CASTING NEWS: Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux Team Up for Watergate Drama at HBO(Photo by Getty Images)Woody Harrelson, who’s been a scene stealer playing Joe Biden on Saturday Night Live this season, is getting political again as E. Howard Hunt in HBO’s upcoming Watergate drama The White House Plumbers. The five-part limited series will also star Justin Theroux as G. Gordon Liddy; Liddy and Hunt were the main men behind Richard Nixon’s “White House Plumbers” project, a covert operation designed to ferret out the source of information leaks to the press after the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The group was behind the Watergate burglary that eventually led to Nixon’s resignation.Cult comedy series RENO 911! has been greenlit for a new, seventh season by Quibi. The ensemble comedy was created by and stars Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney-Silver and Thomas Lennon, all of whom are attached to write and star in the new season.Speaking of the short-form streaming service, Tina Fey, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, J.B. Smoove, Tim Meadows, Jack McBrayer, Patton Oswalt, D’Arcy Carden, and Hayley Magnus join stars Paula Pell and John Lutz in the cast of The Mapleworth Murders, Quibi’s murder-mystery comedy produced by Lorne Michaels and Seth Meyers.The cast of The Wheel of Time, Amazon’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s novel series, has added four: Hammed Animashaun as Loial, Alvaro Morte as Logain Ablar, Alexandre Willaume as Thom Merrilin, and Johann Myers as Padan Fain.Michael Beach, Anne-Marie Johnson, and Kellee Stewart have joined the cast of OWN’s upcoming Ava DuVernay–created romantic drama anthology series Cherish the Day, set to premiere in winter 2020. Emmy-winning star Cicely Tyson headlines the cast.Awkward and Glee alum Nolan Gerard Funk has joined the cast of Kaley Cuoco’s HBO Max thriller The Flight Attendant, playing a hotheaded FBI agent who’s got his eye on Cuoco’s titular character, a woman who wakes up in a hotel bed next to a dead guy, with no idea how she got there or what happened.Adriana Paz, Kristyan Ferrer, Octavio Pisano, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, and Julio Cedillo join previously announced Michael Chiklis and Juan Pablo Raba in the cast of Paramount Network’s new drama series Coyote. The series revolves around Ben Clemens (Chiklis), a border patrol agent who gets a view from the other side when he’s forced to start working for the people he was trying to keep out of the United States. Emmy-winner Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad) will serve as executive producer and direct the series pilot, while Chiklis is also an EP.Zoe Kazan, Adrian Grenier, Betty Gabriel, and Phoenix Raei will star in the Netflix’s series Clickbait, which, according to the official description, is “a character-based thriller which explores the ways in which our most dangerous and uncontrolled impulses are fueled in the age of social media and reveals the ever-widening fractures we find between our virtual and real-life personas.”Jason Alexander will guest star on Spectrum’s Mad About You, playing a “version of himself,” while Jean Smart will guest star as a bestselling author and lifestyle diva in the season’s second half, which debuts on Dec. 18.Saturday Night Live alum Finesse Mitchell has joined the cast of the Fox sitcom Outmatched, playing the best friend of star Jason Biggs’ lead. Maggie Lawson and Tisha Campbell also star.Iwan Rheon, a.k.a. Ramsay Bolton on Game of Thrones, will play Liam Doyle, a “charming” leprechaun on the new season of Starz’s American Gods. (EW.com) reports that Danny Trejo, Julia Sweeney, and rapper Wale will also guest star in the show’s third season.Andie MacDowell, who starred in Sex, Lies, and Videotape for director Steven Soderbergh in 1989, will reunite with him for his Quibi survival thriller series Wireless. Deadline reports MacDowell will play a “key supporting role” opposite star Tye Sheridan, while Lukas Gage, Francesca Reale, and Mace Coronel have also signed on for the Soderbergh-produced series. (Deadline)Mira Sorvino, Rory Culkin, Michael Gaston, and Hannah Murray will join star AnnaSophia Robb in the Quibi horror series Emma. (Deadline)DEVELOPMENT NEWS: Harrison Ford to Star in a TV Series Adaptation of Netflix’s Docuseries The Staircase(Photo by Getty Images)In what would mark his first-ever starring role in a TV series, Variety reports that Oscar nominee Harrison Ford is set to star in a scripted series adaptation of The Staircase, the docuseries that detailed the case of novelist Michael Peterson, who was accused of murdering his wife – who he insisted had fallen down a staircase at their home – in 2001. Ford is attached to star as Peterson and to act as an executive producer on the project, which is currently being shopped to various networks and steaming services. Doesn’t this seem like a natural fit for Netflix, which hosts the original 2004 docuseries, as well as new episodes/updates of the story? (Variety)Producer Jesse Collins, who produced BET’s fantastic The New Edition Story miniseries, is now producing Uptown, another scripted miniseries that, this time will unfold the story of Andre Harell’s influential record label Uptown Records. Uptown played a major role in launching some