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‘Mare of Easttown’ creator Brad Ingelsby sets up full deal with HBO

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'Mare of Easttown' creator Brad Ingelsby sets up full deal with HBO


Casey Bloys has had a long and happy Monday.

The steady rise in viewership for ‘Mare of Easttown’, which runs for seven weeks on Sunday nights, has been good news for HBO and HBO Max’s chief content officer. The Kate Winslet murder mystery left its mark when HBO’s parent company once again jumped into a massive corporate transformation with the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger deal that shocked the industry last month.

“Mare” is the latest in a series of successful and highly talked about deliveries over the years by Bloys and his programming team. The performance is impressive, given the high backstage drama on HBO and other former Time Warner units since its sale to AT&T in 2018.

“Despite all the mergers and reorganizations, the HBO team stayed together. Many of us have been together for over 15 years,” says Bloys. Variety. “We continue to work hard to deliver on our brand promise to HBO. When a show like ‘Mare’ comes out and it feels like it’s hitting every cylinder, I’m really happy.”

HBO was so impressed with “Mare” that it signed a three-year, full-length TV exclusive contract with veteran screenwriter Brad Ingelsby, who produced the series and served as showrunner and executive producer. Ingelsby brought the project to HBO with Winslet. Bloys had never worked with Ingelsby before, but his experience with “Mare” was so strong that he wanted to see him on TV.

“Mare of Easttown” producer Brad Ingelsby
Evan Agostini / Invision / AP

“Brad did a fantastic job on ‘Mare’,” said Bloys. “It was a great collaboration.”

This new deal will spark more speculation for the second trilogy of “Mare”, which features Winslet as a police detective working in the small Hard Scrabble town of Pennsylvania. The series was conceived as a one-time, limited series, and while Bloys is doing their best to ease expectations for season 2, there’s no question that the door hasn’t been shut tight.

“I think everyone would be open to it if they felt they had a story that would tell a story that Brad would be on the same level,” Bloys said. “The story is not there now. who knows? We’ll have to wait and see if they come up with something they want to say.”

Bloys strengthens when pressed again. “I don’t even think there’s going to be a schedule for making a season 2 decision.” “Usually we take the initiative from the producers,” he said. “There was no real conversation about what season 2 would look like.”

Winslet previously worked with HBO as the star of the 2011 miniseries “Mildred Pierce”. Bloys allows Mare Sheehan (and her Pennsylvania accent)’s elaborately drawn character to be a special undertaking for an Oscar-winning actress.

“I think Mare put her claws on Kate. She was open about it,” Bloys said. “But there’s a long way to go between that and ‘Let’s do it again.’ There has to be a story and there has to be a reason to do it.” HBO was previously down this road with ‘Big Little Lies’. The 2017 Reese Witherspoon-Nicole Kidman limited series was such a shock that a second season came together in 2019.

“Mare” has been added to the roster of strong shows that HBO has participated in in recent years when competition for talent and acclaimed TV projects has never been fierce. HBO was also the subject of numerous ‘What Now’ headlines when ‘Game of Thrones’ began airing in 2019. But Bloys’ team somehow managed to get a lot of buzz hits, including ‘Success’ and ‘The Undoing’. I nurtured the song. , “”Euphoria”,”Watchmen”,”Lovecraft Country”,”I May Destroy You”,”Chernobyl”and”Big Little Lies”

In addition to his HBO duties last year, Bloys also worked to oversee original content for HBO Max streamers. HBO Max started slowly at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, but so far this year has proven to be a viable launchpad for the series with heat behind the originals ‘The Flight Attendant’, ‘Hacks’ and ‘Made for Love’.

HBO Max’s momentum is satisfactory for Bloys, as there’s been a lot of discussion about its expansion to streaming and the potential to undermine the glitzy HBO brand. A corporate move to have Warner Bros. ‘ The full 2020 theatrical slate will show both dates and dates in theaters, and has also been a major theme on HBO Max.

“There was a lot of talk about other things besides programming surrounding HBO Max,” Bloys said. “The focus on the show was somewhat embedded in the conversation around other areas of the business.”

“‘Flight Attendant’ and ‘Hacks’ were critically acclaimed and having two awards contests at that level was really impressive,” he said. (Noting that ‘Hacks’ star Jean Smart also got a role in ‘Mare,’ Bloys says, “I’m going to put Jean Smart on every show.”)

