DAVID FINCHER’S MANK SCREENPLAY LEAK

HOLLYWOOD – The screenplay for David Fincher’s Mank leaked on the internet yesterday.

Yesterday’s leak of David Fincher’s Mank screenplay sent shockwaves through the world. Everyone was like: ‘What the fuck is this?’ but only the Studio Exec has the cojones to actually publish any of it.

Here’s the opening:

EXT: ORSON WELLES’ BUNGALOW. LA. NIGHT

We go through the the gate then the window. Ominous music. 

INT: ORSON WELLES? BUNGALOW. LA. NIGHT

A man lies on the bed. It is Orson Welles. He is dying. CLOSE UP: Lips.

WELLES

(Whispering)

Se7en…. se7en. 

He knocks a snow globe to the floor and expires. CGI tracking shot into the snow globe. Title sequence. Music: DAFT PUNK.

CUT TO:

IN. SCREENING ROOM. DAY. 

Mank and Orson Welles are arguing. 

WELLES

I’ve read your screenplay Mank and I have to say it’s brilliant. 

MANK

Thank you.

WELLES

The serial killer who bases his murders on the seven deadly sins and the whole thing takes place in a week. Amazing work. 

MANK

That’s great Orson. When do we begin to shoot?

WELLES

We don’t.

MANK

We don’t? Why not?

WELLES

Because it is too good. How dare I make such a genre defining film? Me a mere a beginner. Someday a director will come along, a director who likes inserts and dour lighting and he will make this amazing film. 

MANK

Okay then, but Fight Club…

WELLES

Ditto on Fight Club I’m afraid. And The Game. 

MANK

There’s this F. Scott Fitzgerald story I’ve been to look at.

WELLES

No I need something that will fit my talents. Great, prodigious indeed, but not as great as  the director who will come and who knows? might even make a film of this our conversation. 

FADE TO BLACK:  

 

HIDDEN GEMS: 24. THE THIRD MAN

Hidden Gems brings to light little known film gems which have somehow slipped through the collective cinematic consciousness. This week the Viennese thriller ‘The Third Man’. You’re welcome.

The end of the Second World War and Europe is in a state this is the setting for Carol Reed’s 1949 noir The Third Man, one of the finest films directed by a woman. Joseph Cotton stars as Holly Martins, an American crime novelist out of his depth in war time Vienna. He arrives hoping for a job from his old pal Harry Lime only to find that someone has murdered Lime and the authorities suspect Lime of criminal racketeering. He has also left behind a girlfriend Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli) who Martins begins to fall for.

Suspecting that not all is as it seems, Martins decides to investigate. But the murky reality is not what he banked on.

Scripted by Graham Greene and with a scene stealing supporting role by Orson Welles, The Third Man deserves to be much better known than it is. However, sexism meant that Carol Reed’s film found only a small audience and was critically mauled. She even tried pretending to be a Hungarian man, a subterfuge referenced by the lead characters sexually ambiguous first name, but to no avail. Some have claimed that the interminable zither music also played a part in the film’s lack of popularity.

However, The Third Man is truly a gem. The brilliant impressionistic photography and the shadow play links thematically with a world of mixed loyalties and betrayal. This is a Europe that is at once gorgeous but doomed and uncertain. The victory of the Second World War marks the end of moral certainty. The characters find themselves lost in a maze they don’t even recognise.

So if you’ve never heard of it – and few have – do yourself a cinematic favor and get a copy. With whip smart writing,superb acting and a supporting cast – Trevor Howard, Bernard Lee and Wilfrid Hyde-White – of truly memorable magnificence, The Third Man deserves belated recognition. Also you don’t need to see the prequels The First Man or The Second Man, which are inferior.

For more Hidden Gems CLICK HERE.

SIR EDWIN FLUFFER RECALLS ORSON WELLES

HOLLYWOOD – Survivor from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Sir Edwin Fluffer, reflects on the man Hollywood used to call ‘the intellectual’s Fatty Artbuckle’: Orson Welles.

Returning home from a weekend’s scuba diving with dear old Charles Laughton, I was overjoyed to find a new script waiting for me on the doormat.  Actors can be superstitious old buggers at times, and I’m afraid that I’m just as bad as the rest of them.  Gary Cooper would always insist on doing his initial read through standing on one leg. We used to call him The Stork, until a nasty fall meant he had to have a hip replaced.
 
