‘Rust’ Ripple Effects; AFM Approaches – Deadline

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Friday’s the day: here’s your weekly International Insider and it’s Max Goldbart taking you through the biggest stories of the past seven days. To get this sent to your inbox every Friday, sign up here.

‘Rust’ Ripple Effects 

Film world mourns: More than a week has now passed since the tragic death of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and, as more and more details emerge, the film world is in mourning. Tributes have flooded in from all over for the Ukrainian born DoP, who was accidentally shot in the stomach by Alec Baldwin last Thursday. As time goes on, Hutchins’ name will likely become synonymous with discussion of gun safety on sets and the global community has been looking at what it can do to ensure such an incident never happens again. 

Safety is paramount: As U.S. Senators and Councilman call for a complete ban on live guns on set, Deadline spoke with several producers outside of the US who said they will be reissuing advice and speaking to production staff about safety. A spokesman for White Queen producer New Pictures, for example, said “safety guidelines will be reissued in respect of the current situation” when upcoming BBC1 drama Champion starts rolling the cameras. Meanwhile, Deadline understands the Production Guild of Great Britain (PGGB) held a session with industry experts earlier this week to discuss current guidelines and make sure its members are up to date. UK newspaper The Times also revealed Thursday that See-Saw Films has carried out a gun safety refresher course on the set of AppleTV+ Gary Oldman flick Slow Horses.

“Pause for thought”: UK-based producer Rebecca Knapp, who is gearing up to shoot revenge thriller Uncle and is a former color sergeant in the Army Cadets, told Deadline “more than sufficient time and budget” is scheduled for filming and locating an armourer, while everyone involved gets vetted. “Naturally, any tragic incident like this makes one pause for thought and think again about how one can film such scenes safely,” she added. “Ultimately, ensuring that everybody is working in a safe environment is the most important aspect on any production. No shot is ever worth putting somebody at risk.”

South African sets: Over in South Africa, Simon Swart of Nthibah Pictures is preparing to film Boy Kills World, which will also use firearms on set. The producer talks up the proficiency of South African armorers, and says the team met just two weeks ago for an extensive chat on gun safety. Crucially, they will rely on ‘molded guns’, which do not fire ammunition. Actors will be given training to understand how a real gun will react when fired, and muzzle flashes and bullet holes will be added in post.

“We are not used to having guns around”: One point repeatedly raised during Deadline’s producer chats was more of a cultural one, that people outside the U.S. see guns in a completely different way and this difference renders such an accident even less likely. “We are not used to having guns around,” said John McVay, CEO of UK producer trade body Pact. “We have a much more regulated culture around their use.” The UK follows stringent Health and Safety Executive-backed guidelines for use of weapons on set and a police presence is required if live ammunition is being used. People in charge of firearms must have “appropriate levels of training” and the firearms must be regularly inspected, amongst other demands. McVay also pointed out that drama indies often decline to use live rounds or even blanks as they increase insurance premiums.

AFM Nearly Upon U.S.

Hot international deals: Next week’s virtual American Film Market (AFM) is shaping up to be a big one and Deadline has been bringing you a host of early breaking deals of the highest order, with some of the grandest coming in the international space. Andreas had this humdinger on Wednesday, as global Irish mega-star Liam Neeson re-teams with The Marksman director Robert Lorenz and Ciaran Hinds (pictured, right) for Ireland-set thriller In The Land Of Saints And Sinners. The Taken star will play a retired assassin who finds himself drawn into a lethal game of cat and mouse with a trio of vengeful terrorists. Sound familiar? 

Any more for any more?: Meanwhile, Pierce Brosnan has been signed to star in hitman thriller Fast Charlie from Salt’s Phillip Noyce. Swedish Expendables and Aquaman star Dolph Lundgren will feature in and direct action flick Wanted Man. Cuban actress Ana De Armas’ stock continues to rise as she enters discussions to lead John Wick spin-off Ballerina and John Cena is in talks to star in Pierre Morel’s  Freelance. Wow. This news came after Mike Fleming Jr last week revealed Kate Winslet, Marion Cottilard, Andrea Riseborough and The Crown’s Josh O’Connor are in development on Lee, a film about the wartime experiences of photographer Lee Miller, while Michelle Williams and Jude Law will star in a psychological horror about Henry VIII’s sixth wife Catherine Parr.

