What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:15 AM 10/27/2017

by Ray Rahman

By Kristian Dowling/Getty Images.

What's news: How should a member of the Academy behave? The organization is trying to figure that out in the shadow of Harvey Weinstein. Plus: Mark Halperin's fall continues, Imax reports big numbers this quarter, and a breakdown of the Stranger Things 2 premiere.  — Ray Rahman

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  • The Post-Harvey Academy

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    Harvey Weinstein has already been kicked out of the Academy, but what about other possible "Harvey Weinsteins" hiding in plain sight among the Oscars organization's ranks? Their time as members may be running out as the group looks to change its rules, writes Gregg Kilday: 

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is moving forward with its efforts to establish a new code of conduct for its members, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in an email sent Thursday to the organization's members.

    "Like you," she wrote, "the Academy's Board of Governors is concerned about sexual harassment and predatory behavior in the workplace, especially in our own industry. We believe our Academy has a role to play in fostering a safe and respectful atmosphere for the professionals who make motion pictures. To this end, we are taking steps to establish a code of conduct for our members, which will include a policy for evaluating alleged violations and determining if action regarding membership is warranted." Hudson promised that the board will take up the issue at its next scheduled meetings in December and January.

    In the wake of the Weinstein scandal, and as the issue of sexual harassment has taken on new urgency, there have been those who have questioned why other figures accused of similar offenses, such as Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby, have been allowed to remain Academy members. Full story.

    Weinstein update...

    + Harvey sues Weinstein Co. Things have finally gotten litigious: Harvey Weinstein is now officially in court against the company that (for the time being) bears his family name. On Thursday, he filed papers in Delaware in a bid to obtain personnel and employment records from The Weinstein Co.

    With the possibility of many more lawsuits to come from women, investors and employees, Weinstein claims through his new legal action that any "unjustified settlements or judgments" will diminish his economic interest in the company. 

    James Toback update... 

    + Rachel McAdams, Selma Blair speak. More than 200 women have already come out with claims against the accused director, and now McAdams and Blair have added their voices to the mix. In interviews with Vanity Fair, both actresses detailed incidents that happened near the start of their careers: Blair being asked by Tolback to get naked and give the director "release" during an audition, and McAdams receiving similar treatment during a hotel encounter.  

    Elsewhere in film...

    Pharrell Williams, Girls Trip writer Tracy Oliver team up for horror thriller Survive the Night. Williams is set to produce the YA novel adaptation, while Oliver will write and direct. Warner Bros. picked up the package, which on paper sounds like a no-brainer. Two things we know worked at the box office this year? Horror and Girls Trip

    Tom Hanks goes sci-fi. The actor has signed on for the robot-themed film Bios from Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik, who helmed the show's standout "Battle of the Bastards" episode. The movie follows a robot built by its dying creator (Hanks) to protect the life of his dog. Shooting is slated to begin early 2018.

    Jigsaw, reviewed. The latest installment in the Saw franchise "just seems rote and mechanical, with long stretches of its running time feeling like a police procedural or CSI spinoff," writes Frank Scheck. Read more.

    + If you do decide to see the movie, though, a guide to the Saw franchise's timeline so far might come in handy. 

    ^Justice League offers closer look at its villain. What's up with the DC film's baddie Steppenwolf? A new Chinese trailer offers more clues about the villain, who had yet to get much screentime until now. 

    Justin Lin in talks to direct Fast and Furious 9. The filmmaker has already handled four of the movies so far, and while the deal isn't done yet, it looks like he may be adding a fifth to the resumé. Or at least that's what Vin Diesel says: The actor revealed the news during a Facebook Live stream Wednesday, where he also teased that star Jordana Brewster would return after sitting out this year's The Fate of the Furious.

    Dunkirk propels Imax to record third-quarter box office. The company bucked the industry's summer box-office doldrums by posting record numbers after Dunkirk played on its giant screens. Imax notched $98.8 million in overall revenue, beating the same period a year ago ($86.5 million) as well as analyst forecasts.

