Hot Button Archive for September, 1997

Casting About – Val Kilmer, Matthew Broderick, Albert Brooks

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 reading all the zeros on his Braille paycheck.
Matthew Broderick is back in high school, only this time he’s a teacher in Election. Karmicly enough, he has a student he hates; she’s no Ferris, but a goody-goody played by Reese Witherspoon who is running unopposed for student council president before Broderick creates an opponent for her. The film is being made under the MTV banner. It’s their third effort after Joe’s Apartment got flushed down the toilet after scurrying for cover when exposed to the light.
Albert Brooks has joined the cast of Out of Sight, number 397 in the current string of Elmore Leonard-based movies. Brooks is the victim of a heist by an all-star line of bad guys, including George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle and Dennis Farina. Leonard is quickly becoming the next in the line of succession started by Stephen King and followed by John Grisham. Soon to be heard at a theater near you – “If there’s one more preview for a movie with quirky, quick-witted bad guys who aren’t really bad compared to society’s white-gloved criminals and who look great in their underwear, seducing the girlfriend of the really bad bad guy so we root for them even though they spend the entire movie killing people and preparing to rip people off, I am going to scream!”
The Whole Picture delves into the dark side of entertainment journalism this week.
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Weekend Wrap-Up, The Peacemaker, The Edge

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 L.A. Confidential box office draw exactly right ($4.5 million for sixth place)!
The shock of the weekend was Soul Food! An African-American dramedy that did serious business. If Soul Food ends up doing $45 million domestically, it will be a much bigger hit for Fox than The Peacemaker will be at $55 million for DreamWorks. In fact, at a cost of only $7 million, it would be a bigger hit than Waiting To Exhale, which grossed $66 million domestically, but cost $15 million. There are going to be a lot of executives spending their mornings trying to figure out why Soul Food is a hit and the wonderful love jones and A Family Thing missed. Could it be that Vivica Fox is a legitimate movie star? Since Independence Day, this is the fourth straight film she has done that has “opened.” Set It Off (opened at $11.8 million), Booty Call ($8.5 million), Batman & Robin (a Vivica-irrelevant $43 million) and now Soul Food. As good as Vanessa Williams is, her track record is a lot less clear. Congrats to you, Viv. Your price just went up.
In the rest of the box office news, In & Out held up, taking third spot with $11.3 million, dropping only 26 percent. The Game took another 45 percent plunge to $5.1 million and fifth place. Wishmaster hit seventh place with $3.3 million after its take was cut in half, while A Thousand Acres continues to get plowed under and G.I. Jane disappears off the AWAC screens.
Finally, my current pet peeve, L.A. Confidential, and its limited release distribution plan continues to allow the film to dip before it expands out next week, dropping well under $6,000 per screen from $7,100. Here’s a movie with the potential to be a bigger Usual Suspects, but at this rate, it will need Oscar nominations aplenty to match last year’s sleeper’s $46 million domestic gross.
Tomorrow, The Hot Button tackles the news, including some eyewitness Tori Spelling gossip. I’m such a media whore!
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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 enough troubles to make one believe that Lex Luthor was an exec at another studio. The original script, by Chasing Amy scribe Kevin Smith, was dumped by Burton. The new version, by Wesley Strick (Cape Fear/The Saint), apparently has struck Kryptonite as well. Then, the production move to early 1998 made the scheduled summer 1998 release date into a Titanic-like scheduling nightmare. So, Warner Bros. moved it to Christmas 1998. Okay? Nope! Resurrected Producer Jon Peters wanted a summer movie! So, July 3, 1999 it is. Safe at last? Warner Bros. hopes so. The Independence Day release date is five whole weeks from the Star Wars prequel. It’ll need it. And if the other studios are looking for a fight, Cage’s Neurotic Man Of Steel could end up fighting the Jedi, The Fantastic Four and The Terminator (T-3) in one bloody summer.
Speaking of The Terminator, I told you last week about the purchase of the sequel rights by bankrupt company king Andy Vanja. Turns out the 20th Century Fox found out about the purchase at about the same time I did. Why does that matter? Well, they were in the midst of closing negotiations with Jim Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gale Ann Hurd to make T-3 at Fox. Not only were they embarrassed, but they now have a very unwanted partner. The bottom price for the remake rights now sits at about $15 million and is likely to go up as Vanja applies the pressure. And that’s before Arnold’s likely $30 million asking price, Cameron’s probable $15 million writer/director fee and the production itself, which, given Cameron’s history, could push beyond Titanic’s $200 million (low estimate) price tag. Arnold’s new tag line? “I’ll be back-breaker.”
In more Fox news, the studio is being sued by New York State, which is claiming that the studio is in cahoots with Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, former mob hit man, to skirt the state’s “Son of Sam” law, which keeps convicted felons from profiting from their criminal acts. The fight is over the $250,000 Gravano received when Underboss, the Peter Maas bestseller about Gravano’s murderous history, was sold to Fox. Always wanting to stay with the trend, California legislators want to pass the Home Alone 3 law, making it illegal for studios to profit from unnecessary sequels.
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Weekend Preview, In & Out Will Likely Stay on Top

