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Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


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Howard Hughes
moving forward

Filmmaker Mike
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vertigo shot

Rie Rasmussen
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Mentor Tarantino
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AV Club Review
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Spielberg Predicts
'Implosion' of
Film Industry

Scorsese tests
new Zaillian
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with De Niro,
Pacino, Pesci

James Franco
plans to direct
& star in
adaptation of Ellroy's
American Tabloid

Coppola on
his recent films:
"What I was
trying to do with
those films was to
make three student
films in order to
try and set a new
trajectory and try to
say, 'Well, what
happens if I have no
resources?' Now, having
done that, my new
work is going to be
much more ambitious
and bigger in scope and
budget and ambition,
but now building on a
new confidence or
assurance. The three
little films were very
useful. I'm glad I did
it. I hope George Lucas
does it, because he
has a wonderful personal
filmmaking ability that
people haven't seen
for a while."

Sean Penn to
direct De Niro
as raging comic
in The Comedian

Scarlett to make
directorial feature
debut with
Capote story

Keith Gordon
teaming up
with C. Nolan for
thriller that
he will write
and direct

Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

-Picture emerging
for Happy Valley

-De Palma's new
project with
Said Ben Said

-De Palma to team
with Pacino & Pressman
for Paterno film
Happy Valley

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Monday, February 18, 2013
The Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs posted a recap today of part of last weekend's 70-millimeter screenings at the Music Box Theatre, providing some rationale as to how Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise ended up thrilling a crowd teetering on disappointment after finding out that a much-anticipated screening of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey had to be cancelled. Here is what Sachs writes about it:

"Sometimes anticipation can bring out the best in a crowd. Case in point, the hundreds of people who went to the Music Box Theatre on Friday night to see 2001: A Space Odyssey on 70-millimeter—as part of the theater's two-week celebration of that format—didn't seem to mind waiting outside in the cold for nearly an hour, nor did they complain much when the film didn't start on time. Even when an unforeseen technical problem forced the screening to be canceled altogether, the house remained pleasant, with most of the audience staying put for a free screening of Brian DePalma's Phantom of the Paradise. (The problem was fixed in time for the subsequent screenings of 2001.)

"The promise of seeing something new, or at least novel, appeals to the child in each of us. It must be linked to the thrill of unwrapping a gift. Regardless of whether the present turns out to be a pair of socks (or, to cite one of the snoozefests in the current Music Box series, Lord Jim), there's undeniable satisfaction in knowing someone wrapped it up nice to gain our attention. P.T. Barnum demonstrated time and again that a good showman can make an audience feel good even about being taken in by a hoax; the buildup, which grows in direct proportion to the size of the audience, becomes a spectacle in itself.

"As it turned out, Phantom of the Paradise was a perfect fit for Friday night's carnival atmosphere. It's a great funhouse of a movie, complete with scary clowns and oversized sets (by the great Jack Fisk, who also worked on The Master, screening next weekend in the 70-millimeter festival). Even on plain old 35-millimeter, it was a blast on the Music Box's big screen. DePalma made the film at the height of his abilities as a showman (just after Sisters and not long before Carrie), indulging in split-screen sequences, cartoonish sight gags, and elaborate camera movements that exist just to call attention to themselves."

Posted by Geoff at 7:56 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 7:57 PM CST
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Sunday, February 17, 2013
Brian De Palma has mentioned his new project Happy Valley in several interviews with French media that were published this past week, and now a picture is beginning to emerge of his vision for the upcoming film. In a video interview posted today at Premiere, De Palma says, "Well, I’m just starting working on a script about a very legendary college coach, Joe Paterno, whose assistant coach was involved in a sex scandal. It sort of destroyed his whole program."

De Palma told Le Soir's Fabienne Bradfer that he'll be shooting Happy Valley in New York: "But my next film, which deals with pedophilia, will be made in New York with Al Pacino. There is a coach who oversees a guy on his team who, over several decades, was abusing young boys. Al Pacino is one of the greatest actors of his generation. He is fascinating and mysterious. As is De Niro. Imagine knowing both of them for 50 years!"

In an interview with Le Monde's Sandrine Marques, De Palma talked about the inevitable with Happy Valley: "For years, I’ve looked for a space like the shower in Psycho. The place where you feel safe and secure but which is desecrated. I have an idea I might be using that for my next film."

And in a great interview with Télérama's Laurent Rigoulet and Jacques Morice, De Palma further sheds some light on how he sees the story, describing it as "the descent into hell of a model coach caught up in a story of pedophilia. It’s an incident which has troubled many Americans. A compelling story worthy of Henrik Ibsen or Arthur Miller. Suffice it to say that we will have to work hard there to interest producers right now. But Pacino is taking it wholeheartedly, this is a dream role for him. If we can get it there, it could be a great American film."

