5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT VENICE FILM FESTIVAL

VENICE – Everyone knows the Venice Film Festival was initially inaugurated to celebrate pigeon cooking, but what other FACTS are there to be taken in on the Lido.

Let the Studio Exec FACT you up about all that goes on at the world’s oldest international film festival.

1. The Venice Film Festival was originally staged in Venice beach, Los Angeles but the venue had to be changed at the last minute because of rain. 

2. The festival was created by the Italian Fascist regime, under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini loved films, especially a sub-genre of Italian comedy Pranzo di Ebrei in which Jews were eaten by accident.  

3. The most common sight at the festival is George Clooney. Even if he doesn’t have a film showing he turns up to help on the t-shirt stall. 

4. Past winners of the Golden Lion, the top festival prize, have all met terrible fates. Kim Ki-Duk, Darren Aronofsky and Sofia Coppola have all disappeared without trace since winning the coveted prize. 

5. Because the Venice Film Festival is the oldest running film festival in the world, film festivals like Toronto tend to come up to it and shout ‘Hey Granddad, Get out of the way!’ but Venice has decided to do a Stallone and just keep going.


Studio Exec will be tweeting and blogging from the Lido from The Venice Film Festival from 27th August to 7 September, 2013. 

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT ROBERT DE NIRO (PART TWO)

HOLLYWOOD – Robert De Niro is so especially fantastic that in order to celebrate his 70th birthday 5 FACTS didn’t seem enough.

So before you can say ‘Are you talking to me?’ here are 5 more FACTS about Uncle Bobby. 

1. No one has ever seen Jack Knife, except you.

2. In The Deer Hunter, De Niro was actually supposed to be hunting boar but shot a deer by accident. Michael Cimino changed the title of the film and used the footage.

3. When filming Angel Heart De Niro got very jealous of young actor Mickey Rourke and so when Rourke asked him for advice De Niro told him to take up boxing and plastic surgery. 

4. To play Noodles, the Jewish gangster in Once Upon a Time in America, De Niro got his little fellow clipped. Director Sergio Leone found it hilarious and shot a scene of De Niro’s circumcised penis but unfortunately and ironically that scene also had to be cut.

5. Taxi Driver is often cited as Robert De Niro’s most autobiographical film. De Niro was a taxi driver when he was looking for a break as a young man. He also rescued a prostitute from gangsters and shot them up, becoming a local hero. Paul Schrader – the script writer – denies any knowledge of this and said he was freaked out by the coincidence, so much so that he hasn’t written another film since.   

For more Movie FACTS CLICK HERE!

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT ROBERT DE NIRO (PART ONE)

NEW YORK – Robert De Niro is 70 years old today. But how much do you know about him? That’s right! Nothing.

You know nothing. NOTHING! So sit down, shut up, and let the Studio Exec fill your void of a brain with FACTS.

1. Robert De Niro is Australian.

2. De Niro’s favorite director is Martin Scorsese, but due to emotional scenes during the making of Casino, Scorsese and De Niro decide to start seeing other people. Scorsese soon replaced De Niro with Leonardo Di Caprio, but De Niro like a floundering child has found himself passed from one abusive foster home to another. Jay Roach, Justin Zachman and Jon Avnet have been the unworthy recipients of Mr. De Niro’s time. 

3. De Niro’s meticulous preparation and devotion to the authenticity of the role is now legendary. During the making of Cape Fear he beat a woman to death just to see how it felt, and during the making of Meet the Parents he watched all of Ben Stiller’s previous films so he could feel the appropriate amount of hatred for Ben Stiller’s character. 

4. Robert De Niro has won seventeen Oscars. But all of them were for set design, a little known part of his talent.

5. Whenever De Niro was called on to play a real life character – such as Jake La Motta in Raging Bull – he would chop off the finger of the real person and ingest it as part of his preparation.   

Happy Birthday Mr. De Niro will air on HBO at 11 EST. 

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT HARRISON FORD

HOLLYWOOD – You might think you know everything about Harrison Ford, the man who brought us Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Rick Deckard. But you SO don’t.

Let the Studio Exec reveal so many squirming facts that Harrison would probably say “Facts, why did it have to be facts?”

1. Harrison Ford actually did make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs in preparation for filming Star Wars in 1976. What people generally don’t know is that the Kessel run is really short and the record is actually 3 parsecs.  