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 it out for the number three and number four spots — gotta give it to Hanibal Lechter vs. The Baldwin & The Bear over Mikey, whose third week of release is like the third hour of Monopoly. Tired. Look for LAC to drop to number five with about $4.5 million. Spots 6-8 are going to be a battle between the African-American family dramedy, Soul Food, the Midwestern American family drama, A Thousand Acres, and the Depantsed English Unemployed comedy, The Full Monty. If you were wishing that Wishmaster would drop from third to ninth, you may be in luck… or Wishmaster could conjure up the sixth spot, beating out the high quality/low audience-interest trio above.
Also hitting theaters is The Assignment, with Aidan Quinn playing an undercover agent pretending to be the most evil assassin in the world and Ben Kingsley and Donald Sutherland as his handlers. And stinking of low budget edginess is Kicked In The Head, the indie-star-cameo laden (Linda Fiorentino, Michael Rapaport, Lili Taylor and James Woods) comedy from Sundance’s 1995 Best Director winner, Matthew Harrison, and starring last year’s Indie Spirit Award winner for Best Supporting Actor in Walking and Talking, Kevin Corrigan. See you on video, boys!
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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 two club-hopping hedonists, Kat and Kitten, who find happiness by catching the Supermodel Serial Killer of Manhattan. As though a virus could survive the New York air or kill a Supermodel.
The U.S. Postal Service has announced that Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Phantom of the Opera and The Frankenstein Monster will all be seen on stamps, starting Oct. 1. In Los Angeles, long-jaded to movie monsters, the classic creatures will be replaced by Christian Slater, The Implant, Charlie Sheen, The Phantom of The Mini-Mall and Steven Seagal, the bolt-knecked monster raised from obscurity by Dr. Michael Ovitz.
Producer Jason Kliot says he’s obtained access to shoot a film in Vietnam for the first time since the war. Three Seasons is expected to shoot in Nam in late October with Harvey Keitel as the star. The Vietnamese may not understand why a story about a naked pianist who seduces mute women, cleans up after hit men who screw up and grunts a lot, set in Brooklyn, New York, has to shoot in Vietnam. Huh? It’s not about that? It’s about a G.I. who returns to Vietnam in search of a daughter born out of a liaison with a Vietnamese woman? Oh well. I bet Harvey still grunts a lot.
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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 to be the per-screen average winner, but the big-city butch cops got beaten by the small town queens, $7681 to $7152. A good number for L.A.C. (totaling $5.5 million for the fourth slot), but not as OUTstanding as expected. Maybe the platformed release pattern may not have been the best choice.
In the rest of the B.O. news, A Thousand Acres took a hit to its overall Oscar potential, with only $3 million cropping up to take the fifth spot with a $2,483 per-screen average. That’s $300 less per screen than Wishmaster (number three with a $6.5 million total) conjured up. The fact that, despite these numbers, Lange and Pfeiffer are still very real candidates for Oscar gold proves just how few great women’s roles there are out there. And even worse, the numbers show why there are more films made featuring serial killers than there are about thinking women.
Trimark Pictures has bought the rights to Wayne Wang’s next flick, Chinese Box. The question is, “Why?” Wang, the director of Miramax’s successful double-bill Smoke/Blue In The Face and Disney’s The Joy Luck Club, screened his Jeremy Irons-starring arthouse film at the Venice and Toronto film festivals before settling in with Trimark, the company that brought us Carrot Top in Chairman Of The Board and Angie Everhart taking her clothes off — does she do anything else? — in the 9 1/2 Weeks sequel. Another case of Art For Crap’s Sake.
In celebrity news, tragedy hit Yaphet Kotto when the limo he was riding in broke its rear axle, lost its right rear wheel, ran up an embankment, and burst into flames. No one was physically hurt, but in a $500,000 lawsuit, Kotto claims “serious bodily injury, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and economic loss.” And worse — so much worse — Kotto “has not been able to get back in a limo since that time.” Please divert all donations to the Princess Diana or Mother Teresa Trusts to the Caddy For Kotto Fund. We can cure limowreckaphobia in our time.
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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 at New Line). Her exit this spring not only marked a change of the color guard at Miramax, but left Hollywood without a single African American holding a V.P.-or-better post at any studio.
On the brighter side, the Screen Actors Guild reports that ethnic minority actors have increased their stake in Hollywood in each of the past five years, topping out at 20.7% of all speaking roles last year — an all-time high. And a few of those roles could actually be performed without a gun or the use of the “F” word.
Meanwhile, even in the future, Laurence Fishburne is being cast as a slave fighting for freedom. In Keanu and Laurence’s Excellent Adventure, a.k.a. Matrix, the future is run by computers which trick the world into thinking it’s still the 1990s. (If I had to relive another decade of Gen X, I’d kill myself) Mr. Fishburne plays Morpheus, leader of the freedom fighters who recruit Reeves’ character to help retake control. And a dumb white man shall lead them!
In ethnicity-
free news, if you are in San Francisco and you love horror movies, you can check out Body Snatchers: The Musical this month. If it succeeds, we’ll all be looking forward to Jason On Ice and Robert Englund in Hello, Freddy. (“You’re lookin’ dead, Freddy! Open head, Freddy!”)
Finally, reports of Jabba The Brando making A Civil Action with John Travolta were premature. Robert Duvall will re-team with his Phenomenon co-star since “the deal” for Brando couldn’t be worked out. Something about three tons of M&Ms with all the brown ones taken out. Rock on, Marlon!
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The Sixth Sense, Wide Awake, The Age Aquarius

