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Film & Television

Michaela Coel Walked Away From a $1 Million Deal with Netflix

Michaela Coel, the star of HBO’s hit series I May Destroy You had to decline Netflix’s $1 million offer after the streaming giant refused to allow her to retain “at least 5 percent of her rights” for the show.

Coel’s success in the U.S. is largely credited to Netflix. The streamer was the U.S. distributor of Coel’s acclaimed comedy series Chewing Gum. Netflix also housed a feature musical titled Been So Long in which Coel was the lead, as well as the drama series Black Earth Rising. Coel also starred in an Emmy-winning episode of Black Mirror, also distributed by Netflix. Coel’s history with the streaming platform, naturally, made it the premier destination for her new project. Bute, after a short negotiation with a Netflix executive, Coel had to find a different home for I May Destroy You in order to maintain ownership of the series. It eventually landed on HBO.

According to Vulture, Coel recalled that Netflix made her a $1 million offer for I May Destroy You in spring 2017 but she turned it down. Why? The streamer wouldn’t allow her to retain any percentage of the copyright. Coel even discontinued her relationship with CAA after it “tried to push her to take the deal”.

I May Destroy You is based on Coel’s personal experience of being sexually assaulted during the making of Chewing Gum. At the age of 32, Coel is in full creative control of the series as its showrunner, director, star, and writer. She wrote all 12 episodes and co-directed nine, stars as a young writer Arabella struggling to come to terms and process a recent assault.

The series is now streaming on HBO.

Film

The Matrix 4: Laurence Fishburne Won’t Be Back as Morpheus

Laurence Fishburne has confirmed that he won’t be reprising his iconic role as Morpheus. The 59-year-old actor revealed that he “has not been invited” to return.

According to The Wrap, Fishburne told New York Magazine that he was never approached about joining the upcoming Lana Wachowski’s sequel. “I have not been invited. Maybe that will make me write another play. I wish them well. I hope it’s great,” Fishburne commented. “It is probably the role that I’ll be best remembered for, which is great; it’s not the only thing I’ll be remembered for, which is better,” He concluded.

As a reminder, Fishburne first portrayed Morpheus, the captain of the Nebuchadnezzar, in the original 1999 film alongside Keanu Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity. The two are set to return for The Matrix 4 (working title) with Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Joining the movie, which details are currently under wraps, are also Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Jessica Henwick.

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Film & Television

Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson is the World’s Highest-Paid Male Actor

Forbes magazine named Dwayne Johnson, AKA the Rock, the highest-paid male actor for the second year in a row.

The former wrestler turned Hollywood superstar reportedly earned $87.5m between June 2019 and June 2020, including the $23.5m he made for Netflix’s upcoming thriller Red Notice.

Johnson’s Red Notice co-star Ryan Reynolds came second on the list highest-paid male actor’s list with earnings of $71.5m. Among his movie deals were $20m, also for Red Notice, and $20m for Six Underground, another Netflix film.

Coming in third place is actor and producer Mark Wahlberg, who earned $58m, while Ben Affleck and Vin Diesel came in fourth and fifth place respectively.

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Film & Television

‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Reboot In the Works

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is making a return with Bel-Air! The one-hour project is based on Morgan Cooper’s record-breaking fan film (more than 7.5 million views to date) that reimagines the classic 1990s sitcom based on Will Smith’s journey from the streets of Philadelphia to his uncle’s mansion in Bel-Air as a drama. Per Deadline, Bel-Air  “will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions, and biases of what it means to be a Black man in America today, while still delivering the swagger and fun nods to the original show.”

Cooper will direct and co-executive produce Bel-Air. Showrunner Chris Collins (The Man in the High Castle, The Wire) will co-write, executive produce.

The project is being developed by Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios and Universal Television and is currently being pitched to multiple streamers, including NBC’s Peacock, Netflix, HBO Max and Amazon.

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