After a decade away from directing, former Studio Ghibli animator Kitaro Kōsaka (“Nasu: Summer in Andalusia”) marks his return with “Okko’s Inn,” a sweet ghost story that attacks selfish, divisive behavior with idyllic surroundings and friendly spirits. From anime studio Madhouse and distributed by GKids, the movie opens April 22nd and 23rd in select theaters in Los Angeles.
After her parents are killed in a car accident, the big-eyed Okko stays with her grandmother, an innkeeper, on top of an ancient spring with healing powers. There, Okko encounters friendly spirits that only she can see, who play games, teach her about selflessness, and groom her to become the new caretaker. Based on the children’s novel, “Wakaokami wa Shogakusei!,” the project inspired Kōsaka “to depict a girl, at a self-conscious and impressionable age, growing up and learning that there are things you can and cannot manage.”
“The main reason we are divisive comes from the behavior of separating yourself or yourselves from others,” said Kōsaka, one of Hayao Miyazaki’s most talented disciples (supervising the Oscar-winning “Spirited Away,” among many others). In fact, Kōsaka has been assisting with some key animation on Miyazaki’s final, humanitarian feature, “How Do You Live?” Kōsaka found the best way to combat self-centered attitudes was through the hospitality industry via the inn “because customer satisfaction benefits the business and brings out the best in people.”
“Within the fluidity of globalization, one’s sense of values will break down and before it can be rebuilt, oftentimes a person would show intolerant reactions to issues,” added Kōsaka. “It’s not limited to movies, but creating something is not only about expressing myself. You also have to keep the audience—other people—in mind, and that is where I think about the society. And feeling the existence of other people acted as a source of energy for me.”
Kōsaka admitted that the world has changed since he left feature directing for a decade, even in Japan. In pursuing “Okko’s Inn,” he thought about himself, his society, and even his own physical limitations. “Recent brain studies have also said that there is no free will,” he said. “So in order to create the protagonist, I consciously elaborated on the environment and human relations that surround her in order to build her character.”
When constructing a ghost story such as “Okko’s Inn,” it was best for only the hosts and spirits to get close to Okko. Kōsaka suggested maybe they were illusions that came out of her grief. “I wanted Okko’s breakthrough to not depend on fantastical elements but the wisdom she achieves,” he said. “And by overlapping the imaginary friends and the real human relationships, I thought I can emphasize her growth.”
As part of his research of various onsen (hot springs) towns in Japan, the director discovered that they shared something in common: the animals used the hot springs to heal, and that was the origin of the onsen culture for humans that he added as a motif. “I do believe that it’s really up to you to change an unfortunate circumstance to a fortunate one,” said Kōsaka.
The director also played with time in that the three groups that come to the inn are based on Okko’s past, present, and future. Sometimes it was a struggle balancing some of the scenes. But his main takeaway was the confirmation “that the more I spend the effort on something, the more I can please the audience. I also felt my inadequacies.”
As far as documentary subjects go, the fashion world is particularly ripe for the cinematic treatment. There’s the obvious appeal of eye-popping visuals, a treasure trove of archival footage from runway shows and behind the scenes at photo shoots, and no shortage of colorful characters to serve as narrators. The French filmmaker Frédéric Tcheng is fast becoming a master of the stylish sub-genre, having now completed a luxurious trilogy of fashion documentaries as gorgeously rendered as they are entertaining. In “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” and “Dior and I,” he illustrated the two monumental fashion figures with a style consummate with their own. His latest film about legendary designer Roy Halston Frowick, titled simply “Halston,” released its first official trailer today.
“America’s first superstar designer, Halston rose to international fame in the 1970s, creating an empire and personifying the dramatic social and sexual revolution of the last century,” the official synopsis reads. “‘Halston’ captures the epic sweep of the life and times of the legendary designer Roy Halston Frowick, the man who set women free with his unstructured designs and strove to ‘dress all of America.’ Tchang frames the story as an investigation featuring actress and writer Tavi Gevinson diving into the Halston company records and expertly weaves rare archival footage and intimate interviews with Halston’s family, friends and collaborators including Jacqueline Kennedy, Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol and Iman.