Now that HBO Max’s first birthday (which ends on May 27, 2020) has passed, Bloys feels that concerns over the brand confusion between HBO and the Max brothers have been alleviated, especially in the industry world.

“When people interact with HBO Max and understand that HBO is one of its programming services, they understand how HBO lives within HBO Max. Messaging is getting easier.”

The differences between the HBO and HBO Max series are scarcely etched, although Bloys is aiming for a broader appeal and a young crooked story with “Flight Attendant”, while HBO remains “home to the show emphasizing the different voices”. There is. It presents a show that takes a lot of risk in its own way, rather than what you hear elsewhere,” says Bloys. “The northern star is really helpful for us.”

About the shortcomings of her career as a veteran stand-up comic, “Hacks,” featuring Smart, could have gone either way. “Of course ‘Hacks’ could have been on HBO,” he said.

Getting started with HBO Max was a top priority for the AT&T system. With the corporate picture set to change again, Bloys shows no sign that this will change as Discovery enters the mix.

Bloys announced the new Warner Bros. June 1st after longtime Discovery Leader held a town hall for WarnerMedia employees. Meet Discovery CEO David Zaslav. At this early stage, there aren’t many details that can be discussed under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission. (After two years of hard work with the AT&T acquisition from 2016 to 2018, Bloys is familiar with this training.) But Bloys said he was inspired by Zaslav’s distinct passion for the content creation business.

Extended Warner Bros. “He’s very excited about the complementary nature of the programs each company will bring,” he told Discovery. “We don’t know exactly what (Zaslav) plans to unify all of this. Everything will come later. You really can’t get to that level of detail.”

Bloys allows many HBO and WarnerMedia insiders to be vigilant once again for the upcoming transition. “It can be scary,” he admits. But he also points to the rotation across the media and entertainment landscape as an indication that it’s not a WarnerMedia issue.

“It’s across the industry. The upheaval is not limited to us,” Bloys said. “Every company that makes programming will go through this. The only thing we have in our control is to create the best shows we believe are worthy of the HBO brand. Changes in this rate at this level and across the industry can be volatile. We need to accept the fact that the industry is in a period of historic change and focus on doing what we have to do here.”





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Kevin Can F**k himself EP on Sitcom Inspirations, Casting Annie Murphy

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Kevin Can F**k himself EP on Sitcom Inspirations, Casting Annie Murphy


The premise of creating Valerie Armstrong’s first series came to her in a simple and distinct sequence. A woman leaves the living room of a traditional sitcom set and enters the kitchen. The studio lights change to regular light bulbs and she can force a smile on her face. Then, “She looked straight into the camera and said, ‘I hate my husband,'” says Armstrong.

Four years later, that inspiration grew to “Kevin Can F**k Himself.” In the eighth episode, the first season is followed by Worcester Allison, Massachusetts (Emmy winner Annie Murphy), followed by a slow awakening. Her husband (the title Kevin played by Eric Petersen) is destructive and manipulative. The sitcom space is a space where Kevin can talk, do terrible things and laugh, but the story takes Alison out of that space and leads to a single-camera structure, where she and the audience can think a little harder about her sitcom husband’s actions. , a neighbor and father managed to escape for decades.

“How to make a sitcom wife a real woman in that DNA?” Armstrong talks about the show. “Recognizing that she knew how miserable she was was very important to making a pilot. For the woman to be there, she cannot know that she is miserable. She must be sure that this is where she should be. [and] Her happiness will ultimately be in her marriage because she’s been told she’s good.

“So in the pilot it was ‘Kevin is funny, Kevin is a great guy. You just have to know how to get him to work.’ Then you have to go where he understands that he’s not accidentally destructive. It may be a mask, and it may not always be completely intentional, but he manipulates her and has been like that for a while. So, frankly, I don’t think he’s getting any worse over the course of the show, but I think he’s starting to realize his behavior,” she continues.

Armstrong, who previously wrote for “SEAL Team” and “Lodge 49” while developing the show, said that every question audiences have when they sit down to watch the premiere: part of the show goes into Alison’s head, is she crazy, or is it within the show? Is there a show element, and/or if something supernatural is going on. For the record, the answer to all of this is no. “What happens in the multi-camera world is just as real as what happens in the single-camera world, and the way people in the room see the event. ” explains Armstrong.

