Last week composer Jeff Russo was out publicizing the digital release of the complete Star Trek: Picard season one soundtrack, which included an interview here on TrekMovie where he also gave us a Discovery season 3 update. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to talk about his longtime collaborator Noah Hawley, who has been tapped to write and direct a Star Trek movie. But in another interview, he did give a little update on that project.
Russo talks Hawley Trek
Jeff Russo has worked with Noah Hawley on a number of projects, starting in 2009 with the television series The Unusuals. Russo revealed to Flickering Myth that he’s spoken to Hawley about the writer/director’s plans for a Star Trek movie:
Someone you’ve collaborated with a lot is Noah Hawley – on Legion, Fargo, and recently his film Lucy in the Sky. He, at the moment, is lined up to do the next Star Trek movie – is that something you’ve spoken to him about at all?
I have! We have spoken about it, and we’ve talked what he is going to want from a musical perspective, and how to approach it, and what the story is looking like it’s going to be, which is extremely exciting to me. But it was not by design. All of that was purely by coincidence, that I happened to be doing Star Trek, but also happened to be a frequent collaborator of the next Star Trek director.
He’s also a fan, and a good friend of mine, so when I started working on Star Trek, we chatted about it, talked about it, had conversations about the storytelling, and the music, and the themes, and stuff. He’s one to definitely talk about music with me, so when he called to say that his film was in the works, I was extremely excited.
It was first reported that Hawley had been tapped by Paramount to take on Star Trek in November of last year. The last we heard from him about the project was in January when he revealed he has his own take on the franchise that may or may not include existing characters or cast members. Hawley is currently focused on the next season of Fargo, which had to halt production due to the coronavirus pandemic, causing FX to pull the April 19th season four premiere. Last week, Hawley told The Hollywood Reporter that finishing Fargo is at the top of his to-do list once the pandemic lockdown ends.
ViacomCBS facing trouble during the pandemic, still making big deals
The last word from Paramount about Star Trek came during February’s investor conference call for corporate parent ViacomCBS when CEO Bob Bakish spoke about “taking the Star Trek franchise and extending it across the house,” touting multiple series in development and production at CBS All Access (and one with Nickelodeon), as well as a “highly anticipated new Star Trek feature at Paramount.”
Of course, that was before the coronavirus pandemic shut down production and theater distribution in Hollywood. In the last few weeks, ViacomCBS alerted Wall Street they were updating their financial guidance for the year, noting “the postponement of theatrical releases domestically and internationally, cancellation or rescheduling of sports events for which the company had broadcast rights, and production delays in television and filmed entertainment programming — could be material to the company’s operating results.” ViacomCBS also announced it had raised $2.5 billion in a new debt offering to help keep them going during this difficult period.
Even during these tough times, ViacomCBS is still making big deals. They are moving forward with a plan to sell off publisher Simon & Schuster (who currently hold the Star Trek books license). Late last month it was reported the company had received 25 inquiries from interested parties to pick up the veteran publishing company. And late last week ViacomCBS closed a $375 million deal to buy a 49% stake in Miramax, which includes a new deal for Paramount to distribute Miramax films and develop Miramax IP for future films. They are also making more international deals including a recent one to make new Nickelodeon content for the German market for Sky, and the acquisition of Israeli TV company Ananey was just announced today.
The ViacomCBS stock has taken a beating in the last months following the announcement of a fourth-quarter 2019 loss, losing 2/3 of its value. While other media giant stocks have also seen losses this year, they haven’t been as dramatic. Some analysts have suggested the company take more aggressive steps. Recently, influential analyst Michael Nathanson recommended the company sell off major pieces of itself, including Showtime or even Paramount Pictures, and seek to merge CBS All Access with another major streaming service such as NBC Universal’s Peacock.
Keep up with all the news on upcoming Star Trek films at TrekMovie.com.