Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:
a la Mod:
Meanwhile, yesterday, The Sydney Morning Herald's Ben Pobjie posted a mini-review of De Palma's film, which played on TV there last night. "The great thing about Mission: Impossible," writes Pobjie, "is that it simply gallops along, chase after chase, fight after fight, technobabble after brief love scene, the pace never slackening for introspection or boring backstory. Director Brian De Palma knew we didn't need to delve into Hunt's tortured past: we just needed to see Cruise riding bullet trains, being tossed about by explosions, and dangling from a wire to avoid sensors in one of cinema's most definitive secret-agent set-pieces. The film tracks the twisted plot through each reverse, double-cross and red herring, wisely keeping exposition brief and speedy - especially advisable when the story is this ludicrous - and focusing on the gadgets, the bangs and Tom's running-from-bad-guys-stress-face."
As Montgomery tells Harrisson about what viewers can expect series 2 to look like, he refers to such films as Heaven's Gate (for the look of series 1), The Godfather, Inception, Drive, and Scarface. Here's an excerpt:
Basically, Tommy’s empire has grown. You’ll see him moving to the metropolis of London and taking on the big gangsters that run London, so visually, you’re moving much more into bigger spaces, and you’re leaving behind a lot of the dark working-class world. Because they have money, and Tommy is beginning to use that money, he’s buying up houses in London. The world is opening up, it’s becoming much more expansive, and the spaces become bigger.
It becomes much more like a gangster world, the references become much more attuned to The Godfather rather than Heaven’s Gate. I was using Heaven’s Gate as a reference in season 1, [but] in season 2 the references are really to The Godfather. [Tommy’s] office is a total homage to The Godfather. There’s oranges on the table!
There are a lot of [other] references as well. For example, there’s a huge club called The Eden, which is a big metropolitan club, and again I like to reference things, so there’s a lot of little nods, winks – there’s a scorpion design that’s basically from Ryan Gosling’s jacket in Drive. I wanted to turn it into a really big nod to Inception, there’s a lot of gold. There’s a lot of gold within the whole series, actually, and that echoes season 1.
You’ll see loads of [references] that are just peppered through the whole of the look, and I think that’s playful. That was in the first season, ‘cause it was all from a lot of Westerns, Rio Bravo, Deadwood and all the rest.
[Harrisson] How much freedom do you have to do that, mixing in so many different references? Do you just not tell anyone?
I just do it, because it’s there! Steven [Knight]’s writing is so detailed, but allows you still to bring images and references to the party. So I’ve never felt constricted by what we’re doing, because it’s a mythology, it’s not strictly historically – it’s not a historical recreation, it’s very much a mythology.
Also, I’ve always brought a kind of Americana feel, like for example Tommy’s office, there’s a lot of references to Los Angeles there, the shape of certain curves etc. I’ve always tried to bring an Americana kind of sheen to a British gangster story. I think that’s legitimate because it is a myth.
The Garrison pub has been transformed, because [Tommy’s] gone to see London and he’s brought back an idea and done basically a Scarface on it. He’s done a 1980s Brian De Palma Al Pacino Scarface on his own pub, and it’s turned into this huge golden Las Vegas kind of mecca to his ambition, so it’s completely transformed.
[Harrisson] Is that your imprint, or is that implied in the script?
No, it’s implied in the script. He comes back and says, ‘right I’m gonna give Birmingham what I’ve seen in London. I’m gonna give the masses what they want’, which is this glamour. And he’s quite a glamourous individual. And I think also every location and every set is starting to change because he’s got money, so he buys a house from Polly in suburbia, and he’s buying racehorses, and he’s buying fast cars. You see him with this huge amount of money, and where’s that money going to take him? And I’ve always used gold as a symbol [for] his desire and ambition for money and wealth.
Graham Fuller, Screen Daily
"Psycho is a touchstone (as is Body Heat), though Fincher utilises suspense as a smokescreen for social critiquing. As it traces what went wrong in the marriage, Gone Girl simultaneously evolves as a mordant satire of the mediating of domestic violence as mass entertainment."
Michael Nordine, Indiewire
"Fincher likely prides himself on turning coal into diamonds at this point, but Flynn's script can feel so retrograde at times that one wonders whether it might have been better served by a De Palma, Bigelow, or even a Verhoeven — which is to say, a filmmaker less concerned with making the lascivious seem prestigious. (It's doubtful anyone else could have filmed a certain blood-soaked scene with such unsettling verve, however.)"
Xan Brooks, The Guardian
"In the meantime the film keeps changing costumes, covering its tracks. It’s nodding freely to everything from Fatal Attraction, to Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion, to The War of the Roses; all but tripping over itself in its rush to the climax. Thank heavens for Fincher, who keeps the tale so coiled and intense that we are prepared to stick with it, even as it pitches towards outright hysteria. He whips up a bracing, scalding sketch of a marriage in meltdown; a banner-headline study of the domestic hell that we make for each other."
