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Luc Besson’s bombastic masterpieces

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

The 5th Element of DogMan, Roadhouse breaks records, Benedict Cumberbatch’s war, Julianne Moore’s starz, Liam Neeson’s comedy, and a pub.

Let’s go!


Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (1997) is a bombastic masterpiece.

Five major stars light up his imaginative world:

  • Bruce Willis as a burned-out taxi driver. Jaded but lethal (still)
  • Gary Oldman as a mustache-twirling villain in the zaniest hairpiece of all time (still)
  • Milla Jovovich, as the stunning supreme being sent to save humanity from an unspeakable evil (still)
  • Chris Tucker as the flamboyantly jumpy radio host (still)
  • Maïwenn as a blue xeno-morph with a heavenly voice (still)

While The Fifth Element showcases a wild kaleidoscope of characters, Besson’s latest DogMan centers on a singular role.

Dogman, played by the incredibly versatile Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out, Nitram), has a simple dogma. When asked why he prefers dogs over humans, the answer has a surprising fifth element:

“Dogs have beauty without vanity,
force without insolence,
bravery without ferocity,

and all the virtues of humans have without any of the vices. As far as I can tell, they only have one flaw.”

He continues:

“They trust humans.”

And as it turns out, this is also Jones’ character flaw. At every turn in the film, those supposed to give him the most love, from the familial (his parents) to the institutional (the lawmen at an animal shelter he runs) to the romantic (his theater teacher), constantly abuse, embarrass or degrade him.

It is a multi-prismed character that is at once a superhero and villain, a recluse and a born performer, a romantic and a realist.

And for that alone, the film is worth every second.

For More:

DogMan trailer.

Caleb Landry Jones BTS interview about getting into character for DogMan… as an octopus.

The Fifth Element trailer.


Action-packed Roadhouse fights off all the competition with 50 million global viewers in record-breaking first two weekends on Prime Video. Amazon has confirmed that the remake has now surpassed the viewership of any original movie they’ve previously produced for the streaming service, with 28.3 M watch hours.

The film’s cast is led by Jake Gyllenhaal as the washed-up UFC fighter who shares the screen with a stellar cast, including lightweight MMA fighter Conor McGregor in his debut performance as the muscle-head antagonist.

Check out the trailer for the streaming hit.

Director Doug Liman’s reboot of the 1980s cult classic premiered at Austin’s SXSW Film Festival as the opening night film.

Although Liman unleashed a tirade online against Amazon for choosing to strip the film of a theatrical release, it was revealed that Amazon had made a simple upfront deal with Liman: lower budget + theatrical or higher budget and VOD. Liman opted for the latter.

Roadhouse is currently available to stream on Prime Video.

Searchlight Pictures’ new projects. After their massive success with Poor Things:

  • 4 Oscars
    • Best Actress
    • Best Makeup
    • Best Costume
    • Best Production Design
  • $116 M worldwide box office
    • $35 M budget

The auteur-driven production studio has two new projects:

Based on the original film directed by Danny DeVito and starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner (1989, trailer).

Here’s the official synopsis:

Life seems easy for picture-perfect couple Theo (Cumberbatch) and Ivy (Colman): successful careers, great kids, an enviable sex life. But underneath the façade of the perfect family is a tinderbox of competition and resentments that’s ignited when Theo’s professional dreams come crashing down.

The project is currently in development.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The history of the universe and human life as told through three intertwined stories.

This will be Stanton’s first live-action film since John Carter (2012) changed the industry.


Liam Neeson is funny. While the actor admits he has not yet proven his comedy skills, he, albeit nervously, is excited to give it a try. We will find out soon enough in the Naked Gun reboot when he steps into the shoes of the late great Lesley Nielson (Airplane! (1980), Naked Gun 1, 2 ½, 33 ⅓). The original Naked Gun is a nonstop jokes-per-second spy thriller spoof that led to such films as Austin Powers (1997), Get Smart (2008), and Johnny English (2003).

Watch the incredible slapstick in the original Naked Gun (1988) trailer.

While Liam Neeson has proven that he can find his family and be threatening over the phone, aside from a few cameos, he has yet to star in a comedy. With a script by Akiva Schaffer (SNL, The Lego Movie, Popstar: Never Stop Stopping), the funny will be there, but will Neeson land the joke?

Best Liam Neeson Comedy bits so far:

Neeson lamented:

Naked Gun will either be the end of my so-called career or it’ll be another little avenue.”

We will see next year on July 18th, 2025 when the reboot releases on Paramount Plus.

Kali Reis (True Detective Season 4) joins Chris Pratt and Rebecca Ferguson (Dune) in Amazon MGM Studios new upcoming sci-fi thriller, Mercy.

Director Timur Bekmambetov’s (Wanted) feature is set to begin filming this spring, following Reis’ critically acclaimed run opposite Jodie Foster in the fourth season of True Detective: Night Country.

