5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT TERRENCE MALICK

HOLLYWOOD – Everyone knows Terrence Malick is a genius, but no one knows why.

The Studio Exec FACT Squad have spent the weekend listening to whispering voice-overs and cavorting around wheat fields during the magic hour. The Terrence Malick FACTS are as follows:

1. Between the release of Days of Heaven (1978) and The Thin Red Line (1998), Terrence Malick opened up a meat providing business called Malick’s Meats, which provided restaurants with high quality meat substances, pastes, salami, burgers and sausages. However, in 1995 Malick sickened by the stench of blood and endless killing – which he would participate in personally donning a special slaughtering apron that made his torso look like the Venus di Milo – he decided to return to film making.

Malick (1982)

2. Although he has a reputation as a recluse, Terry is actually a party animal whose favorite tipple is Jagermeister. His contract stipulates a constant supply of Jagermeister which he drinks via a feeding pipe that is hidden in his hat. His love of hats is legendary, with the director appearing as April in a free calendar given to French readers of the January 1985 edition of Chapeau.

3. Malick’s reputation as a philosopher is unearned. He doesn’t like reading and when asked about Heidegger told the interviewer that he didn’t watch much soccer.

4. Many actors credit Malick with offering them valuable career advice. Richard Gere, Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen all won early fame in Malick’s films. Jim Caviezel would pester Malick incessantly about what role he should take after The Thin Red Line. ‘Jesus Christ!’ the director finally exploded and Caviezel took him at his word.

5. The quality of each Terrence Malick film goes down in inverse proportion to the number of editors who work on the film. Badlands = 1 editor. To the Wonder = 5 editors. Knight of Cups = 243 editors.

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

STEVEN SEAGAL’S FEMINIST BOOK CLUB 2. JANE EYRE

HOLLYWOOD – Hi there, sisters. Steven Seagal here. Star of such films as Under Siege, Above the Law and Beside the Point.

Ha ha, I made that last one up. Anyway, as anyone will tell you in the business, film making involves a lot of hanging around. Some people use the time to goof around, overs take drugs to numb the pain – and yes, I’m looking at you Morgan Freeman. Me, I like to read my way through the feminist classics. Today, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre!

The Bronte sisters lived in a remote village in Yorkshire, England and wrote books under intentionally ambiguous pseudonyms. Jane Eyre tells a semi-autobiographical story of a young girls growth and development into a woman. Something of an outcast, she is mistreated by her extended family and harshly dealt with at school. But despite this, she challenges her position and particularly the Byronic Mr. Rochester who is the father of her new charge and with whom she falls in love. Of course, Bronte’s reformist agenda is challenged by the suppressed revolutionary anger represented by Bertha Mason, the Madwoman in the Attic, who leant the title to that classic of feminist literary criticism by Gilbert and Gubar.

Given the context of its time, the book must have been a revelation, although now the plot seems to be the template for a thousand inferior romantic fantasies: ‘I married him, reader.’ As such it has a historical resonance rather than offering the feminist of today useful insights. as for bone crunching action, there are very few fights and no Akido whatsoever. Actually there are no fights at all. No Karate, no Kendo and no Judo. The one exciting scene – a fire and a suicide and a maiming – happens off page so to speak.

So to cap off.
Feminism: problematic but gripping: 8
Martial Arts: little or none: 2
Total: 5 

For more of Steven Seagal’s Feminist Book Group Click Here. 

STEVEN SEAGAL’S FEMINIST BOOK CLUB: 1. A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN

HOLLYWOOD – Welcome to Steven Seagal’s Feminist Book Club! 

Hi, I’m Steven Seagal, star of such hits as A Dangerous Man, Driven to Kill and Against the Dark

Every week I’m going to be looking at a classic of feminist literature and reviewing it. I would be really pleased to hear your own reactions as you read along with me. Feel free to use the comments box and let’s get a real dialogue going. Today, I’m reviewing Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women.