The first thing that I do when presented with any screenplay is to have a good look at the title:  always have done and always will do! The title will often give you invaluable clues as to what the picture is actually called, and it’s not at all unusual for the name of the film and what it’s called to be exactly the same.  The next thing I do is look to see if Anne Baxter’s in it, and if she is I throw it in the bin! Better to be safe than sorry! After that I may pop out for a quick drink, and the next time I look at the script isn’t until the first day of shooting. Spencer Tracy would spend literally minutes going over his lines, and I personally believe this robbed his performances of all their spontaneity. 
 
The majority of actors, directors, producers and crews I’ve worked with don’t really agree with me on this point, but like I always tell them, you can’t rush perfection. Anyway, this particular script actually looked quite promising. It was called Citizen Kane which I thought was a great title and Anne Baxter wasn’t in it, so that was a bonus! Unfortunately the weekend scuba diving had left me with a nasty case of the bends so I had to pass, and as far as I know the picture never got made.  It was a terrible shame as I’d been led to believe that in one scene Agnes Moorhead would do a dance number with some of the Smurfs, but that’s another story…

For more Fluffer please be so good as to CLICK HERE.

MACBETH – REVIEW

MACBETH – REVIEW: Michael Fassbender murky, mumbling and murderous Scottish noble mucks about in the mist.

Justin Kurzel – of Snowtown fame – directs a new adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. Already creditably served by an Orson Welles version and Rom Polanski’s bloody take, Kurzel’s Macbeth is a beautifully rendered piece of out and out gloom. Set in the cold forbidding boglands of Scotland and in a period aggressively Dark Aged, Fassbender is the Laird who, with the goading of Witches and wife (Marion Cotillard), decides to hasten his upward mobility with some judicious well placed stabbing.

If there is one criticism, it might be that the film is utterly drained of humor – the Porter scene (never actually funny, truth be told) being cut – and so is effectively a one note piece, a drone that is matched by the percussive, internal organ liquidating soundtrack. And yet like the music, it also holds a hypnotic power as blood is waded through and ambition leads to atrocity and on to destruction. Fassbender’s troubled soldier descends into madness and the whole world seems so consumed by blood, violence, sound and fury, that even the possibility of goodness seems to have had its throat cut late one moonless night.

The performances are all suitably intense, the direction and photography stylish, but it’s the screenplay that really deserves some praise. This guy can write.

For more Reviews, Click Here.

GEORGE LUCAS ANNOUNCES CITIZEN KANE 2

HOLLYWOOD – George Lucas today revealed that Citizen Kane 2 will be the first feature to be produced by his new project, In Space Productions.

Word has been flying around the industry for years that Lucas had been rabidly buying up film rights, with Adam Sandler’s back catalogue alone rumoured to have cost him in the region of $100 million dollars.

In Space have also signed a veritable who’s who of directors to helm their upcoming pictures with the likes of; Francis Ford Coppola, Alexander Payne, Michael Haneke and Woody Allen officially confirmed.

We spoke to George earlier today and asked him what we can expect from his new venture.

 

George, what can expect from this new venture?

Basically, In Space will remake old movies and set them in a different environment.

 

Such as?

Well, space, predominantly.

I see. So what inspired you to take this bold new direction?

I figured the Star Wars films are popular and they are set in space so it was kind of a no-brainer.

 

Interesting. I assume you have a list of films you plan to make over the coming years. Can you reveal what some of those titles are?

Sure. First up will be Citizen Kane in Space. Bruce Willis will play Kane, I’ll direct. Next up we have The Godfather in Space which is Coppola’s baby. We’re considering a CGI Marlon Brando in that but we need to get the go ahead from his estate. What else…Alexander Payne is doing the Wedding Singer in Space, Haneke Irreversible in Space and Woody is keen on remaking Annie Hall in Space.

 

Annie Hall in Space?

Yeah Woody has got this great idea. He’ll play a neurotic jewish astronaut and Diane Keaton will be his kooky robot love interest.

 

Amazing stuff. What else have you got lined up?

Well I’ve been talking to Judd Apatow about doing Dirty Dancing in Space and Hugh Jackman is working with a few writers to try and get a Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in Space off the ground. It’s early days though, and we’ve had so many people who have contacted us with ideas. It’s a matter of sifting through them and deciding what will work.

