17 items from 2016
When Hugh Laurie was first offered the part of Dr. Eldon Chance he thought oh no, not again. After playing the iconic, misanthropic Dr. House on “House” for eight seasons, Laurie said he believed his previous role “disqualified” him from the role.
“But that didn’t last very long because the world of it, the tone of it, the character is so different that I actually put that aside,” Laurie told Variety at the premiere for “Chance” at the Harmony Gold theater on Monday night.
Laurie was joined on the black carpet by several of his co-stars as they posed for photos and greeted each other enthusiastically.
“I’m so sorry to interrupt, I had to do that, we can’t just go down (the carpet) without saying hello,” Laurie said about his co-star, Gretchen Mol, mid-interview apologetically after kissing her on the cheek.
Mol’s character on the show is Jaclyn Blackstone, a »
- Will Thorne
This week, Hugh Laurie returns to television in an hour-long drama series that centers on a tormented doctor whose one-syllable last name also happens to be the title of the show.
And that’s pretty much where the House parallels begin and end.
In the noir-ish thriller Chance, which debuts Wednesday on Hulu, the actor best known as Dr. Gregory House plays Dr. Eldon Chance, a mild-mannered(!) and compassionate(!!) neuropsychiatrist who gets sucked into a violent and dangerous world of mistaken identity, police corruption and mental illness while grappling with his own existential crisis.
In the following Q&A, Laurie praisaes Chance‘s quiet, »
Welcome back to Tune In: our new weekly newsletter, offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV.
Each week, Variety’s TV team will be combing through the week’s TV schedule, selecting our picks. We’ll tell readers what to watch and when/how to watch it. This week, “The Walking Dead” makes its highly-anticipated return, plus a familiar TV face makes his way to a brand new streaming series.
“Chance,” Hulu, Wednesday
Hugh Laurie is a TV doctor yet again in Hulu’s new drama, in which the “House M.D.” star plays Eldon Chance, a neuropsychiatrist whose practice puts him in touch with patients dealing with mental illness and traumatic brain injuries. Though Variety critic Maureen Ryan is not a fan of the series, Laurie’s star-power may be reason enough to check out “Chance” for yourself — especially because it’ll run for at least two seasons.
- Variety Staff
We just can't wait! A brand-spanking new version of The Lion King is officially on the horizon. On Wednesday, Walt Disney Studios announced that the beloved 1994 animated film will be reimagined as a live-action (meaning CGI-filled) adventure lead by The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau. "The Lion King builds on Disney's success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book," Disney said in a statement. "The upcoming Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King »
- Lydia Price, @lydsprice
We just can't wait! A brand spanking new version of The Lion King is officially on the horizon. On Wednesday, Walt Disney Studios announced that the beloved 1994 animated film will be reimagined as a live-action (meaning CGI-filled) adventure lead by The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau. "The Lion King builds on Disney's success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book," Disney said in a statement. "The upcoming Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Like Beauty and the Beast, »
- Lydia Price, @lydsprice
With the Emmy awards imminent, our TV critics have strong opinions about who should take home the top prizes. Naturally, they don’t always agree. The question is: will voters agree with Team Ryan or Team Saraiya? (Play along with them: Our full list of nominees is here.)
Outstanding Comedy Series
Sonia Saraiya: It was such a great year for comedy — I’d happily give it to any of the nominees (except “Modern Family,” because come on). But even against the fellow sophomore seasons of “Transparent” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” both of which made me sob, “Black-ish” has an energy and appeal that so deserves recognition.
Maureen Ryan: You’ll get no argument from me. “Black-ish” solidified its status as one of TV’s funniest, most nimble and best-acted comedies in its second season. You’re absolutely right that this is a tough category: “Kimmy Schmidt,” “Transparent” and “Silicon Valley” all improved on their solid first seasons »
- Sonia Saraiya and Maureen Ryan
Now in its fourth edition, the International Project Discovery Forum (Ipdf), Los Angeles Greek Film Festival’s Industry Section and development workshop will present six impressive new projects by filmmakers from the Balkans and the Middle East region.
Ipdf Director Araceli Lemos, in talking about this year’s selections remarks,"For this edition,we chose projects which are bold, diverse and thoughtprovoking. We are excited to meet all the filmmakers in person and work with them."
