4 items from 2017
Blame it on the weather. It was unseasonably cold in Monterey, Calif., when, deep into the 88-day shoot for “Big Little Lies” — after 10 straight days of late nights — the unthinkable happened: The usually unflappable Reese Witherspoon lost her temper. Faced with a difficult emotional scene, she yelled at director Jean-Marc Vallée.
Recalling the incident a few months later over tea at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, the two — who share an easy, effortless camaraderie — laugh at the memory. “I’m so sorry!” she tells him, sheepishly hiding her face in her hands. In his French-accented lilt, Vallée says, “I felt so sad because I knew it wasn’t her.”
But back in that fraught moment on the set, he turned to her and said, “Great! Let’s do it,” pushing her to channel her frustration into her performance. Vallée reports that Witherspoon — perfectly cast as the fast-talking, multitasking mother of two, Madeline »
- Debra Birnbaum
At first, they look like any other subway ad for a certain low-level New York lawyer: A middle-aged man, a cheesy font, a name — John Stone. Unless you noticed the HBO logo in the corner, you wouldn’t know it was promoting HBO’s limited series “The Night Of,” starring John Turturro as one of those low-level New York lawyers who takes on the case of a Pakistani-American college kid from Queens accused of murder (played by Riz Ahmed).
“The lady who works at our house, she was on the subway and saw it, and went to take a picture of it,” Turturro, who lives in Brooklyn, tells Variety. “A guy saw her and said, ‘Do you know that guy?’ She said, ‘Yeah, I work for him,’ and he said, ‘Is he a good lawyer?'”
John Stone was a good enough lawyer, though his client suffered possibly irreparable psychic damage from his time on Rikers Island »
- Oriana Schwindt
It appears The Night Of is not calling it a day.
HBO programming president Casey Bloys tells TVLine that series creators Richard Price and Steven Zaillian are currently “trading ideas” on what a potential season 2 will look like, adding that he’s “very optimistic” the duo will “crack” the case.
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“They’re going to come to us when they are excited about something,” he adds.
Season 2 would exist in the same world as Season 1, so don’t expect an American Crime-style reset. “I »
HBO has a host of marquee projects coming down the pike, from the Reese Witherspoon-Nicole Kidman starrer “Big Little Lies” to the Amy Adams murder mystery “Sharp Objects” to comedies starring Pete Holmes and Bill Hader to the long-awaited Bernie Madoff movie “The Wizard of Lies.”
But HBO also has a handful of hot prospects that have yet to completely land. During the cabler’s portion of the Television Critics Association press tour on Saturday, original programming president Casey Bloys gamely fielded questions seeking updates on where things stand for a handful of buzzed-about projects.
“Game of Thrones” spinoff
There’s no certainty yet that a series related to the juggernaut fantasy drama will come to fruition, but Bloys notes that author George R.R. Martin, creator of the “Thrones” universe, has plenty of source material at the ready in terms of prequels and other story threads explored in the book series.
- Cynthia Littleton
4 items from 2017
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