Amid concerns over the coronavirus spread, and along with the cancellation of the Sydney Film Festival, there have been some cinema closures in Australia, while iconic TV soap Neighbours has temporarily shut down production.
In the case of the former, Melbourne-based exhibition chain Palace Cinemas has said it will shutter all of its locations from tomorrow March 19 for an indefinite period. The group operates 20 sites across the country and made the “difficult decision” to close following new directives from the Oz government.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's office issued measures today that include restricting “non-essential” indoor gatherings of more than 100 people. Outdoor events of less than 500 attendees are still allowed to proceed.
“The states and territories will give further consideration to practical guidance and rules for non-essential indoor gatherings of fewer than 100 people including staff such as cinemas, theatres, restaurants/cafes, pubs, clubs, weddings and funerals,” the government said. This information will be considered at the next National Cabinet meeting which is due to take place on Friday. “In the meantime, these venues should continue to apply social distancing and hygiene practices.”
It is currently unclear if bigger chains Event Cinemas and Hoyts are closing their auditoriums. However, the latter has introduced in-cinema seat separation as it recommends social distancing. Smaller circuit, Dendy Cinemas has also not announced closures, but said on its website that along with having already reduced capacity, it has implemented staggered seating and will release screening times on a daily basis given the uncertain nature of the situation.
Australia is a major market, and box office is sharply down in the early part of March as compared to last year. Elsewhere, U.S. chains went dark this week while majors in the UK announced closures on Tuesday, joining key European markets like France, Spain and Italy.
Meanwhile, production on long-running soap opera Neighbours - which helped launch the careers of such stars as Margot Robbie and Guy Pearce - has been halted amid the pandemic. According to 10Daily, Network 10 and Fremantle Media said today that the show would take “a short break to ensure the production model in place can withstand any potential impact of the current COVID-19 situation.” The break is currently due to last only until next Monday with no interruption to the broadcast schedule.
The Handmaid’s Tale producer Warren Littlefield was at the Television Critics Association winter press tour for a Fargo season four panel. As Hulu and MGM recently acquired the rights to adapt author Margaret Atwood’s recently published sequel The Testaments, we asked Littlefield if the two shows could run concurrently on Hulu, but it sounds like the sequel will actually follow the end of the other.
The Handmaid’s Tale was published in 1985, and The Testaments was just published last year. The sequel actually takes place 15 years after The Handmaid’s Tale, and it doesn’t require Elisabeth Moss to reprise her role as June. So it would potentially be feasible for Hulu to start a Testaments series while Handmaid’s is still streaming, but that’s not Littlefield’s plan:
“I think we would transition from Handmaid’s, and we’re not there yet. In March we start year four. We would transition to it’s 15 years later in The Testament. I think it would be a wonderful symmetry to conclude Handmaid’s and then transition right in.”
Littlefield’s idea makes more sense. That’s why he’s Warren Littlefield, the former NBC executive responsible for classics like Seinfeld.
Atwood readers had to wait over 30 years for the sequel, so it shouldn’t be a problem to wait until after The Handmaid’s Tale is over to see it turned into a TV show. Hulu viewers can binge one right into the other. Besides, jumping into The Testaments could oversaturate Hulu with the Gilead universe and it’s unnecessary.
For those unaware, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a dystopian future called Gilead. Gilead used to be the United States of America until a totalitarian dictatorship took over. In this future, fertility became rare so Gilead rounds up the still fertile women and forces them to procreate with commanders.
Those commanders give the handmaids, whom they dress in those iconic red robes with white hoods, names after themselves. So Commander Fred Waterford Joseph Fiennes, renames June Offred. Offred led a handmaid’s revolt and helped other handmaid’s escape, but she stayed behind to fight against the oppression of Gilead.
As for the sequel, here’s the official synopsis:
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia. Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways.
The Handmaid’s Tale became not...
High school can be a battlefield, but rarely has that battlefield seemed so dangerous as it does in Amazon’s stylish Sundance drama Selah and The Spades. The feature film debut of writer/director Tayarisha Poe, Selah and The Spades follows a young girl who is chosen to be the protégé of the Queen Bee of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, and discovers that she wasn’t the first to be given this dubious honor. Watch the Selah and The Spades trailer below.Selah and The Spades Trailer
Amazon Studios has released the official trailer for Tayarisha Poe’s feature film debut, Selah and The Spades, a stylish high school drama set in the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school. In this exclusive world, the student body is run by five factions: The Spades, The Sea, The Skins, The Bobbies, and The Prefects. Commanding the top faction is the titular Selah Summers Love Simone, who decides to choose a young protégé to take her place upon graduation. But as that sophomore upstart Paloma Celeste O’Connor soon finds, it’s a treacherous path to the top.
Selah and The Spades seems like a teen drama in the tradition of Brick or Thoroughbreds — stylish, razor-sharp, and populated by very good-looking teens who all act like characters in a noir film. The cast of fresh faces playing those characters include Jharrel Jerome, Jesse Williams, Gina Torres, and Ana Mulvoy Ten.
Here is the synopsis for Selah and The Spades:
In the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell, the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers Lovie Simone runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma Celeste O’Connor, to whom she imparts her wisdom on ruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself.
In her feature debut, writer/director Tayarisha Poe immerses us in a ened depiction of teenage politics. This searing character study encapsulates just how intoxicating power can be for a teenage girl who acutely feels the threat of being denied it. Exciting newcomer Lovie Simone’s performance beautifully embodies both Selah’s publicly impeccable command and the internal fears and uncertainty that drive it.
Selah and The Spades premieres on Amazon Prime Video April 17, 2020....