(This last interview might have taken place prior to January's announcement that Edward R. Pressman had come aboard as producer; De Palma also says he will "probably" do this film with Pacino, which indicates that he hadn't yet signed on for the project when he did this interview.)

Posted by Geoff at 11:18 PM CST
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Luc Lagier celebrated the release of Brian De Palma's Passion this past week with a special edition of "Recut", a video series on his blog, Blow Up. Lagier posted four new videos focusing on various themes in De Palma's films. Here they are below...

"who killed the kennedys?"

"dreams are my reality"

"rain and tears"

"stairway to heaven"

Posted by Geoff at 9:04 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 9:47 PM CST
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We have many De Palma interviews from France to sort through, but in the Les inRocks interview by Jacky Goldberg and Serge Kaganski, De Palma is asked about the Jason Statham remake of Heat that he had been working on last year. De Palma had the idea to move the setting to Nice, France ("a different casino town," he had told Anne Thompson last September). In the new Les inRocks interview, De Palma says, "I started working on it with a French writer, Natalie Carter. It happens in Vegas, but I think the story is a little out of sync because the Vegas of today is not the '80s. I told them to do whatever they want and I gave it up." The Statham film is now scheduled to begin shooting March 4th in Las Vegas and New Orleans, under the direction of Simon West.

Posted by Geoff at 5:33 PM CST
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Posted by Geoff at 4:38 PM CST
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Saturday, February 16, 2013
Fangoria's Carrie issue (#321) has hit the stands. It includes an interview with Brian De Palma, as well as interviews with William Katt and P.J. Soles. There is also a terrific interview with Jorn Seifert, of the German FX shop Twilight Creations, which was called to create the mask resembling Rachel McAdams for De Palma's current film, Passion. The issue also includes a look at the work of Pino Donaggio, with quotes from Joe Dante, as well as a look at key murder scenes from De Palma's oeuvre. Fango editor Chris Alexander, who did this issue's interview with De Palma at last September's Toronto Film Festival, explains in the opening editor's letter that the issue was originally planned to coincide with the release of the Carrie remake. However, the release date for the remake got pushed back to October, so they expanded the De Palma element of the issue. The issue does include, nevertheless, and interview with Kimberly Peirce in which she mentions De Palma's help several times as she recounts preparing to direct the new film.

What we'll focus on right here is something that comes up in the De Palma interview. About a year ago, our old friend Peet Gelderblom put together Raising Cain Re-cut, in which, aided by a copy of the original screenplay for De Palma's Raising Cain, he pieced together as best he could what that film might have looked like the way De Palma had originally conceived it. De Palma talks about it in the Fango interview:

FANG: Have you ever thought of remaking one of your own films?

DE PALMA: Hmm... [Pauses] Well, as a matter of fact, somebody put RAISING CAIN together the way it was originally supposed to be done, and it gave me lots of food for thought. RAISING CAIN was originally supposed to start with the woman's story-- you'd follow her for the first 20 minutes-- and then Lithgow's doesn't start until you see him smother her. But when I was cutting the movie, I didn't think her story was interesting enough to sustain the long beginning, so I reversed it and put the Lithgow stuff firstand used the opening scenes as kind of a flashback. Somebody got ahold of the original script and put it back the way it was supposed to be, and I thought it could be really interesting to actually do it the way I always wanted to.

FANG: You mean re-edit, or go back and completely remake it?

DE PALMA: Redo it. It's a very good idea. It was based on an experience I had with a woman who was in the midst of a divorce. She used to come by my house after work, we would spend a few hours together and then she would go home. But she would fall asleep all the time because she had been working all day, and I would sort of watch her sleep, and I thought about what would happen if she slept through the night. That was the initial concept for RAISING CAIN: the fact that she's with her lover and we know she doesn't go home. It's a very good idea, but I just didn't think it was strong enough in relationship to the Lithgow stuff, and that may have been a mistake.

FANG: Isn't that concept an extension in many ways of Angie Dickinson's subplot in Dressed To Kill?

DE PALMA: Yes, to some degree. But we're not always so conscious of these things the way people who study these films and look for all the signs are. We do things intuitively, and then you remind us of the similarities, and maybe you're right.

Posted by Geoff at 8:43 PM CST
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Friday, February 15, 2013
Some new clips from Passion appear in a new Ciné Choc 25 video on YouTube. The clips are dubbed in French, and several are played behind an interview with Brian De Palma. Even so, they provide us some fresh looks at the film (for those of us who have not yet seen it), including several shots with Karoline Herfurth. The video is below...

Posted by Geoff at 1:20 AM CST
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Thursday, February 14, 2013
Brian De Palma's Passion opened in France and Belgium on Wednesday. Here are links and quotes from some of the reviews that have been coming in:

Louis Guichard, Telerama
"In the original, there was a master-slave relationship between a woman and a debutante, with a decisive age difference. In this new version, they are no longer two, but three. These dangerous wolves, of differing hierarchical rank, yet interchangeable if we consider their professionalism and greed. They are all super hyper phallic and feminine, in the brilliant light of the usual DP chief of Pedro Almodóvar...

