FIRST LOOK AT THE SCARFACE REMAKE

HOLLYWOOD – Luca Guadagnino’s new film Scarface gets its first picture.

News of Luca Guadagnino’s new version of Scarface hit the internets and excited much comment. Taken from a script by the Coen Brothers, Guadagnino’s film looks set to take on the iconic Brian De Palma version which starred Al Pacino.

We spoke with Luca yesterday and asked him what it was going to be like:

It’s going to be fantastico. Ecco the first picture from the film.

Can we publish this?

Certo. Of course. The new film will go back in time. The first one was too Eighties. I love it but it was you know trashy. In this version we’re going to go back to the classic RKO crime pictures. Black and white, as you can see, at the same kind of production design.

Wow! And who is this in the picture?

Oscar Isaac. He looks different, no?

Yes, he’s unrecog…

…nizable I know. Why you always say things I know Studio Exec? We made him up so that he had a scar and tried to make him look a little older too. I think he looks fantastic. The music is going to be by Hans Zimmer and is going to be just tubas. No other instruments. Just tubas all the time. Parp, parp, parp!

The new movie hits theaters next year.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT WOODY HARRELSON

HOLLYWOOD -5 Facts we never knew but just found out about Woody Harrelson.

We sent the FACT squad to Ebbing Missouri to find out what we could about Woody Harrelson.

 

1. Woody Harrelson first became famous playing Ted Danson in Cheers.

2. The Cheers star had a spin-off show called Woody in which he is continuously mistaken for Woody Allen’s brother.

3. Woody Harrelson is Woody Allen’s brother.

4. His first break into serious films was a starring role in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. Playing Mickey Knox a psychopathic serial killer, Harrelson said he prepared for the role by growing an unconvincing mullet. The hair cut led to the film being disowned by script writer Quentin Tarantino.

5. Since his break through he has appeared with some of the most talented film directors in the world like the Coen Brothers and the Farrelly Brothers. He has challenged himself with demanding material like Rampart and The Messenger, as well as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. He was also in War of Planet of the Apes and the Hunger Games films in which he played The Hunger. Don’t Look Now was shit though.

For more FACTS click here. 

BILL SKARSGARD SIGNS UP FOR YOUNG BUSCEMI

HOLLYWOOD – IT star Bill Skarsgard signs on to play Steve Buscemi in the biopic Young Buscemi.

After frightening folks as Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard is to pay actor Steve Buscemi in a new film documenting the early career of the Reservoir Dogs star. Skarsgard spoke to the Studio Exec about the role:

I’ve always been a huge fan of Steve’s work especially the stuff he did with the Coen Brothers. Our film will really meet Steve before he became Buscemi. In fact, the working title was Becoming Buscemi for a while.

Great.

We meet him in New York, struggling to catch a break. Then he gets a role in Tales from the Darkside. It’s all about how he prepares for the role and what his new found fame does to his life.

Do you cover his role in The Rock?

No.

Young Buscemi will be released in 2019.

THE SECRET ACTOR WRITES…

HOLLYWOOD – The Secret Actor is a new blog written by an Oscar nominated actor who still lives and works in Los Angeles in the film industry but wishes to write in a state of anonymity so he can fearlessly lift the lid on the industry and spill the beans on Hollywood.

Hi, I’m Josh Brolin and I’d like to tell you about how … wait a second. Let me start this again. I’m the Secret Actor. I am working in Hollywood and have done so ever since I was a kid. Hell, I kind of grew up on screen you might say. There are lots of secrets that I could tell and under the shield of anonymity and with no fear of litigation, I finally have the opportunity, thanks to my good friend, the Studio Exec, to do so.

When I was filming No Country for Old Men with the Coen Brothers, they came up to me… Sheet. Goddamn it. What I meant to say was when I was filming a film with … two directors … who might have been brothers, but I don’t know, it might have been The Lego Movie, because that has two directors. Anyhow, when I was in that film they came up to me and they said, ‘Josh, we want you to try it another way.’ ‘Oh,’ I said. ‘How would you like me to do it?’

‘Well,’ said Ethan. ‘We’d like you to turn towards the window and…’

‘Mr. Brolin, here’s your hotdog,’ said a runner, handing me the hotdog. Don’t go thinking that’s a clue to my identity. I know lots of people who eat hotdogs.

‘Go on,’ I told the director.

‘And smile sadly.’

Hmmm. I thought about it as I munched. I nodded because I’m quite well-mannered and I don’t speak with my mouth full. And no. I’m not Roger Moore.

We did the scene and I followed what the director had suggested. They seemed happy with the scene and we went on to the next set up. I felt bad that I hadn’t asked more questions. I wasn’t sure if I had perhaps acquiesced too readily in their version of the story. What about me I thought as I drove back to the hotel? What about my vision? But when I saw the finished film I noticed that I looked great turning to the window and smiling sadly. So it was a good thing that I had done this. It taught me an important lesson. Listen to the directors.

Oh, and don’t eat hot dogs. I had dysentery that night.

More Secret Actor Writes… soon.

 

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.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT CANNES

CANNES – The Cannes Film Festival runs from 13th of May until the 24th of May in the beautiful seaside town of Cannes, but what do we really know about it?

We sent The Studio Exec FACT squad to the Croissette to find out.

1. The Cannes-Cannes dance originated at the Cannes Film Festival. It was invented by Francious Truffaut as an expression of joy when his debut film Les Quatre Cents Coups (400 Blows) won the best director award in 1959. It then became customary for ever winner to do the dance before their acceptance speech. The practice was eventually banned in 1991 after the Coen Brothers used their celebratory dance – on winning a rare sweep of the major awards for Barton Fink – to kick their arch rivals the Baldwin brothers in their faces.

2. Lars Von Trier was declared Persona Non Grata by the Cannes Film Festival following his Nazi-y remarks at the press conference for Melancholia. Cannes authorities were particularly upset because noted Jew Mel Gibson was also at the festival starring in Jodie Foster’s porn film The Beaver.

3. Clint Eastwood was the President of one of the most lively juries in Cannes history. The arguments between the jurists led in some instances to punch ups and in others to marriage. In the end the Jury awarded the Palme d’Or to Pulp Fiction. Eastwood justified his choice by saying ‘Although I didn’t care for the picture’s violence and profane dialogue, the furniture was really sexy!’

4. The red carpet down which the stars and directors walk before every major premiere is dyed red from the blood of last year’s losers, each of whom have to donate three pints of blood before they are allowed to leave the Cote d’Azure.

5. The Cannes Film Festival is divided into several different sections. There’s the main competition, then Un Certain Regard sidebar, The Director’s Fortnight and the Dardennes Brothers section, which is devoted to the films of the Dardennes Brothers.

For more FACTS click HERE.