UP NEXT FOR PORTER
Emmy and Tony winner Billy Porter is one of those rare talents that can seemingly do it all. After stealing hearts as aspiring fashion designer Pray Tell in FX’s Pose, his next project is directing an episode of FOX’s new crime anthology series, Accused.
“It was such a gift for executive producer/showrunner Howard Gordon to call me,” he told critics at the Television Critics Press Tour. “I directed my first feature a couple of summers ago that debuted on Amazon this year. I’ve been directing in the theater for about 20 years, and I have wanted this expansion to happen…What I loved about the script is that it fit right in line with my intention as an artist and where we are as a culture.”
Based on the International Emmy-winning British series, Accused chronicles ordinary people getting caught up in extraordinary situations. The rockstar cast includes Rachel Bilson, Whitney Cummings, Abigail Breslin, Michael Chiklis, Margo Martindale, and more. The show premiered on January 22.
A DECADE IN THE MAKING
Peacock’s Paul T. Goldman, from the director/executive producer of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Jason Woliner, packs plenty of intrigue this winter. Woliner has been shooting this surprising drama-meets-docuseries for over a decade, and the story boasts several unusual twists. It all started in 2012, when Goldman tweeted Woliner. “He said that he had an incredible story to tell and had written a book about it,” said Woliner. “He asked for my help bringing it to the screen. When I clicked on his Twitter, I saw that he had tweeted the same exact thing to hundreds of other people. I clicked on his website and watched a video he’d shot himself. He was a middle-aged, nebbishy guy delivering a monologue about how he’d been the victim of a shocking betrayal that led to a transformation ‘from wimp to warrior’ and set him on a mission to bring down an (alleged) international crime ring. I bought the book immediately.”
GATHERING OF GHOULS
Obsessed with vampires, zombies, or witches? Feast on this platter of horrifically delicious fare.
- Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage is Count Dracula in the upcoming horror comedy, Renfield, premiering this spring.
- Nicholas Hoult, who plays Cage’s no longer faithful servant in Renfield, is also starring in Nosferatu, a reboot of the 1929 movie, which was adapted from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel.
- Lives of the Mayfair Witches, based on Anne Rice’s best-selling trilogy, tells the story of an intuitive neurosurgeon, Rowan (Alexandra Daddario), who realizes that she is actually the unlikely heir to a family of scary witches.
- Zombies are back in spin off The Walking Dead: Dead City, starring Lauren Cohan (Maggie) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan). This time, the fan-favorite characters are traveling into a crumbling, post-apocalyptic Manhattan, long ago cut o from the mainland.
STRENGTH, LOVE, AND TRAGEDY
National Geographic and Disney+ are telling the harrowing story of Anne Frank, the remarkable Jewish girl who perished in the Holocaust, along with thousands of others. The new series, A Small Light, will premiere this spring.
The show profiles the poignant tale of a secretary named Miep Gies (played by Bel Powley), who, incredibly, didn’t hesitate when her boss Otto Frank (Liev Schreiber) asks her to hide him and his family from the Nazis during World War II. For the next two years, the courageous Miep, her husband Jan (Joe Cole), and several others watched over the eight people hiding in the secret annex.
It was Miep who found Anne’s diary and preserved it. The title of the series stems from something Gies later said: “I don’t like being called a hero because no one should ever think you have to be special to help others. Even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can turn on a small light in a dark room.”
OFF THE PAGE
While treasured books have long been reworked into films (Gone With the Wind, Wizard of Oz), Hollywood has been spearheading an impressive uptick in movie and TV series adaptations over the last few years. With so many broadcast, cable, and streaming channels in need of scripted programming, books are a breeding ground for future cinematic material.
“Reinterpreting printed material into an audio/ visual medium takes great nuance,” said David Windsor, who co-created ABC’s new series, Not Dead Yet, adapted from the book Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up. “The biggest challenge for us was figuring out how to take a book that had a clear beginning, middle, and end, and expand it so that we could accommodate an ongoing storyline week to week…Another issue was allowing ourselves to veer from the characters and storylines in the book if we felt it was necessary. At first, you almost feel obligated to stay as true to the original piece of material. But at some point, you allow yourself the freedom to take what’s come before and shape it into what will work for the show.”