The 2016 Ipdf projects are from both new and established filmmakers. They are Alexis Alexiou's (“Wednesday 4:45”) third feature project "As Long As You Bleed." Vassilis Katsoupis and producer Giorgos Karnavas present "Inside," Katsoupis'debut fiction feature. His documentary “My Friends Larry Gus” is screening on Friday, June 3rd.Karnavas is a prominent Greek producer, whose previous work “The Eternal Paraskevas of Antonis Paraskevas” and “Boy Eating Bird’s Food” were worldwide festival favorites and screened in past editions of Lagff.
Sol Goodman,an American producer with projects in the Middle East and NorthAfrica, will present "The Taste of Apples is Red," a Syrian film by Ehab Tarabieh.
Three debut features will also be pitched: from Turkey, Nazlı Elif Durlu andand her producer Anna Maria Aslanoglu present
"Zuhal." From Greece's Harris Raftogiannis,comes "The River," and Serbia’s Stefan Malešević will offer up "Usud."
A four member jury of entertainment professionals will decide the winning project after hearing the final pitches on Sunday, June 5th. The 2016 Ipdf Jury member sare producer at Gunpowder & Sky, David Harris, Rebecca Katz from the Creative Producing Initiative of the Sundance Institute; Participant Media’s Ioanna Varikos, and producer and cofounder of Extraordinary Renditions, Kelly Thomas (“Spa Night”).
The winnersof the competition will receive the Aegean Award and a scholarship to attend the Mfi Script2Pitch Workshops during the Orpheus Award Ceremony on Closing Night, June 5th.
Before the Jury pitch, each filmmaker will receive group training and one-on-one meetingswith a diverse group of professionals sharing expertise in financing, directing, writing, producing, marketing and distribution. This year's experts include: K Street Pictures' president Charles Agron; writer/producer David Ariniello (“Arcadia Lost”), acclaimed director and cinematographer Steven Bernstein (“Decoding Annie Parker”), cofounder of L.A.based La Panda Productions Pau Brunet, director of creative initiatives for technology leader Bittorrent Missy Laney, film festival programmer and strategist Kathleen McInnis, manager for the feature film program’s international work at Sundance Institute Matthew Takata, and writer/Producer of the award-winning “Innocent Voices” (Voces Inocentes), Oscar Torres.
"We strive to change and grow every year, looking at what is happening in the independent film world around us, and pair our filmmakers with the best experts that can help them. Not only with these projects but for their careers as independent filmmakers," adds Ipdf ProducerGiulia Caruso.
The Ipdf Industry Events, free and open to the public, take place on Saturday, June 4.
At 12:30 p.m. the Writing for Diversity in TV panel will take place. During this group session esteemed television writers, and personalities discuss and share their experiences, challenges and efforts to promote diversity on TV – both within the writer’s room and the characters they create. Panelists are; writers Aida Croal ("Luke Cage"), Julia Fontana ("Lucifer"), Maikiko James from the newly launched Women In Film's Women Writing Lab, musician/ writer Our Lady J ("Transparent"), producer Benoni Tagoe ("Awkward Black Girl") and director/ producer Greg Yaitanes ("Banshee," "House M.D.").
At 3:00 p.m. How a Director Finds Her Characters presented by writer/director Athina Tsangari. Tsangari, one of the principal instigators of the New Greek Wave, offers a unique Masterclass on directing. Her latest awardwinning feature "Chevalier" is screening at the festival on Thursday, June 2. The masterclass will be moderated by film critic Carlos Aguilar, who has written for outlets such as Indiewire, MovieMaker Magazine, and Variety Latino.
"Every year we are amazed at the variety and quality of projects that filmmakers submit for consideration to Ipdf. It's a complicated selection process, and we always struggle to let some great projects go. To best serve the participants and their projects, we select only six films from the hundreds we receive each year.," notes Lemos.
For more information on the Ipdf projects and filmmakers go to http://lagff.org/festival/internationalprojectdiscoveryforum
The International Project Discovery Forum is the industry program of Los Angeles Greek Film Festival
The International Project Discovery Forum is a Los Angeles pioneer in the promotion of international independent film development and coproduction. Utilizing the innumerable resources that exist in Los Angeles, the festival aims to create a bridge between two very different worlds – the American Independent Film and the Greek/Balkan Independent Film.
