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David Poland

By David Poland

Variety Goes Bloggy

A terrifc get by Gabriel Snyder in Wednesday’s Variety is very much in the style of bloggers and is a terrific story… whoever put two and two together.
Litigious scholar seeks to enter PR ‘Kingdom’
‘God’ scribe Reston offering expert services to media

“Even though James Reston Jr. is still threatening to sue 20th Century Fox over “Kingdom of Heaven,” the historian would love to be featured in any stories or shows about the film.Two weeks after Reston publicly claimed that Fox illegally lifted material from his 2002 book “Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and the Saladin in the Third Crusade,” the tome’s publisher, Anchor Books, sent out a press release advising, “If you are planning an article, segment or show on the new movie ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ — and need an expert on the Crusades — James Reston Jr. is available.”
While the advisory doesn’t mention the author’s legal tussle, it does bill the film as “sure to be one of the first major summer blockbusters!”
Asked if the attempt to publicize his book by latching onto the film amounts to a reversal of course, Reston shot back, “I think you’ve got it upside down. It was the movie that latched onto the book. It’s my view that the whole movie is based on my book.” Though rattling his saber, Reston has not filed any suit.
Russell Perreault, director of publicity at Anchor, said there’s been media interest in Reston but admitted it makes for a “weird” situation. “He’s completely promoting his book, not the movie,” he said. “He has not seen the film. He’s not commenting on whether it’s good or bad.”
Reston acknowledged an expert contemplating litigation may not be the ideal source. “It should be disclosed,” he said, “and there are people who would rather speak to someone else.”
Date in print: Wed., Apr. 20, 2005, Los Angeles”

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7 Responses to “Variety Goes Bloggy”

  1. L&DB says:

    Okay. Let me get this straight. This guy believes
    a major movie studio, director, and whomever else
    ripped off his book. Ripped off to such an extent
    that he has threatened legal action. Yet he wants
    to be a part of any story dealing with the film that
    ripped him off? Is he into the bookies or something?
    Did he just realize that renting a gulfstream still
    cost too much? Not only does this kill his chance
    at future litigation (because we all know he and
    his people are just waiting for this film to become
    financially successful), but it kills any credibility
    he has as a scholar. Wow. I am sure the US government
    appreciates those student loans of his now.

  2. bicycle bob says:

    this guy is dying for some publicity. media whore

  3. bakednudel says:

    Those kinds of press releases are routinely sent out by the publicity departments of publishing houses. I know we are always trying to find any kind of hook for our academic authors to get “off the book review page” publicity.
    That being said, it sounds like Reston and the publicity dept. at Anchor were not aware of what each other was doing.

  4. Joe Leydon says:

    Of course, what will be REALLY interesting is whether Reston’s book just happens to come out in a new paperback edition just in time for the movie’s release, with cover art that looks suspiciously like Orlando Bloom.

  5. Terence D says:

    What some people will do for a tie in with a big movie.

  6. Mark says:

    Get the conspiracy theories out with this one.

  7. Dan R% says:

    Hypocricy knows no bounds…
    For some reason I don’t think this is what was meant when Jesus said, “Don’t let your right hand know what your left is doing…”

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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