TBS Greenlights Daniel Radcliffe-Owen Wilson Sitcom, Snoop Dogg-Hosted ‘Joker’s Wild’ Reboot

In addition to renewing “Conan” for four more years, Turner comedy network TBS greenlit four new series on Wednesday.

Here are their official descriptions, in TBS’ own words:

  • “Miracle Workers,” a Heaven-set workplace comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Owen Wilson and executive-produced by Lorne Michaels;
  • “Close Enough,” a brand new animated series from “Regular Show” creator J.G. Quintel;
  • An update of of the classic game show “The Joker’s Wild,” hosted by Snoop Dogg;
  • A new untitled series from the comedy trio The Dress Up Gang.

Also Read: ‘Conan’ Renewed for 4 Years by TBS: Show Will Become ‘Leaner, More Agile,’ Host Says

Additionally, Tracy Morgan’s TBS sitcom now has a name: “The Last O.G.” — and that show just cast Cedric the Entertainer, Taylor Mosby and Dante Hoagland.

Read sister network TNT’s drama news from Turner’s busy upfront day here.

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‘Conan’ Renewed for 4 Years by TBS: Show Will Become ‘Leaner, More Agile,’ Host Says

“Conan” has been renewed for four more years as part of an overall Conan O’ Brien-Team Coco deal with TBS. Some iterations of the format won’t immediately be recognizable to fans of the traditional late-night talk show, the host and his network chief said on Wednesday.

For starters, the “Conan” brand will be extended to include digital and branded content, podcasting, mobile gaming, pay TV and live tours, per the Team Coco agreement.

“Conan continues to prove his vibrancy night after night and his incredible command of the digital and social space has only built on his young, connected audience,” said Kevin Reilly president of TNT & TBS and chief creative officer of Turner Entertainment.

Also Read: Read ‘Conan’ EP Jeff Ross’ Internal Memo to Staff on Show’s Future

“Conan” currently airs Monday-Thursday at 11 p.m. (ET/PT) on TBS, and is produced by Conaco LLC, with Jeff Ross serving as executive producer.

“This next chapter will provide support for Conan and Jeff to expand the boundaries from a ‘talk show’ to a range of personality- based, cross-platform experiences.” O’Brien added, “The TV landscape has changed dramatically since I inherited the traditional talk show format in 1993. In the past few years I’ve stumbled across many new and exciting ways of connecting with my audience, and I’m eager to evolve my show into something leaner, more agile, and more unpredictable. I also want a pony.”

Back in January, TheWrap first reported on the format changes coming to “Conan.”

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The Cannes 2017 Buzz Titles

Cannes kicks off today and signs are good that deals will start popping quickly. Here are the titles that could make 2017 Cannes memorable. Some of these are finished films, some are promos and others are pre-buys. The intel here is raw, and some of the projects might not have come together in time for the Cannes market.
BUBBLES — Director: Taika Waititi, Mark Gustafson. Writer: Isaac Adamson. The Black List-topping script looks at the story of iconic singer Michael…

Grindstone Entertainment Takes ‘Richard the Stork’ for North America

Grindstone Entertainment has closed a deal with Global Screen to acquire North American rights on German 3D animated film “Richard the Stork.” Sales company Global Screen is now sold out worldwide on the title having also secured new sales with Icon Film Distribution for U.K./Ireland, Paradis Films in France, M2 Pictures in Italy and Spire… Read more »

Disney Strikes Chinese-Language Production Pact with Wudi Pictures

Taiwan’s Wudi Pictures has struck a multi-picture production deal with Walt Disney in China, to produce locally-targeted, Chinese-language movies. The first title under the deal is “Miss Taken,” starring veteran Chen Bolin and Jelly Lin, the actress who broke out in the title role of Stephen Chow’s “The Mermaid” last year. The picture has wrapped… Read more »

Stanley Tucci’s ‘Final Portrait’ Acquired by Sony Picture Classics

Sony Picture Classics has acquired the North American rights to Stanley Tucci’s “Final Portrait,” the studio announced Tuesday.

Written and directed by Tucci, the period drama set in 1964 stars Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Clémence Poésy, Tony Shalhoub and Sylvie Testud.

The Riverstone Pictures film had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival out of competition in a gala screening.

Also Read: Cannes 2017 Preview: A Critic Looks Forward to Double Dose of Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell

According to the studio release, “Final Portrait” is “the story of the touching and offbeat friendship between American writer and art-lover James Lord and Alberto Giacometti, as seen through Lord’s eyes and revealing unique insight into the beauty, frustration, profundity and sometimes the chaos of the artistic process. Set in 1964, while on a short trip to Paris, Lord is asked by his friend, Giacometti, to sit for a portrait.

