Logline: “A stand-up comedian (Adam Driver) and his opera singer wife (Marion Cotillard) have a two-year-old daughter with a surprising gift.” Rooney Mara was cast as the opera singer but dropped out. Michelle Williams replaced Mara but “also dropped out after the project got stuck in development.” And then Cotillard stepped in.
Screenplay by the musical Mael brothers (Ron and Russell), otherwise known as Sparks, a musical duo launched 47 years ago. Amazon will distribute in the U.S.
Posted on 5.31.18: In Francis Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now, there are two clear descriptions of or projections about Martin Sheen‘s Cpt. Willard being the ultimate messenger — a guy who, when he returns to the U.S. of A., will set the world straight about what Marlon Brando‘s Colonel Kurtz was actually up to in his Cambodian Angkor Wat-like hideaway. Twice a hope is expressed that Willard will do this.
Kurtz to Willard: “I worry that my son might not understand what I’ve tried to be. And if I were to be killed, Willard, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything…everything I did, everything you saw…because there’s nothing that I detest more than the stench of lies. And if you understand me, Willard, you will do this for me.”
Dennis Hopper’s photojournalist to Willard: “The man is clear in his mind, but his soul is mad. Oh, yeah. He’s dying, I think. He hates all this. He hates it! But the man’s a… He reads poetry out loud, all right? And a voice…a voice. He likes you because you’re still alive. He’s got plans for you. No, I’m not gonna help you. You’re gonna help him, man. You’re gonna help him. I mean, what are they gonna say when he’s gone? ‘Cause he dies when it dies, when it dies, he dies…what are they gonna say about him? He was a kind man? He was a wise man? He had plans? He had wisdom? Bullshit man! Am I gonna be the one that’s gonna set them straight? Look at me! Wrong!”
Joseph Conrad‘s “Heart of Darkness,” the novel upon which Apocalypse Now is partly based, the narrator Marlow returns to England after Kurtz’s death. At the very end he visits Kurtz’s fiance, who is still in mourning more than a year after his passing. She beseeches Marlow for information, and asks him to repeat Kurtz’s final words. In actuality Kurtz’s final words were “the horror!” But Marlow can’t bring himself to say this. He decides to lie, telling her that Kurtz’s final word was her name.
Why has Entertainment Tonight co-host Nancy O’Dell been deep-sixed? You tell me. Because she turned 53 earlier this year and the producers want to keep things young and spritzy? An Access Hollywood veteran, O’Dell succeeded Mary Hart as E.T. co-anchor in 2010. She lasted for almost a decade — no small feat in such a cutthroat environment.
I haven’t so much as glanced at an airing of Entertainment Tonight since the summer of ’98. Partly because I worked on that horrific show for two or three months during the spring of that year, and I had to flush the memories out of my system. It was absolutely the most hellish job I’ve ever had in my life, in part because I had to be at work at 5 am and in part because of the acutely political vibe under exec producer Linda Bell Blue. Everyone who worked there was “schemin’ schemin’ like a demon,” and after a while I couldn’t stop dreaming about shooting heroin into my veins.
HE to self during E.T. employment: “Will they fire me next month, next week…tomorrow? Why are people always speaking in hushed tones behind closed doors? Is the work I’m doing of any value to anyone? Will I always have to wake up at 3:45 am? Is it too late to learn a new trade?
The daily salt-mine vibe at Entertainment Tonight was the most horrifically political and terrifying I’ve ever known in my life, bar none. It was all about petty office power games and anxiety and who’s up and who’s down. Nothing in that environment was the least bit calm or serene. Nothing was devotional. It was all about fake-performing in front of your co-workers in order to convince them that you wouldn’t say anything bad about them when they weren’t around. Women were always conferring in their offices with the doors closed, and the subject was always other women who were huddling and plotting in their offices, etc.
I naturally wanted to keep getting paid but I hated it there. Half the time I wanted to stick my head in a gas oven so I wouldn’t have to deal with all the bullshit. I was 40% upset when I was canned but 60% relieved.
A couple of months ago Kumail Nanjiani passed along a story to N.Y. Times carpetbagger Kyle Buchanan about 20somethings not being into movies as a rule, and watching them sporadically at best. The quote is pasted below. It would seem that Nanjiani’s “friend who directs big movies” is onto something. Here is HE’s reply to the vast Millennial and GenZ multitudes who are represented by the girl Nanjiani and his friend spoke to, the one who said “I don’t watch movies and neither do my friends…not really.”
So you guys are basically saying “later with watching carefully compressed and craftily written, acted-out stories about the human experience on big screens in theatres”…you’re blowing that off because narrative tales seem more effective or absorbing in longform cable and because movies aren’t YouTubey enough and they don’t deliver the goods, according to your standards and demands. Right? You’ll watch an occasional film from time to time, sure, but not out of habit or any sense of loyalty to the form.
