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SYFY WIRE The Simpsons

WIRE Buzz: Ice Cube doing socially distant sci-fi; The Simpsons recasts Carl; more

By Nivea Serrao
Ice Cube

Ice Cube is venturing into the realm of sci-fi movies once again. This time, Deadline reports, it's in the form of a new Universal film, from producer Patrick Aiello and filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), which the studio has already green-lit and is fast-tracking for production. 

There are no real plot details about the as-yet-untitled project, but it's described as a "grounded sci-fi film in the vein of District 9 that touches on themes of privacy versus surveillance." 

The film is part of Bekmambetov's five-picture deal with Universal, which is meant to capitalize on a form of screen capture technology that the filmmaker has developed, which would allow whole aspects of the production to take place remotely, with all the actors and crew members working from individually separate locations, thus solving the problem that is the necessity of social distancing on a live film set in order to prevent any further spread of COVID-19. This is especially important, as big budget productions like Jurassic World: Dominion and Batman have proven that even extensive safety protocols can fail people. 

This project would be the first of its kind carried out at this level, while also requiring a lower budget, something most studios are anxiously seeking out right now, with the required shutdowns caused by the pandemic having hit the entertainment industry especially hard in recent months. 

There is no release date stated for the project.

Next up, the animation industry continues to take steps forward in terms of diversifying voice actors playing non-white roles. 

This time, change comes from none other than The Simpsons, with Variety reporting that in Sunday's season premiere, actor Alex Désert (The Flash) will be stepping in to voice Carl Carlson, one of Homer's nuclear plant co-workers and drinking buddies. Hank Azaria had voiced the character, who is Black, since the start of the series, with the sole exception of the show's first episode, where Harry Shearer provided the voice for Carl. 

Per Variety, it's not clear if Désert's casting is for one episode only, or if he'll continue to voice the character in the future, as reps for the series declined to comment. It is also unclear if Dr. Hibbert, another Black character (this time voiced by Shearer) will also be recast, or possibly, played by Désert in the future. 

These changes come following renewed attention to racial issues in Hollywood, as well as the rest of the United States. Other Black characters that have since been re-cast with Black voice actors include Big Mouth's Missy, with Ayo Edibiri stepping into the role following Jenny Slate's departure; and Central Park's Molly, with Hamilton alum Emmy Raver-Lampman, taking on a part previously held by Kristen Bell. 

This also isn't the first time The Simpsons has come under fire for having Azaria voice a non-white character, with comedian Hari Kondabolu even making a documentary outlining the reasons why Azaria's voicing Quik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasaseemapetilon was problematic and culturally insensitive. Azaria has since decided to step away from voicing the role. It hasn't been announced who will be playing the character from now on. 

Season 32 of The Simpsons premieres Sunday, Sept. 27 on Fox at 8 p.m. ET. 

And finally, Lucifer will be welcoming a new face when it returns for the second half of its fifth season. Former Friday Night Lights star Scott Porter will be joining the series, as announced by the actor on Twitter: "I am joining Lucifer for Season 5 & 6!" 

According to TVLine, he will be playing Carol Corbett, a "buttoned-up" detective from Dan’s past, who joins the LAPD and quickly finds a connection with Ella. 

That wasn't the only thing Porter was calling attention to with his post, as he noted that Tom Ellis, the actor behind Lucifer himself, will be auctioning off a zoom call with a fan to raise money for the Huntington's Disease Society of America.

The winner of the auction will secure a 45-minute zoom call for themselves and two friends, in which they'll be able to speak to the actor about his experience playing Lucifer, and any future projects he might have in the works. Porter, an old friend of Ellis before they became castmates, will moderate the call. 

Additionally, the winner will also receive a signed Season 5 script, as well as some gifts that were exclusive to the show's cast and crew, from Seasons 2 and 5, along with a Lucifer hat designed by Ellis, and backpack and hat from Season 2 — none of which has ever been made available to the public. 

Lucifer is already back in production on the final episodes of Season 5, after which it will go straight into filming the sixth and final season of the now-Netflix show. 

Interested fans can bid on the auction item here. (Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!)