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Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
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us to reexamine our
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De Palma on Domino
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Listen to
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De Palma/Lehman
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in the news"

Supercut video
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edited by Carl Rodrigue

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
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Saturday, September 20, 2014
THE RUSSO BROTHERS LOOKED TO DE PALMA
AS THEY STRUCTURED TWO TENSE SEQUENCES IN 'WINTER SOLDIER'



About 30-minutes into the directors' commentary on the DVD/Blu-ray of Captain America: Winter Soldier, Anthony and Joe Russo mention their debt to Brian De Palma for two specific sequences in the film. "As we were talking about making a thriller," says one of them, "we went and looked at, obviously, the masters of tension. And nobody had really done a great De Palma-esque sequence in a while, since probably the white vault room in Mission: Impossible. And so we said, can we find a couple of sequences in this film where we put our very likable characters in impossible situations, and protract it, and really keep the audience on edge as to how they’re going to escape the sequence. Fury in his car was one of them, and Cap in the elevator was another one of them."

(Thanks to Andy!)

Previously:
'THIS SCENE SHOULD BE LIKE EARLY DE PALMA'
'CAPTAIN AMERICA' ELEVATOR SCENE


Posted by Geoff at 11:21 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 21, 2014 10:43 PM CDT
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Friday, September 19, 2014
DEADLINE: HBO SUSPENDS PATERNO PRE-PRODUCTION
PROJECT STILL INTACT, BUT ON-HOLD "FOR A MOMENT TO DEAL WITH BUDGET ISSUES" & SCRIPT WORK
Deadline's Nellie Andreeva and Mike Fleming report today that Happy Valley had indeed "been quietly picked up by HBO." The network issued a statement to Deadline today, saying, "We have not killed the project, so to say so [is] inaccurate. We have suspended pre-production for a moment to deal with budget issues, but the project is still intact at HBO with the entire creative team as before." Deadline cites other unnamed sources to say that "the suspension would also be used for additional script work."

The creative team referred to would be Brian De Palma (director), Al Pacino (star actor), David McKenna (screenwriter), Edward R. Pressman (producer), Rick Nicita (producer), Jon Katz (exec producer), and Joe Posnanski (co-producer who wrote the book, Paterno, that the film is using as its source).

According to the Deadline article, "Happy Valley has been undergoing casting, with John Carroll Lynch recently tapped to play [Jerry] Sandusky. Other cast deals had been in different stages too, but we’ve heard that casting sessions on the project had been cancelled and other prep work put on hold..."

Pacino has made two previous films for HBO in recent years: the 2010 Jack Kervorkian biopic You Don't Know Jack, directed by Barry Levinson (who also directed Pacino in his new film, The Humbling), and last year's Phil Spector, which was directed by David Mamet. Happy Valley would complete a trilogy of HBO films from strong directors in which Pacino plays a series of controversial real-life figures. Pacino, who won an Emmy for playing Kervorkian, also starred with Meryl Streep in the 2003 HBO miniseries Angels In America, for which he also won an Emmy Award.

Last year, Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic, Behind The Candelabra, was made for HBO, and yet had premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d'Or, and also played theatrically in the U.K. So even though Happy Valley will be an HBO film, there are theatrical and festival possibilities for it, as well.


Posted by Geoff at 7:22 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 19, 2014 7:38 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 18, 2014
THE WRAP: JOHN CARROLL LYNCH AS SANDUSKY?
CITES "MULTIPLE INDIVIDUALS FAMILIAR WITH THE PROJECT"
The Wrap's Jeff Sneider posted yesterday that, according to "multiple individuals familiar with the project," John Carroll Lynch is preparing to play Jerry Sandusky in Brian De Palma's upcoming Happy Valley. I post this with a bit of hesitation, as The Wrap has been known to post exclusives that end up being mistaken. The end of the article states that "Lynch is represented by manager James Suskin, who did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment." However, it seems likely that Lynch is at least in talks for the role, and he would certainly be an excellent fit for the part. I've loved watching this actor since I first recall seeing him, in the Coen brothers' Fargo. And he made a sinister impression in David Fincher's Zodiac. Lynch has also been cast by Ryan Murphy "to portray a version of the Phantom of the Opera, carny style," on the upcoming fourth season of American Horror Story, according to the New York Times' Kathryn Shattuck. (Entertainment Weekly's Tim Stack states that Lynch plays the main villain, "a nasty fella (and murderer) named Twisty the Clown.") With Happy Valley ramping up to shoot this fall, that may require a bit of juggling between sets for Lynch.

