Leave it to Severance to start posting mysterious images on social media. After Apple TV posted an image (scroll down) of Adam Scott's character, Mark S., some fans suspected that it meant we're on the cusp of some overdue Season Two news. So, is Season Two finally be around the corner? Well, it's complicated. Even with the new teaser from Apple, I'm sorry to report that 2022's breakout series has become, shall we say, severed from its work-half.
Following the WGA strike and rumors of drama behind the scenes, production on the show was halted indefinitely, according to Deadline—forcing audiences to sit with the first season's amazing cliffhanger. Luckily, according to producer Ben Stiller, production is finally back on. After a fan commented on the cryptic Apple teaser for Stiller to "give us a sign," the comedian responded, "We are working on it." Mark S., hold on, buddy.
Stiller also recently shut down rumors of drama surrounding the series creator Dan Erickson and co-executive producer Mark Friedman. The two "ended up hating each other on the first season, per multiple sources," according to The Town's Matthew Belloni, with AppleTV+ going through several rewrites for Season Two.
"No one’s going to the break room," Stiller responded on Twitter. "Love our fans and each other, and we all are just working to make the show as good as possible." Lumon Industries, I'm sure, is furious at the lack of efficiency. Those numbers aren't going to sort themselves! But Season Two is still very much in the cards for Severance.
Team Severance has been tight-lipped on potential Season Two plot reveals, but Patricia Arquette did issue a sinister warning. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight a year ago, Ms. Harmony Cobel herself joked, “Be scared, very scared." She continued, "I think these guys have been working really hard, and come up with a lot of really creative things. They have a whole world in their minds. They just let us in, piece by piece, into what’s going on, but I think it will be fun and beautiful.”
She also revealed that she loves to read fan theories, so if you've been trawling the Severance Reddit in the wee hours of the morning, just know—Arquette is watching. Now that talk around the Lumon water cooler is officially heating up, here's a quick rundown of everything we know about Season Two so far.
Well, when we talked to Tillman back in August, we had to ask him if there is any way he could top his defiant jazz performance in Season One. If you didn't know, Tillman is a massively accomplished theater actor, with a beautiful singing voice. So you know what we had to ask him: If Season One saw Mr. Milchick dance, Season Two has to see the man sing, right?
"Oh, you're going to get in trouble!" Tillman exclaimed. "You're going to get me in trouble. I have no idea. That's in all honesty. I am not trying to evade the question. I have no idea. Ben and Dan are working as we speak, and I know they're going to craft something that is incredible, genius, and funny. So we'll see."
Mr. Tillman, if you're reading this? If you end up singing a three-minute-long ballad to the severed floor next season, we're absolutely getting you on the phone again.
Considering that just about every major character was left in the lurch at the end of Season One, it's safe to assume that all your favorite stars will return, including Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, Christopher Walken, Britt Lower, Tramell Tillman, Zach Cherry, and Dichen Lachman. As for new faces, the series has added a stacked cast of new players, including Bob Balaban, Robby Benson, Stefano Carannante, Gwendoline Christie, John Noble, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Alia Shawkat, and Merritt Wever.
For Season Three and beyond? Severance's creative team is shooting for the moon, with Erickson saying that he hoped to pitch President Barack Obama on a guest role at the Emmys (where Obama was nominated for outstanding narration in the Netflix docuseries Our Great National Parks). “If he is [there] I’m going to see if he wants a role on this show,” Erickson said. “I think he’d be really good, he’d bring some gravitas.”
Jen Tullock, who plays Mark's sister Devin, joked, “If we could get Barbra Streisand to come around, I’d pretty much give you every American dollar I’ve got in my bank account.” Stiller, for his part, has more realistic expectations. “For me there are a lot of people like Christopher Guest; I kind of imagine, ‘Wow that would be amazing if someday he might be a part of the show,’” Stiller said. “It’s fun when you have a show like this where it allows for people to maybe come in for an episode or two but also fit into the world of Severance.”
