L.A. Times reporter Steven Braun reported yesterday that “soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska” — in 1997 — “she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago.”
Last night MTV.com guy Josh Horowitz reported that if and when Nottingham ever gets made, director Ridley Scott intends to have Russell Crowe play both the Sheirff of Nottingham and Robin Hood. Scott revealed that Crowe will be “playing both!” to MTV News during a Body of Lies junket interview over the weekend. Scott explained that Crowe’s dual roles would be “a good old clever adjustment of characters. One becomes the other. It changes.” This isn’t just a terrible idea — it’s an embarassing one. Unless Scott was having Horowitz off.
“It’s just the ultimate hustle. It’s just selling an invisible product, and so if I can be Toto in The Wizard of Oz pulling back the curtain, which is how I see religion, great, that’s fine, I’ll do that and get off the stage. I’m not looking to be the anti-messiah.” — Religulous producer-star Bill Maher speaking to N.Y. Times writer John Leland.
13 months ago Michael Cera, the 19 year-old costar of the just-opened Superbad, was suddenly the Guy of the Moment — a cool new GenY talent who embodied a very dry, droll and witty comic mentality, which was also evident in Clark and Michael, his co-created web series. And yet today — don’t laugh — I’m getting a feeling that Cera may be two or three steps from being over.
I’m not saying this is in the cards, and I’m not saying I don’t enjoy Cera’s comic sensibility — I do. But if he is in fact on the brink of being over (which is to say completely done within two or three years), the two main reasons are (a) he’s already repeating himself and (b) his aversion to being famous, hard to swallow from a guy who’s been acting since he was 10 or 11 years old, is profoundly tiresome. Nobody has time for that sensitive “poor me because I’m rich and famous” shit. I don’t, I can tell you.
Three months after Superbad opened — early September, or a little more than a year ago — Juno played the Telluride Film Festival and there was Cera again, playing more or less the same Superbad character but without Jonah Hill to play off and minus the great rapier-wit lines. And then his latest film, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Sony, 10.3), played the Toronto Film Festival, and again people — okay, a big-city critic-journalist I spoke with just before travelling to Toronto — said Cera is more or less playing the Superbad guy again and that he needs to expand his repertoire.
When I passed this observation along to some journalists friends at the beginning of the festival, one of them joked about Cera,”That settles it — we need to take this guy down.”
I’m not trying to take Cera or anyone else down, but I am saying — observing — that the window of coolness and hotness seems to be getting shorter and shorter these days, and that Cera may soon find himself a victim of this syndrome. If he doesn’t pull something new out of his hat, I mean. The fact that one guy has already begun to tire of Cera’s act may sound ludicrous, but it also suggests that perhaps he is playing the same tune over and over.
I’m not voicing this view myself (I haven’t seen Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and I personally can’t wait for Youth in Revolt) but…well, I did begin to think this a little bit when I saw Cera in Juno. I said to myself, “Okay, fine, whatever…this again.” I’m presuming others had this thought, no?
Now comes a N.Y. Times interview, conducted and written by Katrina Onstad during the Toronto Film Festival, in which Cera “sat rod straight and used the phrase ‘I don’t know’ 48 times in one hour.” Being a veteran of hundreds of interviews, I can tell you that a person who says “I don’t know” once or twice during a chat is most likely just being frank, but a guy who says it 48 times is — trust me — being deliberately obstinate.
“I don’t really want to be famous, and I’m kind of scared that might be happening,” Cera told Onstad. “I might really have to stop and think before I make decisions now, and see how they’re going to affect my life, and see if it’s what I want to be doing with my life. I guess I need to make sure that it’s worth all that comes with it.”
I have to be honest and admit that my first reaction when I read the above was, “That’s it — he’s written his epitaph.” But then I remembered that this is the same thing Leonardo DiCaprio was saying in the wake of Titanic and that he eventually got past that, so maybe Cera will also. Or maybe he’ll quit acting down the road and become a director-writer-producer — i.e., the next Judd Apatow. But I do feel some kind of downshift coming a year or two hence.
A guy who’s starred or co-starred in two movies that made $143 million and $121 million in the same year (i.e., Superbad and Juno) has built up loads of credit and good will, but sooner or later the world gives the hook to repetitive weenies.
This two-day old CNN clip has gotten around, but it has something new I missed on Friday. Jack Cafferty‘s rant about Sarah Palin is angry but unexceptional — he’s expressing a fairly common reaction to Palin’s performance during her recent Katie Couric interview. What stands out is Cafferty’s rebuke of CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer when the latter tries to explain away Palin’s shoddy performance due to having had to cram in a lot of information in a short time frame.
Producer Scott Rudin and Weinstein Co. honcho Harvey Weinstein today issued a statement that they’re “in complete agreement” about releasing The Reader, the Stephen Daldry war-crimes drama, about on December 12, a decision facilitated by “a plan to extend the post-production schedule in order to give Daldry the additional time he needs to successfully complete [it].”
The statement was prompted by a 9.23 Hollywood Reporter story by Stephen Zeitchik claiming that “a heated disagreement” between Weinstein and Rudin about distribution plans” for The Reader was underway.
The people who made Eagle Eye the weekend’s #1 film with a $29.2 million haul are obviously easy lays. The ads and reviews made it crystal clear this was/is a brainless, pumped-up slapdash thriller, and they went anyway.
The $13 million-plus that Nights at Rodanthe earned for the #2 position came from the wallets of women with low (certainly flexible) standards who don’t want to know from reviews and just wanted to hang with Richard Gere and Diane Lane…end of diagnosis.
The $6.5 million earned by Fireproof in 839 locations, or $7,764 per theatre, makes for a nice fourth-place showing by Sherwood Pictures, the Georgia-based Christian outfit (although it’s more likely than not that most of the people who paid to see it this weekend are McCain supporters).
And the box-office death of Spike Lee‘s Miracle at St. Anna — $3.5 million at 1,150 locations — was written on the wall a long while ago. Sentimental-cornball, bad reviews, limited interest in black World War II soldiers in Tuscany subject, the shooting incident in the trailer, 166 minutes….forget it.
“I guess it comes down to the fact that I take the escapism that movies provide very seriously, and that TV ‘entertainment news’ shows don’t. I’m not alone on this. There are millions of us who don’t necessarily think of movies as mere diversion. They can be opportunities for communion or transportation — a profound high.
“When a special movie comes along, a theatre can feel like a church. Maybe most people see movies in less reverent terms; maybe the true believers are a minority. But if the lore of movies was just about glamour, fun and ‘entertainment’, they wouldn’t be nearly as popular or connect with people in such primal, elemental ways.” — from a June 1999 Mr. Showbiz piece called “Stepford Showbiz News.” Here’s page 1 and page 2.