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Casting and Industry News That Has Nothing To Do With This Photo: 'The Penguin,' 'Ted Lasso,' 'Wonka' and, uh, Chipotle

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 14, 2021 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 14, 2021 |


I don’t think we have any plans to cover last night’s Met Gala — our friends Tom and Lorenzo and the Fug Girls do that quite nicely — but I love that photo of Ben and J.Lo. (Anyone else seeing the Fug Girls’ ads for Acorn TV on Insta? So cool!). And like some of you I am also torn about this one:


But we’re not here to talk about the Met Gala (or Elliot Page’s bad-ass tux), we’re here to talk about the, uh, far more interesting casting and industry news!

For instance, did you know that HBO Max is developing a Batman spin-off series based on The Penguin, because they are! In my initial reading of the headline, I thought they were going to do a series of movies based on Penguin classics, but alas, the series will instead center on the character played by Colin Farrell in the forthcoming Matt Reeves’ The Batman (Farrell, FYI, has been approached but has not yet signed on). The series is expected to track the Penguin’s origin story and his rise to power.

Speaking of origin stories, Keegan-Michael Key has signed on alongside Timothee Chalamet for Wonka, the musical based on the early life of Willy Wonka. I don’t know if the producers have seen Schmigadoon or not, but a central element to its storyline is that Keegan-Michael Key cannot actually sing, so this is a fun ironic piece of casting. Paul King — known for directing Paddington and its sequel — is directing, so I’m not going to dismiss it just yet.

Meanwhile, one of my favorite directors, Tom McCarthy (The Visitor, The Station Agent) has created a Hilary Swank vehicle for ABC. Someone should tell Tom McCarthy that he’s Tom McCarthy and that he doesn’t have to do network television (someone also should have told him not to do The Cobbler with Adam Sandler). The series is a newspaper drama set in Alaska, where they get all the best headlines.

In animation news, David Ayer’s Bright (written by Max Landis) is returning to Netflix as an anime called Bright: Samurai Soul featuring the voice work of Simu Liu from Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings). Elsewhere, Hayley Atwell is voicing a Lara Croft cartoon for Netflix.

In renewal news, Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez has been renewed. I am supposed to review that for us, and I haven’t yet because I don’t know what to say except that it’s great, and I love it, and you should watch it.

Also, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series will be coming back for a third season on Disney+. I love this show. It’s unclear, however, if Olivia Rodrigo will return on account of being super famous now. The third season will be set at a drama camp in Los Angeles, and the location change certainly suggests to me that they want to accommodate Rodrigo. I know this show is huge, but when it launched, the principal cast were juniors in high school so I thought, “Huh. Well, they’ve only got two years of runway before all the students go to college.” Not true! The first season was the Fall musical, the second season was the Spring musical, and this season will be set over the summer, so I suppose there are two or three more seasons available with this cast.

We already knew that Ted Lasso would be coming back for a third season, but FYI: The cast and the writers have all gotten very sizable pay raises. In fact, Jason Sudeikis is going to get around $1 million an episode. It’s unclear if there will be a fourth season because it was originally conceived as a three-season arc. But also, there’s a lot of money involved and people love this show.

I’m weirdly excited for Showtime’s new anthology series, Super Pumped, the first installment of which will track the rise of Uber and is based on Mike Isaac’s bestselling book Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber. It will star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Travis Kalanick. Kyle Chandler and Elizabeth Shue have also been cast.

Completely unrelated, but speaking of Uber and the gig economy, for at least the last month, all the Chipotles in my city have been closed for the most part, and whenever I look on the app, at least 7 or 8 of the 10 within 60 miles of me are closed due to staffing shortages (say whatever you want about Chipotle. This is not about the quality of their food, and also hush: Maine is not exactly a mecca for Mexican food). Anyway, why hasn’t someone come up with Uber but for shift work? Because I would totally work the lunch rush at least once a week in exchange for $15 an hour and a hefty discount on food. Set that up in all the area restaurants, and my wife would be like, “Where you want to eat tonight?” and I’ll be like, “Olive Garden has a shift open. I’ll do a two-hour shift there and bring home dinner afterward!”

No? Bad idea? Fine. Whatever. You think of a better way to get affordable, Mexican fast food then! SNOBS!

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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