Nikki Finke is quoting Lt. Steve Smith, the guy “in charge of the detective bureau for the Malibu/Lost Hills station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as saying that ‘the contents seem to be similar’ between the official reports and the four pages posted by TMZ.com indicating that Mel Gibson ‘blurted out a barrage of anti-Semitic remarks’ — ‘fucking Jews’ and ‘The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world’ and asking the arresting deputy ‘Are you a Jew?’ — during his DUI arrest early Friday morning. So there was no attempt at an early departmental cover-up, Smith is saying.
Adjusted weekend grosses are in, and Miami Vice‘s tally will be closer to $25,195,000. Business didn’t bump up very much on Saturday but it’s still the all-time biggest opening weekend for a Michael Mann film. And Little Miss Sunshine will end up with $357,000 after opening in seven theatres, and a per-screen average of $51,000. I saw LMS last night in Century City, by the way, and with a not-very-hip crowd. They got and responded to maybe 40% of the stuff that crowds seeing it at Sundance and at the L.A. Film Festival responded to with hilarity and occasional applause. [SPOILER! SPOILER!] When the hard-luck Hoovers are told near the end that they won’t be allowed to compete in any more California beauty pageants and Steve Carell‘s character says quietly, “I think we can live with that”, it got a good laugh in Park City…but last night’s crowd just sat there like a piece of day-old Wisconsin cheese on the kitchen counter. I hate watching good movies with dead audiences. I expected better from a West L.A. crowd, and I paid money for this experience on top of everything else.
This is a really dramatic photo of a huge movie-lot fire, but it had nothing to do with the well-being of Casino Royale , the latest James Bond flick starring Daniel Craig. A set simulating an area of Venice, Italy, that had been used by the Royale team was what caught fire. It happened earlier today outside of London, caving in the roof of a Pinewood Studios sound stage. But the movie wrapped a while ago so no biggie. No one was hurt and insurance will cover the damages.
‘I have a middle-aged soul. When I turned 38, I said to my wife, ‘Am I not 40 yet?’ I feel like I’ve been 40 for about seven years.'” — Paul Giamatti speaking to the Guardian‘s Gaby Wood. A lot of people and writers I know have described Giamatti’s Miles and Thomas Hayden Church’s character in Sideways as “screwed-up guys in their early 40s.” Giamatti was probably 36 when he shot the film in ’03.
An L.A. Times goes after the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department in the Mel Gibson DUI anti-Semitic tirade story. Get ’em, sweat ’em….feet to the fire. What journalists do. But step back and think about this for a second. The Lost Hills cops may have tried to do a nice human thing, which was save a guy from great embarassment and career damage. Dishonest and procedurally incorrect, okay, but a fairly decent thing to try and do for a guy with an obvious problem or two. Put yourself in Gibson’s shoes minus the ugly epithets, and imagine that you’ve just stepped into it big-time. A couple of West Hollywood cops cut me a break about twelve years ago after I did something unwise, and I’ve never forgotten that.
I wrote Werner Herzog yesterday and asked whether Rescue Dawn will be included at the Toronto Film Festival roster. “At the moment we should treat the Toronto Film Festival as some sort of a rumor, as there is no clear confirmation yet,” he answered.
“I just arrived in London for music recordings with the cello genius Ernst Reijseger — we did the music together for my two movies The White Diamond and The Wild Blue Yonder, using five Sardinian shepherd singers and an additional singer from Senegal. With Reijseger I shall work on the transition of the film into the unreal. The score is being written by Klaus Badelt (who recently scored Poseidon), but Reijseger will contribute music for a very strange moment in the film.
“Last week I have done color corrections, ADR, and sound post-production. Some of the digital effects (yes, I do have a few of them) are almost finished, and mixing has to be done. My guess is that we shall have a 35mm print before August 20th.”
In a New Yorker profile of Herzog that appeared earlier this year, writer Daniel Zalewski wrote the following: “Herzog believes that modern life has disconnected humans from their most elemental pleasures. His films, accordingly, attempt to connect modern cinemagoers to their prelapsarian selves: the emotions are always primal, and landscape is integral to the drama. Herzog says, ‘You will never see people talking on the phone, driving in a car, or exchanging ironic jokes in my films…it is always bigger, deeper.'”
Here’s how hatred and prejudice are pried loose from the grooves of the brains of bigots. They are told by an aroused world community that if they don’t flush them down the toilet in a demonstrable and thoroughly believable way they are dead in the water as far as any commercial aspirations are concerned. They do what the world tells them to do not because they’ve “seen the light”, but because they want to survive and thrive. Sometimes friendly persuasion doesn’t do it. Sometimes a chasm opens up, the heart goes ballistic, the mind races and the waters part. And in this sense, what happened to Mel Gibson in Malibu two days ago may finally prove to be one of the most enlightening, wisdom-bequeathing turns in the road he’s ever experienced. And hail to that. God works in mysterious ways.
A Mel Gibson geiger-counter reading from Houston critic Joe Leydon, who wrote his morning to say his wife “just returned from a morning visit to the health club for a half-hour or so on the treadmill. The club isn’t exactly upscale, but it’s in a nice neighborhood — actually, a very nice neighborhood — and many of the folks who live around there are Jewish. (No, I’m not stereotyping: The very large Jewish Community Center is nearby, and the supermarkets have well-stocked kosher sections — something you don’t see nearly so often in other areas here in Houston. And, no kidding, the area is officially known as Meyerland.)
