COCOON REBOOT RON HOWARD DIRECTING

HOLLYWOOD – With the announcement there will be a Cocoon Reboot Ron Howard has confirmed he can no longer be bothered with new ideas for films. The Exec caught up with Hollywood’s go to director to discuss his return to the Cocoon Reboot Ron Howard franchise.

 


What gave you the idea for a Cocoon reboot?

Is it really an idea or is it just financial capitulation? I mean, who the fuck can bothered with coming up with new ideas that nobody gives a shit about? The way I see it, I could either make a new film and collaborate with new writers. I could discover a new story that excites me. Engage with new and upcoming actors who can brings fresh and young ideas to the art form.

 

That sounds exciting.

Hang on, I didn’t finish. I could do all that. Or, I could just churn out another rehashed idea from one of my so-called ‘80s classics’. I could throw Tom Hanks in as the lead, because we can do this shit with our eyes closed now. Boom, we make a few mill at the box office. Or easier still, we get those suckers at Netflix or Prime to cough up the dough. We don’t even have to bother doing press tours then.

 

Forgive me for saying, but isn’t that a rather jaded attitude?

I couldn’t give a shit if it is. I’m a multi-millionaire film maker that still wears baseball caps indoors. Do I look like I care? Anyway, Tom Hanks plays some rich old fucker who one day discovers these Cocoons in his pool. He gets in the pool and then BAM! He’s doing cartwheels or some shit like that. We’ll get him to run up and down a giant keyboard that lights up.

 

Isn’t that from Big?

Oh yeah, that’s where it comes from. Fuck it, we’ll say it’s a fun homage. He then becomes involved with a secret, mask-wearing sex cult as he goes through a crisis of confidence in his own marriage.

 

That’s just ripping off Eyes Wide Shut. Surely?

HOMAGE! HOMAGE, HOMAGE, HOMAGE!


The Cocoon reboot starts filming next month.

WAS STANLEY KUBRICK MURDERED?

LONDON – A new book asks the question: Was Stanley Kubrick murdered?

Stanley Kubrick‘s life was surrounded by a miasma of legend and rumor. His films are the rich breeding ground for OCD analysis, OCD analysis and some more OCD analysis; and now his death has become the subject of  a new book by Hardy Mantellance – Who Killed Stanley Kubrick?

The Stanley Kubrick scholar claims that the Spartacus director was done in by a fatal confluence of Masonic Satanism, poison and an unbalanced man who had been fatally damaged by watching Barry Lyndon every night for eighteen years. 

I spoke to Hardy Mantellance in her West London home. 

Stanley Kubrick suffered a myocardial infarction in his sleep shortly after completing Eyes Wide Shut. A myocardial infarction is relatively simple to provoke with the use of poison. Who do we know who uses poisons in all his films and had a deadly rivalry with Stanley Kubrick?  Steven Spielberg.

But Spielberg was Stanley Kubrick’s friend!

Until they began to develop the script for AI together, at which point a deadly enmity grew between them over the creative disagreement. Kubrick wanted to make a ‘good film’. After Kubrick’s death no one was there to stop Spielberg from making a ‘bad film’, exactly as he had always wanted.   

So you’re accusing Oscar winner Steven Spielberg of murder?

That’s what they want you to think.

Who’s they?

The Saturn Death Cult who Kubrick had so brilliantly exposed in Eyes Wide Shut. The Saturn Death Cult are a secret group made up of the elite from business, politics and celebrity. They perform ritual sex orgies which culminate in human sacrifice and their members include that old enemy of Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson.

What?

The night Kubrick died Nicholson was overheard to say at a Lakers game, ‘We did it!’ At the time people thought he was referring to the Lakers victory, but it was only afterwards some right minded folk realised he was actually referring to the successful conspiracy to do away with the man who had forced Nicholson to say ‘Here’s Johnny!’ 78 times, even though his name is actually Jack.

So Nicholson murdered Kubrick?

Ha ha, how innocent you are! But ask yourself this, if Nicholson killed Kubrick, why was Nicole Kidman unable to contain her tears on the Eyes Wide Shut featurette?

Because she was sad at the passing of a man she admired.

Those were tears of joy. Following the orders of her Svengali like husband – Tom Cruise – whose own religious cult Scientology had just signed a pact with the Saturn Death Cult worth billions of dollars, Nicole Kidman had baked some cupcakes which were laced with a powerful chemical provided by Steven Spielberg and concocted in his ‘Temple of Doom’ laboratory deep in the Hollywood hills and placed in a Tupperware container bought from a Kmart by Jack Nicholson on the twenty fifth anniversary of the Apollo moon landings, moon landings which were faked convincingly by Stanley Kubrick who was as a reward given the right to make any film he liked, even Barry Lyndon.

