The Hot Blog Archive for June, 2015

Friday Estimates by Jurassic Klady 4

Friday Estimates 2015-06-13 at 7.41.26 AM

All one can really do is to pat Universal on the back and say, “Well done. Congratulations.”

It’s an odd feeling, really. Bigger than any of us or our very specific opinions. This is the third $145m+ opening in 11 weeks, tying the record for such openings in a year set in 2012, and that record took place over 18 weeks. And none of these three films have been anything close to groundbreaking. This doesn’t diminish the marketing achievement. But we’re not talking about Avatar or Titanic or even the first Jurassic Park. The only landmark that any of these films are leaving is financial.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

These huge numbers, which have all been reflected by huge overseas numbers as well, have changed what we talk about when we talk about box office.

But it’s more than the mega-movies. There have been 12 wide releases from the majors this summer and with them 3 mega-movies and only two outright flops. And even with one of those flops heading to a writedown of over $100 million, the studio that made it will be highly profitable this summer.

The new norm continues…


The Male Director Challenge: 2002

Very interesting year, 2002.

Only 7 “newcomers” (as defined in previous entries) in the Top 50… 2 men of color (one from film school/indies, the other from music videos and ads)… 1 specialist… 2 taking the direct line from TV directing or writing… 1 who actually got fired mid-production, but is still credited… and Christopher Nolan’s first studio movie.

#10 Grosser – Chicago – Rob Marshall – They hired a stage choreographer/director with some TV experience to direct a musical.

#16 – The Santa Clause 2 – Michael Lembeck – He had a ton of TV credits, series and MOWs, to his name before getting this sequel opportunity.

#27 – Two Weeks Notice – Marc Lawrence – His third Sandra Bullock movie as screenwriter turned into his first as a director (aside from 1 TV episode)

#36 Barbershop – Tim Story – USC film school kid, made a couple indies before getting a feature break at New Line.

#41 – Insomnia – Christopher Nolan – His first studio film after hitting the indie jackpot with Memento.

#45 – Jackass: The Movie – Jeff Tremaine – He shares credit on the side with an established director. Still, he gets the official credit alone. And he is one of the team that made the series and the movies and everything Jackhole.

#46 – The Time Machine – Simon Wells – A top guy in the Spielberg animation universe got his shot. As the story goes, he was replaced by Gore Verbnski mid-production, and then maybe shot some more of the film. No one wants to talk about it. His only live-action directing credit.

#47 – Drumline – Charles Stone III – Music Video and advertising director gets a shot.

Studio experienced directors making films in the Top 50 in 2002 were: Raimi, Jackson, Lucas, Columbus, Zwick, Shyamalan, Roach, Sonnenfeld,
Spielberg, Tamahori, Gosnell, Cohen, Spielberg, Verbinski, Tennant, Brill, Liman, Robinson, Hanson, Mendes, Fincher, Wang, Ratner, Russell, Rodrieguez, del Toro, Levant, Wallace, Scorsese, Eastwood, Casavettes, Michell, Payne, Minkoff, Jonze, Reynolds, Lyne, and Schultz


The Male Director Challenge: 2001

This is the first year in the survey of 15 years in which there were fewer than 10 first-time studio directors (without animation or true indies) in the Top 50 domestic grossers of the year. Eight is the number of such opportunities in 2001. They were…

#13 Grosser – American Pie 2 – J.B. Rogers – A close associate of The Farrelly Bros and 1st AD on the first American Pie, J.B. actually had two films come out in 2001. He also directed the Farrelly-produced Say It Isn’t So. He has not directed a feature film that has been released theatrically since these two releases.

#21 Grosser – The Others – Alejandro Amenábar – Coming off of the big foreign language hit Open Your Eyes (which Cameron Crowe would remake and release in 2001 as well), Tom Cruise exec-produced this film with his then-wife starring.

#22 Grosser – Legally Blonde – Robert Luketic – I don’t know exactly how this Aussie ended up directing his first studio movie at 27, but it seems to have come from his short, Titsiana Booberini, showing at Sundance, leading to an agent, etc.

#24 Grosser – Cats & Dogs – Lawrence Guterman – A step up from DreamWorks’ then non-specifically named animation division, his Curious George feature fell apart before he got his directing shot with this talking animal comedy.