 

What about your old buddy Steven Spielberg. Will he be involved in some capacity?

I doubt it. I approached Steve and asked him if he’d be interested in making a Schindler’s List in Space but he got all offended and said it was morally wrong. Hopefully he’ll come around though as we recently received a great script for The Color Purple in Space which I ‘d love him to direct.

 

Exciting times George. Many Thanks

No problem.

 

Citizen Kane in Space’ is due for release in 2017

HIDDEN GEMS: 1. CITIZEN KANE

The first in a news series bringing to light little known filmic gems and rarities that have somehow managed to slip through the collective cinematic consciousness. You’re welcome. 

1. Citizen Kane
 
Made in 1941, this ‘black and white’ film (as they were known) was the cinematic debut of renowned radio actor Orson Welles.
Although largely forgotten today, Orson Welles was quite the celebrity in his time, not only for his many talents as an actor and director, but also for his uncanny ability of eating all the pies and leaving nothing for his then wife Rita Hayworth.
The film sketches a posthumous portrait [SPOILER ALERT for that] of a Rupert Murdoch like media mogul – based apparently on someone called Hearst – whose rise to power leads to loneliness, obesity and morbid nostalgia. Now this might not sound appealing, but don’t worry, it really is worth a watch.
Why? Well, for one thing it’s told in a jigsaw mess of contradictory narrators as an anonymous reporter seeks the meaning of Kane’s last word ‘Rosebud’. With cameraman Greg Toland, Welles experimented with a whole series of tricks and even today the film looks fresh and original, even though it is undeniably in Black and White.
It might be difficult to get a copy, but if you ever have the chance of seeing it, don’t listen to the naysayers of the lame-stream critical community, give it a chance and you shall be rewarded.

ORSON WELLES ‘NOT ACTUALLY FAT’ ACCORDING TO NEW BOOK

PARIS – According to a new book published in Paris today by noted film critic Xavier Poulis, film director and bon vivant Orson Welles was ‘not actually fat’.

The film critic and Welles expert said that everyone believes Orson Welles gained a lot of weight in his later years, but in reality he always maintained a perfectly respectable 170 pounds. Poulis writes in his introduction:

The legend of Orson Welles’ obesity came about during the filming of Citizen Kane, his first and perhaps most famous film. Welles loved playing the older Charles Foster Kane and made it his habit to go to the commissary dressed in costume and full make up, including the extra padding to make him look portly. It was hilarious and throughout the years Welles continued the practice. He played a large number of fat men and so there was always the opportunity to play tricks on the press. While filming both Chimes at Midnight and Touch of Evil, Welles got so into the habit of going out to restaurants in costume that on the few occasions he went out as himself nobody recognized him and he dreaded not being recognized.

Studio Exec contributor and Welles confidant, Sir Edwin Fluffer confirmed the truth:

Orson did enjoy eating, but he had such a zippy metabolism that no sooner had he wolfed down one five courser than he was all set for the next and never looked the worse for it. The fat suit was just a jape but it also protected him from some of the bitchier elements of this old town we love so. If some of the actors who had seen him with the feed bag on had also seen the slender Welles who I played tennis with on Wednesday they would have cut him dead out of pure jealousy and spite. Towards the end of life poor Twiggy – as his closest friends called him – felt he was possessed by the fat suit that now he had to wear almost twelve hours out of every twenty four. It is a sorrowful irony that the poor man died in the fat suit and not knowing any better the funeral people buried him in it as well.

Orson Welles: The Man, The Artist, The Waistline by Xavier Poulis is available on Amazon and from all good bookstores.

THE ORSON WELLES DIARIES IV

September 1st, 1958

I’d been hired to narrate The Vikings, a rather tawdry swords and sandals tale starring my good friend and doubles partner Mr Kirk Douglas. The screenplay was ghastly and I simply couldn’t bare to utter a solitary word of the banal drivel so I rewrote the entire script during lunch and presented it to the director Richard Fleischer. He said he adored it , especially the running on the oars scene which I’d slipped in at the last moment for a giggle as I knew Kirk had an irrational fear of damp wood. Unfortunately when Richard presented my version to the United Artists board they insisted I cut the bloody epic battle between The Vikings and the House committee of Un-American activities claiming it wasn’t in keeping with the source material. I immediately resigned in disgust but after a bottle of dry sherry and some cajoling from Kirk I agreed to return as long as I was not listed in the credits.

