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Shadows of Evil hang over Comic-Con in big debut

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Treyarch, the creator of Call of Duty Zombies, has unveiled Shadows of Evil at this year’s Comic-Con, the new undead survival co-op mode launching on November 6 with Call of Duty: Black Ops III. 

Shadows of Evil made its world-wide debut last week at San Diego Comic-Con, which delivers a deep narrative and action-packed co-op survival experience that is signature to Treyarch’s strain of Zombies. Players are introduced to an all-star cast of characters, including Jeff Goldblum, Heather Graham, Neal McDonough, Ron Perlman and Robert Picardo.

“Treyarch has crafted a totally unique and face-melting gameplay experience for our loyal Zombies community, with Call of Duty: Black Ops III: Zombies – Shadows of Evil” said Mark Lamia, Studio Head, Treyarch. “The development team has packed Shadows of Evil with more gameplay and fun than any other experience before it, and has an appropriately twisted and deep narrative, performed by fantastic acting talent, that will keep our fans spinning. ”

Call of Duty: Black Ops III: Zombies – Shadows of Evil drops players into a recognisable yet terrifyingly unfamiliar world, as they uncover the secrets and challenges laid out for them by a shadowy figure, who holds their fate in his hands.

Set in a 1940’s film-noir era, Shadows of Evil introduces four unwitting characters – The Magician, The Femme-Fatale, The Cop and The Boxer – into an unraveling experience masterminded by the mysterious Shadow Man. Featuring voices and likenesses, the characters are played by Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day), Heather Graham (The Hangover 1-3, Californication), Neil McDonough (Captain America: The First Avenger, Band of Brothers), Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy) and Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate SG-1).

Marking the world premiere, Call of Duty: Black Ops III: Zombies – Shadows of Evil took over San Diego Comic-Con with an action-packed lineup of activities and events for fans.  Kicking off the show, Zombies was front and center at a panel hosted by YouTuber and Call of Duty Zombies fanatic, Syndicate (Tom Cassell).

The panel featured stars of the Call of Duty Zombies Treyarch series past and present, behind-the-scenes information and a first look of Shadows of Evil gameplay.

Throughout Comic-Con, fans could also step into the world of Shadows of Evil via an epic immersive experiential activity that placed them in the middle of an unrelenting Zombie onslaught, giving them a firsthand look at the survivors’ intertwined stories for the ultimate Call of Duty Zombies brought to life.

Arts and Entertainment

Netflix to make SA series

The world leader in streaming movies has announced the first South African production to join its Originals roster.

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World leader in entertainment streaming services Netflix this week announced its first Original series in Africa, with South African series Queen Sono.

The news comes immediately in the wake of local rival Showmax announcing it’s first original drama production. In this context, it heralds a new phase in the evolution of streaming video-on-demand in South Africa.

The action-packed series follows Queen Sono, the highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life. The series will be created by Director, Kagiso Lediga and Executive producer Tamsin Andersson.

South African actress, Pearl Thusi, will star as Queen Sono, with the character having been created with her in mind. Thusi is also known for her performance in the romantic dramedy, Catching Feelings, available on Netflix.

Pearl Thusi stars as Queen Sono in Netflix’s first original series in Africa.

“We are excited to be working with Kagiso and Pearl, to bring the story of Queen Sono to life, and we expect it to be embraced by our South African users and global audiences alike.” said Erik Barmack, Vice President of International Original Series at Netflix.

“We are delighted to create this original series with Netflix, and are super excited by their undeniable ability to take this homegrown South African story to a global audience. We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world” added the director and executive producer of the series, Kagiso Lediga.

The series is due to start production in 2019.

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Showmax shoots its first local drama

Showmax has completed filming its first commissioned drama, as it builds out its roster of original content.

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The Girl From St Agnes, Showmax’s first original drama, wrapped on 28 November 2018 after filming in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Johannesburg. The eight-part whodunnit premieres on Showmax on 31 January 2019. It is the second series in a programme designed to build out its roster of exclusive, original content.

As Netflix takes hold as South Africa’s preferred streaming video-on-demand service,  Showmax owner MultiChoice has made a string of strategic announcements designed to take the DStv paid satellite broadcasting service into the streaming era. Original content is critical to this strategy, as Netflix is on track to become the world’s biggest movie studio.

Showmax is available in 70 countries.

Photographer: Patrick Toselli

“Our first Original – last year’s light-hearted comedy Tali’s Wedding Diary – had the most successful launch day of any series on Showmax ever,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax. “This is a complete change of direction: The Girl From St Agnes is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing and taps into the current conversations in South Africa about #metoo and teen sexuality.”

At St Agnes, a prestigious all-girls boarding school in the Midlands, a popular and beautiful student is found dead at the base of the old mill. Fearful of the scandal it might cause, the school is quick to declare the death of Lexi Summerveld a tragic accident.

But drama teacher Kate Ballard doesn’t believe it. On the night of her death, an upset Lexi had been trying to contact her, and Kate had ignored her. Now wracked with guilt, Kate attempts to piece together the terrible truth.

The more she investigates, the more Kate realises that she didn’t know Lexi or the school at all. Behind the imposing walls of St Agnes, Lexi’s killer won’t be the only person exposed…

Newcomer Jane De Wet was handpicked to play Lexi by legendary South African casting director Moonyeenn Lee (Tsotsi), who’s been nominated for two Emmy Awards in the last three years, for The Looming Tower and Roots.

Kate is played by Nina Milner, who modelled for Vogue Germany and at Paris Fashion Week last year and most recently starred in Troy: Fall Of A City as Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.

Jane and Nina are joined by an impressive supporting cast that includes internationally recognised South African talent like Robert Hobbs (District9), Tyrone Keogh (24 Hours To Live), Tessa Jubber (Wallander), Karl Thaning (Dredd) and Shamilla Miller (Troy: Fall Of A City) opposite local favourites like Celeste Khumalo (The Queen), Richard Lukunku (Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word), Zakeeya Patel (High Rollers), Graham Hopkins (The Lab) and three-time South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) winner Jerry Mofokeng (Heist, Tsotsi), not to mention hot new talent like Paige Bonnin and Tristan de Beer.

The Girl From St Agnes is being produced by Quizzical Pictures, winners of the SAFTA for Best Drama for six of the last eight years, as well as a Peabody. Producer Harriet Gavshon, Quizzical Pictures’ managing director, is drawing on her own private school experiences, which sparked the original idea for the show. This is the first time Harriet has produced a series, rather than just executive producing, since 2009’s Hopeville, which won Best Drama and Miniseries at Rose d’Or, was nominated for an International Emmy, and was a finalist at Monte Carlo.

Catharine Cooke, who won this year’s Best Director In a TV Drama SAFTA for iNumber Number, co-directed the shoot with Cindy Lee, a commercials director helming her first drama series, having previously worked as the social media director on the Emmy-winning Black Mirror. Double SAFTA winner Gillian Breslin (Umlilo; 4Play: Sex Tips For Girls) is head writer. This makes Girl From St Agnes a rare TV series commissioned, produced, written and directed by women.

“What links Girl From St Agnes, Tali’s Wedding Diary and the other Showmax Originals in the pipeline is our aim to work with the best South African talent and be the home for brave, quirky and at times edgy local stories you wouldn’t find anywhere else,” says Candice. “Creating new characters that audiences come to love and follow is an incredibly rewarding experience and we want to establish a platform for more ‘Tali’s’ across varied genres.”

All eight episodes can be binged on Showmax from 31 January 2019.

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