Industry News: Mission: Impossible, Mahershala Ali, Watership Down and More!

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE TO GET VR TREATMENT: Nomadic and VRWERX are teaming up to develop a virtual reality experience based on Paramount Pictures’ Mission: Impossible franchise. The location-based "theme park like" game is scheduled to open next spring in Orland, Fla. "This tactile experience empowers the consumer to feel like an agent," said Russell Naftal, co-managing partner of VRWERX. "They’re in this environment, physically touching items. They believe they’re moving through this destination. That’s what’s exciting to us." What film franchise would you most like to go VR? MAHERSHALA ALI SAYS 40% OF HIS INTERVIEWS ARE ABOUT RACE: Mahershala Ali wants to talk about more than the color of his skin, he tells Variety. "There’s only so much bandwidth in an interview, only so much space. Forty percent of my interview is usually around things of diversity or color," he says. "You get to the questions about the work or the process so far down the line, that you almost don’t get to exhaust it." The Oscar-winner also points out that white actors are often permitted to speak at length about their acting, because race just never comes up. TRAILER FOR WATERSHIP DOWN DROPS: The words in the first trailer for the remake of the classic Watership Down are ambiguous: "When they catch you, they will kill you… but first they must catch you." The Netflix and BBC One co-production follows a band of rabbits on their flight from man. The series will air around Christmas, and stars James McAvoy, Daniel Kaluuya, Nicholas Hoult, Ben Kingsley, John Boyega, among many others. JULIA ROBERTS CONVINCED LUCAS HEDGES TO STAR IN BEN IS BACK: Peter Hedges wasn’t thinking of his Oscar-nominated son Lucas Hedges for the role of Ben in Ben Is Back when he wrote the role. It was (future) co-star Julia Roberts who pushed his hand. "I assumed reading a Peter Hedges screenplay that this great part for a young man, that was a killer part, was a fait accompli," Roberts told Variety at the New York premiere of Ben Is Back. "I pictured Lucas, and he was brilliant in my mind’s eye, as I knew he would be." Peter wasn’t convinced his son would do it, but Lucas was eager to give it a whirl, especially with Julia’s endorsement. He said: "He wrote an unbelievable script, and he’s also at the end of the day, the only reason why I do this. I would have come along to it, but Julia accelerated the process." KEVIN HART CONFIRMED AS 2019 ACADEMY AWARDS HOST: Kevin Hart will be hosting next year’s Academy Awards. Hart took to Instagram on Tuesday (December 4th) to announced that he has been chosen to host the Oscars for the first time. He wrote, "For years I have been asked if I would ever host the Oscars and my answer was always the same...I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it's suppose to. I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars. I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time....To be able to join the legendary list of hosts that have graced that stage is unbelievable." Hart added, "I will be sure to make this years Oscars a special one."