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Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film – Indiegogo Campaign

A fantastic Indiegogo campaign for all fans of Planet of the Apes. For over a century, Makeup Artists have dazzled audiences by creating extraordinary characters and creatures on screen. They make the impossible seem possible. 50 years ago, a group of ambitious artists led by JOHN CHAMBERS and TOM BURMAN ushered in a new era in cinema with their ground-breaking work on PLANET OF THE APES.
Now… MAKING APES: THE ARTISTS WHO CHANGED FILM is telling that incredible story!

Back the project HERE

MAKING APES: THE ARTISTS WHO CHANGED FILM is an upcoming feature length documentary about the Hollywood makeup artists who created the iconic makeups seen in the original 1968 classic Planet of the Apes and their impact on cinema.

Featuring interviews with makeup artists and actors from the original film franchise, modern makeup artists and filmmakers who were deeply influenced by the franchise and film historians who recognize Planet of the Apes as a breakthrough moment in cinema, this is a story 50 years in the making.

Many regard Planet of the Apes as a breakthrough moment for the motion picture industry. It is the film that proved anything could be done on screen. The impact was so great that makeup artist John Chambers was presented an Honorary Academy Award for Excellence in Makeup almost 12 years before The Oscars created a yearly category for the craft.


Lord Richard Attenborough R.I.P.

Richard-Attenborough-MagicTwo-time Oscar-winner Lord Richard Attenborough has died in England at the age of 90 after a glittering career on both sides of the camera that included acting in films such as Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, 10 Rillington Place and Jurassic Park, and directing and producing Oh! What a Lovely War, A Bridge Too Far, Magic, Gandhi and Chaplin. 

Attenborough won the Oscar for best director in 1983 for his work on Gandhi, and for Best Picture for producing Gandhi.  He also won three Golden Globes for supporting actor in Doctor Doolittle and The Sand Pebbles, and as director for Gandhi, which seemingly won everything the year it came out (its Oscar total was eight). His directing of musical adaptation A Chorus Line and Cry Freedom, the biopic about slain anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, also earned Golden Globe nominations.

Attenborough’s relationship with BAFTA (where he served as president for seven years, beginning in 2002) was even longer, beginning in 1959 and including 11 BAFTA Award nominations and four wins.

Sir Ben Kingsley, who won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal in Gandhi, issued a statement as well:  “Richard Attenborough trusted me with the crucial and central task of bringing to life a dream it took him twenty years to bring to fruition. When he gave me the part of Gandhi, it was with great grace and joy. He placed in me an absolute trust and in turn, I placed an absolute trust in him and grew to love him. I, along with millions of others whom he touched through his life and work, will miss him dearly.”

Steven Spielberg, who directed Attenborough in Jurassic Park, also issued a fond statement: “Dickie Attenborough was passionate about everything in his life. Family, friends, his country and career. He made a gift to the world with his emotional epic Gandhi and he was the perfect ringmaster to bring the dinosaurs back to life as John Hammond in Jurassic Park.  He was a dear friend and I am standing in an endless line of those who completely adored him.”

Attenborough had been in failing health in recent years, selling his beloved estate and moving into a nursing home in 2013 to be near his wife, Sheila, whom he married in 1945. He died at yesterday in west London, his son said, five years after a stroke that had confined him to a wheelchair and only a few days before his 91st birthday.

He was also older brother of naturalist and TV personality Sir David Attenborough, who survives him, as does his wife and three sons. A daughter, Jane Holland, and her daughter died in the 2004 tsunami that killed an estimated 230,000 people in Southeast Asia. Attenborough created multiple facilities at Leicester and elsewhere to honor his lost family members and others killed in the disaster.

BAFTA Chief Executive Amanda Berry and Chair Anne Morrison issued the following statement: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Lord Attenborough Kt CBE, a monumental figure in BAFTA’s history. Lord Attenborough was intimately involved with the Academy for over 50 years.  He believed in it passionately, supported it tirelessly and was integral to the organisation that BAFTA has become today.”

