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Recent Headlines
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Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
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
of Dumas book

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A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017
SHERRY LANSING ON DE PALMA & 'FATAL ATTRACTION'
BOOK EXCERPT AT HOLLYWOOD REPORTER; HALLOWEEN SCENE HAD ALEX IN KABUKI MASK
Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Galloway posted an excerpt from his upcoming biography of former Paramount CEO Sherry Lansing (Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker, due April 25th). The excerpt covers a period of time in the 1980s, when Lansing was an up-and-coming producer, and the development of what turned into Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction. Prior to Lyne, however, it was Brian De Palma's involvement that got the project a green light. Although De Palma would eventually drop out because he did not think audiences would sympathize with Michael Douglas in the lead, the excerpt below provides intriguing details about what De Palma's film might have been like. For instance, James Deardon, who wrote and directed the short film that Fatal Attraction was based on, notes that with De Palma on board, "We even had a Halloween scene, with Alex running around in a Kabuki mask, terrorizing the household." Of course, years later, we see a killer running around in a Kabuki mask in De Palma's Passion.

For his part, last year, De Palma told Business Insider's Jason Guerrasio, "I think Adrian did a very good job with Fatal Attraction." Coincidentally, it was Lyne who ended up directing Flashdance after De Palma left that project to make Scarface. Here's an excerpt from Galloway's excerpt:
With the screenplay in place, there remained the question of casting. On a flight with [Stanley] Jaffe, Lansing ran into Michael Douglas, who read the script. "It was the perfect what-if, the ultimate quickie nightmare," he said.

The actor was no longer the B-list star Lansing had met when she served as an executive on 1979's The China Syndrome. But he still did not have the heft to get a film greenlighted on his name alone, and Paramount, where Lansing and Jaffe were based, passed on the project, as did every other studio. Its head of production, Dawn Steel, was so outraged by the script, she hurled it across the room.

"She yelled, 'How can you give me this? I'm a newlywed!' " recalled Lansing. "She said, 'Why should we care about a guy who cheats on his wife, especially when he doesn't have a reason?' But the fact there was no reason was the whole point. Things like that happen, and knowing it adds to the feeling of, 'This could happen to me.' "

She failed to persuade Steel, however, just as she failed to persuade numerous directors to sign on. "Everyone passed," she said. "I begged John Carpenter [Halloween]. And it wasn't just him. I begged everyone."

The movie was in trouble. Studio readers were sick of seeing the same old script recycled, making its way again and again through their story departments. And the agencies were bored with Lansing's repeated requests to show it to clients.

Everything changed when Brian De Palma (The Untouchables) said yes. The director was at the top of Hollywood's A-list, and Steel could not have been more excited. Suddenly it became her favorite project. Red flags might have been visible if Lansing had cared to look: De Palma did not share her sympathy for the jilted woman and wanted to make changes that seemed close to turning the story into a horror film.

"We even had a Halloween scene, with Alex running around in a Kabuki mask, terrorizing the household," noted Dearden.

But De Palma had Steel's support, and that meant Fatal was a go. Gearing up for the shoot, Lansing rented an apartment in New York, where the movie was going to be filmed, while Jaffe set to work finding locations and staff. Then De Palma had second thoughts.

"We were just a few weeks away from the shoot," recalled Lansing, "and he said, 'I can't make the movie with Douglas. Michael's completely unsympathetic. No one will ever like him.' " De Palma gave an ultimatum: "It's either him or me."

"It was one of those come-to-Jesus moments," Lansing continued. "De Palma was the element that got us a green light, but Michael had been on the movie for two years, when everybody else rejected us. We said, 'We're sticking with Michael.' "

With De Palma out, the film was dead. It had an actor nobody wanted and a script in which no one believed. Then ICM agent Diane Cairns sent it to her client Adrian Lyne. The British director was at home in the South of France when he received the package and sat down on the stone steps of his farmhouse to read it. He finished the whole thing without moving.

"I woke my wife up," he remembered. "I fell in the bed and said, 'Listen, if I don't f— this up, I know this is a huge movie.' "

A key piece of the puzzle lingered: finding Alex. "The role was critical because she had to be sexy but vulnerable, a career woman who had her act together but could still completely collapse," said Lansing. Her first choice, Barbara Hershey, was unavailable. Another possibility, French actress Isabelle Adjani, did not speak enough English. Debra Winger, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jessica Lange were all considered or turned the role down. Melanie Griffith was also in contention, but the filmmakers feared that what she had in sexuality, she might lack in gravitas.