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 directing gig, Shyamalan has no writing track record, with his first major feature, Wide Awake, due from Miramax on Oct. 17. And there’s more! The $2.5 million fee will comprise about 20 percent of the film’s overall budget, a bigger piece of the budgetary pie than $20 million action stars like Arnold get. This may be the stupidest financial deal this writer has ever heard of in Hollywood. No joke.
The new Harrison Ford film, The Age Aquarius, changed plans to shoot in Israel for three weeks next month when someone figures out that Israel could be dangerous. Also on the Genius Insight travel advisory list was the fact that the French don’t like us, the British can’t cook and Italian men may pinch your wife’s buttocks. Stay tuned for more important updates.
Andy Vajna is buying half The Terminator sequel rights at $7.5 million from Carolco Liquidating Trust, the executor of the bankruptcy that Carolco founder Vanja left behind to start Cinergi Pictures. But, Vanja’s Cinergi isn’t the one buying the rights, because that company is self-liquidating to avoid bankruptcy after making too many losers, like The Color of Night, Judge Dredd and The Scarlett Letter (not to mention weak returns on Evita). So, if you have a few hundred million lying around the house, invest in Andy. Only this time, the Indecent Proposal will be paying Demi Moore $12 million to appear in a costume drama and you’re the one that gets screwed.
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore did their best to shock the world at this year’s Emmy Awards when Bruce gave a big hello smooch to Ellen DeGeneres while Demi did likewise with Anne Heche. More shocking still would have been the trio of Willis, Moore and Heche not finding a way to steal headlines form the people who actually won Emmys.
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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 teen with a tendency to hyperactivity who screamed at the top of his lungs unintelligibly whenever having a strong emotion. Talk about a coincidence!
Ford model Nacho Arenas is directing a movie. Let that linger in your mind for a moment. Nacho is directing a movie. Nacho! To prove that models are exclusively on the Fernandoesque “It’s better to look good than to act good” platform, he’s hired alleged actors Maxine “I Lived With Ed Burns” Bahns, Ashley “I Married Shannon Doherty And Angie Everhardt” Hamilton and A. J. “I’ve Screwed Up My Career As A Gossip Columnist, But My Two Day Growth Looks Really Cool” Benza to star.
Shawn and Marlon Wayans get their civil rights violated in small town America in the comedy, My Kinda Town. When their successful lawsuit bankrupts the tiny town, the duo takes ownership of the town. The first thing they do is create a law forcing all the other citizens to mug at the camera, walk funny and make wild sounds in order to try and get a laugh.
Speaking of jurisprudence, reports are that Marlon Brando is looking to work opposite John Travolta in writer/director Steven Zaillian‘s film of the non-fiction novel, A Civil Action. The big question is whether Brando is attracted to the project because he thinks the role of corporate counsel to Beatrice Foods is the kind of great role that will bring respect to the tail end of his career or whether he’s just looking for a corporate discount.
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Jodie Foster is set to direct and produce Flora Plum

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 still not to be had for the price of a salted peanut!”
From Amy Taylor of the Northwest: One “Hot Button” I personally have, is spec scripts such as Cowboys and Aliens, or Earth Dick (no, not soft porn!), being purchased for six figures. I bet my 8-year-old could come up with a better idea than those, or at least a better title! In all honesty, however, I am certain if they were my clients, I would have laughed all the way to the bank!
Thanks for your thoughts, Amy. You’ll be thrilled to read the next item.
The Thunderbirds is being prepped as a live-action film based on the hit 1960s U.K. TV series that featured marionettes as 21st century space heroes. The Hot Button‘s wooden casting suggestions: Jason Patric as Anyone Who Has To Talk, Shaquille O’Neal as Anyone Who’s Not A Freak, Matthew McConaughey as Anyone Smart and Marky Mark Wahlberg‘s prosthetic device from Boogie Nights as The Ultimate Force Of Nature.
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Robin Williams Has Set his Next Project,

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 him why he wanted the part. He said, “If I don’t play a bad guy soon, I’m going to become f***ing Fred MacMurray!” No word on whether the Double Indemnity remake is on his “To Do” list.
The Full Monty will be the first late-summer release to go all the way to profitability. Even though the film’s gross has just hit $6 million, it should pass $15 million in the next two or three weeks, putting the film into the black considering a $3 million production cost and an estimated $8 million P&A (Prints & Advertising) budget. On the flip side, G.I. Jane, September’s top drawer (with silk stocking in it?), is in its fourth week with a $39 million total, making it a poor bet to even match its production costs in domestic box office, though it will certainly be profitable in the long worldwide run. Naked fat guys everywhere rejoice!
Speaking of G.I. Jane, what was with the men in short shorts and hairless legs? Despite Moore’s pointedly feminine physique, Ridley Scott‘s vision of the S.E.A.L.S was more about beefcake than a Chippendale’s video.
You think it’s easy to be in the movie business? MGM, formerly the lion of Hollywood, has been singing in red ink for the last five years to the tune of $1.7 billion. Yes, billion with a B. Even last year, with The Birdcage and Goldeneye on the release list, MGM dropped $90.5 million. Fortunately, studio chief Frank Mancuso has taken home almost $30 million in salary and stock in that same five years. Makes Michael Eisner‘s paycheck look pretty reasonable, huh?
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LA Confidential Emerges as Strong Oscar Contender

