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Dwayne Johnson and a new 007

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

Paramount’s Gladiators, from Moonlight to Mufasa, Damien Chazelle is unprisoned, Demi Moore’s gore, and Schrödinger’s cat.

Let’s go!


The fate of Paramount is uncertain, but its theatrical slate is defined.

At CinemaCon, amidst the miasma of an acquisition, Paramount Pictures CEO Brian Robbins, who entered the theater on a Gladiator chariot, joked:

“My colleague Chris Aronson [President, domestic distribution] is also raising money to make a bid for the studio; he has a Kickstarter… I don’t know how corporate will feel.”

Shari Redstone was not available for comment.

Paramount’s new slate:

  • Gladiator II
    • Dir: Ridley Scott
    • Writer: David Scarpa (Napoleon)
    • Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Paul Mescal
    • New info: the Colosseum abounds with live animals like sharks, vicious monkeys, and hungry rhinos
    • Release date: Nov 22nd, 2024

Denzel Washington trailer quote:

“Rage is your gift”

CEO Brian Robbins stated:

“This script is one of the funniest, craziest, and most original scripts we’ve ever read, and it’s certain to create some fireworks when it hits theaters on July 4th, 2025.”

  • Transformers One
    • Plot: Animated Transformers origin story
    • Starring Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Keegan-Michael Key, Steve Buscemi, Laurence Fishburne and Jon Hamm
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin
    • R-rated Live action movie
  • The Running Man reboot
    • Plot: a game show in which prisoners must run to freedom to avoid a brutal death
    • Dir: Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Hot Fuzz)
    • Starring: Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick)
  • Scary Movie reboot
    • Financier: Miramax
    • Production starts in the Fall
  • Untitled Prison Movie
    • Dir/Writer: Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
    • Chazelle’s first since Babylon (2022)
    • Release date: 2025

Paramount also announced an extension on their first look deal with John Krasinksi and Neal H. Moritz (producer: I Am Legend). Moritz will produce the new Scary Movie film.

Plus, they discussed a Smurfs Movie starring Rihanna (still).

Disney’s Big Sneak Peaks:

  • Captain America
    • Joining the cast: Harrison Ford, who replaces the late William Hurt as Thunderbolt Ross
    • Anthony Mackie’s first stint as Captain America
    • Plot: Follows shortly after the Falcon & Winter Soldier Disney+ show
  • Mufasa: The Lion King
    • Dir: Barry Jenkins (Dir: Moonlight)
    • Plot: A prequel to the well-known story
    • Style: Photorealistic CGI, like the 2019 film

Jenkins said:

“Making Mufasa…was one of the best decisions of my life.”

Johnson pointed to his character inspiration as his grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia.


Jeremy Strong is set to play one of the slimiest people in American history—the lawyer Roy Cohn.

The film is The Apprentice, now an official selection at Cannes.

Here’s the official synopsis:

A dive into the underbelly of the American empire. It charts a young Donald Trump’s (played by Sebastian Stan) ascent to power through a Faustian deal with the influential right-wing lawyer and political fixer Roy Cohn.

Cohn served as a prosecutor in the 1951 Rosenberg spy trial, which led to the Rosenberg’s being executed for treason. He remains best known for his role as malicious chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy during the anti-communist (and anti-homosexual) witch hunts. He ended his career by mentoring a young Donald Trump before dying of AIDS (Cohn was a closeted gay man).

Check out a first look still of Strong as Cohn here (and Stan as Trump).

Strong’s casting comes as no surprise. His portrayal of Kendall Roy in Succession showcased his ability to embody characters who are wicked and driven by a mix of ambition and self-doubt. This dichotomy echoed in Cohn’s life—a man clawing for power while hiding his true self.

Joel Edgerton is Schrödinger’s cat. In the new Apple TV+ series Dark Matter, Edgerton stars as a man who is kidnapped by himself and banished to navigate infinite universes: all lesser realities of his once perfect life.

In the trailer, he looks crazed as a man trying to get back to his reality with his wife (Jennifer Connelly) and son.

Edgerton is a staple of the dependable father in sci-fi films (see: It Comes at Night or Midnight Special), but what makes his performance stand out in Dark Matter is how his fractured reality push him to new levels of desperation.

So take out your MC Escher crack pipe. This is Coherence (2013) and Primer (2004) on steroids.

Dark Matter drops on Apple TV+ on May 8th.


Daisy Ridley goes full Nyad. In the true story Young Woman and the Sea, Ridley plays Trudy Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel. In the trailer, she has more to contest than just 21 miles of rough seas: piercing jellyfish and stinging sexism rear their heads.

