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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

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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Saturday, November 16, 2019
ARMOND WHITE LINKS BDP's 'DAHLIA' TO QT's 'HOLLYWOOD'
"THE SPECTER OF GRUESOME REAL-LIFE TRAGEDY UNDERNEATH ALL THE HOLLYWOOD HISTORY"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/bdbettyasscarlettsmall.jpg

Yesterday's post about The Black Dahlia reminds me that earlier this year, Armond White mentioned Brian De Palma's film in his review of Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood, which White states "is easily Tarantino’s best film." From National Review:
Movie-actor sympathy is QT’s obtuse version of humanism; his hipster notion of relationships rarely goes beyond clichéd cleverness. The behind-the-scene moments in Once Upon a Time don’t seem as authentic as the early-Sixties sex-and-ambition revue in Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply, or as insightful as the Hollywood-blacklist parodies in the Coen brothersHail, Caesar! An interlude about the vanity of Bruce Lee (played by Mike Moh) gives the impression that QT forgot exactly what movie he was making; like Jackie Brown, it’s not convincing.

In Jackie Brown, QT was so absorbed in fetishizing Blaxploitation lore and his star Pam Grier (whom he called “the queen of women” the first time I met him) that instead of reexamining the era when his obsessions were born, he updated it poorly, and Grier wasn’t actress enough to reclaim her Foxy Brown crown. In Once Upon a Time, QT exults in a period re-created solely through cultural artifacts: pop songs, TV shows, movie posters, theater marquees, and incessant, maddening radio advertisements. The specter of gruesome real-life tragedy underneath all the Hollywood history and pop effluvia gives him something new: poignancy.

Brian De Palma already made this ambivalence poetic in The Black Dahlia — especially the memorable sequence where the audition of tragic Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirschner) as Scarlett O’Hara distilled her all-American drive and pathos. Despite crude technique, QT reveals his awareness of Hollywood desperation, found in society’s changing sexuality, especially when dealing with the Manson girls. Going back to the Sixties hippie era, QT evokes the cultural differences between middle-class California conservatism (embodied by inside-outsiders Rick and Cliff) and Manson’s dangerously radical counterculture.

These tense, lewd scenes (anchored to Margaret Qualley’s Pussycat, a brazen free-love druggie, Dakota Fanning’s fanatical Squeaky Fromme, and Rick’s meeting with a precocious child star, loaded with pedophiliac undertones) suggest more than Manson’s psychotic influence. QT seems to be getting at a modern crisis. Manson’s maenads — dirty, barefoot examples of Dionysian abandon — provide the most fascinating sequences of QT’s career. A plot digression features Bruce Dern as a blind, wizened, weakened victim of his own lusts as well as of female opportunists, a Harvey Weinstein figure.

At the screening I attended, most of the audience went into quiet shock during QT’s finale, an extended sequence of conventional action-movie moral reckoning. It hit them on another level than the earlier, poorly imitated scenes of mock-TV violence (for a cineaste, QT’s images are surprisingly imprecise). In this riposte to #MeToo diabolism, Tarantino finally finds a social context that challenges his audience. And while the Motion Picture Academy previously rewarded QT for disgracing both the Holocaust and slavery, this might be an even hotter topic, and it needs a better follow-through than his slasher-movie tropes. But, admittedly, this display of cheap revenge is his career highpoint.


Posted by Geoff at 8:45 AM CST
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Friday, November 15, 2019
JEMIMA ROOPER RECALLS NUDE SCENE IN 'BLACK DAHLIA'
"I KNEW THAT I WAS PROBABLY GOING TO HAVE TO BE TOPLESS..."
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/bdshowtime4small.jpg

The Telegraph's Chris Harvey interviewed Jemima Rooper for an article that posted earlier this week:
In 2013, she appeared in a Harvey Weinstein film – One Chance, the true story of Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts. She met the producer but was never alone in a room with him, and has a surprising insight from the shop floor, “Controversially, there's this feeling, when someone who has the power to make careers doesn't really give you a second look, or isn't really bothered about you… it's incredibly annoying. Not that I wanted that kind of attention.

On the first day of filming, she adds, “his PA appeared with a whole load of new costumes and it was all massive high heels, short skirts, basically sexing up the character. I was supposed to be the weird, funny girlfriend… She was sent to do it, to make me feel comfortable about it. If Harvey himself had come along and said, I want you in a miniskirt and high heels, I’d have been, excuse me? Then you hear these awful stories of these girls and because it was probably a woman who said, ‘Harvey really wants to meet with you,’ those women were really sort of complicit in allowing that to happen.”

The moment she found most embarrassing, she says, was when she was cast in Brian De Palma’s 2006 adaptation of James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia, with Scarlett Johansson. “I got three scenes in a big movie and one of them was a 1930s porn film with another girl. I was 22… I knew that I was probably going to have to be topless… and when we did the porn element, there was a point when Brian was asking if my pants could come off, and I was like, oh my god, what do I do? When you’re doing a small part, you don’t feel like you can just go, ‘hang on, I need to call my agent.’ You want to be amenable. Luckily, he saw I had two tattoos on my back and said, they’ll take too long to cover with make-up. I was so happy. I’ll probably get tattooed underwear now.”


