When the work is stacking up, the meetings feel endless, and no one is listening to you anyway, sometimes the only way to survive the day is to take a beat — or, if you’re Samantha Jayne, make a beat and turn it into a catchy, smart, and ultimately empowering music video, “Circle Back.”
In her latest “Quarter Life Poetry” short film, Jayne walks women through an average workday, tackling each exhausting and infuriating challenge that pops up with the same sage advice: hit pause and circle back later. The short — dedicated to “the ladies on the 9 to 5 grind” — will debut Wednesday night as part of FXX’s new short anthology series, “Cake.” Two of Jayne’s videos have already aired as part of the show, “Damn, I Love This Friday Night” and “Think of Nothing,” while more will be included in future episodes.
“Quarter Life Poetry” premiered as part of the Indie Episodic section at this year’s SundanceFilm Festival. Each short film is told from women’s perspectives, focusing on various real-world anxieties and captured through smartly choreographed music videos. Directed by Arturo Perez Jr., the shorts vary in length but always encapsulate the awkward quarter-life challenges faced by millennials in the modern age — and they’re always sung, rapped, or performed via spoken word in Jayne’s catchy, smooth cadence. One short might capture the battle between social expectations and personal exhaustion on a Friday night, while another studies the struggle to simply relax.
Jayne got her start by creating an Instagram account to help sell her book of poetry, “Quarter Life Poetry: For the Young, Broke, and Hangry,” which was published in April 2016 after her handle pulled in over 100,000 followers. She describes her videos as chronicling specific, externally trivial, anxiety-inducing-scenarios, short episodes, and subjective reality from inside one woman's anxious brain.
“Cake,” meanwhile, is a half-hour assortment of shorts carefully curated into weekly programs. Each entry highlights a diverse array of narratives from new and established storytellers, including live-action and animated comedies. Early episodes have featured Natasha Lyonne, Mamoudou Athie, and more.
Check out “Circle Back” below, and watch the full episode of “Cake” tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET on FX. New episodes air every Wednesday.
Depending on who you ask, the later seasons of “The Office” — even before Steve Carell left the series — were somewhat akin to beating the proverbial dead horse as the horror movie known as “Scott's Tots” illustrates. That could be especially painful when it came to how Dwight Schrute connected to Jim and Pam’s relationship. Well, as it turns out, if showrunner and creator Greg Daniels had his way, there would have been a literal dead horse added to the mix.
Entertainment Weekly's recent oral history of Jim and Pam's wedding — which took place in the two-part episode “Niagara” and aired 10 years ago this week — revealed that the six-season earnest culmination of the series' famed will-they-won't-they relationship almost ended with a twisted bit of darkness. In the oral history, episode director Paul Feig brought up the “big controversy” about the original wedding ending:
“All throughout the episode, Roy's [David Denman] been kind of haunting around and unhappy that they're getting married, so when they ask if anybody has reason why this couple can't get married, he rides into the church on a horse to sweep Pam off her feet like a knight in shining armor and declares, 'I have an objection.' And she's like, 'What are you doing? No, I want to get married,'” Feig said. “She sends him away, so he has to ride his horse back out of the church. But then, in an absolute insane thing, they had this crazy ending where Dwight [Rainn Wilson] gets the horse and rides it into the falls.”
The “crazy ending” was episode co-writer alongside Mindy Kaling Greg Daniels's idea. Daniels was admittedly “really committed to the horse for the longest time” and went on to explain even further how “The Office” would have gone from Point A to Point Literal Dead Horse:
“It was like Dwight got fascinated with this historical display at the hotel that talked about various animals,” Daniels said. “It started with a cow had been swept over the falls and survived, and then a couple of people tried to go over the falls in a barrel and were killed, and then some sheep went over the falls and survived. And he came up with this theory that you could survive going over the falls if you were riding a horse, because a horse would have the instinct of how to swim properly. And so he was trying to get people to listen to this theory, and then Roy interrupts the wedding trying to do a big, grand romantic gesture that nobody wants and just abandons the horse and drives home.”
“So Dwight gets on and goes into the river above the falls, but panics and jumps off the horse at the last second, while the horse goes over in the background of the wedding. I remember scouting this tank on the Universal lot and talking about how we're going to shoot this horse being swept over the waterfall. Then we got to the table read and I was the last defender of the horse. The entire staff and actors were yelling at me: 'Don't ruin Jim and Pam's wedding with a horse!'” Daniels remembered.
