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Domino is
a "disarmingly
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
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not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
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I was not involved
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mix or the color
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final print."

Listen to
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in the news"

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Washington Post
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, as part of its "Legends" issue, the Hollywood Reporter published a familiar photo from George Lucas' 50th birthday party, except this time, while the poses of Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Brian De Palma, Lucas, and Francis Ford Coppola are exactly the same as previous versions of the photo that have been circulating for years (see photo to the left), two other big directors have suddenly popped up in the photo: Ron Howard, sitting to the left of Spielberg, and Robert Zemeckis, who appears to have been inserted in between Lucas and Coppola. The version of the photo seen below the other one shows Coppola right next to Lucas at that moment in time. I had assumed that the new Hollywood Reporter photo was the real one, because I did not even consider that a publication such as the Hollywood Reporter would run a faked photo, and in an article that includes the following passage:

At one point, someone — no one now can quite remember who — called for a group shot. And with a click, a moment in time was frozen with seven of the era’s most prominent directors caught, for a second, in midcareer.

But then in a comment below, Greg pointed out that neither Howard nor Zemeckis is looking directly into the camera the way the rest of the table is. Greg also noted that the tablecloth in the top photo looks photoshopped. Perhaps this is a minor experiment by Lucas, who, according to Mel Smith (talking to the Daily Mail), is said to be "buying up the film rights to dead movie stars in the hope of using computer trickery to put them all together in a movie, so you’d have Orson Welles and Barbara Stanwyck appear alongside today’s stars." (And, of course, Zemeckis' films are filled with similar trickery.)

The photo was taken on May 14, 1994, at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, where he had invited his friends to come celebrate his 50th birthday. Incidentally, Zemeckis had worked with De Palma and Bob Gale circa 1986 on a screenplay for an idea De Palma had called Carpool, in which a murder is witnessed from a car's rearview mirror (shades of a scene in Body Double, made two years prior). De Palma has referred to this potential project as "Rear Window on wheels."

Posted by Geoff at 7:15 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, December 30, 2010 3:41 PM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (14) | Permalink | Share This Post

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 11:08 PM CST

Name: "greg"

Don't mean to be a smart-ass, but I would say the second photo with Zemeckis and Howard is the fake. Neither of them are looking at the camera, unlike all of the brats, and the tablecloth looks photoshopped as well.

like your site a lot.



Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 6:23 AM CST

Name: "anonymous"

You know, I think you're right-- I just assumed that the Hollywood Reporter would not fake a photo like that, so I assumed that it must be the real McCoy-- but Howard and Zemeckis do look as though they are in a different time zone...

Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 6:25 AM CST

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: http://www.briandepalma.org

The above comment was from me (Geoff), by the way-- I forgot to sign my name.

Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 8:21 AM CST

Name: "christiang"

howard and zemeckis look kind of out of place in that company anyway.. that car pool idea really got my attention though.. could have  been a really interesting visual idea 

Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 3:43 PM CST

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: http://www.briandepalma.org

Yeah, it would have been, Christian. I've updated the post to say that De Palma has referred to the project as "Rear Window on wheels."

Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 11:02 PM CST

Name: "Principal Archivist"
Home Page: http://www.swanarchives.org

I agree that the shot with all seven is the fake.

In the version with just the five guys, the ones on the ends, Spielberg and Coppola, are leaning in towards the center, as everyone instinctively does when they're at either end of a group shot, to make sure they'll be in frame.

In the version with all seven, Coppola and Howard SHOULD be leaning in, as they're the ones on the ends, but they're not.  See how Coppola has been straightened up to make room for Zemeckis?  Also, the shot with the Bratty Five has an (Asian?) guy in the background behind Coppola's head.  If that's the fake, then this Asian guy's face would have had to have been created from scratch to match the top of his head and the eyebrow...all that's visible in the shot with all seven directors.  If that guy actually exists, then the shot with all seven is the fake, since nobody should know what he looked like if he was hidden behind Zemeckis.

 I'm SURE I could have said that more clearly, but hope you get the drift.


Friday, December 31, 2010 - 6:20 PM CST

Name: "Romain"
Home Page: http://briandepalma.free.fr

Hi Geoff!


I do think the new pic is a fake. There's some clues, like the guy behind Coppola (hidden by Bob Zemeckis in the new pic), the hand of Lucas, the texture of Ron's and Bob's clothes... and why Ron Howard's laughing?... Very strange.

But the fact is the new one is based upon a high quality picture. I would like to have the right pic in HQ so much...


Saturday, January 1, 2011 - 6:39 PM CST

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: http://www.briandepalma.org

I know-- the quality is good, and the whole theme of the edition is to show these legendary photos. But everybody seems to agree that the new one has been faked. Maybe they are waiting for someone to call them out on it-- although the accompanying article quotes George Lucas, "looking at that photo today," so it is very odd.

Saturday, January 1, 2011 - 8:45 PM CST

Name: "anon"

Definetly a photoshoped job adding in Ron Howard and Bob Zemeckis. Very sly of The Hollywood Reporter!

Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 4:05 PM CST

Name: "John"

The aren't enough dinner plates for Howard and Zemeckis.

Monday, January 3, 2011 - 6:38 AM CST

Name: "Romain"
Home Page: http://briandepalma.free.fr

And in front of Ron Howard, there's clearly a copy reversed of the bottle and glasses in front or Martin Scorsese and Brian De Palma. Wink

Monday, January 3, 2011 - 11:19 AM CST

Name: "BP"

I think there was already an altered varation of this photo in the RD-D2 Beneath the Dome mocumentary made by Lucasfilm about ten years ago.  I think in that photo De Palma was taken out, and Ron Howard was added in his place.  This new photo is just strange though since it is presented as fact in a publication.  I guess Lucas has moved on from altering his movies, to now altering his life.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 9:37 AM CST

Name: "Dene K"

Hey, I like the sound of the "Rear Window on wheels" idea!  Wish that had got made.

Thursday, January 6, 2011 - 10:39 PM CST

Name: "anonymous"

The yellow whine bottle is reused and flipped/mirrored near Ron. even the whine glass behind it is reused. That is the biggest red flag in the image

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