     Two Jon Hamm movies get 2018 release dates. The former Mad Men lead's transition into cinema keeps chugging along, with distributor Bleecker Street announcing the release dates for two films starring the actor. First is Nostalgia, an indie which also features Catherine Keener, Ellen Burstyn, and Bruce Dern, slated for Feb 16. Then comes Beiruit, a political thriller that pairs Hamm with Rosamund Pike, hitting theaters April 13. 

    + Bleecker Street also announced three more movie release dates: What They Had (starring Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon) is set for March 16; Disobedience (Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams) will bow April 27; and On Chesil Beach (Saorise Ronan) hits theaters June 15.  

    47 Meters Down sequel finds distributor. Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, the theatrical distribution division of Byron Allen's company, has acquired the worldwide rights to the follow-up, already setting a June 28, 2019, release date.

    + The first film, which starred Mandy Moore and Claire Holt, has become 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, taking in $44 million at the domestic box office this summer and more than $53 million globally.


  • Halperin Fallout Grows

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    Shortly after a raft of sexual harassment allegations hit Mark Halperin, NBC News suspended the political journalist indefinitely. And now that we're three weeks out from the initial report that brought down Harvey Weinstein, we're seeing organizations move much more swiftly to cut ties with alleged harassers, as Halperin learned first-hand yesterday:    

    FIRST WAS HBO Halperin, along with his writing partner John Heilemann, have made a name for themselves with their juicy, well-sourced books about presidential campaigns, like the 2008-covering Game Change that turned into an Emmy-winning HBO movie. The network had plans to turn the pair's next book, all about Donald Trump's 2016 defeat of Hillary Clinton, into a miniseries but nixed the plan early yesterday. 

    THEN THE PUBLISHER Penguin Press then announced that the still-untitled 2016 campaign book was canceled altogether. 

    SHOWTIME NEXT? Halperin, along with Heilemann and Mark McKinnon, also star in Showtime's political docuseries The Circus. That relationship has not been severed yet, with the network saying it was still evaluating its options. "During Mark’s time working with us, we have not seen nor have there been allegations of any untoward behavior," a Showtime spokesperson said in a statement. "We are aware of these reports and will continue to evaluate all options should we decide to move forward with another season of The Circus."

    MORNING JOE WEIGHS IN On the MSNBC program where Halperin was a regular presence at the table, Mika Brzezinski said this morning that "we fully support NBC's decision here." She added that she's spoken to some of the women who've come forward against Halperin, but also acknowledged her and her husband/co-host's closeness with Halperin: "I will speak for both Joe and myself here: Our hearts break for both Mark and his family, because he is our friend." MSNBC has yet to say definitively whether Halperin will be allowed back on the show as a guest.

    Other harassment fallout...

    + E! News correspondent Ken Baker has been accused of sexual harassment by two women he worked with. They claim he propositioned them for sex repeatedly and texted one woman that he wanted to give her “a Tiffany dildo with ‘Ken Baker’ engraved on the shaft.” Full story.

    + CBS' longtime director of the Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase Rick Najera is out at the network following allegations of his own. The network said it became aware of inappropriate comments in March 2017. 

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Olivia Colman to replace Claire Foy on The Crown. The British actress who can be found in virtually every U.K. movie or TV show, has found her next conquest: Queen Elizabeth. She'll take over for Foy in the Netflix show's (not yet ordered but expected) third and fourth seasons, which will propel further into the sitting monarch's timeline. The Peter Morgan series eventually intends to cover six decades of Elizabeth's life over six seasons.

    + In other Netflix news, the true-crime parody American Vandal has been renewed for an eight-episode second season, slated to debut in 2018. The comedy's first season, featuring a largely unknown cast and relatively little marketing ahead of time, has slowly gained steam since its September release as positive word-of-mouth grows.

    Nathan Fillion returning to ABC as The Rookie. The Castle grad will star in a new straight-to-series ABC project called The Rookie, reuniting him with his former Castle boss Alexi Hawley. The light cop drama centers on the oldest rookie in the LAPD. 

