REAL TO REEL
Ripped from the headlines and history books, these projects mine true events and famous lives
J. Robert Oppenheimer was a physicist who had studied in Europe and was recruited by the American government to work on a top-secret scientific endeavor known only as “the Manhattan Project.” You likely know him as the father of the atomic bomb, which helped the Allies win World War II . . . and eventually cost Oppenheimer his soul. Director Christopher Nolan heads up this biopic on one of the game changers of the 20th century. Cillian Murphy plays the conflicted scientist; Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Gary Oldman (as President Harry S. Truman!), and what appears to be half of modern-day Hollywood round out the all-star cast.
Sure, the Weeknd has starred in many music videos, and got into a fight with Adam Sandler’s character in Uncut Gems.
But can he carry a weekly TV series? If it’s set in the world of pop stardom, he sure can. In The Idol, which he co-created with Euphoria mastermind Sam Levinson, the artist born Abel Tesfaye stars as a nightclub impresario who gets involved in the life of a singer (LilyRose Depp) as she attempts to come back from a nervous breakdown. This isn’t the first time Levinson’s worked with a Canadian-born music star: Drake is a producer on Euphoria. Maybe if the Weeknd needs some acting tips, he can ping the guy who starred in DeGrassi.
Killers of the Flower Moon
National treasure and MVP Marvel skeptic Martin Scorsese goes for the big guns again with this period piece tackling David Grann’s 2017 nonfiction book about a previously forgotten, particularly dark moment in our nation’s history: an epidemic of murders among Oklahoma’s Osage Nation in the 1920s, tied to the tribe’s oil rights. Longtime Scorsese leading
men Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro are both on board, paired for the first time in one of the director’s movies (and for the first time onscreen since 1993’s This Boy’s Life). Lily Gladstone is Mollie Burkhart, whose sisters died under mysterious — and very suspicious — circumstances, prompting her to petition the U.S. government to look into these crimes. And The Power of the Dog’s Jesse Plemons, the unsung hero of nearly everything he appears in, is an agent in the newly formed Federal Bureau of Investigation, who comes out to investigate.
Some SNL cast members become famous for their original characters or killer impressions; some become stars primarily by being themselves. Pete Davidson is firmly in the latter category, with a personality so distinct that his lack of mimicry skills on the sketch show didn’t much matter. Davidson has already capitalized on his singular appeal with a film loosely inspired by his life, 2020’s
The King of Staten Island. Now, he’s playing a fictionalized version of himself in a comedy series (with Lorne Michaels as one of the producers, of course) that co-stars Edie Falco as his mom and Joe Pesci (in his first ongoing TV role since 1985’s short-lived
Half Nelson, whose ridiculous openingcredit sequence seems to go viral every six months) as his grandfather. Announced guest stars so far include Charlie Day, Everybody Loves Raymond onscreen siblings Ray Romano and Brad Garrett, and Davidson’s old SNL co-star Kenan Thompson. No word on who’ll play the many singers, models, and reality stars who’ll enter his character’s dating life.