Welcome back for another Studio Coffee Run! ICYMI, I’m sitting at the Friday desk in Ed’s place today, so prepare for – whatever that means. Anyway, we’ve got another batch of entertainment news hot off the presses for you today; trouble’s brewing over at Marvel’s animated series department amidst Tigra & Dazzler shakeups, HBO has announced a Watergate limited series, Halle Berry has more details on her directorial debut and, as is tradition, more! If you stick around, you might even find a fancy trailer or two (or even three).
Let’s kick off with checks notes oh. More Disney stuff.
- The Planet of the Apes lives on as Fox announces that Maze Runner’s Wes Ball is set to helm the franchise’s next installment – just don’t ask if it’s a reboot or a sequel. Yes, even that much is uncertain this early in the game, though it’s probably fair given that this will be one of the first Fox properties to get its Disney makeover.
- Speaking of Disney, the Mulan poster also hit the internet this week, to mixed reception given the lead actress’ stance on the recent Hong Kong protests.
— Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) December 4, 2019
Marvel retcons its Tigra & Dazzler writing team three quarters of the way into production
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news this week that Marvel’s (/Disney’s) Tigra & Dazzler show is wiping its slate clean with the dismissal of showrunner Erica Rivinoja and her entire writing staff.
The show, which is described as following two woke superheroes, was 15 weeks into its planned 20 of production when creative differences between the performative woke parent company and its staff arose. THR reports that the team had already completed several scripts and outlines, all of which have been tossed. Notably, Chelsea Handler, who was originally attached to write, star and executive produce for the animated series, seems to still be on board.
Tigra & Dazzler was first announced in February along with three other adult animated series to land on Hulu. Those included MODOK, Hit-Monkey, Howard the Duck and an eventual crossover titled The Offenders. Production is intent on moving forward with Tigra & Dazzler in spite of these… ‘setbacks.’ Although the delay won’t have any direct impact on any of its sister shows, it’s unclear for the time being how that poorly-named crossover might be affected.
And, in more comic book TV news…
- Before Katy Keene flies solo, she’s meeting up with renowned bar-owner, teenager and old friend, Veronica Lodge. E! News revealed that the Archie comics characters will crossover for the first time in Riverdale, when Veronica heads to New York for a college interview. It all goes down on February 5 so, if you’re also behind on the CW’s beloved drama-fest, there’s plenty of time to catch up (or just to read The Beat’s excellent recaps by Billy Henehan.
The Watergate scandal gets the limited series treatment at HBO
Woody Harrelson (True Detective) and Justin Theroux (The Leftovers) are headed back to HBO with Veep writers Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck. They’ll work together on The White House Plumbers, a five episode limited series about Watergate. Harrelson and Theroux are set to star as Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy; the two masterminds of the Democratic National Committee break-in. The series will take plotting details from public record, as well as the book Integrity, which follows the real-life, autobiographical account of Nixon’s compatriot, Egil Krogh.
Behind the scenes, the Veep connection continues as former showrunner David Mandel directs and executive produces alongside Gregory and Huyck. With Watergate Plumbers, HBO adds to its upcoming lineup of political dramas, which is also set to include a limited series on the totally not murdered Jeffrey Epstein.
Speaking of HBO, remember that Studio Ghibli deal?
- If you got excited at the idea that you’d be able to stream Studio Ghibli movies on HBO Max, prepare to get more excited. Distributor and producer GKIDS announced earlier this week that, for the first time ever, you’ll be able to buy digital versions of all Ghibli movies. They’ll run you $20 each, or $100 for a bundle that includes some of the more popular titles (Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away), but excludes Nausicaä, this writer’s personal fave. Preorders are available now from various providers, with downloads available on December 17.
The Asset brings together Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton and Maggie Q
A Deadline exclusive reveals that Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton and Maggie Q are joining up for Martin Campbell’s (The Foreigner, Casino Royale) The Asset. The action-thriller arrives from Millennium Media, a studio that Expendables fans might recognize.
Richard Wenk’s script tells the story of three assassins: Rembrandt (Keaton), Anna (Q) and Moody (Jackson). Rembrandt and Anna are fierce rivals, constantly vying for the best contracts, but they’ll have to put all that aside when Anna’s mentor, Moody is cue dramatic music murdered! From there, it’s up to the two of them to find the killer and their closure.
The Asset begins filming soon, January 8, 2020, and is produced by Rush Hour vet Arthur Sarkissian, The Hurricane Heist’s Moshe Diamnant and Rambo: Last Blood’s Van Norden.
Halle Berry’s directorial debut has her inside the ring for an MMA drama with Shamier Anderson and Adam Canto
Bruised is a story about motherhood and MMA – and also the first directorial feature credit for Halle Berry. In a recent development, Deadline reports that the flick has brought on Shamier Anderson and Adam Canto to star alongside Berry.
The former Catwoman is protagonist and washed-up MMA fighter, Jackie Justice. When the 6-year-old son she walked out on knocks on her door, she’s forced to take care of herself – and leave a new MMA legacy. Anderson joins in as league owner, while Canto will play Jackie’s manager/boyfriend. Producers for Bruised include Basil Iwanyk, Brad Feinstein, Erica Lee, Linda Gottlieb and Guymond Cassidy.
Now, a charcuterie of trailers with something for everyone!
Before the Mulan hype you probably heard about earlier this week, Disney dropped a trailer for one if its upcoming streamer exclusives, Togo, starring Willem Dafoe and Julianne Nicholson. It’s a true story based on the treacherous Alaskan trek of Leonhard Seppala and his good pup, Togo. I don’t know about you, but this trailer gives me heavy Eight Below vibes, so I’ll probably save my emotions the trouble and avoid Togo when it hits Disney+ on December 20.
Now The Assistant, on the other hand is something I definitely want to check out in spite of how it will emotionally wreck me. This timely Bleecker Street production stars Julia Garner in the title job and, as you can probably guess, things don’t go great. The thriller vibes really send home how terribly uncomfortable Garner is made to feel as a result of her workplace pressures. We’ll see how it all pans out when The Assistant hits theaters this winter.
And lastly, DreamWorksTV dropped the first trailer for its upcoming Fast & Furious: Spy Racers yesterday; a Netflix animated series set to hit computers, smart TVs and consoles everywhere on December 26.
That’s a wrap for this week! I’ll catch back up with you on Tuesday, as Ed and I return to our standard Studio Coffee Run slots. In the meantime, I need to make an ACTUAL coffee run – minus the studio.