Hasan Minhaj, Ben Platt Are Among Creatives on Variety’s New Leaders 2019
By Variety Staff LOS ANGELES (Variety) – Every year, Variety seeks to identify the next generation of leaders in the entertainment business, looking for representatives in the creative community, film, TV, music and digital. This year’s group has a heavy New York focus: We selected executives from forward thinking companies such as Spotify, Group Nine and Endeavor Audio, as well as writers and producers in late night comedy, plus agents and managers who help put the deals together that keep the entertainment business humming. COMEDIAN, 34 “The Daily Show” alum isn’t afraid to say something that’s going to tick people off, but also might make them laugh a little bit. Minhaj, who has already won two Peabody awards, brings a global perspective to “Patriot Act,” his weekly Netflix series. “We’re living in a time where art is starting to reflect the reality of the country,” Minhaj says. “A lot of unheard voices are now getting an opportunity to be heard, and I think it’s so cool that institutions like ‘The Daily Show’ and other late-night shows have all of these amazing, different voices that we would not have heard from 10 years ago.” ACTOR, 26 Only an Oscar away from EGOT status, Platt has already established himself as a force in Hollywood. After earning acclaim for his Broadway run of “Dear Evan Hansen,” he successfully transitioned to the world of Netflix, where he executive produced and starred in this fall’s “The Politician” for Ryan Murphy and Co. “Ryan had faith in my ability even before I had faith in myself. He sees things in me before I see them. And one of them was the ability to have a seat at the table creatively and feel some sort of ownership over the show.” AMBER RUFFIN WRITER, “LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS,” 40 Ruffin became the first African-American woman to write for a late-night network talk show when she joined “Late Night With Seth Meyers” in 2014, and she regularly appears on camera in recurring bits called “Amber Says What?” and “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell.” “News will drop at 10 a.m. and [fellow writer] Jenny Hagel and I will have something ready to read by 11 a.m.,” Ruffin says. “It’s the two of us sitting shoulder to shoulder passing the keyboard back and forth as fast as we can.” “The Amber Ruffin Show” is in the works for NBC’s Peacock streaming platform, and she feels “insanely proud” of her side gig: writing musicals. Those include “King of Kong,” “Bigfoot” and new material for “The Wiz!” FEATURED PLAYER, “SNL,” 29 Yang moved in front of the camera this season on “Saturday Night Live,” becoming the first Chinese-American cast member in its long history and making headlines for portraying China’s Trade Daddy and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Previously one of the writers behind the scenes, he cites former “SNL” writers-turned-performers James Anderson and Paula Pell as the partial inspiration for his career path. “My only plan coming in as a writer was to have this engineer/tourist’s fascination with how the show works,” Yang says. “I’m still very much in that information-gathering mode, and I hope I can stay in that for as long as I can.”
Pidgin perfect: Slang spreads message for Nigeria's 'opera queen'
By Nneka Chile LAGOS (Reuters) – Dressed in a bright red and blue robe and backed by a local band with an eclectic range of instruments, Helen Epega beats a steel drum as she declaims dramatically to an unseen audience. The opera she composed and is performing in a Lagos theatre is an unusual, trance-like mix of classical and indigenous music – but what makes it unique is that she is singing in pidgin. By writing it in West Africa’s lingua franca – a blend of English and indigenous languages – she hopes to spread its message as widely as possible. “I just wasn’t able to communicate with people the way I wanted to, and being in Lagos you hear so many different languages and so many different tribes,” Epega told Reuters TV. “But the one we all speak is pidgin…. I think more people will be able to understand the opera and feel less intimidated …because I think opera is for everyone.” Nigerian-born Epega, 38, spent most of her formative years in Britain before returning home in 2008. Her ‘Song Queen: A Pidgin Opera’ – for which she cites Fela Kuti and Katie Bush as musical influences – debuted in London’s Royal Opera House in 2015, where she added elements of Cockney slang to the libretto. It transferred to Cape Town the following year and now she is performing it for the first time in her home country. It tells of a family of ethereal singers who try to maintain peace and balance in the world’s realms through their songs. “I want to create an identity through art that inspires pride…,” she said. “I really do believe that music can end all wars.” (Writing by John Stonestreet; reporting and editing by Nneka Chile)
Busbee Gets Posthumous CMA Award; Maren Morris Calls Album Win ‘Bittersweet’
