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Paul Greengrass and the art of disaster

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

Jeremy Allen White’s crazy heart, Julia Roberts’ Hunt, Timothée Chalamet + WB, Pirates of the Caribbean anew and a giraffe-flamingo.

Let’s go!


Paul Greengrass has an exceptional ability to add depth to disaster films. Captain Phillips (2013) and United 93 (2006) are heart-pounding and heartfelt. Greengrass is set to direct two new projects for Warner Bros.:

WB’s official synopsis:

A plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean six minutes after takeoff and is flooded after an explosion during evacuation. 12 survivors sink in a sealed part of the aircraft as it perches on an undersea cliff 200 feet below the surface.

  • The Lost Bus
    • Starring Matthew McConaughey and Jamie Lee Curtis
    • Producer: Blumhouse
    • Writer: Brad Ingelsby (Mare of Easttown)


California’s deadliest fire.

On November 8, 2018, the people of Paradise, California, awoke to a mottled gray sky and gusty winds. Soon the Camp Fire was upon them, gobbling an acre a second. Less than two hours after the fire ignited, the town was engulfed in flames, the residents trapped in their homes and cars. By the next morning, eighty-five people were dead.

McConaughey will play a bus driver who commands a school bus full of children who must navigate through the fire to safety.

These films seem pitch-perfect for Greengrass’ gritty, big-budget psychological thriller sensibilities.

The plan is for Greenhouse to jump into production on Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 421 right after The Lost Bus.

No word on the production start date.

Warner Bros. signs a first-look deal with Timothée Chalamet in their continued bid to make strategic partnerships with top talent, including Tom Cruise and Ram Bergman (dir: Knives Out).

Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, the co-CEOs of WB’s Motion Picture Group, stated:

“Over the last few years, we have admired not only Timothée’s commitment to his craft, which is evident in the range and depth of his varied roles, but also his unwavering dedication to give 100% of his time and attention to every project he has made here at Warner Bros. and elsewhere. His collaboration on the campaigns for Dune and Wonka is something we all enjoyed immensely, and the results speak for themselves.”

Dune 2 is sitting at $577 M worldwide, and Wonka is at $632 M.

They concluded:

“We continue to build for the future of the theatrical film business at Warner Bros. Discovery and are thrilled Timothée has chosen our studio to be his creative home.”

Chalamet is the first actor in four decades to star in the top two-grossing domestic films of the past eight months (e.g., post-Barbie, also a WB property).

Chalamet signed a multi-year first-look feature film deal as both actor and producer.

Pirates of the Caribbean is Disney’s most successful pre-Marvel live-action franchise, netting $4.52 billion across five films. Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer just confirmed that the series will be rebooted.

Here’s what he said:

“We’re gonna reboot Pirates, so that is easier to put together because you don’t have to wait for certain actors.”

The project already has a script written by Craig Mazin (Chornobyl, The Last of Us) and Ted Elliot (co-writer of the first four Pirates movies).

Mazin stated:

“We pitched it [to Disney] and thought there’s no way they’re buying it, it’s too weird. And they did! And then we wrote a fantastic script and the strike happened and everyone’s waiting around.”

A Margot Robbie female-led Pirates film is said to be put on hold.

This is not the only sequel Bruckheimer is producing; the new Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024) trailer just dropped. The previous installment, Bad Boys for Life (2020), which preceded COVID by a couple of months and Will Smith’s infamous Oscar slap by a couple of years, grossed $426M, making it the top earner in the series.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die will be released by Sony on June 7, 2024.

A few tidbits on some new projects:

  • The Night of the Hunter
    • Studio: Universal
    • Dir: Scott Derrickson (The Black Phone, Dr. Strange)
    • Writer: C. Robert Cargill (The Black Phone, Dr. Strange)


Harry Powell, a serial killer posing as a preacher, who marries a widow solely to gain access to her deceased husband’s hidden fortune. Powell’s stepchildren, John and Pearl, become the targets of his relentless pursuit as he seeks the money hidden by their father.

Trailer for the original 1955 film. Watch it just for the old-timey announcer VO.

  • Rebel Nun
    • Documentary based on the nun in Dead Man Walking
    • Studio: Universal
    • EP: Andrew Ruhemann (Searching for Sugarman)

Official synopsis:

Sister Helen Prejean was a humble nun from Louisiana who embarked on a controversial battle that would change the world, now 84 years old, Sister Helen is currently fighting to stop the execution of a Death Row inmate in Oklahoma even lawmakers are convinced is innocent.

E.G., Sister Helen vs. the death penalty.

Trailer for the original heartbreaker, Dead Man Walking (1995), starring Sean Penn (death row inmate) and Susan Sarandon (Sister Helen).


Jeremy Allen White may play Bruce Springsteen in Deliver Me from Nowhere. The film would revolve around Springsteen’s creation of his famed Nebraska album.

Here’s the official synopsis for the book on which the film is based:

Without Nebraska, Bruce Springsteen might not be who he is today. The natural follow-up to Springsteen’s hugely successful album The River should have been the hit-packed Born in the U.S.A. But instead, in 1982, he came out with an album consisting of a series of dark songs he had recorded by himself, for himself.

But more than forty years later, Nebraska is arguably Springsteen’s most important record—the lasting clue to understanding not just his career as an artist and the vision behind it but also the man himself.

The film will be written and directed by Scott Cooper (dir: Crazy Heart, which won Jeff Bridges an Oscar for Best Actor).