of modern R B’s biggest names, including Mary J. Blige, Notorious B.I.G., Jodeci, Teddy Riley, and Sean Combs. Harell is also a producer on the 2020 project, while Charles Murray (Sons of Anarchy), Carlito Rodriguez (Empire), and Barry Michael Cooper (New Jack City) will write the scripts, which will include the breakdown of the relationship between Harell and his one-time intern Combs.Apple TV+ is nearing a deal to pay million for a documentary on 17-year-old breakout singer Billie Eilish. The movie, which was filmed throughout the year as Eilish released her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, was directed by R.J. Cutler (The War Room, The September Issue), and will premiere on Apple TV+ in 2020.Netflix, meanwhile, will release the documentary Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, in 2020. Directed by Emmy winner Lana Wilson (After Tiller) and produced by Oscar winner Morgan Neville (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?), the film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January before streaming on Netflix.Many Marvel movie and TV series stars will appear on ABC’s Celebrating Marvel’s Stan Lee, the Dec. 20 tribute to the late comic book hero. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Clark Gregg hosts the special.Disney+ is launching a new kids game show, Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge, that will test junior Jedis’s abilities with lightsabers, hyperspace, the Force and the dark side. Hosted by Ahmed Best, the actor behind infamous Star Wars prequels character Jar Jar Binks, the show is like a real-life video game that will see contestants mentored by Best – playing a Jedi Master – and then put into challenges in locations like a forest planet, a Jedi star cruiser, and inside a Jedi Temple. The game show will premiere in 2020.HBO Max has greenlit four new comedy specials, including hour-long shows with Tracy Morgan, Search Party breakout John Early, Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Rose Matafeo (Horndog), and Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Ahir Shah.HBO Max will also be the U.S. home of the upcoming British series Boys, the five-part, Russell Davies–produced drama about a group of friends in London in the 1980s, which included the rise of AIDS. The series stars Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Fry, Olly Alexander, and Lydia West, and will premiere in 2020.Oprah Winfrey is producing an Apple TV+ documentary about sexual assault in the music industry that focuses on a former music industry exec who “grapples with whether to go public with her story of assault and abuse by a notable figure in the industry.” (THR)Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are executive producers for Showtime’s upcoming docuseries Gossip Starring Cindy Adams, which will chronicle the four decade-plus career of legendary New York Post gossip columnist Adams and the many celebrities, New York public figures (including Donald Trump), and fellow media types who’ve played roles in her dirt-gathering adventures.HBO Max has greenlit the “dark yet playful” half-hour series – its first pilot to get a full series order. Generation, created by 18-year-old Zelda Barnz and her dad, Daniel Barnz, follows “a group of high school students whose exploration of modern sexuality (devices and all) tests deeply entrenched beliefs about life, love and the nature of family in their conservative community.” Lena Dunham is an executive producer on the series, which stars Martha Plimpton, Sam Trammell, Nathanya Alexander, Chloe East, Nava Mau, Lukita Maxwell, Haley Sanchez, Uly Schlesinger, Chase Sui Wonders, and Justice Smith.Rob Corddry, Dax Shepard, and British journalist Jethro Bovingdon will host a new version of Top Gear America, for Discovery’s MotorTrend streaming service, premiering in spring 2020.Bravo and Investigation Discovery have their own fan conventions, and now History is giving its fans a chance to gather together with HISTORYCon, a three-day event in April that will include panels, exhibits, and the chance to interact with historians and the network’s series talent. Rick and Corey Harrison from Pawn Stars, as well as cast from American Pickers, Forged in Fire, Counting Cars, Ancient Aliens, Swamp People, and Alone will join Pulitzer Prize winner and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin for the event at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California.Paul Feig is developing a remake of the British comedy This Country, a mockumentary about a documentary crew that sets up shop in a small town, to study young adults and their concerns about the world and their futures. Sex and the City writer Jenny Bicks will also be an executive producer on the Fox comedy. Also in the works at the network: a remake of the British drama Silent Witness. Melissa Leo will star in and executive produce the crime series, about a pair of investigators who work for the medical examiner’s office, unraveling clues about mysterious deaths.Zac Efron will star in a Quibi reality series called Killing Zac Efron. The adventure series will find the actor living in the jungle of a remote island for 21 days, with nothing but a guide and basic gear to help him survive. Quibi launches on April 6.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.
