What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:26 AM 11/24/2017

by Ray Rahman

Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

What's news: Coco hits the box-office gravy train over the Thanksgiving holiday. Plus: The CBS blackout ends at Dish, everything you wanted to know about Netflix's Godless (you binged it all, right?), Jude Law's Marvel talks and our view of the Golden Globes race. — Ray Rahman

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  • 'Coco' Beats Up 'Justice League'

    Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    The animated Disney/Pixar film is expected to dominate the long Thanksgiving weekend with more than $70 million, writes Pamela McClintock: 

    As the long Thanksgiving holiday got underway, Disney and Pixar's Coco danced its way past holdover Justice League on Wednesday with an opening-day gross of $13.2 million after nabbing an A+ CinemaScore.

    At this pace, Coco, about the popular Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, should have no trouble winning the turkey trot with a five-day debut north of $70 million.

    Justice League took in $10.5 million from 4,051 theaters for a domestic total of $122.4 million. The DC superhero mashup is expected to earn roughly $62 million over the five-day holiday corridor. Full story.

    + What Disney finally gets right with Coco: "The film avoids being akin to 1995's Pocahontas, which felt like a well-meaning attempt by white filmmakers to approximate a non-white culture," Josh Spiegel writes. Read more.

    + How Frida Kahlo helped one Coco actress find her voice. Bullies silenced Natalia Cordova-Buckley (who voices Kahlo in the film) as a child, but she grew into her own in part by reading the diaries of the Mexican artist, she writes in her guest column.

    Elsewhere in film...

    Universal has pulled The Snowman from Russian chains in an ongoing dispute. The studio is yanking the Michael Fassbender thriller from Formula Kino and Cinema Park amid a battle with Russian exhibitors over online booking fees.

    Jude Law is in talks to join Brie Larson in Captain Marvel. The actor is currently in negotiations, though it's still unclear what role he would play. 

    Roman J. Israel, ESQ team opens up. Writer-director Dan Gilroy and the cast of the Denzel Washington film reveal what inspired its driven characters — and why the legal drama is the perfect follow-up to Gilroy’s Nightcrawler.

    Inside Gary Oldman's transformation into Winston Churchill for Darkest Hour. Hint: It took more than three hours every day.

    ^ How the La La Land songwriting duo created songs for the P.T. Barnum epic The Greatest Showman. Oscar- and Tony-winning duo Benj  Pasek and Justin  Paul, who penned 11 original songs for the musical, talk crafting showstoppers for Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya. Full story.

    Uma Thurman to Harvey Weinstein: "You don't deserve a bullet." "Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Except you Harvey, and all your wicked conspirators — I’m glad it’s going slowly — you don’t deserve a bullet," the actress wrote in a post on her Instagram.

    Canada's film and TV are establishing a code of conduct amid Hollywood's harassment scandal. Following a day-long meeting in Toronto by industry unions, guilds and associations, Canadian industry reps in a statement said they will "collaborate on an industry-wide response to sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, and violence." Read more.

    ► Brett Ratner becomes persona non grata at his regular L.A. salon. Ratner, who has already lost his deal with Warner Bros. to produce the Wonder Woman sequel, is no longer welcome at Sally Hershberger, according to sources. Details.

     

  • All That Glitters

    Illustration by Maggie Li

    A strong year for TV actresses means stiff competition for the impending Golden Globes and SAG Awards. Daniel Fienberg breaks it down:

    It hasn't been that long since the Golden Globe best actress field was thin enough that the HFPA could be swayed into oddball nominations like Callie Thorne for Necessary Roughness or Piper Perabo for Covert Affairs. Well played, USA.

    It's only been a few years since the SAG Award for female actor in a drama could go to Maggie Smith for five minutes of expert sarcasm on Downton Abbey. Well, everybody loves a Dame.

    Now, as a winter of award nominations looms, it's the best actress fields that are clearly the most competitive on the TV side, the categories most likely to be simultaneously packed with A-list powerhouses and yet still exclude a chorus of the medium's finest work. Full story.

    + Eight strong performances from freshman shows that deserve nominations. Freddie Highmore as The Good Doctor? Katherine Langford in 13 Reasons Why? Mindhunter's main mindhunter? As Scott Feinberg writes, there are plenty of award-worthy performances in this year's crop of new shows. See the list.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    ► CBS and Dish ended their carriage dispute. After a three-day blackout, CBS stations returned to Dish late last night when the two sides reaches a multi-year carriage agreement; the terms have not been disclosed.

    Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival renewed at Netflix. The second season of The Return will be back in the "not-too-distant future."

    ► What the new American Idol judes are (already) arguing about. Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan reveal to THR what they’re already disagreeing on things, as well as what they bring to the table and the biggest audition songs of the first round.

    Could there be more Twin Peaks coming? "I've learned never say never," David Lynch says. Q&A.