2. Harrison Ford is from Norwegian stock and his family name before it was Americanized was Harrison Fjord.  

3. Harrison Ford is actually a Carpenter by trade. He played bass on Close to You and Yesterday Once More, but left the group to concentrate on his acting. George Lucas misunderstood Harrison’s CV and got him to make a set of bookshelves, which the actor gamely tried to do, inadequately as it would happen, leading to George Lucas’ famously witty riposte: “I hope he’s better at acting than he is at you know making some bookshelves, cause these shelves are terrible and what we need in the film is someone who can act, better than the person who made these shelves can makes shelves. Anyway.”  

4. Steven Spielberg wouldn’t let Harrison Ford keep the Indiana Jones whip because it was ‘dangerous and he could take someone’s eye out with it’ even though Harrison promised to just look at it and never use it. 

5. Although Blade Runner is largely seen to be his best performance, Harrison Ford does not rate the film and argues that Force Ten from Navarone, Firewall and Cowboys and Aliens are all superior. This antipathy towards the film could have something to do with the animosity between Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford. During the ‘making of…’ documentary Dangerous Days, the two won’t even look at each other. 

For more FACTS on everything from this to that click HERE!  

THE TOP 5 SWEATIEST FILMS

BEIRUT –  The Summer is here and hot and in the spirit of all things listy The Studio Exec has sweated over this amazing list for literally minutes: The Top 5 Sweatiest Films Ever Made.

1. Cool Hand Luke. Paul Newman sweats in a chain gang; sweats against injustice (taking them off here boss); eats 50 eggs; sweats eggy sweat; sweats some more; (I wish you’d quit being so good to me Captain); smiles and sweats.

2. Spartacus. Kirk Douglas sweats; his Thracian crew cut sweats; his dimple sweats; his thighs sweat and Woody Strode and Tony Curtis sweat with him; Charles Laughton sweats in a toga; Jean Simmons doesn’t sweat at all because she’s too prim.

3. Das Boot. The German crew of a U-Boat sweats under the water during the Second World War (one of the sweatiest wars in world history); they sweat; Jurgen Prochnow sweats; they are under attack and sweat; they are bored and sweat and fart.

4. Alien. ‘In space no one can smell you pong’ read the tag line as Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Koto and Sigourney Weaver sweat it up big time, when a sweaty Alien sweats all over the shop.

5. Apocalypse Now. In the sweaty Vietnam War, Martin ‘sweat pants’ Sheen is so sweaty even his cigarette sweats as he goes down a sweaty river of sweat that Marlon Brando has sweated out, having gone rogue sweating his huge buttery ass off: the horror, the horror!

Have we left any out? Do you disagree? Feel free to use the comments below to add your thoughts. They’ll be deleted before you can hit enter. 

For more FACTS click HERE.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT WOODY ALLEN

HOLLYWOOD – Comedian, actor, director, writer and hat model Woody Allen has long been considered the funniest bespectacled madcap that New York has ever produced (sorry, Billy Crystal).

And yet, how much do we really know about the zany? Exclusively, the Studio Exec is going to give you 5 FACT zingers to the one best known as Woody ‘Joey Nickels’ Allen.

  1. Woody Allen isn’t actually Jewish. As an ambitious young comedian, the WASP Trevor Allen changed his name to Allan Stewart Koningsberg and from thence to Woody Allen.  
  2. Woody writes the scripts to his films in long hand on A4 yellow legal pads. In the left hand corner of the scripts he draws every scene of the movie so that potential investors who are too busy to read can flick through the script and see an animated version of the film play out.
  3. Woody Allen is famous for casting avatars for himself in his films. Kenneth Brannagh, Owen Wilson, John Cusack and Larry David have all played Woody Allen. As a tribute to Allen, director James Cameron based the whole story of Avatar on Woody Allen’s method.
  4. Woody Allen gets paid money from European cities if he sets his films there. He gets special bonuses if the films aren’t too funny. So far he has received bonuses from Paris, Rome, London and Barcelona. 
  5. Woody Allen has a long running feud with Mel Gibson that spills over into violence whenever the two men meet. Despite their apparent difference in terms of physical dynamism, Allen has given Gibson a head slapping on every single occasion. (For more on that story CLICK HERE).

