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Thursday, December 15, 2011
ADDITIONAL DETAILS ON 'PASSION'
FILM WILL SHOOT FOR 10 WEEKS, FOR LATE 2012 RELEASE
Following yesterday's exciting scoop from Thompson On Hollywood's Liza Foreman, Deadline's international editor Nancy Tartaglione followed up today by stating that Rachel McAdams is set to star in Brian De Palma's Passion along with Noomi Rapace (yesterday's report said that McAdams was still "in talks"). The Deadline post adds that "a major male role and a smaller female role have yet to be cast. Those will likely be played by Europeans, with deals expected to be firmed up in January." The $20 million film, set to begin filming in Berlin March 5th, will shoot for ten weeks, looking toward a late 2012 release, according to Deadline. The German company Integral Films will be the co-producer along with France's SBS Productions, which is owned by the film's producer, Said Ben Saïd, who also produced Alain Corneau's Crime D’Amour, on which De Palma's film is based. As we've known for some time, De Palma has written the screenplay for Passion himself.

While none of the recent reports have mentioned it, we know from previous reports that De Palma's film was to be set in London. Filming was to be done on sound stages in Berlin, with exteriors to be shot in the U.K. De Palma told us in May that Thierry Arbogast (Femme Fatale) would be the cinematographer, and that the art director will be Cornelia Ott. In April, De Palma told Time Out New York's Joshua Rothkopf that he was in the process of getting Passion ready, "and there are going to be a lot of beautiful women in it." Asked to elaborate on the project, De Palma told Rothkopf, "It’s based on a French film called Love Crime with Kristin Scott Thomas. It has an extremely complex relationship between two women executives who are basically destroying each other—plus it has a murder in the middle. It’s great material to visualize and make erotic and fun."

Posted by Geoff at 5:33 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, December 15, 2011 6:11 PM CST
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011
RACHEL McADAMS TO JOIN RAPACE IN 'PASSION'
DE PALMA MOVING FORWARD FOR MARCH 5 START DATE IN BERLIN
Thompson On Hollywood's Liza Foreman has an exclusive scoop today, stating that "Brian De Palma is wasting no time moving forward on Passion," which she adds is marked to begin shooting on March 5 in Berlin (previous reports had mentioned the film is to shoot in Cologne, Berlin, and London). Foreman adds, "Word is that Rachel McAdams is in talks to join Noomi Rapace in the film based on Alain Corneau's twisted murder tale" Love Crime. If so, Rapace and McAdams must really like each other, as they both star together in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which opens Friday. This, to my mind, would be a dream cast for the leads in this film, which De Palma is scripting himself.

AND WHAT ABOUT 'THE KEY MAN'?
Foreman's article mentions that "De Palma had been prepping The Key Man for QED productions, which was readying for a late 2011/early 2012 shoot date." She does not say whether that production has stalled, or is still trying to make its planned start soon. De Palma would have a short but workable window in which to shoot The Key Man if they had it ready to go by early January, but if not, we might assume they were moving that project to late spring at the earliest. It seems likely we will begin to hear a little more about both projects in the very near future...

Posted by Geoff at 7:30 PM CST
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011
DE PALMA ON CIMINO, CIRCA 1995
"THE GUY WHO MADE 'THE DEER HUNTER' IS A GREAT FILMMAKER"
Thanks to Romain at the Virtuoso of the 7th Art for sending along an interesting paragraph from the October 2011 issue of Cahiers du Cinéma, which featured a cover story on Michael Cimino. For the issue, writer Jean-Baptiste Thoret journeyed with Cimino for three days between Los Angeles and Colorado, to see the landscapes of Cimino's cinema. On the trip, Thoret met Michael Stevenson, who was an assistant director on Cimino's Heaven's Gate. Stevenson told Thoret an interesting story, which Romain has kindly sent along to us:

I worked on Mission: Impossible with Brian De Palma. We came back from Roma, from a James Bond-like set, and we were going to shoot that scene on the train with Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames and Vanessa Redgrave. During a break, Brian sat on a chair and talked about cinema in general with his crew. Suddenly, Cimino's name came up. They knew I'd worked with him, so they invited me to join the conversation. Everybody was wondering why Cimino doesn't make movies anymore. Then, one of them said: "But is he really such a good film director?" De Palma shot daggers at him and told him, straight in the eye, with an icy calm: "The guy who made The Deer Hunter is a great filmmaker." That was the end of the conversation."

