What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:20 AM 3/10/2018

by Ray Rahman

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The Weekender: With Oscar season behind them, the Hollywood set looks to unwind far from the Dolby Theatre. Plus: A Wrinkle in Time tries to wrest the box-office crown from Black Panther, Kristen Wiig officially joins the Wonder Woman universe and SXSW kicks off in Austin. — Ray Rahman

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  • Post-Oscars Vacations

    Courtesy of Martin Morrell

    Where does Hollywood go to decompress after a grueling Oscar season? Beth Landman writes:

    After months flooded by lights and targeted by lenses, those on the awards-show circuit are more than ready to shed their black gowns and black ties and retreat for a week or two.

    Original-song nominee Common tells THR he's hoping to get to Tucson, Arizona's Miraval spa for "a little air and a little relaxation." Guillermo del Toro has even more ambitious plans. The double Shape of Water Oscar winner says he's planning to visit Italy, Spain and Belgium — for a couple of weeks each, at least. "I'm taking a whole year from directing off, and I plan to stick to that," he says.

    Turks and Caicos: The Caribbean archipelago famed for white-sand beaches and turquoise waters is where 2016 Oscars host Chris Rock recently enjoyed a wind-down at The Shore Club (rooms from $925). It's also where Oscar winner Sam Rockwell and partner Leslie Bibb recently got some R&R, staying at the sleek Gansevoort ($555), which offers beachfront yoga and an Exhale spa with some of the best therapists on the islands, as well as the noteworthy restaurant Stelle.

    Montana: "Sharon Stone wants to decompress with her boys, and she was asking me about The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana [rooms from $900],'' says Forbes Travel Guide CEO Jerry Inzerillo. "A lot of studio execs with kids love it because it's all privacy. You can have fun with riding and rodeos, but then you are really pampered. A lot of actresses like it for girls' trips.'' A fave of Gwyneth Paltrow and Gwen Stefani, it's the only ranch with a Forbes five-star rating. Read more.

  • Box-Office 'Wrinkle'

    Atsushi Nishijima/Disney

    The earliest results for A Wrinkle in Time are in, writes Pamela McClintock:

    The fantasy-adventure film, targeting girls, appears headed to as much as a $14 million opening Friday, after grossing $1.3 million in Thursday-evening previews for a projected debut that should climb above $40 million (provided poor reviews don't ding the Disney event film).

    The big question is whether Wrinkle can maintain a trajectory to unseat fellow Disney film Black Panther. Now in its fourth weekend, Panther is looking as if it will collect as much as $10 million on Friday. Full story.

    Ava DuVernay hedges: "I’ll tell you right now. We are not going to be No. 1 this weekend because there is a cultural movement that is so important to me and so many people called Black Panther, and it is still moving and breathing in the world," DuVernay said in a New York Times interview. "I am not crying over spilt milk, I'm texting Ryan [Coogler] and saying, 'Yo, you made $99 million this weekend.' As an artist, I can’t be concerned with the first three days at the box office."

    Coogler responds: In honor of Wrinkle's opening day, Coogler penned an ode to DuVernay, calling her a pioneer in inclusion and representation. He began by writing: "Ava DuVernay is someone who makes the impossible look easy. It's why I feel privileged to call her my big sister." Read more.

    Roxanne Gay: The Bad Feminist author announced on Twitter that she bought out two Saturday screenings of the film in L.A. and invited any and all to join her at the theater. "FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE," she wrote (emphasis hers). 

    ^Blockers interview: Kay Cannon talks to Mia Galuppo about how her upcoming teen-sex comedy flips the script on gender roles:

    THR: What is it about Blockers that made you want it to be your directorial debut?

    KAY CANNON: "The idea that these three young women had agency over their sexuality and were deciding to make this decision [to lose their virginity], I was excited to be a part in showing that. It was exciting, for me, because I don’t think it’s really been done before. ... We’re in this #MeToo movement, where all of our fears and all the bad things that have happened are coming out. And I think that that is a fear that you carry when your daughter decides to have sex." Full Q&A.

    Elsewhere in film...

    Kristen Wiig confirmed for Wonder Woman sequel: Director Patty Jenkins made Wiig's casting as DC villain the Cheetah official on Friday, writing: "Can't wait to finally work with one of my favorites. And SO excited by what we have planned. #Cheetah!!!"

    + Who is the Cheetah? Find out.

