In today’s Movie News Rundown: A look at how grief fuels a decade of Liam Neeson “Dadsploitation ” films; three ways to resume live events, featuring Dave Chappelle and Andrew Lloyd Webber; Scott Pilgrim auditions and behind-the-scenes photos to mark its 10th birthday; and SAG-AFTRA insurance changes are coming. Plus: How Sundance is supporting artists.
Sundance Grants: In April, Sundance created the $1 million Sundance Institute Respond and Reimagine Plan in response to COVID-19 to support artists and organizations that back them — especially those from historically marginalized communities. Today, Sundance announced the recipients of 39 grants totalling $405,500, in 19 countries. Here’s the full list.
Liam Neeson and Grief: Vulture‘s Bilge Ebiri has a very thoughtful piece on how Liam Neeson’s decade of action films — often about a dad fighting to saved loved ones — feel like a way of coping with the tragic death of his wife, Natasha Richardson, in a 2009 skiing accident. Neeson’s latest, Made in Italy, more overtly addresses love and grieving.
Socially Distanced Live Events: Variety reported on the U.K.’s first socially distanced venue holding its first concert, a performance by singer-songwriter Sam Fender that hosted 2,500 fans on 500 separate elevated platforms at the pop-up Virgin Money Unity Arena on the grounds of Gosforth Park in Newcastle upon Tyne. What works for live concerts could also potentially work for screenings and film festivals. Here’s video of the arena:
Socially Distanced Live Events Part II: Dave Chappelle has hosted numerous socially distanced standup shows this summer in Ohio — including one posted on YouTube — and EW went into detail about how he does it: “Seats came in twos, and everyone was spaced out 10 feet apart. Not only were there hand sanitizer stations, but we’re told workers were around to supervise if people actually cleaned their hands. Additionally, there was a temperature check station, Chappelle-branded face masks for every attendee, and employees who scanned people with security wands.” There’s also some stuff about Louis CK performing, and being heckled.
Thanks, Andrew Lloyd Webber: Not just for Cats, but also for this. “I am excited that tomorrow I am going to be vaccinated for the Oxford Covid 19 trial. I’ll do anything to prove that theatres can re-open safely,” tweeted the 72-year-old composer. Yes, the third way to resume live events is a vaccine.
SAG-AFTRA Premiums: SAG-AFTRA’s insurance program is raising premiums and earnings thresholds, effective Jan. 1. “Without restructuring the Health Plans, we are projecting a deficit of $141 million this year and $83 million in 2021, and by 2024 the Health Plan is projected to run out of reserves. We must prevent this from happening,” Deadline quoted a letter to plan participants as saying. Specific details, and several ways the plan is trying to provide some cushion, are included here.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Is 10: Edgar Wright marked the anniversary of his film — which features lots of young actors who would become huge deals in the ensuing decade — by tweeting out some fun behind-the-scenes Scott Pilgrim photos.
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) August 13, 2020
Here are Scott Pilgrim auditions by Brie Larsen, Aubrey Plaza, Kieren Culkin and more:
False Positives: Ten people working on a production for Westbrook, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s media company, tested positive for COVID-19 last week, only to test negative after quarantining and restesting, Variety exclusively reported. “Westbrook’s curious case of positive, then negative, coronavirus test results is a possible peek into the difficulties that even conscientious productions with routine testing will have to take into account going forward,” Variety notes.
Easterseals: The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Home Edition 2020 Awards Ceremony, which we mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, are today at 3:30 PT/6:30 ET. Click on the link for details on how to watch. No, the guy in the video below is not Vince Neil, to the disappointment of my wife.
Comment of the Day: “Just read the books. This conversation never occurred. It was only the thought process she went through in Clarice’s mind after she found Lecter’s message on the map. The movie needed a vehicle to convey that message to the audience so they used Ardelia Mapp as the voice of her conscience.” — Franklin Green, responding to my contention that Ardelia Mapp (Kasi Lemmons) cracks the Buffalo Bill case in this list of 11 Silence of the Lambs Details You Probably Missed.
And Finally: Here’s yesterday’s movie news.