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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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Saturday, August 7, 2021
CARLA GUGINO'S 'LUSH HAIRCUT' IN 'SNAKE EYES'
THE SUBJECT OF A SATURDAY TWEET & A 'HELLO!' MAGAZINE COLUMN BY AUTHOR CIARAN WEST
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetcarlahair.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 5:00 PM CDT
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Thursday, July 29, 2021
REACTION VIDEO - REEL REVIEWS WITH JEN - 'SNAKE EYES'
"I REALLY LIKE THIS CAT-AND-MOUSE GAME, IT'S FUN TO WATCH"

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Saturday, July 17, 2021
THE CONCEPT WAS 'THIS IS LIKE THE GREAT FLOOD'
"BUT WE DISCOVERED THAT AUDIENCES DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD COMING DOWN AND CREATING THE FLOOD"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/snakewave3.jpg

In a post headlined "Nicolas Cage’s 15 Wildest Film Roles", IndieWire's Ryan Lattanzio includes Cage's role as Rick Santoro in Brian De Palma and David Koepp's Snake Eyes. I don't know if I agree when Lattanzio describes the film as "a relentless gush of style over substance." The substance is there, and if the style calls attention to itself, well, the substance is still there. I suppose if the style and the substance can be said to be working in tandem, then maybe -- maybe -- the style is in the front seat, so maybe in that way Lattanzio has it right, but to me, everything in the movie feels of a cohesive piece, even if the ending of the film has been somewhat compromised.

"Nicolas Cage is aptly matched to the material," Lattanzio continues, "as a flamboyant and (natch) corrupt Atlantic City detective who witnesses an assassination during an epic boxing match. Cage’s bugged-out outsized performance veers toward exhausting, but that’s precisely the point as De Palma assaults the senses with his characteristic cinematic feints, where everything is larger than life."

On Part 2 of the Brian De Palma/Susan Lehman Light The Fuse interview, hosts Drew Taylor and Charles Hood dipped into the ending of Snake Eyes after mentioning John Knoll's work on Mission: Impossible:

Drew: John Knoll told us a story that you said that he could have a credit -- I believe it was Visual Effects Supervisor -- only if he did an extra shot for you of Jon Voight in the plane at the beginning of the movie. Do you remember this at all?

De Palma: No.

Drew: Okay.

De Palma: But I would believe John.

[Laughter] Drew: Okay.

Lehman: Is that something you would do?

De Palma: Are you kidding? [Laughter] Why not? [More laughter] You need the shot...

Drew: Did he work on Snake Eyes, on the...

De Palma: Yes.

Drew: Okay. I've always been fascinated about that ending, and I'm so glad that you put some footage of it in the documentary. But, yeah, do you think the lack of that ending hurt the movie, or... what's your sort of feeling on it?

De Palma: My concept and David's concept was, this is like the great flood. I mean, when you're dealing with such a corrupt universe, the only way to deal with it is a flood. You've gotta kill everybody. And that was always the concept. But, we discovered that audiences don't believe in God coming down and creating the flood. When there's such rampant evil around. So then we had to come up with a different ending, which I don't think is as effective. But that's basically because our conception of how it should have ended, we were never able to do. And the audience would never accept, basically.

Drew: Well, how dependent are you on those test audience responses? I mean, did you have anything like that on Mission? And was it sort of freeing writing this book, because you didn't have to... I mean you had to show it... you and Susan talked about it, but...

De Palma: Well, yes, you're always dealing with that research group. And believe me, my history, I had all the movies, you know, that had all the language, all the eroticism in them, and I'd be constantly fighting with these people that would, you know, poll the audiences. Because anything really excessive, an audience reacts very strongly to. And the studio, always when the studio, when they would get kind of negative cards after a screening.

Lehman: One reason that we started working on this book is because Brian had been involved in an HBO production of Paterno. And then he'd get, you know, a million notes, and he said, "Let's just write a book. It's much easier. I don't have to take these phone calls or read these crazy notes."

De Palma: Yeah, thousands of notes about Paterno.

