Mr. Robot‘s Rami Malek has been hired to play Queen’s Freddie Mercury in that same biopic/band saga that has been stuck in neutral, fraught with creative differences, since 2010 or thereabouts. Sacha Baron Cohen, who would’ve been a perfect Freddy, bailed earlier this year after working on the project for six years, mainly because of conflicts with Queen member Brian May, who allegedly wanted a somewhat sanitized, upbeat portrait of the late singer. Bryan Singer has signed to direct the Queen film, which will be called Bohemian Rhapsody. It will be produced by GK Film’s Graham King, and based on a screenplay by Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything). Malek doesn’t feel right — he certainly doesn’t look like Mercury — but he might be okay. I have a bad feeling about this. One way or another May and the other gatekeepers will, I suspect, compromise the story or sand off the edges or whatever.
You can call Town and Country (New Line, 4.27.01) an unsatisfying film. A lot of people did actually. But I’ve always thought it’s a better-than-half-decent comedy, and that some scenes are hilarious. It’s certainly a lot better than was indicated by that 13% Rotten Tomatoes rating. True, it’s still one of the biggest bombs of the 21st Century. Having cost $90 million to make, it earned $6,719,973 domestically and $10.4 million worldwide. But the scene below (Warren Beatty being asked about possible infidelity by Diane Keaton, et. al.) really works. Funny, well-written, a nice pivot, etc. You know what also works? Those two scenes between Beatty, Andie McDowell and Charlton Heston (“Rowwwrrr”).
After the jump: Beatty’s recollection about the sound mixing of Bonnie and Clyde, from George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey.
Originally posted on 8.3.12: I had a reservation to stay tonight at Monument Valley’s Firetree Inn, a b & b located in a wifi dead zone about a half-hour’s drive from Goulding’s. The novelty is that visitors sleep in a Navajo Hogan, a kind of dirt igloo that Navajos have been crashing, praying and meditating in over the generations. It’s a sacred thing so the owner-managers want people who “get” the Hogan experience to stay there — they don’t want trashy, fast-food-eating families with loud kids looking to watch American Idol on flatscreens.
I get that. I wanted to do this. I figured I could do without wifi for an eight-hour period. But I’d never seen a real Hogan up close (to me the word “Hogan” means Hogan’s Heroes) and was curious about the Firetree, so early yesterday afternoon a friend and I drove out to pay a visit.
The owner-managers, a couple in their early 40s or late 30s, were — I don’t want to exaggerate — stunned by our visit. Stunned. They pretty much went into apoplectic shock. Their basic response was “whoa, wait a minute…what are you, a person who’s not scheduled to be here until late tomorrow afternoon, doing here now?” They couldn’t wrap their heads around someone just checking the place out, all friendly and no biggie.
The first thing the bald and bleary-eyed guy said was that “we don’t open for guests until 5 pm.” Nice people skills, pal. And then the woman said they’d recently gotten up — it was around 1 pm — and they were having breakfast. Right away I was thinking, “What’s up with these guys? Who treats customers like tax collectors? Who has breakfast at 1 pm?” When I said we’d just driven over from Goulding’s and just wanted to look around, the woman said, “But that’s so far.” No, I said — it’s about a 25-minute drive. (Which it is.)
Then they went into a kind of silent mode. “How do we deal with these people?,” they seemed to be saying. “How do we cope with this?”
It was nearly three years ago (1.9.14) when I tried to explain one of the most important rules for famous guys attending public events, which is to never wear orthopedic old-man shoes. I was derided for saying this, of course, but you can’t explain this aesthetic to deplorable-shoe types. Either you get the importance of wearing elegant shoes in public or you don’t. Wear your grandpa shoes all you want when you’re at home or shuffling around the mall, but never in front of the paying public.
I’m mentioning this again because a certain famous guy was recently photographed in a pair of black senior-citizen sneakers during a post-screening q & a. People in the audience listened to him discuss this and that, I’m sure, but they also had a good 30 to 40 minutes to just sit there and contemplate those ugly-ass shoes. Those people will never forget this.
My original point was that all self-respecting actors, celebrities and X-factor types need to tough it out and wear cool Italian shoes for lah-lah events, no matter what. I’ve walked around the streets of Rome, Milan, Venice, Sienna and Florence on warm evenings, and white-haired Italian guys never, ever wear comfort shoes. They would rather be stricken with a heart attack and collapse on the street than wear those clunky things. When you’re hanging with the swells you have to look classy and elegant, even if it hurts. Even if it shortens your life. You can laugh but a man’s choice of footwear usually says a lot about him, particularly about how he sees himself. Once the public realizes that you’re more into comfort clunkers than looking good, it’s the beginning of the end.