Netflix’s Dahl Deal; Johnny Depp Blasts Cancel Culture; Brits Dominate Emmys; Roger Michell Obit – Deadline

Happy Friday International Insiders. Tom Grater here coming to you live from Zurich this week with your round-up of the top international headlines. To get this sent to your inbox every Friday, sign up here.

A World Of Pure Imagination

Golden ticket: Netflix landed the big one this week, wrapping up a deal to acquire the full Roald Dahl catalogue of stories, marking one of the streamer’s most significant acquisitions to date and one that the company was understood to have been chasing voraciously. The agreement extends a partnership that began in 2018, initially only covering animated adaptations, with projects to date including Taika Waititi and Phil Johnston’s upcoming series based on the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and an adaptation of Matilda The Musical with Sony and Working Title.

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Franchise potential: Financial details weren’t disclosed but general consensus seems to be that this was a rich pact and that Netflix is betting big on creating a ‘universe’ (industry buzzword of the year?) of Dahl properties across an array of mediums, not just film and TV. A press release accompanying the news cited “games, immersive experiences, live theater and consumer products”, suggesting that Netflix’s ambition with the catalogue is far-reaching.

New digs: Of course, Netflix is going to need somewhere to house all of these productions. Conveniently, the streamer also confirmed this week it has struck a long-term deal to lease the UK’s Longcross Studios, adding to a UK studio footprint that already sees it rent Shepperton Studios and stages at Pinewood. The company said it would look to expand the Longcross space.

Johnny Depp Attacks Cancel Culture

Johnny Depp

Polluted air: Johnny Depp has been hitting the headlines for many of the wrong reasons in recent years, but the actor was given a brief respite this week at San Sebastian Film Festival, where he jetted in to pick up an honorary Donostia Award, the fest’s highest prize. During a press conference prior to receiving the award, Depp went on the offensive to address ‘cancel culture’, calling it “an event in history that… essentially amounts to polluted air”. “It’s so far out of hand now that I can promise you that no one is safe,” Depp continued, calling on people to “stand up” against “injustice”. “I haven’t done anything, I just make movies,” he added.

Disposable: Depp also used the platform to take a swipe at Hollywood, which has essentially ditched the actor after he lost his “wife beater” libel case in the UK. “Hollywood is certainly not what it was,” he said, “They realize they’re just as disposable as I am”. Read our full report from San Sebastian here. No rest for Depp, however, as his $50M defamation suit against ex-wife Amber Heard took another twist this week when the actress subpoenaed the LAPD who dealt with their 2016 domestic disturbance incident. Dominic had the report.

More From San Sebastian

Official Competition

Pintxos over parties: Talking of San Sebastian, the premier Spanish fest comes to a close this weekend after, so far, a smooth event that showcased plenty of good movies. There haven’t been the usual fancy drinks dos due to Covid restrictions put in place by the fest, but most attendees Deadline has spoken to welcomed the chance to avoid sweaty networking affairs in favour of casual evenings chatting outside pintxos bars. Highlights from Deadline’s coverage included an interview with Javier Bardem and his The Good Boss director, in which the actor talked about his hopes for a Dune sequel, and a sit-down with Laura Fernández Espeso, CEO of the Mediapro Studio, which produced both The Good Boss and also Official Competition, two of the hottest Spanish pics at the festival this year. We also had reviews from San Seb of: The Good Boss, I Want To Talk About Duras, Fever Dream, and Maixabel.

Farewell To Roger Michell

RIP: The industry received the shock news last night of the passing of Roger Michell, the South African-born British director of Notting Hill. Only three weeks ago, the filmmaker was in Telluride showing his latest movie The Duke, with attendees reporting that he seemed to be in good spirits. No cause of death was given. Read our obituary. “He always had a sweet grin on his face and a perfect piece of direction to share,” said Notting Hill star Julia Roberts.

The British Are Coming

Emmy night: Britain once again dominated the Primetime Emmys this year, with Brit talent scooping more than half of the awards on offer. Nancy had a report from a UK Emmys party that featured the likes of The Crown creator Peter Morgan, who was a winner on the night. Later in the week, the International Emmy nominations were unveiled, with David Tennant, French comedy Call My Agent and Israeli drama Tehran all set to vie for prizes. See the full list here.

Opening Up Again

Easing restrictions: The U.S. announced this week that it is going to ease travel restrictions and welcome back fully-vaccinated visitors from the UK, the European Union and other countries in Asia, South America and Africa. Travelers will need proof of their vaccination and will also have to take a Covid test within three days of departure. The news was widely welcomed by industry and politicians, though it comes a little late for this year’s American Film Market, which opted to go fully digital again this year.

“Show Trial”

Paul Rusesabagina

Conviction: Troubling news from Rwanda this week, where Paul Rusesabagina, whose heroics during the country’s genocide were depicted in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, was sentenced to 25 years in prison “for being part of a terrorist group”. International human rights orgs denounced the verdict, with the Clooney Foundation for Justice calling it a “show trial”.

The Essentials

Henry Golding Noomi Rapace Sam Neill Daniela Melchior

🌶️  Hot one of the week: Yesterday producer Matthew James Wilkinson is teaming up with Poldark exec producer Tom Mullens on a TV adaptation of Iain Banks’ novel The Business.

🌶️  Another one: Henry Golding, Noomi Rapace, Sam Neill, and Suicide Squad breakout Daniela Melchior are starring in action film Assassin Club.

🤝 Done deal: Sony Pictures Networks India and Zee Entertainment Enterprises are finalizing a merger that would create a giant combined entity in the Indian broadcasting scene.

🍿  International box office: Read Nancy’s latest report, with Free Guy continuing to lead the way.

🚚  On the move: Endeavor Content is getting into Russian content with action drama Hope from local streamer Start.

🏆 Awards circuit: Ireland has picked Irish-Language feature Foscadh (Shelter) as its entry this year for the International Oscar race.

🎦 Trailer watch: Check out the trailers for Spencer and The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain. 

And Finally… 

Kabul correspondent: Hollie McKay’s latest special report for Deadline from embattled nation Afghanistan covers the country’s fake news problem. “A month into the Taliban takeover of Kabul, and the misinformation and disinformation continues to soar into dizzying territory – driven not only by both clumsy, opportunistic social media sharing, but also seemingly structured propaganda initiatives both inside and outside Afghanistan,” she writes. Read more.

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