Nicole Kidman + A24

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

Nicole Kidman’s trouble, A tribute to Creed, Waltz plays Wilder, and an adrenaline shot.

Let’s go!


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Nicole Kidman + A24. Kidman is co-starring and producing Margo’s Got Money Trouble:

  • A24 to produce
  • Apple TV+ to distribute
  • Starring/Producing: Elle Fanning & Nicole Kidman
  • Showrunner: David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies creator)

Here’s the official synopsis for the new series based on the bestselling book:

The young mother (Fanning) finds herself struggling to make ends meet. When her estranged father offers help, she starts an OnlyFans account using his advice from pro wrestling. Though successful, she wonders if internet fame comes at too high a cost.

No word yet on who Kidman will play.

If you’ve read the book and have an idea, send us a note!

Apple’s Argylle tanks. Both critically and commercially:

  • $200-$250 M budget
  • $35.3 M opening weekend (worldwide)
    • $18 M domestic
  • 35% critics score – Rotten Tomatoes

The film was directed by Matthew Vaughn, whose previous film, The King’s Man (2021), also had a low opening weekend:

  • $100 M budget
  • $5 M domestic open
  • 126 M worldwide total gross

Vaughn’s previous two Kingman films both grossed over $400M each.

Although this would typically be seen as a major blow to the distributor (Universal), they received a healthy fee from Apple for distribution.

Apple, in turn, shows no signs of slowing down on their theatrical release slate. Their combined services revenue from Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple Arcade hit $23.1 bn for Q4 2023.

They also have over 1 billion subscribers for all Apple services combined.

The dark new wizarding world of Harry Potter. HBO commissioned pitches from select writers for their new Harry Potter series. Most recently from Francesca Gardiner, who wrote five episodes of HBO’s His Dark Materials and recently served as a consulting producer on the last two seasons of Succession.

Gardiner’s experience in His Dark Materials, which had a fair amount of childhood wonder and dark magic, makes her an ideal candidate.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Waltz to play Wilder. Two-time Academy Award-winning Austrian-German actor Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds) is perfectly suited for the role of five-time Academy Aaward-winning director Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment), who is also Austrian.

The project is Wilder & Me.

Here’s the official synopsis:

In 1977, a young woman (Maya Hawke) began working for director Billy Wilder and his screenwriter Iz Diamond (John Turturro) during the filming of Fedora. The shoot continued to Germany where she finds Wilder on a journey of memory into the heart of his family history.

Fedora (1978) was Wilder’s penultimate film. Here’s the trailer.

Check out this 1995 Writer’s Guild interview with Wilder. It’s easy to imagine Waltz wrapping his tendrils around the director’s mannerisms.

Wilder & Me will begin shooting early 2025 in Greece.

​Marisa Abela is playing Amy Winehouse. There’s something very grounded about Amy Winehouse that’s apparent in Amy (A24’s first doc), which painted her as an authentic Brit who grew up in ultra-humble circumstances. That sentiment resonates in Abela’s performance in the new ​Back to Black trailer. There’s an effortless funkiness to her performance that fills this saccharine trailer with life.

Back to Black will be released in the UK on April 12 and in the US on May 17.

Carl Weathers, the iconic actor who played Apollo Creed in the original Rocky films, has passed away at 76.

Weathers had a long career as a magnanimous fighter:

And comedic:

When Weathers first read for the role of Apollo Creed, for the first Rocky film, no one was around to read lines with him but the unknown writer (Stallone), who had not yet been cast in the read role.

Weathers remembered:

“We read through the scene, and at the end of it, I didn’t feel like it had really sailed, that the scene had sailed, and they were quiet, and there was this moment of awkwardness — I felt, anyway. So I just blurted out, ‘I could do a lot better if you got me a real actor to work with.”

Stallone loved his fighting energy and awarded him the role.

Weathers’ final role was as Greef Karga in The Mandalorian, where he was nominated for an Emmy.

Read the NY Times obit here.

He will be missed.


FESTIVALS

Rei wins Rotterdam. Here’s the official synopsis:

Thirtysomething company employee Matsushita Hikari is stable and seemingly without worry, unlike many around her. But it’s through their struggles that they find their counterparts in life – the balance in relationships that steadies them. Hikari lacks this ballast, and this begins to worry her. However, on a trip into the mountains of Hokkaido, she encounters a Deaf landscape photographer, Masato. Through him, Hikari embarks on a journey that will transform her sense of being and connectedness with the world.