#31 Grosser – Bridget Jones’s Diary – Sharon Maguire – A lot of Brit TV directing led to this assignment from Working Title, which then turned out to be a big hit in America.

#39 Grosser – The Wedding Planner – Adam Shankman – Shankman had a small acting career going before getting his first feature, as well as working as a choreographer. Was it a relationship with J-Lo or something like that? Seems likely.

#40 Grosser – Behind Enemy Lines – John Moore – Irish director Moore got Fox’s attention with a big-scale SEGA Dreamcast ad.

#42 – The Animal – Luke Greenfield – USC film school short leads directly to Team Sandler and the helm of one of their lower budgeted films.

Studio veterans making movies in the Top 50 domestically in 2001: Columbus, Jackson, Ratner, Sommers, Bay, Soderbergh, Johnston, Burton, Howard, Scott, Cohen, West, Carr, Rodriguez, Scott, Marshall, Crowe, Roth, Carter, Spielberg, Fuqua, Tamahori, Wayans, Oz, Farrellys, Sena, Verbinski, Weisz, Scott, Mann, Luhrmann, Zucker, Helgeland, Fleder, Ted Demme, Anderson, Bartkowiak, Annaud.

1 Comment »

The Male Director Challenge: 2000

Continuing from 1999…

There were 11 first-=times studio directors in the Top 50 movies in 2000.

Dominic Sena was one of six first-time studio directors who came to a feature by way of ads or music videos in 2000. Two were Bruckheimer hires, two entered after being part of RSA, the Scott Bros’ ad business, the fifth developed relationships with musicians via music video work, and one had a very specific video that propelled him.

The group…

#14 – Charlie’s Angels – McG – He got hot because of the Sugar Ray video and got off of that.

#22 – Gone in 60 Seconds – Dominic Sena – He directed the acclaimed indie, Kalifornia and remained a top music video and commercial director.

#36 – Road Trip – Todd Phillips – Phillips came to his first feature after making a couple docs. But he did write the film with Scot Armstrong, which he surely used for leverage to get the directing gig.

#37 – Bring It On – Peyton Reed, who had done a bunch of TV and some TV movies for Disney when he got .

#40 – The Cell – Tarsem Singh – Big-time commercial and music video director.

#42 – Coyote Ugly – David McNally – Ads and music videos in the UK, best known for the Bduweiser lobster ad on the Super Bowl in 1999.

#44 – Snow Day – Chris Koch. He did a fair amount of episodic TV before getting this feature.

#45 – Next Friday – Steve Carr – Music video director

#47 – Shanghai Noon – Tom Dey – RSA guy. Had shot on TV episode.

#48 – Romeo Must Die – (The Great) Andrzej Bartkowiak – He was a master cinematographer long before getting the chance to do make a feature.

#49 – Final Destination – James Wong. The X-Files producer/writer for years. Other shows too, including directing an episode, before co-writing the screenplay for this film and directing .

The veteran studio directors in the Top 50 that year were: Howard, Zemeckis, Woo, Scott, Meyers, Petersen, Roach, Singer, Wayans, Zemeckis, Lee, Soderbergh, Soderbergh, Segal, Gosnell, Yakin, Emmerich, Petrie, Shyamalan, Farrellys, Eastwood, Craven, Mostow, Ratner, Verhoeven, Hallstrom, Singleton, Turteltaub, Campbell, Herek, Friedkin, DePalma, Lynn.

(Editor’s Note: Rewritten on June 14, 7p, to match the format of the other entries.)


The Male Director Challenge: 1999

On Twitter today, I ran into this Lexi Alexander tweet…

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 2.56.40 PM

I think this is certainly worth doing. So I am doing it, though I am doing it a little differently than suggested. I’m going to work through the last 15 years of the Top 50 domestic grossers of each year and look at the group of directors who were hired by the studios. I am leaving out animated films because, really, that is a different universe, hiring-wise. I am also eliminating the odd “true indie” that pops up in the Top 50 of any year, i.e. The Blair Witch Project. Obviously, those are not jobs being given out by major studios.

So… starting with 1999…

The #2 movie of 1999 was The Sixth Sense, which was M. Night Shyamalan’s first major studio film. He had made a small indie and a small film for Miramax.

