Frank Pierson was the model of what I think of as the serious professional screenwriter.
In addition to crafting work that will remain fresh and relevant as long as we are watching movies, he was also heavily involved in the industry as the President of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for many years and President of the Writers Guild Of America for many years as well. His career as a writer began on TV in the '60s and ended on TV with his work on "Mad Men," an experience that no doubt drew on his work as an advertising copywriter during the '50s. In between, he wrote some indelible, amazing movies, and he leaves behind a filmography that any writer would be proud to claim.
I never got a chance to meet Pierson, and it's a shame. I would have loved to have spent an afternoon discussing "Cat Ballou," "Cool Hand Luke," "The Anderson Tapes," "Dog Day Afternoon," the nightmare of working with Streisand on "A Star Is Born," or his last produced screenplay, the adaptation of "Presumed Innocent." Pierson had a sober, adult approach to character and narrative, and one of the things that distinguishes his work is that it all seems to have a respect for the audience, treating them as if they can handle complex ideas and difficult emotions.
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Frank Pierson was the model of what I think of as the serious professional screenwriter.
Kevin Reilly, Fox President of Entertainment, seemed to be taunting the journalists in the audience at his TCA press tour panel. He promised that he was getting the latest addition to the judges table at "American Idol" onto the phone, noting that this person was a "megastar."
J-Lo has a bedazzler and she’s not afraid to use it...On her lips, on her top, and who knows where else. We have to wait until Wednesday to get the full “Goin’ In” video, but as fans can see from the 30-second teaser released today, Jennifer Lopez has returned to the block.
The snippet features Lopez with shiny lips and cape alternating between her glamor and pseudo-street self, with flashing images of the designer Lopez interspersed with “urban” Lopez in a hoodie and even shots of a car with crazy bouncing suspension.
[More after the jump...]
Warner Bros. is in a no-win situation on this one.
Almost as soon as executives awoke on Friday morning, Warner began asking theaters to remove all of the current trailers for "Gangster Squad" from theaters since one of the key images from those trailers is a shootout inside a movie theater. Warner Bros. felt that it would be insensitive to leave the ads in general circulation right now, and the decision seems like the right one to make the morning after something as horrible and senseless as the Aurora, CO shootings.
Now comes word that Warner Bros. plans to remove the sequence from the movie completely. Looking at the original trailers, the scene appeared to take place in the Chinese Theater, where armed men standing behind the screen open fire with machine guns, marching through the ragged holes in the screen while firing into the audience. It's a stylish image, and looked like it was executed well.
The studio had just started early screenings of the movie, and they seemed happy with it. The movie is still planned for a September 7th release, which means they'll have to scramble to get the reshoots finished, especially since it's supposed to be a fairly major sequence that comes near the end of the movie.
BEVERLY HILLS - By delaying FOX's Executive Session for mid-morning, we've already gotten a teaser of things to come when "Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said that he was still in negotiations for next season and hinted that Jennifer Lopez is only 99 percent likely to leave. In short: Expect no concrete answers on the "Idol" front from FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly.
But will he say? Click through...
Things got animated at the Fox TCA panel for "So You Think You Can Dance." Cat Deeley emerged from backstage to introduce a special performance by current competitors Brandon, Cole and animator Cyrus. It's a high energy start to a somewhat groggy Monday morning, and while judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy and choreographers Spencer Liff, Christopher Scott and Stacey Tookey aren't quite as much fun, they still addressed some of the more nagging questions about the recent changes to the show.
With "Mercy" and "New God Flow" permanently added to this summer's spinlist, Kanye West and the rest of his G.O.O.D. Music crew are ready to proceed with the larger album. "Cruel Summer" will be out officially on Sept. 4, featuring verses and music from West, John Legend, Common, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Big Sean, Q-Tip, Mr. Hudson, Teyana Taylor, Cyhi, D’Banj, Hit-Boy and 2 Chainz.
The latter artist -- who has been the featured rapper of the year, it seems -- is not officially signed to Ye's label, though he clarifies in an interview with Complex magazine that he and the esteemed Watch the Throne rhymer are still sussing out a deal.
"I’m not officially signed, paperwork-wise, to G.O.O.D. Music. But I have a great rapport with ’Ye. He called me before 'Watch the Throne' came out," the Atlanta-bred rapper said. "I’ve talked to ’Ye 1,000 times about trying to make this situation work for the both of us, so it won’t feel like anyone is getting used or anything... I came from a situation with [Disturbing tha Peace], being under [Ludacris], where I got a phobia. Sometimes when an artist signs another artist, they’re so worried about themselves. And with ’Ye, he helps everybody."
Yeezy is keeping his word on press blackout, considering his bumpy past with interviews, Twitter, public appearances, and basically everything else that doesn't involve him rapping. But a press release touted the successful run of his "Cruel Summer" video concept, a seven-screen experience that bowed at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. It was conceptually built around the album, so if there is a live tour run of G.O.O.D. Music, perhaps fans will get a eyeful as well as an earful.
So, it's the Big Day for Emily, our intrepid single mom who has winnowed the field of single gentlemen down to just two guys: nice guy Utah Jef and hot guy Racecar Driver Arie. I am hoping Emily can, if nothing else, help Jef find his missing F, just to be nice.
My stint at the Television Critics Association summer press tour begins today, though Fienberg has already been here for two days covering what sounds like a very interesting slate of PBS panels (particularly if you're a "Downton Abbey" fan).
If you've been reading me a long time, you know what press tour is. If you haven't, my press tour primer from the Ledger days still applies. I'll be tag-teaming with both Fienberg and Liane Bonin Starr to cover the bulk of the tour, so keep all three of our blogs bookmarked if you want to know about it all.
Though I won't be doing this every day, I like to do a quick run-through of the schedule for certain days to give you all a sense of what the tour is like, and of what things you may be reading about today and in days to come. PBS wrapped up tonight, and FOX arrives for a full day of panels and other events. Here's how their schedule looks (all times are Pacific):
Sunday afternoon is a strange time to drop a major press release in this business -- there won't be much competing for our attention, granted, but it also implies that it's the kind of news that can wait until Monday. And that, I admit, was my reaction upon hearing that the 69th Venice Film Festival will open next month with Mira Nair's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," a political thriller adapted from the Booker Prize-nominated bestseller by Mohsin Hamid, starring Kate Hudson, Riz Ahmed, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber.
That shouldn't be read as a pre-emptive knock on the film, which may well be strong -- Nair has a reputation to salvage after the embarrassing artistic and commercial failure of "Amelia," but this kind of independent, ethnically-oriented material plays more to her strengths than studio prestige fare. But it's not the kind of highly anticipated A-list curtain-raiser that former Venice director Marco Mueller managed to secure two years ago with "Black Swan" and, to a lesser extent, with last year's "The Ides of March."
A few quick thoughts on last night's "The Newsroom" coming up just as soon as I keep walking into a glass door...
There is no bigger question for kids as they watch a film, particularly one that exposes them to an adult world they have no personal experience of so far. And once they start asking "Why?", it opens up a potential snowstorm of follow-ups. One of the most important things in any screening I have for the kids is the conversations that show me what they've taken from what they've just watched.
My oldest son, Toshiro, just recently turned seven. I know that when I think back to childhood, everything before seven is fuzzy, select images or impressions, but starting at the age of seven, I have a distinct recollection of things. I can tell you details about things that happened to me that year, places where I saw certain films, events that happened to me or to my friends. It feels in hindsight like seven was the age where everything clicked and turned on and I became a "real" person.
And in the summer of 1977, I was all about "Star Wars."