|AVENUE 5SEASON 2HBO|
Takeshi Kovacs can’t smile. That’s just a fact or, better put, a defining facet of “Altered Carbon’s” lead character. After watching the first 10 hours of Netflix’s sci-fi adaptation — about a future where a person’s brain can be digitized into a portable “stack,” and then swapped into a new body to achieve immortality — it was clear the 300-year-old Envoy played mostly by Joel Kinnaman can fight well, shoot even better, and have remarkably nimble sex for a three-times-over centenarian.
But following that first season, my own digitized stack can only produce images of an angry Kinnaman, a sad Kinnaman, and, the most popular version, a confused Kinnaman, who’s blank face offers only the faintest hint of curiosity. The actor known for similarly hard-edged action roles in “Robocop” and “Suicide Squad” could dutifully perform Kovacs’ functions, just like his military-trained interstellar warrior, but he cannot smile.
Or so I thought, until Anthony Mackie slipped into Kovacs’ sleeve. “Sleeve” is what they call bodies in the “Altered Carbon”-verse. The new lead doesn’t exactly reinvent “Altered Carbon,” but his uncontainable charisma — along with a tighter episode count and well-designed action pieces — open up Season 2, allowing audiences to take it only as seriously as they want.
While the first season had other problems, including a crude obsession with human bodies that never developed beyond voyeurism, Kinnaman’s rigid, no-fun lead skewed the self-serious drama toward a profound bore instead of a galaxy-brained lark. The series’ ideas are big, playful, and like so much great sci-fi topically applicable when following a consistent allegory, but all that potential remained trapped behind a stoic visage.
On the one hand, Mackie seems like an obvious choice to shake up the show’s stagnant palette. A respected actor and action star, he’s got a talent for finding humor in the midst of chaos. Mackie’s multiple Marvel movies show off the rat-a-tat rhythms he can create with co-stars, as well as a penchant for complicated fight choreography. Plus, he’s clearly open to self-effacing commentary on his physicality, as proven by the gift that keeps on giving: “Pain & Gain.”
All of these are key attributes for an interstellar warrior — and, you know, he can smile. He almost can’t not smile. Mackie’s charisma is so powerful, you can feel it brimming on the edges of “Altered Carbon,” which leads us to the one problem facing him. Anyone inheriting the Kovacs role also inherits the characteristics set by their predecessor. Kovacs can’t suddenly be a hard-bodied Han Solo, punching baddies and cracking jokes; he’s got to be the same serious warrior he was, just in a new sleeve.
But Mackie still adds more range and even a slight influx of good-humor to Kovacs’ super serious disposition. It goes a long way, as do smart alterations by co-showrunners Alison Schapker new to Season 2 and Laeta Kalogridis the creator and Season 1 showrunner. Season 2 starts with Kovacs getting sucked into a simple mission: Act as bodyguard to a respected official and be given the coordinates to his long lost love, Quellcrist Falconer played with an unceasing ferocity by Renée Elise Goldsberry. But when his client is killed before Kovacs even reports for duty, a dangerous, wide-ranging conspiracy starts to unravel — one tied to Quellcrist and his home planet of Harlan’s World....
EXCLUSIVE: The BBC and HBO are co-producing a feature-length documentary on the unsolved mystery of plane hijacker D.B. Cooper, nearly 50 years after he vanished without a trace in 1971.
The Mystery Of D.B. Cooper is helmed by John Dower — an Emmy-nominated director who made Louis Theroux film My Scientology Movie — and the producer is Minnow Films, which has won BAFTAs for documentaries including 7/7: One Day in London and The Detectives.
The film seeks to unravel the mystery surrounding D.B. Cooper, who boarded a Northwest Orient Airlines plane in November 1971 and hijacked the flight while it was still on the tarmac. He claimed to have a bomb in his briefcase and demanded four parachutes and $200,000, which he exchanged for the 36 passengers on board.
Cooper ordered the flight to take off for Mexico City and somewhere on the journey, he managed to jump out of the back of the aircraft with a parachute and the money, and was never seen again. His disappearance is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the history of the FBI, which closed the book on its investigation in 2016.
Mandy Chang, who commissioned The Mystery Of D.B. Cooper for the BBC’s Storyville strand, said the broadcaster was “intrigued” by Dower’s film from its inception, adding that it captures an era when airport security was radically different from what it is today.
“John's obsession with understanding why so many Americans identified with a mystery airplane hijacker who became a cult figure, following in the tradition of criminal icons like Butch and Sundance or Bonnie and Clyde, was infectious,” Chang said. “His film paints compelling portraits of multiple suspects, each one as convincing as the next and in doing so asks deeper questions about memory, identity and truth.”
