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SYFY WIRE Firestarter

WIRE Buzz: Firestarter remake lights up Zac Efron; Netflix's 'Note of Explanation'; more

By Josh Weiss & Nivea Serrao
Zac Efron

Universal and Blumhouse's remake of Firestarter just re-lit its own fuse with the official casting of Zac Efron, according to an announcement Tuesday.

This is the first update we've gotten on the project since last December, although it hasn't been confirmed what role Efron will be playing within the story of Charlene "Charlie" McGee, a young girl with pyrokinetic abilities. When the government gets wind of her, they abduct Charlie and try to use her fiery powers as a deadly weapon. If we had to guess at Efron's character, we'd say he's been tapped to portray Charlie's father, Andrew McGee, who, along with fellow college student Vicky, takes part in a government experiment that gives them superhuman gifts. The two fall in love and have Charlie, who inherits their mutated DNA.

Zac Efron Firestarter

Based on Stephen King's 1980 novel of the same name, the film is being directed by Keith Thomas, who made festival waves last year with his Jewish horror flick, The Vigil (awaiting a domestic rollout from Blumhouse). Scott Teems (Halloween Kills) is writing the screenplay and will serve as executive producer.

The '84 version starred a young Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Freddie Jones, Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen, George C. Scott, Art Carney, and Louise Fletcher. Firestarter was the eighth book King ever wrote.

(SYFY WIRE and Universal Pictures are both owned by NBCUniversal)

Netflix has nabbed the rights to a film pitch based on Vita Sackville-West's 1922 novel, A Note of Explanation.

Per Deadline, the work of fiction was "recently rediscovered" as "a miniature book" in Queen Mary's dollhouse at Windsor Castle. Its story centers on a time-traveling being (described as a "sprite") that inhabits the dollhouse. New York Journal of Books adds in its review that the sprite was present for several famous fairy tale moments:

"[The] lively, inquisitive sprite was the one, 'who encouraged Jack to set his foot upon the first rung of the Beanstalk . . . and waved Cinderella off to her ball ...' Among her most treasured possessions, 'worn as a locket, was the pea which had given the Princess such a sleepless night.' She saw Prince Charming kiss the Sleeping Beauty, and even witnessed the death of Bluebeard’s first wife (not a pleasant memory). Throughout her forays into fairy tale history, our sprite always is impeccably dressed in the garb of the time and place she occupies."

A Note Of Explanation

The pitch comes from Ben Queen (scribe of MGM's animated Addams Family sequel), who will write the pseudo-adaptation that is loosely based on the source material mentioned above. Liza Chasin (Baby Driver, Darkest Hour), who has an overall deal with Netflix, is on board as a producer under the 3dot Productions banner.

And finally, Deadline is reporting that Grimm star Russell Hornsby has snagged a recurring role on Netflix's Lost in Space. So far no details have been released about just who Hornsby will be playing, or what we can expect from the third and final season of the series. 

The new Lost in Space is a modern reimagining of the 1965-1968, CBS sci-fi series of the same name. The show tells the story of the Robinson family, who are part of a group of space colonists chosen to set out to make a new life for themselves in space. However, while on the way to their new home, they're taken off course and must figure out how to navigate a dangerous alien environment and make new alliances, while still several light-years from their original intended destination. 

Russell Hornsby On Grimm

The cast includes Toby Stephens (Black Sails), Molly Parker (The Wicker Man), Maxwell Jenkins (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping), Mina Sundwall (DC's Legends of Tomorrow), Taylor Russell (Falling Skies), Ignacio Serricchio (Emergence), and Parker Posey (Superman Returns). Executive producers include Zack Estrin, Jon Jashni, Matt Sazama, and Burk Sharpless. 

Netflix has yet to announce a release date.