A recap of last night’s season premiere of Game of Thrones. Move along if you haven’t yet watched.
Lastly, for now, the fate of Ed Sheeran’s character.
All this and we haven’t even touched up Killing Eve or Billions, both of which remain fantastic.
Can we agree that there is too much to watch on Sunday night right now?
Hulu has renewed Shrill for a 2nd season. I’m a few episodes in and it’s definitely worthy of a pick up.
Hulu also announced that Mindy Kaling’s Four Weddings and a Funeral will premiere on July 31.
I watched Special on Netflix. I liked it. VERY easy to knock out, as each episode is only 15 minutes.
No Good Nick is now available to stream on Netflix. “A family finds their lives turned upside down when a teenage con artist shows up on their doorstep, claiming she's a distant relative.”
“Gayle King’s deal negotiations at CBS are taking so long that staff now fear there’s not enough money to keep her. The star is working on a new deal to stay on CBS This Morning. As we revealed, she is in talks to double her current $5.5 million annual salary. And while the contract was expected to be wrapped up earlier this month, it’s still not done. A high-level source told Page Six: ‘It’s not like CBS News can all of a sudden find ABC or NBC money — it has to come from somewhere.’ It’s been suggested that Susan Zirinsky, the new CBS News president, has been given an extra pot of cash to spend on talent. But, our source added: ‘There’s not that much!’”
“HBO is set to debut the previously-announced Muhammad Ali doc What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali on May 14. The two-part doc, directed by Training Day and The Equalizer director Antoine Fuqua, follows the iconic boxer’s triumphs, challenges and comebacks using recordings of Ali’s voice as well as archival footage, including some previously unseen. The first chapter looks at Ali’s early life as Cassius Clay, including his gold medal win at the Rome Olympics, becoming heavyweight champ at 22, converting to Islam and developing a close relationship with Malcolm X, and refusing to fight in Vietnam. Chapter two looks at his later life, going on a tour fighting his nemeses and becoming a goodwill ambassador and philanthropist.”
Killing Eve has a new writer for Season 2, Emerald Fennell. Has that changed the show at all for you?
It’s been great. Obviously change is always daunting, you know. But she’s incredible. Emerald is a fantastic writer in her own right. And she’s a close friend of Phoebe’s, actually. I feel Season 2 really continues that wit and the dark undercurrent, the seriousness of what’s going on. She’s really captured the voice of the show. And she’s great fun. It’s been really collaborative, which is so lucky, because you don’t always get that luxury of having an opinion.
Season 1 turned out to be such a massive hit, did you feel any added pressure going into Season 2?
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. [Laughs.] No, you know what I think it is? I think when something is so well-received, of course you then have that sense of, ‘Well, we can’t f— it up now.’ It’s like, you want to reach the same level of celebration. But, ultimately, when you get to set you have to focus on the material and the work, and you can’t think about the bigger picture. You have to just focus on what you’re doing now.
The show picks up right after Villanelle gets stabbed by Eve, and this is really the first time we see her on her back foot a little bit. What was playing that side of the character like?
It’s been fascinating. She always thinks she’s one step ahead of the game, but now she can’t physically do what she needs to do. She is very much helpless, and it’s interesting to have seen how she tries to navigate the world around her when she’s in this situation. She’s just completely out of her depth.
What’s going on in her head in that moment? Does this change how she sees her relationship with Eve?
I think what’s gonna be interesting for the audience is, I don’t know that she’s going to react in the way they’re expecting. That physical action is so enormous to her, and probably means something to Villanelle that it wouldn’t to anyone else in their right mind. In a way, it creates a connection between the two of them that neither of them are expecting.
In your mind, what is Villanelle’s attraction to Eve? Is it romantic? Is it sexual?
I think for Villanelle, there definitely is a sexual attraction. There’s so much more to it than that, but I think, absolutely. And in her world she thinks Villanelle and Eve could just live together and watch movies. In that warped sense of reality, she knows what she feels toward this person, but I don’t think she can comprehend her emotions at all. And that’s what we explore throughout [Season] 2, but I very much feel that she thinks she knows what love is.
