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Chalk this up as some instantly legendary Hollywood news. Lynne Ramsay has no-showed Natalie Portman western "Jane Got a Gun" on day one of shooting out in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As Mike Fleming writes in his exclusive report, directors leaving production is hardly unheard of, but not showing up on the very first day is a bit, uh, unique.
Okay, it's insane enough to be thinking of this year's potential Oscar contenders, but here's one gourmet prospect to chalk up for next year. Though still in pre-production, Mike Leigh's long-fostered passion project, a currently untitled biopic of eminent British painter J.M.W. Turner, has been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. (If my headline had you thinking he'd remade "What's Love Got To Do With It," I'll presume you're unfamiliar with Leigh's work.)
Henry Bromell, who worked as a writer and producer on some of the most interesting dramas of the last 20 years, has died of a heart attack, as first reported by Deadline. He was 65.
Bromell most recently was part of the "Homeland" writing staff, a murderers' row of former showrunners. Among his credited episodes was season 2's "Q and A," featuring the extended interrogation of Nicholas Brody. It was an episode hearkening back to one of Bromell's earliest jobs in television, as a writer/producer on NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street."
Over the course of his career, Bromell worked on "Homicide," "Homeland," "I'll Fly Away," "Chicago Hope," "Carnivale," "Brotherhood" and "Rubicon," among others. Sometimes, as on "Homeland," he was part of the staff; other times, like "Rubicon" (where he was brought in after the pilot to replace the creator), he was the man in charge.
Twentieth Century Fox TV and Fox 21, the studios which produce "Homeland," put out a statement saying, "We were lucky to work with Henry on and off for the past 18 years. He was a supremely talented writer and as kind and warm a person as you could ever meet. He will be deeply missed at the studio and on 'Homeland.' Our hearts and prayers go out to his wife and children."
UPDATE: Showtime's statement: "We are deeply saddened at the loss of our dear friend Henry Bromell, who has been a part of the Showtime family for over a decade. Henry was an immensely talented and prolific writer, director and showrunner, and his work on 'Brotherhood' and 'Homeland' was nothing short of brilliant. His passion, warmth, humor and generosity will be greatly missed. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his wife and family."
A quick review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I'm a cricket player who secretly hates his life...
I haven't read the novel by Jean Hanff Koreltiz that served as the source material for the new film "Admission," but Karen Croner's screenplay is one of those films where the lead characters are ostensibly smart people who do some oddly not-so-smart things for reasons that seem less than genuine. I wouldn't call "Admission" a bad film, but I think it's a muted pleasure at best, even with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd both doing their best to keep things light and charming.
Fey stars as Portia Nathan, who works at Princeton as one of the gatekeepers who help decide who gets into the school and who doesn't. Portia is portrayed as one of those people who has no real life outside of her job as the film begins, and she seems fine with that. Her devotion is one of the reasons she ends up as a candidate to replace her boss (Wallace Shawn), the department head who is about to retire. All she has to do is buckle down for one more admissions season, do her job as well as she always has, and then reap the rewards.
As Lana on the second season of "American Horror Story," Sarah Paulson had to take a character from naive idealism to battle-scarred warrior. I spoke to the actress at Paleyfest, and she talked about what it takes to create a tough cookie character who can go head-to-head with not one, but two serial killers.
When I was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago for the "Incredible Burt Wonderstone" press day, part of what we did involved a tour of David Copperfield's private magic museum. In order to get into the museum, you have to go through an outer room that is a reproduction of the men's wear store that his parents owned. Before showing us the secret door that would open the door to the inner warehouse, Copperfield told us that his favorite show as a kid was "The Man From UNCLE," and as soon as he said it, the theme started playing.
To some degree, "The Man From UNCLE" has always been the poor cousin to other spy shows. Norman Felton is the creator of the show, but his work was overshadowed by the publicity around Ian Fleming, who created two characters for the show. Napoleon Solo and April Dancer (who later served as the lead in "The Girl From UNCLE") both came from the back-and-forth between Fleming and Felton, and there was a point where the show was going to be called "Ian Fleming's Solo." The James Bond producers sued to prevent the show from using Fleming's name in the promotions for the show, and his work was just a small part of the overall premise. Producer Sam Rolfe also played a big part in coming up with the details of how UNCLE worked. Once the show went on the air, it was quickly turned into a buddy show, with Robert Vaughn playing Solo and David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin. The series ran for 105 episodes in the mid-to-late '60s, and it was a massive cultural hit.
