Showrunner Jill Soloway and several of the show’s actresses, as well as the (male) director of photography, talk about how the different atmosphere on set and in the scripts (yes, including the lack of “the male gaze”) makes everyone willing to take bigger risks.
“Adapted from a posthumously published EM Forster novel that is likewise overshadowed in reputation by other works in his canon – like, well, Howards End and A Room With a View – Merchant Ivory’s film opened hot on the heels of their broadly beloved, Oscar-garlanded adaptation of the latter. Almost immediately, it was filed away as, if not a disappointment, a lesser diversion.” But now, in the post-Brokeback, post-Moonlightera and with a new high-def restoration, Guy Lodge argues that the time for this soft-spoken romance may finally have arrived.
“Our behavioural data analysis of National Theatre (NT) Live screenings in 2014 (in partnership with Nesta, and referenced in the AEA report), showed that if anything there may be a small net increase in arts attendance in areas where there had been a screening.”
Hackers are “seizing the content and instead of just uploading it, they’re contacting the studios and asking for a ransom. That is a pretty recent phenomenon,” said Dean Marks, who heads the Motion Picture Assn. of America’s content protection division.
“It has become glaringly obvious that mainstream TV is awash in reboots, remakes and revivals. The reasons for this trend are many and complex. It’s not that everybody in the TV racket has run out of ideas. There is a lot of new and original TV being made. One reason is simply business – in a time of so much TV, a familiar title and concept will get more attention than an entirely new story.”
Jason Bailey works over some of the bad ideas that Silicon Valley types have been coming up with to
mess up “hack” the viewing experience.
“For reasons that evaded Japanese film critics at the time, the 1990s TV show about a murder in a small American town was a huge hit in Japan, even after it was cancelled in 1991. … To build on that success – and make some extra cash – co-creator Lynch and some of the core cast reprised their roles in four commercials for Coca-Cola’s Japanese canned coffee brand Georgia Coffee in 1993. … The ads were set in Twin Peaks and told the story of a Japanese man who was searching for his missing wife, with the help of Agent Cooper.” (includes video of all four ads)
In a news release announcing these licence renewals, the CRTC trumpeted its support for “the creation of diverse, compelling and original Canadian content,” but the move to cut spending on programs of national interest seems calculated to do the reverse – and sends an oddly mixed message.
“The film appeared misframed on the big screen, which hadn’t been masked properly, resulting in the top and the bottom sections of the imge being cut off. The tech problems quickly led to boos from the assembled international press corps. Shortly after the film began, the screening was abruptly suspended. The technical malfunction lasted approximately 10 minutes before the film was restarted and correctly projected. The crowd both cheered and booed when Netflix’s logo re-appeared on the screen.”
The writers have to keep track of breaking news alerts, for one thing. For instance, when news broke that the president had disclosed classified info to the Russians, one writer knew he couldn’t continue tweaking an entirely different script. “It was just like, ‘Ahhh — hang on, folks.’ … The first act of their show was rewritten on the fly.”
HBO and the Italian state broadcaster are producing an 8-episode miniseries of the first in Elena Ferrante’s millions-selling Napolitan cycle, “My Brilliant Friend.” They hope to cast two pairs of 8- and 15-year-old girls and all of their friends as from the neighborhood. “The result is an open casting call that has already drawn 5,000 children, the vast majority of whom have never heard of Elena Ferrante, and injected a mix of hysteria and hope into parts of Naples that are poor in resources but rich in real characters.”
And you thought the Oscars were political (and had a lot of speeches): “Many honorees who took the stage garnered loud cheers from the audience when counting themselves among ‘so many other distinguished enemies of the people.’ But above all, truth was the most prevalent message among the 33 acceptance speeches.”
Well, a tax shelter, of course – and an overhaul of that shelter in 2014. “Mandating greater financial transparency, capping the amount outside investors could recoup, and opening the door to further international cooperation beyond the European Union, the reforms broke up what many saw as a creative monopoly, leveling the playing field for all.”
These bunnies “kicked off the breedable boom in earnest.” (Breedables are digital pets that can, well, interbreed.) But they need to be fed. And the company that runs the databases that provided bunny “food” was served a cease & desist order …
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer: “Why would we want to hold back a movie for an enormous number of people to enjoy throughout the entire country that a few hundred, maybe a few thousand people could see the film in Paris? … It seemed to me like the right thing to do was to give the people, our subscribers, who pay to make these movies, access to them immediately all over the world.”
