Happy Spooky Season and welcome back! This weekend was a dense one thanks to Obi-Wan announcements, controversy at the Joker premiere and news on Apple’s first slate of original films. Appropriately for the first SCR of October, horror aficionado James Wan has just started production on his next film and Ryan Murphy has announced a handful of new cast members for his Netflix show. As always, the Studio Coffee Run gang is here to sift through and collect all that and more – all for you!
But first, a few noteworthy mentions.
- BoJack Horseman, the terribly depressing horse show on Netflix, is officially set to end with one last season. The critically acclaimed comedy has made a reputation of being unafraid to deal with addiction, depression and fame – and is especially unafraid to rip viewers’ hearts out. This final season will hit Netflix in two parts, beginning on October 25 and then on January 31.
- Ellen DeGeneres has the opposite situation going on as she’s planning four different shows, all set to land on HBO Max thanks to an overall deal with Warner Bros. Three of which are straight-to-series orders while the fourth remains in development.
One thing’s for certain. Ellen’s negotiations were short – and so was the deal at the center of the weekend’s first headline.
Disney’s Obi-Wan Kenobi show finds a director in a not so far-away galaxy
Deborah Chow has been officially announced as the director of the Disney Plus exclusive series featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Canadian filmmaker, director and screenwriter has already put some time into the Star Wars universe as she handled direction in a few episodes of The Mandalorian. The Hollywood Reporter had the exclusive story this weekend.
Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy said in a Friday statement that it was in part thanks to Chow’s work on The Mandalorian that she was tapped for the job. “We really wanted to select a director who is able to explore both the quiet determination and rich mystique of Obi-Wan in a way that folds seamlessly into the Star Wars saga. Based on her phenomenal work developing our characters in The Mandalorian, I’m absolutely confident Deborah is the right director to tell this story.”
Along with The High Cost of Living, which she wrote and directed, Chow has also worked on episodes of American Gods, Jessica Jones, Copper, Murdoch Mysteries, Reign, Beauty and the Beast, and Mr. Robot. For her next, and likely most high-profile undertaking, Chow will work with writer Hossein Amini and, of course, Ewan McGregor as the wily space wizard himself.
Disney+, which will be the series’ exclusive home, launches on November 12.
Joker premiere opts out of taking interview questions in spite of heavy controversy
Finally, Joker is beginning to hit more audiences after its Saturday premiere in L.A., though, peculiarly, filmmakers asked that no interviews be conducted. For internet dwellers, this is one of the most controversial films of the year due to a combination of Scorsese tendencies and a perspective that risks championing a villain. Before presenting it, filmmaker Todd Phillips said of Joker before its premiere, “tell a friend, I feel like we have not gotten enough press and the word hasn’t gotten out about this film,” before praising and thanking star Joaquin Phoenix. Phillips then went on to say “I think it’s time to let the film speak for itself, so please enjoy,” referencing Warner Bros.’ interview cancellation.
Although Phillips and Phoenix have both made assurances that Joker is not meant to endorse violence prior to this premiere, this move seems an irresponsible way to quell fears. As the public Joker premiere gears up for this weekend, theaters across the States are ramping up security, banning costumes and taking any measures they can to avoid an incident resembling 2012 Aurora, Colo., shooting connected to The Dark Knight Rises. Family members of victims have even reached out to Warner Bros. asking the company to use Joker proceeds to support gun control movements. The situation was only made more awkward last week when Phoenix allegedly stopped an interview short after being asked by The Telegraph if he had considered the possibility that the movie’s interpretation might be marred by audiences.
Given all of that, the outright silencing of potential to address concerns is not a great look for fans who are already on the fence about it – time will tell if the Oscar cries will drown those voices out even further. Joker premiers on October 4.
Birds of Prey gets a set of four Harley Quinn posters leading up to the film’s release
While we’re in the DCU, let’s take a breather and refuel with these powerful posters for Margot Robbie’s upcoming Birds of Prey movie. Ironically, by the time you’re reading this, the film’s latest trailer will also likely be out there in the wild, so be sure to check that out once you’re done here.
Officially titled Birds of Prey and the Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, the Cathy Yan directed flick also stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, and Ewan McGregor. It hits theaters on February 7 of next year – but these delightful shots of endorphins should hold you over until then.
Ingrid Bisu hears the casting call for James Wan’s Malignant
Malignant, James Wan’s, most recent foray into horror film, has roped in another cast member in Ingrid Bisu in a Deadline exclusive this weekend. It seems that the director is adamant about getting the production into the news cycle this weekend (and based on the fact that you’re reading this sentence, it’s working), since the movie’s title was also revealed just a few days ago along with confirmation that filming has begun.