The trailer details the designer’s struggle to maintain his luxury brand cache while furthering his mission to “dress all of America,” including the fallout from a deal with JC Penney which led Bergdorf Goodman to stop selling his designs. The trailer concludes with an off-camera question posed to the designer, “Is success fun?,” to which Halston replies, “Oh sure, it’s fun, and it’s not fun, and as my mother says, it’s the price you have to pay.”
“Halston” premiered to generally positive reviews at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and will bow again at the fashion-friendly crowd in New York at the Tribeca Film Festival. 1091, CNN Films, Dogwoof, and TDog Productions will release the film in select theaters on May 24, followed by a CNN broadcast sometime later this year.
Each year, the Cannes Film Festival lineup lands a month before the festival and cinephiles everywhere start to salivate. The 2019 selection, announced this week, is no exception: With new films from Terrence Malick, the Dardenne brothers, Ira Sachs and Ken Loach — not mention promising newcomers like Mati Diop — the glitzy French gathering holds a lot of potential. But Cannes has faced some hurdles in recent years, from its public showdown with Netflix to the films lured away by the fall season. Nevertheless, no other festival program stimulates such a degree of excitement, speculation, and awe. What gives?
In this week’s episode of Screen Talk, Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson explore the latest Cannes announcements and take a look at the bigger picture.
"Why Are We Excited For Cannes 2019?" (Episode 239) - SoundCloud (1920 secs long, 591 plays)Play in SoundCloud
Screen Talk is available on iTunes.
You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with Thompson and Kohn on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Browse previous installments here, review the show on and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. Check out the rest of IndieWire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.
Reviews are in for the new standalone film in “The Conjuring” universe, “The Curse of La Llorona,” and the horror film appears to be dead on arrival, at least as far as critics are concerned. “La Llorona” is the latest entry in the formerly revered franchise begun in 2013 by director James Wan and writers Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes. That includes both “The Conjuring” movies, two “Annabelle” movies with a third on the way, and last year’s box-office hit but critical failure “The Nun,” which also has a sequel coming. Wan handed over the reigns to director Michael Chaves for “La Llorona,” which is currently the franchise’s only standalone film. From reading the reviews below — it may stay that way.
Inspired by Latin American folk tales and set in 1970s Los Angeles, “La Llorona” follows a social worker and her two children who are being haunted by a deadly spirit in the night. They turn to a mystical priest to help them root out the evil, testing their faith. The film stars Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, and Marisol Ramirez.
Although the film currently holds a 36 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it made a healthy $2.75 million on its first night of previews and is tracking to lead the weekend box office. (Current figures predict a $19-$20 million opening weekend.) Last year’s addition to the “Conjuring” universe, “The Nun,” made $53.8 million in its opening weekend and went on to make $365.5 million worldwide despite a dismal 26 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
So it’s not all doom and gloom for “La Llorona,” which opens in theaters nationwide on April 19. Check out the first reviews below.
I’ve been afflicted with “The Curse of La Llorona.”
The symptoms are all there:
• Excessive, uncontrollable eye-rolling at the overacting, clumsy plot machinations and cliché-riddled “Gotcha!” moments.
• Frequent glances at watch combined with irrational fear time has stood still, despite the brief running time of just over 90 minutes.
• Heavy sighing as putatively bright characters make incredibly stupid decisions.
• Inadvertent laughter at moments intended to be serious.
This weak spin-off of the ‘Conjuring’ series will haunt you for all the wrong reasons. …Plays too timid for terror and is too lazily constructed to haunt anyone’s dreams. … The movie defaults to predictable jump scares at every turn.
The loosely tied latest entry into “The Conjuring” universe suffers from an anemic script with too little scares and an under-appreciation for who would likely be its core audience. … It’s frustratingly simple, the dialogue over-explains everything and while there are a few solid moments of suspense, there’s too much dead air in-between. … Perhaps the film’s most grievous sin is that it isn’t very scary. … The plot feels fairly mild, as if one of our traditional dishes was made without enough seasoning.
