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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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De Palma interviewed
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De Palma discusses
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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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Wednesday, February 28, 2018
VIDEO - 'CARRIE - HOW TO CREATE TENSION'
THINK STORY VIDEO EXAMINES PROM SEQUENCE TENSION & SUSPENSE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dollyingtommyandcarrie.jpg

A new video posted by Think Story yesterday on its YouTube channel examines how Brian De Palma and screenwriter Lawrence D Cohen build tension within (and building up to) the prom sequence of Carrie. Breaking the sequence into three segments (Heaven, Purgatory, Hell), the video pays close attention to the characters, as well as other details in the film, and how they all build toward the tension at the heart of it.

Posted by Geoff at 11:42 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2018 11:32 PM CDT
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Tuesday, February 27, 2018
FUQUA CIRCLES BACK TO 'SCARFACE' REMAKE
AYER'S NAME STILL ON SCREENPLAY, LUNA UNCERTAIN TO STAR, NO DATE FOR RELEASE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/fuquaagain.jpgDeadline's Mike Fleming Jr reported last night that Antoine Fuqua is now back in talks to direct Universal's planned remake of Scarface. The film, previously slated for release on August 10, 2018, stalled last summer when David Ayer exited the project. Fleming states that "the most recent script is by David Ayer, Jonathan Herman and Joel and Ethan Coen." Fleming also reports that Diego Luna is now uncertain to star in the picture due to potential scheduling conflicts with the changing production timeline. In his article, Fleming talks up Fuqua as director of this new version:
Looking at his films from Training Day to Equalizer and The Magnificent Seven, Fuqua seems a strong match for the visceral immigrant gangster storyline that was central to both the 1932 and 1983 film versions. The latter was directed by Brian De Palma, written by Oliver Stone and starred Al Pacino. Paul Muni starred in the earlier version.

Fuqua will be ready after completing post on the Equalizer sequel with Denzel Washington. He has remained intrigued with reviving the original. In an interview with Deadline when he helmed The Magnificent Seven, Fuqua explained the appeal of the violence and excess of the criminal underworld that has informed both previous films.

“There are stories about that world that you couldn’t make up,” he said. “Pablo Escobar had animals from Africa and they still don’t know how he got them. Right now they’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with the growing population of what they call cocaine hippos. It’s crazy. Their lives are so over the top, El Chapo and the rest of those guys.

“But how do you make him the icon of icons? Because we have a high bar for movie icons with Al Pacino’s Tony Montana and Michael Corleone. I took Denzel into that world as a cop in Training Day, and that was a world that I know probably way too much about. I know where to go with this. I have met a lot of these cartel dudes and understand their mentality, and this f*cked up version of Robin Hood. I saw it with guys I grew up with. It starts with, I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do to feed my family. Then it turned into, I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do to survive. Then it turned into, I want it all. Your moral compass gets lost in the darkness and excess.”


Previously:

David Ayer drops out of Scarface remake

David Ayer in talks for Scarface remake
Coen Brothers will rewrite Scarface script
Fuqua drops out of Scarface remake; Diego Luna will play lead
Terence Winter to tackle Scarface script
The Scarface remake just got a lot less interesting
Scarface remake is Larraín's dream project
The Scarface remake just got a lot more interesting


Posted by Geoff at 1:15 AM CST
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018
TWEET - WES ANDERSON THANKS BRIAN DE PALMA
IN THE END CREDITS OF 'ISLE OF DOGS'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetisleofdogs.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 8:17 AM CST
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TWEET - DE PALMA STORYBOARD DRAWINGS FOR 'DTK'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetadorable.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 8:11 AM CST
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Tuesday, February 20, 2018
'PHANTOM' #49 ON GREATEST ROCK MOVIES LIST
THAT'S WAY TOO LOW, OF COURSE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/phantom49.jpgLast week, Consequence Of Sound posted its list of "The 50 Greatest Rock and Roll Movies of All Time." Phantom Of The Paradise made the list at number 49 (Edgar Wright's Baby Driver is number 50). "Phantom of the Paradise is Brian De Palma’s most whimsical and traditionally funny film," states CoS' Mike Vanderbilt in the film's entry blurb. "Good rock and roll has a sense of humor amid the cynicism and melodrama of the music. Phantom sardonically skewers the music industry, turning a record contract into a Faustian deal with the devil. Paul Williams brilliantly plays against type as the evil Swan and provides a wonderfully bizarre collection of tunes for the soundtrack, featuring faux ‘50s nostalgia with “Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye”, the Linda Ronstadt-style country-tinged pop of “Special to Me”, the glammy “Life at Last”, and the gloriously cynical closer, “The Hell of It”.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show makes the list at number 4.

Posted by Geoff at 12:21 AM CST
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Sunday, February 18, 2018
TWEET - ANDREW SARRIS SEES 'THE FURY' IN 1978
QUOTED FROM 'VILLAGE VOICE'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetclosemindfury.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 10:56 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 11:00 PM CST
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Thursday, February 15, 2018
THURSDAY TWEET - INDIEWIRE ON STORMY DANIELS
ARTICLE SUGGESTS "BEST DIRECTORS TO BRING STORMY DANIELS' STORY TO THE BIG SCREEN"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetstormy.jpg

Late yesterday, IndieWire posted an article with the title, "Stormy Daniels, the Movie: We Suggest the Best Directors to Handle the Story of Trump’s Former Fling." The sub-headline reads, "Now that Stormy's shopping around her story, we're hoping the project lands with one of these first-rate auteurs." Here's what IndieWire's Zack Sharf has to say in the article about Brian De Palma:
If anyone can turn the Stormy Daniels scandal into something unforgettable on the big screen, it’s got to be Brian De Palma. The director perfected the art of the erotic thriller in films such as “Body Double” and “Dressed to Kill,” and his touch of heightened sensuality would really make the story about the shady dealings between an arrogant businessman and a porn star pop. Just imagine the meeting between Daniels and Trump with De Palma’s crooked angles, sharp editing, salacious dialogue, and suggestive lighting. He’d give the story the wicked sensationalism it deserves while going for the jugular by criticizing every viewer’s fascination with it in the first place. Trump wouldn’t stand a chance against De Palma.

Posted by Geoff at 8:23 AM CST
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018
ARMOND WHITE ON 'NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD'
SAYS DE PALMA ADVANCED FROM ROMERO'S SOCIAL ANXIETY THEMES w/'HI, MOM!' & "SISTERS'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/armondlivingdead.jpg

As George Romero's Night Of The Living Dead is released as a Criterion Blu-ray, National Review's Armond White takes a fresh look at the film that, he states, "reinvented the horror film as a genre that relayed contemporary social anxiety — specifically about race." White contrasts the film with Jordan Peele's Get Out from last year, and along the way mentions Brian De Palma as a director who advanced from themes Romero had delved into:
Director George Romero consciously evoked racism’s rapacity and America’s horrific history of racially motivated lynching. Although Romero’s premise (co-written with John A. Russo) inspired the zombie genre that has become newly popular this millennium (it is a contemporary symptom of our subconscious social anxiety), his film, for all that, was not ahead of its time. In other words, it did not anticipate the insipid movie Get Out, which has become a favorite totem of self-congratulatory liberals intent on defending themselves against the stigma of racism. In that useless process, they make a mess of the millennium’s racial consciousness. Romero’s conceit has been misappropriated and transformed into the paranoia of victimhood, which reverses the lessons that Night of the Living Dead taught and trivializes what makes the film still fascinating, still unnerving.

Working outside the Hollywood film industry as a Pittsburgh-based veteran of industrial films, commercials, and political spots (such as for Republican John Tabor’s 1969 Pittsburgh mayoral campaign), Romero perceived the discontents that Hollywood largely ignored in ’68.

Consider that the film first appeared alongside the socially conscious Uptight (Jules Dassin’s ghetto remake of John Ford’s IRA classic The Informer) and Sidney Poitier’s pioneering romantic comedy For Love of Ivy — movies that showed Hollywood’s conscious response to America’s restless black presence. Nineteen sixty-eight was also the year of echt R&B (the alternately hopeful, despairing, and defiant “You’re All I Need to Get By On,” “I Wish It Would Rain,” “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”) and, ultimately, of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Although these connections in hindsight do not weigh upon Romero’s movie, the fact is that Night of the Living Dead edged beyond mainstream Hollywood liberalism; it was part of the same cultural ferment as those films and songs. It stands on its own as a surprisingly stark, unpretentious depiction of panic and compassion.

The scenes of Romero’s mobilized vigilantes hunting down zombies uncannily resemble the black-and-white TV-news footage of marauding southern whites in the civil-rights era. Romero flips our cultural perception to force a simple but disturbing point about America, then on the verge of collapse. Ben’s life is caught within the slight, slippery distance between homegrown terror and homegrown self-defense. At one point, Romero’s narrative, which already included snippets of TV and radio broadcasts, folds in on itself and becomes surreal. It climaxes with a shocking series of stills of Ben’s dead black body, being grappled by white men carrying stevedore hooks, then thrown upon a pile of corpses — a one-man holocaust montage.

This cautionary filmmaking stings, largely because it shares in the media’s modern spectacle of annihilation but lacks today’s maudlin platitudes and arrogant gloating. (Fifty years ago, cinema was at its artistic peak, producing great works of social and psychic consciousness, such as Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers and Godard’s Masculin Féminin, which featured a brief reenactment of LeRoi Jones’s play Dutchman, an intelligent, provocative precursor of both Night of the Living Dead and Get Out.)