“The process, promises Giacometti, will take only a few days and so Lord agrees — ultimately wondering ‘how much longer can it go on like this?’”

Also Read: Cannes 2017: 14 Directors to Watch, From Bong Joon Ho to Todd Haynes (Exclusive Photos)

“Giacometti’s work and life and Lord’s poignant memoir have fascinated me for years. To finally bring my adaptation to the screen with this extraordinary cast and crew has been indeed a pleasure and to have Sony Classics distributing is a great honor,” Tucci in the statement.

“Audiences everywhere will embrace what Stanley Tucci has done here. He has made a remarkable film about the artistic process of the great painter and sculptor Giacometti, with a stunning cast led by Geoffrey Rush. We are thrilled to be involved,” Sony Pictures Classics added.

The deal was negotiated between CAA and SPC. HanWay Films is handling international sales and distribution and is selling remaining territories in Cannes where the company has four films included in Official Selection.

The deal was negotiated between CAA and SPC. HanWay Films is handling international sales and distribution and is selling remaining territories in Cannes where the company has four films included in Official Selection.

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Cannes 2017 Preview: A Critic Looks Forward to Double Dose of Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell

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TV Club: New friends take over this week’s double dose of Brooklyn Nine-Nine

This week’s back-to-back episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine work together a lot better than last week’s pair; and while that might not really sound like a big deal, it’s something that can absolutely improve the general sense of continuous episode quality. Sure, come streaming and home video time, the back-to-back nature of these episodes isn’t going to come into play in the same way—especially since they’re not actually two-parters—so it’s not exactly necessary for these episodes to feel connected at all. But a little episode synergy and the bare minimum of continuity (even just tonal) never hurt a show, and the pairing of this week’s “Your Honor” and “The Slaughterhouse” work better because of that.

“Your Honor” is the stronger episode as a whole, with the introduction of Holt’s federal judge mother Laverne (L. Scott Caldwell), the transformation of the Nine-Nine …

Universal Wins Bidding War for Heartbreaking NYT Column ‘You May Want to Marry My Husband’

Universal Pictures has won a multi-studio bidding war for film rights to the harrowing story of Amy Krouse Rosenthal — the late author who proactively wrote her husband’s dating profile while she was dying of cancer,

Paramount, Sony and Jeff Robinov’s Studio8 were in competition for the property, but Universal won with a check in the low-seven-figures, an individual familiar with the deal told TheWrap.

The story, which appeared in the popular “Modern Love” section of the New York Times, became a internet sensation when it was published in March.

Also Read: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Author Who Wrote Dating Profile for Her Husband in Final Days, Dies at 51

Prolific producer Marc Platt — who has five live-action adaptations in the works at Disney — is attached to produce, the insider added. WME repped Krouse Rosenthal’s family and estate.

Chicago-based author Rosenthal, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015, wrote dozens of books for children and adults as well as a memoir, “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.”

After complications from her cancer escalated, the author wrote a sincere and wrenching would-be dating ad for her husband Jason Rosenthal.

“He is an easy man to fall in love with. I did it in one day,” Rosenthal wrote.

“First, the basics: He is 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, with salt-and-pepper hair and hazel eyes,” Rosenthal continued, before offering a list of Jason’s best attributes.

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“He is a sharp dresser. Our young adult sons, Justin and Miles, often borrow his clothes. Those who know him — or just happen to glance down at the gap between his dress slacks and dress shoes — know that he has a flair for fabulous socks,” Rosenthal wrote. “He is fit and enjoys keeping in shape.”

In response to his wife’s essay, Jason Rosenthal said that he was “shocked at the beauty” of it.

“I didn’t know exactly what she was composing,” Rosenthal said in a statement. “But I was with her as she labored through this process and I can tell you that writing the story was no easy task. When I read her words for the first time, I was shocked at the beauty, slightly surprised at the incredible prose given her condition and, of course, emotionally ripped apart.”

THR first reported the deal.

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If Peak TV Has Peaked, Will Reality Rise to Replace It?

If you’ve heard of Peak TV — the concept that the number of shows just isn’t sustainable — you’ve probably also heard speculation that we’re over the peak. Recent retreats from scripted programming by networks from MTV to Freeform to WGN suggest that the number of scripted shows is declining.