What’s more, this is Scott Stuber, former Chairman of Netflix Film, who oversaw Roma (2018), Marriage Story (2019), and All Quiet on the Western Front (2022), first film since leaving Netflix.

Stuber will oversee the project along with production company Gotham Group (Maze Runner series) executives Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eric Robinson.

A24 is interested as well.

Julia Roberts is having a career resurgence. Leave the World Behind (2023) is reported to have accrued 141 M viewing hours, making it the 5th most popular English language film of all time on Netflix. And she was terrific in it, playing a pitch-perfect uptight mother, letting loose in a wonderful jazz slow-dance scene with Mahershala Ali (link).

Now she will star in After the Hunt, directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name and the upcoming Challengers starring Zendaya), which was just acquired by MGM.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The movie follows Roberts as a college professor who finds herself at a personal and professional crossroads when a star pupil levels an accusation against one of her colleagues. As she navigates the difficult situation, a dark secret from her own past threatens to come to light.

We’re getting some Tar vibes from this one.


Sundance is coming to Chicago. The Sundance Institute, in partnership with Choose Chicago and the Chicago Film Office, announces “Sundance Institute x Chicago,” which will debut this summer from June 28 to 30.

This event will spotlight Chicago’s vibrant film scene and its potential as a filmmaking nexus. Through film screenings and industry talks it aims to share valuable insights from the Institute’s artist development programs with emerging talents.

Eugene Hernandez, the director of the Sundance Institute since 2022, leads the program. Hernandez has been a vital lifeline for the festival, navigating the newly formed post-COVID hybrid festival and ushering in a strong 2023 and 2024 festivals.

As a proud Chicagoan myself, it’s great to see the festival put such emphasis on the city as it used to be a prime hub for independent filmmakers:

Recently, Minhal Baig (Sony Picture’s Classics’s We Grown Now) seems to have taken up their mantle.

But mostly, Chicago has remained an area for ultra-low budget genre fare, not that there’s anything wrong with that, or ultra-high budget blockbusters Transformers: Dark of the Moon, (Dark Knight), or TV (Chicago Fire).

This Sundance initiative reflects a commitment to enriching the city’s filmic landscape and fostering an environment where local talent can flourish with the support of industry decision-makers.


Sora AI first impressions.

The results of Open AI’s (owner: Chat GPT) first contact moment with filmmakers is surreal.

When the tech was first showcased last month (video), I wasn’t sure if it could generate a level of consistency across clips that is required to make an edit feel cohesive.

Irrelevant to how much post-production work was done, that concern has been quashed.

What’s apparent is that the video creators have leaned into the surreal, trippy nature of the visuals, which still need a little tuning until they’re completely photorealistic.

Here is some of what was created:

  • Airhead
    • Short Film: a man with a balloon for a head
    • Watch here
  • Beyond our Reality
    • A trailer for a cryptid nature doc
    • Giraffe-flamingo, included
    • Watch here

Watch all the filmmaker tests here.

As the models improve, companies will race to integrate to win the content wars, as the streaming gold rush is facing significant roadblocks with declining ad sales.

Eventually, the public’s visceral distaste for using the tech (see the Late Night with the Devil backlash and the BBC Dr. Who ad complaints) will be eroded by sure ubiquity.

The upside is that a new generation of independent filmmakers will be empowered to create pitch materials that approximate their cinematic visions without immense production costs.


Allison Rose Carter and Jon Read are some of the top indie producers in the game. They have partnered with Neon (Ferrari, Immaculate, Anatomy of a Fall) to expand their production and development arm.

Rose Carter will typically serve as line producer and Read as production supervisor when not taking producer credits.

Here is a recent aggregated credit list:

  • Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)
    • Co-Producer
    • Production Supervisor
    • Line Producer
  • Zola (2020)
    • Production Supervisor
    • Line Producer
  • American Honey (2016)
    • Line Producer
    • Production Manager

They stated:

“We love the kind of risks Neon takes with filmmakers at the forefront of the cinematic conversation; we look forward to this collaboration.”

We wish them the best of luck.

Berlinale’s The Visitor has been acquired by Utopia for North America and the UK.

This film is wild.

Here’s the synopsis:

A refugee who washes up in a small suitcase on the banks of the River Thames in London. Arriving at the house of an upper-class family, he seduces each and every family member, depicted in explicit sex scenes.

The teaser trailer is not shy.

Fifteen years ago, director Bruce LaBruce showcased his debut feature at Sundance, which followed similar themes.


Evil Does not Exist. This is the title of the new film by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, who directed the masterful Academy Award-winning Drive My Car (2021). Above all else, that film seemed to be a meditation on life, imitating art to cleanse the soul.

His new film Evil has played at:

  • Venice Film Festival
    • Silver Lion (2nd place)
  • New York Film Festival
    • Official Selection
  • BFI London
    • Best Film

Here is the official synopsis:

Takumi and his daughter Hana live in Mizubiki Village, close to Tokyo. One day, the village inhabitants become aware of a plan to build a camping site near Takumi’s house, offering city residents a comfortable “escape” to nature.

Watch the trailer here.

Hamaguchi’s ability to show how corrupted spaces of refuge (be it a red Saab or a sleepy mountain town) compel us to heal.

Release date: May 3rd.


1952. Singin’ in the Rain, a musical comedy directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, premieres at Radio City Music Hall in NYC.

See you Thursday!

Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.


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