Romero’s crudely effective technique gave his topical issues the inexorable compulsion of a nightmare like Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), another evocation of frightening, unpredictable Americana. These movies are as terrifying as they are unpretentious. I never bought the idea that they are cathartic; their shock and psychological resonance result from the demonstration that when such racial fears are raised, there’s nothing to laugh about.

*****

Not only is Get Out a poor example of the horror genre. Its generic mishap — combining fear and comedy to supposedly meaningful purpose — fumbles Romero’s (and LeRoi Jones’s) insight. Writer-director Jordan Peele reveals a lack of seriousness about both his subject and the history of politicized filmmaking. In 1970, Brian De Palma advanced from Romero and made his first great film, Hi, Mom! — a satire on activism and the media. Its climax parodied both avant-garde theater and Public Television reality, in an extended skit titled “Be Black, Baby!” that combined black racial anger, white racial fear, and the cultural establishment’s pretenses. In 1973, De Palma went further, with the horror film Sisters, another mixed-genre tour de force spotlighting an interracial liaison (Lisle Wilson and Margot Kidder) on a TV game show titled “Peeping Toms,” combining transgressive voyeurism and miscegenation.

Get Out fans probably don’t know these precedents. As victims of our disconnected culture’s amnesia and miseducation, they ignore Romero and De Palma’s once-countercultural experiments and investigations into racial anxiety, but then they fall for the mainstream media’s manipulation of social fears.


Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 3:28 AM CST
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Sunday, February 11, 2018
'PHANTOM' IN CONCERT @ NYC SECRET LOFT IN MARCH
MUSIC FROM DE PALMA'S FILM PERFORMED AS "IMMERSIVE" EXPERIENCE, w/DIALOGUE BETWEEN SONGS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/phantomsecretloft.jpg

The Instagram above was posted by Lindsey Freeman of Weasel War Dance Productions four days ago. Elann Danziger is the director of this upcoming concert featuring Paul Williams' songs from Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. The concert, which will be performed on three consecutive Mondays in March (12, 19, 26) at The Secret Loft in New York City, is described on a Backstage casting call from a couple of months ago as "immersive in nature," with "some dialogue in between songs."

The Backstage casting call does not specify a gender for the lead role of Winslow Leach/The Phantom: "tenor; a struggling young nerdy musician/songwriter who is both the anti-hero and the main protagonist. Winslow makes a futile attempt to advertise their talents by playing at a club owned by Swan, a nefarious music producer. Swan overhears them playing and orders Winslow’s music stolen so that he can use it to open his groovy new club--'The Paradise.' Swan then promptly frames Winslow for drug dealing, giving them a life sentence in Sing Sing Prison, where they eventually escape, but not before having their teeth removed. Following a rage-fueled escape and a traumatic scarring which disfigures their face, Winslow finally makes their way to the Paradise, taking on the identity of the Phantom to take revenge on Swan."

As can be read in Freeman's post, tickets are $20 in advance, and $25 the day of the show-- I did not find any tickets for sale online as of this morning, but Freeman adds that you can send her a message to reserve tickets "for this almost sold out event." There will also be a preview performance on Sunday, March 11th. Freeman and Sean Pollock are the lead producers.

Here are the other roles listed in the casting call at Backstage -- note the Rocky Horror references:

Phoenix (Lead): Female, 20-45

alto; a young singer with strong integrity and hopes of becoming a star, who refuses to partake in the casting couch sessions that Swan has the other young women participate in. Prior to their imprisonment, Winslow met Phoenix at the auditions for Faust and realized she would be perfect for the lead in their cantata--ultimately going so far as to kill anybody who opposed her rise to stardom. Swan, however, despises her perfection and has her demoted to back up singer. She will eventually rise to the occasion, discovering about herself that she's prepared to do anything to earn that crowd applause.

Swan (Lead): Male, 28-50

(Baritenor) Evil CEO and producer of Death Records, Swan is an expert at making hit records and exploiting his musicians for all they're worth--including hosting casting couch sessions to pray on young women. He is arrogant, narcissistic, and always looking for a chance to drum up publicity. Swan has recently finished building his new club “The Paradise” and is looking for the right music to open it with, so he steals Winslow’s.

Beef (Supporting): Male, 25-45

tenor; a self-professed “profess-ion-al,” Beef is brought in to sing Winslow's cantata, after Phoenix was deemed "too perfect." Like most of Swan's acts, Beef is very flamboyant and hooked on drugs. He is narcissistic, superstitious and has the ability to turn either his manliness or femininity up to 11 at will. Very glam rock and Bowie inspired. Ambiguously bisexual--he can flirt with anyone to get whatever he wants. Think a cross between Frank-n-Furter and Rocky from "Rocky Horror."

