Every now and then a distributor will get a little side-steppy about showing an upcoming film, like Focus Features was earlier this month about showing Hollywoodland (9.8). To guys like me, I mean. They had long-lead screenings of Allen Coulter‘s film in early June, and then a screening last Friday that a columnist colleague went to. But now it’s looking like I’ll catch it sometime in late July. Great…I’ve been following this film for about four years now.
Here’s a piece I wrote in August 2002 about the Polish Brothers and the version they were hoping to shoot at the time (Paul Bernbaum’s script was then called Truth, Justice and the American Way), and their interest in casting Kyle MacLachlan in the Reeves role.
Four years in the making, and Hollywoodland finally opens in seven weeks, and yet there’s no offficial website. And no decent photos of Ben Affleck as Reeves, or Affleck in the blue Superman suit. Or sizable photos of any kind from the film on the web. What’s up with all that?
Obviously an order has gone out to keep Hollywoodland under wraps until a certain date in (probably) early August, so I guess it’ll be like that next-to-last scene in The Wild Bunch with everyone sitting around until a deep-voiced publicist from Focus finally calls and says Bill Holden-style, “Let’s go.”
Hearing from two journo pals doesn’t constitute a consensus, but June Guy and Friday Guy both like and admire Hollywoodland. Friday Guy is saying that Affleck’s performance as the doomed George Reeves is a kind of breakthrough for him. He didn’t exactly say it’s the best performance he’s given since Changing Lanes, but it sounds like it may be. It’s a supporting role. Affleck’s scenes are all flashbacks, as the film is mainly about a shamus, played by Adrien Brody, looking into Reeves’ apparent suicide.
Friday Guy says Affleck “has made some questionable choices in years past, but Hollywoodland shows how good he can be in the right part and in the right film, and with a very good director like Alan Coulter.” They both say it’s basically Brody’s film, but that Bob Hoskins and Diane Lane, as an MGM studio chief and his unfaithful wife, are also quite good. Robin Tunney, Joe Spano, Molly Parker and Dash Mohok also star.