What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:22 AM 1/13/2018

by Ray Rahman

George Clooney and Catch-22 Cover - Split - Getty - H 2017
Getty Images (Clooney)

The Weekender: Where are the entertainment industry's men going? Plus: The Oscar race hits some swerves, George Clooney returns to TV via Hulu and CES goes nuts for VR. — Ray Rahman

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  • Men Retreat

    Your weekend read: Men's retreats are gaining popularity among A-listers during a time of "heightened anxiety," writes Kathryn Romeyn:

    Soul-searching can take a toll. So perhaps it's no surprise a number of wellness destinations — which serve a range of purposes, from increased mindfulness and decreased cortisol levels — are answering the call.

    The iconic Golden Door Resort in Escondido, California — which has increased the frequency of its men's weeks since the first one was held in 1959 — is where the "uber-rich go for a full wellness week," says Ehsan Ali, concierge doctor to Liam Hemsworth. The all-inclusive getaway, with grounds overseen by Steve Jobs' former gardener ($8,850/week) and serene single-occupancy rooms for just 40 guests weekly, has hosted Liev Schreiber and talent manager Eric Emery, among others.

    "Finding a time and place for introspection is essential to me," says Schreiber, who in June visited the retreat that offers early morning hikes, yoga, stretching, tennis, meditation, body wraps and massages, and adds that the sense of openness and community was unique. Full story.

    ^My six days of silence: A Hollywood agent puts down his phone (for once). In November, UTA's Peter Dodd spent six days in silence — no talking, emailing or texting — at Bali Silent Retreat in Indonesia, he tells Rebecca Sun:

    When I first arrived, I was nervous. I had always wanted to attend a silent retreat because it would force me to do something outside of my comfort zone. I'd heard there was a beautiful ashram that was non-religious and eco-friendly in Bali, and I wanted to see what I could learn about myself and others in total tranquility.

    But I'd never tried staying quiet for a week before and wondered what I would do for such a long period in silence. Professionally, I felt anxious because I always want to be accessible to my clients and was concerned about being out of pocket for that long. Read more.

  • Oscar Futures

    The Race: A week full of awards season developments is altering Oscar narratives, writes Scott Feinberg:

    Guillermo del Toro is going to be hard to beat. It's clear the community loves the Shape of Water helmer, who won Golden Globe and a Critics' Choice directing awards in a matter of five days, and was greeted with great enthusiasm on both occasions. He's a charmer, and everyone from the press to Academy members talk about what a lovely guy he is and how much they hope he wins the director category. 

    Time to start worrying about The Post. Even with the star power of Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, as well as a topical, Trump-rebuking storyline, the movie was shut out at the Globes (0 for 6) and Critics' Choice (0 for 8). The fact that the newspaper drama couldn't even make a dent with those journalist groups makes me worry about the star trio's prospects. Spielberg, it must be noted, was not among this week's DGA nominations.

    What happens to James Franco? He won best comedy actor Golden Globe and Critics' Choice awards — normally a slam-dunk sign of an Oscar nom — but he also got raked over the coals on talk shows en route to the L.A. Times expose on his alleged misconduct. While Oscar voting has continued after the story's publication, I'm still skeptical that enough voters have processed the news, or that enough who have will change their voting plans. I expect he will land a best actor Oscar nod. Read more.

    ^Triple threat: It's been impossible to miss Michael Stuhlbarg these days. The actor, who has prominent roles in The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name and The Post, talks to Rebecca Ford about juggling three Oscar hopefuls:

    THR: Do you see any way these three roles are tied together? "I would say the commonality between the three may just be the generosity and encyclopedic knowledge of the directors. They're all remarkable filmmakers, beautiful human beings, and so excited about the work that they do. And I'm always trying not to repeat myself." Full Q&A.

    In other film news...

    ? Disney board changes: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg are stepping down from Disney's board. “Given our evolving business and the businesses Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Dorsey are in, it has become increasingly difficult for them to avoid conflicts relating to Board matters, and they are not standing for re-election," the company said.

    + Disney CEO Bob Iger's annual pay falls 17 percent to $36.3 million. Details. 

