Incidental Characters review – muddling along, looking for love
Incidental Characters review – muddling along, looking for love

Four people in an English market town search for meaning in their lives in this quirky but underpowered comedy

Benjamin Verrall’s film is a quirky, low-key if underpowered British indie set in Lewes, East Sussex, and although it never quite came alive as a film, there are some nice moments. It could yet work well as a pilot for a TV series.

Tony (Steve Watts) is a gentle, sensitive middle-aged guy without a partner who owns an independent publishing company and regularly visits his aged mum (Lucinda Curtis) who is in a care home. Alison (Isabella Marshall) is his office manager, a woman on whom Tony, in his muddled emotional state, has persuaded himself he has a crush. The firm employs shy, difficult young Alf (Howard Perret) to create promotional videos to advertise their books on social media, and Alf has a talent somewhere between Jim Henson and Michel Gondry.

‘Deadpool,’ ‘Homeland’s’ Morena Baccarin to Star in Espen Sandberg’s Survival Thriller ‘Beast’
‘Deadpool,’ ‘Homeland’s’ Morena Baccarin to Star in Espen Sandberg’s Survival Thriller ‘Beast’

Deadpool” and “Homeland” actress Morena Baccarin will star in the survival thriller “Beast,” to be directed by Espen Sandberg, who co-helmed Oscar-nominated “Kon-Tiki” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

Based on Aaron W. Sala’s Blacklist script, “Beast” is about a woman who survives a plane crash and is stranded on a seemingly deserted island in the South Pacific. “She must fight to get back to her children, face her inner demons and a real threat of unimaginable proportions,” according to a statement from the producers.

Sherryl Clark and Kenneth Huang are producing for The H Collective alongside Rakuten’s Mickey Mikitani. Shooting will begin in late March in New Zealand. “Beast” is the first film under the joint venture between Rakuten and The H Collective, who first partnered in August.

Sandberg said: “For me ‘The Beast’ is a story about a woman who is forced

‘Better Call Saul’ Showrunner Peter Gould on Season 5 Flashforwards, ‘Breaking Bad’ Cameos, and the Looming Ending [Interview]
‘Better Call Saul’ Showrunner Peter Gould on Season 5 Flashforwards, ‘Breaking Bad’ Cameos, and the Looming Ending [Interview]

For the last two seasons, Peter Gould has taken over as showrunner on Better Call Saul. While Vince Gilligan wrote and directed El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, his co-creator Gould has handled the origin story of Saul Goodman, from his early days as Jimmy McGill to his future as Gene Takovic in witness protection in […]

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‘Made in Hong Kong’ Restoration Trailer: Fruit Chan’s Ambitious Indie Finally Gets a U.S. Release — Exclusive
‘Made in Hong Kong’ Restoration Trailer: Fruit Chan’s Ambitious Indie Finally Gets a U.S. Release — Exclusive

More than two decades after beginning work on what would become his 1997 Trilogy, Fruit Chan’s ambitious series-starting “Made in Hong Kong” is finally gearing up for its very first U.S. release. Metrograph Pictures is rolling out a brand new 4K restoration of the film, one of Hong Kong’s most beloved indies, bringing it to the big screen as it was first imagined by Chan.

In 2017, on the 20th anniversary of its release, “Made in Hong Kong” was restored by Italy’s Udine Far East Film Festival and, per an official release, was made “starting from the original camera negatives and working under the direct supervision of Fruit Chan and cinematographer O Sing-pui. The restoration is as authentic and true to the original film as possible.”

Per an official press release, the film is the “first independent film released in post-Handover Hong Kong, [and] director Fruit Chan’s atmospheric

Indian Film Festival Los Angeles to Open With Imtiaz Ali Evening
Indian Film Festival Los Angeles to Open With Imtiaz Ali Evening

The Indian Film Festival Los Angeles will kick off not with a new film, but what is billed as An Evening With Imtiaz Ali, the writer-director of such films as “Jab We Met” and “Rockstar.” He will be joined for an onstage conversation with filmmaker Anurag Kashyap. A screening of Ali’s 2014 film “Highway” will then unspool. The opening night gala presentation takes place April 1 at ArcLight Hollywood.

