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WIRE Buzz: Last of Us taps pilot director; Mandalorian S2 action scenes; and UFO series

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Jun 8, 2020, 4:14 PM EDT

Craig Mazin's The Last of Us TV show adaptation just nabbed a second Chernobyl alum in the form of director Johan Renck, who confirmed to DiscussingFilm that he is helming the pilot episode.

"I'm an executive producer on it and attached to it. It's an ongoing TV series. I will be directing at least the pilot," he said. "Then we'll see how it goes on further. I mean, both Craig and I, we are working with each other again and we will work with each other on other things because we like each other."

Credit: Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Renck (whose other small-screen credits include Breaking Bad, Vikings, Bates Motel, and The Walking Dead) went on to say that he has weekly calls with Mazin and The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann to discuss "various approaches and how to deal with the fact that a video game character is way further than a character from a book."

During a recent interview, Druckmann touched on the challenges involved with bringing a video game into the realm of a live-action Hollywood production.

"Can we make you feel hate, guilt, shame? Which are interesting feelings that are totally unique to video games," the creator said. "You can't quite do it in films and TV."

The Last of Us Part II goes on sale next Friday, June 19.

The action scenes in The Mandalorian Season 2 are going to be even more epic, thanks to some second-unit direction from filmmaker Sam Hargrave.

"The team that was there did a great job in the first season and it was just all fun. But they wanted to build on that and bring a new perspective and take it to another level for the next season. So, I was like, 'That sounds like a fun challenge,'" he told Collider.

Before making the jump to feature-length directing in the Russo Brothers-produced Extraction for Netflix, Hargrave served as a stunt/fight coordinator on MCU movies like Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.

"The next season is really, really cool," Hargrave continued. "The way the story arcs is really cool. So we tried to have the action represent that and take it to the next level. I think we did that."

Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Experienced as he is with fight choreography, the director tackled his work on the Star Wars show from the physical side of things, doing his best to define the eponymous bounty hunter through the way he engages in combat.

"For this guy — who's more of a gunslinger, a bit more of a brawler — it would be out of character for him to come into a scene and throw out a round-off, backwards double flip and do a crazy kick just because you can, or because he has a helmet on. You have to remember to stay true to the character," Hargrave explained. "You can put whoever you want in there, but you have to make sure that you rein in the excitement and make sure you're true to the character and the story."

Season 2 premieres on Disney+ sometime in October.

Captured, a TV series based on a famous UFO abduction case from the early 1960s, is in the works from Stellar Productions and Alta Global Media, SYFY WIRE has confirmed. The project will drawn inspiration from Stanton T. Friedman and Kathleen Marden's 2007 book, Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience: The True Story of the World's First Documented Alien Abduction.

Hailing from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the Hills alleged that they were abducted by an alien craft on a September night in 1961. Their story gained widespread attention and even led to a TV movie in the mid-1970s starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons.

Stellar's Bryce and Jackie Zabel (known for writing Hallmark's Pandemic series in 2007) are writing and producing Captured, which was originally planned as a feature film. Given the fact that Betty and Barney were an interracial couple in a time when such marriages were rare — and often frowned upon — in American society, the show intends to explore topical themes of skin color and the fight for equality against the backdrop of the central UFO case.

Credit: Stellar Productions/Atla Global Media

"I was fascinated by the Zabels' take on this extraordinary story as it represents the convergence of the Civil Rights and Cold War eras and the first reported alien abduction," Steve Adams of Atla Global said in a statement. "These elements not only lend themselves to a fascinating look at America, but also offer a startling counterpoint with Barney's observation that while America judged and oppressed him on the basis of his skin color, aliens saw him as only human."

"Just this year, the Department of Defense de-classified a trio of Navy videos showing encounters with unidentified aircraft with impossible flight characteristics," added Bryce. "There is now a hunger to have a legitimate national discussion about the history of this UFO phenomenon, and the Hill case is considered the best true story of its kind."

Jackie said that the Hills (Barney passed away in 1969 and Betty in 2004) should be seen not just as "abduction victims, but also as heroes in the Civil Rights movement." She concluded by stating:

"The audience has never been more receptive to hearing the story of both their marriage and their passion for equality, and the larger TV canvas will allow us to finally do justice to the complete picture, including a re-staging of the pivotal March on Washington."