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‘Good Omens’ Shores Up Its Cast + More Industry News Out of London

‘Good Omens’ Shores Up Its Cast + More Industry News Out of London
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Hello and welcome back to our roundup of news from across the industry. From stage to screens big and small, we’ve got you covered. It’s everything you need to know and all you can’t afford to miss.

Screen industry launches principles to tackle bullying and harassment.
The BFI launched a set of principles to tackle harassment and bullying in the film and TV industry last week. Created in partnership with BAFTA, Equity, and other organisations, the guidelines offer a comprehensive, industry-wide response to the harassment scandals that rocked Hollywood and the British entertainment world. It follows the recently introduced code of conduct from the Casting Directors’ Guild, the MeToo movement, and the establishment of Time’s Up.

The BFI said the eight basic principles are an important step in “establishing an inclusive culture for all aspects of the screen industries”. They are to be read alongside the guidance and notes which stress that “the high proportion of freelance and casual workers in the screen industries makes it especially important to ensure that they are covered”. The BFI also highlighted that everyone working within film and TV needs to be aware of their principles and that “it is essential to have a genuine commitment from senior leaders”.

Launching the principles, Emma Watson said they were important “because up until recently there were no guidelines, there was no protocol for someone that had been sexually harassed in the entertainment industry”. She discovered that guidelines or principles to protect actors and other workers didn’t exist after asking to read them earlier in her career. “It was shocking. But one of the good things to come out of terrible this situation is that the BFI [...] and 40 other major organisations have [...] put together this set of guidelines.”

Read the principles in full here.

‘The Lovely Bones’ comes to the stage.
Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel, ‘The Lovely Bones’, is coming to the stage, adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Melly Still. Lavery said that “the huge story is very, very happy to change its medium and reveal its treasures on the stages at five of the UK's leading theatres”, adding that she was “a most fortunate playwright".

‘The Lovely Bones’ is casting now, co-produced by Birmingham Rep, Royal and Derngate in Northampton and Northern Stage in Newcastle, and in association with the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. The play will open at the Royal and Derngate on Sep. 1 before transferring to partner venues.

The casting of YouTuber causes stir.
The revival of ‘Confidence’ by Judy Upton at the Southwark Playhouse caused a stir when they announced YouTube star Tanya Burr had nabbed the leading role. Burr sold makeup in her hometown of Norwich before online beauty tips led her to vlogging full time. Her first acting work was the indie film ‘Disconnection’ last year.

Critics and commentators Matt Trueman and Mark Shenton typed tempered opinion pieces about Burr’s casting, both suggesting that although she is best known for her makeup and fashion tips, her casting will bring in new audiences as well as being a huge draw for the South London theatre. Trueman calculated that “if every one of her [3.7 Million] YouTube subscribers bought a ticket to ‘Confidence’, she'd have the studio space sold out for the next 87 years”. Shenton said that celebrity casting questioned “the standing and status of the acting profession more generally”. “If anyone with a big Instagram and Twitter following can be thrown into the lead of a play, what’s the point of real actors learning and honing their craft?” 

Stage Production News
Michael Ball is to star in the West End revival of ‘Chess’. Opening at the London Coliseum in April, the cast for the musical now includes Ball alongside Alexandra Burke, Cassidy Janson, Tim Howar, and Murray Head. Ball is playing Russian chess grandmaster Anatoly Sergievsky in his first London stage role since Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ at the Adelphi Theatre in 2012.

The Royal Court announced the rest of their upcoming season, which will include 10 world premieres including debuts by Thomas Eccleshare and actor Ellie Kendrick (‘The Levelling’). Kendrick makes her writing debut with ‘HOLE’, directed by Abbi Greenland and Helen Goelen of RashDash. The season sees the return of familiar Royal Court writers Anthony Neilson, Debbie Tucker Green, and Mark Ravenhill. It was also announced that the Samuel French Bookshop will reopen in the theatre bar after the much-loved London institution closed their Fitzroy Street base last year last year.

Read the full season announcement here.

Screen Production News
‘Good Omens’, the upcoming BBC Studios production for Amazon Prime and BBC Two, has cast ‘The League of Gentlemen’ stars Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton. Including stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen, the six-part adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel has hoovered up brilliant actors from across the world for filming in the UK and South Africa.

Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger will return for ‘Strike - Career Of Evil’. The third installment from the Strike series, based on J.K. Rowling’s best-selling crime novels written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, will shoot later this year.

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