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‘Lucifer’s Lesley-Ann Brandt Teases A Very ‘Tender’ Maze In Season 5: She’s In A ‘Vulnerable Place’

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‘Lucifer’ makes its triumphant season 5 return on Aug. 21. HL spoke with Lesley-Ann Brandt about what’s ahead for Maze in the wake of Lucifer’s shocking trip back to Hell at the end of last season.

Get ready to see new sides of Maze in part 1 of Lucifer season 5, which premieres Aug. 21 on Netflix. Lucifer’s return to Hell will have lasting repercussions on his relationship with Mazikeen, especially since he didn’t take her with him. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Lesley-Ann Brandt about Maze’s emotional journey in season 5 and more.

Lesley-Ann teased Maze and Chloe will be leaning on each other in the wake of Lucifer’s absence, and they’re going to be trying to work through the “hurt and anger” they feel. She also opened up about the impact of Michael’s arrival will have on Maze, given the “vulnerable” state she’s in. Read our Q&A below.

Lucifer
Maze and Chloe in ‘Lucifer’ season 5. (Netflix)

When the show picks up for season 5, how is Maze dealing with the fact that Lucifer left her behind?
Lesley-Ann Brandt: You know, there’s that great season 2 fight that they have — a physical fight — which transitions into seeing for the first time how hurt Mazikeen is because these two characters are so connected. They came from Hell together. They tried to create Hell on Earth together, and then things sort of went awry when he met Chloe. Through that relationship, obviously, they both go on this journey of discovering their individual humanity, but I think when we see her in the beginning of this season, she and Chloe have mirrored feelings about saying goodbye to the people that they both love. With Mazikeen, it’s kind of double-fold. She’s obviously dealing with the Eve issues and then also Lucifer. These are two very prominent relationships in her life. As girlfriends do, Chloe and Maze lean into each other. They are trying to just work through their feelings in a somewhat unhealthy way. They’re just trying to make sense of it all. I think there’s a lot of hurt and anger there for sure. As Maze does, she will acknowledge the pain, but it definitely comes out in physical violence.

Would you say season 5 is more of an emotional journey for Maze than in previous seasons?
Lesley-Ann Brandt: Yes. Every season has been an emotional journey for her, but this I think is the most human [we’ve seen her] while also seeing her most demon side. I have a great scene with God, and there’s a lot going on with my backstory in episode 4. One of my most gory and brutal fights comes at the tail end of this season. So I think this season shows her two sides in ways that I haven’t been able to do as the actress. Maybe that has a lot to do with being on Netflix and just being able to show more gore and show more of what makes her tick.

Is there hope for Maze and Eve in season 5?
Lesley-Ann Brandt: I think it’s definitely a journey. She has to acknowledge the pain of what that feels like and it’s new. It’s that soul-crushing, the “love of your life doesn’t want you” kind of pain that she’s never experienced because she’s never let anyone in that way. We’ve all been there. It’s that crushing pain that feels like you’re going to die, and it’s never going to be better. And then day-by-day time heals and friends help you heal, and by the end of it hopefully comes reflection and gratitude for a life or relationship that you had but you no longer have. I read a great article in Huffington Post years ago where someone wrote that you don’t always end up with the loves of your life, but you should be grateful to have met them at all because most people never meet the loves of their life. It really has always stuck with me, and I definitely have leaned into that in regards to Maze and Eve.

Lucifer
Maze with Lucifer in season 5. (Netflix)

Lucifer’s twin brother Michael is coming onto the season. What does Maze think of him?
Lesley-Ann Brandt: As you see in the trailer, she doesn’t know that it’s not him. She, again, is dealing with the feelings of her friend once again leaving her. He’s done it time and time again in an emotional way, in a physical way, where he doesn’t put her first in their friendship. Not that he doesn’t put her first, it’s that she isn’t a consideration when he makes decisions. I think that really hurts her in ways. I share such similar qualities with this character where people feel like you’re strong, you’re tough, you can handle a lot of things, and it isn’t until you are really, really hurt that they take pause. Or you react to something that maybe seems like not a big deal, but it’s a huge deal to you because you’ve built this foundation of friendship and care and showing up only to be let down in that way. It knocks you, and it takes a while to recover. You sometimes never come back from that in terms of your friendship, but that’s okay, too. I think for Maze and Lucifer, knowing who they are to each other is there, and they know it underneath. There’s always going to be that tethered connection, but with an injection of someone like Michael, who is manipulative and opportunistic, it’s very easy for people to gaslight. We see this happening socially in the world where you gaslight on people’s vulnerability. You allow them to believe a narrative, and you allow them to maybe say or do things that aren’t right or true or are extremely damaging. I think she’s apprehensive with Michael, but she’s also in a very vulnerable place. So it’s really easy to kind of get one over her.

That’s saying a lot because you usually can’t get much past Maze.
Lesley-Ann Brandt: Exactly. She’s usually very on top of where she’s at. She’s a smart woman in that she understands how things work and what is going on in all of these relationships. She can read people. She acts when she needs to, in terms of sticking up for someone physically, verbally, whatever. But in this moment, she is tender, and that often is where people get in trouble.

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Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show

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Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.

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Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

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As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

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The short, strange life of Quibi

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“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.

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