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George Clooney, Judd Apatow & The Flipside

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

Humphrey Bogart’s sweethearts, Dwayne Johnson on a boat, Sandra Hüller in space, a new Exorcist and keeping quiet.

Let’s go!

(Included in today’s edition is a chat I had with director Christopher Wilcha)


FLIPSIDE: A REQUIEM FOR CREATIVE FAILURE

Christopher Wilcha is an authority on creative failures.

I interviewed Chris about his new documentary Flipside, EP’d by Judd Apatow, which begins by detailing the promising start of Wilcha’s career.

His debut doc, The Target Shoots First (2000), won the audience award at SXSW and the top prize at Slamdance. Instantly, Wilcha was dubbed:

“The Michael Moore of the New Millennium.”

But Wilcha made a Faustian bargain to take on commercial work to support his family, and slowly but surely, his time was reallocated to things that took him away from the art he loved.

In Flipside, Wilcha details a litany of abandoned docs on various subjects:

  • Ira Glass (This American Life creator)
  • Herman Leonard (iconic Jazz photographer)
  • The White Stripes

What I found so striking about Flipside was it found its heart in the deep examination of how our attachments define and distort our identity.

Wilcha explained:

“You can feel devastating heartbreak over all the things you didn’t do and probably never will, while also loving the life you’ve made.”

Wilcha finds his path to creative salvation by examining a purer time in his life when he worked at a record store as a teenager.

Wilcha said something to me about the record store that I felt was a perfect summation of his film:

“Part of the allure of it is the mystery, is not putting something into a search engine to know exactly what you’re getting, is going there with no expectation that you’re going to get anything you even want, and then finding shit you can’t believe even exists.”

Translation: the beauty of the artistic journey is the self-discovery along the way.

Flipside opens on Friday in NYC. Limited release beginning next week.

For More:

Check out the Flipside trailer and showtimes here.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Brad Pitt and George Clooney are Wolfs. The duo plays a pair of lone wolf fixers who unexpectedly intersect on a single job. What follows is an action-packed comedy, with a lot of Clooney and Pitt shooting their patented dirty looks at one another (trailer).

The duo last starred in the Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading (2008). Wolfs is being theatrically released for 45 days by Apple and Sony.

It remains to be seen if this continues the trend of Apple’s disastrous box office releases (e.g., Argylle, Napoleon, Killers of the Flower Moon) that are so highly budgeted they can’t recoup.

Release date: September 20th.

An authoritative doc on Bogie. Universal Pictures’ upcoming Bogart: Life Comes in Flashes (dir: Kathryn Ferguson, Nothing Compares) is the first authorized documentary on Humphrey Bogart from the estate.

Ferguson described the film:

“Our approach when examining Bogart’s story began with looking at the key women in his life, the women who had been instrumental in his success and who all, bar his fourth wife, Lauren Bacall, had been left as footnotes in history.”

She continued:

“Their shared stories lead us through seismic cultural shifts, with censorship forming a central thread. I hope Bogart: Life Comes in Flashes becomes a fresh look at one of Hollywood’s most revered actors, and most of all, an honest, nuanced account of a complex man.”

The film features rare, never-before-seen footage of Bogart from the estate and will be narrated by none other than Bogart himself.

Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson set sail in Moana 2, coming to theaters this November.

The Disney sequel reunites Moana and Maui three years later for an expansive new voyage alongside a crew of unlikely seafarers. Moana must journey to the far seas of Oceania and into dangerous, long-lost waters for an adventure unlike anything she’s ever faced, directed by Megamind (2010) director David G. Derrick.

Take a look at Disney’s first teaser trailer here.

Moana (2016) is the 4th highest-grossing Disney film of the 2010s, bringing in $643 M at the box office.

In addition to the sequel, Disney is also developing a live-action Moana set to premiere in 2026, with Johnson again reprising his role as Maui and the original’s Lin Manuel Miranda penning new music helmed by his Hamilton director Thomas Kail.

Moana 2 will premiere in theaters on November 27th.

Tidbits:

Katie Silberman (writer: Don’t Worry Darling) returns to familiar territory with her new spec, Reality Vice, which was just picked up by Paramount.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Set in the world of a popular housewife reality television series, a female detective goes undercover amidst a group of affluent women.

Silberman previously wrote Booksmart (2019) and Rebel Wilson’s Isn’t It Romantic (2019).

Just Cause is a video game about using a grappling hook to allow the player to pull a parachute and catapult them into the air to shoot dual SMGS from the sky. Of course, it’s getting a film adaptation, the game follows Rico Rodriguez, an operative sent to destabilize and overthrow oppressive regimes, the movie has been rumored to have been in development since 2011 and it just got a director attached, Blue Beetles’ Angel Manuel Soto.

Universal Pictures is the studio, and David Leitch (Dir: The Fall Guy) is the producer.

AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) promotes four. Jennifer Davidson is the new CMO, and Jenny Galante is the new CRO.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

By the power of Grayskull, Amazon MGM has cast its new He-Man for the next big Matel vehicle, Masters Of The Universe. Nicholas Galitzine will be taking on the mantle and swinging the sword. Galitzine, 29, has mostly made his career foundation out of various rom-coms. Most recently, playing off of Anne Hathaway in Amazon’s The Idea of You (trailer). He also has experience playing Prince Harry and Prince Robert in Red, White, and Royal Blue (2023) and Cinderella (2021), respectively. So he should fit snugly into the fur boots of He-Man’s alter ego, Prince Adam, and he seems to have the build for the warrior part of it as well.