Meanwhile, Variety reports that APA has booked stunt coordinator Mark Ellis for "HBO's Happy Valley." Ellis was the football coordinator on Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. Production messages have been flittering around the internet in the past few weeks referring to Happy Valley as an HBO project. However, I have been told that nothing is a done deal yet.

Posted by Geoff at 7:38 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 19, 2014 7:24 PM CDT
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014
'BODY DOUBLE' IN LONDON TUESDAY NIGHT
CONCLUDES SERIES "AROUND THE WORLD IN 8 FILMS" FROM LITTLE WHITE LIES
Brian De Palma's Body Double, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, will screen Tuesday, September 16th, at the W Hotel London in Leicester Square, as the final film of Little White Lies' "Around The World In Eight Films" series. According to the web site, Body Double was chosen to represent the USA because: "Melanie Griffiths' porn star character is called Holly Body," and "the molten sexual charge and vicarious bodily pleasures are but window dressing for a film that's Hitchcockian thriller on one level and — on a more elevated one — a playful metatextual exploration on the seedy side of cinema." Guests arriving at 6:30 pm will receive a complimentary themed cocktail and a box of popcorn. The film will begin at 7pm.

Other films in the series included John Mackenzie's The Long Good Friday (England), Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (France), Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Eclisse (Italy), Jan Švankmajer's Alice (Czech Republic), Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's Black Narcissus (representing India), Akira Kurosawa's Ran (Japan), and David Michôd's Animal Kingdom (Australia).

Posted by Geoff at 12:23 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 9:34 PM CDT
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Monday, September 15, 2014
PACINO: 'JOE PATERNO IS A MAJOR SUBJECT'
SAYS THEY NEED TO FIND WAY TO TELL THE STORY WITH THE POWER & TRAGEDY IT DESERVES
Vulture's Jada Yuan talked to Al Pacino last week at the Toronto International Film Festival, and asked him about his plans to play Joe Paterno. Here is his reply to her:
"Well, for instance, Joe Paterno is a major subject. I really love that documentary they did [Happy Valley]. I found it really powerful. It wasn’t about Paterno, it was about us, our world. And I was responsive to it. So this movie about Paterno, and Brian De Palma is my friend and I love him as a director, I’ve made movies with him. But yeah, we need to find a way to tell this story in a way that has the power and the tragedy that it deserves. So in order to do that, one has to come up with the text. And that’s what we’ve been working toward. There’s other things: I’m working with David Mamet now on a new play. A live play. He did the Spector [movie] with me, I’ve known him a long time, and he’s just great to work with. And he’s a collaborator, too, at the same time. So there’s things to do."

Posted by Geoff at 12:09 AM CDT
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Saturday, September 13, 2014
R.I.P. STEFAN GIERASCH, 1926 - 2014
PORTRAYED PRINCIPAL MORTON IN 'CARRIE'
Stefan Gierasch, the character actor who played Principal Morton in Brian De Palma's Carrie, has died at the age of 88. His wife of 33 years, Hedy Sontag, told The Hollywood Reporter that Gierasch passed away at his Santa Monica home on September 6, of complications from a stroke. As Principal Morton, in one brief scene, Gierasch memorably created a distinctly inept authority figure who is so flustered by the sight of blood on the gym teacher's shorts, and the just-prior situation in the locker room, that he consistently calls Carrie "Cassie," drawing her rage. Gierasch's facial expressions in this scene say it all, but his line, "We're all sorry, Cassie," becomes a key echo in the kaleidoscope of voices in Carrie's head after the blood spills over her at the prom. Principal Morton is later electrocuted trying to take control of a microphone amid Carrie's vengeful carnage.