Justin Chang, Variety
"Among other things, “Gone Girl” functions as a wickedly entertaining satire of our scandal-obsessed, trash-TV-addicted media culture; this is a movie as conversant with the tawdry true-crime sagas of Scott Peterson and Casey Anthony as it is with classic thrillers of domestic entrapment like Rebecca, Diabolique, Rosemary’s Baby and Fatal Attraction.”
Jake Wilson, The Sydney Morning Herald
"Thematically, the film can be seen as a sequel to Fincher's Facebook origin story The Social Network, engaging rather more directly with the contemporary reality of social media. Once news of the disappearance goes public, TV pundits and everyday folk are equally quick to take sides – Team Amy or Team Nick? – even as the viewer is made to suspect that both parties have plenty to hide.
"As narrators of the book, Nick and Amy address the reader directly, commenting on the distance between their public and private selves. While Fincher can't replicate this effect on film, he achieves an equivalent kind of irony simply by putting the naturally smarmy Affleck in a role that capitalises on the unbelievability of his good-guy screen persona. Other instances of stunt casting are comparably astute, from Tyler Perry as a purring defence attorney to Neil Patrick Harris as the kind of well-spoken nutcase John Lithgow used to play for Brian De Palma."
David Ehrlich, Badass Digest
"Working from a script by Flynn herself, Gone Girl is a domestic horror show that grows more discomfortingly familiar as it balloons to a national scale. As if Brian De Palma remade Hitchcock’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith and set it inside of the wettest dream that Nancy Grace has ever had, Fincher’s latest is perhaps most remarkable for how it exceeds the sum of its parts."
"THE ACTUAL ART OF WHAT [DE PALMA] DOES IS REALLY, REALLY INSPIRING TO ME"
In an interview with Under The Radar, Austin Trunick tells McGowan, "You’ve worked with some great directors across your career, in particular ones who have been known to sometimes handle dark subject matter – such as Wes Craven, Brian De Palma, even Quentin Tarantino to a degree. Was there anything you learned from watching or working with those directors that you brought to your own directing style?"
McGowan replies, "I think De Palma, out of any of them, for sure. I love his tracking shots. I’ve just been inspired by him, as a filmmaker. Even some of his later movies. It’s so hard to make a movie come out right, or do anything like that. But the actual art of what he does is really, really inspiring to me.
"For me, I probably lean more on things from the past than things from the present. People, I should say." When pushed to name some of those older directors who inspired her for Dawn, McGowan replies, "I would say Douglas Sirk, Charles Laughton, Jacques Tourneur … For me, art is a really big part of it, as well. The loneliness that I wanted to capture is what I feel when I look at certain Edward Hopper paintings. The life of an artist should be rich and encompass many different art forms. It can all coalesce into one piece; all of your random bits of knowledge. For me, I hosted a show on TCM for a year, and I’m on the board of the Film Noir Society with Dennis Lehane and [James] Ellroy, people like this. I’m really steeped in the classics, but I love modern film as well, obviously." (Speaking of Ellroy, of course, McGowan appeared in De Palma's adaptation of the author's The Black Dahlia.)
McGowan similarly tells Ain't It Cool's Papa Vinyard, "It's like when you're, I'd imagine, a [sculptor]. Every chip off the block is what you don't want until it's what you do want. And there have definitely been- I worked with De Palma, and I was really inspired by some of his tracking shots, and certain people like that. But by and large, most of the stuff I did as an actor wasn't [incredibly] inspirational to me as a director."
MCGOWAN'S ORIGINAL PLAN FOR A SHORT WAS A FLANNERY O'CONNOR ADAPTATION STARRING PIPER LAURIE
In a Rotten Tomatoes Podcast, host Grae Drake tells McGowan, "Carrie is actually a note that I made while I was watching [Dawn], because Dawn’s mother is like a less-aggressive Piper Laurie to me. And even in a very short amount of screen time, and a very kind of realistic portrayal of a mom, it wasn’t over-the-top. I went, ‘Oooh, she's gonna be lockin’ Dawn in a closet at some point during this movie.’ [Laughter] Like, this is not going to go well. And so without revealing too much, I thought it was a really good way of foreshadowing what was going to go on, and the kind of world that this poor young girl is finding herself in."
McGowan then replies, "Yeah, [she's] trapped. And I really did it for women. You know, my mom is 60, she just turned 60. And I’m kind of fascinated by that era, and that they were raised to be pleasant and da-da-da, and essentially your goal is to take care of a man and his children. And then I’m fascinated by the fact that later in the ‘60s, the sexual revolution happens, and they’re supposed to be loose and free. But you’re actually programmed to please a man. It was just a really interesting era, and my mom was raised by a very similar mother to Dawn’s, and I wanted to bring that to the screen. Ironically, or, oddly enough, I had Piper Laurie cast in the original short I was planning on doing... Except, she’s 86, I had her in the woods, sub-zero temperatures, getting killed by… it was an adaptation of a Flannery O’Connor piece. Which is a heavy, you know, some great material. So well-written. But I think it all turned out for the best."
The Flannery O'Connor piece sounds likely to have been A View Of The Woods.
(Thanks to Andy!)
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.
"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."