    ? Sundance hotline: In response to the industry-wide harassment reckoning, Sundance has updated its code of conduct for the upcoming festival and set up a new 24-hour hotline in partnership with the Utah attorney general's office.

    ? Rebecca Hall donates salary from Woody Allen movie to Time's Up fund. The actress, who has a small role in the upcoming Allen film A Rainy Day in New York, said she will donate her wages on the film to the anti-harassment initiative. "It’s a small gesture and not one intended as close to compensation but I’ve donated my wage to @timesup," she wrote on Instagram.

    ? Leonardo DiCaprio to star in Quentin Tarantino's Manson movie: The actor is in talks to reunite with Tarantino for the director's ninth feature, a 1969-set ensemble piece that involves Charles Manson and the murder of Sharon Tate. Details on DiCaprio's potential role are unclear.

    ? D.C.'s Shazam! sets 2019 release date: The Zachary Levi-starring superhero movie will open April 5 of next year.

    ? Barry Jenkins and Chadwick Boseman team up for a thriller. Jenkins will direct the Black Panther star in the Universal feature Expatriate, set in the 1970s and centering on a plane hijacking. Boseman penned the feature with his writing partner, Logan Coles.

    ? Sean Penn's op-ed: The actor took to Time magazine to offer his thoughts on Donald Trump's latest comments, which he did using terms like "an enemy of compassion," "disgraceful" and "enemy of the state."

    ? R.I.P., Terence Marsh: The two-time Oscar-winning art director, whose long career covered everything from Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago to Shawshank Redemption, passed away at 86.

  • TCA Takeaways

    Panel party: With the winter television confab roughly halfway done, THR TV critic and TCA president Daniel Fienberg emails from the scene:

    The semi-annual press tour still has at least five days to go, but it has already yielded plenty of memorable moments. Keeping in mind that "memorable" doesn't always mean "good," here are the standout panels so far (in no particular order): 

    HBO's 2 Dope Queens: Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams made a winning first TCA appearance, proving that the only thing you need to do to win over a room of critics is be funny, wildly energetic and say each of our names a lot.

    ABC's Roseanne: Critics spent 20 minutes trying to get Roseanne Barr to explain her character's support of President Trump, then when she finally got around to doing so, the tone was sour and angry, perhaps blunting some of the impact of the appealing episodes of the reboot.

    FX's Pose, The CW's Black Lightning and Showtime's The ChiAnybody who doubts the sheer power of inclusivity in media should spent 30 minutes listening to passionate creators discussing what it's like to go from unrepresented to represented.

    E!'s Citizen Rose: No panel in this moment of Time's Up and #MeToo was more likely to be emotional and yet to-the-point than the intro to Rose McGowan's E! series. McGowan delivered her message well, terse and cutting one moment and passionate and expressive the next.

    ^Happy f---ing birthday: In honor of Family Guy reaching its milestone 300th episode this weekend, Seth MacFarlane chats with Ryan Parker about the show's legacy and its Fox-Disney future:

    THRWhat do you think the Fox-Disney deal means for Family Guy? "The Disney buyout doesn't alarm me. I only wished they'd bought Fox News. Disney has its brand, and Fox has its brand. ... You're not going to acquire a company that's not profitable. And one of the things that contributes to the profit­ability of the company is Family Guy, so there would be no logistical reason to change it." Full Q&A.

    In other TV news...

    ? George Clooney's Catch-22 lands series pickup at Hulu: The streaming outlet has nabbed the coveted limited series from Paramount Television and Anonymous Content starring, directed and exec produced by Clooney. It'll be his first regular TV role in nearly two decades, after NBC's ER.

    John Wick series being developed at Starz: Titled The Continental, the potential show is set in the John Wick universe and focuses on the inner workings of the hotel that serves as a refuge for assassins in the films. Keanu Reeves is expected to make an appearance but will not star.

    ? Starz boss talks American Gods exodus: Chris Albrecht addressed the high-profile exit of showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green from the series, saying, "We're having some trouble getting the second season underway. It has faced many of the challenges that terrific, complex, premium shows face when trying to get successive seasons, especially when art comes before commerce." He added that Fuller and Greeen will continue to be involved "as much as they can be" while Neil Gaiman takes on showrunner duties. 

