Quick Hits: October 18

  • Today I learned that one of my favorite novels of the past few years, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Six, is being adapted into a limited series for Amazon. Produced by Reese Witherspoon, who selected the novel for her book club back in 2018, the series will star the lovely Riley Keough as Daisy and Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair in the Hunger Games film series) as Billy, Daisy’s bandmate and sometime lover (as the saying goes, it’s complicated). No word on whether the actors will do their own singing, but Keough certainly has the pedigree – she’s the eldest grandchild of Elvis Presley (her mom is Lisa Marie). No release date yet, but filming just began last month, so we’re looking at 2022.
  • West Side Story premiered in New York City sixty years ago today. Based on the 1957 Broadway musical (which drew its inspiration from Romeo and Juliet), the film starred Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood as star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria, who belong to rival gangs Jets and Sharks (Maria’s brother Bernardo is the leader of the Sharks). The film would become the year’s highest grossing movie AND win the Oscar for Best Picture (a rare feat that’s only occured four times in the past forty years*), and is considered one of the greatest movie musicals of all time.

* For the record: Rain Man (1988), Forrest Gump (1994), Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).

  • I finished watching Netflix’s Midnight Mass last night, and I have so many feelings. Mike Flanagan has created a visually stunning rumination on life and death and the perils of religious zealotry. The sprawling cast – including Kate Siegel, Zach Gilford, Annabeth Gish, Henry Thomas, Rahul Kohli and future Emmy winners Hamish Linklater and Samantha Sloyan – brings Flanagan’s exquisite script to life. The ending (no spoilers here) left me shattered. If you’ve already watched Midnight Mass, please read this wonderful essay written by my Twitter friend Gena Radcliffe. If you haven’t watched it, what are you waiting for?

And to dust we shall return: Midnight Mass, God, death & me – The Spool

  • Today is composer Howard Shore’s 75th birthday. Shore was the musical director of Saturday Night Live for its first eleven years (and wrote the original theme song) and has scored more than eighty feature films, including Big, The Silence of the Lambs, Seven, That Thing You Do!, Doubt and Spotlight. Shore won three Oscars for his work on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings series.
  • Chuck Berry was born on this day in 1926. A singer, songwriter, guitarist and musical pioneer, Berry helped developed rhythm & blues into rock & roll, earning him the nickname “The Father of Rock and Roll”. In 1986, Berry was part of the inaugural Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class, which included James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Elvis Presley. Berry continued to perform live into his eighties; he died on March 18, 2017 at the age of 90.

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