Audrey, Steve, and The Dark Side of the Lens
Thought I might post a picture of the lovely Audrey Hepburn on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. There’s also a cool new book: Breakfast at Tiffany’s: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion, which describes how the film was cast and publicity stills of Hepburn with retouching lines. Yes, even Hepburn was photoshopped back in the day.
TCM has a nice collection of fun trivia. “‘It was the most miscast film I’ve ever seen,’ Capote said. ‘Holly Golightly was real-a tough character, not an Audrey Hepburn type at all. The film became a mawkish valentine to New York City and Holly, and, as a result, was thin and pretty, whereas it should have been rich and ugly. It bore as much resemblance to my work as the Rockettes do to Ulanova.’
“Capote later said that he considered actress Jodie Foster the perfect person to play Holly Golightly as he originally wrote her.
“…both director Blake Edwards and actor Mickey Rooney expressed regret over Rooney’s stereotypical portrayal of Japanese photographer Mr. Yunioshi. ‘Looking back,’ said Edwards, ‘I wish I’d never have done it.’ In his autobiography Life is Too Short, Mickey Rooney says, ‘I was downright ashamed of my role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s… and I don’t think the director, Blake Edwards, was very proud of it either.”
The L.A. Times tells us that the special-edition Blu-ray contains “a warm commentary track with producer Richard Shepherd and featurettes that take a deeper look at Henry Mancini’s music, the movie’s famous party scene, the symbolism of Tiffany’s itself and Mickey Rooney’s controversial ‘yellowface’ performance as Mr. Yunioshi.”
Yahoo News shares how Tiffany’s almost didn’t get made. “Paramount was originally reluctant to make the movie,” Wasson said. “It didn’t seem like a good idea. It wasn’t, really — a gay protagonist, no love story, and really no central conflict in the novel. So the ending that exists is director Blake Edwards’ rewrite but the original ending, closer to Capote’s novel, was much more downbeat. It doesn’t have that same classic Hollywood romantic consummation with the kiss. It’s more of a question of what’s going to happen to these two people.”
Actors: George Clooney, Laura Dern, Steve Martin, Owen Wilson & Jack Black, Martin Sheen & Emilio Estevez, Theo Rossi, Alan Tudyk, Kirsten Dunst, Lucy Liu, Paddy Considine, Juno Temple, Juno Temple (again), Joel Edgerton, Ashlynn Yennie, Paul Giamatti, Zach Galifianakis, Rosamund Pike, and Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried.
Writers: Grant Heslov.
VIDEO OF THE DAY, PART 1
Here’s the trailer for My Week with Marilyn starring Michelle Williams.
THE ROUNDUP, BABY!
I’d like to first take a moment to highlight Reverse Shot’s great 30th issue which delved into the worst films of the best directors. They write: “With thirty issues, Reverse Shot has officially caught up with most of its writers’ ages, entering a period of life when things ever so slightly start to fall apart. So what better way to celebrate than to fondly recall the worst of times? Inspired by recently re-reading Eric Hynes’s thoughtful evaluation of The Bonfire of the Vanities for our Brian De Palma symposium from 2006, we began to consider the ways that cinephiles deal with films maudits—specifically those in otherwise lauded filmmakers’ careers that are deemed “the worst.” What was refreshing about Hynes’s piece was that he didn’t suddenly discover a misunderstood masterpiece, as many rigid auteurists are quick to do in an attempt to recoup a beloved filmmaker’s entire career. No, he realized the film was still terrible. Yet this didn’t mean it was not worth an in-depth look. For how can we accurately judge a director if we cannot allow him or her some missteps and failures? Do their blunders not tell us as much about their oeuvres as their blockbusters? How artists work within the realm of compromise or how they deal with their own outsized ambitions should be analyzed with as much passion (and sometimes compassion) as their supposedly unsullied gems.”