(Photo by HBO Max)The Best HBO Max Shows To Stream NowUpdated as of September 30, 2021HBO Max launched in May 2020 with a handful of originals, including Anna Kendrick–starring series Love Life, reality competition programming Craftopia and Legendary (one for crafting fans, one for ballrooom voguers), kids programming Looney Tunes Cartoons and The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo, and documentary film Off The Record.More than a year later, the upstart streamer with the gold-plated HBO brand name boasts a deep well of content from the libraries of the brands bundled under the WarnerMedia division of AT T, as well as licensed content like the complete collection of Studio Ghibli films, British import I Hate Suzie, and 700 episodes of iconic BBC series like Doctor Who, The Office, and Luther.The latest additions to the service s originals slate include British import rom-com series Starstruck and Jean Smart comedy Hacks, both shows with celebrated first seasons sitting at 100% Fresh on the Tomatometer, and other new releases including dark comedy Made for Love, teen drama Genera+ion, plus recent critical darlings like Certified Fresh miniseries It s a Sin, celebrated Spanish import Veneno, and more.Read more:Best Movies HBO Max Right NowBest HBO Series of All Time Ranked
(Photo by Kristian King)Kristian King s Twice As Good is part of the Scene in Color Film Series, presented by Target, which shines a light on incredible filmmaking talent. As part of the series, three emerging filmmakers will receive mentorship from producer Will Packer, and their films are available to watch on Rotten Tomatoes, MovieClips Indie Channel, Peacock, and the NBC App.The story of filmmaker Kristian King’s film Twice As Good, which premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival this year, mirrors her life’s journey. Like the film’s protagonist, she had been on a traditional track to success – college and a “good job” – and like the film’s protagonist, she dared to do something different.King, who is from Fayetteville, Georgia, was on a path to med school, studying at Duke University and working at a breast cancer research laboratory, when she began to take an interest in film, something she says she “didn’t even know was a real job.” At Duke, inspired by filmmakers that would come and talk, she made her first short film, got involved in theater, and decided she wanted to go to film school.It was a big call, but the right one: King recently graduated with from NYU’s MBA/MFA dual degree program with Stern School of Business and Tisch School of the Arts – Graduate Film, where she collected the 2019 Media Services Award for her work as a producer on more than 15 shorts. But she recalls the pressure and anxiety she felt about telling her parents that she no longer wanted to be a doctor.For Black kids, King says, “there’s this feeling sometimes of needing to be perfect, and needing to excel, in order to be accepted into the world. And I think that the underside of that is: What about your mental health? What do you want to do? Those are the type of things I wanted to talk about more. While she may not have known that movies were a job option, she always had a passion for the medium, and growing up would seek out interesting films from the likes of directors like Wes Anderson. But she says she rarely saw herself or people she knew on screen. With her work, she wants to portray Black joy and the wider spectrum of Black American life.It’s why it was important for her to show high-achieving Black students in Twice As Good. “Often you’ll see one super-smart Black character [in a movie],” King says, “so it seems like they’re an anomaly and not the norm. [In Twice As Good] we see different students announce where they’re going to college, see other students in the hallway, see other students who are also struggling with where they want to go to school.”King says her work is about “creating more mirrors to see myself and people to see themselves.”See more shorts and meet more filmmakers from the Scene in Color Film Series.