Lenora Crichlow Joins Cast Of HBO’s ‘Avenue 5’ Pilot From Armando Iannucci

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: Deception and Being Human alum Lenora Chrichlow has been cast opposite Hugh Laurie, Zach Woods, Suzy Nakamura, Rebecca Front, Josh Gad and Nikki Amuka-Bird in Armando Iannucci’s HBO space comedy pilot Avenue 5.
Created, written and executive…

‘Silicon Valley’ Star Zach Woods Joins HBO Space Comedy From ‘Veep’ Creator

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Zach Woods has joined the cast of “Avenue 5,” HBO’s space comedy pilot from “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci.

Woods will play Matt Spencer, head of customer relations. Despite being a nihilist, Matt is a nice guy who can’t wait to get to the end of his final cruise before promotion to a more senior role on Earth. He has a performance background, but gave up trying to make it as an entertainer years ago.

Though HBO hasn’t released many details on the series, the comedy appears to center on the crew and passengers aboard the Avenue 5, a space cruise ship. Hugh Laurie plays the ship’s captain Ryan Clark, while Rebecca Front plays one of the passengers, a middle-aged housewife.

Also Read: Hugh Laurie to Star in HBO Space Comedy From ‘Veep’ Creator

The project currently has a pilot commitment with backup scripts ordered. Not much is known about the comedy, with HBO only describing it as “a comedy set in the future, mostly in space.”

Iannucci is best known for creating “Veep,” which garnered numerous Emmy awards for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, helping her defeat the so-called “Seinfeld” curse. He departed the show after its fourth season. “Veep” will end its run on HBO this spring.

Woods has starred for five seasons on HBO’s tech comedy “Silicon Valley” as Jared Dunn, a confidante of Richard Hendrix (Thomas Middleditch) and eventually COO of Pied Piper. HBO pushed back the start of production on the sixth season of “Silicon Valley” in order to accommodate showrunner Alec Berg’s same responsibilities on “Barry.” The series is not expected to return until 2020.

Woods also had a brief role in “Veep” as Ed Webster.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Veep’ Final Season Trailer Pits Selina Meyer vs Jonah Ryan – Whoever Wins, We All Lose (Video)

‘Veep’ Star Matt Walsh Shares His Secret for Opening a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew (Video)

‘Veep’ Showrunner Quips He’s the ‘Only One Without a Blackface Photo’ in His Yearbook

‘Avenue 5’: Zach Woods To Co-Star In Armando Iannucci’s HBO Comedy Pilot

Read on: Deadline.

Silicon Valley star Zach Woods is set for a lead role opposite Hugh Laurie, Suzy Nakamura and Rebecca Front in Armando Iannucci’s HBO space comedy pilot Avenue 5.
Created, written and executive produced by Iannucci, Avenue 5 is set in the future, mostl…

‘The Death of Stalin’: Armando Iannucci Explores the Nature of Power Through Black Comedy

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A version of this story about Armando Iannucci and “The Death of Stalin” first appeared in the Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

Long before Donald Trump became president, Italian-born “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci kept an eye on the news from Italy under the leadership of far-right Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and wanted to do a film about authoritarianism. “These are leaders who claim they are for democracy and rise to power through democracy, but use their power to shut down democracy,” Iannucci said in an interview with TheWrap.

“I saw something troubling rising in politics even before Trump, and I wanted to make a film reminding people that just because you have democracy now doesn’t mean you can’t lose it.”

Also Read: ‘The Death of Stalin’ Review: Is This 1950s Russia, or Today’s Washington?

The result was one of the most darkly funny films of 2018, “The Death of Stalin.” In an accelerated, condensed retelling of true events, Joseph Stalin drops dead in Moscow in 1953, and his cabal of aides — Lavrentiy Beria, Georgy Malenkov, Nikita Khrushchev and Vyacheslav Molotov — engage in a farcical power struggle while planning their former leader’s funeral.

While Iannucci’s script is loaded with sharp one-liners, he allowed the cast to chuck as much of it as they wanted out the window in the climactic scene, in which the sadistic Beria (Simon Russell Beale) is executed in a kangaroo trial by the rest of the Soviet leadership. Set inside a farmhouse with the camera squeezed in between the members of the Soviet brass, the once smug and calculating Beria bellows, sputters and finally pleads for his life as Khrushchev reads out the charges against him, including a charge of “347 counts of rape” that might not be as trumped up as it may seem.

