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WIRE Buzz: Neil Blomkamp's secret pandemic project; Apple's Dark Matter series; and Doctor Who Yule log

By Josh Weiss
Neill Blomkamp

District 9 director Neill Blomkamp shot an entire movie during the COVID-19 pandemic, and no one was any the wiser. Per Deadline, the supernatural horror movie (currently without a title) was filmed in British Columbia over the summer and marks the South African filmmaker's first feature-length effort since 2015's Chappie.

There are no plot details to report on just yet, but the report states that the film "is something [Blomkamp] had always wanted to make and is expected to be finished around spring next year." With a predominantly Canadian cast, the flick will stay in line with the director's usual style, thanks to "a strong sci-fi and VFX component."

Neill Blomkamp

Blomkamp was able to squeeze this mystery project in after production on Inferno (a sci-fi thriller starring Taylor Kitsch) was pushed to next year.

Apple TV+ is expanding on its slate of genre content with an upcoming series based on Blake Crouch's 2017 novel Dark Matter.

According to Collider, which first broke the news, Venom producer Matt Tolmach is developing the project at Sony Pictures Television, while Blake is on board to adapt his own work. The author, who will executive producer alongside Tolmach and  David Manpearl, previously attempted to bring his book to the big screen with Sony as a partner. At one point, Roland Emmerich was attached to direct.

Dark Matter front cover

Dark Matter follows Jason Dessen, a college physics professor who wakes up in a reality he does not recognize. In this dimension, he's not a professor and never married his wife. As a result, their son was never born. In this dimension, Jason is "a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible," reads the official synopsis available on Amazon. "Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe."

You can now celebrate the holiday season like a real Time Lord with a Doctor Who-themed Yule Log stream on YouTube that challenges viewers to spot all the secrets hidden within the static frame. Hop aboard the TARDIS for a merrily crackling fire and festive music that'll get you ready for the arrival of Santa Claus...or the Daleks.

This year's Whovian holiday special ("Revolution of the Daleks") premieres on BBC America New Year's Day (Friday, Jan. 1, 2021) at 8:00 p.m. EST. The upcoming episode, which will see the return of John Barrowman's Captain Jack, was able to wrap production before the COVID-19 health crisis put many live-action shoots on hold.

Watch the Yule Log below: