Movie News Rundown: New Mexico is starting to feel like a new Hollywood; David Fincher is a little dismissive of Gone With the Wind; John Boyega had a “transparent, honest” conversation about race and Star Wars; and can we recommend a chess movie that isn’t The Queen’s Gambit?
New Mexico: Netflix announced it will expand its ABQ Studios and commit an additional $1 billion in production spending in the Land of Enchantment, the longtime home of the Breaking Bad universe that will soon be the home of Stranger Things as well. There’s a reason Albuquerque and Santa Fe did so well on our 2020 list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a MovieMaker.
Checks, Mate: If you have a chess script, you may want to dust it off. The Queen’s Gambit, the Netflix limited series starring Anya Taylor-Joy as a troubled chess prodigy, was viewed by 62 million households in its first 28 days, making it Netflix’s most-watched limited series to date. It has also led to an upswing in Googling about how to play the game.
‘It’s Just a Soap Opera, Isn’t It? With a Large Staircase’: That’s director David Fincher on Gone With the Wind, in a fantastic New York Times profile that goes deep on his perfectionistic technique, and how he achieves it. Gone With the Wind is perhaps the proudest achievement of David O. Selznick, one of the side characters in Fincher’s upcoming Mank, about how Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) wrote Citizen Kane. The Times’ profile is a great long read I can’t begin to do justice to here.
‘Transparent, Honest Conversation’: Star Wars actor John Boyega said he has talked with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy since he complained to British GQ about the new trilogy’s focus on its white characters. In September, he told the magazine, “What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.” Deadline reports that he provided an update while discussing his role in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series: “So I got on a phone call with Kathleen Kennedy and she verbally showed support and we got to have a really nice, transparent, honest conversation that is beneficial to both of us.”
More Chess: Queen of Katwe, the 2016 chess film by Mira Nair, may be the best movie Disney has ever made. Unlike The Queen’s Gambit, it also happens to be a true story. The Mira Nair film follows a Ugandan girl who uses chess to rise out of desperate poverty. I get why so few people have seen it — it sounds like it’s going to be cloying — but it’s more blunt and gritty than I expected it to be. David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and Madina Nalwanga are all excellent in it. Here’s the trailer:
And Now: Yesterday’s Movie News.