Cheers star Kirstie Alley read for the role and contributed a unique element to the film. "Her husband [Parker Stevenson] had been stalked by a woman who camped outside their house and made their lives hell," said Lansing. "Kirstie had saved a tape of the woman's calls and gave it to Adrian. You could hear the woman crying as she begged to be part of this man's life. Adrian ended up using it verbatim."


Posted by Geoff at 8:15 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, March 30, 2017 6:32 PM CDT
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017
BIRTH. MOVIES. DEATH. ON 'BABY DRIVER'
"IT'S THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY TAKE ON THE MOVIE MUSICAL SINCE DE PALMA'S 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE'"
Birth. Movies. Death.'s Jacob Knight, excited that Sony has moved the release date up six weeks to June 28th, writes the following about Edgar Wright's Baby Driver:

"Baby Driver is unlike anything you’ve ever seen – a rip-roaring Walter Hill homage that takes 40 years’ worth of action picture grammar, places it in a blender, and then adds a healthy spike of pop music bliss. If Busby Berkeley were obsessed with crashing cars (for real – the driving stunts are 100% practical and mind-blowing), this is the motion picture he’d make. It’s the most revolutionary take on the movie musical since Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise, and melted the faces of all who attended its SXSW World Premiere."

Deadline's Brian Brooks filed a report from SXSW on March 11. Here's an excerpt:

Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver hit the ground with tires squealing this evening at its world premiere at SXSW, with the writer-director and key cast along for the ride for the packed screening at the Paramount Theater. “That is going to make a lot of money,” was among the comments overheard as the revved-up audience left the screening and a boisterous post-movie Q&A that climaxed Day 2 at the festival.

Wright took the stage for the Q&A joined by stars Jon Hamm, Eiza González and Ansel Elgort, who plays the young innocent Baby, an unlikely maestro behind the wheel of a getaway car. The music-fueled actioner is the first film Wright wrote by himself (he previously co-wrote features he also directed including Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and The World’s End), and said tonight that Baby Driver had “existed” in his head for 22 years...

...“I was just listening through my record collection and I’d envision scenes,” Wright said tonight of how his movie came together. “I wouldn’t write scenes until I found the right track.” Music is central to the film. Gunshots, dialogue and action sequences are choreographed to the mostly high-energy soundtrack. Elgort’s Baby is the getaway driver for a crime boss (Spacey) who taps various criminals to pull off high-stakes heists. Each job becomes more intense than the last, and the chases more outlandish. Baby Driver is an homage to the ’70s car chase movies of Walter Hill, whose voice can be heard in the movie.

In 2012, Wright did the first read-through of a draft screenplay with Hamm, the only actor from that year who remained on the project. “This is a departure from the films I’ve done in the past,” said Wright. “It definitely took the longest [of my projects] to write.”

Previously:
Edgar Wright influenced by De Palma for Baby Driver


Posted by Geoff at 9:05 PM CDT
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Monday, March 27, 2017
GREENGRASS IN TALKS TO DIRECT 'NESS'
ADAPTATION OF BENDIS/ANDREYKO GRAPHIC NOVEL 'TORSO', WHICH FINCHER ALMOST MADE WITH... MATT DAMON

Deadline's Anita Busch reported today that Paul Greengrass is in negotiations with Paramount to direct Ness, an adaptation of Torso, a graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko that fictionalizes Eliot Ness' time in Cleveland, hunting down a serial killer. Brian Helgeland is named as the screenwriter. The project, which, according to Busch, Paramount is eyeing as a potential franchise, had obsessed David Fincher for a while about a decade ago. Fincher's version had a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, and in December of 2008, without yet getting the greenlight from Paramount, Fincher was nevertheless quietly preparing to begin shooting with Matt Damon in the title role. Casey Affleck had also been cast, with Rachel McAdams also in negotiations for a role. Paramount pulled the plug on the project soon after. (Meanwhile, De Palma's Untouchables prequel, Capone Rising, had been stalled over questions about who owns the rights.)

