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Owen Wilson’s game

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

Owen Wilson’s long game, Robert De Niro kills Costello, It’s Always Sunny for Rob McElhenney, SXSW Memento, and red men.

Let’s go!


Owen Wilson is a cultural phenomenon.

Although the height of his stardom was realized in the early 2000s with Zoolander (2001), Starsky and Hutch (2004), and Wedding Crashers (2005), he’s overdue for a renaissance.

He is set to star in a new, untitled Apple TV+ 10-episode series.

Here’s the official synopsis:

An over-the-hill ex-golfer (Wilson), fired from his job, sees hope in coaching a troubled teen prodigy after his wife leaves him, staking his future on the youth’s success.

Like his latest character, Wilson was (bottle) rocketed to stardom by tying his career to a then up-and-comer.

A chance meeting with Wes Anderson in 1988 in the halls of the University of Texas ignited an 8-film partnership.​

Anderson said of Wilson:

“He’s deceptively intelligent and sometimes even hides his intelligence and how well-read he is. He surprises you in the course of getting to know him. People might underestimate him sometimes… people are drawn to him. If kids were picking teams, he might be good at whatever the sport is…”

Wilson’s range is often overlooked in part due to his cookie-cutter roles in the early 2000s, where he played (excellently) various copies of the charmingly uncertain and starry-eyed.

It’s this child-like quality that led to the memefication of his catchphrase:


And allowed him to work with auteurs like Wes Anderson, Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), and Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice), where he slips into absurd worlds with ease.

The Apple series is already lined up for greatness, with Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) set to direct.

For More:

Which side is Owen Wilson on? Watch him square off with Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent ViceScene.​

Owen Wilson tries to explain his time-travel predicament to a table of surrealists, including Adrien Brody as Dalí. Scene.

Every Owen Wilson “Wow” in chronological order.


Re-mark your calendars. We’ve got some release date delays from Warner Bros.:

  • The Batman II
    • Oct ’25 → Oct ’26
    • Director: Matt Reeves (The Batman)
    • Star: Robert Pattinson

The first film ended with quite a cliffhanger, with Gotham flooded and a reveal of Barry Keoghan’s Joker cut from the film. Maybe Colin Farrell’s new Penguin TV series will keep everyone satiated till 2026.

  • Alto Knights
    • Nov ’24 → Mar ’25
    • Star: Robert De Niro
    • Director: Barry Levinson (Rain Man)
    • Writer: Nick Pileggi (author: Goodfellas)


Vito Genovese (De Niro) and Frank Costello, a pair of Italian Americans who run two separate crime families in the mid-20th century. Genovese attempted to assassinate Costello in 1957, although Costello retired from the mob.

Reportedly based on author Thomas Pynchon’s (Inherent Vice) Vineland.

Bride of Frankenstein spinoff.

  • Venom: The Last Dance (e.g. Venom 3)
    • Release date: Oct. 25, 2024
    • Dir: Kelly Marcel (feature debut after writing Venom 1 & 2)
    • Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing

The date shifts are due to the dual strikes domino effect on writing and production schedules.

Another tidbit: The Timothee Chalamet, Bob Dylan bio-pic, A Complete Unknown, will begin filming this month.

Scholastic invests big in Children’s content. Pending regulatory approval, young adult publisher Scholastic (Harry Poter series, Hunger Games series) will invest $186 M in 9 Story Media, the renowned production company behind Arthur (1996 – 2022) and Blues Clues (1995 – 2007), and distributor of Barney & Friends (1992 – 2010). This massive investment will allow 9 Story Media to reduce its production costs and facilitate an already symbiotic relationship for licensing Scholastic’s content.

Apollo Global looks to purchase Paramount. Apollo Global has previously purchased or invested in CKX (owner of American Idol production company 19 Entertainment), Legendary Entertainment (Dune 2), and Yahoo Inc. Apollo Global reached out to Paramount Global about a potential buyout.

After Shari Redstone, president of Paramount’s parent company, signaled she is looking to sell the company, many companies have thrown their hat in the ring.

Byron Allen put in a $30 billion offer in late January for Paramount Global, which includes debt and equity. David Ellison is also considering acquiring Shari Redstone’s stake in National Amusements.

Following early interest in December, Warner Bros. Discovery, in light of a lackluster earnings call, halted their talks of a merger.


Rob McElhenney is one of the greatest multi-talented creators of our generation. First known for his lunatic antics as Mac on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, gaining 60 lbs (clip) and then getting into Brad Pitt Fight Club shape (clip), a show where he also served as co-creator and showrunner. He also played that multi-hyphenate role (star, co-creator, showrunner) in the Apple TV+ comedy series Mythic Quest, a dark Silicon Valley lampoon of the video game industry where McElhenny acts as an all-mighty video game series creative director (trailer).

McElhenney has now started More Better Industries, which will be comprised of:

  • More Better Productions
    • President: Jackie Cohn (EP: Severance)

Film, television, and multimedia expands upon McElhenney’s unique approach to worldbuilding by creating, developing, and producing bold, human stories

  • More Better Advisory
    • Client: Wrexham AFC (FX’s Welcome to Wrexham, starring Ryan Reynolds)
    • Four Walls Whiskey (founded by McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton)

Consulting, brand partnership, and creative marketing services using the power of storytelling.