But scripted’s loss could be reality’s gain. Even as MTV and Freeform back away slowly from scripted, they are embracing reality shows — just as TV executives did at the turn of the century when “Survivor” popularized the genre and “American Idol” went on to rule in the ratings for years. ABC’s revival of “American Idol” may be the clearest sign that TV execs think it might be time for another cycle of reality hits.

Whatever the case, reality TV — cheaper to produce than prestige dramas — looks like a safe bet in uncertain times.

“Scripted is at its peak and a staple on every network’s schedule — however, unscripted has proven itself to be a mainstay for television and is having a moment,” Freeform senior vice president of unscripted programming and development Kary Mchoul tells TheWrap. “It also allows us react to trends in a quick and efficient way that allows us to be part of the zeitgeist and puts talent in the drivers seat.”

Also Read: A&E Announces ‘Bates Motel’ Was Its Last Original Scripted Show

FX Networks chief John Landgraf put the entire TV industry on notice back in 2015 when he observed that “there is simply too much TV.” He predicted that the business was in a “content bubble” and would soon see a decline in the number of scripted originals on the air, with cable networks taking the biggest hit.

His prediction seemed to come true last month, at least in part, when A&E announced that the series finale of “Bates Motel” — by far the network’s most successful original series — would mark the end of its scripted efforts entirely.

A&E’s last two attempts to launch a scripted series — Glen Mazarra’s “The Omen” sequel series “Damien” and a revival of the CBS Poppy Montgomery crime drama “Unforgettable” — both flopped, with each canceled after just one season. The network’s unscripted department, on the other hand, has had better luck. The Leah Remini docu-series “Scientology and the Aftermath” generated a healthy amount of buzz for the network and scored its top-rated series premiere in two years.

Also Read: Paramount Network President Kevin Kay Explains Decision to Pilfer Shows From TV Land

But A&E isn’t the only one rethinking its strategy in the era of Peak TV, it’s a story across the cable TV landscape as more and more networks begin to reduce their investment in scripted originals.

A report from FX’s research department released earlier this year observed a total 454 scripted original series in 2016, an eight percent increase entirely attributable to the ballooning number of series on streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Every other sector instead pulled back on scripted originals in 2016, with basic cable seeing a year-over-year decline for the first time since 2009, going from a total of 187 series in 2015 to 181 in 2016.

FX Networks Research

Also Read: Paramount Network Orders Taylor Sheridan’s ‘Yellowstone’ to Series

Viacom, which owns MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Spike and TV Land, among other properties, is trying to consolidate many scripted shows at a new network, the Paramount Network.

Six series are in the pipeline months ahead of the network’s launch, including the Alicia Silverstone comedy “American Woman,” the series adaptation of the cult film “Heathers,” the Michael Shannon-led miniseries “Waco” and the Kevin Costner family drama “Yellowstone.” All are set to be among the first series to premiere on Paramount next year.

“American Woman” and “Heathers” were both originally set up for TV Land. Kevin Kay, who oversees both Paramount Network and TV Land, said the shows went to Paramount because TV Land was overextended.

TV Land, he noted, was once “launching eight shows a year. The 10-o’clock shows got a lot of marketing behind them, but they didn’t have enough marketing to extend to the 10:30 shows and nobody ever saw them.”

Indeed, only “Teachers” and “Younger” have gone on to become real hits for TV Land in the last few years.

“So what we’ve done is make a very conscious decision to do four shows a year,” Kay said.

TV Land

Also Read: MTV’s ‘Wonderland’: Inside the Network’s Plan to Make Itself Cool Again

Years ago, MTV left the reality series “Jersey Shore” behind to focus on scripted shows like “Teen Wolf,” which put MTV on the scripted map in 2011 and remains MTV’s biggest scripted success story. But “Teen Wolf” is set to conclude with a final 10-episode installment this summer, and there’s no scripted show waiting in the wings to take its place.

Instead, MTV is rebooting the reality staples “My Super Sweet 16” and “Fear Factor.” Scripted programming seems to be absent from its strategy for the time being, though insiders say the network is still open to the format and will soon announce a new head of its scripted department.

“The Shannara Chronicles,” which aired its first season on MTV last January, is moving to Spike for Season 2. Without “Shannara,” MTV’s only remaining ongoing scripted series is “Scream,” which will return for an abbreviated six-episode season at an unspecified point in the fall.

