WRITER TO WATCH:
TAMMY DUFFY Total Recall :
Ron Shussett ROSS BAGLEY
"All Growed Up" OSCAR BUZZ FROM SINGING SOLDIERS & PRESIDENTS, TO CRAZY PEOPLE & THE CIA
THE LONG SHOT:
JOHN ASHER FEATURE FILM SPOTLIGHT:
Celebrate Your Inner Artist
STAFF Publisher Timothy Woodward Jr.
Editor-In-Chief Lauren de Normandie
Contributors Derin Richardson Alexandria Chase George McQuade
Photographers MmJoe Sanchez George McQuade
Cover The Long Shot with John Asher
Advertising Clayton Harlan Ramjasha rhodes 2
A VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS & GUESTS FOR AN AMAZINGLY SUCCESSFUL EVENT!
Inside This Issue COVER Indie Film Spotlight: The Long Shot with John Asher
HFJ Feature The Road to the Oscars:
Ross Bagley: ALl Growed Up The Devils Dozen How to Kill A Zombie Total Recall with Ron Shussett
The Rules The Nominations 2012 Oscar Winners HFJ 2013 Oscar Projections
The Great Debate: In Theaters or On-Demand Writer to Watch: Tammy Duffy Confessions of a Publicist
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Feb/mar 2013
Admit it, we have all fallen prey to the electronic epidemic. Many, if not most of us can't go an hour, let alone an entire day without sending an email, shooting off a text, updating Facebook, pinning our new favorite clothing brand on Pintrest, or seeing what's trending on twitter. We live in an age where nearly every single aspect of our lives is controlled by something with a battery, and where print is an outdated medium reserved for the elderly and public school students. And while I readily admit using technology is the fastest and most efficient way to reach the masses, I also have to admit that often, I sincerely miss the feel of printed material. The weight and smell of the paper bring back fond memories of story time.
Think of this issue as a trial run, we are asking for your help to determine what works and what doesn't. Let us know what your favorite articles are and which ones you could live without; send us ideas of what you would like to see in future issues; write editorial pieces and submit them for consideration; write a letter to the editor and share your thoughts, comments, hopes, dreams and opinions with the world!
Visit us online to leave a comment: www.hollywoodfilmjournal.com -orEmail the editorial team: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't profess to have put together something that will leave an impression on you for the next twenty years. I do, however, hope you will enjoy this work for the next several hours. It is with great pride and extreme pleasure that I present you with the February/March issue of the long awaited, and much discussed Hollywood Film Journal. My team and I have worked tirelessly to gather several types of articles ranging from the strictly technical to the heartwarmingly sweet.
Confessions of a Publicist
By George McQuade III, HFJ Contributor
Think about this: In 2012, the number one Google search out of more than a trillion, in 146 languages after she died was Whitney Houston. When it comes to your business and the people around you, you can prepare for a recession, but it’s hard to prepare for death. Besides turning into honorary Whitney Houston month, December marked the two year anniversary of the death of my client of 10+ years Chief Economist Jack Kyser, LAEDC and the death of his boss, another client of mine. As far as Hollywood is concerned, when Kyser died, the economy died as well. The media and Hollywood had nowhere to turn to for those quick economic impact numbers on runaway TV/film production or the Fashion industry.
media is no longer optional when marketing their “next big” film project or web series. Furthermore, producers and directors (even the well known ones) love to micromanage their publicists, despite not having a clue what being a publicist actually means. Story Time: I got a call from one of Hollywood’s most respected publicists. He wanted to refer a sunken treasurer expert, who claimed he could recover Osama bin Ladin’s body from the ocean and wanted to know if he could be on Dr. Phil. “I con work on getting him on several talk shows” I said, “I just don’t want someone bombing my house later for doing it”. Story Time:
The economic recession, of which by the way the late Kyser predicted, also saw the demise of traditional media. When I covered the red carpet of the TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN: PART 2 for Hollywood Film Journal, I was struck by the fact that celebrities like Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, and Peter Facinelli, spent more time signing poster autographs and snapping pictures with fans then for the media. “Hey, Kristen turn around, “yelled one prominent photographer in the press box.
No names, but I had one client who was interviewed 36 times (I counted them) and s/he approved them all. But later decided they should all be taken down, because s/he didn’t like the way they looked or sounded any more. I get it, everyone’s their own biggest critic, but celebs need to stick to a decision and decide whether or not they like the content before Google starts to register the content. Taking down an interview after it has garnered over 100,000 views on Youtube is not a smart way to promote your career... Moral of the Story:
Politics aside, the “celebrity to watch” in 2012 was President Obama, even in Hollywood. Observations: The advancement of technology, especially smart phones, has given everyone the tools to become their own publicist. Most publicists are having a hard time keeping up with all the trouble their clients can cause with their tweets and Facebook updates. Actors, directors and producers have no idea how to use publicity, social media and photography to their advantage. They have, however, learned that social
In 2013, just LET YOUR PUBLICIST DO THEIR JOB. You’ll be surprised at how fast your brand will take off. Don’t believe me? Just look at Rebecca Black and the worst song in history “Friday”. My positive observation of 2012 was how quickly Hollywood responded to celebrity charities. Any kind of event or mixer that benefited something such as Breast Cancer research, received an overwhelming “I’m in” from most actors. So lets forget about the past year, and lets gear up for positive vibes and success in 2013!
"All Growed Up"
Remember watching The Little Rascals and seeing spunky Buckwheat? Or watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and seeing that charismatic, lionhearted little tyke Nicky Banks? Of course you do! Just like you remember him in one of the biggest blockbuster movies of the 90s, Independence Day. Since then, of course, Ross Bagley has taken a more subtle route with his career but has not been inactive by any means. He simply decided to give fame and camera attention a backseat and remain incognito while he and his career goals. "I lead a pretty normal life these days, save for the occasional recognition from people on the streets," Bagley said. "I didn't want Hollywood to takeover who I am." Speaking of goals, his newly earned bachelor's degree in Cinema and Television from California
By Derin Richardson, STATUS LA Mag. Contributor State University Northridge last May certainly helps to further his plans of becoming an executive film & television producer. As actor, Bagley credits his success to his duration on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Ironically, it was his most treasured show long before he was presented the opportunity to join the cast."It was a trip for me! Even before I was on it or even thought about acting, I used to watch it every Monday night on NBC religiously. It was great blessing for me to be on there and one of the best things for my career," Bagely said. He was four and a half years old when he was first discovered for his acting ability. He was reciting poetry at a talent show when a judge, who also
happened to be a talent manager, approached his father and gave him a business card. His father then told his mother about it, however she dismissed it completely. It wasn't until he was approached again by another talent manager while she and Bagley were playing miniature golf that she decided to take it more seriously. "My mom started thinking it was rather odd that that would happen within a couple of weeks, so she called the first guy and the rest was pretty much history. Started going on auditions, nailed a few things, and here we are today," Bagley said. Of course, the favorite movie he's starred in is Independence Day, which he felt had all the makings of a blockbuster, even though he was only six years old at the time. He mentioned that it was the most fun he'd had on set, despite the life-like aliens. When asked what he thinks his life would've
Photo ÂŠ Ross Bagley
"What's weird with me is that when I see some of the scenes I was in, I can remember how they smelled. I just remember the smell of smoke and fire going on, just that distinct Hollywood smell," - Ross Bagley Photo ÂŠ Ross Bagley
been like if he'd not started acting, he mentioned that he would have probably continued school and graduated from college like he has done already and "probably playing NBA 2K13." "My life is pretty normal and that's how I wanted it to be," Bagley said. "My mom was very supportive of what I wanted to do either way. She wasn't one of those Hollywood moms trying to make sure I did this and that. It was always my choice and my decisions." His advice for aspiring actors? Love the craft and take it seriously, as there are a lot of people who have "narcissistic reasons," for acting but there are also those who would do anything for even the most diminutive roles, just for a fraction of screen time. Also, make sure you surround yourself with those who have your best Â interest in mind and not a desire to just get in your pockets. "Love it. You really have to because there are going to be a lot of days on set where you are going to do the same thing over and over again, in which it eventually turns out to be a really great project. But if you don't, it's going to show and you are going to get bored of shooting stuff easily," Bagley said.
Photo by Universal Pictures â€“ ÂŠ 1994
'The Devilâ€™s Dozen' Counts Down to Hollywood Red Carpet Premiere By Alexandria Chase, HFJ Contributor
After two years and countless hours of back breaking, soul crushing work, well maybe not soul crushing.... Actor/director/producer Jeremy London ( Mallrats, Party of Five) is ready to unveil to Hollywood the movie that will serve as his directorial feature film debut. On Friday February 1st 2013 the red carpet at the Historic Chinese Theater 6 on Hollywood Blvd will be illuminated with the flash of cameras as the stars show their support for fellow director/actor and friend Jeremy London and "The Devil's Dozen." I had the pleasure of getting a exclusive sneak peak of Jeremy's first crack at directing a feature, and the quality of the talent alone is worth standing up and taking notice.
The supernatural horror/thriller has a superstar cast with actors from a wide range of genres. The all star cast includes Eric Roberts ( The Dark Knight, The Expendables) C. Thomas Howell ( Southland, The Amazing Spiderman ), Jake Busey ( Identity ), William Morgan Shepherd (The Prestige, Expendables), Omar Gooding ( Baby Boy, Family Times ), Dante Basco ( Hook, Blood and Bone ), and Sophie Turner. I know what you're thinking, a bunch of big name genre actors attached to a small budget horror project, you're looking at another mediocre at best film with predictable plot lines and run of the mill performances. "The Devil's Dozen" surprised even me.