  • More Better Ventures

Invest strategically around the existing More Better universe by investing in sports, entertainment, and related properties.

Let the McElhenney global domination commence.

Daniel Brühl is Karl Lagerfeld. Brühl is best known to American audiences as Inglorious Bastard’s Fredrick Zoller, the one-man army who gains national fame as for holding off an entire battalion from a watchtower. The feat wins him a starring role in a film adaptation of the event, but not enough charm to win Mélanie Laurent in this failed meet cute. Brühl has recently been seen as the head of the German delegation for peacemaking in All’s Quiet on the Western Front (2022), who lays waste to his colleague’s false pride in this scene.

Brühl will now play the titular role in Becoming Karl Lagerfeld, which traces the designer’s rise to fame.

Here’s a first-look trailer. And a high-res image of Brühl as Lagerfeld.

The six-part series will premiere at the Canneseries TV festival in April.

It will be available in the US on Hulu on June 7th.


SXSW has kicked off. There are a few films that have been making waves:

Official synopsis:

An anonymous young man unleashes a campaign of vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother and continues to systemically victimize the poor and powerless.

Fittingly, it will be released by Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw on April 5th.

Official synopsis:

Chronicling the incarceration of James “JJ’88” Jacobs, who went to jail at age 15 for murder, the film combines nakedly vulnerable reflections from Jacobs with poetic recreations for a deeply affecting experience, both musically and dramatically.

A friend of The Industry said it was “astounding.”

Quote from review:

“This unlikely intersection of Memento and It’s a Wonderful Life just might prove an enduring classic.”

Check out the full SXSW line-up here.


Ben Mullinkosson is a filmmaker to watch. I’ve been familiar with his work since we met in our high school’s media center. Mullinkosson’s latest, The Last Year of Darkness, is a psychedelic adrenaline shot of the underground queer club scene in China. Edited from 600 hours of footage and shot over five years, what emerges is a masterfully intimate portrait of Chinese 20-something DJs and drag performers’ lives.

Here’s the hypnotic trailer.

Mubi is releasing on March 15th.

My favorite short of Mullinkosson’s (other than his mini-DV skateboarding masterpieces from ’07) is the NY Times Op-Doc Gnarly in Pink about “The Pink Helmet Posse”, a group of 6-year-olds that skate (full short).

Ari Aster is the young master of horror cinema. During the Sundance premiere of his debut feature, Hereditary, there were audible screams throughout the theater. His cinema seems to have a psychic grip on amygdala-generated terror.

Emma Stone, Pedro Pascal, and Austin Butler have just been cast in his latest film, Eddington.

Here’s the synopsis:

Eddington is about a couple (Lindsay and Marc) driving through New Mexico on their way to Los Angeles, who run out of gas just outside of the small town of Eddington, New Mexico. Lindsay and Marc decide to enter the town for help. They are, at first, greeted very warmly, but as nightfall comes, the picturesque setting soon turns into a nightmare.

Production will start this week. Joaquin Phoenix has already been cast.

Here’s a fun image from set.


Mexico in the 80s is not Berlin. It’s a cesspool of hormones and counterculture made vibrant in Hari Sama’s autobiographical Sundance picture This Is Not Berlin (trailer, 2019). Sami’s next feature is Red Men.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The intimate relationship between Austrian painter Egon Schiele and his muse Dominik Van Osen. Explores Schiele’s artistic style, fluid sexuality amidst societal norms. Coming-of-age story.

Sama shared his inspiration for the film:

“Some years ago, I found an article that read: ‘New scholarship has found that Egon Schiele’s male nudes from 1910, known as his “Red Men,” are not, as has long been assumed, self-portraits. Instead, they most likely depict the artist’s gay friends, particularly his lover and muse, Dominik Erwin Osen.”

He continued:

“An atom exploded in my mind. Through research, we found that his friend Dominik Erwin Osen repeatedly formed part of Egon´s life until he suddenly disappeared for good. We had found a story.”

The film is being produced by Daniel Dreifuss (All Quiet on the Western Front).

Dreifuss discussed:

“I continue to seek out incredible and untold stories that bring edgy and contemporary storytelling to historical settings that have a parallel to our world today. When Hari told me that the famous Red Men may have been portraits of Egon’s lover who had to be erased in his life to be immortalized on canvas, I knew we had a movie through Hari’s singular take and exciting voice.”

Eben Davidson, the former Paramount executive who sold a spec script to Paramount, is also producing.

Netflix, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB), and the Personal Managers’ Association (PMA) have entered a landmark agreement, marking the first collaboration between a streaming service, a writers’ union, and a representation agency in the UK. Effective February 1, 2024, this deal establishes remuneration standards for UK writers on Netflix’s commissioned scripted live-action series.

The agreement promises:

  • Minimum script fees of £17,000 for a single 60-minute episode
  • £15,000 for series episodes

This covers Netflix’s ability to exploit the work worldwide for six months, along with non-theatrical and promotional rights.

The deal compensates the creative talents behind Netflix’s success in the UK.


1956. The Searchers, the iconic western film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Natalie Wood, is released.

See you Thursday.

Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.


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