With the success of Pan’s Labyrinth a matter of record, Picturehouse’s Bob Berney has invested further in the Guillermo del Toro business by acquiring all U.S. rights to The Orphanage, an atmospheric thriller produced by del Toro (among others) and directed by J.A. Bayona.
AICN’s Drew McWeeney (a.k.a., “Moriarty”) is calling Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost‘s Hot Fuzz (Focus Features, 4.20) “an instant classic” in the vein of Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale‘s Used Cars. The film has also persuaded him that Wright and Pegg “are great screenwriters [because] they’ve managed to take the things they did well in Shaun of the Dead and do them again, and I think they’ve actually fixed what they needed to fix, structural issues that sort of deflate Shaun for some of the third act.”
A totally behind-the-curve Eddie Murphy profile by the AP’s David Germain. I understand how these pieces are supposed to read — you’re supposed to blow dryly refined kisses at the celebrity subject — but the article is dated 2.12.07…c’mon. It’s like Germain’s AP editor said, “Let’s deliberately not go where some of the others have been going…let’s be deliberately Pollyanic about the Norbit impact…let’s just pretend Eddie’s a great guy and that everything’s cool and give him a nice friendly pass.”
Emmanuel Levy is apparently the only other blogger-critic of note who’s gone to bat for Zodiac thus far, calling it “an epic-scale psychological thriller” and “a sprawling American masterpiece.” Paramount publicity doesn’t want any such comments circulating too broadly between now and Friday, 2.23, the embargo date that they’re asking old-media types to observe. They think the buzz will get lost in the ether if it comes out too soon, even though the opening date is only two and a half weeks off.
Robert Novak is reporting that “according to Democratic sources, former President Clinton got Steven Spielberg to step away from a tacit endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama. Spielberg has let it be known that he will host a future fundraiser for Clinton” — Bill or Hilary? — “as part of a policy of helping all Democratic presidential candidates. But Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen seem to be clearly in Obama’s camp.” Let no one ever accuse Spielberg of lacking backbone or principle. A little massaging from an ex-President, some smiles and choice words and wham…he’s on the fence.
I’ll be doing a live chat with Hollywood Babble-On‘s Marty Keegan on Thursday, 2.15, sometime around 1 pm. Keegan describes the L.A. Daily News-sponsored show as a “revolutionary” internet deal that allows for live broadcasts over your computer or cell phone, and also for the audience to text or phone in live, their questions and comments being incorporated into the show.
Keegan, a comedian-writer, is married to Time magazine reporter Rebecca Keegan, who’s one of the few people in the L.A. bureau to have survived those sweeping staff cuts.
Since no one’s come up with any kind of Best Picture Oscar prospectus that jells or resonates (i.e., nobody’s buying into my Babel declaration of a few days ago, while some are insisting it’s an LMS-vs.- Departed situation), I’m going to try sussing things anew by calling and grilling no less than 30 Academy members over the next couple of days. (And not just people I know and/or aesthetically relate to — I’m going to definitely contact some doddering blue-hair types.) If any Academy members or Oscar strategists want to get in touch to make this process easier, so much the better.
Commenting on the Best Director Oscar race, Clint Eastwood said yesterday that Martin Scorsese “probably has a good chance, there is a lot of sympathy for him, but I have no control over any of that. I always feel sorry…for the others, because there are other nominees and they’ve worked very hard on their projects, too. I don’t think any two people should be singled out.”
“On Monday morning in Berlin, sources confirmed that the Weinstein Company has signed a North American deal for Morgan Spurlock‘s Where in the World…, a new documentary about Osama bin Laden. With Spurlock in Berlin over the weekend, Cinetic Media and Wild Bunch screened about 15 minutes from the new film. TWC has yet to issue a formal announcement confirming the pact.” — from an e-mailed