By Chris Willman LOS ANGELES (Variety) – The late producer-songwriter Busbee won his first CMA Award Wednesday night, as the primary producer of Maren Morris’ sophomore release, “Girl,” which picked up album of the year at the ceremony. , who died Sept. 29 at age 43, was saluted in the telecast first by Blake Shelton and then, later and more emotionally, by Morris, who continued to memorialize her mentor backstage. “I kind of blacked out during my speech on stage,” Morris admitted in the press room. “But I definitely wanted to make sure that respect was paid to Busbee. You know, we had been nominated for this before, a couple yeaars ago with my album ‘Hero,’ and we didn’t win that year, but we just had the best time going as first-time nominees. And tonight is bittersweet. But more sweet than bitter.” Earlier, accepting for album of the year, Morris teared up and said, “I would be really remiss if I didn’t mention a huge facet of why the album sounds the way it does… and we miss him so dearly.” Busbee, aka Michael James Ryan Busbee, was represented at the CMAs by his wife, Jessie Busbee, who came backstage to pose for photographers holding her husband’s trophy. Shelton was first to give the beloved figure in the pop and country communities a shout-out during the evening. “I don’t know how this is gonna go this year,” Shelton said while accepting single of the year, possibly referring to not knowing whether any in memoriam was scheduled or not, “but I want to dedicate this to Busbee and Earl Thomas Conley that we lost this year.” Shelton had done the song “Every Goodbye” with Busbee in 2016, but Conley was one of his personal heroes. Busbee was also remembered the previous night at the BMI Country Awards by BMI president/CEO Mike O’Neill, who said, “Tonight we remember and lift up our friend. And I’m so happy that Busbee’s wife Jess is with us tonight.” Of the 14 songs on the winning album, “Girl,” Busbee co-produced 11 with Morris (with the other three produced by Greg Kurstin, who was on hand at the Bridgestone Arena to pick up his trophy). He coproduced 10 out of 11 songs on her debut, “Hero,” and cowrote the singer’s breakthrough songs “My Church” and “80s Mercedes.” Busbee was known at least as much for his work in the pop field as in country, with credits that included the Backstreet Boys, Pink, Adam Lambert, Daughtry, Shakira, Kelly Clarkson and Haley Reinhart as well as Lady Antebellum (“Our Kind of Love, “You Look Good”), Florida Georgia Line (“H.O.L.Y.”), Garth Brooks and Jason Aldean. Morris was not his only triumph in helping get women back on country radio: “Every Little Thing,” a song he coproduced and cowrote with Carly Pearce, became her first No. 1 single. One of his biggest hits was “The Fighter,” a duet between Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. Busbee resided primarily in L.A. but spent a great deal of time in Nashville. After his death, Variety published a mostly previously unseen interview with the producer (“Busbee, In His Own Words: The Late Producer on Why He Fell in Love With Nashville”) , in which he talked about his love for Nashville and the people there. “Nashville is a very tight community, and I’ve been embraced as an outsider,” he said. “I’m very, very grateful to have been embraced by this world. You know, they didn’t have to do that.” Busbee passed away after only recently being diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer.
Bob Iger Joins MasterClass Roster for Course on Business Strategy and Leadership
By Variety Staff LOS ANGELES (Variety) – Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has signed on to the MasterClass digital education service, offering a course in business strategy and leadership. The course, available as of Thursday, will detail Iger’s view on the importance of taking bold steps and embracing mistakes in business. Iger also promises to dig into “case studies” of some of Disney’s big acquisitions of his tenure. “I’ve had some great teachers and have learned many lessons,” said Iger. “With my MasterClass, I want to give back and impart what I’ve learned throughout my career. I’ll share insights into a number of things, including how Disney — and our great brands — operate, core leadership attributes, managing creativity and creative processes, creating a strategy and taking big risks.” Iger’s MasterClass comes on the heels of the publication of his best-selling management strategy book “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company.” “Bob is one of the best CEOs in the world. He’s a master strategist and leads with the utmost integrity,” said David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass. “If you want to lead or understand how the best do, you have to take this class. In addition to the practical lessons, Bobs explains the strategy behind Disney’s most momentous initiatives, from the Pixar and Marvel acquisitions to building Disney Plus.” Iger is expected to step down as Disney chief at the end of 2021.