(Thanks to Romain!)


Posted by Geoff at 11:04 PM CST
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Monday, December 12, 2011
NANCY ALLEN INTERVIEW
IN LATEST ISSUE OF SHOCK CINEMA
Nancy Allen is the cover story interview in the new issue of Shock Cinema. The interview was conducted by Justin Bozung, and covers Allen's entire career, including her many films with Brian De Palma. Allen discusses how she had to endure slap after slap from Betty Buckley on the set of Carrie, as De Palma kept calling take after take, looking "for a certain reaction" out of Allen.

Allen recalls how De Palma had read the script for Robert Zemeckis' I Wanna Hold Your Hand, and told her, "This is really good. It's not for me, but there are some really good parts in it for you." Allen auditioned and got the part.

Also covered if De Palma's Home Movies, which Allen tells Bozung came about when De Palma and his friends, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, were talking one day and wondering where all the young filmmakers were. From this came a project designed to teach students how to make a low-budget film. The three of them all invested in it, and then Kirk Douglas also kicked in some money (and acted in it, to boot).

Of course, the interview also delves fairly deeply into Allen's work on De Palma's Dressed To Kill (after Allen read it and told De Palma it was "amazing," he said, "I'm glad you like it. I wrote it for you.") and Blow Out. Amidst these discussions, Bozung asks Allen whether she thinks De Palma gets a fair rap being criticized for his cinematic "borrowings," considering that Quentin Tarantino's similar stylings frequently get him labeled as a "genius." Allen suggests that the difference in criticisms stem from De Palma being considered an outsider who "actively pushes it all away," while Tarantino "is right in the middle of it," a guy who "plays by Hollywood's rules" while De Palma "never has." Allen then adds: "I will say that personally, I feel very disappointed with where Brian has gone, hasn't gone or hasn't evolved to yet. I happen to think he's a brilliant filmmaker. I think he should stop writing and he should bring in a writer and do other people's stuff. I think that as human beings, unless we go through a dramatic incident that puts our life on a completely different course to a certain degree, we remain who we are or have been. We keep telling the same story from the same perspective in our life. Some of the movies Brian has done over the last few years-- the scripts and the stories-- have been very hashed over. Are you making this movie again? I think it's built up frustration for many. I don't know what to say. I would just love for him to do a great film again."

The discussion also touches on some of the things that led to De Palma and Allen's divorce, and then continues with coverage of Allen's work with Paul Verhoeven, Paul Bartel, Steven Soderbergh, and more. A great interview-- look for the magazine on stands now, or order from the Shock Cinema website.


Posted by Geoff at 12:34 AM CST
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Friday, December 9, 2011
CRUISE ON THE LANGLEY SCENE IN 'M:I'
"DE PALMA KNEW WE HAD THE SHOT, AND HE JUST HELD IT, AND HELD IT"

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MTV News' Josh Horowitz
talked with Tom Cruise on the red carpet as he was promoting Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, and asked him which of the set pieces in the M:I series was his favorite. When Cruise had trouble coming up with just one, Horowitz said it was hard to top the Langley break-in sequence of the first film. The article states that Cruise credits Brian De Palma for that scene's success. "I remember when I was doing it, my head kept hitting the floor," Cruise told Horowitz. "I was running out of energy, and we were running out of time. So Brian said, 'Look, if you don't get it on the next take, I'm going to have to edit that scene,' and cut to where I fall down. So I said, no, I don't want to do that. To one of the stunt guys, I said, 'Give me your pound coins out of your pocket.' I put the pound coins in my shoes, the tips, so that's what allowed me to be able to balance and keep off the floor for that whole shot. That kept my face from hitting the floor. And then De Palma knew that we had the shot, and he just held it, and held it. I was like, 'How long can I hold off the floor?' Brian had a fantastic laugh, and then he said, 'All right, cut.'"

