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Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Tom Cruise will discuss his film career with the New York Film Festival's director of programming, Kent Jones, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's An Evening with Tom Cruise on Monday, December 17. The conversation will be followed by a preview screening of Jack Reacher, the potential Cruise franchise vehicle-starter directed by Christopher McQuarrie that opens in theaters that following Friday. In between those days, the Tom Cruise tribute continues with seven films programmed by Scott Foundas, including Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible, which will screen at 6:30pm on Thursday, December 20. The other films are Tony Scott's Top Gun, Paul Brickman's Risky Business, Barry Levinson's Rain Man, Oliver Stone's Born On The Fourth Of July, Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire, and Ed Zwick's The Last Samurai.

Last month, Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr. posted that McQuarrie will direct the fifth Mission: Impossible film, which will be produced by Cruise and JJ Abrams. Writers were still to be hired for the project, according to Fleming, but it would seem likely that McQuarrie himself would be involved in the writing, as he has written every film he has directed so far, including the screenplay adaptation of Jack Reacher, from the Lee Child novel One Shot. McQuarrie also co-wrote the screenplay for Valkyrie, which starred Cruise and was directed by Bryan Singer.

Posted by Geoff at 7:18 PM CST
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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fright Rags last week revealed a new T-shirt design (above) inspired by Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. The shirt sells for $21.95, and is advertised as "A super smooth screenprint on the softest 100% pre-shrunk ringspun cotton." Fright Rags also has a Carrie design available.

This next bit of news comes to us courtesy the great and highly informative Swan Archives. Chicago's Music Box Theatre will screen Phantom Of The Paradise on two nights this upcoming February, as part of its ongoing Midnight Movies series. Phantom will screen on Friday and Saturday nights, February 15 and 16. Here is the Music Box website's description of the film:

"Praise be to whatever dark lord made this unholy masterpiece! Brian De Palma’s glam-rock musical, featuring songs by Paul Williams, is a coked-out mashup of T. Rex, Hitchcock, Universal Monsters, and Rocky Horror. Winslow Leach is a promising musician whose work is stolen by the evil producer Swan (played to pig-faced perfection by Paul Williams). tortured and beaten for attempting to reclaim his music, Winslow transforms into the steel-toothed, cape-wearing, leather-clad Phantom, out to wreak havoc upon Swan’s new nightclub, The Paradise!"

Posted by Geoff at 10:22 AM CST
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Friday, November 30, 2012

This past April, Rob Paulsen spoke to Dan Roberts about his small but memorable role in Brian De Palma's Body Double. This week, Paulsen provides even more details to A.V. Club's Will Harris:

Oh, dear. [Laughs.] That is an interesting story, actually. My son was coming along, and I remember that my agent called me—I was still doing live-action stuff at that point—and said, “Hey, Brian De Palma wants you to come in and read for him.” And I said, “Wow! That’s pretty cool!” I don’t know how the hell he knew who I was, but I was happy to do that, because he had actually just come off of directing Scarface, and Scarface had a lot of press that was very… [Hesitates.] Not criticizing, really. I mean, the movie got pretty good notices, and it was a successful movie. But [De Palma] had gotten a lot of reviews that suggested that the violence of Scarface should’ve made it an X-rated movie. Mind you, this was 28 years ago, so the stuff that was considered racy or violent then was nothing compared to what it is now. I read an article in the L.A. Times where Brian De Palma said, “You know what? Screw those people. If they want an X-rated movie, I’ll give ’em one!” And that movie was Body Double.

I remember going to audition for Body Double, and I read for a different role, and when I went in, I read the part, and Brian said, “Put the script down, let’s just improvise.” And I’m comfortable with that, so we did. And by the time I got home, I had a message on my machine from my agent, saying, “Hey, Brian loved you! He doesn’t necessarily want you for the part he read you for, but he really loved you and wants to use you. It’ll be three or four days.” And I said, “Oh, great!” Mind you, I was in my late 20s at the time, Brian De Palma was a big deal, and it was a Columbia Pictures movie, his first movie after Scarface. So they just said, “Your call time is such and such, you’re going way down on Melrose, way past Hollywood. It’s Melrose and Heliotrope, it’s an abandoned warehouse, and you’re going to shoot your stuff there.”