The #5 movie was The Matrix, directed by the Wachowskis, who were forced to direct Bound before the studio would allow them to make the significantly budgeted Matrix.

The #13 film was American Beauty, the first film from Sam Mendes, who was a highly-respected theater director.

The #16 film was Notting Hill, directed by first-time studio director Roger Michell, who had directed two indies and as well as for television.

The #20 film was American Pie, the first film from The Weitz Brothers.

The #22 film was Inspector Gadget, directed by second-time director David Kellogg, whose pre-feature film history was doing soft-core for Playboy.

The #36 film was Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, directed by a first-timer named Mike Mitchell, who had directed some animation.

The #38 film was She’s All That, directed by Robert Iscove, a TV episodic director who was hired by Miramax.

The $45 film was Forces of Nature, directed by Bronwen Hughes, who had directed some “Kids In The Hall” episodes and Harriet The Spy for Nickelodeon.

The #50 film was The House on Haunted Hill, directed by William Malone, a first feature by a guy who had done a bunch of TV for Joel Silver’s company.

So that’s 10 newcomer opportunities in that Top 50 group. Only one was filled by a woman. Only one was filled by a person of color.

To my eyes, there are really only two really inexplicable choices amongst the 10: David Kellogg and Mike Mitchell. (And obviously, someone can explain.) Two different studios. One with a significant budget, one with a low budget.

Why would Disney allow a never-time feature director like David Kellogg whose history was with Playboy make a $90 million family film? Amazingly, the film did over $130 million worldwide, which back then was probably enough with DVD sell-thru and merchandising to make the film modestly profitable. But Kellogg would never make a feature film again.

Mike Mitchell went on to have (and is still having) a quite successful career as a live-action and animation director.

The established directors in the Top 50 in 1999 were: Lucas, Lasseter, Roach, Dugan, Summers, Marshall, Minkoff, Darabont, Apted, Beresford, Sonnenfeld, Ramis, Simon West, Burton, de Bont, Amiel, Helgeland, Minghella, Stone, Harlin, Parisot, McTiernan, Mayfield, Hyams, Noyce, Oz, Ted Demme, David O. Russell, Columbus, Hallstrom, Kubrick, Gosnell, Brian Robbins, Mandoki, Jewison, and Rupert Wainright.


Review: Jurassic World


The phrase “all kinds of wrong” is usually about putting multiple spotlights on one tragic flaw. But with Jurassic World, it is an apt description of the film from pretty much start to finish. There are all kinds of things that are wrong with this film, though none of them are really tragic. This is a professionally, slickly made movie.

The trouble starts with my favorite current film composer, Michael Giacchino, who has the original score and some elements of his own blasting pretty close to wall-to-wall through the first act. Truly scored to within an inch of its life. Things calm down later and it gets better… but a thick forest of music is there to tell us how to feel through much of the picture. This isn’t close to being the biggest problem with the film, but it is a signal.

The thing about any film is that what might seem like odd choices at first blush can be overcome gloriously and deliver to the audience in the best way. The movie experiences people love the most are ones in which they can both anticipate what will happen, but then get surprised in a way that delights. So two boys – one brooding teen and one wide-eyed tween – going to Jurassic World seems like it might have a purpose, reflecting the older/younger sibling relationship form the original film while making the change to boys only. But unfortunately, it doesn’t. It’s just something they changed. There is no pay off. There is nothing special about this relationship or how it configures with the overall story.

Same problem with Omar Sy, who is quite famous in Europe after The Intouchables, and a very skilled on-screen charmer. But his role is – whether it was reduced in the edit or written this way – a meaningless placeholder for the Chris Pratt character, Owen. He mouths things Owen has already said and stands in for Owen when the film splits into four sections for a while. Owen can’t be everywhere. Sy remains a striking image on the screen. But aside from being much-lacking skin color to the film, he is forgettable here.

As a massive Vincent D’Onofrio fan, I was a bit crushed to find the innovative actor playing the Brian Dennehy role that got retired a few years back after being done a few too many times. Again, D’Onofrio did the work. There is nothing wrong with his performance. It just isn’t much of anything. We’ve seen this guy… a lot.