La Llorona becomes more of a drag than a threat; she’s the Garcias’ obnoxious roommate, the kind who maybe works unconventional hours and has lots of loud sex. That’s the premise for a scene from Scary Movie, not a scary movie. … But even as a springboard to another corner of this creepy universe, ‘The Curse Of La Llorona’ is hardly worth your time.
“La Llorona” did find a few rather illustrious fans, however. Manohla Dargis of the The New York Times called it “ticklingly funny,” and “an enjoyably old-fashioned ghost story.” Writing for Vulture, Bilge Ebiri said, “There’s a strain of dark poetry to the monster’s appearances…as if Wes Craven had decided to hijack an Andrei Tarkovsky film.”
“Bosch” is back and as addictive as ever, showing why it’s Amazon’s oldest continuing original drama despite a call for new blood. As the streaming service is working hard to freshen its programming with big tentpoles like “Jack Ryan” or the upcoming “Good Omens” and “Lord of the Rings,” it always returns to the reliable, meticulous charms of Det. Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch (Titus Welliver).
In its fifth season, “Bosch” once again proves how delving into the everyday drudgery of police work and unspooling cases in an unhurried, unglamorous way can be even more effective than the splashier storytelling on its network counterparts. The series jumps forward about a year after the shocking events of Season 4, when Bosch witnesses his ex-wife Eleanor’s (Sarah Clarke) murder in a drive-by shooting. Grief and anger are mostly in the rearview as Bosch and his undergrad daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) are now living together and working at the same Hollywood precinct. This season, Bosch’s attention is split between two cases: one involving an opioid ring that requires him to go undercover and the other, the reopening of a 20-year-old case that could lead to overturning one of his convictions.
Director Alex Zakrzewski and writer/executive producer Daniel Pyne make a curious decision to begin with a flash-forward in which Bosch is undercover in a dangerous situation. It’s a tried-and-true storytelling device that builds anticipation, but viewers will have to be very patient. In the first five episodes given to critics to review, this tease still hasn’t been paid off, although he does actually get around to going undercover. More interesting than the pharmaceutical case itself – been there, bought that illegally – is how Bosch embeds with the criminals. There is a satisfaction in seeing how the show builds and equips his undercover persona with a little bit of bumbling around first to reach his goal.
It’s the second case, however, that is far more intriguing for Harry Bosch fans. The new District Attorney has established a Conviction Integrity Unit that is digging into one of Bosch’s earliest cases after joining the force. Dominque Skyler was raped and murdered by a man who is currently serving jail time, but new evidence has surfaced that calls into question that conviction and all of Bosch’s subsequent convictions.
This situation threatens to take Bosch’s agency as he’s placed in the hotseat, but no matter; his integrity has been called into question before. “It is what it is,” he says. Bosch isn’t about to rage against the DA’s machine, gnash his teeth, or wring his hands. Instead, he defends himself by doing what he does best: getting down to business by hiring a lawyer and investigating the old case to see what he might have missed. That Bosch’s position and authority as a cop are in question demonstrates how the series always remains relevant to the real world. Even when cases aren’t ripped from the headlines as in Dick Wolf projects, the show has created an authenticity through its characters, the work they do, and how that affects the community. Yes, the series’ many references to real Los Angeles restaurants and landmarks help ground the series in that world, but it’s these richer character details and storylines that bring that world to life.
Even though Bosch already has a partner in Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector), his daughter Maddie also gets pulled into the investigation peripherally. It’s a credit to the writers in how they’ve developed Maddie into a full-fledged character and avoided all of the stereotypical rebellious offspring pitfalls while maintaining her youthful curiosity and resilience. She also exudes the same sort of unshakable integrity and self-assuredness as her father. Their relationship and her growing importance to the story can be added to the growing list of highlights for this season.
Madison Lintz and Titus Welliver, “Bosch”
As with any season of Bosch, there are many, many more ongoing storylines. Deputy Chief Irving (Lance Reddick) has new aspirations. An old police shooting has come under the scrutiny of the DA. Jerry Edgar is working with one of his former criminal informants. And finally, Det. Moore and Det. Johnson (Gregory Scott Cummins, Troy Moore), better known as Crate & Barrel, must face a growing belief that they’ve aged out of their usefulness to the precinct, at least in the field.
