Budd Schulberg and Spike Lee have been “piecing together” a script about heavyweight champ Joe Louis (and his bout and later friendship with Max Schmelling ) for about five years, according to this 11.24 AP story by Ryan Pearson. I’m sorry but that’s too long. Movies that are truly meant to happen don’t get pieced together over a period equal to one third the lifespan of the average cat. They spew out over a period of days, weeks…months at the most. Okay, a year but no longer.
And the IFP Best Feature award nominees are (a) American Gun (what?), (b) The Dead Girl (congrats to First Look), (c) Half Nelson (drugs in a school toilet stall), Little Miss Sunshine (my personal fave), and Pan’s Labyrinth (the best work ever by the great Guillermo del Toro ). These and other nominees were just posted a few minutes ago. Sunshine and Nelson landed five nominations each.
You might have expected that streaming video of this morning’s announcing of the nominees wouldhave been up on ifc.com by now…nope The names and titles were announced 100 minutes ago (Don Cheadle and Felicity Huffman did the mike duties) and the slacker IFC website still doesn’t have the feed up. They should’ve provided a live feed as it’s happening, no? I mean, this isn’t 1998.
I’ve been there with Ellen Burstyn in a lot of films, but my all-time favorite moment was the way she said to Bruce Dern‘s relentlessly boastful and mouthy character in The King of Marvin Gardens, “You’re full of shit!” The frazzled, end-of-the-road, Uzi-spray impatience in her voice, I mean. It tells you she’s said this to Dern so many times she can barely stand to hear it again, but she has to. Because he won’t quit, because he can’t, because he’s gone over the falls and so has she.
This memory came back after looking at some photos on Burstyn’s new website, which is up to promote her book “Lessons In Becoming Myself.” The press release says it’s “candid, raw, no-holds-barred book.” Burstyn has ended up in a very spiritually whole and connected place — you can see that in her face. I haven’t been sent her book, but reading about finding peace and wisdom isn’t all that interesting…and I hope it’s not about that too much.
I love these two events i(seriously) in her autogiobraphcal timeline:
January 5, 1970. At the age of thirty-seven, Burstyn chooses her current name.
Easter weekend, 1999. Burstyn goes on a spiritual retreat for three days, living on the streets of New York City with no money and no identification. A few weeks later, she forgets her wallet and is once again in New York without money or ID, but feels “completely safe and at home, not just here, but anywhere.”
Tony Scott‘s lame ideas for reconstructing Walter Hill‘s The Warriors is another case of a hip Hollywood guy (and his chortling corporate backers) showing obesiance before the power of street machismo, or the wild west factor in urban culture. Establishing a bond with all this links to a general connection with urban audiences and presumed loyalty down the road. In short, a good business move.
You homies are the shit and the style…predatory turf monsters with fierce expressions and shaved heads and big developed biceps, and you know how fast and cool I can be. (Check out Domino.) And I want to make a film that reflects and worships you and your hard culture (violence, bling, fast money, hot cars, ho’s) to the hilt. Trust me when I say that no amount of grovelling or cinematic fellatio is beyond my bounds.
Scott money quote #1: “I really hate remakes, but the The Warriors is one of my all time favorite movies, and what I’m doing is kind of reinventing it. And rather than a gang it√É‚Äö√Ç¬πs going to be 30 guys who take on 3,000. It’s Kingdom Of Heaven meets The Warriors. We’re going to use the L.A. river bed as a major location.”
Scott money quote #2: “I’ve been meeting all the [real] gang leaders, they√É‚Äö√Ç¬πre saying they√É‚Äö√Ç¬πll sign this treaty for the duration of the shoot. I want this shot of 50,000 real gang members all on Long Beach — tThe Crips, The Bloods, the Vietnamese, the Cambodians, the 18th Street gang… all there. It’s going to be cool.”
Catherine Hardwicke‘s The Nativity Story (New Line, 12.1) “lacks controversy,” said New Line COO Rolf Mittweg to the N.Y. Times Rome correspondent Peter Kiefer, following a Sunday screening at the Vatican. “I think with The Passion, people wanted to see how bloody and gory this movie was. They wanted to see how far one would go to depict that story. This movie isn’t political and doesn’t make a statement in that regard.” Hah! Mittweg seems to almost be saying, “Our film isn’t very edgy. In fact, it’s kinda tame.”
Anyone in a marriage or a romantic relationship knows you don’t air your messy feelings in public, much less at in front of rich industry peers. Keep it at home or in the car. But Kid Rock (i.e., Bob Richie ) doesn’t get this, or didn’t, in any event, at a party he and wife Pamela Anderson attended at the home of Universal honcho Ron Meyer a couple weeks ago, at which time his “male insecurity and major anger issues” erupted over Pamela’s bit on Borat.
A “Page Six” source says this viewing “was the first time Bob had seen the movie, and, well, he didn’t like it.” He allegedly “started screaming” — girl talk for using a forceful, urgent tone — “at Pam, saying she had humiliated herself and telling her, ‘You’re nothing but a whore! You’re a slut! How could you do that movie?’ [All] in front of everyone. It was very embarrassing.” The result, says the story, is that Anderson and Richie have reportedly parted ways. Because he couldn’t contain his asshole-ishness.