Apart from that, Wan is doing his best to keep viewers in the dark. Plot details remain especially scarce, although it is confirmed that Wan worked directly with Bisu to write the story – and the actress is also credited as an executive producer. The pair worked in the same fashion, one as writer/director and the other as writer/actress in the Conjuring spin-off, The Nun.
Along with Bisu, Wan will also be directing Annabelle Wallis Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White, Jake Abel, and Jacqueline McKenzie. Starlight Media and Midas Innovation are handling finances for Malignant and distribution is being done by New Line.
Ryan Murphy snags seven for his upcoming Netflix show, Hollywood
Ryan Murphy, the director, screenwriter, producer who brought us shows like Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story and Pose is saddling up for Hollywood; a Netflix series which he’s already beginning to cast. Among the seven announced this weekend are Jim Parsons, Dylan McDermott, Samara Weaving, Maude Apatow, Joe Mantello, Laura Harrier and Jake Picking. They’re all set to join already announced executive producers and actors Darren Criss, Jeremy Pope and David Corenswet.
Hollywood is still rather early in the production stages, so most details are being kept underwraps. Although, as the name suggests, Murphy’s next series will be “a love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown,” set in the 1940’s, per Variety.
Thanks to a huge overall deal with Netflix, Murphy has already ignited series like Ratched and The Politician – but Hollywood is special in that its this director’s first original project to land on the service. The show, which he’s co-created with Ian Brennan, is scheduled for a 2020 release.
Apple announces its first slate of films to get theatrical releases
Apple is rooting itself even deeper into the entertainment biz with release dates for four original films along with theatrical release dates in a Variety exclusive. Although they’ll only hit a selection of venues, it’s still a notable move for the tech giant that has yet to fully release its streaming service. On it’s inaugural list of movies, Apple will be laying claim to Anthony Mackie’s The Banker, Minhal Baig’s Hala and The Elephant Queen, a wildlife documentary along with Sofia Coppola’s On The Rocks. Each will be available first on the big screen prior to secluding themselves into streaming exclusivity.
The Banker is directed by George Nolfi and is scripted by David Lewis Smith, Stan Younger, Niceole Levy and Nolfi and story by Smith, Younger and Brad Caleb Kane. It recounts the true story of two African-American men who seize communities back for those oppressed by racism.
Hala is written, directed and produced by Baig; originally a short, this film follows Geraldine Viswanathan as a teenager trying to understand the balance between old ways and new. She’s joined by Jack Kilmer, Gabriel Luna, Purbi Joshi, Azad Khan and Anna Chlumsky.
On its way back from rave reviews at Sundance and Toronto, The Elephant Queen is a production from esteemed wildlife documentarians Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble. The pair follows Athena, an elephant matriarch trying to lead her family to prosperity after the being forced out of their watering hole.
On the Rocks is a collaboration between A24 and Apple starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones as a father/daughter pair. It’s the earliest along of the four, though filmmakers are hopeful to have the project ready for a 2020 premiere at Cannes. Maybe by then Microsoft will even have its own streaming service.
And now, let the trailers roll…
Spies in Disguise has quite the array of voices behind animated visages including Will Smith, Tom Holland, Ben Mendelsohn, Karen Gillan, Rashida Jones, DJ Khaled and Masi Oka with direction from Troy Quane and Nick Bruno. Smith and Holland, the movie’s main characters are two spies who butt heads, but, when it hits theaters this Christmas, they’ll have to put their differences behind them.
Finally, relive the events of that historic day, when Orson Welles’ infamous dramatic reading – actually maybe didn’t send very many people into panic? Look it up! Anyway, this BBC production stars Eleanor Tomlinson, Rafe Spall and Robert Carlysle and doesn’t yet have a cemented release date.
Season two of the Stephen King and J.J. Abrams collaboration, Castle Rock had its first official trailer drop on Monday. The Hulu original looks spookier than ever as an age-old feud rears its head and “budding psychopath” Anne Wilkes jumps into the picture, brought to life by Lizzie Caplan. She’s joined by Elsie Fisher who headlined in last year’s Eighth Grade (and you should check it out if you haven’t already.
Finally, because Netflix realized that the Beat’s first October edition of SCR was coming up this week, the official Stranger Things season four teaser was released. Okay, just kidding about that first part – but regardless, it looks like our cute band of Hawkins hooligans are going to parts unknown. Rather, they’re most likely (definitely) going to be spending more time in the upside-down.
That’s a wrap for this weekend! Edward Douglas is out of office this Friday, so you know what that means – more bad jokes! And more entertainment news. Probably.