Daniel Craig goes Queer

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

Daniel Craig’s masculinity, Idris Elba is a flight risk, from Honey Boy to Ponyboi and a stone.

Let’s go!


DANIEL CRAIG GOES QUEER

Daniel Craig’s hyper-masculinity as Bond is a beautiful shield.

It’s much noted that Bond wears his debonair demeanor like armor.

One thrilling scene in Skyfall (2012) that gets an audible audience gasp occurs when Javier Barden takes a slow, seductive walk toward Bond, who is tied to a chair. Bardem begins to caress Bond’s thigh and queries:

“Well, first time for everything, I guess.”

Without missing a beat, Bond responds:

“What makes you think this is my first?”

Bond’s bravado complicates our image of him as a heteronormative womanizer. In fact, this straight-laced image of Bond was one of Craig’s core fears in taking the role:

“There’s kind of a rigidity to it… Some of my friends told me I’d never be able to do anything else. What if I wanted to go off and do Gay Bikers on Acid – how would Sony feel about that?!

To date, these fears have been misguided as Craig has played many queer characters starting with an early theater role in Angels in America (1993). He played Joe Pitt, a man who is wedged between being a devout Mormon and his newfound sexual attraction to men.

In his most recent recurring role, Craig stars as the brilliantly flamboyant detective Benoit Blanc in Knives Out (2019/2022).

Now Craig is the lead in Queer, the newest film by Luca Guadagnino (dir: Call Me by Your Name, 2017).

Here’s the official synopsis for Queer:

Lee (Craig) recounts his life in Mexico City among American expatriate college students and bar owners surviving on part-time jobs and GI Bill benefits. He is driven to pursue a young man named Allerton, who is based on Adelbert Lewis Marker.

The film is said to be playing at Cannes this year.

Although it’s easy to pencil Craig’s work into a schema of hypermasculinity, his roles, both past and present, transcend this with their nuanced vulnerability.

For More:

Javier Bardem and Daniel Craig. The 2-minute Skyfall villain monologue is a masterclass in acting.

Foul play in the Knives Out trailer. Craig is in fine form.

How Bond changed Craig. GQ video.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Don’t let Idris Elba back on that plane. Hijack Season 2 has just been greenlight by Apple. The first season’s magic was suppressing Elba’s intensity into the confines of a hijacked plane (trailer).

Elba stated:

“I was floored by the overwhelming audience response after Season 1… It’s top secret what new situation unfolds for Sam Nelson [Ilba’s character], but I can assure you we will bring the high octane back.”

Up, up, and away.

Sony buys Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s 28 Years Later trilogy. The original film 28 Days Later (trailer, 2002), which grossed $82.7 M and spawned a sequel, was the breakout role for actor Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer). It also served as the first screenwriting credit for Alex Garland (Ex-Machina, Annihilation), whose novel The Beach was adapted by Danny Boyle.

The trilogy (dir: Boyle, writer: Garland) has a reported price tag of $60M/film.

No word if Murphy will retain his role, but he’s boarded the project as an EP, so he may definitely have an appetite.

Sundance sales. Latest and greatest:

Here’s the official synopsis:

13-year-old Taiwanese American boy discovers skating, flirting, and the true essence of maternal love beyond his family’s teachings.

Wang stated:

“Underneath the joy and chaos of adolescence is a complicated and turbulent, but ultimately tender relationship story between this boy and his immigrant mom as they struggle to understand each other despite their cultural and generational differences.”

Wang just received an Oscar nomination for his documentary short Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó. The trailer opens with a scene of octogenarians arm wrestling.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Donnie Yen is the best part of John Wick 4. His blind assassin character is absurd yet enthralling (clip). Yen has been at the height of both Chinese and American martial arts cinema:

Yen will now star in Kung Fu for Universal Pictures. The film is an adaptation of the classic 70s TV show with the following synopsis:

Shaolin monk and martial arts expert Caine flees China after his master is killed. Now, he wanders the Old West of America, defending the helpless and beating down bad guys with his Kung Fu, all while trying to find his half-brother and evade Chinese bounty hunters.

Watch this clip from the original where a young Jodie Foster saves the day.

Yen’s poetic violence should elevate this film.

Ralph Fiennes will write, direct, and act in his new film, The Beacon. Fiennes’ excellence has spanned many decades, from his Oscar-nominated role in both Schindler’s List (1993) as the icy Nazi commander and The English Patient (1996) as a bitter romantic to The Reader (2008) as the lovesick lawyer to The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) as the hotel concierge to the James Bond series Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015) and No Time to Die (2021) as M.

Fiennes recently had an excellent role in The Menu (2022) as a maniacal perfectionist chef (trailer).