For more FACTS click HERE.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT STEVEN SEAGAL

HOLLYWOOD  – Since 1988 this boyishly handsome martial artist – Steven Seagal – has dominated the world of ACTION cinema and feminist literary criticism.  

However, who is this man and how high can he kick? Is it true he once killed a man with a sharp edged fart? No. We only have facts here at Studio Exec so enter the dojo of truth and bow to the Sensei of FACT:

  1. Steven Seagal can’t play the guitar.
  2. He’s a feminist, with a particular interest in feminist literature. ‘The female voice has been marginalised and erased from literary history for centuries,’ said Seagal at one of his popular feminist book club events. ‘As Virginia Woolf once wrote, we need a room of one’s own.’ For more on his feminist book club CLICK HERE.
  3. Steven Seagal loves grammar and his favorite English words are prepositions. ‘Not many people know that I’m a close student of the English language,’ said Seagal. Many of his films are tributes to prepositions, such as Above the Law, Under Siege, Opposite the Post OfficeInto the Sun, Beside the Point and Out of Reach.
  4. For several years, Steven Seagal has been working under cover at the New Mexico police department where he answers the phones and sometimes is allowed to use the photocopying machine. 
  5. Actually he did once kill a man with a sharp edged fart. David Carradine described it as a back projected shuriken. It was in the 1970s and he doesn’t like to talk about it.
For more FACTS on everything from this to that click HERE! 

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

HOLLYWOOD – He is the enigmatic director of Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy and the upcoming Interstellar, but who is Christopher Nolan really?

What are Christopher Nolan’s dreams like? Is it true that he has an iguana called Stephen who makes all his decisions for him by moving across a Twister floor mat? NO. That’s exactly the kind of nonsense we want to get rid of at The Studio Exec, so prepare your brain pads to receive the returning helicopter of FACT, and watch out, there are casualties.

1. When 12 years old, Nolan invented the Jenga game which he originally named the CONFUSERATOR. However, Paul Rudd had already invented it and so Nolan received no money from the idea. As an adult Nolan would attempt to make a film on the idea (CLICK HERE for more on that story) but it collapsed after someone over-enthusiastically removed one of the lower most blocks.

2. Christopher has three brothers. Jonathan: a script writer who has worked on many of Christopher’s films, Matthew, who is successful in the world of shoes, and Wayne Nolan, who is locked in East Wing of Nolan Towers, the crumbling family pile and is only seen by his nurse Tik. For a short time in the 80s the four brothers performed as a barber shop quartet called the Nolan Brothers until they were eclipsed by the more famous Nolan Sisters, who are – ironically – their sisters.

The Nolan Brother (with Tik)

3.  Christopher Nolan’s first film was a black and white art house effort called Miener Houser Baader Miener Hoffer Gang, about a man who for the life of him can’t remember the name of the German terrorist organisation that terrorised the world in the 1970s.   

4.  Nolan is a committed advocate of film and the IMAX experience. When a sex tape was leaked onto the net of Nolan and his producer wife going at it, Nolan insisted it also be shown in Imax, impressing everyone with width, length and girth. 

5.  Little is known about his new project Interstellar, except that it is a science fiction film. But now Studio Exec can exclusively reveal that Interstellar is actually Memento, which – ironically -Nolan has no memory of making. Jonathan Nolan gave him the script of Memento with a new title page when he was drunk and has yet been able to rectify the mistake.

For more FACTS on everything from this to that click HERE!

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT DWAYNE ‘THE ROCK’ JOHNSON

HOLLYWOOD – The amount of nonsense written about Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – star of such films as The Scorpion King, Journey 2 and Fast and Furious 6 – is frankly irritating.

So let the Studio Exec inject the steroids of truth into the flaccid muscle of weak falsehood that surrounds the abs of wonder.

  1. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson got his famous nickname – the Rock – because of his love of the  1996 Michael Bay action picture The Rock starring Sean Connery and with Nicholas Cage. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is a massive devotee of the film, literally building his identity around it and has seen it twice.
     