“Anyway, while at the health club she overheard some heated conversations by a few of the other members. Specifically, a group of middle-aged men and women who were talking about Mel Gibson. Mind you, when I say ‘heated’ I don’t mean they were arguing. I mean one or two were loudly griping, and the others were more or less nodding in agreement. Here is an almost verbatim quote from the dialogue: ‘Did you hear what that Mel Gibson did? First he made that Passion of the Christ, and now this. He’s never going to get another penny of my money again.’ Mrs. L. — whose mother, by the way, was Jewish — was more than a little surprised by the vehemence of the remarks. And even though she herself never saw Passion of the Christ – she’s a practicing Catholic, but was turned off by advance reports of blood and gore – she’s now tempted to view the film on video.
“This may be such an isolated incident that it doesn’t even begin to qualify as anecdotal evidence. And then again, maybe not. Either way, I’d be interested in seeing if there’s any kind of significant spike in Passion DVD rentals and purchases during the next few days. And I’m even more interesting in finding out: Have we only just begun to see the fallout from Mel’s misbehavior?”
And here’s the knowledgable and engaging Mr. Leydon, writing on his just-launched blog, on the persistent pleasures of The Manchurian Candidate. The black-and-white one with Laurence Harvey and Frank Sinatra, of course. “At once unmistakably of its time and undeniably timeless,” etc. I know this, we all know this…but it’s nice to read someone say it yet again. There’s a showing on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday evening.
I’m cutting out around noon to go up to a Kirk Douglas black-tie tribute thing that the Santa Barbara Film Festival crew is throwing for him in Goleta (just west of Santa Barbara). I’ll be gone for the remainder of the day, so no burning the wick to the bottom and back to the skillet first thing manana.
In 1982 I flew from Manhattan to Laredo, Texas, to do a Douglas interview on the set of Eddie Macon’s Run for the New York Post. I’d hit it off pretty well with Douglas a few weeks earlier at a press get-together at Elaine’s, in part because I went on and on about how much I admired Lonely Are The Brave, and this vein continued in Laredo. I knew every one of his films and could quote dialogue from a fair number of them. “You’ve really done your homework,” Douglas told me at one point.
His work on Macon ended that day and he offered me a lift back to Houston in a small private jet, during which time I heard all kinds of great stories (including some amusing particulars about Henry Kissinger‘s closed-door exploits in the early ’70s). I spoke with Douglas a couple more times after that, and sat next to him at a Manhattan performance of “The Man” which his son Eric (who died in July 2004 after a fairly turbulent life) was starring in. We met a year and a half later at some swanky event at L.A.’s Century Plaza and I had the distinct impression that Douglas didn’t remember much from our day in Laredo. Celebrities are like that. He’ll be 90 years old this December, and a friend who spoke to him not long ago says mentally he’s still sharp as tack.
“If it’s true what’s reported [about Mel Gibson‘s anti-Semitic tirade], frequently hatred, bigotry and prejudice, which is controlled, explodes at moments of stress and crisis,” Rabbi Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, has told N.Y. Times reporter Allison Weiner. “Liquor loosens the tongue of what’s in the mind and in the heart, and in his mind and in his heart is his conspiracy theory about Jews and hatred of Jews.” Or to put it succinctly, “in vino, veritas.”
Watchers of Movie City News‘ front page may have noticed that David Poland has removed the link to Hollywood Elsewhere (which he always called “Jeffrey Wells”) from the Columnist links and has placed me under the Gossips, alongside Nikki Finke, Mark Ebner and Rush & Molloy.
No slight to the aforementioned (they’re all stand-up pros), but David seems to have shifted me out of the Columnist category (where my link has been sitting since ’02) because I’ve changed the HE format to emphasize the bloggy shorter-item stuff on top of my twice or thrice-weekly features, and — take this to the bank — because Poland is doing another one of his judgmental Rabbi Dave slapdowns, which are part of his basic M.O.
It’s an arbitrary call. Anne Thompson‘s RiskyBiz blog, which does pretty much the same thing as Hollywood Elsewhere (minus the colorings of my personality and the supplantings of her own, of course), is still listed among MCN’s Columns. Like Anne does with her regular Hollywood Reporter “Risky Business” column, I still run longish features except usually twice weekly (and sometimes even thrice) in addition to the short stuff.
Nothing has changed in terms of the longer pieces I’ve always done. And as Poland well knows, thousand-word dig-down pieces along the lines of, say, the new Taschen book about Roman Polanski or a coming indie superplex from Landmark or an explanation why the Snakes on a Plane cool factor is over are not commonly seen on Ebner’s or Rush & Molloy’s columns, or on Defamer or Page Six.
I’ve thrown stuff out there from time to time because it was “out there” and part of the hurly-burly and therefore allowed for a dissection of some kind, but I’ve never thought of what I write as gossip. HE has always been a kind of X-factor thing, but it’s mainly been about reporting, trend-spottings, early calls, straight reviews and attitude-personality. My point (and it’s okay to disagree) is that HE’s new MCN category has as much to do with David Poland’s high horse and that little chunk of broomstick lodged in his posterior cavity as anything else. This also has a little bit to do with it also, I think. And also this.
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