Stranger Things Spin-off, Live-Action Death Note Series Adaptation on Tap for Duffer Brothers’ New Production Company

The Upside Down is expanding beyond the screen. Matt and Ross Duffer have created a new production company, and more Stranger Things are to come. Speaking of Netflix, actress Cameron Diaz is coming out of retirement to appear in a movie for the streamer with Jamie Foxx. Plus, The Batman costars John Turturro and Paul Dano and I May Destroy You star Michaela Coel join Donald Glover and Maya Erskine for the Mr. and Mrs. Smith series at Prime Video, new trailers for The Resort and Paper Girls, and more of the biggest recent news in TV and streaming.


TOP STORY
Duffer Brothers’ New Production Company Slate Includes New Stranger Things Projects

(Photo by Tina Rowden/Netflix)

Matt and Ross Duffer, creators of Netflix horror phenomenon Stranger Things, announced their new production company, Upside Down Pictures, will produce a Stranger Things spin-off, a Stranger Things stage play, a live-action series adaptation of the Japanese manga and animated series Death Note, and more.

The projects are part of the Duffer Brothers’ overall deal with the streamer, and Hilary Leavitt (Orphan Black, Ozark) has been hired to run the company.

The slate of projects includes:

• An all-new live-action television adaptation of the renowned Japanese manga and anime series Death Note
• An original series from creators Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews (Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance)
• A series adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub’s The Talisman alongside Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and Paramount Television to be created by Curtis Gwinn
• A new stage play set within the world and mythology of Stranger Things, produced by prolific and multi award-winning producers Sonia Friedman, Stephen Daldry (The Crown, Billy Elliot, The Reader), and Netflix. Daldry will also direct. 21 Laps serves as Associate Producer.
• A live-action Stranger Things spin-off series based on an original idea by the Duffer Brothers, with Upside Down and 21 Laps producing.

Upside Down Pictures will “aim to create the kind of stories that inspired the Duffers growing up – stories that take place at that beautiful crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where big spectacle co-exists with intimate character work, where heart wins out over cynicism,” according to the Duffer Brothers in a statement released by Netflix.

Stranger Things season 4 is now No. 1 on Netflix’s (all time) Most Popular English TV list with 1.15 billion hours viewed in its first 28 days — only the second series to cross the billion-hour viewing mark, with the final tally expected to be higher as Vol. 2 of the season reaches the 28-day viewing period. The third season released in 2019 still holds at No. 3. Stranger Things 4 record-breaking highlights include:

• It had the biggest premiere weekend for an English-language TV show on Netflix with 286.79 million hours viewed.
• It hit No. 1 on the top 10 lists in 91 countries, a first for an English TV series
• It became the most viewed season of English-language TV in a single week on Netflix with 335.01 million hours viewed.
• It entered the Most Popular list at No. 3 with 621.80 million hours viewed just 10 days after its premiere, setting yet another record as the fastest English-language series to break into the Most Popular list.


Cameron Diaz Returning to Hollywood After 8-Year Break and Will Co-Star with Jamie Foxx in Netflix Movie

Cameron Diaz

(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)

The last time Cameron Diaz starred in a Hollywood movie, in 2014’s Annie, she co-starred with Jamie Foxx. So it seems appropriate that she’s coming back to Hollywood, after an eight-year absence, to star once again with her Oscar-winning pal.

Announced via Foxx’s Twitter, with help from recently unretired NFL superstar Tom Brady, Cameron Diaz has ended her own eight-year retirement to star in an upcoming Netflix movie with Fox. Back in Action will find the duo starring in an action-comedy written by Seth Gordon and Brendan O’Brien, with Gordon also directing.

Additional details about the project are being kept under wraps. Diaz and Foxx also previously co-starred in the 1999 Oliver Stone football film Any Given Sunday.


