Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
a la Mod:
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.
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)
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.
"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 firstname.lastname@example.org."
(Thanks to Lindsey!)
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."
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:
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.
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
3. Femme Fatale
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
3. Phantom Of The Paradise
4. Femme Fatale
5. Dressed To Kill
Tell us your top five in the comments below.
- 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!