The Juicy Fruits/The Beach Bums/The Undead (Supporting): 18-35

a trio of three singers, and unofficial chorus of the story. Swan's band, constantly being reformed and renamed to match current trends (they go from Sha Na Na, to The Beach Boys, to KISS). They’re reused as leads and backup singers wherever necessary--partly to save money, but mainly to capitalize on their sheer malleability.

Philbin (Supporting): Male, 25-50

Swan's right-hand man; Philbin's job encompasses a number of fields, including scouting for talent, managing bands, directing the actors and singers on the Paradise set, and enforcing Swan's orders; very butch, stereotypical drug pusher/meathead bodyguard “tough guy” gangster/mob type. Think Eddie from Rocky Horror, but without the groupies or the Rock and Roll fame.

Ensemble (Chorus / Ensemble): 18-45

some roles which will need filling: Secretary, Audition Girls, Bodyguards, Video Camera, and Rock Freak. Some of these will be doubled up.


Posted by Geoff at 9:41 AM CST
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Saturday, February 10, 2018
DE PALMA TRIPLE FEATURE SUNDAY IN NEW YORK
PART OF QUAD SERIES, "CRIMES OF PASSION: THE EROTIC THRILLER"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/quadseries.jpg

Quad Cinema in New York began a series February 2nd: "Crimes of Passion: The Erotic Thriller," which runs through February 16th. The whole thing comes to a head on Sunday afternoon with a fantastic Brian De Palma triple feature: Femme Fatale, Dressed To Kill, and Body Double. Earlier this week, The Village Voice's Abbey Bender posted an article titled, "In the Quad Cinema’s Series of Erotic Thrillers, Women Do as They Damn Well Please." Here's an excerpt:
“A complex series of seductions and murders — that’s not something you see a woman do.” This line, spoken early (by a man, of course) in Bob Rafelson’s Black Widow (1987) — which features Theresa Russell as a beautiful psychopath who marries wealthy magnates only to poison them — sets a clean template for erotic thrillers to work against. The often-maligned genre, which flourished in the ’80s and ’90s and functions as an intriguing amalgam of film noir, sexy music video, and pure id, is the subject of “Crimes of Passion: The Erotic Thriller,” a luxuriously sprawling 24-film series running this month at the Quad Cinema. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the rep house is bringing seduction and murder to the forefront. But it’s worth remembering, amid the enjoyable screen hysterics, that the erotic thriller would be nothing without its femmes fatales. To watch them rebuff the Black Widow line, again and again, is a reliable pleasure.

In addition to glossy genre icons like Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct (1992) and Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction (1987), the Quad’s program also offers up some films that haven’t traditionally been described as erotic thrillers. But even more surprisingly, while surveying the canvas of titles on display, is the second connective thread that emerges: “Crimes of Passion” is, in a sense, a short seminar on the femme fatale. The stock character, as old as cinema itself, endures for a reason: Within a society that expects women to be docile, passive figures, the spectacle of a woman behaving badly ignites both lust and a perverse wish fulfillment. It’s a nuanced appeal that reaches beyond the male gaze.

Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder’s 1944 noir classic, is the oldest work in the series; Barbara Stanwyck’s portrayal, in that movie, of a married woman who seduces an insurance salesman into a murderous scheme stands as a template for the genre. Her deviousness would be scandalous in any era. She’s also an obvious inspiration for Kathleen Turner’s character in Body Heat (1981), an early pioneer in heaping horniness onto the handsome noir template and beginning to codify the erotic thriller as a newly steamy genre of its own.

The genre also owes a debt to Alfred Hitchcock. Vertigo (1958), with Kim Novak as a provocative woman who takes on two distinct identities, is one of the great cinematic examples of femininity spiraling into something confusing and sinister. And a particularly ardent Hitchcock follower, Brian De Palma, may well be the auteur of the erotic thriller. With three films, he’s the most-represented director in the series; each of them — Dressed to Kill (1980), Body Double (1984), Femme Fatale (2002) — prominently features crime, plot twists, and babely blondes. It takes some moxie to literally title an erotic thriller “femme fatale,” but De Palma’s the rare director who could actually pull it off. Though he has long had charges of sexism leveled against him, the women in his films project power and know how to use their sexuality to influence those around them. Femme Fatale doesn’t just gawk at its model-turned-actress star, Rebecca Romijn. It builds a head-spinning world of double crosses around her — and, ultimately, gives her the last laugh.


Posted by Geoff at 9:53 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 10, 2018 9:57 PM CST
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