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Netflix Buys Heart of Stone, Casts Matilda, and Signs Dr. Ibram X. Kendi Deal

Following yesterday’s numerous reveals, Netflix is back with another big drop of news about the streaming service’s upcoming content. Included in this round is the Gal Gadot spy thriller Heart of Stone, the Matilda movie, adaptations of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi books, Selena: The Series Part Two, as well as more trailers.

Netflix Buys Heart of Stone, Casts Matilda, and Signs Dr. Ibram X. Kendi Deal

Heart of Stone

Netflix has won the worldwide rights to spy thriller Heart of Stone, according to Deadline. Directed by Tom Harper (The Aeronauts, Wild Rose), Skydance Media’s Heart of Stone will star Gal Gadot.

Written by Greg Rucka (The Old Guard) and Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figures), Heart of Stone will be produced by Skydance Media’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger, along with Gadot and her Pilot Wave producing partner Jaron Varsano, Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn.


Netflix has announced that Alisha Weir will play the title character in Matilda, with Emma Thompson taking on the role of Miss Trunchbull and Lashana Lynch playing Miss Honey.

An adaptation of the Tony and Olivier award-winning musical, Matilda tells the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination, dares to take a stand to change her story with miraculous results.

The film will be directed by Matthew Warchus, who says: “Matilda will be an imaginative and fresh retelling of the award-winning musical, Matilda, featuring talented young newcomers, alongside established stars. I look forward to introducing this beloved and powerful story to a new generation of fans around the world.”

Written by Dennis Kelly, the movie is being produced by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title, Jon Finn, and Luke Kelly of The Roald Dahl Story Company with Netflix distributing worldwide except in the UK where TriStar Pictures will distribute theatrically in the UK.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi Adaptations

Netflix also is partnering with acclaimed author and antiracist scholar Dr. Ibram X. Kendi to produce three new projects based on his bestselling and award-winning books: Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, and Antiracist Baby.

Netflix is developing the books across several different formats and genres, offering a timely and thoughtful examination of racism for audiences of all ages.

Stamped from the Beginning, a hybrid documentary/scripted feature based on Dr. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas, will be directed and produced by Oscar and Emmy Award-winner Roger Ross Williams (The Innocence Files, The Apollo, Life, Animated, Music by Prudence) through his production company One Story Up and executive produced by NAACP Image Award-winner Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends, The Game, Being Mary Jane). Dr. Kendi will also serve as executive producer.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, a companion documentary to Stamped from the Beginning aimed at younger viewers, is based on the #1 New York Times bestseller for young adults of the same name by Dr. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, and will be directed and produced by Roger Ross Williams and executive produced by Dr. Kendi.

Antiracist Baby, a series of animated vignettes set to music for preschoolers based on Dr. Kendi’s bestselling children’s book of the same name, will be executive produced by Peabody, Humanitas, NAACP and Emmy Award-winner Chris Nee (Doc McStuffins, Vampirina) and Dr. Kendi.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi commented: “I’m elated these projects landed at Netflix. What a wonderful partner. I’m elated to work with Roger Ross Williams, Mara Brock Akil, and Chris Nee. They are such ambitious, innovative, and passionate creators who are committed to racial justice. But I’m really elated for the viewers, for the adults and children who will be captivated, informed, and transformed by these projects.”

Strip Down, Rise Up (February 5)

From Academy Award–nominated director/producer Michèle Ohayon comes Strip Down, Rise Up, a new feature documentary about women who come together to heal through sensual movement, specifically pole dance. You can watch the trailer here.

The vérité-style film follows a diverse group of women of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and body types, who reclaim themselves through pole dance either as a sport, an art, or as a way of unlocking their body in order to heal from trauma, release shame and restore self acceptance.

Shot by an all-female crew with rare access, Strip Down, Rise Up offers an emotionally gratifying, visually astounding and unexpected look at the fascinating behind-the-scenes world of pole artistry and expression.

Featuring Sheila Kelley, Amy Bond, Jenyne Butterfly, Patricia Buck, and Evelyn Oshita, among others, the documentary includes songs by Coldplay and FKA twigs.

The Crew (February 14)

The 10-episode series The Crew stars Kevin James as a NASCAR crew chief for the fictional Bobby Spencer Racing team. When the owner steps down and passes the team off to his daughter Catherine (Jillian Mueller), James has to protect himself and his crew from her attempts to modernize the team.

Freddie Stroma, Sarah Stiles, Gary Anthony Williams and Dan Ahdoot also star, Paris Berelc and Bruce McGill guest star. You can watch the trailer here.

Jeff Lowell (The Ranch, Two and a Half Men, Spin City) will serve as writer, showrunner and executive producer. Andy Fickman (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Playing With Fire) directed all episodes and serves as an executive producer.

James, Jeff Sussman (The King of Queens, Paul Blart) and Todd Garner (Tag, Isn’t It Romantic, Mortal Kombat) will also serve as executive producers. Matt Summers and Tim Clark will executive produce for NASCAR.

Animals on the Loose: A You Vs. Wild Movie (February 16)

Bear Grylls is returning with two interactive specials on Netflix. The first movie, Animals on the Loose: A You Vs. Wild Movie will premiere on February 16. Watch the trailer here.

The second action-packed movie adventure will premiere later this year.
Each standalone will feature even more choices, more animals and more action for families to enjoy all from the safety of their homes.

Bear Grylls returns with Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie, an exciting 90-minute interactive movie for the whole family. The protective fence surrounding a wildlife sanctuary has mysteriously suffered a breach, and now animals are on the loose.

Bear is called in to help rescue a mischievous baboon, track down a hungry lion, and fix the fence before any more animals get out. Three urgent missions await you with only so much time and Bear needs your help. With the possibility of completing a secret mission, each decision impacts this interactive adventure, so make your choices count.

Selena: The Series Part 2 (May 14)

Before she became the Queen of Tejano Music, Selena Quintanilla was a young girl from Texas with big dreams and an even bigger voice. The two-part coming-of-age drama Selena: The Series explores the once-in-a-generation performer’s journey as a young artist, from singing small gigs in Corpus Christi with her family to becoming one of the most successful Latin artists of all time — and the years of grit and sacrifice the Quintanilla family navigated together before Selena’s meteoric rise to fame.

The final part of the two-part series premieres on May 14, 2021.

Announced today, 25 million households around the world sang ‘Como la flor’ along with part one in the first four weeks after it premiered in December 2020.

The series reached the Top 10 list in 23 countries — including the U.S., Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Peru — and spent 26 consecutive days on the Top 10 list in Mexico. Half of the fans came from the U.S., where it spent its first week in the #1 spot on the Top 10 list.

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