Posted by Geoff at 6:23 PM CST
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Thursday, December 8, 2011
STONE & OTHERS TALK SCARFACE
ARTICLE IN DECEMBER ISSUE OF 'PLAYBOY' COVERS THE MAKING OF DE PALMA CLASSIC
Run out and get the December issue of Playboy while it's still on sale-- there's a very good article about the making of Brian De Palma's Scarface. Written by Stephen Rebello, the article features new interviews with Oliver Stone, Al Pacino, Martin Bregman, Steven Bauer, F. Murray Abraham, Robert Loggia, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Miriam Colon, and even Armond White. While the article unfortunately lacks the input of De Palma himself, it provides a solid look at the battles that went into the making of Scarface. Here are some of the things touched on in Rebello's article:

BREGMAN, STONE, & PACINO DIFFER ON WHY LUMET WAS LET GO
De Palma and David Rabe took a stab at writing a period Scarface remake before giving up, after which the project went to Sydney Lumet. Stone, who had been working with Bregman for some time trying to get Platoon and Born On The Fourth Of July off the ground (with an eye toward Pacino to star in both), was hired for the job. "I passed on it when it was originally offered to me as a straight remake," Stone is quoted, "but I was intrigued when Sidney suggested we do it Marielito style. I was bored with all that Italian gangster stuff. It was never going to be a Godfather kind of movie; it was always going to be a street movie."

Bregman and Stone eventually had a falling while making the movie, and it still shows today in the Playboy article. Bregman tells how he brought the project to Universal president Ned Tanner. "Within three minutes Ned said, 'Go make it.' That was the easy part. The hard part was Sidney Lumet. Sidney's take on the material was totally political, incorrect and unfair to the president. He felt there was something sinister happening. I said, 'Sidney, you want to make a different kind of film. I suggest you go make it.' We came to a parting of the ways, which I don't think he ever forgave me for."

Stone provides a different viewpoint, telling Rebello, "I was given to understand that Sidney thought the script was too rough for him. If politics was the reason Sidney Lumet got fired, then I disagree with Bregman, because the government was up to no good, as had been documented since the 1970s, and the whole Iran-Contragate was starting to build. When Reagan came to power, word went out not only in Latin America but the whole world that the U.S. was open again for the old dirty business. Bregman is typically running away from the truth."

Meanwhile, Pacino offers yet another possible reason Lumet was let go: "Sidney wanted final cut, but I never talked any of this over with Sidney, even years later when I wanted him to do Carlito's Way." (Interestingly, De Palma has said that the reason Universal was never able to re-release Scarface with a new hip hop soundtrack was because De Palma had final cut, and would not give them permission to change it up.)

BAUER TOLD DE PALMA, "I SHOULD PLAY JIM MORRISON" INSTEAD OF TRAVOLTA
The article mentions how De Palma wanted John Travolta to play the part of Manny Ribera, a part which ultimately wound up going to Bauer. Bauer recalls to Rebello, "Everyone knew Brian wanted his pal John Travolta, but the casting director called Brian and said, 'This boy is Manolo,' and sent me immediately to One Fifth Avenue to see Brian, who told me, ' You're really right for the part.' On his desk was Danny Sugerman's stupid book about Jim Morrison, No One Gets Out Of Here Alive, and everyone knew he wanted Travolta for that project, too. I said, 'I should play Jim Morrison,' and Brian said, 'Let's do one thing at a time.'" The article mentions that screen tests were also done for the role by Eric Roberts, A Martinez, and Erik Estrada, among others.

COURTENEY COX & SHARON STONE, AMONG OTHERS, TESTED FOR ELVIRA
Pacino's top choice to play Elvira, according to the article, was Glenn Close, and he also bounced around the names Meryl Streep and Jodie Foster for the role. Seeing the film now, these choices may seem odd, but Stone explains why to Rebello: "My original concept of that role was that she was a rich New York girl who was slumming." Bregman adds a list of names who screen-tested for the Elvira role: Courteney Cox (?!?), Jamie Lee Curtis, Isabelle Adjani, Marg Helgenberger, Camryn Manheim, Sharon Stone, Debra Winger, and Stephanie Zimbalist.

Michelle Pfeiffer, another key figure who was not interviewed for the article, went through months of auditions with Pacino (who thought she was too inexperienced) before finally landing the part when she played, according to Rebello, "a volatile confrontation scene that sent glassware and china flying, hitting Pacino and drawing blood." Pacino tells Rebello, "I was up in the air about the casting. Michelle Pfeiffer, well, I didn't understand who she was or what she was doing, but Marty wanted her. In the end I just deferred to him and Brian, and they were right."

Stone had to rewrite the role for Pfeiffer. "I dumbed down the dialogue, which worked," he tells Rebello. "Michelle Pfeiffer definitely does not seem like a rich New York girl, so she had to be rewritten as more of a typical American girl from Miami with good looks."