This new project is from the bones of an abandoned Netflix deal where they had spent $30 M over two years attempting to develop the juggernaut IP. They pulled out before investing the full $200 M in the budget.

Instead, Amazon MGM Studios scooped up the abandoned Netflix project and will release it on June 5, 2026.

A romance no one saw coming! Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman star in the new Netflix film A Family Affair.

The rom-com follows Zara (Joey King), a young personal assistant to self-absorbed Hollywood star Chris Cole (Zac Efron), who discovers her boss is having a secret romantic relationship with her widowed mother (Nicole Kidman).

This more lighthearted role comes shortly after Efron’s impressive performance as Kevin Von Erich in the heart-wrenching true story The Iron Claw (2023). The A24 sports drama depicted the tragedy of the Von Erich brothers, a professional wrestling family faced with constant devastation.

What’s interesting about Efron’s A Family Affair role is how, on paper, it seems particularly trite, but in the trailer, the performance feels surprisingly nuanced.

Release date: June 28th.

Tidbit:

Sandra Hüller is going to space. She will co-star with Ryan Gosling in:

  • Project Hail Mary
    • Dir: Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street)
    • Writer: Drew Goddard (The Matrix 5)
    • Studio: Amazon MGM

Synopsis:

Set in the near future, it centers on junior high (middle) school-teacher-turned-astronaut Ryland Grace (Gosling), who wakes up from a coma afflicted with amnesia. He gradually remembers that he was sent to the Tau Ceti solar system, 12 light-years from Earth, to find a means of reversing a solar dimming event that could cause the extinction of humanity.

Release Date: March 20, 2026.

Wake Up Dead Man (e.g., Knives Out 3) returns in 2025. Potential cast includes: ​

  • Tom Hardy
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Cailee Spaeny (Civil War)
  • Josh O’Connor (Challengers)
  • Andrew Scott (Ripley)

And now Kerry Washington and Glenn Close.


FESTIVALS AND RESOURCES

Visionary Fellowship is a year-long program that invests in disabled filmmakers with the funding, mentorship, and community they need to make a short film and leverage it into their first feature film. They will invest 55K with each participant. With 25K going to produce a short film, the rest will be spent on living expenses, health insurance, marketing budget, and travel costs.

Apply here.

Cannes Directors’ Fortnight is losing its memory. The Memento-like film Gazer was just acquired by Metrograph Pictures.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Frankie, a young mother with dyschronometria, struggles to perceive time. Using cassette tapes for guidance, she takes a risky job from a mysterious woman to support her family, unaware of the dark consequences that await.

This is the debut feature of Ryan J. Sloan.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Mike F

Mike Flanagan, who directed Oculus (2013) and Doctor Sleep (2019, The Shining prequel), has taken over The Exorcist franchise. He is set to direct the next two films in the series. It will take a very different approach after The Exorcist: Believer tanked at the box office. It will be an all new story and not a sequel. Blumhouse has not yet had a franchise win with this one after buying the rights from Morgan Creek for $400 M in 2021, they soon after went into production with Believer and its box office ended up being a paltry $6 M domestic. It looks like they are willing to let Flanagan take this series into uncharted waters and freshen up the horror classic.

Our guess is he had a unique creative pitch that wowed the stakeholders at Blumhouse. It’s exactly what he did when he impressed the execs at Warner Bros. with his re-imagining of their Doctor Sleep script.

Check out Flanagan’s fascinating story here.

John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono’s life following The Beatles’s infamous breakup is the focus of Kevin MacDonald’s latest documentary, One to One: John & Yoko.

MacDonald stated:

“I wanted to make a film that surprises and delights even the most dedicated Lennon and Ono fans by focusing on one transformative period in their lives and telling the tale through their own words, images, and music.”

The Scottish film director has already solidified himself as a master of musical documentaries, having directed a Bob Marley-centered documentary, Marley (2012, trailer) and Whitney (2018, trailer), a film following the life and career of the iconic singer Whitney Houston.

High & Low: John Galliano (2024), Macdonald’s most recent project, followed the fashion designer’s rapid ascent and even faster fall from grace.

Tidbits:

Yorgos Lanthimos Kinds of Kindness is shimmying to our screens with a full trailer here. The project was an official selection at Cannes and one of the leads, Jesse Plemons, won the Best Acting award. The release date is June 21st.


INTERNATIONAL

Cannes Critics Week Julie Keeps Quiet is a foreboding meditation on the asymmetrical power structures in competitive tennis.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Julie is a star player at an elite tennis academy. When her coach falls under investigation and is suddenly suspended, all of the club’s players are encouraged to speak up. But Julie decides to keep quiet.

The film, directed by Leonardo Van Dijl, just got UK/Ireland distribution through Artificial Eye (Distributor: The Teachers’ Lounge (2023), The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017).

Here’s the haunting trailer.


ON THIS DAY

1978. 31st Cannes Film Festival: The Tree of Wooden Clogs, directed by Ermanno Olmi, wins the Palme d’Or.


See you Friday.


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

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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