The Mystery Of D.B. Cooper is executive produced by Minnow CEO Morgan Matthews, while Anna Stephens is the producer. Altitude Films was involved in drumming up financing for the film three years ago, before Minnow took it to the BBC. Altitude is now no longer involved in the project.
As Deadline revealed last week, the D.B. Cooper mystery is also the subject of a documentary in a History strand fronted by Laurence Fishburne. The Matrix star is hosting History's Greatest Mysteries, which will spotlight the work of D.B. Cooper expert Eric Ulis in an episode titled The Final Hunt For D.B. Cooper.
Searchlight Pictures has unveiled the first trailer for The Personal History of David Copperfield. This new take on the Charles Dickens' favorite comes from director Armando Iannucci, best known for his work on HBO's Veep. It stars Dev Patel Slumdog Millionaire, The Newsroom as the iconic character in what looks to be a very unique take on the tale. It certainly doesn't hurt matters that Iannucci has assembled an A-list ensemble to back up Oscar-nominee Patel, who is leading the way.
The trailer kicks off by showing us an adult David Copperfield on stage as played by Dev Patel, recounting some of the major events of his life to the crowd. We then flashback to his life as a young boy and follow him through key moments and adventures. The filmmakers have injected quite a bit of levity and dark humor into the story. Aside from that, one of the big takeaways is the production design. Many of the sets and locations look rather grand and epic. Overall, it looks like a heavily stylized take on a tale that has been told more than a few times in the past, which could help set it apart.
The Personal History of David Copperfield re-imagines Charles Dickens' classic ode to grit and perseverance through a comedic lens, giving the familiar tale new life for the modern age with a diverse ensemble cast of stage and screen actors from across the world. It follows Copperfield on his quirky journey from impoverished orphan to burgeoning writer in Victorian England. The cast also includes Aneurin Barnard Dunkirk, Peter Capaldi Doctor Who, Gwendoline Christie Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Tilda Swinton Doctor Strange, Benedict Wong Avengers: Infinity War, Daisy May Cooper The Wrong Mans, Rosalind Eleazar Howards End, Hugh Laurie House, Ben Wishaw Paddington 2, Morfydd Clark Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Paul Whitehouse Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Armando Iannucci, outside of HBO's Veep, has worked on several highly-regarded shows including I'm Alan Partridge and The Thick of It. On the movie side of things, he previously directed 2017's The Death of Stalin, which was one of the best-reviewed movies of that year. Iannucci's frequent collaborator Simon Blackwell penned the screenplay. Charles Dickens's tale was originally published as a serial starting in 1849, before being collected as a novel in 1950.
Critics who have screened the movie so far have been quite kind. Following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, it holds an impressive 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This could be a much-needed win for Fox, as this was produced before the Disney merger went into effect last year. In the months since the merger, the majority of the studio's titles have flopped, leaving Disney holding the bag. The Personal History of David Copperfield is set to hit theaters on May 8 from Searchlight Pictures. Be sure to check out the new trailer for yourself.Source: Movieweb
Veep creator Armando Iannucci will executive produce a new film about amateur Sumo wrestling, which is a sentence I never thought I’d have to type. The comedy Sumo tells the story of an overweight kid who trains for the US Sumo Open, with Natalie Bailey – who has worked with Iannucci on Avenue 5 – set to direct and Death of Stalin producer Yann Zenou producing alongside Iannucci, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto, and Gianluca Chakra. Richard Galazka is writing the script.
Deadline has the news on Sumo, describing it as “a coming-of-age comedy set in the world of amateur Sumo wrestling.” Here’s the logline:
The film follows the story of Jonah, a silver tongued and overweight kid with low self-esteem who meets Hana, a Japanese female janitor at his school – and an ex Sumo wrestler. Along with a pedantic and friendless building manager, the unlikely trio set about building a Dohjo, and training for the US Sumo Open.
Avenue 5‘s Suzy Nakamura is set to play Hana. So this is entire production seems to be made up with people Iannucci has worked with before, and that’s nothing to complain about, since he has a pretty good track record.
“As with other films I’ve been involved with in the past, Sumo is the perfect feel-good movie with a heartfelt message at its core that audiences love all around the world,” said producer Yann Zenou. “Richard’s script is literally laugh-out-loud funny whilst delicately exploring themes around body issues, bullying and self-worth. We cannot wait to bring it — and the explosive power of sumo wrestling — to the big screen.”
According to THR, the project is being compared to Little Miss Sunshine, Superbad and Booksmart, so make of that what you will. Casting is currently underway for the film, which is set to start shooting in Cape Town, South Africa this spring. Also coming this spring: Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield, which is just delightful and worth checking out.Source: Slashfilm.com