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HomeIndustry SectorFilmMust Reads 12/12/23: Anatomy of a Fall, Zone of Interest Gain Awards...

Must Reads 12/12/23: Anatomy of a Fall, Zone of Interest Gain Awards Traction, Olivia Wilde Teams with Margot Robbie, More Industry News

We’re slowly winding down to the end of the year as the industry comes to a close, and it’s mostly about awards awards awards. But also, with the end of the actors strike, we’re going to hear about more casting and projects coming together to possibly start shooting in the New Year.

Two movies that have been gaining ground since both debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May are Justine Triet‘s Anatomy of a Fall and Jonathan Glazer‘s The Zone of Interest, which received five awards between them at the French film fest. This past week, they each received a number of Golden Globes nominations, but that was on top of support from other groups.

Within hours, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), undaunted by the New York Film Critics Circle going earlier, voted on their picks for the year, including quite a few unconventional and unexpected picks. For instance, they gave Jonathan Glazer‘s The Zone of Interest their Best Picture and Glazer their Best Director. (Runners-up were Oppenheimer and Yorgos Lanthimos.) LAFCA only gives out two genderless performance awards, Lead and Supporting, both which were ties with two runners-up with no male winners. Sandra Hüller and Emma Stone tied for Lead (even though Hüller’s clearly supporting performance in Zone of Interest was also included), and then Rachel McAdams (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret) and Da’vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers) tied for supporting. Best Screenplay went to Andrew Haigh‘s “All of Us Strangers” with Samy Burch‘s “May December” as runner-up. Poor Things was honored for its cinematography, while Anatomy of a Fall‘s editing was also honored.

The European Film Academy announced the winners of its 36th European Film Awards with Justine Triet‘s Anatomy of a Fall sweeping in most categories, including Best European Film, European Director, European Screenplay, and European Actress (again for Hüller). Mads Mikkelsen won Best European Actor for his role in The Promised Land.

One of the new projects announced this past week is the planned third film to be directed by Olivia Wilde (Book Smart), a Christmas comedy called Naughty for LuckyChap (BarbieSaltburn). Written by Jimmy Warden (Cocaine Bear), the movie has Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, and Josey McNamara producing through their LuckyChap banner, and it’s described as “Bridesmaids at the North Pole,” following a woman named Mallory trying to gain custody of her son from her ex by convincing Santa Claus to testify in her divorce hearing. (This might be hit too close to home for Wilde to star in it herself, but maybe Robbie is interested in it as a comedy vehicle for herself.)

With so many streaming series being cancelled during and following the actors and writers strikes, Netflix announced via a video that it’s renewed the acclaimed animated series, Blue Eyed Samurai, named by Vanity Fair as one of the best TV series of the year, for a second season.

Creators, exec. producers and writers Amber Noizumi and Michael Green made a statement, thanking Netflix for allowing them to continue the series. “When we started this project, we made a commitment to take this very personal story set in Edo-period Japan and bring it to life in the most authentic and beautiful way possible. Our animators, historians, musicians, martial artists and voice cast made this a reality beyond our expectations. We are thankful to our entire team and to our viewers from all over the world who have shown such passion for Mizu and her path of revenge. Mizu has a lot more blood to spill! We are deeply grateful to our incredible partners at Netflix for letting the journey continue.”

Sylvia Hoeks as Anna Nicole Smith in Hurricana (photo by Thomas Whiteside & Michael Bayle-Gates, courtesy Deadline)

Deadline provided a first look at the film Hurricana, the biopic about Anna Nicole Smith, starring Sylvia Hoeks (Blade Runner 2049) as the model, Playboy centerfold, and pop culture icon. Directed by Francesca Gregorini (Killing Eve) from a script by Rachel and Matt Sarnoff, the movie also stars Holly Hunter, Mark Duplass, and Nicholas Hamilton (Captain Fantastic). Filming has already begun on the project, and you can see the first picture of Hoeks as Smith below.

As far as other projects announced over the past few days, an interesting one is a planned heist thriller called Two for the Money, which would team Charlize TheronDaniel Craig, and filmmaker Justin Lin (The “Fast and Furious” franchise). The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop on the hot project, which has Lin’s Fast X co-writer Dan Mazeau writing the script. Even though plot details have been kept under wraps, the movie follows the relationship between two career thieves (Theron and Craig) over the course of three big jobs.

Nicholas Hoult, James Gunn (source: James Gunn Instagram)

This past week, it was announced that Sean Gunn would be appearing in his brother James Gunn‘s Superman: Legacy, as Maxwell Lord, a role previously played by Pedro Pascal in 2021’s Wonder Woman 1984, while Gunn (James, that is) also confirmed on Instagram that Nicholas Hoult, who had been rumored to play Lex Luthor for months, has actually signed the dotted line and is confirmed as one of the character’s primary villains.

Focus Features, who picked up Jeff Nichols‘ The Bikeriders from 20th Century earlier this month, announced that the drama will be released on June 21, 2024. Meanwhile, Lionsgate announced the release date for Saw XI, after the success of Saw X this past Fall, with the next chapter in the Jigsaw horror franchise being released on Sept. 27, 2024.

Courtesy Lionsgate

It isn’t quite clear how many people knew that the Steve Ditko had sued Disney over the rights to Spider-Man and other Marvel heroes created by the comic book icon, but Ditko’s estate filed a termination notice against Marvel Studios over two years ago. There hadn’t been much news on the suit, but last week, it was reported that Disney, Marvel and the estate have reached a settlement, so that’s one less problem plaguing the once great Marvel Studios.

Some sadder news from this past weekend was that Emmy-nominated producer Stan Rogow (FameLizzie McGuire) died over the weekend at the age of 75. He died on Thursday at the UCLA Medical Center in L.A. but no cause was given for his death.

Oddly, there haven’t been a ton of trailers released this past week, so we’ll just end things there. This might end up being the last “Must Reads” for the year since I’ll be on vacation later this week, and then we hit the holidays for real.

(Deadline provided some reporting for this installment.)

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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