FINCHER'S VISION: "WE WANT TO MAKE IT THE CITIZEN KANE OF COP MOVIES"
If Greengrass does indeed go forward as director, it does not seem far-fetched in the least to expect that his Bourne franchise star Damon will hop back on board to play Ness. Paramount is probably salivating over the ads already: "From the director of Jason Bourne," while Matt Damon's face is plastered all over the screen. Although Fincher's interests are probably seen as too dark, bold, and risky to build a potential police franchise around, he had told MTV's Kurt Loder in 2007 that it wasn't the torso killings that interested him so much, but rather "the de-mythologizing of Eliot Ness. Because, you know, The Untouchables was only two or three years of the Eliot Ness story. There's a whole other, much more sinister downside to it. And so that's of interest to me. We want to make it the Citizen Kane of cop movies."


Posted by Geoff at 11:33 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, March 27, 2017 11:38 PM CDT
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Sunday, March 26, 2017
DUCOURNAU ON HER DIRECT 'CARRIE' WINK IN 'RAW'
MEANWHILE, SEVERAL CRITICS SEEM TO BE REMINDED OF DE PALMA'S 'SISTERS', AS WELL
Julia Ducournau's directorial debut, Raw, opened a couple of weekends ago. Several reviews have mentioned Brian De Palma, as well as other filmmakers, as potential influences, and specifically De Palma's Carrie and Sisters, in relation to Raw. In the first link/excerpt below, Ducournau explains to Dan at Geekadelphia why Carrie was the only consciously deliberate reference she made to any film. Following that are links to other reviews of Raw:

Geekadelphia's Dan interviews Julia Ducournau
You combine in your narrative social commentary, comedy, gender and horror so effortlessly and fluid in Raw. What were some of the influences that helped you craft the film?

So the thing is when I write and I direct, I really, really try for once not to watch the movies that I love to watch in real life. I try not to be tempted to reproduce anything, I am kind of scared of that. I never go back to my main influences when I do the job. The funny thing is I do not make any direct reference to any of the main filmmakers, like Cronenberg, Argento or Lynch who are a holy trinity in my life. There is a however a direct Carrie reference, you know Brian De Palma. Carrie is a movie I like very much but it wasn’t a foundation experience for me, even though I love it, like how strong it is with a Cronenberg for example.

I did it because lots of members in the audience would think to themselves the premise of the movie, so I decided to make a small wink to it and play with this reference so we can move on to the next scene.

A lot of people have said they see Suspiria, and its funny because Suspiria was one of the biggest shocks in my life when I saw it. Even though I didn’t think about it when I was writing or directing, when someone tells me this, I am like yeah I think I understand it. Somehow its unconscious, but your identity is also what you’ve watched, what you’ve liked and what you’ve reacted to.


Joseph Friar, Victoria Advocate

"Many of the film’s gory moments are reminiscent of Cronenberg’s style and there is an ode to De Palma’s Carrie when the group of incoming freshman are doused with buckets of animal blood. However, the film shocks the most when it does it in a subtle way and Ducournau manages to fool the audience into believing that they are watching a coming-of-age drama that suddenly becomes the perfect double bill with Hannibal or one of my favorites Ravenous. But here the audience never loses sight that Justine is not becoming this terrible monster by choice. She can’t seem to escape what the future has in store and even when she begins to do the unthinkable the audience still finds itself rooting for her to find a way out. Raw is a brilliantly executed horror film that instantly becomes a classic of the genre. The final act is both shocking and satisfying."

April Wolfe, LA Weekly

"The women’s competitive, murderous relationship suggests the psychodrama of Brian De Palma’s Sisters, which tells of separated conjoined-twin serial killers, but in Raw the soul siblings hurt themselves just as much as they hurt other people. When Justine smears lipstick on her face and grinds her hips into a mirror to a song whose chorus is literally “I like to bang the dead,” or when she rips her teeth into her own arm to quell her cravings, these scenes echo Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession, in which a woman is so wracked by sexual madness that she hurls herself over and over into a wall in a subway tunnel.

"A scene where drunk-on-passion Justine rips into her kissing partner’s lips, snagging a tasty chunk of flesh, brings to mind Claire Denis’ archetypal cannibalistic-love thriller Trouble Every Day. But Raw isn’t derivative — it’s fresh, funny and grounded in reality. Underneath all the blood and guts, this is the story of a woman whose body demands love in extremity and the only person who’ll ever understand her fully: her sister."

Peter Keough, The Boston Globe

"Ducournau has some brilliant set pieces to come. A couple, one painted blue, the other yellow, make love, forming green until an abrupt interruption. And in one of the most disturbing horror scenes so far this year, we learn that a human finger tastes like curry.

"But then Ducournau throws in subtexts of patriarchal tyranny, elitism, vengeful mediocrity, colonial exploitation, homophobia, eating disorders, incest, sibling rivalry, and vegetarianism. Plus, a handsome array of allusions to such directors as David Cronenberg, Alfred Hitchcock, and Brian De Palma. But we never get much closer to answering the key question — what’s eating Justine?"

Steve Erickson, Nashville Scene

"Sisterhood is powerful. It’s also powerfully damaged, according to the exciting French horror film Raw. Writer-director Julia Ducournau synthesizes the influences of Claire Denis (especially her film maudit Trouble Every Day) and David Cronenberg, while paying explicit homage to Brian De Palma and Alfred Hitchcock. Like many of the best films, Raw remains enigmatic to the end. I could list a dozen subjects and themes that it’s about, but in the end, it resists being reduced to a metaphor or, even more so, a message. Ducournau captures the sense of terror and the sheer oddity powering the best work of horror writers like Poppy Z. Brite and Clive Barker."

Kalyn Corrigan, Birth. Movies. Death.

In both Sisters and in Raw sexual acts prompt and coincide with the tendency toward violent acts. Just as Danielle discovers that she is as protective and violent towards anyone who tries to insert themselves between she and Dominique, Justine realizes that she, too, wants to keep her sister all to herself, because only her sister truly understands her -- the same can arguably be said about Alexia’s feelings toward Justine. Both stories feature women who evolve into more actualized human beings once their sisters pave the way to understanding themselves. Only the one who shares the same infected blood can point the way to self-acceptance, and only your sister will truly be there for you when you have a body that needs disposing of. It takes a true sibling to stand by your side while you’re holding a bloody kitchen knife in your hand – or, in certain circumstances, a bloody ski pole.

The inspiration for Sisters actually comes from a startling image that director Brian De Palma stumbled upon in an article in a 1966 issue of Life Magazine. The picture showed two conjoined Soviet twins named Masha and Dasha, and a caption in the bottom right corner reads something along the lines of “Although they are physiologically normal, as they get older, they are starting to develop mental problems”. Intrigued by this strange scenario, De Palma dreamed up a story about two Siamese twins who would eventually be surgically separated, resulting in one sister going mad and attacking any man who would dare try to date her one and only human connection. Influenced, as always, by Hitchcock, De Palma took his grand idea of a sibling set slasher and filled it to the brim with nods to his favorite filmmaker, giving it a very Psycho first act, as he kills off a lead character more than thirty minutes in, followed up by a small Rope homage as he uses as long of a take as possible to show the detective and reporter Collier making their way around Danielle’s apartment while looking for a body, all the while keeping a cool Rear Window style ever present with several characters watching important plot points develop through binoculars, typically from across the street, just as Jimmy Stewart does as Hitchcock’s classic wheelchair bound neighborly hero. During the editing process, he and Paul Hirsch even grew to believe it was necessary to get Bernard Herrmann to do the score.

De Palma is not character driven or a man of many words. He finds that too much chatter makes for a dull movie, and instead opts to find inspiration in a large set piece, or a big idea, and then shapes his story around that idea to match the image that he has in his head. Likewise, Raw director Ducournau is more into scoring long moments of silence rather than incorporating a ton of dialogue to explain what’s happening, and finds herself inspired by images of certain peculiar body movements, which she then uses as a jumping off point to build a narrative around. Therefore, although each director has his or her own way of doing it, the story actually comes second to the aesthetics for both filmmakers. Despite the difference in age, sex, birthplace, and point in time, they do share the habit of conjuring up strong visceral visuals and writing whatever is necessary to bring that visual to life.

In the case of these films, both of those visuals eventually came to involve sisters, and each showed the power of coming to terms with one’s own identity through the guiding force of her own female sibling. Blood, sex and carnage lined the path to self-actualization, but once each sister sets out to find herself, there was no turning back from the murderess that they would inevitably become.


Posted by Geoff at 8:39 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, March 26, 2017 8:42 PM CDT
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Saturday, March 25, 2017
ASSAYAS ON DE PALMA
"DE PALMA OR CRONENBERG, THEY DEAL WITH ABSTRACTIONS, WITH THE MYSTERIES OF LIFE"
Hot on the heels of Harry Knowles calling Personal Shopper an "instant classic" that reminds of Nicolas Roeg and Brian De Palma, comes an interview with that film's director in which he is asked if he'd thought of De Palma at all while making it. Here's an excerpt from the interview, conducted by Calum Marsh at the National Post:
So much of this film takes place “inside” a cellphone, so to speak. Is it an iMessage movie?

