Swedish film and stage star Max von Sydow, known for his collaborations with filmmaker Ingmar Bergman on stage as well as onscreen, has died at ninety years old, according to The Guardian. Born Carl Adolph Von Sydow to a family of academics in Lund, he was a Catholic school student before serving in the military, after which time, he attended the acting school at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm from 1948 to 1951. He would go on to be nominated for two Academy Awards, for Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror (1987) and Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011).
The Guardian contributor Róisín Tapponi writes that Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) eschews the male gaze in favor of “the lesbian gaze.” The film stars Noémie Merlant as the liberated Marianne, an artist secretly commissioned to paint a portrait of the sexually repressed Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) until the two women fall in love with each other. According to Tapponi, the difference between the male gaze and the lesbian gaze is touching versus looking – where male-directed lesbian romances are full of gratuitous sex, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is more about sensuality as well as intimacy.
At Blumhouse, Jason Blum produced Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man (2020) for seven million dollars (before marketing and distribution), so, when the science fiction thriller starring Elisabeth Moss opened to twenty-nine million dollars, it became a hit, according to Variety. For Universal, it was close to the thirty-one-million-dollar debut for Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy (2017), but The Mummy cost three hundred fifty million dollars to shoot and promote, making The Invisible Man more profitable. Overseas, The Invisible Man even went on to gross an additional twenty million dollars at the international box office, in spite of the coronavirus outbreak.
Shudder’s Cursed Films (2020-) is a documentary series which will look at the ill-fated production stories behind: Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist (1982); William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973); Richard Donner’s The Omen (1976); Alex Proyas’s The Crow (1994); as well as John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller’s Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), according to Entertainment Weekly News. Those interviewed by the streaming service include: The Omen director Richard Donner; The Exorcist star Linda Blair; Kane Hodder; Michael Berryman; Troma Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Kaufman; Poltergeist III (1988) director Gary Sherman; Mitch Horowitz; and Blumhouse executive and Shock Waves podcast cohost Ryan Turek. The season premiere (The Exorcist) will screen April 2; on April 9, Poltergeist and The Omen ; and April 16, The Crow and Twilight Zone: The Movie.
Al Jean, showrunner for 20th Century’s The Simpsons (1989-) as well as a producer behind David Silverman’s The Simpsons Movie (2007), says the talks for another potential spinoff film are “in the very, very early stages,” according to New Music Express. Series creator Matt Groening said at D23 that he thinks the movie will happen, and Jean added that the Simpsons team “would love to do one for Disney, but it’s not like it’s happening next week or next year.” In a new statement, Jean made clear that any new film would be a standalone work, rather than a sequel.
NASA scientist Katherine Johnson, who was played by Taraji P. Henson in Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures (2016), has died at 101 years old, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. One of the first black women to work as a NASA scientist, almost no one outside of the agency knew who she was until the release of Hidden Figures, even though Johnson helped calculate the trajectory for spaceflights during the 1960s space race with Russia, including the moon landing. Hidden Figures was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and Johnson received a standing ovation when she appeared onstage with the cast.
At a campaign rally in Colorado Springs on Thursday night, United States President Donald Trump criticized this month’s Academy Awards, where Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019) became the first non-English language film to win Best Picture, according to The Washington Post. Citing American trade disputes with South Korea, Trump asked, “Can we get Gone with the Wind back, please,” in reference to Victor Fleming’s 1939 Best Picture Oscar winner which has long since fallen out of favor in critical circles for its representation of black Americans. Trump would later go on to admit he doesn’t know whether Parasite is good or not.