Jesse Eisenberg gets ripped. Zelda fights Frankenstein

This article first appeared as a daily newsletter. To receive these direct to your inbox every morning sign up to The Industry Newsletter!

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

Jesse Eisenberg gets ripped. Zelda fights Frankenstein. Ron Howard’s passion project. And Croatian ghost ships.

Let’s go!


JESSE EISENBERG GETS RIPPED

Jesse Eisenberg’s metamorphosis in Manodrome is nothing short of remarkable.

His chiseled physique is a sharp contrast to his iconic Mark Zuckerberg character, who would flinch at the drop of a hat.

In this film, Eisenberg’s character delves into the meaning of manhood. He seeks solace from the challenges of fatherhood through a male support group led by a dysfunctional cult leader, Adrien Brody.

From the trailer, it seems like the group is a one-dimensional portrait of groupthink and male violence.

“Take back your power.”

Brody tells Eisenberg. But is this a call for liberation or a siren song for subjugation?

Beneath the surface, Eisenberg is struggling with inadequacy and seeking validation from a dangerous leader, which leads him to violence.

Unlike this film, Fight Club used brutality to emphasize ego destruction as a route for self-enlightenment.

Manodrome, at least from the trailer, feels like a more standard critique of the glorification of violence.

Eisenberg, in his transformation for the role, understood these nuances:

“It feels like their whole world is being threatened. And all their personal insecurities and fears and feelings of inadequacy manifest as anger towards women as opposed to looking inward to fix whatever issues are going on with themselves.”

Manodrome is directed by John Trengove, whose previous feature, The Wound, played at Sundance and Berlin, was celebrated as a groundbreaking LGBT film.

We hope Manodrome will be seen as a poignant portrait of the core issue that Eisenberg highlighted: anger and hatred being weaponized in our society.


For More:

Trailer for Manodrome, in case you missed it above.

Trailer for director John Trengove’s first film, The Wound. Plays a little like a South African Moonlight.

Co-star Adrien Brody is no stranger to packing on muscle. He gained 25lbs for Predators.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

“Hard time or primetime?”

The Running Man, the 1987 film that pitted convict Arnold Schwarzenegger against a pack of hitmen for televised entertainment, is getting a reboot. Edgar Wright is set to direct. While the original story (trailer here) was set in 2017, we’re hopeful that by the time Wright’s version is released, society won’t have degraded to that point.

Ron Howard’s passion project is a murder mysteryOscar winner Howard (A Beautiful Mind) caught the bug to direct Eden while visiting the Galapagos fifteen years ago. He’s been dying to direct this survival thriller ever since. The film shoots next month and is set to star Sydney Sweeney (EuphoriaThe White Lotus), Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley), and Ana de Armas (Blonde).

Poltergeist is a new spirit of TV series. It is the first of many upcoming releases from Amazon’s vast vault of MGM IP they amassed during their $8.5B acquisition of the company. Other MGM classics poised for a TV reincarnation include:

The $100M Hunger Games sequel secures an interim agreement from SAG. While many studio projects have been pushed due to the strike:

White Bird (Lionsgate)

  • Aug ’23 → Q4 ’23

​Dune: Part Two (Warner Bros.)

  • Nov ’23 → Mar ’24

​Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2 (Sony)

  • Dec ’23 → Mar ’24

Lionsgate’s Hunger Games sequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, will be allowed to have its stars Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage promote the film ahead of the November 17th theatrical release. No word yet on why they received the agreement, but the film was already pegged as a hefty gamble given it’s the first of the eight sequels in this billion-dollar franchise without Jennifer Lawrence.

Sony Pictures TV head, who oversaw Breaking Badretires after 36 years. Ed Lammi is set to retire at the conclusion of this year, culminating a remarkable tenure at the studio with great projects like Breaking BadThe Boys, and Cobra Kai.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Jeffrey Wright has always had a gift for comedy. In Broken Flowers (2005), he plays a goofy amateur sleuth. Even his character Felix Lighter, James Bond’s American counterpart, is quick-witted with his one-liners [No Time to Die spoiler]. Jeffrey Wright delivers his finest comedic performance in this year’s Toronto Film Festival, the People’s Choice Award-winning American Fiction. He plays a down-on-his-luck author with a PhD who is perturbed by the increasing success of books about stereotypical “black stuff.” He pens a novel in that voice as a farce, but to his utter surprise, it takes off. It’s hysterical and nuanced. Check out the trailer.

The 2014 horror hit It Follows gets a sequelMost of the original team is still involved:

  • Director David Robert Mitchell
  • Lead Maika Monroe
  • Producer David Kaplan (Short Term 12)
  • Distributor Tom Quinn (now CEO of Neon, previously TWC-Radius)

It’s rare for indies to get sequels, and this promises to be another spine-chilling installment for fans. Production is set for 2024.

Former Dr. Who actor Matt Smith dips his toe into folk horror. He stars in Starve Acre, which is based on the book of the same name. The story takes place in 1970’s rural England. Smith plays an archeologist whose simple country life takes a turn when an ancient myth leads him to a powerful tree on his property… and then things get bloody—coming later this year.