Posted by Geoff at 7:15 AM CST
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Saturday, February 13, 2016
JOSH FRIEDMAN'S TWITTER 'ASK ME ANYTHING'
'BLACK DAHLIA' SCREENWRITER ON THE LONGEST SCRIPT HE EVER WROTE, MORE





Posted by Geoff at 6:43 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 13, 2016 6:43 PM CST
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015
JAMES HORNER DIES IN PLANE CRASH
AWARD-WINNING FILM COMPOSER ALMOST SCORED 'THE BLACK DAHLIA'
The film world was rocked by tragedy late last night when it was reported that James Horner, Oscar-winning composer of the scores for Titanic, Braveheart, and many other films, died in a plane crash in California. He was 61. According to The Hollywood Reporter's Mike Barnes, "Horner was piloting the small aircraft when it crashed into a remote area about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara, officials said."

In 2005, Horner had been the original composer announced to score Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia. "For a long time," De Palma told me in 2006, "we were trying to make a deal with James Horner. And, we just couldn’t make it. They kept on negotiating, and this went on for like a year. And it also had to do with, you know, all the finishing of the movie. They kept on saying, 'We don’t have enough money for this, we don’t have enough money for that.' So I had to move the mix to Toronto in order to find a way to mix the movie within the budget they sort of came up with. And Horner was the same problem. A year ago, they said they had closed the deal, and of course it was never closed. And I had to start looking for other composers." Mark Isham ended up scoring The Black Dahlia.

Posted by Geoff at 1:03 AM CDT
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Monday, May 4, 2015
ELLROY: 'DAHLIA' SCRIPT WAS NOT GOOD
NOT WITH FINCHER, AND THEN NOT WITH DE PALMA
James Ellroy, promoting his latest novel, Perfidia, tells Telerama's Laurent Rigoulet that the screenplay for the film adaptation of his book The Black Dahlia was not good. The screenplay was written by Josh Friedman, working under the direction of David Fincher. When Fincher dropped out, De Palma took over direction of the project, retaining Friedman as screenwriter. After talking about watching TV series such as The Killing, Homeland (Season One), and Mad Men, Rigoulet asks Ellroy if he is ever asked to work on such series, which leads him to mention that he is currently working on a series with Fincher, which leads him to talk about the Dahlia film:

"Sure, they want Ellroy," Ellroy tells Rigoulet. "One only has to look at all the ideas that True Detective pinched from me! I hate that series, it's a handjob. They order a lot of things from me, but it rarely leads to anything. It takes so much money and compromise ... I'm currently working with David Fincher on a series that would take place in Hollywood in the 50's. The hero is the private detective Fred Otash, who investigated the stars and was in league with tabloids, like in Confidential. I always admired Fincher. He had long tried to adapt The Black Dahlia, but his script was not good, and it was then taken and killed for the version that was released in 2006, directed by Brian De Palma. When the project collapsed, Fincher shot Zodiac, a beautiful thriller about obsession, and one of my favorite movies, much better than LA Confidential."

(Thanks to Luu!)


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 12:05 AM CDT
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Monday, March 23, 2015
VIDEO: DOMINIK GRAF ON DE PALMA'S 'BLACK DAHLIA'
GERMAN DIRECTOR OF 'BELOVED SISTERS' INTRODUCES FILM FOR TONIGHT'S ARTE TV SHOWING


Arte TV is showing Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia tonight, presented by Dominik Graf, the German director who is getting high praise for his latest theatrical feature, Beloved Sisters. A 12-minute video in which Graf discusses De Palma and The Black Dahlia is up now at Arte. If anybody has the ability and/or time to translate or summarize for us what Graf is saying, please by all means send it on in (either by e-mail or as a comment below).
(Thanks to Jochen!)

Posted by Geoff at 7:21 PM CDT
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Monday, August 25, 2014
ELLROY REVISITS KAY LAKE, ELIZABETH SHORT
NEW NOVEL TAKES PLACE IN 1941; 17-YEAR-OLD SHORT IS LOVE-CHILD OF DUDLEY SMITH
James Ellroy's new novel, Perfidia, will be published next month. It is the first book of a planned second L.A. quartet, which will take place during World War II (Ellroy's original L.A. quartet covers the years 1946-1958). As Ellroy told The Channels' Emerson Malone a couple of years ago, the new quartet "takes characters from the original [one] and places [them] in Los Angeles during World War II as significantly younger people." And according to The Telegraph's Chris Harvey, two of Perfidia's main characters include Dudley Smith and Kay Lake. There is also a young Elizabeth Short. As Harvey reports:
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Short provides the most striking element of Perfidia. Ellroy has introduced the 17-year-old Boston native as the love-child of his fictional – and deadly – Irish cop Dudley Smith. He was gripped, he says, by the idea of showing Beth Short “breathlessly alive, sweet natured, presciently intelligent” … “just the idea that there is this wrenching love between this bad man and this young girl who will go on to have her life snuffed out”.