NEW TRAILERS: Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy Return as ‘Toon Supercouple

It’s been a long wait, but totally worth it for the fun, raunchy ‘toon version of Harley Quinn’s (Kaley Cuoco) adventures with her pals, and now, officially, girlfriend Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) to return for Harley Quinn season 3. Wrapping up their “Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour,” Harley and Ivy return to Gotham as the new power couple of DC villainy. Along with their ragtag crew – King Shark (Ron Funches), Clayface (Alan Tudyk), and Frank the Plant (JB Smoove) – “Harlivy” strives to become the best version of themselves while also working towards Ivy’s long desired plan of transforming Gotham into an Eden paradise. And then there’s dealing with Kiteman (Matt Oberg), Ivy’s pouting ex who will soon be getting a spin-off series, Noonan’s. Premieres July 28. (HBO Max)

More trailers and teasers released this week:
• Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem – the second installment of the daytime soap’s streaming spin-off series with many of the classic characters from past and present on another grand adventure. Just one question: wasn’t Bo dead?!?! Premieres July 11. (Peacock)
• Hocus Pocus 2 – It’s been 29 years since someone lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the 17th-century sisters, and they are looking for revenge. Now it is up to three high-school students to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve. Stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson,  and Hannah Waddingham. Premieres Sept. 30. (Disney+)
• Colosseum – from the savage truth of a gladiator’s life as a slave-warrior to the fascinating ways Rome’s Emperors used the vast amphitheater to demonstrate total power, the eight-part series  offers viewers a unique and personal look inside history’s most iconic empire. Premieres July 17. (History)
 South Park: The Streaming Wars, Part 2 – a drought has brought the town of South Park to the brink of disaster. Premieres July 13. (Paramount+)
• The Resort – an anniversary trip puts a marriage to the test when the couple finds themselves embroiled in one of the Yucatan’s most bizarre unsolved mysteries that took place fifteen years prior. Stars William Jackson Harper, Cristin Milioti, and Nick Offerman. Premieres July 28. (Peacock)
• High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, season 3 – set at Camp Shallow Lake, a sleepaway camp in California, the Wildcats and their fellow campers are primed for an unforgettable summer ripe with romance, curfew-less nights and a taste of the great outdoors.  With a high-stakes production of Frozen on the horizon AND a drama-filled docuseries of the production in the works, the Wildcats will attempt to show who is “best in snow” without leaving anyone out in the cold. Stars Olivia Rodrigo, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and JoJo Siwa. Premieres July 27. (Disney+)
• Paper Girls – in the early morning hours after Halloween 1988, four paper girls—Erin, Mac, Tiffany, and KJ—are out on their delivery route when they become caught in the crossfire between warring time-travelers, changing the course of their lives forever. Transported into the future, these girls must figure out a way to get back home to the past, a journey that will bring them face-to-face with the grown-up versions of themselves. Based on the best-selling graphic novels written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang. Premieres July 29. (Prime Video)
• See – after Baba Voss (Jason Momoa) defeated his nemesis brother Edo and retreated into the forest, an explosive new threat emerges that no one is safe from. Will the greatest warrior of his time have what it takes to protect those that mean the most to him? The final chapter of the series premieres on Aug. 26. (Apple TV+)
Everything’s Trash– follows Phoebe, a 30-something outspoken podcast star making her professional mark while living a broke and delightfully messy life in Brooklyn. When her “perfect” older brother launches a political campaign, she’s forced to start adulting. The series also stars Phoebe Robinson, Jordan Carlos, Toccarra Cash, Nneka Okafor, and Moses Storm. Premieres July 13 (Freeform)
• Love Island USA Modern Family alum Sarah Hyland will host the highly anticipated adaptation of the global hit phenomenon, Premieres July 19. (Peacock)

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CASTING: Mrs. & Mrs. Smith, the Series, Gets All-Star Supporting Cast: John Turturro, Michaela Coel, and Paul Dano

