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De Palma interviewed
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Monday, April 23, 2012
The Sissy Spacek memoir My Extraordinary Ordinary Life will be published on May 1. The book was written by Spacek with Maryanne Vollers. The current issue of Entertainment Weekly (the summer movie preview double issue with Batman and Catwoman on the cover) includes an exclusive excerpt from the book in which Spacek tells the story of working on Brian De Palma's Carrie. There's not really anything new here that hasn't been told elsewhere (Spacek having to convince De Palma she was the right choice for Carrie; De Palma explaining to Spacek that discovering the blood in the shower should be like getting hit by a mack truck; husband Jack Fisk helping her grasp the right sense of shock by describing how he got run over by a car, etc.), but it is told in a clear and compelling narrative, filtered by Vollers. The excerpt concludes with this:

The script called for all the high school girls to be partially nude as they romped around the locker room at the end of gym class-- a fantasy scenario that only a man could dream up. Some of the girls were balking. That is, until we all watched the rushes from my shower scene.

I had it written in my contract that I would not appear fully nude on screen. But that was a trick of the editing room; the camera saw everything. Every time Brian shot another take of the shower scene, the clapper board was placed in front of me. And each time the board was pulled away, the camera was right where my contract said it couldn't be. Now, I'm not a shy person-- you can't be in this business!-- but by the time the rushes were over, I didn't know if I should laugh or crawl under my chair. I decided to laugh.

"Thanks a lot, Brian!" I said, as sarcastically as I could.

After that, Brian later told me, the female cast members stopped complaining about their topless locker scene.

Spacek is interviewed about the memoir at The Hook. The book is also likely to have stories about making De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise, as Spacek worked as a set designer on that film with Fisk, who was the production designer on Phantom, and the art director on Carrie.

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 12:07 AM CDT
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Sunday, April 22, 2012
The Swan Archives News Page has a post with details about the passing of William Finley last weekend, as well as a memorial service which Finley's wife, Susan, dubbed a "celebration of Bill's life." Gerrit Graham, Jessica Harper, and Jared Martin were among the ten friends and family members who spoke at the celebration. Martin read letters of condolence from Brian De Palma and Richard Schechner, and Finley's son, Dashiell, read letters sent by Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro. There was also a slide show set to Finley's performance of Faust from Phantom Of The Paradise. The slides included family photos as well as images collected from the span of Finley's career. More details can be found on the Archives' News Page, including a version of the statement read by Harper that she modified specifically for the Archives, and a photo of De Palma in a tuxedo filming William and Susan's wedding back in 1974, a month before Phantom was to open in theaters.

Posted by Geoff at 10:06 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

According to the notice in the Instagram image above (posted by henninx), filming for Brian De Palma's Passion was to have taken place at Berlin's Margaux Restaurant from 6:30pm this past Thursday, April 19th, until about 5am the next morning. The notice provides details about traffic and parking during the filming times.

Posted by Geoff at 9:18 PM CDT
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Thursday, April 19, 2012
Leila Rozario, the actress who filmed an elevator scene yesterday with Noomi Rapace for Passion, tells De Palma a la Mod she thinks that working on a Brian De Palma film is something she had on her bucket list as an actor. "Have you seen Scarface," she asks rhetorically. "Have you seen The Untouchables or Carlitos Way? I mean these are films that stick with you for life." Rozario has a role in the film as one of the people working at the corporation headed by the Rachel McAdams character.

I asked her how working with De Palma differs with some of the other projects she has worked on in the past. "The difference between working with someone like De Palma and say someone less experieced," Rozario says, "is that he knows and understands actors. That's something every director should, but a lot of them don't and that can make the work very difficult. Brian is a very calm man, the set is rather small, very unexpected. The way he directs is just perfect for an actor. He gives you the feeling of being totally relaxed, and if he needs adjustments you know you can trust him, so it works. The people he has closely working with him seem also very trusted, like a family, which is very Italian. I love that!"

For the elevator scene shot yesterday, Rozario had to speak German, "which is always a challenge for me because my native language is English," she says. "Even though I can speak German fluently, its still a whole different way of talking, thinking, body language." And she was very impressed with Rapace. "I loved watching Noomi work," says Rozario, "she always blew everyone on set away with her performance, each take got better and better, and you could really feel what she was putting across. Normally you can only have that when the movie is done."