As I settled in and reached for my first handful of Orville Redenbacher microwavable popcorn, the suspense kicked into high gear and immediately brought me to the edge of my seat. The twists and turns of the plot had me feeling as if I was on the roller-coaster ride from hell. Think Saw meets Seven with a supernatural twist. The stacked cast and the cleverly written script leave you guessing right up to the shocking twist of an conclusion. Horror fan's wanting a chance to win two red carpet VIP tickets to the premiere can do so by liking the o f fi c i a l F a c e b o o k p a g e w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / thedevilsdozenmovie and writing a comment! fans can also enter for the chance to win a poster signed by the all star cast.
DIRECTED BY JEREMY LONDON | PRODUCED BY DAVID WYATT & CHARLES HARVEY
Hollywood's Life, Lollipops & King of Horror Surviving a
By Alexandria Chase, HFJ Contributor
Q: What was your motivation for becoming an actor? A: I was a fat kid with bad acne who knew all the answers in Sunday School, so other kids made fun of me incessantly. I lived in my own imaginary world. Like all actors, I still do.
feels this way, I suppose...Mark Twain once said "We have created a thousand useless luxuries and called them necessities and satisfied nothing!" He was talking about the invention of the typewriter.
Q: When did you move to Los Angeles? A: I came to LA four and half years ago - had made my living in east coast professional stage for a dozen years before that. Q: Youâ€™ve played JFK, Lincoln, Jesus & Mark Twain, is there anything in particular that draws you to historical roles? A: Yes there is. People of prior generations had fewer distractions and consequently, they lived more fully than we do. Their thoughts and words are a much deeper human well to draw from as an actor than anything in our cluttered contemporary world. Of course, every generation
Q: What was the inspiration that lead to the Daytime Emmy Award winning video Take This Lollipop? A: Jason Zada, who created the holiday online favorite Elf Yourself, was the genius behind www.Take This Lollipop.com. He wrote it, directed it and he cast me as The Facebook Stalker. I owe him. Take This Lollipop has set records as the fastestgrowing application in Facebook history, has been seen by over 100 million viewers so far and has won two Webby Awards, a Daytime Emmy Award and Best In Show at South By Southwest, among others. It has also forced me to explain myself to alarmed parents whose children recognize me and blurt out "Mom, that's the man that was stalking me on Facebook!" It has been a fun ride.
Q: You’ve been lovingly referred to as Mr. Horror, do you think that’s a fitting nickname? A: Every time I look in the mirror I know it is fitting! My face is scarred, and I was born with a weird body. I used to be ashamed of my appearance, but in horror it has all become an asset. In horror the misfits and the oddities of this world are the ones on top. In what other film genre is being called "that guy with the creepy torso" a good thing? In what other genre can an actor take what he is ashamed of and make it a trademark? I am proud to be associated with horror. I love it with all my creepy heart. Q: Do you have any terrifying new projects in the works? Anything you have recently filmed and excited about? A: Yes, I do! My next scheduled feature release is Children Of Sorrow from director Jourdan McClure. It's set in a desert cult where my character Father Simon gathers his followers. Really skin-crawling stuff. The trailer is getting a thousand views a day on YouTube, so that is a good sign of fan interest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW_FRa5HhNE
I invite those with an interest to check out my IMDb page http://www.imdb.com/name/ nm2454994/ I am always delighted to hear from fans with comments good or bad. I answer my own mail and I consider the audience to be my boss. So let me know how I'm doing. http://www.billoberst.com/
I. DARE. YOU. Photo © Spencer Filichia
How to Kill A Zombie A: Well, let me take a few pointers from the master zombie slayer and vampire hunter himself, Abraham Lincoln! In his own words, here is how the Great Emancipator might have answered, along with my translation for modern-day zombie annihilators... 1. "The situation is piled high with difficulties and we must rise to meet the occasion" (Translation: don't pile zombies up like cordwood; better to burn them and clear the area) 2. "Find out what brand of whiskey Grant drinks and send a gallon to all of my generals" (Translation: a bit of liquid courage before a zombie raid is not altogether a bad thing, as long as one is on horseback) 3. "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the story present" (Translation: Don't fight new-school zombies with old-school tactics; know your zombies! ) 4. "I expect to maintain this contest until successful or conquered or dead." (Translation: Get some sleep and fight another day.) 5. "Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible." (Translation: If you get bit, bite back.)
From Slocakia with love, health & prosperity. Artisan crafted tea liqueurs from the heart of Slovakia by Karloff, the countryâ€™s preeminent distillery.
Kristina Anapau By Alexandria Chase, HFJ Contributor
Actor/ producer/ writer/dancer HFJ shines a much deserved spotlight on the beautiful Hawaiian Flower.
Gown: Nina Ricci, $4490 , Barneys New York Earrings: Louis Vuitton, price upon request, www.louisvuitton.com Bracelet: Lanvin, $990, Barneys New York Ring: Coach, $58, www.coach.com 23
Photo By Angela Marklew
You're an island baby, what are some of the perks/ challenges of growing up on the beautiful island of Hawai'i? It's not all sea turtles and coconuts. It's a really beautiful place and an incredibly stable base from which to spring into the world-- very calm and peaceful. Now that I am an adult, I can appreciate it all much more-- however, as a child and teen, I was a little more driven and focused than my peers-always pushing myself and wanting to expand further and further. There is only so far you can expand on an island in the middle of the Pacific. I was really interested in the arts, training very seriously in classical ballet, and very focused on my education. I graduated from high school at age 15 and began my degree at the University of Hawaii the same year. As a credit to the Big Island, the reason I was able to accomplish a lot at such a young age was because there were not any distractions, but at the same time, I did constantly long for more stimulation. My parents were wonderful, though, they made sure I was always engaged in all the activities the island had to offer, enrolled me in the right schools, and exposed me to a great deal of travel and art.
in the industry. I decided to complete my college degree a few years into my career, choosing Skidmore mainly because of the interdisciplinary aspect of their undergraduate program-- and because upstate New York is absolutely beautiful. So what's life like right now? Anyone special in your life? My acting career has been keeping me very busy. I have also been doing a lot of writing lately--editorial pieces for various publications. I have several business ideas that are in various stages of being birthed into the world. There are a lot of very special people in my life-- but as for romance, my partner at the moment is my work and all of my interests. I have been in long term relationships for the entire inception of my adulthood, and while I look forward to finding the one, I am really enjoying this period of having the space to envision what I want my life to look like and create it.
Your father is a scientist and your mother an artist, what was it like growing up with parents who view the world through lenses controlled by opposite hemispheres of the brain? I feel I had a very balanced childhood because of it-equal doses of logic and imagination. They are a great pair and extraordinary parents-- they are still very much in love and going strong after 33 years. What made you transfer from University of Hawai'i Hilo to Skidmore College in New York? I had left the University of Hawaii when I began acting professionally-- a transition that happened rather unexpectedly at age 16, when I was cast in the lead role of a film that Universal was shooting in Hawaii. I had never planned on becoming an actor, but seemed to have a natural ability for it and decided to explore it further after the movie wrapped. I moved to LA continued to have success
Photo By Angela Marklew
What are some of your hobbies?
Photo By Angela Marklew
I'm not sure that I can still call writing a hobby now that I am doing it somewhat professionally, but I will list it anyway. I read a lot of books and watch way too much news. I paint. I ride horses. I go to ballet class. I love being on and in the ocean. I cook quite a bit. I'm looking forward to ski season. We've heard dance is your first love, followed closely by drama. Is that accurate? How did you feel when you got the best of both worlds and were cast in the Black Swan with Natalie Portman? Dance is my first love, yes. Being cast in Black Swan was an absolute dream come true. The casting process was a long one and during the weeks of waiting for the final word, I decided that I should take ballet class everyday. I figured I would be happy I had if I ended up booking the role, and at least I would be in amazing shape if I did not. I really got my ballerina groove back after a few weeks. During one workshop with a guest instructor from London's Royal Ballet, the said instructor, who had been very critical of everyone in the class (all professional dancers except for me) came to a halt three inches in front of my nose. As I braced myself for the inevitable crushing criticism and humiliation, she announced to me and the entire class that she has been searching for something--anything--wrong with my technique and she simply could not find a thing. I said "really???" way too loudly--an awkward silence filled the room as I received dirty looks from the rest of the dancers, and then we got back to work. I ran to my car after class and burst into tears, feeling like I should have obviously followed my original dream of being a professional ballerina, when I realized, looking tearfully skyward, that I could still live out my dream if I got the part in Black Swan. My agent phoned just a few hours later and told me that the part was mine. That was a really great day. How often do you get to visit your family in Hawai'i? I usually go back once or twice a year, but in the past few months I have been back and forth quite a bit to spend more time with them. Have you ever thought of opening your own school? The thought has crossed my mind-- I would love to give kids on the Big Island an opportunity for greater exposure to the arts without having to venture to Oahu or the mainland. It's a place with
Sweater - $550, Skirt - $625 Belt - $495: All MaxMara, Rodeo Drive Earrings: Rachel Zoe, $250, www.neimanmarcus.com Shoes: Brian Atwood, $1594,
so much untapped talent and potential. What has been your favorite project to act in? What are your favorite film & TV show of all time? True Blood has been my favorite project to act in, without question. It's such a pleasure to come to work everyday. My all-time favorite film is Amadeus and all-time favorite TV show is Downtown Abbey. Do you have any upcoming movie or TV projects? Two films I am very excited about, Sighting and BlackJacks, will be released next year. I am about to begin filming on another very cool project, "Near Myth: The Oskar Knight Story" written and directed by an author and playwright I really admire. If you were to produce and/or direct your own film, what would the story be about? There a lot of subject matters I'd like to explore. Basically, anything that encourages people to wake up and become more conscious of who they are and why they are here. I recently formed a production company, Amygdala Films (www.amygdaladilms.com). We have several projects in development, but nothing I can talk about publicly quite yet.