Netflix Makes Move Into Nordic Film With Danish, Norwegian, Swedish Projects
By Stewart Clarke LOS ANGELES (Variety) – Netflix is moving into original movies in the Nordic region for the first time. Action thriller “Red Dot” out of Sweden, and “Cadaver” from Norway were announced as Films at the Stockholm Film Festival on Thursday. The streaming giant also announced that it had scooped the global rights to Danish feature film “Shadows in My Eyes.” The news comes hot on the heels of Netflix partnering with local players on its first Dutch movie, “The Battle of the Scheldt,” as the SVOD giant goes deeper into original film in Europe. “We are very happy to be taking this exciting step in offering our members in the Nordics more local content, as well as bring more great content from the Nordic region to our global members,” said Lina Brouneus, director of licensing and co-productions for Netflix in Northern Europe. SF Studios-produced “Red Dot” is an action thriller following David and Nadja, a couple in their late 20s with marital problems. When Nadja becomes pregnant, they make an attempt to rekindle their relationship by traveling to the north of Sweden for a hiking trip. After a quarrel with two local hunters, their romantic trip turns into a nightmare when a red laser dot appears in their tent, and they are forced to flee into the wilderness. Alain Darborg is directing. He also serves as the scriptwriter along with Per Dickson. “” is a horror movie exploring how far people are willing to go to survive. In the aftermath of a nuclear disaster, Leonora, Jacob and their daughter, Alice, are on the edge of survival. One day, the local hotel invites survivors to attend a play, which takes an eerie turn when audience members start to disappear. Motion Blur Films produces. Jarand Herdal is the writer and director. -distributed “Shadows in My Eyes” will have a theatrical release in Denmark and go out on Netflix in the U.S. and rest of the world. The Miso Film-produced feature tells the story behind the British Royal Air Force’s accidental and catastrophic bombing of the French school in 1945 Copenhagen. Ole Bornedal writes and directs. “These three films are all unique in their own way: strong genre films with engaging plot lines that are driven by talented creatives,” Brouneus said. “Together they form a strong package of different genres which will showcase the versatility and high quality of Nordic movies.”
How ‘Lady and the Tramp’ Remake Solved Its ‘Siamese Cat Song’ Problem
By Jon Burlingame LOS ANGELES (Variety) – Janelle Monáe sings two songs, including the classic “He’s a Tramp,” in the live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” among the most talked-about of the new offerings on the Disney Plus streaming service. But the biggest challenge for her writing and producing team, Nate “Rocket” Wonder and Roman GianArthur of Wondaland Productions, turned out to be the replacement for the discarded “Siamese Cat Song” that was deemed inappropriate for its perceived racist overtones. The new song, “What a Shame,” is still sung by a pair of obnoxious Siamese cats who tear apart the family living room, but instead of faux-Asian sounds and “we are Siamese if you please” lyrics, Wonder and GianArthur reimagined the pair as would-be interior decorators who have their way while the owners are out. “The song went through quite a few iterations,” says Wonder. “It needed to be funny and fun, and the cats needed to be cheeky. We took on the challenge gingerly.” They visited the Archives in Burbank, Calif., where they were able to examine the manuscripts of the original Peggy Lee-Sonny Burke song. “When we saw the development, the process that it went through, we thought, we’ll get there,” Wonder adds. “We knew we were on the right track when we started laughing while we were trying to record it. We were cracking each other up. A lot of it didn’t make it into the final song, but we knew it was funny enough to send along [to the filmmakers].” “We had to figure out how to get the irony in there,” adds GianArthur. “That’s one thing we tried to protect from the original. These cats never acknowledge Lady. We thought, maybe they’re interior decorators, and once we had that we really started laughing.” They ended up singing the song in the film, but that was not the original intent, GianArthur reveals. In their early demos, the voices were female, but “when we did it, it just landed,” he says. They delivered a demo with male voices and Disney executives asked who the singers were. “Well, that’s us,” Wonder — who is allergic to cats — conceded. The result is one of the funniest scenes in the film, two and a half minutes of sheer destruction accompanied by clever lyrics (“That’s what i