Ryan Murphy was on a Television Critics Association panel for his latest FX series American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. But after the panel he spoke with reporters further about one of his other shows. One in the works at Netflix is Ratched, a series following the character Nurse Ratched (played by Louise Fletcher) from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and some new details about the series have been revealed.
We know Ryan Murphy’s regular collaborator Sarah Paulson will play Nurse Ratched, and now the executive producer has confirmed Jack Nicholson’s character Randle Patrick McMurphy will be featured too. Find out more about the Nurse Ratched TV series below.
“The great thing about that show is the first four seasons follow Sarah’s origin story,” Murphy said. “How did she become a Hannibal Lecter figure? What happened to her to make her do that? It’s also a feminist tale because it starts in 1947. It really looks at the birth of a lot of things that were happening in our health care system. The last season of that show will be Sarah facing off against the Jack Nicholson character from the movie. It’ll let you understand how she became that person. We haven’t started casting the Nicholson part.”
In the film, McMurphy rebels against the traditional medical practices of an asylum. Louise Fletcher played his nemesis Nurse Ratched in the movie, a cold, heartless woman who is so evil, she has become the poster child for mean medical personnel. However, casting of the series has not yet progressed past hiring Paulson as Ratched.
“Michael Douglas is a producer on that show,” Murphy said. “He’s going to be very involved in the casting. He produced that movie so we’ve just begun to talk about who are the [potentials]. It’ll sort of be Sarah Paulson versus the male villain every year until you get to a worthy adversary. That’s the structure of that show but it has leaps of time forward because I’m interested in looking at health care in the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ultimately where it ends up in that last season.”
There is no deadline for getting Ratched on the air, and Murphy is using the time to get everything right. “We don’t have a start date because we’re not going to shoot that show until all eight scripts are written,” Murphy said.
As soon as more information on the Nurse Ratched TV series comes to light, we’ll let you know.
A character’s ‘arc’ is a big buzzword in Hollywood development circles.
I am wondering if protagonist character arcs (in which they learn something and grow in a positive way) apply to protagonists of comedy. I can see where the personal growth of the character would be important in drama, but what about in comedy or horror? If the comedy is a farce, for example, it seems like all the characters stay the same or even regress in the course of the story. Do some of these rules change depending on genre? (Fyi, the protagonist of my comedy does grow and learn things about herself, but I wondered if this has to be the case all of the time.)
This is a hugely important question, Gregaria, one I could parse into various areas of focus for several posts. For now, let’s look at three points.
First, in most movies, the Protagonist does go through some sort of metamorphosis. You see it over and over and over again. In mainstream commercial movies. Even in indie films. The P starts out in one psychological state at the beginning. They end up in another psychological state. Three examples:
Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz feels disconnected from her life-circumstance in Kansas, wishing she could go somewhere over the rainbow, only to return claiming, “There’s no place like home.
C.C. Baxter in The Apartment starts out as a nebbish who allows himself to be abused by his co-workers in order to land a promotion, then at the end rejects the job and those work values — in other becomes a mensc
Michael Dorsey in Tootsie begins as a self-absorbed, insensitive male, then through his experiences as Dorothy Michaels discovers he was a better man as a woman than he was as a man.
If you sat down and wrote out a list of your 10 favorite movies, I’ll bet almost all of them feature a Protagonist metamorphosis dynamic.
Joseph Campbell asserted that transformation is at the heart of The Hero’s Journey: The Hero leaves their Ordinary World and goes on a journey into a New World. Through the challenges they face and experiences they have, combined with wisdom they learn along the way, both intellectual and emotional, the Hero returns home a changed individual.
Carl Jung asserted the process of individuation is the greatest calling of the human adventure and that process is fundamentally about metamorphosis — becoming who we are meant to be, indeed, in a way, become who we already are (as represented in the various aspects of our psyche).
Why is metamorphosis perhaps the single most universal narrative archetype? Again we could talk about this for days, but if I had to name one reason it’s this: People want to believe they can change. Stories that feature characters who do change reinforce that belief.
So I think it’s safe to say that in most movies, the Protagonist does go through some sort of metamorphosis.
Second point: There are stories where the Protagonist does not go through any significant metamorphosis. Forrest Gump, Being There, pre-Daniel Craig James Bond movies are a few examples. Forrest Gump and Chance are change agents, that is they don’t change, they change others. In the case of James Bond, that’s more of a reflection how in some action movies the Protagonist’s story is not so concerned with their psychological journey, but rather the impact they have on others, most notably Nemesis characters. Of course, there are lots of action movies where the Protagonist does change — Lethal Weapon and Die Hard spring to mind — but only if the filmmakers are interested in exploring that character’s inner life. Which leads to the third point, one you raised: “Do some of these rules change depending on genre?” Two things.
First, in my view, there are no ‘rules.’ There are only principles and conventional wisdom. As writers, we have to be free to follow our story wherever it leads. Rules bind us. Principles, however, exist to guide us, but we can choose to bend them, shape them, ignore them, even abuse them. Same thing with conventional wisdom. Sometimes a story is best served playing by what is conventional. Other times, a story will force us to be unconventional. Again we’re not breaking a rule, rather we’re flying in the face of convention. I know it’s a matter of semantics, but I prefer that language to “rules.”
