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Monday, February 20, 2012
REPORT: 'PASSION' ADDS DOMINIC COOPER TO CAST
UPDATE: COOPER NOT PART OF CAST
BRITISH ACTOR LISTED MATTER-OF-FACTLY IN GERMAN REPORT FROM BERLIN FEST
MediaBiz reports from the Berlin International Film Festival (which ended this past weekend) that the German-Swiss distributor Ascot Elite Entertainment Group has picked up the theatrical and home distribution rights to Brian De Palma's Passion. What is particularly of note in the article, however, is that it includes British actor Dominic Cooper as a cast member of Passion, along with Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, and Karoline Herfurth. Cooper would presumably be playing the male character who becomes a sort of pawn between McAdams' CEO and Rapace's deputy. Cooper made a big splash last year playing dual roles as Saddam Hussein's ruthless playboy son, Uday Hussein, and his body double in Lee Tamahori's The Devil's Double. That film was widely compared to De Palma's Scarface. Its cast also included Ludivine Sagnier, who starred with Kristin Scott Thomas in Alain Corneau's Love Crime, on which De Palma's Passion is based.

(Big thanks to Lindsey for finding the Media Biz article!)

Posted by Geoff at 7:38 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 12:13 AM CDT
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Sunday, February 19, 2012
BERLIN LOCATIONS REVEALED FOR 'PASSION'
SONY CENTER, BODE MUSEUM, MARGAUX RESTAURANT


Brian De Palma will shoot Passion exclusively in Berlin, according to an article posted today by Der Tagesspiegel's Andreas Conrad. The original plan a year ago was to set Passion in the U.K., which meant exteriors would be shot in London, while interiors would have been done at a studio in Berlin or Cologne. But now, according to Conrad, not only will the film shoot exclusively in Berlin, but it will all be on location, meaning no studio sets. This makes the project sound all the more thrilling. Conrad states that aside from the obligatory scenes set in office suites, De Palma will shoot Passion at the Sony Center (pictured above), the Bode Museum, and the restaurant Margaux (the interior of which is pictured below).


Posted by Geoff at 10:21 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012 12:44 AM CST
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Friday, February 17, 2012
BETTY BUCKLEY LOVES NEW 'CARRIE' MUSICAL
SAYS UPCOMING SHOW IS MORE FOCUSED, BUT LESS DANGEROUS

The MCC Theater's new Off Broadway musical version of Carrie officially opens March 1st, and has been in previews for the past couple of weeks. Betty Buckley, who played the gym teacher Miss Collins in the Brian De Palma film, also played Carrie's mother in the 1988 Broadway musical version that has become the stuff of legend. Buckley is pictured above with the stars of the new version, Molly Ranson, who plays Carrie, and Marin Mazzie, who plays her mother. Buckley told the New York Times' Patrick Healy that she "completely enjoyed" the new production, and is thrilled for the team that put it together: composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford, and book writer Lawrence D. Cohen, the latter having previously adapted Stephen King's novel for De Palma's film. "I always felt their work in this show was ahead of its time, really provocative and very passionate theater,” Buckley told Healy of the team that also worked on the 1988 version. “I’m really proud of the work we did back then, and I’m a huge fan of these guys. I always wanted the score and the story to be seen for its intensely, emotionally moving qualities, and I think you can see those qualities in this production.” Healy's article continues:

The major difference between the new Carrie and the Broadway production, in Ms. Buckley’s view, is that the current director, Stafford Arima, has created a “homogeneity” in tone, design, and performance that makes for “focused, consistent, understandable storytelling.”

“The problem with the original production,” she continued, “was that the directorial concept was very abstract, and the director Terry Hands thought the piece resonated as Jacobean drama. He achieved that through some very, very bloody scenes. Linzi [Hateley] and I presented a psychologically accurate portrayal of a deeply, emotionally disturbed mother and daughter.”

Ms. Buckley described the Off Broadway revival as “the PG-13 version of the original,” then added: “I would love this production to be more dangerous. I think that’s what we had going on that made it resonate for all these years. It’s not about adding camp to this production, but about adding even more truth. The show is perfectly timed right now, because we’re so aware of the sort of bullying in schools that Carrie experiences.”

Healy begins his article with an account of the 1988 show's opening night:

When the lights went black at the end of the first Broadway preview of Carrie, on April 28, 1988, the actress Betty Buckley recalled hearing something she had never experienced in her 20 years in theater: Boos from the audience. Ms. Buckley, who had won a Tony Award in 1983 for Cats, played the fanatically religious mother Margaret White in the musical, and her character had just been killed by the telekinetic powers of her daughter, the title character. Both Ms. Buckley and Linzi Hateley, who played Carrie, lay on the stage in the dark, hearing the boos; Ms. Buckley recalled that Ms. Hateley, making her Broadway debut, whispered, “What do we do?”

“We get up,” Ms. Buckley said in reply. They stood, the lights came on, and the boos turned to cheers and applause for the performers in the show, which would go on to close after 21 performances, one of the biggest flops in Broadway history.