    Elisabeth Shue, Rob Morgan join Tom Hanks' next war film: The duo will star alongside Hanks in the World War II thriller Greyhound, which Hanks also wrote.

    Gully casting: Rising stars Charlie Plummer, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Jacob Latimore will star in music-video director Nabil Elderkin's feature directorial debut, which follows three disaffected teenagers in a slightly dystopian vision of L.A.

    Whitney Houston documentary gets a date: Kevin Macdonald's Whitney, about the singer's life and career, will hit U.S. theaters on July 6. The film is being released by Roadside Attractions and Miramax. 

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend showrunner's next project: Aline Brosh McKenna is teaming up with two fellow writers from the CW comedy to create a female-driven law-enforcement comedy for Paramount Players.

  • SXSW Begins

    Courtesy of John P. Johnson/HBO

    Letter From Austin: Over the years, SXSW has become an increasingly important launchpad in the TV and film worlds, writes Natalie Jarvey:

    While at South by Southwest in 2012, Judd Apatow participated in a live taping of a podcast from up-and-coming comedian Pete Holmes. Kumail Nanjiani was also on the show that night, two years before he would break out on HBO's Silicon Valley.

    In the six years since, Apatow has talked about how the event introduced him to two future collaborators. He would go on to executive produce Holmes' HBO comedy Crashing and produce The Big Sick from Nanjiani and wife Emily V. Gordon, which was nominated for an original-screenplay Oscar this year.

    "It's not all about what happens onstage. It's not all about what happens off. It's both," says TV producer Evan Shapiro, the former head of NBCUniversal comedy-streaming service Seeso. Read more | Event schedule

    And now the reviews...

    A Quiet Place: "A terrifying thriller with a surprisingly warm heart, John Krasinski's A Quiet Place is a monster-movie allegory for parenting in a world gone very, very wrong," writes John DeFore. "You might have to go back to Jeff Nichols' 2011 Take Shelter to find a film that has used the fantastic this well to convey the combination of fear and responsibility a good parent feels." The takeaway: "A thrilling, genuinely scary high-concept hit." Full review.

    Barry: "HBO's dark comedy [co-created by and starring Bill Hader] is at first plagued by apparent indecision or ill-advised choice in style, but then races to the end of its eight-episode run as one of the weirdest and most compelling experiments in American comedy in years," writes Tim Goodman. The takeaway: "Wrings uniqueness from chaos." Full review.

    1985: "An intimate domestic drama set against the first wave of the AIDS crisis in Ronald Reagan's America, Yen Tan’s sensitively observed film [starring Cory Michael Smith, Virginia Madsen and Michael Chiklis] evokes the aching difficulty of coming out in a recent past," writes David Rooney. The takeaway: "A model of eloquent restraint." Full review.

  • Peak TV's Season Two Challenge

    Courtesy of Eric Liebowitz/Amazon Prime Video

    Critic's notebook: It's hard to get your TV series noticed these days, but it's even harder to have it remembered by the time it returns for a second season. Tim Goodman writes:

    Ah, yes, the sophomore season. It seems, for a lot of shows, that second season is weirdly more difficult. Unless it's a series like Marvel's Jessica Jones, which seems to have retained its buzz entering this week's season two premiere, or FX's Atlanta, which took more than a year to return but still managed tons of coverage this week, the fight is less about being noticed than remembered.

    Think about Amazon's Sneaky Pete, about to return 14 months after its freshman season. Here's a show that flew under a lot of radars but, like Amazon's other mostly undiscovered gem, Patriot, totally deserved a second season. Will it capitalize on that — grow, get attention, reap rewards or be seen enough to add value and make it to a third season?

    In a world where bench mate The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel at least seemed to have a higher profile and thus a more successful launch than either of the other two, it will remain to be seen. Read more.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Univision layoffs: The turmoil at Univision continued Friday when the Spanish-language broadcaster handed out pink slips to 20 workers, including several at its Fusion Media Group, where many of the English-language assets reside. The layoffs come just days after the company scrapped its IPO, replaced its CFO and announced its CEO’s retirement.

    DOJ files AT&T-Time Warner trial briefs: The Department of Justice submitted a trial brief that sharpens its theories on why the $85 billion merger deserves to be blocked. The government’s argument: "The acquisition would give AT&T a new tool to slow down the development and growth of disruptive online competitors in the future." Read more.

