HOLLYWOOD – Charting the unsuccessful attempt by Deuce Bigalow ‘comedian’ Rob Schneider to make a movie of Frank Herbert’s classic Science Fiction novel, Schneider’s Dune is a thoughtful documentary about an almost masterpiece, an epic and what could have been ‘the best Science Fiction film never made’ (The New York Times).
Often praised by peers as a visionary consistently let down by inferior material, Schneider has also been a lifelong fan of Science Fiction. Throughout the Eighties, the young comedian wrote script after script based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. When those attempts came to naught and emboldened by his growing success on Saturday Night Live, Schneider turned his attention to the massive 1963 Frank Herbert novel which had previously been made into a film by David Lynch in 1984. Schneider says:
I always felt that the Lynch film had got some major aspects of the book wrong. In a way that film is great as a Lynchian play with the future, but it just doesn’t sustain the sweep of the story and I had a feeling I could do it.
Casting himself as Paul Atreides, Schneider wrote a script and prepared to direct. George Lucas – a fan of the book and Schneider’s Tiny Elvis – was on board as a consultant and producer, but the two ultimately fell out over a comic character Lucas wanted to introduce into the film, who would later become Jar Jar Binks. ‘This is the one time in comedy history when Rob actually had more taste,’ jokes collaborator John Milius.
Jonathan Demme‘s documentary is an entertaining portrait of a period as well as of the non-making of an almost classic. Talking head interviews with all the principles – except for Meg Ryan who pulled out of the project at a late stage for undisclosed reasons – are enlightening though there is the rosy hue of nostalgia distorting some of the harder economic realities. And despite Schneider’s presence there are moments of genuine comedy such as the casting reel, which shows Robert Downey Jr and James Caan struggling to get into their roles, Duke Leto and the Beast respectively.
Ultimately, heavy drug use and a spiraling budget doomed the project, but its influence can still be seen in such far flung regions of the galaxy as Paul Blart Mall Cop and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
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HOLLYWOOD – Michael Moore is set to return to cinema screens with his revealing documentary of serial killer Ted Bundy, entitled The Hidden Man.
Described as a change in direction, Michael Moore dropped by to discuss his obsession with Ted Bundy, who confessed to thirty homicides and was executed in 1989.
I’m aslways getting hit with this political thing. As if that’s all I can do. Fahrenheit 9/11 and Capitalism: a Love Story fed into that but really I’m interested above all in people and why people do the strangest things and Ted Bundy is about as strange as they come.
There have been many documentaries and books about Ted Bundy. What will make your film different?
We will reveal the ‘hidden man’ behind the legend of the monster. Hence the title. One of our major revelations is that Bundy was an active member of the Republican Party. Yes, he was a serial killer; yes we’ll never know exactly how many victims he murdered, but what we do know is that he was active at a high level in several campaigns in Washington State. He was involved in the re-election campaign of Governor Evans in 1968 and was hired as an assistant to the Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party.
But surely his politics and his psychopathy were unrelated?
Who’s to say? All I know is that the GOP are certainly not keen to be reminded that Ted Bundy was one of their number and an active and enthusiastic member of the party.
Ted Bundy: The Hidden Man will be released on Tuesday.
I remember when John Milius wrestled a giant squid, strangled an alligator to death with his bare hands, wrote the entire screenplay to Magnum Force and single handedly invaded Cuba, all before breakfast.
Everyone in Hollywood has a Milius story to tell that involves guns, girls and fights with mythical beasties. In fact, Steven Spielberg has a saying that the only living organisms that will survive a nuclear holocaust are cockroaches and John Milius. Of course, Spielberg himself would survive – he’d be in a luxury underground bunker with rest of the world’s elite, but the point he is making is that Milius is one tough bastard and it’s a point well made.
The new documentary Milius, dual-directed by long time Kevin Smith henchmen Joey Figueroa(Doctor Strange lookalike) and Zack Knutsford (Walter White lookalike), is competently produced and showered with interviews from Milius’ friends, fans and collaborators. Francis Ford Coppola comes across as a man who is pissed off that the documentary isn’t about him, Scorsese jabbers on about something very rapidly, and Harrison Ford‘searring is exceptionally sparkly. Practically everyone in Hollywood turns up to pay homage but many have nothing to say; they’re just there.
As a reminder to the world that Milius exists the documentary is essential viewing and the only major flaw is the lack of conversations with the man himself, which due to a recent stroke never took place, but the final scenes prove that Spielberg was right all along. Milius is indeed one tough bastard and miraculously, his best work might be still to come.
Milius will be released at selected UK cinemas on November 1st 2013.
ROME – Reports are coming in that controversial film maker Michael Moore has managed to penetrate Vatican security and smuggle an entire camera crew into the conclave.
An anonymous source, believed to be a member of the papal Swiss guard told The Studio Exec that although there has been no communication with conclave and the outside world about Michael Moore, suspicion has been aroused.
At the last minute we had three Cardinals turn up from America who nobody had ever heard of. Cardinal Washington was extremely tall with a very long neck which we now suspect was a boom mic. Cardinal Jefferson claimed the suitcase he was carrying was a portable dialysis machine and Cardinal Lincoln told us the large rucksack on his back was his packed lunch. We never had time to check their credentials as the door was about to close so we just ushered them in.
Moore is suspected of leading the infiltration after he started posting on his twitter account that he was in conclave.
“We thought he was joking around.” said his agent Ross Flake. “But it seems Mike is actually in there!”