The new season also introduces the idea that there’s a new girl in town, almost like a rival to Villanelle. How does she react to that?
That’s also a very interesting. She really tries not to show that she’s concerned about this other person, but deep down somewhere it’s like “What if Eve actually forgets about me?” And at the same time, she’s got such a high sense of self-worth, so she’s also thinking “Okay, this person can distract her for a minute, but we all know who’s gonna be the winner.”
One of the hallmarks of the show are those little moments of humor interspersed throughout the really dark, dark stuff, a lot of which come from your character. How do you find the balance between those two elements?
Well, Damon Thomas came back to direct for [Season] 2, and he has my complete trust. He really creates a safe space on set and encourages me to take those risks. I trust him to tell me if it’s too much, and I trust him to know when it’s great. When you have trust, you can really try to push those moments, and you know he’s going to come back and go, “No, doesn’t work.” And that’s fine, but it’s the encouragement that I really appreciate. It’s that relationship, really, of trust with a director that allows you to just have some fun and play around with it. Villanelle, herself, is so playful, and when a director creates that environment, those moments can arise naturally.
You also get a lot of opportunities to slip in and out of accents and languages throughout the show, even more this season. Do you find that challenging to manage?
Definitely. Particularly with the languages. I don’t speak any languages, so I have to learn all that phonetically. But really, it’s just another element of the job that is so much fun. A lot of other characters don’t allow you to explore this much within one story. I feel like, as long as I know my lines and I’ve done my homework, the day can be gone like that. Plus, I have a voice coach who keeps me on my toes and is always correcting me if I start slipping.
How much time do you usually have to prepare for a scene or an episode?
It really varies, because sometimes the scripts come in late and you have a week. Or sometimes we start filming in July, we get them in April/May. If I’ve got a really big scene, I’ll try to get ahead of it at least a couple of weeks, but a lot of it is within that week. If I have a scene on Thursday, I may not get it until Monday. It just depends on what the scenes entail.
It’s not really an action-heavy show, but there are a few fight scenes here and there, and there’s a lot of physicality to the part. Do you find that challenging?
It can break up a scene quite a lot, so the challenge is always keeping up the momentum and whatever the emotion is throughout the scene. If you’re picking up in the middle, making sure it flows well and there’s a continuity. But they’re never what I expect. I love the surprise element of reading a kill and being like, “Oh wow.” It’s always so out of the box.
Do you have a favorite kill?
I have one favorite that I liked doing and one that I liked the finished version. The one I really enjoyed doing was the one [in episode 3] where she clamped the guy’s balls. That’s just great. When I read it, I was like, [Nods] “Hmm, okay.” But the one I really loved watching — and actually shocked me — was Bill. There was something about that one where I was like, “Oh god, Villanelle, did you have to do that?”
That smile afterward is so instantly iconic.
And when you’re filming it, you don’t see it. But seeing it all together, you’re just like, “Whoa.”
The show is so much about this game of cat and mouse between Villanelle and Eve, but how often do you actually get to film a scene with Sandra?
[Season] 1 was not a lot at all. But, of course, the way these women’s trajectories are going, they ultimately will have to come back together, given the way their lives have collided together. So you definitely do see them around each other a lot more than in [Season] 1. How that will work is a separate conversation.”
Per Deadline, “Former Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany is set for a lead role opposite Matthew Rhys in Perry Mason, HBO limited series from Team Downey.
“Written and executive produced by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald, who also will showrun, the reimagined Perry Mason is set in 1932 Los Angeles. While the rest of the country recovers from the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong! Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this limited series follows the origins of American Fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason (Rhys). When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.
“Maslany will play Sister Alice, a rare sight – the leader of the Radiant Assembly of God, preaching three sermons a day (21 a week!) to a hungry congregation and a radio audience that spans the country. Entertainer, politician, God’s conduit to the City of Angels, Sister Alice wields great power when she speaks, and plans to use it in ways only she can know.
“Robert and Susan Downey, who developed the project, executive produce along with Team Downey’s Amanda Burrell, and Joe Horaceck. Rhys produces. Tim Van Patten directs and executive produces.
