For new movies and TV shows streaming this week, Colin Farrell conditioned himself with cheeseburgers, Karen Gillan had to learn how to fight with paralyzed arms and Cinco Paul finally got to pull the trigger on the musical that came to him in the ‘90s while watching “An American Werewolf in London.” Here’s where to find them all:
At 11 a.m. on a recent Monday, Colin Farrell was still in bed, recovering from a late-night trip down a
rabbit hole exploring the world of ultrarunners. “I’m just fascinated by what people go through when they decide to undertake 100 miles or 250 miles,” he says.
Mr. Farrell says he isn’t an ultra-runner himself, but his latest role was physically demanding in its own way.
In “The North Water,” a five-part miniseries that premieres Thursday on the AMC+ streaming service, Mr. Farrell plays a whale hunter in the 1850s alongside Stephen Graham, the ship’s captain, and Jack O’Connell, its surgeon. Shooting involved five weeks aboard a ship that came within 500 miles of the Arctic Circle.
“Even if you were doing nothing, just being, just existing, just breathing up there, it was taxing,” he says. “You could feel the body kick into a survival mode that I had never experienced before.”
Asked if there’s any similarity between playing a whale hunter in the Arctic and portraying the Penguin in “The Batman”—a film expected next year—he cited “the shadow that I cast. Both characters were quite physically robust.”
“I was conditioned by cheeseburgers and ice cream and cake,” he said. “The environment wasn’t something that any of us really prepared for or had any grasp of what we were getting ourselves into.”
New release: ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’
New Release: ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’
In the world of “Gunpowder Milkshake,” an irreverent action film that premieres Wednesday on
there is a diner frequented by assassins that prohibits guns, and a library that checks out guns as if they were books. The weapons wielded in the heat of battle include a suitcase, a bowling ball and a giant tooth. Angela Bassett kills one man with a hammer and another with a strawberry shake.
Directed by Navot Papushado, the film is about Karen Gillan’s Sam, an assassin who takes her orders from Paul Giamatti’s Nathan, who presides over a crime syndicate. After Sam saves the daughter of a father she kills—an unsanctioned detour that costs the syndicate a pile of money—she becomes a target herself.
The film includes highly choreographed shootouts and brawls that unfold everywhere from a bowling alley to a hospital. Ms. Gillan says when she saw the script, the project’s inventiveness immediately appealed.
“There’s a fight sequence where my arms are paralyzed, and in the script it said: The audience won’t know how to react to this, but they will know that they’ve never seen anything like this before,” she says. “And I thought that’s really cool. That’s what we’re all striving for: something vaguely original.”
New release: ‘Schmigadoon!’
In 1997, when Cinco Paul was watching “An American Werewolf in London,” a movie about a pair of backpackers who encounter a werewolf, it stood out to him that the beginning was similar to “Brigadoon,” the musical about an idyllic village that appears just one day every 100 years. Then Mr. Paul thought: What if, instead of finding a werewolf, the pair of friends stumble upon a town in a musical. And get stuck there.
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At the time, Mr. Paul was an aspiring screenwriter, and he more or less left the idea on the shelf. Twenty-four years and a handful of hit movies later (“Despicable Me” and others), he has brought it to life in “Schmigadoon!,” a musical comedy that premieres Friday on
The friends have morphed into a couple—Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key—but otherwise, Mr. Paul says the premise is pretty much the same as his initial idea. The pair are hiking in the woods when they wander into the brightly lit town of Schmigadoon. The townsfolk burst into song: Alan Cumming is the mayor, Fred Armisen is the reverend and Dove Cameron is the farmer’s daughter. Martin Short is the leprechaun who informs the couple that they won’t be leaving until they find true love.
The series arrives as the musical genre is having a moment, with movies like “In the Heights” recently released, “Central Park” (Apple TV+) now in its second season and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” due in December.
“People are discovering that there’s a real audience for this sort of stuff and that there’s a real power to adding singing to drama,” says Mr. Paul. “It amplifies everything.”
New release: The Magnolia Network
Inc., is rebranding its DIY Network cable channel to the Joanna and Chip Gaines–branded Magnolia Network in January. On Thursday, the Magnolia Network gets a digital launch on the Discovery+ streaming service and the Magnolia app.
The launch includes a raft of new shows about cooking, home, gardening, design and other comfort topics. Among them are “Family Dinner,” Andrew Zimmern’s cross-country anthropological series; “Homegrown,” featuring Atlanta farmer Jamila Norman helping families set up their own backyard farms; and “First Time Fixer,” a series about rookie home renovators.
The launch also includes new episodes of shows starring Joanna and Chip Gaines, which have already been streaming on Discovery+: “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” a reboot of the couple’s career-making show, “Fixer Upper,” as well as the cooking show “Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines.”
•Karen Gillan is an old man from the north of England: While Karen Gillan was appearing in blockbuster films like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,”and “Avengers: Endgame,” she also found time to record an audiobook of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic, “The Secret Garden” (Apple Books). The gig was a lot harder than she expected. In a movie, she typically plays one character. Reading “The Secret Garden,” she played them all. “There might be a voice at the beginning of the book that comes back at the end of the book, and I’m like: What did I do for that person? How do I play an old man from the north of England?”
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