Ridley Scott‘s recent decision to re-cast, re-shoot and re-edit All The Money In The World within 35 or so days (actually less when you consider that 87-year-old Christopher Plummer, Kevin Spacey‘s stellar replacement, won’t begin shooting his scenes in Rome and Wadi Rum, Jordan until 11.20) has to be one of the ballsiest and most heroic moves any director has made in Hollywood history.
Prior to the 11.22 NYC premiere of The Man Who Invented Christmas, Plummer told a Vanity Fair correspondent that the All The Money In the World shoot would begin on Monday, 11.20, and continue for roughly 10 days. I presume that means 10 days straight — who would even consider weekends off with this kind of pressure-cooker situation?
The fact that Scott was pretty much forced into re-casting Spacey’s part as J. Paul Getty while at the same time having to stick to the original 12.22 release date ** is secondary. The point is that Scott became a kind of Charles Lightoller figure after a Spacey torpedo tore into the hull of his ship. Was it Fredrick Neitzche who said “when in danger always move forward,” or did Nick Nolte‘s Ray Hicks character make that up on the spur? Scott decided within hours that he had to become an extraordinary general — re-cast, re-group, fly his troops to Rome and Jordan, finesse the problem, and then fly back to Los Angeles like Odysseus returning to Penelope.
If Scott isn’t nominated for Best Director, the Academy should give him a special Oscar for performing such a herculean feat under the gun, and at age 79 yet. (He turns 80 on 11.30.17.)
I was told the other night by a producer acquaintance that the Christoper Plummer re-shoot and re-edit will cost $8 million and change.
I was also told that in preparing the final edit Scott was forced to cut two scenes that featured costar Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg was unhappy that these scenes were edited out, I’m told, so when he was approached about re-shooting his scenes with Plummer’s J. Paul Getty one of his terms was that the the scenes would be re-inserted. Scott allegedly agreed. I’ve no idea if this story is true or not. It seems odd that Scott would go back on a creative decision in order to please one of his lead actors. I’m just throwing it out there because a guy associated with a reputable film told me that it happened, based on the word of a right guy. Take that with a grain.
** Scott’s hand was forced due to the 10-episode FX series Trust, which tells the same story of John Paul Getty III’s kidnapping in 1973 and the initial refusal of his grandfather (played in this instance by Donald Sutherland) to pay the ransom, set to begin airing in January ’18. Trust is being exec produced by Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy and Christian Colson.
Excerpt from Camerimage tribute essay about Phillip Noyce, recipient of this year’s Life Achievement Award for directing at Cameraimage, the respected cinematography festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland: “Nowadays, film directors are quite often reduced to a black-and-white distinction between skilled craftsmen working with strictly commercial projects and artists/auteurs who change the world and make viewers think with their films.
Phillip Noyce during Camerimage ceremony in which he was presented with the festival’s Life Achievement Award.
“Such a differentiation is highly unfair, of course; not only because the art of filmmaking stems from many a compromise as well as creative collaboration with cast and crew, but also due to the simple fact that each and every director is a different kind of animal, uses different means of expression, tells stories in different ways. At Camerimage Festival, we reject all kinds of pigeonholing, and we love filmmakers who have never allowed themselves to be typecast, but instead tried to explore different areas of filmmaking and engage viewers in a dialog.
“That is precisely why we are very proud to announce that this year’s recipient of Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award for Directing will be a man who proved himself to be able to tell even the most commercial stories in a way that transforms them into striking tales about various forms of being human. A committed activist and campaigner who learned to use camera and film language to talk about social injustice and people marginalized for their differentness. A director who moves smoothly between big-budgeted Hollywood projects for mass audiences and independent, personal stories told in experimental way and breaking established conventions — Phillip Noyce.”
“When I watched Louis C.K.‘s I Love You, Daddy a second time, the jokes no longer landed; its shocks felt uglier, cruder. But for once a filmmaker seemed to be admitting to the misogyny that we know is always there and has often been denied or simply waved off, at times in the name of art. The revelations about Louis C.K. and others are killing any pretense that any of this is objective. It’s very personal, and it always has been.” — from “Louis C.K. and Hollywood’s Canon of Creeps,” an 11.12 N.Y. Times essay by Manohla Dargis.
“I respect what I think I Love You, Daddy is saying, which is that wealthy showbiz types and their liberal, laissez-faire approach to morality, relationships and especially parenting is a fairly vacant proposition. After my 2nd viewing I believe this all the more. The film is basically an indictment of ‘whatever, brah’ liberal lifestyles and relative morality. It’s obviously a doleful Woody Allen-esque comedy of sorts, but it’s also a kind of familial tragedy.” — From “A Tough, Interesting Film Goes Over The Side With Louis C.K.,” an HE post from 11.9.
With Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Phantom Thread due to launch a series of post-Thanksgiving press screenings on Friday, 11.24, 20th Century Fox has informed New York Academy members that the first screening of Steven Spielberg‘s The Post will happen six days hence — Sunday, 11.19 at 7 pm — at the AMC Leows Lincoln Square. A q & a including Spielberg, actors Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Rhys and Sarah Paulson, and costume designer Ann Roth. A follow-up screening at the same venue is set for Thursday, 12.7 at 6 pm. This viewing will be followed by a chat with Streep, Hanks, “additional cast members” and casting director Ellen Lewis.
I’ve been informed that Michael Gracey and Hugh Jackman‘s The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox, 12.25) is not being pushed as a Best Picture contender. It does, however, seem like a crowd-pleasing dazzler in many respects — energy, spectacle, passion, etc. Cinemacon attendees saw variations of this footage last March in Las Vegas. How does it seem to the HE crowd? Sideline reaction: Jackman, just shy of 50, seems a little long of tooth to be playing young P.T. Barnum, who embarked on his entertainment career in 1834, or at age 24.