Armstrong had to write a lot of rules about what could and couldn’t happen in each of these worlds. The crux is that when Kevin, his father Pete (Brian Howe) or neighbor Neil (Alex Bonifer) appears on screen, “it made the world a little sitcom that could air on CBS,” Armstrong says. It’s said to be a multicam catalyst, but it doesn’t give you action you won’t find in other sitcoms, nor does it include “sitcom scenes that don’t fit that episode of the sitcom. This means that if she made an episode completely Kevin-centric, it would be 42 minutes of multicam. (She doesn’t know that the show will do something like this in the future, but she admits she doesn’t do that in season 1.) The show could shift perspective to other characters like Neighbor Patty (Mary Hollis Inboden). See action in a single camera format.

When making the sitcom, Armstrong said he wants the audience to feel like they’re “alive” but immersed in a long-running show that’s familiar. Physically, she was inspired by, for example, the sets of “That ’70s Show” and “Roseanne”, and “Frasier” helped tell the sitcom what she could perform (including a five-episode French play). .

“We tried to make a sitcom that was funny on its own. And the more you learn how destructive Kevin is, the harder it is to watch as a harmless sitcom, but we always try to make you laugh despite ourselves. So in the last episode, when things are the darkest, it’s like laughing at a funeral,” she says.

The series’ setting also helped with the timeless feeling she was going with, as she laughed “Worcester sometimes feels like she’s in the ’90s”.

Although Armstrong grew up in Connecticut and said, “I wanted to write people I knew and people I grew up with, and that meant repressed New Englanders,” she decided to set the show on a more “classic sitcom Blue Collar.” She thought most people thought of Connecticut.

“Wooster [was] My brother’s college roommate came from and he had a fascinating mix of shy and unaware of all his shortcomings, yet absolutely proud of his hometown. And he had the most fantastic intonation. I couldn’t distinguish Korea from a world ‘career’ like a job,” she recalls. “There was light and darkness. It looks like a place that Kevin could be proud of, but Allison sees everything as it is.”

Armstrong was originally looking for someone who would “surprise you just how much fun” on ‘SNL’ when casting Alison, who not only has to reliably move between the two worlds, but her worldview expands significantly as the first season progresses. they were.” Because the show “requested someone who didn’t take it too seriously. We noticed that the single-camera scene had a bad transfer. It can be tough. It can be very disappointing.” But eventually, Murphy, after spending the last six years on the Canadian sitcom “Schitt’s Creek” (who won an Emmy for comedy actor last year), got the show.

“Annie can do anything, so we went in a different direction,” Armstrong says.

Armstrong felt it was important to bring a bit of lightness and humor to the show’s single-camera world, even as Allison worked at a liquor store or reported that the car had been stolen, even as she plunges into non-luminous realities like pulling up a car. When she didn’t call him or when he didn’t come home when he expected her. She didn’t want people to feel uncomfortable watching single-camera scenes and eagerly wait to return to sitcom scenes. Especially since the single-camera scene really illuminates the system issues that both Allison and the audience must face.

“She goes through most of her first season, saying, ‘Kevin is the problem.’ She is pretty nearsighted,” Armstrong says. But “Kevin is just a symptom.”

“Kevin Can F**k Himself” airs on AMC Plus on June 13th and on AMC on June 20th at 9pm.





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Central Partnership, BF Films Partner on Horror Film ‘Schizophrenic’

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Central Partnership, BF Films Partner on Horror Film 'Schizophrenic'


Russian production and distribution powerhouse Central Partnership and Latin American film group BF Films announced their first co-production. Variety can be exposed.

“Schizophrenia” is a psychological horror film set in the real world of a serious mental disorder. Dark stories from real patients will be inspiring, and various schizophrenic symptoms, including conspiracy theories and altered reality perception, are part of the script.

The story was created by JP Jacobsen and the script is being written by Hernanny Perla (“Blink, “Revelation”, “Santería”), who has appeared twice on Hollywood’s blacklist. Perla is represented by Verve, Anonymous Content and attorney Marios Rush.

The film’s director and cast is currently scouting and will be announced in the coming months. The project will be filmed in English by an international team working in Russia at the end of 2021 or early 2022. Executive producers include Carlos Hansen, Partner and CEO of BF Films, Juliana da Cunha Jacobsen, Partner and Head of Acquisitions at the company, and Vadim Vereschagin, CEO of Central Partnership. .