Also Read: ‘Outsiders’ Canceled After 2 Seasons on WGN America

Tribune Media’s WGN America, a relatively new player in scripted, is also backing away from the format. The network canceled “Outsiders” last month, leaving the slavery drama “Underground” as its only remaining scripted original. And with Tribune’s recent acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group, even that show may not see another season. Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley warned in a call with analysts last week that once the deal goes through, WGN America would be “shifting its strategy away from high-cost originals.”

That’s a markedly different vision for the network that once aspired to brand itself as a new home for prestige dramas with the launch of “Manhattan” and “Salem” in 2014.

Freeform is also reimagining its future as it prepares to say goodbye to its signature scripted series. With the impending conclusion of “Pretty Little Liars,” the network has been leaning into the unscripted realm of late, turning to alums of ABC’s “The Bachelor” franchise for its two “Happily Ever After?” shows.

Mchoul acknowledges that nabbing familiar faces from the Bachelor Nation can provide a valuable boost.

“Tying shows to a long-standing franchise is absolutely helpful for visibility,” she said. “It allows us access to an already inherent audience with engaged fans who love the property who feel like they know the talent and want to see their story unfold.”


Also Read: Freeform Orders Mermaid Drama Series ‘Siren,’ Picks Up Tyra Banks’ ‘Life Size 2’

Does the shift away from scripted just come down to the bottom line?

Kinetic Content CEO Chris Coelen, whose production company is behind such hits as “Little Women” and “Married at First Sight,” tells TheWrap that unscripted shows often can “be delivered on a more cost-effective basis than scripted can — and the best shows can pack an equal or even greater ratings punch.”

So will reality rise up to claim scripted’s peak? It’s nowhere near that simple.

“The audience, wherever they are, just like to be entertained and likes a good show,” said Coelen.

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Cannes 2017 Preview: A Critic Looks Forward to Double Dose of Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell

This story first appeared in the Cannes issue of TheWrap Magazine.

There’s no question that it’s a great honor to have your film selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival. There’s also no question that the glare of the spotlight can be damaging as well as helpful: If you’re a high-profile filmmaker unveiling your latest work in competition on the Croisette, then the response, be it cheers or raspberries, will quickly make its way around the world.

(Sometimes, it’s both — 2016 saw Canadian boy wonder Xavier Dolan return to Cannes with “It’s Only the End of the World,” a movie that was savaged by critics before winning the jury’s Grand Prize.)

When it comes to aiming films at an American audience, a case could be made that the risks outweigh the advantages — if you flop at Cannes, it might bury your movie into a tiny, barely publicized release in the U.S. (for example, Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees”), while even good reviews won’t necessarily get you any wider a domestic distribution (for example, Matteo Garrone’s gem “The Tale of Tales”).

Also Read: Cannes Lineup Includes Sofia Coppola, Noah Baumbach, Todd Haynes Movies

For Oscar pundits, Cannes is viewed as an early stop on the road to the Dolby Theatre, with the real action revving up at summer’s end with the troika of festivals in Venice, Toronto and Telluride. Still, a good showing in May can augur well for English-language and Best Foreign Language Film contenders alike.

Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled,” based on the Thomas Cullinan novel that previously inspired Don Siegel’s 1971 version, is the rare title using Cannes as a springboard for an immediate release. Coppola’s film opens June 23 in the U.S., so while Focus will presumably launch theatrically with red-carpet photos of Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell still fresh in moviegoers’ memories, the studio will need to plan a second wave at the end of the year aimed at awards voters.

Other potential Academy Awards contenders — including Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck,” Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Here,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (which also features both Farrell and Kidman) — are bound to hit screens in the U.S. later in the year, most likely after making North American debuts at the Toronto, Telluride or New York festivals. Whether or not Netflix movies can make it into Oscar’s good graces will be tested by two titles — Bong Joon Ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” — that represent the streaming service’s first foray into the Cannes competition.

Also Read: Cannes Targets Netflix With New Rule Requiring Theatrical Releases, Starting in 2018

The competition lineup also features a healthy showing of foreign-language filmmakers who have accrued a significant following among American movie fans, including François Ozon (“L’amant double”), Michael Haneke (“Happy End”), Arnaud Desplechin (“Ismael’s Ghosts”), Fatih Akin (“In the Fade”), Michel Hazanavicius (“Redoubtable”) and Andrey Zvyagintsev (“Loveless”).