A proposal to introduce an Academy Fellowship was originally put forward by Lord Attenborough and it was first presented by SFTA as part of the annual Film Awards in 1971 to Alfred Hitchcock.  The occasion was hosted by Lord Attenborough and reached a television audience of 16.5 million.  Lord Attenborough himself became an Academy Fellowship recipient in 1983.

In 1976, he played a pivotal role in the Royal opening of the present Academy’s headquarters and during that occasion introduced the presentation of the Fellowship to Sir Charles Chaplin, whom he admired enormously.

On a personal note, I had the pleasure of meeting him in 1985 at a Premiere performance of A Chorus Line at the Newcastle Odeon. Working part-time at BBC Newcastle I was given a ticket by one of my bosses, and being at the time a young student, I headed straight for the food on offer. A man next to me asked what was good? It was ‘Dickie’, on hearing my accent he asked if I supported Newcastle United, when I replied ‘yes’ he asked if we could talk about the football as he was sick of talking to everyone about his movie. He was a passionate Chelsea supporter and we had a lively discussion for 5 minutes or so before he was whisked away to speak to the press. I remember him fondly as a charismatic figure, very engaging and quick-witted. I became a huge fan there and then.

Lord Attenborough occupies a special place in the hearts of so many and will be missed enormously. My thoughts are with his family, to whom I offer my deepest sympathy at this time.


Lauren Bacall R.I.P

lauren-bacall1One of the leading ladies of Hollywood’s Golden Age died today after a stroke. The sultry, fiery Lauren Bacall was 89. MSNBC’s Thomas Robert broke the news in a tweet, and the Bogart estate has confirmed it. She was famous for starring — on screen and off — with Humphrey Bogart in such 1940s classics as The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, Dark Passage and Key Largo. In one of Hollywood’s great love stories, they married in 1945 and stayed together until his death in 1957. Four years later she married another acting legend, Jason Robards Jr.; they divorced in 1969.

Bacall worked in films consistently and enjoyed a career renaissance a decade later with key roles in Murder On The Orient Express (1974), alongside the likes of Albert Finney, Ingrid Bergman and Sean Connery, and The Shootist (1976), starring John Wayne as a dying gunfighter. Bacall continued to act in films and telepics, eventually landing a supporting role as the mother of Barbra Streisand’s character in 1996’s The Mirror Has Two Faces, which Streisand directed. It landed Bacall her only career Academy Award nomination; she lost to Juliette Binoche in The English Patient — she won the Golden Globe and SAG Award that year — but went to receive an Honorary Oscar in 2010.


Robin Williams R.I.P.

Robin_WilliamsThe comedian and actor Robin Williams has died at 63, according to police in Marin County, California. A statement from the assistant chief deputy coroner of Marin County announced on Monday that the Coroner Divisions of the Sheriff’s Office “suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made.”

His publicist confirmed the news: “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late, this is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

His wife, Susan Schneider, released a statement saying she was “utterly heartbroken.”

“This morning I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings,” she said in the statement. “On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope that the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laugher he gave to millions.”

Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork & Mindy (1978-1982), Williams went on to establish a successful career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting.

His film career included such acclaimed films as Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Awakenings (1990), The Fisher King (1991), Good Will Hunting (1997) and Insomnia (2002), as well as financial successes such as Popeye (1980), Hook (1991), Aladdin (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), The Birdcage (1996) and Happy Feet (2006).

Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times, Williams went on to receive the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting (1997). He also received two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards.


R.I.P. Saul Zaentz

saul-zaentzSaul Zaentz, the producer who won Best Picture Oscars in three different decades has died in the Bay Area, Indiewire reports. Saul Zaentz was 92. He won the Academy’s biggest prize for the classic One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Amadeus (1984) and The English Patient (1996), and produced such other films as The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, Goya’s Ghost and the 1978 animated version of The Lord Of The Rings directed by Ralph Bakshi. He also received the Academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Award, the Producers Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award and BAFTA’s Academy Fellowship.

