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Apocalypse Now: A24’s Civil War & HBO

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

The American Apocalypse, Russo Brothers +1, Cannes Critics Week gems, The con artists maestro and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Let’s go!


In America, the apocalypse has never felt closer.

Glimpses of America befalling disaster have been littered throughout TV and cinema from The Twilight Zone’s Time Enough at Last (1959) to the small budget gritty, mini-masterpieces of the ’80s:​

These films were largely meditations on the fragility of society with nuclear weapons. They showed in painful detail the effects that would befall America if disarmament or AI were to go sideways.

The next generation of these films were extrapolations into climate change:

HBO’s The Last of Us (2023, trailer) ignited a new generation of American end-times films. In this series, a fungal infection overtakes modern America and destabilizes it to the degree of producing tiny factions fighting for survival.

When Patient Zero is brought to a leading epidemiologist, she only has one idea to contain the spread:​


Alex Garland (Ex-Machina, AnnihilationDevs) takes a new perspective on the apocalypse film. No doubt spurred by recent political events we see an implosion of America to divisiveness. But his movie flows beyond the twittershpere and the protests, disintegrating the country into full-blown Civil War.

In this landscape of cinematic cataclysms, America’s portrayal as teetering on the brink of destruction reveals a deep-seated cultural psyche grappling with its vulnerabilities. From the chilling Cold War era contemplations to the unnerving depictions of technological and ecological disasters, these narratives transcend mere entertainment.

These films, each a piece of America’s cinematic anthology, serve not only as cautionary tales but also as catalysts for introspection, urging us to envision and strive for a world where such apocalyptic landscapes remain firmly within the realm of fiction.​

For More: 

Civil War trailer. In theaters now.

Kirsten Dunst is no stranger to the world from ending. She’s a war photographer in Civil War hell-bent on making it to the White House. In Meloncholia (trailer), she just wants to watch the world burn.

The remarkable irony of a bookworm in the apocalypse. Watch the iconic scene from The Twilight Zone’s Time Enough At Last.​


Rust armorer is sentenced to 18 months in prison for the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured above), which was filmed in 2021. It marks the close of the first chapter of a tragic case of utter disregard for safety regulations amidst a production that tried to cut corners on cost.

The judge addressed the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed:

“You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon. But for you, Ms. Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner, and a little boy would have his mother.”

Gutierrez-Reed, stated:

“When I took on Rust, I was young and I was naive but I took my job as seriously as I knew how to… Despite not having proper time, resources and staffing, when things got tough I just did my best to handle it… I beg you please don’t give me more time. The jury found me in part at fault for this god-awful tragedy. But that doesn’t make me a monster. That makes me human.”

Gutierrez-Reed received the maximum penalty.

The judge’s reason for the harsh penalty was due to Gutierrez-Reed’s lack of remorse in her statement.

On July 9, Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial will begin. Baldwin served as the star and producer of Rust. Earlier this year, new details came to light that conflicted with Baldwin’s account that he did not pull the trigger.

If convicted, Baldwin could also face up to 18 months in prison.

Russo Brothers team +1. Chris Brearton, former Amazon Executive, will join The Russo’s AGBO production company (Everything Everywhere All at Once, Extraction) as a partner.

Brearton’s resume is rock-solid:

  • Amazon (2022 – 2024)
    • VP of corporate strategy at Amazon
  • MGM (2018-2022)
    • Chief Operating Officer

Anthony Russo stated:

“Chris is a dynamic and trusted leader in the industry with a proven ability to spearhead transformational strategic initiatives, drive operational excellence, and foster a culture of creativity and innovation.”

He continued:

“His expertise and business acumen will be instrumental as we embark on this pivotal phase of accelerated growth across virtual, gaming, and linear media landscapes.”

Brearton’s core focus will be world-building, whether in Film, TV, or Gaming.

Brearton got his start providing legal counsel for films like Good Night, and Good Luck (2005).


Unfortunately, the incredibly prevalent tech/entertainment layoff wave has hit Marvel. Losing 15 staffers, some in development and some in Marvel entertainment. Most of the unfortunate situation can be chalked up to March’s 2023 decision for the Marvel film studio to absorb Marvel Entertainment. Through this restructuring, some jobs became redundant. However, on the production side, the recent cancellation of a few ongoing projects had an effect.

Also leaving is the board chairman, Ike Perlmutter, who strongly backed Nelson Peltz joining the board, a request that was vehemently denied.


Rebel Moon actor Djimon Hounsou has signed with Buchwald Talent Agency for representation.

Best known for his Academy Award-nominated performance in Blood Diamond (2006, trailer), where he played opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as Soloman Vandy, a fisherman intent on escaping war-torn Sierra Leone with his family.

Throughout his more than three decades career, Hounsou has worked on a wide range of films:

  • Amistad (1997)
    • Dir: Steven Spielberg
    • Breakthrough performance as Cinque, the leader of a slave revolt (clip)
  • Gladiator (2000)
  • In America (2002)
    • Best Supporting Actor nomination
    • Played Mateo, an expiring AIDS survivor
    • Trailer
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
    • Portrayed Kree soldier, Korath the Pursuer (still)

Hounsou is reprising his role of Henri, the quick-thinking leader of a small island colony of survivors, in Paramount’s A Quiet Place: Day One (trailer), a prequel story starring alongside Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn in theaters this summer on June 28th.