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 Instinct’s $15.1 million, but movies had a longer theatrical life back then. It was the second best September opening ever, after last year’s The First Wives Club, but Goldie, Bette and Diane did $18.9 million, 35 percent more than The Game. Ultimately, The First Wives Club hit $100 million. The Game won’t come close. Especially with L.A. Confidential coming in hot on its tail.
Speaking of L.A. Confidential, the first of this year’s serious Academy Awards contenders, it has three remarkable features. First, with an Oscar in hand, Kevin Spacey now gets top billing for playing the same kind of small character part he played when he was billed fourth. Second, two Australians, who first became famous for their work as gay men — Guy Pierce in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and Russell Crowe in The Sum Of Us — are now going to be known as hard-bitten L.A. detectives from the ’50s. And third, Kim Basinger really can act. The degree of amazement may not be in the order listed.
Sony’s promoting Gattaca by running realistic print ads for genetic engineering with a small Sony tag on the bottom. Those interested are instructed to call 1-888-4-BEST-DNA. Don’t dial quite yet. The number wasn’t working as of posting time. Seems that there has been some controversy about the ads being too real and somehow insulting those of us who haven’t been genetically engineered. For my two cents, I wouldn’t put my child’s DNA in the hands of a company that couldn’t come up with a better name for a movie than Gattaca.
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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 hired him if he’d mocked the studio’s summer misses and missing blockbuster, Titanic, with Addicted To The Event Movie On The Horizon.
Speaking of Swingers, writer/star Jon Favreau is giving up his “Friends” dream of being the Ultimate Fighting Champion to go back to the typewriter to adapt the Po Bronson book about the early days of Silicon Valley, The First 20 Million Is Always the Hardest. Seems like no one can make a career out of sleeping with Courtney Cox. Michael Keaton hasn’t been seen in a while, Favreau’s back behind the typewriter and Tom Selleck‘s playing second banana in the closet comedy In & Out.
Art Brown and Tracy Fraim are also trying to ride the parody train to the director’s chair. In their parody, Eating Las Vegas, the hero goes to Vegas to eat himself to death. In Vegas, the buffets never close. His hooker girlfriend in this one is bulimic, leading to some explosive (and messy) love scenes. The creators of the film already have a foot in the Hollywood door as writers of an upcoming Drew Barrymore movie, but like their parody’s female lead, what they really want to do is project.
Finally, Julia Roberts has agreed to keep smiling in movies, this time opposite Hugh Grant in an untitled project from the team that made Four Weddings and a Funeral. Roberts will spoof herself, playing “the biggest movie star in the world” who walks into Grant’s quiet bookstore-owning life. Hugh’s second-most famous date’s asking price is around $10 million — about 500 thousand times more expensive than his most famous conquest.
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Levinson's Sphere

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 this December for Academy Award consideration, offering up Oscar regulars Levinson, Dustin Hoffman, Sam Jackson and Sharon Stone. But, apparently, there was so little “want-to-see” in test marketing, they decided to move the film into mid-February `97, traditionally a movie dead zone, in order to get the promo machine running at full speed. Warner Bros. now has to hope that the media doesn’t like the story about the delays better than they like the movie.
Ever see a movie that you heard was altered against the will of the filmmaker? And it still sucked? Do you still think the musical numbers in I’ll Do Anything, Bruce Willis‘ penis in Color of Money or the dirty jokes in Spawn would help? Well, Robert Altman‘s The Gingerbread Man will be right up your alley. After a bad test screening, Polygram decided to re-cut the quirky Altman thriller to make it more accessible to audiences. It didn’t work. They still hated it. So, Altman’s vision will hit the screens in its purest form, albeit next year, six months after its original release date. Maybe Polygram thinks that this rotten fruit will get better with time. After all, it worked for Gone Fishin’, Volcano and ‘Til There Was You. Right?
Disney’s busy trying re-establish distribution operations in war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina, hopefully in time for the Christmas movie season. Special Bosnia-only versions of the Disney release schedule might include The Little Mercenary, 101 Dead Dalmatians and Honey, I Blew Up The Country.
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Sylvester Stallone was the first "victim" of celebrity paparazzi bashing last week.

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