Netflix and A+E Networks' Crime & Investigation have renewed true crime doc series I Am A Killer for a second season.
The show has been picked up for another ten-part run. It features in-depth interviews with some of the longest serving death row prisoners in America. It looks at how these death row prisoners are treated in the prison system as well as the impact of their crimes on their communities and families. The first season opened the debate over rehabilitation and restitution in America's criminal justice system. The second will feature female lifers for the first time and will also explore themes of repentance and redemption.
The show launched on C+I in the UK and on Netflix around the world in 2018 with the SVOD service recently launching a second window in the UK.
It is exec produced by Danny Tipping, Ned Parker and Natalka Znak for Znak & Co. and Crime+Investigation Commissioning Editor Diana Carter.
Natalka Znak said, “Amazing access and incredibly gripping stories have made this format a global fan favorite, attracting incredible critical response. This is a great success for our factual department, led by Danny Tipping who has built a team of talented crime and docu experts making Znak &Co a real player in this genre.”
Danny Tipping, executive producer for Znak & Co., added, “I'm extremely proud of this series – it shows that you can tell these challenging stories with integrity and without compromise, and still find a global audience.”
Diana Carter, CI Commissioning Editor and Executive producer said, “ I Am A Killer plays a key part in our programming strategy; sitting alongside other locally produced hits like Murdertown with Katherine Kelly and the forthcoming Evil Up Close. Our audience of passionate true crime fans appreciated the thoughtful and carefully crafted approach of the film makers to such controversial subject matter. We are proud to bring it back for a second season.”
strong>EXCLUSIVE: Netflix prevailed over several studios to land Pyros, an adaptation of the Thomas Pierce science fiction short story Tardy Man that has Reese Witherspoon attached to star in the film, and produce with Simon Kinberg. Pierce will write the script.
Deal comes a day after Apple unveiled a teaser trailer for Morning Show, a series that Witherspoon stars in with Jennifer Aniston. Now, Netflix has a Witherspoon feature vehicle. I’m told that up to six studios chased this package and that Sony Pictures was among the finalists.
Pierce will write the script based on his short story that was published in The New Yorker magazine last year. It’s the second major movie deal he has made on one of his New Yorker short stories; Chairman Spaceman was bought and is being developed by Fox Searchlight. Kinberg is producing that one as well. Deadline revealed the package hit the market August 1.
Hello Sunshine's Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter are producing with Genre Films' Audrey Chon.
em>Tardy Man deals with a group of augmented people who are fitted with indestructible fire suits that are fused to their spines. They work for a corporation that recovers objects for wealthy people when their houses are burning. It is strictly forbidden for them to veer from their salvage missions, even when other humans are in danger. The protagonist decides to make an exception to this rule and that is the jumping off point.
It’s the second big female-driven package deal to land this week. Yesterday, New Line beat out 17 other bidders for Don’t Worry Darling, the spec script that Booksmart’s Olivia Wilde will direct and star in. CAA is in the middle of both auctions, which are expected to sort themselves by next week. Witherspoon is managed by LBI and the writer by Kaplan/Perrone.
strong>EXCLUSIVE: Australian actor Ben Lawson has been cast opposite Katherine Heigl in Netflix's Firefly Lane, a drama series from Maggie Friedman No Tomorrow based on the bestselling novel by Kristin Hannah.
Written and executive produced by Friedman, who also serves as showrunner, Firefly Lane follows the story of Tully Heigl and Kate, two unlikely best friends who meet as young girls and become inseparable for nearly 30 years, until a tragedy breaks them apart. Lawson will play Kate's ex-husband Ryan, who also has a long history working with Tully.
Friedman executive produces with Stephanie Germain and Lee Rose. Hannah is co-executive producer. Peter O'Fallon will direct and executive produce the first episode.
Lawson recently starred on the second season of Netflix's hit drama series 13 Reasons Why and on ABC's action dram a Designated Survivor. He also recurred on NBC’s critically acclaimed comedy series The Good Place. On the film side, he’ll next star as Lachlan Murdoch in the upcoming Untitled Roger Ailes biopic from Charles Randolph and Jay Roach. Lawson is repped by ICM, United Management, Untitled and Derek Kroeger.
The riotous first trailer for “Dolemite Is My Name!,” a new original feature from Netflix based on the life and work of blaxploitation hero Rudy Ray Moore, has arrived in fitting style. Starring Eddie Murphy and directed by “Hustle & Flow” director Craig Brewer, the new film was enned by Golden Globe and Emmy Award winners Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski “Ed Wood,” “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson”. It tells the story of how Moore, a larger than life comedian, singer, actor, and film producer, launched a movie career in the 1970s with one of the most well-known Blaxploitation films of all time, “Dolemite.”
Moore rode the Dolemite character he created into a successful career that spanned four decades. Honing his craft in comedy clubs, he released several comedy albums starting with 1959’s “Below the Belt.” Success, however, wouldn’t come until a trio of raunchy albums he released between 1970 and 1971: “Eat Out More Often,” “This Pussy Belongs to Me,” and “The Dirty Dozens.”