They look for films that have an original approach, made by independent producers and filmmakers that have a unique voice. The stage of development of the selected projects varies from inspiring and promising scripts in an early stage, which they want to nurture through their journey, to more advanced projects in the financing stage that they connect with producers, distributors, sales agents and programmers that can actively support the film. The festival wants to create a circle of collaborators who share the same vision – a network of creative professionals from Greece, the Balkans and the Us that share the same idea of how they want to make films.
Besides their open call for entries, they look for projects in other industry forums in the Balkan region such as Thessaloniki Iff’s Crossroads, Sofia Meetings, Mfi Script Workshop.
The Forum includes a development lab only for Ipdf selected Filmmakers and a series of roundtables that are free and open to the public.
The goal is not only to promote Greek and Balkan filmmakers by helping strong, local stories with international appeal get told, but they also want to create an occasion for a true and lively exchange between European and American cinema. The forum provide a venue where dialogue is encouraged and creative collaborations are formed »
- Carlos Aguilar
“Do you think those dragons like me? Or were they just using me?”A quick preview of the next Game of Thrones episode, complete with photos and some Maester-like speculation work.
After last Sunday night’s episode, “Home,” Game of Thrones fans are flying high. For many, it’s because we were all right about that thing. For others, it’s the sheer joy of a season that is delivering a lot of payoff.
For more on that episode, read my weekly Game of Thrones Explained column.
We can now turn our attention to the next episode, “Oathbreaker,” which is written by showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff. It is directed by newcomer Dan Sackheim, best known for his work as a producer and director on shows like The Americans, The Walking Dead and House M.D. As per usual, the official synopsis isn’t giving us much: “Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) meets her future. Bran »
- Neil Miller
Night manager of a wealthy hotel in Cairo, charming ex-Special Forces veteran Jonathan Pine is unable to prevent the murder of a woman connected to the secret arms dealings of British philanthropist Richard Roper, a man Pine swears to bring down…
Have you ever wondered what a small-screen adaptation of Ian Fleming’s James Bond may look like? If the answer is yes, then look no further than The Night Manager, because it might well be as close as the BBC have ever got.
Adapted from the 1993 novel by the grand master of spy fiction, John le Carre, The Night Manager–which begins on AMC in the Us next Tuesday the 19th–very quickly expands beyond the rather bland title. That’s very much the point, almost a misdirection from le Carre, »
- Tony Black
Sunday night sees the final instalment of the six-part BBC serial, The Night Manager, hit our screens. Starring Hollywood’s very own Tom Hiddleston in a return to British TV the adaption of John Le Carre’s novel costs an estimated £3 million plus per episode! Where on earth did that money go?
As with anything big budget production looking to make a splash – casting is key! Tom Hiddleston has had a great run in Hollywood over the last 5 years since winning the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2011. With his roles as Loki in the various Thor or Avengers films and other notable outings he brings an audience and no doubt commands a high fee. There’s nothing wrong with that – he’s worked hard to build his reputation and to get his fee to a good number. It’s great to see him starring in a BBC drama. »
- Amie Cranswick
The harsh truth for humanity, and particularly TV watchers, is there’s no ideal man can achieve – merely aspire to. Even the most acclaimed series have their share of misfires and, as the time passes, they tend to run out of inventiveness and good stories. It often comes around after the fourth or fifth season: Family Guy, Dexter, X-Files, Supernatural, House M.D., and many more are (or were) on air longer than their life span actually allowed.
But does Futurama belong in that category?