ABRAHAM: "NOTHING WENT FORWARD WITHOUT BRIAN AND AL HAMMERING THINGS OUT IN THE TRAILER"
There is so much more in the article, including:

-Abraham talking about the rehearsal process: "They don't like to spend that kind of money when you're making movies, but we rehearsed pretty intensely, and when we later came to shoot our scenes, that gave everything such a sense of urgency."

-Stone discussing why the production was falling behind schedule: "Brian moves at his pace, which is a sluggish one. There was tension. There wasn't the communication between Al and Brian that one would expect. Al likes being talked to, but Brian is from the Spielberg school, where it's all about the setup and getting the shot-- and the shot takes fucking forever. Making the movie became painful..." Loggia adds, "It's fair to say that, with the powerful personalities involved, De Palma was in way over his head. Pacino and some of the other actors had to steer the ship." However, Abraham offers a different viewpoint: "I got along with Brian very well. Who doesn't? Mr. De Palma was the boss, but nothing went forward without he and Al hammering things out in the trailer, sometimes for quite a while. But when they came out of that trailer, they really came out with something."

-The article also delves into the screenplay cuts that drove Stone to drive the crew mad before being banned from the set. "Universal was putting enormous pressure to cut things out, to get the movie finished," Stone tells Rebello. "They were banging on De Palma's door, but the energy on the set was slowing all the time. There wasn't the energy to complete the movie. It was horrible." Rebello then describes an early scene that was cut from the film and never shot:

Some on the crew believe that Stone's conflicts with the production began when he learned early in the filming that Universal had cut from his screenplay a lengthy opening sequence that took Scarface and Manny from the docks of Mariel on a storm-tossed raft trip to the U.S. Recalls Bauer, "Once Oliver learned that whole scene had been cut, he was always crazy and mad on the set. He finally got in Brian's way and became a pain in the ass. But he was right. The sequence had a semi-retarded kid falling overboard, and Tony Montana jumps in and saves his life. It established he's not just a monster. We never shot any of it. Right away they cut at the heart of the movie." Recalls Bregman, "Anything that was cut was because we didn't want to make a four-hour movie." Today Stone agrees that economics dictated the cuts, but adds, "My problems were with Bregman, a forceful individual and tough man to get along with. Our relationship ended badly. We had other things we were developing but never worked together again."

PACINO ON TONY & GINA: "I DIDN'T SEE IT AS INCESTUOUS AT ALL"
Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is the discussion of Pacino's refusal to accept any kind of incestuous angle between his characterization of Tony Montana and Tony's sister, Gina. Bauer recalls Pacino calling De Palma "a pervert" as he told Bauer about a heated meeting he'd had with De Palma and Stone. According to Bauer, as Pacino relayed it to him, "Oliver kept going, 'Al, I wrote it that way because I feel your love for her is unhealthy,' and Brian said that he thought it made the story more sick and complicated. Al said, 'It's not already sick and complicated enough that this guy wants everything? He wants to protect and control his sister. Look, I'm playing a monster, but not that kind of monster.'" And Pacino today tells Rebello, "I didn't see it as incestuous at all. How Tony felt for her was coming from a need to preserve something separate and pure in his life." And watching the scene near the end, where Gina enters Tony's office and begins teasing him, saying, "You can't stand for any other man to have me, Tony-- You want me for yourself," Pacino, the method actor, plays him as a man in shock. He (Tony) truly never consciously realized the incestuous core of his obsession with her, and now it is perhaps driving him insane, seeing and hearing her tease him in this manner.

A WOMAN ALONE, AND 100 FEMALE EXTRAS
The Rebello article curiously quotes only one unnamed actor in the following paragraph about De Palma's work with Pfeiffer on the set:

De Palma's work method was tougher on certain actors than others. Says one of the film's stars, "Brian wasn't there for Michelle Pfeiffer and manipulated her brutally. He's obsessed with women but in a very creepy way." During two days of filming the explosive scene with Pacino and Pfeiffer at the old-school Italian restaurant Marino on Melrose Avenue, Bauer says, De Palma "made Michelle feel like a scared, lonely little girl in a world of men. He did the right thing, but it was hard to watch. That poor girl was always alone, always on edge, very vulnerable, brave but alone in her performance. She lived on the phone with her acting coach Peggy Feury. She needed some kind of lifeline."