would call feng shui / Stand back, doggie, give us room to play”) and a decidedly dismissive attitude on the part of the writer-performers. They were on the film for a year and a half, also writing the end-title song “That’s Enough,” which Monáe sings, and reconceiving “He’s a Tramp” for her. Monáe “has an amazing jazz voice,” Wonder notes, and the film’s 1910 New Orleans setting suggested, in GianArthur’s words, “a Dixieland vibe.” Peggy Lee’s 1955 recording of “He’s a Tramp” is iconic, all acknowledged. Enhancing Monáe’s equally sassy vocal, recorded in Atlanta, was the inspired notion of recording the music track in New Orleans with top musicians, some of whom later flew to Los Angeles to spice up the orchestral score. GianArthur and Wonder came out to L.A. too, and found composer Joseph Trapanese’s recording sessions an emotional experience. “Hearing the orchestra record ‘Bella Notte’ was so magical,” Wonder says. “I cried throughout the session, it was so good.”
Shia LaBeouf and Kristen Stewart Get Candid About Their Insecurities, Fears and Growing Up on Set
By Ramin Setoodeh LOS ANGELES (Variety) – Shia LaBeouf (“Honey Boy”) and Kristen Stewart (“Seberg”) sat down for a chat for “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.” For more, click here . wrote and co-stars in “,” his memoir of growing up in Hollywood. His character, based on LaBeouf’s own father, is an alcoholic who steers his son’s acting career and cashes his paychecks. In “,” puts her own memories of movie sets to use, portraying Jean Seberg, the 1960s icon of French New Wave cinema. Shia LaBeouf: Walking in to “Seberg,” you’re a fan of New Wave. I feel like you watch a lot of — Kristen Stewart: No. I had seen “Breathless.” In no way is my cinematic knowledge steeped in New Wave cinema. LaBeouf: What were you into? Stewart: I watched her movies, and I couldn’t understand how we didn’t know more about her. I genuinely felt really protective of this chick that nobody knew, that everybody thought they knew. There was so much about her that was described in dishonest headlines. I wanted to help her out a little bit. LaBeouf: Did you know she was haunted before you walked in? Stewart: Honestly, she’s possessed. When you watch her in a movie, you never know what she’s going to do, and she’s scary. LaBeouf: On set, you’re alone? You’re not leaning on nobody? Stewart: No, I lean on people. LaBeouf: What’s that look like? Do you f–k around in the middle of takes? Do you talk? Stewart: I’m quieter than you. LaBeouf: You’ve got to know the power of your quiet too. Stewart: When I was a kid, I was extremely shy, and not somebody who you would think would want to be an actor. I don’t know how you were as a little kid, because we both did that, and that’s a weird thing to have in common. I had to dig. I was a masochist. I think I’m really talkative now. I talk to f–king everyone now. LaBeouf: I used to walk around with a pen and a pad, almost litigious, like: “Hey, what’s your name? Oh, cool.” Then I’d write it in a little notepad. Stewart: Is it because you want people to like you? LaBeouf: I wanted to seem studious, because I didn’t go to school and I didn’t learn how to do this acting thing. Stewart: I have this chip right here too. LaBeouf: What does it do to you? Stewart: I read a lot. I’m always like, “I didn’t go to school, but …” LaBeouf: If you get around a guy like [Anthony] Mackie [a co-star of “Seberg”] who’s gone to school, he’s got technique. Those people make me very scared. Stewart: Why? LaBeouf: I feel judged, like I’m an outsider. If my knitting needle breaks, I don’t have a f–king knitting needle. Guys like that, their knitting needle breaks, and they’re, like, “Let me go in the kitchen and I’ll whip something together and I’ll come back and I’ll knit this sock for you.” Stewart: Right. I just watched “Honey Boy.” I literally cannot believe you did that. LaBeouf: That’s a co-sign, ladies and gentlemen. Stewart: How long did it take you to come to terms with every day? Obviously, it’s a very personal story. We all try to put our own stuff in stuff, but this is actually your own stuff. LaBeouf: I had a squad. I was loved on hard. I was leaning on people hard. It was super intimate. We maybe had six people around the camera. Stewart: Who directed it? LaBeouf: A woman named Alma Har’el, who is just a straight G. Stewart: How much do you feel like you were doing an impression versus actually feeling like you could be versions of that person who is your dad? LaBeouf: My dad blew his nostrils out. I would just keep plugs in all day, which was disgusting. Stewart: In your nose? That’s gross. LaBeouf: The first couple of days, I was taking plugs out, putting them back in, taking them out. That started