It’s not a particularly diverse slate this year — there are no films from Africa (although Barkhad Abdi of “Captain Phillips” fame stars alongside Jennifer Jason Leigh and Robert Pattinson in “Good Time”), and only three of the competition titles are directed by women — but the glitz factor will be as high as ever, with international stars like Jacqueline Bisset, Marion Cotillard, Isabelle Huppert, Julianne Moore, Adam Sandler, Diane Kruger and many more making the scene. The theory of the Cannes Film Festival is that art edges out commerce, but dealmaking and genre-defying rub shoulders very easily every May on the Riviera.

Click here to read more from the Cannes issue of TheWrap Magazine.

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ABC Shuffles The Deck And Adds A Slew Of New Shows For Its 2017-18 Schedule The Alphabet Net revealed its 2017-18 prime time lineup, which included a clutch of new shows and time-slot switches for several returning series. (LAT) A24 Re-Teams With Safdie…

Hangout Music Fest to Livestream on TuneIn (Exclusive)

TuneIn, the audio streaming app and network that corrals real radio stations from around the world, along with NFL, NBA and MLB broadcasts in one place, has secured the exclusive audio streaming rights to a slew of the top U.S. music festivals, TheWrap has learned.

Hangout Music Fest, Outside Lands Music, Firefly, the Newport Folk Festival and Seattle’s Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festivals are part of a multi-year deal that includes the launch of stand-alone festival radio stations on the TuneIn platform.

Also Read: Coachella Scene and Heard: Leo Dicaprio, Lauryn Hill, The Weeknd and Lady Gaga (Updating Photos)

The live-hosted, hand-curated, 24-7 channels (à la Apple Music) dubbed TuneIn Festival VIP Radio, launched today (May 16). Unlike the festivals, the stations will run for months.

“Each of the festivals that we’ve partnered with are world class tastemakers in the booking of incredible lineups,” Charles Raggio, Sr. Director Music Partnerships & Branded Content of TuneIn, said in a statement to TheWrap.

“Live music is the heartbeat of every music fan, so it’s exciting for us to use our platform to amplify the efforts of these fests and offer music festival experiences and exclusive artist content to millions of monthly listeners throughout the summer,” he added.

Also Read: Fyre Festival Blew $250K on Kendall Jenner’s Instagram Endorsement (Report)

First up is Goldenvoice’s surging beach front Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama, this weekend.

While fans in the south will have their feet in the sand or be swimming by the stages (literally), global fans will be able to listen to festival headliners like Dillon Francis (who dominated at Coachella), The Head and the Heart, Band of Horses, future “Where are they now?” contender Marshmello, and the cultishly-beloved RÜFÜS DU SOL via TuneIn.

TuneIn expects eight to 10 full sets to be streamed per day from each festival.

The patchwork of festival partners is notable because TuneIn struck deals with festivals on both sides of the U.S. music festival duopoly: AEG Presents and Live Nation.

The former co-owns Goldenvoice and produces Hangout, Delaware’s Firefly Festival (June) and Bumbershoot in Seattle (September), which are included in this deal. (Other AEG Presents festivals include Coachella, Stagecoach, FYF (LA, July), Panorama (NYC, July), and last weekend’s heavy metal fest Carolina Rebellion in Charlotte, North Carolina, amongst others.)

Live Nation will be represented by its stake in Outside Lands festival streamed under this deal (San Francisco in August). The partnership was planned using data collected during the 2016 festival season including Live Nation’s Meadows Music and Arts Festival in New York.

Outside of this deal, Live Nation’s festival tentpoles include Bonaroo (Tennessee, June), EDC (Las Vegas, June), Lollapalooza (Chicago, August), and Austin City Limits (October). Each has their own regime of video and audio streaming rights partnerships.

Also Read: Hollywood Hits Coachella 2017: Odell Beckham Jr., Alessandra Ambrosio, Hailee Steinfeld (Updating Photos)

“We believe this service is great for the fans who are traveling to the festivals and want to get a head start on their favorite bands,” Kim Hawkins, AEG’s Sr. Director of Partnerships, told TheWrap.  “[The channels are also] for those who can’t attend and can use TuneIn to listen to some of the events live. Additionally, as a part of this partnership, our mutual brand partners can expand beyond the festival grounds and get exposure through a different media platform.”

Despite the TuneIn consolidation, the market for festival livestream rights remains dynamic and decentralized. Youtube, Facebook, SiriusXM, Red Bull TV, TuneIn, Pandora, and Verizon’s Go90 app have all secured rights to major festivals mentioned above during the previous year.

Also Read: Coachella 2017: Jeremy Scott to Livestream His Party on Tidal

For TuneIn, the Festival VIP channels join TuneIn’s 100,000 audio channels, serving 60 million monthly active users. Comcast Ventures, IVP, Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures, and Icon Ventures are amongst the backers of the San Francisco-based service.