Another New York Times article by Healy from earlier this month looks at the two versions of the musical, with picture comparisons, as well as quotes from Cohen, among others. "The three of us did not exactly have the best time with the Broadway production," Cohen told Healy. "We had a dream 30 years ago for a show about outsiders,” and “now every day the three of us look at each other and we’re like, ‘We’re getting closer.’"


Meanwhile, Mark Kennedy at the Associated Press interviewed Ranson, who told him that she loved De Palma's film, and thinks the story is particularly relevant today. "Really, at its core, it's the story of a girl who's trying to fit in," Ranson told Kennedy. "It's the story of an outsider, which I think everyone can relate to in one way or another. Especially now, with all this bullying. It's kind of a great time to be doing this." Ranson, 22, was not yet born when the original Broadway version happened in 1988. The new version tones down the blood, especially during the prom scene. Regarding the blood, Ranson says, "It'll look good. It'll look real. It's going to be done really beautifully and subtly — artistically, kind of abstract."


Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 18, 2012 12:54 AM CST
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
LANA DEL RAY POSES AS 'CARRIE'
FOR Q MAGAZINE COVER SHOOT
Lana Del Ray graces the cover of the February issue of the British music magazine Q. According to Famous Monsters Of Filmland, the singer/recording artist "asked to be shot in tribute to one of her favorite films, the 1976 Brian De Palma classic Carrie." Five of the six photos inside the magazine show Del Ray in various bloody Carrie poses, including the one shown here in the middle. The Famous Monsters site also has some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot, including the one at the very bottom below.
(Thanks to Ryan!)


Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:12 AM CST
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Sunday, February 12, 2012
RIHANNA CHANNELS ELVIRA WITH ARMANI GOWN
ONE YEAR AFTER GWEN STEFANI CATWALKS ELVIRA AT NY FASHION WEEK

Giorgio Armani may have designed the costumes for Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, but for tonight's Grammy Awards, the iconic designer worked with Rihanna on a gown that looks back to an earlier De Palma gangster classic, Scarface. According to Gather, Rhianna told E! Online's Ryan Seacrest that she was channeling Michelle Pfeiffer's Elvira in Scarface. You can see the dress in full, all the way around, via the mesmerizing E!'s GlamCam 360.

About a year ago, in February of 2011, Gwen Stafani continued her Elvira fetish with a runway show at New York Fashion Week that included several models walking the catwalk in Elvira-inspired gowns, as a dance mix of Giorgio Moroder's Scarface theme and Deborah Harry's Rush Rush played in the background. The gowns are part of Stefani's fashion label, L.A.M.B. The video below, put together by music video director Sophie Muller, is what played on the screen behind the models.

In the last couple of minutes of the video below, you can see clips from the Scarface part of the show...

Stefani first channeled Pfeiffer's Elvira in a heavily-stylized pose for the cover of her 2006 solo album, The Sweet Escape. The following year, she debuted Elvira-inspired fashions in a presentation for her L.A.M.B. label. In 2004, Stefani met De Palma when she auditioned for the role of Madeleine in The Black Dahlia.

 


Posted by Geoff at 9:30 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, February 12, 2012 10:26 PM CST
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'PASSION' CASTING DIRECTOR ON DE PALMA
"HE PREFERS ACTORS WHO COME FROM THE THEATER"
An article by Patrick Wildermann published today in Der Tagesspiegel looks at the booming star system in Germany, and includes quotes from Anja Dihrberg, a German casting director who is, according to the article, currently working with Brian De Palma, presumably on Passion. Dihrberg tells Wildermann that De Palma "prefers actors who come from the theater and mastered their craft accordingly." It is undoubtedly through Dihrberg that Karoline Herfurth was cast in Passion, as Dihrberg was the casting director for Berlin '36, a 2009 film which starred Herfurth as a Jewish athlete competeing to be on the German Olympic team. Dihrberg tells Wildermann that she appreciates the fact there is still a nice gap between Hollywood star concerns and that of the German film industry. She emphasizes a focus on "character roles," and expresses a kind of horror at the Hollywood machine of uniformity that drives actresses toward anorexia and plastic surgery. Dihrberg tells Wildermann she hopes that "a Nina Hoss will not look like Nicole Kidman at some point."

Posted by Geoff at 4:49 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 13, 2012 6:52 PM CST
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Thursday, February 9, 2012
'PASSION' ROLES REVEALED
RACHEL IS CEO, NOOMI IS DEPUTY, AND KAROLINE IS HER ASSISTANT
An article yesterday by Variety's John Hopewell mentions who plays who in Brian De Palma's Passion, which begins a ten-week shoot in Berlin on March 5th. According to the article, Rachel McAdams will play the CEO (the role played by Kristin Scott Thomas in Alain Corneau's Love Crime), Noomi Rapace will play her deputy (the role that was played by Ludivine Sagnier), and Karoline Herfurth will play Rapace's assistant. The latter role is particularly interesting, as it was portrayed by a male actor, Guillaume Marquet, in Corneau's film.

