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a la Mod:
STEVEN BAUER TALKS 'SCARFACE'
And that's not all. In anticipation of the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Scarface, Asylum UK's Oliver Jones interviewed Steven Bauer, who said that he is very proud to have been a part of the film. "Yeah," Bauer told Jones, "I mean of course, a film like Scarface, it became like this huge thing, bigger than anyone at the time could ever have really guessed. Was it like a curse for my career? In a way. At first people hated the film. Well, the critics I mean at least. They said this film is horrible, no-one who was involved with this film should feel any sense of pride, or goodness -- there isn't a single redeeming thing about this film. But then we had the fans. There were people coming out of the screenings going crazy. When something is that big, you become that person to them, and I guess it can be hard to become anything else -- which, you know, is what an actor does. Do I wish it had never happened? Not at all. I'm really proud of my role in the film and I'm really proud of the film as a whole, it was such a privilege to be a part of it."
Bauer also talked about working with Al Pacino. "I guess you could say Scarface set the tone for the rest of my career," Bauer told Jones. "In the film, I think when Tony kills Manny, it's like, he's gone past redemption, that's his point of no return. People still come up to me in the street and are like, I can't believe he killed you man. I can't believe it. When I came onto the set Al really took he under his wing -- he showed me that acting can be really instinctive -- you learn the script, you trust it. And you see how it comes out. I think we all knew we were part of something special. Me and Al sat there saying what are people going to think of this -- we were imagining where we'd be a year later." Bauer also briefly talked about how he and Pacino met with Cuban immigrants "about what it was like in Cuba. And they were tough guys. That was the thing that really struck me, how tough these guys were, how bad they had it, how few opportunities they'd had. That was so far from my experience, it really stood out to me. I grew up in America and I felt like I could do anything, I had lot of opportunities. That certainly had an effect on my character."
Filling out Silva's top five are Blow Out ("a heady mix of Blow-Up, The Conversation, and The Parallax View"), Carrie (the prom sequence is "a masterpiece of apocalyptic glitz"), and The Untouchables, another AMC mainstay. Silva then adds a list of "Honorable Mentions," essentially giving us his top ten De Palma films, which includes one film that I never expected to read about on an AMC blog: Redacted. "With this Iraq-war movie," Silva writes of his number three honorable mention, "De Palma trades his sumptuous visuals for lo-fi digital camerawork that proves just as dazzling. Still, there's no shortage of the director's usual violence in this YouTube video from hell." Filling out the honorable mentions are Body Double (#1), Carlito's Way (#2), Dressed To Kill (#4), and Mission: Impossible (#5). Of the latter, Silva writes, "Some complain about a labyrinthine plot, but this is still one of the most stylish event movies of the nineties, with a knockout sense of visual storytelling."
Hence, Zinoman argues, De Palma's films are much more invested in autobiographical elements than most (critics and fans alike) have given them credit for, and he points out the irony that De Palma's most confessional film, Home Movies, is hidden as a zany comedy that hardly anyone has seen or even heard of. Zinoman goes so far as to show how De Palma himself relates to the character Kate Miller in Dressed To Kill. While it may be a stretch when Zinoman tries to link to the above De Palma narrative by suggesting that Kate is a character who tries to save herself from a dead-end marriage, he is spot on that Kate goes to the museum and does essentially what De Palma used to do at museums: pick up a member of the opposite sex. Zinoman concludes that, far from the usual misogynistic reading of Kate Miller (who has an adulterous affair and symbolically "pays for it" with her death), De Palma is quite sympathetic to the character. Zinoman stops there, but I would add that by designating Kate's son, Peter (again played by Gordon), as De Palma's obvious surrogate in the film, the sympathy toward Kate is corroborated.
The chapter's main focus is on De Palma's Carrie adaptation, although Zinoman nicely leads up to that film by moving from the aforementioned divorce story, through De Palma's formative college years, and his early film work. Through descriptive passages, Zinoman relates how an experience De Palma had while sitting in the audience at a performance of Dionysus In ‘69, which he was preparing to film in split-screen, led to an idea for the key prom sequence in Carrie. Zinoman also delves into how the film departed from King’s novel, and a volley between Buckley and Irving over which of their characters should survive Carrie’s massacre (throughout filming, it was not known who would be the one to survive).
All in all, a terrific chapter full of new information that fills in some major pieces of the De Palma puzzle. I said that this book is essential to any research on De Palma, and in that respect, I would put it on a shelf along with The Film Director As Superstar by Joseph Gelmis, The Movie Brats by Michael Pye and Lynda Myles, Brian De Palma by Michael Bliss, The De Palma Cut by Laurent Bouzereau, Double De Palma by Susan Dworkin, The Devil’s Candy by Julie Salamon, Brian De Palma: Interviews, edited by Laurence F. Knapp, Brian De Palma, entretiens avec Samuel Blumenfeld and Laurent Vachaud, and Les mille yeux de Brian De Palma by Luc Lagier. There are other great books out there that feature insightful analyses of De Palma’s work, but the books mentioned above include interviews and provide priceless bits of information useful to anyone studying the films of Brian De Palma.
UPDATE: ZINOMAN SOUGHT OUT INTVS WITH THE PEOPLE WHO KNEW THEM BEFORE THEY WERE FAMOUS
Today (Monday, July 11 2011) Complex posted Matt Barone's interview with Zinoman, who says he wanted to get the stories behind these films that haven't been told before:
The biggest challenge for me, though, was…. There’s a really excellent and dedicated sect of horror press that covers every single one of these movies all the time. There are so many wonderful blogs, and, seeing the response to my book, it’s hard not to be impressed by how smart all these people are. So one of the biggest challenges was: Wes Craven has been interviewed thousands of times, so how do you get him to recreate what it was actually like in the early ’70s to make The Last House On The Left, in a way so that it’s not him repeating the same stories that he’s told over and over again?
So, my goal with this book was to root it in reporting. There are definitely criticisms in it, and I have a strong point-of-view, but I wanted to really tell a story. I wanted it to read like a narrative, with these horror directors and writers as the main characters. and I wanted it to be rooted in original reporting. I found that spending long periods of time interviewing them was very helpful. Talking to a lot of people who don’t usually get interviewed was also key, like supporting actors, family members, people who went to school with these directors, childhood friends.
I tried to really look at sources from back in that time; I didn’t want to talk to people who are higher-level fans or made movies starting in the ’90s or later. I looked at it more as, “Who knew Brian De Palma before he was famous? Who went to college with him?”; Wes Craven’s wife from back before he made The Last House On The Left. Those people I found were excellent sources; they had firsthand knowledge of what was going on, that wasn’t informed by the fact that they’ve been telling the same stories for thirty years. Often times, I got a fresher perspective talking to those people, and once I talked to those people I went back to Craven and De Palma, joggled their memories with the stories I’d heard, and then I got all-new memories from these filmmakers.