The Hot Blog Archive for November, 2007

On Blanchett

Ah, the joy of the awards season…
The issue of Ms. Blanchett’s intended placement in I’m Not There is at least one step more in the air than suggested to me by a very close source this weekend. In other words, I got played a little… and I was not as careful as I should have been.
At this point, things may well go that way. But frankly, the media blowback coming out of the post the other day is turning heads in various camps and where things land are in play once again.
This much is clear… Ms Blanchett’s turn in I’m Not There is one of the five best performances on the year in ALL categories, male or female or dog or cat, if you were going to pick five. It is easily the current crowning achievement of her career. Cotillard, Day-Lewis, and Bardem are, to my eye, the other undeniables… not just great performances (like Swinton, Page, Wilkinson, Jones, Hoffman, Linney, Depp, Hirsch, etc, etc, etc) but singular events.
But whoever said that the political race of award season is exclusively or even primarily about the work?


BYOB – November 26

Running around New York today… hoping that the Broadway strike ends so I can see Brian Cox in Tom Stoppard’s Rock-n-Roll tomorrow night. If not, The Gothams could await!
Here is some room for y’all to stretch.


Sunday Night's WGA Missive

To My Fellow Members,
I hope you all had an opportunity to enjoy Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends. Having spent part of that time responding to over 400 e-mails from members, I must once again state how impressed I am with the level of involvement and engagement of our membership. It is both inspiring and invigorating for Guild leadership to feel that collective strength and let me reiterate how grateful we are for it.
As you know, tomorrow we return to the bargaining table with the AMPTP. We do so with a cautious optimism born of the sense that our strike has had a direct impact on our employers but fully aware that, until we have achieved our goal of a good contract, our struggle will continue.
Be aware that there will be a news blackout during this bargaining period. We agreed to this on a limited basis so that a deal could be made without “negotiating in the press.” As such, there will be no official Guild or Negotiating Committee statements made about the content of each day’s negotiation sessions. Although this will by no means keep writers from discussing the issues in any public or private forum, I must once again implore you not to rely on any information unless it comes from a Guild source. It is my intention to send another member e-mail the moment the blackout is lifted or if the parties mutually agree to an update. Thank you in advance for your patience and indulgence.
Thank you also for your continued dedication to our daily picketing schedule. In consultation with our strike captains, and pursuant to fewer TV and film projects in production, we are reducing the minimum hours of member strike support from 20 hours to 12 hours a week, starting tomorrow. Scheduled picketing of studios will take place from Mondays through Thursdays with Fridays reserved for meetings and other special events. The new hours for each location are available here.
Let me conclude by restating the continued importance of picketing. Aside from being the most visible form of business disruption for our industry, picket lines have become focal points for our Guild community. They are a very public place where writers, our sister guild and union members, area businesses, fans, politicians, and even the general public can show support and solidarity. This unprecedented support and solidarity no doubt provoked the resumption of negotiations tomorrow and it will ultimately lead to a successful resolution. We’re all in this together.
Patric M. Verrone
President, WGA West
Strike Information
WGAW members: if you have NOT been contacted before Monday morning by your Strike Captain with your shift and location, report to a either a morning shift or afternoon shift at a picket line location below. Please be sure to sign in.
Picketing Locations and Schedule – Week 4
Picketing Shifts: 6am-3pm (6-9, 9-12, 12-3)
4024 Radford Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604
Meeting Point: In front of Main Gate on Radford Ave.
Parking Option: Street parking around site.
Picketing Shifts: 8am-2pm (8-11, 11-2)
7800 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Meeting Point: Genesee Ave Gate
Parking Option: Streets North of Beverly Blvd or Grove Parking Structure
Picketing Shifts: 8am-2pm (8-11, 11-2)
500 S Buena Vista Street
Burbank, California 91521
Meeting Point: Meet west of the main gate on Alameda
Parking Option: Neighborhood streets east of Disney (Parkside Dr.)
Picketing Shifts: 5:30am-2pm (5:30-8, 8-11, 11-2)
10201 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Meeting Point: Main Gate on Motor Ave. & Pico Blvd.
Parking Option: On Motor Ave near Cheviot Recreation Center or Century City Mall. Cheviot Hills Recreational Center Parking Lot, off Motor Ave (LA Parks and Rec) Walkable to Fox Lot.
Picketing Shifts: 7am-4pm (7-10, 10-1, 1-4)
3000 W Alameda Ave
Burbank, CA
Meeting Point: Under the Johnny Carson sign – in the park
Parking Option: Street parking on California
Picketing Shifts: 5:30am-3pm (5:30-8:45, 8:45-12, 12-3) – *check near date for final confirmation
5555 Melrose Avenue & 5300 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038 Meeting Point: Windsor Gate
Parking Option: Streets south of Melrose
Picketing Shifts: 6am-3pm (6-9, 9-12, 12-3)
10202 W. Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
Meeting Point: Gate 5–Main Gate
Parking Option: Streets SW Corner of Studio (Culver & Overland). Culver City veterans park (across the Street From Sony Studios (Walking Distance) over 200 Parking spaces in Public Park Lot)
Picketing Shifts: 6am-3pm (6-9, 9-12, 12-3)
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
Meeting Point: Meet at the Metro stop on Lankershim & Campo de Cahuenga (NW corner)
Picketing Shifts: 5am-5pm (5-8, 8-11, 11-2, 2-5)
4000 Warner Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91522
Meeting Place: Gate 2-3 on Olive
Parking Option: Street parking around studio