On the Staves’ debut album, “Dead & Born & Grown,” the three sisters, Emily, Jessica, and Camilla Stavely-Taylor, get away with singing about the darkest depths while their angelic harmonies sound like they are soaring to the heavens.
“Oh, I don’t think we sound like angels,” says Jessica Stavely-Taylor. “I think we sound just like us. I think sometimes there’s a downside to sounding [so lovely]. We spend a lot of time writing our music and making sure they sound as good as they can and sometimes people are just like, ‘You sound so sweet!’ The [songs] are not really happy or super chill. We’re talking about serious stuff in them.”
Indeed, on “Tongue Behind My Teeth,” the British trio is dressing down a liar and a cheat. “I’d hurt you if I could,” they sing, in glorious spite. “Oh, I will never belong to anyone,” they declare with an equal mix of independence and sadness on “Snow.”
Of course, there’s plenty of romance as well. On the lulling, gentle “Mexico,” they sing, “Carry me home on your shoulders, lower me on to my bed, show me the night that I dreamed about before” so dreamily that it feels like the invitation comes wrapped in lace and perfect lighting and whispers.
Relying largely on acoustic instruments, the pop-folk trio recalls Simon & Garfunkel or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young with heavy doses of Joni Mitchell and Laura Marling thrown in.
Stavely-Taylor is calling from Austin, where the band had just played one of its two shows at SXSW. The band chronicled their SXSW experience for us in the exclusive photo gallery below. The group’s own promotional duties had left little opportunity to see other acts, although they had seen fellow British sister act Haim and Montreal-based Half Moon Run.
Out tomorrow (March 19) in the U.S., the album, and the trio, have already found favor in their native U.K. with the set, produced by the legendary father-and-son duo Glyn and Ethan Johns.
“They work in an old-fashioned way; they both record to tape and they like to record everything as possible,” Stavely-Taylor says. “We recorded it in a pretty old-fashioned way, which is really cool, given it’s an old-fashioned sound.” On the down side, since the album was recorded largely live, any time someone goofed, “you have to redo it every single time.” On the plus side, Glyn Johns has no shortage of stories about the legends he’s produced. “We’d be sitting there having lunch and Glyn would be name dropping Mick Jagger, Keith Richards or Paul McCartney. It was incredible.”
Stavely-Taylor laughs when she’s asked who the trio would work with if they wanted to turn their sound completely on its ear: “We’re all really big fans of Daft Punk. It would be amazing to have someone like that. Or the Gorillaz or Hot Chip!”
The Staves sent much of the last several months touring in the U.S., playing Sasquatch! Music Festival and Bonnaroo, as well as opening for Bon Iver and The Civil Wars.
As the trio gets ready to embark on its first headlining tour in the U.K. next month, Stavely-Taylor says she and her sisters learned much from both acts. “With The Civil Wars, it was really inspiring to see the two of them holding an audience of thousands captive every night,” she says. “We thought, could we ever pull that off for an hour and a half? We play with a band already, so we won’t be doing it like them. That was really special. Not many bands have it as stripped down as they do.”
Bon Iver was just the reverse: “Bon Iver has a huge show. It’s such an epic sound,” she says. “It makes you think about where you can take your music, the possibilities.”
She also gives both acts high marks for being lovely to their opening act. “We’ve had other bands that haven’t been quite as nice as that,” she says, of course, declining to say whom.
The Staves will headline a U.S. tour in May. After years of playing open mic nights in their English hometown of Watford before they got signed, Stavely-Taylor says they’ve witnessed plenty from the stage, but she’s sure there’s more to come: "I think a guy’s taken his top off, but we haven’t been flashed, so I think there’s a lot that you could do to shock us.”
Check out our exclusive photo gallery of The Staves as they take Austin for SXSW.