During Friday’s Sicario luncheon at Craig’s: (l. to r.) dp Roger Deakins, director Denis Villeneuve, star Benicio del Toro, screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. Villeneuve’s next film to open will be the sci-fish The Story of Your Life, but his next to shoot is the Blade Runner sequel, which will probably roll in Europe, I was told.
Snapped at Universal’s holiday party at Ysabel (945 Fairfax, West Hollywood). No, I didn’t chat her up — I just knew a good photo when I saw one. Ysabel’s menu told me that a couple could easily blow through $160 or so for dinner, and well north of $200 with a few glasses of wine. Later.
Color snap of Marilyn Monroe visiting U.S. troops in Korea in ’52.
I sat down a couple of days ago with John McKenna, co-director of Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans, which I saw and greatly admired in Cannes six months ago, and with Chad McQueen, the late superstar’s actor-producer son. We did it in the Polo Lounge inside the Beverly Hills hotel, and sure enough a guy started playing piano halfway through the chat and half-ruined the recording. And Chad, who was late for the interview due, he said, to having enjoyed a little too much liquid cheer after the doc’s premiere the night before, was entirely amiable and loose-shoe but also seemed a tiny bit…uhm, baked.
(l.) John McKenna, co-director of Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans, and producer Chad McQueen — Thursday, 11.12, 11:40 am — in lobby of Beverly Hills hotel.
But it was thrilling to commune with the son of one my all-time heroes and to throw out a few thoughts and asides…whatever came to mind. Chad’s eyes are covered by dark shades, but he seems to have inherited a few of his dad’s physical traits, including his hair, jawline and manner of speech. Plus he has that watchful thing, that vibe…a chip off the old McQueen undercurrent.
I was silently saying to myself, “What a hallowed California moment…chilling in the Polo Lounge and talking about Steve McQueen with his only living son and shooting the shit about this and that and Junior Bonner“…yeah.
Here’s an mp3 of our discussion, such as it was.
I learned two interesting things: (a) While I had no issues with the 112-minute running time when I saw the doc in Cannes (unlike, say, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy, who suggested a trimming), the film is now down to 102 minutes, which naturally makes me want to see it again; and (b) McKenna said that McQueen wanted to do his own driving and actually compete in the real-deal 24 Hours at Le Mans race in the summer of ’70, which is when the film was shot. But studio insurers said no. This turndown, McKenna suspects or believes, created frustration in McQueen and perhaps a bit of anger that may have contributed to the disarray during production.
“Of all the current century’s most cataclysmic world-historical events, the 2008 financial crisis is probably among the most poorly understood. Filmmakers looking to rectify this have already approached the story from a number of angles, from sober-minded documentary (Inside Job) to operatic boiler-room drama (Margin Call), but the route taken by The Big Short is by far the most radical, turning a dense economics lecture into a hyper-caffeinated postmodern farce, a spinach smoothie skillfully disguised as junk food.
“Taking style cues from hip-hop videos, Funny or Die clips and The Office, Adam McKay’s film hits its share of sour notes; some important plot points are nearly impossible for laypeople to decipher even with cheeky, fourth-wall-obliterating tutorials, and the combination of eye-crossing subject matter and nontraditional structure makes it a risky bet at the box office. But there’s an unmistakable, scathing sense of outrage behind the whole endeavor, and it’s impossible not to admire McKay’s reckless willingness to do everything short of jumping through flaming hoops on a motorcycle while reading aloud from Keynes if that’s what it takes to get people to finally pay attention.” — from Andrew Barker‘s Variety review, posted yesterday.
Before attending this evening’s TCL Chinese second-look screening of The Big Short, I’ll be attending a 5 pm Paris massacre peace vigil at the Consulate General De France (10390 Santa Monica Blvd, adjacent to Beverly Glen Blvd.). The Move On message asks participants to “show your opposition to all violence and hatred…share our hope that together France and her allies seek justice, not vengeance.” Justice? I will stand among this crowd and hang my head and maybe even hold a candle, but I will not sing “Amazing Grace.” Not this time, pal.
There can be no “justice” in a situation created by animals, and you can’t make deals with them either. (Just ask Ray Hicks.) I don’t think it’s right or wise, but you know that most people are thinking along the lines of Dirty Harry right now. They definitely don’t want to know from peace candles. When Bonasera the undertaker asked Don Corleone for justice, he said “let them suffer then, as [my daughter] has suffered.” ISIS wants a super-vicious response, of course. Their biggest wet dream is the U.S. of Satan coming after them and bringing on the Ultimate Armageddon. I don’t know what to do, but if any one group or army in world history deserves extermination, it’s the “Allahu akbar” guys.
I was genuinely touched by Guillermo del Toro‘s tweet last night about his response to his father’s kidnapping and how he didn’t want to contribute to the cycle of violence, and how this is a lesson right now. But this is not what Average Joes are thinking, trust me. You can feel the current out there. God help us if Ann Coulter is right and Donald Trump surges ahead of Hillary Clinton because of this. This almost feels Biblical, what’s happening now.
If you could bury the entire ISIS army and all their admirers under a thousand feet of sand by snapping your fingers three times, would you do so? Be honest. Yes, I know Guillermo’s tweet reflects a wiser, more Solomon-like response, but I wonder what Alejandro G. Inarritu is thinking right now.