And more??: Earlier in the week, we also  had news of Mank’s Tuppence Middleton and The Witch’s Ralph Ineson being paired in UK contemporary folk horror Lord of Misrule and Tom Grater  brought us this exclusive on rising British-Nigerian His House actor Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù leading the cast of Uncle. And the market hasn’t even started yet. Stay tuned next week for round-the-clock AFM coverage.

Spanish Exposition 

Bird Box

Big Bird Box reveal: Tom also revealed the cast for Netflix’s Spanish-language spin-off of hit U.S. movie Bird Box, while the streamer unveiled four Spanish shows. The likes of Mario Casas, Georgina Campbell and Diego Calva will feature in the Barcelona-set Bird Box film. Netflix’s virtual Spain showcase also revealed projects from Patxi Amezcua, Albert Pintó, Minoría Absoluta and Aitor Gabilondo as Netflix doubles down on local language productions – ground covered extensively by last week’s International Insider. The streamer also announced Thursday it hs renewed its popular Spanish YA drama series Elite for a sixth season, well ahead of the series’ Season 5 premiere.

UTA Snaps Up Coel 

Michaela Coel

I May Represent You: Following the acrimonious dumping of her previous U.S. agent CAA, Michaela Coel was snapped up by UTA this week, with the outfit set to represent the multi-hyphenate in all areas. Coel split with CAA after stating it “tried to push her” into a now-notorious failed deal with Netflix that would have handed the streamer a portion of I May Destroy You’s back-end rights. The award-winning star, whose stock just cannot stop rising, is currently starring in Marvel feature Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and is in the middle of writing another BBC show, which may have links to the I May Destroy You universe. 

AMC Happy With The Valley 

Happy Valley

Lookout Point takes over: BBC1 smash thriller Happy Valley is to return for a third and final season after six years off air and it’s all change behind the scenes. Production has switched from Studiocanal-owned Red Production Company to writer Sally Wainwright’s now-preferred production vehicle Lookout Point, which also produces her Gentleman Jack BBC series. Meanwhile, AMC is aboard the thriller and will run the show – described by BBC Drama Director Piers Wenger as having “changed the drama landscape completely” – on streamer AMC+ in North America when it airs later next year. Netflix used to take Happy Valley’s North American rights and the move is once again proof of the plethora of U.S. players who want a piece of that authored UK action. 

Hoo Ha-gen 

Frances Haugen

Frances in the UK: The UK is taking a “world leading stance” on social media regulation, according to now-globally recognized Facebook Papers whistleblower Frances Haugen, who this week achieved what her former boss Mark Zuckerberg has so far failed to by appearing in front of a UK parliamentary committee. Check out my full report here, as Frances branded Facebook “negligent” and showing “a pattern of inadequacy” while making a range of recommendations. The UK’s Online Safety Bill is currently making its way through parliament and, if passed, will confirm the nation as one of the world’s toughest on social media regulation. 

The Essentials

The Last Kingdom

🌶️  Hot one of the week: Away from AFM, fans of Netflix’s Last Kingdom now have a feature film to look forward to. 

🌶️  Another one: Adored UK comedian Sir Lenny Henry’s indie Douglas Road is making a BBC doc on Caribbean culture.

🍿 Box office: The global box office is projected to hit $21.6BN this year, according to London-based film tech company Gower Street Analytics. Nancy Tartaglione had the story.

🏠 New home: Banijay has backed a new scripted label led by Tiger Aspect development exec Iona Vrolyk.

🚚  On the move: Fremantle’s Mark Deetjen has been upped to Executive Vice President Of Global Channels.

🚚  On the move: Former London film festival director Clare Stewart has taken interim charge of Sheffield Doc/Fest, Asif Kapadia will guest curate.

🏆 Awards Circuit: Norway’s Academy Award entry will be Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person In The World, with Denmark opting for Sundance hit Flee.

🎦 Trailer: The first official trailer for Iran’s Oscar submission A Hero is out.

Tom Grater contributed to this week’s International Insider

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