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Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal Discuss Their Future ‘Spider-Man’ Plans: ‘We Want to Top Ourselves in Quality and Emotion’

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Longtime “Spider-Man” series producer Amy Pascal and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige have an offbeat filmmaking partnership, as they demonstrated in a new interview.

In a conversation with the New York Times’ Brooks Barnes about “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and the future of the franchise, the pair addressed Pascal’s previous comments that Tom Holland would star in another “Spider-Man” trilogy. (She also addressed the comments when speaking to Variety’s Marc Malkin on the red carpet on Monday.)

“We’re producers, so we always believe everything will work out,” Pascal said. “I love working with Kevin. We have a great partnership, along with Tom Rothman, who runs Sony and has been instrumental, a great leader with great ideas. I hope it lasts forever.”

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“Amy and I and Disney and Sony are talking about — yes, we’re actively beginning to develop where the story heads next, which I only say outright because I don’t want fans to go through any separation trauma like what happened after ‘Far From Home’ [the second film in Marvel’s ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy]. That will not be occurring this time,” Feige added, referring to the 2019 financing dispute between Disney and Sony that called the possibility of “No Way Home” into question.

Pascal and Feige also explained how they first began working together. Pascal was Sony’s top movie executive in 2014 when “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” debuted to widespread poor reviews. She went to Feige for advice on how to continue forward with the character. When he suggested that Marvel Studios make the next “Spider-Man” film, she didn’t take it well.

“I threw a sandwich at him,” she said.

“She said, ‘I really want you to help on this next movie. We have these great ideas for the next one. It’s amazing stuff,’” Feige recalled. “And I said, ‘I’m not good at that — giving advice and leaving. The only way I know how to help is if we just make the movie for you.’”

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Despite Pascal’s initial disdain for the idea, she became open to it after Feige made more specific suggestions about how to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe: “[He] said, ‘I have an idea. What if Tony Stark makes Peter’s suit?’ And as soon as he said that, I understood the possibilities of what we could do together. To have Iron Man and Spidey in the same world, one rooted more in technological innovation — the new suit — and less in medical experimentation, which is where we were confined before, felt so much more modern.”

Since then, each of Marvel’s Holland-led “Spider-Man” films, which Pascal produces, have been critical and commercial successes. Part of the franchise’s prevalence in pop culture is driven by the secrecy Marvel Studios has become notorious for. Plot and casting details are often kept completely concealed from audiences, and even key cast and crew members.

Pascal emphasized that her producing strategy is about more than celebrity cameos, so she isn’t concerned about outdoing “No Way Home’s” roster of guests when it comes to planning for potential “Spider-Man” sequels.

“You can’t think about topping yourself in terms of spectacle. Otherwise movies just get larger and larger for no reason, and it’s not a good result,” she said. “But we do want to always try and top ourselves in terms of quality and emotion. Kevin and I never want to lose sight of one thing: Peter Parker. That he’s a normal kid. That he is orphaned over and over again. That he’s a teenager, so everything in his life is at a heightened pitch and everything matters more than anything. That he’s fueled by goodness and guilt. That he’s striving for a greater cause, and he’s vilified by the press.”

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On a lighter note, Feige commented on Holland’s budding romance with co-star Zendaya. They aren’t the first couple to take their “Spider-Man” romance off-screen: Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst dated while making the original “Spider-Man” movies, and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone dated while making the “Amazing Spider-Man” movies. 

“I took Tom and Zendaya aside, separately, when we first cast them and gave them a lecture,” Pascal said. “‘Don’t go there — just don’t. Try not to.’ I gave the same advice to Andrew and Emma. It can just complicate things, you know? And they all ignored me.”

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Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pinocchio’ Debuts First Stop-Motion Footage, Netflix Sets December Release

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Guillermo del Toro fans had to wait four years in between his best picture winner “The Shape of Water” and his newest release “Nightmare Alley.” The wait for his next project won’t be as long. Netflix has announced the director’s stop-motion, musical adaptation of “Pinocchio” is set for release in December 2022. Del Toro co-directs this long-in-the-works passion project with Mark Gustafson. To mark the date announcement, Netflix unveiled a brief teaser with the first footage of Ewan McGregor voicing Cricket.

Starring opposite McGregor in “Pinocchio” is David Bradley as Geppetto, Gregory Mann as Pinocchio, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Burn Gorman, Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton. Del Toro’s adaptation is set in Italy during the 1930s, a time when fascism is on the rise and Benito Mussolini is consolidating control of the country.

“No art form has influenced my life and my work more than animation and no single character in history has had as deep of a personal connection to me as Pinocchio,” del Toro said in a statement when the film was greenlit in 2018. “In our story, Pinocchio is an innocent soul with an uncaring father who gets lost in a world he cannot comprehend. He embarks on an extraordinary journey that leaves him with a deep understanding of his father and the real world. I’ve wanted to make this movie for as long as I can remember.”

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“Pinocchio” is del Toro’s first feature directorial effort for Netflix, which continues to draw some of the world’s top filmmaking talent. The streaming giant and del Toro already have a relationship as the director produced Netflix’s Emmy award-winning television series “Trollhunters” and more.

Watch the first teaser trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” in the video below.