Instead, after a long debate between Daniels and the writers’ room, the wedding ended with a very 2009-appropriate viral dance down the aisle. While that choice certainly makes the episode a bit dated today, it's at least more tonally appropriate and memorable for the right reasons — compared to a dead horse.
After years of will they/won’t they/Roy they, Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly became husband and wife during the sixth season of The Office. “Niagara” is a lovely two-part episode, culminating in the couple getting hitched on the Maid of the Mist the viral video-inspired wedding dance is cute, too, even with the unfortunate attachment to Chris Brown, although it originally had a not-so-lovely ending involving Dwight and a horse.
Before the writers landed on the dance idea, “Niagara” co-writer Greg Daniels was “really committed” to Roy — Pam’s former partner who once attacked Jim — entering the church on a horse. “All throughout the episode, Roy’s been kind of haunting around and unhappy that they’re getting married,” director Paul Feig told Entertainment Weekly, “so when they ask if anybody has reason why this couple can’t get married, he rides into the church on a horse to sweep Pam off her feet like a knight in shining armor and declares, ‘I have an objection.’ And she’s like, ‘What are you doing? No, I want to get married.’ She sends him away, so he has to ride his horse back out of the church.”
In this draft, Roy slumps away and abandons the horse, giving Dwight an idea.
“Dwight got fascinated with this historical display at the hotel that talked about various animals. It started with a cow had been swept over the falls and survived, and then a couple of people tried to go over the falls in a barrel and were killed, and then some sheep went over the falls and survived. And he came up with this theory that you could survive going over the falls if you were riding a horse, because a horse would have the instinct of how to swim properly.”
According to Daniels, Dwight jumped off at the last second, “while the horse goes over in the background of the wedding.” The other writers, including Mindy Kaling, were not nearly as infatuated with this idea as Daniels “I don’t know, I think this is kind of dark and weird”, and it was eventually dropped. Like how that horse dropped into the falls.
As far as sitcom wedding shenanigans go, “Dwight kills a horse” falls somewhere between “Marshall gets a bad haircut” bottom of the list and “Uncle Jesse gets stuck in a tree after skydiving” list. Full House remains undefeated at sitcom shenanigans.
The inaugural Turks and Caicos International Film Festival TCIFF will open with Sundance Audience Award-winning documentary Sea of Shadows, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. Pic follows a group of dedicated scientists, conservationists, investigative journalists, undercover agents and members of the Mexican navy who try to protect endangered sea species from Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers. The Caribbean festival, which will have an environmental focus, runs 15 — 17 November 2019. Jonny Keeling, the executive producer of the BBC Natural History unit which produced hit series Planet Earth, Richard Curtis, and Emma Freud, will be among those taking part in panels. Rob Stewart's film Sharkwater Extinction will screen at the Festival. There will also be an underwater filmmaking session with cameraman Duncan Brake.
The Production Guild of Great Britain has appointed producer Alex Boden Cloud Atlas as its newly appointed chair, as Production Controller Guy Barker steps down after four years in the role. Bond co-producer and financial controller Andrew Noakes Eon Productions and producer Debbie Vertue Hartswood Films have been jointly appointed co-vice chairs following the retirement of Kevin Trehy from the executive committee. Newly appointed to the board is Jo Evans of Tiger Aspect and Fifty Fathoms. Membership now exceeds 1,000, according to the group.
The executive committee now comprises:
Alex Boden Chair Andrew Noakes Co-Vice Chair Debbie Vertue Co-Vice Chair Natalie Moore Treasurer
Newly appointed to the board is:
Jo Evans Production Executive, Tiger Aspect Drama & Fifty Fathoms
Re-elected to the Board are:
John Graydon Partner, Saffery Champness Lara Sargent Co-Director, Sargent-Disc Ltd
Once again co-opted by the board are:
Stephen Bristow Partner, Saffery Champness Kelly Phillips Director of Production Finance for Original Series UK, Netflix
Executive producer Jo Burn Cats, line producer Brian Donovan Allied and Ali Moshref complete the board. Also standing down are producers Steve Clark Hall and Iain Smith OBE.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures today announced Istituto Luce — Cinecittà as a Founding Supporter with a five-year agreement in support of an annual series of Italian films and accompanying public programs. Over the course of the five-year agreement, the Academy Museum team will curate an annual series of Italian masterpiece film screenings and programs in consultation with Istituto Luce — Cinecittà. The first will be a centennial tribute to the legendary writer-director Federico Fellini 1920—1993, which will travel to major museums and film institutes in Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States.
