Casting: Dora discovers its Explorer; Lovecraft Country and Vivarium land leads

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May 2, 2018

Now we know who’ll be sporting the purple backpack when Nickelodeon’s favorite problem-solving adventurer makes the jump to the big screen for her first-ever live-action movie.

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon have tapped 16-year-old actor Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight, 100 Things to do Before High School) to star in the upcoming Dora the Explorer live action feature, continuing her ongoing affiliation with the franchise since Moner began voicing Kate, one of Dora’s newer pals, in the spinoff Nickelodeon show Dora and Friends: Into the City!

Moner will take on the role of Dora as she negotiates the wide world as a teenager, and, according to Entertainment Weekly, she’ll continue to travel with Diego and her monkey pal Boots (so named for his red kicks).

In addition to her voice role in Dora and Friends, other Nickelodeon roles have helped Moner refine her acting chops. She’s also appeared in the network’s Legends of the Hidden Temple movie, and did voice work on The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature.

With Moner now anchoring the picture, Paramount can start Dora out on her new adventure by exploring the inside of a studio. The live-action Dora the Explorer movie is slated for an Aug. 2, 2019 release.


One place Dora isn’t likely to explore is the unnerving world of H.P. Lovecraft. Thankfully, we have HBO for that. Deadline reports the network has just cast Jonathan Majors (Hostiles) as Atticus, a lead character in the horror-tinged drama series Lovecraft Country, which is based on a novel by Matt Ruff and appropriates Lovecraft’s monstrous creations for a segregation-era 1950s American setting.

Majors will star alongside Jurnee Smollett-Bell (True Blood, Underground), pairing up for a cross-country search for Atticus’ father, all while enduring terrors both social and supernatural.

No release date has been announced, but the series comes from Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, Warner Bros. Television, and Misha Green. With a team like that, it looks as though HBO is lavishing the same kind of resources on Lovecraft Country that it’s doled out to Westworld — a decision that seems to be paying off.


Finally, Imogen Poots (Frank & Lola, I Kill Giants) and Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, The Social Network) have been cast to star in sci-fi thriller Vivarium, a movie that looks set to upend the ordinary by turning the most domestic of decisions — buying a first home — into a disorienting adventure. Via Deadline, Poots and Eisenberg will play a couple who follow “a mysterious real estate agent to a new housing development,” where they get “trapped in a maze of identical houses and forced to raise an otherworldly child.”

Directed by Lorcan Finnegan in association with XYZ Films, shooting on Vivarium is scheduled to begin in Ireland this July.