  2. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson did not start out as a professional actor. No. He started his career translating epic Swedish poetry from the middle ages, including a translation of The Chronicle of Duke Erik (Erikskronsikan) which was deemed revolutionary in Swedish medieval epic poetry translation circles. Coincidentally the Rock in Swedish is ‘berget’!
  3. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is famous in Hollywood for stealing sequels from Brendan Fraser. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has hated Brendan Fraser ever since Brendan Fraser in the Swedish Medieval Literature Review (1998) referred to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s translation of The Chronicle of Duke Erik as ‘merely adequate’. Johnson has stolen The Mummy franchise and the Journey franchise from Fraser, and appeared in Fast and Furious 6 under the mistaken impression that Vin Diesel was Brendan Fraser’s young brother.  
  4. Gibraltar is also occasionally known as The Rock, but Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Gibraltar are unrelated. 
  5. To prepare for his role in GI Joe: Retaliation, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson took to sleeping in a cardboard box with a perspex lid, a perfect mock up of the boxes that the toys which serve as the inspiration for this latest art house feature come in. Tilda Swinton has copied this idea for her recent activity at MOMA.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT NAOMI WATTS

HOLLYWOOD – How many myths? How many lies? How much mumbo jumbo has surrounded the most enigmatic of Norwegians, Naomi Watts?

Well no longer! Studio Exec – armed with the baloney busting Bazooka of brilliance – puts paid to piffle with FACT.

  1. Naomi Watts’ father Jeff Watts invented electricity. 
  2. In preparation for the filming of Tsunami drama The Impossible Watts and her co-star Fr. Ewan MacGregor learnt to speak fluent Spanish, had their hair dyed and even applied for Spanish citizenship so as to reproduce the experiences of the real life Belòn family with the appropriate verisimilitude. ‘It would be a disgusting insult to Maria Belòn and her family to just Anglicize the characters in order to make the film more commercially successful,’ said Ms. Watts. However, the studio dubbed the film into English and changed the family into an English family, at which point Ms. Watts forgot Spanish instantly.
  3. As well as being a versatile actress, Naomi Watts is also an expert linguist. Her mastery of accents is such that people rarely guess she is Norwegian. She adopts a light Australian accent during interviews which provoked criticism from the Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who took to referring to Naomi Watts as Naomi Whats?, which is considered hilarious in Norway and was instrumental to his winning of the election.
  4. Her early film roles included a supporting role in Tank Girl and Norwegian soap opera Home and Away. Naomi Watts also appeared in King Kong, although at the last minute the roles were changed and Andy Serkis played the large eponymous monkey. 
  5. During the filming of David Lynch’s masterly Mulholland Drive, Ms. Watts prepared for her part by eating nothing but squirrel in the mistaken belief it would help her attune to Mr. Lynch’s precise brand of weirdness.  She used the same technique when starring in the American language version of Funny Games, during which she only ate Michael Haneke’s favourite type of Pot Noodle. 
For more FACTS on everything from this to that click HERE! 

STEVEN SODERBERGH’S JOB SEARCH

HOLLYWOOD – Steven Soderbergh announced that his latest film Side Effects will be his last film and he is now going to spend his time … doing what? Studio Exec decided in his glory to give some tips to the new job seeker and see if we can’t see Mr. Soderbergh gainfully employed in something that won’t unleash another Full Frontal on our cinema screens.

So here are the TOP FIVE options.

  1. DeeJay: This is a great job because we all know Steven likes music and he looks like Moby, which can’t hurt. He would also be available for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, birthday parties and (gulp) retirement parties. He could use the moniker DJ Sod and concentrate on eighties nostalgia with a playlist heavy on the Spandau. 
  2. Steeplejack: I don’t actually know what one of these is but if Steven became one it would be a good chance for me to find out. That would be like a good Side Effect!
  3. Oceanographer: He could chum up with his pal James Cameron and together they could explore the Mariana Trench. After all one of them is a self-proclaimed expert on oceans and the other made three films with the word ocean in the title.   
  4. Pornographer: Although Steven has never made a ‘porno-film’, he has worked with porno actress Sasha Grey on The Girlfriend Experience and so has an ‘in’ so to speak. And Magic Mike was also about the softer side of the sex industry. 
  5. Astronaut: This strikes me as the perfect job. With Solaris we saw how comfortable Steven was with large empty spaces and it would give him a lot of time to get some reading done.

Do you have any ideas for what Steven could do now? Please post comments or contact us via Twitter and Facebook.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT JON HAMM

HOLLYWOOD – Jon Hamm used to be Don Draper, but Don Draper wasn’t really Don Draper so what do we really know about John Hamm?