Nowadays, Mary Wollstonecraft is perhaps most famous for being the mother of the authoress of Frankenstein which later became the inspiration for Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. However, in her time and for us feminists, Wollstonecraft is the inspiration of a whole movement which sought to unravel and overthrow patriarchy and bring women to a knowledge of their own self-power. Although many have disputed how far the book can be viewed as feminism as opposed to proto-feminism, given the context of male oppression, the book written in 1792 was fundamental in valorizing female work and attempting to promote women away from being viewed merely as objects and wives, and more towards being companions and equals.
Okay. But what about some of the downsides? Well, first of all although this is a landmark piece of thinking, it is a rather dry philosophical tract that some might find difficult to keep up with. Also, there are no fight scenes, absolutely zero. Ditto round house kicks. Although she does bring up the topic of domestic violence that just isn’t the kind of violence that one can truly enjoy.

Conclusion: 

Feminism: a foundational text: 10/10 
Martial Arts: scarse:  2/10
Total: 6/10

For more of Steven Seagal’s Feminist Book Group Click Here. 

THE MAKING OF PLAYING FOR KEEPS: PART 2

HOLLYWOOD – Studio Exec has got exclusive behind the scenes access to the MOTION PICTURE EVENT OF THE YEAR, Playing for Keeps.

Italian director of such visionary misspelt classics as The Pursuit of Happyness and Severn Pounds, Gabriele Muncino invited Studio Exec on set and behind the scenes, in this the second in our seventeen part series: The Making of a Modern Day Masterpiece: Playing for Keeps.

Muncino: The first day of filming is always very difficult, the actors are nervous, the crew don’t know each other necessarily and what I usually like to do is gather everyone together and make them all stand in a line. And then I run down the line and slap them in the faces. One after the other, tak, tak, tak, tak. Like that.

Jessica Biel: At first we were all quite shocked by the slaps and Dennis Quaid had tears in his eyes. But Gabriel explained that this was an old Calabrian tradition that was supposed to drive away the evil eye.  

Muncino: The slaps deter the devil, I told them.

Gerard Butler: I’m quite a masculine macho man. And so my first reaction was I wanted to punch him with my Scottish fists. But then he explained the tradition and everyone relaxed and we were laughing and ready to make the film. Without the evil influence of the evil eye.

Muncino: Oh the thing about the Calabrian tradition is bullshit, and anyway I’m not even from Calabria. No it’s just bullshit I tell them. Fact is I really enjoyed slapping their faces. It relaxes me and they are all my bitches now.

For more of The Making of CLICK HERE.

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.

STEVEN SEAGAL’S FEMINIST BOOK CLUB: 4. THE HANDMAID’S TALE

NEW MEXICO – Greetings women everywhere! I’m Steven Seagal: action star of such preposition led films as Into the SunUnder Siege, Above the Law and Out of Sight and the only prominent male feminist who can kill a man with a well aimed spit. 

And today for my feminist fans everywhere I’ve been reading Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Surely Attwood’s Canadian, what the hell has she got to say that’d be any use to anyone? Well, you’re not wrong about the Canadian bit, but that aside this is a terrifying dystopian fiction which entertainingly illustrates the dangers (and perhaps some of the attractions) of patriarchy gone mad.

Attwood


The book tells the story of a future in which women’s rights have been suppressed in the racist homophobic and sexist Republic of Gilead. Our heroine is Offred, a handmaid who has babies for high ranking officials. Her latest mission however, The Commander, also known as Fred, seems to develop feelings for her and his wife intrigues for her to have sex with the driver, Nick. The book is by no means subtle (and she says she’s Canadian!?) but it is one thing you don’t find too often in a feminist classic, entertaining. I had a ball reading this, and the quality of writing is top notch. There was something of the thriller to it and the page turner. So well done Margaret! And – although still woefully light on neck snapping, bone crunching fight scenes – it does at least try for some action and a sense of danger that comes from something other than the female protagonist’s fragile sense of selfhood.