f–king with me, because every time the sound would start up again, I’d be, like, “You’re a clown.” Later in the shoot, we just kept them in and I started losing myself a little bit. How long was your shoot? Stewart: Six weeks. A lot of daytime, so we couldn’t shoot that long. LaBeouf: You stay in it? Stewart: No. I’m hugely relieved every time something is done, and I just run away from set. Time management is such a huge thing with the job. Just the anxiety of not being in control of time is really maddening for me. I can’t sustain stuff, because I just waste it. If I expend something, if something trickles out the wrong time, I am despondently unhappy because I’m, like, “Well, that was just for nothing.” LaBeouf: Yeah. I know what you’re talking about. Stewart: I have dreams about it. That’s my work anxiety dream. That all the timing is wrong, or they’re not rolling. LaBeouf: You shot on film or digital? Because there is a huge difference in time management. Stewart: We shot on film. LaBeouf: Ouch. I can’t stand working on film anymore, because digital they just leave it going. Stewart: Do you just go forever? LaBeouf: I prefer that. I prefer to just let it run, f–k around, play around and then fall in. Stewart: I read this script recently that is so precise, and I want to do it really badly, but it scares me because I’m not very precise. LaBeouf: You’re definitely going to do it. Stewart: Yeah. I think when I watch you in movies, it’s scary. The same way I was talking about Jean: I have no idea what’s going to happen. Do you prepare a lot? LaBeouf: Yes. I have no directorial mind. I can’t zoom out. I’m just starting to be a better team player. I’m super obsessed with this one little thing that I have to focus on. I feel like my body has better ideas than my head. I prep really hard, and then it’s almost like dance. I feel like my instinct is better than my ideas, so I try to just not think so much. What does acting give you that the rest of life doesn’t? Stewart: It’s definitely my initial impulse to want to be close to story-telling, and the circus of it. Even when I read a book, I read out loud. I want to indulge in the thing as much as I can, because there’s something in there that I’m needing. The coolest thing about doing it on set is that you get to do it in the most together way I’ve ever been made to feel. My family is great, but I’ve never felt closer to people, bridging those gaps, than through making movies. What about you? LaBeouf: I think definitely the most intimate moments of my life happened on set. Stewart: It sounds really f–ked up, but it’s not at all. It’s beautiful. LaBeouf: I think I’m deeply dissatisfied with life. Stewart: But this is your life. LaBeouf: Exactly. This is where things get tricky for me. It isn’t my whole life. I have to get OK with that. It’s usually where things go awry for me is when I’m not on a set. Life gets hard. Stewart: Do you do anything else? LaBeouf: This is what I’m trying to develop, trying to grow. Stewart: Take a pottery class. LaBeouf: Maybe I will. I won’t like pottery in life. But I will love pottery on set. I don’t like ice cream in life. But if you give me ice cream on a set, I f–king love ice cream. I think that’s what this does for me. It makes me love things. This job feels like the conduit for love for me. I hold it that sacred. Stewart: I feel you. LaBeouf: Speaking of love, do you lead with love on a set or do you lead with fear? Stewart: Love all the way. I don’t want anyone to be scared ever. I definitely don’t like the fear/intimidation thing. LaBeouf: Even from a director, though, do you have any scars? Stewart: No. I’ve worked with wonderful, lovely, talented people, and then some people that weren’t so talented, that were not very nice. I can only do what I can do. I’m trying to think. One dude made me cry on set one day, on the first day of a movie, but that was the last second that I cared about him anymore. I just was like, “I’m alone and you’re terrible.” He made a bad movie. LaBeouf: This wasn’t to affect a scene? This was just being a dick? Stewart: I think so. Who knows. What about you? Do you like being afraid on set, and have you worked with people that have made you feel that way? LaBeouf: Definitely, yeah. But like you, I don’t like it. Do you believe in talent? Stewart: I don’t know. Do we mean the same thing? LaBeouf: Do you consider yourself one of the talented? Stewart: I consider myself extremely impulsive and compulsive. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. When people are really proud of their work, I’m like, “Sure, you made it possible for this to occur, I guess. You kind of stood in the right place.” LaBeouf: Like having a butter- fly land on your shoulder or something.
