A quick check of the headlines will tell you that Lizzo is as much a visual phenomenon as she is an aural one: rarely does a day go by that the Houston native doesn’t garner column inches for some new photo or video of her singing, speechifying, or twerking. Arguably, more people have watched Lizzo in the last month than hav eever watched Jean-Claude Van Johnson, so it stands to reason that Amazon would be interested in developing a show around her. Variety reports that Lizzo has signed a first-look deal with Amazon Studios to create her own television projects, which would then premiere exclusively via Amazon Prime. Unfortunately, there are no details beyond that yet, such as whether those projects would be some sort of reality series, a sitcom, or, in keeping with Amazon’s usual fare, some sort of hyper-stylized historical drama where Lizzo methodically hunts down Nazis. But you can probably rest assured that whatever it is, it will be vibrant and upbeat (which in itself would be a welcome change of pace for Amazon shows).
Selena Gomez Joins Steve Martin and Martin Short in Hulu Series
Meanwhile, Grand Prairie native Selena Gomez has signed her own deal with Hulu to star in the comedy series Only Murders in the Building, which suggests that streaming networks are betting their future largely on Texas pop stars. (Where is Megan Thee Stallion’s Peacock deal?) According to Deadline, Gomez will star opposite comedy legends Martin Short and Steve Martin, who also cowrote the show, with this unlikely trio playing a group of true crime–obsessed strangers who become embroiled in a murder mystery of their own. Alongside her new cooking show, Selena + Chef, Only Murders in the Building will mark Gomez’s first regular series role since Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place. Incredibly, Only Murders will be Steve Martin’s first TV series role ever. Hopefully Gomez can give him some pointers.
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Austin-Based Twitter Account One Perfect Shot Being Adapted as HBO Series
For all of you aspiring TV stars who have yet to land the Disney Channel sitcom or five-decade comedy career that might lead to your own big break, have you considered just spending all day on Twitter? It certainly worked for Austin site Film School Rejects, whose popular account One Perfect Shot has just been snapped up for an HBO Max television series to be produced and narrated by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay. The feed—which presents a single standout movie still, captioned with only the title, year of release, and the names of the director and cinematographer—will be turned into a half-hour unscripted show, in which the filmmakers will explain how they got said shot and what they were trying to achieve, before presenting their own “one perfect shot” from a filmmaker they admire. It’s a simple, elegant concept that’s yielded a surprisingly in-depth and high-profile series. Maybe next they’ll adapt your feed of belabored SpongeBob SquarePants memes!
Noah Hawley’s Fargo to Resume Filming This Month
Then again, who wants to work in television, anyway—especially in precarious times such as these? Noah Hawley, that’s who. Ever since COVID-19 descended on Hollywood and beyond, the filmmaker has been hunkered down in his Austin home, just waiting for the go-ahead to resume making the fourth season of Fargo for FX. But according to Deadline, the series is finally ramping up again after shutting down in March. Shooting is set to begin in late August on the remaining episodes of its eleven-episode season, in time for the show’s premiere on September 27. The production, which stars Chris Rock as a 1950s gangster, will get back to filming in Chicago under the watchful eye of a city that’s currently topping out at around 200,000 cases of coronavirus, and where any outbreak could jeopardize the many other film and TV productions that call it home. And if it does thwart the completion of Fargo, it would be yet another instance of the pandemic hitting Hawley particularly hard: Paramount also recently put his long-gestating Star Trek film on hold, reportedly because it centered on the Enterprise crew battling “a deadly virus”—which certainly would have been awkward.
Cinestate’s Controversial School-Shooting Thriller to Play Venice Film Festival
There are no such moral qualms at the Dallas-based Cinestate, of course, the upstart film studio that recently came under fire for its long history of ignoring sexual assault accusations against one of its most prominent producers, Adam Donaghey. Despite a fallout that saw its recently acquired media brands Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death sever all ties with Cinestate, and its fledgling Rebeller site shut down completely, the studio is still forging ahead with its film productions, beginning with its already-controversial school shooting thriller Run Hide Fight. Filmed in Red Oak (and produced by Donaghey, who has since removed his name from the project), Run Hide Fight follows a teen girl whose high school is invaded by gun-wielding students intent on massacring everyone, until she turns the tables on them. This week it was announced that Run Hide Fight will have its world premiere as part of the Venice Film Festival, occupying a similarly polarizing territory as last year’s Joker. But of course, the Venice festival is still on track to be the first (and only) in-person film event of its size to take place amid the pandemic, so it’s also pretty likely people will find other things to argue about.
