NORTH BY NORTHWEST REMAKE GREENLIT

HOLLYWOOD – Hot on the tails of the To Catch A Thief remake announcement, Hollywood once again proves you can’t have too much of a good thing. Paramount Studios have announced the creation of the Hitchcock Extended Universe. The next film will be a North By Northwest remake to star Ryan Reynolds and Amy Schumer. The Exec spoke with Denise Fahrtknocker, Head of PR at Paramount about the North By Northwest remake.

Denise, What Gave You The Idea To Remake Such Beloved Classics?

Money. We were sat around in our gold-lined giant hot tub in Malibu worrying that we didn’t have enough cash because it’ll be months before Tom shits out another Mission Impossible. It was then after several Martinis and lines of coke that the idea hit me. Hitchcock! We can cash in on Hitchcock.

Aren’t You Worried A North By Northwest Remake Has Little Artistic Value?

Artistic what? You talk real funny for someone who’s so fucking poor. Did you know that? Look, we don’t need artistic-whatever-the-fuck-you-said, because we got a great cast. They’re so talented and committed to the project, we think they’re going to surprise a lot of nay-sayers out there.

Who Are They?

Ryan Reynolds and Amy Schumer, that’s who. Ryan will be playing the Cary Grant role and Amy will play the Eva Marie Saint role. Sounds like dynamite, don’t it?

Who Will Play The Villains?

I’m glad you asked me that. We got Jesse Plemons in the Martin Landau role, because he’s kinda funny looking in his own way. And we got Alan Rickman playing the James Mason role. Who could be better to give us that mid-Atlantic, villainous charm? Nobody, that’s who.

But Alan Rickman Is Dead.

Yeah? Ok, fuck-it. We’ll get Gary Oldman. He’ll play any old villain as long as there’s enough green to be had. Who gives a shit.

The North By Northwest Remake Goes Into Production Shortly

JESSE PLEMONS ON BOARD FOR GOOD MATT DAMON HUNTING

HOLLYWOOD – Friday Night Lights and Breaking Bad star Jesse Plemons has signed on to play Matt Damon.

Jesse Plemons to star in the upcoming Gus Van Sant film Good Matt Damon Hunting, documenting the behind the scenes tensions which launched Matt Damon’s career.

Plemons spoke of his approach to the role EXCLUSIVELY to Studio Exec:

Throughout my career people have said to me that I resemble Damon. Add to this the fact I’ve studied Damon. I watch what he does in Ocean’s 13 and I take notes. I study The Informant! and he blows me away. So to go back to where it all began is almost like an actor’s pilgrimage for me. 

Gus Van Sant, who directed the 1997 drama from a script by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, commented:

My career has always been one for the studio, one for me. Good Will Hunting despite being my most critically and commercially successful film was for the studio. And so is this one. 

What insight can we expect to see into the making of a modern day classic?

 None. None whatsoever. What insight did you want?

Kenneth Branagh will be play the role of Robin Williams and Chris Pine is currently in talks to take on the Ben Affleck role, scotching rumors that Affleck would appear as himself following huge internet backlash.

Good Matt Damon Hunting will be released in 2020.   

SUNDANCE BURIED UNDER AVALANCHE

UTAH – Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival – the forum for American Independent Cinema – has tragically been buried under a massive avalanche.

The avalanche began at two o’clock this afternoon in Park city after a showing of the new Jesse Plemons film Other People. The applause was not necessarily a factor, a spokesperson for the police said, ‘but it can’t have helped.’

What you have to understand that up here in the mountains, in January, there is an awful lot of snow and what with people enthusing about the latest Barack Obama – Michele Obama film, or that new film by the guy who did Broken Circle Breakdown, the queuing and the general chatter, something is going to give at some point. It isn’t like it is necessarily someone’s fault but it usually is.

Over 15 thousand people are thought to be buried in the snow and many film critics and film makers who for some reason were unable to go to Sundance have said things like ‘Oh well’ and ‘I hope they’re all okay’, while barely disguising delighted smiles.

Late news came in that a large group of directors, execs and critics have survived the avalanche in some strange air bubble/ice cathedral. Led by Werner Herzog, they have immediately sprung into action and started filming a whimsical documentary about their imminent deaths.

Sundance will continue until next week.

FARGO AND THE WOMEN

FARGO – What is it with Fargo Season 2 and the women?

