Nicolas Cage apocalypse

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

Nicolas Cage’s first-time director apocalypse, Game of Thrones body problems, Pixar’s sarcasm chasm, Thomas Vinterberg’s takes on fantasy, and a PowerPoint presentation.

Let’s go!


NICOLAS CAGE APOCALYPSE

In 2008, Nicolas Cage made a mistake.

He googled his own name and watched the viral YouTube supercut “Nicolas Cage losing his shit.

He was shattered:

“Somebody had cherry-picked all these freakout scenes and cobbled them together without any regard for how the character got to that level of crisis. And then it started going viral, exponentially growing, and became memes.”

Although Cage has always brought a certain level of authenticity to his work, see:

Cage has also always been an easy target.

At age 18, on the set of his first feature, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), he found himself mocked because his uncle was Francis Ford Coppola. Rather than be followed by a shadow of nepotism, he shed his birth name, Nicolas Coppola.

Cage has navigated his own newfound stardom in the last few years by intentionally rejecting traditional Hollywood films and anchoring himself to the authenticity of the next generation of directors:

“I always knew that it would take a young filmmaker who would have grown up with me in some way saying, “I want to try this,” and I have the humility to say, “You’re half my age and you’re twice as intelligent, I’m going to give you the controls.”

In his latest, Cage stars in Benjamin Brewer’s directorial debut, Arcadian. Cage plays the father of two twin boys who fight for survival at the end of the world.

From meme apocalypse to fresh directorial visions of the apocalypse, Cage’s journey is a beacon of resilience.

For More:

Cage is no stranger to apocalyptic films. While he’s been in the poorly reviewed Left Behind (2014) and Knowing (2009), he is brilliant in the brain-bending Mandy. Watch Cage forge a battle axe to fight some demons.

Cage is heartfelt and slightly scary in the Arcadian trailer.

Nicolas Cage’s slow, poetic demise in his Oscar-winning performance for Leaving Las Vegas. Trailer.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Updated trailers drop for Netflix, Prime, and Pixar projects.

Here’s a rundown:

  • Amazon
    • Fallout
    • Director of the first 3 episodes: Jonathan Nolan (Westworld)
    • Writer: Graham Wagner (Portlandia)
    • Trailer
    • Series Release date: April 12

Breakdown:

The next giant video game adaptation centers on post-apocalyptic Fallout shelters opening back up to the now-irradiated wastelands in LA. All sorts of adventures await in an eternal battle for survival. The world is surreal and often filled with dark humor.

  • Netflix
    • 3 Body Problem
    • Creators: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (Game of Thrones)
    • New trailer
    • Series release date: March 21st

Breakdown:

A wide-ranging genre epic adapted from the Hugo Award-winning novel 3 Body Problem written by Liu Cixin, dubbed the “Chinese Arthur C. Clarke.” ​

The trailer showcases a series of scientists committing suicide. What follows are frightening hallucinations, unknown dimensions, and a slow tear in the fabric of the universe encountering an alien civilization.

  • Pixar
    • Inside Out 2
    • Trailer (the sarcasm chasm is priceless)
    • Dir: Kelsey Mann (Pixar senior creative team: Lightyear, Elemental)
    • Release date: June 14

Breakdown:

Pixar tackles puberty. Riley, voiced by Maya Hawke, is now in her teenage years and encounters new emotions: anxiety, embarrassment, envy, and boredom. The film could be the ticket to rehabilitating Pixar’s image over the past few years. Although by no means a critical failure, the last four Pixar movies:

Have not shared the rampant critical or commercial success that epitomized the studio’s early work.

Amazon MGM is in development on a few big projects. Here’s the latest:

Synopsis:

An estranged couple learns that the dog they share is suffering from depression following their break-up, awkwardly reconciling over the holidays when they take their dog on a sunny vacation to Florida to lift his spirits.

  • The Accountant 2
    • Starring Ben Affleck, Jon Bernthal, J.K. Simmons
    • Original writer (Bill Dubuque) and director (Gavin O’Connor) return
    • Studio: Artists Equity (Matt Damon & Ben Affleck)
    • ​The Accountant 1 grossed $155 M worldwide

Synopsis for sequel:

An up-and-coming treasury agent, Medina’s (Addai-Robinson) former boss, is killed by unknown assassins, and she’s forced to contact Christian (Affleck) to solve the murder. With the help of his estranged but highly lethal brother, Brax (Bernthal), Chris applies his brilliant mind and less-than-legal methods to piece together the unsolved puzzle. As they get closer to the truth, the trio draw the attention of some of the most ruthless killers alive — all intent on putting a stop to their search.

  • Play Dirty
    • New cast member: Keegan-Michael Key
    • Already cast: Mark Wahlberg and LaKeith Stanfield

Synopsis:

Wahlberg is a professional thief, Parker, who, after being double-crossed and left for dead, sees his hunt for revenge bring with it a shot at the biggest heist of his career. But even with the help of his partner, actor-slash-con artist Grofield (Stanfield), he’ll still need to outsmart a South American dictator, the New York mob and the world’s richest man if he hopes to stay alive.

