Paul Dano + Nutella

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

Paul Dano and Adam Sandler bond, Dick Wolf’s true crime, Mckenna Grace’s frozen empire, and some special brownies.

Let’s go!


PAUL DANO: THE WISEST SPIDER IN THE UNIVERSE

Paul Dano plays a spider.

In the new Netflix film Spaceman, Paul Dano voices an intergalactic arachnid who enters Adam Sandler’s spaceship.

While there’s some inherent goofiness, like Dano’s spider referring to Nutella as a means of ending human suffering, the real focus of the film is Sandler’s loneliness.

Through a series of thought experiments, Dano leads Sandler through a memory pathway toward self-enlightenment.

Dano explained:

“I sort of loved that he was like this death doula, a spirit guide, Zen-like sort of guy who’s lived through all this time and all these galaxies. I like that the film was about the mystery in ourselves, and I feel very much that science fiction allows for that thing: you’re out here in space, but really you’re alone on the inside.”

Dano is fine-tuned for roles where he extols wisdom.

Recently, he played the GameStop stock YouTube guru “Roaring Kitty” in Dumb Money (2023), where he convinces an army of Reddit traders to invest in the fledgling stock and, in doing so, nets them life-changing gains.

Before that, in The Batman, as The Riddler, he was live-streaming to Gotham, a twisted wisdom of unmasking the cesspool of injustice and in what is still his most iconic role, he led a church with the doctrine of universal salvation in There Will Be Blood (2007).

His ecclesiastical energy is uncanny.

Dano’s journey for a higher truth resonates in all his characterizations. It’s why we love to watch him on screen.

For More:

“We have a sinner who wishes for salvation.” Paul Dano baptizes Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood (2007). It’s a magnetizing scene.

Dano preaches to Reddit investors in Dumb Money (scene).

When space movies go wrong. Read the great NY Times write-up on Spaceman and others.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Master of procedurals, Dick Wolf, launches new Netflix series, Homicide: New York. This will be the first time the Law & Order creator has worked with Netflix.

Here’s the official synopsis for Homicide: New York:

Real cops, real crimes. 5 episodes. 5 different crimes. The same group of detectives and prosecutors revisit their most challenging homicide cases in this chilling true-crime documentary series.

The trailer is sleek and grizzly. It’s a perfect Wolf/Netflix true-crime mash-up.

Wolf is the undisputed master of the essential worker shows. His mass credit list spans across many franchises.

Series + spin-offs:

  • Law & Order (1990-2024)
    • SVU
    • Criminal Intent
    • True Crime
  • Chicago (2012-2024)
    • Fire
    • Med
    • PD
  • FBI (2018-2024)
    • Most Wanted
    • International

Wolf has also done a slew of unscripted series (Oxygen’s Blood & Money), docuseries (Criminal Confessions), and even an Oscar-winning short, Twin Towers (full short link).

Homicide: New York drops on Netflix on March 2oth. Homicide: Los Angeles is coming later in the year.

Amazon MGM has no Mercy. They’re launching two high-profile projects:

  • Mercy
    • Starring: Chris Pratt, Rebecca Ferguson
    • Dir: Timur Bekmambetov (Ben Hur, Wanted)
    • Producer: Charles Roven (Oppenheimer)

Here’s the official synopsis:

A detective in the near future when capital crime is on the rise finds himself accused of a violent crime and having to prove his innocence.

Production is set to start in the Spring.

Nothing is known about the plot, but apparently, there was a pretty intense bidding war.

Kardashian has become more active in pursuing an acting career, starting off with her debut in American Horror Story (clip) and coming up in the Netflix feature film Fifth Wheel.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Mckenna Grace is glorious in reviving the ghost of Harold Ramis. In the Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) and Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (out March 22), she plays the daughter of the didactic, nerdish, and altogether hilarious Egon Spengler (played by Ramis, clip). She is pitch-perfect, conveying a quietly intense meekness prone to wonder. Check out her deadpan jokes throughout Ghostubuster: Afterlife here.

Grace will now star in a new psychological thriller, Straight Lies, produced by Mandalay Pictures (Air, The Jacket).

Here’s the official synopsis:

Falsely accused teen flees abusive, government-backed rehab while her oblivious father, a CIA agent, is immersed in politics.

Grace said:

“I am so honored to bring this compelling story to the screen. After speaking with our amazing writer Ren and hearing her true story of what she endured and based the script, I knew this was going to be a heartbreaking, but necessary project to make.”

Production for the film is set to begin in the summer.

For another great Grace performance, check out her Emmy-nominated guest appearance on The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Talented Mr. Andrew Scott. Netflix is making a limited series from the famed Patricia Highsmith novels about Tom Ripley. Scott will play the lead role, but as many talented actors have previously taken on the character, he has big shoes to fill:

The new trailer shows the 8-part limited series following the same storyline as the Matt Damon film.

Scott looks perfectly slimy, attributes he’s fine-tuned playing Moriarty outwitting Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock

Ripley will launch on Netflix on April 8th.