Although this last storyline may seem insignificant, like office politics as usual, it has surprising resonance for the season. Crate & Barrel have always been fan favorites for their cantankerous camaraderie, but here they reveal more of the no-bullshit characteristics that have made them the good cops that they are today. Once again, “Bosch” takes on a topic that is rarely mentioned, much less spotlighted and spins it into a bigger meditation on aging and service to the community.
This ties in with Bosch’s revived Skyler case, in which the justice that he has accomplished isn’t a binary, but should taken as a whole. It’s a clever way to begin the conversations about the work of Harry Bosch over the course of his 20-plus-year career and his nearing retirement age in the next season or so of the series. But will he retire, and more importantly, should he? The world would be a better place with more Bosches wearing blue, no matter how grey he’s gotten up top.
The season is based on Connelly’s novel “Two Kinds of Truth,” which also provides the title for the premiere episode. Bosch reveals the title’s meaning in this speech to his daughter: “There are two kinds of truth, Mads. The kind that comes from darkness, gets bent, manipulated for someone’s self-interest and the kind you carry inside and know is real.”
Harry Bosch is the embodiment of that second truth, which is why viewers will continue to return to his authentic world as long as Amazon allows it.
Watch a trailer for Season 5 below:
Bosch - Season 5 Official Trailer | Prime Video - YouTube
”Bosch” Season 5, along with is previous four seasons, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Roman Polanski’s lawyer, Harland Braun, has filed a petition asking a Los Angeles judge to force the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to reinstate the director as a member of the organization in good standing (via Variety). The Academy announced May 3, 2018 that it had voted to expel Polanski and Bill Cosby for not meeting its standards of conduct. Polanski and Braun fought against the decision at the time but the filmmaker was expelled nonetheless.
In the petition sent April 21, Braun notes the Academy let Polanski petition for reconsideration but failed to give the director an opportunity to be heard on the issue of his expulsion. Braun said this decision is a violation of the Academy’s policies.
“The Academy committed a prejudicial abuse of discretion in that the Academy failed to proceed in a manner required by law, the Academy’s expulsion decision is not supported by the findings, and the Academy’s findings are not supported by the evidence,” Braun writes.
Braun’s filing mentions that Polanski’s films have been nominated for 28 Academy Awards. The filmmaker won the Best Director honor for “The Pianist” and was allowed to keep his trophy despite being expelled form the Academy.
Polanski and Braun previously sued the Academy in May 2018 over the issue, accusing the Academy of failing to adhere to a fair process while handling the case of Polanski’s membership. Braun’s statement at the time read: “Mr. Polanski was supposed to be given notice, and have 10 days to present his side. It was a complete debacle in the sense that they didn’t follow their own rules…They short-circuited it all. It’s shocking that they’re so unfair. We’re going to try to sit down with the Academy and say, ‘Hey, look, guys, follow the rules.’”
Polanski’s rape trial from the 1970s resurfaced in late 2017 and 2018 during the #MeToo and Time’s Up anti-harassment movements. The director was convicted of sexually assaulting an underage girl. Polanski made headlines after being expelled from the Academy for saying the #MeToo movement was “collective hysteria” and “total hypocrisy.” The director brought his latest film, “Based on a True Story,” to the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. The movie has never been released in U.S. theaters.
It’s a good time to be a Stephen King fan (and, financially speaking, it’s a very good time to be Stephen King), as the master of horror’s many works have gotten new blood thanks to a slew of successful adaptations, from the box office record-breaker “It” (soon to be extended with a sequel!) to a number of streaming outlets getting their King fix to long-rumored adaptations finally coming to fruition. While much-hyped feature films like “It: Chapter Two” and “Doctor Sleep” gear up for 2019 releases and a pair of quite different series based on King’s works are preparing for new seasons, it seems like a new King adaptation is announced every week.