vs By Derin Richardson, HFJ Contributor Who would have ever imagined in the early days of film that a movie could instantly reach hundreds of thousands of consumers with the click of a button? Surely, it would sound like sci-fi to them--and even to some today. Back in May 2007, Comcast had a wild idea--stream new theatrical releases (at least 60 days from initial release) to the consumer’s most comfortable environment, the living room. Naturally, you had two sides of the coin, those who’d wait at long last for something so “revolutionary” and those who just plain hated the idea. So suffice it to say, it had a rocky start and didn’t show much promise. The inevitable sales decline, catalyzed even more from the rapidly declining economic crash, has caused movie exhibitors to rack up more debt, raise prices and exhaust budget control ideas. Desperate times for movie theatre chains, however they still adamantly resist the video-on-demand releases instead of adapting it. Despite boycotting from the National Association of Theatre Owners, trials for VOD implementation ensued however haphazardly. DirecTV’s Home Premiere vanished without nary trace nor progress report.
still efforts to defy the established order and make distribution multi-platform. Enter the independent film sector. Back in April, Shangri La Entertainment and Tuff Gong Pictures decided to buck the trend and foster the first ever U.S. release on a social medium and theaters simultaneously. Award winning director Kevin McDonald’s documentary Marley, with Ziggy Marley as executive producer, went VOD on Facebook for $6.99 the same day of the film’s 4/20 theatre showing. A portion of the Facebook sales went to the charity organization “Save The Children.” What about the staggering number of VOD sales from Bachelorette, featuring Lizzy Kaplan, Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fischer, back in August? Offered on demand nearly a month before its theatrical release, the film made more than $5.5 million on computer screens versus a rough $418,000 on silver screens. And guess what? It was an Indie film as well.
Universal scrapped its VOD plans amid a distribution crisis. Oh how the zebra changes its stripes in the face of danger.
Of course, it'd be foolish to think some major leaguers wouldn't take some calculated risks also.
While all of this egg shell walking by production and cable companies seems to calcify their inhibitions for giving the consumer the prime choice, there are
Alas, there is the interesting Netflix-Disney romance. On Dec. 4, Netflix signed a multi-year licensing deal with the Walt Disney Company to host 26 content from
Disney and all of its subsidiaries, including Pixar and Marvel Studios. Netflix also has the perk of offering all future, first-run films for streaming, albeit not until 2016. This is all technologically brilliant, convenient yes, but data suggests some other interesting things. Now let's make a case for the other side. This all sounds neat, but the reality is this--nothing beats the distinct grain of the silver screen, nostalgia and most important of all, sense of community of the theatre. Recent studies show that some people get the movie on demand but still go out, quite simply because they planned to do so initially. This proves that it is the feeling of Friday night/weekend leisure, the social element, that people appreciate more than just mere convenience or technical fascination. Ultimately, the health of both the movie industry's push for sales, via theatre distribution or VOD, and movie theatre chains relies on one, immutable variable and it is pretty easy to identify. Just look in the mirror. Whether you decide to pay $60 to stream to your entertainment system or substantially less at the cinema (post dinner excluded) the power rests squarely in your wallet.
Writer to Watch: By Kristina Anapau
Tammy Duffy has been the recipient some of the most prestigious awards in screenwriting, spending the past few years working alongside the top writers and producers in the industry. Now, with her first feature going into production, a paranormal TV pilot with Cheyenne Enterprises, and a book in the works, 2013 is already proving to be the year that will usher in Ms. Duffy some well-earned recognition and acclaim on an entirely new level. Tammy Duffy is The Hollywood Film Journal’s Writer to Watch in 2013. Was there a particular defining moment in your life when you knew you wanted to be a writer? Watching the pilot episode of Six Feet Under at my house in Portland, Maine. Prior to that I had been acting. I had written some plays, one was produced by the University Of Maine, but I wasn't sure I wanted to write. But by the end of that episode, I was sure. Not knowing what else to do, I wrote a spec Six Feet Under episode and applied to the UCLA MFA screenwriting program. I literally got my application in at the last hour of the deadline. And I was amazed that I got in. Later, when they
interviewed me for the program, they referenced my "Six Feet Under" spec saying it was "quite good." I think it was that script that got me in. The play I submitted was good, but the screenplay I sent was a mess. So, thank you Alan Ball. I read that you utilize storytelling as a method to encourage consciousness in this world. Well, I can't say that I am an expert on consciousness, that has to go to my writing collaborator, Linda P. Brown. She is the founder of a organization called, A Revolution in Consciousness. I was lucky enough to stumble upon one of her p u b l i c e v e n t s fi v e y e a r s a g o . H e r life experiences and her teaching has been the inspiration for my latest scripts. What is it about? It's set in a futuristic world where the human mind is erased and reprogrammed for "the greater good." Once the world has no past, racism and hate are eliminated because the thoughts and behaviors were never learned. So this series is the journey of a single Dad, whose technology is hijacked and he
must take down those who are in control in order to save his daughter and stop the re-programming of the human race. So you and Linda have collaborated on other projects as well? Yes. We created a TV pilot called PURPOSE which is currently with Cheyenne Enterprises. They are seeking a show runner for the project. It's a paranormal drama and it explores this questions of "why am I here?" and "what is my purpose?" These two questions have always inspired me and I think everyone, at some point, seeks to discover their purpose. Or at least asks themselves the question. The tricky part in creating this series was taking an esoteric question - like "what is my purpose?" and putting it into a world that could support it. We ended up creating a FRINGE type series that has a mix of a realistic world that we recognize with other-worldly elements that we don't recognize. The main character is an inter-dimensional being who uses her unique abilities to help people at a critical crossroads in their life. I'm a big fan of J.J. Abrams. I hope he's reading this. JJ - call me. Do you only write drama?
that is yet to be determined. But I'll start with hoping that they help at least one person and go from there-- one person at a time. What advice would you give to aspiring writers who are looking to make their mark in the entertainment industry? I've had the good fortune of assisting some professional writers in the past five years and the one thing they have shown me is to keep going. No matter what happens, you keep moving forward and keep writing. And I would also say, don't let your writing define you because when things go down, you go down. Then you're on a crazy roller coaster that's being controlled by all of these things outside of you and it's painful. Writing is what I do, but it's not who I am. I had to learn that one the hard way. Who are your greatest influences? Both in your literary work and in your life. Linda P. Brown, who I currently work with and Linda Voorhees, a writing professor at UCLA. Both helped me find my voice at different times in my life. I guess I have good luck with "Linda's." In regards to writing and the creation of projects, what is the best advice you have ever been given?
I write comedy and drama. Ideally, I love fusing the two and at the base of my comedy is a drama with real feeling, real passion that gets heightened. And I've just recently started collaborating on writing stand up. That's fun! What aspects of the world would you most like to affect through your projects? Mmm. That's big question. I hope people will have a genuine experience with my work that they feel. Maybe they'll recognize a piece of themselves or they will see something in a new way that will positively impact their life and they'll be entertained at the same time. I tend to write about underdogs who find what they need to move forward and usually their greatest strength comes from being real. Being who they are. I find genuine authenticity to be the most beautiful part of a person. I always have. As far as "aspects of the world being affected by my projects." I don't know,
I have three things, from three different people: • • •
Get better Know who you are Surround yourself with people who are more talented than you are. Then you learn.
• What is your process like when writing a project? It's different every time. Comedy is always a collaboration with someone else. I get bored writing comedy on my own. I love writing for specific actors or comedians. I wrote and directed a comedy webseries recently and before I wrote it, I met with each actor to discuss their comedic strengths. Then I wrote the characters towards their strengths. That was a blast! I love writing for actors and working with actors. I acted for ten years, so writing for actors really inspires me. Otherwise, I start with a theme or a question or it may be as simple as coming up with a character desire and going from there. Or exploring a situation. I'm working on something now with the actress that I created the web-series with, Fran Nichols. She used to be a cocktail waitress in at a strip club in downtown LA and there are so many great characters and stories from her time there. So we're taking her experiences and shaping them into a comedy pilot. Once I have the characters, the goals and the world I just go. Of course I outline first and write the usual first draft, second draft re-write etc. But there always come a point in the process where the characters lead me vs me leading them. I love it when I get to that point. That's when I feel at home.
What types of projects to you have on the horizon for 2013? My dramatic feature CRICKET, which won the Samuel Goldwyn award, is being produced by Hey Girl Hey Entertainment and we're filming here in California. Linda Brown and I are collaborating on writing a book PURPOSE, the paranormal TV pilot is a possibility this year, we are still waiting to hear back from people on this Hopefully JJ Abrahams will read this article and produce my new pilot ONE. It's perfect for Bad Robot. I'll be directing and producing a short film. Ordinary Girl, the comedy web series I wrote and directed is being submitted to festivals. Anything else you would like our readers to know about you? •
I like boots
I often leave my house with my shirt on inside out
I love dogs and I adore pit bulls.
I like fluff-a-nutters. East coasters will know what that is.
When I moved from Maine to LA I thought Westwood was scary and I wouldn't go there at night.