Then at the center of this film you have… Bryce Dallas-Howard. At least, she is the center through the first act, before its handed over to Chris Pratt, at which point she becomes his comic foil. Of course, even before then, she is some kind of power-dressing, cell-attached, powerhouse who isn’t allowed any real power. She puts her Jimmy Choo-ed foot down… and her word is final… for about 30 seconds, when something or someone comes along an changes the situation, forcing her to bend her command backwards. The premise of the film has her running Jurassic World, though she doesn’t get to know the details of what they are creating and she gets mocked by her billionaire boss for fulfilling the goals of what he has re-created. She is also a childless woman in her 30s, which we are reminded of literally, as well as with her poor showing as the aunt of The Boys sent to the park/world for a “family weekend.” Her idea of being with her nephews is to have her assistant – a caricature of her caricature of a powerful working woman, ramped up further by a British accent and the same cell addiction made sillier by the frivolousness of her calls – pick the boys up and show them around while she makes a brief appearance to great them before excusing herself for the rest of the day.

And again… nothing wrong with Bryce Dallas Howard. She does the work and does it well. When her Claire decides to get ready for action by knotting up her white blouse so we can see her Lycra tank underneath and her cleavage, you know she means business.

And then there is Chris Pratt as Owen, the tough talking, hard riding animal trainer (huh?) who has made himself the alpha of a group of raptors (huh?), lives in a weird hut connected to a trailer that suggests his independent spirit but makes no sense in the context of the park, and has somehow remained ignorant of what the evil gene-splicers are doing, even though they have built buildings on the property that are quite specific to their creations. Pratt does solid, professional work here. But the character that worked so well for him in Guardians of the Galaxy fails the Harrison Ford test here.

But the biggest problem is the premise. They turned Jurassic Park into a Godzilla movie. There is a lot of lip service paid to the “don’t mess with nature” thing and the “why do we always think bigger and more teeth are better?” thing, but in the end, the movie devolves into a bigger teeth, “get behind me, honey” movie.

Of course The Boys are the last ones who are given a free-roaming orb at the free-roaming orb ride just as the park is shut down… of course they will go through the game that says, “Danger!”… of course there aren’t any dino-fish in the water after they easily jump into the waterfall… of course.

This the kind of movie that talks about 20,000 visitors to Jurassic World, then pretends they aren’t there for a good chunk of the film, then has them attacked in a way that should truly terrify anyone under 10, then has them mysteriously disappear for the finale’.

This is the kind of film in which cell phones only work when they aren’t needed.

This is the kind of film that hints at secrets, guesses at secrets, and then reveals secrets to no one’s surprise.

This is the kind of film that would rather scare you with carefully negotiated amounts of human remains in a dinosaur’s (“it isn’t a dinosaur!”) teeth than to make you feel something real for the person before they get eaten.

It’s a “he’s a bad helicopter pilot gag” that has the professional pilot throwing up in the bushes.

And then there is the ending… which feels about as tacked on as I have seen in a long time. I am not going to spoil it, but while I admire the effort to twist the entire thing into an opportunity to give the “wacky woman sidekick” and our nostalgia some dignity, it is pretty ham-fisted work.

All that said… Jurassic World is not like having your eye poked out with a stick. It is loaded to the gills with Stuff. But the summer analogy that fits better is San Andreas and not Max Max: Fury Road. Some will say that it is just the right amount of stupid. I disagree, but I understand.

I don’t hate Jurassic World. I was just disappointed by it’s repeated failures to find a special voice, as the original had. There are two exceptions. One is Jake Johnson, who scores as The Guy Who Pushes The Buttons. Sadly, his closing bit ends up making little to no sense as a heroic act. But he is funny and his character is smarter than the movie. The other is the raptor motorcycle chase, which felt in its early stages like it was going to lift the entire movie up in a real way. Riding with the animals in what felt like an emotionally honest, connected way was a terrific idea and well executed… until it deteriorates.

