The next James Bond adventure will include an alumnus of the UNC School of the Arts who is a familiar face on film and television.

Billy Magnussen, who attended UNCSA before making his debut in Broadway in 2007, has a role in “No Time to Die,” the 25th film in the Bond franchise. Details of his character have not yet been announced, but Variety reported earlier this year that the character may be a CIA agent who crosses paths with Bond.

The story revolves around Bond (Daniel Craig) coming out of retirement to help his old CIA compatriot Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright, reprising his role from previous films) with a case involving a kidnapped scientist. The cast also includes Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Naiomie Harris and Ben Whishaw.

Magnussen has appeared in such TV shows as “Tell Me a Story,” “Get Shorty,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “American Crime Story” (in which he played Kato Kaelin) and “U.S.S. Callister,” an Emmy-winning episode of “Black Mirror.” His film roles have included “Into the Woods,” “Game Night,” “The Big Short” and “Aladdin.”

“No Time to Die” will be released in U.S. theaters on April 8, 2020.


Margaret Qualley, an alumna of UNCSA most recently seen in the TV show “Fosse/Verdon” (for which she has received an Emmy nomination) and the Quentin Tarantino film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” is one of the stars of a new movie being released in select theaters and On Demand on Sept. 6.

“Strange But True,” based on a best-selling novel, features Qualley as a young woman who shows up at the home of her dead boyfriend Ronnie five years after his death in a traffic accident, claiming to be pregnant with his child. Amy Ryan, who starred in the locally shot movie “Abundant Acreage Available,” plays Ronnie’s mother. The cast also includes Greg Kinnear, Brian Cox and Blythe Danner.


HBO Max, a digital streaming service that is in the works, has picked up a new movie directed by Steven Soderbergh and co-starring Lucas Hedges, who attended UNCSA before leaving for a film career that has included such acclaimed films as “Manchester by the Sea” and “Boy Erased.”

The film, tentatively titled “Let Them All Talk,” started production in New York last week and will continue onboard the Queen Mary 2 and in the United Kingdom. He plays the nephew of a celebrated author (Meryl Streep) on a vacation with some old friends (Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest). He comes along on the journey to “wrangle the ladies,” as HBO puts it, and finds himself involved with a young literary agent (Gemma Chan of “Crazy Rich Asians”).

HBO Max will debut in spring 2020, with more than 10,000 hours of premium content including new and licensed series and movies.


Thomas the Tank Engine and friends are coming to the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer next month.

“Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Tour 2019” features characters from the popular “Thomas & Friends” TV series, including trains designed to look like Thomas and his pal Percy. Attendees will be able to take a train ride, have photo opportunities with Thomas and Percy, take part in a meet and greet with character Sir Topham Hatt, controller of the railway, and take part in various activities, storytelling, a magic show and more.

Tickets are $20-22 for Thomas-only or $28-32 if a ride with Percy is added. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Sept. 27-29 and Oct. 4-6 at the museum, 1 Samuel Spencer Drive in Spencer. For more information, visit or call 866-468-7630.

Next Sunday, Sept. 1, “American Idol” will hold open auditions in Raleigh. Details of the location and time have not yet been announced, but people interested in attending can check out the show’s audition page at for details, eligibility requirements, and more information.


With the fall TV season starting up next month, the previous seasons of various shows are being released on DVD this Tuesday, with the idea of whetting viewers’ appetites.

Among this week’s releases: the first seasons of “The Rookie,” with Nathan Fillion as a man who, after a life-changing event, decides to join the police force much older than most rookies, and “A Million Little Things,” a quirky and often charming comedy-drama about a circle of friends contending with the suicide of one of their own; the 10th season of “NCIS: Los Angeles”; the most recent seasons of two shows in Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” franchise, the fourth season of “Chicago Med” and the seventh of “Chicago Fire” (“Chicago PD: Season Six” will be released Sept. 10); and the third and final season of “Into the Badlands,” AMC’s stylish martial arts drama set in the distant future when society has fallen apart and a feudal civilization has taken its place.

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Tim Clodfelter writes about television for the Winston-Salem Journal. Contact him at 336-727-7371 or

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