The fact would be exposed in Capricorn One directed by Peter Hyams, whose silence was bought by being given the apparently peach job of making a sequel to 2001: a Space Odyssey, but the peach proved to be a poison apple and the film – 2010: the Year We Make Contact – was a critical disaster. Hyams (who grew up two doors down from Ryan O’Neal) spent the rest of his life watching Barry Lyndon on a loop and plotting revenge, a revenge that was only made possible by a coincidental meeting with Malcolm McDowell, the actor made famous by A Clockwork Orange, but who Stanley Kubrick had humiliated when he once, June 7th, 1978, asked if Malcolm had lost any weight, knowing full well that Malcolm had not. 

So Peter Hyams, Malcolm McDowell, Steven Spielberg, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, the Church of Scientology,  Jack Nicholson and the Satan Death Cult all conspired to kill Stanley Kubrick?

It would be comforting to think so, wouldn’t it? But the truth is actually a lot darker. Shelley Duvall…

At this point my recording device cut out and the rest of the interview is lost. Coincidence? I don’t know. 

Hardy Mantellance’s Who Killed Stanley Kubrick? is available from Amazon and all good book stores.

47 FILMS: 31. BAD TIMING

In our continuing series of 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams, we look at Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing.

Nicolas Roeg along with John Boorman and Ken Russell were the most active and fascinating filmmakers to come out of the British Isles during the 70s. Roeg was a former cinematographer whose credits included Doctor Zhivago and The Masque of the Red Death before he turned his hand to direction with the co-directed the gender-bending meditation on crime, stardom and identity Performance. His fragmented editing style and brutal frankness made provocative and exciting cinema in an unbelievable run of films that included Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth and Walkabout. Each film gnawed at the very idea of what it means to be human. Roeg was the antithesis of the Chariots of Fire school of prestige English cinema. His films are not scared of being ugly when looking at ugliness, but it is this clear-eyed courage which makes the moments of beauty and tenderness all the more meaningful.

Bad Timing comes at the end of a wonderful decade for Roeg but it wasn’t an easy decade despite the work produced (actually because of it). Performance was delayed for three years while Warner Bros struggled with what to do about it. Each film involved a battle with the studio, but the work would out. Taking its inspiration from an unread Italian novel, Bad Timing is the story of an unraveling toxic relationship. Dr. Alex Linden (Art Garfunkel) is a psychoanalyst who lectures at the university in Austria, and Milena Flaherty (Theresa Russell) is a beautiful young woman drifting through Vienna, enjoying her alcohol and her various lusts. She is recently separated from her Czech husband (Denholm Elliott). Alex does some spying on the side and when he meets Milena, he seems to have found his perfect subject. The cold repressed scientist however starts to fragment as he is unable to handle Milena striking demands, her sexuality and his own jealousy. He tries to possess her with a proposal of marriage, something she seems to ignore completely: ‘But I’m happy now,’ she says.

Their relationship is played out in flashback against the long midnight of the soul of Milena’s attempted suicide. Harvey Kietel is a police detective who is trying yo piece together the chronology of the night’s events, suspecting that Alex has raped Milena while she was comatose from her drug overdose. The Bad Timing of the title is a dark joke, about as dark as you can get. The two main timelines allows Roeg to inter-cut the most disconcerting conjunctions – sex with a tracheotomy, orgasm with the operating room, love with a vaginal swab. Romantic love is shredded by sharp need.

The editing doesn’t just make connections, it evokes the untouchable distances between times, episodes, moments – the gaps, the interstices through which what we had disappears. Stanley Kubrick would explore the same themes in his adaptation of a story by the Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler, Eyes Wide Shut, but Roeg’s vision feels much more uncomfortable, less glossy and detached, more naked and vulnerable.

On a side note, the soundtrack features on eclectic mix of jazz, classical and rock with Keith Jarrett and Tom Waits suggesting the yearning that makes this film so moving even at its most brutal. The studio Rank were so appalled by Roeg’s movie they had their famous logo removed from the cut and famously described it as ‘a sick film made by sick people for sick people’. In other words, this is one for us.

For more of our 47 Films series CLICK HERE.

47 FILMS: 17. EYES WIDE SHUT

In our continuing series of 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams, we look at Stanley Kubrick’s last picture Eyes Wide Shut.

Stan Kubrick was lazy. He should have churned out a film every three years but instead he spent the decade between 1987 and 1997 sat in an armchair watching QVC and eating bread and butter pudding.

