Tom Cruise and a producer to watch…

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

Tom Cruise goes Iñárritu, Cate Blanchett’s twin pistols, A Medea AI nightmare, Poor Things producers on Yorgos, and a game of Yahtzee.

Let’s go!


A PRODUCER TO WATCH…

It’s every filmmaker’s dream to get their first feature into Sundance, Venice, or Cannes.

That’s exactly what Australian-based producer Alexandros Ouzas did with Jason Raftopoulos’ debut, West of Sunshine, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2017.

Los Angeles Times compared it to the classic Italian neo-realist film Bicycle Thieves. The Guardian found it to be a heartfelt, earthy debut. Variety said it was impressive, sharp, and rewarding.

Ouzas is a producer to watch, particularly because he’s committed to finding original IP from emerging filmmakers.

Discussing his philosophy:

“These days, any filmmaker can produce their dream films. What’s hard is finding finance for them.”

And Ouzas knows this first hand.

However, what he does that’s different from most producers is his financing process, and that’s what allowed him to get West of Sunshine actualized and premiered at Venice for less than $250 K.

The Industry has talked with Ouzas about his film finance process, and he shared how he progressed out of sub $350 K films to his latest movie, which is $6 M.

He did this by having a granular understanding of 3rd party finance (private equity, distribution advances, and tax incentives).

Over the years, he’s been able to streamline what is typically a painful process of feature film finance by having a robust team of sales agents, accountants, lenders, publicists, lawyers, post-houses, festival selectors, and distributors.

To date, he’s found financing for, and produced 8 feature films over 7 years.

For emerging filmmakers, Ouzas stands as a champion.

For More:

If you’re interested in getting your film financed. Check this out.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Tom Cruise is gunning for the Oscar. He is currently in talks to star in Alejandro Iñárritu’s newest film at Warner Bros. and Legendary.

Plot details are under wraps.

Although Cruise has never won an Academy Award, he has clinched a Guinness Book of World Records award for the longest continuous shoot on a single film for Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (46 weeks) and received three Oscar nominations:

Iñárritu may be able to actualize Cruise’s goal as Iñárritu’s previous studio film, The Revenant (2015), delivered Leonardo DiCaprio his long-sought-after Oscar after 5 nominations.

This will be Cruise’s first project after the announcement of his strategic partnership with Warner Bros. last month.

True Detective gets a 5th season. Craig Mazin (creator: The Last of Us) isn’t the only one to get a new deal from HBO. Issa López, the showrunner for the latest season of True Detective, has inked a new deal with HBO.

Francesca Orsi, EVP of HBO Programming & head of HBO drama series and films, said:

“Issa López is that one-of-a-kind, rare talent that speaks directly to HBO’s creative spirit. She helmed True Detective: Night Country from start to finish, never once faltering from her own commendable vision, and inspiring us with her resilience both on the page and behind the camera…we are so lucky to have her as part of our family.”

The 4th season stars Jodie Foster and Kali Reis and takes place in Alaska during the polar night. It was the series’ most-watched season, with 12.7M cross-platform viewers.

For our money, the Achilles heel of this season was that Foster and Reis didn’t become partners for the first couple of episodes. Their dynamic is the lifeblood of the show. And while we won’t offer any spoilers for the final episode, it’s pleasantly cathartic.

Silver Lake Management, a private equity group, is poised to offer $7.4 billion for Endeavor Group, a 24% premium over their current share price. This bid follows Endeavor’s announcement a few months ago that it wanted to take its company private. Endeavor went public three years ago and could see its assets like WME and IMG sold off by Silver Lake, which already holds a 71% voting stake, making the acquisition and its premium a strategic move for both entities.

Hulu is adapting a football comedy sketch. Eli Manning, a quarterback for the New York Giants for 16 seasons, disguised himself as “Chad Powers,” a lanky college kid, and walked on to a college football tryout in this ESPN sketch.

Hulu has ordered the half-hour series, which will star Glen Powell.

Manning, who is EPing, stated:

“The love for Chad Powers has surprised me in spectacular ways. I played 16 years in the NFL, but now when I’m in a restaurant or walking through an airport, it’s not uncommon for fans to scream, ‘Hey Chad!’ I’m so excited to team up with my friends Glen Powell, Michael Waldron and Omaha Productions to continue to tell the Chad Powers story and see what he does next.”

There are a lot of great comedy sketches of famous athletes disguising themselves.

