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WIRE Buzz: Netflix 'pecks' up Chicken Run sequel; Handmaid's Tale S4 delayed; Fandango reopening

By Josh Weiss
Chicken Run

"I don't want to be a pie! ... I don't like gravy." Netflix is teaming up with Aardman Animations for a long-awaited sequel to 2000's stop-motion comedy Chicken Run, Variety confirmed today. Sam Fell (Flushed Away, ParaNorman) has been tapped to direct.

Directed by Aardman OGs Peter Lord and Nick Park, the first Chicken Run was inspired by John Sturges' The Great Escape. Set on a poultry farm — one that looks more like a German POW camp from WWII — the plot follows Ginger (Julia Sawalha), the Captain Hilts-ish leader of the egg-laying brood. She's desparate to find a means of escape before she and her cohorts are killed and cooked by the farmer's wife, the commandant-like Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson). Ginger's dream of flying away seem to be answered when a rooster by the name of Rocky (Mel Gibson) crash-lands on the farm. 

Tony Haygarth, Jane Horrocks, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, Benjamin Whitrow, and Lynn Ferguson co-starred.

Chicken Run

The sequel is said to pick up just as Ginger and Rocky, now living on a human-free island, welcome their newly-hatched daughter, Molly. As she grows, the chick grows tired of her home and yearns to explore the world beyond what she knows. Simultaneously, rumors begin to grow about a new threat on the mainland, forcing Ginger to snap back into leader mode and rally the feathered troops to protect their hard-earned freedom. This time around, however, there's a bit of a twist.

"This time, they’re breaking in," Fell said during a virtual panel for the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market. "I tell you it will be fun and games seeing these chickens back in action. All the gadgets, the kit, we’re kind of moving towards an almost-tribute to Mission: Impossible with elements of heist and how they’re going to pull off this amazing break-in."

Original screenwriter Karey Kirkpatrick wrote the sequel's script with John O’Farrell.

Our return to Gilead is going to take a little longer than planned because Season 4 of The Handmaid's Tale has been delayed to 2021, TheWrap reported earlier today.

Production on the Hulu series' new season was just starting to ramp up in Canada when the pandemic began shutting live-action productions down, one-by-one. While certain shows and films (Avatar, Jurassic World: Dominion, and The Witcher) are getting back to work, there's no restart date yet for The Handmaid's Tale, which is based on Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel of the same name.

The Handmaid's Tale

The Invisible Man's Elisabeth Moss leads an ensemble cast of Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Ann Dowd, Max Minghella, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, Amanda Brugel and Bradley Whitford.

Hulu is developing a new show based on Atwood's recently released sequel, The Testaments.

Fandango is looking to smooth the transition back to movie theaters with several resources that keep cinemagoers updated on reopenings and safety policies. As of today, both the Fandango website and mobile app have comprehensive guides and instructional videos on social distancing, modified seating charts, occupancy quotas, and more for over 100 theater chains nationwide.

"At Fandango, our mission has always been super-serving fans with their entertainment needs, and we cannot wait to help fans get back to the big screen safely and at the right time," president Paul Yanover said in a statement. "It’s a complicated rollout, with various states, cities and counties opening their venues in different phases. We hope Fandango will serve as a helpful one-stop resource for fans to find all the information and services they need for a comfortable return to their local theaters."

Fandango movie theater reopen resource

"We are working closely with our friends in exhibition to help get their ticketing back online and film fans back in seats with peace of mind,” added Melissa Heller, Fandango’s vice president of domestic ticketing. "In addition to our new product features, Fandango’s mobile ticketing will be an added benefit, helping moviegoers and cinema employees reduce the number of contact points at the box office and throughout the theater."

Theaters will begin to open in July, with most of the big chains requiring customers to wear face masks at all times, except while eating and drinking.