Charles: And so was that more notes than you'd ever had before? Was it getting worse?

De Palma: Absolutely. You'd get piles of notes. You know, and I said, "Well, I've had it." Basically, you know, and I just walked away. Thank you, HBO.

Drew: Do you feel like the medium of fiction is sort of going to be your outlet for the next little while, or are you itching to get back...?

De Palma: Well, until I become senile, one's mind tends to be working all the time, and I'm, you know, trying to make maybe one more movie. If possible, maybe another. And of course writing books is, you know, a lot of fun, what Susan and I do together.



Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 18, 2021 11:20 AM CDT
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Saturday, May 15, 2021
MACHOIAN STUDIED LONG TAKES IN 'SNAKE EYES'
TO HELP SEE HOW HE COULD DO LONG TAKES WITHOUT BEING "SHOWY" IN 'KILLING OF TWO LOVERS'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/afilmapaintingsnakeeyes.jpg

MovieMaker's Caleb Hammond interviewed writer-director Robert Machoian about his newly-released film, which Nicolas Rapold mentions in his New York Times review is "told in unpredictable long takes." --
The Killing of Two Lovers writer-director Robert Machoian thought a lot during the planning of the film about “how to shoot long takes without drawing attention to the fact that it’s a long take, in and of itself.”

So he went back and watched Brian De Palma’s Snake Eyes for its flashy 12-minute single take opening.

“It’s very showy. And there’s a place for that. But for this film, it would have been very inappropriate to be showy at all,” he says.

The Killing of Two Lovers follows married couple David (Clayne Crawford) and Nikki (Sepideh Moafi) in rural Utah, as they work through a separation. But after Nikki gets a boyfriend (Chris Coy), David begins to unravel.

The film makes masterful use of long takes throughout, and Machoian and cinematographer Oscar Ignacio Jiménez employ it much differently than De Palma did for his Nicolas Cage conspiracy thriller. In one key moment, the camera acts as an equalizer during an emotionally fraught scene.

Avoiding traditional shot-reverse-shot coverage, the camera is instead framed on both David and Nikki as they work through an argument. This prevents the audience from choosing a side.

“The second you hold the camera, you establish that somebody is more important than the other,” Machoian explains. “But David and Nikki are equally trying to figure this out. And there really isn’t one who is in more of a position of power than the other.”

Crawford, Moafi, and Coy all have theater experience, which made pulling off these extended sequences possible. “If we didn’t have the actors that we had, we would have had to shoot it differently. Because if you do a long take with someone who can’t act, it just gets worse the longer they go with it — it doesn’t necessarily get better,” Machoian says.

Machoian is aware that long takes can be distracting to viewers.

“It felt really important to just orchestrate the performance, and allow Sepideh and Clayne to move within that frame, and as a result, hopefully not draw attention to the fact that we’ve been sitting on this shot for four minutes,” he said. “Hopefully in the end you’re so engrossed in the character drama, that it’s really kind of an afterthought.”


Filmmaker Magazine's Erik Luers also interviewed Machoian:

Filmmaker: And in the final sequence, where a big argument and altercation takes place, I read that you were stationed in a golf cart tracking the action off-screen?

Machoian: That’s right. I’ve made films in the past that explore duration, sometimes duration for the sake of duration and sometimes duration due to the scene being interesting enough to force the viewer to stay in the scene and watch the arc and feel a bit trapped. While I wanted most of the scenes in The Killing of Two Lovers to primarily be two-to-three-minute one-takes, I wanted the final argument to be one long take (I can’t remember anymore if it’s seven or nine minutes). It didn’t feel right to remain static (as we had throughout the film) for that sequence. We had used a golf cart in the opening sequence of the film (where David is running from house to house), but it wound up blowing a tire while we were shooting due to how cold it was outside. We had to get the tire fixed and that took some time.