My favorite is when a Junior Olympic weightlifter was made-up to look like an old man and challenged some bodybuilders to weightlifting at Muscle Beach.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Cate Blanchett joins a motley crew of spacefaring treasure-seeking vault hunters in Borderlands, a movie in the world of the “looter shooter” video game of the same name. The world is kind of like Treasure Planet meets Mad Max.

Eagle-eyed gamers will catch Blanchett’s character Lilith shooting psychos with twin Vladoff pistols.

Some critics have noted a few strange casting choices throughout the film. Blanchett is twice the age as her counterpart in the game – although this decision is kind of badass.

However, that is not the strangest casting decision.

The typically outlandish Kevin Hart plays against type as the stoic soldier Roland. Jack Black and Ariana Greenblatt round out the cast.

If it’s anything like the game, it will be a bloody, goofy, explosion-filled time.

Here’s the trailer. Releasing August 9th.

If you’re in the mood for something tragic, Harvey Keitel stars in The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Here’s the synopsis:

Based on the eponymously titled novel, this is the powerful real-life story of Lale Sokolov, a Jewish prisoner who was tasked with tattooing ID numbers on prisoners’ arms in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during World War Two.

Keitel plays an older Sokolov, recounting the story to a novice writer (Melanie Lynskey).

The trailer, with the heavy Hans Zimmer score, has a miasma of melancholy.

The series airs on Peacock on May 2nd.

Keitel was recently excellent in The Irishman (2019). Check out the “He won’t need it” scene.


TECH SECTION

AI vs. Tyler Perry. Perry planned an $800M expansion of his Atlanta backlot, which would have seen him add 12 new sound stages. But the recent release of Open AI’s Sora spooked Perry, who just put those plans on indefinite hold.

He explained:

“I have been watching AI very closely and watching the advancements very closely. I was in the middle of, and have been planning for the last four years… All of that is currently and indefinitely on hold because of Sora and what I’m seeing.”

Perry continued:

“There’s got to be some sort of regulations in order to protect us. If not, I just don’t see how we survive.”

In an edition earlier this week, we discussed Sora and its impacts:

It’s hard to know whether this is an extinction-level threat to creativity. In the short term, Hollywood studios could exploit these tools to replace 2nd unit crews, assistant editors, storyboard artists, etc.

At the same time, a new generation of independent filmmakers will be empowered to put together pitch materials to approximate their cinematic visions without immense production costs.

Here’s Open AI’s Sora demo video.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

“Six seasons. And a movie.” Immortal words spoken by Community’s (maybe knows he’s in a TV show) Abed Nadir, one of the “Greendale Seven,” the notorious community college group that gets into any sort of adventure, fired, then rehired creator Dan Harmon can cook up.

A running joke has finally almost become a reality. “Six seasons and a movie.”

Here’s what Harmon had to say when speaking about former cast member Donald Glover leaking the status:

“I can confirm Donald Glover’s report that I told him the script was done, but I will also say Donald’s sources are so unreliable because the script is always almost done…What can I tell you about it — it’s set on the campus of Greendale Community College. I’m super excited about it, and we’re almost done.”

Harmon’s genius is demonstrated in countless Community episodes, but the piece-de-resistance is the Mutli-verse Yahtzee game episode Remedial Chaos Theory (darkest timeline clip). Honorable mention to all the paintball season finales.

This might be one of the only times a show made a movie happen by just making it a catchphrase (clip).


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Ireland’s Element Pictures has produced some of the strongest films in recent years.

Here’s a short list:

  • This Must Be the Place (2011)
  • Room (2015)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos films:
    • The Lobster (2015)
    • The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
    • The Favourite (2018)
    • Poor Things (2023)

The co-f0unders Ed Guiney and Alexander Lowe met Lanthimos’ when he first came to London to meet with producers about his first English language film, following his break-out success with the absurd and wonderful Dogtooth (2009).

Lowe discussed that meeting:

“But the thing that really struck us when we first met him was his singularity and his clarity of thought. He is very clear about what he wants and he has exacting standards for himself and everyone he works with. It was part of what attracted us to him in the first place, and those traits all describe him today, too.”

That clarity and confidence allowed Element Pictures to back Lanthimos for four features.

To read more about their collective ascent to the 11-Academy-nominated Poor Things, check out this wacky article.


ON THIS DAY

1934. It Happened One Night, directed by Frank Capra and starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, opened at NY’s Radio City Music Hall (Academy Awards Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay 1935).


That’s all for the week. See you Monday.


Written by Gabriel Miller and Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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