Prior to Carrie, Gierasch appeared with Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman in Robert Rossen's The Hustler, which also starred Carrie's Piper Laurie. Post-Carrie, Gierasch, who did tons of TV work throughout his long acting career, appeared on an episode of the TV series The Greatest American Hero, which starred Tommy Ross himself, William Katt.

Other films Gierasch appeared in include Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up Doc?, Richard Fleischer's The New Centurions, Sydney Pollack's Jeremiah Johnson, and Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter. He also appeared on an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1963, as well as an episode of Alfred Hitchock Presents in 1985.


Posted by Geoff at 3:04 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 14, 2014 9:07 AM CDT
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Friday, September 12, 2014
TIFF NOTES
Variety's Justin Chang on The New Girlfriend, which had its world premiere this week at the Toronto International Film Festival:

"An air of Hitchcockian menace and free-floating sexual perversity is by now nothing new for Francois Ozon, but rarely has this French master analyzed the cracks in his characters’ bourgeois facades to such smooth and pleasurable effect as he does in The New Girlfriend. A skillfully triangulated psychological thriller about a woman who learns that the husband of her deceased BFF is harboring a most unusual secret, this delectable entertainment is as surprising for its continually evolving (and involving) dynamics of desire as for its slow-building emotional power, making for a warmer, more open-ended experience than the creepy Ruth Rendell tale from which it’s been 'loosely adapted.' Powered by beautifully controlled performances from Anais Demoustier and Romain Duris, Ozon’s Girlfriend should have willing arthouse escorts lining up worldwide. It opens Nov. 5 in France.

"Rendell, that icy master of British detective fiction, has been best served onscreen by European filmmakers outside the U.K., at least on the evidence of Claude Chabrol’s La Ceremonie and Pedro Almodovar’s Live Flesh. Viewers may well recognize some signature Almodovarian flourishes in this particular saga of gender subversion and forbidden lust; in significantly reshaping Rendell’s taut, chilling short story (mainly by killing off a key character and adding an infant to the mix), Ozon has effectively transformed the material into a clever fantasia on the many varieties of sexual perversity. It will require some mental gymnastics on the viewer’s part to keep up with the increasingly unstable laws of desire that govern the second act, but the director crucially maintains a lifeline to reality even when things threaten to go deliciously over-the-top.

"From the moment they seal their bond in blood to their respective weddings some years later, childhood best friends Claire (played as an adult by Demoustier) and Laura (Isild Le Besco) are utterly inseparable. And so it comes as a particularly devastating blow when Laura becomes ill and dies, leaving her husband, David (Duris), to raise their newborn daughter, Lucie, by himself — albeit with help from godmother Claire and her spouse, Gilles (Raphael Personnaz). All this is compressed into a marvelously economical opening sequence, marked by a distinctly Brian De Palma vibe with its elegant camera moves and morbidly beautiful overhead shots of Laura’s impeccably dressed corpse, plus the mildly unnerving sense that the film is simultaneously mourning and mocking its characters’ unhappiness, as signaled by the swoons and sobs of Philippe Rombi’s extravagantly soapy score."


Posted by Geoff at 12:25 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, September 13, 2014 3:05 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 11, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 7:03 PM CDT
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'SISTERS' ESSAY LOOKS AT SHIFTING IDENTITIES
BY GUIDO PELLEGRINI AT SOUND ON SIGHT


Sound On Sight posted an essay a couple of weeks ago by Guido Pellegrini, with the headline, "Inconstant selves in Brian De Palma’s Sisters." It's a very good read, so be sure to check it out.