It’s undeniable there are few shows, animated or live-action, managing to maintain such consistent quality as Futurama; especially those that have been canceled and revived. But despite the heartfelt masterpieces and solid episodes in the newer seasons, the series didn’t escape the shortcomings of a long TV run. Re-using of plot elements, drifting too far away from its original premise, and resorting to »
- Ilya Matsnev
If you’re looking for the luckiest lady in all the land, her name is Jennifer, and she’s a student in around Hollywood. Jimmy Kimmel sent security guard Guillermo out to Hollywood Boulevard on Wednesday night to find a valentine for guest Channing Tatum. Because, you know, Magic Mike has a really hard time with the women. Jennifer proved game, as she took a (love) seat in-studio and cuddled up with the “Hail, Caesar!” star. The courtship simply involved the actor reading and feeding those gross candy hearts to his sudden snuggle bunny. Also Read: Hugh Laurie's Dr. House »
- Tony Maglio
Jimmy Kimmel sees your Friends reunion and raises you a surprise ER reunion. There's just one problem: the only ER cast member who showed up was George Clooney (Julianna Margulies was busy filming The Good Wife, Noah Wyle had Taco Tuesday night with family, Eriq La Salle had jury duty, Anthony Edwards was at SoulCycle, and Sherry Stringfield couldn't get an Uber). But Clooney wasn't alone on stage, for Kimmel played his patient and Hugh Laurie limped in to assist as Dr. House (albeit missing his trademark stubble). I have a feeling Kimmel added a little surprise to the sketch, based on Clooney and Laurie's reaction to whatever was under the sheet and Laurie's inability to keep it together for most of the rest of it. »
- Sara Morrison
Broadway wants to make a match with its new Dolly Gallagher Levi. Bette Midler is taking on the famed role in the upcoming revival of “Hello, Dolly!,” about a grumpy bachelor’s matchmaker. Telsey + Company is sifting through potential actors for the remaining roles. The show will begin previews March 13, 2017, ahead of an April 20 opening in a yet-to-be-named theater on Broadway. Jerry Zaks will direct the musical that is set to begin rehearsals later this year. Hugh Laurie is ready to step back into his medical scrubs, but this time he’s forgoing the cerebral Dr. House and taking on a literary doctor with a serious case of mistaken identity. “Chance,” Hulu’s new series pickup, will take the veteran actor into the realm of neuropsychiatry in its adaptation of Kem Nunn’s book. The series will follow the dramatic happenings of Eldon Chance as he navigates a divorce, a teenage daughter, »
The coughing, the sores, the antihero — surely, Dr. House, the signs point to lupus! But no, it's not lupus. It's Hulu. Yes, Hulu has made a 20-episode, two-season order for Chance, a drama starring Hugh Laurie as doctor — though this time as a forensic neuropsychiatrist named Eldon Chance. But while House mostly kept to the hospital, Chance, which is based on a novel from Kem Nunn, will take Laurie's doctor into San Francisco's criminal underworld, after "an ill-advised decision involving a patient possibly suffering from multiple personality disorder." Room's Lenny Abrahamson is set to direct a few episodes of the series, so here's to hoping the criminal underworld is a little more palatable than Brie Larson's room. Chance is set to premiere later this year, after the release of Hulu's first two dramas, The Path and 11.22.63. »
- Jackson McHenry
If it’s January, it’s time for television industry insiders to convene in Pasadena, Calif.
The winter Television Critics Association press tour begins its annual two-week stand at the Langham Huntington Hotel Tuesday afternoon with presentations from Espn and indie cablers Ovation, Outdoor Channel and Up. Streaming, cable and broadcast are all slated for later in the schedule, hoping to make an impact with their dizzying lineup of A-list stars and showrunners.
In the Peak TV era, there’s entirely too much information to process amid a non-stop schedule of panels, interviews and parties. But here’s our best guess at the people we won’t want to miss during the cable portion of the tour this week.
- Variety Staff
Just when you thought it was safe to disconnect your DVR, the scripted television landscape again becomes crowded with essential viewing material. With the Television Critics Assoc. winter press tour upon us and kicking off Tuesday from the Langham hotel in Pasadena, Calif., Variety’s TV staff chronicles the programs it’s most looking forward to in 2016.
“American Crime” (ABC): Jan. 6
Coming off of a slew of Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for its freshman season, John Ridley’s dark ABC anthology is back with a new storyline and new characters set among a rattling high school male rape accusation. With strong, fresh cast members (“Falling Skies” alum Connor Jessup playing the victim) and the return of Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton and Regina King in all new roles, the critically acclaimed drama hopes to see bigger ratings than its first run, which garnered rave reviews across the board for »
- Variety Staff
17 items from 2016
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