Finn Cohen talks to the showrunners and actors about how the second season of the original went so bad and what led to the decision by all the parties to revive the show after 25 years.
“HBO and the Italian state broadcaster RAI caught the Ferrante Fever and are producing an eight-episode mini-series inspired by [My Brilliant Friend] … In a throwback effort at authenticity, producers are looking for amateur child actors – two sets of girls in 8- and 15-year-old iterations, and then a large Annie-esque supporting cast of hard-knock lifers. The result is an open casting call that has already drawn 5,000 children, the vast majority of whom have never heard of Elena Ferrante, and injected a mix of hysteria and hope into parts of Naples that are poor in resources but rich in real characters.”
Over the last couple of years, one of the biggest obstacles and financial burdens of shooting on film has been there is no place to develop and process dailies. For most U.S. productions the answer became a nerve-wracking leap of faith of shipping undeveloped negative to Fotokem in Los Angeles, while for small productions the cost of expensive courier services alone was often to large a hurdle to shooting film.
Ramadan is the big season for television in the Muslim world, as families gather at the set each night after breaking the daytime fast. Black Crows, a 30-part drama airing on the Arab world’s most popular satellite channel, “paints a picture of the Islamic State … as a brutal criminal organization run by corrupt and hypocritical leaders. But recruits are depicted as victims, and women who challenge the militants’ control are heroes.” (includes scenes from three episodes)
“Cannes selections of all stripes have met with boos for decades, from Michelangelo Antonioni’s groundbreaking L’Avventura in 1960 to Sean Penn’s not-groundbreaking The Last Face last year.” (Even Taxi Driver got booed.) There’s even been a “Booed at Cannes” film series and a streaming service category. Nicolas Rapold offers “a mini-anthropology” of the phenomenon.
“It’s fair to say that the only common thread linking every series that sustains itself over several years and develops a loyal audience is its ability to perfect that distinctive voice early in its first season, then continue to develop it in a way that speaks directly to the audience and not only tells a story but establishes a unique tone and rhythm.”
“Everyone from Kate McKinnon to Chris Rock gives THR backstage access to a historic season as they reveal how Melissa McCarthy became Sean Spicer (with help from Kristen Stewart), the joke Aziz Ansari had to cut, and how D.C. chaos is fueling the highest ratings in decades: ‘You almost feel like a war profiteer.'”
“France is a paradise for moviegoers, with thriving cinemas and state subsidies for new productions. Netflix is a global streaming giant founded on the concept that movie theaters are a thing of the past. So it was perhaps inevitable that the two worlds would collide over the Cannes Film Festival.”
As SNL‘s Lester Holt (Michael Che) said to the show’s Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin), “Every single day is something nuts. Your presidency is like the craziest show on TV, and it’s on 24 hours a day, and we can’t keep up.” Even so, argues Megan Garber, SNL could do better by hitting harder.
The hackers said they would release bits of the film — in increments — if their demands weren’t met. Disney would not comment, but insiders said that the company refuse to pay.
This is not the same thing as saying, “Ratings don’t matter anymore.” We’re not in a post-ratings world — at least not yet. As long as revenue from advertisers remains part of the network TV business model, ratings will matter. Broadcasters aren’t Netflix or HBO. They still want to live up to their name and find shows with a broad appeal, like This Is Us or The Big Bang Theory. But after a decade of audience erosion, including double-digit declines for the vast majority of shows this season, networks have finally accepted reality: People aren’t watching the TV the way they used to, and selling commercials isn’t enough to pay the bills (and make a big profit).
Projected to open officially in August next year, it will contain the world’s largest production facility: 400 acres, 45 sound stages, one a record-breaking 10,000 sq metres. It’s an attempt by Wang Jianlin – China’s richest man and the founder of the overarching Dalian Wanda group – to steal some of Hollywood’s thunder.
Consider the runaway success of Baahubali 2, whose numbers – it was “budgeted at $39m, made in Telugu and Tamil, with Hindi and Malayalam dubbed versions – are astonishing by Indian standards. The film opened on 28 April and grossed $194m in 13 days, making it the highest Indian grosser of all time and putting it on track to become the first Indian film to gross $200m.”
Shockingly, not The Crown – though a show of the actual Queen’s 90th birthday party did win an award.
Things have changed, a lot. “After a decade of audience erosion, including double-digit declines for the vast majority of shows this season, networks have finally accepted reality: People aren’t watching the TV the way they used to, and selling commercials isn’t enough to pay the bills (and make a big profit).”