"Without Dominique, Danielle has no identity," Pellegrini states in the opening paragraph. "To weave the fiction of her socially acceptable behavior, she must have Dominique bear the burden of her most disturbing desires. Yet the film, oddly enough, is not about Danielle or Dominique, but about the journalist Grace Collier. As Dominique recedes into the background, Danielle and Grace become the main antagonistic pair, a transition that culminates in an intense climax, a hypnosis dream, that imagines them as conjoined twins...

"Significantly, the introduction of Grace coincides with a memorable use of split-screen, which allows viewers to track Danielle and Grace simultaneously during a dramatic juncture. They are also opposed in other ways, not just compositionally. Released in 1973, the film riffs on contemporary sexual politics, contrasting Danielle’s traditional femininity to Grace’s brashness. Independent and self-sufficient, Grace seems indifferent to matrimony and children, and when her mother babbles on about the subject, she pays no attention. Danielle is more conservative. In one of her opening lines, she stresses that she is not one of those 'liberated American women' who spend 'their whole lives hating men,' an example of which might be Grace, notorious for her coverage of police brutality, obviously carried out by men. The joke is that, for all her coyness, Danielle is actually far more dangerous to the opposite sex. Grace constitutes a threat to Danielle, not only as an investigator, since she probes Danielle’s crimes, but also as a woman."

Read the entire essay at Sound On Sight.


Posted by Geoff at 1:35 AM CDT
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014
PACINO TALKS 'HAPPY VALLEY', SCARFACE, DE PALMA
SAYS THEY'RE WORKING ON PATERNO STORY, DISCUSSES THE DOCUMENTARY
Several outlets have published interviews with Al Pacino this week. The September 15th issue of The New Yorker includes a profile on the actor by John Lahr, who mentions that Pacino has "two new movies waiting in the wings (Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, about the man who supposedly killed Jimmy Hoffa, and a Brian De Palma bio-pic about Joe Paterno), and a David Mamet play, China Doll, in the works for Broadway in 2015." Interesting to note that Lahr never mentions the title Happy Valley, which has been used as the title of Amir Bar-Lev's documentary, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, and is also the title of an otherwise unrelated BBC One TV Series, a cop drama that has gained some popularity now on Netflix. In the following excerpt, Lahr's article delves a bit into Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather and De Palma's Scarface:
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After Pacino got the "Godfather" role (for which he was paid a flat fee of thirty-five thousand dollars), he walked from his apartment, on Ninetieth Street and Broadway, to the Village and back, thinking about how he’d play it. “I didn’t see Michael as a gangster,” he said. “I saw his struggle as something that was connected to his intelligence, that innate sense of what’s around and being able to adjust to things.” He added, “The power of the character was in his enigmatic quality. And I thought, Well, how do you get to that? I think you wear it inside yourself, and you find a way to avoid, as much as you can, the obvious.” However, after his first week of avoiding the obvious, according to Pacino, “they wanted me fired—they didn’t see what I was doing. Luckily for me, the Sollozzo scene”—in which Michael earns his Mafia spurs by executing two men in a Bronx restaurant—“was the next day. When they saw that scene, they kept me.”

Pacino’s performance in “The Godfather” put him at the center of one of the great cinematic sagas of the century and on a first-name basis with the world. He was showered with accolades and offers. (Coppola asked him to star in “Apocalypse Now,” but he declined. “You know, sometimes you look into the abyss?” Pacino said. “I’m, like, this is the abyss. I’m not gonna go there.” He also turned down “Star Wars,” “Die Hard,” and “Pretty Woman.”) But perhaps the most satisfying response came from [Mario] Puzo, who wrote, “It was, in my eyes, a perfect performance, a work of art. I was so happy . . . I ate crow like it was my favorite Chinese food.” [Puzo had said Pacino was "terrible" in his screen test.]

