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WIRE Buzz: The Witcher documentary; Baba Yaga VR rounds out cast; Snapchat selling movie tickets

By Josh Weiss
Henry Cavill The Witcher

Netflix is going behind-the-scenes of the Continent in an upcoming documentary, Making The Witcher. Recalling the recent Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian docu-series on Disney+, the making-of project features testimonials from key crew members like showrunner/executive producer Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and star Henry Cavill ("Geralt of Rivia"). At long last, we'll learn what it takes to bring the monster-filled, action-packed fantasy universe to life on the small screen.

"I hunted [pun intended, Henry?] down the opportunity to play Geralt," says Cavill in the first trailer. "There's something unique about the way Andrzej Sapkowski wrote The Witcher."

"One of the things that interested me most when I sold The Witcher: 'Can I tell all three stories of Geralt, Yenner, and Ciri at the same time?'" Hissrich explains.

Watch the trailer now:

No premiere date has been set yet. Season 2, which was green-lit before the debut season even premiered last fall, is currently back in production in the United Kingdom.

The Baba Yaga VR short from Baobab Studios (first announced in June) has fleshed out its supporting voice cast. According to Deadline, Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) will be joined by Kate Winslet (Avatar 2), Glenn Close (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Jennifer Hudson (Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon).

Hudson is also attached as an executive producer on the fantasy project, which is set to make its debut at the Venice Film Festival in early September. Baobab co-founder Eric Darnell (a veteran of DreamWorks' Madagascar franchise) wrote and directed the piece, which stars Ridley as Maga, the 10-year-old sister of the viewer, who will venture into a magical forest (personified by Hudson) inhabited by the titular evil witch (Winslet). Close is taking up the role of the viewer's mother, the Chief, who falls ill, prompting her children to seek a cure.

"While the story is rooted in classic folklore, we were inspired to bring it into modern light by focusing on environmental themes and strong female characters, themes the world needs to explore now more than ever. It was my pleasure to be part of the strong female cast alongside Daisy, Kate, and Glenn," Hudson said in a statement published by Deadline.

"Creating Baba Yaga during a pandemic was especially challenging and we are grateful to Kate, Daisy, Glenn, and Jennifer for traveling with us on this unusual journey,” added Darnell. “Each of them rose to this unique occasion with tremendous energy and passion in creating their characters and I’m proud of what we accomplished together. It is validating to have our work recognized by the Venice Film Festival and we look forward to sharing the experience with VR audiences around the globe."

As movie theaters begin to reopen their doors in the U.S., Snapchat has launched Movie Tickets by Atom. This "Snap Mini experience" (first announced back in June) allows users to watch trailers, buy tickets, and share their movie-going plans with friends — all without leaving Snapchat.

"With safety measures in place and movie fans eager to return to the movies, we knew the timing was right to launch Atom’s ticketing experience on Snapchat," Matthew Bakal, Co-Founder and Chairman of Atom Tickets said in a statement. "We’re happy to provide a safe, contactless digital service that gives movie fans what they want – a little time to escape and enjoy a movie. We’re sure the new Movie Tickets By Atom Mini, which builds upon our existing DNA as a socially driven platform, will make moviegoing easier and bring friends together."

Movie Tickets by Atom

"We couldn’t be more excited to have Movie Tickets By Atom launch on Snapchat. Atom has built a seamless ecommerce experience for the Snap Minis platform, bringing the best of Atom Tickets to Snapchatters across North America," added Alston Cheek, Director of Platform Partnerships at Snap, Inc.

After shuttering in March amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, theaters are opening back up with new safety measures in place like mandatory face masks, reduced seating capacity, and social distancing. Per a recent survey conducted by Atom, 74 percent of participants said they would be ready to return to theaters within the next month, while 40 percent were ready to return immediately. The results were based on a pool of 16,000 people. Some of the biggest genre releases coming to theaters in the coming days/weeks are: Bill & Ted Face the Music (Aug. 28), The New Mutants (Aug. 28), Tenet (Sep. 3), and Wonder Woman 1984 (Oct. 2).