Movie news for a no longer new week

A few items of note…

* Back in 1939, Hollywood’s best-paid screenwriter, Preston Sturges, sold his screwball political satire, “The Great McGinty,” to Paramount for the grand sum of $10.00 on condition that he also be allowed to direct the movie. (I think he might have gotten a buck for the actual directing gig.) To this day, writers often take a pay cut for the privilege of becoming what Sturges used to call “a prince of the blood.”

Today, Mike Fleming reports that writer Dan Fogelman may be about to be paid in the neighborhood of $3 million to direct his first feature. “Imagine” is set to star Steve Carrell and will pair him with an older actor –presumably an aging superstar — who will be playing his extremely absentee rock musician dad who discovers a letter from John Lennon and decides to actually meet his now-middle-aged son for the first time.

lennon-rolls-royce-almeria

* My colleague Will Harris forwarded me a press release with some exciting news for serious movie fans and fans of serious movies. Screenwriter and director Paul Schrader, still best known as the writer of “Taxi Driver,” but also a fascinating director in his own right with credits ranging from “American Gigolo” and “Cat People,” to “Mishima” and “Auto Focus” is poised to come back with “The Jesuit.” The deal for closed at the ongoing American Film Market, still underway in Santa Monica, and is set to star Willem Dafoe, Michelle Rodriguez, and Paz Vega. It’s a revenge film and, between that title and the Calvinist-raised Schrader’s well known inclinations from past films, you can hope for more than just a bit of spirituality meshing with the blood, guts, and sexuality. The Playlist has more.

* The Playlist also passes along the news that Christopher Doyle, an Australian-born cinematographer who made his name doing absolutely stunning work in Hong Kong for Wong Kai-Wai and others, is going to be making his first film in 3D. That should be interesting.

* From “True Blood” werewolf to Superman? Is it a Great Dane? Is it a lycanthrope? No, it’s Joe Manganiello.

* Hot on the heels of producing “Paranormal Activity 2” and wrapping “Area 51” the very shrewd Oren Peli is going back to the roots of American horror with a film loosely based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe.

* Screenwriter John August responds to a less than intelligent quote attributed to Jessica Alba.

* No, Ahmet Zappa and Michael Wilson aren’t writing “Tiki Room: The Movie” but an Polynesian tale that was inspired by the Tiki Room. I don’t care, as long as the birds sing words and the flowers croon.

  

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What’s scary?

I’ll be doing my weekly box office preview next, but before I do we have an apt movie moment for this week’s box office derby as the “extreme” horror of the latest entry in the “Saw” franchise will be pitted, among other films, against the clever head games of “Paranormal Activity.” Just in case anyone out there thinks the push and pull between scaring an audience by showing it disturbing material or by almost showing it disturbing material is anything new, I’ve got a wonderfully concise sequence from Vicented Minelle’s soapy-but-brilliant 1952 inside-Hollywood tale, “The Bad and the Beautiful.”

Below Barry Sullivan as a hardworking director and Kirk Douglas as a hotshot writer-producer partially modeled on horror-legend Val Lewton (“Cat People,” “The Body Snatcher,” etc.), deal with the rather basic filmmaking problem their low-budget scare flick is presented with.

That’s Ned Glass as the costume guy, by the way, feeding those great reactions by Douglas and Sullivan. Gotta love Ned.

  

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Inglourious Basterd talks about Diamond Dog

The cool thing about Quentin Tarantino movies is that they give you two things to look forward to: the movie, and the soundtrack. For his latest film, the long-gestating “Inglourious Basterds” (we’ve owned this movie on HSX since 2000), Tarantino digs deep to create a soundtrack of typically obscure pop songs and choice bits from other movie scores. Bullz-Eye has an exclusive clip of Tarantino talking with Elvis Mitchell about the use of David Bowie’s “Cat People” for a pivotal scene.


The soundtrack is now in stores, but if you feel like whacking some Nazis before the movie hits theaters this Friday, may we suggest heading over to the soundtrack’s web site, where you play the part of baseball bat-wielding Sgt. Donny Donowitz (played in the movie by “Hostel” director Eli Roth). Be warned, the game starts off easy, but gets hard very quickly. Enjoy!

  

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