Pacino’s other great early successes—“Serpico,” “The Godfather, Part II,” and “Dog Day Afternoon”—only added to his momentum. But, of all his performances in those years, the sleeper was his embodiment of the garish, vulgar, sensationally violent Tony Montana, an impoverished Cuban refugee who becomes the most powerful drug trafficker in Miami, in “Scarface.” The role was dismissed as “macho primitivism” at the time, but, over the years, it has emerged as a challenger to Michael Corleone as Pacino’s most popular creation. The director, Brian De Palma, designed “Scarface” as a kind of hyperbolic pageant. “The picture had a fire to it,” Pacino said, in “Al Pacino: In Conversation with Lawrence Grobel.” “The violence blown up, the language blown up. The spirit of it was Brechtian, operatic.” To play Montana, Pacino drew inspiration from the swagger of the Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran and from Meryl Streep’s committed rendering of the traumatized Polish immigrant Sophie, in “Sophie’s Choice.” As an actor, Pacino said, “you’re always looking for that thing that’s going on besides the words.” In “Scarface,” he connected with Montana’s raging ambition and the rebelliousness in his epigrammatic lines: “All I have in the world is my balls and my word, and I don’t break them for no one”; “You know what capitalism is? Getting fucked!”; “You wanna play rough? O.K. Say hello to my little friend!”

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PACINO: PATERNO STORY IS "DANGEROUS, SO ONE HAS TO UNDERSTAND IT, EXPLORE IT"
Variety's Scott Foundas mentions one other movie (besides Manglehorn and The Humbling) that Pacino has "in the can," Dan Fogelman’s Danny Collins, "where he plays an aging rock musician opposite Jennifer Garner and Michael Caine." Foundas then writes, "and just ramping up is Happy Valley, a reunion movie with his Scarface and Carlito’s Way director Brian De Palma in which he’ll play embattled Penn State football coach Joe Paterno." Of the latter, Pacino tells Foundas, “It’s dangerous. So one has to understand it, what happened, and explore it and try to find the tragedy in it.”

And Pacino also talked to The Daily Beast's Alex Suskind about Happy Valley, as well as Scarface, its upcoming remake, and some other things. It's a great conversation-- here's an excerpt:

---------------------------------------

When you were at Venice promoting The Humbling, you said the best advice you ever got was from Lee Strasberg telling you to constantly “adjust,” or live for the present and avoid reflecting on past failures or glories.

Yeah, I am one of many who live by that! Live in the moment. Seize the day. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to look at both of them [failures and glories]. I mean, all bets are off.

The reason I bring that up is, aside from the parallel to this film, when it comes to past glories, so many of your earlier projects—The Godfather, Serpico, Scarface—are completely entrenched in pop culture. I feel like it would be very hard to not reflect on them in some way. Do you agree?

Well the truth is, I still sort of don’t [talk about them]. I must say, I am very grateful that I was around, especially in the ’70s, which were kind of a renaissance. But man, I have no memory of the ’70s! You have to understand, I was in another world! I didn’t know what was going on. But I am glad it worked out. So when you meet somebody who met you once—because I meet a lot of people and they know you because you’re an actor—it’s nice to know that when you meet that someone they say, “You were nice to me.” It’s just interesting. I’ve always appreciated the journey. They say it’s not the destination but the journey. So it still means something to me to be able to have an opportunity to be involved with something that I feel I have something to say with. It’s a form of communication. I still love the stage. I like doing that, but I wish I could define how it’s changed, because it has changed.

Acting in general?

Acting in general. I just want to do things that I feel would be in some way part of what I am going through or have some sense of. What you really do as an actor is you try to find in the role something that you can relate to that you feel can ignite you and give you the appropriate energy to commit to it in that way. Some of the movies I did early on I had that in general. Now I would find that it would be hard to do something that I couldn’t say something with.

And the roles you’ve chosen in the last few years definitely reflect that. You played Phil Spector and Jack Kevorkian. You also have Joe Paterno coming up for Happy Valley…

Yeah, we’re working on that.

How’s that going?

It’s developing. I see [the story] as a major fall—it’s a fall of a person.

It’s Shakespearean, Paterno’s story.

It is! Did you see the documentary Happy Valley?

I did. It was very good.

