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'Stranger Things' Exclusive: Frank Darabont in Talks to Direct Two Episodes of the Hit Show's Final Season

Plus, my thoughts on the latest Golden Globes fiasco and the trailer for Kristen Stewart's new A24 movie 'Love Lies Bleeding.'

It’s Tuesday night but I already hit up Tocaya after Sony’s embargoed screening of Anyone But You last night, so there will be no tacos for me tonight. But regardless, hit me up with your best taco spots in L.A. — just keep in mind that I’m a basic bitch who only likes chicken, steak, and especially ground beef tacos. I’ve never eaten fish in my entire life so please spare me your Baja recs.

Tonight, I’m debating whether to see Illumination’s Migration, which looks good to me, though there are so many obscure arthouse films that I want to catch up with before the end of the year, including Pacifiction, Afire, The Beasts, and R.M.N.

But there are still 12 days left until the end of the year, and thus, 12 days left to tell a friend about this newsletter… Or Aquaman 2, since it’s tracking to open to just $40 million over the four-day Christmas frame and WB may need all the help it can get.

In tonight’s edition, you’ll read about Frank Darabont, Fred Armisen, Octavia Spencer, Hannah Waddingham, Molly Parker, the Golden Globes, and my thoughts on the trailer for Kristen Stewart’s new A24 movie Love Lies Bleeding. Read on for more…

Exclusive: Frank Darabont Is in Talks to Direct Two Episodes of Stranger Things

Stranger Things would be the perfect comeback vehicle for Frank Darabont.

Frank Darabont, who some Stranger Things fans saw as an influence on the show’s first season, is in talks to direct two episodes of the hit Netflix series as it enters its climactic final season.

Darabont, who developed and executive produced the first season of The Walking Dead before getting involved in a legal battle with AMC, is best known as the writer-director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, both of which were based on stories by Stephen King — a clear influence on Stranger Things.

Season 4 of Stranger Things was directed entirely by creators Matt and Ross Duffer, executive producer Shawn Levy, and Nimród Antal, who helmed two episodes. The Duffers did the same thing in Season 3 with Uta Briesewitz joining them and Levy, while Season 2 featured two “outsiders” — Andrew Stanton and Rebecca Thomas.

It would seem that Darabont is now taking that “outside filmmaker” slot for Season 5. And it’ll be interesting to see whether Levy takes the reins of an episode, given his busy schedule (he’s currently working on Deadpool 3), but I’m told he’ll make the time to come back for at least one episode, for old times’ sake. I’m also hearing that Dan Trachtenberg (Prey) was in line to direct an episode, but ultimately, that didn’t come to fruition and he’s not involved.

There are supposed to be eight episodes in Season 5, so if Levy does one, Trachtenberg does one, and Darabont does two, that would leave the Duffers to direct the other half of the season, which makes sense given how long the final episodes are expected to be. That math adds up to me, but, of course, none of this has been confirmed by Netflix, go figure.

Production is slated to start in early January, with some Stranger Things cast members already in Atlanta for table reads and other prep work.

Since exiting The Walking Dead, Darabont has done some uncredited work as a script doctor on Hollywood blockbusters — work that he’d now likely be credited for under the WGA’s “additional literary material” rule — and he created the crime drama Mob City for TNT, but for the past decade, he’s been pretty quiet. Now, it sounds like he’s back in a big way, and this is the perfect vehicle for his comeback.

Darabont is represented by CAA… which also reps the Duffers. Netflix declined to comment.

The Anonymous Golden Globes Voter: “If I Can’t Go to the Show, What Am I Even Doing This For?”

At first, voters just wanted a seat at the table. Now they want a seat at the ceremony…

I almost forgot about TheWrap’s scorching report that 64 Golden Globes voters threatened to withhold their final ballots after being told they wouldn’t receive tickets to the Globes ceremony in January.

It all started with an email from my former boss Tim Gray, who is as sweet as anyone in Hollywood, which is why he was chosen to serve as executive vice president of the organization in August. Tim is a well-respected statesman in Hollywood, and the move actually made a lot of sense.

But even Tim Gray cannot heal the roots of a rotten tree.

If you’re a member of an organization like the Globes, does it make sense to want to attend its big year-end function? Yes, of course. I understand why those 64 voters are upset. But, on the other hand, this is a TV show, and to populate the ballroom with 300 random-ass voters and 300 of their even more random-ass guests makes no sense from that perspective. You want famous faces in those seats.