Case in point: in just the past two weeks, two King-inspired offerings have gotten the green light, with indie filmmaker darling Alex Ross Perry taking on a big screen version of short story “Rest Stop” just days after Julianne Moore announced she’d be starring in an Apple+ series inspired by “Lisey’s Story.” That’s to say nothing of a number of other features in the works, additional series that have been announced, and a handful of short films that cover every inch of King’s decades-long writing career.
Here’s everything that’s in the works from King’s prodigious career, from completed projects to other offerings that continue to tease their creation.
Completed and Continuing Films
“It: Chapter Two”
Andy Muschietti’s much-anticipated followup to his 2017 box office smash hit “It” will arrive on September 6. The second part of the latest adaptation of King’s beloved 1986 novel will bring back original cast members, including “Stranger Things” favorite Finn Wolfhard, but the upcoming sequel is also getting some major star power as the adult members of the Losers’ Club are being played by Jessica Chastain (Beverly), James McAvoy (Bill), Bill Hader (Richie), Jay Ryan (Ben), Isaiah Mustafa (Mike), James Ransone (Eddie), and Andy Bean (Stan). Additional new cast members include Xavier Dolan, Jake Weary, and Jess Weixler.
Just two months after “It: Chapter Two” terrorizes audiences, rising horror star Mike Flanagan’s “Doctor Sleep” will hit theaters on November 8. The sequel to “The Shining” pulls from the 2013 King novel of the same name, and sets Ewan McGregor as a grown up Danny Torrance, left to grapple with the meaning of his special “shine.”
In the new film, Danny is now an alcoholic whose attempt to get sober reawakens his “shining” powers. Torrance meets a young girl who shares the supernatural ability while working at a hospice center. First footage shown at CinemaCon was brief, but indicated that the film will offer many nods to the first film, as it promised to offer a “conclusion” to the Torrance saga. In addition to McGregor, “Doctor Sleep” also stars Rebecca Ferguson, Carl Lumbly, and Alex Essoe.
“In the Tall Grass”
Also likely on deck for this year: a Netflix-backed adaptation of the 2012 novella of the same name that King wrote alongside his similarly prolific son Joe Hill. Written and directed by “Splice” filmmaker Vincenzo Natali, the story follows a brother and sister who, after hearing what sounds like a young boy crying for help from a vast Kansas grass field, go searching for him, only to realize they may not be able to escape.
The film stars Patrick Wilson, Laysla De Oliveira, Harrison Gilberston, Avery Whitted, Rachel Wilson, and Will Buie Jr. It does not yet have a release date, but Netlix is reportedly eyeing a 2019 date for it.
Just announced earlier this week, “Her Smell” filmmaker Alex Ross Perry is on deck to write and direct an adaptation of King’s 2003 short story of the same name. Initially published in Esquire, “Rest Stop” won the National Magazine Award for Fiction in 2004. It also appears in King’s 2008 story collection “Just After Sunset.” According to Variety, the film will be a cat-and-mouse thriller following the twisted journey of two women after an encounter at a rest stop. If that is the case, Perry’s script will evidently diverge from the source material in some ways, including swapping the genders of the main character and focusing on two characters instead of one.
Back in 2017 at the horror-centric Overlook Film Festival, Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and super-producer Jason Blum announced that they would be teaming up for a new adaptation of “Firestarter,” King’s 1980 novel about a young girl with pyrokensis and the government agency on her trail. Goldsman announced that he was writing the script with Scott Teems (“Rectify”), and was quick to point out that they would be focusing on the original novel, rather than the earlier 1984 adaptation, which starred a young Drew Barrymore.
For years, King has offered the rights to his work through “Dollar Baby” contracts, by which the prolific writer allows film students and aspiring filmmakers to adapt his short stories for the low price of a single dollar. King has approved a number of Dollar Baby projects over the years; Frank Darabont made “The Woman in the Room” on a Dollar Baby contract in 1986. The collaboration led to Darabont being hired for “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile.”
