As the politics of today plunge way past the point of parody, Armando Iannucci has trained his incisive wit on the politics of yesterday. (1950s Soviet Union, specifically.) It’s a strategy borne of both fear and defiance at the prospect of history repeating itself. The path to Iannucci’s new film, The Death of Stalin, began as the master satirist was exiting his HBO hit Veep in 2015. After four seasons on the stateside companion to his British dysfunctional government saga The Thick of It, Iannucci sought to trade Veep’s West Wing setting for the shadowy halls of a fictional dictator. He envisioned a rebuke to the rise of authoritarian rulers like Berlusconi, Putin, and Erdogan, which has occurred in tandem with the alarming spread of fascist groups like the National Front in the U.K. “These people are speaking a language that I thought had disappeared,” Iannucci says. At the same time, French producers Yann Zenou and Laurent Zeitoun, who had … [Read more...] about Dark Comedy For Dark Times: “Death Of Stalin” & “Veep” Director On Why Humor Is Freedom
At the height of his screenwriting fame in the early 1990s, Basic Instinct screenwriter Joe Eszterhas famously sold multimillion-dollar movie pitches written on the backs of cocktail napkins. Armando Iannucci may not have the same exact same clout in Hollywood as Showgirls-era Eszterhas, but he may have just got a movie greenlit via Twitter. On Wednesday morning, the Death of Stalin filmmaker tweeted out an intriguing satirical movie idea. It was an alternate universe take on the administration, where Trump is more or less Truman Show’d into ruling from a replica of White House. Iannucci likely meant the tweet as a joke, but it has definitely since become something else. The potential film wouldn’t be the first one successfully pitched off of Twitter. Last year, Netflix negotiated a deal for a Rihanna/Lupita Nyong’o heist movie (to be written by Issa Rae and directed by Ava Duverney) based on a viral tweet. If a studio does indeed decide to make … [Read more...] about So… it looks like the “Veep” creator’s Trump movie might actually happen?
It’s an unseasonably warm summer day, and Jason Kilar is “in the zone,” as he puts it, buzzing around his Santa Monica, California, headquarters, putting the final touches on a massive redesign of Hulu, the streaming TV and movie service he runs. Despite the heat, and despite a deadline that is only weeks away, the boyish 41-year-old CEO looks calm and collected. (He always looks this way, actually.) He’s dressed in his uniform of jeans and a dark blue T-shirt peeking out from under an über-starched button-down, and his thick turf of hair is cut in what looks like a $17 mow from Fantastic Sam’s. As he natters on about the new site, walking me through its tray-style layout and a feature that lets you pick up exactly where you last left off watching a show, it’s easy to see why people liken him to a grown-up Boy Scout. “This morning we had a 45-minute debate on the amount of gradient on the sticky header!” Kilar boasts, standing in a … [Read more...] about Hulu Struggles To Survive The Influence Of Its Parent Companies [Update]
We all like a bit of TV drama.But the debate about this year’s televised leadership debate (so meta) has become so entangled and peculiar that you’d be forgiven for suspecting that Armando Iannucci might have secretly orchestrated the whole of 2015 for his own amusement.Of course, you’ll already know that the line-up was looking like Labour, the Lib Dems and UKIP, with David Cameron declaring he would only take part if the Greens could come along.So we were facing three parties, sans Conservatives, or five with the Greens in too.We are now up to seven potential parties partaking: the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, Greens, UKIP, SNP and Plaid Cymru (because, well, why not?).That’s according to the most recent proposals expected from broadcasters in the wake of Greens-gate (or Cameron-abdication-gate, depending on how you look at it).But hang on, there’s another party that now feels snubbed and says it should be included.Because what about the Democratic … [Read more...] about Could we see seven political parties in the TV debates? Or eight? Or even 12?
The 2018 Sundance Film Festival begins Thursday, and if the past couple of years are any indication, that means it’s time to take a glimpse at the movies Netflix and Amazon will be throwing lots and lots of money at to acquire. Last year Amazon snagged “The Big Sick” for $12 million and Netflix got “Mudbound” for $12.5 million. Both are now in the hunt for award season glory. Which titles from this year are going to get that kind of treatment? Here are 21 titles playing at the fest that we think are going to grab people’s attention:“America To Me” Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters,” “Life Itself”) has made a career looking at the social melting pot of Chicago. For his latest, he examines racial inequality in the education system. This 10-part documentary series gives a one-year look at one of Chicago’s most progressive and diverse public schools.“Beirut” … [Read more...] about 21 movies playing at the Sundance Film Festival that you need to know about