Keanu Reeves, Cameron Diaz and a doodle

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

Cameron Diaz’s return, Adam McKay doubles down, Ewan McGregor’s mustache, the unabashed insanity of The People’s Joker, and a doodle.

Let’s go!


CAMERON DIAZ’S RETURN

Cameron Diaz hasn’t acted in a decade.

But this year, she will star in Netflix’s Back In Action with co-star Jamie Foxx. She is also in talks to star with Keanu Reeves in the Jonah Hill-directed Outcome.

While there is no word on who Diaz would play in Outcome, Back In Action centers on the splashy return of a retiree.

Diaz first burst onto the scene as the electric yet sensitive love interest in the Jim Carrey classic The Mask (iconic entrance scene). Diaz’s character, which could easily have fallen victim to overly simplified 90s typecasting, is surprisingly layered.

But it was her neurotic, frumpy performance as Lotte in Being John Malkovich (1999) that demonstrated immense range.

Sharon Waxman, the author of Rebels on the Backlot, explained how director Spike Jonze helped her realize this transformation:

“Jonze finally asked Diaz not to be Diaz. He kept asking her to subtract elements of her personality; not to pucker her lips, not to perch on her hips—things she leaned on to emphasize her sexuality. ‘We started pushing the character,’ said Jonze. And Diaz was willing. Jonze found that he could see a common thread between Lotte and Diaz. ‘What Cameron is that Lotte is is this very caring person that’s very open with herself emotionally. She’s not driven by her neuroses as much as she’s driven by wanting to make sure everyone’s happy.’”

Diaz’s transformation for the role was so profound (still) that she often went unrecognized by the production team and even the studio chief.

But after fifteen years of taking on a range of projects, from Scorsese’s Gangs of New York (2002) to Bad Teacher (2011) to Annie (2014), she quit acting.

Speaking with Kevin Hart in 2021, she explained the decision:

“When you do something at a really high level for a long period of time, when you’re the person that’s sort of delivering on this one thing, everything around, all parts of you that isn’t that, has to sort of be handed off to other people. Just, the management of me as a human being… Cameron Diaz is a machine. But for my personal, spiritual self, I was realizing that one part of me that functioned at a high level wasn’t enough.”

After a decade-long hiatus, Cameron Diaz, presumably centered, returns to the big screen. And we’re lucky to have her back.

She flourishes through reinvention.

For More: ​ ​

Mini teaser trailer of Diaz and Foxx in Netflix’s Back in Action (2024).

Cameron Diaz and Jim Carrey tear up the dance floor in The Mask (1994). ​

Diaz is nearly unrecognizable in the Being John Malkovich trailer. Blink, and you’ll miss her.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Adam McKay doubles down on climate change films. McKay’s last film was the overtly metaphorical Don’t Look Up, about an extinction-level comet hurtling toward Earth. His next is reported to be Greenhouse, based on the book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.

Here’s the book’s official synopsis:

It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible—food shortages, refugee emergencies, climate wars and economic devastation.

Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell are in talks for leading roles.

No other details have been released, but McKay has been an advocate for quite some time, most recently in his anti-Chevron Chevron commercial.

Colin Farrell is back playing a detective in Apple TV+’s Sugar. Farrell has an innate ability to play both sides of the detective stereotype. His undercover detective in Miami Vice (2006), tasked with infiltrating a drug ring, is pure coolness. While he’s mercilessly uptight in Minority Report, as an agent from the US Justice Department sent to look into pre-crime. He picks back up the gauntlet in Apple’s latest Sugar.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Colin Farrell is private detective John Sugar, but like a lot of people in LA, he’s not who he seems. Farrell investigates the mysterious disappearance of a Hollywood producer’s granddaughter, discovering dark secrets about their family and the industry.

Farrell’s detective seems to fall into the “super cool” category from the recently released trailer. But if the description holds, he may do something unexpected with the character that elevates it beyond typecasting.

One more tidbit: Freaky Friday 2 is happening. Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis will star. Times seemed simpler back then. (OG trailer).


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Scoot McNairy has a talent for epitomizing fear. Watch his subtle terror as contract killer Brad Pitt sidles up to him at a bar in Killing Them Softly (2012, scene). In the upcoming Blood for Dust, he’s back with another killer (played by Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington). Check out his squeamishness in the trailer.

The film was an official selection at Tribeca and Raindance. It will be released on April 19th in theaters and on VOD.