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Chinese Companies Return to Cannes – But Will They Bring Their Checkbooks?

This story first appeared in the Cannes issue of TheWrap Magazine.

Tinseltown has a long tradition of extracting healthy sums of money from flashy foreign financiers who can’t stay away from the world’s most glamorous industry. Most recently, much of that cash has come from China. But after a two-year run in which seemingly every major and minor studio inked a coproduction deal with Chinese financial partners and Chinese companies agreed to a series of increasingly eye-popping acquisitions, including Dalian Wanda Group’s $3.5 billion purchase of Legendary Entertainment in 2016, the firehose of Middle Kingdom funding abruptly dried up.

The Chinese government’s State Council instituted strict capital controls limiting Chinese investment in overseas companies; along with other tightened regulations, the restrictions killed off several major cross-border deals, including Dalian Wanda Group’s planned $1 billion acquisition of Dick Clark Productions.

Furthermore, a combination of a disappointing slate of Chinese films and the reduction of generous online-ticketing subsidies left the country’s box office essentially flat last year after surging nearly 50 percent in 2015. All of that could loom over Cannes, where plenty of heavy hitters on the harbor’s mega-yachts are likely to be talking about what’s happening in waters much further east.

Also Read: ‘Okja’ Star Tilda Swinton on How Ivanka Trump Inspired Her Role as ‘Daughter of a Different Dubious Dynasty’

However, even though Chinese acquisitions have ground to a halt, sales of rights to individual movies shouldn’t be affected much, Schuyler Moore, a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan who has worked on numerous deals involving Chinese film companies, told TheWrap. “They’re still able to do presales of content,” Moore said. “I don’t expect it to be a change as far as purchase of content for Chinese distributors.”

But those distributors might have a tougher time getting deals done — or, at least, done with terms as favorable as they’ve obtained in recent years — according to John Burke, a partner at Akin Gump who leads the firm’s entertainment group. “I can imagine that the restrictions might disadvantage Chinese distributors looking to buy Chinese rights,” Burke told TheWrap. “If you’re a seller, you’re going to be concerned with their ability to access U.S. dollars to make payments.”

Burke said that individual film deals aren’t subject to the same restrictions, because they are investments in projects rather than companies. But the fact that cross-border China-Hollywood deals haven’t been consummated in months could force Chinese buyers into less favorable terms as they try to acquire movies from sellers that may not be convinced about their ability to deliver on the deal. “To protect against uncertainty, sellers may require [Chinese buyers] to pay up front or back it up with a letter of credit payable when the picture gets delivered,” Burke said.

Also Read: Forget Trump – It’s Chinese Regulators Who Are Putting Squeeze on China’s Hollywood Deals

Kylin Pictures, a China-based firm that was a co-financier on Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge,” is going to Cannes as a seller this year. The production company is looking to sell international rights to action-adventure fantasy “The King’s Daughter” through its international distribution partner Good Universe, Kylin CEO Leo Shi Young told TheWrap.

While Young will be on the other side of the table, he said he expects there will still be plenty of Chinese buyers heading to Cannes looking for good films to buy to help feed the country’s constantly expanding appetite for movies, as it continues to build movie theaters by the dozen.

And just as Amazon and Netflix have changed the landscape at Sundance, China’s burgeoning streaming services, including Baidu’s iQiyi and Alibaba’s Youku Tudou, could also step up their dealmaking. They have the added advantage of less regulatory scrutiny than theatrical releases, which must be cleared by the country’s strict censors, who often require substantial edits. “Online they also have a lot of markets, so they can sell to those,” Young said. “For those channels, the regulations or censorship will probably be easier and looser.”

Also Read: Cannes Film Festival Finds Reason to Celebrate, Even With That Netflix Problem

China’s regulators protect local fare through a quota system and blackout period, but Chinese films still haven’t really registered beyond the country’s borders, even though some of them have reeled in hundreds of millions of dollars at home. But for the second year in a row, no Chinese films were announced as part of the festival’s official selection. However, there is a second annual China Co-Production Day, Bridging the Dragon, which will take place May 19 as part of the Cannes film market, the Marché du Film, which runs concurrent with the film festival.