I meditate an hour each day
I drink kale smoothies now that I live in California.
I hate it when people whistle in stores. Especially the shaky whistle.
Ordinary People and The Matrix are my two favorite movies.
Who would you most like to work with? Lana and Larry Wachowski, Alan Ball, Alan Poul, J.J. Abrams, Julie Gardner of BBC, Peter Berg, Jim Sheridan, Peter Jackson, Aaron Sorkin, to name a few.
Domiziano Arcangeli Indie Actor Spotlight
By Derin Richardson, HFJ Contributor
Acting is a hard enough job in its own respect, especially in the realm of horror. Being an actor, producer and director all in one package is another feat altogether. Enter Domiziano Arcangeli. Hailing from Venice, Italy as the progeny of an Italian father and a UC Berkeley exchange student mother, Arcangeli has both a vast and diverse acting career. His debut in the 1980 romance drama Edno no Sono paved his way into the film scene and eventually onto horror. "I love the intensity, straightforward, carnal, fleshy connection. It's often a genre overlooked by the mainstream audience for various reasons. Even some slashers seem almost pornographic," Arcangeli said. "But so are a lot of cop movies and some shows."
Looking further past the scope of the script, Arcangeli finds the most horrific material he's experienced belong to those stories that are are fact-based. Truth is always stranger than fiction. "Unfortunately today, I have to say that there is lot of horror in our society today that is in denial. I've done some independent films based on real stories that were probably more horrific that any realistic genre story." Zealous and focused, yet practical and prudent. That is one of many things you can say Â about this veteran actor/producer. He knows what he wants and he does not compromise with his production company Empire Films, Inc, which currently has a few upcoming films. He does, however, prefer to keep directing and acting/producing as mutually exclusive as possible.
He argues that even though some character roles pose overwhelming immorality and shock value, it's never wise to simply discredit a film for its content per se. Of course, he is a staunch proponent of story development, and is primarily keen on psychological horror for building up a unique story. "Everyone loves to be surprised, to be shocked in a movie. No one likes a movie that is bland, and that is the point. It is immoral to kill 100 people in a shot but you need to do what you need to do." Still, his disposition remains unchanged--the ideology of meaningful and profound imagery commensurate with deeply developed plots is what he values most in his work. It's what makes the content devoid of being "just horror or just sex."
"I can tell you one thing immediately...I will never direct and act at the same ever again. I had to play my part in Waiting For Dracula, of course, because it was already signed. I feel it was my worse acting performance because I was so worried about the lights, the framing and the other actors and I didn't have time to concentrate." Arcangeli's feels his twin sons, Skyler and ThorLyndon, have no place on behind a camera or on the red carpet in their youth (which is one reason he moved from Hollywood Hills to Sherman Oaks) as of now. However he does wish to see them take after his career, but only by their choice. The twins were born exactly 100 years apart from their grandfather on Nov. 11, 2011, in which he sees significance in as well.
"Those kids are blessed, they were certainly meant to be. They have become my life these days." 33
An animal aficionado at heart, he believes in animal rescue. Sierra, one of two birds he currently owns, is a Macaw he took under his wing from an abusive past. He also has two captive-bred wildcats (mixed pedigrees) borne of the same situation. He enjoys working with organizations to place destitute pets in better homes. "I am very touched by animals, especially the wild ones. They have such a code of honor. If only people were capable of that, we probably wouldn't have so many wars."
The Road to
© Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The Academy Awards, informally known as The Oscars, are a set of awards given annually for excellence of cinematic achievements. The Oscar statuette is officially named the Academy Award of Merit and is one of nine types of Academy Awards. Organized and overseen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the awards are given each year at a formal ceremony. The AMPAS was originally conceived by MetroGoldwyn-Mayer studio executive Louis B. Mayer as a professional honorary organization to help improve the film industry’s image and help mediate labor disputes. The awards itself was later initiated by the Academy as an award "of merit for distinctive achievement" in the industry. The awards were first given in 1929 at a ceremony created for the awards, at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Over the years that the award has been given, the categories presented have changed; currently Oscars are given in more than a dozen categories, and include films of various types. As one of the most prominent award ceremonies in the world, the Academy Awards ceremony is televised live in more than 100 countries annually. It is also the oldest award ceremony in the media; its equivalents, the Grammy Awards (for music), the Emmy Awards (for television), and the Tony Awards (for theater), are modeled after the Academy Awards. The first awards were presented at a private brunch with an audience of about 270 people. The post Academy Awards party was held at the Mayfair Hotel. The cost of guest tickets for that night's ceremony was $5. Fifteen statuettes were awarded, honoring artists, directors and
other personalities of the filmmaking industry of the time for their works during the 1927–1928 period. Winners had been announced three months earlier; however, that was changed in the second ceremony of the Academy Awards in 1930. Since then and during the first decade, the results were given to newspapers for publication at 11 pm on the night of the awards. This method was used until the Los Angeles Times announced the winners before the ceremony began; as a result, the Academy has since 1941 used a sealed envelope to reveal the name of the winners. For the first six ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned two calendar years. For example, the 2nd Academy Awards presented on April 3, 1930, recognized films that were released between August 1, 1928 and July 31, 1929. Starting with the 7th Academy Awards, held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year. The first Best Actor awarded was Emil Jannings, for his performances in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. He had to return to Europe before the ceremony, so the Academy agreed to give him the prize earlier; this made him the first Academy Award winner in history. The honored professionals were awarded for all the work done in a certain category for the qualifying period; for example, Jannings received the award for two movies in which he starred during that period. Since the fourth ceremony, the system changed, and p r o fe s s i o n a l s we r e h o n o r e d fo r a s p e c i fi c performance in a single film. As of the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony held in 2011, a total of 2,809 Oscars have been given for 1,853 awards. A total of 302 actors have won Oscars in competitive acting categories or have been awarded Honorary or Juvenile Awards.
Nominations & Rules © Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Since 2004, Academy Award nomination results have been announced to the public in late January. Prior to that, the results were announced in early February. The AMPAS maintains a voting membership of 5,783 as of 2012. Academy membership is divided into different branches, with each representing a different discipline in film production. Actors constitute the largest voting bloc, numbering 1,311 members (22 percent) of the Academy's composition. Votes have been certified by the auditing firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (and its predecessor Price Waterhouse) for the past 73 annual awards ceremonies. All AMPAS members must be invited to join by the Board of Governors, on behalf of Academy Branch Executive Committees. Membership eligibility may be achieved by a competitive nomination or a member may submit a name based on other significant contribution to the field of motion pictures. New membership proposals are considered annually. The Academy does not publicly disclose its membership, although as recently as 2007 press releases have announced the names of those who have been invited to join. The 2007 release also stated that it has just under 6,000 voting members. While the membership had been growing, stricter policies have kept its size steady since then. According to Rules 2 and 3 of the official Academy Awards Rules, a film must open in the previous calendar year, from midnight at the start of January 1 to midnight at the end of December 31, in Los Angeles County, California, to qualify (except for the Best Foreign
Language Film). For example, the 2009 Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, was actually first released in 2008, but did not qualify for the 2008 awards as it did not play its Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles until mid-2009, thus qualifying for the 2009 awards. Rule 2 states that a film must be feature-length, defined as a minimum of 90 minutes, except for short subject awards, and it must exist either on a 35 mm or 70 mm film print or in 24 frame/s or 48 frame/s progressive scan digital cinema format with native resolution not less than 1280x720. Producers must submit an Official Screen Credits online form before the deadline; in case it is not submitted by the defined deadline, the film will be ineligible for Academy Awards in any year. In late December ballots and copies of the Reminder List of Eligible Releases are mailed to around 6000 active members. For most categories, members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees only in their respective categories (i.e. only directors vote for directors, writers for writers, actors for actors, etc.). There are some exceptions in the case of certain categories, like Foreign Film, Documentary and Animated Feature Film, in which movies are selected by special screening committees made up of members from all branches. In the special case of Best Picture, all voting members are eligible to select the nominees for that category. Foreign films must include English subtitles, and each country can submit only one film per year. The members of the various branches nominate those in their respective fields, while all members may submit nominees for Best Picture. The winners are then determined by a second round of voting in which all members are then allowed to vote in most categories, including Best Picture.
Categories & Past Best Picture Winners © Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Past Best Picture Winners:
The Academy currently judges films, actors,and directors based on a thirteen category system. Current Regular Categories: • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Best Actor in a Leading Role Best Actor in a Supporting Role Best Actress in a Leading Role Best Actress in a Supporting Role Best Animated Feature Best Animated Short Film Best Cinematography Best Costume Design Best Director Best Documentary Feature Best Documentary Short Best Film Editing Best Picture
Special Categories: • • • • •
Academy Honorary Award Academy Scientific and Technical Award Gordon E. Sawyer Award Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
Past Best Picture Winners: Midnight Cowboy (1970)
The Broadway Melody (1930)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
The French Connection (1972)
The Godfather (1973)
Grand Hotel (1932)
The Sting (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1975)
It Happened One Night (1935)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1976)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1936)
The Great Ziegfeld (1937)
Annie Hall (1978)
The Life of Emile Zola (1938)
The Deer Hunter (1979)
You Can't Take It With You (1939)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1980)
Gone With the Wind (1940)
Ordinary People (1981)
Chariots of Fire (1982)
How Green Was My Valley (1942)
Mrs. Miniver (1943)
Terms of Endearment (1984)
Going My Way (1945)
Out of Africa (1986)
The Lost Weekend (1946)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1947)
The Last Emperor (1988)
Gentleman's Agreement (1048)
Rain Man (1989)
Driving Miss Daisy (1990)
All the King's Men (1950)
Dances with Wolves (1991)
All About Eve (1951)
The Silence of the Lambs (1992)
An American in Paris (1952)
The Greatest Show on Earth (1953)
Schindler's List (1994)
From Here to Eternity (1954)
Forrest Gump (1995)
On the Waterfront (1955)
The English Patient (1997)
Around the World in 80 Days (1957)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1058)
Shakespeare in Love (1999)
American Beauty (2000)
The Apartment (1961)
A Beautiful Mind (2002)
West Side Story (1962)
Lawrence of Arabia (1963)
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
TOm Jones (1964)
My Fair Lady (1965)
Million Dollar Baby (2005)
The Sound of Music (1966)
A Man for All Seasons (1967)
The Departed (2007)
In the Heat of the Night (1968)
No Country for Old Men (2008)
Slumdog Millionaire (2009) The Hurt Locker (2010) The King's Speech (2011)
The Artist (2012)
Statue Design © Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Although there are eight other types of annual awards presented by the Academy (the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, the Academy Scientific and Technical Award, the Academy Award for Technical Achievement, the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, and the Student Academy Award) plus two awards that are not presented annually (the Special Achievement Award in the form of an Oscar statuette and the Honorary Award that may or may not be in the form of an Oscar statuette), the best known one is the Academy Award of Merit more popularly known as the Oscar statuette. Made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base, it is 13.5 in (34 cm) tall, weighs 8.5 lb. (3.85 kg) and depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes each represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.
and Emmy Awards statuettes. Since 1983, approximately 50 Oscars are made each year in Chicago by Illinois manufacturer R.S. Owens & Company. In support of the American effort in World War II, the statuettes were made of plaster and were traded in for gold ones after the war had ended.
In 1928, MGM's art director Cedric Gibbons, one of the original Academy members, supervised the design of the award trophy by printing the design on a scroll. In need of a model for his statuette, Gibbons was introduced by his future wife Dolores del Río to Mexican film director and actor Emilio "El Indio" Fernández. Reluctant at first, Fernández was finally convinced to pose nude to create what today is known as the "Oscar". Then, sculptor George Stanley (who also did the Muse Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl) sculpted Gibbons's design in clay and Sachin Smith cast the statuette in 92.5 percent tin and 7.5 percent copper and then gold-plated it. The only addition to the Oscar since it was created is a minor streamlining of the base. The original Oscar mold was cast in 1928 at the C.W. Shumway & Sons Foundry in Batavia, Illinois, which also contributed to casting the molds for the Vince Lombardi Trophy
And the No ÂŠ Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Picture Argo Amour Lincoln Silver Linings Playbook Beasts of the Southern Wild Zero Dark Thirty Django Unchained Life of Pi Les Miserables Best Actor: in a leading role Bradley Cooper Daniel Day-Lewis Hugh Jackman Joaquin Phoenix Denzel Washington
Best Actor: in a supporting role Alan Arkin Robert De Niro Philip Seymour Hoffman Tommy Lee Jones Christoph Waltz
Best Director Michael Haneke Benh Zeitlin Ang Lee Steven Spielberg David O. Russell
Best Actress: in a leading role Jessica Chastain Quvenzhane Wallis Jennifer Lawrence Naomi Watts Emmanuelle Riva
Best Actress: in a supporting role Amy Adams Sally Field Anne Hathaway Helen Hunt Jacki Weaver
minees Are Cinematography Anna Karenina Django Unchained Life of Pi Lincoln Skyfall
Animated Feature Brave Frankenweenie ParaNorman The Pirates! Band of Misfits Wreck-It Ralph
Best Film Editing Argo Life of Pi Lincoln Silver Linings Playbook Zero Dark Thirty
Costume Design Anna Karenina Les Miserables Lincoln Mirror Mirror Snow White and the Huntsman
Original Score Anna Karenina Argo Life of Pi Lincoln Skyfall
Documentary Feature 5 Broken Cameras The Gatekeepers How to Survive a Plague The Invisible War Searching for Sugar Man
Foreign Language Film Amour Kon-Tiki No A Royal Affair War Witch Original Song "Before My Time" Chasing Ice "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" Ted "Pi's Lullaby" Life of Pi "Skyfall" Skyfall "Suddenly" Les Miserables
Sound Editing Argo Django Unchained Life of Pi Skyfall Zero Dark Thirty
Original Screenplay Amour Django Unchained Flight Moonrise Kingdom Zero Dark Thirty
Visual Effects The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Life of Pi Marvel's The Avengers Prometheus Snow White and the Huntsman
Hair & Make Up Design Hitchcock The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Les Miserables
Sound Mixing Argo Les Miserables Life of Pi Lincoln Skyfall
Adapted Screenplay Argo Beasts of the Southern Wild Life of Pi Lincoln Silver Linings Playbook
Production Design Anna Karenina The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Les Miserables Life of Pi Lincoln
2013 Nominees 44
2012 winners And !e Oscar Goes To...
Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson "Hugo" Best Art Direction: Dante Ferretti & Francesca Lo Schavo "Hugo" Best Costume Design: Mark Bridges "The Artist" Best Makeup: Mark Coulier & J. Roy Helland "The Iron Lady" Best Foreign Language Film: "A Separation" Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer "The Help" Best Editing: Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Best Sound Editing: Phillip Stockton & Eugene Gearty "Hugo" Best Sound Mixing "Tom Fleischman & John Midgley "Hugo" Best Documentary: "Undefeated" Best Animated Feature: "Rango" Best Visual Effects: "Hugo" Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer "Beginners" Best Original Score: Ludovic Bource "The Artist" Best Original Song: Bret McKenzie "Man or Muppet" Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash "The Descendants" Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen "Midnight in Paris" Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius "The Artist" Best Actor: Meryl Streep "The Iron Lady" Best Picture: "The Artist"
HFJ 2013 By MmJoe Sanchez, HFJ Contributor
Best Picture Argo
Best Director Steven Spielberg Best Actor Daniel Day Lewis 47
Projections Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence
Best Supporting Actor Tommy Lee Jones Best Supporting Actress Sally Field 48
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From the Pages of History, a
By Derin Richardson, HFJ Contributor
It’s clear Dreamworks Studios founder and director Steven Spielberg penchant for the historical landscape has served his career well, directing such successful and detailed films as War Horse, Munich and the heart-rending Schindler’s List. With an incredible box-office yield of $900,000 with merely seven cities right now, Lincoln is sure to be an even more stellar hit now that it is worldwide--and perhaps Spielberg’s best film to boot. As a student, Spielberg always possessed a fascination for the 16th president of the United States. It wasn’t until he spoke with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer-prize American biographer, in 1999 and discovered her plans to produce a biography of Lincoln’s presidency when he decided that he needed to become involved in someway with the project. After successfully pitching to her a purchase of the movie rights to her book, A Team of Rivals, work was well underway and Spielberg enlisted the talent of screenwriter Tony Kushner. However, they realized that they needed to a different approach to the film as Lincoln had an exorbitantly rich history as both a president and a person.
NOMINATED FOR BEST PICTURE
So the effort became reverse-osmotic, tell the story of a monolithic president, as a man foremost. “What we determined we needed to do was not to make a movie about a moment named Lincoln, we need to make a movie about a man named Lincoln,” Spielberg said.
Initially, Lewis was not particularly enthralled by Kushner’s script. However after a meeting in Ireland with Spielberg and Kushner and reading a revised draft, he had a change of heart. In the same fashion, Spielberg held his own Of course, Spielberg claimed no direct correlations or parallels with the film and the nation’s current state but certainly welcomes any interpretations from those who view it.
They both understood that to do that, it required showing people what it was like to live and work on something so direly important--ending a brutal war and attempting to abolish slavery for good. It meant trimming the president’s life down to his last four months on earth before his assassination. Interestingly enough, Daniel Day Lewis, someone who should possess all the confidence in the world with his war chest of Academy and Oscar awards, had his reservations about the role. “I didn’t honestly feel I was capable of doing that work,” Lewis said. His reasoning for delaying it until after the elections was because he did not want any political inferences to used as a “political soccer ball” between the two parties. Whether it can match the deluge of box office success from 007: Skyfall remains to be seen, however one thing is certain. Lewis is on track for another Oscar.
The Great Debate
Lincoln vs Argo Awards
AFI Movie of the Year (2013) AFI Movie of the Year (2012) BSFC Best Actor BSFC Best Screenplay BSFC Best Supporting Actress Sierra Best Actor Sierra Best Supporting Actor NBR Top Films SDFCS Best Actor WAFCA Best Actor Golden Globe Best Actor
AFI Movie of the Year (2013) AFI Movie of the Year (2012) Golden Globe Best Director HFA Ensemble of the Year LAFCA Best Screenplay Billy Wilder Award NBRA Top FIlm Special Achievement in Film Making Spotlight Award Ensemble Cast Award SDFCS Best Adapted Screenplay SDFCS Best Director SDFCS Best Editing SDFCS Best Film
Nominations 11 Academy Awards 10 BAFTA Awards 13 Critics Choice Awards 7 Golden Globes Image Award 2 Sierra Awards 2 SDFCS Awards 14 Satellite Awards 4 SAG Awards 10 WAFC Awards
Nominations 7 Academy Awards 7 BAFTA Awards BSFC Best Film Editing 7 Critics Choice Awards 2 Golden Globes 2 LACA Awards 1 Sierra Award 2 NYFCC Awards People's Choice Award 2 SDFCS Awards Satellite Award 2 SAG Awards 6 WAFC Awards
In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans are taken hostage. However, six manage to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA is eventually ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devises a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran
and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer. However, time is running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House have grave doubts about the operation themselves.