Finally in 1997 he was on his way to the bathroom with a horse racing form guide and a fresh toilet roll when it occurred to him that the churning sensation in his guts was not the prelude to a bowel movement but the compulsion to make a movie. Hence, Eyes Wide Shut was born. A film that on its original release was violated by critics and slammed in the press for its explicit sex scenes and general all round dullness. “Kubrick’s latest film is terrible,” the headlines cried and everyone signed a petition to get him thrown in the Tower of London.

Sadly, before his public trial Stanley passed away and suddenly the reviews were less harsh. “Kubrick’s last film is all okay” the headlines cried and all the critics felt better about themselves, the world continued spinning and Eyes Wide Shut was only spoken about again in hushed whispers in public lavatories.

For many the problem is Tom Cruise. They seem unable to buy him as the curious Doctor who stumbles into a parallel universe of masonic rituals and general weirdness but Kubrick cast Cruise and indeed Kidman for a reason. At the time they were the most recognisable and powerful couple in Hollywood and it’s difficult for an audience to separate them from their characters. So to convince the pair to dissect their marriage on-screen not only proves the sway of Kubrick, but also the artistic bravery of Cruise and Kidman.

Of course being a Kubrick picture everything is beautifully shot, exquisitely lit and the soundtrack is near on perfect but in a film about masks, it’s not what we see on the surface, it’s what’s lurking underneath. The film is Stanley’s comment on a world he has undoubtedly experienced, a world where no matter how powerful you think you are or how much you think you know, there are always more powerful people who know more than you. You get the distinct impression Kubrick is trying to reveal something, using film as a medium to lift a veil on how the upper echelons of society live and what goes on behind their gilded gates.

Conspiracy theories have been buzzing around the internet for years with strange stories of how Stanley was whacked by the secret society he exposed and although there is no evidence for such a seemingly preposterous theory. Something about the film is unsettlingly real and makes you wonder how much truth is hidden in the fiction. Also when you consider it never received a single nomination in all the big awards ceremonies of that year; you wonder if the subject matter was a little too close to home for the power brokers and aristocrats of the movie industry.

For more of our 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams CLICK HERE.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT STANLEY KUBRICK

HOLLYWOOD – Stanley Kubrick still continues to have a massive influence on the world of Cinema today, but what do we really know about the director who brought us the Monolith, wrote Singing in the Rain and always directed films with his Eyes Wide Shut?

The Studio Exec FACT squad was sent to the archives to find out everything there is to know about the reclusive genius called Stanley Kubrick and this is what they found.

1. Stanley Kubrick probably wasn’t murdered (CLICK HERE for the theory). Although there have been many theories about his sudden demise, including ideas about the Illuminati being angry about Eyes Wide Shut revealing their secrets, the cause of Stanley Kubrick’s death look like being entirely natural.

2. Stanley Kubrick first made his name as a photographer in New York for Time Magazine among others. He first got the idea to become a movie director when he was holding a bunch of photographs together that he had just developed and by flipping through them saw that he had in fact invented cinema. Disconcerted that he was about fifty years too late, he decided to do the next best thing and reinvent it as a film director. He started filming noirish crime thrillers, but soon turned his attention to Lolita which he mistakenly believed to be porn. Ironically the same thing would happen on three more occasions with Spartacus, Dr. Strangelove and Barry Lyndon.

3. All Stanley Kubrick’s films are based on novels or short stories, even though Stanley himself couldn’t read or write and even had to have basic concepts such as ‘handle’, ‘discotheque’ and ‘cheese cake’ described to him by kindly friends. To choose a project Kubrick would cover himself in marmalade and have assistants throw novels at him until one stuck to his marmalade smeared body: hence the Hollywood phrase ‘Marmalade debate’. The Clockwork Orange was chosen because as a thin book – almost a novella – it lodged between his buttocks having been thrown like a Shuriken by Anthony Burgess himself.

4. 2001: a Space Odyssey was initially supposed to have much more dialogue and a voice-over, explaining the plot and the scientific background to the film, but Arthur C. Clarke had a very annoying voice and it was replaced at the last minute by classical music. The speaking monkeys from the first fifteen minutes of the movie were also scrapped and this footage has long been sought, as legendary as the Dr. Strangelove custard pie fight and the famous Full Metal Jacket animated sequence where Matthew Modine sings about Indochina to a bunch of curious chipmunks, later the inspiration for Alvin and the Chipmunks.