The MisEducation of Bindu,” directed by Prarthana Mohan and produced by Mark and Jay Duplass, will close the festival on April 5. In between, a bevy of international film festival hits from Tribeca and SXSW to Venice and Toronto will screen including Bhaskar Hazarika’s “Aamis,” Arati Kadav’s “Cargo,” Alankrita Shrivastava’s “Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars,” Gitanjali Rao’s animated “Bombay Rose” and Geetu Mohandas’ Malayalam-language “Moothoon.”

There will also be an array of documentaries and shorts playing during the festival,

Everything You Need to Know About FX on Hulu
Everything You Need to Know About FX on Hulu

There’s FX, there is Hulu, and now, thanks to Disney’s ongoing absorption of almost every corner of the entertainment industry, there is FX on Hulu. Alongside the debut of Alex Garland’s acclaimed “Devs” on March 5, consumers can experience the premiere of the new service, which is only available to Hulu subscribers.

That’s right — despite the FX name behind it, “Devs” won’t air on linear TV. You can’t flip to FX the network and watch it. You can only see it if you subscribe to Disney-owned Hulu, where Disney-owned FX will now become one of its hallmark brands for adult programming.

The initiative, which Disney announced last November, will bring most legacy FX programming to Hulu, and will shift several of FX’s upcoming series exclusively to the streaming service. Hulu will feature a dedicated hub for FX on Hulu programming when the service officially

Stx, Black Bear Pictures, Elevation Form Distribution Partnership
Stx, Black Bear Pictures, Elevation Form Distribution Partnership

Stx Entertainment, Black Bear Pictures and Canadian distributor Elevation Pictures have unveiled a strategic distribution partnership.

The agreement was announced Wednesday at the Berlin Film Festival and includes an exclusive output deal for STXinternational to sell and distribute all Black Bear productions internationally. Elevation Pictures, in which Black Bear is a major investor, will distribute all Stx productions in Canada.

As part of the deal, STXinternational will directly distribute Black Bear’s films in the U.K. and Ireland. Stx noted that it has seen significant recent success on films including “Hustlers,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Den of Thieves.”

Hustlers” recently passed $100 million at the domestic box office, Stx’s second film of 2019 to do so, following “The Upside.” STXinternational said its recent success in the international sales marketplace including the upcoming thriller “Greenland,” starring Gerard Butler, and “Violence of Action,” starring Chris Pine and Ben Foster.

The companies said

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Cast and EPs Talk the Future of Sara and Ava
‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Cast and EPs Talk the Future of Sara and Ava

Up next on Season 5 of The CW series Legends of Tomorrow, John Constantine’s (Matt Ryan) life is hanging in the balance, as Ray (Brandon Routh), Nora (Courtney Ford) and Gary (Adam Tsekhman) all try to find a way to help him. At the same time, Sara is still away from the Waverider, so the Legends head out to defeat a new Encore, Genghis Khan, in 1990s Hong Kong. At a recent L.A. press day for the series, Collider was invited (along with a handful of other media outlets) …

Watch Billie Eilish Perform ‘No Time to Die’ at The Brit Awards
Watch Billie Eilish Perform ‘No Time to Die’ at The Brit Awards

At The Brit Awards (basically Britain's version of The Grammys), Billie Eilish performed the theme song for the next Bond movie, No Time to Die. On the one hand, Eilish is a perfectly sensible choice for the Bond theme song. She's one of the most popular recording artists on the planet right now, and the job typically goes a really popular recording artist. I've listened to "No Time to Die" a bunch over the past week, and taken on its own, the song has really grown on me. I think it could be a top-tier song …

Italy's Tvco boards Berlinale Generation title ‘Death Of Nintendo’ (exclusive)
Italy's Tvco boards Berlinale Generation title ‘Death Of Nintendo’ (exclusive)

This is the 12th film by Raya Martin, who broke through with his 2009 Un Certain Regard title Independencia.

