What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:07 AM 5/24/2018

by THR Staff

Courtesy of Netflix

What's news: A revealing Arrested Development cast interview is generating a new round of Jeffrey Tambor headlines. Plus: Traditional TV studios are scrambling to compete with Netflix, studios shuffle multiple major film release dates, and Sue Kroll and Gal Gadot are developing a Fidel Castro drama. — Erik Hayden

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  • TV's Arms Race

    Illustration by Tim Peacock

    "The Shonda deal was a shot across the bow, and the Ryan Murphy deal was a punch in the face." That's one business affairs executive's assessment of the way Netflix dramatically disrupted the overall deals market, Bryn Elise Sandberg writes:

    Now traditional studios are left scrambling — looking at their tentpole players and asking, "How do we keep them?" The mad rush for talent has not only forced studios to abandon the one-size-fits-all broadcast-focused pacts that defined the business, but it also has driven up prices.

    Noted: "They're going to have to start placing bets," says one top rep who estimates that studios accustomed to paying a high-end drama showrunner about $3M a year will now have to spend closer to $5M. Full story. 

    Elsewhere in TV... 

     Bruce Rosenblum leaving Disney after a year-and-a-half. The president of business operations, who joined the Disney-ABC TV Group in 2016, will depart the company at the end of the month, and also vacate his post on the Hulu board.

    Hulu plans BuzzFeed doc on R. Kelly. BuzzFeed News is developing a doc for the streamer that will explore the sexual abuse allegations that have been leveled against the singer. It is based on the reporting of music critic Jim DeRogatis.

    BBC/Amazon enlists John Malkovich for ABC Murders. The three-part retelling of Agatha Christie's 1936 classic adapted by Sarah Phelps will see Malkovich in the lead, with Rupert Grint also featured. 

    Amazon casts Zachary Levi in Maisel. The Golden Globe-winning drama has recruited the actor for its forthcoming second season. Levi will recur in the Rachel Brosnahan series as an eclectic Manhattan doctor.

    + Quoted: "[In] almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set and it’s hard to deal with, but I’m over it now.” — Jessica Walter, speaking to the New York Times about an incident involving Arrested Development co-star Jeffrey Tambor.

    + Quoted, part II. "Based on listening to the NYT interview and hearing people’s thoughts online, I realize that I was wrong here. I sound like I’m condoning yelling at work. I do not. It sounds like I’m excusing Jeffery. I do not." — Jason Bateman, tweeting in response to criticism about his remarks in the story about the Tambor-Walter set incident on Arrested

    ^HBO unveils The Watchmen cast. Regina King will reunite with Damon Lindelof on the pilot and lead a cast that includes Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Adelaide Clemens and Andrew Howard. Full story. 

    ABC criticized by Michael Jackson estate over special. AP reports: "The estate said ... that The Last Days of Michael Jackson is not sponsored or approved by Jackson's heirs and will most likely violate their intellectual property rights."

    Fox rounds out cast for 911. The drama is bringing Ryan Guzman on board as a new series regular, just a week after news that Jennifer Love Hewitt would also be joining the show.

    Former Fox News execs to launch digital outlet. A couple of Roger Ailes loyalists, Ken LaCorte and John Moody, are starting their own news-media company and staffing it with former — and maybe a few current — Fox News staffers.

    YouTube's "trojan horse" to boost subscription business. A recent rebrand appears to be a tacit admission by the Google division that there is more of an opportunity in music subscriptions than there is in video, a landscape overrun with competition.

    ► Home news: THR teams with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos for live-TV flub doc series. Each hourlong episode of It Happened Live will take a look at infamous flubs including the best picture Oscar mix-up and Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl. Details.

     

  • Selling 'Solo'

    Disney

    With only five months separating the Han Solo film from The Last Jedi, Disney faced unique challenges for a brand with some blockbuster franchise saturation, Chris Thilk writes: 

    The marketing of modern blockbusters usually kicks off six to seven months before release, so as the calendar flipped to 2018 without a trailer or any other material, the absence of a campaign became increasingly notable.

    But, starting with a Super Bowl game ad on Feb. 4 (7.4M views on YouTube) that led into a full trailer (12.7M views) aired on Good Morning America a day later, Disney unveiled a series of clips that spotlighted the friendly rivalry of Han and Lando. Here's how the film was marketed in posters, teasers and TV ads: Full story

    Elsewhere in film... 

    ► Sue Kroll, Gal Gadot developing Fidel Castro drama. The duo are partnering on My Dearest Fidel, as Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to Peter Kornbluh’s article of the same name. Narcos co-creator Chris Brancato is adapting.

