Tessa Thompson Launches Production Company ‘Viva Maude’

Tessa Thompson is expanding her Hollywood reach…

The 37-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress is moving into the production arena with a new production company, a first-look deal at HBO and HBO Max and executive-producing two big book adaptations – Who Fears Death and The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

Tessa Thompson,

Thompson, who stars on HBO’s Westworld, has launched Viva Maude with a two-year deal at the WarnerMedia-owned cable network and streaming service.

“I’m beyond thrilled to officially launch my production company, Viva Maude, which has been a real passion project and labour of love over the last few years,” said Thompson. “I’m elated to begin this partnership and to bring entertaining and impactful television projects to my friends and collaborators at HBO and HBO Max. Together we are committed to developing interesting and inclusive stories with inventive creators and to discover new voices and visionaries.”

Thompson, who stars in and executive produced the Amazon Studios feature film Sylvie’s Love, will exec produce the two projects in development at HBO and HBO Max as part of the deal.

Who Fears Death is an adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s eponymous book. In the works at HBO since 2017 with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin as one of the exec producers, Aïda Mashaka Croal, a writer on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, has also come board as showrunner, writer and exec producer.

Who Fears Death tells the coming of age tale of Onyesowu in post-apocalyptic North Africa where her story makes her an outcast.  She must go on a journey from self-reproach to love, but to do so she’ll have to overcome untold obstacles—defeating her hated sorcerer father and becoming the instrument of prophetic deliverance for a land of oppressed people, all the while fighting to master the terrifying powers growing inside her.

At HBO Max, Thompson is also exec producing an adaptation of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. The short story collection, written by Deesha Philyaw, was published in September and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. It contains nine stories about Black women, church, and sexuality.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. Different generations of women characters grapple with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions. With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.

Thompson will exec produce with author Philyaw, who is also writing the adaptation.

Thompson’s other credits include Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame, Annihilation, Sorry to Bother YouSelmaand Dear White People and she co-stars alongside Ruth Negga in Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut feature film Passing as well as Creed III and Thor: Love and Thunder.

She is also a producer on QCode’s fiction podcast The Left Right Game, which Amazon purchased the rights to adapt into a television series, with Thompson exec producing the series.

Fernanda Valadez’s “Identifying Features” Wins Gotham Awards’ Inaugural Best International Feature Award

Fernanda Valadez is in a New York state of mind…

The Gotham Film and Media Institute’s 30th annual Gotham Awards have been revealed virtually, with the Mexican filmmaker taking home a prize.

Fernanda Valadez

Valadez’s critically acclaimed Identifying Features (Sin Señas Particulares) picked up the inaugural award for Best International Feature.

The drama premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic and the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay.

Co-written by Valadez and Astrid Rondero, the film centers on the many immigrants who often go missing or die on their journeys. Most of the main characters are mothers trying to find their children.

IFP Executive Director Jeffrey Sharp welcomed the virtual audience and the night featured a handful of in-person presenters including Renee Elise Goldsberry, Cristin Milioti, Hunter Schafer, Padma Lakshmi, Michael Shannon and Noma Dumezweni, as well as remote presenters such as Zachary Quinto, Lupita Nyong’o, Anthony Mackie, Rebecca Hall and Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre.

Here’s the full list of winners below.

BEST FEATURE: Nomadland
BEST DOCUMENTARY – TIE A Thousand Cuts & Time
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE: Identifying Features
BINGHAM RAY BREAKTHROUGH DIRECTOR AWARD: Andrew Patterson, The Vast of Night
BEST SCREENPLAY – TIE: The Forty-Year-Old Version, Radha Blank & Fourteen, Dan Sallitt
BEST ACTOR: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
BEST ACTRESS: Nicole Beharie, Miss Juneteenth
BREAKTHROUGH ACTOR: Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami…
BREAKTHROUGH SERIES – LONG FORMAT (40-PLUS MINUTES PER EPISODE): Watchmen
BREAKTHROUGH SERIES – SHORT FORMAT (LESS THAN 40 MINUTES PER EPISODE): I May Destroy You
ACTRESS TRIBUTE: Viola Davis
ACTOR TRIBUTE: Chadwick Boseman
ENSEMBLE TRIBUTE: The cast of The Trial of the Chicago 7: Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Strong, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Alex Sharp, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Caitlin Fitzgerald, Alice Kremelberg, and Ben Shenkman.
DIRECTOR’S TRIBUTE: Steve McQueen
INDUSTRY TRIBUTE: Ryan Murphy
MADE IN N.Y. AWARD: Jeffrey Wright
GOTHAM AUDIENCE AWARD: Nomadland

Campos In Talks to Direct “The Omen” Prequel

It may turn out to be a scary First for Antonio Campos

The half-Brazilian American filmmaker is in talks to direct the supernatural horror thriller The First Omen for 20th Century Fox.

Antonio Campos

It’s a prequel to The Omen, which is being planned for release some forty years after the original was first released.

Campos most recently directed the Sundance Film Festival movie Christine.

The original movie starred the great Gregory Peck as an ambassador who comes to believe that his 5-year-old son may be the living embodiment of the Antichrist.

The movie, directed by Richard Donner, was one of the biggest hits of the year and considered one of the scariest movies of the decade. It introduced Damien, the name of the son, into the pop culture lexicon, and preyed on fears of baby swapping and evil nannies.

Omen spawned two sequels and a series of novels. Fox remade the movie once before, in a 2006 iteration directed by John Moore and starring Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles.

Fox is currently airing a TV version of The Omen titled Damien, helmed by The Walking Dead‘s Glen Mazzara.

Ben Jacoby wrote the script for the prequel.

Campos is a player in the indie sphere and was a producer on movies such as Martha Marcy May Marlene. He previously directed 2012’s Simon Killer. His drama Christine starred Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall and premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where distribution outfit The Orchard snapped up domestic rights.

Bonham Carter to Star in Steve McQueen’s HBO Drama Pilot “Codes Of Conduct”

Helena Bonham Carter is playing by a new code of conduct

The 48-year-old part-Spanish actress has been cast in Steve McQueen’s HBO drama pilot Codes Of Conduct.

Helena Bonham-Carter

Bonham Carter joins Rebecca HallDevon Terrell and Paul Dano in the project — a provocative exploration of a young black man’s experience entering New York high society.

Co-written by McQueen and Matthew Michael Carnahan, Codes Of Conduct centers on Beverly Snow (Terrell), a young man from Queens as talented as he is ambiguous. His self-confidence will enable him to break into the social circles of Manhattan’s elite, testing the boundaries of access and social mobility.

Bonham Carter will portray author and psychiatrist Esther Kaufmann. Born into a prominent Jewish family in Manhattan, the divorced mother of two grown boys is now living life on her own terms – terms that change dramatically though after she crosses paths with the enigmatic Beverly Snow.