The logline tells you everything that will be wrong with this film, really. The Park Is Open. But aside from being target practice for killer animals at some points, it really doesn’t matter whether the park is open. None of the central stories are really about the park being open and its 20,000 visitors being there. Instead the script trawls all of the timeless classics… kids in danger, childless working woman humbled, evil military, evil capitalism, and the biggest sequel premise of action movies, Bigger, Stronger, Faster Villain. (And don’t get me started on the “ironic” product placement in the film, which isn’t really ironic and of which I believe there is a greater quantity than in any film I ever see. Every beauty shot of the Mercedes logo made me want to scream, “F** off!”)

But we all seem to have an overload button in our heads these days that allows us to engage without thinking through the ideas. The big ending of J-World is a classic of this. So many clever pieces. But it makes no sense… it doesn’t carry the oft-mentioned themes of the film… it feels right somehow, but almost none of it makes any sense, really.

You can see the strings of the movie this might have been. The military element could have been a great premise… militarized dinosaurs, still top secret, return back to the park but are now experienced in new things that make them much more dangerous. The wacky billionaire thing could have been a great premise. Even the troubled family could have been so much better had mom been running the park, emasculating dad, distancing the kids, and making everything much more personal. Then kids go where they are no supposed to go because they are familiar, not because they have to do something dumb to get themselves in trouble. (For the record… when the kids go past warning signs here, it doesn’t much matter because the audience has no sense of any space on the island really being more dangerous than any other space. Just sayin’.)

Anyway… doesn’t matter. Like so much of what succeeds at the box office these days, Jurassic World is a mess of a story, but it has a lot of cool spectacle. And for many, critics and civilians alike, that is enough.


Emmy Watch: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show

DP/30: Me Him Her, Max Landis

1 Comment »

Weekend Estimates by I Spy Klady

Weekend Estimates 2015-06-07 at 8.26.47 AM

After this weekend delivered major studio wide releases #9, #10, and #11, there are 18 such films left in this studio summer. That would make Ted 2 (June 26) the dead center of the studio summer. So how’s it going so far?

It’s quite difficult to compare last summer’s first six weekends vs this summer’s. There was no $100m+ opener last summer by this time. This year, there is Avengers: Age of Ultron with a $191 million opening, but no other films opening to over $70 million while last summer’s opening 6 had 3 $90m+ launches by now. This summer’s Top 3 openings-to-date outpace last summer’s… but it’s much more top-heavy. But the greatest upside to this summer is that the Top 3 openers so far cost about half of what last year’s Godzilla/Spidey/X-Men trio did. Then again, international alone on those top three pictures last early summer was just under $2 billion. Even with Avengers 2 killing it, this summer’s early opening trio won’t come anywhere close.

Going further down the chart, things stay blurry. If Maleficent and Mad Max: Fury Road face off as similar budgeted films, Maleficent wins both in opening and gross. Edge of Tomorrow vs Tomorrowland (could it be the word “tomorrow?”), Tomorrowland opened better, but Tom Cruise’s strength internationally will probably make that writedown less than the Brad Bird (who both had great success together with M:I 4)

Pitch Perfect 2, which is one of those Top 3 openings, is this summer’s Neighbors, but a bit more muscular.

There has been nothing comparable to The Fault In Our Stars this summer so far. Advantage 2014. But the bottom end (A Million Ways to Die, Blended, Million Dollar Arm last summer) is going to be crushed by Spy, matched by Poltergeist, Insidious Chapter 3, and even Hot Pursuit. Advantage 2015. Aloha and Entourage are the sore spots this early summer and I don’t expect much of a recovery, home or abroad. Advantage 2014.

I think what is apparent is that this early summer had only two true sequels, while by this time last summer there had been three – and none budgeted withing $100 million of Pitch Perfect 2. Sequelitis for this summer really starts this Friday and we get 5 in the next 5 weeks. Last year, that section of the summer had “just” 4 sequels (Transformers/Apes/Jump St/Dragon). But we can also add a new Pixar to this summer’s middle and we’re looking at a lot of familiar firepower. There is every chance that the two animated films (Inside Out/Minions) will be on top of this year’s group, though Jurassic World has a chance at being a massive breakout.

I guess the answer to the question of, “How’s it going?” is… fine.