Ellroy is unconcerned that some might find this stretching credibility. “People are connected in ways that we can’t imagine. I’m sure you know people that I know. I might have petted your dog at one point. We’re out there, we’re one soul.”

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Posted by Geoff at 12:56 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, August 25, 2014 1:02 AM CDT
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Monday, December 2, 2013
R.I.P. PAUL WALKER
ACTOR HAD SOUGHT ROLE IN 'BLACK DAHLIA', CALLED DE PALMA HIS FAVORITE
Paul Walker was one of two people killed Saturday in a single-vehicle crash in Santa Clarita, California, according to a CBS Los Angeles report. Walker was a passenger, and the driver is believed to have been Roger Rodas, a close friend and business partner of Walker's, according to other reports.

In 2004, after Mark Wahlberg had dropped out of the Lee Blanchard role in Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia, Walker expressed interest in replacing him (the role eventually went to Aaron Eckhart). "Brian De Palma’s got a movie he’s gonna do called The Black Dahlia," Walker told Cinema Confidential in 2004. "De Palma’s my favorite. And I heard that one of the cast members, someone that’s attached dropped out. I want to do that movie! De Palma’s the man." When asked if he had seen all of De Palma's films, Walker replied, "Every one. And Jeff Byrd is my agent at ICM. Jeff Byrd represents De Palma. So I’m like, 'yo, Byrd, make this happen.'"

Wayne Kramer, who directed Walker in the excellent Running Scared, as well as this year's Pawn Shop Chronicles, mentioned in a Facebook post Sunday that De Palma had offered Walker a film project some years ago. "It always pained me when critics and internet talkbackers slammed him as an actor," Kramer wrote, "because I knew the truth about the guy: he was fucking awesome in every way. And he was just coming into his own as a strong leading man. I always told Paul that his most exciting years were going to be his 40s and 50s, and even beyond, as a masculine American tough guy in the vein of Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin. We talked about how Paul was going to be my Lee Marvin and we were hungry to make those kind of films that could show Paul in that light. In some alternate reality somewhere, he’s still on that career trajectory and I’d love to be there to see the work because it would be something to experience indeed. For every anonymous internet hater who bagged on him, there were great actors and directors who made a point of letting him know how amazing he was. Kevin Costner was a fan and wanted to do a western with Paul. Vincent D’Onofrio (whom I recently worked with) made a point of telling me how much he dug Paul as an actor. Quentin Tarantino called Paul after seeing Running Scared to tell him how much he loved Paul’s performance. Sylvester Stallone was a fan of Paul in Running Scared. Walter Hill and Brian De Palma offered him projects a few years back. Paul was very discriminating with the films he picked. He chose to make them for personal reasons, regardless of the quality of the finished film or the reputation of the director. And once he signed on, he was there one thousand percent for his directors. We shared the same taste in material. Usually dark and extreme, but with a lot of soul. Closer to the films of the 70s and 80s that they no longer make anymore."


Posted by Geoff at 12:07 AM CST
Updated: Monday, December 2, 2013 12:11 AM CST
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Thursday, November 21, 2013
EMILY MORTIMER AUDITIONED FOR 'BLACK DAHLIA'
BUT LIE MAY HAVE LED TO HER NOT GETTING ROLE
Emily Mortimer, who has already been cast as the lead in Brian De Palma's upcoming Therese Raquin project, revealed Monday that she auditioned for De Palma's The Black Dahlia about ten years ago. According to Page Six's Emily Smith, Mortimer attended Monday's Artios Awards in New York, where she told the story of her most embarrassing audition. From Smith's column:
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She auditioned for the femme fatale role in The Black Dahlia 12 weeks after she had her third child. When a casting director told Brian De Palma that Emily had just had a baby, she lied that she’d given birth many months earlier. She added, “I would have gotten away with it until I was asked when my daughter’s birthday was. I blanked . . . under the pressure of the lie.” Needless to say, she didn’t get the part.
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Posted by Geoff at 4:44 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, November 21, 2013 4:46 PM CST
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
ISHAM: SCORING DE PALMA FILM WAS A HIGH POINT
"I HAVE A LOT OF FOND MEMORIES OF THAT ONE"
Mark Isham, who scored Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia in 2006, was interviewed for the recent book, Soundtrack Nation, by Tom Hoover. Hoover asked Isham if he could name a few personal favorites out of the "vast portfolio of scores" he has composed over the years. Here is Isham's reply, from pages 4-5 of the book:

Well, there are lots of reasons for having favorite moments in scores. Crash, I have to say, still has a fond spot in my heart, because I felt that it was the right choice of genre for that film, and I think it did everything and more that you could ask a score to do for a film, under "interesting" budgetary constraints, which seems to be more and more a part of the equation these days. Having said that, the opportunity to score a Brian De Palma film with a large symphony orchestra still remains one of my high points, simply because as a composer, that's a great opportunity-- the large orchestral scores are a hell of a lot of fun! That particular one, because it had the jazz influence and I played the solo trumpet parts myself-- I have a lot of fond memories of that one.

Posted by Geoff at 11:44 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 11:48 PM CDT
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