Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
to direct remake
says she's the "perfect
choice" to direct
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."
a la Mod:
D'Arcy describes the way the film captures events as they unfold at Penn State:
"Bar-Lev watches the university community witness news of Sandusky’s 2012 conviction on multiple counts of sexual abuse. Soon head football coach [Joe] Paterno (Sandusky’s boss), is sacked, along with the university president and other officials. The youth response on campus is a riot in which news trucks are overturned and property is destroyed.
"The mob reaction to disturbing news is at the core of Bar-Lev’s film, in which football fever fuels group fenzy in Happy Valley. Critics of Joe Paterno (nicknamed ‘JoePa’) are insulted and threatened when they express concerns publicly, as police stand by. This is extreme football fervor. It would be hard to find a Catholic congregation in the US that rallied behind a bishop who turned the other way after seeing evidence of sexual abuse. Football, as we see, is another story.
"Football as religion is a truism in the US. In Bar-Lev’s film, football as identity and profit takes over. The university searches for life beyond the revered Paterno, who dies in 2012 of a cancer that’s diagnosed the day after his firing. A popular statue of Paterno – a bronze figure of sports kitsch that was a tourist destination – is destroyed by the university, which also expunges the former coach’s name from the university’s history, like that of a purged Soviet official under Stalin. As the crowds pour back into the football stadium, Penn State is busy marketing a cult of personality for its new coach.
"Bar Lev’s scenes of crowd melees are frightening, but his film contains intimate poignant testimony that is equally troubling. Jerry Sandusky’s stoic adopted son, Matt, tells a sad story of growing up in the squalid digs of a desperately poor family and gravitating toward a program for poor boys headed by the coach, who gave the children food, gifts, and mandated sex."
And that’s a good reason why Bar-Lev’s next film, “Happy Valley,” is about the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal. But it’s not that Bar-Lev is particularly interested in Sandusky.
“I’m more interested in how we relate to Jerry Sandusky, the mythological nature of Sandusky and (former Penn State football coach) Joe Paterno,” he says. “We call the film ‘Happy Valley’ because we’re interested in how the town is reckoning with itself in the aftermath of the scandal.”
McKenna, who as a child had greatly admired Paterno, tells Tully, "This project is too important not to be as well informed as possible. Not unexpectedly, what I’ve found is there’s three sides to every story. There is no black and white. JoePa was a great, great man, who did so much good for a such a long period of time. But that greatness turned out to hurt him in the end because he set the bar so incredibly high in everything that he did. And that’s where the tragedy lies."
Here are the last few paragraphs of Tully's article:
While he said he couldn’t talk specifically about what will be included in the film, McKenna said “the crazy thing” about Sandusky is how much good he did for kids. McKenna acknowledges he might be “crucified” for saying that, but he believes it’s the truth.
“Second Mile was a huge endeavor that raised hundreds of millions for disadvantaged kids,” McKenna said. “That’s what makes this scandal so sad and heartbreaking.”
On the other hand, McKenna said he hopes he will be able to talk extensively with the Paterno family. He believes the family will one day open themselves up to him and his Hollywood team, “once they see how fair we’ve been to Joe’s incredible legacy.”
McKenna said he will always have the highest respect for Paterno and his wife, Sue. One quote that McKenna often thinks about is when Paterno, who raised five kids in a modest home a few blocks from campus, told his children they can swim just as well in the community pool as a private one.
“They were on a first-name basis with everyone in town — Joe even knew the cheerleaders’ names. They built a library — giving $3 million of their own money,” McKenna said. “Their love and generosity inspires me as I raise my three children. Because that’s what life is all about, isn’t it?”
De Palma: Well, it’s indeed a tragic story, and it’s a part Al wants to play. I mean, that’s how it all started. You know, and it’s a great honor to direct Al. He’s, you know, one of the greatest actors of his generation. So, in order to tell it in a fair way, I mean, it’s sort of like Lawrence Of Arabia. Everybody has a different view on what happened. So the idea of the script is to try and represent each view equally, and let the audience try to figure out what exactly happened and who’s culpable.
On August 29, Vanity Fair posted an interview with De Palma by Jason Guerrasio, who also asked De Palma about Happy Valley, and about working with Pacino again. "It’s a fantastic part for him," De Palma told Guerrasio. "It’s almost like a King Lear–type of part. When you look at something like Scarface you see the incredible performance he gives. It’s always exciting for a director to work with someone like that." Guerrasio then asked if he and Pacino had talked yet about how he's going to play Paterno. "Oh yeah," De Palma replied, "we've exchanged extensive e-mails. It has begun."