So:
Feminism:                                 9
Martial Arts:                             7
For a total of:                            8

AMERICA DECLARES WAR ON NORTH KOREA

The baby faced leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un, decreed on state television this morning that he is changing the name of the country to Mordor and declaring himself the living embodiment of Sauron the Great.

President Obama immediately released a statement condemning Jong-un’s actions as being nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt, but hours later US spy satellites recorded footage of an army of Orcs and Goblins marching towards the Korean border which forced the president to take decisive action.
 




I’ve been consulting with my chief adviser Gandalf the grey “ said a businesslike Obama.

 
He is currently recruiting a crack unit who will travel to Mordor and end Sauron’s reign of tyranny once and for all.”
 
When asked if he had a message for his enemy the President didn’t mince his words:
 

I’d like to make it clear to Sauron and anyone who else who dares threaten the security of the United States of America or it’s allies. We have the Ring of Power and we are not afraid to use it!

 

Meanwhile in New York, Sauron’s ambassador Saruman the White had to be rescued by helicopter after a mob of dwarfs led by Game of Thronesstar Peter Dinklage stormed the Mordorian embassy.

The Mordorians have been oppressing my people for a millennia and today’s the day we fight back!” said a rousing Dinklage.

A UN resolution has been swiftly ratified with all member states agreeing that Sauron must be brought to justice. However political philosopher Noam Chomsky urged caution:

 

The life of one Orc means nothing to Sauron. He’ll throw a million of them into the meat grinder and not even blink but we don’t want to get into a situation were we are throwing a million Elves back at him. If Gandalf’s so called “Fellowship” fails in their quest then we should get Sauron around a table and try and hammer out a peaceful resolution.

 
We will bring you more news of of these turbulent events, when we get it.
 

THE BURT REYNOLDS DIARIES: 2

HOLLYWOOD – The Studio Exec has laid his grubby hands on the unpublished dairies of actor and heterosexual mustachio wearer Burt Reynolds and we are going to publish and be damned.

The Burt Reynolds diaries continue:

April, 1976
Hal comes round with a script. Smokey and the Bandit. Who am I? I ask. The Bandit of course, he tells me. I tentatively agree. I should start growing my mustache and I ought to watch Viva Zapata!

26th June, 1976
My Mexican accent it eeess porfect!!! The mustache is looking chubby and I’ve been on the sun bed every day this week and then Hal comes round and says what are you doing? Didn’t you read the script? It’s got nothing to do with Mexican revolutionaries and gringos. It’s about beer smuggling!?

March, 1977
At last we begin filming and it looks like it’s going to be fun. Only problem is Jackie Gleason isn’t sticking to the script. Keeps just making stuff up. I say to Hal, ‘He’s just making that stuff up.’
‘He’s “improvising”,’ he tells me.
‘I know,’ I tell him. ‘It’s irritating me as well, that’s why I’m telling you.’

15th March, 1977 
Sally’s doing well as Frog. She said the script is shit but she’ll do it for love. I’m crazy about that gal, though she will keep talking about her dream to one day play Mrs Lincoln. Poor deluded ditz.

19th May, 1977
New York for the premiere of Smokey. Everyone seems to be happy with the film and we think we have a hit on our hands. I’m happy for Hal, who everyone thought was just a dumb lunkhead and now he’s shown them. The film’s going to open wide next week. There’s not much competition out there. Some kids film called Star War.

THE BURT REYNOLDS DIARIES: 1

HOLLYWOOD – Studio Exec has laid its grubby hands on the unpublished dairies of actor and heterosexual moustache wearer Burt Reynolds and we are going to publish and be damned.

 February 1971
Johnny Boorman comes over: wants to make a film of the James Dickey book.- ‘I want you to a grow a moustache,’ says Johnny. I tell him I ain’t a homo and that’s the end of that conversation.


March 1971
We’re shooting this Summer. The cast is beginning to take shape. Jon Voight is coming round and we’re going to bond as men. I’ve been practising my archery. I keep looking at my upper lip. It does look  kinda bare.

