This Week You Will Finish Strong with:
- stories on camera
- stories behind the camera
- Hollywood saviors
- Hollywood classics
- Hollywood competition
- The Sphere!
Thanks to scb0212 for contributing this week. Send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods[at]gmail, post articles from the past week below for discussion, and Have a Happy Friday!
For Crooked Marquee, Jason Baily discusses Maestro, Ferrari, and the state of the modern biopic:
Early in Michael Mann’s Ferrari, his mother literally says, “The wrong son died,” which I guess proves that my long-standing advice that any filmmaker who is about to embark on a biopic must sit down and watch Walk Hard has still not been implemented. Mr. Mann has subtly resisted that label, and we know that Bradley Cooper is against it, thanks to Netflix publicists’ requests (“Please note that we’re not referring to the film as a biopic, we’d appreciate it if you did not list it as such”). We’ve been asked to call Maestro a “drama” or “biographical drama,” har har har, which is about as dopey as the same industry’s desperate waving of the term “elevated horror” a few years back. There’s nothing more irritating than a filmmaker doing something straightforward and making like they’re doing something unique.
Alan Siegel takes to The Ringer to bring stories from writers and actors overlooked during the period of strikes by WGA and SAG-AFTRA:
Hemingson thought that the idea [for The Holdovers] was dead. Then [his agent] remembered hearing that Alexander Payne had been thinking about making a prep school movie. While driving home from LAX one day, Hemingson’s phone rang. “I picked it up and a voice says, ‘David Hemingson, Alexander Payne,’” he recalls. “And I thought it was my buddy Bob fucking with me. So I almost told him to fuck off. Because Bob would call up and say, ‘David Hemingson, Francis Ford Coppola.’ And one time I believed it. So he engages me for about 45 seconds in conversation before he goes, ‘You’re an idiot, why would Coppola call you? I’m just wanting to see you and have a beer.’ So I thought I was getting pranked again.” But Hemingson looked down at the screen and noticed an Omaha area code. “I realized that it was actually Alexander Payne,” he says. “And I said, ‘Are you really Alexander Payne?’ ‘Yeah, last time I checked.’”
Indiewire‘s Kate “The Erbs” Erbland describes 2023 as the year Greta Gerwig Saved Hollywood:
This is, after all, a filmmaker so invested in the concept of a shared vision and honoring those who inspire her that she wouldn’t even cut a cameo appearance by the legendary costume designer Ann Roth in her final version of “Barbie.” Gerwig’s vision only works because she’s able to align with similarly invested and talented people, both above and below the line, a lesson Hollywood brass should absolutely take away from the success of Gerwig’s film. It’s all about the people who make the film, the product, the content, the whatever, nothing else can replace that. It’s about creativity and freedom and finding joy in all sorts of spaces. It’s about having something to say, and saying it with style.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Ryan Gajewski interviews David Zucker and Pat Proft 35 years after the debut of The Naked Gun:
Zucker: [Priscilla Presley] was like any girl that I knew in my high school. But what I remember most is the first table read. She was very nervous and said, “I don’t know how to be funny.” And I said, “You don’t have to worry about that at all. Just let the lines do the work. I want exactly the character that you played on Dallas.” Once she knew that, she was very comfortable doing it and needed next to no direction. This kind of spoof that we do is, it’s not comic timing. It’s dramatic timing. What Leslie did best was, he acted as though he didn’t know he was in a comedy.
Laurie Havelock of iNews notes the Amazon deal to adapt Warhammer 40,000 as a triumph for nerds with paint-stained fingers everywhere:
It also explains why Henry Cavill – best known for playing Superman, or perhaps Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s The Witcher – is on board. For existing Warhammer fans, Cavill is already the coolest face of the hobby there could be: a movie star with Hollywood good looks who, as it happens, likes to spend his time glueing together plastic super-soldiers and painting them gold. He managed to shrug off a brutal piss-taking about it from Graham Norton on national television, and regularly posts updates on his favourite army (Adeptus Custodes, for those who care) for his 27 million Instagram followers. He’s also beloved for protecting the integrity of the projects he’s involved with. Fans of the Witcher books and videogames were delighted to hear that Cavill would often take the show’s writers and production staff to task over details that he felt didn’t match up to the source material. Warhammer players will hope he takes a similar stance when helping Amazon tell their Primaris from their Primarchs.
And finally, at The Verge, David Pierce contemplates U2 performance venue/big honkin’ screen The Sphere in Vegas as the future of entertainment:
[T]he Sphere is the opposite of TikTok. We live in a time filled with scrolling, in which so much of our lives is about the activity of swiping up and down and left and right, moving between things, constantly remixing and interacting and sharing. Hardly anything in modern entertainment just happens to us anymore; we demand to always be involved. But the Sphere happens to you, and it happens in such a huge, multisensory, occasionally discombobulating way that it demands your full attention. […] At the same time, though, it is inescapably true that while I was in Las Vegas — a city filled with epic architecture and packed full of people from all over the world, a few hours away from the Grand Canyon, down the road from the Hoover Dam and the Red Rock Canyon and so many other gorgeous natural sights — the only thing that got me looking up from my phone was 160,000 feet of lights and some fake wind. One of the things you hear people talk about in the U2 concerts is a moment where the Sphere’s picture changes, and it shows… the Vegas skyline from the exact perspective of the Sphere. A video of the Vegas skyline. “It’s like the screen went away!” people say, staring at the screen. Think about it too long, and it all gets pretty bleak. […] The Sphere posits that the only cure to Too Much Screen is Way More Screen.