It’s Tuesday, and I’d like to congratulate the moon and the sun for being the top-rated show in the key demo.
Hello from Los Angeles, where we’re making less money than Katy Perry, prying secrets from Darren Aronofsky, and blaming the French for the BBC’s 100 greatest comedies list (Zelig?!).
MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY
As the TV gold rush continues, thanks to deep-pocketed new players like Netflix and Amazon driving up the cost of deals, it’s a great time to be the talent. Variety’s TV-salary survey, compiled by Cynthia Littleton, reveals just how great, and for whom. Among actors in dramas, Robert De Niro is setting the pace, scheduled to earn $775,000 an episode for the untitled Amazon show he’s making with David O. Russell. CBS’s The Big Bang Theory cast continues to top the comedy list at $900,000 an episode, while Dwayne Johnson cashes a $650,000 check for each episode of HBO’s Ballers. It’s the reality/news/host list that has two of the year’s jaw-dropper deals—with Katy Perry earning $25 million for her American Idol judging gig at ABC, and David Letterman taking home $12 million for a six-episode interview show on Netflix. With Apple, Facebook, and Google all entering the TV business as well, the firehose of money seems likely to keep gushing. When I asked a TV network executive yesterday if he was worried about the pace of spending impacting his company, he shrugged and said, “We can afford it.” How nice!
MOTHER(!) OF ALL SURPRISES
VF.com’s Laura Bradley e-mails:
Darren Aronofsky’s latest project, Mother!, is headed to theaters in just a few short weeks, but details about the film remain scarce. That’s by design; the writer-director has said on multiple occasions, most recently in a New York magazine interview, that he’d like the film’s core premise to remain a surprise for viewers. Still, there are some things he’d like those of us biting our nails in anticipation to know. For your convenience, here’s a roundup. The main thrust: Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem will play married folks whose seemingly perfect relationship clearly has its dark spots, but the real trouble seems to emerge thanks to some very unwanted houseguests.
VF.com’s Hillary Busis e-mails:
The sultry period drama Tulip Fever has had a long and winding road to movie theaters; for proof, check out Kyle Buchanan’s fascinating release timeline in Vulture. Now, though, the movie finally has a firm release date set: it’s coming out September 1. So, what should filmgoers expect when they finally get a chance to lay eyes on the film? We’ve got an exclusive look at the film’s red-band trailer, which features the sort of sexy footage that got a preview for the film banned by Fox. (Yes, Tulip Fever was too hot for the network that once aired Temptation Island.) Grab your wooden shoes and lowest-cut bodice, then take a look at the clip, featuring a scandalous Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, and the always fabulous Judi Dench.
GOODBYE, CHEWING GUM
VF.com’s Yohana Desta e-mails:
Sad news from the It-Brit world of comedy. Chewing Gum, the brilliant series created by playwright Michaela Coel, will not move forward with a third season. Both Coel’s rep and network Channel 4 confirmed the decision to Fader, with Coel later confirming the decision on Twitter. For VF.com, I wrote a brief ode to this wonderful series, which revolved around a 24-year-old woman (played by Coel) on her quest to lose her virginity. Chewing Gum was at once innocently hilarious and absurdly horny, a complete dive into one woman’s journey to sexual voracity, with the help of her much more experienced friends and neighbors. Though the last season didn’t end on any major cliff-hangers, it is sad that there won’t be any more set in this uniquely joyous world, set in a low-income London estate filmed to look like a sunny, friendly dream. But considering Coel’s prolific output (she wrote every episode of the series herself), this won’t be the last we see of the budding auteur, either.
MAKE ’EM LAUGH
VF.com’s Katey Rich e-mails:
What better way to get people talking in the dog days of August than to release a supposedly definitive list, then let the arguing begin? BBC Culture determined the 100 greatest film comedies of all time by polling 253 film critics from around the world, with Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot coming in at No. 1. As VF.com’s Richard Lawson, who voted in the poll, points out, no film made this century ranked in the top 25 (Anchorman clocked in highest, at #33), and the difference between “funniest” and “greatest” may account for how, say, Duck Soup (#5) rates higher than Blazing Saddles (#20). Read the full list, plus a tribute to The Big Lebowski (#11) by VF.com’s own Mike Hogan, at BBC Culture.
That’s the news for this sultry Tuesday in L.A. What are you seeing out there? Send tips, comments, and fresh-cut tulips to Rebecca_keegan@condenast.com. Follow me on Twitter @thatrebecca.
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