"Repetition, duplication are the endless obsessions of the director: in 1976, Obsession was a decal of Vertigo, itself a masterpiece of reference to the question of the double ... Here, the theme comes adorned with additional sociological resonances. In this advertising agency, seen as the epitome of the capitalist world, mimetic desire rages: each wants the job of the other, the body of the other, will be another, resembles her so much already. Hence a stunning and frightening effect of cloning. The blonde asks her sex partners to wear a mask molded according to her own face: her desire is self-idolatry, in which the evocation of a sudden twin sister brings a touch of vertigo...

[Minor SPOILER in this paragraph] "The fierce competition between various types of images, such as many versions of life, prepares a stunning last movement - the fact that the story takes place in Berlin, but in English, adds to the disorientation. The final crescendo of Passion shows a heroine now in full terror: entrapped by the derealization of her world, harassed by mobile phone ring tones that can not be located, assailed by threats of which we no longer know why they are effective. It is rare that a police thriller spectacularly and breathlessly rises to the top of this ambiguity."

Thierry Gandillot, Les Echos
"Conducted beautifully by an inventive Brian De Palma, these little perverse games between friends seduce. Fatally."

Pierre-Louis Cereja, La Lsace
"With De Palma, we are in the hyper-connected. Of course, for reassurance, there are figures compulsory to the thriller but what really matters here is to bring the viewer to question the images we soak in. To finally see De Palma dive into the catalog of his obsessions with blond wigs, high-heeled shoes, shower, stairs, women kissing each other or twin sisters is something breathtaking. Let us savor ..."

Isabelle Regnier, Le Monde
"Geographically scattered, the plot echoes Hitchcock yet is stretched by the games in which De Palma indulges, once again, with images and displays. In the service of this battle of wits akin to a game of high level chess, his mise en scène integrates with an uncommonly virtuosic videoconferencing, video amateur porn online, viral traffic, split screen ... Betrayal, manipulation, blackmail, lies, duplicity, everything returns continuously in a whirlwind which, by dint of overbidding, becomes comical. Ridicule is not far, but the film escapes, saved by the fluidity, the grace, the elegance of its delectable mise en scène."

Posted by Geoff at 12:51 AM CST
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
At left is Carice Van Houten, who, according to CineObs' Nicolas Schaller, was originally going to play Isabelle in Brian De Palma's Passion, but had to drop out as she was unavailable during the planned shooting schedule. The part, of course, went to Noomi Rapace. Schaller also notes that De Palma had originally offered the part of Christine (played by Rachel McAdams) to Uma Thurman, an actress De Palma has considered for roles on past projects, but who has never actually appeared in one of his films.

Toward the end of the article, Schaller states that De Palma currently has two projects in development. One of them is the previously-announced Happy Valley with Al Pacino, but the other has not been mentioned publicly until now. There was no title given, but it is being developed with Passion producer Saïd Ben Saïd, who told Schaller: "This is a film about cinema that is not devoid of humor or cruelty. It happens on a shoot between a director, an actor and an actress. De Palma wrote it by drawing on things that have happened to him. It is a kind of film testament." (Definitely sounds like one to look forward to.)

Ben Saïd told Schaller that he proposed a remake of Love Crime to De Palma, and sent him a DVD. "24 hours later," he said, "De Palma called me to say he wanted to do it." De Palma told Schaller that he changed the story "to further exploit the tension and mystery. The world of my film is surreal." He added that he envisions Passion as a return to the fundamentals of cinema, but in a new context.

The article opens by explaining that while De Palma was supposed to go to France to promote Passion, "the American filmmaker was indeed stuck in New York, assigned by the judicial officer as a juror in a big criminal trial." Thus the interview was conducted by phone, although Schaller notes that ironically, De Palma was able to free himself later after the defense counsel challenged De Palma's place on the jury, "when he learned he had to deal with the director of Scarface!"

Schaller's opinion of Passion is that, while not a displeasing film, it is "a lazy self-parody" that nevertheless "does not prevent its usual apologists of the French critics to argue that it navigates the genius of Dressed To Kill and Body Double." Schaller's article ends by asking De Palma which classic film he deems has been overrated. "When, in the 1950s," De Palma replied, "critics began to realize that Hitchcock was a great director, they began to praise everything he did. But later films such as Torn Curtain or Topaz prove that his career was behind him. They are not worthy of Hitchcock at his best."

Posted by Geoff at 9:46 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 12:57 AM CST
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Jean-Marc Lalanne's online review of Passion at LesinRocks contains some spoilers, but in it, he calls the split-screen sequence in the film "the most extravagant and poetic De Palma has ever designed."

Posted by Geoff at 6:15 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 6:32 PM CST
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