Three Identical Strangers
Photo: Neon

Welcome to Development Hell, the fiery pit into which we fling recent developments in casting, distribution, and everything else that’s new and mildly interesting in the Boschian phantasmagoria of the entertainment industry.

Comic-Con kicked off today, briefly transforming San Diego into the crowded nexus of the pop culture world. That doesn’t mean that the gears of casting info and development deals have stopped, though, so let’s kick off with our latest descent into Hell.

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  • First up: Variety reports that Sundance documentary hit Three Identical Strangers is being transformed into a narrative drama film, with original producers Raw partnering with Film4 to make the transition. Telling the “mind-boggling” story of three triplets who suddenly reunited at the age of 19 after being separated at birth—and only getting stranger from there—Tim Wardle’s film set off a bidding war for the movie rights to its subject’s lives when it debuted last month.
  • Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker movie is definitely happening, no matter what Jared Leto might say (or petulantly tattoo) about it. Per THR, Warner Bros. has now set an October 4, 2019 release date for the film, which will be directed by The Hangover’s Todd Phillips. The Phoenix Joker movie is being described as “experimental” and “darker” in tone, because “extra grit” was definitely what D.C.’s film output was lacking.
  • Jason Clarke has signed on for the cast of HBO/Sky’s next prestige-ish limited drama series, Catherine The Great. The Chappaquiddick star will play Catherine’s long-time lover, Grigory Potemkin, the famed military commander and battleship namesake. Helen Mirren will play Catherine herself. [via Deadline]
  • Actress Alicia Witt is getting into the Jane Austen game, with Deadline reporting that the Urban Legend star will lead a modern adaptation of Austen’s Persuasion, named, hilariously, Modern Persuasion. Alex Appel and Jonathan Lisecki are set to direct.
  • Hamilton creator—and all-around internet hero—Lin-Manuel Miranda has lined up his first feature directing gig. The EG_T winner (still waiting on that O) will direct an adaptation of Tick, Tick…Boom!, an autobiographical musical from Rent playwright Jonathan Larson. Fellow Broadway darling Steven Levenson, of Dear Evan Hansen fame, is set to write the script. [via Deadline]
  • Paris Jackson—who recently made her feature acting debut with Gringo—has set up another starring role, with Deadline reporting that the daughter of Michael Jackson will star opposite Kelsey Grammer in the indie comedy The Space Between. Jackson will play “a sultry singer desperate for her big break.”
  • Finally, we’ve got news on where you’ll be able to catch Sky’s upcoming contemporary fantasy adaptation, A Discovery Of Witches, Stateside. The series—about a brilliant historian who is also a witch who is also in love with a vampire—will stream over here on both Sundance Now and Shudder.

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