“Perry Mason brings together two recent lead actor in a drama series winners — Rhys won in 2018 for The Americans; Maslany won in 2016 for Orphan Black.
“Maslany also earned two Critics’ Choice awards and Golden Globe and SAG award nominations for her portrayal of various clones on the BBC America seres. She is currently making her Broadway debut in Ivo van Hove’s Network alongside Bryan Cranston and Tony Goldwyn.”
From The Hollywood Reporter: “Dick Wolf is expanding his TV empire with an unscripted series at Fox.
“The network has ordered First Responders Live, which will follow firefighters, police officers and EMS personnel from around the country during a night on the job. Former Good Morning America anchor Josh Elliott will host the Live PD-esque show, which premieres June 12.
"‘I am thrilled to work with the legendary Dick Wolf on a show that will give viewers a unique look at the bravest and most courageous among us, as they jump into the fray to rescue and save lives,; said Rob Wade, president alternative entertainment and specials, Fox Entertainment. ‘With the success of our drama 911, viewers have a strong appetite for stories based in this world. Watching real first responders spring into action as they answer these calls will be a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat journey for viewers each week.’
“Added Wolf, ‘I have always been fascinated by the brave work of first responders, who face life-and-death decisions on a daily basis. First Responders Live will give viewers a front-row seat to paramedic, fire and police calls, and they will see the challenges of every type of emergency. It is truly the real-life version of Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med.’
“The pickup puts Fox in business with Wolf for the first time since his series New York Undercover ran on the network in the 1990s. The mega-producer has a continuation of that series in contention for next season at ABC, along with the Chicago franchise and Law & Order: SVU at NBC and FBI and a potential spinoff at CBS. Wolf's company also produces unscripted series Cold Justice, Criminal Confessions and Murder for Hire for cable network Oxygen.”
“Now Stern has collected his greatest interviews in Howard Stern Comes Again, and connected them with essays that explain his evolution from drive-time shock jock to self-coronated King of All Media to most probing interviewer of his generation.
“In the book, due May 14 from Simon & Schuster, Bravo’s openly gay Cohen told Stern: ‘One of the things that was on my turning-40 bucket list was, “How cool it would be to lose my virginity?” In my mind, if I did it, I would want to do it with a straight couple.’ (Cohen considers himself a virgin because he’s never slept with a woman.)
“Cohen, who welcomed a baby son, Benjamin, via surrogate in February, said he texted his friend Kelly Ripa a graphic photo related to the threesome. Cohen moved ahead with his plan, but he ended up as a naked spectator and is sadly still a virgin.
“Chase gave a blow-by-blow of his aborted brawl with Murray at the Saturday Night Live”studio. ‘Words were said. I finally went to his dressing room just before the show and opened the door and said, “You say something like that again, I’m gonna . . .”’
“‘Billy jumped up and charged me at the door. And I immediately got into a fight stance, because I boxed a lot . . . Billy’s older brother came behind me and grabbed my arms to stop me. He was strong as hell. Short guy, but these guys had obviously been in a few rumbles.’
“Murray told Stern it was ‘a Hollywood fistfight,’ adding, ‘I do not like people who complain about being famous. But I’d say to people, “You want to be rich and famous? Try being rich and see if that doesn’t cover most of it for you.”’
“Jerry Seinfeld confessed he is obsessed with finding new material, even when at home with his wife: ‘I’m not authentically with her, nor am I authentically with you right now . . . Every second of my existence, I’m thinking, “Could I do something with that?”’
“Paul McCartney discussed The Beatles’ initial frostiness to Yoko Ono: ‘We didn’t welcome Yoko in the studio because we thought it was a guy thing . . . Later on, we suddenly sort of thought, “You know what? John’s in love with this girl . . . we’ve got to cope with it.”’
“Other interviewees include Madonna, Mike Tyson, Larry David, Lady Gaga, Tracy Morgan, Courtney Love, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel.”
Per Variety, “[t]he room at the Beverly Hilton was booked until midnight. But it took only about an hour on Friday afternoon for contract negotiations to break down and war to ensue between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood’s top talent agencies.