Reading trends in the film business is treacherous because it can all change with one or two movies, for better or for worse. So people mouth what they hear, which is a reflection of the media mouthing what it hears, and most of the time, it’s just not accurate… but the industry carries those monkeys on those backs for years and years. I have little doubt that the excitement around Furious 7 and Avengers 2 will shortly be followed by,”What went wrong?” stories, unless Jurassic opens to $100 million or near it. Right now, it looks like a very strong summer for Disney (even with a Tomorrowland writedown of as much as $75 million and the question mark that is Ant-Man) and for Universal, which looks like it will have every film they release hit gold, if not platinum. Warner Bros is treading water with a lot of boats which will have success and failure, but neither of enough to make too much of a wake. Sony is barely playing this summer with 1 big movie and 3 small, while Paramount has just 2 summer movies, 1 trying to revive the Terminator franchise and the other trying to keep the Mission:Impossible trajectory after the best of the series (which opened Christmas, btw). Fox is looking at a 5-film infield hit summer… unless Fantastic Four breaks out and makes that more than a decent franchise.

The only real chance for big trouble this summer is at Disney… and there won’t be big trouble because with a huge Marvel film and a huge Pixar film, both T-Land and Ant-Man can lose money and the summer is still going to be one of the most profitable of the industry. And Ant-Man may not stiff at all. No one else has their neck out as far, so even if there are some disappointments to come, there will not be blood this summer.

And that, as I pointed out after the studios had an excellent summer last year in spite of the media obsessive only on overall gross, is exactly what corporate culture wants. Possible upside, but not much risk.

Not very good for art. But corporations are not human, no matter what the Supreme Court says.

Did I forget to get into this weekend? Yeah. Kind of a bore.

Melissa McCarthy won some sort of feminist award for summer movies this weekend, but Spy, while a success and a moneymaker, is not a major opening… not even for Melissa McCarthy. It is her best opening with her face and her face only out front. That is a win. But she’s opened better. So has Paul Feig.

The idea that McCarthy and womankind was fighting off Entourage was an illusion. It fought itself to a standstill, opening just slightly better than the major-studio worst opener of the summer, Aloha. Sorry rationalizers… this is not what WB was expecting when they proceeded down this road. On the other hand, no one is getting fired over this film. Whether it’s a minor success or a minor money loser will be determined by international. Zzzzzz…

Insidious Chapter 3 really came back to its level after a massive opening of $40 million for I2. Paranormal Activity and Saw are the only horror franchises in which their #3 had a better opening than this. (I don’t count Scream. Should I?) The opening is slightly better than the Poltergeist do-over, but the two films pace one another pretty effectively.

Best in show for limited indies is Sony Classics’ Testament of Youth, which did $12,930 per-screen on 4 and may be the first film (of many, hopefully) to enjoy The Alicia Vikander Effect. No other film – of any size – managed $10k per screen this weekend.

Love & Mercy, the Brian Wilson movie (With two excellent Brian Wilson performances by Paul Dano and John Cusack), had a nice launch with $2.1 million from 483 screens. It’s Roadside Attractions #4 opening ever, with each of the 3 films above it all finding their way to over $10 million. So an indie hit, it looks like.


Friday Estimates by Entou-What? Klady

Friday Estimates 2015-06-06 at 7.31.58 AM

We are 11 studio wide releases into summer and it’s already fair to say that it’s been a really odd season. One $191 million opening… and nothing else over $70 million.

The second phase of summer is coming next weekend with Jurassic World, starting what should be a hot run with Inside Out, Ted 2, Terminator, Magic Mike XXL, and Minions. Then it’s “Growers, Showers or Blowers” with Ant-Man, Trainwreck, Pixels, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Vacation, Fantastic Four, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Straight Outta Compton.

Spy will “win” this weekend with Melissa McCarthy’s third-best opening in a big role. Odd to think Identity Thief will have had a better opening.

Insidious 3 drops off, but still does a bit better than a $20m launch.

San Andreas holds weakly for third.

Entourage has a weak, weak $10m (maybe just under) 3-day.

It’s funny that the two movies most talked about aside from Mad Max this summer are looking like the two lowest studio grossers. We need to aim higher.

Decent launch for Love & Mercy, and Alicia Vikander’s Ex Machina audience is coming out for Testament of Youth for what will be the best per-screen of the non-ethnic-niche indies this weekend.


First Trailer For “Suffragette”


The Hot Blog

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