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Supercut video
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De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
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mix or the color
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final print."

Listen to
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De Palma/Lehman
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Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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Friday, March 24, 2017
PODCAST - SCREENWRITERS DISCUSS 'LIGHTS OUT'
ELEVATOR PITCH: "BLIND GIRL IN A HOUSE, SOME FOLKS BREAK IN, UNEXPECTED THINGS HAPPEN"

Yesterday's episode of The NYFA Hour Popcorn Talk podcast featured Lamont Magee and Jeff W. Byrd, the screenwriters for Brian De Palma's upcoming Lights Out. During the podcast, they briefly discussed the project with hosts Joelle Monique and Pegah Rad:
Joelle: You’re working on a movie that Brian De Palma is going to direct. Did you guys write it before Brian De Palma came on board?

Jeff: Yes.

Joelle: Okay… Did it change at all when he came on board? How you approached the project? Or was it done and you were like, here Brian, let’s go?

Jeff: No, I mean, well, it’s still changing now, because he’s still, you know, transforming it and all that stuff. So, but the essence of it is pretty much what we wrote. But Lamont’s been really dealing with him directly, with the changes that were made most recently. But at the end of the day the essence will usually stay the same. Obviously, words may change, and situations may change, and things like that. When we wrote it, it was a little simple movie—two million dollar, little small thing.

Lamont: Right, it was like a million dollars. It was, like, small.

Jeff: Yeah, and then De Palma comes on board, and it’s like, what, forty or fifty or something… something insane. So it had to grow.

Lamont: But, there’s a funny story. I was working at Virgin Entertainment, and Jeff was just directing, you know, doing what he does. And we met at Marie Callender’s at the SAG offices on Wilshire, and we’d sat down and had lunch, and he was like, “I have this idea, we just need to do it ourselves.” And he pitched me what turned into Lights Out. And I was in. How long did it take us to write that?

Jeff: It was pretty short, actually. To be honest. What was it, like… six months?

Lamont: No… it was like, a couple months? Two, three months?

Jeff: It was fairly quick. It came out very swiftly.

Lamont: But with this guy’s vision of what he wanted—because he wanted a bare-bones action movie, with a female protagonist. I’m all in on that. And… yeah, it was fun.

Jeff: It’s going to be interesting to see what happens, what De Palma does with it, but…

Joelle: Can you guys give us your elevator pitch for the script?

Jeff: Um… could we? Let’s see, what was that…? [laughter] Well, you know what, if we do, I would have to preface it with this: it was way before what you’re going to think of. Okay? Way before.

Lamont: Right.

Jeff: Way before. Okay, so, the elevator pitch is: blind girl in a house, some folks break in, and…

Lamont: Shenanigans occur.

Jeff: Ensue. Yes—unexpected things happen, from that moment forward.


Posted by Geoff at 4:14 AM CDT
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Friday, June 10, 2016
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER - 'LIGHTS OUT' HAS A LEAD
There's so much coming in right now, with the documentary De Palma released today, I'll be posting several round-ups this weekend-- reviews, lists, essays, and more interviews. Speaking of the latter, The Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Riefe posted an interview with De Palma today, and in the final paragraph, stated the following: "De Palma is currently in pre-production on Lights Out, a thriller (independently financed with money from China) about a blind girl and a ring of assassins starring Chinese actor Christina Wu." If Riefe has the name correct, Christina Wu appears to be a newcomer, as I could find nothing about her specifically in online searches. When Variety's Patrick Frater reported last November that De Palma had joined Lights Out, he stated, "Casting is currently underway for top roles, including an A-list Chinese actress to star as the female action hero lead." We shall see...
(Thanks to Yorick!)

Posted by Geoff at 7:27 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, June 10, 2016 7:28 PM CDT
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Monday, April 4, 2016
DE PALMA ON 'LIGHTS OUT'
"I'D LIKE MY FILM TO BE A KIND OF MIXTURE BETWEEN 'MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE' & 'WAIT UNTIL DARK'"
The picture at left, from France 3 TV, shows Brian De Palma on stage during Saturday's Cinema Masterclass at the Beaune International Thriller Film Festival. I'll post more about that this week, but for now, here is what De Palma told Alain Grasset at Le Parisien regarding his current project, Lights Out: "Yet another thriller-but I love so much this genre - which tells the story of a blind Chinese girl whose father is involved in a secret operation with the CIA. It will take place between China and Canada. I would like my film to be a kind of mixture between Mission: Impossible and Wait Until Dark, with Audrey Hepburn. Hopefully, I will start shooting this summer." Metro News mentioned the other day that the screenplay for Lights Out is still being worked on and finalized.