SCREENPLAY BY: Chris Terrio
Based on the true story about CIA operative Tony Mendez and his part in the rescue of six American diplomats from Iran during the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis.
CO-PRODUCED BY: STARING: Ben Affleck Bryan Cranston Alan Arkin John Goodman
Ben Affleck | George Clooney | Grant Heslov
REVIEW BY ROGER EBERT Chicago Sun Times | October 10, 2012 It's the same the world over. A Hollywood production comes to town, and the locals all turn movie crazy. When a little picture named "Prancer" came to Three Oaks, Mich., I was sitting in the bar and overheard one bearded regular confide in his friend, "See that guy? He's assistant makeup." As in Michigan, so in Iran. At the height of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, with yellow ribbons tied around half the old oak trees in America, a CIA agent and a couple of Hollywood professionals dreamed up a cockamamie scheme to free six Americans who had found refuge in the Canadian embassy. Their existence had to remain a secret to protect Canada's diplomatic status. Enter the CIA "extractor" Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), a producer named Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) and a makeup man named John Chambers (John Goodman). Chambers has a brainstorm: He
and Siegel would fabricate a fake sci-fi thriller named "Argo." They would commission a screenplay, pay for storyboards, and buy a big ad in Variety. Mendez would fly alone into Tehran and train the six Americans to impersonate Hollywood pros â€” the cinematographer and so on.
Their cover: They need desert locations for their movie, which would vaguely resemble "Star Wars." They would tell the Iranians the six people were
Canadians who were scouting locations and now need to fly back to North America. One of the most enchanting scenes has Mendez showing the sci-fi storyboards to Iranian authorities, who try their best to conceal what movie buffs they are. At the end of the scene, when Mendez tells them "you can keep em," they're like kids being given an "E.T." poster by Steven Spielberg. This preposterous scheme is based on fact. Yes, it is. Countless movies are "inspired by real events," but this one truly took place. The extraction of the six Americans remained top secret for 18 years. They all returned safely to America. "Argo," needless to say, was never filmed. Ben Affleck not only stars in but also directs, and "Argo," the real movie about the fake movie, is both spellbinding and surprisingly funny. Many of the laughs come from the Hollywood guys played by Goodman and Arkin, although to be sure, as they set up a fake production office and
hold meetings poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel, they aren't in danger like their "crew members" in Iran. Key supporting roles are filled by Bryan Cranston, as the CIA chief who green-lights the scheme, and Victor Garber, as the Canadian ambassador who at great risk opens his embassy's doors to the secret guests. Affleck is brilliant at choreographing the step-by-step risks that the team takes in exiting Tehran, and "Argo" has cliff-hanging moments when the whole delicate plan seems likely to split at the seams. The craft in this film is rare. It is so easy to manufacture a thriller from chases and gunfire, and so very hard to fine-tune it out of exquisite timing and a plot that's so clear to us we wonder why it isn't obvious to the Iranians. After all, who in their right mind would believe a space opera was being filmed in Iran during the hostage crisis? Just about 54 everyone, it turns out. Hooray for Hollywood.
The Epic Finale that will Live Forever
Story & Photos By George McQuade, HFJ Contributor Twists and turns both on and off the big screen for THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART II The Twilighters couldn’t believe the saga of their favorite stars and series of blockbuster films would come to an end. And if the turnout of some 2,000 fans at the LA premiere is a gage, you would never know The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Park 2 means “The End”. The extravaganza was jammed packed with reporters on one side of the red carpet, and fans on the other side getting pictures and autographs from Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli. The premiere and movie were the final appearances of Edward, Bella and Jacob. According to the box office receipts, "Twilight" film series finale raked in the sixth-largest opening day ever on Friday, biting down on what Lionsgate/
Summer estimated at $71 plus million in domestic box-office receipts. The movie continues to lead the worldwide box office through the holidays. Worldwide Summit Entertainment’s Twilight Saga totals $577.7 million thanks to some nearly $350 million overseas during the week after Thanksgiving. This could be the first time in the history of the studio that Summit’s parent company, Lionsgate taps the $1 billion notch internationally. The Studio’s earnings reported have passed the $$2 billion mark, another first with more than $1 billion for both markets. A big surprise this year was the fact the studios experimented for the first time with 10 p.m. showings for Part 2 movie, which did not happen for Part 1. The late Thursday night showings drew long lines around the country for the 10 pm and midnight opening, which earned $30.4 million. Another eye opener: Robert Pattinson, who was expected to be breaking up with Kristen Stewart after the cheating scandal is “Breaking Dawn” with
her instead and reunited. Both are reportedly expecting their first child together only a few months after they were ripped apart by a cheating scandal. The incident involved Stewart and Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, who’s married with children. Ok! Magazine plastered headlines, “We having a Baby” and after reconciliation two months ago. And at the premiere in England, Pattinson shot down rumors that he was going to marry his girlfriend of three years. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 breaks new ground in Social Media Normally when such blockbuster movies as Liongate’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Park 2 premieres, the movie stars eyes are all on the flashing cameras and TV crews in the press box on the red carpet. But on this big opening night (Nov. 12, 2012), at the Nokia Center L.A. Live Theater in downtown Los Angeles, stars like Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli and other celebs spent more time signing autographs and allowing fans to take their pictures more than the media. The stars know too well they wouldn’t be where they are today without the fans. Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ - has become a game changer on the red carpet. Sites globally expose stars to a new fan base, so by the time the finale premiered later in the week in London and Europe, the fans already knew what to expect. Summit and Lionsgate didn’t know what to expect, but one thing is for sure, Christmas came early.
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"A String Quartet for all Occasions"
Violinist | Composer | Producer
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The Long Shot With John Asher Making Hollywood History: By Derin Richardson, HFJ Contributor From The Mentalist to Beverly Hills 90210, John Mallory Asher certainly has a decorated history of fine acting under his belt, but don't call him just an actor -- his fi l m s c a p e i s m u c h m o r e versatile these days. As a director, cinematographer, writer and producer, his extensive list of accomplishments continues to grow. Many of you may know him as Greg Wallace in the successful tv series adaptation of the film Weird Science. Photo By MmJoe Sanchez, HFJ Contributor
“It was awesome, I couldn’t think of a better experience.” Asher said. “It took three months of casting before they decided on me and Michael Manasseri to play the characters and then they told me they were looking for a mom and I said ‘What about my mom? She was an actor, she was on Mary Tyler Moore, she’s talented.’ She came in and and they didn’t make her read, they just gave her the part.” Asher loved seeing his mother on set and working with her on camera. Since then, he has included in several other projects, and continues to find roles for his mother which he says he finds “incredibly
fulfilling”. Although his mother did not make an appearance in his most recent endeavor, both she and Asher’s father, the late director William Asher (pioneer of the multi-camera setup for sitcoms with I Love Lucy), were obviously there in spirit as Asher challenged conventional methods of filmmaking with overwhelming success. With his most recent film, tentatively titled Somebody Marry Me, Asher boldly goes where no American director has successfully gone before: the first ever one shot feature. One continuous, 98-
minute shot. A single take that showcases not only Asher’s skill as a director, but also his faith in his actors and the dedication of his entire crew. This endeavor has given Asher the opportunity to dramatically effect the entertainment industry and revolutionize filmmaking. “I went to the producers and told them ‘look, what if we can make a movie for 1/10th of the budget?’ then I pitched them an idea from the top of my head ‘what if there was a guy who was going to lose of his
father’s inheritance unless he gets married, within the hour his father has left to live’. They said ‘great, let’s do it.’ and my first thought, What? Really?” When the bottom fell of a previously scheduled project, and rent was about due, it was either go big or go home. Nerves were on edge, time was short and excitement was through the roof. E xc i t e m e n t t u r n e d i n t o p a n i c , b u t p a n i c subsequently turned into success.
Photo By MmJoe Sanchez, HFJ Contributor
Photo By MmJoe Sanchez, HFJ Contributor
Photo By MmJoe Sanchez, HFJ Contributor “I would write scenes for the actors that were coming in to read and their agents would call and say ‘hey where’s the script?’ I simply told them that it was coming and I finally completed the script the day before the table read.” The idea for the film started a year ago when Asher began considering the unique filming style. Inspired by the film The Russian Ark, Asher set out to become the first director in the United States to successfully complete a film in one shot. “To make things even more complicated, I wanted to make it a comedy, which is insane. Comedies requires a ton of timing.” To date, there are no other single take comedies anywhere in the world, which that makes this an even greater achievement. “The whole process is incredibly captivating because the camera never blinks. You are wrapped up in the moment no matter what. You’ll be like “wait a minute, I’ve been on this journey and these actors have gone from A to B without stopping. It’s really impressive to see.”
Be on the look out for "Somebody Marry Me" in theaters soon!
