Margot Robbie’s trap Ryan Gosling’s treasure

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

Margot Robbie’s next film, Ryan Gosling’s past lives, Disney’s New Year, a Celine Song love triangle, and some very loud colors.

Let’s go!


MARGOT ROBBIE’S TRAP

Margot Robbie is not having a tough time in the real world.

Despite not being nominated for an acting Oscar for Barbie, for which she also served as a producer, the film propelled her into the epicenter of the cultural zeitgeist.

She at once became the highest-grossing movie star of 2023, an icon of female power, and the leader of post-COVID optimism for the theatrical experience.

But it could have fallen flat.

Robbie explained how she avoided the trap of playing Barbie:

“I didn’t want her to come across as vapid or unintelligent because she is really intelligent. She just hasn’t been exposed to so many concepts. It’s more like a difference between being naïve and being ditsy.”

What Robbie plays so beautifully is to let Barbie experience each new feeling like an epiphany.

The disillusionment of her plastic perfection is well-practiced.

Before Barbie, she took on the role of the Olympic skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya (2017).

In this film, she strives to be the image of a perfect figure skater under the thumb of her cruel mother (Allison Janney), and although she nails an impossible triple-axel, she ultimately becomes a victim of her violent upbringing.

Robbie’s next role will be in A Big Bold Beautiful Journey.

Here’s the official synopsis:

An imaginative tale of two strangers and the unbelievable journey that connects them.

There’s not much to go off, but the writer Seth Reiss’ first feature script, The Menu, tackled artifice and art through a horrific chef’s table.

The overly fuzzy title, paired with Reiss’ critical view of perfection, may put Robbie back in the territory of stepping out of her box.

For More:

“I also judge on presentation.” Margot Robbie is chaotic and elegant in I, Tonya (trailer).

Sometimes, Barbie thinks about dying. Trailer.

All the time travel in the world can’t make Margot Robbie fall in love with you—as Domhnall Gleeson discovers in the painful About Time, time loop.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Disney’s strong quarter. Here are the gains and losses from their Q1 earnings call:

Subscribers:

  • ↓ 1.3 M subs – Disney+
    • Attributed to price hike
    • 111.3 M subs total
  • ↑ 1.2M subs – Hulu
    • 49.7 M subs total
  • ↑ 700K subs – Disney+ Hotstar
    • 38.3 M subs total

Streaming Service:

  • ↓$216 M
  • Down from $387M loss Q4 2023

Strategic Initiatives:

CEO Bob Iger stated:

“Our strong performance this past quarter demonstrates we have turned the corner and entered a new era for our company, focused on fortifying ESPN for the future, building streaming into a profitable growth business, reinvigorating our film studios, and turbocharging growth in our parks and experiences.”

Disney’s streaming service will aim to be profitable by the end of the year.

A cool million for Kevin Spacey. In 2021, Spacey was fired from House of Cards and forced to pay the production company (MRC) $31 M for his on-set behavior. Now, in a very Frank Underwood fashion, Spacey has struck a deal with MRC. His fines have been reduced to one million dollars if he cooperates as a witness against the insurance company Lloyds of London and Fireman’s Fund. Spacey will allege to have suffered from “sex addiction,” which he sought treatment for during the House of Cards Season 6 shoot. If he wins with MRC, there could be up to a $150 M payout (split with Netflix).

Cue Spacey looking into the camera.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

What made A Quiet Place (2018) so compelling was that from the first frame, we’re plunged into a very new type of dystopia. In the first ten minutes of the film, we learn the circumstances through an abandoned grocery store, sign language, and scraps of newspaper.

Now, A Quiet Place: Day One explores the origin story. It will be a disaster film starring Lupita Nyong’o, who witnesses the horror and destruction of the alien invasion (trailer).

Nyong’o had one of the strongest cinema debuts with her riveting performance in 12 Years a Slave (scene).

Nyong’o, who’s appeared recently in both Black Panther films and Jordan Peele’s Us (2019), is currently developing a series about Nigerian immigrants for HBO with Brad Pitt’s Plan B.