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Daryl Hall Plots New Solo Collection, Tour With Todd Rundgren

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Daryl Hall will put the spotlight on his 40-plus-year solo career outside of Hall and Oates with the release of a new compilation and a solo tour with special guest Todd Rundgren this spring. The 30-track “BeforeAfter” will arrive via Legacy Recordings on April 1, the same day Hall returns to the live stage at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre.

“I picked the songs I thought were right and significant and meaningful throughout this whole body of work,” Hall tells Variety of “BeforeAfter,” which spans his 1980 Robert Fripp-produced solo debut “Sacred Songs” up through 2011’s “Laughing Down Crying,” which was co-produced by Hall and Oates’ longtime associate, the late T-Bone Wolk.

Of Fripp, whose adventurous work with King Crimson may have seemed an odd bedfellow alongside Hall’s soulful style, Hall says, “We were friends before we did ’Sacred Songs” and have a lot of common ground — more than people realize. He would just play things and I’d sing lyrics out of the blue and come up with things spontaneously. We had the ability to do that together and do something that I think was pretty unique.” 

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“BeforeAfter” also includes a host of previously unreleased songs recorded for Hall’s long-running performance series “Live From Daryl’s House,” including lead track “Can We Still Be Friends” with Rundgren, Eurythmics’ “Here Comes the Rain” with that group’s Dave Stewart and a version of “North Star” with singer/guitarist Monte Montgomery. “It just blew me away,” Hall says of the latter. “I see ‘Live From Daryl’s House’ as much a part of my body of work as any of my recorded albums I’ve done.”

On the April tour, which will visit such storied venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall and Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, both Rundgren and Hall will be backed by the ‘Live From Daryl’s House’ core band, featuring guitarist Shane Theriot, bassist Klyde Jones, saxophonist Charlie DeChant, keyboardist Elliott Lewis, drummer Brian Dunne and percussionist/vocalist Porter Carroll. Hall expects he and Rundgren will duet on “Can We Still Be Friends” at the shows and says he will sprinkle some Hall and Oates tunes in alongside solo selections from “BeforeAfter.” 

“I’ve known Todd since we were kids,” Hall says of fellow Philadelphia native Rundgren. “We have what I consider ultimate respect for each other. I think he’s a phenomenal artist who has carved his own path. Whenever we get together, sparks fly. Something good happens. We sing really well together.”

Although there are no plans at the moment for Hall and Oates to tour in 2022, Hall has already written nine songs with Stewart for a new solo project, which he plans to work on throughout the year. Fripp may also make an appearance at some point, according to Hall. “He wants to do something with me in the studio, so I think this album will be some combination of me getting together with a lot of friends,” he reports.

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Daryl Hall and John Oates remain popular fodder for film, TV and commercial syncs, but Hall says he enjoys when lesser-known songs are utilized, such as the recent appearance of the 1976 track “Do What You Want, Be What You Are” in an episode of HBO’s “Euphoria.”

“I’m all about deeper cuts,” he says. “I play ‘Do What You Want’ a lot on stage with Hall and Oates and there’s a good chance I’ll play that on the solo tour too. On ‘Live From Daryl’s House,’ I’d always say to the guest, what do you want to do? And they’ll say, let’s play ‘You Make My Dreams,’ and I’d say, ‘No. no. Go deep. Find a song you just discovered and we’ll play that.’”

As for “Live From Daryl’s House,” which began life as a web show in 2007 and more recently begin airing on AXS-TV, Hall says he is “very much into the idea of bringing it back” after a 2020 pandemic-related hiatus. The show has featured collaborations with everyone from Cheap Trick and Smokey Robinson to Chromeo and Aloe Blacc. “We have some plans and they have not been finalized, but I’m trying to get it back out into the world again.”

Here are Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren’s tour dates:

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April 1: Chicago (Auditorium Theatre)
April 3: Nashville (Ryman Auditorium)
April 5: Atlanta (Symphony Hall)
April 7: Northfield, Ohio (MGM Northfield Park)
April 9: Philadelphia (The Met)
April 11: Boston (Orpheum Theatre)
April 14: New York (Carnegie Hall)
April 16: National Harbor, Md. (The Theatre at MGM National Harbor)

The track list for “BeforeAfter”:

Disc One:
“Dreamtime”
“Babs and Babs”
“Foolish Pride”
“Can’t Stop Dreaming”
“Here Comes the Rain Again” (Live From Daryl’s House) with Dave Stewart
“Someone Like You”
“Talking to You (Is Like Talking to Myself)”
“Sacred Songs”
“Right as Rain”
“Survive”
“North Star” (Live From Daryl’s House) with Monte Montgomery
“In My Own Dream” (Live From Daryl’s House)
“NYCNY”
“What’s Gonna Happen to Us”

Disc Two:
“Love Revelation”
“Fools Rush In”
“I’m in a Philly Mood”
“Send Me”
“Justify”
“Borderline”
“Stop Loving Me, Stop Loving You”
“Eyes for You (Ain’t No Doubt About It)”
“The Farther Away I Am”
“Why Was It So Easy”
“Can We Still Be Friends” (Live From Daryl’s House) with Todd Rundgren
“Cab Driver”
“Our Day Will Come” (Live From Daryl’s House)
“Laughing Down Crying” (Live From Daryl’s House)
“Problem with You” (Live From Daryl’s House)
“Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” (Live From Daryl’s House)

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