The trailer opens in a way that has been eschewed by Hollywood trailers: silence. It’s refreshing, raw, and vivid.

The director, Toshihiko Tanaka, also wrote, produced, edited, and acted in the film.

Read more about Tanko’s next project here.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

A non-cheesy Body-Swap. The genre of body swap is well-trodden by Hollywood. From Freaky Friday (2003) to 13 Going on 30 (2004) to Family Switch (2023).

Skin Deep removes the heightened humor from the concept and goes the indie drama route – to paralyzing effect.

The writer, Dimitrij Schaad, explained:

“It was a very special experience to use this body swap genre in a dramatic way. Everybody can copy another person in terms of comedy: to mock you and try to make an impression. Instead, the task was to find out what is at the core of another human being.”

The film won the Queer Lion award at The Venice Film Festival and is being distributed by Kino Lorber.

The trailer is a resounding exploration of what it means to be seen and seen.

Skin Deep is now in theaters in NYC.

J.C. Chandor is remaking The Conversation. Chandor’s early work was exemplified by the oppressive atmosphere of biblical forces:

Now, he tackles surveillance after a couple of thrilling action films (Triple Frontier, Kraven the Hunter).

Here’s the official synopsis:

Based on Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal 1974 film, The Conversation (1974) follows luddite Harry Caul, a surveillance specialist obsessed with privacy, as she becomes entangled in a corporate espionage mystery that is bigger than she ever imagined. As she gets deeper, the surveillant becomes the surveilled, and she’ll have to step outside of her reclusive life and make the personal connections she’s been avoiding to find answers, and save herself.

The original is a masterpiece (trailer).

It probably doesn’t need to be remade, but if Chandor can return to the psychological oppression of monolithic forces that characterized his early films, he’ll be a strong fit for the project.

In Friday’s edition, we discussed Oz Perkins’ new film, Longlegs, starring Nicolas Cage. Here is the first full teaser.

Match cuts were never so scary.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Denis Lavant may be the greatest living actor. He is sensational in the cinema of Leos Carax:

Denis Lavant’s latest project is Redoubt.

Here’s a synopsis:

Based on a true story about this Swedish farmer who was born in the late 19th century and lived through two wars. Known as a good samaritan on the verge of madness.

Lavant learned fluent Swedish for the film despite having almost no dialogue.

Here’s a first look B&W image.

A Malaysian lingerie shop. What happens when a female proprietor opens up a lingerie store in the middle of a pastoral Malaysian village? The film La Luna (2023), which closed the International Film Festival Rotterdam, answers this question light-heartedly (trailer).

The writer, director Raihan Halim explained:

“We dream of making films and being able to show them to the world, to tell stories that have never been told before, in terms of sex in Muslim culture, which is something many people have never heard of. People kept asking me why I wanted to make a ‘sex comedy,’ but it’s not a sex comedy; it’s a film about intimacy. We have cheeky scenes followed by scenes of people wearing turbans and discussing religion and this is unprecedented.”

As female-owned businesses become ubiquitous worldwide, it is ripe territory for cinema.

Indonesian horror film catches Parasite. Barunson E&A, the production company behind Parasite (2019), is investing in a new Indonesian horror film.

Here’s the official synopsis for Respati:

A teenager with the ability to enter other people’s dreams. When he witnesses a dark spirit taking people’s lives in their dreams, he quickly realizes that it’s related to the mysterious deaths that are happening in the real world.

The first look image is a cloudy horror dreamscape.

This will be the third feature from Indonesian director Sidharta Tata. His new project is a return to form, as his previous film was all sorts of fun:

  • Ali Topan
    • Trailer, Indonesian Rock and Roll with a dash of violence.

Respati is currently in post-production.


READER SPOTLIGHT

Evette Vargas is the co-founder of Indigo Reign Films. Her company was just announced in Deadline.

Vargas has an extensive history of creating interactive media for mega franchises like Lord of the Rings and Fast and Furious.

Indigo Reign will focus on elevated US/Spanish films. They already have a few projects in development, including a supernatural drama.

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


ON THIS DAY

1919. Hollywood film studio United Artists was founded by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D. W. Griffith.


See you tomorrow.


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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