And the country’s moviegoing audience isn’t satisfied with a homegrown diet alone, Young said, which is why distributors come to Cannes looking to buy. “The Chinese film market is expanding a lot — they need content,” he said. “They need good films.” At the beginning of last year, it seemed like only a matter of time until deep-pocketed Chinese buyers dominated the film industry. But it wouldn’t be Hollywood without a twist. How will it play out at Cannes? Stay tuned. “Last year, as crowded as it was, it seemed like the Chinese were overrunning Cannes,” Burke said. “It will be interesting to see if that changes when we get there this year.”

Click here to read more from the Cannes issue of TheWrap Magazine.

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‘Okja’ Star Tilda Swinton on How Ivanka Trump Inspired Her Role as ‘Daughter of a Different Dubious Dynasty’

This story about Tilda Swinton first appeared in the Cannes issue of TheWrap Magazine.

Like David Bowie and precious few others, she barely seems of this world. Tilda Swinton, an actress, artist, model and provocateur of Anglo-Scots descent but otherworldly mien, seems to be a visitor from a more rarefied and infinitely more interesting realm. She’s severe but open-hearted, impossibly striking, unbound by style or gender — it’s not for nothing that her breakthrough role came in “Orlando,” where she played a young nobleman who becomes a woman halfway through the film and announces, “no difference at all,” or that her role in “Snowpiercer” was originally written for a man.

“Snowpiercer” was directed by Korean auteur Bong Joon Ho, with whom Swinton has reteamed on “Okja,” which is part children’s story about the friendship between a young girl and a big, genetically engineered creature, and part cautionary tale of capitalism run amok. It can’t be easily classified — but then, neither can Swinton, who plays the scion of a wealthy family who is taking over its multinational corporation, and trying to put a happy face on its dark dealings.

Swinton stars opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins and young Korean actress An Seo Hyun, and also serves as executive producer on the project. It marks the sixth film of hers that has gone to Cannes, after “Aria,” “Broken Flowers,” “The Man From London,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Only Lovers Left Alive.” Most have come in the last decade of a 31-year career that began with a string of experimental films from Derek Jarman and has included only sporadic nods to the mainstream, among them “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Michael Clayton” (for which she won an Oscar) and “Doctor Strange.”

Also Read: Cannes Targets Netflix With New Rule Requiring Theatrical Releases, Starting in 2018

How did you first hear about the idea of “Okja?”
On our way to the airport after the premiere of “Snowpiercer” in Seoul, Director Bong showed me a small early drawing he had made himself of what looked like a strange sort of hippo and a girl. And told me a story about devoted love and heinous capitalistic deception.

Why did the idea appeal to you?
Because it promised so much of what we have always talked about adoring, especially in the work of the great Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki: a gallant young girl, a hymn to nature, ominous and ridiculous antagonists, action across continents.

As a producer on the film, were there certain areas in which your input was focused?
For a long time, the only people who knew about this project were the four of us original producers: Director Bong, Dooho Choi, Sandro Kopp and me. It was, as it usually is in such circumstances, a task involved with keeping true to that authentic spark from the earliest days — and protecting the freedoms needed to make something truly unique and untried. Sandro — who is also one of the creature designers on the film — and I were particularly invested in [the creature] Okja retaining the inspiration in her behavior and movement of one of our beloved Springer spaniels, Rosy, who was an early muse for Director Bong when he was conceiving the project. We had many highly involved conversations over Skype and continents about the exact rubberiness of Rosy’s jowls, etc.

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How would you describe your character?
Lucy Mirando is heir to a rotten great fortune built on the corrupt and morally repugnant initiatives carried out by her father. The Mirando Corporation is, as she describes it herself behind closed doors, “the most hated agrochemical company on the planet.” Driven by a combination of impassioned narcissism and a competitive determination to do things differently, she is dedicated to fashioning a gleaming public image, to rebooting Mirando’s reputation in the shape of an eco-conscious and world-saving beacon of positivity. She will stop at nothing, certainly not the truth, in the pursuit of this aim: She is a liar, from start to finish. However, Lucy is not a great actress, has precious little natural charisma and needs to force the shtick to a somewhat painful degree. The spotlight is not her natural habitat and the sense of disconnect is palpable.

What were the keys to creating the look of the character?
She needed to be a construct, very painstakingly planned to be everything that — particularly — dominant American culture loves to be ruled by: flaxen, straight-haired, straight-toothed, vivacious, childlike in energy. We dressed her in her big press conference as part spa manager, part Barbie dollybird, part cult priestess. We had a plethora of influences.