Box Office

There is plenty of reason to be happy for Disney and Enchanted this weekend, but let’s not lose perspective. Like Memorial Day weekend, the strongest players have been released the weekend BEFORE the holiday for years now. Harry Potter, Bond, National Treasure, and Happy Feet, in recent years, have marked the trend. Disney is really the only company that continues to use that weekend and not the weekend before as its big launchpad.
So… a great opening. But the world changing tone of some coverage requires at least one or two more weekends to become any kind of reality at all. That said, the film looks a lot more like 101 Dalmatians than Flubber, which is about where I saw it headed.
And This Christmas proves, yet again, that Sony knows how to work the niches better than anyone. Props go to Lionsgate for jumping into the Tyler Perry business, but $22 million opening Stomp The Yard, $20 million for White Chicks and Guess Who, and $16 million for You Got Served set this up. And the trick of this opening was a combination of daring as far as the release date and crossover, in terms of finding a black adult audience – like Perry’s – for this film and not just serving the kids.


A Little Less Support In Search Of More

There is good news for the Marisa Tomeis (Before The Devil Knows You


Stuck In The Middle (East) With You

There is an excellent film out there suffering from a publicity problem.
The problem is that it is the Israeli nominee for Best Foreign Language Oscar and all the attention is being paid to the film that was disqualified


BYOB – Post-Thanksgiving

Still flying about… but the weather in Bermuda was lovely and NY, upcoming, is cold and wet, so I gather… still, quite a lot to be thankful for…
Here’s room to stretch out. I don’t think we’ll be obsessing on box office on MCN until Saturday, so feel free to start here…


The First Celebrity Ad Campaign For A Strike

The WGA continues to pursue public opinion for a strike, seemingly uninterested in making this a fight about the actual issues that are on the table. I honor those involved with this effort for their effort and passion in a good cause, but I have to wonder how any of this can change public opinion.
Writers are a class of the industry that has, after years of being told to, such low self-esteem that it is the only group I can imagine that feels that their first effort must be to let people know they exist. Of course actors need words to speak.
How about a spot where Sean Penn, screenwriter, is talking to Jeff Garlin, screenwriter, and saying, “So I get paid a 1.2% residual when my movie shows on HBO, I get paid $1.2% when my movie gets played on cable television, and while studios are making much more profit when they sell DVDs, I only get .4%? And now, those idiots want to pay that same junky rate when they stream my film on the internet, which is already more profitable than DVD because of how little it costs to deliver?” Garlin can’t think of a word to say… Speechless.
I’m not trying to write ads for the WGA. They are much more talented than I. But there are real arguments to be made – like this whole strike is about $500 million a year max in a business with over $125 billion in revenues – and as much as people love the group wank, it was making me chafe from Day One.
Holly Hunter
Paula Prentiss/Dick Benjamin
Sean Penn

