‘Assassination Nation’ Stars Discuss Timely Story About Female Rage In The Internet Age — Sundance Studio
DEADLINE – Premiering his wicked and wild first feature Another Happy Day at Sundance seven years ago, writer/director Sam Levinson returns this year with another stylish and haunting feature, Assassination Nation, which takes on a number of timely topics.
A “thousand percent true story,” Levinson’s latest follows high school senior Lily (Odessa Young) and her crew of besties, whose lives are shaped by the digital age, expressing themselves through texts, posts, selfies and chats. A film about “the abuse and madness and craziness of being a young person today,” Assassination Nation really kicks off when a provocateur starts posting details from peoples’ private digital lives in the public forum, leading to a murderous “Category 5 sh*tstorm.”
“The main idea I was exploring is how we treat one another, and how the internet can at times sort of create this barrier in which empathy isn’t able to get through,” Levinson remarked at Deadline’s Sundance Studio, with stars Young, Hari Nef, Suki Waterhouse, Abra and Bill Skarsgård alongside him. “I also wanted to deal with mob mentality and vigilantism, and how truth has become splintered.”
With Another Happy Day, Assassination Nation and The Wizard of Lies—which he co-wrote for father Barry Levinson—the younger Levinson has displayed an extraordinary ability when it comes to crafting complex female characters. In studio, this was something Levinson’s stars could attest to.
“I thought Sam was a woman when I first read the script,” Young said.
While Assassination Nation explores a lot of contemporary ideas and issues, at its core it is perhaps about rage. And what could be timelier than that?
“I think cinematically and from a storytelling point of view, if you want to tell story about rage and violence in 2018, you’re probably going to want to tell that story through a woman’s lens, with female characters,” Nef said. “Because nobody knows these things as ell, gender-wise, as women do.”
To view Deadline’s conversation with the Assassination Nation team, click above.
New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. have announced that an It sequel will be in theaters on September 6, 2019.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Since its launch earlier this month, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s book has shattered numerous records.
Pennywise the Dancing Clown is getting ready to terrorize audiences all over again.
New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. on Monday announced that a sequel to the horror blockbuster It will hit theaters, including Imax locations, on Sept. 6, 2019.
Since its debut earlier this month, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s book has shattered numerous records, including becoming the top-grossing horror film of all time, not adjusting for inflation. The Exorcist, released in 1973, made $233 million in North America and $441.3 million worldwide, but the domestic portion swells to $917.5 million when adjusting for inflation.
It has earned $266.1 million domestically and $478.1 million globally to date. The R-rated pic has roused the box office back to life after a brutal August and tough summer, as well as fueling record September revenue in North America.
Gary Dauberman, one of the screenwriters on It, has quietly closed a deal to pen the screenplay for the follow-up, while director Andy Muschietti is waiting in the wings to return as well. Producers Barbara Muschietti, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg are also expected to return for the sequel.
King’s opus It tells of a group of friends who band together to defeat their small town’s demon, first as kids and then as adults. While his book toggles between the young and older characters, New Line structured its adaptation so that the first film focuses on the kids and is set in the past. While the sequel will take place in the present, it will be punctuated with flashbacks, allowing the same cadre of kids to be seen again.
In a twinned movie, the studio’s film adaptation of Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go! has a new release date. The movie is being pushed back from June 1, 2018, to July 27, 2018.
VARIETY – With “It” tearing it up at the box office for a second weekend in a row, you can expect Warner Bros. to green-light the second chapter of Andy Muchietti’s Stephen King adaptation any day now. (Indeed, the film has not yet been given the official go-ahead, but it is in active development.)
Recently appearing on Variety’s “Playback” podcast, actor Bill Skarsgard — who stars as the creepy manifestation of It, Pennywise the clown, in the new film — spoke briefly about one scene that was shot but ultimately cut.
VARIETY – The new reboot of Stephen King’s “It” hasn’t even opened in theaters, but director Andy Muschietti is already planning for the next installment. The sequel is a near-certainty since King’s book switches off between two storylines, and it’s already known that the film that opens Friday focuses more on the child characters.
Though it has always been planned as a two-part story, Warner Bros. isn’t emphasizing the two movies in marketing materials. Perhaps the studio learned from “The Dark Tower,” which was planned as a movie, TV series and more, but fizzled after the first film disappointed.
However, the movie itself leaves plenty of room for a sequel, not to mention the fact that the title card at the end of the film (MILD SPOILER ALERT) reads “It: Chapter One.”
The novel “It” follows a group of children known as “the Losers Club” as they battle the evil force known as Pennywise, then follows up with another battle with the creature 30 years later. While the 1990 miniseries adaptation directly follows the plot of King’s novel, including interdimensional travel (Carey Fukunaga’s original script for the reboot reportedly included a dimension portal), Muschietti’s version is much more grounded and does away with the weird otherworldliness…at least for now.
Muschietti told Variety that he doesn’t think of the next film as a sequel, more like the second half of a single story and that’s he’s prepared to helm this project as well.
“I really wanted to focus on the emotional journey of the group of kids. Getting in to that other dimension — the other side — was something that we could introduce in the second part,” Muschietti said in an interview with Yahoo Movies. “In the book the perspective of the writing… is always with the Losers, so everything they know about Pennywise is very speculative and shrouded in absurdity, so I wanted to respect that mystery feeling of not knowing what’s on the other side.”
“It” is expected to break the record for biggest opening weekend of a non-sequel, R-rated horror film, currently held by “The Conjuring,” which debuted to $41 million in 2013.
“It” opens in theaters Sept. 8.
The ‘It’ star will voice Moomintroll in ‘Moomins and the Winter Wonderland’ that features top Swedish talent, including his father Stellan.
Bill Skarsgard is swapping Pennywise for a role that’s definitely more child-friendly after signing up for Moomins and the Winter Wonderland.
The Swedish actor, who has a starring role as the killer clown in Warner Bros.’ upcoming film It, will voice the protagonist Moomintroll in the animated movie. Skarsgard is the latest in what is becoming an all-star Swedish voice cast that includes Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander and his father Stellan.
“So excited to be a part of this lovely project and bringing Tove Jansson’s fantastical world to the big screen. I grew up with my mom and dad reading Moomin and their adventures to me at bedtime, so it will not be the first time I hear my dad voice Moominpappa,” said Skarsgard.
The Moomins were created by the Finnish writer Tove Jansson in a series of books and comic strips, originally published in Swedish in the 1940s. The iconic fairy tale characters have garnered a global following thanks to translations, along with several television and film adaptations as well as a theme park called Moomin World in Naantali, Finland.
Finish film company Filmkompaniet and Polish animation studio Animoon are co-producing the new project. Los Angeles-based production, distribution and IP management company Global Genesis Group is handling international distribution and sales.
Based on Jansson’s original books, with a screenplay from Małgorzata Więckowicz-Zyla, Piotr Szczepanowicz and Ira Carpelan, Moomins and the Winter Wonderland will be created from existing, vintage footage from original stop-motion Moomins productions co-produced by Jupiter Film and Film Polski in the 1980s.