“Normally we rehearse a lot, but with that scene I told the cast, ‘You have two minutes. Just get it done,’” he said. “I didn’t care that they skipped some lines or improvised others in the moment, or that you couldn’t hear some because they’re shouting over each other. It’s a contrast to the opening scene where we see this elegant concert, and now it ends with this chaotic scene in a barn where all these people are acting like animals.”

Also Read: ‘Veep’ Creator: Why He Won’t Let Politicians Do Cameos, Who Should Play POTUS

“The Death of Stalin” follows Beria’s fall from power thanks to the schemes of Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), who at first seems to be easily outwitted but turns out to be the most dangerous of Stalin’s underlings. Iannucci noted that this is the way politicians have always gravitated to those in power, abandoning them when advantageous to do so.

“We know that Beria is the one who has their fate in his hands, but the moment that power leaves him, everyone runs away from him as fast as possible, to avoid being associated with him,” the director said. “When Trump was a candidate, there were people who said that he was despicable and there’s no way he can be a leader, and now people are asking him to campaign on their behalf because he has the power. Power easily transforms opinion, and it’s been going on since ancient Rome.”

To read more of TheWrap’s Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue, click here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

16 Hollywood Movies Banned in Other Countries, From ‘Noah’ to ‘The Death of Stalin’ (Photos)

Armando Iannucci’s ‘The Death of Stalin’ Wins 3 British Independent Film Awards

‘Veep’ Creator Armando Iannucci on Finding Humor in ‘The Death of Stalin’ (Exclusive Video)

‘The Favourite’ Fact Check: Was Queen Anne Really Lesbian?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

WARNING: Contains major spoilers for “The Favourite” Do not read unless you’ve seen the movie.

Historical accuracy isn’t exactly what Yorgos Lanthimos is going for in his latest film, “The Favourite.” Much like Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin,” Lanthimos is bending the facts of his period piece in the service of a gripping narrative with a dark moral… namely the corrupting nature of power.

But while the details of the rivalry between Sarah Churchill and Abigail Masham for the affections of Queen Anne — like Sarah being poisoned — might have been creative license by Lanthimos and screenwriters Tony McNamara and Deborah Davis, the subject of whether Queen Anne had a secret romance with either of those two women was one that influenced her reign.

Also Read: ‘The Favourite’ Crowned With Indie Box Office’s Largest Screen Average in Two Years

According to the biography “Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion” by Anne Somerset, the Queen, contrary to the portrayal of her in “The Favourite,” was a reserved, almost stoic figure even as she became physically frail in her old age. While those displeased with her in court might have agreed with Lanthimos’ take on her as a timid monarch afraid of rocking the boat and choosing a side between the Whigs and Tories in Parliament, historians tend to view her unwillingness to commit to one side as a refusal to allow anyone to sway her decisions.

But that didn’t stop Sarah Churchill. Somerset and other historians agree that the Duchess had a very deep and personal relationship with Queen Anne, and that she tried to use that relationship for political ends, as seen in “The Favourite.” Somerset describes Sarah as someone who was able to influence Anne in a way almost no one else could. Whether or not that relationship — and the Queen’s later relationship with Abigail — was romantic is something that isn’t made clear in Anne’s letters, and was the subject of court gossip.

Somerset writes in her book that homosexuality was, of course, frowned upon in 18th century England, but was usually seen as something practiced in more sinful countries like France, where “young ladies are that way debauched in their nunnery education.” On the other hand, impassioned, seemingly romantic letters like the ones shared between Sarah and Anne were simply seen among the English patriarchy as the sort of emotional interactions women shared with each other. So it would be possible for women to hide their romance in plain sight… unless you were the Queen of England.

Also Read: ‘The Favourite’ Film Review: Emma Stone Plays an 18th Century Eve Harrington in a Twisted Historical Farce

In Anne’s case, she was the target of rumors spread by those displeased with her decisions that she was swayed easily by her “favourites,” and that she was emotionally and even sexually dependent on them. As Abigail Masham began to rise in Anne’s favor, Sarah tried to regain her former position by threatening to fan the flames of those rumors.

Yes, the scene in “The Favourite” where Sarah blackmails Anne with the threat of publishing her personal letters really did happen. Somerset, who believes that Anne and Sarah’s relationship wasn’t sexual, also notes that Sarah spread rumors that Anne and Abigail were sharing a bed.