Italian sales company Tvco has boarded Death Of Nintendo, premiering in the Generation Kplus strand at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

Set in Manila in the 1990s, the Filipino-American production is a coming of age dramedy in which four teenage friends go on a journey of self-discovery together as they try to one-up each other’s high scores and face life’s obstacles.

This is the 12th film by Raya Martin, who broke through with his 2009 Un Certain Regard title Independencia.

Cate Blanchett on Australia's 'dislocated' politics: 'You're living in a system that's gone mad'
Cate Blanchett on Australia's 'dislocated' politics: 'You're living in a system that's gone mad'

Blanchett’s star-powered TV series Stateless explores the repercussions of immigration detention. ‘None of us are interested in preaching to the converted,’ she says

As an Australian working abroad, Cate Blanchett never found it easy talking about her home government – in particular, the trauma it has inflicted on asylum seekers in need.

“They knew nothing about the Tamils on the roof, nothing about children sewing their lips together [in detention centres],” Blanchett says of her American friends. “They would actually start with nervous laughter because they thought I was exaggerating.”

Ben Affleck Opens Up About Struggles With Alcoholism, Why He Left ‘The Batman’
Ben Affleck Opens Up About Struggles With Alcoholism, Why He Left ‘The Batman’

In 2016, it seemed like the future was bright for Warner Bros.The Batman. Ben Affleck, who had just made his debut as an older and wearier Caped Crusader in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was set to direct the Batman solo flick from a script he was co-writing with longtime DC Comics stalwart Geoff Johns. […]

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13 Movies That Could Be in Next Year’s Oscar Race
13 Movies That Could Be in Next Year’s Oscar Race

This year’s abbreviated sprint of an awards race came to a shockingly delightful end at the Oscars where Parasite reigned supreme, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what could be taking the stage this time next year. In hindsight, Parasite began its awards season run back in May of 2019, where it won the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It played like gangbusters throughout the fall film festival season, building steam until it hit theaters as a critical darling. Ultimately, that positive buzz resulted in a near-total dominance at the Oscars …

Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyers Keep Pushing to Remove Juror Who Wrote Book About Predatory Men
Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyers Keep Pushing to Remove Juror Who Wrote Book About Predatory Men

Harvey Weinstein’s legal team again requested to remove a juror who wrote a book about predatory older men. The juror and her novel were a source of much conflict during jury selection, but the judge allowed her to sit on the jury.

“My finding is, nonetheless, that she just hasn’t done anything wrong,” Justice James Burke said Wednesday morning in court. He denied the request from Damon Cheronis, an attorney for Weinstein, to remove the woman.

During jury selection, Weinstein’s defense team strongly objected to the woman sitting on the jury, claiming that she lied on her jury questionnaire by withholding information about the book. The prosecution said that the juror did not lie on her questionnaire because she noted that one of her hobbies is “novel writing.”

When the woman was seated on the jury, Weinstein’s defense motioned for a mistrial, which was shot down by the judge.

Here’s What’s Leaving Netflix in March 2020
Here’s What’s Leaving Netflix in March 2020

If it's been a while since you've watched Black Panther, you only have a couple of weeks to do so on Netflix. After March 3rd, the McU solo title is headed to Disney+ the following day. That's just one of the titles that'll be leaving the current King of Streaming next month. Other notable names include the last two installments in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which you can currently rent or buy on Amazon (where the new TV series is set up); maybe the award-winning films will arrive on their streaming service once …

New ‘Apes’ Director Confirms Next Film Will Continue “Ceasar’s Legacy”
New ‘Apes’ Director Confirms Next Film Will Continue “Ceasar’s Legacy”

In December, it was announced that Wes Ball had won the job of making a new “Planet of the Apes” film for Disney/Fox. However, even though we knew the filmmaker was attached, we didn’t actually know if the film would be a reboot of the concept or an actual continuation of the series that was spearheaded, in recent years, by writer-director Matt Reeves.

Continue reading New ‘Apes’ Director Confirms Next Film Will Continue “Ceasar’s Legacy” at The Playlist.

Peter Berg To Direct A New Netflix Series About The Opioid Crisis Produced By ‘Narcos’ Showrunner
Peter Berg To Direct A New Netflix Series About The Opioid Crisis Produced By ‘Narcos’ Showrunner

The opioid epidemic is one of the most tragic stories of the last decade or more. It’s hard to even quantify the effects that opioids have had on people in the Us, with doctors prescribing pills with the best of intentions but leading folks into a downward spiral of addiction that can sometimes lead to death. The devastation is real and horrific. And in the upcoming Netflix series “Painkiller,” the streaming service has enlisted a group of creators to help highlight the origins of this terrible story.

Continue reading Peter Berg To Direct A New Netflix Series About The Opioid Crisis Produced By ‘Narcos’ Showrunner at The Playlist.

15 Must-See Films at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival
15 Must-See Films at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival

It’s an exciting time for the world’s largest film festival, as the Berlinale has entered a much-anticipated state of flux. The reign of longtime festival director Dieter Kosslick ended on a high note, as last year’s Golden Bear was awarded to a film worthy of the Palme d’Or at Cannes (that would be Nadav Lapid’s “Synonyms”). Now, the baton has been passed to former Locarno head Carlo Chatrian. And while it may be hard to steer an ocean liner in a radically different direction — or imbue any clear sense of identity into a government-funded program that features 300 films across its many categories — the Berlinale’s new artistic director is eager to put his stamp on the long-running institution, and restore a sense of curation and intimacy to a festival that has often functioned as more of a catchall.

Only time will tell if Chatrian’s

‘Wasp Network’ Producer Teams With Kirill Serebrennikov on ‘Josef Mengele’ Adaptation (Exclusive)
‘Wasp Network’ Producer Teams With Kirill Serebrennikov on ‘Josef Mengele’ Adaptation (Exclusive)

Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov, whose last film “Leto” competed at Cannes in 2018, is teaming with “Wasp Network” producer Charles Gillibert to adapt the best-selling French novel “The Disappearance of Josef Mengele.”

Winner of the prestigious Renaudot Prize in 2017, Olivier Guez’s novel “The Disappearance of Josef Mengele” was published in more than 30 countries and describes the fugitive years of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who found refuge in South America at the end of the Second World War.

Exploring the tormented psyche of an executioner, the story is told through the eyes of Mengele as he tries to escape his fate and travels from Paraguay to the Brazilian jungle. During his journey, Mengele also sees the world evolving and becomes aware of Nazi crimes. Along with winning the Renaudot Prize, the book also ignited debates about the complicity of some South American countries towards former Nazi dignitaries.

Serebrennikov, whose new film “Petrov” is currently in post-production,

Saffron Burrows: ‘I was raised to feel like I could love who I wanted’

The actor and activist, who stars in Netflix hit You, on her teenage years as an anti-racist campaigner, modelling in Paris, #MeToo and the ‘sexist’ films she turned down

When Saffron Burrows became an actor, there were scripts she had to throw straight out. Her prospective characters “were always running for their life in high heels”, she says. “If I read that on page five, I would stop reading. I’d get to a sentence or character description and just think: ‘Who are these people?’”

She made her name in the classic 1990s films Circle of Friends and In the Name of the Father, going on to blockbusters such as Deep Blue Sea and Troy, before starring more recently in the TV shows Mozart in the Jungle and You. She is proud of the roles that define her career. But even prouder of those she turned down. “Oh my God,

Korea’s box office broke records in 2019, but was also more skewed towards big movies

Kofic’s annual report reveals that South Korea’s top ten releases in 2019 accounted for 46.2% of total box office.

South Korea’s box office hit an all-time high last year, but also recorded increased polarisation, with Disney titles and big-budget local films drawing a greater proportion of screens and audiences, according to a report from the Korean Film Council (Kofic).

Last year, total admissions increased by 4.8% to an all-time high of 226.68 million tickets sold, amounting to $1.61bn in box office revenues – similar to the previous year’s take of $1.62bn – but in local currency terms, due to fluctuating exchange rates,

‘Onward’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Disney Pixar claims the top spot in spending with “Onward.”

Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $4.99 million through Sunday for 784 national ad airings on 35 networks. (Spend figures are based on estimates generated from Feb. 10-16. Estimates may be updated after the chart is posted as new information becomes available.) Disney Pixar prioritized spend across networks including Nick, NBC and TNT, and during programming such as “SpongeBob SquarePants,” NBA Basketball and “This Is Us.”

Just behind “Onward” in second place: Twentieth Century Fox’s “The Call of the Wild,” which saw 1,183 national ad airings across 45 networks, with an estimated media value of $4.6 million.

TV ad placements for Paramount Pictures’ “Sonic the Hedgehog” (Emv: $4.6 million), Universal Pictures’ “The Invisible Man” ($3.7 million) and Warner Bros.

Michael Shannon mystery thriller ‘The Quarry’ joins Ift Berlin sales slate (exclusive)
Michael Shannon mystery thriller ‘The Quarry’ joins Ift Berlin sales slate (exclusive)

Laura D. Smith (It Follows), Kristin Mann (Midnight Special) produced.

International Film Trust (Ift) has picked up international rights to SXSW 2020 selection The Quarry starring Michael Shannon and Shea Whigham and begins talks with Efm buyers this week.

Shannon plays a small town Texas police chief who becomes suspicious when a mysterious preacher (Whigham) arrives to take over the local church. As the congregation is drawn to the newcomer’s unorthodox sermons, it is not long before the two men are locked in a game of cat and mouse.

The cast includes Catalina Sandino Moreno from Maria Full Of Grace and TV series The Affair.

‘Bees,’ ‘Happiness,’ ‘Quinquis’ Selected by Madrid’s Ecam Incubator (Exclusive)

Barcelona – “20,000 Species of Bees,” “Something Like Happiness” and “Los quinquis” are among five feature projects that will be put through development at the Ecam Madrid Film School’s pioneering Incubator program.

The Incubator forms part of The Screen, a program at the Ecam Madrid Film School, which is aimed at fostering links between on-the-rise Spain-based talent and Europe’s film and TV industries.

Produced by Gariza Films, “20,000 Species of Bees ” marks the debut feature of Estibaliz Urresola. It weighs in with the logline: “What would you do if your six-year-old son says he is a she?”

“It’s not just a movie about transgender children,” Urresola said, adding: “It is a story about our inner lives and how they interplay with the world outside; about the boundaries between these two worlds— and also about violence committed in family, even in the name of love.”

Director-producer Lara Izagirre directed Basque homecoming drama “An Autumn Without Berlin.

Voltage launches Efm sales on Tobin Bell, Lin Shaye horror ‘The Call’ (exclusive)
Voltage launches Efm sales on Tobin Bell, Lin Shaye horror ‘The Call’ (exclusive)

Feature in production with stars of Saw, Insidious franchises.

Voltage Pictures arrives at the Efm with international sales rights to upcoming horror feature The Call, which stars the Saw franchise’s Tobin Bell and Lin Shaye from the Insidious films.

Timothy Woodward Jr. directs from a screenplay by Patrick Stibbs about a group of friends who tormented an elderly woman suspected to be a witch. After the old woman dies, the friends are forced to call a phone installed in her casket. To their horror, someone on the other end picks up.

The feature, currently in production, is being produced

Blackhall Studios to Build Major Production Facility in U.K.

Blackhall Studios, the Atlanta-based production hub that has hosted several high-profile shoots in recent years, has signed an agreement with the University of Reading to develop its first U.K. facility.

Due for completion in early 2022, the new studio will offer physical production stages alongside digital media facilities tailored for special effects, augmented reality and animation, and will be located at the Thames Valley Science Park, a tech-hub 40 miles west of London.

“We are delighted to be establishing a base in the U.K.,” says Blackhall CEO Ryan Millsap. “We hope that the site at Thames Valley Science Park will be the start of a series of investments in the U.K. which will see investment in jobs, training and the creative arts across a range of disciplines. The U.K. has a wealth of talent that our U.K. companies recognize and want to partner with for decades to come.

‘Elvis: That’s the Way It Is’ Documentary Set for Re-Release (Exclusive)

Trafalgar Releasing has set a re-release for the concert documentary “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is” for April 22 in 14 countries, Variety has learned exclusively.

