Entertainment Weekly‘s Christine Spines has reported about a casted and ready-to-roll David Fincher crime thriller called Ness, a kind of son-of-The Untouchables about famed Al Capone adversary Eliot Ness, and starring Matt Damon, Casey Affleck and Rachel McAdams. Plus I’ve heard a couple of things myself from a good source.
“So why hasn’t Paramount gotten around to making the darned thing?,” Spines asks. “That’s the question around town as the clock ticks on the studio’s rights to the project, which are due to expire on 12.5.” I’ve actually been told the drop-dead date is December 12th.
“A source inside the negotiations says Damon and Affleck are ready to go,” writes Spines, “and that McAdams has expressed interest, but Paramount has yet to pull the proverbial trigger.
“At press time, the studio insisted it only recently received a finalized script from Ehren Kruger (The Ring) and would make a decision before the rights ran out.
A source close to team Fincher has told me that Fincher is ready to make the picture immediately but can’t get an answer out of Paramount because — ready?– production execs prefer that Fincher make a Keanu Reeves chef comedy instead.
Among the just-revealed Sundance ’09 selections for Documentary, Dramatic and World Cinema competition, my three personal stands-outs are all docs: (1) When You’re Strange (director-screenwriter: Tom DiCillo) — This first-ever feature-length doc about The Doors “enters the dark and dangerous world of one of America’s most influential bands using only footage shot between 1966 and 1971”; (2) William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (directors: Sarah and Emily Kunstler) — A portrait of the most famous and influential radical leftie lawyers of the 20th century who defended, among many ’60s-era New Left defendants, the Chicago 7; and (3) The September Issue (director: R.J. Cutler) — Culled from nine months of covering Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team preparing the 2007 Vogue September issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends.
Mickey Rourke‘s sister Patty Rourke and stepsister Janet Smalley have spoken to Nikki Finke and challenged the accuracy of Pat Jordan‘s interview hit piece that ran in last Sunday’s N.Y. Times Magazine, at least as far as Jordan’s casting doubt on Rourke’s stories of child abuse at the hand of his step-father.
“We were shocked and deeply saddened to read Pat Jordan’s overtly biased piece about our brother Mickey Rourke in The New York Times Magazine,” the sisters said. “Although our childhood is searingly painful to discuss, we absolutely needed to speak out to set the record straight. Tragically, what our brother has said about his abusive childhood barely scratches the surface of what really happened. If Pat Jordan had tried to contact us, we would’ve told him the truth. We love Mickey very much and stand by his account of our early years.”
The section of the Oak Bar where Cary Grant was drinking with three business colleagues just before being kidnapped in North by Northwest is not where the Revolutionary Road luncheon was held. We were all in the rear room with the tables, banquettes, superb food, white tablecloths, perfect waiters and beautiful old-school wood walls and carvings. Road stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, David Harbour plus Willem Dafoe, Paul Schrader, James Toback, et. al. attended.
Leonardo DiCaprio, James Toback at this afternoon’s Revolutionary Road luncheon, thrown by Manhattan blue-chip party madame Peggy Siegal and Paramount Vantage in the Plaza’s Oak Room bar and restaurant — Wednesday, 12.3.08, 1:10 pm
Generic but nonetheless visually impressive pre-war building — Wednesday, 10.31.08, 6:05 pm
Paramount Vantage publicists at Revolutionary Road luncheon.
In a 12.2 posting titled “Chris Wallace Defends Nixon Against Mean Ron Howard,” Gawker quotes the Fox News anchor as refuting analogies between Richard Nixon and George W. Bush during a recent Frost-Nixon screening q & a in Washington, D.C.
During the post-screening discussion, Howard said “he was sad that America was all ‘never again’ about Nixon and then Bush happened,” the story says. The other two panelists — Frost/Nixon screenwriter Peter Morgan and journalist James Reston, Jr. — also compared Bush to Nixon, at which point Wallace “stood up and, as James Pinketon puts it, ‘threw a fair-and-balanced apple of discord into the middle of the festivities’),” reports Gawker.
“Richard Nixon’s crimes were committed purely in the interest of his own political gain,” Wallace told Howard. “I think to compare what Nixon did, and the abuses of power for pure political self preservation, to George W. Bush trying to protect this country — even if you disagree with rendition or waterboarding — it seems to me is both a gross misreading of history both then and now.”
