Good afternoon, and welcome to the latest edition of International Insider. Jake Kanter here. We’ve mined the best of Deadline’s international stories from recent days to bring you a curated look back at the week that was. And if you want to sign up to receive this newsletter straight to your inbox, click here.
The TV Producer Who Vanished
The long read: If you haven’t had time to read this, bookmark it for the weekend. It’s the mysterious and tragic story of Terrence Woods (pictured), who vanished without a trace while filming in Idaho County on Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine, an offshoot of Discovery’s lucrative gold-digging franchise.
What happened: Woods had spent six days filming with Raw TV (a UK producer ultimately co-owned by Discovery and Liberty Global) in an abandoned gold mine when things took an unexpected turn. As night drew in on a day of shooting, the 27-year-old suddenly ditched his radio in the dirt, ran down a cliff, and vanished into a forest. He has not been seen since.
The theories: Woods’ parents suspect that his disappearance was triggered by the way he was treated on the shoot and they have questioned if Raw has given a full version of events. Raw strongly denies that Woods was mistreated and pointed to the support it provided the search-and-rescue team. Local police also found no evidence of mistreatment. There have also been rumors about Woods’ state of mind, though his father, Terrence Woods Sr, said his son had “no mental problem, no health problem, no communication problem.”
What now: Family and friends are still desperately looking for answers. They have established a GoFundMe page to raise money for a comprehensive private investigation. Local police stopped short of saying the case remains open, but pledged to look into new leads should they arise. Raw said the disappearance had “deeply affected us all.” It added: “It is truly heartbreaking that Terrence has not been found, and we continue to hope that he will be.” Read the full story.
Closing A $31M Shoot Without A Single Covid Case
After the stories of restarts, we’re now hearing the first stories of successful wraps (though we suspect less successful shoots may not seek publicity). Italy’s Lux Vide has completed shooting Leonardo, the Sony-backed English-language series it is co-producing with RAI Fiction and Big Light Productions. The lavish series, which stars Aidan Turner as Leonardo da Vinci, downed paintbrushes at the peak of the pandemic. Now, in a masterstroke the great man himself may have been proud of, producers say they have wrapped without a single case of coronavirus.
How it was done: In a conversation with my colleague Andreas Wiseman, Lux Vide CEO Luca Bernabei reals off a now-familiar list of protocols, including a rigorous daily testing regime. Shoots in Rome, Florence and Milan were scaled back just to Rome, while extras were re-used repeatedly. In more technical innovations, a disinfection machine called Sani-Gate hosed down cast and crew, and props were bathed in ultra-violet light.
It came at a cost: Some 15% extra on top of what was planned, taking the budget to €26M ($31M) — though Bernabei attributes much of this to the shutdown. The pandemic will also have an impact on Leonardo’s premiere plans. The series was meant to debut at the Venice Film Festival, but producers are now looking at 2021. They won’t be alone. Read the full interview here.
Scoop: Love After Lockdown
TV development teams have clearly had love on the brain during lockdown because two new dating formats have emerged from the pandemic — and they’re both in the hands of UK broadcasters. Here’s what you need to know:
Food lovers: Warner Bros producer Ricochet, which has enjoyed stellar success recently with BBC One’s The Repair Shop, is working on an ITV2 series titled Love Bites. Here’s how it works: Three amateur cooks will be delivered a box of ingredients, from which they must create a three-course meal to impress a singleton. The singleton will then taste the food and chose one of three cooks to date. In short, it sounds a lot like Dinner Date with a twist.
Game on: Meanwhile, the producer behind the UK version of The Masked Singer (pictured), Bandicoot TV, is developing a BBC show that will help people find love through their passion for gaming. Bandicoot is preparing a non-transmission pilot with the excellent working title Will You Be My Player 2?. The BBC is currently open-minded about which channel it will land on if it goes to series, though BBC Three seems a likely destination.
Both shows are currently casting. Read more here.
Amazon Puts Hand In Pocket
Amazon donates: Amazon, run by the richest man in the world Jeff Bezos (pictured), is putting its hand in its pocket to help get European freelancers back on their feet after the torrid months of the coronavirus crisis. It has ringfenced $6M in cash to donate to various philanthropic endeavors across the continent, starting in the UK, where it is supporting two initiatives: the Film And TV Charity and the Theatre Community Fund, co-founded by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Fund facts: Confusingly though, Amazon is not donating to the Film And TV Charity’s existing COVID-19 Film And TV Emergency Relief Fund, which has already handed £3.3M to stricken freelancers after being bankrolled by the likes of the BBC, Sky and WarnerMedia. There does not appear to be a huge amount of difference in the new fund, though it will award higher grants. It may just be a coincidence that this bureaucratic distinction comes after Netflix had its fingers all over the original Film And TV Charity fund after founding it with a £1M donation in March.
The bottom line: Alongside production restarts, this is more good news for film and TV workers in the UK who have been without work for months. The Film And TV Charity has a 24-hour support line for more information.
Best Of The Rest
Just gone live: Venice Film Festival has revealed the array of coronavirus protocols it will enforce at this year’s event. It is the first major festival to stage a physical edition since early March. Measures include testing and socially distanced red carpets. It could provide a blueprint for future festivals. More here.
Legal row: Things turned ugly this week between Eva Green (pictured) and producer White Lantern Film over the UK sci-fi feature A Patriot. White Lantern filed a High Court motion claiming Green abandoned the film after her “unreasonable demands” were not met. The Luminaries star is counter-claiming with a $1M suit for the fee she says she’s owed from the project. Read their statements.
Eagle swoops: Eagle Pictures, one of Italy’s leading film distribution and production houses, snapped up fellow distributor M2 Pictures for around €8.5M ($10M) on Thursday. The deal will see M2’s 99 movies head to Eagle as the company looks to grow its library and bolster its position in the local market. Full story.
Talking of Italy: BBC Three has taken UK rights to Luca Guadagnino’s debut TV project, We Are Who We Are. It was something of a surprise given the Chloë Sevigny-starrer originated out of HBO and Sky Italia, meaning the latter’s parent company in the UK seemed the most likely destination for the drama. Read more.
‘Tenet’ tickets: Anticipation for Tenet is rising in the UK as tickets went on sale for Christopher Nolan’s feature. Warner looks to have settled on an international-led roll out commencing August 26 in select territories including the UK. Tom Grater has the details.
Ones To Watch
Give it a glow: If you’re grieving over the cancelation of Next In Fashion, a new Netflix competition series could be right up your street. Instead of wannabe fashionistas, Glow Up invites a group of aspiring makeup artists to take on weekly challenges, with a winner being crowned Britain’s Next Makeup Star. Presented by former Strictly Come Dancing champion, Stacey Dooley, the show features some truly spectacular creations, with the MAUs (as they are affectionately referred to on the show) treating their subjects as a canvas for their imagination to run wild.
The backstory: Two seasons of Glow Up have already streamed on BBC Three in the UK, but the second will be shown on Netflix internationally after the company boarded as a co-production partner. Produced by Warner Bros-owned Wall To Wall, the show drops on Netflix today. Viewers in the UK can still check it out on iPlayer.
A trip to the theatre: A reminder also that Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged remains in cinemas and has been topping box takings across the world. Crowe plays The Man, the personification of road rage who cannot let go after a traffic incident with another driver. He sat down with Deadline this week to reflect on the movies that have shaped his career in The Film That Lit My Fuse. Watch here.