Over his long career, Zaentz produced several notable films adapted from literary works, including Cuckoo’s Nest (based on the Ken Kesey’s novel) which earned he and then young producer Michael Douglas five Academy Awards, including best picture. It was Douglas’ first feature film producing credit. Cuckoo’s Nests Oscar wins were notable because it was the first film since 1934′s It Happened One Night to win all five top Oscar categories. It also earned Jack Nicholson and Douglas their first Academy Awards.

Then in 1984, when he joined with Cuckoo’s Nest director Milos Foreman again for Amadeus about the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, they once again swept the Academy Awards winning eight Oscars this time winning best picture, best director and best actor for F. Murray Abraham. And in 1997, Zaentz produced The English Patient which for third time during his career led to a sweep of the Academy Awards, winning nine Oscars including for best picture, best director for Anthony Minghella (who passed in 2008), best actor for the young Ralph Fiennes and best supporting actress for Juliette Binoche (who worked with Zaentz years earlier in The Unbearable Lightness of Being).

Never one to shy away from what he believe in, he became involved in a heated battle for many years with Miramax Films over monies owed from The English Patient and was outspoken about it not only for himself but on behalf of the actors and his director Minghella. But that was not his first legal wrangling. This was a man who stood up for what he believed in and was unafraid and unabashed to go head to head against companies for artists and himself. He also always went on the record with journalists, never hiding behind anonymity. He led a colorful and eventful life and was part of the Greatest Generation of those who served in the Army in World War II and, at one point, he made a living as a gambler. He was born Feb. 28, 1921, in Passaic, N.J. but relocated to St. Louis during his teens before moving to San Francisco.

one_flew_over_the_cuckoos_nest_ver3Zaentz started his showbiz career in the music business, working concert tours with jazzmen such as Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck. In 1955, he joined Fantasy Records.  Twelve years later, he and a group of investors bought out the music company and would grow it into the largest jazz record label in the world. The label also recorded comedian Lenny Bruce who was known for breaking down barriers with his vulgar stream of conscious rants on politics and sex. The Bay Area label had modest success with jazz artists like Brubeck until a local act on its roster changed its name from the Golliwogs to Creedence Clearwater Revival became an international smash. He used his Fantasy Records earnings to get into a second career as a Hollywood producer but not before Zaentz and Credence’s leader, John Fogerty, would wage epic court battles over Creedence’s publishing and some of Fogerty’s solo songs, the latter case going all the way to the Supreme Court.

Litigation turned out to be a recurring theme in Zaentz’s life: His company and Warner Bros remain in a battle with the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and publisher HarperCollins over copyright and merchandising rights related to the author’s The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.

one_flew_over_the_cuckoos_nest_ver2His last film was Goya’s Ghosts, also directed by Milos Forman and starred Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgård. He also produced At Play in the Fields of the Lord and The Unbearable Lightness of Being based on the Milan Kundera novel of the same name. The film starred Daniel Day-Lewis, Binoche and Lena Olin. He also executive produced The Mosquito Coast which starred Harrison Ford.

In 1996, Zaentz was honored with the Irving G. Thalberg memorial award which is given to “creative producers, whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production,” joining the ranks of such legendary producers as Cecille B. DeMille, William Wyler, Alfred Hitchcock, and Billy Wilder. Some of the films he produced are epic in nature and scope and are still studied by film students. Years later, in 2003, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts would award Zaentz its highest award — the Academy Fellowship – to honor his body of work. And then in 1997, won the Producer’s Guild lifetime achievement award.


Jake LaMotta – Raging Bull

Giacobbe LaMotta (born July 10, 1921), better known as Jake LaMotta, nicknamed “The Bronx Bull” and “The Raging Bull”, is an American former world middleweight champion boxer who was famously portrayed by Robert De Niro in the film Raging Bull.

LaMotta, who compiled a record of 83 wins, 19 losses and four draws, was the first man to beat the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson, considered by many to be the greatest pound-for-pound boxer ever. LaMotta knocked him down in the first round of their first fight and then outpointed him over the course of 10 rounds during the second fight of their legendary six-bout rivalry. After retirement, LaMotta owned and managed bars, and became a stage actor and stand-up comedian. He appeared in more than 15 films, including ‘The Hustler’ with Paul Newman, in which he had a cameo role as a bartender.

