Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View

WIRE Buzz: 'A Writer's Odyssey' trailer stranger than fiction; Emma Thompson joins 'Matilda'; Avatar 2

By Josh Weiss & Vanessa Armstrong
Assassin in Red

A novel has the power to influence reality in the epic first trailer for A Writer's Odyssey. Basically Marc Forster's Stranger than Fiction, but with a lot more action, the Chinese film — previously titled Assassin in Red — follows Guan Ning (Peace Hotel's Lei Jiayin), a grieving father with special abilities who is hired by a shady tech company to kill a talented novelist (Ash is Purest White's Dong Zijian) whose writing prowess is able to shape reality itself. In exchange, the company will reunite Guan with his missing daughter. The movie was directed by Lu Yang (Brotherhood of Blades).

“I’m also a father. I wanted to make this film because I felt very touched by this topic of whether you’re willing and able to do anything for your own kid,” he told Variety over the summer. “It’s perhaps one of the most technically challenging films in Chinese cinema to date."

Watch the trailer below:

“I trust that our film has its unique elements that will still attract viewers ... The more lively things are and the more audiences go to the cinema, the better it is for the industry as a whole," Yang added. "People in the industry are all very concerned [about the re-openings], but we all know that we must first conquer this pandemic and let it pass. There’s no way to rank the industry higher than the pandemic, because of course that is most important."

Yang Mi (Tiny Times) co-stars. A Writer's Odyssey heads to U.S. theaters Friday, Feb. 12 in honor of the Chinese New Year.

A Writer's Odyssey poster

Emma Thompson (Cruella, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and the young Alisha Weir are to be the stars of Netflix’s Matilda. The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Thompson will be joining the cast playing Miss Trunchbull, while 11-year-old newcomer Alisha Weir will play Matilda.

This casting news comes on the heels of Deadline reporting that Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) has been cast as Miss Honey, Matilda’s friendly teacher. Thompson’s character is a teacher as well, but those familiar with the Roald Dahl book and/or the 1996 movie version, know that Miss Trunchbull, the headmistress at Matilda’s school, is anything but nice.

Emma Thompson

This isn’t the first time Thompson has played a schoolteacher — Harry Potter fans may remember her rendition of Sybil Trelawney, Hogwart’s spacey divinations professor. Professor Trelawney, however, is the complete opposite in demeanor and temperament than Miss Trunchbull, so it will be interesting to see what Thompson does with the role.

No news on when the television musical will go into production or air on Netflix.

James Cameron's second Avatar film is still two years away, but executive producer Jon Landau is keeping our interest piqued with a steady stream of behind-the-scenes photos and production artwork. In his latest post to Instagram, Landau shared an image of a dwelling for the Metkayina Clan, a Na'vi tribe that resides near the oceans of Pandora. The concept piece was created by Jonathan Bach, a veteran of major genre projects like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ad Astra, and Army of the Dead.

"Tomorrow, as part of our Behind Pandora stories, we will be featuring concept artist Jonathan Bach," the producer wrote in the caption. "In advance of that, I thought I would share a concept illustration he created of the Metkayina village. This is just one of the many incredible images that he and the rest of our art department have created for the Avatar sequels. Thank you to everyone on the production design team!"

Take a look below:

Production on the four Avatar sequels was put on hold last year for several months as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. After a lengthy hiatus, Cameron and Landau returned to New Zealand over the summer and after a mandatory two-week quarantine, the cameras got rolling again at Stone Street Studios in Wellington.

Avatar 2 arrives in theaters Dec. 16, 2022, more than a decade after the first movie made over $2 billion at the global box office. Avatar was the highest-grossing film of all time, but was unseated in 2019 by Avengers: Endgame.