    Lin-Manuel Miranda comes to Showtime with Kingkiller Chronicle. After a multiple-network bidding war, Showtime has landed the Hamilton multi-hyphenate's new drama project. The series, based on the best-selling epic fantasy novels, will feature music composed by the Tony, Pulitzer, Grammy and Emmy winner. 

    Ryan Murphy drama Pose adds stars. After making history yesterday with its transgender casting, the 1980s-set project has added Evan Peters, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek, and Tatiana Maslany to the pilot.

    ^It's Stranger Things day. The Netflix show's second season drops today. But how will it address Eleven's fate? THR took a close look at the premiere, "Chapter One: Mad Max."

    Preacher renewed for season 3 at AMC. The network gave the Seth Rogen-produced drama a 13-episode third season to debut in 2018.

    Kyra Sedgwick's Ten Days in the Valley moving to Saturdays. After four episodes and low ratings, the ABC drama's fortunes dwindled. The series will move to Saturdays beginning Dec. 16, with two episodes airing back-to-back on that date. The two-hour season, and likely series, finale will air on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 9 p.m.

    Handmaid's Tale adds Clea DuVall for season 2. The Emmy-winning drama series has enlisted DuVall for a key role in its forthcoming second season. The actress will guest-star as Sylvia, Emily's (Alexis Bledel) loving wife and co-parent to their young son. 

    ► Jill Soloway, David E. Kelley discuss Amazon turnover. "It can only be good," Kelley told THR of the shake-up occurring at Amazon Studios. "It was not well-run. I've gone on the record with it and I think the changes they make show that they've got good management at the top so I'm hopeful that they'll turn that around." Full story.


  • Bannon's War on Hollywood


    Former White House adviser Steve Bannon says that Breitbart will be redoubling its efforts to focus on Hollywood political bias, writes Paul Bond:.

    A few months after exiting Washington as President Donald Trump's chief adviser, Steve Bannon is back at Breitbart as its executive chairman and is refocusing some of his attention on Hollywood as the industry grapples with claims about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual abuse. Bannon is planning an effort to convince conservatives in the industry to tell stories of political retribution.

    "Hollywood isn't a new battlefront for Breitbart, it's the original battle," Bannon tells THR. "The fact it's blowing itself up isn't a new stage in the culture war, it's an inevitable one." Full story.

    What else we're reading...

    — How Saturday Night Live became a dating factory for the rich and famous. Amy Zimmerman writes: "What do Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, and Ben Affleck all have in common? Not only are they A-listers but they’re also dating people who work for the popular sketch-comedy show." [Daily Beast]

    — Michael Jackson, Halloween icon? His estate seems to think so. Gerrick D. Kennedy writes: "The entertainer’s estate is leaning on the late King of Pop’s appreciation for all things frightful and fantastical for a wave of projects, including a Halloween-themed compilation album, a 3-D version of 'Thriller' and an animated special for CBS." [Los Angeles Times]

    — David Harbour of Stranger Things never wants to play the dad. Writes Reggie Ugwu: "Before his breakthrough as the swashbuckling, beer-swilling chief of police Jim Hopper on Stranger Things, David Harbour was a character actor who gave difficult men a menacing but recognizably human core." [New York Times]

    — Michael Stuhlbarg: From Boardwalk to Water, an actor prepares. Michael Phillips writes: "Michael Stuhlbarg keeps a composition notebook, 9.75 x 7.5 inches, with the familiar black-and-white marbled cover, full of color-coded details regarding the performances he’s readying at the moment." [Chicago Tribune]

    — When "stan" became a verb. Ann Derrick-Gaillot writes: "Today, the word “stan” is just as popular as a verb as it is a noun, which got us wondering, who was the first to make this linguistic transformation?" [The Outline]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Kelly Ripa's husband is living his best life on Riverdale." [Tonight Show]

    + "Julianne Moore got spicy with Matt Damon and a ping pong paddle." [Late Show]

    + "Susan Sarandon reveals movie people mention most." [Jimmy Kimmel Live!]

    Today's Birthdays: Kelly Osbourne, 33, Patrick Fugit, 35, David Walton, 39, Ivan Reitman, 71, John Cleese, 78.