Lin-Manuel's next stage musical
And remembering William Friedkin
What to know
Lin-Manuel Miranda is turning The Warriors into a stage musical… It’s been 8 years since Hamilton opened, and In The Heights was 7 years prior to that, so it’s about time we learn what LMM’s next show will be. Variety reports specifically that Miranda is adapting the original 1965 Sol Yurick novel The Warriors, about rival gangs in NYC, which provided the basis for the cult favorite 1979 action movie. What’s interesting about this is the novel is grittier than the hyper-stylized film, and per the NY Post, Yurick intended for the book to “rebuke the glossy image of gangs” presented by West Side Story. Will Lin do the same? Offer Broadway a more realistic look at NY gang violence? One that’s juxtaposing his beloved West Side Story? If yes, this could be Miranda’s darkest theater piece yet — and that’s pretty exciting. I was hoping for something more original for LMM’s next big show, but the more I think about this, the more I come around on it. 🎭
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The Exorcist and French Connection director William Friedkin has died at 87… We definitely lost one of the greats today. Friedkin is best known for the aforementioned early blockbusters, but did you know he got his start in the WGN mailroom in Chicago, working his way up to director of more than 2,000 TV episodes and documentaries? He brought that documentary style to features and become known for energetic, cutting edge editing style still felt in thrillers and horror films today. Friedkin’s final film, The Caine Mutiny Court-Marshal, will premiere this month at the Venice film festival. 🎬
Barbie joins the $1B club, while The Meg 2 nears break even in one weekend… Have you heard of this Barbie movie? It’s a pretty big deal. It just crossed the $1B mark after 17 days, as Margot Robbie predicted it would when she first pitched the movie to WB. Hopefully Hollywood takes the right lessons from this (more big women-led franchises, please). Meanwhile, giant shark sequel The Meg 2: The Trench opened to just $30M domestic, but did a big $142M worldwide, which is great considering it cost $130M to make (before marketing costs are added in). 💄🦈
Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture erases mentions of JK Rowling in Potter exhibit… On the one hand, I understand why they did this, but on the other hand we just had a good example of how museums specifically can treat problematic authors, with the Roald Dahl museum acknowledging his racism. Maybe the Museum of Pop Culture can include a statement of some kind addressing Rowling’s statements on trans women, rather than pretending she doesn’t exist? 🤔
Vanessa Kirby is reportedly Sue Storm in Marvel’s Fantastic Four, Joseph Quinn is Johnny Storm… No official announcement yet from Marvel, but this comes from reputable industry journo Jeff Sneider. These are both strong casting choices, but Marvel is going to have to do a lot more than cast buzzy up and comers to get people interested in this — especially considering its recent track record. 4️⃣
Barbie and Oppenheimer will likely compete for multiple Oscars… The latter is obvious, but Barbie could have gone either way. World of Reel is making this statement based on reports that both movies are doing well at Academy screenings. Depending on how the strikes go, the two films might not even have much competition come award season. 🏆
Crayola is planning to get into the entertainment business… Coming soon, a live-action crayon movie? Oh, what Barbie has wrought. 🖍️
Friday meeting between WGA and AMPTP goes nowhere… Back to the drawing board. 🪧
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Strange Planet — Aug 9 | Apple TV+ animated series | 🍅
Painkiller — Aug 10 | Netflix drama miniseries | 🍅
The Last Voyage of the Demeter — Aug 11 | Horror film in theaters | 🍅
Returning: Only Murders in the Building s3, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series s4, Killing It s2, Billions s7,
What to watch
If you’re not an animation fan, perhaps some of my recommendations are growing tiresome, but a lot of this year’s best films have been animated. To get Across the Spider-Verse, Super Mario, Elemental, and Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem in one year would have been enough, but Netflix had to add one more to the pile, saving, finishing, and finally releasing Nimona. Based on the graphic novel by ND Stevenson, this breezy yet surprisingly deep feature tells the story of a knight framed as a villain (Riz Ahmed) and a shapeshifting outcast (Chloe Grace Moretz) finding her place in the world. It features some of the best world building and production design in animation this year, introducing us to a techno medieval civilization complete with castles, armor, and swords, but also high-speed trains, robotic arms, and smart phones. The fusion of these two aesthetics is so clever and cool, you wonder how no one thought to do it before. Screenwriters Robert L. Baird and Lloyd Taylor, working off Stevenson’s novel, imbue the story with allegory and themes of identity and othering, both textual and subtextual. Ahmed’s character is gay and in a relationship with a rival knight. The tension between serves as one of the film’s main conflicts, but is never treated as odd or unusual. Meanwhile, Moretz’s shapeshifting character is finding herself metaphorically, and her journey is meant to symbolize the one many queer people face in the real world as she deals with being closeted and facing persecution. The movie also has great action and great humor. There’s a lot going on in its 99 minutes. After Disney acquired Fox, it wasn’t a given that Nimona would ever see the light of day. But based on how it turned out, we should be very glad that Netflix saw this for the gem that it is.