Quentin Tarantino showed a sneak peek of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and television pioneer Norman Lear was honored with a new building that will be named after the “All in the Family” creator during a two-hour all hands meeting on Tuesday.
Chris Miller, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” producer, was on hand to celebrate the five-year mega-deal he and his partner Phil Lord just signed to move their deal from 20th Century Fox TV to Sony Pictures TV. The annual meeting unfolded in one of the studio’s sound stages.
Motion Picture Group Chair Tom Rothman, brandishing the best animation Oscar that “Into the Spider-Verse” picked up at this year’s ceremony, took the podium to talk employees through a slate that includes “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and “Men in Black International.” He then turned the podium over to Tarantino who showed five minutes from “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” an ensemble look at Los Angeles in the 1960s that stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, and Brad Pitt. The footage highlighted each of the actors, as well as Al Pacino, who plays DiCaprio’s character’s agent. The film is expected to be a last-minute entry into this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but Tarantino was mum about any plans to bring the film to the South of France. Sony’s film studio has rebounded from several years at the bottom of the heap. The company’s recent hits include “Venom” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” and the 2019 slate looks promising, with box office analysts predicting that the Spider-Man sequel and a Jumanji follow-up will perform well with audiences.
Television Chairman Mike Hopkins also took Sony staffers through the company’s upcoming slate, teasing footage from the upcoming season of “The Crown,” with Oscar-winner Olivia Coleman taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth from Claire Foy, and the Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union cop show “LA’s Finest.”
SPE Chair and CEO Tony Vinciquerra closed the meeting by announcing one of the main television buildings on the lot will be renamed as a tribute to Lear, the programming giant who tackled hot-button social issues with humor in the likes of “The Jeffersons,” “Good Times,” and “Maude.”
“Norman and the shows he created defined what great television can be,” Vinciquerra said. “And their impact and influence can be felt in just about every situation comedy or drama that has aired since then.”
Lear appeared on stage, entering to “Movin’ on Up,” the up-tempo theme song from “The Jeffersons,” earning an enthusiastic round of applause.
“When you honor me with this, you honor an awful lot of other people as well,” he said.
Lear, who turns 97 later this year, is in the midst of a two-year first-look deal with Sony Pictures TV. As part of the deal with Lear’s Act III Prods., Sony has the option to remake some of Lear’s legendary comedies, including “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “Good Times,” “Maude” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”
Sony is also in the midst of trying to find a new home for Lear’s “One Day at a Time” remake, which he executive produces with Gloria Calderon Kellet and Mike Royce. The show has been critically acclaimed, but Netflix opted not to renew the sitcom after three seasons. Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, Todd Grinnell and Stephen Tobolowsky star in the series, which has been lauded for its mix of humor, representation, and focus on important issues.
Lear has won four Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards, and has also been busy over the years as an activist, having founded People For the American Way.