At the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’s Governors Awards, Dakota Johnson told a journalist she would star in eighty-seven-year-old Elaine May’s upcoming project, Crackpot, according to Vanity Fair. Little is known about the film, but if May’s improv partnership with Mike Nichols, “Nichols and May,” is any indication, it is apt to be a comedy on par with her A New Leaf (1971) and The Heartbreak Kid (1972), though it could be a drama like Mikey and Nicky (1976). May hasn’t sat in the director’s chair since her fourth movie, Ishtar (1987), starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman.
Kasi Lemmons’s Harriet (2019) was released Friday, and Kate Larson, the expert consulted for the film, says the fictionalized Harriet Tubman biopic is still a faithful retelling of the Maryland-born historical figure’s life, according to WBALTV. Larson, who has studied Tubman for the last twenty-five years, says she grew up a slave separated from much of her family, until running for freedom on the Underground Railroad with her brothers September 17, 1849, before they could be sold into the Deep South. Larson says she hopes the film will inspire audiences to visit the communities where Tubman became an American hero.
Lady Gaga was cast as convicted murderer Patrizia Reggiani in Sir Ridley Scott’s forthcoming film about the death of Maurizio Gucci, the grandson of the man who founded the Italian fashion house, according to BBC News. Reggiani was a socialite who had two children with Gucci before they divorced in 1985; though she served eighteen years in prison for ordering an assassin to execute her ex-husband outside his Milan office in 1995 as part of a Mafia-style hit, the “Black Widow” proclaims her innocence. Gaga was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born (2018).
It was announced Monday that the forty-nine-year-old Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz has been cast as Elizabeth Taylor in female directing team Bert & Bertie’s upcoming biopic, A Special Relationship, according to People. The film will explore the three-time Oscar winner’s HIV/AIDS activism, which began in the 1980s after she hired a gay man from the South named Roger Wall to be her personal assistant, and took her as far as lobbying for the cause in Washington, D.C., in 1986. Simon Beaufoy, who won Best Adapted Screenplay for Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire (2008), studied hours of interviews and conversations before writing the script, and See-Saw Films as well as trustees of the Elizabeth Taylor Estate/House of Taylor Trust are set to produce.
While accepting her honorary Oscar at the Academy’s Eleventh Annual Governors Awards, ninety-one-year-old Anna Wertmüller, the first female Best Director nominee for her Pasqualino Settebellezze (1975), called for a female Oscar named “Anna,” according to WTHR. Only five women have been up for Best Director in the history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and two of them, Jane Campion as well as Greta Gerwig, were in attendance at the untelevised dinner event. Cherokee actor Wes Studi also became the first Native American actor to receive an Oscar last night, alongside the prolific David Lynch and Geena Davis.
As Jane Fonda was being handcuffed Friday in Washington for the third time in fourteen days as part of her demonstration of civil disobedience against climate change by getting arrested every week, she gave an acceptance speech to a nearby camera, according to the New York Daily News. She was due to receive the honorary Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Los Angeles later that night, the fifth actor to win it after Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Matt Damon, as well as Cate Blanchett. Fonda is a two-time BAFTA Best Actress, for Fred Zimmerman’s Julia (1977) and James Bridges’s The China Syndrome (1979), in addition to a two-time Academy-Award honoree (out of seven nominations), for Alan J. Pakula’s Klute (1971) and Hal Ashby’s Coming Home (1978).
Australian actress Olivia DeJonge has been cast in the role of Elvis’s wife, Priscilla Presley, for the upcoming biopic from Baz Luhrmann about the King of Rock and Roll’s complicated twenty-year relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, according to Deadline. Austin Butler and Tom Hanks will play Presley and Parker, respectively, and DeJonge’s notable screen credits include M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit (2015), as well as Netflix’s The Society (2019-). Born in Brooklyn, Priscilla Ann Wagner was fourteen when she met a twenty-four-year-old Presley in 1959, before moving into Graceland in 1963, marrying him in 1967, and divorcing in 1973; she was the chairwoman of Elvis Presley Enterprises, and they had a daughter together.