So I drove down there, and they said, “Your scenes are going to be with Craig Wasson and Melanie Griffith, the stars of the film.” And I remember Steve Burum was the director of photography, a very well-known and excellent DP, and, of course, De Palma’s there, too. Now, I knew that the movie had something to do with the adult-movie business, but I didn’t know that I was going to be involved in the parts that were directly involved in the adult-movie business. [Laughs.] But when I got down there, they just kind of handed me the script and said, “You’re this guy.” And then the guy that was playing the director in the adult movie was Al Israel, a really intense actor who got a lot of notices for being the chainsaw guy in Scarface. So I was already thinking, “Wow, this is really weird…” And then as I was getting ready to do my scenes, they brought Melanie and Craig in, and then they also had a bunch of extras who were real adult-movie actors, and… It was all just really bizarre for a young man from Flint, Michigan. [Laughs.] I mean, I’d already been out here for about five years or so by that point, but it was still pretty disconcerting. But I didn’t have the guts to say, “I can’t do this.” I don’t think it was purely discomfort. It was a little bit of consternation, but also going, “Wow, what the hell is going on here?”

So these folks were all in various stages of undress, and Melanie was very uncomfortable with all of the people there, so the only crew that were allowed on the set were the DP, Brian De Palma, and… that was it, actually. The rest of us were actors. And it was a very odd circumstance. They shot more than [they] ended up [using]. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. [Laughs.] I was on the movie for three days, and I remember coming home and telling my wife, “Wow, that was a bizarre experience. At least I know I’m making some diaper money, but it was pretty wild.” Luckily, I didn’t have to take off my clothes. Nobody’s going to want to see me naked, anyway. Trust me.

Years later, my son was about 16, he had a bunch of buddies over, and they were watching movies. I’d already gone to bed, and he came in and said [whispers loudly], “Hey, Dad!” He woke me up, and I said, “Yeah! You okay?” He said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh… Were you in a movie called Body Double?” And I heard my wife immediately laugh. He and his buddies were watching Body Double, and they saw me. Then he said, “That was so cool!” I said, “It wasn’t really that cool, buddy, but…” [Laughs.] So it came back to haunt me. And it shows up every now and then in articles like this or whatever. But, hey, if you decide to be in show business or politics, your life is an open book. So I have no problem with people asking about it. I suppose it’s a left-handed compliment: When you achieve a certain modicum of celebrity—and I don’t consider myself a celebrity, but other people do—your past is available. Whether it hurts you or helps you, it’s all fair game.

Posted by Geoff at 7:07 PM CST
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 7:10 PM CST
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Film Comment includes a regular sidebar in its opening pages every month called "The Last 10 Films I've Seen," in which a filmmaker provides a simple list of what they've recently viewed. The current issue (November-December 2012) features just such a list from Brian De Palma (as well as one from Christian Petzold). Here's De Palma's list:

1. Therese Raquin (Charlie Stratton, 2012)
2. You, the Living (Roy Andersson, 2007)
3. The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar, 2011)
4. Pieta (Kim Ki-duk, 2012)
5. Premium Rush (David Koepp, 2012)
6. A Woman Of Affairs (Clarence Brown, 1928)
7. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)
8. Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)
9. Nightfall (Jacques Tourneur, 1957)
10. Men In War (Anthony Mann, 1957)

Posted by Geoff at 12:29 AM CST
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Sunday, November 25, 2012
La-La Land Records announced on Friday that it will release an expanded 2-CD set of Ennio Morricone's soundtrack to Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. The set, timed to mark the 25th anniversary of The Untouchables, will be a limited edition of 3500 units, with liner notes by Jeff Bond. It will be available on the La-La Land Records website beginning December 4th, at 1pm pacific, according to a press release posted on the Film Score Monthly Message Board. Disc one will feature the score as heard in the film, while disc two, according to the press release, "features the Grammy award winning album presentation as well a number of bonus tracks including the unused song performed by Randy Edelman that was based on the love theme from the film. What makes this release extra special is now the fans of the score can hear both versions of the Maestro’s powerful score on cd – the film mix as well as the original album mix – both have never sounded better!" A full track listing can be found at Soundtrack.net.
(Thanks to Randy!)