Posted by Geoff at 6:35 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, April 20, 2012 11:34 PM CDT
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Leila Rozario, an actress from New Zealand who is part of the cast for Brian De Palma's Passion, posted on Twitter and Facebook today about working with De Palma and Noomi Rapace on the set. The tweets about today's filming started yesterday, when Rozario wrote that she was "Looking forward to shooting an elevator scene with #BrianDePalma and #RachelMcAdams tomorrow." As it turns out, however, McAdams was not involved in the scene after all. Earlier today, Rozario tweeted, "On set with [N]oomy Rapace and Brian De Palma. I love my job." Then about six or seven hours later, Rozario posted the following to her Facebook page: "I always enjoy watching and learning. Like watching Brian De Palma direct Noomi Rapace on the set of Passion today. Its a wrap*." Rozario, who speaks German as well as English, appeared in the Wachowski brothers' Speed Racer, which, like Passion, was filmed in and around Berlin.

Posted by Geoff at 11:56 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 5:51 PM CDT
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Sunday, April 15, 2012
September 9, 1940 - April 14, 2012

William Finley passed away yesterday morning following a surgery, details of which are unknown at this time. He was 71. Born in 1940, Finley met Brian De Palma at college, and began acting in De Palma's early films, beginning with the award-winning short, Woton's Wake. It is next to impossible to think of De Palma's cinema without William Finley. He appeared onscreen in seven of De Palma's feature films: The Wedding Party, Murder à la Mod, Dionysus In '69, Sisters, Phantom Of The Paradise (Finley's most famous and beloved role), The Fury, and The Black Dahlia. Finley also provided the offscreen voice of Bobbi in De Palma's Dressed To Kill. In the early 1980s, Finley helped one of De Palma's Home Movies students from Sarah Lawrence College, Charlie Loventhal, by contributing to the script of Loventhal's directorial debut, The First Time. Finley appeared in three films by cult horror director Tobe Hooper: Eaten Alive, The Funhouse, and Night Terrors. Filmmaker Edgar Wright, who counts Phantom Of The Paradise as one of his favorite films, posted on his blog tonight about hearing the news of Finley's passing. Wright notes that Finley's other roles "included Marshall Brickman’s underseen and underrated comedy Simon with Alan Arkin," and "the bonkers Silent Rage." Finley also had an uncredited role in John Huston's Wise Blood.

Below is the intro to De Palma's Murder à la Mod, which features a theme song written and performed by Finley, who also stars in the film as Otto.

Listen to internet radio with MOVIE GEEKS UNITED on Blog Talk Radio

Posted by Geoff at 8:37 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 22, 2012 4:35 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wenn mich nicht alles täuscht, könnte vllt am Montag Ridley Scott in der Torstraße seinen Film Passion drehen. Türzettel lässt es vermuten

— Janos Matuschewski (@IamNoSuperman) April 13, 2012

In the above tweet from Janos Matuschewski, he writes, "If I'm not mistaken, one could probably watch Ridley Scott on Monday on Torstrasse shooting his film Passion. A note on a door there suggests it." A couple of minutes after that post, Matuschewski clarified that he meant Brian De Palma, not Ridley Scott. Meanwhile, the IMDB page for Passion has added the name of the film's costume designer (Karen Muller Serreau) and art director (Astrid Poeschke). Serreau was the costume supervisor on Alain Corneau's Love Crime, and she actually did work with Ridley Scott as the wardrobe supervisor on A Good Year. She was also Robert De Niro's dresser on John Frankenheimer's Ronin. In recent years, Serreau has become a regular costume designer for French director Anne Fontaine, and has also worked on a couple of Luc Besson productions. Poeschke has worked with Passion's production designer Cornelia Ott on Black Book, Valkyrie, and V For Vendetta, and was also the supervising art director on Timo Vuorensola's Iron Sky, the sci-fi comedy about Nazi's invading Earth in 2018, after having set up a secret base on the moon in 1945. The latter was one of the most talked-about films at the Berlin Film Festival this past February.