During the two weeks of filming the Babylon Club sequence, the article states, hundreds of female extras were brought in. Bauer tells Rebello, "Three hundred extras-- 100 of whom were great-looking girls-- and I had a little dressing room rendezvous once a week, at least. I've never been a dog or a misogynist. I'm obsessed with feminine beauty. With these women wanting to, why would I be aloof when there's a naked woman around?"


Posted by Geoff at 12:38 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2011 12:42 AM CST
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Monday, December 5, 2011
NOOMI RAPACE TALKING WITH DE PALMA ABOUT 'PASSION'
"HE WANTS TO DO THIS MOVIE WITH ME THAT'S A REALLY, REALLY COOL SCRIPT"
Noomi Rapace, the half-Swedish, half-Spanish actress who became film's original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, tells Collider's Christina Radish that she is talking with Brian De Palma about starring in Passion, his remake of Alain Corneau's Love Crime. Here is what Rapace told Radish when asked what she might be doing next...

I don’t know if it’s next, but in March, I will start this movie with Colin Farrell, called Dead Man Down. It’s a fantastic script. I might do a movie with Brian De Palma before that. I’m talking to him, and he wants to do this movie with me that’s a really, really cool script. It’s called Passion. I love Scarface and Carlito’s Way. He’s done fantastic films, and it’s been really interesting, talking to him. So, I might do that before, and then go do the movie with Colin. And then, after that, I have a couple of things, but I can’t really talk about them yet.

Posted by Geoff at 8:10 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 8:46 PM CST
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Saturday, December 3, 2011
MORE PIPER LAURIE
TWO CHICAGO INTERVIEWS AS SHE GEARS UP FOR 'A VERY CARRIE CHRISTMAS'
Piper Laurie is gearing up for her appearance at tomorrow's "A Very Carrie Christmas" at Chicago's Music Box Theatre by doing interviews with Chicago media. A couple of very good interviews have popped up in the past week, including one by Hollywood Chicago's Matt Fagerholm, which includes this section about Laurie's work on Carrie:

HollywoodChicago.com: In the excellent DVD edition of “Carrie,” you mention how your interpretation of the script as satire initially helped you ease into the role of Margaret White. Was satire in your mind while onset?

Laurie: I just tried to get that out of my head. Once De Palma revealed that he didn’t want a satirical approach and said, “You’re going to get a laugh if you do that,” I realized that he didn’t want laughs, at least not in our conscious performing. I just fully embraced the reality of what I was playing. I must say that I enjoyed having the childlike freedom to play act and be the evil witch. It was very freeing and fun to do.

HollywoodChicago.com: Why did you decide to perform your climactic monologue without a rehearsal?

Laurie: It was a little scary for me to play it the way I thought it should be played. I could’ve done it a different way, but I just thought that the revelation of Margaret’s secret sexual experience should be as raw and real as possible. I didn’t want to wear myself out rehearsing that. While Brian didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, I did ask him if he’d mind if we didn’t rehearse it. So I just got into position, Mario Tosiz lit it and I played it. Brian was almost in tears when he came in and said, “Oh Piper, I’m so sorry, could you please do it one more time?” And I did, and it was just as full and operatic as the first time. I have no idea which take they used.

HollywoodChicago.com: Did the instincts you developed in “Playhouse 90” and “Studio One” serve as an asset during this scene?

Laurie: Yes, you remind me that if it hadn’t been for the live television experience, I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to do that last scene in “Carrie” the way that I did. I also did a John Guarez play workshop one summer and he kept rewriting speeches for us. There would be no time to rehearse and little time to memorize. Sometimes he would hand you something a few minutes before you went onstage. I had a monologue to do once that was so explicit and so raw and I had no rehearsal time. I just went out and did it. I think the audience gasped right in the middle of it. All those things helped.

HollywoodChicago.com: Do you feel the film has aged well? No remake has been able to erase it from moviegoers’ memories.

Laurie: I haven’t seen the remakes. I think, in a way, that “Carrie” is very sweet. It’s very gentle compared to the savage kind of violent movies that we have now. It’s become more accessible for more people. I know that when it first came out, many of the Academy members wouldn’t go to see a so-called horror movie. I don’t really think that it is a horror movie, and I never did. It’s a movie with surprises in it, and when they have to deal with violence, it’s very gentle in a way, such as the scene [where John Travolta retrieves] the pig’s blood. Today you’d show a shot of him killing a pig. I think Brian is an artist and he did many lovely things in that movie. It was visually exquisite. And I love the innocent humor, the life of the teenage kids and the sensuality of the young people. The opening scene of the girls in the shower was beautiful without being overt.

