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David Poland

By David Poland

Following Julian

I don’t quite know where the obsession with beating up on Julian Schnabel started. It kinda pisses me off. The guy has done some very beautiful work, gotten some truly spectacular performances, and is one of the great characters/drama queens of the film world. For me, someone who gets pissed off about a guy who wears pajamas everywhere just has their hat on too tight.
Anyway… it was amusing to me that Page Six was so busy smacking at JS and so uninterested in the story behind the story that they missed the money shot of their piece today. (To be fair, it appears that Schnabel found the book still in galleys, as there is no trace of the book itself on the web.)
Here’s the piece…
And here are some images of Rula Jebreal, an Italian immigrant from Palestine, now TV journalist, turned book writer is a thoughtful voice on immigration issues, clearly willing to fight with the men’s club in Italy, and simply, one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life. (I had the pleasure of a quick “hello” at a TDB&TB event a few months back.)
I predict international superstardom for a world class beauty with a world class brain with a world class promoter (and talent) like Julian by her side in the fight.
Good for both of them. Of course it is irrelevant on some level that this woman makes mere mortals dumb in her presence… but let’s not be naive. If she is everything that has been suggested about her intellectually and she gets to look like a supermodel, she’s one in a billion.
Don’t be hatin’…

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18 Responses to “Following Julian”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    No comment on Ms. Jebreal, but regarding Schnabel, I think you answered your own question:
    “one of the great characters/drama queens of the film world.” I don’t agree with ‘beating him up’ and obviously what Sean Young did was rude and classless, but anyone who has as many affectations as Schnabel deserves at least some mockery.

  2. Wrecktum says:

    She’s got funny looking eyes.
    Gorgeous skin, though.

  3. Noah says:

    I love Schnabel and I think of him as one of a few living artists today. The dude just craps out art like it’s nothing, from his beautifully designed building in the West Village to his first two solid movies to his wonderful artworks (that are still not nearly as powerful as Basquiat’s, but I think he’d agree with that). He’s a renaissance man.
    That being said, I have a little trepidation about him taking on a project about Israeli/Palestinian conflicts. It’s bound to result in a lot of bad press from papers like the Post and cause a lot of people to turn away from the movie, like they did with Munich. I have faith, though, that he can create art wherever he goes.

  4. anghus says:

    People turned away from Munich because it wasn’t very good.
    Spielberg used kid gloves.
    There’s a film waiting to be made that will define this conflict. There may already be one. If so, I haven’t seen it.
    I think people gave a lot of reasons as to why Munich just kind of came and went without making much of an impression or leaving an impact after it left theaters. It’s not because people didn’t “get it”, or that the material was too controversial for people. Sometimes good stories meet filmmakers who can’t articulate the message.
    This doesn’t happen to Spielberg often, but the number one complaint i hear about Munich from people who didn’t care for it (and there’s a lot more than you think), is how detached the whole thing feels. The connections between Avner and the actual events of Munich seem spurious, though some will argue that is the point.
    What didn’t translate from the material, and to me the greatest sin of the whole film, was not putting an objective person in the middle of this conflict. So much of the film really hinged on making the audience try to understand one facet of this endless conflict. By waiting until the end of the film to show the murder of so many of the athletes and tying to a ridiculously spongy sex scene, it takes away much of the weight of the incident which motivates most of the movie.
    I could go on endlessly about Munich and what a complete and utter disaster it was. Just one guys opinion, but i hate hate hate when people blame the subject matter as a reason that people avoided the film. It didn’t resonate. It’s as simple as that.

  5. Roman says:

    Anghus, there also a lot of people out there who though Munich was one of the finest movies of the decade (and there’s a lot more of them out there than you think). I’m one of them. Just because a movie didn’t win the Oscar doesn’t mean people didn’t care for it.
    “What didn’t translate from the material, and to me the greatest sin of the whole film, was not putting an objective person in the middle of this conflict.”
    There are so many things that are wrong with this sentence I don’t even know where to begin.

  6. Noah says:

    Anghus, it was nominated for Best Picture, directed by Spielberg and got favorable reviews and people still didn’t go into the theater. Whether or not they liked it isn’t the point, it still couldn’t get the grosses because nobody wanted to see a movie about that subject matter. I happen to love the movie, but it doesn’t change the fact that there just aren’t that many people willing to see a movie take on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in this country.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    “What didn’t translate from the material…was not putting an objective person in the middle of this conflict.”
    Is there such a person? Anywhere?
    Spielberg’s intention was to make the movie from his own perspective, which is to say, a liberal/humanist/Jewish perspective.