In October of last year, King sold the rights to his 2003 short story “Stationary Bike” to students from Blaenau Gwent Film Academy in Wales. The film follows an artist who is told he has dangerously high cholesterol. When he begins cycling to lose weight, he becomes obsessed and begins to hallucinate nightmarish scenarios. As part of the agreement, the films must not received commercial release. As such, King’s estate requests DVD copies, so that he can watch the final products.
In February, Deadline announced that “Clinical” filmmaker Alistair Legrand had been tapped to direct a feature version of the 2011 novella of the same name, with a script from Legrand and his “The Diabolical” collaborator Luke Harvis. The story is “set around a remote, boarded-up rest stop, [and] the film will follow 12-year-old Pete, his brother, and a group of strangers who must fight to survive as they’re hunted by a mysterious force.” Production is reportedly planned to kick off this fall.
In April of last year, Deadline also reported that Universal had made a deal to launch a new feature film around King’s 1987 sci-fi horror novel of the same name, which was previously made into a hit 1993 miniseries for ABC. The story follows “the residents of a Maine town who come under the influence of a strange object discovered in the woods. It turns out to be part of an alien spacecraft, which emits a gas that infects those who are exposed to it, eventually leading to chaos that only one man may be able to stop.”
The film is currently in development, and despite early rumors, “Conjuring” superstar James Wan is not attached to direct it.
King’s books and stories have inspired numerous TV series over the years, but perhaps nothing has been as ambitious and wide-ranging than “Castle Rock,” Hulu’s anthology series which gathers together a number of the writer’s most beloved and well-known characters and storylines and throws them all together in the King-created environ of Castle Rock, Maine. It’s an essential watch for both long-time fans of the author and newbies interested in checking out everything he has to offer (which is, of course, a lot).
Created by Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason and starring André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgård, Jane Levy, and Sissy Spacek, the series wrapped its first season in September of last year and is already gearing up for a second season on the streaming platform.
On the other end of the current-King-series spectrum lays Audience crime drama “Mr. Mercedes,” which offers something a bit more niche for King fans. Based on the Bill Hodges novel trilogy, which includes “Mr. Mercedes,” “Finders Keepers,” and “End of Watch,” the violent crime drama comes with some TV bonafides: it was developed by David E. Kelley. Now gearing up for its third season, it stars Brendan Gleeson and Harry Treadaway. The story follows Gleeson as a dedicated detective attempting to out the eponymous Mr. Mercedes (Treadaway) a vehicular serial killer who has a taste for fame.
In-Development Television Series
Announced earlier this month, King is coming to Apple+, with Julianne Moore on deck to star in a new series based on the 2006 novel “Lisey’s Story.” Moore will play the title character, a woman dealing with the loss of her husband. After years of grief, she begins to see his life and death in a completely new way after unexpected events. No additional casting news has been revealed as of yet.
The series is currently planned to run eight episodes, and King will write all of them. The Bad Robot/Warner Brothers co-production will also boast executive producers J.J. Abrams and Ben Stephenson, who both served in the same role on last year’s debut season of “Castle Rock.”
King teamed up with his other son Owen King to pen the best-selling 2017 novel of the same name, which AMC picked up earlier this week for development into a cable series. The Wrap reports that the project has already received a pilot script commitment from the cable network, with the younger King on deck to write it.
Per its official synopsis, the story is “set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, [and] the father-son duo’s 2017 novel tells the story of a sleeping sickness that affects only women and begins to spread around the world.”
The Wrap also reported late last year that HBO had given a series order to King’s 2018 best-seller “The Outsider,” set to star and be produced by Ben Mendelsohn, with fellow producer Jason Bateman on deck to direct the first two episodes.
Per HBO, the series will follow “a seemingly straightforward investigation into the gruesome murder of a local boy [that] leads a seasoned cop and an unorthodox investigator to question everything they believe to be real, as an insidious supernatural force edges its way into the case.”
“The Dark Tower”
“The Dark Tower”
The Nikolaj Arcel-helmed 2017 feature might have struck out, despite tapping big talents like Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey to play some of King’s most iconic characters in his most ambitious series, but a planned TV series was always in the works. Will it still happen, though?
In its newest incarnation, “The Dark Tower” will take the form of a prequel series launched by Amazon, with “Walking Dead” veteran Glen Mazzara set as executive producer and showrunner. In March, Variety reported that Jasper Pääkkönen and Sam Strike had both been cast in the pilot, with Strike on deck to play Roland Deschain, also known as The Gunslinger, with Pääkkönen believed to be playing The Man in Black, also known as Marten Broadcloak and Randall Flagg.
After years of back and forth — from who would direct it and star in it to which format it would take and even how long it would be — a new version of King’s seminal 1978 opus is finally making its way to the screen. In this iteration, it’s a CBS All Access limited series from director Josh Boone (who has tried to make this project happen one way or another since 2014) that will hit the streamer sometime in 2020.
It won’t be the first TV adaptation of the novel, which first led to a four-part ABC miniseries a quarter century ago. The 1994 version, one of the more ambitious productions in network television history, starred Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, Laura San Giacomo, Miguel Ferrer, and Ruby Dee.
Other Completed Projects
King’s prodigious output has led to the creation of scads of smaller adaptations, including recent shorts inspired by stories like “Survivor Type,” “The Reach,” “In the Deathroom,” “A Very Tight Place,” “Willa,” “Sedá hmota,” “Trapped,” “I Am the Doorway,” “The Death of Jack Hamilton,” a short version of “Rest Stop,” “One for the Road,” “Grey Matter,” and “Beachworld,” all of which are in various states of completion and post-production.
Elsewhere, indie filmmaker Selina Sondermann made her feature directorial debut with a recent adaptation of short story “Dedication,” which does not yet have a release plan in place.
Steven Spielberg has long wanted to adapt the 1984 novel that King co-wrote with Peter Straub, and Universal even picked up the rights for him in 1982, well before the book published. While the filmmaker attempted to make the book into a six-hour miniseries for TNT years ago, he now seems to be targeting a feature film adaptation, though he might not helm it himself. Last year, he told Entertainment Weekly that he’s “hoping to get this movie made in the next couple of years. I’m not committing to the project as a director, I’m just saying that it’s something that I’ve wanted to see come to theaters for the last 35 years.”
A remake of the terrifying rabid dog story, as first penned by King in the 1981 novel of the same name, has been rumored for years. While the 1984 film version got mixed reviews when it was released, it’s become something of a cult classic in the intervening years, which made the 2015 announcement that the novel was being turned into something quite different seemed to bug so many fans. In July of 2015, Bloody Disgusting reported that the classic King tale was going to be remade as “Canine Unit Joint Operations,” which hints at some major changes to the original narrative.
Lang Elliott of Sunn Classic Pictures was tapped to direct, with DJ Perry set to star. Despite off and on rumors over the years, the film doesn’t appear to be in production as of now.
Other Short Films
King’s short stories provide a fertile ground for many filmmakers, and in addition to the hefty amount of completed or almost completed short takes on his work, a number of other shorts are reportedly in the works. Those include new films based on “Rest Stop” (yes, another one), “Jac Kessler’s Popsy,” “The Doctor’s Case,” “Uncle Otto’s Truck,” “The Gingerbread Girl,” “One for the Road” (again, another one), “In the Deathroom” (you read that right), “Death Room” (yup), and “Doorway.”
“Veep” has long been saddled with the unenviable task of creating a fictional world while dealing with developments in our own. But as the show leads up to its final episodes, star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is showing admiration for a few presidential candidates who are looking to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself.
In a recent profile in Porter Edit, Louis-Dreyfus talked about the current wave of women who are grabbing their share of headlines as the country barrels toward a pivotal presidential election next fall.
“My agenda was only ever to make an exceptionally funny show, but wouldn’t it be nice if it further opened up the conversation about powerful women?” she said, later adding, “I’m a big fan of [California senator] Kamala Harris, and I admire AOC’s [Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] pluck…She’s tough as nails, and I dig that, a lot. [Massachusetts senator] Elizabeth Warren is a powerhouse.”
