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Mckenna Grace To Lead ‘Spider & Jessie’ With Jesse Williams & Jojo Regina Also Starring In Opioid Drama

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EXCLUSIVE: Emmy-nominated actress Mckenna Grace is starring in Dan Kay’s Spider & Jessie.

The pic also star Tony-nominated Jesse Williams, Jojo Regina, Dacre Montgomery (Stranger Things), Forrest Goodluck (Cherry), Fernanda Andrade (Moon Knight) and Malia Baker (The Babysitter’s Club).

Grace stars as Spider and Regina as her sister, Jessie. Grace and Williams will also serve as executive producers.

The movie follows two scrappy sisters, who after discovering their mother has fatally overdosed, are terrified they’ll be separated by an overburdened foster care system. As such, they conceal the body. However, the local police chief, mom’s drug counselor, and her volatile ex-boyfriend get closer to uncovering the truth, and the girls must decide just how far they are willing to go to keep their secret buried.

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Kay in addition to directing, wrote the script which he developed with Julia Keller.

Jojo Regina, courtesy RCPMK

Hungry Bull Productions led by Joseph Restaino (Pig) and Jeff Hoffman (Lansky) from Above The Clouds are producing and co-financing. Production is underway in Florida.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of this important story about addiction and how it affects not only the addict, but those around them. I was aware of how prevalent drug use and addiction was, but in doing this film, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of just how big of a problem it is. Many of our own cast and crew have shared their experiences and it’s heartbreaking. Doing this is more than just making a film, it’s creating and being a part of something that is bigger than ourselves,” said Grace.

“I am honored to join this incredible producing team and cast led by the words and direction of Dan Kay. Shining a light on the shared human conditions that lead to and from addiction, provides us an opportunity to examine our compassion for those impacted today as well as for those pathologized in our recent past.” said Williams.

“I’ve been interested in telling stories about addiction and the opioid epidemic for years because, like millions of Americans, I have seen firsthand how this insidious disease not only destroys the life of the addict but tears apart the fabric and foundation of the addict’s family. This damage – the collateral damage caused by addiction – compelled me to tell this heartbreaking but vital story about opioid orphans,” said Kay.

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Dan’s vision for Spider & Jessie is a true testament of his unique voice as a writer/director, and one that we can’t wait to introduce to audiences across the world. Having such an incredible cast attached, led by Mckenna Grace and Jojo Regina, speaks directly to the special nature of the story Dan has devised. At Hungry Bull Productions, our focus has always been to work with the best talent and bring forward meaningful stories, Spider & Jessie represents precisely that.  We are thrilled to be working with such great partners on this project in Above the Clouds as well,” said Restaino.

“When I first read Kay’s powerful script, I cried and laughed and was touched to my soul by these sisters in the story having to survive the loss of their mother to an opioid overdose. Watching this script come to life with such amazing performances, incredible locations and beautiful cinematography is nothing short of a miracle, and will greatly raise awareness of this tragic epidemic,” said Hoffman.

Grace received a Guest Actress Drama Series Emmy nom for The Handmaid’s Tale last year, making her the youngest-ever nominee ever in that category. She starred in Sony’s $204M-grossing hit Ghostbusters: Afterlife. On television, she is about to star in A Friend of the Family, a true-crime limited series, opposite Anna Paquin and Jake Lacy. Earlier this month Grace starred in The Bad Seed Returns for Lifetime, a feature which she also executive produced and co-wrote with her father.  Other notable film roles include starring opposite Viola Davis in Amazon’s feature Troop Zero and opposite Chris Evans and Octavia Spencer in Gifted, as well as the $1.1 billion grossing Captain Marvel as young Carol Danvers and the Oscar winning I, Tonya.

Williams earned a Tony Award nomination in his Broadway debut in the Tony Award winning revival of Take Me Out and will next be seen in Netflix’s Your Place or Mine with Reese Witherspoon as well as in his return to Broadway for the newly-extended run of Take Me Out.  He spent 12 seasons in his acclaimed role as Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC’s hit series Grey’s Anatomy and has appeared in TV and films including The Cabin in the Woods, Little Fires Everywhere, Brooklyn’s Finest and the Paramount action/comedy film Secret Headquarters, with Owen Wilson. Williams executive produced the 2021 Oscar winning short film Two Distant Strangers and served as both senior producer and correspondent alongside Norman Lear for their EPIX docuseries America Divided.  Williams is a partner and board member of the #1 scholarship app in the world, Scholly, which has matched students with over $100M. He is co-founder of both BLeBRiTY and Ebroji mobile apps and executive producer of Question Bridge: Black Males, a transmedia art installation in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s permanent collection. He sits on the Board of Directors for both Advancement Project and Harry Belafonte’s arts and social justice organization, Sankofa.org.  

Regina starred in this summer’s sleeper box office hit Where the Crawdads Sing.

Also producing are Tony Stopperan, Kay, and Dan Sima with EPs Grace, Williams, Russell Gray, Yaniv Hoffman and Leal Naim. WME Independent is repping the project’s worldwide rights.

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Grace is repped by CAA and Stewart Brookman. Jojo Regina is repped by Paradigm and ESI Network. Williams is represented by CAA, Entertainment 360,  and Granderson Des Rochers; Montgomery is with CAA, Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern and 3Arts, Goodluck is Gersh and Artists First, Baker is with Entertainment 360 and Andrade is with Buchwald and Entertainment 360. Kay is repped by Myman Greenspan, APA and Circle of Confusion. 



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Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs

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Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’

Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.

Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’

EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.

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London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul

To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide 



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‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards

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Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.

Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.

The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)

Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.

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 In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.

Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.

Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.

Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.

The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.

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Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark

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EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.

Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.

Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:

While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.

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Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide.  As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.

On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”

Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.



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