Loaded with explicit depictions of sex acts and graphic violence, the albums weren’t marketed to the mainstream, but they found audiences primarily among black audiences looking for politically incorrect, anti-establishment material, and grew in popularity via word-of-mouth. Unable to get work in Hollywood, Moore used the money he made from his album sales to finance the movie that would eventually become 1975’s “Dolemite.”
The ultimate “hood hero,” skilled in the martial arts, and of course known for his sexual prowess, Dolemite was a pimp with a team of kung-fu-fighting prostitutes. After getting set up by a rival which sends him to prison, his friend and fellow pimp Queen Bee breaks him out, and both plot revenge.
Released by 1970s exploitation label Dimension Pictures, the low-budget film was quite successful and led to multiple sequels, starting with “The Human Tornado” in 1976. In total, Moore appeared in roughly 20 feature films in a career that spanned 30 years, including the 1997 Halle Berry comedy “B*A*P*S.”
He also continued to release comedy albums that appealed to a loyal fanbase that endured through the 1970s and 1980s, even though much of the work failed to break into the mainstream, especially among white audiences. Moore gained exposure to a new generation of younger fans in the latter half of his career, thanks to the sampling of his album work by rappers, some of whom he also collaborated with, including 2 Live Crew, Schooly D, Big Daddy Kane, and Snoop Dogg.
He died in October 2008 at 81 years old due to complications from diabetes.
Netflix has high hopes for the Eddie Murphy film, which will focus specifically on the period in Moore’s life when he struggled to make it in Hollywood, and opted to strike out on his own to make “Dolemite.” Murphy is joined by a who’s who cast of black comedians, including Chris Rock, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Keegan-Michael Key, Luenell, Wesley Snipes, Tituss Burgess, and Da'Vine Joy Randolph.
The film will hit Netflix and select theaters sometime this fall, which puts the film in the thick of awards season. Watch the rollicking first trailer for “Dolemite Is My Name!,” thanks to Entertainment Weekly, below.
Arguably the most popular camera among Hollywood cinematographers is the ARRI Alexa, made by the century-old ARRI camera company. But as recently as six months ago, Netflix would not permit DPs to use this camera other than the large-format Alexa 65 for its original programming because the standard model employed a 3.2K resolution sensor instead of the streamer's required 4K. Many Alexa fans argued that the difference between a 3.2K and 4K sensor doesn't create a noticeable difference in the footage and say the camera's dynamic range and other image characteristics make it a more pleasing choice. But Netflix stood firm on its decision: "The ARRI Alexa and Amira are fantastic cameras, and we stream plenty of content that was captured with these cameras. However, since these cameras do not have true 4K sensors, we cannot accept them for our 4K original productions," Netflix said in a statement. "For those who pay a premium for our UHD 4K service, we only deliver content that was shot and delivered at a true UHD 4K resolution."
The result is some frustrated cinematographers. At November's Camerimage Festival in Poland, where Netflix execs said its requirement was designed to "protect your creative intent," things got a little heated. "This isn't about quality, this is about marketing," argued one DP in the audience.
This past winter, ARRI released a new model with a 4.5K sensor, which some referred to as "the Netflix camera," acknowledging a key reason for its development. In the end, Netflix won.
If you have used the "Netflix calibrated mode" on your Sony or Panasonic TV or seen the "Netflix Recommended TV" logo in a consumer electronics display, you've had a glimpse of how the streaming giant has exercised its clout to become the most influential entertainment company in the technology field, pushing boundaries and occasionally ruffling feathers. Netflix's size has allowed it to touch and influence everything from hardware and software development to industry display standards.
Many welcome the enthusiasm with which the streamer is focusing on quality and workflows. "Netflix is in a class all its own right now," says Larry Chernoff, CEO of MTI Film, which develops postproduction technology and offers post services. "Netflix has hired some of the top industry engineers out of the top postproduction houses in Hollywood and beyond. I don't know any other company that has reached out more and demonstrated more respect for the post community than Netflix ... It has had a profound influence on everything we do."
Case in point: Netflix wanted its original content to be delivered in 4K resolution with the Dolby Vision brand of high dynamic range Netflix now offers about 1,000 hours of HDR across its catalog and Dolby Atmos brand of immersive sound. Broadcasters are still entrenched in 2K, and many acknowledge that, if not for Netflix, adoption of the advanced formats might have stagnated.
To make sure its content is being produced how it wants, the streamer in September launched a Netflix Post Technology Alliance with MTI, Adobe, Sony and others. It shares its roadmap with these companies, and if these firms develop tools — from cameras to editing systems — that meet its requirements, they are permitted to use the "Netflix Post Technology Alliance" logo. The logo has been visible in the past year at industry trade shows — a literal sign of growing influence.
Netflix also is involved in industry standardization and development efforts. For instance, it recently joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Academy Software Foundation, a forum for open source software developers.
While Netflix is involved in collaborations, the company also maintains robust engineering efforts in-house — beyond the teams working on its secret distribution algorithms. It is pioneering new interactive content, such as Bandersnatch, which was made incorporating Branch Manager, a software system developed in-house. Other homegrown advances include Netflix's scheduling software and its work to bring more automation to audio dubbing through artificial intelligence.
There's likely much more in the works that Netflix does not share with the public. But one thing is certain: The company is having a penetrating impact not only on which content is made and how it is distributed and consumed, but also on the very tech that creates it.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.