Darth Vader will live on in future Star Wars franchise projects through A.I. voice technology with permission from James Earl Jones; How House of the Dragon pulled off changing its cast after the time jump; Don’t Worry Darling‘s box office win this weekend. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
But First: “A bit of drama is a good thing.” That’s what Blonde director Andrew Dominik has to say about the movie’s infamous NC-17 rating. Though he doesn’t think it’s deserved, he knows it will entice people to watch even more when it comes out on Netflix on Sept. 28. Read an excerpt from our upcoming cover story here.
Vader Goes A.I.: James Earl Jones has given Lucasfilm permission to re-create the voice of Darth Vader for future Star Wars projects now that he has stepped away from the character, according to Vanity Fair, who interviewed Bogdan Belyaev, a 29-year-old synthetic-speech artist at the Ukrainian start-up Respeecher. The company re-creates voices using A.I. technology — and Belyaev was in the middle of creating an A.I. version of Jones’ Darth Vader voice for Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series when Russian troops invaded Ukraine. Read more of that harrowing story here.
The Crown Returns: For its 5th and final season on Nov. 9, and Buckingham Palace seems to be moving to protect the newly crowned King Charles III’s reputation ahead of the season all about his bitter divorce from Princess Diana. Netflix debuted a teaser of Season 5 at its annual Tudum event this weekend — USA Today has a look here — and according to The Telegraph, a source close to a senior royal said to keep in mind that The Crown is “a drama not a documentary.” The outlet adds: “A friend of the King described the drama as ‘exploitative’ and said Netflix would have ‘no qualms about mangling people’s reputations,’ even the late Queen’s. The source added: ‘What people forget is that there are real human beings and real lives at the heart of this.'”
The Box Office Numbers Are In, Darling: And the results are better than expected, according to The Associated Press. Don’t Worry Darling came in at No. 1 during its opening weekend with $19.2 million, which is a little bit more than Warner Bros. anticipated amidst fears that the off-screen drama would overpower the on-screen drama.
May I Editorialize?: As promised, I watched Don’t Worry Darling yesterday, and I mostly agree with the general consensus, including that it meanders a bit in the middle and that Florence Pugh outshines everyone. But my God, it’s worth the watch just for the surprise ending. I shall say no more!
House of the Dragon Changes: As of Sunday’s newest episode, many of the lead actors of House of the Dragon have been recast to be 10 years older. Our sharp-eyed correspondent Julia Coccaro breaks down he changes — and why the change is working even though no one wanted it.
David Bowie, Remixed: I heard director Brett Morgen and the re-recording mixers for the new David Bowie rockumentary Moonage Daydream give a talk after a screening recently, and it was all about how they re-mixed Bowie concert footage using the original stems from the recordings. The resulting sound is as if you’re really there watching The Spiders From Mars in the early 1970s. If you’re a fan of David Bowie, you’ll definitely want to catch Moonage Daydream in IMAX.
Need Fall Movie Recos?: If you, like me, live in a state that doesn’t really experience the traditional understanding of the four seasons and you really miss New England-style fall right about now, here are some movies that might help you get into the spirit of the season: Dead Poets Society; Donnie Darko; Good Will Hunting; When Harry Met Sally; Edward Scissorhands; Notting Hill; You’ve Got Mail; Remember the Titans; Matilda; and Autumn in New York. There are so many more, but these should get you started — my partner and I watched Dead Poets Society last week while drinking apple cider, and it made us feel like it’s fall even though we live in hot-as-heck Pasadena.
I’ll Leave You With This: William Thacker (Hugh Grant) experiences all four seasons in one scene in my favorite movie of all time, Notting Hill.
Main Image: Olivia Cooke and Paddy Considine in House of the Dragon Episode 6. Photograph by Ollie Upton, courtesy of HBO.