College coaches -- even the good ones -- have the power of third world despots and come to enjoy the authority and control provided by their positions. Pressman certainly understands this and describes Paterno's story as a "Greek tragedy." His past experience in handling films with scandalous characters has worked out well, as he proved with Reversal of Fortune, where they told Claus Von Bulow's story from the perspective of the victim -- his wife, Sunny. According to Pressman, the Paterno story poses similar challenges, but nothing they can't handle. "It's been many years since I've seen Brian (De Palma) so excited," said Pressman.
Not frustrating. Indeed, I did not want to work for a few years. With two school-age daughters it's been good to stay home with them and not have to travel.
Now, you've filmed an English-language remake of a French thriller from three years ago. What do you think justifies a remake of a film?
If the material is interesting enough, to mature in a recycling. Frequently, foreign films are remade in English, as in America, people do not like to read subtitles. This was also the case here. There was a French film, and it was thought that if it was in English many more people will see it. The producer brought the idea to America, but he decided he'd rather do it himself. And I found the story engaging enough to organize the English version.
America is now remaking your adaptation of the 1976 film Carrie. What do you say?
As I said, the raw material is what decides. I think Carrie is an interesting story that can touch anyone from generation to generation.
Curious about the Carrie remake?
Other films deserve better. [Not sure of this question/answer]
In Passion, Rachel McAdams plays a sexually liberated woman, a sex scene, yet covers her body with a comforter. Was that your choice, or did you simply fail to persuade the nudity?
Her nudity was not a problem, in fact, she told me, well, would you like if it seemed as though she’s hiding herself modestly? We filmed the scene so that you see everything, and also so that she was covered. I liked it better the latter way, so that’s what’s in the movie.
When I saw Redacted at the Venice Film Festival, I was taken by something different, and I felt like I was run over by a truck. Did you mean to trigger this effect?
Yes, I deeply wanted to shock the audience.
Were you satisfied with the reception of the film?
Well, it was fiercely hated in America because it criticized the U.S. military, and most people do not like that sort of thing. But I felt like these things to be said, and so I did.
Did you see Zero Dark Thirty?
How did you like it?
[Crazy] [I quit.] [I walked out?] [It’s off its nut?]
You've repeatedly said that you want the movies to play on the big screen. Is it saddening that most people are watching on their computers or on their phones?
I have no control over it. I'll do the film as I'd like to see on the big screen, and if they want to watch it on the iPad, that’s their business. I think the majority of film deserves a large canvas, not the iPhone. They look good, and if someone is in the grip of watching a movie, it remains a major part of the experience. Of course, you can't have everything, I get it. But I represent the school that says the film should be given the honor.
Recently, two films were released that showed Alfred Hitchcock as a monster. Is this trend repugnant?
It's unjust because he is no longer alive, so he can not defend himself. And who said that a major artist has to be like a friendly uncle? It is possible that Hitchcock did some things that were upsetting with some actresses, but the great master of the genre we are talking about does not have to be an angel to everyone.
If you made a movie about him, how would he be portrayed?
I would not do that film. In fact, the Hitchcock movies were offered to me, but I refused.
Can you accept it dispassionately, if a film fails at box office?
It has happened to me so many times that I am not at all interested. The major disruption is only because it will then be harder to get money for the next film.
Occasionally, you've entered a film just for the money?
Francis Ford Coppola said, it is difficult to remain a good artist, once one becomes rich. Do you agree with him?
Tough question. The directors of my generation earned an incredible amount of money, but they did damn good movies. Spielberg, Lucas and Scorsese are incredibly rich, and they did the most influential films of the era.
When you became rich, you felt a change in your work?
Not really, because I never dealt with money. [I don't feel a need for things.] If you are looking for as much money to make a living out of it, and I can keep my family, the rest is useless to me.
A few months ago we made a compilation of the sexiest strip scenes, and the one in Femme Fatale came in third place. Satisfied with that result?
Yes, it is a very sexy dance. Rebecca has an incredible body, and the way she moves ... sexy killer. What were the top two?
The Wrestler and From Dusk Till Dawn.
The Wrestler striptease I would not call sexy.
Tarantino said that as directors get older, they get burned out, and usually the last four films are the weakest. What do you think about this revelation, are the recent films just as percussive as the older ones?
