By Jesse Whittock
International TV Co-Editor
Hello and welcome back to Deadline’s International Insider. If you’re not in Cannes enjoying the sun-soaked days and balmy evenings along the Croisette, allow us to provide you with everything you need to know, plus provide the lowdown on another big week in international entertainment.
A matter of principle: Diana Lodderhose here reporting from Cannes. The 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival is well underway and the sun is shining on international delegates for what feels like a return to pre-pandemic days. Deadline kicked off the week with a bang with Andreas’ exclusive about Cannes demanding copy approval as a condition for interviews with its chief Thierry Frémaux. After sitting down with the festival head in Paris last month, our International Editor was asked by the Cannes press department to water down and remove certain quotes, including comments about Roman Polanski and a lack of female directors. Read the full piece here and Frémaux’s response to the censorship story here.
Suits you: Before the festival officially kicked off on Tuesday, Cannes jury member Asghar Farhadi talked for the first time about plagiarism claims on his movie A Hero at the press jury conference. The Oscar-winning director spoke at length about a suit filed against him from a former student, admitting it was an ongoing process. Michel Hazanavicius opened the festival with his zombie comedy title Final Cut. Read Pete Hammond’s review here.
Cruise control: Tom Cruise touched down on the Croisette this week for the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick, the hottest ticket of the week. The star sat down for a rare public interview, which Anthony D’Alessandro had for us here, where he talked his devotion to the big screen and discussed why streaming the film was never an option. Fighter jets decorated the coast as the film premiered in the Palais and it received a five-minute standing ovation before Cruise himself was lauded with a surprise Palme d’Or award.
Take That: Our intrepid International Editor-at-Large Baz Bamigboye had a chat with man-band Take That. They were headed to Cannes for the first time to promote their film Greatest Days, which is inspired by their globe-conquering success in the 1990s.
Real deals: Deadline continued to break news on the big projects for you, including hot market title Tin Soldier with Jamie Foxx, Scott Eastwood, Robert De Niro and John Leguizamo. Andreas had the scoop here. There’s also Julianne Moore and Sandra Oh starrer Stone Mattress, the new pic from Scottish director Lynne Ramsay, which Deadline broke on Wednesday. Meanwhile, STX’s longtime Head of International John Friedberg exited the company before we scooped that the exec would be heading up Teddy Schwartzman’s new sales banner at Black Bear. We also had the inside track on competition title Tchaikovsky’s Wife, which was backed by Roman Abramovich’s Kinoprime fund. Deadline spoke to the French Ministry of Economy and Finance about its position on films funded by Russian oligarchs. Stay tuned for more news in the next week as it’s sure to be a busy one here in the south of France.
Week of Showcases: Two swanky London dos took place this week as Sky and Amazon hired out the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and Londoner Hotel respectively to introduce a wealth of content. More than 250 UK shows will come from these two powerhouses over the next 12 months and many were on show at these events, including the likes of I Hate Suzie Too, Gangs of London, The Boys and Amazon’s new dating format Lovestruck High. Sky spent the week trailing shows via a set of press releases including Once Upon a Time In Londongrad, a documentary about Russian exiles killed in the UK revealed exclusively by Deadline. The pace at which the two have ramped up their UK content ambitions demonstrate how much of a TV production hotbed this fair isle has become and so it was no surprise Sky CEO Dana Strong revealed Universal Pictures’ long-awaited Wicked adaptation is moving from the U.S. to the brand spanking new Sky Studios Elstree.
Going off (non-) script: Speaking exclusively to Deadline after the Showcase, Amazon Studios Europe Head Georgia Brown talked up her team’s non-scripted game and said British broadcasters and streamers alike were not investing enough in the genre when she joined five years ago. “I hired a non-scripted team commissioning team before scripted because I saw a white space joining from [non-scripted powerhouse] Fremantle and it was evident to me that broadcasters and streamers were not investing enough in the non-scripted space,” she explained. Alongside Head of UK Commissioning Dan Grabiner, Brown also told Max about her vision to blood the next generation of young TV creatives, with grime/drill hybrid drama-musical Jungle , which comes from new-to-TV outfit Nothing Lost, one of her most hotly-anticipated shows of the year.