  8. Roman says:

    Noah, I think the movie managed to find it’s audience. $130 million worldwide is nothing to sneeze at. I also hear is sold well on DVD.
    Sure, it’s a bit low by Spielberg’s standards but considering the subject matter it did pretty well. It was a Spy thriller but it wasn’t an action movie (nor was it sold like one) so of course the James Bond audience didn’t go for it. I mean just compare that gross with something like “Lions for Lambs” or even “Syriana”. I believe that it would have done significantly better if the movie had a real Spielberg-level advertising campaign behind it. Even its awards campaign was very low key so the fact that it was nominated for five Oscars showed that a lot of people saw and admired it.
    The movie’s reputation is only going to grow.

  9. Noah says:

    Roman, I agree with almost everything you say. I was only referring to domestic box office, which was way below standards for a Spielberg movie, especially one that was nominated for Oscars. So the only possible reason must be that the subject matter did not appeal to the vast majority of folks in this country who have no vested interest in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. And since Schnabel is not exactly as popular as Spielberg…I was just saying the odds are not looking too good for a strong showing at the box office. But I am glad that Schnabel is using his newfound clout on a difficult project.

  10. Roman says:

    Absolutely! I’ll definitely be looking forward to what he does with it.
    I only hope that he won’t be affected by pre-emptive criticims to the same extent that Spielberg did.

  11. bipedalist says:

    I myself find it hard not to report Schnabel’s antics – he is pompous and constantly brags about himself – that is, I think, why people criticize him. But I agree that he’s very talented.
    But how sad that the woman’s beauty is all you talk about?
    Meanwhile, yes, again, Schnabel is going to “fix things over there.” A film director. Fix things over there. It reminds me of that line in Citizen Kane, “I think it would be fun to run a newspaper.”

  12. Noah says:

    Sasha, while I agree that it’s the height of hubris for Schnabel, a film director, to think he’ll even be a drop in an empty bucket, it’s better than the alternative; which is to say, “I’m just a film director. I can’t do any good, so I won’t even try.”

  13. David Poland says:

    Well, BiP… can’t buy her book… don’t speak Italian… did research and offered it… spoke to her intellect as much as her looks… not sure that qualifies as “all you talk about.” But if that’s how you want to see it…
    And why is it – and you aren’t alone in this – that people keep talking about how they want artists to be ambitious and then shit all over them when a glib response in an interview is printed, deconstructing it like it was the damned Dead Sea Scrolls?
    This is the same mindset that penalizes the most complex art and gives a pass to the showy, easy stuff. I get it… but I don’t get it.

  14. THX5334 says:

    Because Schnabel just has a Douche vibe.
    I’ve never seen anything by this guy, and I can’t judge him by that. Because I have learned that you have to separate the Art from the Artist.
    But man, seeing Schnabel on Charlie Rose, it just gave me this unexplainable primal urge to just want to kick him in the nuts.
    Kinda like the same feeling JeffMCM brings forth from many here….KIDDING!!
    Seriously, this guy has a total creepy Polanski type Pedophile vibe with a healthy dose of narcissism and false self importance – Which probably means he’s a great artist…
    But not a guy I’d want to hang out with.

  15. leahnz says:

    schnabel produces interesting art, but what i kept thinking while watching the video of him getting heckled by sy during the awards show was that a little self-depricating humour goes a long way; he could have diffused the situation by having a laugh at himself (and sean) but instead he sunk into a quagmire of vitriol and came off as a bit of a wanker. this is probably why people are giving him shit at the moment

  16. jeffmcm says:

    I’ve been watching a lot of Futurama on Comedy Central lately. To quote Dr. Zoidberg, “Hurray! People are paying attention to me!”

  17. THX5334 says:

    I honestly didn’t see the video with him and Sean Young, my opinion is based solely on his interview with Charlie Rose.
    I love Charlie, but sometimes he is starting to feel like he is pandering to the guest, Larry King style.
    The most egregious example is his interview with Jay-Z. Anyone that really works in the rap industry know that Jay-Z and Puffy ruined hip-hop.
    It’s not rap anymore, it’s pop music now.
    I deleted the Rose interview with Schnabel not very long into it. I just got the worst vibe from the guy.

  18. Please don’t compare pop music to whatever P Diddy is doing. Pop music can be exciting, euphoric and exhilerating. That crap faux-hip-hop is nothing.

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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