Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Monitor, WIRED’s entertainment news roundup. Once again, this week's column has a lot of updates on how the coronavirus is affecting the entertainment world. Let's get started.
George R. R. Martin Is Social Distancing in Westeros
During times of self-quarantine and isolation, it’s often hard to stay motivated. But it seems as though one person might be using the time indoors creatively: George R. R. Martin. The man behind the books on which Game of Thrones is based says he’s been “in a remote isolated location … and I’m not going into town or seeing anyone” as the coronavirus has spread. (Thank you for practicing social distancing, George!) “Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day,” he wrote Tuesday on his personal blog. “Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms … but maybe not as grim as they may become here.”
Does this mean fans may finally see Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the Song of Ice and Fire series? Maybe! Folks have been waiting for the novel for nearly a decade (the last book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, came out in 2011), but Martin has also promised the book many times before and not delivered. Meanwhile, the HBO show wrapped up last year with a less-than-stellar conclusion.
As for Martin, he says that when he’s not writing he’s taking care of himself in New Mexico. “For those of you who may be concerned for me personally,” he wrote. “Yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition. But I feel fine at the moment, and we are taking all sensible precautions.”
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Charli XCX Is Launching a Daily ‘Self-Isolation’ Instagram Live Show
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, more and more people are starting to feel anxious and isolated. Charli XCX would like to help. This week, the pop star launched a new show on Instagram called Self-Isolation IG Livestream. The show, which will take place daily, launched Wednesday with Christine and the Queens as the first guest (Diplo is scheduled to appear on the show today). According to an announcement about the show, “viewers are encouraged to be as active in each event as possible, joining the conversation or taking part at home. Through the week’s entire program of online events, Charli will be looking to connect the online world and the real world through shared experience—spreading positivity via her own platform. We’re all in this together, so self-isolation doesn’t have to be isolating.”
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Netflix Is Postponing Its Comedy Fest
In unsurprising news, Netflix is postponing its upcoming comedy festival because of the coronavirus. Netflix Is a Joke Fest, which was originally slated to run April 27 to May 3 in Los Angeles and feature performances from comedians like Dave Chappelle and Hannah Gadsby, is now on hold until an undetermined date. “We’ve been blown away by the excitement from fans and we will work to reschedule the Fest when we can,” Netflix said in a statement on the event’s website. “In the meantime, please everyone take care, hold onto your tickets and we look forward to seeing you all soon.”
Birds of Prey Is Hitting VOD Earlier Than You Thought
More Covid-19-related news. Sort of. Variety reports that Warner Bros. will be releasing the Suicide Squad spinoff movie Birds of Prey to video-on-demand on March 24, much earlier than expected. The move is unprecedented considering the film is still in some theaters, but with movie houses closing and people social distancing at home, VOD might be the only way WB can make the movie available to many fans. The decision comes after Universal announced earlier in the week that it would be putting Trolls World Tour, The Hunt, The Invisible Man, and Emma. on digital platforms earlier than expected as well.