Here’s the complete list:
- Pirates by Damon Smith
- O. C. and Stiggs by Matt Connolly
- Vanilla Sky by Michael Nordine
- The Osterman Weekend by Mark Asch
- Song of the South by Chris Wisniewski
- Star 80 by Adam Nayman
- The Lovely Bones by David Ehrlich
- Light of Day by Justin Stewart
- My Blueberry Nights by Vicente Rodriguez-Ortega
- The Arrangement by Fernando F. Croce
- The Ladykillers by Michael Joshua Rowin
- Curly Sue by Genevieve Yue
- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou by Elbert Ventura
- In the Cut by Kristi Mitsuda
- The Keep by Keith Uhlich
- The Sandpiper by Michael Koresky
- Glen or Glenda? by Julien Allen
- Anything Else by Jeff Reichert
- Skidoo by Leah Churner
- The Touch by Leo Goldsmith
Pixar‘s Secret: Rewrite, Re-edit, Recut. “But perhaps the most illuminating tidbit is a quote from Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich: ‘We don’t ever finish a film. I could keep on making it better. We’re just forced to release it.’ This ethos of constant revision and incremental perfectionism, I think, is what most clearly characterizes Pixar’s work. It’s a luxury unique to animation, though one of which few animators take comparable advantage. Live-action filmmakers are essentially slaves to a shooting schedule. They go in with a script, storyboards, etc., and come out, several weeks or a few months later, with the footage they will assemble into a motion picture. Once the sets are broken down and the cast-members scatter to their subsequent projects, that’s pretty much that, barring a relatively rare, extremely costly re-shoot. Any subsequent ‘eurekas!’ on the part of the filmmakers are likely to be unrealized.”
Here’s a look at the 6 Imprisoned Iranian Filmmakers.
Nobel Literature Winner Tomas Transtromer & The Beauty of Stillness: “Like a glass-blower by a wintry sea, Tomas Transtromer has been slowly and painstakingly making poems in his native Stockholm since the early 1950s. In his debut work, the modestly titled Seventeen Poems, published when Transtromer was just 23, the Swedish poet imagined Thoreau in the woods, “disappearing deep in his inner greenness/artful and hopeful.” A private man in his work and life, Transtromer has been following Thoreau’s example for 50 years. He will have more difficulty doing that after today’s announcement that he is this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.”
Electric Sheep has a new issue devoted to the Eco Sci-Fi: “In conjunction with the ICA season, we look at environmentally-concerned science fiction with Silent Running, directed by special effects genius Douglas Trumbull, the Roger Corman-produced mutant sea monster movie Humanoids from the Deep, the dystopian and prescient Soylent Green and post-apocalyptic adventure Damnation Alley, an article on director Larry Fessenden and an Online Movie column on the winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year prize. At the cinema we review the Guillermo del Toro-produced Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, hard-hitting Mexican drama Miss Bala, intelligent murder thriller The Silence and exhilarating Korean crime drama The Yellow Sea by the director of The Chaser. In the DVDs, we look at two depictions of murderers, the unflinching, and controversial, Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer, and Michael Mann’s take on Hannibal Lecktor, Manhunter, as well as ground-breaking 90s Harlem gangster drama Juice, starring Tupac Shakur. Our Comic Strip Review is on Quatermass and the Pit. We have an article on Maya Deren as the BFI celebrates her work and an interview with Michael Tully, whose film Septien is showing at the AND festival. In Short Cuts, we review expressionistic animation film Lipsett Diaries. In Alter Ego, writer Alastair Bruce identifies with Fargo‘s Marge Gunderson while bombastic Welsh pop-rockers Race Horses pick their favourites in the Film Jukebox. In the Blog, we report on Toronto, L’Etrange Festival, Raindance and we preview the London Film Festival.”
