Spooky season’s greetings, entertainment junkies! Over the weekend it seems comics were the hot topic with Ahoy Comics’ Planet of the Nerds landing a movie option at Paramount Pictures and Mythos’ Studios diving into its Turnerverse and mythology movies with Justin Bieber at the epicenter. Meanwhile, FX dropped some new statistics on its writing staff’s diversity as it makes efforts to rectify a white male dominated space.

Before that, a handful of hot headlines just for you.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean is back yet again. This time from, probably, the last person you’d expect, Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin. He’s on a crew with a well seasoned, salty sea dog of a Pirates writer, Ted Elliot. This will be the sixth voyage for the Jack Sparrow spawning films.
  • Over at the CW, Kate Kane and Nancy Drew are both extending their stay with an extra order of nine more episodes each for Batwoman and Nancy Drew. Although both series are only three episodes into their runs, they’re apparently picking up a lot of steam, especially online. As it stands now, Batwoman is the network’s second most-viewed show after Flash.
  • Anthony Bourdain, beloved writer, chef and TV host, moves posthumously to the silver screen as CNN and HBO Max collaborate in a documentary based on the man himself. Morgan Neville, Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is attached to direct. The production will begin with a theatrical run, followed by a television premiere on CNN, then go on to kick it on HBO Max for perpetuity.
  • On Friday, Warner Bros. announced that Angela Sarafyan (Westworld), Natalie Martinez (Death Race), Marina De Tavira (Roma) and Cliff Curtis (Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw) will all be joining up for the company’s upcoming Reminiscence. The movie is … many things. It’s been described as a sci-fi thriller, but it’s also noir and filled with romance. And it’s set in the far off dystopia of Miami, Florida. Westworld EP Lisa Joy is taking the reigns for the first time ever as director of the project, and joins the already announced cast including Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandie Newton and Daniel Wu.
  • The Simpsons announced in a TV Line exclusive that its next in a tradition of celebrity guest appearances will be MCU brothers Joe and Anthony Russo. Bart, prankster and troublemaker extraordinaire, lays his eyes on an advanced screening of Vindicator (the Simpsons version of Avengers) and hopes to hold spoilers over the directors heads for blackmail. Those two directors, played by the Russos, battle Bart in a spoiler war in the episode titled “Bart the Bad Guy.” They make their animated debut on February 23, along with a short Kevin Feige cameo.
  • And, as a final note – be on the lookout for Apple TV+ and Disney+ news aplenty this week as the former launches on Friday and the latter is planning a “blitz day” for updates.

Planet of the Nerds is calculating a movie option with Paramount Pictures

planet of the nerds movie

One of comics’ youngest and hottest publishers – Ahoy! – is dipping its toes into cinema. Not with capes and cowls or even with big budget explosions, but nerds. Yes, Planet of the Nerds, the brainchild of writer Paul Constant, artists Alan Robinson and Randy Elliott, colorist Felipe Sobreiro and letter Rob Steen has been optioned for a movie by Paramount Pictures.

Planet of the Nerds, and its potential movie, begins in the 1980’s; a time when jocks ruled and nerds drooled. The main characters are three members of high school’s ruling class, Chad, Steve and Drew, who love cracking jokes at the popularity impaired. They’re living in luxury, doing the best sports, until they’re accidentally cryogenically frozen. Yes, you read that right. Fast forward to the present, when the trio wakes up and realizes that nerds have taken over. That’s where Planet of the Nerds really starts and, per The Beat’s own Joe Grunenwald, it’s a solid foundation filled with nuanced character work and exciting plot threads.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect for this edition of Studio Coffee Run, since the Planet of the Nerds trade paperback is out checks notes today, with a cover by David Nakayama and an introduction from Jeopardy star Ken Jennings. The series wrapped up with issue #5 back in August, so this collected edition brings the whole story together.

Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company, Inc. brokered the Planet of the Nerds movie deal between Ahoy! Comics and Paramount Pictures.