Rebooted Cairo Film Festival Shifts Into Higher Gear
By Nick Vivarelli LOS ANGELES (Variety) – The Cairo Film Festival, which is the grand dame of the Arab world’s cinema shindigs, looks set for a watershed edition, its second headed by producer Mohamed Hefzy whose reboot effort is coming into full swing. Besides the Middle East launch of Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” which is Cairo’s opener, Hefzy and his team have secured roughly 25 international bows and several world premieres. They’ve lured top talents such as Oscar-winning U.S. writer/director Stephen Gaghan (“Syriana”) who is presiding over the main jury, as well as Terry Gilliam and Guillermo Arriaga. Industry execs making the trek include AGC Studios topper Stuart Ford, AMC Networks’ VP of productions Kristin Jones, and Netflix director of international originals Ahmed Sharkawi, just as TV becomes an integral part of the fest’s market component. Launched in 1976, amid the Egyptian film industry’s golden age, the Cairo fest soon soared but more recently lost luster due to the country’s political turbulence. Hefzy, who is Cairo’s first president chosen from within the country’s film industry ranks, took charge in 2018 setting it on a new course that last year started to bear fruit. This year for Cairo’s 41st edition – which will run Nov. 20-29 – Hefzy’s multi-pronged vision has attained sharper focus just as his goal for the event to boost Egypt’s role as the MENA region’s main industry hub also seems to be gaining more traction. “Cairo is really trying to be a big festival in that it not only shows lots of films, but it is also a big industry festival,” says Hefzy, noting that from an industry standpoint the Egyptian capital has always been more prominent than Dubai, which before its sudden shuttering last year had for a spell taken away Cairo mantle as the region’s top festival and market. In terms of the lineup – which Hefzy slimmed-down and reconfigured – what stands out is the push made by Hefzy and Cairo artistic director Ahmed Shawky to go beyond just showing the cream of the festival circuit crop. Instead, they sought out “as many quality premieres as possible” aided by a new programming team that tracks titles around the world and has made Cairo much less Eurocentric. They’ve secured several world premieres such as Palestinian director Najwa Najjar’s divorce amid diaspora drama “Between Heaven and Earth”; the latest feature from Romanian auteur Andrei Gruzsniczk (“The Escape”), titled “Zavera”; and Colombian helmer David David’s “The Border,” a drama that’s won several work-in-progress prizes about a pregnant indigenous woman living on the Colombian-Venezuelan border who is forced to fend for herself when her husband and her brother are killed. Both Hefzy and Shawky are particularly proud that Arab films got more representation this year across various sections, including three titles in the international competition where, besides “Heaven and Earth” and Lebanese helmer Ahmad Ghossein’s “All This Victory” (which won a prize in Venice), a berth was scored, probably for the first time in the fest’s history, by a doc titled “Let’s Talk” (pictured) that is also the only Egyptian pic in that section. Directed by Marianne Khoury, “Let’s Talk” interweaves a treasure trove of archive material with cinematic conversations between four women from different generations in the family of late great Egyptian master Youssef Chahine, Arab cinema’s leading light for over half a century, who was the director’s uncle. It’s a family in which life and movies are closely intertwined. Significantly in October Cairo became the first film event in the Arab world to sign the 5050by2020 gender equality pledge. The main competition also comprises the international bow of “The Fourth Wall” by Chinese directorial duo Zhang Chong and Zhang Bo, following its world premiere in Shanghai, one of three Chinese titles in the official selection, which attests to Cairo’s close ties with China. A Focus section devoted to Mexico and its film industry will see prominent Mexican new wave helmers Carlos Reygadas, Michel Franco and Gabriel Ripstein come to Cairo, the idea being, Hefzy says, that they can help stimulate a similarly vibrant indie film scene in Egypt.
