tykwer has created a strong resume of cinema from the furiously-paced, bold, fractured narrative of Run Lola Run (trailer) to the slightly less well-received:

While there’s not a consistent throughline throughout all of his films, Tykwer often meditates on new facets of technology, be that 18th-century perfume, modern-day holograms, or futuristic genetic engineering, all culminating in films themselves that employ radically stylized narrative structures.

He just wrapped up production on his latest project, The Light. He describes it as a family portrait film between a couple and their twins and illegitimate son is unraveling with the presence of a Syrian housekeeper:

Here’s a first-look image.


ON THIS DAY

Paul Mescal, an Irish actor (All of Us Strangers), was born in Maynooth, Ireland.


That’s all for the week. See you Monday!


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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