International filmmakers feature prominently on a Netflix 2021 slate that will bring one new original film a week, with new work from Australia’s Jane Campion, Italy’s Paolo Sorrentino and the UK’s Aardman Animations set to be launched globally on the platform this year.
The slate of 70 features – 10 of which are not in English – is a statement of intent from Netflix head of original films Scott Stuber, who has been in the job for three years and is shaping a pipeline with a higher level of quality, name talent, and consistency at a time when competing platforms are investing heavily in their own businesses.
Campion’s The Power Of The Dog is produced by See-Saw Films and BBC Film and stars Benedict Cumberbatch (who is an awards season contender The Mauritanian) and Jesse Plemons (awards contenders I’m Thinking Of Ending Things, Judas And The Black Messiah) as rancher brothers in 20th century Montana who go to war when one of them marries in secret. Kirsten Dunst, KodiSmit-McPhee, and Thomasin McKenzie also star.
Sorrentino’s The Hand Of God remains shrouded in secrecy although what is known is the Naples-set tale is said to be intensely personal and stars regular collaborator Toni Servillo.
Aardman Animation’s stop-motion holiday musical Robin Robin features the voice talents of Gillian Anderson and Richard E. Grant.
Furthermore, German filmmaker Nora Fingscheidt, whose break out title System Crasher debuted at Berlin 2019, is directing Sandra Bullock in an as-yet-untitled remake of Sally Wainwright’s UK TV series Unforgiven, to be produced by Graham King. Christopher McQuarrie has written the adaptation.
Antoine Fuqua’s police dispatch call centre thriller The Guilty starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, is another international adaptation and is based on the 2018 Sundance entry and Danish Oscar submission of the same name.
Star power comes from Adam McKay’s comedy Don’t Look Up about astronomers who try to warn the world about an earthbound comet and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Tyler Perry, and Timothée Chalamet with Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical tick, tick…BOOM! has a cats led by Andrew Garfield and Alexandra Shipp and is produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Julie Oh, and Miranda.
The 2021 roster also includes Beckett, a thriller about a tragic vacation produced by Luca Guadagnino and starring John David Washington, Alicia Vikander and Vicky Krieps; Andrew Dominik, best known for Killing Them Softly and The Assassination Of Jesse James, directs Blonde, a fictitious chronicle of Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s and 1960s starring Ana de Armas; Beauty, based on a screenplay by Lena Waithe about an ambitious young black performer; and Simon Stone’s post-Second World War drama The Dig with Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes.
Recent Toronto acquisitions Penguin Bloom starring Naomi Watts, MMA drama Bruised directed by Halle Berry, and Idris Elba’s Concrete Cowboy are also set for release in 2021.
Genre titles include Snyder’s zombie heist film Army Of The Dead with Dave Bautista; heist thriller Red Notice from Rawson Marshall Thurber starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds; locust horror and 2020 Cannes Critics’ Week special label selection The Swarm; Alexandre Aja’s trapped woman horror O2 starring Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, and Malik Zidi; and bad marriage-haunted house horror Things Heard And Seen from American Splendor directors Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman.
Current or imminent releases of films vying for glory in the current awards season include: Pieces Of A Woman (January 7) starring Venice best actress winner Vanessa Kirby, The White Tiger (January 22) directed by Ramin Bahrani, Simon Stone’s post-Second World War romantic drama The Dig, starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes (January 29), and awards prospect Malcolm & Marie (February 5), a romance with Zendaya and John David Washington.