Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for August, 2013

The Exorcist – Poster Art

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William Friedkin awarded Golden Lion in Venice

The Exorcist director William Friedkin has arrived in Venice to receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. He’s also there for the world premiere of Warner Bros’ newly restored version of his 1977 film Sorcerer. It’s the one he’d like to be remembered for. It “came the closest to my vision of it; the result is the way I first saw it in my mind’s eye,” he said as part of a wide-ranging and animated chat with journalists ahead of his award ceremony today.

Friedkin was last on the Lido with 2011’s gritty Killer Joe. That movie was penned by Tracy Letts with whom the director also collaborated on 2006′s Bug. He said this afternoon that he hopes to make another movie with Letts and that the two have discussed “doing a contemporary western.” When, he’s not sure, though. Opera afficianado Friedkin is currently planning a new take on Rigoletto with Placido Domingo and noted that Letts is busy penning a new version of The Grapes Of Wrath for Dreamworks.

Speaking of the current state of the studio system, Friedkin lamented the lack of original ideas in Hollywood. He said Killer Joe and Bug couldn’t have been made with a studio. “Hollywood today is like a big casino… where you gamble and put all the chips on one turn of a card.” To get a movie made within the system, Friedkin cracked, “You have to have someone wearing a spandex suit with a letter on his chest flying around the world saving it from evil… Somebody who can kill vampires or zombies. I don’t want to do that. I don’t even want to watch it.” He added that the studios “have a problem” but that they will continue to exist “for a good long time to come.” The real trouble will hit if distribution methods continue to change drastically and find success. With aspiring filmmakers now able to shoot, edit and post their movies online by themselves, “You’re going to see a broadening of the number of people who enter the world of cinema and the way their films will be distributed.”

Of Sorcerer, Friedkin said, “It was a difficult film to make, but I think we were all lucky.” There were a lot of physical problems during production including malaria and gangrene. The movie brings together a group of four outcasts who must transport unstable nitroglycerin through the jungle in two scrap trucks. Friedkin called it a “metaphor for the nations of the world that can’t get along.” Alluding to the current crisis in Syria, the director insisted there is “no doubt that the world right now is on the edge of extinction… Everyone is threatening everyone today in a way I haven’t experienced since the Second World War. Only now, the weapons are nuclear and all it takes is one madman to end the whole thing… The only real solution is if the world again comes up with a Ghandi or an Anwar Sadat or a Martin Luther King Jr.” A major role of cinema, he said, is as “a way for people to come together who don’t necessarily like each other.”

The director’s classics include The Exorcist and The French Connection, which won five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and a Best Actor statue for Gene Hackman. He was asked today whether he’s eased up on his actors and recalled working with Hackman. “I was difficult with Hackman because his character was difficult. As a director I work very much like a psychiatrist… You have to provoke emotion. (Hackman) was more angry at me than the drug dealer [in the film]. This is what I intended and it’s one of the reasons his performance is so good.”

Finally, he offered a piece of advice to aspiring filmmakers. “If you are in a cinema school, leave immediately! Nobody can teach you how to do cinema. It’s something you learn by doing and seeing. Cinema begets cinema.”

While awaiting the inevitable controversial Friedkin Q&A from the festival, enjoy this excellent wide-reaching interview about Hollywood, his crazy career, and even his politics and spirituality. The Oscar-winner opens up on everything from the ratings board to the death penalty, and shares stories from his new autobiography The Friedkin Connection, about The French Connection, Cruising and much more.
Anyone interested in movies and culture will find Friedkin’s perspective fascinating, and he continues to surprise even the most jaded onlooker.


Predator Poster Art by Ash Thorpe

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Carrie – Trailer #2

The second trailer for MGM/Screen Gems’ Carrie remake of the classic book by Stephen King may spoil all the iconic scenes from the 1976 original. But Sissy Spacek’s telekinetic heroine never had to deal with mean girls in the cell phone age. Chloe Moretz stars as the misfit teen opposite Julianne Moore as her Christ-crazy ma (Piper Laurie in the original) in the October 18 pic directed by Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don’t Cry). Check it out:


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12 Monkeys – Poster Art

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12 Monkeys – Syfy Channels Series

12 Monkeys_Syfy ChannelDEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Syfy Channel has given a cast-contingent pilot order to 12 Monkeys, a drama series based on the 1995 Universal Pictures/Atlas Entertainment film directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. The 60-minute pilot, produced by Universal Cable Prods and Atlas Entertainment, was written on spec by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett (Terra Nova). It follows the journey of a time traveler from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in present day on amission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate the human race. Filming is tentatively slated to begin in November. Atlas’ Charles Roven (The Dark Knight trilogy), who produced the feature, and Richard Suckle will executive produce, with Matalas and Fickett, repped by by ICM Partners and manager Brian Lutz, co-executive producing.

This is Syfy’s second consecutive pilot order to a sci-fi feature adaptation — last month the network greenlit a 90-minute pilot for Dominion, a drama based on characters from the 2010 feature Legion. Dominion is described as an epic supernatural action drama set 25 years in the future after a war between an army of angels and mankind has transformed the world. It follows the perilous journey of a rebellious young soldier who discovers he’s the unlikely savior of humanity. Bold Films, which produced the movie for Screen Gems, is co-producing with Universal Cable Prods. Stewart and Bold’s Michel Litvak and David Lancaster executive produce, with Wilmott, co-executive producing.

12 Monkeys was among several hot projects at Syfy, which may not be done with its orders (pilot or straight to series.) The other top contenders included Clandestine, from actor-writer Todd Stashwick and artist Dennis Calero; Proof, from Marti Noxon and M. Night Shyamalan; and Sojourn, from Phil Levens, Jason Blum and Lionsgate.


The Stand – Back on at Warner Bros

thestand_captaintrips_premierehc_leDEADLINE BREAKING: Warner Bros has set Scott Cooper to re-write and direct The Stand, based on the seminal post-apocalyptic novel by Stephen King. That means that while the studio has Ben Affleck as its new Caped Crusader for Batman Vs. Superman, Affleck has withdrawn from The Stand. He had been set in late 2011 to write the script and direct. Affleck is busy directing and starring in his scripted adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night for Warner Bros.

Warner Bros is teamed on the project with CBS Films, which is co-producing and co-presenting and possibly financing the project together. Dave Kajganich wrote the first draft. Published in 1978, the mammoth novel covered a biological apocalyptic disaster that decimated the population. The survivors then had to try and piece together a new form of humanity and it became a good vs evil struggle, with elements of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. King was at his best, both in creating depictions of the demise of civilization and in the arcs of characters good and bad who became important in a new order. The novel is so sprawling that I always wondered how it could be compressed into a feature, and it was turned into a solid miniseries. Now, Cooper will try to mount what for Warner Bros continues to be a big priority project.

Roy Lee and Mosaic are producing for Warners and Jon Berg is the studio exec. Cooper is currently developing Creek with Leonardo DiCaprio, and his next film, Out Of The Furnace, is released December 6.