Posted by Geoff at 1:54 AM CDT
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Sunday, November 15, 2015
JEFF BYRD INSTAGRAM POST FROM LAST WEEK
"HAVING MR. DE PALMA ON BOARD AS THE DIRECTOR IS LIKE DREAMING AWAKE"

Posted by Geoff at 6:21 PM CST
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Friday, November 13, 2015
'LIGHTS OUT' SEEN AS POTENTIAL FRANCHISE-STARTER
SAID HUACE PICTURES HEAD JON CHIEW; FORBES BLOG: DE PALMA HEADING TO CHINA IS START OF A TREND
In a Hollywood Reporter article by Clifford Coonan, posted from the Cannes Film Festival this past May, Jon Chiew, head of international film for Huace Pictures (the company co-producing Lights Out), said, "We believe Lights Out is shaping up to be a Chinese female superhero franchise that the market has never seen and we are happy to be onboard this ride with Arclight Films, a company that has a real understanding of the Chinese marketplace." Coonan's description of the film from that article goes like this: "Lights Out follows the plight of Emma Mitchell, a woman in her 20s forced to fight for her life when her dilapidated, Louisiana, plantation-styled home is inexplicably targeted by a crew of international gangsters."

Meanwhile, in a blog post with a curious typo in its headline (considering that it is for a Forbes blog), Cherry Hong suggests that a big-name director such as Brian De Palma heading to China to make a film is the start of a trend. "China is putting emphasis on rejuvenation and protection of its culture as global force able to hold its own," writes Hong. "Recognizing that the competition with the West is fierce, Xi [Jinping] aims to control the trend of globalization in the film industry within China, and to raise the quality of domestic films for greater competitive power. With these goals on agenda, China is in the forefront of seeking talents for its film industry revolution."

Posted by Geoff at 7:34 AM CST
Updated: Friday, June 10, 2016 6:30 PM CDT
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Monday, November 9, 2015
DE PALMA IN PRE-PRODUCTION ON 'LIGHTS OUT'
THRILLER - BLIND CHINESE GIRL CAUGHT IN PLOT TO EXPOSE ASSASSINATION PROGRAM - USES HEIGHTENED SENSES TO FIGHT BACK
Variety's Patrick Frater posted an exclusive this morning, announcing that Brian De Palma is currently in pre-production on a new thriller, Lights Out, which previously had Xavier Gens attached to direct. "The film is the story of a blind Chinese girl unknowingly caught in a plot to expose a top-secret assassination program," writes Frater. "Although blind, she is able to use her other heightened senses to fight back and become a hero." Deadline's Patrick Hipes adds another element to that description, writing that the film "centers on a blind Chinese girl unknowingly caught in a plot to expose a top-secret assassination program, and who raises unsettling questions about government secrecy and what can and can’t be seen." A year ago, when Gens had been attached, The Hollywood Reporter's Clifford Coonan described the film as a "female superhero movie" that "tells of a young blind girl who lives alone with her seeing eye dog in her family’s secluded mansion after the suspicious death of her father during a Secret Service operation. Russian gangsters break in, and she is forced to make use of the fighting skills taught to her by her father."

According to Frater, "Casting is currently underway for top roles, including an A-list Chinese actress to star as the female action hero lead." According to Frater, the film will be "the first to be made by Aurora Alliance Films the joint venture banner between Huace, one of China’s leading TV producers, and Sydney- and Los Angeles-based Arclight. The joint venture company was announced in September with a $300 million slate of high concept action pictures."

Aurora Alliance's Ying Ye is quoted in the Variety article: "De Palma is a proven master of suspense; in the hands of the legendary director, Lights Out promises to be a thriller for the ages, full of empowering messages, harrowing plot turns and great action sequences."

The film was written by Lamont Magee and Jeff W. Byrd. De Palma's Redacted producers, Jennifer Weiss and Simone Urdl of the Film Farm, are listed by Frater as co-producers, along with Huace Media Group; Ye of Aurora Alliance; Gary Hamilton, Mike Gabrawy, and Elliot Tong of Arclight.


Posted by Geoff at 11:38 AM CST
Updated: Monday, November 9, 2015 5:10 PM CST
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