I had the desire to make a movie that was simply one long conversation over text messages. That’s a bit of a stretch, and would get us into some kind of experimental area, which is not quite what I wanted. But I think that text messaging — which has become such a big part of our lives, for such a long time now — is a fascinating mode of communication. I think its potential has never really been fully explored in films.

How do you mean?

Because texting creates a relationship to words, to punctuation, and other very complex things — how long it takes to answer, how it feels when you’re waiting for an answer. It’s so complex, and it’s so charged, and the way we use the words is so careful. It’s very similar to poetry. Texting is the closest thing we have to poetry in everyday life — because all of a sudden every single word echoes in all of its meanings. It’s very complex. And also fascinating, because we have this strange and disturbing addiction to the screens on our phone. It’s mesmerizing; there’s something hypnotic about it.

What exactly is so engrossing?

I think that any kind of text conversation is pretty intense. And it’s more intense than actual live conversation, which is mitigated by politeness and social conventions. Text messages are straight to the point: you verbalize things in a much clearer, straightforward way than you would do in conversation, where you sort of wrap it in niceness. In text messages, it’s not wrapped. It’s raw. I always thought there was an intensity there — and we’re not even talking about sexting, which one can do or not do, but when you even get close to that area it’s disturbing.

That’s fascinating dramatically. But what about aesthetically? How did you determine how the texting would look on-screen?

To me, it was obvious I was going to shoot the phones, to have the phone be held and used in close-up. I was not going to have those little pop-ups; I don’t like that at all. Because for me it has to do with the screen. If you disconnect the words from the screen, they don’t function the same way. It’s all about the screen. It’s the screen that fascinates us. Again, if you print the words, you don’t have the icons. You don’t have the waiting, the “received at that time,” you don’t get that kind of suspense. And that’s very specific — and addictive.

We’re addicted to the suspense of waiting for messages to arrive?

To all of it. I realized, you know, even when I was I was shooting the phone footage, and we’d wait for the text to arrive on camera, I would think, is it coming, is it coming? And I liked the idea of movement. A lot of times we have inserts, closeups; some of them we did separately but a lot of them have to do with the movement and the way Kristen is typing. She used to say that it’s a movie where her thumbs are the co-star. The way she types is interesting.

Did you instruct her to put a space before her question marks?

No! She did it naturally. This is something that’s not part of English punctuation — it’s something you do in France. In French, there’s a space.

Oh. That makes sense.

No, it makes no sense! But yeah, I never told her, “change this,” “you misspelled this or that.” I thought that was all part of the process.

I love this idea of turning off airplane mode and having the texts come through.

That was part of the screenplay, yeah. I wanted the fear to rise. I like the idea of the text messages coming as a cascade. But it was difficult to get it right — we had to do it multiple times. And the version in the film, it’s the only moment that’s slowed down. There’s a slight slow-motion.

Was Brian De Palma on your mind at all?

I love Brian De Palma. Not so much the recent work, but I’m a huge fan. I’m a huge fan. Some of his Hitchcockian work is pretty amazing. I never interviewed him, but I wrote a long piece about Body Double. I love most of his films from that period. The Fury is amazing.

It was on my mind because of the police interview…

Well, the love I have for De Palma, it’s like the admiration I have for filmmakers like David Cronenberg or John Carpenter. They are guys who make genre films that are just way beyond the genre. They are great artists. Usually they use genre to make films that deal with more complex things. Things that are more powerful. De Palma or Cronenberg, they deal with abstractions, with the mysteries of life. They are just great, great filmmakers, great writers. The genre element just makes it more powerful. So I tried to learn the lessons.

You’ve made genre films before. Boarding Gate, Demonlover. How do you balance those genre elements with a more sophisticated arthouse style?

Well, the more what I have on my mind is abstract — the more it can even be a bit intellectual, but I hope in the better sense, meaning reflexive — the more I feel I need the genre element to make it exciting. But it’s all about the balance. It’s only when you’re writing or editing when you feel the right balance.

Did the balance change in editing?

Yes. The music changed a great deal. Horror movies, they are covered in music, from start to finish, and it’s always very similar. At some point… you know, I’m friends with the Daft Punk guys, one of the Daft Punk guys. I wanted to use his music for the film, to have some kind of electronic soundtrack. And then I realized it would literally destroy the film — because all of a sudden it would become a genre film. That’s when I started using baroque music instead. It’s totally not what you’d expect in a genre film, and it doesn’t give it a genre tone. For me it’s a movie about Maureen that once in awhile goes into genre territory. So that’s mostly where the fine-tuning was. Also the ghost scene. Using CGI, it’s not exactly my world, it’s kind of strange to me. I thought I kind of needed to give some reality to her vision.


Previously:

Harry Knowles: Personal Shopper reminds of Nicolas Roeg, Brian De Palma, moments of Spielberg/Hooper

Jason Shawhan, Nashville Scene review of De Palma's Passion:

"Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams play beautiful corporate warriors doing awful things to one another, and the end result is a delirious fusion of Assayas' Demonlover and Mean Girls."

Personal Shopper echoes Body Double, and De Palma in general


Posted by Geoff at 9:16 PM CDT
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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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Thursday, March 23, 2017
HARRY KNOWLES ON 'PERSONAL SHOPPER'
"REMINDS OF NICOLAS ROEG, BRIAN DE PALMA, MOMENTS OF SPIELBERG/HOOPER"


Previously:
Personal Shopper echoes Body Double and De Palma in general

Posted by Geoff at 8:13 AM CDT
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017
VIDEO, FROM ARTE:
WHAT DO BRIAN DE PALMA'S CHARACTERS DREAM OF?

What do Brian De Palma's characters dream of?

Posted by Geoff at 4:37 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:46 AM CDT
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017
RICHARD LUCK ON TRUMP FIGURE IN 'SNAKE EYES'
"AS A SNAPSHOT OF ATLANTIC CITY IN THE LATE 1990s, THEN, SNAKE EYES SIMPLY CAN'T BE BEATEN


Richard Luck posted about Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes yesterday at Right Casino:
“Having done a lot of reading about Howard Hughes for another project, I found myself wondering what it would be like if a murder took place during a prize fight at a casino,” an unusually loquacious De Palma told [Charlie] Rose ahead of Snake Eyes’ release. “Hughes was always inviting bigwigs to the fights in Las Vegas and talking business. And as I'd grown up in Philadelphia and had seen how the casinos had come to effect Atlantic City, I thought that environment was the perfect place to stage a murder.”

Borrowing liberally from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo [Editor's note: I think he really means Kurosawa's Rashomon] – in which a crime is viewed from a variety of different perspectives – and pretty much any Hitchcock movie you care to think of, De Palma fashioned a film that’s as big on style as it is small on substance. If the film is ultimately rather frivolous, it’s sure to fascinate anyone who’s either visited Atlantic City or harbours dreams of taking in the wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Of particular interest is the flamboyant Gilbert Powell. Played by John Heard of Cat People and Home Alone fame, Powell is very clearly the film’s equivalent of Donald Trump; The Donald being among the biggest names operating in Atlantic City around the time the movie was shot and set. Indeed, as the future president’s Historic Atlantic City Convention Center had played host to WrestleManias IV and V, so the man with the hypnotic hair had brought many a major box-office to the East Coast. Trump would also be instrumental in bringing MMA to Atlantic City, a bold move that led to UFC hefe Dana White being among the more unlikely speakers at the 2016 Republican Convention.

As a snapshot of Atlantic City in the late 1990s, then, Snake Eyes simply can’t be beaten. It’s just a shame that budgetary restraints prevented director De Palma from closing out the movie on his own apocalyptic terms. “I wanted to finish the movie with a tidal wave,” the filmmaker explains in the must-see documentary De Palma. “I thought that given the nature of Atlantic City and what goes on there, it might be interesting just to wipe the whole place off the map. So we shot that ending but then found that the effects budget wouldn't stretch to a tsunami. Because of that, we had to settle for the more conventional ending. Pity - I would've liked to see Atlantic City in ruins.”


Posted by Geoff at 7:08 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 7:15 PM CDT
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Monday, March 20, 2017
VIDEO LINK - 'BLOW OUT' IN ONE MINUTE
CLICK THE TWEET BELOW TO WATCH THE VIDEO, MADE FOR ARTE.TV

Posted by Geoff at 5:44 AM CDT
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