Comedy role for Pearce
Guy Pearce and Jacqueline McKenzie are set to co-star in a new comedy series, Alantown, about a man who believes he is the reincarnation of Jesus and who then sets out to recruit followers. Pearce will play Alan Pepper; McKenzie will play Colleen, his partner, who believes she is the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene. The series, created by Marie Patane, is produced by Planet Mars Productions, Blackfisch, 412 Entertainment and Escapade Media; talks are under way with broadcasters in Australia with a view to locking down a deal. Six half-hour episodes are being developed. Production is expected to begin next year in Adelaide.
Netflix deal for GoT producers
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the production partnership behind HBO's hit Game of Thrones, have signed a long-term development deal with streaming platform Netflix worth a reported $US200 million (about $A295 million). Under the deal the pair will develop film and television content for Netflix, working around an existing deal with Disney to develop and produce a new Star Wars trilogy with a rough first film launch date of 2022. (Disney has delayed its Star Wars schedule.) Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos described Benioff and Weiss as “a creative force [who] have delighted audiences worldwide with their epic storytelling”.
Jeremy the Dud set for small screen
Princess Pictures is developing a television series based on the 2017 short film Jeremy the Dud. That film explored a world where disability is the norm, referred to in the show's narrative as “specialty”, and in which Jeremy, who was born “without specialty”, must navigate people's prejudices. The film's writer-director Ryan Chamley is returning to helm the television adaptation, and Bondi Hipsters' Nick Boshier, who starred in the film, is working on the project as a contributing writer. Adam Bowes and Sam Humphrey, who appeared in the film, and Daniel Monks, will serve as creative consultants.
Emmys opts for no host
Few would disagree that hosting an awards night – from the Logies to the Oscars – is a thankless task. Australia's Logies have long abandoned the practice in favour of singular opening monologues, but even the host-hungry US is now following the trend. This year's Emmys will be without a host, broadcaster Fox has told US media. “If you have a host and an opening number, that’s 15, 20 minutes you can't use to salute the shows,” Fox Entertainment boss Charlie Collier told US media, noting that this year's telecast had to include farewells to a number of notable series, including Game of Thrones, Veep and The Big Bang Theory. “We really have had to balance those tradeoffs,” he said.
Over and Out set for TV
A half-hour television comedy version of the award-winning online series Over and Out is in development. The series, which was created, written by and starred real-life couple Christiaan Van Vuuren and Adele Vuko, and was directed by Connor Van Vuuren, won best short form series at the 2019 Cannes Series festival. In the series, Van Vuuren and Vuko played Lewis and Freya, a couple with two toddlers trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies, cannibals and mutations. Speaking to US media when the online series launched, Vuko said she and Van Vuuren, as lovers of genre, were drawn to the idea of “dealing with the normal day-to-day horrors of raising kids mixed with the actual horrors of fighting off apocalyptic monsters”.
Fleabag scoops US critics awards
The British comedy Fleabag, starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, was named program of the year by the US Television Critics Association at the 35th annual TCA Awards in Los Angeles last week. The series also won the outstanding achievement in comedy category and individual achievement in comedy for Waller-Bridge. Other winners included Better Call Saul (achievement in drama), HBO's Chernobyl (movie or mini-series), Netflix's Russian Doll (new program) and Queer Eye (reality programming). The individual achievement in drama award went to Michelle Williams for her work on FX's Fosse/Verdon; the HBO drama Deadwood was given the Heritage Award.
Michael Idato is entertainment editor-at-large of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.