Ewan McGregor is a prisoner. In the upcoming Paramount+ show A Gentleman in Moscow, McGregor stars as a man who is banished to a Russian hotel.

He’s rocking a delicious mustache in this trailer.

McGregor is best known for roles where he plays a prisoner in his own mind, notably in Trainspotting, where heroin has taken hold over his life (watch the famous opening sequence here), or in his less well-known portrayal of Jesus, who hallucinates visions of himself as the devil in Last Days in the Desert (trailer).

A Gentleman in Moscow premieres March 29 on Paramount+ with Showtime.

Zoey Deutch will play Jean Seberg in Richard Linklater’s upcoming New Wave. The film traces the genesis and filming of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (which starred Seberg).

There’s an unmatched playfulness to Seberg’s performance in Breathless as an American exchange student who flirts with, adores, safeguards, and deceives a French criminal.

Deutch has made her mark in Searchlight Picture’s Not Okay (trailer) as a photojournalist who fakes going to Paris so she can impress her boss, friends, and crush… to disastrous effect.

The plots are like spiritual cousins, and Deutch is looking very much like Seberg in this first-look photo.

New Wave is currently in production.

One more tidbit: Kevin Spacey will play the devil in an Italian thriller called The Contract.


FESTIVALS

Sundance Institute Episodic Lab. The Sundance Episodic Program is an entry point for emerging episodic writers. The Episodic Lab is an immersive six-day experience at the Sundance, offering writers an opportunity to workshop an original pilot and develop their writing and pitching skills.

Working with renown showrunners, producers, and executives, the Fellows participate in one-on-one story meetings, pitching sessions, craft workshops, and writers’ rooms.

The Episodic Lab will take place in the fall.

Apply here by March 9th.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

The People’s Joker is an insane trans-coming-of-age take from the mind of Vera Drew. A former I Think You Should Leave editor (Yes, Tim Robinson makes a cameo), Drew has mashed together a collage of Batman, childhood trauma, and a heaping helping of The Joker. A raucous psychopathic middle finger to Warner Brothers (yes, they are threatening to sue). But there is a sweetness under the barely concealed parody. The charming ultra-DIY aesthetic seems to cradle a truly personal story about Vera’s own trans identity. Fans have taken notice and The People’s Joker has already garnered a cult status.

Check out the trailer.

It is slated for theatrical release on April 5th.

The Trouble with Mr. Doodle at SXSW. Have you seen the YT video where a man covers his mansion with doodles? It’s beautifully impressionistic and altogether zany. This man is the subject of the new documentary The Trouble with Mr. Doodle.

Here’s the official synopsis:

A young boy has doodled obsessively since he first held a pen. His compulsion intensifies until his home and mind are dominated by endless drawings.

One of the directors, Jaimie D’Cruz, produced and was the cam-op on the much-loved portrait of Banksy in the Academy Award-nominated Exit Through the Gift Shop (trailer).

The Trouble with Mr. Doodle premieres at SXSW on March 11th.

Another tidbit: Steven Soderbergh’s next project is Black Bag, starring Cate Blanchett, Michael Fassbender, and now Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page. The spy thriller, set at Focus Features, is currently in pre-production.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Joachim Trier’s cinema is louder than bombs. Trier has directed a trio of powerful films:

  • Oslo, August 31st (2011)
  • Louder Than Bombs (2015)
    • Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne
    • Official Selection Cannes
    • The ultra slow-mo scenes are burned in my cerebrum
    • Trailer
  • The Worst Person in the World (2021)
    • Official Selection Cannes
    • An excellent surrealness to it
    • Trailer

His films serve as meditations on love and time. His next movie is Sentimental Value.

Here’s the official synopsis:

​​Follows actress Nora and her sister Agnes as they mourn the loss of their mother while their father, Gustav, makes a long-awaited return to their life. A once-famous director, Gustav has prepared a script for a comeback picture and offered his daughter Nora the lead role, but she vehemently declines.

Gustav meets a devoted Hollywood actress while on a career retrospective in France and offers her the role that was meant for Nora. When the movie begins filming in his native Norway, Gustav seizes the chance to mend his relationship with Nora and her sister.

The film has just received €200,000 from the German Federal Film Board and will be shot later this year.


ON THIS DAY

1947. Rob Reiner, director of When Harry Met Sally, This Is Spinal Tap, and The Princess Bride, is born in The Bronx, New York.


See you Thursday!


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Written by Gabriel Miller and Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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