Once the tire was fixed, we used the golf cart again to shoot the final fight scene, something we shot about two days before production concluded. We didn’t have the golf cart available for any other period of time until we were able to get the tire fixed. Once it was and we knew we wanted to use it for the final fight, I told Oscar, “Look, the best way for us to do this is for you to run the camera and be framing the scene constantly”—we obviously discussed the type of framing, etc.— and “I’m going to be the one driving you on the golf cart.” I drove the golf cart, moving forward slightly depending on how the arc of the drama was unfolding between the actors, i.e. as David begins to feel isolated, I push in farther so that we could, in many ways, isolate the viewer, too, or, as David and Nikki have that brief moment together (the “calm before storm”) where he’s struggling and she realizes he’s struggling and she loves him and feels sorry for the fact that he’s struggling, and then BAM! Then the camera begins to pull back again.

It was very difficult to get right, not the least because the wheel we had gotten fixed was now constantly squeaking! And since the tension present in the scene was so high, the squeaking wheel threatened to be a real distraction for the actors. I had to be like, “I’m so sorry, this will squeak, but we need to do it this way. We can’t walk it and we can’t all of a sudden switch to handheld.” We didn’t have access to a dolly, and so I pleaded with my actors, “I need you to go with me on this,” and luckily they trusted me. When they came to watch the dailies that night, they were like, “This is amazing,” and I thanked them. For emotional purposes, we needed to have the camera establish some distance. We’d used wides and closeups for the majority of the movie, but this was the place where we needed to move in and out of those wides and closeups.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, January 7, 2020
'I'M RICKY!' - TRAILER FOR NICOLAS CAGE STAND-IN DOC
CAGE-A-RAMA CONTINUES WITH 'UNCAGED' SCREENING THURSDAY IN LONDON

As a quick follow-up to its Cage-a-rama 2020 fest in Glasgow this past weekend, Matchbox Cineclub will screen Uncaged - A Stand-In Story this Thursday night at Genesis Cinema in London. The film is about Marco Kyris, who was Nicolas Cage's official stand-in from 1994-2005. Kyris will be at the screening to participate in a Q&A. The evening will open with a screening of Con Air.

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, January 8, 2020 12:11 AM CST
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Wednesday, December 11, 2019
'SNAKE EYES' TO OPEN CAGE-A-RAMA JAN 3RD IN GLASGOW
3RD ANNUAL FILM FEST HOPES TO BRING CAGE HIMSELF TO SCOTLAND THIS YEAR
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/cagearama2020a.jpgYesterday, Matchbox Cineclub in Glasgow, Scotland, revealed in a Twitter post that "Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes is our Cage-a-rama 2020 opening film 😵" Snake Eyes will play on the fest's opening night, Friday January 3rd. Special guests for the fest, which runs Friday-Sunday (January 3-5), are still to be announced, and Matchbox Cineclub is "doing our very best" to bring Nicolas Cage himself to attend Cage-a-rama 2020.

Films that Cage made with Francis Ford Coppola (Peggy Sue Got Married) and Martin Scorsese (Bringing Out The Dead, which had a screenplay by Paul Schrader) will also be part of the lineup this year, as will Mike Figgis' Leaving Las Vegas.

Posted by Geoff at 12:52 AM CST
Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2019 12:53 AM CST
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Tuesday, August 7, 2018
'SNAKE EYES' TURNS 20
DE PALMA & KOEPP'S 3RD STRAIGHT COLLAB OPENED ON THIS DAY IN 1998
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/snakeeyespanel1.jpg

https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/snakeeyespanel2.jpg

https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/snakeeyespanel3.jpg

https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/snakeeyespanel4.jpg


Joe Reid, Decider
‘Snake Eyes’ Is the Forgotten “Nicolas Cage Is a Lunatic” Film

Posted by Geoff at 10:32 PM CDT
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Sunday, July 23, 2017
JOHN HEARD HAS DIED
CAREER INTV w/ILLEANA DOUGLAS PODCAST LAST TUE, BACK SURGERY WED, PASSED AWAY FRIDAY