Uncertainty clouds sunny studio slates: The LA Screenings are back in person next week after two years of Covid-enforced digital runs — “Yes!” “Ja!” “Oui!” shout international TV execs desperate for the Californian sun. I took a deep dive into the studios’ plans and collated the views of buyers and independent distributors, finding a mixture of excitement and uncertainty — what exactly can people buy and how should they spend their time best? The studios have been warehousing their streaming shows for a couple of years now, restricting what their sales execs have on offer, but the growing trend for high-end, high-profile international co-productions is emerging as just as disruptive to the old ways. Of course, the studios themselves are getting more international every passing year and their slates are reflective of that new world order. Add in a host of independent studios, producers and distributors looking for a piece of the action and it’s shaping up to be a telling week in international TV. Read the full report here.
Disruptors: Deadline headed to the Cannes Film Festival with a caseload of Disruptors magazines packed full of exclusive reports on the world’s most innovative film and TV names. Among the international-focused articles, Nancy spoke with Priyanka Chopra about her mission to open the doors to the world of entertainment to women from South Asia, while Diana took a deep dive into how the Russian invasion of Ukraine had impacted the latter’s entertainment industry, speaking with veteran producer Denis Ivanov and recalling the story of brave Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who defied the government on live TV in March. Elsewhere, Max and I got personal with the key figures behind Netflix’s hit Squid Game. Read our reports here and here. The mag is loaded with tons more great content, so make sure you check out the digital edition here.
Yas, Queen: Elizabeth II has been on the British throne since 1952, which was notably also the last time people watched TV shows on television sets and films in cinemas (I joke). To celebrate the 96-year-old’s mammoth run, the BBC unveiled plans for a major Jubilee celebration event at Buckingham Palace titled the Platinum Party in the Park. Entertainment heavyweights such as Diana Ross, Elton John and Andrew Lloyd-Webber are contributing to the proceedings, which will broadcast through BBC services. Also in the royal sphere, news broke this morning that the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, the former wife of the now-disgraced Prince Andrew, has co-founded Paris-based production house Vestapol Films with Mark Gill, The Open’s Cyril Cadars and financier Gertjan Rooijakkers.
🌶️ Here’s a hot one: Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk told Max he is developing a satire about his experience creating Netflix’s smash overnight success, provisionally titled The Best Show on the Planet.
🌶️ Another one: Night of the Kings director Philippe Lacôte is developing feature film 7 Gold Thieves (Les 7 Voleurs D’Or) with his producing and co-writing partner Delphine Jacquet and Memento’s relaunched Paradise City banner. Here’s Andreas’ scoop.
🌶️ Getting hotter: Indian studio Applause Entertainment is adapting historian Ramachandra Guha’s Mahatma Gandhi biographies into a major period drama series akin to The Crown. Further details from me here.
🌶️ More spice: Rivulet Films has picked up John Wick writer Derek Kolstad’s original screenplay Acolyte and will finance and produce the project alongside Swiss distributor-producer Ascot Elite Entertainment. Read Diana’s story here.
🚌 On the move: Laurine Garaude, the former head of the Mip television markets, has resurfaced at TV demand data firm Parrot Analytics, where she will be Partnerships Director EMEA. Former Nielsen exec and Gracenote exec Grant Cover takes the same role in North America. More here.
🏢 Just opened: UK management firm YMU is launching a U.S. entertainment division under the leadership of former UTA agent April Tombs. Andreas had more.
🍿Box office: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now close to $700M global, as Nancy reported Monday.
Max Goldbart and Diana Lodderhose contributed to this week’s International Insider.
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