Visual proof was revealed earlier today that Bill and Hillary Clinton were at least casually infected with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright virus when the Chicago minister visited the White House on 9.11.98 for a gathering for religious leaders. The Huffington Post is reporting that Hillary, “according to her recently-released schedule for the day, was also present at the gathering.” Inviting a seething hate-monger to this event obviously reflects on the flawed character and judgment of the Clintons.
If anyone has a copy of Brad Ingelsby‘s The Low Dwellers, the script that Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio plan to make into a film sometime down the road, please shoot up a flare. The combination of the words “heated bidding war” and “echoes of The History of Violence and No Country for Old Men” in Steven Zeitchik‘s 3.21 Hollywood Reporter story have triggered the usual intrigues.
“Set in Indiana in the mid-1980s, the story centers on a man (DiCaprio) trying to assimilate into society after he’s released from jail, only to find someone from his past pursuing him to settle a score,” Zeitchik’s summarizes. (If this had been made in 1950, it would have been a Robert Mitchum movie.) “In addition to the pursuer, a third male character and a female love interest are said to figure prominently,” blah, blah.
I love the part about Ingelsby being “a twentysomething working as an insurance salesman in Pennsylvania” who “[worked] on the script in his spare time and has yet to step foot in Hollywood…but he has hit the spec jackpot, with the project selling for mid-six against low-seven figures.” Hah!
DiCaprio and Scott will co-produce, with the latter obviously directing and Leo starring. They recently wrapped Body of Lies for Warners. DiCaprio will next make Shutter Island with Martin Scorsese directing. Scott’s next film is (ugh!) Nottingham, the Robin Hood drama that will portray Russell Crowe‘s Sheriff of Nottingham as a cool good guy. (As long as he loses 50 pounds.)
Every famous black comic who’s ever performed in a club or a concert hall (Chris Rock, Richard Pyror, Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Bernie Mac…anyone) has joked about dorky white-people behavior, and every time they do this white audiences throw their heads back and howl. I’ve been to clubs and concerts, seen this time and again. Whites love being lampooned because there’s obviously some imbedded truth involved (as with all good humor) and it’s a relief to just kick back and recognize it. And yet Barack Obama describes his white grandmother in candid, matter-of-fact terms as a “typical white person” — i.e., suspicious and uncertain where black folks are concerned — and he gets jumped on by the TV commentators.
To judge by the trailer, Vadim Perelman‘s Life Before Her Eyes (2929/Magnolia, 4.18) is some kind of turbulent-memory thriller about a suburban mom (Uma Thurman) dealing with a 15th anniversary of a Columbine-like high school shooting that killed her best friend (Eva Amurri).
The problem, for me, is that the teenaged Thurman is played by Evan Rachel Wood. How do you roll with this? How do you turn of the alarm bells would tell anyone this is biologically unfeasible? The interesting approach, of course, would have been to have Wood play both roles. (It’s not difficult to make a 19 year-old look 35.) Or better yet, digitally de-age Thurman to make her appear like she was in, say, Dangerous Liasons or Where The Heart Is. That, come to think, would be really worth seeing.
PageSix.com employed 18 editorial and support staffers? That’s a lot of people, given what that site does. Or did, I should say. Nikki Finke is reporting that the 24/7 operation is shutting down, more or less because PageSix.com can’t compete with TMZ.com. The print edition in the New York Post as well as its web page will continue, but that’s all she wrote for most of the 18.
L.A. Times reporter John Horn has considered the Owen Wilson hideaway situation — i.e., his not giving interviews for fear of being asked to discuss his alleged suicide attempt last summer. This posture has now resulted in two of his films — last fall’s The Darjeeling Limited and now Drillbit Taylor — opening sans the usual all-media promotional hoo-hah (print interviews, entertainment show chats, talk-show appearances).
So how long does this go on? Will Owen also duck Marley and Me press duties next November and December? Gutter-ball journalists are never going to let this go, and the only way to handle it is to spill it all over the stage. Stand up and talk frankly about what happened last summer and why and how it feels and blah-dee-blah.
I completely agree that talking to Matt Lauer like you would a therapist in a private session is a loathsome prospect, but Wilson has no choice. Give a big interview to someone cool and respected, or write an article about it himself and just end it. And then refuse to discuss it any further.
Wilson is very good, after all, at expressing the ins and outs of delicate interior matters. That’s pretty much his specialty, in fact. As I wrote in ’06, “There is no other actor on the Hollywood landscape whose movie dialogue (large portions of which Wilson always seems to write or improvise himself) is focused so earnestly and consistently on matters of attitude and heart. Pretentious as it may sound, Wilson is an actor with a consistently alive and pulsing inner-ness. Is there any other actor who even flirts with this realm?”