Why Shia LaBeouf Is Only Happy While Acting: ‘When I’m Not on a Set, Life Gets Hard’
By LaTesha Harris LOS ANGELES (Variety) – Shia LaBeouf (“Honey Boy”) believes that acting is a conduit for love. LaBeouf explained what his profession does for his happiness to Kristen Stewart (“Seberg”) during a conversation for “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.” “The most intimate moments of my whole life happened on set,” LaBeouf said. “I don’t know if there’s anything more intimate than creating something with somebody. I think I’m deeply dissatisfied in life.” “Yeah, but, this is your life,” Stewart said. “Exactly. This is where things get tricky for me, it isn’t my whole life. I have to get okay with that. That’s usually where things go awry for me. When I’m not on a set, life gets hard.” “Do you do anything else?” “No, this is why I’m trying to develop. Trying to grow.” “Take a pottery class. Like people in existential crisis, ‘dude, just take a pottery class about it.’” “Maybe I will. I won’t like pottery in life, but I will love pottery on set. Like I don’t like ice cream in life, but if you give me ice cream on a set, I f—ing love ice cream. I think that’s what [acting] does for me. It makes me love things. It feels like the conduit for love to me. I hold it that sacred.” When posed with the same question in the beginning of the interview, Stewart said: “If you have a conversation with someone or if you read something that somebody has externalized because they needed to get it out and look at it, the most indulgent way to consume and possess a narrative is by literally doing it,” Stewart said. “I’ve never done anything without it feeling like it’s a part of my life, that those memories are mine, that they’re things I experience, not just scenes that I was pretending to do and stories I was servicing.” Variety‘s Actors on Actors issue is on newsstands now. The Emmy-nominated companion series will air on PBS stations and the World Channel starting in January. Check back for more from LaBeouf, Stewart and the other best actors from this year’s film season. Watch the full interview below:
Amazon Lands ‘Knives Out,’ ‘Rambo: Last Blood’ for U.K. as Part of Lionsgate Output Deal
By Stewart Clarke LOS ANGELES (Variety) – Rambo, David Copperfield, and Daniel Craig are coming to Amazon Prime Video in the U.K. after the streamer struck an output deal with U.S. studio Lionsgate. The agreement hands U.K. streaming rights to ’s theatrical titles, meaning the likes of Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out,” Gerard Butler -starrer “Angel Has Fallen,” London Film Festival opener “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” World War II pic “Midway,” and Sylvester Stallone’s “ Rambo: Last Blood ” will be on the SVOD service. The multiyear deal covers titles from Lionsgate’s upcoming theatrical slate and kicks in at the beginning of 2020. Projects in the works at the studio include a biopic about Sally Ride , the first American woman in space. Jill Soloway, creator of Amazon hit series “Transparent,” is attached to develop and direct. “We’re excited to be bringing Lionsgate’s slate of compelling movies to Prime Video,” said Martin Backlund, head of content for Prime Video in the U.K. “Our customers will be delighted that Lionsgate’s Hollywood and British blockbuster movies are coming to Prime Video.” “It is a great new collaboration with an important content partner in the worldwide arena, underscoring the breadth and depth of the Lionsgate slate,” added Jim Packer, the studio’s president of worldwide television and digital distribution. Lionsgate beat analyst forecasts with its latest quarterly results last week, citing strong contributions from theatrical releases “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” “Angel Has Fallen” and “.” In the U.S. it recently inked movie deals with Hulu and FX. The Amazon U.K. deal was negotiated on behalf of Lionsgate by president of international television and digital distribution Agapy Kapouranis, SVP and head of EMEA television sales Nicky Wood, and VP of U.K., Turkey and Greece television sales Nazneen Sethi.