Despite creator Sam Esmail’s original five-season plan, USA’s Mr. Robot is coming to an end after season four. He made the decision during season three when he asked himself, “How many more episodes, without treading water, do we have to get the story from this point to that?” The answer was “13,” the first of which airs on October 6. That’s one fewer episode than the entire run of the BBC’s The Office, if you include the two Christmas specials, which Esmail says the final season was partially inspired by.
“I grew up watching a lot of British television — and a lot of those shows, specifically The Office, they sign off with a Christmas special. I’ve always found that fascinating because there’s something bittersweet about the holidays,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “Something is coming to an end, but there’s also something really optimistic about looking forward. I felt strongly that Christmas be the backdrop for how we ended this show.” Hopefully this doesn’t mean Elliot comes back years later, to diminishing returns.
Anyway, Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and Mr. Robot is a Christmas show.
In a previous interview, Esmail revealed that season four is a throwback to the show’s freshman year. “The journey between seasons one to three has been about discovering who the real culprits are,” he said. “The hack was merely a distraction that was co-opted by these people, and it’s finally been revealed and exposed to Elliot. In a weird way, the next season will return back to that initial premise of the show and have Elliot be motivated by that, with this new clarity.” What this means for Alf, I can’t say.
EXCLUSIVE: Samuel Goldwyn Films has taken North American rights to Martha Stephens' feature film To the Stars which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in U.S. Dramatic Competition.
Set in a god-fearing 1960s small town in Oklahoma, To the Stars follows bespectacled and reclusive teen Iris as she endures the booze- induced antics of her mother and daily doses of bullying from her classmates. She finds solace in Maggie, the charismatic and enigmatic new girl at school, who hones in on Iris's untapped potential and coaxes her out of her shell. When Maggie's mysterious past can no longer be suppressed, the tiny community is thrown into a state of panic, leaving Maggie to take potentially drastic measures and inciting Iris to stand up for her friend and herself.
Manchester by the Sea‘s Kara Hayward along with Liana Liberato The Best of Me, two-time Veep Emmy winner Tony Hale, Jordana Spiro Netflix's Ozark, Malin Akerman Showtime's Billions, Watchmen, Shea Whigham Amazon's Homecoming, Lucas Jade Zumann TV's Anne with an E, and Adelaide Clemens SundanceTV's Rectify. Stephens’ previous films include Land Ho! which was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, Pilgrim Song, and Passenger Pigeons.
The deal was negotiated by Peter Goldwyn and Meg Longo on behalf of Samuel Goldwyn Films, and CAA on behalf of the filmmakers. Foreign rights to the film are represented by International Film Trust. To the Stars also made its international premiere at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
“We were taken with the tender relationship between Liana Liberato and Kara Hayward's characters, as well as the delightful supporting cast of teens and adults that make this a memorable and heartfelt coming- of-age story. Martha Stephens is a visionary director that balances the comedy, drama, and growing pains of growing up,” says Meg Longo of Samuel Goldwyn Films.
“Fifteen years ago while I was in film school, the last thing I’d see before shutting my eyes for the night was a poster of David Lynch’s Wild at Heart tacked onto my pockmarked wall. The iconic Samuel Goldwyn logo stamped at the poster’s bottom represented a sort of success that I could only long for at that time. How cool is it to come full circle?” beamed Stephens.
To the Stars was written by Shannon Bradley-Colleary, produced by Kristin Mann, Laura D. Smith, and Erik Rommesmo; and Executive Produced by Carlos Enrique Cuscó, Emerson Machtus. Natalia Busquets, Kevin Christianson, Joe Christianson, Karen Schlossman, Jeff Schlossman, Bill Wallwork, Kerri Elder, and Blake Elder. The film was financed by Northern Lights Films, Foton Pictures and Rockhill Studios, and produced in association with Prowess Pictures.
Northern Lights Films was behind the indie cult hit It Follows, and also financed Matt Walsh’s feature directorial High Road starring Ed Helms, Lizzy Caplan, and Dylan O’Brien.