John C. Reilly had 48 hours to make a decision on whether or not to take on the role of Jerry Buss in HBO’s new Lakers series, Winning Time; Quentin Tarantino is in early talks to direct episodes of an award-winning FX series, based on material from one of his favorite authors; Are Vikings having a moment? We examine. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
But First: Greetings from beautiful Amelia Island, Florida where I will be covering the Amelia Island Film Festival. I will also be promoting our MovieMaker Production Services program — a program which you do not need to be in Florida this weekend to take advantage of.
Now in Theaters: Cyrano, Joe Wright’s musical adaptation of the 1897 French play Cyrano de Bergerac, arrives in theaters today, with Peter Dinklage – sans prosthetic nose – portraying the iconic poet. Check out our feature with Wright here.
Good News: Indeed has partnered with Lena Waithe and her company Hillman Grad Productions to announce the 10 filmmakers for season two of their Indeed: Rising Voices program. “Indeed: Rising Voices was created to uncover, invest in and share stories created by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) filmmakers across the US to tell diverse stories around the meaning of work, and the idea that jobs create opportunities and better lives for all,” the organization said in a press release. All 10 filmmakers will present their films at the Tribeca Film Festival this spring.
The 10 Indeed: Rising Voice Fellows Are: Cara Lawson, Gbenga Komolafe, Georgia Fu, Jalmer Caceres, Justin Floyd, Leon Cheo, Shanrica Evans, Tara Motamedi, Travis Wood, and Urvashi Pathania.
More Good News: Theater chain Cinemark posted a quarterly profit for the first time since the pandemic began, The Hollywood Reporter notes.
Quentin Tarantino: Is in early talks to direct episodes of a new Justified spin-off limited series for FX, Deadline reports. Justified: City Primeval is based on an Elmore Leonard novel, and Tarantino is a noted Leonard enthusiast, having adapted Leonard’s Rum Punch into his 1997 film Jackie Brown. Justified lead Timothy Olyphant previously appeared in Tarantino’s last feature, Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, and Justified‘s Walton Goggins, aka Baby Billy, appeared in Tarantino’s previous film, The Hateful Eight.
Also: Deadline notes that Tarantino has previously dabbled in TV: which includes directing an episode from the first season of ER and the fifth season finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
48 Hours: Is the name of the 1982 buddy-cop drama starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. It’s also the title of CBS’ long-running true-crime series. And it’s also the amount of time John C. Reilly had when deciding whether or not to take the role of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, The Hollywood Reporter says in an extensive feature on the new show Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. Michael Shannon was originally set to play Buss, but dropped out of the project late after having difficulty with the fourth wall breaks that producer-director Adam McKay’s work often employs.
So Much More: While The Hollywood Reporter feature details that much-covered rift between McKay and Will Ferrell over the handling of the Buss role, there are plenty of other must-read anecdotes surrounding the creation of the series. This includes details about the extensive casting call for Earvin “Magic” Johnson — a role that eventually went to unknown Quincy Isaiah — and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-Jabbar is played by Solomon Hughes, a 6’11” former-Harlem Globetrotter who had just finished a job at Stanford when he got the role. When COVID delayed production in early 2020, Hughes picked up a visiting faculty job at Duke University in the meantime.
More Lakers: While Season 2 of Winning Time hasn’t been formally announced just yet, all parties involved feel confident things are moving in that direction. HBO has already snatched up the rights to writer Jeff Pearlman’s next Lakers book: Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty, which could make for a strong future season.
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose: Winning Time screenwriter Jim Hecht compared his project to Friday Night Lights when pitching the show to Pearlman. Friday Night Lights tracked multiple seasons of one team, with different players cycling in and out of focus. With that comp in mind, a multiple-season approach looking at different eras in Lakers basketball would make sense.
At This Pace: Lebron James could theoretically play himself in Winning Time Season 4, as he wins a championship for the purple and gold in the 2020 NBA Bubble in Orlando (James’ season 17).
Winning Time: Does sound like a phrase former President Trump would come up with. I understand that HBO wanted to avoid any confusion with “Showtime Lakers” being equated with a rival pay-cable service, but that’s what they came up with?
Stream This Now: Winning Time doesn’t hit HBO until March 6, but Season 1 of the new Vikings spinoff series Vikings: Valhalla, hits Netflix today.
Are Vikings Having a Moment?: The Northman, Robert Eggers’ Viking epic, arrives in theaters in April from Focus Features. The Northman is co-written by Icelandic novelist-poet Sjón, who also co-wrote last year’s Lamb.
True Crime Lovers, Take Note: Andrew Garfield stars in Under the Banner of Heaven, a true-crime FX series based on the best-selling nonfiction book of the same name. The new teaser gives off some True Detective vibes — or perhaps the Red Riding Riding Trilogy which also starred Garfield, and featured lots of indecipherable dialogue that clearly influenced this SNL sketch. Anyway here’s the Under The Banner of Heaven trailer:
John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss and Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson in Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. Photo courtesy of HBO.