We don’t know much about Season Two yet, but yes, Erickson offered some tantalizing hints in our interview with him. "There's definitely going to be some expansion of the world," he teased. "Within Lumon, we're going to see more of the building, and we’ll see more of the outside world, too." He went on to comment on the storytelling architecture of the entire narrative:
There's an overall plan for the show. I have an end point in mind, and I intentionally didn't plan it season by season, because I wanted it to be flexible enough that we could get there in two seasons or six seasons. I want to allow us to be surprised by where the show goes. There’s a sense of what Lumon is trying to do and the role that our main characters are going to play in that, and where it all will culminate. It's really exciting to think about taking the next step on that trip.
Season One ends with a spectacular cliffhanger when Mark, Irving, and Helly manage, with great difficulty, to bring their innies into the outside world. The consequences of their subterfuge are enormous: Mark learns that his supposedly dead wife is in fact his coworker, Irving discovers that his Lumon lover is married, and Helly learns her Eagan heritage, then announces to a gala of industry bigwigs that the severance procedure is torture. Dylan is apprehended by Mr. Milchick, but as Stiller pointed out in an interview with Deadline, Dylan has already seen the Matrix, back when his innie discovered that he has a child.
"Obviously, that’s a huge question and something that really is important to be dealt with because their whole perception of the world has been altered by having this glimpse," Stiller said. "That’s going to be a lot of what the second season has to deal with—a big part of the engine of the second season’s beginning." Similar conflict abounds for Mark, whose revelations will cause strife in his love life. "With Innie Mark, we’re starting to root for him and Helly, but now we also want to root for Outie Mark to find his wife," Stiller said. "That’s an interesting juxtaposition and conflict we’ll explore in the second season."
Though Season One centered on Mark and his perspective, meaning that we got scant few glimpses of his colleagues' outies, Erickson promises that everything is about to change. "In Season Two, we're going to be showing all of these people on the outside," he told EW. "Similar to Mark, they each had their own reason for getting this procedure, and they're all at some stage of a healing process for one thing or another... Being able to take what Adam did in the first season—with the differentiation between his innie and outie, and how they feel like the same person but with this vastly different lived experience—seeing the other three characters' version of that dichotomy is, I think, the most exciting part."
Mark's outie undergoes near-constant surveillance from his boss, Harmony Cobel, who moonlights as his kindly neighbor, Mrs. Selvig. Though Mark now knows the truth about Cobel's double life, Erickson teases that we haven't seen the last of her schemes. "I think that she does have some special attachment to Mark," he told Polygon. "And I don’t think it’s entirely Lumon-based, that’s what I’ll say. I think that she’s—without giving away too much of what we’ll see—there’s a professional interest for sure. And obviously, we’ve seen that there’s some sort of experiment or something happening with him and his wife, and sort of observing them. But I think that you can see it in her eyes that it’s become about more than the job."
If you really can't wait for Season Two, mosey on over to the Severance Reddit, where fans have already posted thousands of compelling theories. Many fans have latched onto a comment made by Helly's father ("One day, you will sit with me at my revolving"), postulating that the Eagan family members upload their consciousnesses to a computer and become part of the Board that so tormented Harmony Cobel. Could Kier Eagan still be alive in the ether, by that logic?
Another fan suggests that Irving, an ex-military man, may be an undercover operative who underwent the severance procedure to investigate Lumon, judging by his obsessive research and documentation about Lumon employees. "What if the severance procedure was initially developed for use in war?" one Redditor wonders.
"You have enlisted soldiers that are easily indoctrinated to do your will, and they have no recollection or PTSD after their tour is complete. Irving would have been involved with this severance program as a soldier, and it explains why his so interested in secretly tracking down other people." In a recent Reddit AMA, Erickson nodded at this theory, saying, "One of the nice things about opening up the world a bit is that we'll get to see other applications of the technology. Other ways society willingly 'segments' itself from unpleasant truths."
