Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
a la Mod:
De Palma Masterclass, ------------- ------------ ------------
Casualties Of War,
and book signing
June 2 in Paris
The article then moves on to the final dream sequence of Dressed To Kill:
“You make this stuff as slow as possible,” he murmured. “You’re just agonizingly building up.”
And then there are the shoes: “A lot of people have made remarks about the white shoes. Creepy white nurse’s shoes.”
DE PALMA SHOT TEST OF BALLET TO USE WHILE SHOOTING MURDER SCENE
In discussing the split-screen sequence in Passion, De Palma tells Sobczynski, "I used this particular piece in order to juxtapose Christine waiting for her lover with a ballet having to do with two dancers in a rehearsal studio who are going through their exercises while there is a growing sexual tension between them. I thought it would be an interesting juxtaposition between the two venues of action. It is very intricate but the advantage is that I shot a test of the ballet before I actually shot that sequence and when I was shooting the material of Christine being killed, I had my test footage of the ballet to play it against in order to determine how one scene juxtaposed against another and how it was working. By the time I got down to the shooting of the ballet, which was during the last two days of filming, I knew exactly what I needed in order to properly juxtapose the murder."
DE PALMA KNEW FROM EARLY ROLES THAT RAPACE COULD PLAY VULNERABLE
Sobczynski tells De Palma that when he first heard about the casting, he had assumed Noomi Rapace would play Christine and that Rachel McAdams would play Isabelle. "Fortunately," De Palma replies, "I had seen these Swedish movies that Noomi had done before she had become this international star of the Dragon Tattoo films where she plays this demonic creature—films in which she played vulnerable characters and mothers—and had sort of a fuller grasp of her acting talent."
'PASSION' DISTRIBUTION; 'PARANORMAL ACTIVITY'; FAV MOVIE CRITICS & OTHER DISCOVERIES
In discussing the VOD and limited theatrical release of Passion, De Palma tells Sobczynski, "That is the strategy of the distributor—they are the ones that paid for the movie and they have an idea about the best way to exhibit it in order to maximize their investment. I have no idea if this is going to make the movie any more successful as opposed to opening it in a more conventional way."
When asked how close he came to directing Paranormal Activity 2, De Palma tells Sobczynski, "Not very. Basically, I think one of the producers was an admirer of my work and they talked about it but nothing really came of it." When asked about the current state of film criticism, De Palma says, "I think that some of the best film critics nowadays are on the web. Dana Stevens over at Slate, Stephanie Zacharek over at the Village Voice—they write some of the best criticism around."
The interview ends with Sobczynski asking De Palma if there are any of his lesser-seen films he might like to see rediscovered. De Palma replies, "The public basically decides the movies that are going to be remembered and you have named a couple of them [Scarface and Blow Out]. Anyone who likes a director's work is exposed to them by the best-of movies, and then they start digging. Take someone like Fritz Lang—you start by seeing things like Metropolis or The Big Heat and the other fantastic films that he made and then you start exploring the ones that are less well-known. I assume that is what people do with me—they know the movies that are well-known and then ask 'Who is this guy?' and start digging into the others."
SOBCZYNSKI RANKS DE PALMA'S FILMS - 'BLOW OUT' TOPS LIST
Also posted that same day is Sobczynski's ranking of 27 of De Palma's films. "I have compiled the following retrospective look at his entire career (minus one or two obscurities)," Sobczynski explains in the introduction. "Some are better than others but with few exceptions, they are all the work of a singular director with a singular vision that stand out all the more amidst its committee-created competition and which make even his weakest efforts more interesting than the best works of most other filmmakers working today." Sobczynski's top three are Blow Out ("De Palma's masterpiece"), Femme Fatale ("this may be the most purely De Palma film of them all"), and Phantom Of The Paradise ("one of De Palma's most wildly entertaining films").
Sobczynski ranks Passion at #7 on the list, stating, "the film as a whole is a sexy stunner that is De Palma's most satisfying work since Femme Fatale." In contrast to Jake Cole's list from earlier in the week, Sobczynski ranks The Untouchables at number 5. Some possible surprises on Sobczynski's list: Raising Cain makes his top 10, Snake Eyes up at number 12 (even though "the ending is a bit of a letdown"), and Casualties Of War all the way down at number 23 ("I must confess that it is one that has never quite worked for me that well," writes Sobczynski). All the way at the bottom of the list is Get To Know Your Rabbit.
Earlier in the interview, Goodykoontz had some questions for De Palma about dealing with sexuality on the set:
A: In this case, there’s not that much explicit sexuality. I mean, the girls are toying with each other all the time. These actresses (Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace) came to this because they liked acting together. They like this kind of twisted relationship, and they could tease each other and slam each other. It became an erotic fencing game they played. And that was the fun of it, and they really enjoyed doing it. But this isn’t naked girls running around in the shower, which is a whole different problem.
Q: A problem you’ve dealt with.
A: When you’re dealing with themes like that, like I had in Carrie, it’s incredibly difficult to do. A lot of these actresses had never been in a movie before, this whole naked shower scene, you know, they were all a little nuts. Fortunately Sissy (Spacek, the star) had to do all her stuff before, and when they saw Sissy doing it, they thought, “Well, God, if Sissy can do it, I can.”
In discussing his belief that most directors do their best work before the age of 60, De Palma tells Nicholson, "Even Hitchcock — he made eighty movies, and personally, I think his films started to deteriorate after The Birds." The article closes with a De Palma quote about the Oscars: "I'm telling you, these award things where people stand up and tell you how great you are, I avoid them. Fortunately, I've never had to deal with it."
EMPIRE MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2013, 'RAISING CAIN' RECUT
Nick De Semlyen has a great little sidebar interview with De Palma in the September 2013 issue of EMPIRE magazine. De Semlyen asks De Palma what we would find in his browser history cache. "They're doing live trials online now," De Palma replies, "so I've been watching the Zimmerman trial. I'm not really a YouTube guy, though I did see somebody re-edited Raising Cain into the original order in which I cut it. I looked at it and said, 'I should have left it that way.'"
'DEXTER', 'MAD MEN', 'WAR AND PEACE'
Asked if he watches any TV shows, De Palma replies, "I watched Dexter in the beginning and was fascinated by it. But when they extend these shows for six or seven years, they sort of run out of ideas, so I didn't watch the whole John Lithgow series. Even Mad Men is getting a little tired now. These things are ten times longer than War And Peace.
De Semlyen then asks De Palma if he saw Hitchcock. "Yes," De Palma replies. "I bought the book to see if it was actually real, what happened. I don't remember Hitchcock having problems with his marriage during the making of Psycho. So I thought it was interesting, but is it true?"
'THE DEMOLISHED MAN'
When asked about Ridley Scott's Prometheus, De Palma tells De Semlyen, "I didn't think it was as good as the original. It's not like Godfather I and II. There's a science fiction story that I've always felt would make a terrific movie: an Alfred Bester book called The Demolished Man. It's about a society of Espers, who can read people's minds. And then a great economic titan figures out how to kill his wife and not get caught. The rights are all tied up at Paramount."
JASON STATHAM FAN
De Semlyen concludes by asking De Palma if he's a fan of Jason Statham, who he was going to direct in the remake of Heat. "Oh yes," replies De Palma. "I've always wanted to make a film with him. I've seen both Cranks and loved them. In fact, I don't think there's a Jason Statham film I haven't seen. He's been doing too much action stuff, driving cars and beating up people. He needs a more Steve McQueen-type part. But it didn't work out."
The same issue also includes a positive review of Passion by Ian Nathan, who says that during its second half, "Passion is transformed into a butterfly of hyperactive noir."