MCN Columnists
David Poland

By David Poland

Wednesday, 10 September 1997

Sylvester Stallone was the first “victim” of celebrity paparazzi bashing last week. In Venice, Italy to promote the launch of a new Planet Hollywood, Stallone did his usual pose for cameras, but noticed an unfamiliar flashbulb-free atmosphere. The photo hounds were apparently responding to Stallone calling their breed “birds who sit on tombstones” and complaining about “constant harassment.” No need to worry there. The big confrontation, in this regard, will take place at The Peacemaker premiere when the most outspoken paparazzi critic of all, George Clooney, strikes a pose.
John Waters has signed T2 kid star Edward Furlong to play “Pecker” in his new movie for Fine Line Features. The story seems pretty autobiographical for Waters and won’t be the comedy equivalent of Boogie Nights by Fine Line’s parent, New Line, which features a fake 15″ replica of Furlong’s character’s namesake. Look for the MPAA to try to give Pecker an NC-17 rating unless Waters changes the title to Richard. Production starts next month in Baltimore.
From the Greed Is Good Dept.: Forbes ranked the total gross income of show folk once again. Sadly, Oprah Winfrey is going to have to cut back on the purchase of third world nations as she tumbles from first to third with just $201 million. The profitability of the Star Wars re-release rocketed George Lucas from off the list to number two with $241 million. And Steven Spielberg beats the black woman with (isn’t it ironic?) Men In Black and Cute Dinosaurs Who Eat People 2 (a.k.a. The Lost World) bringing him to $313 million. Others on the list include David Copperfield with $85 million, proving that it isn’t magic that gets Claudia hot. Paupers Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harrison Ford had to settle for $82, $74 and $72 million. It’s hard to work on a salary. And Mel Gibson’s 18th ranking ($59 million) is right next to Sigreid & Roy’s $58 million, showing that a gay-basher can stand next to gay men proudly, so long as there’s an eight-figure payday involved.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon