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Saturday, August 3, 2013
DAVID YATES IN TALKS FOR 'SCARFACE' REDO
AFTER SEVERAL SCREENWRITERS, UNIVERSAL HIGH ON CURRENT DRAFT
Deadline's Nikki Finke took time out of her vacation this past Wednesday to post a story about Universal's Scarface "reboot." "There’s a ton of curiosity and criticism about Universal‘s Scarface reboot since both the 1932 Chicago bootlegging film and 1983 Miami cocaine-dealing versions were so iconic," Finke states. "Understanding that, the studio according to my sources has been refining the script with several screenwriters and drafts while keeping all names and details under wraps."

One of Finke's sources is quoted, “Universal has been through a couple of drafts and now is very high on the current draft. The first stop is the director. This is before any conversations on talent or timing.” Finke says she has learned that British director David Yates, who is high in-demand after directing the final four "Harry Potter" movies, is in final talks with the studio to direct the picture. "Though he normally works at Warner Bros," states Finke, "Yates has been the subject of considerable chatter over which film projects he’d do next."

Posted by Geoff at 8:48 PM CDT
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Thursday, August 1, 2013
MR. BEAKS TALKS 'PASSION' WITH DE PALMA
ALSO: ABANDONED 'TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE' REMAKE; MORE
Mr. Beaks' new interview with Brian De Palma was posted today at Ain't It Cool News. They talk about Passion, De Palma's abandoned remake of John Huston's Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, current TV vs. film, and De Palma's meeting with Daft Punk, among other things.

One of those other things is a movie De Palma wanted to do that was based on an old Robert Mitchum film called His Kind Of Woman. De Palma had mentioned this project to Anne Thompson last year. He mentions it again while responding to a question from Mr. Beaks:
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Beaks: When we spoke before, you mentioned how Hitchcock would take a break from his major works to just make a well-made play like Dial M For Murder. Where does Passion land for you in terms of the personal and simply telling a story?

De Palma: In your career, you really don't predict how these things happen. I was working on a lot of projects, and they were all tied up, and I couldn't get them launched in that five-year period. The Boston Stranglers was all tied up at Paramount, as was the prequel to The Untouchables. The problem with these movies is that these scripts get a lot of money against them. A guy wrote a script based on an old RKO movie that Mitchum did called [His Kind Of Woman], and I couldn't talk the RKO people into giving me the rights. So there's a lot of frustration with respect to development. So this movie sort of came to me because they wanted to make an American version, and I said, "Great! I can go to Paris and work on this!" That's how it happened.

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'TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE'
Another highlight of the interview happens when Mr. Beaks brings up De Palma's screenplay from the 1980s for a remake of Treasure Of The Sierra Madre:
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Beaks: I think this is really your first remake. Obviously, Scarface was inspired by Hawks's film, but it's very different. This is explicitly a remake of Corneau's film. I know you wrote a remake of Treasure Of The Sierra Madre long ago that put an interesting spin on Huston's film. What's your feeling about remakes in general?

De Palma: Well, if you have a very good idea… obviously, Treasure Of The Sierra Madre is a fantastic movie. To remake that is a little madness. But I had a very good idea: instead of gold, I was going to make it about cocaine. You get it up there in the mountain it's kind of dealing with dust, but when you get it on the streets of New York it's like solid gold. And not only do you get corrupted because of the money, you get corrupted because of the drug. That gave me a really good idea. I came up with that idea so many years ago it's hard to remember. But it's very difficult to remake a classic movie. We were very fortunate with Scarface. Howard Hawks's Scarface is really good.

Beaks: Whatever happened to your Treasure Of The Sierra Madre?

De Palma: I have no idea. I wrote it so long ago, I don't even remember what I even did with it.

Beaks: I found a copy of the screenplay.

De Palma: You're kidding! I didn't even know there was a copy of the screenplay.

Beaks: I'm always hunting for those scripts of yours that never got made, and a friend of mine tracked this one down.

De Palma: How is it?

Beaks: It's great! I love the twist you put on it. It starts out so much like the original film that I wasn't sure what you were up to, but then it begins to go its own way, and it's really terrific. If you could ever get that together, I'd love to see that movie.

De Palma: Man. I haven't thought that about that in thirty or so years. (Laughs)

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AND BACK TO 'PASSION'
De Palma goes into some detail regarding the locations and storyboards for Passion. "There are a lot of really great exteriors in Berlin that no one had seen before," De Palma tells Mr. Beaks, "so we moved the whole production to Berlin. And we were very fortunate to get this great office building that was vacant because of the recession, so we could sort of take it over. That's always the problem with office buildings: you've got to work around the office. But this was not the case here. It was a great looking building that gave us interesting office locations, which, of course, can be extremely boring."