Clint Eastwood‘s Gran Torino is going to be a geriatric Dirty Harry film? I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or take it in stride, but an AICN correspondent, allegedly from North Hollywood and going by the name of “Kurt,” is claiming inside knowledge about Eastwood’s next film, a Warner Bros. December ’08 release that’s yet to be shot. Yesterday I speculated that it might be one of Eastwood’s amiable films, but this “Kurt” guy is saying nope, total opposite.
He’s saying he “recently advertised [a] 1974 Ford Gran Torino classic original for sale in the local here, and within 24 hours someone from Village Roadshow Pictures [was] interested in having a looksee. He ultimately passed for numerous reasons, probably the modifications, [but] he told me they were looking for the right car for a new Clint Eastwood movie.
“He said it was a thriller about a killer that drives a 1972 Ford Gran Torino, and that this is the only thing the police have on him. The story is about a retired police lieutenant, one Harry Callahan, making it his mission to track down the culprit [after] two young police officers, one of them being Callahan’s grandson, are shot and killed by the guy.”
In other words, if Kurt can be trusted it’s going be a little bit like Eastwood’s Blood Work (’02), in which he played another old lawman (a retired FBI guy) on the hunt for a killer. If it’s real, the aging Harry Callahan idea is a hoot. Except the implied force and ferocity of the Callahan persona would be a moot point for a guy in his mid ’70s. Would the former San Francisco detective still pack a .44 Magnum? That seems silly. He’d have to be quieter, mellower, gentler. It’s a workable idea, I suppose, but it also seems oddly self-mocking. Almost the basis for a black comedy.
Friends of the late Anthony Minghella have set up a blog site for those who might want to write something about him based on any sort of first-hand experience. (I tried to post a comment but in order to make it stick I have to supply a mysterious Google password that I can’t remember, so the hell with it.) If anyone wants to mail something, please send to: Old Chapel Studios, 19 Fleet Road, London NW3 2QR.
The reserved, dignified and sonorous Paul Scofield, one of the greatest stage actors of the 20th Century who starred in relatively few films, has died at age 86. His landmark role was his Oscar-winning portrayal of Sir Thomas More in Fred Zinneman‘s A Man for All Seasons (’66).
Scofield had one of the most beautiful speaking voices I’ve ever heard come out of an actor’s mouth. Listen to this short mp3 clip from a portion of A Man For All Seasons in which the meaning of the keeping of an oath is explained. Although the words were written by Robert Bolt, in my heart I’ve I’ve always thought of Scofield as the man who understood, sculpted and knew the truth of them best.
I love this line from the Associated Press obit about Scofield’s “unforgettable voice [being] likened to a Rolls-Royce starting up or the rumbling sound of low organ pipes.”
My second most vivid Scofield memory is suffering through Peter Brooks‘ King Lear (’71), in which Scofield played the lead. I only saw about 2/3 of it (the agony became too much and I had to leave) but it ranks as a legendary downer for its gray, grim dreariness. I can’t even remember Scofield’s performance. I’ve blocked it out.
The AP obit doesn’t even mention Scofield’s performance as the art-loving Nazi Colonel in John Frankenheimer‘s The Train (’64), which is one of the key reasons for that film’s continued potency. I also enjoyed his graceful, low-key performance as a Russian spook named Zharkov in the little-remembered Scorpio (’73), a decent Michael Winner-directed espionage thriller that costarred Burt Lancaster and Alain Delon.
Scofield was fine but unremarkable as the patrician father of Ralph Fiennes‘ Charles Van Doren in Quiz Show (’94), but his last legendary screen moment was his performance as Reverend Danforth in The Crucible (’96), particularly when, as EW‘s Owen Gleiberman noted, he “wrapped his great basso profundo” around lines like ”Now we shall touch the bottom of this…swamp.'”
I’ve seen Bonnie and Clyde so many times I’m not sure what to say about the new double-disc DVD (out 3.25). The transfer is slightly better than the last version. Disc #2 includes two deleted scenes without sound. The “making of” doc hits all the right notes and has observations from everyone, but I got more of a charge out of Mark Harris‘s account in “Pictures at a Revolution.”
My favorite scene is still the one near the end in which Faye Dunaway asks Warren Beatty “what if we didn’t have the law after us and we could walk out of here tomorrow morning clean?” and he gives her the worst answer imaginable.