The Variety article, which is primarily about SBS Productions having closed key pre-sales on the film, states that the Passion screenplay is "by De Palma, with additional dialogue by novelist Natalie Carter." Carter is also credited as Corneau's co-writer on Love Crime, which, like Passion, was produced by Saïd Ben Saïd's SBS Productions. The article states that Passion will be released in France in early 2013. It is expected to be released in the U.S. before the end of 2012.

Posted by Geoff at 12:55 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2012 12:58 AM CST
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012
DE PALMA TO DIRECT STATHAM IN 'HEAT' REMAKE
GOLDMAN TO SCRIPT MODERN TAKE ON HIS 1985 NOVEL;
FILM TO SHOOT IN FRANCE LATE 2012 OR EARLY 2013

Brian De Palma had been developing a movie based on the Donald Westlake underworld character Parker for a while between 2010 and 2011, and that project ended up in the hands of Taylor Hackford, with Jason Statham starring. But now it looks like De Palma will pair up with Statham on a remake of Heat, the 1986 movie that starred Burt Reynolds. The film was based on a novel by William Goldman, who also wrote the screenplay. According to a press release from Sierra/Affinity (which Collider has provided in its entirety), Goldman will also write the screenplay for this modern take on the material. The film was announced in Berlin ahead of the festival that begins tomorrow, and appears to be creating quite a buzz. Statham will co-produce the film with Steven Chasman, who is also a producer on Statham's Parker (which was also sold by Sierra/Affinity at last year's Cannes market).

The press release describes the film like this:

This tightly-wound, fun action-thriller, tells the story of a tough recovering gambling addict (Statham) who makes his living providing protection in the rough edges of the gambling world. Statham’s character refuses to resort to gunplay, strictly using hand and edged weapon combat. When a dear friend is brutally beaten by a high-rolling mobster, he helps her get her revenge and he ends up in more trouble than he ever imagined.

Sierra's Nick Meyer states in the press release, "We are pleased to once again be working with Jason and Steve on another project which in this case is based on great source material from a rare combination of an acclaimed novelist who is also at the top of his game as a screenwriter. We look forward to bringing this elevated action-thriller from Brian De Palma to distributors around the world. We feel this project has it all—a first rate piece of material, a legendary director and a global action star."

The 1986 version of Heat is currently streaming on Netflix.

Mark at Good Efficient Butchery recalls seeing the film back in the day, and notes that the Netflix version is different from the U.S. theatrical release. "It seems this alternate version was released on the budget-priced R1 DVD by Platinum Disc," he writes, "and is not the version released in US theaters or on the Paramount VHS." This could possibly be the U.K. version of the film, which was released in 1986. Heat was not released in the U.S. until 1987.

According to Mark, the film seems a "noble failure" that shows its behind-the-scenes troubles on screen. According to Mark, who seems to know his stuff, Heat "was started by Robert Altman, who left after a day of shooting. He was replaced by Tootsie producer Dick Richards, who helmed most of the film (and got his ass kicked by Burt), then veteran TV director Jerry Jameson was brought in to finish it. Richards gets sole credit, under the name 'R.M. Richards.'"


Posted by Geoff at 12:41 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 11:07 PM CST
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Monday, February 6, 2012
VIDEO: PIPER LAURIE INTERVIEW
DISCUSSION OF DE PALMA AND 'CARRIE' BEGINS AT ABOUT 26-MINUTE MARK

Posted by Geoff at 11:14 PM CST
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Sunday, February 5, 2012
'GHOST GRADUATION' DIRECTOR LOVES 'CARRIE'
"ON A FORMAL LEVEL, IT'S A FILM THAT HAS BEEN MUCH IN MY HEAD"

Looks like Chronicle isn't the only movie opening this weekend that pays homage to Brian De Palma's Carrie. Promoción fantasma (Ghost Graduation) opened Friday in Spain, and features the scene above, in which two boys pour fake blood over a girl as she showers in the school locker room. That clip can be caught briefly in the film's trailer, and it's not the only moment in Ghost Graduation that has Carrie on its mind. The film is a comedy about a paranormal professor who tries to help a group of dead boys (ghosts) graduate high school. According to CINEMANÍA, Ghost Graduation spoofs high-school moments from the likes of The Breakfast Club, Carrie, Back To The Future and Glee, with a little Ghostbusters thrown in for good measure.

In another Carrie reference, the article states, one of the young protagonists becomes the laughingstock of his classmates when he is kissed by a ghost at a big dance. The film's director, Javier Ruiz Caldera, told CINEMANÍA about yet another: "The scenes in which the students play volleyball has a lot to do with Carrie: on a formal level, it's a film that has been much in my head." A bit of the volleyball scene (as well as a bit of the scene at the dance) can be seen in the trailer linked to above. De Palma's Carrie, of course, opens with a scene of the high school girls playing volleyball during gym class.

DE PALMA'S LEGACY...
With all of these recent homages, Rado, the webmaster of The De Palma Touch, has put together a page he calls De Palma's Brutal Legacy in the 2010s.


Posted by Geoff at 3:57 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, February 5, 2012 4:03 PM CST
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