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Cate Blanchett and The Bear

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

The Bear’s next trap, Eric Bana is untamed, Jurnee Smollett catches fire, Columbia Pictures + SXSW Winners, and Deep Blue.

Let’s go!


The Bear is one of the most high-adrenaline shows ever created.

The surreal opening sequence to the pilot episode is metaphysically changed with demons only a chef could know.

The lynchpin for the season is not the boiler-cooker pressure that Carmy, played by the wonderful Jeremy Allen White, is under, but instead, his bleeding heart promise to continue the legacy of his brother’s restaurant.

Christopher Storer, the creator of The Bear, who wrote 18 and directed 12 episodes, is now helming a new project, The Lincoln Highway.

Here’s the synopsis of the NY Times bestseller on which the new film, which has just been set up at Warner Bros., is based:

In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His parents long gone, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head to California to start their lives anew.

But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction—to the City of New York.

There’s something about derailed futures that feels like Storer’s nesting ground. In The Bear, Carmy was the head chef in NYC’s top restaurant – now he serves as the lowly chef at Chicago’s most crowded, decrepit but loved Italian Beef joint (Season 1).

The Lincoln Highway will be produced by Heyday Films’ David Heyman (producer: Wonka, Barbie, Gravity, Marriage Story).

Yeah. It’s going to be great.

Storer is currently wrapping up Season 3 of The Bear.

For More:

The Bear (Season 1) trailer.

The Bear, “Yes Chef” montage.

Hidden in the trunk of a car? There’s a lot of great opportunity for dialogue. See George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez bond while captive in a trunk in Out of Sight (1998). Scene.


UTA vs. Media Link’s Michael Kassan. A major Hollywood legal battle gives us an inside look into UTA’s dealings. UTA, valued at $2.5bn, to compete with CAA (value: $7 bn) and Endeavor (value: $11 bn), bought MediaLink for $125 M back in 2021. The goal was to leverage Media Link’s ability to facilitate brand and celebrity partnerships. This would have amplified UTA’s brand division, which has 40 executives, and recently helped crystalize GM’s and Netflix’s partnership during a Super Bowl commercial that featured Will Ferrell, Bridgerton, and Squid Game.

Here’s what went awry, according to Kassan, who was fired/left on his own accord on March 7th and is suing for $25 M.

Kassan’s lawyer stated:

“After two long years of Kassan battling, [UTA CEO] Zimmer’s repeated broken promises, and UTA and MediaLink’s long line of employees complaining about Zimmer, Kassan had enough and submitted his resignation.”

Those “broken promises” resulted in being forced to raise fees on existing clients and being isolated from the rest of the business.

What gives Kassan’s claim credibility is that he is waiving his contractually obligated severance pay of $10M to sue.

UTA is claiming:

“Michael Kassan has run rampant with his business expense accounts – wasting millions of UTA’s dollars on his lavish personal lifestyle…. In 2023, Kassan went so far as to use nearly $500,000 in company funds to pay off his personal credit card debt, despite multiple warnings from MediaLink’s top finance executive. In 2022, Kassan had over $700,000 in company funds wired to his personal S-Corporation. In short, Kassan erased any line between his personal and business expenses.”

Looks like bad behavior on both sides. But we’ll let the courts be the final judge.

Columbia Pictures is The Winner. In a bidding war, Columbia has acquired novelist Teddy Wayne’s The Winner.

Here’s the official synopsis from Harper Collins:

Conor O’Toole has never been anywhere as casually glamorous as Cutters Neck, a gated community near Cape Cod. It’s a sweet deal for the summer: free lodging in a guest cottage in exchange for tennis lessons, luxuriously far from the cramped Yonkers apartment he shares with his diabetic mother.

In this oceanfront paradise, however, new clients prove hard to come by, and Conor has bills to pay. Then a sharp-tongued divorcée appears, offering him double his usual rate. Soon he realizes Catherine is expecting additional, off-the-court services for her money, and Conor tumbles into a secret erotic affair unlike anything he’s experienced before.

Despite his steamy flings with a woman twice his age, he simultaneously finds himself falling for the artsy, outspoken girl he met on the beach. Conor somehow finds a way to manage this tangled web—until he makes one final, irreversible mistake.

You can almost pre-visualize the good and bad versions of the movie.

Wayne will adapt his book into a script.

One Tidbit: To reduce their $14.6 bn debt, Paramount Global has sold their 13% stake in the Indian media company Viacom18 for $517 M.


Nina Hoss is Cate Blanchett’s translator in Tar. She plays Blanchett’s wife and the first violin, a position meant as the conduit between the conductor and the rest of the orchestra. All though much was written about Blanchett’s training as a conductor; Hoss, too, went through a vigorous process. She stands out in the film because it feels like she holds a separate position in Tar’s life as a caretaker of her soul (featurette). She’s also excellent across from Philip Seymour Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man (2014). Watch how, after a job goes terribly wrong, her expression subtly changes from anger to sympathy (clip).

Hoss is set to star in the upcoming German film The Other Side.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Hanna (Hoss), a doctor who, during the midst of an epidemic, goes into self-isolation in the mountain wilderness to protect herself and others.

