|THE BANKERFILMMAKERSFILMMAKERTHE LINEACTORSAPPLEACTOR|
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,...
While major studios have the resources to debut their theatrical releases early on digital and streaming platforms amid the nationwide shutdown of movie theaters due to coronavirus COVID-19 concerns, indie filmmakers are being left without an audience for their small films. Typically, film festivals give these indie films the exposure they need to build up an audience or critical acclaim.
But with film festivals cancelling left and right, indie films are the ones that suffer the most. However, Jay and Mark Duplass, who got their start in the indie filmmaking world, want to use their clout to support those indie filmmakers whose small films are left without a home.
Film festivals are more than a fancy place for high-profile filmmakers to debut their next awards contender. They’re an essential home for many indie films that otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to debut to big crowds. But with those crowds dispersed and shut up in their homes for the time being, indie filmmakers are being left with nowhere to show the small films that they worked on for years. They don’t have the resources to just drop their movies on digital platforms and even if they did, they’re more likely to get overlooked in favor of Bloodshot.
However, the Duplass brothers are attempting to lessen the financial blow that indie filmmakers are feeling by using their clout to elevate those small films. In an interview with IndieWire, Mark Duplass put out the call to indie films for a home, offering the resources of Duplass Productions to boost indie filmmakers’ works.
“[The streamers] are all doing their best overtime watching pretty much every movie that’s being submitted to them from the festivals that didn’t have their premieres. We as Duplass Brothers have also come forward to those people and said, ‘If you find a movie where you feel like ‘This is really great but it’s not there yet,’ bring it to us and we will help partner with you to make that movie what you feel like it needs to be for your service.”
While streaming platforms have been a godsend for many stuck inside, or the many people who can’t afford to go to the movie theater every week, Duplass said that not only independent filmmakers, but independent studios have been struggling to cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There are so many positives and negatives to where we’re at with the prominence of streamers, what they have done to places like IFC and Magnolia who’ve been around for years and who are an integral part of our ecosystem,” Duplass said. “They were really damaged by some of these acquisition prices at film festivals. We used to … sell our movies to these niche distributors, and we wouldn’t hammer them for too much money because if we did, they wouldn’t be...
HBO is reportedly going to begin paying cast members on shows that have had their production impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Deadline reported that HBO has agreed to a payment schedule that will include giving actors 25 percent of their pay now, 25 percent when production on their shows was supposed to start, and the remaining 50 percent when filming commences. The publication provided no indication that below the line employees or other workers would receive payments.
An HBO spokesperson did not return a request for comment.
The HBO news came one week after Netflix made headlines for beginning to minimum guarantees to cast members on its shows that have been impacted by coronavirus-related production shutdowns. Like Netflix, HBO parent company WarnerMedia is pledging $100 million in relief to workers affected by production shutdowns.
The Deadline report also noted that other studios are still pondering their options, with some of their labor executives arguing that the production delays are essentially hiatuses, therefore meaning that actors should not be paid. The publication noted that the SAG-AFTRA union reportedly does not agree with the hiatus arguments and may threaten to file grievances if the issue is not resolved.
It is unclear if actors on the following programs will be paid by HBO, but HBO series that have had their production impacted by the coronavirus include “Succession,” “Barry,” “The Righteous Gemstones,” and “Euphoria.”
While the coronavirus has caused significant disruptions across the entertainment industries, streaming services and other television platforms are reportedly enjoying considerable spikes in popularity as more consumers hole up indoors. WarnerMedia recently announced that HBO Now has enjoyed a surge in popularity and the company also said that overall television viewing across the industry has grown by 20 percent recently. WarnerMedia is still expected to release its upcoming HBO Max streaming service in May.
There are several organizations and programs offering financial aid to entertainment industry employees whose livelihoods have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
IndieWire is keeping track of all of the entertainment industry's events and projects that have been impacted by the outbreak. IndieWire is also tracking the industry's ongoing events and positive happenings during the pandemic, including Netflix's new and upcoming film and television releases.
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...