But of course, Bush didn’t invade Iraq to protect his country. He did it, I believe, partly to give the country an emotional revenge outlet over 9/11, partly to rectify (in ’43’s mind) his father’s mistake in deciding against invading Baghdad during the ’91 Gulf War, and partly to nail Saddam Hussein, in part because he’d threatened Bush ’41’s life.
I’m also scratching my head over Howard having admitted during the discussion that he voted for Nixon. Howard voted against George McGovern? Good God. Maybe he was referring to the ’68 election.
Choosing to ignore Tina Brown‘s flat-out brilliant suggestion to hire Rachel Maddow as the host of Meet The Press, NBC honchos have reportedly decided to tap the primally annoying, simian-featured MSNBC news-show host David Gregory instead.
This is a bland, equivocating, corporate-minded decision by old men with no balls — men who don’t realize what a turn-off Gregory is for a certain segment of the viewing public (i.e., those who think like me) and who have no problem at all with a Meet The Press host having danced on-stage during a Karl Rove roasting.
“NBC News has settled on Gregory as its choice to be the successor to Tim Russert in the role of moderator of its longtime Sunday discussion program Meet the Press,” a N.Y. Times/Bill Carter story reads. “But the network has not finalized the deal, NBC executives said Tuesday.
“Gregory is in negotiations with NBC to secure the position, however, and one reason he may get the job is his value to NBC’s most dominant property, the Today show. He has long been regarded as the network’s choice to one day succeed Matt Lauer as a Today host.
“NBC executives said on Tuesday that the leaks of Mr. Gregory’s selection could be a potential impediment to concluding the deal,” Carter has reported. Please!
Two and a half months from now the path may finally be cleared for the exiled Roman Polanski to return to the U.S. without fear of incarceration, and finally be free to direct U.S. projects on U.S. soil, if he so chooses.
Yesterday Polanski’s attorneys filed a complaint with the Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to have Polanski’s 31-year-old sexual misconduct charges dismissed. And the catalyst, it was stated, was Marina Zenovich‘s Academy-dissed (i.e., not Oscar-nominated) documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.
Polanski’s attorneys cited “extraordinary new evidence” contained in Zenovich’s doc as reason to reopen the case.
Variety‘s Diane Garrett has reported that “the complaint zeroes in on interviews in which then-deputy district attorney David Wells admits discussing the case with Judge Lawrence Rittenband during legal proceedings from the 1970s and further charges the current District Attorney’s Office with misconduct in statements made upon the doc’s June release.
Polanski, the complaint charges, “was and continues to be the victim of repeated, unlawful and unethical misconduct on the part of the L.A. District Attorney’s Office and L.A. Superior Court.” A hearing has been set for 1.21.09.
I was first told about the development by Zenovich at last night’s Gotham Awards. I later showed her this Michael Cieply story about it in my iPhone. The story contained a quote from Zenovich, who’d spoken to Cieply only an hour or so earlier, saying that she was glad that her film had helped to affect things, that she considered it a validation and that the development has mollified her disappointment over her film not being short-listed for Best Feature Doc. The quote has since disappeared from the Cieply story.
I asked a Barack Obama question of some people at last night’s Gotham Awards, and I’m asking it of the readership now. If you were Obama’s most trusted adviser, would you urge that his middle name be spoken during the 1.20.09 swearing-in ceremony (which I personally believe would be an essential transformative thing), or follow the precedent set by Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and not speak his full name when he repeats the oath of office?
For Obama (as well as Chief Justice John Roberts) to not say the word “Hussein” would be, of course, a total capitulation to the right-wing yahoo rurals, who will almost certainly flinch and cross themselves when they hear it spoken.
Some side-stepped the question last night. Us magazine critic Thelma Adams said (or so I recall) it would probably be best to not gild the lily. Rachel Getting Married director Jonathan Demme told me he’s 100% behind the middle name speak-out. But what about the rednecks in Kentucky?, I asked him. They’ll have a fit. “Fuck ’em!,” said the smiling, laughing and high-spirited Demme, who was standing close to Rachel Getting Married screenwriter Jenny Lumet.