One More tidbit: Chris Pratt does some wonderful voice acting as Garfield in the new trailer for The Garfield Movie. Release date May 24.


FESTIVALS AND RESOURCES

Learn how to Schedule and Budget your film. Blair Skinner is sharing her expertise on budgeting everything from 250K indies to $20M studio projects.

Her top credits include:

  • Transparent (Amazon)
  • Slender Man (Screen Gems/Sony Pictures)
  • Generation (HBO Max)

Skinner is offering a program to anyone who has a script and needs to create a schedule/budget to secure funding.

Her program is also tailored to those looking to become a producer, line producer, UPM, production supervisor, or creative producers who are interested in learning how to schedule and budget sub $15 M feature films. Her in-depth course includes lessons on scheduling:

  • Prepping your script
  • Navigating Movie Magic Scheduling
  • How to structure your schedule:
    • Estimating the time it’ll take to shoot a scene
    • Scheduling with union crew turnarounds
    • Breaking down of a full one-line schedule

And budgeting:

  • Navigating Movie Magic Budgeting
  • Comprehensive Review of Fringe Rates:
    • DGA
    • WGA
    • SAG
    • IASTE
    • Teamster
  • Breaking down Above the Line / Below the Line accounts

Without a tried and true mentor, it’s near impossible to learn budgeting and scheduling on your own.

What Blair has done so beautifully is create a course that has the granular detail that allows anyone who is serious about bringing their cinematic vision to life or about becoming a producer, line producer, or production supervisor to gain mastery over these skills.

Check out the video course description here.

Sign up for the course here.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

In a recent trend, the daughters of famous horror filmmakers have been showing extreme promise with their debut projects. In a recent edition, we discussed M. Night’s daughter Ishana Shyamalan’s The Watchers (trailer).

Today, we’ve learned that Caitlin Cronenberg (David Cronenberg’s daughter) is launching her feature debut, Humane, at IFC Films and Shudder.

Here’s the official synopsis:

In the wake of an environmental collapse that is forcing humanity to shed 20% of its population, a family dinner erupts into chaos when a father’s plan to enlist in the government’s new euthanasia program goes horribly awry.

Caitlin Cronenberg discussed the film:

“I’ve been genre-labeling it as a “family thriller.” I don’t think it’s straightforward horror — it’s a violent drama…This family is descending into this madness of trying to kill each other.”

Speaking about her dad and brother, Brendan Cronenberg (Dir: Infinity Pool), she said:

“We all just support each other and love each other, and it’s really cute — like, sickening. We have cute group chats where we just tell each other that we love each other’s growth.”

It’s interesting that she chose a script whose story seems to be an inversion of her family dynamic.

Here’s a great first-look image of Humane featuring Jay Baruchel.

The film will be released theatrically on April 26th.

The Academy Nicholl Fellowship winners. The Nicholl Fellowship is the most prestigious screenwriting competition.

Here are the five winners + a logline for their scripts:

Brent Delaney (fun Twitter account)

  • Brownie Mary

Synopsis:

At the height of the AIDS crisis, Mary Jane Rathbun illegally distributes cannabis-infused brownies to heal thousands of gay men in San Francisco and inadvertently becomes the face of the first medical marijuana movement in U.S. history.

Harris McCabe (IMDB)

  • Nat Cady’s Boys

Synopsis:

Two young boys seek bloody vengeance on the posse that hung their outlaw father in 1882 Wyoming.

J. Miller (IMDB)

  • Slugger

Synopsis:

Abandoned by her mother and coached by her unloving father, a high school baseball prodigy with a hot temper and thunderous bat must confront old-school coaches, jealous teammates, injuries, and her own sexual identity on an inspirational quest to be the first woman to play in the Majors.

c. Craig Patterson (good write-up)

  • Tah

The black sheep of the family comes back home to live with the most difficult matriarch in New Orleans.

Kayla Sun (personal site)

  • Boy, Girl, Fig

Aden was born with a rare condition where he becomes invisible to people who love him. He struggles when he falls in love with his childhood best friend.

Congrats to all the winners!


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Filmax, the Spanish distributor, has acquired the international rights for two tremendous titles:

Synopsis for Nina:

Nina was 16 when she left her small town without explaining herself to anyone, pursuing her dream of becoming an actress. 30 years later, Nina returns to the village for the first time with only one objective: to die killing.

The imagery in the teaser trailer is vivid, mysterious, and tinged with horror.

Synopsis for Alumbramiento (Birth):

Lucia is a teenager sent to a center for young, pregnant girls in Spain in 1982. At the reformatory for teen mothers-to-be she will forge strong friendships with the other girls and discover the awful truth that her not yet-born child is to be taken away from her.

The director, Pau Teixidor, meticulously researched the horrifying real-life story.


ON THIS DAY

1963. 20th Golden Globes: Lawrence of Arabia, Gregory Peck, & Geraldine Page win


See you tomorrow!


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Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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