Second, while most stories share fundamental narrative principles, they can vary by genre. For example as noted above, you can write a great action movie where the Protagonist does not go through any significant metamorphosis. On the other hand, that’s likely not the case if you’re writing a drama where viewers expect to enter into the inner life of characters.
Even within a genre, there can be differences. You mention farce, a specific type of comedy. There the humor derives largely from a tangled web of comedic situations. Does the Protagonist have to change in a farce? Maybe. Maybe not. If, however, you are writing a more conventional comedy like Tootsie or even some of the adult-males-as-teenager comedies like Knocked Up, you’re more likely to need to explore your Protagonist’s character arc.
So after that long-winded response, my short answer to your questions is this: No, a Protagonist does not have to go through a metamorphosis. But as a result of a combination of lessons learned from a 100+ year history of filmmaking, human instinct, and common sense, most movies will have a Protagonist who does have a character arc — starting in one psychological start, ending in quite another.
By the way, metamorphosis has been a major point of emphasis in what I’ve been teaching since 2002 as the Protagonist’s evolution not only provides meaning to the plot, it can also create the spine of the main plot itself. In other words: Plot emerging from character. Finally a way to marry the two!
Against all odds, the Terminator franchise is being kept alive thanks to producer James Cameron. The crippled sci-fi film series now has a home at 20th Century Fox, and Cameron is hoping to spark the beginning of a new Terminator trilogy, complete with original stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton reprising their roles as the T-800 killing machine and Sarah Connor respectively.
The new Terminator sequel already had a team of writers on board that included David Goyer (Man of Steel), Justin Rhodes (Green Lantern Corps.), Charles Eglee (Dark Angel) and Josh Friedman (Avatar 2), but now they’ve added another writer to the process. The Hunger Games and Captain Phillips writer Billy Ray has been brought on board to give the script one final polish. While we don’t know the story of this new Terminator sequel yet, some details on a couple new characters have emerged.
Variety announced the news of Billy Ray joining the writing team for what will be the sixth film in the Terminator franchise. However, much like the forthcoming Halloween sequel from David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, this new Terminator is supposed to be a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, effectively ignoring all the disappointing sequels that followed.
Though the story is still under wraps, Tracking Board reporter Jeff Sneider recently took to Twitter to deliver some details about a couple new characters. Reportedly producer James Cameron and director Tim Miller are looking for an 18-year old Mexican actress to play a young female lead by the name of Dani Ramos. They’re also on the lookout for a Latin actor with fighting and stunt experience to play the new villain. Why are Hispanic actors specifically being sought? Well, aside from adding some diversity to the Terminator franchise, apparently the story might be set in Mexico City.
While I have little interest in seeing the Terminator franchise revived, having James Cameron directly involved certainly helps. Plus, with someone like Deadpool director Tim Miller behind the camera, we might finally see some innovation brought to a film series that desperately needs it. Of course, we’ve seen several Terminator sequels planned down the road before, only to have them fall apart. But if James Cameron can get four Avatar sequels together, then getting three more Terminator sequels shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
The untitled Terminator sequel is slated to hit theaters on July 26, 2017.
6 new Marvel’s Runaways character posters revealed
Following a banner yesterday (see the gallery below), Hulu has released six new Marvel’s Runaways character posters, which you can view below!
Every teenager thinks their parents are evil. What if you found out they actually were? Marvel’s Runaways is the story of six diverse teenagers who can barely stand each other but who must unite against a common foe – their parents. The Hulu original series is based on the Marvel comics created by the award-winning team of Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. The book series has won an Eisner, a Harvey and was featured as one of the Young Adult Library Services Association’s best books for young adults.
The cast for the series includes Ariela Barer (New Girl, One Day at a Time) as Gert Yorkes, Lyrica Okano (The Affair, Unforgettable) as Nico Minoru–tough, Rhenzy Feliz (Teen Wolf, Casual) as Alex Wilder, Gregg Sulkin (Faking It, Don’t Hang Up, Anti Social) as Chase Stein, Virginia Gardner (Goat, Little Bitches) as Karolina Dean, and Allegra Acosta (100 Things to do Before High School, Just Add Magic) as Molly Hernandez.
The fan-favorite and groundbreaking comic book series will be brought to life on Hulu by the team behind The O.C. and Gossip Girl, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. Schwartz and Savage will serve as co-showrunners/writers and will executive produce the series along with Marvel’s Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory.
Marvel’s Runaways will premiere the first three episodes of its ten-episode first season on Tuesday, November 21.
From left: Stacey Yorkes (Brigid Brannagh) Dale Yorkes (Kevin Weisman), Victor Stein (James Marsters), Geoffrey Wilder (Ryan Sands), Janet Stein (Ever Carradine), Catherine Wilder (Angel Parker), Leslie Dean (Annie Wersching), Robert Minoru (James Yaegashi) and Tina Minoru (Brittany Ishibashi), shown.