FX is trying to make meaningful change in its creative staff’s diversity

fx diverse writers

In the 2014/2015 TV season, 88% of FX’s directorial staff were white men. Now, the network has announced that over half of its writing staff – 60% to be precise – is comprised of women or people of color. The announcement came out this weekend at a luncheon where FX productions chairman John Landgraf spoke on the network’s efforts to level the playing field.

A few years ago when the news was released in an investigation conducted by Variety, Landgraf says he felt it was a failure on his part. That spurred him to make decisions with diversity in mind; he even specifically mentioned passing on Breaking Bad to, instead, host Damages starring Glenn Close. According to Landgraf, that was pivotal for FX. Rather than continuing down the homogenous path it was going down, the network’s current lineup includes  shows like Pose, Atlanta and The Mayans, each starring minority groups on and behind the screen.

Eventually, he went on to lament on his parent company, Disney, but prior to that, he did point out that the strategy has been more than successful, saying “we’ve gotten more Emmy nominations and won more Emmys for female actors over 30 than any network in television for the last decade,” then added, “Our organization is better, in every respect, for having embraced the potential of our entire society.”

Justin Bieber stars as Cupid in Mythos Studios’ first movie in a growing franchise

justin bieber
Photo by Lou Stejskal/Wikimedia Commons

In a time when it seems like every licensable property in existence is getting a franchise (thanks MCU), that trend continues with Mythos Studios’ claim to Roman and Greek mythology. Founders David Maisel and Scooter Braun took the time this weekend to give small info drops on their first three movies, including titles, premises, creative teams – and Justin Bieber.

The once ubiquitous Canadian singer is making his way back into the public’s heart with his role as Cupid in Mythos’ film of the same name. What a time 2019 is. Anyway, the movie will be an animated musical following the titular god through a retelling of the story of Cupid and Psyche; AKA of love and the soul. Cupid is also set to be the first of a shared universe for Mythos’ future Greek/Roman mythology films. It’s handled by Pete Candleland, a director who’s career up until this point has been in the music video sector with bands like the Gorillaz.

Outside the Greco-Roman Cinematic Universe, Mythos is also working on Fathom, a movie based on Aspen Comics’ character of the same name. Created in 1998 by Michael Turner, Fathom discovers, through her career in marine biology, that she’s actually a descendant of the universe’s equivalent of Atlanteans. Kevin Adams and Joe Ksander are directing and Futurama/SNL writer Kristin Gore is handling the script. Mythos, which now co-owns Aspen Comics, is also planning to make this movie the seed for a planned cinematic universe that it’s going to call the TurnerVerse (named after the aforementioned writer/artist).

Fathom will share that space with Soulfire, also based on an Aspen comic created by Turner and also directed by Adams and Ksander. The story pits magic against technology as the main character finds out his arcane ancestry. It’s penned by Star Trek: Discovery writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt.

No news yet on when to expect the debut of either of Mythos’ franchises – but we’ll keep an eye on the horizon for you.

One quick nibble of a trailer, appropriate for this time of year

Dracula, the upcoming BBC show from the folks you brought us Sherlock, loosed its first trailer on the internet this weekend. The series promises to retell the classic story of Bram Stoker’s monstrosity along with help from star Claes Bang, John Heffernan and Dolly Wells. It’s spooky, it’s fleshy and it looks really, really cool.

Co-creator Mark Gatiss has alluded to some minor changes to the original tale, mostly when it comes to framing. Rather than being an ominous entity, Dracula will be “the hero of his own story.” No release date yet! But this teaser assures enthralled viewers that Dracula is coming soon. As with its forerunners, this BBC show will air first in the UK on cable, then, elsewhere, on Netflix.

Hungry for more? Lucky for you, ya entertainment bloodsucker, Edward Douglas is inviting you over this Friday for a particularly sanguine Studio Coffee Run. Just kidding – that’s November 1 so spooky season will have officially ended (cries in poltergeist). See ya then!