Rather than deal with this behind closed doors, and working together to find a solution — like a lottery system, in which you’re put into Group A, B, or C, and each year, one or two get to attend (depending on how many seats you have), while the other one (or two) wait their turn in the cycle. The Critics Choice Awards employs a lottery system for its members, and I believe that the Academy does as well.

If you’re a voting member and you’re mad that you “only” get to attend the Globes every three years, I’d suggest that you suck it up. The fact that these 64 voters threatened to withhold their vote (as if it matters literally at all) shows you what motivates them — the big party and the selfies and the swag… as if they aren’t being plied with this stuff year-round.

I spoke to a Globes voter I know, and while they refused to tell me whether they were one of the 64 who signed the letter to Tim Gray, they echoed the sentiment of the group, saying, “If I can’t go to the show, what am I even doing this for?”

Obviously, I like this individual, but it’s like, doesn’t that attitude kind of say it all? Is it not enough to vote for one of Hollywood’s most "faux-prestigious” awards each year, get wined and dined and flown all over the world to meet celebrities, and receive a $75,000 salary? None of it’s worth it if they can’t go to the ceremony, and they’ll be withholding the only “service” they really provide to the organization — the 15 minutes it takes to fill out a ballot!

TheWrap quotes members as saying, “I am just in shock” and “Members new and old are upset.” It’s like, are you people dense? Your organization swelled from 86 people to roughly 300. Did the Beverly Hilton suddenly grow more seats? The trade also mentions a recorded meeting and a pattern of broken promises from Todd Boehly, which speaks to the lack of trust within the organization.

The Golden Globes were a joke then and they’re still a joke now. Whether they’ll always be a joke is up to the organization and its entitled membership.

Bits and Bobs (A Daily News Roundup)

Has this guy ever heard of a tanning salon?

  • What If It Were Wednesday Every Day? - Netflix wants to build out an entire Wednesday universe, starting with an Uncle Fester spinoff series starring Fred Armisen. I’m not sure that’ll have the same appeal, but I wish the streamer the best of luck…

  • One Is Not Enough - Netflix also announced that it will be reimagining the popular manga One Piece for a new anime series titled The One Piece, which is currently in production. The new show promises to be “distinct” from the ongoing anime series that has been running for more than two decades about Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate crew. Netflix also announced it will adapt another manga from One Piece creator Eiichiro OdaMonsters 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation. Let’s hope they change that title because it’s a mouthful!

  • Renewal for Who-al? - Finally, Netflix renewed a show called My Life With the Walter Boys for a second season. I’ve never even heard of it before, but apparently, it has been Netflix’s most-watched TV title over the past week — its second in the Netflix Top 10. Who would’ve guessed?

  • What We Do When a Favorite Ends - FX has announced that the forthcoming sixth season of What We Do in the Shadows will be its last. The series was renewed for two seasons ahead of Season 5, which ended in X, so the next season will simply bring its natural conclusion. And let’s be honest, this show likely ran longer than you, me, or even Taika Waititi thought possible. Kudos on a hell of a run…

  • Warrior, I Hardly Knew Ye - Max has canceled Warrior after three seasons, which will eventually stream on Netflix, where the show will likely become a huge hit and we’ll all wonder why Max canceled it in the first place. I’ve heard very good things about it but I can’t say I ever watched an episode…

  • Can’t Get No Satisfaction - FX is no longer developing a major series about the Rolling Stones, as the show’s producer, Andy Harries of Left Bank Pictures, told Deadline that it was “too expensive and too ambitious” for the network, given Disney’s recent cutbacks. Apparently, FX’s John Landgraf didn’t feel he’d “be able to get it greenlit in the next two years.” The series chronicles the band’s glory years and Left Bank plans to shop it around. The Stones have given Left Bank permission to use their music, so I imagine there will be no shortage of interested parties, and the project could always make its way back to FX. Then again, their Sex Pistols show from no less than Danny Boyle was a bit of a bust, so they may not be in a hurry to do it all over again, as evidenced by this decision… not that the Stones and the Pistols can be compared, mind you!

