In today’s Movie News Rundown: Elizabeth Debicki has been perfectly cast as Princess Diana on The Crown; the Russo Brothers and Jordan Peele, among others, plan to shoot big-budget projects in California; Ron Howard embraces a breakdown of blockbuster trailer tropes; and speaking of Blockbusters, here’s how you can sleep in one.
Debicki as Di: Elizabeth Debicki, who stars in Tenet and was great in Widows, will play Princess Diana in Seasons 5 and 6 of the excellent The Crown. Two Popes star Jonathan Pryce will play Prince Philip. I would have watched if they’d cast Betty White and Guy Fieri, but this is better.
Big-Budget Productions Plan California Shoots: The Hollywood Reporter says big-budget new projects from the Russo Brothers and Jordan Peele are among nine new films planning to take advantage of California tax incentives, a reason for optimism about the Golden State in the midst of, well, you know. Projects from Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain and Phil Lord & Chris Miller are also happening. It feels almost like that recent Daily Mail story claiming there’s a “Hollywood Apocalypse” was just shoddily reported clickbait. (Don’t Google it, the whole thing is a mess.)
Lost Last Airbender Opportunity: Time Magazine‘s Richard Corliss once wondered if 2010’s M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation Avatar: The Last Airbender was the “worst epic movie ever.” Fans of the beloved Nickelodeon animated series on which it was based had high hopes when the show’s creators, Michael Di Martino and Bryan Konietzko, signed on for a Netflix live-action series in 2018. But now they’ve dropped out. Sophie Martinez, a fan of the original series, explains here why their exit might not be all bad.
R.I.P., Ash Christian: The Emmy-award winning actor and moviemaker died in his sleep Thursday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at just 35, Variety reports. He wrote, directed and starred in his first feature, Fat Girls, in 2006, when he was 19. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won an outstanding emerging talent award at L.A. Outfest. He shared a Daytime Emmy in 2014 for outstanding special-class short-format daytime program for “mI Promise.”
Taking It Slow: The North American box office is back, thanks to Canada. The Hollywood Reporter says the major circuits in Canada reopened over the weekend with Paramount’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, which made an estimated $900,000 on 300 screens, Russell Crowe’s Unhinged, which pulled in $582,000 from 299 screens. Many theaters are obviously at half-capacity due to coronavirus.
No More Mr. Nice Streaming Service: This New York Times story says streaming services are upending the old ways in Hollywood by firing people with none of the charm with which Hollywood used to fire people. Studio executives used to be “gradually, gently, even lovingly, nudged aside,” the article contends. You know how you can enjoy reading something while disagreeing with its premise? This is one of those for me.
Right Round: A 2017 viral video is getting renewed attention thanks to an endorsement from Ron Howard. Auralnauts’ “How to Make a Blockbuster Movie Trailer” calls out a lot of good tricks for making your trailer seem profound, from single musical notes to foreboding covers to snatches of dialogue that fall a very specific formula. “This is kinda fantastic stuff for movie lovers ….and ….. a lotta validity to it as well :-)” Howard tweeted Friday. Here’s the video…
… and here’s this treatment applied to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
How to Make a Blockbuster Slumber Party: Finally, those fired streaming executives have somewhere to go: Buzzfeed says you can rent out this old Blockbuster video store for $4 a night. But! I checked, and every single date is taken, along with every single copy of Can’t Hardly Wait.
Also: This Auralnauts video — the Star Wars throne room scene without John Williams — makes me laugh every single time.