Wait a minute…Borat‘s been done and screening since early last summer and Kid Rock only just gets around to seeing it two weeks ago? In mid November? What a lazy, armpit-scratching, self-centered piece of three-day-old cheddar cheese this guy must be. I think it’s also fair to remind ourselves that Ms. Anderson can really pick ’em. Face it, she’s trash herself — a metaphor for the ongoing social devolution.
Unlike the Academy, the Hollywood Foreign Press likes to keep things simple. If a movie is spoken in a foreign language and is also, you know, set somewhere off these shores, it’s a contender for a Best Foreign Language Golden Globe award….even if a L.A.-based distributor funded it. The result, says Hollywood Reporter guy Gregg Kilday, is that Mel Gibson‘s Apocalypto and Clint Eastwood ‘s Letters From Iwo Jima “could” be in the running against Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck‘s The Lives of Others, Pedro Almodovar’s Volver and Guillermo del Toro‘s Pan’s Labyrinth in the 64th annual Golden Globe Awards.
The Academy, Kilday explains, “gives a certain weight to the country of origin, allows only one film to be submitted per country and has no mechanism for the U.S. to submit a movie. But the HFPA considers any film in a foreign language that screens for its members by its deadline. Does that mean a fantasy film using a made-up foreign language that takes place, say, on the ice planet of Hoth is eligible? How about a film set entirely in a U.S.-run Japanese internment camp in the early ’40s and spoken entirely in Japanese?
By the way, the online version of Kilday’s story mis-spells Henckel von Donners- marck’s first name — they left out the “l” in Florian.
Some faces are so authoritatively creepy they do more than stay in your memory; they seep into your psyche, your bones …little pan flashes of something long buried. This guy — I won’t insult his iconic status by identifying him or mentioning the film he starred in — got so far under my emotional skin when I was a kid that he’ll probably stay with me into my next life.
Every time I see this chilling face I think of how he was described: “The sum of all intelligence”…and then I see those reptile tweezer fingers. It’s not that he’s “scary” — it’s knowing for sure that face will never be erased.
The question is, who else in films has had a truly startling puss — something out- there in either a scary or beautiful or mesmerizing way — that you can’t forget him/ her no matter what, no matter how many years have passed?
One of my all-time favorite faces belongs to the young Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter , followed closely by Holly Hunter‘s in Broadcast Newsm and Bob Mitchum‘s in Out of the Past. There was something close to haunting about Leonardo DiCaprio‘s in The Basketball Diaries and Romeo + Juliet. As spell- blnding as Max Shreck’s face was in Murnau’s Nosferatu, I think Klaus Kinski outdid him in the ’79 Herzog version. John Wayne ‘s weather-beaten, squinty- eyed face in Red River….Anna Magnani ‘s in Open City or Guilietta Masina‘s in La Strada….Adam Sandler ‘s in Reign Over Me (seriously). I could go on for pages.
Sheigh Crabtree strikes again — the second Riskybiz post in a 24-hour period. This one says (most) everyone at a recent Manhattan screening of Dreamgirls was delighted and applauding. She adds, however, that costar Jennifer Hudson didn’t quite get a 100% approval rating. (One guy was saying Jennifer Holiday was better in the early ’80s B’way show…read the item.) Speaking as a mixed-bag responder who knows other mixed baggers, I can say that if there’s any one unanimous feeling about Dreamgirls, it’s that Hudson kills & that the Best Supporting Actress Oscar is pretty much hers to lose.
After he suffered a bout of insomnia last Saturdaywhile staying at London’s Ritz Hotel, Al Pacino reportedly “came down to the lobby at 2 am and instead of doing a jennifer Lopez or whatever and complaining and making all kinds of demands about having his room changed, he said he wanted to get to know the people who worked at such a great place” — or so it says in this Mirror story. Pacino, I’ve been told, is in London working on a Looking for Richard-like documentary called Salomaybe, about Oscar Wilde and his play “Salome”. Because of this project his emotonal pores are more open than usual. He’s in one of his gregarious-Al, get-down-with-the-folks, receptive-to-the-beauty-and-poetry-of-life modes. Nobody in the world is a sweetheart 24-7.
“Given all the publicity surrounding Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen may now be too well known, some say, to fool enough people into taking Bruno — his forthcoming Universal project, which he’ll star in and write and probably produce — as seriously as is required to make the film work,” according to a piece by L.A. Times writer Lorenza Munoz about Universal execs possibly feeling “buyer’s remorse” about agreeing to fund and distribute Cohen’s next comedy, about a gay guy named Bruno.
Come to think of it, Munoz’s sources may have a point. Obviously a lot more people are going to recognize Cohen when he tries to shoot docu-style footage in gay bars or wherever. The world is on to him. “He’s going to have a real tough time making Bruno and so is Universal,” predicted Edward D. Fagan, a New York attorney who’s representing two Romanians who are suing Cohen, 20th Century Fox and several others connected with Boratfor alleged civil rights violations. ‘The cat’s out of the bag,’ he said.”
I could do a mass e-mailing of the New York film publicist community, but I might as well use this space to announce that Hollywood Elsewhere will be trolling the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn starting this Friday and throughout the rest of the month. Looking very much forward to (i.e., close to panting for) that very specific New York action and energy, along with the blessed wearing of scarves and overcoats.