Beaks then asks, "Did you design all of your shots ahead of time, or did you allow yourself leeway to invent stuff on the day?"

De Palma responds, "What's interesting about this one is that we had a long time to work on the script as we were preparing production and casting it, and I also had the advantage of the other movie. So I literally laid the whole movie out, every setup and every shot. I had these architectural programs where you could put people in them and move them around. And I could reference the other movie: two women talking to each other from across a desk. I could take a shot from the other movie and put it into my storyboards. 'Oh, that's the scene where Isabelle comes into Christine's office and they talk about A, B and C.' I printed them all out, so I could stack 8x11 printouts on my desk and walk anyone through the whole movie."

Beaks later asks De Palma if the power-struggle-kissing scene between Isabelle and Christine was scripted. De Palma replies, "Absolutely not. The girls did it on the day. When Noomi grabs her and gives her the kiss of death, and Rachel kisses her back leering at Noomi's assistant in the doorway... (Laughs) I would just sit behind the camera and smile. 'My god, these girls are really doing it!' They did a lot of stuff like that. The way she's playing with her in the car. 'I want to be admired! I want to be loved!' She kisses her, and Noomi's like, 'What the hell is going on here?' And Rachel picks up the lipstick and says, 'You need a little color.' (Laughs) It's hilarious!"

In discussing how eroticism in film has changed due to the more explicit nudity shown on cable TV, De Palma mentions the sex tape scene in Passion, saying, "That scene where the guy uses the camera to videotape their making out in the hotel room, I basically just gave them a camera and said, 'Just do whatever you would do.' (Laughs) Believe me, they did some incredible things."

'PHANTOM', DAFT PUNK, & PAUL WILLIAMS
Mr. Beaks also asks about the resurgence of interest in Phantom Of The Paradise, noting Daft Punk's recent collaboration with Paul Williams on the song "Touch". "It's great to be remembered!" De Palma tells Beaks. "I met with Daft Punk in Paris. We talked about Phantom, but it was just a preliminary discussion. I don't know what will come of it. We've always had a stage version we wanted to do, but it's never really come together. I saw the Paul Williams documentary, and thought it was charming."

Read the whole great interview here.


Posted by Geoff at 5:40 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, August 1, 2013 10:41 PM CDT
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'PASSION' E-VIL E-MAILS TUMBLR


Read some e-vil e-mails and send in one of your own at the official eOne Passion Tumblr. Indiewire has the official explanation from eOne:

"In Passion, Christine (Rachel McAdams) is a powerful executive while Isabelle (Noomi Rapace) is her hard-working prodigy. In a dog eat dog world, competition is going to get fierce and coworkers are bound to get their toes stepped on if they aren't on top of their game. Things can get nasty real fast if something goes awry. E-vil Emails is the worst of the worst in the workplace: tales of lost tempers, backstabbing, humiliation, and more. While this kind of behavior is surely something to experience On Demand and in theatres, we've created a place where these stories can come to life. We're inviting you to submit your nastiest, most embarrassing, incriminating, and horrible work emails you've ever received or sent. Surely you have some drafts in your inbox consisting of things you wish you could really say to your boss. There must be a time where a coworker threw you under the bus and you just wish you could anonymously vent about it! Don't hesitate, send your e-vil emails our way to evilemails@passionthemovie.com."

(Thanks to Lindsey!)


Posted by Geoff at 5:32 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, August 1, 2013 5:33 PM CDT
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'PASSION' ON iTUNES & VOD STARTING TODAY
FILM COMMENT: "PRECISE IN ITS AESTHETICS, AN EXCELLENT LATE-PERIOD WORK"


Brian De Palma's Passion is available starting today on iTunes and VOD. It will hit theaters on August 30th. Film Comment's Violet Lucca writes of the film, "Precise in its aesthetics, it's an excellent late-period work that shows, without being over-bearing, how the ascent of the corporate ladder can sometimes be a descent into a deeper circle of hell." In the opening paragraph of her review, Lucca states, "I’ve never been convinced that Brian De Palma’s baroque displays of violence against women are a useful way of commenting upon misogyny—but all the same there’s something perceptive and accurate about the female vivisections in Passion. Embedded in a characteristically convoluted narrative replete with absurd twists that toy with audience expectations, said acts are no less gruesome than usual for a De Palma film, but they’re carried out by icy, corporate schemers who repurpose and manipulate feminist ideals for personal gain without batting their eyelashes."

Meanwhile, in a brief review, Noel Murray at the Los Angeles Times states, "Costars Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace start out a little stiff in Passion, and the film as a whole is so flat in its first third that it almost seems as if De Palma is baiting the audience. But then the man who made Dressed to Kill and Body Double shows up, throwing in split screens, over-the-top music cues and an ending that's hysterically nonsensical. All in all, this is De Palma's most playful, enjoyable movie since Femme Fatale."


Posted by Geoff at 12:48 AM CDT
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
DE PALMA OPEN TO RESTORING 'SNAKE EYES' CUT
"THE WHOLE IDEA AT THE END WAS DEUS EX MACHINA"
Drew Taylor's interview with Brian De Palma was posted today at The Playlist, and Taylor took the opportunity to ask De Palma about the lost ending of Snake Eyes. "The whole idea at the end of Snake Eyes was deus ex machina," De Palma told Taylor. "We were dealing with such a corrupt world that the only way to solve the problem is to have a hurricane come through and wipe it all away. That was my initial idea. And the problem is that people don't believe in that [laughing]. They don't believe in God looking down from above and saying, 'The only way to deal with this is a flood. There's so much corruption here, let's wipe it all away and get an ark out and start from scratch.' But it didn't work in the previews so we did this other ending which I don't think is as effective. We did shoot this big wave that swept through the casino but we ultimately cut it out."

Taylor then asked De Palma if he has ever thought about restoring the original ending either back into the movie, or perhaps as a special feature. "Well it was like when they made the special version of Casualties of War, I put in two scenes that were cut out from the initial release and I was very happy to put them back in. If they came to me and said, 'We're thinking about doing a new version,' I'd be happy to do it."

For more about the original ending for Snake Eyes, see this De Palma a la Mod post from 2011.

'STAR WARS', 'HAPPY VALLEY', & AN UNTITLED PROJECT TO BE SET IN FRANCE
Taylor also asked about De Palma's role in the opening crawl for Star Wars. "Well, you know, I find about these things that even my memory is beginning to dim a little bit. What I do remember is there was a crawl and Jay Cocks and I looked at it and said to George, 'I think we can make this better, because there's so many complex things going on here. Why don't you give us a shot at re-writing this?' And we did."

Earlier in the interview, Taylor said to De Palma, "Passion is a remake of a fairly recent French movie. You've been linked to another Untouchables and a Paranormal Activity sequel in the past. How do you feel about sequels and remakes, both in terms of your own work and what you choose to do? And how close did Paranormal Activity and Untouchables get?"

De Palma replied: "Well that's like ancient history, those two projects. The Untouchables prequel has all sorts of economic and legal problems wrapped up with Paramount. And the Paranormal situation was that they reached out to me and we had some discussions about it but that was many, many years ago. Right now I'm working on the Joe Paterno/Sandusky situation [Happy Valley, which De Palma also told Taylor is "a very serious movie about the whole Paterno/Sandusky situation"] and something that's set in France. So that's what's going on now."

SHOCKYA INTV - DE PALMA ON JEROME ROBBINS BALLET, DONAGGIO, & VOD RELEASE
Shockya's Karen Benardello posted a separate interview with De Palma yesterday. Here is an excerpt featuring the last three questions:

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SY: One of the film’s most ambitious sequences is when a murder is carried out while dancers perform Jerome Robbins’ modern staging of the classic Nijinsky-Debussy ballet ‘Afternoon of a Faun,’ which is based on the Mallarmé poem about dreams and desire. What was the inspiration in showing the murder and the ballet at the same time on a split screen?

BDP: Well, that’s a ballet I particularly like. I saw the Jerome Robbins choreography on the Internet, and it’s a black and white video that had to be taken in the ’50s. I thought it was a fantastic reimaging of this particular Debussy piece, ‘Afternoon of a Faun,’ and I’ve always wanted to put it in a movie. This gave me a perfect place to do it.

In the original film, she goes to the movies and slips out. **SPOILER ALERT** In this case, I wanted to put her in a ballet, so I could place the ballet against the murder at Christine’s house. By using that big close-up, you always think that Isabelle is at the ballet, and she couldn’t possibly be at the house. **END SPOILER ALERT**

SY: ‘Passion’ marks the seventh that you’ve worked on with music composer Pino Donaggio. Since the film is a crime mystery drama, what was the process of working with Pino to create the perfect score for the film, and capture the rivalry between Christine and Isabelle?

BDP: Well, I’ve worked with Pino on seven films together. He knows how to do these long violent sequences that I create. The last cue at the end of the film, when the last nightmare takes place, no one writes music like that but him. It’s exciting and suspenseful and scary and dramatic, and it’s completely unique to his talent.