FESTIVALS

The 2023 Agents and Managers virtual conference is a rare opportunity to get your work in front of:

  • WME
  • Gersh
  • Anonymous Content
  • 3 Arts Entertainment
  • Sony Pictures

Events include:

And many more. All events take place November 6th-9th. The cost is $25/event.

For full access and the opportunity to circulate your material amongst all the agents attending the conference, you can buy an all-access pass here for $175.

The film Totem sweeps Mexico’s prestigious Moreilla Film Festival. The movie won:

  • Best Mexican Feature
  • Audience Award
  • Best Director

Totem tells the story of a young girl who ponders the end of the world during her birthday party. The film was an official selection at the Berlin Film Festival and is Mexico’s Oscar submission. No release date, but you can watch the trailer here.


TECH SECTION

1000 WGA East members decry the use of AI in an open letter:

“We recognize there are ways AI can support our work — but we also know that this technology can introduce factual errors, perpetuate racist biases, compromise data privacy, and diminish our readers’ trust. We’ve already seen publications make embarrassing fumbles by rushing out AI-generated content, resulting in widespread reputational harm and reader mistrust.”

The members are advocating for digital media companies to engage in meaningful conversations with them to safeguard their workers from potential AI threats and are dedicated to finding protection against AI-driven job displacement.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams, makes her directorial debut with Diablo Cody’s script, Lisa FrankensteinThe trailer showcases the titular character reviving a corpse using a tanning machine. Williams balances these horror and comedy elements with striking precision to deliver a heartfelt message about the risks we take in pursuit of genuine connection. The movie is set to be released next Valentine’s Day, 2024 by Focus Features.

David Lynch-esque film at AFI Fest wows. The prismatic film The Universal Theory blends mystery-noir, science-fiction thriller, romance, psychedelic journey, and spy flick. It is set in the Swiss Alps and delves into quantum mechanics, parallel worlds, and the lingering specter of fascism. Check out the trailer. This is director Timm Kröger’s second feature film. He was part of Berline Talents in 2016, a program that aims to bolster filmmakers who have already had 1-2 projects at international festivals.

Alex Garland’s (Ex Machinalatest film stars Kirsten Dunst. The Sci-fi, entitled Civil War, is set:

“At an indeterminate point in the future – just far enough ahead for me to add a conceit. And serves as a sci-fi allegory for our currently polarised predicament.”

Garland, despite having directed some of the best sci-fi’s in recent years (Annihilation, Devs), views himself primarily as a writer:

“I only wanted to direct in order to remove other directors from the equation. I essentially got where I am, so I don’t have to sit there anymore thinking, ‘oh f— don’t do it like that.’ This isn’t a slight against [Danny] Boyle [Slumdog Millionaire director], the most complete, truest filmmaker I’ve ever worked with. I learned an awful lot from him, but nonetheless, there were things in Sunshine that made me think, ‘no, don’t do it like that,’ and I tried to let them go and found I couldn’t.”

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Lionsgate unleashes Kill: a boundary-breaking Bollywood action. Lionsgate has secured North American and UK theatrical rights to the Hindi language action movie Kill, marking a rare collaboration between prominent Indian and American studios:

“American audiences have become more open than ever to bold filmmaking from all corners of the world. We were astounded by Kill and dazzled by the artistry of director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat. We’re confident that Kill will find an audience ready to delight in this film’s exuberant mayhem.”

Said Lauren Bixby, SVP of Acquisitions Lionsgate. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and is set for a 2024 release.

Croatian ghost ships documentary wins top prize at Prague film festival. The trailer for Ships is poetic and haunting. It makes us want to explore the many abandoned vessels around the world. Some we’ve explored, like those on Staten Island, others in Nambia or Angola, are on our bucket list.

Sado Island is where lost memories echo. The film Who Were We? is set on this very island in Japan, known for its history of gold mining. The movie portrays a metaphysical love story, following two characters with no memory of their past. Director Tetsuya Tomina said:

“The way I like to shoot my films is to capture the actors simply as they are — to only capture their existence — and that’s the real reason I wrote this story of characters with no memory.”

Check out the ethereal trailer.


READER SPOTLIGHT

Carlos Zozaya has served as an independent feature film producer on:

He has been selected as:

  • Gotham fellow for the IFFR Producer’s Lab in Rotterdam. (2018)
  • Gotham fellow for the Cannes Producer’s Network. (2023)

His latest project, Gasoline Rainbow (dir. The Ross Brothers), premiered at the Venice Film Festival 2023. MUBI will release the film theatrically in 2024.

www.carloszozaya.com

If you’d like to be featured in our “readers spotlight,” click here for more information.

That’s all for today! Happy Halloween.


ON THIS DAY

1962What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? horror film directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, based on the novel by Henry Farrell.



Today’s edition was written by: Gabriel Miller and Spencer Carter.

Share the Post:

Other Editions

Become a Film Industry Insider!

Sign up for The Industry!

It’s a curated newsletter read by almost 100,000 film professionals.

We synthesize the latest film & TV news and send it to your inbox every morning. 

It takes less than 5 minutes to read.

Plus it’s FREE forever.