I chose to drive all the way down to Norwalk this afternoon in order to quickly renew my fictitious business name statement, which allows me to legally and correctly maintain a Hollywood Elsewhere business account. Google Maps told me to stay off the freeways for the most part, presumably because it wanted to spare me the pain of driving in heavy traffic, but the trip took a helluva long time regardless. Upside: For the first (and probably only) time in my life I visited the oldest McDonald’s in the world, located at Lakewood Blvd. and Florence Ave. I ordered a regular small hamburger.
Word around the campfire is that Amazon will self-distribute Luca Guadagnino‘s Suspiria. (Same thing they’re doing with Woody Allen‘s Wonder Wheel.) I was told last May that this remake of the 1977 Dario Argento classic runs two hours, 50 minutes. (Argento’s version ran 98 minutes.) I’m now told Guadagnino’s cut will run 150 minutes with credits. LG screened it for the Amazon gang at the end of his recent L.A. visit. He and editor Walter Fasano had applied finishing touches to their erotic witch flick before the unveiling. The costars include Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, Tilda Swinton, Sylvie Testud, Angela Winkler, Małgosia Bela, Lutz Ebersdorf and Jessica Harper. Do I know for a fact that everyone gets naked in that big scene I described a couple of months ago? No, I don’t. Suggested alternate title: All Of Them Witches.
I’m sorry but I felt in need of spiritual life support during a Sundance Film Festival screening of Marjorie Prime last January. Or at the very least a large Red Bull. I caught it at the Eccles, watching and drifting and sinking into my seat. I could sense that the audience was experiencing a similar lethargy. Based on Jordan Harrison’s 2014 play and adapted by director Michael Almereyda, it’s about an overly organic hologram named Walter (Jon Hamm) who resembles the late husband of 86-year-old Marjorie (Lois Smith). Costarring Geena Davis and Tim Robbins. The FilmRise release will pop on 8.18.
Tuesday’s Toronto Film Festival announcements did a pretty job of clarifying which fall films were heading to Venice and Telluride, so this morning’s Venice Film Festival announcement isn’t exactly shaking the rafters. In addition to the previously announced 8.30 kick off showing of Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, Venice will also screen the following:
Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, allegedly “a darker twist on Rosemary’s Baby” with Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem (curious Telluride absence); George Clooney’s darkly comic Suburbicon; Guillermo del Toro’s tender-hearted The Shape of Water starring a mute Sally Hawkins; Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with Frances McDormand (another curious Telluride no-show); Stephen Frears’ Victoria & Abdul with Judi Dench; and Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete.
I’ve been to Venice five or six times, but I’ll never attend the Venice Film Festival. I’m a Telluride man through and through.
This morning I sent the following to Amanda Grandinetti, identified on her Facebook page as the food and beverage director at the Chateau Marmont but, according to a longtime Chateau employee who insists that Grandinetti’s Facebook page is out of date, currently the managing director. Philip Pavel, who ran the Chateau for a long stretch, is now the big cheese at the soon-to-open NoMad hotel in downtown Los Angeles:
Mellow greetings, yukey dukey. I’m Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere columnist (www.hollywood-elsewhere.com) and longtime industry reporter going back to the early ’80s. I’m writing to convey a mild form of displeasure about a no-big-deal incident that happened last night at the Chateau Marmont, or more precisely at the outside entrance.
I don’t want to sound like an entitled asshole, but I’ve been attending industry parties at the Chateau for eons (mainly during Oscar season), and every so often I’ll pop by to meet someone for a drink at the restaurant bar, or maybe order breakfast or dinner or whatever. (Svetlana Cvetko and I met Guillermo del Toro there for dinner a year or so ago.) Or I might be with a visitor and just want to show them the Chateau’s to-die-for interior.
This was last night’s agenda — showing the interior to my wife Tatyana, who’s only been in Los Angeles for seven months and has never had the pleasure. But I was told by a polite young lady at the valet desk that we couldn’t enter without a room or dinner reservation. I said we were just looking to order a drink at the bar, no biggie. “The bar is filled,” she said. Obviously she couldn’t have known that. We went back and forth but her mind was made up.
What she meant, I presume, is that she sensed we were riff-raff, and so she was following an instinct to protect the hotel guests from people who might gawk or snap iPhone photos and otherwise generate un-coolness.
I totally get the “keep out the riff-raff” thing. If I was guarding the gate I would actually take pleasure in politely rebuffing any would-be visitors who looked like they’d just gotten off the tourist bus. Overweight types, noisy kids in tow, wide-eyed expressions, low-thread-count T-shirts, dorky sandals and a general approach to attire that’s more suited to a mall in Henderson, Nevada.
Your predecessor Phillip Pavel, who served as the Chateau’s managing director for a long stretch, said it succinctly a few years ago: “The Chateau Marmont has built its success on creating an environment where the privacy of our guests is paramount. Please know that the decision to not allow certain guests in our hotel is based solely on this concept.”
The problem is this: I’m not riff-raff, and I don’t look like riff-raff. I have the snooty cool thing down pat, and I was nicely groomed last night. I was wearing a dark blue Kooples shirt and white pants and shiny black loafers. The beautiful Tatyana was nicely dressed also. Nothing about us radiated “uh-oh…don’t let these chumps past the gate!” Granted, we didn’t arrive in a big black SUV and had just approached on foot, but still…what’s the deal here?
Director George Clooney seems to have found the right material. The dark imaginings of Joel and Ethan Coen + the tawdry realms of James M. Cain + a fleeting fantasy whipping through Robert Aldrich‘s head during post-production on Kiss Me Deadly. Anything but lethargic. The funky sax brings it all together. The only thing that doesn’t feel right is the angry mob. America didn’t do angry mobs in the Eisenhower ’50s, about or against anything. Okay, lynch mobs but they happened in the rural South. “Violence, language, some sexuality.”