Halle Berry Goes Down With The Mothership
It didn’t set off nearly the online uproar as did Warner Bros.’ decision to dynamite its $70 million Coyote vs. Acme action-animation hybrid, but another high-profile movie was recently, much more quietly, dumped. Netflix has grounded The Mothership, a Halle Berry sci-fi thriller directed by Oscar-nominated Bridge of Spies co-writer Matt Charman. The $40 million project started filming during the pandemic in 2021 and ran into one snafu after another — scheduling conflicts, reshoots, strikes and, most recently, continuity issues brought on by growth spurts among some of the children in its cast. During a Jan. 31 news conference, Netflix content chief Bela Bajaria cited “lots of production issues and story issues” for shelving the movie and insisted that “everybody just felt like it was the right thing to just not do it.” A source tells THR, however, that there may have been another reason Mothership got axed: Its biggest champion, film exec Lisa Nishimura, abruptly departed last year during a C-suite reshuffling, leaving the project marooned without a benefactor. Berry, of course, will be fine; she’ll be starring in another Netflix film, The Union, a spy caper due in August. Charman will be good, too. THR has learned he is set as showrunner for In the Room, a Netflix thriller series starring Suranne Jones that enters production this year. Says the insider about The Mothership, “It’s a total bummer result — but with all this love and good feeling around it — and there’s just disappointment that audiences ultimately are not able to see the film.” — Ryan Gajewski
Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Plans for Rachel Brosnahan? “I’ll Grab Her Ass”
Married The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino are bringing several familiar faces from that show to their next Prime Video project, the ballet-centric series Étoile. Among them are Luke Kirby, who played Lenny Bruce in Maisel, and Gideon Glick, who had a small role as the magician Alfie. Rachel Brosnahan — Mrs. Maisel herself — may be a much tougher get; she was recently cast as Lois Lane in Warner Bros.’ Superman reboot. Not that Sherman-Palladino won’t try: “If Rachel thinks Lois Lane is going to get her away from me, she’s incredibly naïve,” she says. “I’ll grab her ass and drag her back.”
— Kirsten Chuba
HBO Axes Putin-Pal Actor
So, it turns out supporting a murderous, megalomaniacal dictator isn’t such a great career move after all. HBO announced Feb. 2 that it was “parting ways” with 36-year-old Serbian actor Milos Bikovic, who 10 days earlier had been cast in season three of the network’s hit series White Lotus. One of Russia’s most popular box office draws, Bikovic also has a history of palling around with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had awarded the actor the Pushkin Medal at a ceremony in Moscow in 2018 and granted the actor Russian citizenship by decree in 2021. “HBO, is it all right for you to work with a person who supports genocide & violates international law?” Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted on social media shortly after the casting announcement. The answer to that question turned out to be obvious. “We definitely need some kind of economic and cultural boycott, similar to that of the apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1980s,” notes Andrij Parekh, a director-cinematographer of Ukrainian descent who won an Emmy for his work on HBO’s Succession. “The people supporting Putin need to understand what side of history they’re on.”
Mystery Solved: Sydney Sweeney Wasn’t Technically Lying About Her Job History
The internet demands to know: Did Sydney Sweeney fabricate part of her inspiring backstory? Let’s rewind. In November, a Women’s Health cover profile of the 26-year-old Anyone but You star recapped the two-time Emmy winner’s humble Hollywood beginnings spent babysitting, cleaning restaurant bathrooms and — gasp! — leading tours at Universal Studios. But a handful of TikTok wags not-so-politely called Sweeney a liar. “It’s not true,” claimed TikTok user Taylor Hancock, who posted a clip that details his “many years” of leading Universal backlot tours himself. His initial clip has been viewed north of 1.5 million times. But a THR investigation revealed that Sweeney’s backstory did check out — barely. A source confirms that she was indeed hired by Universal Studios Hollywood on June 12, 2016, after which she attended two shifts, one for an orientation, followed by another training shift. She exited the job July 18, 2016, after landing an acting job. Her résumé backs it up as Sweeney booked several projects in 2016. She next appears alongside Dakota Johnson in Madame Web. See the full story here.
This story first appeared in the Feb. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.