And what about those damn goats seen wandering around Lumon? Theories abound, with explanations ranging from cloning to brain experimentation. Erickson isn't saying much, but he assures viewers, "I don’t think we have seen our last goat on the show." In an interview with Variety, Stiller confirmed that we'll learn more about the goats in Season Two, saying, "There’s no way the goats are there for no reason." Things could get even stranger than random goats wandering the halls; when Esquire asked Tramell Tillman about the possibility of bringing his vocal chops to Season Two, the actor joked, "You're going to get me in trouble!"
Erickson's AMA confirmed some Season One mysteries and teased what's to come in Season Two. One thing's for sure: "The office is real," Erickson confirms. "It exists physically and everything we see there is actually happening (except the black goo, which is Irv's dream)." If your money was on the good old "it's all a simulation" theory, you've lost your bet. Erickson also hinted at another Season Two mystery—just why did Helena Eagan conceal her innie's suicide attempt from the Board? "Good question. I think more of that will reveal itself in Season Two!" he replied.
Alas, until Season Two makes its debut, there's not much we know for sure. As Erickson tells IndieWire, "It turns out it’s easier to ask interesting questions than answer them." We may not know much, but we do know one thing: trust in Ben Stiller. In an Esquire profile of Stiller, Severance star Patricia Arquette said, “He’s merciless. He never stops. He never stops rewriting, he never stops thinking. Weekends, holidays—you’d get phone calls late at night, you’d get phone calls early in the morning. Ideas. New things. He has incredibly intense focus on everything—every little set piece, every little wardrobe thing. I’ve never seen anybody so focused on everything.”
In Stiller and Erickson’s capable hands, no doubt Season Two will be another thrill ride of sci-fi goodness and corporate intrigue, though it's still a long way away, with no specified air date.
While we wait, there’s still a lot to chew on. Fans who want to delve even deeper can check out The Lexington Letter, a free, supposed “tell-all” book from former Lumon employee Peggy Kincaid, which Erickson confirms is, in fact, canon. We may soon have another book to enjoy, if his tease from the AMA is anything to go on; replying to a fan who asked if Ricken's The You You Are would ever make it into print, Erickson said, "I think the chances are pretty good it will happen..." Praise Kier!
It's been a second since we've appropriated "star-studded cast" on a movie that doesn't involved superheroes. Not since Oppenheimer, The French Dispatch, and no, we didn't forget—Don't Look Up (we didn't say this was a list of good movies). Starring Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World), and a longer glimpse of John Cena (The Suicide Squad) and Dua Lipa than we got in Barbie, the Universal Pictures/Apple TV+ collab looks almost exciting enough to make us forget a writer's strike was happening for five months.
Anyway. The fiction-to-reality plot where titular agent Argylle comes straight out of the novels of reclusive author Elly Conway inevitably draws parallels to Lost City (ha! Another stacked bill), but at the helm of Matthew Vaughn, we're definitely expecting more of a Kingsman vibe. The director has however, described the film as an ode to '80s action movies Lethal Weapon and Die Hard.
There are other big names adding to the headliner, of course. Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) plays Aidan, the real-life spy who protects Elly, joined by Samuel L Jackson (Secret Invasion)'s character. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) is the film's currently unnamed villain, and we get to see Catherine O'Hara (Schitt's Creek) as Elly's mother.
We can't not talk about it. It's not the first time we've seen Cavill involved in international espionage on the big screen, but it's certainly a first in Bart Simpson-esque glory. A great departure from Geralt of Rivia, the only viable explanation for that ridiculous hairstyle lies in the cover design of the fictional books. And upon further digging, a possible allusion to his name, after the Scottish argyle diamond pattern. Either way, we're not mad about it. The odder the hair, the better the performance.
The adorable cat Alfie is played by Chip, owned by Vaughn's wife Claudia Schiffer.
Argylle is slated to be in theatres 2 February 2024 and later for online streaming on Apple TV+.