When Anne heard that these rumors were going around, Sarah wrote a letter to her suggesting that she quash the rumors by kicking Abigail out of court. As in the movie, this ended up backfiring, as Anne sent Sarah packing, accusing her of “saying shocking things” about her both in their personal exchanges and to the gossipmongers at court.

Also Read: ‘The Favourite’ Tops BIFA Nominations for British Independent Films

Whether her repulsion at these “shocking things” was out of a fear of being outed as a lesbian or because she was truly repulsed at such false accusations is open to interpretation. Somerset sided with the latter view, noting that Anne cared deeply for her husband, Prince George of Denmark — whom isn’t in “The Favourite” at all — and that Anne herself viewed homosexuality as a “disgusting vice.”

But whether or not Queen Anne really was caught in a heated lesbian love triangle, history shows that the core theme of “The Favourite” still rings true: Truth can easily be twisted and weaponized by those who seek power, and those who are disgruntled with the way of government can be open to having their political defeats be explained by salacious rumors and character smears.

But as the Sarah Churchill of real life and the Abigail Masham played by Emma Stone in “The Favourite” learned, there is such a thing as too much deception. Try to work your lies and manipulations at the wrong time or in the wrong way to the wrong person, and you could be branded as someone who is never to be trusted again.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Favourite’ Crowned With Indie Box Office’s Largest Screen Average in Two Years

‘The Favourite’ Film Review: Emma Stone Plays an 18th Century Eve Harrington in a Twisted Historical Farce

‘The Favourite’ Tops BIFA Nominations for British Independent Films

Rebecca Front to Star Opposite Hugh Laurie in HBO Space Comedy From ‘Veep’ Creator

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Rebecca Front will star opposite Hugh Laurie in “Avenue 5,” HBO’s space comedy pilot from “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci.

Front will play Karen Kelly, a middle-aged American housewife, who boarded Avenue 5 using her sister’s non-transferable ticket. Strong-willed, articulate and likable, Karen finds herself becoming the voice of the passengers, enjoying her newfound power. Front previously starred on Iannucci’s mid-2000s BBC comedy, “The Thick of It.”  

The project currently has a pilot commitment with backup scripts ordered. Not much is known about the comedy, with HBO only describing it as “a comedy set in the future, mostly in space.”

Also Read: Hugh Laurie to Star in HBO Space Comedy From ‘Veep’ Creator

Laurie will play Ryan Clark, the charming and in-control American Captain of Avenue 5. The project is created and executive produced by Iannucci. Suzy Nakamura is the only other announced cast member. She’ll play Iris Kimura, Judd’s (the billionaire owner of the Avenue 5) right-hand-woman. Straight to the point, sharp and serious, Iris has a limited sense of humor. Iris is a fixer, there to work out what Judd wants, even if it’s not clear, and make sure it happens but doesn’t cause anyone or anything any harm.

Iannucci is best known for creating “Veep,” which garnered numerous Emmy awards for Louis-Dreyfus, helping her defeat the so-called “Seinfeld” curse. He departed the show after its fourth season. “Veep” will end its run on HBO next year.

Related stories from TheWrap:

George RR Martin Says HBO ‘Informed’ Him ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Pilot Is Still Untitled

HBO Gripes That Trump ‘Misappropriated’ ‘Game of Thrones’ Trademark in Iran Sanctions Tweet

‘True Detective’: Mahershala Ali’s Brain Is a ‘Bunch of Missing Pieces’ In Trailer for HBO Drama (Video)

‘Avenue 5’: Rebecca Front To Star In Armando Iannucci’s HBO Comedy Pilot

Read on: Deadline.

Armando Iannucci has recruited a star of one of his previous series, The Thick Of It‘s Rebecca Front, for a lead role opposite Hugh Laurie in Iannucci’s HBO space comedy pilot Avenue 5. 
Created, written and executive produced by Iannucci, …

Andy Serkis & ‘Veep’ Creator Armando Iannucci Among Hundreds Of Thousands Of Anti-Brexit Protestors In London

Read on: Deadline.

Lord of the Rings’ Andy Serkis and Veep creator Armando Iannucci and director Chris Addison are among the hundreds of thousands of protestors at an anti-Brexit march in London today.
The pair have been joined by the likes of Dragon’s Den star Deborah M…

Armando Iannucci Receives “Big Offer” & Interest From Eight Studios For Donald Trump Comedy Pitch

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: Hollywood has responded bigly to Armando Iannucci’s White House feature pitch. Deadline understands that eight studios have shown interest in making a movie based on The Death of Stalin director and Veep creator’s Twitter musings.
I hear tha…

‘The Death Of Stalin’s Armando Iannucci Reveals Hollywood Is “Interested” In His Donald Trump Movie Pitch

Read on: Deadline.