    Hulu's Catch-22 finds George Clooney's co-star: It'll be Christopher Abbott, perhaps best known as Charlie from Girls. He'll play the central character of Yossarian in the high-profile Joseph Heller adaptation.

    HBO debuts its Andre the Giant trailer: The documentary, which features a star-studded group including Robin Wright, Billy Crystal and Arnold Schwarzenegger and is co-produced by Bill Simmons, promises to explore not only the wrestler’s charisma but also the sadness he harbored. Watch the trailer.

    SportsCenter exit: Michael Smith is following his former SC6 partner Jemele Hill out the door, with ESPN confirming that Friday marked his final SportsCenter.

    ESPN: "Michael is a talented commentator and we greatly appreciate and value his contributions and creativity. We are in the process of discussing with him potential next ESPN assignments."

    ► Facebook adds MLB to roster: The social network has struck a deal with the league to exclusively stream 25 baseball games in the U.S. during the 2018 regular season. Games will begin streaming weekly on the social network, starting April 4 with the Phillies at the Mets.

    ► ABC casts a new leading lady: Lex Scott Davis has landed the starring role in the network's mystery-drama pilot For Love, in which she'll play a hardworking journalist in a magic-tinged New Orleans.

    Logan breakout's next big role: Dafne Keen will star alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda in Tom Hooper's fantasy-epic adaptation His Dark Materials, an eight-part series from BBC and New Line Cinema.

    Kathy Griffin returns: Last night on Real Time With Bill Maher, the comedian made her first major TV appearance since getting in hot water for that controversial photograph featuring Trump's mock-severed head.

    "I was detained at every single airport," Griffin told Maher. "They scan your passport. They put me in a detention room… There were times when they took my devices. When you’re in that moment, you’re at the mercy of the one or two people in that room." Read more.

    + Live shows: Griffin also announced that she's booked two live shows, one at Carnegie Hall in New York and another at the Kennedy Center in D.C..

  • Hello, Victor

    Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

    Garber time: Broadway veteran Victor Garber talks to Suzy Evans about returning to his first love and getting his singing voice in shape before stepping into the smash revival of Hello, Dolly! opposite Bernadette Peters:

    THR: This is your return to performing in a musical after a long hiatus. Have you kept up singing in the interim years?

    VICTOR GARBER: No. As my friends know, I have a very neurotic thing about singing now, and I have for years because I just haven't done it for so long. I'm such a perfectionist, so I don't sing much at all. And then, this was sort of the perfect thing to get me back into singing. It's not as demanding as songs I've had to sing in the past. I don't panic every morning when I wake up, which is what I generally do when I have to sing something. Full Q&A.

    + This week's social media climbers: Dwayne Johnson tops actors list | Tiffany Haddish tops comedians list | Jimmy Kimmel tops TV personalities list.

    What else we're reading ...

    — "Where's Harvey?" Amy Chozick follows Weinstein's trail: "Harvey Weinstein has been waking up early, checking in with his East Coast lawyers and then going down to a juice shop where he orders coffee and a green detox mix with kale and cucumber."

    + Also: Weinstein "has already made some efforts to produce his most challenging film yet, these people say: a documentary designed to pave the way for a comeback. So far, no one will touch it." [New York Times]

    — "'What the hell?' The inside story of how Timeless was canceled and uncanceled in just three days." Jackson McHenry compiles an oral history of the whole NBC affair. [Vulture]

    — "Is Martin Short the greatest talk-show guest of all time?" Ian Crouch writes: "One gets the sense that, of all his peers, Short is the hardest-working talk-show guest in the business." [New Yorker]

    — "Martin Sheen adds to his presidential resume with CNN's American Dynasties: The Kennedys." Stephen Battaglio talks to Sheen himself about JFK's assassination and more. [Los Angeles Times] 

    What else we're hearing ...

    + "Love, hate and The Bachelor." The show's merits get debated. [On Point / WBUR]

    + "Was Ashlee Simpson underappreciated?" An interesting question. [Popcast / New York Times

    + "David Oyelowo: Interview." The Selma and Gringo star talks about the importance of bringing his cultural background to roles of all kinds. [WTF With Marc Maron]

    Today's Birthdays: Olivia Wilde, 34, Carrie Underwood, 35, Thomas Middleditch, 36, Danny Pudi, 39, Jon Hamm, 47, Rick Rubin, 55, Scott Frank, 58, Sharon Stone, 60, Paul Haggis, 65.