HollywoodChicago.com: After the success of “Carrie,” did you feel typecast?

Laurie: Yes, I really was offended. The movie I did right after that was a romantic one with Mel Gibson [1978’s “Tim”], but occasionally I would be given a part requiring that same sort of raw anger as if they thought that’s who I was. When I did an Agatha Christie movie [1988’s “Appointment With Death”], I played a bullying mother. That’s not who I am. That was a one-time thing that I did with great gusto and fun. It irritates me when people want me to do that again.

"I GAVE MYSELF PERMISSION TO JUST GO FOR IT AND BE AS BIG AS I WANTED TO BE"
Laurie also talked with Windy City Times' Richard Knight, Jr., who will be co-conducting (with David Cerda) the Q&A with Laurie following Sunday's screening of Carrie. Here is the discussion about Carrie from the Windy City Times interview:

WCT: I'm fascinated to know that you read Carrie as a comedy and that was your approach when you began in rehearsal.

PL: I didn't really care for the script and I talked to my husband about it and he said, "Maybe you misread it—Brian De Palma has a comedic approach to most of the things he's done" so I re-read it and thought it was a comedy; a satire and I thought that had more possibilities in that approach. I hadn't made a movie in 15 years and he [De Palma] decided to hire me. So they flew me out to California for rehearsal and by then I'd thought up some bits that I thought would be funny; or pretty broad—like pulling myself around the room by my own hair in anguish.

So I grabbed my hair and did it a couple of times during the rehearsal in Brian's apartment and he stopped me and said, "Piper, you're going to get a laugh if you do that" and I thought to myself, "Isn't that the point?" I suddenly realized I had misunderstood and this was serious so I adjusted what I did but did it with a different motivation.

WCT: Well I think it's still funny—but horrifically funny which much of the film is—it's nasty funny.

PL: I think I'm pretty funny in the movie. [Laughs]

WCT: You're so over the top—it's one of those great performances where you can laugh and be terrified at the same time.

PL: When the movie first came out people did not laugh and then after they'd seen it a couple of times they felt free to laugh and I think it's funny. I do! [Laughs] You know what helped me? After I'd rehearsed and they flew me back to Woodstock for a month or so before we shot. I went into New York and I went to see his movie Phantom of the Paradise which had just opened and it was so operatic and that really freed me to be as big as I wanted to be.

WCT: That's very interesting because all the scenes between you and Sissy Spacek are like operatic duos—these arias between mother and daughter. You sort of gasp at how high you two climb—it veers on melodrama; it's so over the top and fun and great all at once.

PL: Thank you. We shot those early scenes over and over. You see I hadn't acted in front of a camera for 15 years and this was a very unusual experience for me—thinking of it as fun instead of a life or death struggle, which it had been always before. I just gave myself permission to just go for it and be as big as I wanted to be. I have no trouble doing take after take. I was always "full." I did ask that we do the last scene, the monologue, just once without rehearsal because I wanted to be as raw and exposed as I could be in that moment.

WCT: You write about your take on Margaret White's death scene—that she was happy because she was finally going to meet her maker—but I've always interpreted that as a long overdue orgasm—after years of being pent up. Do you give any credence to that, Piper?

PL: That's just where your mind is! [Laughs]

WCT: Okay, okay. [Laughs] But every time one of those knives stabs into you…

PL: What can I say? [Laughs]

WCT: Your work brought you an Oscar nomination and a lot of villainous roles—like the baddies you play in Appointment with Death, Twin Peaks, etc.

PL: You know, I'm not that person and the success of Carrie made people want to cast me that way. That was a one-time chance to play-act like children do—the mean person—and draw on all the things you wish you could do but that's not who I am in real life. I've never behaved like that and it upsets me a little bit that that's what they throw at me. I have had other opportunities like the thing I did with Sissy years later—The Grass Harp.

WCT: Which is criminally overlooked, I think. It's so unexpected to see you in that delicate, delightful part. It's a lyrical little movie, I think.

PL: And in real life I'm much closer to that lady and anybody who knows me will say that—maybe with a little laugh! I'm a person who loves nature and is vulnerable; the person who started out in life a little bit damaged and I'm very proud of the fact that I was able to move beyond that and reinvent my life. That was one of the many reasons I wrote my book.