  • What’s Up, Doc? - The always-good Molly Parker will star in Fox’s new medical drama series, Doc. Based on a popular Italian series, Doc follows a brilliant doctor in Minneapolis who suffers a brain injury that erases the last eight years of her life. She’s then forced to navigate an unfamiliar world where she has no recollection of the patients she’s treated, the colleagues she’s crossed, the soulmate she divorced, the man she now loves, or the tragedy that caused her to push everyone away. She can rely only on her estranged 17-year-old daughter and a handful of devoted friends as she struggles to continue practicing medicine. I was going to say, ‘How many more medical drama shows do we need at this point? Can we give this entire genre a rest until someone finds a way to reinvent it, like House M.D. did?’ But you know what? Doc doesn’t sound half-bad… for a broadcast series. Sorry, outside of the Law & Order franchise, I’m snooty like that.

  • Maybe They’ll Compare Trophies - Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) and Emmy winner Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso) are set to star in an untitled Amazon comedy series from creator Tessa Coates. The two will play best friends who know everything about each other, except for one little thing… Waddingham is an assassin, and when a hit goes wrong, the two of them are forced to go on the run together while repairing their broken friendship. Spencer and Waddingham strike me as an interesting pairing, and I can definitely see Waddingham playing a badass assassin, so I bet this one is a low-key hit whenever it debuts on Prime Video…

  • SNL Update - If you missed Colin Jost and Michael Che’s annual Joke Swap segment on Weekend Update, it was hilarious, and it’s a must-watch. Meanwhile, the show announced that Priscilla star Jacob Elordi would host the show’s first episode in 2024 on Jan. 20, with musical guest Reneé Rapp. She also plays Regina George in the Mean Girls musical that hits theaters on Jan. 12.

  • My So-Called Scandal - Julie Plec’s My So-Called Company has partnered with Universal Television to acquire the rights to Regina Black’s debut novel The Art of Scandal, which follows a woman who received an explicit text from her husband on the night of his 40th birthday that was clearly meant for another woman. That’s a decent hook for a show, and Plec seems to be a good luck charm when it comes to getting shows made, so we’ll see where this one lands…

  • Save the Date - Neon has acquired U.S. rights to Michael Mohan’s horror movie Immaculate starring Sydney Sweeney, who will soon be seen in a pair of Sony flicks — Anyone But You and Madame Web. She plays Cecilia, a woman of devout faith who is offered a fulfilling new role at an illustrious Italian convent. Her warm welcome to the picture-perfect Italian countryside is soon interrupted as it becomes clear to Cecilia that her new home harbors some dark and horrifying secrets. That is a… very generic logline, but whatever, it’s Sydney Sweeney in a nun costume. Of course you’re going to watch this movie, which co-stars another White Lotus actress — Simona Tabasco from Season 2. I have no idea what Neon paid for this movie but I bet it proves to be a smart pickup for the company in the long run.

  • Congrats - To Charles D. King, the Oscar-nominated producer and MACRO founder/CEO who has been awarded the 2024 Milestone Award from the Producers Guild. That’s quite an honor, and it’s well deserved, as King’s transition from WME to the other side of the business has been astonishing to behold…

  • More Congrats - To Todd Eisner, the veteran agent who has resigned from the embattled A3 agency and joined Paradigm, where he’s expected to be joined by the majority of his clients. that list includes Freddie Prinze Jr., Peter Facinelli (Nurse Jackie), Jamie Lynn Sigler (Big Sky), Corbin Bernsen (The Curse), Greg Germann (Ally McBeal), Rick Hoffman (Suits), Larenz Tate (Power franchise), and Ted McGinley (Shrinking), among others. Eisner previously worked at Innovative Artists and APA, and with his level of experience, he should be an asset to Paradigm.

  • Warm Wishes - To Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who took a tumble over the weekend and broke his hip. The Lakers legend is 7’2” so that fall is no joke, and I hope he starts feeling better soon. The purple-and-gold (15-12, losers of their last two games) could certainly use him this season…

Trailer Time: Kristen Stewart’s A24 Revenge Movie Love Lies Bleeding Is About to Shake Up Sundance

Hey now! What do we have here? A Sundance-bound Kristen Stewart movie with some real edge to it? I gotta tell ya… I like it.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I never saw Rose GlassSaint Maud despite all the critical acclaim, but I will now rectify that after seeing this trailer, as Glass is a filmmaker to be reckoned with, clearly.

Evidently, Stewart plays a gym employee who falls under the spell of a bisexual bodybuilder played by Katy O’Brien. Dave Franco and Jena Malone co-star, while the great Ed Harris (rocking loooong hair) represents the criminal element in this visceral revenge movie.

A24 will release Love Lies Bleeding in theaters on March 8, and I expect this one will leave a mark. I know I’m now very excited to see it after this trailer...

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