MCN Columnists
David Poland

Pride By David


Val Kilmer will collect $9 million to play a blind man who will try experimental surgery to restore his sight in the romance, Sight Unseen. Funny, I’ve assumed he’s been blind for years. I mean, he couldn’t have actually read the scripts for Island of Dr. Moreau or The Saint, could he? He was just…

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Weekend Wrap-Up

The shock of the weekend wasn’t the explosion of The Peacemaker (more like a firecracker, with a decent, but hardly exciting $12.5 million for number one). It wasn’t the weak opening of The Edge (it was ahead of The Game with $8.2 million, as I predicted on Friday). It wasn’t even that I hit the…

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Weekend, 27 September 1997

Superman may live, but not until 1999. After moving faster than a speeding bullet to start filming October 6th with Nicolas Cage putting on the tights for director Tim Burton, the film leapt to a February start date, then took a second bound to April 1998. Why? It’s inferred. To explain. Superman Lives has had…

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In & Out will likely stay in the top spot with about $11.5 million. L.A. Confidential’s bizarre choice to stay on just about 800 screens will cost it again, leaving number two to Batman & Redhead in The Peacemaker, the first film from DreamWorks. As if anyone cared. The Game and The Edge will fight…

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Wednesday, 24 September 1997

Manhattan is looking pretty dangerous these days. In the last week, Fox 2000 paid $3 million for The Cobra Event, a story about a killer who releases a deadly virus in Manhattan and the female pathologist who fights the airborne virus and catches the murderer. And Miramax Films purchased So Shoot Me, a comedy about…

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Monday, 22 September 1997

Another by-the-book weekend at the box office. In & Out was all in, doing $15.3 million and besting last weekend’s $14 million opening for The Game, whose second weekend brought a reasonable 36% drop, banking another $9.2 million to take second place. L.A. Confidential, which opened on only 769 screens vs. Out’s 1,992, was expected…

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Weekend, 20 September 1997

Cary Granat is the new president of Miramax’s Dimension Films. Granat has been credited with his work on Scream, From Dusk Till Dawn, Mimic and the hood spoof, Don’t Be a Menace… But Menace was primarily the project of former Dimension V.P. Helena Echegoyen, as was Rhyme and Reason and love jones (her last project…

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Friday, 19 September 1997

In an era where everyone is complaining about star salaries, Disney found a new level of bizarre by paying $2.25 million for Sixth Sense, a horror script about a child psychologist. Even better, the deal gives the director’s chair to first-timer M. Night Shyamalan, who wrote the film. Unlike other writers who have demanded a…

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Thursday, 18 September 1997

Leonardo DiCaprio will soon play Theodore Hall, the little-known teen genius biophysicist who participated in the making of the first atom bomb and then passed the info on to the Soviets in an attempt to create nuclear weapons parity. Fortunately for DiCaprio, besides being a genius and traitor, Hall was also a skinny, brooding, long-haired…

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Wednesday, 17 September 1997

Jodie Foster is set to direct and produce Flora Plum. Disney describes the picture as All About Eve set in a circus atmosphere. Some sample dialogue: Flora: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” Ringmaster: “That isn’t the night. The elephants just walked through here!” OR Flora to the elephants: “I’m…

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Tuesday, 16 September 1997

Robin Williams has set his next project, The Interpreter. The light-hearted comedy about a schlub who interprets rather than translates in tense international negotiations might as well be called Flubber 2, following his expected hit Thanksgiving release. Ironically, when Robin was in negotiations to play The Riddler in Batman Forever four years ago, I asked…

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Monday, 15 September 1997

It was no contest as The Game won the weekend box office race. It was the only real contestant. With over $14 million at the box office, it did more than four times as much as G.I. Jane, yet fitting its labyrinthine plot, The Game disappointed. It was Douglas’ best opening since Basic Intinct’s $15.1…

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Combine the hip L.A. wannabes from Swingers with Sling Blade’s Karl “Killer” Childers and what do you get? A blood-soaked lounge act or a job directing a big Hollywood movie. Nicholas Goodman got the former, landing a directing gig for Paramount based on his three minute-long parody Swing Blade. I wonder whether Paramount would have…

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Thursday, 11 September 1997

Barry Levinson’s Sphere has been poked, prodded and pushed further than any studio film this year. First, it was delayed while WB execs decided to cough up Sharon Stone’s $6 million asking price. Then, they delayed production two months in order to rework the enormous effects budget. Next, they decided to shove it into theaters…

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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…

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Elle “The Body” Macpherson recently complained, “Modeling does not train you in any way, shape or form to be an actor.” We noticed, Elle. Fortunately it does prepare you for lying (her recent claims that she wasn’t pregnant), humiliation (her turn in Batman & Robin) and full-frontal nudity (Sirens). Quentin Tarantino recently singled out Ralph…

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Monday, 8 September 1997

Steven Seagal, America’s favorite Talentless-Clint-Eastwood- Imitator-with-a Bowling Ball-In-His-Gut, took the top box office spot with a Fire Down Below without even hitting the $10 million mark ($6.1 million bucks). Just last weekend, even adjusting with kindness for the three-day weekend, Seagal would have been number five on the box office chart behind week two veterans…

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Weekend, 6 September 1997

Drew Barrymore has jumped into the precocious blonde producers’ pool. With a new two year first-look deal at Fox 2000 (if the name fits…), Drew’s shown Silverstone-like insight choosing her first Fox project, Born To Shop. Producer Barrymore will play a shopaholic who gets hit by a bus and comes back from the dead to…

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Thursday, 4 September 1997

GEORGE CLOONEY IS A FLEA-RIDDEN HOMOSEXUAL! Calm yourselves, everyone. George is just guest voicing on Comedy Central’s South Park as Sparky, a male dog who comes out of the closet when he discovers that life’s a bitch and so is he. Normally, The Hot Button doesn’t cover TV, but who could resist writing that headline?…

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Wednesday, 3 September 1997

BOX OFFICE B.O. The box office story was so weak this weekend that making jokes would seem cruel. Why kick a conquered Kull? Why tease Alicia about being excess baggage? Why rip Charlie Sheen (even the studio dropped Sheen to the background and put money man Chris Tucker front and center in the new ads)…

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Quote Unquotesee all »

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