Jeff Garlin
The Cast of Ugly Betty
Kate Beckinsale & David Schwimmer

Clarification On Once Song Eligibility

From one of the film’s publicists –
“To clarify the eligibility of Falling Slowly as I noticed some posts on your blog – the academy rules say a song must be recorded for use in the film prior to any other usage – Falling Slowly was written by Glen Hansard for Once and the film was shot in January 2006. Unsure of whether Once would ever find a distributor or much less have a soundtrack, Glen and Marketa decided to release The Swell Season in Sept 2006 and that album has 4 songs on it that were also in Once. All the songs were recorded expressly for use in the film, but then used later on their album. Luckily, everything changed for them when Fox Searchlight acquired the film at Sundance 2007 and made it into this year’s indie success.”
And while a publicist is a publicist, you should know that situations like this are cleared with The Academy by studios as the process goes along, so I doubt any of this is just a defensive position. I’m sure that if this is being written for publication, that they have been cleared by The Academy on the issue.



I am still thankful for the work of filmmakers. That is the redemption of This Thing We Do. So long as Julian Schnabel is out there making art films in French that Miramax is thrilled to be selling, I am thankful. So long as a script like Nancy Oliver


Lunch With… Keri Russell & Kirsten Sheridan

And a month of lunches…
Amy Adams | Hal Holbrook | WGA Strike Chat 1 | WGA Strike Chat 2 | Mira Nair, Irfan Khan, Tabu & Sooni Taraporevala | Frank Langella | Javier Bardem & Josh Brolin | Ryan Gosling & Craig Gillespie | Emily Mortimer & Patricia Clarkson | David Cronenberg | Ang Lee | Tony Gilroy | Nikki Blonsky & Elijah Wood | Sarah Polley | Michael Giacchino
And coming soon… Phillip Bosco, Todd Haynes & Christine Vachon, Emile Hirsch, Sidney Lumet, John Sayles, John Turturro, the cast & production team behind The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, and a bunch more in the month to come…


Lumet Signs 3 Picture Deal

Another rather interesting e-mail…
Michael Cerenzie, producer of the awards favorite Before The Devil Knows You Are Dead, and producing partner Paul Parmarr today announced they have inked a three picture deal with acclaimed US director Sidney Lumet.
The first of the three movies will be Getting Out, which will start production in NYC in January 2008, and will unite the trio of Cerenzie, Lumet and Parmar.
Deal comes on the verge of the re-release of 12 Angry Men (shot 50yrs ago) and as Lumet receives the LA Film Critics Association’s Career Achievement Award thirty-one years after he took the organization’s first two directing awards.


New Idea

This came via e-mail with a 5mg attachment that I can’t recreate on the blog. But interesting…
November 20, 2007
Dear Broadcast Film Critic member,
We are pleased to send you a downloadable MP3 of


BYOB – Another Day, Another Airport…

You know, much as I love my own voice. if I were you, I would invest some time listening to the WGA strike discussion… and Holbrook… and Adams… and another couple LWDs that are coming up this week. But that’s just me. (Sadly, you’ll get stuck listening to my voice again in the process, but hopefully I get out of the way of some very smart, very interesting people who have something of real value to say.)
My internet access will be spotty until the weekend. I’m sure I’ll turn up a few times. But as ever, you have the floor while I am gone. Play nice and enjoy the run for the gobble gobble… even you foreigners!


Lunch With… Amy Adams

From a pregnant oddball savant in her Oscar-nominated turn in Junebug to the cartoon turned into a real world “princess” (not literally) in Enchanted, Amy Adams has managed to keep her head down and the ego in check. Here’s a chance to spend some time, discussing her latest film, her choices, her aspirations, and why you are not likely to see her sprawled across Defamer with a NSFW tag anytime soon.

The conversation


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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