NEW YORK – Sesame Street is now on HBO but the cable company are denying that they have interfered with content.
Beloved children’s program Sesame Street is at the center of a new controversy following the revelation that the cable company wishes to introduce its trademark adult orientated content. Dave Begby of Television Today told the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY that HBO were interfering with many of the creative decisions in the making of the show:
I know a few people who are on the inside of the production and there is a lot of feeling there that they have changed a number of things to bring the show more into line with shows that HBO have done in the past. Like The Wire, The Sopranos and Deadwood for instance.
But those shows were aimed at an …
An adult audience. Yes, absolutely. But HBO have come to regard swearing, nudity, violence and sex-position as part of their DNA. And this has seen some very strange decision on Sesame Street.
Okay. So give me an example.
Where to begin? Bert and Ernie are now two sexy chicks who get it on constantly. The Cookie Monster is a crack smoking hobo. Oscar the Grouch speaks like Al Swearengen. Kermit the Frog still reports for Sesame Street News, but it’s all drive by shootings and gangland slaughter and Big Bird runs a crime syndicate that controls everything that goes on in the neighborhood. In fact, that song ‘The People that You Meet in the Neighborhood’ sums it up. It now sounds like Travis Bickle’s monologue from Taxi Driver put to music.
Sesame Street is now available on HBO.
SHOW ME A HERO – REVIEW – The guy who did The Wire directed by the ex-scientologist who did Crash starring the guy who’s now flying x-wings and everyone says Yonkers every two minutes. What’s not to like?
‘Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy,’ said the expert American tragedian F. Scott Fitzgerald and David Simon, who has turned prime time television into something of novelistic richness, returns with a true story about affordable housing in Yonkers. Oscar Isaac plays Nick Wasicsko, a young Democratic councilman picked by his party to run against the popular incumbent (James Belushi). Without much of a hope or a particular vision – he agrees with his opponent about most things – he spots his opportunity when the Major decides not to appeal an unpopular court decision to build social housing in Yonkers, providing homes for hundreds of poor and inevitably black residents. Nick becomes the youngest major in America but soon discovers that the appeal he ran on is a non-starter and now it falls to him to work a way out of the deadlock and face down the mobs of citizens who see him as a political opportunist and traitor.
Simon and co-writer Bill Zorzi, adapting Lisa Belkin’s book, spread the story around so we see the lives of the real people effected by the housing decision. This included a woman from the Dominican Republic who finds life so hard in the US she considers moving her family back to the DR; an old black lady who is going blind; young pregnant women with their men in various states of incarceration and a concerned resident who wants to protect her neighborhood without admitting to the racism of the movement of which she is a vocal member. As with Treme and The Wire, the central story is simply the inciting incident to discover the rich complexity of American urban life which is Simon’s recurrent theme. He is genuinely interested in these lives and those who would have been background in, say a Tom Hanks film of the same story, are resolutely in the foreground. To compete with these stories, you need a good lead and Oscar Isaac once more shows himself to be one of the best actors working in America today. Following performances in Two Faces of January, A Dangerous Year, Ex Machina and Inside Llewyn Davis, his young politician is a brilliantly subtle piece of characterisation. At once a bright-eyed decent man, he is also full of inglorious vanity and a desperate need – which perhaps lies at the heart of many a politician – to be loved. An ex-cop who likes his booze and his Bruce Springsteen, his moral compass is always having to be reset against his ambition and his good humor and optimism is gradually being chipped away by the complex compromises and the public loathing that are heaped on him. In a wonderful brief moment of triumph, he breaks into one of the building sites just for the pleasure of sitting in a digger, like a child, and thinking ‘I did this’.
If television is truly in a golden age – and I fully believe it is – then one of the main architects has to be David Simon and it is heartening to see that he is being afforded the opportunity to make intensely felt, intelligent and witty drama.
In our continuing series of ’47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams’, we look at Neil Jordan’s murky English noir Mona Lisa.
A stylish British crime flick produced by George Harrison’s Handmade Films in 1986, Mona Lisa also features one of Bob Hoskins’ best performances. Up until this point Hoskins was most famous for his hardman turn in The Long Good Friday, but here he plays against type as George, a heart of gold ex-con, who, on being freed, gets a job as a limo driver for Michael Caine’s sleazy gangland boss.
With an abiding love for Nat King Cole and a nostalgic longing for a better more honorable time, George is given the task of driving around high class call girl Simone (Cathy Tyson). They soon strike up a friendship, which leads George to agree to find her abused young friend Kathy, leading him onto a collision course with his boss and his criminal dealings. Neil Jordan’s film (co-written with David Lealand) is a neo-noir akin to his underrated 2002 film The Good Thief. It’s got a fantastic score and wonderful performances from Hoskins and Tyson, the former losing out to Paul Newman for the Oscar nod. There are also early cameos from Robbie Coltrane and The Wire’s Clarke Peters.
Kids director Larry Clark is currently developing a remake which was going to star Mickey Rourke who has since pulled out. For more of our ’47 Films to see Before you are Murdered in your Dreams’ Click Here.
HOLLYWOOD – Following botched attempts by Jason Segel and Harmony Korine to turn the famed HBO show into a movie, The Wire is finally coming to the big screen, now directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Orlando Bloom.
The We Bought a Zoo director spoke exclusively to Studio Exec about the project:
I’m a huge fan of the show, I mean who isn’t, and I knew that David [Simon] had written a script and was looking for someone to take it on. At first he was worried about my approach but I told him that I would honor his work and the city and people of Baltimore and the many social issues which his work touches on. Then I rewrote the script.
What changes did you make?
Everyone knows The Wire can be a little depressing and I don’t mind a little bit of depressing as long as there’s a resolution and a shot of everyone hugging in the rain. Oh and gentle humor. Oh and we changed the setting from Baltimore.
McNulty, played by Orlando Bloom, has fallen in love with fellow police officer Kima Greggs, played by Zoe Saldana.
But isn’t she a lesbian?
They fall in love during an undercover operation.’You had me at crack.’ Beautiful line. And they’re married now and on their honeymoon in Paris. Where they meet Bubbles (Chris Rock) who has cleaned up, straightened out and is working for the American government as a spy. A drug deal – a French connection if you will…
…is going down and Bubbles, Kima and McNulty must stop while at the same time rescuing Bunk (Tracy Morgan) who has been kidnapped by Le Boss (Mathieu Amalric).
The Wire will be released in 2015.
BALTIMORE – David Simon‘s classic HBO crime series The Wire is finally going to hit the big screens next year after a long period in development hell.
Director Harmony Korine has been entrusted with bringing the multi-layered and subtly wrought socio-political portrait of inner city America in free fall to the screen.
He spoke exclusively to Studio Exec last night:
I really respect what David Simon did with his five seasons, but this is a movie and there are going to have to be some changes. Plus he’s like almost dead he’s so old. He’s fifty or something. And what kids want to see today is young voices like me. Uncompromising and unflinching, bringing a hard look to the world of hard drugs.
How will the film differ from the TV show?
In the TV show there were all these old people, Idris Elba and Dominic West and what have you. None of them wearing bikinis, I’d note as well. None. So in my film James Franco will be the oldest member of the cast. He’ll be the drug king pin and then we have Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus as the girl cops fresh from the academy who have to pose as strippers in a lap dance joint where they make their entrances suspended above the stage on a … wait for it … wire! Right? As part of the..investigation thing.
The Wire will be released in 2015.