Photo By MmJoe Sanchez, HFJ Contributor
‘Somebody Marry Me’ Cinematography Notes by Graham Futerfas Shoot Dates December 13-16, 2012 Director John Asher approached me about 6 weeks before the shoot to see if I’d be interested in helping him shoot a movie in one shot. He’d only written the first 30 pages but sent them to me and I was really impressed with the quality of the script, but thought it was absolutely insane to shoot a movie in all in one camera shot. John and I had done a few smaller productions together that had turned out really well and had already established a fun working relationship, so of course I said Yes. What made the project even more interesting and unexpected for me was that it was a comedy -- not a genre you might expect from a movie done in one shot. Similar attempts at long takes such as Rope, Touch of Evil, Russian Ark, Snake Eyes, and Goodfellas were typically dramas with visual flair, although The Player stands out as a comedy with a long tracking shot. Plot: In order to stay in his wealthy father’s will, David “The Bagel King” Rosenberg must get married before the end of the day. Comedy ensues when he places an ad online to find someone, anyone, who will marry him. In the process, he learns a lesson about love and money. The decision to shoot in one shot: Part novelty, it keeps the audience engaged with a movie that literally unfolds in real-time. The ‘Ticking Clock’ that keeps tension in the script is enhanced -- David has to get married before the end of the day in order to reinstate his inheritance from his father. Doing the whole thing in one shot keeps the sense of urgency and immediacy in the story. Asher was adamant about doing everything in one continuous shot with no hidden cuts or wipes, but he was open to digital stabilization and airbrushing as needed. He liked the use of the camera as a theater proscenium and let the action unfold, so we moved from scene to scene but then settled in to let the
actors captivate the audience. At the same time, we didn’t want to be voyeuristic but instead tried to create well-composed widescreen frames that allowed the actors to occupy them and move through the left, right, center, and depth of the screen. 1Camera Technical Details: We chose to shoot on the RED Epic instead of other digital cinema cameras for many reasons. It’s light weight, high resolution (which enabled later digital stabilization), RAW recording, large media cards, and low power consumption were the primary deciding factors. Settings: 2.40:1 widescreen, shot on RED Epic, Build 3.3.14, 5K HD, RedCode 8:1 Compression, 23.976 fps, 180 degree shutter, HDR off *Frame Guides set for 85% of recorded area (essentially a 4K 2.40:1 frame inside of a 5K 16x9 frame) so that there was a 15% look- around that could be used for digital image stabilization, additional width on the lens, headroom and rotational adjustments. The high resolution of the Epic was a real advantage over an HD camera in this regard. *RAW recording allowed for later adjustment of ISO exposure and White Balance, so we selected a middle-of-the-road setting of 500 ISO and 5600K color temperature. *Lens was an Angenieux Optimo Rouge 16-42mm T2.8 zoom with a Microforce controller on the right handheld handle. I put a lot of thought into which lens to use for this project, and also considered a Canon-mount zoom such as a 16-35mm and also prime lenses. Ultimately, the Optimo offered a wide field of view, generally light weight at 4.4 lb.., and the ability to use a Microforce for smooth, subtle zooms, as well as an accurate and expanded focus scale. *We used an HDMI transmitter\receiver made by Paralynx that had great quality and range for a handheld director’s monitor *We had to solve the issue of getting the camera to record for 100 minutes. This was accomplished by putting a dual-battery hot swap plate on the camera and loading it up with two Dionic HCX batteries
(rated at 120 watt-hour a piece) plus a RedVolt battery in the hand grip. The batteries could keep the camera running for over 4 hours, even when recording, so the Epic’s low power consumption was another reason we chose that camera. We were able to find two RED 512-GB SSD cards that had just come out, and this enabled us to use much less compression (I originally tested a 256GB card and it would have forced us to use Redcode 11:1 or 12:1 to get over 100 minutes on there) *I wore an Easy-Rig to help with the weight of the camera while handheld and it was essential to being able to do the shot, but it also presented challenges when getting into and out of the Bagel Van because of the extra height. *I have to credit Cliff Hsui (ASC associate member?) at Alternative Rentals for helping me solve a bunch of technical hurdles and for finding the perfect camera gear to accomplish this feat. He spent a lot of time advising me on battery life, handheld accessories, lenses, and video assist options. I also have to credit my 1st AC Bob Fredricks for keeping the camera running and keeping me comfortable during a LOT of handheld work. The Locations: There are two main locations in the story -- the Father’s mansion and David’s house. Also, he drives a Bagel Van (his start-up business is the Bagel King) that he drives between the locations. He also gets pulled over by an over-zealous cop during the drive. The Bagel Van was the original big challenge because I couldn’t figure out an easy way to rig the camera to the side of it and get on and off, especially since we needed a second passenger to accompany us on the way back to the mansion. After a few days of thinking on this obstacle, it struck me we could use a ‘Step Van’ and turn it into a Bagel Truck. Then I found a pink ice-cream truck that I thought would be funny and practical, so I sent the picture to Asher and he loved it. It gave me a way to step into the van and shoot from the passenger side. It even had a place just inside the dash board area that I could sit down and get a great angle on David driving. The only downside was the Easy Rig was just high enough to hit the top of the door jam when I got in, so I had to be really careful getting in and out of the van.
Because of how fast we had to pull this whole thing together and the fact that we lost a key location less than two weeks before Production started, Asher, Producer Kimberly Stuckwisch and I scouted about for a Mansion location just days before the production. The most difficult part was that the locations had to be a short distance away so David can drive between them while acting on the phone and getting pulled over by a cop. And we had to have the locations early enough so that Kimberly could pull the permits and make all the arrangements for equipment. We literally just knocked on doors of random apartments and houses close to the mansion we liked to see if they would be open to being in a film. Lighting: Both locations had to be lit simultaneously and of course we saw the front of both houses. Hiding lights was tricky and had to be very carefully thought out. We also didn’t have a huge budget for lighting so it had to be done economically. We lit the mansion with about 10 1200watt HMI PARs through windows and into bounces above the staircase, and had an Arri M18 that provided a nice sunlight effect through one window near the father’s office. We also used a Jo-Leko (Joker HMI with a Source 4 Lens) with a window- pattern gobo to throw a windowlooking shape onto the stairs as well and keep it from looking too flat. We used 5 1x1 Lite Panels with batteries for various fills, accents, and in the Bagel Van. Finally, we replaced many of the recessed lighting fixtures at the Mansion and the house with Daylight balanced Compact Fluorescents -- we bought 50 or so of them and they kept burning out because they’re not happy in recessed fixtures. They did last long enough for our shoot and the ones we got had decent enough color that the yellow\green in them wasn’t noticeable. We had to replace many of the dimmable switches with regular ones so they’d work on those circuits. These brought the levels up in the Mansion and house significantly and were built-in, which meant we could see them on camera without a problem. Of course, we had to have the sun as a source as
a source as well, though I think we lucked out with the cloudiness. When we rehearsed in full sun it was quite harsh, created flares (I didn’t want to use a matte box), and was throwing shadows that I had to avoid. The clouds provided a nice light (but the rain that came with them was a major problem!) My gaffer Brandon Alperin was so instrumental in taking my initial notes and diagrams and building upon them. Almost all of my energy was directed toward the camera and blocking the scenes and hitting my marks that I couldn’t focus too much on lighting after production started. Brandon added so many nice touches and saved me numerous times. He also had to add a few lights during the take at one location while we were gone to the other location because while they’d have been in shot for earlier scenes, the lights were needed for later ones. The Production: We had four days to pull this off. Asher and his ensemble cast had spent the previous two weeks rehearsing scenes in a small theater space at a Magic shop. The first two days of production were spent blocking and lighting. We blocked at the mansion for a day and then did the driving scenes and David’s house on the second day. I preferred to block with the real camera on my shoulder and a handheld monitor for Asher and the AD because it gave an accurate depiction of what could be accomplished and I got used to hitting my marks and memorizing the movements, focus pulls and iris adjustments. I did all of the lens controls myself because I was afraid of having a failure point and the need to have an AC next to me the whole time. So I pulled my own focus mainly based on distance estimation -- we labeled the follow focus dial with the distance marks and I went with that. I’m actually surprised at how well it worked out because I constantly had to pay attention to the focus. We put a second FF4 Follow Focus unit attached to the aperture ring and so I had focus on the left side and iris on the right. As we went out of the doors from interior to exterior, I adjusted the stop knowing that I could later fine tune by going back to the RAW files and adjusting the ISO in post. I just had to be close. I also had a Microforce controller on the handheld handle that let me add a few subtle zoom-ins for added drama. We wanted to avoid snap zooms and docu-style camera work though... we wanted it to feel as cinematic as possible.
I worked closely with Production Designer Elvis Strange to create environments that were conducive to shooting 360 degrees and also to remove reflective objects or mask them with matted contact paper so I wouldn’t see myself and the camera. He replaced glass-covered paintings, matted windows, and did an excellent job making the sets look great on camera. Everyone had a job to do: There were 17 cast members in the movie that all had to hit their marks and deliver great performances. Ray Abruzzo played David, the lead character, and he joked that I was his Ginger Rogers to his Fred Astaire -- I did everything he did but backwards and in high heels (well, with a 20 lb. camera on my shoulder and a bunch of blind spots). He really did drive a lot of the camera movements though and I relied on him to help cue me and keep us on pace. Aside from the cast, there were lots of people working behind the scenes during the take. The director and 1st AD Joe Suarez hid behind walls and just out of frame with a walkie-talkie to cue when actors needed to come in and move around out of frame. There were retired cops on motor bikes keeping our motorcade safe during the driving scenes. The producer was in constant communication with the team at the mansion and the house as they prepped ahead of us for upcoming scenes. Lights were set and moved during the take. My Ninja Key Grip moved fluidly with me and I hardly knew he was there until I would sit down right onto the apple box he’d set for me. PA’s had to wipe our rain-wet footprints from the floors behind us after we entered the mansion so we could exit again. It was especially rewarding to work as a team to accomplish this task, and everyone was important to the execution, from the director down to the electricians and PA’s. The third day of production was a dress rehearsal but we kept the location mats and protection down and we made tweaks and adjustments at this point. We felt very good about accomplishing the shoot at this point. My Key Grip, Jason Webster, was dubbed my ‘Ninja’. Always dressed in black, he never left my side for four days. He carried an apple box the whole time and when I hit a mark that needed a lower angle,
he’d put it under my butt and it got to the point that I would just sit anywhere I needed to and knew he’d keep me from hitting the ground even though I couldn’t see what was under me. He also manned the door to the Van and kept me from bumping into tables and walls when I had to move backwards. He also rigged the van for us and armed lights out above the big staircase and did all the usual grip trimmings and menace arms.
