What's news: Black Panther 2 to start shooting next summer, Deadpool 3 moving forward, another Predator movie, HBO Max picks up game adaptation The Last Of Us, Black Lightning canceled, Harvey Weinstein asks court to pause civil suit. Plus: A review of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and a George Clooney interview. --Alex Weprin
'Black Panther 2' Set To Start Production
➤Marvel Studio’s plans for the sequel to Black Panther are starting to come into focus. The sequel was sidelined after the sudden and unexpected death of star Chadwick Boseman and a planned March 2021 production start was waylaid as filmmaker Ryan Coogler and Marvel tried to navigate grief and the need to move forward. It was the nadir of a year that saw no Marvel movies released for the first time since 2009.
--Black Panther 2 will start shooting in Atlanta in July and last for upwards of six months. Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta, who was one of the stars of Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico, is in talks to play one of the antagonists.
--On the TV front: While Black Panther 2 is receiving special attention, it is the many Disney+ series that are under heavy scrutiny from Kevin Feige and his executives. “The series are the priority,” says one source with knowledge of the company’s strategy. “Ramping them up takes a lot of focus. The movie machinery is well established.” The story.
➤Deadpool 3 is moving forward at Marvel Studios. Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin, known for the animated series Bob's Burgers, are penning a script for the Ryan Reynolds sequel.
--This is the first Marvel Studios project to use characters now available to it following Disney's purchase of 21st Century Fox, which gave Marvel access to mutants (including Deadpool and the X-Men), as well as the Fantastic Four. While it has long been assumed the X-Men — which starred Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender since 2011 — would totally be rebooted, Reynolds and Deadpool had been expected to make the jump to Disney. The story.
In other film news...
+Dan Trachtenberg is in talks to direct the fifth installment in the Predator franchise. 20th Century Studios is behind the series, which began in 1987 and was then led by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Patrick Aison is behind the screenplay for the fifth movie, with the plot is being kept under wraps. 2018's The Predator was the last feature in the franchise and was directed by series creator Shane Black. That movie had a tepid box office return, with $160 million worldwide gross on an $80 million-plus budget. More.
+The team behind the 21 Jump Street movies is getting into the monster movie business. Channing Tatum is set to star in an untitled feature that is described as "a modern day, tongue in cheek thriller" that is inspired by Universal's classic monster features, which will be produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. More.
+Tyler Perry, Melanie Lynskey and Ron Perlman have joined the all-star cast of Adam McKay’s satire, Don’t Look Up. The Netflix feature already has more stars that the Milky Way, with Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Himesh Patel, Timothée Chalamet, Cate Blanchett and Rob Morgan on the call sheet. More.
➤George Clooney on COVID-19, family, and directing and starring in Netflix's Oscar contender The Midnight Sky. The Academy Award winner's seventh film as a director, which drops Dec. 23, stars him as a dying scientist caring for a young child while racing to save mankind, he tells Scott Feinberg.
--"It's a story about trying to communicate and trying to be in touch with one another," Clooney says. "When I read the script I thought, 'Well, this is an issue we have in general because of how polarized we are as a world and how we're having such trouble contacting one another.' And then, when a pandemic hits, it actually is physically impossible to contact one another, to be in each other's space, and everybody is just trying to get home. And so, unfortunately, it's timely." The story.
➤Pandemic risk insurance bill sponsor sends message to Hollywood: "I need your help." With many productions at a standstill due to the lack of pandemic insurance, Rep. Carolyn Maloney says of her bill to help foster that insurance, "My goal is to pass this bill in the first 100 days of the Biden administration and I think we can do that if we get those in the industry to put some skin in the game and go after getting co-sponsors on." The story.
➤Harvey Weinstein asks court to pause civil suit because of severe health issues and risk of incrimination. The jailed producer says his poor health makes giving a deposition nearly impossible and his pending criminal case in L.A. puts him at severe risk of self-incrimination, Ashley Cullins reports. The story.
