I usually do this on Friday, but the interesting film related stories have been coming fairly hot and heavy all week and it’s time to play catch up. I’m telling you right now, as long as this post is, whatever the most important and interesting story from this eventful week turns out to be, it’ll be the one I skip.
* When I first heard about the project a week or so back, I was taken by the prospect of screenwriter Dustin Lance Black segueing from a biopic about the first openly gay U.S. politician in “Milk” to one about by far the most powerful closeted gay man in American history, J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover was the first director of the FBI starting in 1935 and, in a real blow to our democracy, intimidated several presidents into keeping him in the position until his death in 1972, a shocking 37 years later.
An already interesting project got even more interesting, however, a couple of days back when word got out that none other than Clint Eastwood, who will be joining the very smal club of octogenerian directors this May, might choose to helm it. (The Playlist broke the news on the 10th that Eastwood was “set” to direct; yesterday Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that he was merely “eying” the project.).
Taken together with “Invictus,” this would be the second time the right leaning but independent-minded Republican would be taking on subject matter that deals obliquely with a significant moral failure of American conservatism. Nearly all well-known conservatives tacitly supported both the racist and fascist pre-Mandela South African regime and Hoover’s uninterrupted reign.
In the case of “Invictus,” the idea of him doing it turned out to be more interesting than the film. However, for the man who embodied “get tough” law enforcement concepts as Dirty Harry to take on a law enforcement figure who enjoyed getting tough with anyone who dared to espouse politics he deemed radical — but not the mafia — that’s a horse of a potentially very different color. One to watch.
* The boss himself sent me a link to this intriguing New York Times item yesterday. It’s about a move to take the idea of the HSX a bit further and allow people to gamble on invest in movies for real by creating a film futures market — a concept I still have yet to fully understand, whether it involves pork bellies or the next high concept comedy. As someone whose been known to place a small — and I do mean small — bet from time to time and believes himself to know something about moves, this has my interest even if regular readers of my box office previews know I get things invariably wrong.
At the same time, though safeguards are supposed to be in place to prevent anyone from trying a real-life version of the scam from “The Producers,” Steven Zeitchek and Mike Fleming‘s ethical concerns strike me as legit. Probably just as well for me if the thing never goes up. As a wise fortune cookie once told me, the best throw of the dice is to throw them away. Fat chance of me ever listening.
* I’m sorry, I don’t want to embed the new “Twilight” trailer here and you can’t make me!
* Paramount’s reputed new Insurge label is an idea I’ve been touting for years, but it apparently took “Paranormal Activity” to make it for-realsies, if it really does turn out to be real. According to Indiewire, the studio will back ten movies annually to the tune of $100,000 each. Personally, if I ran the studio, I’d simply cut every single film budget by 1/4 and make four times as many films on all levels, but this isn’t a bad start. Still, I don’t know why they can’t gamble on twenty films instead of ten and spend a whole $2 million on the idea — seeing as $2 million on a single film is still a beyond-tiny budget by Paramount’s usual standards. As far as I know, this idea is still unconfirmed. The website address given by Indiewire currently redirects you to the regular Parmount site and a not-funny trailer for “She’s Out of My League.”
* While they’re at it, maybe Paramount could throw a hunded thou Martin Scorsese’s way. While briefly discussing mattters like his long-discussed Sinatra bio, he also says that wants to make a couple of “low budget down and dirty street movies.”
* Oscar winning “Up” composer Michael Giacchino is sticking sort of close to Pixar, kind of, with his next gig, “John Carter of Mars” from director Andrew Stanton (“Wall-E“), who’s taking a break from animation-only filmmaking to take on the Edgar Rice Burroughs creation. (h/t The Playlist.)
* I think they should just go ahead and title this “Untitled Comedy.” Even with maybe 17 directors — or especially with, perhaps — they’ll have a hard time topping what “Kentucky Fried Movie” did with just one helmer in terms of sheer guffaws.
* David Cronenberg’s new theatrical adaptation almost brought us Col. Hans Landa as Sigmund Freud facing off against Lt. Archie Hickox as Carl Jung, but now it’ll be Cronenberg’s recent go-to leading man, aka Aragorn, facing off against Hickox instead. This should be by far the most studly filmic Freud we’ve had yet.
* Takeshi Kitano is all the rage in France. And he’s way funnier than Jerry Lewis, too.
* As if it hasn’t been clear before, this item confirms that, for a very long time, Armond White has taken the lowest possible path for a highbrow movie critic.
* So, we’ve had tons of body-switching fantasy-comedies over the decades, and hordes of comedies about the irresponsible Peter Pan type guys in conflict with their more responsible family-man best buddies. So, of course it’s time for a body switching Peter Pan/responsible-guy comedy with Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. Actually, it just occurs to me, they’ve pretty much made this movie already. Last time it had more guns.
* Also come to think of it, I think we’ve already had a “Planet of the Apes” prequel.