The making of Passing; Leonardo DiCaprio looks to play cult leader Jim Jones, House of Gucci first reactions are out. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
Out Today: Passing, about two Black women in the 1920s New York, one of whom is passing as white, is out today on Netflix. Here’s writer-director Rebecca Hall describing for us how she handled every stage of the production, from her very fast “brain vomit” first draft, to working with actors Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, to deciding the film belonged on Netflix. (It is also in theaters.)
How’re the Reviews? Very admiring.
Anything Else? Yes! Margeaux Sippell spoke with Passing producer Margot Hand about making sure Passing avoided the “self-fulfilling prophecy” of many lower-budgeted films. She and Hall held out for their creative vision — including shooting in black and white — and made sure their film got the attention it deserves.
House of Gucci Reactions: Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci has screened for critics, but they’re embargoed from posting their reviews. But the social media embargo has lifted, so entertainment-journalist types are allowed to tweet — and speculate about what they think the reviews will say. Which is a rather long way of saying: This is silly.
What Are the Social Media Reactions Though: They’re all over the place, and it doesn’t matter. There’s not a review on this earth that is going to stop me from seeing House of Gucci. But the one thing everyone seems to agree on is that Lady Gaga is very, very good in the movie. And Variety‘s Clayton Davis says it is “instantly the most quotable/meme-able movie since Borat.” Very nice.
Anyway: Just look at this.
First Responders: Succession Emmy winner Jeremy Strong will star in and executive produce a new film about 9/11 first responders, The Best of Us. He’s been developing it with Oscar-winning writer Tobias Lindholm (Another Round), according to The Hollywood Reporter. No network is attached yet. If you’re thinking, no thanks, just hurry back with more Succession, please, you should bear in mind that we may not be getting many more seasons of Succession and it might be good to savor them.
Jim Jones: Leonardo DiCaprio is in final talks, Deadline reports, to play People’s Temple cult leader Jim Jones, who in 1978 led more than 900 people in a mass suicide. Jones rose to fame by coming across as a progressive-minded advocate of racial equality, but turned out to be — may I editorialize? — quite terrible. DiCaprio is really working overtime to make up for not doing American Psycho.
Who’s Writing It? MGM bought the script by Venom writer Scott Rosenberg in what Deadline says was a “seven-figure deal.” He also wrote Beautiful Girls and Con-Air, which were released a year apart — now that’s range.
Hey Whatever Happened to: That HBO Jim Jones project by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan? I was extremely interested when Gilligan, a writer I love, announced plans for it in 2016. But he said on a red carpet interview with Collider in 2018 that he had “slowed down” his adaptation of the Tim Reiterman book Raven: The Untold Story of Jim Jones and His People, because the story is so “deep and rich and complicated and sad… I want to do it right, I want to do it justice.”
Films From AFM: Yours truly moderated a panel Friday at the American Film Market called “How to Profit With Micro-Budget Features,” and this week we’re sharing trailers from some filmmakers we met at the virtual event. Today: Kevin Morales’ Generation Wrecks, a ’90s LGBTQ coming-of-age film that premiered last month at the Dances With Films Film Festival, starring Victoria Leigh (Sinister), Bridget McGarry (#Horror) and Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse). This positive Film Threat review says it “presents a bit more of a reality-based Gen X than perhaps the one that Hollywood created.” (If I may: The kids in the 1994-set movie seem to be exactly the same age I was in 1994, and I can say that Generation Wrecks definitely gets the clothes right, as well as the music. Morales avoids some of the obvious choices in favor of things that make you go “Oh right, that song.” Here’s the trailer.
Main image: Lady Gaga in House of Gucci.