'The Last of Us' Will make The Jump To TV
➤HBO is pressing play on a series adaptation of The Last of Us. The premium cable outlet has picked up the drama based on the hugely popular video game franchise from Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and the game's writer and creative director, Neil Druckmann. HBO and Sony Pictures TV are producing along with PlayStation Productions, Word Games and game developer Naughty Dog. The story.
In other TV news...
+Alfonso Ribeiro talks Fresh Prince reunion and the slow decline of sitcoms. "Since everybody wanted to be a movie star, they only worked on becoming movie stars — and then sucked when they did a TV sitcom," says the actor, who recently reunited with his colleagues from the '90s hit for an HBO Max special. The interview.
+Black Lightning is coming to an end. The CW on Friday announced that the upcoming fourth season will serve as the final one for the Greg Berlanti-produced DC Comics drama. The story.
+Apple's high-profile Shantaram series is back on track. After production was paused in February amid a delay in scripts, Steven Lightfoot (The Punisher) has signed on to serve as showrunner. He replaces Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle) at the helm of the international drama series. As part of the pact, Lightfoot has also inked a multiple-year overall deal with Apple. More.
+A Wipeout contestant died Wednesday after completing the course for the TBS show. The unidentified male contestant suffered an undisclosed medical emergency on the Santa Clarita set. More.
+NBC has set part of its midseason schedule, which includes Tina Fey's first comedy for the network since 30 Rock and the second season of critical favorite Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. The network will also feature a night of game shows on Mondays, helping bridge the gap between seasons of The Voice, and plug in Canadian drama Nurses behind This Is Us on Tuesdays. More.
➤Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Emmy winner: The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences says that it will give New York's governor the 2020 International Emmy Founders Award "in recognition of his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world."
➤Film review: David Rooney reviews Ma Rainey's Black Bottom for Netflix, writing that the late Chadwick Boseman "pours every ounce of himself, emotionally and physically, into his final performance, breathing tragic grandeur into George C. Wolfe's lovingly made, flawlessly cast film of Wilson's music-infused drama." The review.
➤TV review: Daniel Fienberg reviews FX's Black Narcissus, writing that the miniseries "isn't quite as slavish a reproduction of the classic film from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, but it also isn't different enough to feel like a decisively distinct adaptation of Rumer Godden's novel." The review.
➤Obituary: Charlie Hauck, the "deep and deeply funny" Emmy-nominated writer and producer who went from studying for the priesthood to working on such popular sitcoms as Maude, Frasier and Home Improvement, has died. He was 79...
In other news...
--As state and local officials across the United States report rises in COVID-19 cases in the days ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Fox Corp. is delaying its plan to have most staffers return to work in offices until at least April 2021.
--Hillbilly Elegy supporting actress Glenn Close and the four principal stars of One Night in Miami — Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom, Jr. — will be honored at SFFILM Awards Night.
--David Oyelowo, Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell are set to star in an untitled murder mystery for Searchlight to be directed by Tom George.
--Steve Niles, known as the co-creator of horror franchise 30 Days of Night, and artist and animator Shannon Eric Denton have launched Monster Forge Productions, a new production company focusing on a spectrum of horror properties, ranging from light monster fare for children to full-blown adult scares.
--The Writers Guild of America West sent a note on Friday to its estimated 10,000 members telling them to not work on upcoming projects from producers Randall Emmett and George Furla amid a dispute with the union.
--John Malone on Friday warned traditional TV providers beset by cord-cutting will be hard-pressed to compete with globe-trotting streaming platforms like Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Prime+.
--Jonathan Bennett, Robert Buckley on starring in Hallmark's first LGBTQ+ film: "It's about time."
--Paramount Players has tapped former Overbrook Entertainment executive Clarence Hammond as its senior vp of production.
What else we're reading...
--"In a concession to WarnerMedia, Amazon will remove HBO from Amazon Channels next year" [CNBC]
--"Why we still care about Princess Diana’s 1995 interview with Martin Bashir" [LA Times]
--"TikTok mansions are publicly traded now" [NY Times]
--"How Animaniacs introduced a generation to comedy" [The Ringer]
Today's birthdays: Goldie Hawn, 75, Nikki and Brie Bella, 37, Bjork, 55, Nicollette Sheridan, 57, Michael Strahan, 49.