John Heard, who portrayed a Trump-like Atlantic City casino/arena owner in Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes, was found dead on Friday in a hotel room in Palo Alto. He was 71. According to Martha Ross at The Mercury News, "His family said he was staying at the undisclosed hotel while recovering from the [back] surgery, which was described as 'minor.'" Just four days earlier, on Tuesday, July 18th, Heard had been the guest on Illeana Douglas' podcast I Blame Dennis Hopper, in which Douglas asked him questions about his entire career (she ran out of time before she'd had a chance to ask him about working on Snake Eyes, which she called a great film and urged everyone to seek out, along with Martin Scorsese's After Hours). But Heard had told Douglas he was having back surgery the next day. Ross' article quotes a post Douglas made to her Facebook page after learning of his death on Friday: "He was filled with optimism and hope that he would get this back surgery and begin to start working again. That’s where he was happiest. Like any actor, he just wanted a job. He just wanted to work."

Heard was a theater actor (he originated the role who, by his own admission, never really took his work in film seriously. He is best known for the Home Alone movies, but his early film career was made up of lead roles in independent films such as John Byrum's Heart Beat (an Edward R. Pressman production in which Heard portrayed Jack Kerouac and co-starred with Sissy Spacek and Nick Nolte, with production design by Jack Fisk), Ivan Passer's Cutter's Way, Joan Micklin Silver's Head Over Heels and Between The Lines, and Paul Schrader's Cat People. He also had a significant role in Penny Marshall's Big.

An obituary by The Guardian's Ryan Gilbey includes this bit about Heard's theater days:

At the Long Wharf theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1976 he originated the role of Billy, the gay soldier, in the first staging of David Rabe’s controversial play Streamers, and was disappointed not to have been retained for Mike Nichols’s subsequent New York production. He won an Obie award in 1977 for his performance in G.R. Point, in which he played a man processing dead soldiers from Vietnam before burial, and won another three years later for his combined work in Othello and Split.

Heard was married to Margo Kidder for six days in 1979. He had supporting roles in many films and TV series in the late part of his career. Ross article quotes some more from Douglas' Facebook post:
In her Facebook post, Douglas said she was devastated to hear about Heard’s death. She described him as a “great, great actor” who inspired her in her career. She said she had been trying to line him up for an interview for a long time; he was hesitant, thinking no one was that interested in him. “I convinced him that there was real interest in him. That people loved him, and wanted to hear from him,” she wrote.

This past March, Richard Luck posted a review of Snake Eyes at Right Casino, noting the similarities between Heard's role in the film and Donald Trump:
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.


Posted by Geoff at 1:35 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 23, 2017 11:32 PM 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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Thursday, November 3, 2016
NICOLAS CAGE ON 'SNAKE EYES' ENDING, DE PALMA
HAS TRIED TO GET TO WORK WITH DE PALMA SEVERAL TIMES SINCE 'SNAKE EYES'

Nicolas Cage, who stars in Paul Schrader's new film, Dog Eat Dog, spoke on the phone recently with Moviefone's Drew Taylor, who couldn't help but ask Cage about Snake Eyes...
One of the other things that came out this year was in the "De Palma" documentary; the original ending for "Snake Eyes" was finally seen. Was that validating?

I didn't get to see it. I would love to see the "De Palma" documentary. I'm a huge fan of Brian's and I tried to get to work with him several times since we did "Snake Eyes." But I didn't get to see the documentary or the alternate ending. Could you explain it to me?

Oh sure, it was when the big wave comes over Atlantic City and you're trapped in a tunnel, drowning.

Yes, that's fascinating. I remember him talking about it but I didn't know that he shot the wave. That's fantastic.

Similarly, there was a documentary out last year about your "Superman" movie with Tim Burton. Was it nice to see that stuff finally get out there?

Yeah, it was nice that the filmmakers gave folks a chance to look at what it was really looking like, instead of that goofy picture that came out, which was a Polaroid that didn't have any real lighting. It wasn't even a real costume. It was somebody trying to start a story and created a shakedown on the Internet, but it was entirely false. You can see the way it was genuinely going with a little bit of care and understanding put upon it.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2016 12:14 AM CDT
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