Why Colman Domingo grabed ilion fiction with Pianist Toledo!

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It’s quite a way to begin the film, a piercing evocation of the story’s era that feels celebratory while still haunted by menace. That darkness stalks Ma Rainey’s characters as they retreat into a pair of rooms, housed within a Chicago recording studio, where Rainey and her band are set to immortalize a host of her standards. She’s running late, but the band has assembled to practice. Steady, pragmatic Cutler (Colman Domingo), the trombonist, just wants to get the band in shipshape for Rainey’s arrival. Pianist Toledo (Glynn Turman) and bassist Slow Drag (Michael Potts) want to get their work done too, but brash young coronet player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) keeps derailing the process. The record’s white producer has promised Levee that they’ll use his new, flashier arrangements, while his bandmates know that Rainey will refuse to do any version other than exactly her own.

Even non-Warner Bros. directors like Judd Apatow have come out against Warner Bros., calling it “disrespectful” how the studio did not warn filmmakers their films would be shifting to a hybrid streaming release model. In an essay written for Variety, “Dune” director Denis Villeneuve said he found out his science-fiction epic would be moving to HBO Max when WarnerMedia went wide with the announcement December 3.

George Clooney, who also directed Mark L. Smith’s smart adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s 2016 novel, plays the fulcrum of the film’s deft pivot: Augustine Lofthouse, an astronomer stationed at an observatory in far-northern Canada, inside the Arctic Circle. As the film opens, and Augustine’s research colleagues are being evacuated by plane to their homes — and an unknown fate — he alone has decided to remain. It’s not that Augustine is bound by an unreasonable sense of duty, or is simply foolhardy, as one of his co-workers suggests to the scientist.

There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here,” Villeneuve wrote about the HBO Max decision. “It is all about the survival of a telecom mammoth, one that is currently bearing an astronomical debt of more than $150 billion. Therefore, even though ‘Dune’ is about cinema and audiences, AT&T is about its own survival on Wall Street. With HBO Max’s launch a failure thus far, AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention.”