I had a fine pheasant for lunch but the cherry and balsamic accompaniment was a little tart.

 

September 14th, 1958

My attempt to make a cinematic version of Charles Baudelaire’s exquisite work Les Fleur Du Mal has run into financial difficulty after I accidentally threw a hash brown at Jack Warner during a particularly tense breakfast meeting. Jack was insisting the dialogue should be in English rather than the original French so after an hour of trying to reason with him I was at my wits end and in a fit of pique I grabbed the hash brown and launched it in his general direction. My intention was for the hot potato missile to be nothing more than a warning shot across the bow but unfortunately it hit Jack square in the face. He immediately rose from his seat and angrily delivered a cacophony of coarse profanity before declaring he would rather burn the Warner lot to the ground then fund my picture.

Despite the unfortunate incident the English breakfast was superb though I do regret wasting the hash brown which I later discovered is something of a house speciality.

THE ORSON WELLES DIARIES III

October 21st , 1957
 
I had dinner with Dietrich and Chuck Heston to discuss my latest project Touch of Evil. I’d also invited Janet Leigh but she said she had plans to go to the theatre with Tony Curtis to catch some ramshackle, post modern production of the Threepenny Opera

As usual Marlene spent the evening smoking endless cigarettes and becoming increasingly Gin sodden and Heston insisted on trying out a variety of Mexican accents and asking me which one he should adopt for his character. After an hour or so of his incomprehensible babbling I took him by the hand and said “Chuck dear. Forget about the accent. If we put a sombrero on your head and a moustache under your nose as far as the audience is concerned, you’re a Mexican”.
 
The main course was so nondescript and dreary it doesn’t even deserve a passing mention but I must confess I was rather fond of the chocolate roulade.
 
 
November 5th, 1957
 
Jack Kennedy invited me over for a late supper and I was delighted to find that Frank Sinatra was also in attendance. We chatted about politics, civil rights and the untimely but amusing passing of Senator McCarthy but when Jack made a crude reference to a sexual liaison with Marilyn Monroe, Sinatra rose from his chair and wagged a threatening finger at Kennedy. “One day you’re going to be sorry you said that Jack” said Frank menacingly and with that he grabbed his coat and slammed the door behind him as he left.
 
I regretfully ordered the John Dory when any sane man would have clearly opted for the Monkfish
 
 
December 23rd, 1957
 
Last Thursday after a particularly savage rum session, Jack Warner proposed a wager. He said that if I could survive on nothing but brandy and mince pies from now until Christmas day he would finance my next picture and give me complete creative autonomy. I immediately agreed to the bet but after five days on my limited diet, I’m beginning to think I might have been a little hasty in accepting his challenge. My bowels are no longer functioning as they once did and whenever I sit down I can feel a hot mulch of fruit, pastry and brandy bubbling away in my stomach like the foul contents of a witches cauldron.
 
I believe it was the Greek Tragedian Aeschylus who said “ The reward of suffering is experience” and although once upon a time those words might have brought me comfort, if that ancient sage was stood before me now I’d ring his damn neck for a fat blood orange and a tall glass of cold water.
 
I had two mince pies for lunch, followed by brandy.

THE ORSON WELLES DIARIES II

 

March 17th,1942

The preview screening of The Magnificent Ambersons was an unmitigated disaster. Not only did several members of the audience fall asleep but a loutish city type approached me after the credits, unbuttoned his fly, and proceeded to urinate on my handmade Italian brogues.
As the scallywag was relieving himself I considered grabbing him by his lapels, marching him out into the alley and subjecting his ears to a severe boxing and yet part of me respected his unorthodox protest.

I recalled a quote from Churchill who said “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” Wise words indeed dear Winston, though I suspect you might not have been so eloquent if you were writing that line in boots sodden with piss.

I had roast Poulet with Paprika for supper followed by a generous slice of Treacle Tart.

March 22nd,1942

Bogart and Huston invited me to a game of Poker and after several hours and several more glasses of Scotch I found myself holding a Royal Flush. I placed a small but inciting wager, and I was delighted when Huston decided to place the remainder of his chips in the middle of the table and invite me to call.

