In the Works: Kaufman, Streep, and More

Charlie Kaufman, pictured above at work on his last feature, Anomalisa (2015), with co-director Duke Johnson, “is set to write and direct a film adaptation of Iain Reid’s internationally best selling novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things for Netflix,” announces Variety’s Justin Kroll. The story: “On a road trip to meet his parents on their secluded farm, Jake’s girlfriend is thinking of ending things. When Jake makes an unexpected detour, leaving her stranded, a twisted mix of palpable tension, psychological frailty, and sheer terror ensues.”

Les InrockuptiblesMathieu Champalaune reports that André Téchiné will direct Catherine Deneuve for the eighth time in L'Adieu à la nuit, in which Deneuve will play Muriel, whose grandson heads off to fight for ISIS.

Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Jang Hye-jin, Choi Woo-sik, and Park So-dam are joining Song Kang-ho in Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, reports AsianWiki. As Dramabeans notes, the story “explores two families that are ‘a little strange’ and all the relationships between them.”

“Ondi Timoner’s 2009 Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary, We Live in Public, will become a feature film directed by Ben Stiller and starring Jonah Hill as Josh Harris, the dot-com millionaire who carried out a surveillance experiment with 150 residents at a Manhattan hotel amid Y2K panic.” Jenna Marotta and Dana Harris have the story at IndieWire.

Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. hears that Steven Spielberg may follow up on The Post and Ready Player One with another Indiana Jones movie and then maybe, just maybe, “his dream project, a new version of West Side Story.

Also, “Great Curve Films has managed to shoot a pair of feature films in Indiana’s maximum-security Pendleton Correctional Facility, with the hundreds of men who are incarcerated there. . . . Madeleine Sackler directed and produced both films. One is a cinéma vérité docu It’s a Hard Truth, Ain’t It, which Stacey Reiss produced and Dream Hampton exec produced. The second is O.G., a fictional drama” starring Jeffrey Wright.

Deadline’s Peter White reports that Peter Jackson will “direct a feature documentary about the First World War” that will premiere at this year’s BFI London Film Festival.

Craig William Macneill, whose Lizzie has just premiered at Sundance, will write and direct an adaptation of Hans Koppel’s bestselling novel She’s Never Coming Back, reports Deadline’s Anita Busch. “The story follows Mike, a husband and father who’s trying cope with the unexplained disappearance of his wife after she fails to return home one night from work.”

Black Dynamite is coming back, notes Adam Woodward at Little White Lies. On Tuesday, “actor and renowned martial artist Michael Jai White dropped a thirty-second teaser for what appears to be a follow-up to Scott Sanders’s blaxploitation parody from 2009—and we couldn’t be more excited.”


The big news on the series front is the addition of Meryl Streep to the second season of Big Little Lies, a cast that already includes, of course, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. “Deals are currently being finalized for most of the original cast to return, including Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern,” reports Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva.American Honey helmer Andrea Arnold is set to direct all seven episodes, stepping in for Emmy-winning Season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée, who will remain an executive producer.” Streep is no stranger to the small screen, the BBC reminds us, revisiting her performances dating back to the 1978 miniseries, Holocaust. “What kind of Meryl performance are we going to get, exactly?” asks Matt Rogers at Vulture. “Let’s imagine some scenarios.”

Helen Mirren is set to take on the title role in Catherine the Great, “written by Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I,Wodehouse in Exile) and directed by BAFTA and Emmy-winning Philip Martin (The Crown,Mo,Prime Suspect),” reports Andreeva. The four-part HBO/Sky miniseries “delves into the politically tumultuous and sexually charged court of the most powerful female monarch in history. Catherine wielded supreme power throughout Russia for nearly half of the 18th century.”

Andreeva has more. Jemaine Clement will write and Taika Waititi will direct—and both will executive produce—“a long-in-the-works half-hour comedy based on the 2014 mockumentary horror film,” What We Do in the Shadows, “about a group of vampires who live together in Wellington, New Zealand.”

And! Apple “has given a straight-to-series order to an hourlong drama from Oscar-winning La La Land director Damien Chazelle,” who “plans to write and direct all episodes of the series, the details of which are being kept under wraps.”

Also, in NBC’s Manifest, written by Jeff Rake and produced by Robert Zemeckis, “a plane disappears from radar and returns five years later after being untraceable and presumed lost at sea. No time has passed for those on the plane, but for their loved ones at home, a long five years have gone by.”

Candice Bergen is returning to CBS as Murphy Brown, reports Vulture’s Jackson McHenry. The new thirteen-episode season airs begins airing later this year and “returns to a world of cable news, social media, fake news and a very different political and cultural climate.” In 1992, then-Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the title character for “mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another ‘lifestyle choice.’” Tweets Mark Harris: “I'm not sure people know what a singular event the Murphy Brown/Dan Quayle controversy remains: A real VP attacking a fictional woman and the fictional woman being able to respond on her show. That episode was watched by 70 million people.”

From Alex Ritman in the Hollywood Reporter: “Michael Shannon has joined Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgard in the upcoming spy miniseries The Little Drummer Girl, coming from the BBC, AMC and The Ink Factory—the same trio behind AMC hit The Night Manager. Park Chan-wook is set to direct the six-part adaptation of John le Carre's book this year.”

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, known for their roles in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead,Hot Fuzz,The World’s End), are working on Truth Seekers, “a half-hour comedy-horror about a three-person paranormal investigation team,” reports Stewart Clarke for Variety.

The third season of Ben Elton’s BBC comedy Upstart Crow will feature Kenneth Branagh and Lily Cole, reports Peter White for Deadline. The story will focus on the “turbulent workplace politics behind the scenes at the first ever performance of Julius Caesar and a problem with prejudice that hampered Shakespeare’s writing of The Merchant of Venice.

And John Malkovich “will play Russian billionaire Grigor Andolov” in the third season of Billions, reports Joe Otterson for Variety.


Melissa McCarthy, Nancy Meyers, and Dee Rees will each direct sixty-second spots for Walmart that will air during the Academy Awards. Rachel Montpelier has more at Women and Hollywood.

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