While little is known of the role Reis will be taking on, Mercy, set in the near future, centers around a detective (Pratt) who has been accused of committing a heinous crime but seeks to uphold his innocence by any means necessary.

Reis, crowned World Boxing Council Middleweight Champion in 2016, has attained indisputable success even outside of the ring with her breakthrough performance blending her love for both the sport and acting, playing the role of a young boxer in Josef Kubota’s thriller for IFC, Catch the Fair One (trailer, 2021).

Mercy is the first in a series of titles that Amazon MGM Studios is greenlighting for theatrical distribution, with its release set for the summer of 2025.

Until then, you can binge every episode of True Detective: Night Country (trailer) now on Max or catch her in a disturbing role in Asphalt City, in theaters now.

Julianne Moore is in a Starz TV show. The network is not known for attracting top Oscar-winning talent, but the series Mary & George showcases a deliciously corrupt Moore in a role she seems to have found enriching. The trailer is purposely provocative; at one point, Moore proclaims:

“If I were a man and I looked like you, I’d rule the f–king planet.”

The synopsis reads:

Follow the story of the Countess of Buckingham (Moore), who molded her son to seduce King James I and become his all-powerful lover through intrigue, becoming richer, more titled, and more influential than England has ever seen.

Moore always finds a way to connect to the live wire of heightened roles with devastating realism (like in the Magnolia pharmacy scene). It looks like she’s found an intriguing way to embody this new material. Debuting on Starz on Friday.


Created by filmmakers, for filmmakers, Filmmaker Magazine covers the art and business of the independent film world with a savvy yet accessible insider’s point-of-view.

Filmmaker covers new technologies, both studio and do-it-yourself distribution, and, through its in-depth interviews with the best directors in the business, offers insights into the creative process that are of interest to both filmmakers as well as casual film lovers.

Filmmaker is published by an established, non-profit, filmmaking membership organization, The Gotham Film & Media Institute.

The Gotham celebrates and nurtures independent film and media creators, providing career-building resources, access to industry influencers, and pathways to wider recognition.

Click HERE to find out more about Filmmaker Magazine.


Aaron Schimberg, whose film A Different Man played at Sundance, just signed with Cinetic Media. His film, also an official selection at the Berlin Film Festival, is a psychosexual thriller. The film uses body horror to tackle identity in a way that is reminiscent of David Cronenberg’s The Fly.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Aspiring actor Edward (Sebastian Stan) undergoes a radical medical procedure to drastically transform his appearance. But his new dream face quickly turns into a nightmare, as he loses out on the role he was born to play and becomes obsessed with reclaiming what was lost.

At the Q&A, Stan discussed the challenges of walking around NYC with facial deformity prosthetics (video).

Schimberg’s previous film, Chained For Life (2019, trailer), starring Adam Pearson (Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson scene clip) – covered similar ground.

A24 is releasing. No date has been set.

Another Sundance filmmaker locks representation. Alessandra Lacorazza, who directed the Grand Jury Prize (U.S. Dramatic) winning film In the Summers, just signed with UTA.

The film follows the formative years of two sisters who navigate their loving but violent father during their yearly summer visits to his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Lacorazza, who won the directing award at Sundance, discussed her reason for making the film:

“As a way to understand my father and our fractured relationship and to see a different kind of queer and Latin representation. My inspiration was my beautiful but often chaotic childhood. The beauty, the joys, the pain of being a child of an addict, and the importance of having my sister as an ally and a witness.”

No distributor has been found, but we hope her reps will help her find this beautifully poetic and poignant film a home.

Care-free first-look image.

Big Beach Productions has produced some of the most heartwarming indies over the years.

Their impressive list includes:

The company just bought the rights to Alexandra Tanner’s debut novel Worry, with the plan of adapting it into a series.

They stated:

“The book somehow manages to be both completely original and familiar simultaneously. The show will be about a dysfunctional family, and Big Important Themes: competition, identity, search for meaning. It will also be about getting stoned with your sister and staring at the internet for so long you think you’re your own ancestor.”

Tanner will write along with Lesley Arfin (Girls).

Ken Loach’s last project. British director Ken Loach, at 87 years young, says his most recent project, The Old Oak, may be his last.

Known for his critical directing style and socialism, Loach’s films rely heavily on their emotional pull, with The Old Oak being no exception.

Official Synopsis:

The future for the last remaining pub, The Old Oak, in a village of Northeast England, where people are leaving the land as the mines are closed. Houses are cheap and available, thus making it an ideal location for Syrian refugees.

Not only is it the last pub standing, but it’s also the only remaining public space where people can meet in a once-thriving mining community that has now fallen on hard times after 30 years of decline.

The Old Oak marks the unofficial end to Loach’s Northeast England trilogy following I, Daniel Blake (2016), and Sorry We Missed You (2019).

The film opens Friday, April 5th at Film Forum (New York); Friday, April 12th at Laemmle Royal (Los Angeles); and will expand nationally at a later unannounced date.

That’s all for today. We’ll see you Wednesday.

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

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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