The Studio Exec FACT Squad drank themselves to death finding out.
1. In order to disguise himself when booking into French hotels. John Hamm uses the pseudonym Jean Jambon.

2. Prior to auditioning for the role of Superman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Man of Steel. Jon spent a year on Krypton learning to fly, leap tall buildings in a single bound and run faster than a speeding bullet. Unfortunately he was unable to master heat vision which gave producers no alternative but to turn him down.
3. Jon was a waiter in L.A. prior to finding work as an actor. During this period he says his biggest claim to fame was Annette Bening throwing up chicken chasseur all over his shoes.

4. He is such a big fan of Mary Poppins he spent three years impersonating Dick Van Dyke and sleeping with his friends’ nannies. This came to an end when in 1998 he was arrested in Trafalgar square for jumping on a street artist’s chalk drawing and breaking his finger.
5. Due to the excessive cigarette and alcohol consumption of his Mad Men character Don Draper. Jon has had two liver transplants in six years and is currently waiting on an 18 year old Tongan boy to succumb to his injuries so he can have his lungs.
For more FACTS click HERE.
 
 

TOP 10 FACTS: ‘MAN OF STEEL’

HOLLYWOOD – What are the facts about Man of Steel? Nobody knows.

So here they are. The Facts. About Man of Steel.

  1.  Executive Producer Jon Peter’s is the former hairdresser of Barbara Streisand and the inventor of the mullet.
  1. Henry Cavill spent a year on the Planet Krypton in order to prepare for the role of Superman/Clark Kent. During his stay he learnt basic Kryptonese which enabled him to order in restaurants and ask for directions to the train station.
  1. Michael Shannon will play the villainous General Zod, a role formerly played by British actor Terence Stamp. Coincidently both Shannon and Stamp are very fond of Pea and Ham soup.
     
  2. Adam Sandler, David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin James were all considered for the role of Superman in a parallel universe.
     
  3. Damon Lindelof was originally hired to write the script. In his version Superman is a god who was impregnated by a squid which eventually resulted in the creation of human beings. Warner Brothers CEO Barry Meyer rejected the treatment on the grounds of it being “Bullshit”
     
  4. Russell Crowe will play the part of Superman’s father Jor-El, a role formerly played by Marlon Brando. Director Zack Snyder wanted Brando to reprise the role but Marlon never returned his calls.
     
  5. Cavill was so immersed in his character he spent hours staring at frozen microwave meals in Supermarkets trying to cook them with his heat vision.
     
  6. Zack Snyder agreed to have Christopher Nolan enter his mind and erase all memory of Sucker Punch before he was hired to direct.
     
  7. Rumour had it that Batman would make a cameo appearance after Christian Bale was spotted in costume on set but according to Snyder, Bale was simply asking the crew if they had any information about the whereabouts of The Riddler.
     
  8. Brandon Routh was also seen on set which gave rise to speculation he was going to play Superman’s evil twin. Turns out he was just delivering Pizza. 
     
    For more FACTS on everything from this to that click HERE! 
 

STUDIO EXEC’S TOP FIVE LIST OF ALL TIME LISTS

NEW YORK – As a mere newcomer to the film blogging site business game, Studio Exec has been remiss in not including at least seven lists every day of the top five/ten/one hundred of something or other film related lists list.

So here we have the top five list of all time lists.

  1. List of crap movies from the Eighties that really ought to be remade. As if swine such as I needed any encouragement whatsoever to go back to that particular trough, you actually want to do my market research for me? Thanks. 
  2. The Sight and Sound top 100 list. This list was in the news recently because some old film was replaced by another old film and half of us pretended to have a tizzy and the other half had a tizzy about them having a tizzy. Like children would die as a result of it. And this from the more high-minded part of the community? Sheesh.
  3. List of people who could direct the new Batman movie. Nolan flukes out and actually makes three comic book movies that can be watched and appreciated by people who haven’t been lobotomised and we want to go back to the well and see if next time we can’t fuck it up? Be my guest, I suppose.  Woody Allen has my vote.
  4. The top seven must disgusting deaths in the Final Destination/Saw/Hostel/… series. We all love watching teenagers being split, but really? Ranking them?
  5. Schindler’s List. Fuck you. I liked it. And unlike the rest, it did actually mean something.

For more FACTS click HERE.