Posted by Geoff at 3:27 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 14, 2012 3:31 PM CDT
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Friday, April 13, 2012
Music video and commercial director Joseph Kahn's second feature film, Detention, opens in select AMC theaters today, before moving on to other cities later on. Kahn financed the high school-set, genre-busting film himself, so that he could call all the shots without argument. Detention is aimed at today's teenagers, who Kahn believes are bored by the movies Hollywood generally gears toward them. The film, which features deliberate references to many many films, is Kahn's call for the death of genres. According to City Arts' Armond White, the film includes a 360-degree pan that is an homage to a similar pan in Brian De Palma's Blow Out:

There’s a continuous 360-degree pan through eleven years of pop song totems and teen fads that sneaks up on you as one of the most fantastically detailed set-pieces in modern movies. It’s also an homage to Brian De Palma’s vertiginous 360-pan in Blow Out. Both De Palma and Kahn use their technical aplomb and social acuity to similarly encircle a moral void. Kahn’s De Palma trickery may obscure his own considerable point about cultural overload (also De Palma’s unconscious panic).

Not sure if this is the scene White is referring to, but Kahn describes his favorite sequence of Detention in an interview with Caliber's Katherine Sziraczky:

I like my teen throwback sequence in the movie, where we go through the eras in detention. Who makes throwbacks for teens? Most people assume that teens haven’t lived long enough to recognize a throwback, but that scene shows you how fast society changes for new young people. Things change so fast, hairstyles, music, that little sequence just throws it in your face, this is a whole new world.

Kahn has been promoting the film relentlessly, and also gave interviews to Complex, io9, Fanbolt, and Collider.

In what is surely a nod to Carrie (both the novel and the film), Kahn, who co-wrote the screenplay for Detention, has a character named Billy Nolan, which was also the name of the character played by John Travolta in De Palma's film adaptation of Stephen King's novel.

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 14, 2012 12:49 PM CDT
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The IMDB's page for Brian De Palma's Passion has added Ian T. Dickinson to the cast credits. Dickinson, a British actor who is a well-established figure in the German film/TV/theatre community (he speaks English and German), is portraying the detective in De Palma's film. According to Dickinson's web site, in the early 1980s, he co-founded and managed the independent record label Anxious Records with Dave Stewart. Dickinson has appeared in Wim Wenders' Person To Person, Hal Hartley's Fay Grim, and James McTeigue's V For Vendetta. Last year, an independent film Dickinson appeared in, Alex Ross' Tom Atkins Blues, played in German cinemas for 53 consecutive weeks. That film was shot in 11 days for about $2,500. Dickinson has the lead role in Ross' new film, the Berlin-set Weak Heart Drop.

Posted by Geoff at 11:34 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012 6:32 PM CDT
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Monday, April 9, 2012
Guy Maddin was interviewed by A.V. Club's Sam Adams, who asked the My Winnipeg filmmaker about the popularity of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise in his hometown:

AVC: As you mentioned, you grew up in Winnipeg, one of the only places in the world, except for Paris, where Brian De Palma’s The Phantom Of The Paradise was a hit.

GM: Paul Williams is a god in Winnipeg. An ex-girlfriend of mine stalked him to his hotel room. That was a strange relationship. But anyway.

AVC: Were you a Phantom fan?

GM: Saw it once. Listened to the soundtrack album a million times playing pool as an 18-year-old. Thought it was one of the iconic great films for so many years, because as a Winnipeger, it was so huge in the local zeitgeist, the civic-geist. I couldn’t believe when I later found that among De Palma buffs, it’s ranked like the 40th-best of his films. Because I was thinking, “Well okay, there’s Phantom Of Paradise, then there’s Dressed To Kill.” I thought it was like discussing Capra and going, “... It’s A Wonderful Life, which isn’t even a movie.” I’ve ridden in an elevator three times with Brian De Palma over the years. You’re in the same hotel and you’re just—“It’s Brian De Palma, I just gotta fucking…” The first time I saw him he was 6-foot-7, literally. The last time I saw him, he’s like whatever his real height is, or maybe much shorter, like 4-foot-2 or something. I don’t know, but every time I feel like throwing myself at his feet and thanking him for Phantom Of Paradise.

I didn’t even get into Phantom Of Paradise in My Winnipeg. It was too big of a subject. It’s a strange place. All I can say is, it’s one of the last isolated big cities, 700,000 people. The same size as Austin, the capital of Texas. It’s got no hinterland. There’s no one living within an eight-hour drive of the place, maybe a couple of really dinky towns. It’s just the biggest isolated city in North America; it’s right in the center, and it’s Siberia cold, so that isolation produces some quirky results. It’s a Petri dish no one sneezes on. We’re just breathing our own sneezes all the time.

Posted by Geoff at 6:02 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, April 9, 2012 6:07 PM CDT
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