Season 2 of the hit FX show Fargo just concluded and the praise received if anything exceeded the first season, which itself had come as a surprise. And yet there was something that disturbed me throughout my viewing of Noah Hawley’s intelligent crime drama: namely the women. I remarked on this in my mid-season review (CLICK HERE to read that) and my perplexity only increased as the show went on. A brilliant essay by Kat George for the Decider website posited the absolute opposite of what I’m going to argue here (read that OVER HERE), so first I better concede some points. First off, Fargo gives women a central role. This is the core of the Coen brother’s original motion picture with Frances McDormand’s  Marge Gunderson, a down to earth police woman whose apparent simplicity firm moral rectitude and sharp investigative nous. The first season we got a riff on that with Allison Tolman’s Deputy Molly Solverson. And season two has a quartet of major female characters, all of whom are intelligently written, well performed and move the narrative: Kirsten Dunst as Peggy, Jean Smart as Floyd Gerhardt a would be matriarch of the local crime family, Betsy Solverson (Cristin Milioti) the Sheriff’s ailing wife and Rachel Keller as Simone Gerhardt, Floyd’s granddaughter, a would be femme fetale. In the first episode we get a taste of the strong women when a young Gerhardt tries to prove himself by threatening Judge Mundt (Ann Cusack). Her refusal to concede to the male bluster and her resistance is part of what sets off the chain of events that will unravel throughout the rest of the show – Peggy gives the coup de grace driving her deus ex machina – but it should also be noted that she ends up dead. This is a world not kind to strong women. Not kind to anyone, it might be conceded.

So let’s take the Gerhardt’s next. The ‘would be’s a stuck on there are essential here. Floyd and Simone are both responding to and trying to best the patriarchal mob family from opposite ends of the spectrum – Simone is trying to betray it from without and Floyd take it over from within. And they both fail dramatically. Kat George describes Floyd as a ‘rousing, formidable woman’ but there’s not much evidence of this. This is what she would be, but her only moment of anything like control is when she orders a massacre. All her other decisions end in failure and her sons systematically undermine her. As does her granddaughter whose inept betrayals and manipulations show her as naive and easily manipulated.

Next comes Peggy. The hair dresser with a butcher for a husband and a yen for self-improvement (actualization) is the narrative catalyst that just keeps on giving. George describes her as ‘the puppeteer’. However, giving her power as the lead agent fails to see that her agency is fatally compromised by her mental illness. As the hallucinations in the final episode make clear, Peggy is delusional. Diagnosing her is a tricky task, partly because mental health is always at the behest of narrative in such cases but also because she is the re-enactment of that old misogynistic stereotype – the hysterical blue stocking. Her dissatisfaction and yearning for self-improvement is part and parcel of her madness, hoarding travel and beauty magazines and hallucinating lifestyle gurus. In the final episode we have replay of the scene from the original movie when Marge confronts the main criminal Gaear (Peter Stormare) through a rear view mirror conversation in the police prowler. Her interrogation of the silent banal evil sat on her back seat reveals his smallness, his cupidity in stark relief to her basic un-cynical decency – it is the moral core of the film. The gender roles reversed, it is Patrick Wilson’s police officer Lou Solverson who asks the questions and Peggy who gives a passionate feminist reading of the whole situation – the constrictions of small town life, the limitations and criticisms and surveillance a woman is subject to, her inability to become who she really thinks she should be. ‘People got killed,’ Solverson reminds her. All her problems in the context of the dead bodies reads as a petty complaint of a desperate and desperately selfish housewife, whose delusions led to the death of her doltish but basically good husband (Jesse Plemons).

But Lou is not the only person to give a rebuttal to Peggy and her concerns. His wife Betsy is the counterpoint to all of the women striving to dominate their men, striving to realize themselves. Of her, George writes: Betsy ‘is just as threatening to her world as Floyd and Simone were to theirs, or as Peggy is to the world at large. Betsy has mastered the men in her world, managing to be smart, biting, motherly and gentle all at once.’ So mastery has come through being an uncomplaining, saintly, self-sacrificing, self-abnegating mother and housewife? She masters the men by doing the dishes? By waiting patiently at home, dying quietly while her husband does everything he can not to come back, under the guise of duty? Sure she finds the gun and dispenses stern advice to the town drunk, but all this only secures her in the one role that women are allowed to flourish in. She is a matriarch and not without power, but the matriarch is not necessarily a woman who opposes male power; much of the time they facilitate it – the woman who gets to boss the other women in how best to look after their men.

I get that Fargo is set in the mid-West in a nascent Reaganite America. This is a small town conservative homeliness pitted against the forces of darkness, the interlopers – blacks and native Americans, or just people from Kansas city. It is hard to unpick where that conservative world view is being satirized or lionized – a stickiness that is crucial to the appeal of the source film as well as the TV show. But women, at least in my ledger, seem to get the worst of it. They are mad, bad and dangerous to know on one side, or saintly, motherly and imminently dead on the other. And although misogynists all got short shrift as well – ‘You have a woman problem,’ hisses Dodd Gerhardt, the worst offender – one can’t help but feel the show comes down very much on one side – the Nancy Reagans rather than the second wave feminists.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Use that l’il ole comment box below.

For more Fargo, Click Here.