Killers of the Flower Moon took a while to be adapted. The rights to adapt David Grann's book started in 2016 but like any other project, the development of the film was halted due to the global pandemic. Still, the film was finally finished. It made its premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2023 and received a nine-minute standing ovation.
While we have to wait a few months to watch it, Apple TV+ unveils the trailer of Killers of the Flower Moon today.
With stirring Native American pow wow chants spliced with dubstep ("Stadium Pow Wow" by The Halluci Nation née A Tribe Called Red), the trailer brings across the palpable tension of a community gripped with terror.
The American Western crime drama (that's a mouthful) is based on the real-life murders that plagued the Osage Nation. Set in the 1920s, the epic is directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and stars an ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone and Jesse Plemons.
Given the subject matter, Scorsese involved the Osage Nation during the film's development. In a press release, Scorsese said, "We are thrilled to finally start production on Killers of the Flower Moon in Oklahoma. To be able to tell this story on the land where these events took place is incredibly important and critical to allowing us to portray an accurate depiction of the time and people. We're grateful to Apple, the Oklahoma Film and Music Office and The Osage Nation, especially all our Osage consultants and cultural advisors, as we prepare for this shoot."
In light of the current book bans and revisionisms in America, we are glad that someone made use of the medium to spotlight America's "hidden histories". (Another example was HBO's Watchmen which featured the Tulsa Race Massacre.)
America's history may not strike a chord with Singapore audiences but the cast and the dramatisation of a real-life event should be enough to get butts in seats.
Killers of the Flower Moon is tentatively slated to be in theatres on 6 October and later for online streaming on Apple TV+.
The Crowded Room will mark the actor's last project for the foreseeable future.
Tom Holland is taking a break from acting. Don’t worry, though—it’s only for a year. In a recent interview with Extra, the 27-year-old actor explained that filming his latest project, Apple TV+’s upcoming miniseries The Crowded Room, prompted the decision.
“I’m no stranger to hard work,” he explained. “I’ve lived by the idea that hard work is good work. Then again, the show did break me. There did come a time [when] I needed a break and disappeared and went to Mexico for a week and had time on a beach and laid low. I’m now taking a year off, and that is a result of how difficult this show was.”
Holland both produced and stars in The Crowded Room. The upcoming crime thriller follows Danny Sullivan, a man who is arrested in 1979 following a fatal shooting at Rockefeller Center. The series is inspired by Billy Milligan, a man convicted of many brutal crimes, who was eventually deemed innocent after he was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. His case sparked a debate about whether or not people with multiple personalities should be held accountable for their actions. In the first trailer for The Crowded Room, we see Holland's character grappling with similar circumstances. Check it out above.
Though the filming process was difficult, Holland said he’s excited to see the final product. “I feel like our hard work wasn’t in vain,” he said. This role is radically different from the blockbusters Holland is known for, like Marvel’s Spider-Man films, or the video game adaptation, Uncharted. According to the actor, he had to tap into a new psyche to pull it off, while also working on the business end of the production. “We were exploring certain emotions that I have definitely never experienced before,” he said. “And on top of that, being a producer, dealing with the day-to-day problems that come with any film set, just added that extra level of pressure.”
According to Variety, at one point during the filming, Holland nearly changed his appearance to shed the character. "I remember having a bit of a meltdown at home and thinking like, ‘I’m going to shave my head. I need to shave my head because I need to get rid of this character,’" he said. "And, obviously, we were mid-shooting, so I decided not to...It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
Now, with the production behind him, Holland says he’s learned to better manage his mental health. That is, in part, thanks to the research he did while filming the series. “Learning about mental health and the power of it, and speaking to psychiatrists about Danny and Billy's struggles, has been something that has been so informative to my own life,” Holland said.
Though Holland won’t be working on any more projects this year, you can see him in The Crowded Room, alongside Amanda Seyfried, Emmy Rossum, Sasha Lane, and Emma Laird, out now only on Apple TV+.
From: Esquire US