SY: ‘Passion’ is set to be released on Thursday on VOD, with a theatrical rollout set to follow on August 30. What are your thoughts on VOD-do you think it’s the new release precedent for smaller, independent films?

BDP: Well, I’ve never done it this way before, and I’m interested to see how it plays. It was the choice of the distributor, and I’ve never had a movie released first On Demand, and then theatrically in a theater. But we’re looking at films all the time on smaller screens, so that’s the way it seems to be going.

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Posted by Geoff at 7:13 PM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 6:02 PM CDT
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Monday, July 29, 2013








Posted by Geoff at 7:35 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, July 29, 2013 9:33 PM CDT
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Sunday, July 28, 2013
TWO DIFFERENT LISTS OF DE PALMA'S BEST
ONE GOES MOSTLY PERSONAL, THE OTHER MOSTLY ADAPTATIONS
Earlier this month, Hey U Guys' Dave Roper posted his six favorite Brian De Palma films, and they were very interesting, idiosyncratic picks, as only one of them was a film that was both written and directed by De Palma, and even that pick was unusual (Raising Cain). Here are Roper's rankings:

1. Carrie
2. Mission: Impossible
3. The Untouchables
4. Casualties Of War
5. Carlito's Way
6. Raising Cain

Meanwhile, today The Chicago Reader's Drew Hunt posted his top five picks for best De Palma films (part of his "Weekly Top Five" series), and there are at least a couple that you might not expect. Here they are:

1. Blow Out
2. Sisters
3. Femme Fatale
4. Greetings
5. Snake Eyes

Both articles include great explanations of the critics' choices, so be sure to check those out, too. I have my own top five De Palma films:

1. Blow Out
2. Carrie
3. Phantom Of The Paradise
4. Femme Fatale
5. Dressed To Kill

Tell us your top five in the comments below.


Posted by Geoff at 11:23 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, July 29, 2013 5:50 PM CDT
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Friday, July 26, 2013
ARROW'S UPCOMING BLU-RAY OF 'THE FURY'
SHORT FILM TRIBUTE TO DE PALMA, STARRING WILLIAM FINLEY;
INTVS WITH RICHARD H. KLINE, FIONA LEWIS, 1978 PROMO TOUR, DUMAS LINER NOTES, MORE

As Arrow Video gets set to release its Blu-Ray of Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill on Monday (check out reviews of that release from Chris O'Neill at Zombie Hamster and Mike Sutton at The Digital Fix), we have below an early peek at the specs for Arrow's upcoming Blu-Ray of De Palma's The Fury-- and they look fairly incredible thus far (they say there are more announcements to come). The Blu-Ray will be released on October 21st, and is available for pre-order. CriterionCast has Jay Shaw's cover art, and here are the specs:

THE FURY

Special Features:

- Brand new digital transfer of the film from the original camera negative

- Original uncompressed mono 2.0 PCM audio

- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

- Blood on the Lens: An interview with Cinematographer Richard H. Kline

- Spinning Tales: Fiona Lewis on starring in The Fury

- The Fury Revisited – An interview with Sam Irvin, intern on The Fury, author of the film’s shooting diary and then correspondent for Cinefantastique magazine

- Original archive interviews from the 1978 promotional tour, featuring Brian De Palma, producer Frank Yablans and stars Carrie Snodgress and Amy Irving

- “Double Negative” [20 mins] – A short film tribute to De Palma by Sam Irvin, starring William Finley

- Gallery of behind-the-scenes production images

- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw

- Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris Dumas, author of Un-American Psycho: Brian De Palma and the Political Invisible, as well as a re-print of a contemporary interview with De Palma, illustrated with original stills and posters, and more to be announced!


Posted by Geoff at 8:52 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, July 27, 2013 12:06 PM CDT
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'PASSION' IN AUSTRALIA & IRELAND THIS WEEKEND
U.K. DVD COMES OUT AUGUST 12


As you can see above, tomorrow night marks the Irish premiere of Brian De Palma's Passion at Triskel Christchurch. As it stands right now, this will be the only theatrical screening of Passion in either Ireland or the U.K. prior to its release on DVD in those territories August 12. Metrodome is not releasing a Blu-Ray of Passion, but just a bare-bones DVD, which Mike Sutton from The Digital Fix tells us has a "fairly good picture quality." The Movie Waffler, in association with Metrodome Distribution, are giving away three copies of the DVD.

Meanwhile, Passion has its Australian premiere today at the Melbourne International Film Festival, where it will also screen July 29 and August 8. (It will be available on Quickflix beginning August 28.)


Posted by Geoff at 7:18 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, July 27, 2013 10:10 AM CDT
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