Production is set to begin this summer.

Jurnee Smollett catches fire. Smollett first sparked viewer’s attention in the final two seasons of True Blood (2013-2014) as the co-founder of VUS (Vampire Unity Society), a non-violent group dedicated to supernatural rights. She’s gone on to have an impressive career:

  • Birds of Prey (2020)
    • Black Canary, a golden-hearted singer who keeps Margot Robbie out of trouble
    • Scene
  • Lovecraft Country (2020)
    • Hustling photographer and civil rights activist
    • Scene
  • Spiderhead (2020)
    • Manic prisoner trapped in Chris Hemsworth’s experimental jail
    • Trailer

Smollett is set to star in Apple TV+’s Firebug as an up-and-coming detective tasked with finding a serial arsonist alongside her partner (Taron Egerton).

Smollett has recently been seen in Sony Picture Classics’ We Grown Now.

Eric Bana is untamed. The actor’s best roles are when he’s out of control. He will star in Netflix’s limited series Untamed.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Eric Inman (Bana) is a special agent for the National Parks Service who works to enforce human law in nature’s vast wilderness. The investigation of a brutal death sends Inman on a collision course with the dark secrets within the park, and in his own past.

No word on a timeline for the project.

Bana, of course, played the original Hulk in Ang Lee’s Hulk (2006); he gave humanity to Bruce Banner but also to the big green guy.

But the greatest Bana performance to date has been his masterfully psychotically unhinged breakout role, Mark “Chopper” Read, based on an actual underground criminal of the same name in Chopper (2000 – 20th-anniversary trailer).


The Black List and Tubi’s “To Be Commissioned Initiative” is a collaborative effort to discover and develop five feature film scripts. Targeting youthful audiences from diverse communities, they seek scripts in genres like science fiction, faith-based, romance, and comedy, particularly from LGBTQ+, Black, Latine, and AAPI writers. This initiative includes a process of script selection, interviews, and eventual greenlighting for production. Selected scripts will be purchased by Tubi and developed with the Black List as an executive producer.

Submissions close on Friday, March 15th. Apply here.

SXSW Winners:

Narrative Feature Competition:


After searching for her estranged father online, a people-pleasing young woman (Ferreira) unexpectedly forms a close bond with a grieving, childless man (Leguizamo) with the same name as her father on Facebook. Inspired by a true story.

Documentary Feature Competition:


Struggling actors Sam and Mark find solace from lockdown isolation by staging Hamlet in Grand Theft Auto, battling griefers as they connect through Shakespeare.

Narrative Short Competition:


A woman is forced to confront her elderly husband’s physical deterioration when they meet to sign their divorce papers.

Check out the full list of winners here.


European Union passes the first Artificial Intelligence Act. Brando Benifei, the Internal Market Committee co-rapporteur said:

“[This is] the world’s first binding law on artificial intelligence to reduce risks, create opportunities, combat discrimination and bring transparency… Thanks to Parliament, unacceptable AI practices will be banned in Europe and the rights of workers and citizens will be protected.”

An AI office will be set up to enforce the ban on prohibited uses within six months. This will curtail:

  • Chatbots
    • Must inform people they’re interacting with AI
  • Generative video, image, audio, text AI
    • Must indicate it’s AI

It’s a great first step. But more must be done to penalize the companies racing to deploy AI into every facet of our society. As is often said:

“We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology.”

Look no further than this newly released DeepDub video that easily changes the American accent to UK/Aussie/French.


The Evil Dead has been reincarnated many times from the campy horror The Evil Dead (1981, trailer) to the just plain terrifying Evil Dead Rise (2023, trailer). The latter was a hit:

  • 84% – Rotten Tomatoes
  • $147M Box Office
    • $17M budget

Lee Cronin, the director, just signed a first-look deal with New Line under his production company Doppelgängers, formed with his producing partners John Keville and Macdara Kelleher. Their first project under the banner is the horror-thriller Thaw.

Matt Charman, whose directorial debut, The Mothership starring Halle Berry, was axed by Netflix, has a new project with the streamer. Charman (co-writer: Bridge of Spies – 2015) is penning a UK political satire called The Choice, which is set to film in London soon.

Charman started as a playwright, writing The Machine (2013) about the famous Garry Kasparov vs. I.B.M.’s Deep Blue chess computer, e.g., man vs. machine (glowing NY Times review).

From there, his first produced feature script was Suite Française (2014), a romance war film starring Michelle Williams.

Although he has a few writing credits post his Oscar nomination for the Bridge of Spies screenplay, The Mothership would have been his first directorial effort.

Here’s the official synopsis:

One year after her husband’s mysterious disappearance, Sara Morse discovers a strange, extraterrestrial object underneath their home. She and her kids are on a race to find their husband, father, and the truth.

Reshoots were ultimately abandoned during the lengthy post-production process, as the child actors had visibly aged since the original production in 2021.

Let’s hope Charman gets chosen to direct The Choice.


1946. American film noir classic Gilda, starring Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford and directed by Charles Vidor, premieres in New York City.

See you Friday!

Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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