I know what he's talking about, because I've studied a lot of directors' careers. The best films they usually did in their forties and fifties, and then in their sixties and seventies saw a marked decrease in quality. And if you look at the most important directors of Hollywood's golden age, this is true. Towards the end John Ford, Billy Wilder or Hitchcock films were inferior in their careers.
But there are exceptions?
Of course there are. It's a tough profession, that is physically demanding, a lot of things can go the wrong way. If you have a few good movies you can put on the table before your forties and fifties come around, you can call yourself lucky.
Do you think of what you will leave behind?
No, because I have no control. Whether they will remember me or not, it depends on so many things.
We've been talking about the Untouchables prequel. Now that the HBO series Boardwalk Empire has largely processed the early stage of Al Capone's career, does it makes sense to even do that movie?
No, but it is not primarily due to the series. The Untouchables prequel was was doomed, after former management developed it at Paramount Studios, and a new management team refused to do this film, which was begun by its predecessor. For this reason, it will probably never be made.
Have you otherwise looked at Boardwalk Empire?
I watched the first part, which Scorsese directed, and then a couple which included Al Capone. But there the legend of Al Capone was processed, as it has been in countless films and television series. Interesting touch to put the story in Atlantic City, but Italian gangsters during the Prohibition ... this has been done a thousand times.
How do you know whether there is enough to make something a worthwhile movie?
When it takes hold of my imagination, and the whole thing almost self develops in my head. I can see the pictures and figure out which actors would be able to play the roles.
I know you go to the movies a lot, and see a lot of movies. Have you seen a Hungarian movie that you liked?
Hungarian film ... hmmm. I see a lot at film festivals, that often never even cross the border. Remind me, please, my memory, which Hungarian movies should I have seen lately!
Last year, Passion played simultaneously at the New York film Film Festival with Pálfi György's Final Cut: Hölgyeim és uraim. Did you see it by any chance?
I do not recall. What's it about?
Tells a simple love story, but from a great montage of all 500 famous classic films put together. You can use one of the films in it for at least five more.
Sounds very interesting, but unfortunately I have not seen. Will it be presented in America?
It's only projected at festivals because the many film clips make it a nightmare for copyright purposes.
If you have a brilliant idea for a commercial, it's usually pretty funny. Passion in turn has a really excellent idea for advertising. How did you think of this?
This advertisement does exist, I found on the internet.
And sought out the rights?
No, just used it.
And they will not demand money for it?
They haven’t so far.
The cult movie Scarface was greatly enjoyed by rappers and gangsters, but it's as if these people did not catch the irony of things, and Tony Montana is seen as a role model. Do you not find this scary?
It's really amazing to me that the Scarface cult is alive after all these years. And for those who understand my films, this is another thing that can not be controlled. I'm not really going to smash my head over things that I have no control over.
And are you accustomed to think you are responsible to the public as a filmmaker?
If you mean to imply that there are many violent movies, then I have to say I absolutely do not believe that violent movies beget real violence. I think the opposite is true. If you look at violent movies, you reduce the tension. I do not think, for example, after watching the Untouchables anyone felt like grabbing a baseball bat and crushing someone's head.
Your next film of Joe Paterno will star Al Pacino. In this a topic you find interesting?
This case is a real drama, which, incidentally, raises lots of interesting questions. For example, this could be an excuse to talk about the story of America's favorite sport of football, and also that in principle, although this is a sport that is associated with all kinds of positive attributes in our heads, it has become extremely corrupted by the whole fact that there's an incredible amount of money involved. I find it a very interesting process, as business destroys things that were previously clear and innocent.
Which movies on filmmaking do you think are the best?
Sunset Boulevard and The Bad and the Beautiful.
And those that show how things are going these days?
Living In Oblivion. It's a delightful film, that accurately and credibly demonstrates how to do a low-budget movie. In addition, it’s very funny.
Is there a movie, for which you feel, that you absolutely must make?
Not anymore. The fact that I'm alive and I can still work is sort of a minor miracle at this point.
How many films are you planning to do?
I have no idea. As long as the idea is good, I will do it.
Do you find it difficult to raise money for films in America?
It depends on what kind of movie we are talking about. A lot of horror themes are easy to get money for, the question is whether you want to devote a couple of years of your life to it. I often find myself looking at things that are eerily similar to one of my earlier films.
Seen any good movies lately?
Django Unchained was pretty good, and I really liked Silver Linings Playbook.
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