The new based-on-a-true-story drama The Banker inspires a reference to the charming political-fantasy sitcom Parks and Recreation, and its line about something having “the cadence of a joke”. The Banker has the cadence of a movie. It’s 120 minutes long — ah yes, a standard feature-length runtime. Its stars are now best known for their work in franchise fare — OK, they’re taking a break from action movies! And there’s a social conflict at its core, showcasing the destructive capabilities of systemic American racism. Yet there’s something weirdly hollow and dry about this drama. Even if this film had been released as originally scheduled in the 2019 awards season, The Banker would still feel barely like a movie at all.
Anthony Mackie stars as Bernard Garrett, a preternaturally gifted businessman with a desire for buying up apartment buildings to hopefully improve their architectural state and take in a profit. The main problem for Bernard is that he’s a black man living in the American West and Southwest in the 1950s and 1960s, where racial segregation is alive and well, to the point where even his white tenants ostracize him for daring to own and improve these buildings. Eventually, Bernard realizes that the only way to truly achieve his goal isn’t just to own buildings, but to own local banks. He and a brash cohort Samuel L. Jackson work together to achieve this goal moving to Texas, no less, to see it done, with a younger white man Nicholas Hoult as their cover to doing business shrewdly.
The first half-hour of The Banker, co-written and directed by George Nolfi, is squarely focused on Garrett, a moderately introverted, but extremely intelligent man who’s unwavering on his desires. Yet once Garrett is forced to team up with Jackson’s character, who owns a nightclub in LA and is revealed to be a lot more knowledgeable about real estate than outward appearances would imply, the focus gradually shifts into making sure that their gambit can work. And that requires them to coach Hoult’s character about the intricacies of real estate and banking over an insanely short period of time. So, in essence, some of The Banker feels like a capitalistic Cyrano de Bergerac, as a male figure succeeds because of someone whispering in his ear. Once Mackie and Jackson end up feeling like co-leads with Hoult, it both becomes a bit clearer, if cynically so, why Apple would have distributed this film, and dramatically distressing.
The original plan for The Banker was that it would premiere at the AFI Fest in November of 2019 before getting an awards-season release in the hopes of disrupting the balance of theatrical and streaming titles jockeying for a gold trophy or two. Then, some troubling allegations about Garrett’s son who’s shown very briefly in this film, as a young child were aired in the trades,...
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? drama Quiz will be revealed to AMC viewers on Sunday May 31.
The network will launch the series, which is produced by The Crown producer Left Bank Pictures and is a co-production with British network ITV, over three weeks with the second and third episodes airing June 7 and June 14 respectively. The full series will be available to binge on AMC Premiere from May 31.
This comes after ITV revealed that it will air the three-part drama on April 13.
Quiz, directed by Stephen Frears A Very English Scandal and written by James Graham Brexit: An Uncivil War, tells the story of how Charles and Diana Ingram attempted an 'audacious heist' on the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Major Ingram Matthew Macfadyen, his wife Diana Sian Clifford and an accomplice, Tecwen Whittock Michael Jibson, who was sitting in the audience, were accused of cheating their way to a million pounds on the popular game show. The couple stood trial for conspiring by coughing during the recording to signify the correct answers to the multiple-choice questions posed to the Major by host, Chris Tarrant Michael Sheen.
Aisling Bea, star of Hulu's This Way's Up, plays ITV Entertainment boss Claudia Rosencrantz and Catastrophe star Mark Bonnar plays Paul Smith, Chairman of Celador Television and creator of Millionaire.
Creator James Graham told Deadline earlier this year, “It's quite easy to make TV people look pretentious and smug on TV, but that's the trope. They just run around in suits and they're really metropolitan and cutting and smug, and I don't think that's very interesting. So, I tried to humanize them and make them people with vulnerabilities and doubts and uncertainties and desires like everyone else.”
Graham added that one of the things that fascinated him was that he didn't think there were any bad guys in Quiz. “To this day, Paul Smith still believes that they are guilty, and he believes that very passionately. Whether it was the coughing, whether it was something else, he's convinced that people came into the thing that he created, sold around the world, and that these people are trying to destroy that. So, he feels that very keenly. And I think if you represent that honestly and sincerely, then he might be wrong, but he believes it. Similarly, the Ingrams are a normal people who go through this extraordinary story where they're thrown into the limelight. They're made an international laughing stocks, and they're on trial for their freedom. They may get sent to jail if they're found guilty. You try and create three-dimensional people,” he added.
Quiz is produced by Left Bank Pictures and...
On Friday, April 3, Apple TV+ releases all 10 episodes of the first season of its mystery-thriller “Home Before Dark.” Inspired by the life of Hilde Lysiak, a young journalist who gained national notoriety at age nine when she scooped a local homicide case in her Pennsylvania hometown, the Jon M. Chu-directed and executive produced series has already been renewed for a second season.
Created and executive produced by Dana Fox and Dara Resnick, “Home Before Dark” follows Brooklynn Prince as Hilde Lysko, a nine-year-old journalist whose family's cross-country move from New York to her father's Jim Sturgess small Washington hometown leads her to investigate a dark, deeply buried mystery from decades ago.
IndieWire spoke with “Home Before Dark” co-showrunner and co-creator Dana Fox about the series, from the process of making a bingeable mystery-thriller she hadn’t seen before to her transition from comedy to drama to the unexpected “Justified” reunion.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Getty Images/David Livingston/Stringer
IndieWire: How exactly did you come to co-create “Home Before Dark”? How did you come to Hilde Lysiak’s story?
Fox: Basically, my dear friend Joy Gorman Wettels, who’s an amazing producer — she was my manager for a long time and then she started producing, as well — she was at the Tribeca Awards, and there were a bunch of adults winning awards for cool things. And then, this little nine-year-old girl stood up and gave this incredible speech and was incredibly poised. She started talking about the need for journalists and how important it was to try to find the truth, and it really resonated with Joy. We weren’t even deeply in the times that we are in now, but it’s something that was feeling important already.
And so Joy was talking to the people next to her about how extraordinary this little girl was, and it turned out to be Hilde’s parents. So she joked, “I have a five-year-old, can you come move in with me, and help me raise my daughter, because this girl is amazing.” And so they struck up a conversation, they got along, and eventually, Hilde was featured in the New York Times for essentially scooping her local paper on a murder.
Joy was in a very competitive situation with a lot of other producers and they were all talking to Hilde and her parents on the phone and they had all these conversations. Joy ended up winning the rights and when she did, afterwards she said, “Why did you pick me?” And Hilde’s...