The conversation also outlines the number of ways the actress behind some of TV’s most iconic characters persevered to get Selina Meyer to a farewell season. During her recent bout with breast cancer, she worked on reading scripts as best she could during her treatment. In order to ensure that she kept the ability to memorize lines once the show went back into production, Louis-Dreyfus adopted a string of techniques to help keep her brain in shape.
“I have to memorize a lot and I was concerned about whether I’d be able to do that…I started doing tricks, trying to memorize poems and things — I think it was mainly just comforting to me to get them in my head,” she said.
She also explained that going through that process has strengthened her resolve to support an all-encompassing healthcare plan, something that both Harris and Warren have expressed ideas for in differing ways. “Universal healthcare was an important issue to me prior to getting this diagnosis, and it certainly is even more so now,” Louis-Dreyfus said.
All of that goes into her Season 7 portrayal of Selina Meyer, which prompted this piece earlier in the week from IndieWire’s Ben Travers. “Despite evidence to the contrary, we can’t help but respond to Selina. We can all identify what makes her a bad person, and it goes without saying she’s a terrible public servant,” he wrote. “But Selina’s rage carries with it just enough instinctual, undeveloped logic to make it convincing.”
There are times when technology companies that control a massive amount of global creative holdings must set aside their differences to make sure that people can stream “Bosch” just a little more easily. This, thankfully, is one of those times.
Google and Amazonannounced that the two companies have reached an agreement that would allow the former’s YouTube app to be compatible with the latter’s Fire TV. This new easing of tensions will also allow Google Chromecast users to stream content from Amazon Prime Video on various devices.
The agreement marks a break in an ongoing standoff between the companies. It also removes a barrier to entry on both sides of the divide, with this new process allowing individuals to skip laptops as a necessity to connect content to their TVs. Part of these new changes means that users can use Amazon Prime Video with Chromecast directly from a phone or tablet.
This also means that, with the addition of Prime Video, Chromecast has locked in functionality with all of the top streaming services. Netflix, Hulu, and a number of network-based apps currently offer the ability to stream from a handheld device through a TV.
The two companies have been in engaged in a marketplace battle for over a year now; at the start of the 2018 calendar year, Google yanked the official YouTube app from Amazon’s family of Fire options, pointing to the fact that, at the time, Amazon did not allow certain Google products to be sold in its online marketplace. (Or in that weird little corner of Whole Foods, but that’s another business story entirely.)
Even though this agreement has been reached, the two companies still have a list of competing products that each are trying to get in front of consumers. There are dueling personal home assistant devices, with Amazon Echo and Google Home, in addition to the ongoing content arms race, with Prime Video and YouTube Premium both occupying the same space as well.
Conceivably, this renewed compatibility between devices will help both companies stave off the coming competition posed by Apple TV+, due out to consumers later this year.
The Cannes Film Festival will host a masterclass with Nicolas Winding Refn at its 2019 edition, IndieWire has learned. The filmmaker, a Cannes regular whose past three features have screened in the festival’s Competition section, will return to the Croisette with the first two episodes of his new Amazon crime series “Too Old to Die Young.” Additionally, Refn will speak at the festival about his experiences directing in both media.
Earlier this year, “Too Old to Die Young” star Miles Teller revealed that each of the series’ 10 episodes will run approximately 90 minutes. That feature length speaks to the pliable running time standards that some shows have adopted on streaming platforms. “It will be very interesting to talk with Nicolas Winding Refn,” Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux said in a phone interview. “He will give a masterclass about what it is to be a filmmaker today doing feature films for the cinema, doing series, and doing commercials.”
Meanwhile, Netflix continues to be absent at the festival, following rules last year that required Cannes films in Competition to have a theatrical release in France. (Technically, Netflix could submit its own series for consideration at Cannes just like Amazon.) Fremaux reiterated that he maintains a cordial relationship with Netflix. “They have a business model, they are really focused on that, and I respect that,” he said, noting that several of the streaming platforms’ most anticipated titles — including Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” — weren’t ready to premiere in Cannes anyway.
“Maybe Netflix doesn’t have anything ready for Competition,” Fremaux said, “but we’ll see about next year.”