Posted by Geoff at 10:31 PM CST
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
This interview is two months old, but it was kind of skipped over with all of the Passion news going on at the time. Actually, at the time, I had tried to embed the video interview to the De Palma a la Mod blog, but the embed code wouldn't work for some reason. (Update-- Go to the comments section below to see the embedded video, thanks to Rado!) MTV's Kevin P. Sullivan talked to Brian De Palma at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and De Palma told him that he was considered as director for two Alfred Hitchcock biopics that have appeared this year: The Girl, directed by Julian Jarrold, which premiered on HBO last month; and Hitchcock, directed by Sacha Gervasi, which hits theaters this week. The former puts a close-up on the relationship between Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren, who starred in Hitchcock's The Birds and Marnie. The latter, written by John J. McLaughlin (who had for a time worked on the screenplay to Parker with De Palma before that project was taken on by Taylor Hackford) looks at the making of Hitchcock's Psycho.

"They were all sent to me," De Palma told Sullivan, "so I know exactly what they're all about. I was the top of the list." De Palma, however, turned these projects down. "We should leave the man alone," he told Sullivan. "He's a great master, and these are kind of disturbing views of him and making these movies."

A Huffington Post article by Lynn Elber starts off with this:


After a private screening of HBO's "The Girl" held for Tippi Hedren, her friends and family, including daughter Melanie Griffith, the reaction was silence.

Make that stunned silence, as the room took in the film's depiction of a scorned, vindictive Alfred Hitchcock physically and emotionally abusing Hedren during production of "The Birds."

"I've never been in a screening room where nobody moved, nobody said anything," Hedren recounted. "Until my daughter jumped up and said, `Well, now I have to go back into therapy.'"


Incidentally, Tippi Hedron portrayed the mother of Melanie Griffith's character on the season premiere of FOX-TV's Raising Hope last month-- and if you'd kept the channel tuned for the program after that, you would have seen Griffith's daughter Dakota Johnson starring in the new show Ben and Kate.

Also in the MTV interview, Sullivan asked De Palma about the Untouchables prequel, Capone Rising. "It's quite a good script," De Palma told Sullivan, "but it's owned by Paramount. We had it together with different casts at different times, but it never seemed to work out. It's still there. I've always been amazed to think about how many scripts are sitting in studio vaults that are actually great scripts, that if anybody would go down and read them, they would be amazed at what's there. There must be tons of them."

Back on September 13, De Palma was asked about the prequel by Collider's Phil Brown. "I don’t know," De Palma said regarding whether the film will ever happen. "We’ve had it cast many times, but we’ve just never been able to get everything together at the same time. It’s owned by Paramount so there’s nothing I can do." When asked who he'd planned to cast in it, De Palma replied, "At one point I think I had Nicolas Cage playing Capone. Gerald Butler was going to do the Sean Connery part. I think we even had Benicio Del Toro as Capone at one point. We had so many great people attached. It’s one of those legendarily great scripts that actors would die to play, but we’ve just never been able to get it all together with Paramount."

Posted by Geoff at 9:52 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 11:01 AM CST
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The Carlotta Films DVD and Blu-Ray editions of Brian De Palma's Blow Out and Dressed To Kill are released in France this week, and Fiction Factory has details (as well as 2-minute teasers) about the new interview segments it filmed and provided for the new editions. "Rag Doll Memories: Nancy Allen on Blow Out" runs 21 minutes. "Black and White in Color: Vilmos Zsigmond on Blow Out," with a running time of 27 minutes, has the cinematographer discussing his work with De Palma on Blow Out, and "that film’s particular challenges, like flashing technique and split diopters," according to the Fiction Family web site. "Return to Philadelphia: George Litto on Blow Out" is an 18-minute interview with the producer.

"Lessons in Filmmaking: Keith Gordon on Dressed to Kill," with a running time of 30 minutes, has Gordon discussing the filmmaking lessons he learned while acting in Dressed To Kill. "Dressed in Purple: Nancy Allen on Dressed to Kill," with a running time of 22 minutes, has Allen talking "about her character, Liz, the costumes designed by Ann Roth, and her co-stars Angie Dickinson, Keith Gordon and Michael Caine. "Dressed in White: Angie Dickinson on Dressed to Kill," which runs 29 minutes, has this description: "Angie Dickinson remembers the shooting of Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill and discusses her role scene by scene." Also on the DTK DVD and Blu-Ray is "Symphony of Fear: George Litto on Dressed to Kill," which runs 17 minutes.

The Blow Out sets also include a 27-minute interview with Pino Donaggio in which he talks about his career as a violinist, then popular singer, and on through his ongoing collaboration with De Palma. There is also a 7-minute analysis of Blow Out by critic Jean Douchet. Both Blow Out and Dressed To Kill include an 8-minute introduction from Samuel Blumenfeld.

