We made it another Friday, SCR crew – and this week, that means hints and updates on several big budget adaptations. Amazon finally listed a full Lord of the Rings cast list (along with one departure), plus, Peacock confirms Adventure Zone as one of its new scripts. Meanwhile, Regina King is still busy with a cast update on her directorial debut. Then, some unsurprising reports that Netflix is embezzling UK profits in tax havens. We’ll end on a good note (promise) with three trailers: Lovebirds, Black Widow and Stargirl (not the DC one, either).
Let’s get started!
Amazon reveals its fellowship for the Lord of the Rings cast
At TCA, Amazon put an end to the drip feed of Lord of the Rings cast members and announced its full group of regulars; a list with 15 names. They are Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers and Daniel Weyman. Also notably, the previously confirmed Will Poulter has since left the series due to scheduling conflicts.
According to Co-head of TV Vernon Sanders, this Lord of the Rings cast list is still slightly incomplete, with a “few key roles” yet to be cast. The series, which is said to explore new stories prior to The Fellowship of the Ring, is written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. Amazon continues to keep details like plot close to the chest.
Earthquakes in Puerto Rico mean delays for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
- Disney announced that, following earthquakes in the area, its shoots for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have been cancelled, just a day prior to cast and crew’s planned arrival. THR suspects the conglomerate will likely find a new location for relevant scenes, though it’s unclear at this point if the show’s late 2020 release date will budge.
The Adventure Zone is among six new scripts announced for NBC’s Peacock
On Thursday, NBC came forward with six new projects to be released on its upcoming streaming service; Peacock. Details as far as pricing and availability were also announced at an investors event lat that day – but your wallet will be relieved to discover that there’s an entirely free tier of Peacock subscription.
Amongst those six new Peacock projects is an animated version of The Adventure Zone. The series will be based on the McElroy’s D&D pod/graphic novel series with Clint, Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy on board as executive producers and Orphan Black’s Adam Higgs on writing/EP duties.
Also revealed on that Peacock slate are:
Clean Slate, a family comedy/drama starring George Wallace and Laverne Cox that follows a father and his estranged child who comes back into his life as a trans woman.
Expecting from writer/EP Chris Schleicher and EP Mindy Kaling, follows a “perpetually single” music manager who asks her gay best friend to be her sperm donor (spoiler, he says yes).
Division One, an Amy Poehler executive produced coming-of-age comedy, is about a former soccer star who finds herself as coach of an underdog collegiate team. Maggie Carey directs, sharing writing and EP credits with Julia Brownell.
Hatching Twitter is the first in a series of documentaries from EP Patrick Macmanus and writer Nick Bilton. This inaugural title of the anthology is based on Bilton’s book of the same name; examining the code and character limit none of us can seem to escape.
Finally, SNL fans rejoice; Will Forte and Lorne Michaels team up yet again for MacGruber, the natural expansion of the skits parodying MacGyver.
The Peacock struts out on July 15 in three different tiers: free with limited programming, $5 a month with ad-support (free for Comcast customers), and a $10 a month ad-free sub.
Regina King recruits Lance Reddick for One Night in Miami
The upcoming One Night in Miami adds Lance Reddick (John Wick) to its cast this week, filling the role of bodyguard and confidante to Malcom X, Brother Kareem. Regina King directs the film, which is itself an adaptation of the stage play of the same name. Writer Kemp Powers returns to write the screenplay.
The story itself is a bit prophetic. One Night in Miami fictionalizes a real life evening following a young Cassius Clay (AKA Muhaammad Ali), Malcom X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown; all on the edge of their eventual turn to fame. The four friends meet in Clay’s hotel room, celebrating his victory over Sonny Liston. Pushed away due to Jim Crow-era laws, the four reflect on where they are and where they’re going.
Reddick joins a cast already including Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcom X, Eli Goree as Clay, Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown and Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke.
But, back in the John Wick universe…
- Starz President and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch announced that the John Wick spin-off TV show, The Continental, is still in the works, but likely won’t arrive until after the franchise’s fourth installment. Hirsch also added at the Television Critics Assn. winter press tour that the network is continuing to develop Powers prequel and sequels, as well as a potential Weeds reboot.
Report indicates Netflix may be hiding profits in tax havens
In a Tax Watch report from earlier this week, Netflix was accused of smuggling around $430 million in profit into tax havens. Specifically, the streamer is tucking away international profits from its UK subscribers and sending them off to Netflix International, which is based in the Netherlands.
The web Netflix has set up here is a complex one. Tax Watch projects a billion dollar disparity between its reported revenue from 2018 and the report’s estimated revenue from subscribers. And, again, this is just in the UK.
Speaking of – Netflix is simultaneously accepting significant amounts of tax relief from the UK. Tax Watch points out that this commonplace crime is a unique case in the film and TV industry for the following reasons: “The company is now ramping up production of original content in the UK, and it is likely that this will attract substantial subsidies from the UK taxpayer. Indeed, recently the company said that it is spending over £400m making original content in the UK this year, which means that it is likely to be eligible for tens of millions of pounds in tax relief when it next reports its UK accounts.”
The UK is trying to make moves to prevent further incident with a digital tax, requiring a 2% tax on revenue from UK subs. When asked about the accusation, a Netflix spokeswoman shrugged, like all corporations do, and said “Corporate taxation is an important and much-debated issue. Ultimately, it’s for governments to decide the rules when it comes to tax — and in every country in which we operate, Netflix respects those rules.”
This rom/com is sure to make a … killing. (sorry).
Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) and Issa Rae (Insecure) are on the run in their latest rom/com, The Lovebirds. This Paramount pic… let’s say redefines what a couple’s big moment can be, as these two are thrust into making one comically bad choice after another as they try to escape punishment from a crime they didn’t commit. Nanjiani reteams with Big Sick director Michael Showalter and co-stars Anna Camp and Kyle Bornheimer. The Lovebirds hits (and runs) theaters on April 3.
Marvel dropped a Black Widow featurette earlier this week, in which Scarlett Johansson, Kevin Feige and director Cate Shortland talk about what to expect from this 10 year culmination of the character. It’s a bit more of a tease than anything else, but if you’re excited for more MCU it’s probably worth the watch. Black Widow drops May 1 with a screenplay from Jac Schaeffer, Ned Benson and Eric Pearson.
And, last but not least a commercial for Disney’s Stargirl. checks notes Yeah, Disney’s Stargirl, not the CW’s. Anyway, this streaming exclusive is based on the YA novel of the same name, telling the story of one normie teen (Graham Verchere) and the quirky new girl (Grace VanderWaal). Look for it on D+ beginning March 13.
That’s a wrap for this week. See you back here on Tuesday for your weekend fix of Studio Coffee Run!