Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Jordan Peele Has Crossed Over into "The Twilight Zone"

The woman in the black-and-white program on the flat-screen TV was teetering on the brink of madness, delivering a disjointed monologue about parallel worlds and the possibility that our own physical duplicates might walk among us. As the camera hovered above her troubled face and the decades-old audio crackled with the sound of a persistent rainstorm, Jordan Peele sat captivated on a nearby couch. “Beautiful shot,” he said with quiet awe.

Here in his personal office, Peele, the celebrated comedian turned Academy Award-winning horror filmmaker, was watching an old episode of “The Twilight Zone,” the classic science-fiction anthology series that he is helping to revive.

On a recent March morning, Peele had, with some calculation, chosen a 1960 installment called “Mirror Image,” from the show’s debut season. It stars Vera Miles (“Psycho”) as a woman convinced she is being followed by her exact double, and Martin Milner (“Route 66”) as the man who doesn’t believe her until it is too late.

Peele has pointed to “Mirror Image” as an inspiration for his new film, “Us,” in which Lupita Nyong’o and her family are besieged by murderous doppelgängers. He also admires the episode, written by the “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling, for its ability to elicit jump-scares without relying on supernatural beasts or extraterrestrial beings. In his favorite tales of terror, Peele told me, “I love human beings as the monster, as the horror.”

This is a suspenseful juncture for Peele, who grew up revering “The Twilight Zone,” and Serling in particular, for imbuing the show with a social consciousness and using its genre tropes to address the ills and anxieties of Cold War-era America.

Four years after the end of “Key & Peele” and two years after his directorial debut, “Get Out,” his hit thriller about seemingly well-intentioned white people who insert themselves into black people’s bodies, Peele is now an executive producer of a new “Twilight Zone” series. (The first episodes will be released April 1 on CBS All Access.) He is also playing the part of its dapper, deadpan narrator, book-ending each episode as Serling did on the show.

Peele accepted this on-camera role warily, and was uneasy about bringing back “The Twilight Zone” at all. He doesn’t easily embrace comparisons to Serling, a singularly influential figure in television who wrote many of the show’s most beloved segments and helped audiences see contemporary consequences in his stories of enchanted artifacts, interstellar travel and nuclear Armageddon.

But in this tale of unlikely parallels, Peele has been shadowing Serling’s trajectory all along, whether or not he wants to admit it. He, too, has used genre entertainment to convey otherwise unpalatable truths to his viewers, deploying sketch comedy to comment on police brutality or horror movies to skewer self-satisfied liberals.

In his efforts to resuscitate “The Twilight Zone,” he has been reminded of a valuable lesson that might explain why he is, after all, a worthy successor to Serling’s mantle — an instructive philosophy that Peele said is as applicable to horror as it is to comedy: Always be thinking ahead of your viewers.

“If you can predict where an audience thinks it’s going to go, you can use it against them,” he said. “And they’ll love you for it.”

These days there are many twists and turns in Peele’s life, including the vertiginous path up the Hollywood Hills to an outpost of his company, Monkeypaw Productions. The building is a sparsely furnished colonial home where “Us” was edited, and his personal office is decorated with vinyl dolls of the creepy twin girls from “The Shining”; a lunch box depicting Daniel Kaluuya’s tear-streaked face in “Get Out”; and — oh, yes — the Oscar that Peele won for writing its screenplay.

Pablo Schreiber To Star In Showtime Series Based On Xbox Game "Halo"

American Gods actor Pablo Schreiber has been tapped as the lead in Halo, Showtime’s anticipated series based on the Xbox video game franchise.

Schreiber will play Master Chief, Earth’s most advanced warrior in the 26th century & the only hope of salvation for a civilization pushed to the brink of destruction by the Covenant, an unstoppable alliance of alien worlds committed to the destruction of humanity.

In addition, newcomer Yerin Ha will play a new character within the Halo world: Quan Ah, a shrewd, audacious 16-year-old from the Outer Colonies who meets Master Chief at a fateful time for them both.

The series is produced by Showtime, 343 Industries & Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. Production will begin this fall in Budapest, Hungary.

Halo reinvented how people think about video games and has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon, having sold more than 77 million copies worldwide and grossing more than $60 billion in lifetime sales worldwide. In its adaptation for Showtime, Halo will take place in the universe that first came to be in 2001, dramatizing an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant.

Schreiber is an Emmy nominee for his performance in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. His recent television projects include American Gods and The Brink. He will next be seen in the limited series Defending Jacob opposite Chris Evans. Upcoming, he will be seen in the independent films The Devil Has a Name and Lorelei.

Pennyworth: New Trailer for the Batman Prequel Series

Even though one Batman prequel saga has wrapped up with the series finale of Gotham, another door is set to open with Epix’s Pennyworth. A new trailer for the forthcoming prequel series has arrived, showing the importance of young Alfred Pennyworth. The series goes back to the ’60s and follows Batman’s future butler as a much younger man. However, Alfred’s story goes far beyond the Dark Knight.

n the clip, we see glimpses of Alfred’s past as a SAS agent. It also features the first meeting between Alfred (Jack Bannon) and Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge). It’s unclear what history they share with each other. Regardless, Thomas is impressed enough to offer Alfred a job on the spot. In the DC universe, Thomas and Martha Wayne are the parents of Bruce Wayne. After Thomas and Martha were killed, Alfred raised Bruce and watched over him as he took on the mantle of Batman. It’s still one of the most iconic origin stories in comics.

The first look at Pennyworth arrived last month. Ryan Fletcher, Hainsley Lloyd Bennett, Paloma Faith, and Jason Flemyng co-star in the series.

Pennyworth has a number of Gotham veterans behind it. Danny Cannon serves as director, while executive producer and writer Bruno Heller is also on board. Epix will premiere the series on July 28.

David Harbour Knows the End of Stranger Things and Calls It "Beautiful"

Stranger Things has been a turning point for Netflix & its cast, but as all stories go, every beginning has to end. Star David Harbour revealed in an interview with Digital Spy that he knows the end of Stranger Things, how the series will wrap up one day.

I know the end of the series, and it’s beautiful.”

The actor also revealed how long he’d like to see the series for, hoping for more than just four seasons.

I don’t think four is enough,” Harbour added. “I think five is maybe enough. If you want my opinion, I would like five.

Previously, Stranger Things‘ executive producer Shawn Levy revealed that Netflix is considering a fifth season for the series.

Stranger Things Season 3 stars Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, David Harbour as Chief Jim Hopper, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler, Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers, Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Dacre Montgomery as Billy, Sadie Sink as Max, Maya Thurman-Hawke as Robin, Jake Busey as Bruce, Francesca Reale as Heather, and Cary Elwes as Mayor Kline.

Stranger Things 3 will debut on Netflix on July 4th.