WCT: Well, we will celebrate all aspects of your career when you're here with us on Dec. 4. Thank you on behalf of your movie fans in Chicago for creating so many indelible movie moments through the years.

PL: Thank you for that nice tribute. I can't wait to see everyone in Chicago.


Posted by Geoff at 10:02 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2011 10:07 PM CST
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Friday, December 2, 2011
CRONENBERG ON HOW/WHY MOVIES GET MADE
Vulture's Jada Yuan recently interviewed David Cronenberg, who delved into a frank discussion about the way projects come and go in a filmmaker's career. As some here have had questions about why some De Palma projects seem to disappear, or struggle to get financed, or even how he almost got involved with Paranormal Activity 2, it seems useful to excerpt the following passage in which Cronenberg urges folks to lose their preconceived notions about why filmmakers make the films they make. It starts when Yuan seems to be trying to find "a through line" from Cronenberg's earlier horror films, to his latest film, A Dangerous Method:

A lot of critics, though, have talked about how this isn’t necessarily a natural through line for your career. That A Dangerous Method doesn't seem as natural a progression from even Eastern Promises.
That's totally, totally irrelevant. See, this is very common. I'm often telling critics that they should not confuse their process with mine. I don't care what movies I've made before. I don't care what people think is Cronenbergian or not. It's irrelevant to me. It's as though I'd never made another movie when I'm making this movie. There's nothing that I can take from those other movies, or what people think that I do, that is creatively of use to me. When I'm making this movie, once I've decided that yeah, this is a subject that interests me, I'm going to make this movie, I just focus on it. It's of the moment. The movie tells me what it wants. I listen to the movie; it tells me what it wants in terms of style, visual style, dramatic style. And I have no desire to impose some preconceived idea of Cronenbergness on the project. The movie grows organically out of itself rather than having me impose some sort of pattern or template on it. So, to me, all talk about natural progression from one movie to another is completely irrelevant. And the other thing is, too, what is amusing to me is what is assumed, even if it's not exactly expressed by these people who write this stuff, is that I have total control over what I do, and when. It's like, "Oh no, I think at this point of my career I shall do a biopic. Because I have not done that before, and I need to show that I can do that." They probably think that's exactly how it goes. Well, not really. It’s like, this movie is the one that got financed, so that's why I'm doing it now. I might have done it ten years ago — which is actually when I approached [playwright] Christopher Hampton to do it. But we couldn’t get the financing. Christopher thought maybe he wanted to direct it. I would’ve done it ten years ago, if all of that had come together. You see? So all talk about natural progression is kind of a laugh for me. Because it has nothing to do with the reality of moviemaking. And particularly, movie financing.

Are you more able than others to jump from subject to subject because of who you are? At this point, does your reputation allow you to do whatever you want to do?
No, it's the reality of filmmaking. Look, I talked about it with Marty Scorsese, because people think that Marty can do anything he wants. Because he's Marty, right? He can't! He's got projects that he can't get off the ground, because people think they won’t make enough money, or they're too expensive, or any of those things. So, maybe Spielberg can do almost anything he wants — although I did hear he had trouble getting Schindler's List actually made — [but] money talks. We're all completely vulnerable to the financial environment. I think of moviemakers as being like amphibians. We're like the frogs with the thin skins. We're the first ones to react, to have an allergic reaction to the toxicity of the air. When the financial meltdown came, it really affected what movies you could make. Sources of financing dried up, sources of distribution folded. Warner Independent disappeared. Places that you used to go to be able to pre-sell your film, suddenly you couldn't pre-sell your film. And that meant that only the most blatantly commercial, repetitive movies like sequels and remakes and stuff could get made. So all of those things, when people are being theoretical and analytical about why you made this movie now, they ignore all that stuff. And they're ignoring the actual reality of moviemaking, that’s what I mean.


Posted by Geoff at 6:27 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2011 10:06 PM CST
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Thursday, December 1, 2011
SALT SCRIPTS DAHLIA EPISODE OF 'AMERICAN HORROR STORY'
This week's episode of FX's American Horror Story, which aired last night, features Mena Suvari as "the Black Dahlia," aka Elizabeth Short. The episode is the second so far this season that was written by Jennifer Salt (also an executive producer on the show), and it ends with a bang: an unforgettable line of dialogue that seems to nastily set up the final leg of the season.

Posted by Geoff at 11:26 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, December 1, 2011 11:26 PM CST
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