Michaela Coel

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

The Batman stars John Turturro and Paul Dano and I May Destroy You star Michaela Coel will join leads Donald Glover and Maya Erskine in the cast of Amazon’s series adaptation of the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith. (Variety)

Kate Winslet is following up Mare of Easttown and her Emmy-winning performance with a return for another HBO limited series: Trust, an adaptation of author Hernan Diaz’s acclaimed novel of the same name, about a wealthy financier who reads a novel based on his life and hires an employee to ghostwrite a novel of his own, which he hopes will paint a different picture of he and his wife, a story that unfolds across four genres and four different voices. Both Winslet and Diaz would serve as EPs on the in-development project, which would mark the actress’ third HBO miniseries, following Easttown and Mildred Pierce, both Emmy winners for her.

Hugh Grant will star in Netflix’s upcoming mythology series Kaos, playing Zeus in creator Charlie Covell’s darkly funny, modernized take on life, love, and power in the underworld, in which tracksuits replace togas and the arrogance and insecurity of Zeus means his day is ruined when he discovers a wrinkle on his forehead. The rest of the stellar cast includes David Thewlis as Zeus’ brother Hades, Janet McTeer as Hera, and Cliff Curtis as Poseidon. (Deadline)

Carol Burnett, who calls Better Call Saul one of her favorite TV series, will guest star in multiple episodes of the show’s final season. Burnett will play a character named Marion.

The Big Bang Theory alum Simon Helberg, Judith Light, and S. Epatha Merkerson are the latest cast members of Rian Johnson’s all-star Peacock mystery drama Poker Face. The 10-episode procedural star Natasha Lyonne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Benjamin Bratt, Tim Meadows, Jameela Jamil, Stephanie Hsu, and David Castañeda. (Variety) (Deadline)

Ravi Patel (Meet the Patels) will play a recurring role in FX’s limited series Justified sequel, Justified: City Primeval. (Deadline)

The Amazon pilot The Horror of Dolores Roach, based on the Sweeney Todd-inspired podcast of the same name, will star One Day at a Time’s Justina Machado as the titular character, a woman who gets out of prison and returns to a very different environment in her old neighborhood. The pilot will also star Marc Maron as Dolores’ landlord; Jean Yoon (Kim’s Convenience) as Joy, who owns the laundry next door to the empanada shop where masseuse Dolores lives; Judy Reyes (Scrubs) as Marcie, the local week dealer and Dolores’ enemy; and Jeffrey Self (Search Party) as Caleb, an influencer who also lives in the Empanada Loca building and is one of Dolores’ customers. (Deadline)

Showtime’s pilot for The Wood, a series adaptation of the 1999 coming-of-age movie, has signed Vince Staples, Xavier Mills, Karen Obilom, Melvin Gregg, and Essence Renae for the drama, as well as original movie stars Richard T. Jones and Tamala Jones to return as Slim and Tanya. The movie’s writer and director Rick Famuyiwa will write and executive the series pilot. (Variety)

Kim Cattrall has joined the cast of the Netflix drama Glamorous, playing makeup mogul Madolyn Addison, a veteran from the Golden Age of Supermodels who is the founder and CEO of the prestigious boutique beauty brand that bears her name. The quick-witted executive is focused on shaking up her business and sees an opportunity in Marco Mejia (Miss Benny), taking him from the makeup counter to a seat at the table, ruffling feathers along the way.

Outlander has added a pair of cast members for its upcoming seventh season: Izzy Meikle-Small (Never Let Me Go) and Joey Phillips (Billy Elliot) as Rachel Hunter and Dr, Denzell Hunter, sister and brother Quakers whose quiet country life is upended when Young Ian (John Bell) arrives at their farm with sick and injured William Ransom (Charles Vandervaart). Dr. Hunter has been trained in medicine in Boston and London, and as a firm believer in liberty, he is preparing to join the Revolutionary Army as a surgeon. His younger sister Rachel is modest, but shows flashes of a fiery spirit that attracts the admiration of both William and Young Ian.