Posted by Geoff at 12:25 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, November 24, 2012 10:14 PM CST
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Monday, November 19, 2012
About a week after it was announced that George Lucas was selling the Star Wars franchise to Disney, Entertainment Weekly's Carrie Bell asked Quentin Tarantino if he was interested in the upcoming movies. "I could so care less,” Tarantino responded. “No, sorry. Especially if Disney’s going to do it. I’m not interested in the Simon West version of Star Wars.” (Funny, but that sounds suspiciously close to how I feel about the Simon West version of Heat.)

Posted by Geoff at 10:55 PM CST
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Sunday, November 18, 2012
Spinoff's Katie Calautti posted a very interesting interview with Kimberly Peirce this week, in which the director discusses several aspects of her upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's Carrie. When asked what she thinks she brings to the project as a woman, following the male points of view that created the original novel and the Brian De Palma film, Peirce replies, "Well, let’s say as a director, because my femaleness comes and goes. [laughs] Stephen King is a man and he wrote the book, and the book is brilliant, so how did that happen? Well, what’s interesting is, you know the story: that he was working as a janitor and he found a bloody tampon and he thought it was really gross. Then he wrote about, ‘What if a girl was tortured by this bloody tampon?’ That’s fascinating. That’s a lot of fear around a period! So that makes sense, that a man would have that fear, and that a man could create this brilliant archetypal story from that. So I don’t know that male or female is what’s right, it’s just that the lens tips. So he tipped it a certain way, then I come in, and I can definitely see why a period is gross and a period is scary and why a girl going through that could be terrified. But you know, maybe in my experience there’s other things that I can bring to it – which is, I deal with that, I get it. But then we get to the mother/daughter relationship. Men have complicated relationships with their mothers, so they can understand that. I have a very complicated relationship with my mother, and there’s a lot of love, there’s been a lot of war, and there has been breakups. And that is something that most women will tell you, is your relationship with your mother can be very claustrophobic to women, can lead to breakups. So maybe there’s just things that I’ve experienced that I was able to bring to it."

Peirce also dicusses the difference in ages of Sissy Spacek, who was 27 when she played Carrie in De Palma's film, and Chloë Grace Moretz, who is 15 now as she plays Carrie for Peirce. Peirce tells Calautti that she did want to cast age-appropriate actors for her film, but she had to tell Moretz that to play Carrie, she would have to tone down the natural youthful confidence she has. "You have all this stuff that I’m glad you have as a human being," Peirce says she told Moretz, "but to be this character we gotta lose the confidence, we gotta lose the childishness, and we have to have a need for rebellion."

Peirce also discusses with Calautti the similarities between the horror genre and her previous films. "Well, Boys Don’t Cry was not exactly a romantic comedy. [laughs] But let’s just say my other movies are cousins of horror. It was fantastic, because I realized – it being the cousin of what I’ve done before, the structure’s the same. I still want you to be terrified, I still want you to be affected viscerally by everything. I still want you to dream, but I can have … there’s a more obvious fun, which is, you know, when the mother’s beating up the daughter I don’t want you to say, 'Oh, I feel bad' like maybe you felt in my other movies. I want you to say, 'Oh, God, that’s great – do it again!' There’s a moment when Margaret hits Carrie with the Bible, and every time I screen it everybody’s like, 'Wow, why do we like that?' Because there’s pleasure in the pain. So it’s about celebrating the pain. It’s a turning of the dial."

Finally, Calautti asks Peirce if she felt any pressure to compete with the famous ending of De Palma's version. "Well," she tells Calautti, "Brian said to me, 'So what are you gonna do about that end?' And I was like, 'Brian, I know you revolutionized cinema …' [laughs] Of course it’s on my mind! I’m not blind to the brilliance of his movie, but I’m also not blind to the fact that I can’t go down a road that he’s done. You have to be mindful. And I just don’t think you have to try to duplicate something that is so unique and so brilliant and revolutionized cinema. I mean, maybe I should be bolder and do it, but I think I’m a little too wise to. So I think you do something different, I think you just make sure your movie is what it is and that it fires on all cylinders as much as you can. And if you find yourself in a situation where you can top it, do it. But you probably won’t."

Posted by Geoff at 11:56 AM CST
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Posted by Geoff at 7:01 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, November 18, 2012 12:44 AM CST
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