Do you guys understand that dramatic or comedic movies have been delivering craftily written, acted-out stories about the human experience for a little over a century? First with silent movies and then with soundtracks starting in the late ’20s? And that until you guys came along no generation has ever said “no offense but fuck the theatrical communal ritual of watching craftily written, acted-out stories about the human experience”? You realize that, right? You guys are the first!
Did you also know that before the advent of movies there were things called “plays” that did roughly the same thing (i.e., presented craftily written, acted-out stories about the human experience)? And that the writing and presentation of plays first began some 2700 years ago, all the way back to ancient Greece in 700 b.c.?
So let’s sum up, shall we? You guys are the first generation to blow off a century-old tradition of people gathering in a theatre to watch movies of a semi-aspirational nature. And in a certain sense you’re also blowing off 2700 years of theatre, or more precisely the tradition of submitting to that…in a way you’re the very first humans in 2700 years to say “sorry but our attention spans can’t handle the ordeal of concentrating on a two-hour (and sometimes three-hour) dramatic or comedic presentation”?
I realize you guys watch craftily written, acted-out stories about the human experience at home, but you’re doing this while texting and multi-tasking and feeding the dogs and preparing meals or paying the pizza-delivery guy and folding laundry. The spirit of focus and concentration and generally submitting to a sustained two-hour drama or comedy is going away, and you guys are the pioneers! You’re definitely making yourselves heard and shaping the saga of human history.
From Snap Galleries copy about Don Hunstein’s Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan photos of Dylan and (then squeeze) Suze Rotolo on West Fourth Street: “This beautiful, evocative portrait was taken on a freezing cold afternoon in February 1963. Bob and Suze curving towards each other trying to keep warm, Bob dead center, the vanishing point disappearing off into the distance behind him, with the lines of the rooftops, the cars, and the VW van pulling your eyes towards the centre and heightening the sense of perspective. Look at the buildings with their copper-blue tone and the way they blend into the sky, seemingly scorched by the sun.”
Consider something else that has bothered me for decades. The weather was “freezing cold” with the couple “curving towards each other trying to keep warm”, and yet Dylan and Rotolo seem to be in different weather realms. Rotolo is bundled in a heavy winter coat while Dylan is wearing only a blue workshirt and a slender-looking suede or deerskin jacket — an outfit more suited to a mild fall day in October.
Why has Dylan dressed with blatant disregard for the sub-arctic conditions with slushy snow everywhere? I’ll tell you why. Because he looks cooler in a casual deerskin jacket than, say, in some bulky-ass tweed overcoat or Navy pea coat.
This is who and what Dylan was back then — simultaneously the real thing as well as an actor “playing the part” of the scruffy poet, and in fact a guy who was very invested into projecting a certain commercial persona. Hustein: “Dylan was by then already quite image conscious and self-assured, and he knew how to play to the camera.”
We all have a tendency to favor candidates who’ve already amassed a fair amount of support, and to correspondingly shun outliers. As much as I’ve liked Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from the get-go, I’ve tended to think of her as an outlier. But that impression has now changed, due to Gabbard having gone after Sen. Kamala Harris the other night.
My shallow opinion is that I like Gabbard’s speaking voice more than Harris’s, which sometimes has a shrill, snappy, agitated tone. Gabbard’s occupies a lower register and she has a vibe of steady composure. Plus — this is where things get really superficial on my part — Gabbard is 5’8″ and Harris is a munchkin-sized 5’2″. Plus Gabbard is Mayor Pete‘s age — 37 — and I’d rather live in a world governed by younger heads of state rather than old farts with decades of experience.
So presentation-wise my order of preference among the female Democratic candidates is, frankly, Gabbard, Marianne Williamson, Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Substance-wise I lean towards Warren, but that’s not the whole game because of my willingness to be swayed by gut impressions.
In a two-year-old interview with CBS News, Kelly Dawn Knight Craft, Donald Trump‘s Ambassador to the United Nations, said the following about climate change: “I believe there are scientists on both sides that are accurate…I think that both sides have their own results from their studies, and I appreciate and respect both sides of the science.” Translation: “I’ve chosen to deny or at the very least question the majority opinion among climate-change scientists because questioning serves my immediate financial and political interests.”
Two days ago the Senate confirmed the nomination of this sociopath by 56 to 34.
I guess in some bizarre corner of my mind I wanted Bjorn Andresen, the teenaged lust object in Luchino Visconti‘s Death in Venice (’71), to stay the same, like a statue of some kind. I felt gutslammed when I read this morning that he was doddering old geezer who jumped to his death in Midsommar.
I’d be grateful if someone could please send me (a) a PDF of Eric Roth‘s Killers of the Flower Moon, which is Martin Scorsese‘s next project (and which will costar Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro); and (b) a PDF of Noah Baumbach‘s Marriage Story. Thank you. No worries.
- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »