Germany has chosen Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck‘s The Lives of Others as its offical entry for the 2007 Best Foreign Film Oscar…what a shocker. The 1980s-era drama won seven Lola awards (i.e., the German Oscars), it was the toast of Telluride and Toronto and it’s looking to everyone like a very strong contender. What was Germany going to do? Was there a choice?
A film will almost certainly be made out of “Hannibal Rising” (Delacourte Press), Thomas Harris‘s new Hannibal Lecter book that’s due on 12.5, but Anthony Hopkins can forget it. It’s strictly a young Hannibal thing that covers ages 6 through 20. Meaning two or three actors, right?
“Close readers of Mr. Harris√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s previous novels, which also include ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘Red Dragon,’ may recall that Dr. Lecter saw his entire family killed during World War II in Eastern Europe,” Motoko Rich recalls in this New York Times story. “The new novel will shed more light on the circumstances of those deaths, with a focus on Dr. Lecter’s memories of his younger sister, Mischa.”
A study conducted by MarketCast on behalf of Google has concluded that “89% of moviegoers initially hear about a film from traditional sources including TV, in-theater trailers or word of mouth, while only 8% do so online. However, once people find out about a film, 49% typically do additional research before deciding to see a film; for them, the internet is the most popular tool. Of those researchers, 70% use the internet to discover more about the film. That’s about one-third of overall moviegoers, whom the study dubbed ‘moviegoing infoseekers.'” — from a story 9.19 story by Variety‘s Ben Fritz.
“Imagine if Peter Pan had been a fucked-up teenage vagrant with a permanent hard-on, Wendy had been a cum-drenched junkie living in Brooklyn and Captain Hook had looked something like Mickey Rourke “…and then imagine this diseased movie being directed by Larry Clark. I don’t know about the three principals, but I see Christina Aguilera as Tinkerbell and Ethan Suplee as Smee.
From the pages of Howard Suber’s The Power of Film” (Michael Weise, 424 pages), here’s Suber Lesson #2: “I.A.L. Diamond,who co-authored Some Like it Hot with Billy Wilder, once said that a good comedy uses ‘a sub-structure that’s as strong as it would be in drama…I think any comedy, with a slight change of emphasis, should be able to play as a drama.” People who have never learned the essence of telling a joke will often begin by telling you, ‘This is funny.’ But effective humor, whether it’s in a joke or a feature film, depends on the teller of the story pretending not to knowit’s funny.”
Lorenza Munoz‘s L.A. Times story about FoxFaith, a new division aimed at Christian moviegoers, says that this new division of Rupert Murdoch‘s film studio “plans to produce as many as a dozen films a year.” Uhhm, okay, but that’s not correct, according to Fox publicity chief Jeff Godsick and Fox Home Video spokesperson Steve Feldstein.
“Fox is basically acquring [Christian-themed films] for home video,” Godsick said. “The whole deal is through Fox Home Video.” Feldstein confirmed that the 12 initial films mentioned in Munoz’s story “are going to be acquisitions, and a company called The Bigger Picture is going to be the principal player as far as theatrical distribution is concerned”, with FoxFaith serving as the “marketing engine” for these relases. But FoxFaith will distribute these films entirely when it comes to the home video market, he said.
The first theatrical release that FoxFaith will be “helping” to sell with, according to Munoz, be Love’s Abiding Joy,. The film cost $2 million to shot and will hit screens on 10.6.06. It’s about a vast army of homosexual flesh-eating ghouls out to to sodomize and then eat young Christians….kidding! It’s actually based on the fourth installment of Christian novelist Janette Oke’s popular series, “Love Comes Softly”, according to Munoz,
Richard Eyre‘s Notes on a Scandal (Fox Searchlight, 12.22) doesn’t open for another three months, but Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett are currently in Los Angeles doing some preliminary Oscar drum-beating. They did a question & answer session before the Hollywood Foreign Press Assoc. yesterday following a screening, and tonight (Tuesday) they’re doing back-to-back q & a’s in front of separate SAG and BAFTA gatherings. Dench and Blanchett’s performances are both presumed to be Oscar quality, but nobody knows anything. The film involves an illicit affair at a private school.
David Thomson makes a half-emotional case for Peter O’Toole finally winning his Best Actor Oscar for his work in Roger Michell‘s Venus, and in the meantime slips this into the general discussion:
“For those of us who remember O’Toole dancing on the roof of the ambushed train — a romantic figure in white robes — or [Venus costar] Vanessa Redgrave hunched over her own breasts, begging to get the pictures back in Blow-Up, it’s astounding to see these two great players looking like noble wrecks. Is it possible that the change that has overtaken them has affected us too?”
There’s only one problem with the O’Toole/Venus campaign, as I understand it. The real-life O’Toole is 74 or thereabouts, and somebody told me during the Toronto Film Festival that his character in the film — a London actor — is supposed to be about the same age. But O’Toole looks like he’s at least 80 or 85, even. He gets weaker and more withered-looking in Venus due to an affliction that I won’t mention, but even in the early stages he’ doesn’t seem anywhere near as peppy as a typical 74 year-old in good health. Today’s 74 is like what 64 was fifteen or twenty years ago. It doesn’t do in today’s environment to look older than your years.
In trying to to set things straight yesterday about that Len Klady MCN remark about an alleged “film industry emissary” being part of the discussion or dialogue regarding the New York Times deciding to change the way it covers the New York Film Festival — i.e., no more pro forma reviews of films on the day they “open” at the festival, and in their place running a kind of “Times portfolio” with little critical quips inserted — even more feathers have been ruffled, so let’s review what happened and try to calm this thing down.
Times film critic Manohla Dargis said Klady was in error for saying than an “emissary” had something to do with the change, adding that she “resent [s] the implication that we would ever change our coverage based on outside pressure.” I was later told and subsequently wrote that NYFF publicist Jeanne Berney “passed along an opinion on this matter”, but I certainly didn’t mean to characterize her presenting a view on the merits of the new Times policy as anything constituting, much less approaching, outside pressure.
The effect of this litttle item, in which I mentioned Berney’s domestic ties to Picturehouse Films honcho Bob Berney, has cast, I’m told, a certain five o’clock shadow upon Berney’s neutrality as a NY Film Festival rep. I’m very, very sorry to have brought this matter up and/or caused any discomfort, especially since I’ve never detected anything unsavory in any publicist having discussions with this or that party about reviewing of films exhibited under the publicist’s purview. Merely articulating a sensible-reasonable view about the manner in which the Times reviews or otherwise covers NYFF movies didn’t seem questionable to me. We’re all in the same boat and people with certain interests tend to voice those interests whenever changes in the rules are being considered…big deal.
It should also go without saying that Berney, like any sharp and savvy publicist, has always been mindful of all the political undercurrents and always plays the game accordingly, by which I mean she’s a total pro.
Can we all let this go, please? The Times is going to cover the NYFF in a different fashion…fine. It may or many not help the case of certain distributors of NYFF films to have them reviewed on the day of their commercial release rather than the day of their NYFF debut, and perhaps there’s more than one valid way of looking at this situation. The only reason I stepped into this swamp in the first place was an implication in Klady’s column of political persuasion upon the Times, which seemed strange so I said so. And then in seeking to explain a reasonable basis for this item appearing in the first place a whole other kettle of fish tipped over and splattered all over the kitchen floor. Apologies to all offended parties.
That story about Brad Pitt supposed being “lined up” to replace Tom Cruise in the next Mission: Impossible film is “ totally untrue” and “utter fiction,” a senior Paramount Pictures spokesperson said early this afternoon.
Okay…the Pitt deal is a pipe dream. Does this mean Paramount intends to make M:I:4 (assuming they want to produce it) with Cruise, despite Viacom chief Sumner Redstone having recently booted him off the Paramount lot? The Mission: Impossible franchise “has been an extremely successful one for this studio, ” the spokesperson replied, “but whatever moves we make regarding the future makeup of these films is undetermined at this time.”
The story was linked and/or posted on Hollywood Wiretap, Jo Blo and Cinematical this morning, but the origin was an Evening Standard site called www.this islondon.co.uk, or “London Lite.”
The questionable “London Lite” story said that Pitt starring in the franchise would make him “the highest-paid actor in Hollywood history”, with “sources” saying that Paramount is “willing” to offer a salary topping 21 million pounds, or something approaching the vicinity of $40 million U.S. dollars.
“An insider told London Lite that ‘MI:IV will not include Cruise’s character, agent Ethan Hunt’ and that Paramount-based producers “are set on Brad taking over as a gutsy new head operative who puts together his own unique team of specialists.” The story said that “they’re considering a brief mention, saying Hunt retired to live a safe life with his new wife”, blah, blah.
I’m not sure that the question of whether or not CAA will represent Jim Carrey following his dumping of UTA last week is of critical importance to anyone, but here’s Kris Tapley‘s take on what’s shaking right now. In all candor, I’m not dead certain that Carrey necessarily matters to anyone these days. Where is it written that the cosmic order of things (the rotation of the globe, etc.) will be adversely affected if Carrey fails to remain the bigshot he’s been over the last 13 or so years and be praised and make tens of millions over the next 20 to 30 years? I’m not against the guy, particularly — nobody dislikes him, he’s been wildly funny in certain films, he has pretty good taste in material — but does anyone really give that much of a hoot if he continues to be a big star or not? I’m not sure that I do. I’m not sure that anyone does. (Okay, maybe I’m wrong. Am I?) I do think it’s healthy these days for not just the distributors and the studio chiefs to say “downgrade the stars” and “no more ass-kissing and catering to their every whim” — I think we should all be saying this at regular intervals. Maybe we’ve been doing this all along on a certain level, but I’m sensing that mass emotional investment/involvement in this or that star’s head of steam is less of a cultural phenomenon these days.