“UTA co-president Jay Sures and CAA’s Bryan Lourd had testy exchanges with WGA West Executive Director David Young during Friday’s meeting as WGA representatives rejected many of the proposals the ATA submitted late Wednesday in an effort to reach a deal. The WGA is considering initiating legal action against the agencies for alleged conflict of interest and breach of fiduciary duty.
“The guild on Friday made good on its promise to implement a new Agency Code of Conduct, which bans agents who represent WGA members from collecting packaging fees and working with agency-affiliated production entities, among other changes. The WGA and Association of Talent Agents have been trying to hammer out a new franchise agreement since February but the sides have wrestled over packaging, production and the scope of the WGA’s ability to regulate agencies who represent their members. The WGA told members to terminate their business ties to agents that do not sign the Code of Conduct agreement as of midnight PT Friday.
“After the WGA announced the implementation of the code, a move delayed for six days last week while the sides made an effort to negotiate a deal, numerous talent agents reported receiving a steady, although not overwhelming, stream of termination letters from clients.
“The biggest move by the ATA was the offer to give a small portion of its proceeds from packaging fees back to the guild to be distributed among lower-paid members of the television program’s staff. WGA negotiators rejected the offer, saying it still didn’t address the conflict of interest issue in packaging. ‘It is not a serious proposal and we reject it,’ WGA West president David Goodman said in a statement issued to members Friday.
“Sures, Young and Goodman had a tense moment when the WGA representatives voiced the oft-repeated opinion that agents were no longer incentivized to fight for high salaries for mid- and lower-level writers because they were incentivized to protect packaging fees paid by producers. Sures at one point directly asked Goodman, a UTA client, if he believed that his representatives did not fight for him. According to multiple sources with first-hand knowledge of the meeting, Goodman’s response was something to the effect of ‘I don’t know.’
“CAA’s Lourd similarly didn’t hold back his exasperation when Young made reference to packaging fees as a criminal violation for agents who have fiduciary responsibility to their clients. Lourd fired back that the guild’s rhetoric has been dangerous and that it has spread misinformation as part of its campaign to engage its 15,000 members on the agency franchise issue. [Right, whatever you say pal.]
“Another incendiary issue was the guild’s demand that agencies turn over all employment contracts and deal information for writer clients. Sures noted that UTA has been informed by several clients that they don’t want that information disclosed. The ATA has suggested that the WGA make contract disclosure a condition of guild membership, to take the onus off of individual representatives. The WGA has countered that the agencies refuse to accept the guild’s authority to monitor the economic issues for its members. At one point during Friday’s discussion, a frustrated Sures asked the WGA representatives why such a compromise had to be ‘so hard.’
“The negotiating teams had booked a Beverly Hilton meeting room until midnight on Friday, but the gathering that began at 3 p.m. PT was over shortly after 4 p.m. A half-hour later, the WGA announced in an email blast to members that the Code of Conduct would take effect as of 12:01 am PT Saturday.
“The WGA is asking members to use a specially created DocuSign link to send formal termination letters to agents. Members are instructed to send those signed documents to the guild directly, for delivery to the various agencies en masse in a few days, according to the WGA’s FAQ distributed Friday.
“It’s not clear how vigorously the WGA intends to enforce the mandate for members to terminate their agents. Also unclear is how hyphenate talents who work as directors, producers and actors will handle the question of agency representation for work that falls outside the scope of writing. The guild is encouraging members to cut ties in all areas to demonstrate maximum solidarity. Industry observers will be watching next week to see how much, or how little, business gets done by agents.
“The WGA has a draft lawsuit ready to file against ATA member companies, Young confirmed to Variety last week. The ATA is expected to file a countersuit. The ATA previously asserted that it would not negotiate with the WGA if the Code of Conduct was in force.
“The agencies have predicted that regular business would be disrupted if the WGA forces terminations. The WGA has assembled a database designed to help writers find open staff assignments, and to help showrunners seek prospective writers. Prominent writers have been busy in the past few days assembling internal networks via email and social media to help ease the task of scouting and matchmaking process typically handled by agents.”