Felicity Jones (Rogue One, Theory of Everything) joins the cast of Michael Showalter’s upcoming holiday comedy Oh. What. Fun. part of his partnership with Amazon MGM. The film’s official description:

Centers on Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer), who plans a special Christmas but is forgotten by her family. When they realize she’s missing, their holiday is at risk until she returns to give them the celebration they deserve.

Jones joins Pfeiffer along with Chloë Grace Moretz and Dominic Sessa.


Cannes Critics Week always unearths some great discoveries from up-and-coming filmmakers, including A24’s much-loved but underseen Aftersun (2022).

Here are two films to note this year:

  • Ghost Trail (Les Fantômes)
    • Dir. Jonathan Millet
    • (Fr-Ger-Bel)
    • Plot: Hamid joins a secret group tracking Syrian regime leaders on the run. His mission takes him to France, pursuing his former torturer for a fateful confrontation.
    • First look photo

Cannes described it as:

“A thrilling sensory film… that overhauls the canons of spy movies.”

  • Animale
    • Dir. Emma Benestan
    • (Fr-Bel)
    • Plot: Camargue, France – Nejma trains hard to win the local bullfighting competition. When she is mauled after a celebration, she starts to notice disturbing changes. News of a rogue bull on the loose terrifies the community, killing young men.
    • First look photo

Cannes described it as:

“A new take on the myth of the beast… between western, slasher, body horror, and revenge film…A potent feminist manifesto with the radiant Oulaya Amamra, transcended by this complex, physical role.”

Check out the full list of films and filmmakers here.


Film Editors. AI has come to editing. Premiere Pro announced that it would integrate Generative AI into its software. Some of the innovations seem genuinely like life-savers, e.g., removing objects from moving frames like a wire or cable or errant role of gaffer tape, etc.

Some of the new features feel like they are radically helpful but diminish the process of moviemaking, like adding generative B-roll.

But the single most frightening element is the ability to extend a shot.

This wild demonstration video shows examples, including extending an actor’s performance at the end of a take. There seems to be something so cold about removing an actor’s ability to share personal space in the final breath of a scene before the director calls cut.

No release date has been set. But we expect this will launch soon.


Academy Award-winning Bohemian Rhapsody editor John Ottman will direct a dramatic biopic based on the life of classic Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi.

A composer himself, Ottman will work with film and music industry executive David Franco on the project that has been in the works for nearly 20 years.

Scriptwriter TJ Scott states:

“After all these years, we’ve never been more confident. John breathed new life into it. His ideas and direction for it are truly inspiring.”

The film is said to tell Vivaldi’s life story involving forbidden love, deceit, and the transformative power of music.

Ottman’s 1988 directorial debut, Lion’s Den, is a short film starring Ethan Hawke and Bryan Singer that tells the story of two up-and-coming triple threats trying to fight their way through the insanity of the perverted world of Hollywood and Film and go insane thinking they’ve got it all.

Ottman has both edited and composed:

  • The Usual Suspects (1995)
  • Valkyrie (2008)
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

It has not yet been announced if Ottman will score his upcoming film saying:

“I was supposed to also score Bohemian Rhapsody, but I felt it would date the film. Instead, I used different elements from Queen’s music, and it’s now timeless. That would be my approach for Vivaldi.”

There have been a few great composer biopics (Amadeus) but none directed by a composer. We look forward to seeing Ottman change this status quo.

Chris Smith has an obsession with con artists. His wild Netflix documentary Fyre (2019) laid bare the Fyre Festival disaster’s architect Billy McFarland’s compulsive, gregarious, addictive, self-deceiving, self-perpetuating frauds. Smith also directed Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017, trailer), a BTS look at how Jim Carrey conned himself into believing he was Andy Kaufman for his film role Man On The Moon (1999), driving his entire cast and crew certifiably insane.

Smith is set to direct the docuseries Hollywood Con Queen for Apple.

Here’s the official synopsis from the book on which it is based:

Brilliantly cunning imposter who carved a path of financial and emotional destruction across the world. Gifted with a diabolical flair for impersonation, manipulation, and deception, the Con Queen used their skill with accents and deft psychological insight to sweep through the entertainment industry.

Impersonations included Kathleen Kennedy and Amy Pascal.

The series drops on Apple on May 8th.

A tidbit:

Kathryn Bigelow’s new sci-fi film Aurora gets axed by Netflix. Although Bigelow has recently niched down into the war genre with Hurt Locker (2008) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012), her lost masterwork is the Ralph Fiennes sci-fi Strange Days (1995, trailer).


Cannes Palme d’Or Triangle of Sadness EP steps down from the company he co-founded. Konstantinos Kontovrakis, who co-founded Heretic Films (How to Have Sex (2023) and the Alia Shawkat and Cynthia Erivo starring Drift), stated:

“After over a decade of setting up and running a successful company and making great films, I found myself losing sight of the broader landscape. So much changes in our industry so fast that the time felt right for me to be immersed in it once more and to expand my cinematic worldview again to new experiences, new voices and new great films.”

We wish him the best of luck on his new cinematic journey.


2012. TV comedy-drama Girls, created by and starring Lena Dunham, premieres on HBO.

See you Wednesday.

Written by Gabriel Miller, Madelyn Menapace, and Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.


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