Rent Your Own Movie Theater at the Alamo Drafthouse
If you feel like throwing a mini-film festival for you and up to thirty of your friends, it seems the Alamo Drafthouse can now make that happen. The theater chain rolled out the “Your Own Private Alamo” program this week in both its Austin home base and in Denver, offering private screenings for just $150, with a minimum $150 food purchase on top. All the necessary sanitization will be handled by the theater, although it’s left up to guests to set their own rules regarding social distancing, masks, and—as an indicator of the apocalyptic days we’re living in—even the usage of cellphones. You can pick from a library of forty-plus classic (and classic-ish) titles to watch, everything from Casablanca to Uncle Buck to Despicable Me 3, which will hopefully be enough to tide you over until moviegoing returns to being less stressful and weird.
HEY, DID POST MALONE GET A NEW TATTOO?
After months of chronicling the ongoing quest of Grapevine rapper Post Malone to ink every untainted inch of his skin, while occasionally lapsing into more tedious digressions about his music and entrepreneurship and whatever, I figured that from now on, we should just get down to brass tacks and start posing the only salient Post Malone question. And this week, the answer is yes, Post Malone did get a new tattoo. He got a new tattoo while he was at the dentist’s office, apparently, unable to delay his insatiable demand for fresh tattoos even for the length of a routine cleaning. Anyway, his new tattoo is on his shin, and it looks like it might be a face or something, although no one really knows for sure. Okay, see you next week!
THIS WEEK IN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
It’s been an exceptionally busy one for Matthew McConaughey, whose recently announced book of personal essays, Greenlights, has unleashed another veritable fount of additional McConaughey musings, the kind that cannot be contained by mere hardcover. First up was an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, where McConaughey, wearing a yellow caftan in his best cult-leader casual, filled the host in on how his book is like “takin’ a spaceship to Mars and not needing a pilot’s license.” He then played some party games, did a little light dancing, and told a story about seeing Joan Jett in the middle of a monsoon in 1984 that, sure, we’ll just agree to accept really happened.
While later talking to reporters as part of a Lincoln promotion for “National Relaxation Day”—which, again, sure—the actor also opened up about his writing process, while providing perhaps an unintentional glimpse into the specific delirious haze that the book surely occupies. “I went away to the desert by myself for 52 days, no electricity,” McConaughey said of the heat-addled environment that produced it, adding that his wife, Camila, had given him “a kick in the backside” to finally go make something of these journals he’d been keeping and talking about for 36 years now. And while this might suggest that Camila had perhaps reached some sort of breaking point, urging him to consider sharing all his profound insights with someone, anyone else out in the desert, McConaughey said in the same interview that the quarantine has actually brought his family closer together.
“I think my mental health and family life are improving,” McConaughey said, explaining that the increased togetherness, shared meals, and forced “introspection time” have improved not only his own life but his children’s, and they have been able to use it to foster their own artistic passions. So just in case you weren’t feeling bad enough about your own time wasted under quarantine, consider that the McConaugheys are using lockdown to grow closer, write books, and generally better themselves.
McConaughey has become so juiced under quarantine, in fact, that the pandemic must now answer to him, in the form of the actor grilling none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci on his Instagram. For more than forty minutes, McConaughey pressed the nation’s top infectious disease expert on every issue he could think of related to COVID-19—everything from mask mandates, to reopening schools, to whether the rumors are true that Advil makes it worse. (It doesn’t—and thanks for giving us something else to worry about.) After Fauci patiently endured McConaughey’s many questions and monologues on the subject, their conversation ended on a familiar, optimistic note, with both men urging the nation to pull together so that “we can have our freedom and our party later.” And we’d better do it now, before Matthew McConaughey grows any more powerful.