An invitation to attend several Thanksgiving weekend-and-beyond screenings of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Phantom Thread (Focus Features, 12.25) arrived this morning. The screenings will happen at Laemmle’s Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre and the American Cinematheque’s Aero in Santa Monica concurrently, and for seven nights straight between 11.24 and 11.30.
What got my attention is the announcement that Anderson plus costars Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville will do post-screening question-and-answer sessions following three early screenings, but not — a big “not” here — star Daniel Day-Lewis.
On the other hand DDL will take part in a q & a following a Manhattan press screening on Sunday, 11.26. Anderson, Krieps and Manville will also participate in this event, but Day-Lewis is committed to only this and none other, and only in New York City. So we seem to be looking at a somewhat prejudicial anti-Los Angeles situation as far as DDL is concerned. So far, I mean.
The eternally press-shy DDL has, of course, announced that Phantom Thread is his last acting gig before retirement, but it also appears that the 60-year-old actor, whose unseen performance as Reynolds Woodcock has been Best Actor-touted by handicappers, may be selectively ducking meet-and-greets with press and Academy members. Or not. Who knows?
All Oscar contenders submit to Oscar campaign dog-and-pony shows during November, December and January, or during the last three months of “the season.” DDL did a few appearances on behalf of There Will Be Blood and Lincoln, so we’ll see. The initial indication, at least, is that he intends to minimize public appearances.
Following today’s Detroit schmoozer and then a 6pm outdoor gathering for Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water on the 20th Century Fox lot, Hollywood Elsewhere and TatyanaAntropova had dinner at Matsuhisa with Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino plus editor Walter Fasano, director Ferdinando Filomarino and Amazon exec Scott Foundas. The food was delectable; the conversational vibe couldn’t have been more soothing, stimulating, spontaneous, warm, etc. Thank fortune for happy times.
(l. to r.) Ferdinando Filomarino, Tatyana Antropova, Luca Guadagnino.
A portion of the Detroit team greeted journalists during a two-hour schmoozer earlier today at Nerano (9960 Santa Monica Blvd., just east of Century City). By “portion” I mean that the only above-the-title guy to attend was producer-writer Mark Boal, and the only familiar faces among the cast were Will Poulter, who played the most belligerent of the racist cops, and Algee Smith, the good-looking guy who played musician Larry Reed. Questlove, the composer of the closing-credits tune “It Ain’t Fair“, was also there.
Not in attendance were director Kathryn Bigelow plus senior cast members John Boyega, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell and John Krasinski. Producer Megan Ellison, owner and CEO of Annapurna Pictures, didn’t show either; ditto Annapurna marketing honcho Michael Tritter.
(l. to r.) Detroit cast members Malcolm David Kelley, Nathan Davis Jr., “It Ain’t Fair” composer Questlove, Kaitlyn Dever Chasity Saunders (from The Knockturnal), Will Poulter, Leon Thomas III, Joseph Davis Jones (“Jojo”).
I don’t have any personal recollections about legendary New York City gossip columnist Liz Smith, who passed earlier today at age 94. But she more or less ruled the roost for about 25 years. Not as a tough, occasionally adversarial, opinion-driven columnist but as a friend to the rich and famous. Smith always worked with and for the powerful, and did a good job of not ruffling feathers.
Except, that is, when it came to rival publicist Bobby Zarem, whom I briefly worked for in the mid ’80s. Zarem so didn’t like Smith that he kept a feud going with her for decades.
Smith wrote an essential N.Y. Daily News column from the ’76 to ’91, and then did the same for Newsday from ’91 through ’95. She then worked for the New York Post as well as Fox News for seven years (including stints on Fox & Friends). There was apparently some overlap or carry-over between columns and employers She left Newsday in ’05 over a contract dispute, and then the Post stopped running her column in early ’09.
John Leland wrote an excellent profile of Smith for the N.Y. Times on 7.28.17, titled “The Rise and Fall of Liz Smith, Celebrity Accomplice.”
A little more than two weeks ago a friend who’d recently seen Stephen Chbosky‘s Wonder (Lionsgate, 11.17), a little-kid-with-a-disfigured-face movie with Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay, said it was “better than expected” and that he was “surprised at how likable it was.”
This afternoon Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman posted a similar opinion. He’s saying, in fact, that in the realm of disfigured protagonist dramas, Wonder belongs in the company of David Lynch‘s The Elephant Man and Peter Bogdanovich‘s Mask.
“It’s an honest feel-good movie” and “a very tasteful heart-tugger…a drama of disarmingly level-headed empathy that glides along with wit, assurance, and grace. Of all the films this year with ‘wonder’ in the title (Wonderstruck, Wonder Woman, Wonder Wheel, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women), this is the one that comes closest to living up to the emotional alchemy of that word.”
The downside, says Gleiberman, is that “the film never upsets the apple cart of conventionality” and therefore “lacks the pricklier edges of art.”
- Insanely Delicious Musical Crime Flick Blows Itself Up
Most of Edgar Wright‘s Baby Driver (TriStar, 6.28) is inspired — one of the most strikingly conceived, purely enjoyable fast-car...More »
- Decently Made, Culturally Significant Benchmark Flick
Late yesterday afternoon I finally saw Patty Jenkins‘ Wonder Woman. I found it stirring from time to time, and, like...More »
- Duke Scowls From Above As MGM CEO Gary Barber Ignores Malignant Neglect of 70mm Alamo Elements
This morning I read a 6.9 profile of MGM CEO Gary Barber by Deadline‘s Peter Bart (“A Resurgent MGM Builds...More »