MGM, Paramount Pictures and Rocket Pictures have released seven new character posters for the animated children’s film Sherlock Gnomes, the sequel to 2011’s sleeper hit Gnomeo & Juliet. Check out the Sherlock Gnomes character posters in the gallery below, and be sure to stay tuned for when the trailer drops next week!
In the new film, garden gnomes Gnomeo & Juliet (returning voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt) recruit renowned detective Sherlock Gnomes (voiced by Johnny Depp) to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments.
Kung Fu Panda helmer John Stevenston directed the film from a screenplay by Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil. The first film’s director, Kelly Asbury, serves as creative consultant. As in the original, Sherlock Gnomes will feature new music by Elton John.
Sherlock Gnomes will be released in theaters on March 23, 2018.
Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC, brought courtroom drama ‘Marshall’ to vivid life despite a small budget and challenging locations.
Some of the most critical moments in American history have been realized courtesy of the country’s justice system and the courtroom. Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, and the Scopes Trial were each landmark cases that dramatically shifted the tide of American life, helping lead to a national fascination with the courtroom that has extended to the cinema in the form of fictional masterpieces like To Kill A Mockingbird and A Few Good Men. On-screen, these monumental cases have drawn a great deal of attention, with movies suitably lending their focus to the dialogue. While questioning, cross-examining, and objecting remains at the forefront of the story in Marshall, DP Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC, also makes sure to bring a visual life to the courtroom drama.
“It was several stories up, almost 80 feet in the air, with huge windows, and 90% of my work was daytime.”
We’re just one week away from Force Friday II, the big merchandising event that will see a slew of Star Wars: The Last Jedi toys, clothing, posters, books and more thrown on shelves as part of Disney and Lucasfilm’s massive hype machine that we happily crank up each and every week. While most of the secrets of The Last Jedi will likely be kept intact, it doesn’t mean there won’t be some details gleaned from the event. In fact, part of the Force Friday II promotion will include the reveal of a new character through the “Find the Force” augmented reality event accessed through the official Star Wars app.
Find out more about Star Wars Force Friday II and this special promotion below.
This video explains how you can unlock characters in the Star Wars app by participating in Force Friday II:
As you can see, by scanning the “Find the Force” logo, you’ll unlock characters in the app, almost as if they were trading cards. Apparently at least one of the characters you’ll be able to unlock during the global event that spans three days at 20,000 retail locations spread across 30 countries will be a never-before-seen character from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Will this be a new key character in the Star Wars saga or are we talking about getting a glimpse at another Constable Zuvio here? It’s difficult to say, but it’s a relatively cool way to keep fans active on the Star Wars app while also unlocking new information about the movie.
You can use the Star Wars app right now to get an early look at the Porgs in augmented reality before the treasure hunt for more characters goes live next week for Force Friday II on September 1st. In fact, once you start the treasure hunt, you’ll be able to post photos and videos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags #FindtheForce and #Sweepstakes throughout that weekend for a chance to win the ultimate fan experience: tickets to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere in December.
If you’re wondering where the best place to go for Force Friday II is going to be, StarWars.com has all the details on the various events and parties that certain retail locations are having. Some establishments like Target, Walmart and Meijer will be opening at midnight to start selling The Last Jedi merchandise immediately. Other retailers have their own exclusives and whatnot too, which you can find about in much more detail right here.
The Big Sick, based on the actual life story of Kumail Nanjani and Emily Gordon, centers around Emily’s life-and-death medical crisis but is almost entirely character-driven. The medical situation functions most certainly as the inciting incident, and offers dramatic tension throughout; but this is not a medical mystery. This is a love story, with Kumail caught between his love for Emily and his loyalty to his parents, who expect him to cooperate as they attempt to arrange a marriage for him to a Pakistani and Muslim woman. Emily, meanwhile, is caught between her love for Kumail and her conviction that she has been led on and betrayed by him.
Kumail, now the “ex,” waits awkwardly at the hospital with Emily’s parents.
The focus is on Kumail as he gets in touch with the depth of his feelings toward Emily and eventually wins over her parents, who’ve been predisposed to dislike him but witness up close Kumail’s devotion to their daughter. The medical crisis is ever-present. But a clear choice was made not to lean on hospital drama mechanics in order to maintain dramatic tension.
The script chooses to stay close to the internal struggle of Kumail.
He loves Emily and needs to live that truth, to be with her in spite of his family’s expectations of him. He overcomes the hostility of her parents and wins their love and respect. Emily overcomes her fear and hurt and regains her trust in Kumail’s love. The human drama is framed, but not overshadowed, by the medical drama.
Strategizing how character drives plot, finding that perfect balance of external and internal stories, is the screenwriter’s task.
Which of the character interactions did you resonate with most in The Big Sick? How important is conflict between characters in the movie?
Here are some clips and the trailer for The Big Sick, a wonderful movie:
As the audience, we have an important advantage over the other people in a character’s world: We can see a character when they think nobody’s watching.
When we see the contradiction between a character’s presented self and their internal self, it helps to make a fictional person feel dimensional and real. We relate to that feeling of having a part of yourself cordoned off from the rest of the world, and we also recognize the discomfort of having that barrier breached.