Playing a woman who inherits wealth and power, did you draw at all from the scions of wealthy families who are currently coming to power? Any touch of Ivanka or the Trump boys in this?
When we shot in New York last summer, I stood watching the Republican convention on the television in our lunch break dressed as Lucy, watching a different daughter of a different dubious dynasty addressing, from a high podium, a big crowd with glossy blond hair, expensive orthodontics and modeling her Barbie-perfect modest pink dress (concurrently on sale online). Chicken? Egg?

Also Read: Cannes Film Festival 2017: 20 Most Intriguing Movies, From ‘The Beguiled’ to ‘Okja’ (Photos)

The film has been described, by its director and others, as being about the relationship between humans and animals, but also as a story about capitalism. What do you see as the key themes in this story?
Maybe, moral integrity? The unvarnished devotion between Okja and [the young girl] Mija, who cannot but tell the truth, shines out in the face of the adult humans they encounter who build their relationship to the world and each other through lies, insincerity and the cheating indirectness of subterfuge. I suggest that every new month that we live through, this film will come to shed new light on the web of the world we are living in, and our ways of treating each other, and our relationship to accountability, sincerity and mutual respect.

How do you find freedom as a performer within a vision as meticulous as Bong Joon Ho’s?
One of the most joyous things about working with Director Bong is that he has the film, once we start shooting, pretty well mapped out in his head, in terms of its cut, its rhythm, its texture. But he is absolutely up for and enthusiastic about dreaming up the detail with us all. This precision means, strangely enough, a great feeling of relief for his comrades. Between this and that exact delineation of space and time, he invites playfulness and an energy that can veer from natural to liberated to pretty wild. His amusement is the key factor, the eye of the needle. And his hand is always there to steer the ship.

There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t work with children or animals, both of which figure prominently in this film.
As usual, those old sayings should be taken with massive doses of salt. I suspect this old chestnut evolved because working with unselfconscious, fully sentient beings tends to show up any pomp or posturing anybody else is likely to bring with them. For the cast and crew of “Okja,” [child actress] An Seo Hyun and Okja were the co-stars of all our dreams, in every sense.


See Tilda Swinton’s latest POWER MOVE.



What were the biggest challenges, and also the biggest pleasures, for you in making the film?
The pleasure of making work with close friends, especially when what you are making is something you have labored over together from its very conception, is hard to beat. One of my dearest delights is introducing new playmates to each other: Kevin Thompson, the great production designer whom I first met on “Michael Clayton,” joined an already established band that included Catherine George, the brilliant costume designer from “We Need To Talk About Kevin” and “Snowpiercer.”

Further, we had the great good fortune to find staunch fellow travelers in Plan B, which made it possible for us to make this highly ambitious film — three-country shoot (Korea, New York City, Vancouver), highly sophisticated visual effects, etc. — in such a relatively graceful way. And the adventure of stepping out with Netflix, with all their support and enthusiasm for this project, has been a great experience.

You’ve been to Cannes several times in the past. Do you have any specific memories that stand out?
The first time I went to Cannes was in something like 1987 with Derek Jarman and a compilation film called “Aria,” which we had made a section of — an experiment in blowing up Super 8 to 35mm, which helped us to make “The Last of England” later on. We spent five days in a gang including Ken Russell, Nic Roeg and Robert Altman, amongst other giants. There was a great deal of champagne. I remember walking along the Croisette behind John Hurt and hearing everyone who passed him murmuring as they passed me, “l’homme l’elephant!,” “l’homme l’elephant!”

Robert Altman taught me to play blackjack in the Casino. None of us had seen the film before the screening, which was the final night. Derek was refused entry into the Palais for not wearing a bow tie. We borrowed one from a waiter. When we all saw the film, none of us liked it at all, but we had spent a magical school outing together, made friends for life and I doubt any of us ever forgot it.

Click here to read more from the Cannes issue of TheWrap Magazine.

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Jordan Peele, ‘Underground’ Creator to Adapt ‘Lovecraft Country’ Series for HBO

Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, “Underground” creator Misha Green, JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot and Warner Bros TV are teaming up on an adaptation of “Lovecraft Country,” which has received a straight-to-series order from HBO.

The series will be based on Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name.

When his father goes missing, 25-year-old Atticus Black joins up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America to find him. And so begins their fight to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the malevolent spirits that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.


See Jordan Peele’s latest POWER MOVE.



“Lovecraft Country” will be an anthological horror series that reclaims genre storytelling from the African-American perspective.

Green will write the pilot and serve as showrunner. Abrams and Bad Robot’s Ben Stephenson will also serve as executive producers alongside Green and Peele.

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