His new film is The Beacon. Here’s the official synopsis:

Joshua Nyaga travels to the countryside from London to spend a summer’s weekend with his girlfriend Cass’ family for the first time. Transplanted as a young boy from the violence of the Ugandan civil war to the concrete jungle of London, Joshua has never experienced the privilege that Cass’ family enjoys… when a sudden act of violent racism at a local summer concert shatters the peace forcing Joshua and those around him to confront the uncomfortable truth of their differences.

This marks the first time Fiennes’ has written a screenplay. He’s directed three features; his most recent is The White Crow (2018, trailer).

The Beacon is currently in pre-production and will film in the summer in England.


FESTIVALS

When it comes to being an artistic creator, understanding copyright is essential. Join the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts for COPYRIGHT 101, Current Answers to Deceptively Simple Legal Questions, an hour-long introduction to U.S. copyright law tailored for non-lawyers. This session covers the nature of copyright, what qualifies for protection, obtaining copyrights, infringement remedies, legal exceptions, the concept of fair use, including recent Supreme Court insights, and the implications of copyright in the digital realm and AI.

The course takes place on Thursday, February 8th, from 5 – 6 pm EST

Register here.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Very few indie filmmakers use Chicago as a landscape. The crew base for features is generally polarized for either mega-budget films (Rampage, The Dark Knight) or ultra-low-budget genre films.

Minhal Baig’s work is a rare exception. Her film Hala (2019, Official selection Sundance and TIFF) is a poetic take on Muslim adolescence (trailer).

Sony Pictures Classics has just acquired her follow-up film, We Grown Now.

Here’s the official synopsis.

Two young boys, best friends Malik and Eric, discover the joys and hardships of growing up in the sprawling Cabrini-Green public housing complex in 1992 Chicago.

The trailer showcases a poetic and operatic exploration of boyhood.

We’re excited for this one.

Mark Ankner from Honey Boy to Ponyboi. As a partner at Endeavor Content, Akner helped with packing, sales, and distribution on some of the strongest indies in recent years:

He just produced Sundance’s Ponyboi based on the original short.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Unfolding over the course of Valentine’s Day in New Jersey, a young intersex sex worker must run from the mob after a drug deal goes sideways, forcing him to confront his past.

Ankner spoke about the types of films that resonate with him:

“I would love for more Ponybois, more Sorry to Bother Yous, more Call Me By Your Names, more Dear White Peoples, more Honey Boys, all these films that I’ve worked with over the years, being made by studios. But, there is a process of a studio where they’re looking to deliver a certain product.”

He sees festivals like Sundance as a conduit for connecting to audiences about more challenging topics that are too risky for the studios.

Check out this deep-dive video of Ankner discussing producing Ponyboi and what it means for the future of indie cinema.

The Last Stop in Yuma County is hectically tense. Watch this exclusive clip and try to breathe.

Here’s the official synopsis:

A traveling knife salesman is stranded and forced to wait at a rural rest stop and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a violent hostage situation upon the arrival of two bank robbers who are on the run after a recent heist.

Well Go USA (Train to Busan) has just purchased the North American rights for the film.

Brennan Lane, director of acquisitions and production at Well Go USA said:

The Last Stop in Yuma County is a perfect example of the type of unique, original story that can most readily be found in the world of indie cinema, particularly at the current height of recycled IP in cinema.”

Francis Galluppi is the first-time feature director behind the project. His 2020 short, The Gemini Project, took the Best Science-Fiction /Fantasy Short award at the Burbank International Film Festival (full short).


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Victor Kossakovsky’s cinema is spellbinding. Here’s what P.T. Anderson had to say about Kossakovsky’s most recent Gunda (2020):

“This is a film to take a bath in – it’s stripped to its essential elements, without any interference. It’s what we should all aspire to as filmmakers and audiences – pictures and sound put together to tell a powerful and profound story without rush. It’s jaw-dropping images and sound put together with the best ensemble cast and you have something more like a potion than a movie.”

The trailer almost lives up to it.

Kossakovsky’s latest, Architecton, financed by A24, will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

Here is the synopsis:

An extraordinary journey through the material that makes up our habitat: concrete and its ancestor, stone.

The Match Factory (Priscilla, Perfect Days) has just acquired international rights.

Here’s a first-look image.

Sony Pictures International Productions appoints Milada Kolberg as production director for Germany. She has over 20 years of experience in film acquisitions and international co-productions.

Recently she’s overseen:

Kolberg stated:

“I am honored to be given this great opportunity by Sony Pictures International Productions, Shebnem, and Benjamin to grow the local language production business in Germany. I look forward to collaborating with a wide range of local talent to create exciting IPs and quality entertainment for the German audience.”

Kolberg will expand Sony’s local production portfolio, starting with new sequels to the German box office hit The Three Investigators – Legacy of the Dragon (trailer).


ON THIS DAY

2015. 31st Sundance Film Festival: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl wins Grand Jury Prize Dramatic.


See you Friday.


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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