    ► Paramount removes Transformers 7 from calendar. The studio had kept a June 28, 2019 space open for the Michael Bay sci-fi franchise. Also dated: Elton John biopic Rocketman (May 17, 2019), Tiffany Haddish comedy Limited Partners (June 28, 2019) and Stephen King adaptation Pet Sematary (April 5, 2019).

    ► Warner Bros pushes back Six Billion Dollar ManThe studio has moved the Mark Wahlberg starrer from May 31, 2019 to June 5, 2020. The film recently lost director Damian Szifron, who boarded the project three years ago.

    Fox dates YA adaptation The Hate U Give. The George Tillman Jr.-directed film will open Oct. 19, on a crowded weekend that also includes Andy Serkis vehicle Mowgli, the latest Halloween movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis and fellow book adaptation Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

    ^Meet the agent directing Beauty and the Beast Live at the Hollywood Bowl. Along with representing famed Disney composer Alan Menken, Richard Kraft has been adapting his works for live film music concerts. Full story.

    Disney's live-action Mulan fills out cast. Utkarsh Ambudkar and Ron Yuan have joined the retelling of the story for the studio. Niki Caro is directing themovie, which will star Liu Yifei as the titular heroine.

    Netflix plans Hunchback of Notre Dame film. The streamer has teamed with Idris Elba, who will direct, star in and will be producing original music for the feature, described as a "sonic and musical experience."

    George R.R. Martin plans animated film. The Game of Thrones author's fantasy novel, The Ice Dragon, has been picked up by Warner Animation Group to be adapted. The writer will be actively involved with the project as a producer.

    Global Road to edit Show Dogs over abuse scene. The Will Arnett film is getting an edit after an advocacy group criticized the film for containing a message about sexual assault that is often associated with child abuse.

    NBA betting scandal film in the works. Will Sasso, Scott Wolf and Eric Mabius are making the indie drama Inside Game, which is based on the story of the biggest betting scandal in league history. Randall Batinkoff is helming.

    ► Helen Hunt, John Leguizamo enlisted for Night Clerk. The actors join Tye Sheridan and Ana de Armas in the indie thriller financed by Convergent Media. Michael Cristofer wrote and will direct the feature, which is filming in Utah.

    Woody Allen's son defends him. Moses Farrow, son of exes Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, shared a blog post Wednesday defending his father against claims of sexual abuse.

    In THR, Esq: Magician makes morals clause disappear in $2.6M arbitration win. Brett Daniels overcame allegations of sexual harassment and death threats to win a 10 percent fee for The Illusionists, but the magician is still fighting the claim he acted as an unlicensed agent. Details.

  • Not Jumping the Shark

    ABC/Photofest

    In his own words, HBO's Barry star Henry Winkler explains about how longevity means being unafraid late in your career, auditioning "in your 70s" and how to avoid jumping the shark:

    "The honest truth is that when you're in your 70s, young executives need to know that you can talk without assistance and walk without a walker. They need to see you. And if they need to see you, you need to show up."...

    "When I went in, I waited in those metal chairs like at the very beginning of my career. Eventually, they called me in. I made Hader laugh. And I thought, 'No matter what happens, I have made this man ... laugh.' I got in my car and I drove home. And waited, as you always do. It is an awfully long wait." His story.

    What else we're reading...

    "Leslie Moonves and Shari Redstone dig in for a long legal war." John Koblin writes: "In an effort to ward off a merger with Viacom, the network amended its lawsuit against its parent company. Now it falls to a judge to break the deadlock." [New York Times]

    — "A fun adventure, not a business." Sahil Patel reports that The Weather Channel, which had a Facebook presence that "grew to 500 million video views per month by last May," will now stop publishing video on the platform. [Digiday]

    "Michael Avenatti is the 1990s-style celebrity lawyer of the Trump age." Rosie Gray writes: "The bombastic legal adviser to Stormy Daniels is taking cues from the era of O.J. Simpson and Monica Lewinsky." [The Atlantic]

    "Walt Disney's first love lives on at this historic California ranch." Daniel Miller writes: "the public will get a rare chance to see (and ride) the Disneyland coaches when the property hosts the Best of the West antique equipment show." [Los Angeles Times]

    "Elon Musk’s latest proposal." Tim Higgins writes: Musk says "he plans to create a Yelp.com-like site to let people rate the credibility of journalists and news organizations, and suggested he would name it after the former Soviet Union’s main propaganda outlet." [Wall Street Journal]

    Today's birthdays: Greg Berlanti, 46, Alfred Molina, 46, John C. Reilly, 53, Doug Jones, 58, Kristin Scott Thomas, 58, Jim Broadbent, 69, Roger Deakins, 69, Bob Dylan, 77, Tommy Chong, 80.