5. Stanley Kubrick invented the beard. Prior to Kubrick men could grow mustaches that they weaved under their chins to create the illusion of beardedness, or they used back hair brought forward, if they had no mustaches. Kubrick was given beard growing technology by NASA as a thank you present for faking the moon landing film. They also helped him film The Shining by providing him with real ghosts.

For more FACTS click HERE.

47 FILMS: 4. SOCIETY

More 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams. This episode we delve into the disturbing body horror classic ‘Society’.

We all know that the upper echelons of society are populated by giant lizards in disguise that feast on the poor and have a secret base in the centre of the earth. I learnt that at school and sure my history teacher was later sent to an asylum after frying his brain with acid and walking into Starbucks wearing a tin foil hat and a beard of bees, but that doesn’t mean what he taught me wasn’t true.

The writer/director of Society Brian Yuzna obviously had a similar education to myself but in his version the rich are not reptiles but shape-shifting sexual deviants who hold flesh gorging orgies in their posh Beverly Hills mansions.

If you’ve seen it, you will never forget it. Firstly, because it features some of the most strange and grotesque scenes in cinema history and a man with a face in his ass to boot. Secondly, because there is a tinge of deviant eroticism that could ruin you for life. And thirdly, it’s one of the best satires of the American class system and the 1980s culture of excess.

Think of it as a low-budget Cronenberg version of Kubrick’s criminally underrated Eyes Wide Shut but in the world of Society,Tom Cruise would have been pulled inside out and devoured by the masked masons.

Oh, and if you find yourself wondering just how sick Brian Yuzna’s mind is, it’s worth knowing that he wrote the screenplay for an obscure little film called ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’.

For more of our 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams Click HERE.

WATCH TOLLYWOOD EYES WIDE SHUT REMAKE

MUMBAI – A new Tollywood version of Eyes Wide Shut is perhaps the most terrifying thing you’ll ever see.

Made in 1998, the Telugu film (also known as Tollywood) Adavi Donga stars superstar Chiranjeevi.

The film was directly inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s posthumous classic Eyes Wide Shut. Many believe that it is superior to the Nicole Kidman – Tom Cruise psycho-sexual drama, altohugh there are references to all of Stanley Kubrick’s major works, including 2001: a Space Odyssey, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon.

 

RIAN JOHNSON WILL SEX UP STAR WARS

HOLLYWOOD – Speaking EXCLUSIVELY to the Studio Exec, Rian Johnson revealed he will be sexing up Star Wars in his new stand alone movie.

Sex has always been a subject of some reticence in the Star Wars universe – from Princess Leia’s taped nipples to the dangers of incest – but all that is to change in Rian Johnson’s stand alone Star Wars film which the Looper director has declared is going to be ‘wall-to-wall copulation.’

Star Wars for me was a very adolescent discovery. I was into it as a boy and then going through puberty I started to ask questions, imagine things, situations, sexy situations if you will, on Jabba the Hutt’s slave barge for instance or slithering about in the trash compactor. Huh, huh.

Wow! So how is this going to effect the new film?

When I first talked to Kathleen [Kennedy, the producer] about the  film, she said she wanted my version to be the first NC-17 Star Wars picture. We talked about the various sexual fantasies we had about the Star Wars universe and she gave me carte very blanche.

So the story?

The story I can’t tell you too much about, except to say that I spent a lot of time re-watching Paul Verhoeven’s  Showgirls. As for the rest of it, we are going to have a sexy cantina scene. The Imperial Court is a bit like that scene in Eyes Wide Shut. And there are other uses for Droids which will finally reveal what we really mean when we talk about a ‘protocol droid’.

Star Wars: The Force Arouses will be released in 2016.

 

TERRENCE MALICK: KUBRICK? WHO HE?

Our regular columnist Terrence Malick considers the work of director Stanley Kubrick.

Yo! Yo! YO! From the M to the A to the L to the I … this is too long. It’s me, Malick T. Your favourite Director/MC. Bringing da noise for da girls and da boys, for da bitches and hos there’re strong female characters I suppose. Yo Yo YO!

So everybody be talking about this dude Q-Brick, like he some kinda God, like he da man and everything. Well, I don’t know bout dat. I done watch his punk ass films and I gotta tell you dey were rank. Take Dr. Strangelove. Supposed to be a Goddam porno, asshole don’t even bother getting out of his wheelchair to till the last shot! What’s up with dat?

2001: a Space Odyssey looks nothing like 2001. A Clockwork Orange, I was thinking aw, nice, a children’s film. It’s just a bunch of Goddam rape. And The Shining? The Shining? If ever a film needed J.J. Abrams’ magic touch it was The Shining.

