New report details 'Big Little Lies' season 2 turmoil - Silver Screen Beat
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New report details how HBO and ‘Big Little Lies’ producers undermined director Andrea Arnold

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Big Little Lies Season 2
HBO

Little did Andrea Arnold know that when she first signed on to direct the eagerly awaited second season of the hit drama Big Little Lies that HBO and showrunner David E. Kelley would later plot to take away most — if not at all — creative control she might have over the show, a new report from IndieWire claims.

Sources close to the production of the Emmy-winning series tell IndieWire that “there was a dramatic shift in late 2018 as the show was yanked away from Arnold, and creative control was handed over to executive producer and Season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée,” who — at that point — had essentially become the de facto director of season 2 as well.

But the decision to hand over the reins of the show from Arnold back to Vallée was not a sudden one. At the time Big Little Lies was about to begin shooting its second season, Vallée was in post-production on HBO’s limited series Sharp Objects and the producers needed to find a replacement that could fill his shoes — that’s when they hired Arnold, who was under the impression that she would virtually have free rein over every aspect of the show.

While the choice to hire Arnold, an auteur whose credits include films such as American Honey and Fish Tank, was a rather unconventional one, the creative team behind the show saw her as the perfect fit because they believed her work would be easy enough for Vallée and his editing team to “shape into the show’s distinctive style in post-production.”

It wasn’t until Arnold began post-production with her editing team in London that the plan for Vallée to take over began to hatch, with the show’s entire operation suddenly moving from London to Montreal — where Vallée and his own editorial team were based — and 17 days worth of reshoots being ordered in which Vallée would have full control over everything being shot. The experience, according to sources close to Arnold, was “devasting” and left her “heartbroken.”

When asked about the report, a rep for HBO emailed Silver Screen Beat the following statement, which doesn’t seem to deny any of the claims made in the story: “There wouldn’t be a Season 2 of Big Little Lies without Andrea Arnold. We at HBO and the producers are extremely proud of her work. As with any television project, the executive producers work collaboratively on the series and we think the final product speaks for itself.”

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David Fincher, Robert Towne begin development on ‘Chinatown’ prequel series at Netflix

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Chinatown
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A prequel series to Roman Polanski‘s 1974 neo-noir classic Chinatown from David Fincher and Robert Towne is in early development at Netflix, Silver Screen Beat has learned.

Per Deadline, Fincher and Towne — the latter of the two having won an Oscar for his screenplay for the film starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway — have closed deals to begin working on a pilot script for the series.

The duo will also executive produce the project, which centers around “a young Jake Gittes (played by Nicholson in Polanski’s film) as he plies his business in a town where the wealthy and corruption involves areas like land, oil, and gangs.”

Fincher has reportedly expressed interest in directing an episode of the yet-to-be-titled series, though his current deal with the streamer only includes the pilot script and his handling of directorial duties would have to be negotiated into the agreement.

Netflix has developed quite a relationship with Fincher over the past several years, having collaborated with the director on series such as Love, Death & Robots, House of Cards, and Mindhunter.

Fincher’s latest collaboration with Netflix — a feature film about the life of Hollywood screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz titled Mank — stars Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, and Lily Collins, and is expected to begin shooting in Los Angeles later this month.

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‘Avenue 5’ teaser trailer reveals Armando Iannucci’s bonkers new sci-fi comedy series for HBO

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Avenue 5
HBO

HBO has released the first teaser trailer for Veep creator Armando Iannucci‘s new comedy series Avenue 5, which is set 40 years in the future when traveling the solar system is no longer just a sci-fi fantasy, but a massive, multi-billion dollar industry.

Hugh Laurie stars here as Ryan Clark, the charming and perhaps overconfident captain of Avenue 5, a space cruise ship that features luxury amenities such as gourmet buffets, a spa, an observation deck, and yoga classes.

The ship’s eight-week orbit around Saturday seems to be going as planned until the ship unexpectedly begins to encounter an assortment of technical difficulties, and it’s up to Ryan and his rather disorderly crew to calm the disgruntled passengers.

The show’s cast also includes Josh Gad as billionaire Herman Judd, the creator of Avenue 5; Zach Woods as Matt Spencer, the head of customer relations; Rebecca Front as Karen Kelly, a strong-willed passenger; Suzy Nakamura as Iris Kimura, Judd’s right-hand woman; Lenora Crichlow as Billie McEvoy, the ship’s engineer; Nikki Amuka-Bird as Rav Mulcair, head of Judd Mission Control; and Ethan Phillips as Spike Martin, a space enthusiast and former astronaut.

Avenue 5, which is written, created, and executive produced by Iannucci, debuts on HBO in January.

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Clive Owen to take on the role of President Bill Clinton in season three of FX’s ‘American Crime Story’

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Clive Owen
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Impeachment: American Crime Story — the upcoming third installment in the Emmy-winning FX series that will focus on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal — has found its President Bill Clinton in Children of Men star Clive Owen, according to Deadline.

Owen joins an all-star cast that also includes the likes of Beanie Feldstein as White House intern Monica Lewinsky, Sarah Paulson as Lewinsky’s colleague and confidante Linda Tripp, and Annaleigh Ashford as former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones.

Production on the series, which is written by Sarah Burgress and based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President, is expected to get underway early next year in anticipation of a September 27, 2020 premiere date on FX.

Lewinsky, Feldstein, Henrietta Conrad, and Jemima Khan are producers, with Burgress, Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, Alexis Martin Woodall, and Paulson serving as executive producers.

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