Aaron Eckhart becomes James Bond in Chief of Station (trailer). It’s a high-adrenaline action thriller. And a role much different than any Eckhart has played before. His killers are always more cerebral (Dark Knight’s Harvey Dent and Thank You For Smoking’s Nick Naylor).

Barry Keoghan stars in Bird, Andrea Arnold’s (Dir: Honey Boy) latest film. He looks mean as hell and tatted up in this first look still.

The film is an official selection at Cannes.


Final Draft’s Big Break Contest is now open. Big Break is an annual international feature film and television screenwriting contest.

Writers who have entered Big Break have had their screenplays optioned, sold, have been staffed, and secured high-profile representation.

They have an impressive set of judges, including Gary King, VP of development for Paramount TV studios, Lauren Deitch, who is the manager for drama series development for Netflix, and Amanda Alley, who is a creative executive of film development at Skydance (Mission Impossible series).

Previous Big Break Contest winners have signed with:

  • UTA
  • Anonymous Content
  • Zero Gravity

Prizes include:

  • $10,000 cash
  • A trip to Hollywood to meet with executives
  • NYFA course

The first deadline is April 15th.

Submit your script here.

Cannes Official Selection was announced. We looked at The Apprentice and Bird earlier in the edition.

Here are some more highlights:

  • Anora
    • Dir: Sean Baker (Red Rocket, The Florida Project)
    • Plot: Anora is a comedy about a sex worker shot in New York City and Las Vegas.

The buzziest film is Francis Ford Coppola’s $120 M self-financed Megalopolis, which will also play in competition.

Paul Schrader’s Oh Canada, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Kinds of Kindness & David Cronenberg’s The Shrouds are all official selections, detailed below.

Full Cannes lineup here.


Paul Schrader directs a self-reflexive final film. Schrader is the famed gritty filmmaker behind: ​

  • Taxi Driver (1976)
    • Writer
  • First Reformed (2017)
    • Writer/Director
  • The Card Counter (2021)
    • Writer/Director

Here’s the official synopsis for his new film Oh, Canada: ​

Leonard Fife, one of sixty thousand draft evaders and deserters who fled to Canada to avoid serving in Vietnam, shares all his secrets to de-mythologize his mythologized life.

Jacob Elordi and Richard Gere star as a younger and older version of Fife. If the film is similar to the novel, it’ll track a man stricken with cancer at 80, taking stock of his life. It’s a feeling Schrader was close to when he moved into an assisted living facility and feared becoming mad like one of his characters. Let’s hope he continues writing and directing for some time; he’s had a career resurgence over the past few years.

Yorgos Lanthimos Kinds of Kindness.​ A new celebratory teaser trailer for the official selection announcement just dropped.

Official synopsis:

KINDS OF KINDNESS is a triptych fable, following a man without choice who tries to take control of his own life; a policeman who is alarmed that his wife who was missing-at-sea has returned and seems a different person; and a woman determined to find a specific someone with a special ability, who is destined to become a prodigious spiritual leader.

Release date: June 21st.

David Cronenberg is the king of body horror cinema. His psychological portraiture of degradation burns into your cerebrum:

  • The Fly (1986)
  • Dead Ringers (1988)
  • Crash (1996)

He recently returned to form with Crimes of the Future, which premiered at Cannes in 2022. His latest is The Shrouds, an official selection at Cannes.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Karsh, an innovative businessman and grieving widower, builds a device to connect with the dead inside a burial shroud.

Cronenberg stated that the film was inspired by the passing of his wife, Carolyn Cronenberg, who had worked as his frequent collaborator.

The Shrouds will star Vincent Cassel, Diane Kruger, and Guy Pearce.

Check out two first-look images here.


The many faces of Ben Whishaw. In the newly minted Cannes Official Selection Limonov: The Ballad, Whishaw stars as Eduard Limonov.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The outrageous story of Eduard Limonov, the radical Soviet poet who became a bum in New York, a sensation in France, and a political antihero in Russia.

First look photo trifecta:

Before this, Whishaw’s had some great roles:

  • I’m Not There (2007)
  • Cloud Atlas (2012)
    • Voyerustic romantic
    • Hippie record store proprietor
    • Tribesman
  • No Time to Die (2021), Spectre (2015), Skyfall (2012)

What Whishaw brings to each role is a studied intelligence that trickles its way into all manner of characters.


1926. Alfred Hitchcock released his first film as director, The Pleasure Garden.

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

Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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