A Quiet Place: Day One will be released on June 28th.

Gosling goes Animaniacs. For the role of Ken, he dug deep into the campiness of his childhood, working on the R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series and the Mickey Mouse Club.

In an interview filled with deep reminiscing, Gosling detailed how he first broke into showbiz:

“I was in an episode called Say Cheese and Die about a haunted camera. Everyone I took a picture of would show something terrible happening to them, and then it would come true.”

Check out the full episode here.

Gosling’s last-minute decision to bleach his hair in Barbie is a callback to that role:

“What was weird was I ended up looking like I did at 8 or 12, which was the era I was revisiting anyway.”

Gosling discussed his challenges as a child actor:

“Putting myself in this dance company and ultimately auditioning for The Mickey Mouse Club. Moving to Florida, not feeling like I was very good in anything on Mickey Mouse Club, and living in a trailer park where there was a gas leak — my mom and I were tired all the time until we found out there was gas in the trailer — just hustling to figure it out, not knowing what it was. But honestly, it’s hard to overstate when people believe in you.”

As fairy tale as it may sound, Gosling, above all, kept believing in himself.

For his iconic I’m Just Ken performance, Gosling tapped into this Disney song and dance training.

It seems to have all paid off, winning him an Oscar nomination and, just like his childhood favorite show Animaniacs (image), a trip to the top of the Warner Bros water tower.


FESTIVALS

Big titles join SXSW. Here are some buzzy new films from their newly announced line-up:

Synopsis: An anonymous young man unleashes a campaign of vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother and continues to systemically victimize the poor and powerless.

Synopsis: Cecilia, a woman of devout faith, is warmly welcomed to the picture-perfect Italian countryside, where she is offered a new role at an illustrious convent. But it becomes clear to Cecilia that her new home harbors dark and horrifying secrets.

Synopsis: Two high school nobodies make the decision to crash the last major celebration before the new millennium on New Year’s Eve 1999. The night becomes even crazier than they could have ever dreamed when the clock strikes midnight.

Check out the full SXSW line-up here.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT / INTERNATIONAL

Celine Song (dir: Past Lives) sets a new project. Here’s what we know:

  • Materialists
    • A24 production company
    • Potential cast: Dakota Johnson, Chris Evans & Pedro Pascal
    • Christine Vachon, Pam Koffler and David Hinojosa

Here’s the synopsis:

A matchmaker’s lucrative business gets complicated when she falls into a toxic love triangle that threatens her clients.

This film reunites Song with her (now Oscar-nominated) Past Lives producing team. The buyers at EFM seem to like the package.

From Liz Destro-produced shorts to a horror feature with Lisbeth Salander. Liz Destro (EP: The Butler, Longlegs, Producer: Life After Beth) produced two shorts that were directed/produced by Zach Strauss:

Strauss’ feature debut is the psychological horror thriller Palette.

Here’s the official synopsis:

A synesthetic woman who can hear colors uncovers sinister secrets in the color design industry after being recruited by a cult-like company.

Strauss’ script was on the 2023 Blacklist.

Noomi Rapace (the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) will play the executive of this company.

Strauss’ producing team, Anton (His Dark Materials), will present the film at EFM with a sizzle.

Ben Shirinian’s feature debut will star Naomi Watts and Tye Sheridan. Here’s the official synopsis of The Housewife:

A journalist is investigating a potential Nazi officer living in Queens.

Shirinian’s previous work includes an experimental dance film, Lost in Motion II, which is indicative of the Run Boy Run music video. His follow-up short, Josef & Aimee, is a magical childhood love story about two Jewish children orphaned in southern France during WWII.

Shirinian has a particular blend of Grimm’s fairytale-esque visuals/VFX, making his work both stark and flourishing. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with The Housewife.

Neon International will shop the film in Berlin.


ON THIS DAY

1968. Planet of the Apes premieres in New York City


See you Friday.


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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