    ? NBC orders medical drama set at Bellevue Hospital: The network's third drama order of the season, and its first in the medical genre, is an untitled series from writer/executive producer David Schulner and based on the memoir Twelve Patients: Life & Death at Bellevue Hospital. Grey's Anatomy pilot helmer Peter Horton will direct and exec produce.

  • What Happened at CES

    Tech talk: CES took over Las Vegas this week with new tech and plenty of hype. But did it mean anything? Natalie Jarvey emails:

    This year, it seemed like the biggest news to break out of CES was something that no one could have planned for: the power outage that blacked out the Las Vegas Convention Center and hobbled booth demos for two hours on Jan. 10.

    That’s because, in almost every other way, this year’s CES was full of many incremental updates but nothing truly groundbreaking. But if there was one area that drummed up genuine interest, it was virtual reality, which had a rough 2017 — early headsets like Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR sold fewer units than hoped. 

    The reason for the brightened spirits? Several companies showed off new headsets designed to accelerate consumer adoption, including one wireless product that frees users from being tethered to their computer. Lenovo, meanwhile, debuted its Mirage Solo device. 

    “The momentum is so powerful right now,” says Eunice Shin, managing director for consultant firm Manatt Digital. “What people have been waiting for [with VR] will happen this year.”

  • Notes on a Blackout

    On the red carpet: The Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards are now behind us, but the SAG Awards is only a weekend away. What will the red carpet look like? Booth Moore writes:

    Will the red carpet ever really be the same? Some stylists report that actresses want to make a statement of substance as well as style with what they are choosing to wear, suggesting the red carpet could evolve into a platform for doing good as well as looking good.

    "The mood is different," says stylist Tara Swennen, who works with Allison Janney (I, Tonya) and Caitriona Balfe (Outlander). "My clients [Simone Garcia Johnson and Arielle Kebbel] wore Brazilian designer Fabiana Milazzo to the Golden Globes, because she has a strong women's initiative as part of her business plan and helps impoverished women get off the street. They gravitated toward those pieces because they loved the story."

    E!'s next red-carpet preshow will air before the SAG Awards on Jan. 21, and network representatives say the hosts and format have not yet been set. But many believe that fashion should be fair game again, even as the #MeToo movement continues. Read more.

    What else we're reading...

    — "Mr. Amazon steps out." Nick Wingfield and Nellie Bowles write: "Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest person and can afford virtually any luxury. But obscurity is no longer among them." [New York Times]

    — "One website's Facebook apocalypse is another's opportunity to shine." Benjamin Mullin writes: "Some are viewing Facebook’s move as a wake-up call for publishers to wean themselves off their dependence on Facebook and build businesses — even if smaller ones — that can thrive and grow in other ways." [Wall Street Journal]

    — "Hollywood places big bets on spring." Josh Rottenberg writes: "For decades, spring was largely considered a kind of dead zone in Hollywood’s release calendar, an island of cinematic misfit toys lacking a coherent identity or much inherent appeal for film distributors. But that is changing quickly." [L.A. Times]

    — "How 50 Cent spends his Sundays." Shivani Vora tracks the rapper and producer's seventh-day routine: "The Midtown West resident stays busy, logging time at the gym, the office and the studio, where he’s been working on his next album." [New York Times]

    — "The strange history of one of the internet's first viral videos." Joe Veix writes: "You've seen the video. Everyone on the internet has." [Wired] 

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Christopher Plummer: Interview." The stage and screen legend talks to Scott Feinberg about on why he long felt that being angry and drunk were musts for an actor, his conflicted feelings about The Sound of Music and what it was like reshooting all of Kevin Spacey's scenes in nine days. [Awards Chatter / THR]

    + "CES 2018: Robots, TVs and virtual assistants." The Verge staff offer their takes from the Vegas event. [Vergecast]

    + "Jordan Klepper: Is what we're living through funny?" The Comedy Central host talks political satire. [Off Message / Politico]

    Today's Birthdays: Liam Hemsworth, 28, Ruth Wilson, 36, Orlando Bloom, 41, Michael Peña, 42, Shonda Rhimes, 48, Patrick Dempsey, 52, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 57.