“For over 15 years, we’ve been looking for the world’s best film projects and distributing them widely in Latin America,” Hansen said. “We know what works on our territory. Now is the time to work with our favorite international partners to develop and produce BF’s projects for the global market.”

Jacobsen said, “’schizophrenia’ is a vivid example of what BF Films is pursuing. “We all know that the horror genre is exploding around the world, and the challenge is to do something fresh to stand out in a complex market. This story has an interesting premise, two iconic female protagonists, and a lot of creative potential that we are sure will attract world-class talent.”

The film is distributed in Latin America by Central Partnership in Russia and BF Distribution. The company is also working as a partner to sell rights to other territories.

Vereshchagin said, “We are excited to start a new chapter in the history of Central Partnership and to start a joint project with our outstanding partner BF Distribution, one of the largest independent content distributors and creators in Latin America.” “’Schizophrenia’ makes a strong statement and is perfectly positioned to be a successful horror film. This story appeals to one of the most relatable human fears. It will be understood and felt by a wide audience not only in Russia and Latin America, but also around the world.”

The project was announced at the Key Buyers Event held online from June 8-10. Also on the slate of the Central Partnership during the KBE is “The World Champion” (pictured), a drama based on the legendary 1978 chess match between Soviet world champion Anatoly Karpov and dissident Viktor Korchnoi. the 1920s drama “December”, which follows the last days of Sergei Yesenin, a famous Russian poet and American dancer in love with Isadora Duncan; ‘Row 19’ is a psychological thriller centered on a young doctor and a 6-year-old daughter who is caught in a storm by her 6-year-old daughter on a red-eye flight.





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‘Love, Victor’ Season 2 Captures Parents’ Struggle to Accept Gay Son

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'Love, Victor' Season 2 Captures Parents' Struggle to Accept Gay Son


Spoiler warning: Don’t read if you haven’t seen season 2 of “Love, Victor” streaming on Hulu right now.

The second season of ‘Love, Victor’ (a spin-off series on the 2018 groundbreaking feature ‘Love, Simon’) begins where Atlanta teenager Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino) tells his parents he’s gay, where the first stops. Start. . After waiting a year, audiences will finally see how Armando (James Martinez) and Isabel (Ana Ortiz) react to their son’s announcement.

no scary – No tears or screams, no accusations or rejections. But at first, neither parent accepts who Victor is. Armando at least awkwardly asks about his girlfriend (i.e. an attempt to convince him that Victor can be with a girl) and wonders out loud when he decides he’s gay.

But Isabel remains silent. When Victor finally asks her to say something, she whitens.

“Well, I think I should get some rest,” she said, barely listening. “And we can talk about it tomorrow.”

When the episode ended 10 weeks later, Victor and Isabel still hadn’t talked about it. As the season begins, Armando attends a meeting of the local chapter of the LGBTQIA+ alliance support group led by Simon’s father Jack (Josh Duhamel), working to understand his son, while Isabel tries to accept the fact that Victor is gay. really struggling for

Co-showrunner Brian Tanen said, “It’s dishonest when he comes out and everything goes well. “In 2021, parents just want to hug their children and say that everything will be fine. But our job on this show was to tell a different opening story than what Simon had in the movie.” – Simon’s parents understood and embraced him almost immediately.

“Love, Victor” shows a different course, which is a bit more subtle. When Victor begins his first same-sex relationship with boyfriend Benji (George Sheer), Isabel doesn’t spend time with Benji, not to mention flinching and admitting that she’s dating her son.

Ortiz said about Isabel’s arc in season 2, “It’s going to sound a little weird, but I was actually a little excited when they told me,” Ortiz says. “It was really exciting to play. It was really different.”

In the stories that usually come up, a mother is someone who understands and is committed to her LGBTQIA+ children. Ortiz played the role perfectly as Hilda Suarez, fiercely protecting her young gay son Justin (Mark Indelicato) in ABC’s beloved telenovela “Ugly Betty.” So she enjoyed the twist.