Bitcoin Bonnie and Clyde at MGM. The Business Insider viral story about a married couple that laundered $3 bn in Bitcoin is being adapted into a feature film by director Jon S. Baird (dir: Tetris). The married couple will be played by Chloë Grace Moretz and Lewis Pullman. Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) will also star.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Heather “Razzlekhan” Morgan (Moretz) and Ilya “Dutch” Lichtenstein (Pullman) — lovers, hipsters, and aspiring rapper-entrepreneurs — at its center. After stealing over $4 billion worth of cryptocurrency, the millennial couple was caught by the Department of Justice and charged with conspiracy to launder the stolen Bitcoin in February 2022. The pair were convicted the following year.

Production will start this summer.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Katy O’Brian’s bleeding PowerPoint. O’Brian stars with Kristen Stewart in A24’s Love Lies Bleeding, which is releasing in theaters today. Stewart falls in love with O’Brian, who plays a no-fucks-given, sensual bodybuilder who gets wrapped up in criminal violence (trailer).

Before acting, O’Brian, seen in The Mandalorian, was a police officer and bodybuilder.

She discussed how she got the role:

“I put a PowerPoint presentation together with my past bodybuilding experience. I know sometimes the short hair is a thing where people are like, “No, she looks too this way, whatever,” and I used to have really long luxurious hair, and I’m like, “Maybe that’s what they want. … I will show them that they have options with me as a person.” But also I just really, I want them to know I have the experience, I can do this part.”

She continued:

“I sent the PowerPoint to my agent, and I was like, “I really want this role. Can you please get me an audition?” And she did, and that was that. It was a really weird series of events, but I’m glad it happened.”

She’s getting widespread praise for the role and has just signed with Gersh.

Terry Crews is trying to kill Dave Bautista. In the action-comedy The Killers Game, based on the book of the same name, Bautista is set to star as a hitman who puts a hit on himself after being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. When he realizes he was misdiagnosed, it’s too late. Crews joins a motley ensemble of would-be killers, including Ben Kingsley and Sofia Boutella (The Mummy, 2017). Rumour is that Bautista replaces Ice Cube, who previously exited the film.

Production just wrapped and is expected to release in 2025.


FESTIVALS

Festival sales abound. Ahead of SXSW, which kicks off today, we’ve seen a few sales:

Synopsis:

Against the backdrop of a shared obsession with Bollywood fantasy, Mariam, a Pakistani Muslim woman, and her Canadian-born daughter Azra come of age in two different eras.

The teaser clip involves an amazingly bizarre gas station hold-up with Sydney Sweeney.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Thomas Vinterberg has a monopoly on formally minimalist films that are a pressure cooker for the profound. He’s directed the Dogma 95 masterpiece The Celebration (1998, trailer), the shattering witch hunt film The Hunt starring Mads Mikkelsen (2o13, trailer), and recently Another Round (2020), which starred Mads Mikkelsen centered on four downtrodden teachers who make a pact to stay continually drunk to fuel their creativity. The film, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, is messy and profound (trailer).

Vinterberg will now be making a stark departure; he will take a turn to the fantasy genre and direct a limited series, The Brothers Lionheart.

Here’s the synopsis (with spoilers):

9-year old Karl Lejon, ‘Skorpan’, is suffering from tuberculosis and knows that he will die soon. But his older brother Jonathan tries to comfort him by promising that they one day will meet in Nangijala, a magic country beyond the stars. Jonathan dies soon after in a house fire and Skorpan also passes away not long after. They meet in Nangijala, a country divided into the Cherry Blossom Valley and the Briar-Bush Valley. The people in the later are oppressed by the black knight Tengil and his dragon Katla. The two brothers, who now call themselves Jonathan and Karl Lion Heart, decide to help the freedom fighters against the oppression.

Vinterberg stated:

The Brothers Lionheart is possibly the most important cultural legacy from my parents’ generation. It stands as a milestone from my childhood, shining vividly in my memory. The project is a great responsibility and, at the same time, a significant dream come true to create the series based on this immense and moving tale – and in that way, help pass it on to my children’s generation.”

Seeing how Vinterberg imagines a fantasy world when his work is so grounded could unlock a hidden segment of his skillset.

One tidbit: Frida documentary by Carla Gutierrez, the editor of RGB (2018), just dropped a wonderfully animated/archival trailer.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Toby Jones spurred a public outcry for miscarriage of justice at the post office. Jones has had a prolific career, playing everyone from the house elf Dobby in Harry Potter to the high-ranking British intelligence officer in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). His latest project with ITV, Mr. Bates vs. The Post Office, caused a scandal.

​ Here’s the official synopsis:

One of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British legal history where hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters and postmistresses were wrongly accused of theft, fraud and false accounting due to a defective IT system.

Following a public outcry, former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells was stripped of her CBE (Commander of the British Empire), a British award ranked just below knighthood.

It’s fantastic to see the empathy Jones created on screen for his character translates into a tidal wave of support for those post office workers who were wronged.

The show is ITV’s biggest hit since Downtown Abby and has sold to a dozen territories.

The show is available to watch in the UK on ITVX.

Watch the trailer here.


ON THIS DAY

1996. Fargo, directed and written by Joel and Ethan Coen, starring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, and Steve Buscemi, released in the US.


That’s all for the week. See you post-Oscars on Monday!

If you’re outside the US, here’s a helpful guide on how to watch the show.


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Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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