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The Magicians Cast Expands and Production Kicks Off

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oliviadudleyWe’ve been talking about Syfy’s “The Magicians” for a while now, and today the network and Universal Cable Productions (UCP) announced that production of Season 1 has kicked off in Vancouver, Canada. The 13-episode season will air in early 2016 on Syfy.

The series centers on Quentin, a brilliant grad student chosen to attend Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his 20-something friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real – and poses grave danger to humanity.

Olivia Taylor Dudley (pictured right) has joined the cast as a series regular, it was also announced today. Dudley plays Alice, an intensely shy and delicately lovely young woman. Born of a magical but neglectful family, Alice is an outcast among her fellow students at Brakebills but nonetheless emerges as the most brilliant magical practitioner in her class.

Dudley appears in the Lakeshore/Lionsgate film The Vatican Tapes opposite Michael Pena, just wrapped production on Paranormal Activity 5 for Paramount, and can be seen in the feature Dude Bro Party Massacre III. She was a lead in Oren Peli’s ensemble horror film The Chernobyl Diaries from Alcon/Warner Bros. and has also appeared in The Dictator, Moneyball, and Just Go With It.

Starring Jason Ralph (Quentin Coldwater), Stella Maeve (Julia), Hale Appleman (Eliot), Arjun Gupta (Penny), and Summer Bishil (Margo), “The Magicians” is based on Lev Grossman’s best-selling novels.

Additionally, “The Magicians” announces the following recurring guest stars for Season 1:

– Rick Worthy as Dean Fogg, the formidable Dean of Brakebills — an exacting leader and a keeper of secrets, balancing a great sense of authority with dry wit. Worthy is best known for his roles in “Battlestar Galactica” as Simon and “Supernatural” as the Alpha Vampire.

– Anne Dudek as Professor Sunderland, a smart, charmingly scatterbrained woman dedicated to teaching Brakebills students how to hone their magical skills. Dudek is best known for her series regular role on “Covert Affairs” as well as recurring roles on “House,” “Mad Men,” “Bones,” “Less Than Perfect,” “Those Who Kill,” and “Big Love.”

– Jade Tailor as Kady, a tough, rebellious, and sexy Brakebills student who attracts Penny’s attention in and out of the classroom. Jade previously worked with “The Magicians’s” John McNamara and Sera Gamble on their NBC series “Aquarius.” Jade also recurs on TNT’s “Murder in the First.” Other television credits include “True Blood” and “Vegas.”

– Esmé Bianco as Eliza, a paramedic who has a hand in initiating Quentin’s journey into real magic. Bianco is best known for her three season-long role of Ros in “Game of Thrones.”

Groundswell Productions’ Michael London and Janice Williams (Milk) will executive produce “The Magicians.” John McNamara (“Aquarius”) and Sera Gamble (“Supernatural”), writers of the pilot, will serve as executive producers. Mike Cahill (I Origins) directed the pilot. Universal Cable Productions will serve as the studio.

Lev Grossman’s The Magicians trilogy is an international sensation, published and widely praised in more than twenty countries. The epic conclusion to the series, The Magician’s Land, opened at #1 last summer on the New York Times Hardcover Best Seller’s list and was widely acclaimed as one of the best books of the year.

Cast photos can be found below; look for more soon!

THE MAGICIANS -- Pictured: "The Magicians" logo -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal)

THE MAGICIANS — Pictured: “The Magicians” logo — (Photo by: NBCUniversal)

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George A. Romero’s Daughter, Tina, Wrote a Script For Queens of the Dead

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The loss last year of director George A. Romero was a huge blow to the horror community, as well as the filmmaking community at large. The passing of the man responsible for creating the modern day zombie and whose work influenced “The Walking Dead”, Dead Alive, 28 Days Later, and Jordan Peele’s Get Out was felt far and wide but we take solace knowing that his work and legacy will live on forever.

Something that brings a smile to my face is hearing that his daughter, Tina, who DJ’s under the name DJ TRx, has written a screenplay for a zombie film that is called Queens of the Dead. And yes, it’s very gay! Romero has not only written the script but also plans on directing the film herself.

Romero tells The Saunder Blog about the film, saying, “Queens of the Dead is a fusion of two huge parts of my world: zombies and Gay nightlife. It’s a tribute to my father as well as my entrée into the genre he grandfathered. I can’t say too much yet, but what I can tell you is that this film will have all the hallmarks of a George A. Romero classic: farce, politics, heroes, assholes, and most importantly, herds of silly and slow moving walkers that you can’t help but love. But I’m doing it Tina-style, and bringing the glitter, choreography, queers & queens.

Romero’s father always brought some sort of social message into his work, so to hear that she will continue that tradition is inspiring, especially since it comes on a topic that is so discussed and topical.

If you want to read more about Romero and her DJ career, click on the link above.

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The Housemaid Haunts a New Trailer

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Here’s the thing… if we had the choice between cleaning up our own house or being haunted by a vengeful spectral servant of sorts, well… just hand us a friggin’ mop, wouldja already? Still, in the case of The Housemaid, it looks like nothing is gonna stop her from sensing shivers! Dig on this new trailer.

Derek Nguyen directs the flick, which stars Kate Nhung, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan, Svitlana Kovalenko, and Rosie Fellner. Look for IFC Midnight’s release of The Housemaid coming to select theaters, VOD, and via Digital platforms in the U.S. on February 16, 2018.

Synopsis:
A forbidden passion awakens vengeful spirits within a haunted mansion in this bloodcurdling, erotic tour-de-force.

Vietnam, 1953: Linh (Nhung Kate), a poor, orphaned young woman, finds employment as a housemaid in a crumbling rubber plantation presided over by the emotionally fragile French officer Sebastien Laurent (Jean-Michel Richaud). Soon, a torrid love affair develops between the two – a taboo romance that rouses the ghost of Laurent’s dead wife, who won’t rest until blood flows.

Submerged in moody Gothic atmosphere, this stylish supernatural saga confronts the dark shadows of Vietnam’s colonial past while delivering heart-stopping scares.

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The Executioners Knock on the Wrong Door! Get Axed!

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Ever since Funny Games I’ve been kind of soured on home invasion flicks. There have been some great ones, but seeing an entire family cower before two white-gloved youths proved a bit too unbelievable for me. I wanted to see the family fight back.

One thing’s for sure: Judging by the cover of The Executioners, someone has picked a feisty group of folks to pick on. Interest piqued.

Directed and written by Giorgio Serafini, the film stars Jemma Dallender, Natalie Burn, Rachel Rosenstein, and Justin Fischer. Look for the flick to be arriving on DVD, Digital, and On Demand March 27th from Lionsgate.

Synopsis:
When four friends go on a retreat to a secluded lakeside cabin, they soon realize they’re not alone. Masked intruders try to take them hostage, but as they fight back, the friends get a taste for something more than the will to survive. Will their fate be as victim or executioner?

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