The Death of Stalin director Armando Iannucci has revealed that Hollywood is “interested” in his Dave-style comedy pitch about Donald Trump being removed from The White House.

The Thick of It creator pitched the idea on Twitter and it seems to have sn…

Suzy Nakamura Joins Hugh Laurie In Armando Iannucci’s HBO Comedy Pilot ‘Avenue 5’

Read on: Deadline.

Former Dr. Ken star Suzy Nakamura has been cast in a lead role opposite Hugh Laurie in HBO’s comedy pilot Avenue 5 (tentative title), from Veep creator Armando Iannucci.
Created, written and executive produced by Iannucci, Avenue 5 is set in the future…

Hugh Laurie to Star in HBO Space Comedy From ‘Veep’ Creator

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Hugh Laurie will star in HBO’s space comedy pilot, “Avenue 5” from “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci, it was announced on Wednesday.

The project currently has a pilot commitment with back-up scripts ordered. Not much is known about the comedy, with HBO only describing it as “a comedy set in the future, mostly in space.”

Laurie will play Ryan Clark, the charming and in-control American Captain of Avenue 5. The project is created and executive produced by Iannucci.

Also Read: ‘Veep’: Julia Louis-Dreyfus Gives Sad Tony Hale A Shave (Video)

Laurie is no stranger to working with Iannucci. The former “House” star had a recurring role on “Veep” as Senator Tom James, the former flame and running mate of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer. He also recently completed production on Iannucci’s film “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” opposite Dev Patel and Tilda Swinton. Laurie was most recently on another Hulu series, “Chance” and AMC’s miniseries “The Night Manager.”

Laurie can next be seen on Hulu’s “Catch-22,” based on Joseph Heller’s seminal war novel of the same name, which will air next year.

Iannucci is best known for creating “Veep,” which garnered numerous Emmy awards for Louis-Dreyfus, helping her defeat the so-called “Seinfeld” curse. He departed the show after its fourth season. “Veep” will end its run on HBO next year.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Kathryn Hahn’s ‘Mrs. Fletcher’ Ordered to Series at HBO

Jane Fonda Says She’s ‘Very Proud of Most of What I Did’ in Trailer for New HBO Doc (Video)

HBO Renews Late-Night Series ‘Random Acts of Flyness’ for Season 2 – Watch a Teaser (Video)

Hugh Laurie To Star In Armando Iannucci’s HBO Comedy Pilot ‘Avenue 5’

Read on: Deadline.

After lengthy negotiations, Hugh Laurie has formally closed a deal to star in HBO’s comedy pilot Avenue 5 (tentative title), from Veep creator Armando Iannucci.
Created, written and executive produced by Iannucci, Avenue 5 is set in the future, m…

Armando Iannucci, Gary Lineker & More React To Boris Johnson’s Brexit Exit

Read on: Deadline.

Boris Johnson, arguably the closest politician Britain has to the reality TV-style credentials of Donald Trump, has resigned as Foreign Secretary over the UK’s Brexit strategy. In keeping with BoJo’s past political predilections, the news has erupted a…

Lionsgate Takes U.K. Rights to Armando Iannucci’s ‘David Copperfield’

Read on: Variety.

Lionsgate U.K. has taken British rights on Armando Iannucci’s new movie adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel “David Copperfield,” the distributor announced Thursday. “The Personal History of David Copperfield” sees Dev Patel (pictur…

PopPolitics: Armando Iannucci on Why ‘The Death of Stalin’ Got Banned in Russia (Listen)

Read on: Variety.

WASHINGTON — Armando Iannucci, the creator of “Veep,” said he is a bit perplexed that his new film, “The Death of Stalin,” was suddenly banned in Russia after initially getting a license. He holds out one possibility. “There is an election obviously happening,” he tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. Then, in a tone of sarcasm, […]

Armando Iannucci Says Trump Presidency Parallels ‘The Death of Stalin’

Read on: Variety.

“The Death of Stalin” director and writer Armando Iannucci says his political satire parallels the actions of Donald Trump and his administration. The comedy follows the aftermath of Joseph Stalin’s death as his closest officials all attempt to inherit power. Although “The Death of Stalin” was filmed prior to Robert Mueller’s investigation about politicians possibly […]