Sundance Selects has scored the U.S. rights to the music biopic “Blaze” which premiered at Sundance to raves and was co-written, produced and directed by Ethan Hawke. Alia Shawkat, Josh Hamilton, Charlie Sexton, Richard Linklater, Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, and Alynda Segarra co-star.
Ben Dickey plays Blaze Foley, the unsung songwriting legend of the Texas outlaw music movement that spawned the likes of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. Foley’s great love Sybil Rosen co-wrote the film with Hawke and the majority of the music is written by Foley, with an original track by Dickey and musical performances by many of the cast. [Source: Variety]
Hugh Laurie has been cast alongside George Clooney in Hulu’s event series adaptation of Joseph Heller’s classic novel “Catch-22”. Laurie will play Major de Coverley, a squadron executive officer on the Pianosa air base.
Christopher Abbott will play the lead role of Yossarian, a bombardier for the U.S. Air Force during World War II who faces a constant struggle of serving in war and doing what he must in order to survive. Clooney will co-star as Col. Cathcart and executive produce with Grant Heslov. [Source: The Wrap]
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Launching in October last year, “Middle-earth: Shadow of War” became caught up in the microtransaction scandal that rocked the video game industry at the end of last year. The game employed a microtransaction-based ‘market’ system felt out of place in what is largely a single-player adventure.
Now, Warner Bros. and Monolith Productions have announced they are opting to remove microtransactions from the game entirely on July 17th. Anyone who already purchased gold in the marketplace will have a limited amount of time to spend it before it is automatically turned into in-game items. [Source: Digital Trends]
Octavia Spencer has signed on as executive producer on the independent anti-slavery movie “Mumbet” to be directed by Alethea Root (“Part Time Fabulous”) and penned by Stephen Glantz (“Wunderkinder”). Casting has not been announced.
Based on the book “A Free Woman on God’s Earth” by Jana Laiz and Ann-Elizabeth Barnes. Mumbet was also known as Elizabeth Freeman – the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. [Source: Variety]
The Purge: The Series
Emmy winner Anthony Hemingway (“American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson”) has been set to direct the premiere episode of upcoming series adaptation of “The Purge” for USA Network and Syfy. Gabriel Chavarria, Jessica Garza, Amanda Warren and Colin Woodell star.
Franchise creator James DeMonaco oversees the series which is slated to launch in conjunction with the next installment in the movie franchise – “The First Purge”. Thomas Kelly serves as executive producer/showrunner of the series. [Source: Deadline]
Big Little Lies
Kathryn Newton, Robin Weigert, Merrin Dungey and Sarah Sokolovic will all return while Crystal Fox and Mo McRae have joined the cast of the second season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” which will run for seven episodes with David E. Kelley to write and Andrea Arnold set to direct all of them.
They join previously announced returning cast Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright, Reese Witherspoon as Madeline Martha Mackenzie, Adam Scott as Ed MacKenzie, Laura Dern as Renata Klein, Shailene Woodley as Jane, Zoe Kravitz as Bonnie Carlson, and new to the series Meryl Streep as Mary Louise Wright and Douglas Smith as Corey Brockfield. [Source: Deadline]