Meet Richard Matheson, the sci-fi author who inspired Real Steel and a dozen other films. “Matheson’s six decades of experience as a screenwriter can’t be denied, though many of his original short stories remain frustratingly difficult to find in print. But in the past five years, Matheson’s greatest exposure by far has come has come with a trio of big-budget films: I Am Legend, The Box, and now Real Steel. These films, based on Matheson’s original writing, were often adapted by screenwriters who weren’t even born when their source material was first published. Matheson’s writing lends itself particularly well to contemporary Hollywood because it’s ‘high concept’—which translates, in screenwriting parlance, to ‘easy to pitch.’ At the heart of Matheson’s best tales you’ll find a simple, compelling question, from I Am Legend (“what if a mass epidemic left a single man alive?”) to ‘Button, Button,’ the short story that became The Box (‘would a needy family sacrifice the life of a complete stranger for a massive financial windfall?’). Hollywood loves these kinds of stories because they’re easy to understand and therefore easy to mass-market. At least, that’s the idea, though it doesn’t always work in practice: Where I Am Legend succeeded (at least financially) in drawing an audience to Matheson’s brainchild, The Box was a bizarre, messy box office-bomb.”
Scott Myers: “I wrote a movie that sucked. I don’t think it sucked so much because of my contribution. In fact, the script got me a ton of work. When the studio went out with the project, dozens of hot young directors vied for the gig. A writer-director famous for two memorable teen movies told me the script was the best thing she’d read in years. And yet the movie sucked. How bad? It sucked so much that it went from plans for a wide theatrical release on thousands of movie screens to a straight to video release.”
This Recording takes a look at the career of Barbara Streisand.
Lady Gaga: The Movie to become a Lifetime movie. Called Fame Monster and screenwriter Norman Snider has reportedly already written the script.
Making Content Too Good For YouTube: How “RCVR” Found 2.6 Million Views in Two Weeks: “The show is ‘RCVR,’ whose very title is just the first in a series of web-related puzzles. (Try saying it out loud.) It’s a story told from the point of view of a government agent of dubious authorization who’s been sent to scrub away memories of extraterrestrial encounters. The show unfolds in eight-minute episodes, released on YouTube by gaming channel Machinima. The man behind ‘RCVR’ is transmedia guru David Van Eyssen. A painter-turned-filmmaker whose credits include producing BMW’s online film series, his passion for the show’s mythology is palpable. Along with his writing partner, Brian Horiuchi, and a team of web developers, Van Eyssen has developed multiple viral sites that complement the YouTube series. These offshoots also allow the creators of “RCVR” to cleverly acknowledge the partnership of Motorola, whose technologies feature prominently in some of the hidden treasures that fans around the world have already begun to unlock.” Here’s the RCVR YouTube Channel.
Here’s Carson Reeves on a script called Future Perfect. “Just ask yourself a simple question after you’ve come up with your movie idea: What’s different about my story? It’s a scary question to ask, but an important one. If you can’t find a single thing that makes your story different/fresh, chances are you’re in trouble. Because those are the things that the person who reads your script is going to be selling to the next person they try to get to read it. “You gotta read this script. It’s kind of like James Bond, but the main character has amnesia and it takes itself way more seriously.” (The Bourne Identity). Nobody’s ever excitedly said to somebody else – “You gotta read this script. It’s just like everything else out there!”” He also has a new article on why we should care about conflicts.
Peter Bogdanovich on Sam Fuller who he writes was “a real hero. Long before he ever directed a movie, he had already had an extremely rich and colorful life. He was a crime reporter for a New York tabloid, a published novelist, and then a corporal throughout America’s involvement in World War II, going wherever the First Infantry (known as “The Big Red One”) went, which was practically every major theater of operation in the western hemisphere. Sammy was on the beach at Normandy on D-Day, and at the liberation of concentration camps. Wherever he was, he usually carried a 16mm camera and filmed a great many of these events (as he would do throughout his life—including the first day my first-born child came home from hospital). Upon his return, he was suffering from noise fatigue and battle shock to such a degree that for a while he could not bear to hear even the tap of finger to table.”
Nic Baisley has a few tips on working with film critics.
Here’s why many production companies will require you to sign a release form before submitting a script.
Here are 3 podcasts with husband & wife filmmaking team from Canada, producer Suzanne Chisholm and writer/editor Michael Parfit on bringing The Whale documentary to the big screen: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
And finally, the “Hunt Is On for America’s Next Great Comedy Writer.”
VIDEO OF THE DAY, PART 2
I’d like to close with the gorgeous short, “Dark Side of the Lens.”
Take good care of yourself. -D