Alibaba Pictures has named Fan Luyuan as CEO and chairman of the executive committee, the company said in a regulatory filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today. Fan is already executive director and member of the executive committee. He succeeds Yu Yongfu, the fast-rising tech exec who was appointed CEO last December during a restructure which Alibaba said it hoped would morph it into a “content-based Goldman Sachs-type organization.” Yu is stepping down as CEO to focus on the digital media and entertainment matrix of Alibaba Group Holding Limited. He remains as executive director, chairman of the Board, chairman of the nomination committee of the company and member of the remuneration committee. Fan was made a board member in 2016 after joining Alibaba’s Alipay in 2007. Alibaba Pictures’ Chinese-language drama, Once Upon A Time, releases tomorrow in China, looking to grab some summer blackout box office.
Michelle Dockery is set to join Bryan Cranston in a London stage production of Network, per The Stage. The National Theatre is putting on the adaptation of the Oscar-winning, Paddy Chayefsky-scripted 1976 film. Dockery will play Diana Christensen, the cynical TV exec made famous by Faye Dunaway. Cranston will be Howard Beale, the “mad as hell” news anchor. This will be a return to the National for Downton Abbey alum Dockery who last performed in a 2009 production of Burnt By The Sun. Lee Hall penned the stage script for Network and Ivo van Hove is directing. It opens in the Lyttelton on November 4 and runs to March 24. Network is produced in association with Patrick Myles, David Luff, Ros Povey and Lee Menzies.
Elsewhere on the London stage, Tom Hiddleston has been cast as Hamlet in a Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts production of the Danish play. RADA President Kenneth Branagh is reteaming with his Thor star to direct, backed by his Olivier Award-winning theater company. Recent actors to play the prince in London include Andrew Scott, David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch. Hamlet is being put on in aid of the RADA Attenborough Campaign to support the transformation of RADA’s Chenies Street site in London. It will run September 1-23 at the Academy’s Jerwood Vanbrugh theater.
FremantleMedia International has appointed Katrina Neylon as EVP of Global Content. The exec will manage the existing team and oversee the acquisition strategy for all scripted and non-scripted programming, working creatively with a mix of third-party and in-house producers to invest. Neylon was formerly at Studiocanal where she was EVP of International Sales and Marketing. She has also held posts at Shine International, Disney ABC International Television and Twentieth Century Fox International Television.