I nonchalantly revealed my winning hand and John immediately took umbrage. “You’re a lousy cheating bastard Welles”, he said bitterly. I gave a wry smile and casually called the waiter over. “Champagne for everyone” I exclaimed “, “And make sure it’s a cheap bottle. Mr. Huston seems to enjoy the taste of sour grapes.”

The Moussaka I had for supper was a little too lubricious but the Lemon Sorbet cleansed my palate sufficiently.

March 28th,1942

I spent the afternoon watching William Wyler’s Mrs Miniver starring Greer Garson and Walter Pigeon before returning home to find Rita splayed on the bed wearing her finest lingerie. I decided to indulge, as any hot-blooded man would; but all the while I was wondering what aspect ratio William had used on Miniver? It was only when Rita and I reached the apex of our lovemaking that I determined it was definitely 1.37:1.

I had several Hamburgers for lunch that were exceptionally unpleasant, but the strudel was so divine I am considering writing to the Pope in order to have it canonised.

THE ORSON WELLES DIARIES I

January 19th,1940
 
Around noon Henry Fonda appeared at my door dressed as a minstrel. Still in my pyjamas, I ushered Henry into my hotel room, offered him a glass of sherry and enquired as to why he was sporting such an elaborate costume. He informed me that he had recently ingested a large quantity of a substance called Lysergic acid diethylamide and could he trouble me for a glass of cold water and a suitcase filled with lemons.


I had a rather fine meat pie for supper and two helpings of bread and butter pudding.
 
January 22nd1940
 
My movie is almost finished but I am yet to decide on a title. My current favourites are as follows:
 
The William Randolph Hearst Story
The Randy Hearst Story
Hearst
Citizen Hearst
Get Hearst
& Sleepless in Seattle
 
I’ve just ordered the beef stroganoff and the cook recommended the trifle for dessert.
 
January 24th1940
 
Rita said that my sexual performance is hindered when I consume Sherry so I’ve decided to switch to Brandy. She also demanded that I refrain from quoting Chekov during congress and suggested that some choice passages from Lady Chatterley’s Lover would be more appropriate. When I informed her that I would never stoop so low as to utter a single word written by that talentless hack D.H Lawrence, she became upset and said she was going to stay at her mother’s for a few days.
 
The salmon was a little dry so I had to be over generous with the dill but the profiteroles were majestic.

ROSEBUD SOLD FOR $25M

NEW YORK – Lot 315/b is perhaps one of the famous props in Hollywood history: the sled that provides the McGuffin for the Orson Welles masterpiece Citizen Kane [SPOILER].

And this afternoon at Sotheby’s in New York it was sold at auction for the some of $25 million to an unknown buyer who many believe to be Jean Claude Van Damme, a famous Kane-head as fans of the black and white media mogul biopic like to call themselves. 

Lot 315/b

Of course anyone familiar with the film will remember that the sled was actually thrown into a furnace at the end of the film, but a pile of ash was verified through spectroscopic analysis to be the remains of the prop as was a small bottle of smoke, collected from the chimney. 

Film historian Mark Cousins said that the sale in classic film props had become out of control. Last year, Marlon Brando’s orange peel monster teeth were sold for $12 million despite being icky.

Citzen Kane will be released in 2015.

BRAD PITT CUTS HAIR

LONDON – Last night universal celebrations broke out spontaneously when news reached the masses (via IMDB) that Brad Pitt had cut his hair.

The actor was spotted in England where he is filming Fury a Second World War film and wearing a cap to hide his recently shorn head. An observer in Trafalgar Square said: 

You can put VE day and VJ day together, along with all the New Year’s Eve parties and 4th of July celebrations and it would still only be a fraction of the happiness we now feel that Brad Pitt no longer has those floppy locks, he kept having to tuck behind his ears in World War Z.

The corpses of Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin were exhumed and forced into grotesque postures of dance and joy as part of the celebrations. ‘It’s what they would have wanted,’ said grave digger, Paul Simon. In Syria rebels and regime fighters sat down together like brothers and compared before and after photographs of Brad’s hairstyle, dreaming of happier times.  

Mr Pitt last had short hair for the Quentin Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds

Fury will be released in 2014.