GAMBIT ON STAGE
Netflix’s smash hit The Queen’s Gambit, based on Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel of the same name about an orphan chess prodigy set in the 1950s, became the streaming service’s most watched scripted miniseries, garnering 62 million viewers in the first month alone. Now, the inspiring story of Beth Harmon is going to be adapted for the stage along with music and dancing through entertainment company Level Forward.
“It is a privilege for Level Forward to lead the charge of bringing The Queen’s Gambit to the stage through the beloved and enduring craft of musical theater,” noted Level Forward CEO Adrienne Becker and producer Julia Dunetz. “Told through a brave and fresh point of view, audiences are already sharing in the friendship and fortitude of the story’s inspiring women who energize and sustain Beth Harmon’s journey and ultimate triumph.”
In February, the show nabbed two Golden Globes one for best miniseries or TV film and the other for Anya Taylor Joy’s (Harmon) performance as best actress in a miniseries or motion picture made for TV.
Need more lighthearted content in your life? Rejoice! Because a night of rowdy games, music, and A list celebrities going head to head in zany challenges is on the way. Spoke Studios owned Wheelhouse (the producers of the Tim Allen fronted Assembly Required) optioned the rights to the French hit gameshow Le Morning Night and will rebrand it for the U.S. market as The Big Crazy Game Night.
The modern comedy game show pits two celebrity teams against each other to compete in eccentric, laughter inducing challenges. Think your favorite movie stars showing o their pipes in karaoke competitions with alternate lyrics or being forced to watch ultra-awkward videos without cracking a smile.
“We love this show and have some big ideas for adapting the format for the U.S. it’s a great twist on the comedy game show that we can’t wait to take to market,” said Scott Lonker, Wheelhouse Entertainment’s chief creative officer.
CANNON PASSES THE MASK
While Nick Cannon takes a break from TV as he recovers from COVID, FOX’s The Masked Singer brought in actress Niecy Nash (Reno 911!, When They See Us) to guest host the hit show. At the recent Television Critics Press Tour, she talked to reporters about the differences in being a guest judge versus the emcee on the singing competition.
“I had the opportunity to actually sit with the judges and be a guest,” said Nash. “It was way different hosting because I wanted my own guesses! I wanted to look to my left or right and say, ‘Now, which one do you think it sounds like?!’ But you can’t because you are up there trying to lead the charge, lead the circus!”
She continued: “However, every time I had a free moment, I was somewhere trying to figure out the hints on who the masked person was, and watch the clue package. I loved it because I still felt like a viewer at home even though I was hosting.”
AGAINST ALL ODDS
New York Times bestselling novel The White Tiger has been adapted into a screenplay and is getting major Oscar buzz. Brutal in its description of India’s caste system, the riveting story is focused on Balram Halwai and his monumental ascent from impoverished villager to successful businessman.
Executive producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas plays Pinky, who is married to Balram’s boss. Her character got more of a fleshed out, multi layered role in the film.
“I remember reading the book and it leaving a massive mark on my mind at that point, because it’s so poetic and specific at the same time,” Chopra Jonas told India Today Television.
“There are little things from the book that I think all of us all remember…When my agents told me that this book was being made into a movie and would I be interested, I jumped on it and pursued the fi lm actually. I was like, ‘I have to be a part of this movie.’”
Queen Latifah is both starring in and executive producing new series The Equalizer, a reboot of the popular 1980s TV franchise with Edward Woodward. The fast paced drama has already been approved for a second season. The famously warm Latifah embraced the don’t mess with me persona of her character, Robyn McCall, a divorced single mom and former CIA operative who turns to vigilante justice when the system fails.
“It’s not just fighting for the sake of fighting,” said Latifah. “It’s why is she fighting? Why is she physical? She’s not fighting just because she wants to fight. She’s fighting because someone did something wrong. She’s fighting because someone did something unjust. She’s fighting because she has to protect someone.”
Denzel Washington revived The Equalizer in 2014 and 2018, for two action packed movies. This new version is “less dark” and more like the original television series.
“I am absolutely excited and love the fact that Denzel made this a relevant product again, because I did watch the original series as a kid,” she said.