The event will mark the 50th anniversary of the film’s original release by MGM. Most of the remastered footage was shot at the International Hotel in Las Vegas with songs including “Love Me Tender,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Suspicious Minds.”

The 1970 concerts in the film were part of Presley’s first tour in more than a decade. The film was directed by Denis Sanders.

Marc Allenby, CEO of Trafalgar Releasing, said, “It’s been 50 years since this career changing documentary about The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was released, yet the lasting legacy of Elvis Presley and his music can be seen more clearly than ever in film, music and culture.”

Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” will be released in the United Kingdom,

Cannes to Celebrate Wong Kar-wai’s ‘In The Mood For Love’
Cannes to Celebrate Wong Kar-wai’s ‘In The Mood For Love’

The Cannes Film Festival is to screen a restored version of Wong Kar-wai’s “In The Mood For Love,” 20 years after it first premiered on the Croisette.

The festival will play a restored, 4K version of the timeless Hong Kong-set romance that starred Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung as a journalist and a secretary whose spouses are having an affair, and who over time recognize that they have feelings for each other. It will be shown as part of the Cannes Classics sidebar.

The festival said it expects Wong to attend the Cannes screening.

The May 2000 original played in Cannes’ official selection and in competition, earning Leung the best male actor award that year. The film, noted for its stunning costumes and colourful cinematography also picked up the Grand Prize of the Superior Technical Commission.

In The Mood For Love” made Wong a household name globally and inspired numerous film school courses.

‘The Curse’: Nathan Fielder Teams with ‘Uncut Gems’ Directors for Showtime Comedy Series
‘The Curse’: Nathan Fielder Teams with ‘Uncut Gems’ Directors for Showtime Comedy Series

In the wake of last year’s anxiety-inducing, Adam Sandler gambling thriller Uncut Gems and their short film Goldman v Silverman, co-writers/directors Josh and Benny Safdie (aka the Safdie Brothers) still haven’t officially lined up their next movie. But a new report says the directing duo will soon head to television, because they’re teaming up with Nathan […]

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‘The Plot Against America’ Trailer: Maybe Electing Charles Lindbergh President Wasn’t the Best Idea

“There’s a lot of hate out there, and he knows how to tap into it.” That’s a line from this new trailer for HBO’s adaptation of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, but it just as easily be about the current occupant of the White House. The six-episode limited series is set in an alternate history […]

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Us firm Blackhall Studios to build new UK site near Reading

Company forecasts it will create up to 3,000 jobs, and take two years.

Us company Blackhall Studios is to build a new film studio and digital creative hub complex near Reading in the south of England.

The new studio comes through an agreement with the nearby University of Reading, and will be built at Thames Valley Science Park. Blackhall says the developments will create “up to 3,000 new jobs… including around 1,500 employed at the studio site”.

According to the firm, this level of job creation plus the rates paid by companies using the studio will bring £500m investment to the UK economy.

‘No Time to Die’: Cary Fukunaga Created a Role Specifically for Ana de Armas
‘No Time to Die’: Cary Fukunaga Created a Role Specifically for Ana de Armas

We’re just a handful of weeks away from the release of No Time to Die, the latest installment in the James Bond franchise, and the hype train is in full effect. And thanks to a recent VanityFair profile on actress Ana de Armas, we have one more reason to be excited for the 25th Bond film. The director, Cary Fukunaga, brought de Armas onto the film as soon as he was hired to helm the project, and created a role specifically for her. If you’ve seen Knives Out (for which de Armas received a Golden Globe nomination), …

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Adds ‘Supergirl’ Alum Carl Lumbly to Cast

From a popular DC live-action TV series, to a sure to be popular Marvel live-action TV series. Deadline reports Carl Lumbly, of Supergirl fame, is jumping to the other side as the latest cast member of the Marvel/Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. On Supergirl, Lumbly played the father of Martian Manhunter -- a superhero he himself voiced in the Justice League animated series. Lumbly also played the title star of M.A.N.T.I.S., a short-lived cult TV series from Sam Raimi and Sam Hamm in the '90s. In 2019, Lumbly appeared …