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WIRE Buzz: M. Night Shyamalan goes Old; Hemsworth in Spiderhead; more

By Nivea Serrao
M. Night Shyamalan

As different TV shows and movies slowly go back into production, a new name has joined the list of Hollywood projects underway, with director M. Night Shymalan (Glass) announcing that he's begun production on his latest film, titled Old.

As first reported by Collider, the upcoming beach-set thriller is inspired by the French graphic novel Sandcastle, by Pierre Oscar Levy and artist Frederik Peeters. The story follows a group of people who find a dead body on the beach, which leads them to discover that something strange is happening there, as they're unable to leave the location, and that it has to do with a dark secret involving time itself (as teased). The graphic novel draws on existential horror themes, and has been likened to an episode of The Twilight Zone or Lost. Per Collider, the graphic novel never explains the mystery at the core of its tale, which is probably why Old itself isn't a straightforward adaptation.

Shymalan announced the project with a picture of himself (in a mask) on location, along with an image of the movie's poster (below), which features a zoomed-in view of an hourglass — only instead of the regular sand that tends to fall through one, it's a pile of human bodies, along with the tagline: "It's only a matter of time."

His tweet reads: "Feels like a miracle that I am standing here shooting the first shot of my new film. It's called Old." 

The cast of the film includes Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle), Eliza Scanlen (Little Women), Thomasin McKenzie (The King), Aaron Pierre (Krypton), Alex Wolff (Hereditary), Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Abbey Lee (Lovecraft Country), Nikki Amuka-Bird (The Personal History of David Copperfield), Ken Leung (Inhumans), Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle), Embeth Davidtz (Ray Donovan), and Emun Elliott (Guilt).

Shymalan produced the project himself along with Ashwin Rajan, his partner at Blinding Edge Pictures, Marc Bienstock, and executive producer Steven Schneider. The movie has already begun production in the Dominican Republic. 

Poster for M. Night. Shymalan's Old

Old is set to come out July 2021. 

Thor: Love and Thunder is still a long way into the future, but Chris Hemsworth already has his next project lined up. Deadline is reporting that the Marvel actor has signed up for director Joseph Kosinski's (Tron: Legacy) next film, titled Spiderhead, which will be an adaptation of a George Saunders short story.

Joining him on the cast will be Miles Teller (Fantastic Four) and Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country). Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool) have written the script for the film.

The short story — which was originally titled Escape From Spiderhead — was first published in the New Yorker, before being included in Tenth of December, a best-selling anthology of Saunders' short stories published in 2013. The story itself is set in a not-too-distant future where convicts are given the opportunity to volunteer as medical subjects in order to possibly shorten their sentences. Saunders' tale revolves around two prisoners who become test subjects for emotion-altering drugs that force them to grapple with their pasts in a facility run by a brilliant scientist who supervises the program.

Screen Arcade's Eric Newman will produce the film as part of his first-look deal at Netflix. Hemsworth will also be serving as a producer on the project, along with The New Yorker Studios' Oren Katzeff and Geneva Wasserman, Reese and Wernick, Tommy Harper and Jeremy Steckler.

No release date has been set for the project. 

And finally, it looks like The Witcher will be both losing an actor and gaining a new one as production on Season 2 of the hit Netflix series continues.

Deadline is reporting that actor Thue Ersted Rasmussen has left the series because of rescheduling brought on by COVID-19, despite having shot footage when production first began in February, before being shut down due to the growing spread of coronavirus. In his stead, Basil Eidenbenz (Victoria) will be stepping into the role he'd played, that of Eskel, another Witcher of the School of the Wolf, also with strong magical powers.

Rasmussen posted the news regarding his departure from the series on social media, tweeting: "Sadly, due to the rescheduling because of COVID-19, I will not be portraying Eskel in The Witcher. It's heartbreaking, of course, but I mostly feel happy and grateful for the days I got to spend on set earlier this year. Everyone was extremely engaged and passionate about the project and it was a truly inspiring experience."

He went on to add, "A heartfelt thank you to all the fans who wrote me lovely, encouraging messages... I wish everyone on the show best of luck with the rest of the production. I'm sure Season 2 will be absolutely amazing and now I get to watch it as a fanboy instead of a witcher." 

The Witcher, which shoots in the U.K., was one of the first series to be shut down by the pandemic when it first began, with newcomer on the series Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones) testing positive for COVID. Since then, the show has once again gone back into production, with series star Henry Cavill, who plays the titular Witcher at the heart of the show, Geralt of Rivia, even showing off some of the precautions the show is taking as they continue to film.

Eidenbenz and Hivju won't be the only fresh faces on the cast for this next season. Joining them will be Yasen Atour (Young Wallender) as Coen, Agnes Bjorn as Vereena, Paul Bullion (Peaky Blinders) as Lambert, Aisha Fabienne Ross (The Danish Girl) as Lydia, and Mecia Simson as Francesca. Also coming on board is Kim Bodnia (Killing Eve) as Vesemir, Geralt and Eskel's mentor.

Season 2 of The Witcher will drop onto Netflix in 2021.