ByElise Jost, writer at
"It's a UNIX system! I know this!" Twitter @elisejost
Elise Jost

We've probably been dreaming about unlikely pairings of our favorite stars since the dawn of entertainment, but fan fiction really has taken a new turn now that it's possible to post it online and convince millions of others that the product of your fantasies should definitely be made a reality (hi, E.L. James!).

Yet, could anyone have expected that a single tweet would provide the groundwork for an entire movie, and that said movie would be aggressively pursued by distributors? Back in 2014, Rihanna and Lupita Nyong'o sat side by side at a Miu Miu fashion show, prompting a Tumblr user to suggest that "they look like they're in a heist movie with Rihanna as the tough-as-nails leader/master thief and Lupita as the genius computer hacker." Fast forward to April 2017 and the photo lands on Twitter again, with another user riffing off the previous plot, writing that "Rihanna looks like she scams rich white men and lupita [sic] is the computer smart best friend that helps plan the scans [sic]."

Nearly 100k retweets later, it seemed like most of the Twittersphere agreed that the two ladies would indeed make for perfect partners in crime on the screen. Then Rihanna and Nyong'o themselves jumped in — the project seemed like a standard Internet fantasy at first, but became more serious by the minute as 13TH director Ava DuVernay and Insecure writer Issa Rae joined the online conversation.

Now Netflix has actually picked up the movie at Cannes. Be careful what you post on Twitter, because the sweet fruit of your brain's labor may be enough to get two A-list stars, an Oscar-nominated director and one of TV's most coveted young voices to join forces and make that dream come true!

This Internet Dream Come True Shows The True Power Of Netflix

For Netflix, there truly was no better way to end this year's Cannes Film Festival. Their introduction of two movies to the Competition category has made some serious waves in the industry, with the Festival's organizers ultimately deciding to ban Netflix movies from their official selection starting in next year's edition. At the heart of this decision lies a debate about the nature of cinema, with established directors and festivalgoers insisting that true cinema is meant to be consumed in the theatre, not at home with a streaming service.

While the debate about how movies are supposed to be watched is enough to justify another article entirely, the controversy also pointed to another crucial aspect of our cinematic experience. The fact that more and more fans are favoring their couch and Netflix subscription over a trip to the movie theater and a pricey ticket can't just be attributed to laziness: What if big releases simply aren't as appealing as they used to be?

Since we've now entered an era of shared cinematic universes and franchises that seem to rely as much on their merchandise as their storyline, who can blame movie aficionados for turning to outlets such as Netflix to find films that are small enough to retain a certain sense of integrity? As we watch the number of failing tentpoles increase (think this summer's miserable performance of King Arthur), studios are desperate to only pour money into the projects they deem 100% safe, from reboots to sequels to live-action adaptations of popular comic books — and even then, the returns aren't guaranteed.

Meanwhile, Netflix is expanding its activity as a distributor of daring and unexpected movies, starting with Bong Joon-ho's Okja, which premiered at Cannes this year. And Joon-ho had only words of praise for the streaming giant, expressing his gratitude to Variety that he was able to fully carry out the vision he had for the movie:

"Netflix guaranteed my complete freedom in terms of putting together my team and the final cut privilege, which only godlike filmmakers such as Spielberg get."

Gone are the days when major film studios would systematically grant their directors this level of freedom, so it's not surprising to see more and more cutting-edge content come from the likes of Netflix — and out-of-this-world pitches such as Rihanna and Nyongo's heist movie go to them, too.

Which of Netflix's upcoming projects are you most excited for?

(Source: Variety)


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