Werner Herzog‘s new film, called My Son, My Son, What Have You Done?, stars Michael Shannon, Udo Kier and Willem Dafoe. It begins shooting either later this month or in January for a period, then a hiatus and then a return to shooting in March. Johana Ray and Jenny Jue are casting. Eric Bassett is producing. There’s a 25 year-old supporting female role that they need name value for.
President-elect Barack Obama intends to take the oath of office as Barack Hussein Obama when he’s sworn in on 1.20.09. “I think the tradition is [to] use all three names,” he said in a 12.10 interview with the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune, “and I will follow the tradition, not trying to make a statement one way or the other. I’ll do what everybody else does.”
Of course, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan didn’t use their middle names, and Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gerald R. Ford used only their middle initials. I for one think that going with Hussein — say it loud, say it proud — is definitely the way to go.
My five favorite Black List titles/synopses, just by the sound and attitude of them: (a) The Beaver by Kyle Killen — “a depressed man finds hope in a beaver puppet that he wears on his hand” (b) The Oranges by Jay Reiss & Ian Helfer — “A man has a romantic relationship with the daughter of a family friend, which turns their lives upside down”; (c) Fuckbuddies by Liz Meriwether — “A guy and a girl struggle to have an exclusively sexual relationship as they both come to realize they want much more”; (d) Winter’s Discontent by Paul Fruchbom — “When Herb Winter’s wife of fifty years dies, the faithful but sexually frustrated widower moves into a retirement community to start living the swinging single life” and (e) Nowhere Boy by Matt Greenhalgh — “The story of John Lennon‘s rise from lonely, Liverpool teenager to iconic rock star.”
If anyone has any PDFs of these, please send along.
The friends of Clint Eastwood‘s Gran Torino now include the L.A. Weekly/Village Voice‘s Scott Foundas, critic David Ehrenstein (“I see it as Clint’s Umberto D…it’s a lovely, deeply felt movie”), the N.Y. Observer ‘s Andrew Sarris , EW‘s Lisa Schwarzbaum, Variety‘s Todd McCarthy, Some Came Running‘s Glenn Kenny, etc. All big guns, highly esteemed, influential.
Of course, any film critic worth his or her salt isn’t supposed to care about expressing a majority or a minority opinion, but critics are just as human as the next guy.
If we lived in a Banana Republic those early dissers (Poland, et. al.) would probably be thinking about packing up their laptops and heading out to the desert for a few days until things cool down, just to be on the safe side. But of course, we live in a civil society so they have nothing to worry about. They can say anything they want about Gran Torino and nobody will think less of them.
The New York Film Critics Circle has just handed Gus Van Sant‘s Milk its Best Picture award. This obviously firms things up big-time for the Focus Features release, and makes it look right now like the only Best Picture contender with the energy, muscle and the staying-power to overtake Slumdog Millionaire. Here‘s a rundown of the other NYFCC awards.
“If The Dark Knight, that piece of overblown crap, gets nominated for Best Picture it’ll go down in Oscar history alongside Cecil B. DeMille‘s The Greatest Show on Earth [which won the 1952 Best Picture Oscar]. Heath Ledger was great and ditto the effects, but the script was asinine drivel — populist pablum and ‘escapist entertainment’ at its best and worst. And they could have saved Somalia for that budget.” — a female producer friend writing this morning from Los Angeles.
“One of the great weapons any interviewer has is his enigmaticness,” Frank Langella said during our chat last Thursday. I wasn’t being very enigmatic myself, I’m afraid, as I kept trying to get Langella to draw comparisons between Richard Nixon, whom he plays so expertly and cagily (and with such empathy) in Ron Howard‘s Frost/Nixon, and George Bush. But Langella wouldn’t bite.
Even about whether Bush has the character to someday say “I let the country down” regarding the lies that he and his neocon cronies used to put us into the Iraq War. Nor could I persuade Langella to comment on Chris Wallace‘s reported statement that Bush is nowhere near as bad as Nixon, who, Wallace feels, was motivated solely by selfish motives, whereas Bush was trying to protect his country from terror.
So I just asked this and that and we just danced around, Frank and I. He’s quite the kindly, elegant and settled-down fellow. Very soft-spoken, very polite. Tends to say less rather than more. Here‘s the mp3.
Langella’s stage-bound Nixon won a Tony award, and he will most likely land a Best Actor nomination for his current screen portrayal, althoughit must be said that Sean Penn ‘s performance in Milk, to go by the critics groups so far, seems to be enjoying the favoring winds.
Langella’s final performance as Sir Thomas More in the Broadway revival of Robert Bolt‘s A Man For All Seasons was last Sunday. When we spoke he was looking at four or five more performances. How did that feel? “Do you remember what you were like when you were in school and watching the clock reach a quarter to three?,” he said.
New York/Vulture‘s Lane Brown has posted a slapdash, mostly tongue-in-cheek riff about rationales to use against the Slumdog Millionaire juggernaut, to wit: (a) It’s too dark, (b) It’s not starry enough, (c) No big performances, (d) Everybody’s sick of underdogs, (e) Not WWII-y enough, (f) Ending too uplifting, (g) It pals around with terrorists, and (h) Too oddly constructed.