Robert De Niro read LaMotta’s 1970 memoir, ‘Raging Bull: My Story. DeNiro became fascinated by the character of LaMotta when he showed the book to Martin Scorsese on the set of ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ (1974) as a means to hopefully consider the project. Scorsese repeatedly turned down DeNiro offers to take the director’s chair; then after nearly dying from a drug overdose, Scorsese agreed to make the film for De Niro’s sake, not only to save his own life but also to save what remained of his career. Scorsese knew that he could relate to the story of Jake LaMotta as a way to redeem himself; he saw the role being portrayed as an everyman for whom “the ring becomes an allegory of life,” making the project a very personal one for him.

The film, ‘Raging Bull’ (1980), was initially only a minor box office success, but eventually became a huge critical success both for director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert DeNiro, who famously gained about 60 pounds (27 kg) during the shooting of the film to play the older LaMotta in later scenes. The film depicts a violent and self-destructive LaMotta, who once goes as far as beating his own brother, manager Joey LaMotta Joe Pesci), while accusing him of having an affair with his (Jake’s) then wife, Vickie LaMotta (Cathy Moriarthy). In real life, this altercation was between LaMotta and his best friend Pete, not his brother Joey. The Joey character in the film is an amalgamation to simplify the narrative.

To accurately portray the younger LaMotta, De Niro trained with LaMotta until LaMotta felt he was ready to box professionally. The actor found that boxing came naturally to him; he entered as a middleweight boxer, winning two of his three fights in a Brooklyn ring dubbed “young LaMotta” by the commentator. According to Jake LaMotta, he felt that De Niro was one of his top 20 best middleweight boxers of all time.

De Niro then moved to Paris for three months, eating at the finest restaurants in order to gain sufficient weight to portray LaMotta after retirement. He said after that prothestics “never get the neck right” as his main reason for gaining the weight. De Niro won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

It was the first Scorsese/De Niro movie I’d ever seen on the big screen, at my college, it blew me away… topped only by seeing ‘Taxi Driver’ a few weeks later. What an exceptional intorduction to these guys work! The film is all De Niro, it’s impossible to take your eyes off him and he commands every scene he’s in. The rest of the cast are all exceptional, Joe Pesci in his first major role, Cathy Moriarty in her debut (what a wasted career she’s had since) and Frank Vincent. By the end of the 1980s, Raging Bull had cemented its reputation as a modern classic. It was voted the best film of the 1980s in numerous critics’ polls and is regularly pointed to as both Scorsese’s best film and one of the finest American movies ever made.


Meryl Streep

Considered by many movie reviewers to be the greatest living film actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 16 times, and has won it twice. Born Mary Louise Streep 62 years ago in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, Meryl’s early performing ambitions leaned toward the opera. She became interested in acting while a student at Vassar and upon graduation she enrolled in the Yale School of Drama. She gave an outstanding performance in her first film role, ‘Julia’ (1977), and the next year she was nominated for her first Oscar for her role in ‘The Deer Hunter’ (1978). She went on to win the Academy Award for her performances in ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ (1979) and ‘Sophie’s Choice’ (1982), in which she gave a heart-wrenching portrayal of an inmate mother in a Nazi death camp.

A perfectionist in her craft and meticulous and painstaking in her preparation for her roles, Meryl turned out a string of highly acclaimed performances over the next 10 years in great films like ‘Silkwood’ (1983); ‘Out of Africa’ (1985); ‘Ironweed’ (1987); and ‘Evil Angels’ (1988). Her career declined slightly in the early 1990s as a result of her inability to find suitable parts, but she shot back to the top in 1995 with her performance as Clint Eastwood’s married lover in ‘The Bridges of madison County’ (1995) and as the prodigal daughter in ‘Marvins Room’ (1996). In 1998 she made her first venture into the area of producing, and was the executive producer for ‘…First Do No Harm’ (1997) (TV). Awesome in ‘The Hours’ (2002), ‘Angels in America’ (2003) (TV) and ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ (2006).

Talented, humble, beautiful and a realist, when she talks about her future years in film, she remarked that “…no matter what happens, my work will stand…”