“You do realize,” a man who approached Anthony McCarten at a screening of The Two Popes told him, “this is a Jewish movie.” McCarten was bemused as the man explained: “The sheer fact that you have two people discuss scriptural debating is very Tom Mulligan. It's part of the Judaic tradition to debate in such a way that you try to promote your opponent to come up with an even better argument. You're listening to each other and so forth. Yes, it's a Jewish movie.”
The screenwriter was delighted. He says the entire idea behind the film was to speak to a larger debate going on in the world right now, between conservative and progressive viewpoints. “In a world where conservatives and progressives are very entrenched, and moving further apart if anything, and a lot of vitriol, anger flowing both ways, we wanted to make a movie about finding the middle ground,” McCarten says. “Because to progress together, we're going to have to retake the high ground for the middle at some point, and we're going to have to listen to each other more. We're going to have to find communion.”
Already a three-time Oscar nominee, McCarten's previous work includes the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, and the Winston Churchill story Darkest Hour. He is also behind the behemoth that is last year's Bohemian Rhapsody. All three landed Best Picture nominations, a string of wins. He'll next explore John Lennon and Yoko Ono and The Bee Gees. You could say, then, that he's immersed in biography.
For The Two Popes, he did exhaustive research in order to make the film as plausible as possible. The movie focused on intense, imagined conversations between two living Popes, Benedict and Francis, at the first time in 700 years that there has been more than one Bishop of Rome alive at the same time. But did he worry that two old guys talking might get boring? “I never bought into that,” he insists. “I think great dialogue is as good as a car chase in terms of being fascinating, exciting, and keeping you on the edge of your seat.”
By the very nature of the Vatican, nobody knows what these two men might have actually discussed, or how close their relationship may have become. But McCarten's deep research was a good guide for making it as believable and riveting as it has become. That he pulled it off with such credibility is tribute to his skill as a playwright, author and much in-demand screenwriter.
He isn't worried about offending the Vatican. They have been in possession of the script for some time, but they didn't stand in its way, and even approved the use of the real footage of the two Popes at one of their three publicly acknowledged meetings. Since the film has screened, the response from the Church is trickling through. “I think the word [from the Vatican] is relief,” McCarten says. “They've had quite a few years of bad press, and quite rightly. This is an even-handed, humanistic little piece. It's meant to be fair. It's not meant to whitewash anyone, but it is done in a sensitive way, and I think they appreciate that.”
He recalls showing The Theory of Everything to Stephen Hawking and asking for his reaction after the movie played. “His wife Jane had a tear at the end of the movie, and he typed two words into his computer,” McCarten remembers. “Then the computer spoke with that iconic voice, 'Broadly true.' I thought, that's close enough for me.”
As announced Friday, the screenplay for “Ant-Man 3,” the latest sequel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, will be written by “Rick and Morty” writer Jeff Loveness. Peyton Reed, as previously announced, is returning to direct. Deadline reported that the duo had signed onto the project, which will also see Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly reprise their roles as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Hope van Dyne/The Wasp from the first two “Ant-Man” films.
Loveness’ attachment to the project is the latest news to come out of “Ant-Man 3” working title since the film was confirmed to be in the works by Deadline in October 2019. There's no word yet on when the film will enter production, nor is there any information about its release date.
Regardless, diehard Marvel Cinematic Universe fans pining for the next “Ant-Man” installment will likely have to be patient. Marvel has already announced its now-shifted Phase Four slate, which will kick off with “Black Widow” on November 6, followed by “The Eternals” on February 12, 2021. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Seven Rings” will debut on May 7, 2021, while “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” will release on November 5, 2021. “Thor: Love and Thunder” will hit theaters on February 18, 2022. All of the aforementioned films' release dates were updated earlier today as part of Disney's response to the current global health crisis.
Loveness, who confirmed the news on Twitter, is no stranger to Marvel: He's worked on a variety of comics for the company, including several that are focused on Spider-Man and boundlessly heroic space tree Groot. He has also worked on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and TBS' “Miracle Workers.”
Reed directed the first “Ant-Man” film, released in 2015, and its sequel, 2018's “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise began embracing the more surreal, galaxy-trekking elements of Marvel comics lore in recent films, the “Ant-Man” films have centered on the titular protagonist's comparably small-scale and relatable misadventures. Ant-Man played a key role in last year's “Avengers: Endgame,” where the superhero revealed a sci-fi MacGuffin that allowed the Avengers to travel back in time and undo the work of the genocidal Thanos.
IndieWire has reached out to Marvel Studios for comment.
He worked on 'The Godfather: Part III' and 'Bram Stoker's Dracula,' earned a Tony nomination and led Opera Tampa until leaving at age 95.
Anton Coppola, a conductor for orchestras and operas and the uncle of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, has died. He was 102.
He died March 9 in in his longtime Central Park West apartment, his daughter, Lucia, told The New York Times.
Coppola worked with his nephew as a conductor on 1990's The Godfather: Part III leading "Cavalleria Rusticana" and 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula.
He appeared on a 2015 episode of Mozart in the Jungle, the Amazon series created by his great nephews Roman Coppola a son of Francis and Jason Schwartzman a son of Francis' sister, Talia. He was also a great-uncle to actor Nicolas Cage and writer-director Sofia Coppola.
On Broadway starting in 1947, Coppola worked as musical director on such productions as Carmen, Madame Butterfly, Aida, La Boheme and The Barber of Seville. He received a Tony Award nomination in 1963 for best conductor and musical director for Bravo Giovanni.
He conducted for the New York Philharmonic and the New York City Opera and worked on a 1954 national tour of The Boy Friend, in which Julie Andrews made her American debut.
Coppola joined Opera Tampa in 1996 and served in an artistic director position until he retired in April 2012 at age 95.
"I think one of the things that keeps conductors going is that we have to exercise our mental powers all the time," he told the St. Petersburg Times in 2004. "Doing that, I think, contributes to your physical well-being. I mean, I'm constantly using my mind to absorb these scores that I conduct.
And in 2016 interview with The New York Times, he said: "I'm not tired yet. When people ask me how did I live this long, I say, 'Pasta e fagioli.'"
Born in New York, Coppola was raised as one of seven brothers in East Harlem. One of his brothers, Carmine, also wrote music for Francis' films.
After serving in the U.S. Army as a bandmaster during World War II, he worked as a conductor at Radio City Music Hall and was the director of the symphony and opera departments at the Manhattan School of Music for 15 years.
Coppola married a ballet dancer, Almerinda Drago, in the late 1940s, and they had two children, Bruno and Lucia. He had lived in his Central Park West apartment since 1956.