We also had some trouble with an actor who couldn’t remember his lines. This was creating panic, and we had to restart a few times. Mainly, the first few false starts, I could feel everyone was nervous (especially me -- it was one thing to do these camera moves in rehearsal, but once we pushed record and that red dot was in the upper left corner of the frame, I could feel a lot of pressure and tensed up). Eventually we relaxed a bit.
A Few Notes about Operating the Camera: Physically, it was certainly tiring to have the camera on my shoulder 5-6 hours a day through the blocking, rehearsals, and shoot, but the Easy Rig helped tremendously. I work out a bit and practiced some yoga and mobility routines during the production in order to keep from being too sore or cramped, but definitely felt worn out at the end of the day.
Then our wireless Paralynx transmitter failed on us. After messing with it for 45 minutes or so, I asked Asher if he could do all of their cueing and shooting without a monitor because it was a Sunday and the rental house was closed and it would take hours to replace it. The wireless had worked flawlessly for three days but suddenly we couldn’t get it to work. So we started a take and got really far into it -- 68 minutes and on our way back to the mansion -- and the camera stopped recording and I got the ‘Media Full’ warning. Damn! We figured out that we had somehow accidentally enabled the HDR mode of the camera, possibly while messing with the downed video transmitter, and that doubles the data rate. Later, I was curious to find out if perhaps being in the HDR mode somehow screwed with the HDMI signal and made it so the transmitter was unhappy with it -- maybe we’d accidentally enabled HDR and this was also the cause of the transmitter failure?
One thing I consciously tried to avoid was bring over-rehearsed when operating the shots. I didn’t want it to feel like we were just hitting marks that we’d hit a bunch and didn’t have the element of discovery or surprise, so I can think of several instances in the shot where I had to be patient and let the characters guide me to a camera move without looking like I knew it was coming. For instance, there’s a gag where David is at the front door having a funny argument with his neighbor, then the neighbor goes inside and David has one final line of dialogue through the mail slot which required me to pan the camera down with him. I was conscious about waiting for David to lead me to the tilt-down instead of anticipating it, which I think makes it more surprising to the audience and thus funnier. The hard part was knowing that we were coming to the end of a scene where I might have to stand up, so I’d get my feet positioned for standing and could see the camera bobble a bit as I did it. I didn’t want the audience to feel I was getting ready to move the camera until David led me to it. The fourth and final day, our moment of truth, and Murphy’s law struck. First, it was raining. Drizzling really, but it didn’t let up and this was creating water spots on the lens that couldn’t be wiped off during the take. Key Grip Jason Webster carried a piece of cardboard that he held over the top of the lens to keep the drops off.
We broke for lunch feeling miserable. The producers came around asking if we were available the next day in case we had to add a day to the schedule. Because the budget was so low and this was privately financed, this would be a great hit to our EP and many of my crew was leaving town for Christmas. It didn’t seem doable. Picking up the pieces and trying to rally from our despair, we reset everything and made one final attempt before the sun would be gone. The take was magic. The actors all gave excellent performances. The camera worked flawlessly (still no video assist for the director and AD to work off of). Soon enough I realized we were on the next to last scene and I had been smiling and enjoying the scenes unfold in front of my camera. Holy cow, we were going to make it! Last scene, the lovers kiss, the director calls ‘Cut!’ and everyone started hugging each other with tears in their eyes. We got it but I couldn’t stop rolling the camera. For a few more seconds, I shot 66
the team hugging each other, giving each other high fives and celebrating our victory. It was a highly emotional day full of ups and downs and we are all proud of the accomplishment of shooting an entire movie in one shot. At the end of the day, Asher (jokingly?) told me has
was glad he only had one complete take and didn’t have to decide which version to use out of two or three of them. It’s truly one of a kind. I’ll fondly Somebody Marry Me - Cinematography Notes 8 remember my time working on this production and am fortunate to have had the opportunity to shoot a movie in one shot.
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By Derin Richardson, HFJ Contributor simply uses that g reatest resource ever y screenwriter possesses, yet some fail to utilize. "It always gets down to you and your collaborators. I've never written alone." The reason for this is that Shusett, who has amazing ideas and sense of good story pacing, knows there are others who excel at character development and chooses to synergize his strongest traits with them to create a winning script. "If you don't get those characters that you love to love or hate, no matter how amazing the effects are and how exciting the action is choreographed, you sort of glaze over," Shusett said. "If you don't get those right, then all the things I excel at fall flat, regardless of how amazingly inventive they are." One of the reasons he is so drawn to sci-fi is that no matter how bizarre the idea, the audience will accept it if it is written well--the more bizarre the ideas, the more iconographic those ideas become and stand the test of time.
There aren't many screenwriters/directors who can produce a film that balances both the general populace and the hardcore fanbase, a skill that sci-fi master Ron Shusett spent decades honing and refining much to his great success today. What's his secret? It's no secret at all, actually. He
In the proto stages of science fiction cinema, films in that genre received much more flak and dismissal for their content than praise--and rightly so for their outlandish, peculiar and downright campy feel. Flash forward to Ron Shusett and Dan O'Bannon's Alien in 1979 and watch those vicious, homicidal extraterrestrials eat that campiness for breakfast. Interestingly enough, there are two sides to this coin.
O'Bannon, however, was working on an original story of his own when he met Shusett. "Dan had been working on the script for Alien for two years and was stuck on act one until he met me. He needed a second and third act and I needed a second and third act for Total Recall. He liked the way my mind worked and told me I could help him finish it, so on that day, both Alien and Total Recall were born. What are the odds of that?"
Shusett optioned to shoot Philip K. Dick's story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" in 1976, however no one wanted to film any Philip Dick material at the time because they were "very prolific." He purchased the rights to film it for a mere $1000 as a result. "Nobody in Hollywood wanted to make any Phil Dick stories at the time because they didn't seem to lend themselves as being approachable--there was too much action in the parts that were cerebral and too much cerebral in the parts that were action. The thinking in Hollywood was that you couldn't combine the two because they would defeat each other." This was around the same time he met O'Bannon, who'd been an avid fan of Dick's work in college, and was determined collaborate with him to disprove the notion that complex movies wouldn't sell by writing the script for what eventually became Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1990.
While he didn't have any direct involvement with Prometheus, he ultimately felt it shouldn't have be done as a prequel because "there is too much baggage to explain what happened before Alien." He did, however, work on AVP: Alien vs. Predator. "I came back to the series to work on Alien vs. Predator and that was fun because it refreshed it," he said. "The second one was a dud simply because you can only take so much of these two creatures fighting each other before it gets on your nerves." He also feels their decision to shoot Total Recall with such an interpretive story and ending was a chance well-taken, even with critics advising against it. A wonderful decision indeed, as it seemingly inspired the likes of The Matrix and Inception. "Even after 22 years, I still have people coming up to me and asking me if Schwarzenegger really did go to Mars or was it all artificial memory. I have had anyone who didn't like the ending and the fact there are people to this day that say that the ending was the best part made us feel very good about taking that risk."
By Rick Cesaro, HFJ Contributor When Frank Darabont was unceremoniously let go from the show during the second season, mere days after he was all smiles at Comic Con, his fans were concerned about the continuing quality of one of the most popular shows in basic cable history. Darabont was the superstar who took a black and white cult comic book and developed a gritty, intense, and realistic television series. However, the rising cacophony of fans upset with the slower pace and somewhat "soap opera-ish" tone of the showâ€™s second season foreshadowed coup by Darabontâ€™s hand picked successor Glen Mazzara. A veteran television producer of The Shield, HawthoRNe, and Nash Bridges, and under the supervision of comic creator Robert Kirkman, fans could settle down as the second season picked up its pace and a new direction. Character development took a back seat while zombies, guts and death rose to the forefront. With the third season now fully in Mazzara's control, we get to see if he can maintain Darabont's realism while stepping up the action so both the general audience and the hardcore fans are satisfied. The opening sequence of a season premier tells us a
lot about the new season. We are treated to a dialogue free sequence, the group sweeping through a house like a well disciplined military squad, standing guard, keeping watch. No only has the dialog been cut in half, but Mazzara has moved the story ahead 8 months eliminating a significant amount of the drama that surrounded the season two finale. One of the main criticisms of the second season was how the cast stayed on the farm far too long, almost micro managing every decision. Now we finally get past any squabbling and see the group as a well oiled machine again. As the season continues we are introduced to comic fan favorites Michonne, who had a brief cameo at the season finale of season 2, and the infamous Governor. For the first time in the series, instead of seeing the world of the zombie apocalypse solely through the eyes of a small group of survivors, we see how the rest of the population is dealing with the end of the world. Thank God the Walking Dead picked up the pace after receiving intense criticism. Glen Mazzara is known to listen to his fans and Robert Kirkman continues to make sure the show stays true to the original comics in its intensity and raw humanity.
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