 
No, I don’t get it. Q-Brick had a beard. I get it. But making films? No dice pal. Whenever one comes on the TV my Eyes are Wide Closed motherfckers! You feel me?
 
For more of Terrence Malick inimitable wisdom, click here.

3 ‘NEW’ KUBRICK FILMS TO BE RELEASED

LONDON – Three brand new Stanley Kubrick films are due to be released in the next five years, according to film producer and long-time Kubrick collaborator Jan Harlan.

The films – which have been prepared from the thousands of feet of unused footage and using earlier drafts of scripts – will officially be credited to Kubrick as director. Jan Harlan, who was also Mr. Kubrick’s brother-in-law, spoke exclusively to the Studio Exec:

Stanley always shot enough footage for every film to make two or three films on top of the one released. Many of these shots were simply repetitions of the same scenes, with slight variations. But some of this footage represented a wildly different version which can be pieced together into what is effectively a different film. Three films in fact.

The films to be released are: 

1. The Shindig: Reconstructed from an earlier draft of the classic Stephen King horror novel, The Shindig comes from the alternative takes Stanley Kubrick made Jack Nicholson do of The Shining in a lilting Irish accent.

JH: ‘The Shindig really is a delightful family comedy in which Jack O’Torrance arranges a party for all the old ghosts and magical topiary animals, helped by his son Danny and his invisible friend Tony, played by Frank Oz. It will challenge the views of everyone who thought of Kubrick as a pessimist.’

 2. Barry Rock On: The Thackery novel was originally filmed as a stellar rock opera, but after some abysmal test screenings, Kubrick got cold feet and took out all the songs, replacing them with a dour Michael Horden voice over.

JH: ‘BRO is wonderful 18th Century Rock Opera and a testament to its times, with performances by Shakin’ Stevens, Abba, The Sweet and Queen, who reused the theme song from the film ‘Barry (Saviour of the Universe)’ for the Flash theme.’

 3. Eyes Wide Open: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman play self-made millionaires and private detectives Jonathan and Jennifer Hart who one winter in New York, find themselves in the midst of a conspiracy.

JH: ‘The funny thing here is our Hart to Hart reboot, the one you’ll see now, was the actual film Stanley intended to release, and therefore would have been his last film. However, Stanley had never acquired the rights, assuming he would get them later. When the film was complete, it turned out that Robert Wagner bitterly hated Stanley because he thought A Clockwork Orange wasn’t violent enough. With a deadline looming, Stanley had to re-cut the film and obfuscate or eliminate any reference to Hart to Hart, all in a mere two weeks, which explains the weirdness that Eyes Wide Shut became.  

For more Kubrick news click HERE.

UNSEEN KUBRICK TO GET BLU RAY RELEASE


LONDON – A previously unseen Stanley Kubrick film is to be released on Blu Ray next month in a version restored by his friend and colleague Steven Spielberg.

Napoleon Bonaparte was filmed in 1978 and made use of a lot of the costumes and research he had undertaken for Barry Lyndon which was released in 1976 and proved a box office disappointment for Kubrick and Warner Bros. Roger Moore plays the Corsican artillery officer who went on to create his own version of the Europe Union.

Film Historian at the BFI Jerky Watsfisshat said they were delighted at the condition the film was in.

It was made in strict secrecy as was typical of Kubrick’s working methods, and the production was plagued by Kubrick’s own obsession with historical accuracy. He had always been disappointed with Spartacus, and especially the battle scenes. He said they weren’t realistic. ‘You can tell they’re just acting dead,’ he said. And so when he came to film the Battle of Austerlitz he ordered the provision of fresh cadavers. His crew were ordered to tune into police radio and try to get to car accidents before the police collect the mangled bodies, costume them and then distribute them liberally about the location.   

Giuseppe Alongo – Kubrick’s personal ice cream maker and barber – recalls:

Kubrick was not happy with Moore. He always had the idea of casting insipid wooden actors who he could manipulate as he had Ryan O’Neal and he would later with Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut. But Roger Moore had just completed Live and Let Die and he wouldn’t stop being James Bond. His first line in the film he changed to ‘The Names Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte. 

Film critic Anthony Donby relates his own view of the film:

The film is a lost masterpiece. Moore is obviously miscast, but he gives us a suave Emperor of some subtlety, whereas Hattie Jacques as Josephine is comic genius. Leonard Rossiter as Wellington likewise plays the piece for laughs. The battle scenes are truly exceptional with the real dead people making for genuine horror at the bloodiness of Napoleonic conflict.

The Blu Ray Napoleon Bonaparte will be available on Xmas day 2013.