We are still in a global pandemic and watershed moment in dealing with racism in both explicit and implicit forms, but entertainment news is still moving! So here are the updates from this week.
‘Wizards,’ Final Chapter in Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Tales of Arcadia’ Trilogy, Sets Premiere Date https://t.co/SndwBmoKxx
— Variety (@Variety) July 7, 2020
A new Batwoman comes to Gotham! Javicia Leslie (God Friended Me) will star in the second season of the CW show, replacing Ruby Rose as the titular caped crusader. Leslie will be playing Ryan Wilder, a new character created for the new season. The bisexual actor will be the first Black woman to play Batwoman and her character will be, like her predecessor, an out lesbian. [TVLine]
The Fallout RPG games are being made into an Amazon Prime series with the creators of Westworld, Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, at the helm. [The Verge]
In light of the ongoing protests against police brutality and urgent conversations around defunding and abolishing the police, several police-centered reality shows have been canceled or taken off the air, and fictional portrayals of police like Brooklyn Nine-Nine are no exception to critique. Actor Andy Samberg has confirmed while promoting his new film Palm Springs that the comedy’s writers and cast are currently reevaluating how to continue making the show without compromising their values. Fans have already been sharing ideas online for a pivot to the characters as firefighters, teachers, postal staff, librarians, or other essential but nonviolent careers. [People]
Same weird family. New weird problems. The Umbrella Academy returns on July 31. pic.twitter.com/0XNubwyLMz
— Umbrella Academy (@UmbrellaAcad) July 8, 2020
Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times are partnering with Lionsgate and Oprah Winfrey to turn Hannah-Jones’s The 1619 Project and its companion podcast into a multiplatform series spanning television, film, and documentary. The previously untold stories of slavery and its legacy covered by the project will be developed for a global audience and will include unscripted programming and other types of media as well. [Deadline]
Director Alexandre Aja (Crawl) will be adapting horror manga master Junji Ito’s Tomie for… Quibi. [Bloody Disgusting]
After HBO Max announced that the platform would #ReleasetheSnyderCut of Justice League in 2021, actor Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg, took to Twitter to call out director Joss Whedon for unprofessional, abusive treatment of cast and crew, as well as producers Geoff Johns and Jon Berg for enabling him. Since then, many of Fisher’s colleagues have come out in agreement online, and fans have brought Whedon’s past behavior around women on set to light again. For more developments, see this writeup on [Pajiba,] and check out [The Black Cape Magazine]’s two-part interview with Fisher for more context on why the actor decided to speak out.
Years after the book was published and roundly critiqued by Asian American readers for its Asian fetishism and prevalent use of racist tropes to describe and depict characters of color, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is moving ahead at Picturestart and Plan B with Japanese director HIKARI at the helm. Along with the questionable optics of hiring a Japanese person to tell the story of the child of a Korean War refugee—given the painful history of Japanese imperialism in the Korean peninsula—this announcement has sparked new conversations about the privilege involved when a white author can write racist stereotypes into a story and receive a lucrative movie deal without ever reckoning with the psychological harm to young readers who were confronted with dehumanizing representation. [VICE]
Fans anticipating Scarlett Johansson’s last film as Natasha Romanoff, the eponymous Black Widow, will have to wait until November to see the prequel, but director Cate Shortland has teased that the movie will serve not only as a kickoff into the MCU’s Phase 4, but will also launch into the franchise Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova. She’s confirmed that it will serve as a “passing of the torch” for the two women characters and will also act as a way for fans to process Romanoff’s fate in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. [Empire]
Earlier this week, actor Halle Berry spoke on Instagram Live about her plans to play a transgender man in her next project, but was met with swift objection from members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially because she misgendered the character during the discussion. Berry seems to have taken the critique to heart, posting an apology by the end of the day and acknowledging that cis actors should not play trans parts. [Pink News UK]
— Halle Berry (@halleberry) July 7, 2020
John Boyega, Jodie Turner-Smith, Felicity Jones, Felicity Jones, and Jack Reynor will star in a new thriller written by Chris Coen, with the Tom and Charlie Guard directing. The film will center conflict between an Irish paramilitary man played by Reynor and a Special Air Service sergeant played by Boyega. [Shadow and Act]
Gina Prince-Bythewood’s new Netflix film based on Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández’s 2017 comic The Old Guard drops tomorrow, with Charlize Theron in another action role off her success in Max Max: Fury Road and Atomic Blonde. The movie is already getting rave reviews, with additional excitement for the star-crossed lovers played by Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli in the ensemble cast. Theron shared more about her character in The Old Guard and her upcoming projects with [The Hollywood Reporter]
After premiering its highly-anticipated adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club novels last week, Netflix is releasing a documentary short from Sue Ding exploring the impact of one of the only Asian American characters in the ’80s-’90s who broke stereotypes. It’s fitting that a character who inspired so many Asian American creatives would be featured in her own film about artists.
"Seeing someone like Claudia who was forging her own path, helped me feel more connected to my own identity."
In the new documentary short THE CLAUDIA KISHI CLUB, Asian American artists and writers pay tribute to the iconic BABY-SITTERS CLUB character.
On Netflix 10 July. pic.twitter.com/SlCX2kcDqu
— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) July 7, 2020
Revelations and COVID Openings
In a thoughtful and insightful interview with E. Alex Jung, Thandie Newton revealed decades of mistreatment in the industry as Black woman and spoke candidly about the sexual abuse, objectification, misogyny, and racism she has endured during her years-long career, detailing the resulting lost opportunities and impacts on her personally. It’s worth a read. [Vulture]
Continuing the weeks of predators and racists being exposed at various companies, a Brown Muslim woman at Pixar has anonymously published a Medium piece alleging systemic racism and sexism at Pixar. She describes racist abuse from higher-ups in the company inflicted on her and other employees in the early 2010s, as well as a culture of sexual harassment and misogyny that should not be acceptable at any company. [Medium]
While COVID-19 cases are still rising in the U.S. amid ill-advised reopenings, movie theater giants including AMC, Cinemark, and Regal are suing the state of New Jersey for keeping their establishments closed. Citing church reopenings, the theaters have argued for treatment similar to that of other businesses, despite the risk of having large numbers of people sit indoors for two to three hours at a time. [The Hollywood Reporter]
NEWS: My Hero Academia The 'Ultra' Stage' Play to Live-Stream No-Audience Performances
— Crunchyroll @ #VCRX 🎉 (@Crunchyroll) July 8, 2020
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actors Alexander Siddig and Andrew Robinson have started performing live readings of Alone Together: A DS9 Companion, a fanfiction script, as part of a multi-episode series for Siddig’s fan site [Sid City]. (Editor’s note: Bashir/Garack forever!)