12 May 1971

Johnny Boorman is winding up Dickey, who’s an asshole by the way. Keeps telling him he wants to film the novel as a musical. He shoots this scenes with banjos and Dickey goes ape shit and starts yelling, punches Johnny in the face. Poor bastard has to get some serious dental work. ‘I was only kidding,’ Johnny tells me. ‘But now that fuckers going in the movie.’

17 May 1971
I keep winding Jon Voigt up. He’s just become a dad and he brings little Angelina on the set. I tell him she’s gonna break hearts and he looks at her, ‘What? This ugly little pug dog?’ I swear to God she’s the ugliest baby I ever saw.

21 May 1971
I gotta say first off, rape is never a subject for jokes. Ever. But Ned Beatty getting raped. We were howling. These hill-billies Johnny is using – they’re the real thing. Johnny says okay ‘one last one, make it real.’ And they start in on poor Ned, making him squeal like a pig and all that and he’s squealing and they’re going at it, but I guess they don’t what acting really is, cause one of them just gets it out and sticks it in, as quick as greased lightning. Well, Ned’s screaming cut and we’re falling around laughing. I loose off an arrow and hit James Dickey in the throat. I know for damned sure that’s the take that Johnny’s gonna use.  

MEL GIBSON AUTOBIOGRAPHY: PART 4










HOLLYWOOD – Advance copies arrived of Mel Gibson‘s new autobiography Sad and Angry and Studio Exec was given exclusive permission to publish extracts. By popular demand, this is the fourth and (and by even more popular demand) final series of excerpts.

Chapter Twenty Six: Patriots

Although I was brought up in New York many people think of me as an Aussie and I’m proud that that is the case. I don’t often play them in films cos well, who gives a shit about Australia, right? But I did have a script which was all about the way I feel about my country. It was epic and we had the convict ships coming and the first settlers and it was really good. Peter Weir was on board. Then he had to do something else and we got Roland Emmerich and he went away and rewrote the script and now The Patriot as we called it was set in Dresden just before the firebombing and it was all about Germans and in German. The studio weren’t having it so they gave it to Robert Rodat to rewrite and he set it in the American war of Independence. I turned to Heath Ledger at the first read through and said “How’s your American accent Heath?” But he was in no mood for jokes. That poor kid always had the flu.

Chapter Twenty Nine: Apocalypto Now

It had always been in my head to make film that was utterly incomprehensible and I felt I had almost achieved my ambition with The Passion of the Christ, but people still knew the story and so could follow it so I decided with my next film there would be no way people could get. Then of course the studio went and stuck subtitles on the motherfucker. Still, I was happy with the way the film turned out. There was a lot of running and jumping. We redressed any myth that the indigenous people of South America were anything other than savages and Jesus got to turn up again at the end. Which was like my little Hitchcock signature.


Chapter Forty: Get the Gringo

When I first got the script I was like Wow, this is fantastic a real  chance for me to break new ground and try something new. No longer just the old violent Mel that everyone was beginning to get tired of, including me. But I really versatile character piece with (I don’t want to speak too early) but even a whiff of Oscar about it. When I spoke to Adrian the director, I said to him this is fantastic. And I gave him the voice I’d been working on. He said that’s great. But he didn’t look sure. I said “I can do this, trust me.” So I went out and I got my own costume. And I turned up on set and he fucking freaked. “Have you been drinking Mel?” he said. I said, in character, “You can’t talk to me like that gringo, you not know noteeeng!” He got really agitated so I broke character and told him I was getting into my role and how stoked I was to be playing a Mexican woman and with a kid. He took me aside and told me that Dolores was playing the Mexican mother and I was playing Driver, the tough violent American, who’s a little crazy and racist and has a violent fantasy of killing his ex-wife. “It’ll be really easy for you,” he said. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was. I sat in my trailer and cried like a child. I felt like Al Pacino in Godfather III: “Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in.”