    She's Gotta Have It and the importance of shows with female POVs. Co-showrunner Tonya Lewis discusses the Netflix series' present as well as its future. 

    ^Godless season 2? Could the Netflix limited series be expanded further? "I don't think there'll be a Godless 2," says Sam Waterston, one of the show's stars. Writer-director Scott Frank, however, is a little bit more flexible: "You never know, but right now I don't know what it could be." Full story.

    + Jeff Daniels talks: The veteran actor discusses playing the one-armed baddie Frank Griffin — and contrasts him with The Newsroom's Will McAvoy. Q&A.

    Law & Order: SVU will address the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The procedural will explore rape culture in the workplace but it won't be set in Hollywood — rather, the episode will be set in the airline industry, since Producers were already working on the episode when the Weinstein scandal broke.

    + The Netflix-Weinstein Co. joint Golden Globes party has been canceled. "We have no plans to partner with other studios for upcoming events," Netflix said

    The future of Charlie Rose's show and staff is still up in the air. But it could be bad: "I wouldn't be surprised if he lets everyone go after Thanksgiving, since the show has been dropped," one source said. Full story.

    ► Grey's Anatomy boss offers point-by-point rebuttal to Brett Ratner's assault claim denials. "Too many of us tolerate inanity that perpetuates harmful myths and makes the whole world stupider and less safe for women in the workplace," Krista Vernoff writes in her guest column.

  • Blacklist at 70

    Hollywood Reporter

    On Nov. 25, 1947, the head of the MPAA issued what has come to be known as The Waldorf Declaration, a.k.a. the Blacklist, calling for an industry-wide ban of Communists — and the organization still has not disavowed the statement, writes Thomas Doherty:

    The Waldorf Declaration remained official industry policy throughout the coldest years of the Cold War. As the 1950s wore on, however, cracks in its enforcement opened up. With increasing brazenness, the studios employed "fronts" and accepted pseudonymous contributions from nominally blacklisted screenwriters.

    By the time Dalton Trumbo, a member of the original Hollywood Ten, received an Oscar for best original screenplay for The Brave One (1956), under the handle Robert Rich, his covert authorship was an open secret around town. In 1959, Trumbo went on television and spilled the beans to a national audience. The next year, first Otto Preminger and then Kirk Douglas each said they would hire Trumbo for Exodus and Spartacus, respectively.

    Responding to accusations by the American Legion that Hollywood was "surreptitiously employing known Communists," Johnston restated the MPAA's support for the Waldorf Declaration. "The policy of the Motion Picture Association is not to employ known Communists," he insisted in 1961. The policy has not changed." Read more.

    What else we're reading...

    —  "How Frasier found a second life on streaming." Kate Knibbs writes: "Much like its 'Must See TV' siblings, the ’90s sitcom has experienced a Netflix renaissance — but Frasier is a distinctly weirder cultural artifact than its peers." [The Ringer]

    — "The voices in blue America's head." Jason Zengerle writes: "For years, liberals have tried, and failed, to create their own version of conservative talk radio. Has Crooked Media finally figured it out?" [New York Times]

    — "Young Charlie podcast explores a different side of Manson — a kid before a murderer." Libby Hill writes: "Young Charlie was written by Hollywood screenwriter and director Larry Brand and debuted Nov. 8, just 11 days before Manson’s death. A testament to our enduring fascination with the convicted murderer, the podcast debuted on Apple at No. 1." [Los Angeles Times]

    — "John Waters doesn't need to make movies to make trouble." Melissa Locker writes: "The famed filmmaker, artist, and writer has a new album, a global spoken-word tour, and a bunch of jobs that don’t involve making films." [Fast Company

    — "Why Marvel's Runaways is the future of superhero TV." Abraham Riesman writes: "Runaways creators Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz, the brain trust behind Gossip Girl and The O.C., manage to take threads of comic-book grandiosity and prime-time soap drama and weave them into a subtle, clever, and moving work that feels less like Marvel than it does like magical realism." [Vulture]

    — "Oral history: How Marvel's creative head helped bring Nintendo to America." Jim McLauchlin writes: "The possibility that anyone would shell out for another console — let alone one that cost nearly $200 — was slim. But Joe Quesada found a way to get people to buy them. Lots of them." [Wired]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Stand-up battle with Jerry Seinfeld." [Tonight Show

    + "Seth explains teen slang." [Late Night]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Is Meryl Streep about to crash the Oscars Race?" [Little Gold Men / Vanity Fair]

    + "Joe Wright bounces back from his Darkest Hour." [The Big Picture / The Ringer]

    + "Remembering Lil Peep." [Popcast / New York Times]

    Today's Birthdays: Sarah Hyland, 27, Katherine Heigl, 39, Colin Hanks, 40, Stephen Merchant, 43.