Stunning movie. And I kept thinking, it’s not the story of Paterno—that’s part of it, but it’s about Happy Valley. And it’s about all of us. It’s the way it’s sort of depicted and the intensity and the thought and how it makes you think. You go feeling one way and you leave and you sort of don’t know what to do.

How’s it being back with Brian de Palma [who’s directing Happy Valley]?

I love Brian. You know that. I love that guy. There’s a few things I am working on now. I am doing a new play with David Mamet.

Are you still doing The Irishman?

The Irishman. Wow. Oh yeah, Steve Zaillian script.

Yeah, and Martin Scorsese directing.

Yeah, [Joe] Pesci, [Robert] De Niro, Bobby Cannavale.

You’ve never done anything with Scorsese, which is interesting because you would assume you would have at this point.

Isn’t that something?

Have you guys gotten close to doing anything together?

I don’t think I’ve gotten close to doing something with Marty. I know him. He’s such a great director. But I am sure there are other actors who Marty hasn’t worked with.

Of course. But you’re very much associated with that community of actors and filmmakers.

Yeah, I know. But at that period [in the 1970s] we were sort of split. Scorsese made movies with De Niro and I was making movies with [Sidney] Lumet. But I can’t think of a Scorsese movie that I would have been right for.

I assume it will be nice working with Robert De Niro again.

Oh, I love Bobby. I love him. Getting the opportunity to work with him, especially on something that is with one of the greatest directors ever.

Critics weren’t too kind to you and De Niro’s last project, Righteous Kill.

Well, that one was not [pauses]… You want to do something again that you feel good about.

Do you pay attention to critics at all? In the last decade, they have been pretty brutal about the films you’ve done.

Well, something happened, because it’s all about the Internet. How do you not pay attention and then how do you pay attention, is the question. Because you get a sense of things and you get a sense of where it’s going. That’s why you try to just keep going. I have always been aware [of the bad reviews]. It’s not wise to stick [with them]. Unless you can find good criticism, which is hard to do, because you get too subjective.

So, like, constructive criticism?

Yeah, I mean, I love that. I especially like it in live theater. If you know what you’re doing, it’s fulfilling something in yourself, then it doesn’t matter as much. It still matters. We’re all sensitive to it. It’s when you feel a little bit on the fence about what you’ve done and you’re concerned about it. It’s like Tennessee Williams said, “You can always depend on the kindness of strangers.” You can’t do that here [laughs]. You know what I mean?

I mentioned Scarface earlier. Have you heard about this remake Universal is doing?

I’ve heard of it!

What are your thoughts on that? They are kind of changing the story apparently. It’s going to be set in LA.

Well, if it’s inspired by the movie, I think that’s good.

I think it’s inspired by both. The original and yours.

That’s what we were doing. I saw the Scarface with Paul Muni on Sunset Boulevard at the… whatever the name of that theater is, the Tiffany. I said, “Oh I love this Paul Muni so much, I just want to make a movie and imitate him. That’s all I want to do.” And I called [my agent] and said “There is a movie here for us to do now.” It was 50 years old but it says so much. So we got De Palma, we got Oliver Stone to do the screenplay…

I think it’s fascinating the second life the film has taken on, especially in hip-hop.

Yeah, it still goes on. And the fact that it was so eviscerated when it first came out was a bit surprising, because we thought Brian deliberately tried to make it operatic. There was a whole thought in the 1980s, that Wall Street greed thing and this sense of avarice was in the air. And this movie sort of covered it, and it was Brian’s vision, which I went along with completely. I thought it was the way to go. And I think critics didn’t quite follow that. But audiences kept coming and stayed around. And they just kept coming and it had this resurgence. We always felt there was something there. But at the time, like all things, it wasn’t in fashion. The fashion was more in naturalism in films. Low-key stuff. There were so many wonderful movies being made during that. But this came out in a different fashion and it didn’t belong in the pantheon of things.

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Posted by Geoff at 4:36 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 4:44 AM CDT
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