“I thought Continuously” Ortiz says about the difference between Hilda and Isabel. “They are two sides of the same coin, right? Hilda will fight anyone who sees Justin in the eye. Isabel, on the other hand, thinks people are too clingy to her, her family, and to thinking of her as a mother. ‘How can you raise a gay son? If it were me, I wouldn’t make him gay. ‘ I’ve heard quite a bit from people in my community. ‘I do not know, no — Say he can’t be gay. Tell her you can’t do that. ‘”

Ortiz saw these dynamics at work within his family. She conveys how her late cousin Freddy devoted herself to her paternal grandmother Ramona, even though for a long time Ramona could not accept the fact that Freddy was gay. That dynamism helped inform Ortiz’s understanding of why it took Isabelle so long to support Victor.

“She’s not a monster,” Ortiz says. “She loves her son and loves her family. The road that got me in was to think about Freddie and Ramona and how much we all loved her in spite of its flaws. She was still there for Freddy, but there was always a little thing until it wasn’t there. Until the light changes.”

Ana Ortiz as Victor’s mother Isabel and George Sear as Victor’s boyfriend Benji in “Love, Victor”
Courtesy of Michael Desmond/Hulu

The “Love, Victor” writers also mined personal experiences that come to their parents as they craft Isabel’s journey this season. Postpone a difficult conversation with Victor to another day with Isabel’s initial reaction.

“The idea that there is no answer to people who don’t accept the idea that their parents are coming out right away is something we hear over and over,” Tanen says. “The idea that the parents are just hesitant and don’t want to say one side or the other is a bit shocking for A and B doesn’t want to say anything negative, but they are traveling.”

One of the biggest stubbornnesses between Victor and Isabel is Victor’s refusal to tell his brother Adrian (Mateo Fernandez) that he is gay. This is a development that stemmed from a small argument when “Love, Victor” first moved out of their home. From Disney Plus to Hulu Before Season 1

Tanen said this move helped the show, allowing Season 2 to portray the sex life of Victor and Benji in a rare, candid way, but decided that “Love, Victor” couldn’t be on a more “family-friendly” Disney Plus. “It sparked an interesting conversation in the writer’s room about whether LGBT issues are inherently more adult.”

“They are in some ways a discussion of sexuality, and sexuality is more of an adult subject,” he continues. “We wanted Isabel to think about whether it’s okay to have these conversations with the kids. Of course it is. This is a conversation about people. are.”

When Adrian learns that Victor is gay, he accepts it without thinking again, and Isabel faces the biggest obstacle between her and Victor: a lifelong commitment to the Catholic Church. Early in season 2, Isabel also asks her bride about Victor. He advises her to help her son get back to Jesus, that is, stop homosexuality.

“When Victor agrees to be reluctant to come out, she doesn’t want to hear it,” Tanen says. “Looking at her face, she wants the bride to turn her around on this matter. Her heart and mind are elsewhere.”

Later, when Adrian tells Isabel that the bride hinted that Victor’s soul is in danger, there is the same light switch moment Ortiz’s grandmother had with Ortiz’s cousin Freddy, and she marched into the bride’s room to announce him. do.

“I was brought up to believe in a lot of ugly things, Dad,” she says. “It seems like it will take me to forget the rest of my life, but I will.”

Ortiz liked the scene, but said the director had to keep reminding her to reverse her reaction. “My instinct is, ‘Free me!'” she said with a laugh. “But that’s not Isabel. She still conquers a lot more about it.” (Still, Tanen remembers “people clapping” after the scene ended while she was reading the table for the episode.)

Tanen, who’s been writing Ortiz’s scenes after “Ugly Betty,” wrote the second episode of the season, in which Isabel finally tells Victor the desperate story he wants to hear: “I accept you, Victor. I love every part of you.”

That kind of happy ending doesn’t reflect every parent’s reaction to their child’s sexuality, but Tanen says it fits the larger mandate for “Love, Victor” to avoid the trauma of coming out.

“We want to feel inspired and uplifted at the heart of the show,” he says. “It can be an emotion in a writer’s room when people recall their journey, but it can also be incredibly cathartic. And it’s also a chance to make some wishes come true. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s an opportunity to rewrite history to show the LGBT audience, ‘This is the way to go.'”

Even telling queer stories in place empathy can lead to unexpected places.

“It is now a little easier to talk to someone in the family. [homophobic] Look,” she says. “Before I go to dinner and have a screaming argument. Now I think we can talk to them and take a closer look at them from their side.”

“I think it’s really important to have those conversations. “Now everyone is so angry. I mean, the world is upside down. But when it comes to family, when it’s a loved one… You can keep these conversations calm. And you can watch the show with them and say, ‘Now we can talk about it.’”





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