Curb Your Enthusiasm star JB Smoove and Brooklyn Nine-Nine alum Melissa Fumero will announce the 74th annual Emmy Award nominations on July 12, which will stream live at 11:30 a.m. ET at Emmys.com.

Abbott Elementary stars Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, and Sheryl Lee Ralph will host the 38th annual Television Critics Association Awards, which will be announced at the Langham Huntington, Pasadena on August 6.

3rd Rock From the Sun alum Kristen Johnston has joined the cast of HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones, which recently began production of its third season. She will play May Montgomery, who has a history with the hilariously dysfunctional Gemstones. (Variety)


Kali Reis

(Photo by Irvin Rivera/Contour by Getty Images for IMDb)

It’s official: HBO has given the thumbs up to True Detective: Night Country, giving a series order to the drama which pairs previously announced star and EP Jodie Foster with co-star Kali Reis (Catch the Fair One). The story: when the long winter night falls in Ennis, Alaska, the six men that operate the Tsalal Arctic Research Station vanish without a trace. To solve the case, Detectives Liz Danvers (Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Reis) will have to confront the darkness they carry in themselves, and dig into the haunted truths that lie buried under the eternal ice. Issa López will serve as showrunner/writer/director/executive producer, while, in addition to Foster, EPs include Barry Jenkins, Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Nic Pizzolatto.

Jerry O’Connell and actress/wife Rebecca Romijn will host CBS’s upcoming reality series, The Real Love Boat. The dating series sets sail – literally, on a luxury cruise ship in the Mediterranean in which the ship’s crew helps play matchmaker for the single passengers – on Oct. 5.

William Shatner will be the subject of a career-spanning documentary from director Alexandre O. Philippe, with the cooperation of The Shat himself. The Star Trek legend will join moderator Kevin Smith for a preview of footage and to discuss the project in Hall H at San Diego Comic Con July 21-24, and producers are even offering fans the chance to be investors in the Untitled William Shatner Documentary.

Supergirl star Melissa Benoist has renewed an overall production deal with Warner Bros. Television, and has joined the cast of HBO Max’s The Girls on the Bus, playing a journalist who’s so inspired by Timothy Crouse’s The Boys on the Bus book that she drops everything in her life to hit the road covering a presidential campaign.

Netflix has made a deal with Joe and Anthony Russo (directors of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame) to direct The Electric State, which will star Netflix’s Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown as an orphaned teenager who travels the West with a robot and a drifter, looking for her younger brother. THR.com reports Chris Pratt is in talks to join Brown in the cast. The Russo’ latest project with Netflix, the action movie The Gray Man, also stars Brown and debuts on the streaming network on July 22.


PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: Succession Season 4 Production Is Underway

(Photo by HBO)

We’re still a little obsessed thinking about the season 3 finale – oh, Tom! – so it was among the TV news of the summer to get confirmation from HBO that production has begun on the next season of Succession. And, though we could have guessed that season 4 will follow the fallout of Logan’s decision to sell Waystar Royco to Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard), it’s still a treat to get the network’s official logline for the new season: “The sale of media conglomerate Waystar Royco to tech visionary Lukas Matsson moves ever closer. The prospect of this seismic sale provokes existential angst and familial division among the Roys as they anticipate what their lives will look like once the deal is completed. A power struggle ensues as the family weighs up a future where their cultural and political weight is severely curtailed.”

Showtime is developing a pilot series, The Book of Jose, about hip hop star Joseph “Fat Joe” Cartagena, who will executive produce the pilot along with Kenya Barris (Blackish) and pilot writer Jorge A. Reyes (Queen of the South). (Deadline)

NBC is producing a primetime special to help raise money for Ukraine. Ukraine: Answering the Call is an hour-long special and will feature an address from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as guests José Andrés, Jon Batiste, Kristen Bell, Brandi Carlile, Brian Cox, Jeff Daniels, Vera Farmiga, Lena Headey, Alicia Keys, Simu Liu, Julianne Moore, Brad Paisley, and Rosie Perez. It airs on July 3 at 7 p.m.

Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano will star in a Who’s the Boss? sequel, executive produced by Norman Lear, revolving around single mom Samantha Micelli (Milano), and her dad, Tony (Danza) who live together in the house Sam grew up in, 30 years ago, when her dad was a housekeeper. The original series ran for eight seasons on ABC from 1984-92. The sequel will run on Amazon’s Freevee. (Deadline)

This is certainly a timely docuseries: Showtime is producing Confirmed, a four-part series that will track the history of the Supreme Court from the 1950s to the very controversial present.

The Office star Rashida Jones and her producing partner Will McCormack have signed a first-look deal with Lionsgate Television that will include scripted programming for various platforms. First up: a remake of the woefully underrated, charming British romantic comedy series Lovesick, about a man who tries to contact his past loves to let them know he was diagnosed with an STD. The original, available on Netflix, stars Johnny Flynn (Genius: Einstein) and Antonia Thomas (The Good Doctor).


Humanitas Prize TV Nominees Include Abbott Elementary, This Is Us, and Pachinko

Abbott Elementary

(Photo by ABC)

Humanitas has announced the nominee for the TV and movie projects – many that crossover between the two thanks to streaming networks. The awards celebrate screenwriting in nine categories, and the winners will be announced on Sept. 9 at a luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The complete list of nominations:

Children’s Teleplay
El Deafo, written by Cece Bell and Will McRobb
Karma’s World: “Hair Comes Trouble,” written by Kellie R. Griffin and Halcyon Person
Snoopy Presents: To Mom (and Dad), With Love, written by Alex Galatis
The Babysitters Club: “Claudia and the Sad Goodbye,” written by Sascha Rothchild

Comedy Feature Film
Don’t Look Up, written by Adam McKay
Everything Everywhere All at Once, written by Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
Queen Bees, written by Donald Martin
Tick, Tick…Boom!, written by Steven Levenson

Comedy Teleplay
Abbott Elementary: “Pilot,” written by Quinta Brunson
Black-ish: “If a Black Man Cries in the Woods,” written by Robb Chavis
Somebody Somewhere: “BFD,” written by Hannah Bos & Paul Thureen
The Conners: “Triggered,” written by Lecy Goranson

Documentary
End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock, Shannon Kring
Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches, Julia Marchesi
In the Same Breath, Nanfu Wang
Through Our Eyes: “Shelter,” Smriti Mundhra

Drama Feature Film
A Hero, written by Asghar Farhadi
CODA, written by Sian Heder
Nine Days, written by Edson Oda
The Starling, written by Matt Harris

Drama Teleplay
Chicago P.D.: “Burnside,” written by Ike Smith
Pachinko: “Chapter One,” written by Soo Hugh
Queen Sugar: “May 27, 2020,” written by Anthony Sparks
Swagger: “Radicals,” written by Reggie Rock Bythewood & George Dohrmann
This is Us: “The Challenger,” written by Dan Fogelman

Family Feature Film
8-Bit Christmas, written by Kevin Jakubowski
Cinderella, written by Kay Cannon
Encanto, written by Charise Castro Smith & Jared Bush
Spin, written by Carley Steiner and Josh A. Cagan

Limited Series, Tv Movie Or Special
Love Life: “Mia Hines,” written by Rachelle Williams-BenAry & Sam Boyd
Maid: “Snaps,” written by Molly Smith Metzler
Three Months, written by Jared Frieder
Women of the Movement: “Mother and Son,” written by Marissa Jo Cerar

Short Film
Far From the Tree, written by Natalie Nourigat
Girls Are Strong Here, written by Scott Burkhardt
Leap, written by Margaret Nagle
Nona, written by Louis Gonzales


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