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WIRE Buzz: Disney's 'Marley' Carol; Cherokee folklore thriller sets start date; more

By Josh Weiss
A Christmas Carol

Bah humbug!

Bill Condon, director of 2017's Beauty and the Beast remake, is teaming up with Disney once again for a new take on A Christmas Carol. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project — entitled Marley — will put viewers into the perspective of Jacob Marley, the deceased business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge who kicks off the story's main supernatural element.

The film is going to be a musical with original songs by Stephen Schwartz of Wicked fame. Schwartz was also a major part of the Disney Renaissance period in the 1990s, writing music for hits like Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Bill Condon

Originally written by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol has been adapted and reimagined countless times in Hollywood. Disney's last take on the holiday classic was a motion-capture effort in 2009 from director Robert Zemeckis. In case you've lived under a rock for your entire existence, ACC tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old curmudgeon who gains a fresh outlook on life after he's visited by three ghosts representing the past, present, and future of the Yuletide season.

Marley marks Condon's second collaboration with Disney, which was probably very happy with the $1.2 billion made by his live-action version of Beauty and the Beast.


Spearfinger, a thriller based on a traditional Cherokee folktale, will begin shooting in February of 2020 for All Roads Productions, Deadline has confirmed.

Spearfinger is said to reside in the Appalachian Mountains. Her original name of U’tlun’ta translates to "she had it sharp," and refers to a long and sharp finger on her right hand that she uses to cut open victims and eat their livers. Sounds a bit like Pumpkinhead, the deadly and long-fingered entity from Stan Winston's 1988 directorial debut. 

As executive producer Anthony E. Zuiker told Deadline, “I really see this as a way to leverage my 20+ years of working in the writers room to help them craft a narrative for this film that not only brings the story of this incredibly creepy legend to life, but weaves in the mystery that is the landscape of the Appalachian Mountains."

Zuiker is perhaps best known for creating the TV franchise CSI.

The script for Spearfinger is being written by the trio of Skyler Caleb, Woodrow Hancock, and James Zimbardi. They're producing under their All Roads Productions banner as well. No director has been announced yet.


Netflix has been facing a wave of backlash from a number of directors after it was reported that the streaming platform was experimenting with a feature that would allow viewers to speed up or slow down films being viewed on smartphones. The test was reportedly first discovered by Android Police, which posted a screenshot of the options for different speeds.

Filmmakers and Hollywood players from all backgrounds, be it live-action or animation, have sounded off on this supposed feature. 

"Whelp — another spectacularly bad idea, and another cut to the already bleeding-out cinema experience. Why support & finance filmmakers visions on one hand and then work to destroy the presentation of those films on the other???" wrote Brad Bird, writer/director of such classics as The Iron Giant and The Incredibles.

Aaron Paul, whose Breaking Bad movie — El Camino — recently debuted on Netflix, was also opposed to the idea:

Judd Apatow, meanwhile, appealed to Netflix, saying “We give you nice things. Leave them as they were intended to be seen." The comedy writer/director co-created Love (starring Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust) for the streaming platform.

"We’re always experimenting with new ways to help members use Netflix," a rep for Netflix told The Hollywood Reporter. "This test makes it possible to vary the speed at which people watch shows on their mobiles. As with any test, it may not become a permanent feature on Netflix."

The company's vice president, Keela Robinson, posted a response to all the pusback, writing:

"This last test has generated a fair amount of feedback - both for and against. Given the questions being raised, I wanted to share more details about what’s happening ... We have no plans to roll any of these tests out in the short term. And whether we introduce these features for everyone at some point will depend on the feedback we receive."