Welcome to The Morning Read.

Not really sure how long this morning's column will end up being.  I'm supposed to be asleep right now, since it's 4:00 in the morning and I'm in a hotel room in Atlanta, where I'm getting up to go on a set visit tomorrow that will occupy my whole day.  Insomnia's got me worried that the set visit is going to be a nightmare, and so I figure if I'm awake, I might as well use this time in the wee small hours to put together a Morning Read, and we'll see how much stuff I end up getting to.

I'm excited by Michael Mann's return to television, particularly since it's for HBO, and David Milch is the writer of the project, called "Luck."  Geoff Boucher did a really nice piece on the show, and on Mann's involvement in particular.  If you're already a Mann fan, it's a nice reminder of why, and if you're not, this may make you reconsider your position.

I give up.  I've had my heart broken by George Miller and "Fury Road" so many times that another delay of at least a year before they even start filming pretty much feels to me like an admission that they're never making the damn thing.  It's not the promise of a new "Mad Max" film that's got me all worked up, although I'm certainly up for some car-fu any day of the week.  No, it's the idea that George Miller can't get a giant action movie up and running that leaves me depressed.

Mike Tully is a good guy who runs the excellent Hammer To Nail, a very indie minded film site, and he was one of the writers who joined us when we visited Ireland for the production of "Your Highness" this time last year.  Tully just published a little more of his "Your Highness" coverage, and in it, he beats himself up a bit for what he sees as some dishonesty on his part.  I think (A) Tully wasn't as secretive as he thinks he was and (B) it didn't matter to us.  He's a smart guy, and I'd much rather be on one of these visits with someone who understands the process and can ask smart questions of the filmmakers than someone who's just there because that's the assignment he got this week.

When I wrote about "The Bourne Legacy" last week, one of the first things I assumed based on that title was that there was a good chance the movie would be Damon-free.  That's what the title implies to me… that we're seeing here the results of Jason Bourne's work in the first three films, and he doesn't actually have to be onscreen for us to feel his presence.  It's nice to read Tony Gilroy actually confirming to Jeff Wells some of what I guessed.  I'm just surprised how people seem shocked that Damon might not be back.

You don't have to be a "Harry Potter" fan to find this glimpse into the process of JK Rowling utterly fascinating.  I love seeing how different writers approach the actual mechanics of plot-building, and especially on something as complex as the "Potter" series over the years.

I've seen a lot of people pick up the story of this new miracle software called MovieReshape, and I've read a lot of words written about how it means no actor ever needs to pull a "Raging Bull" again.  But… isn't that part of what makes actors special?  Isn't that the reason to watch something like "The Machinist" or "Raging Bull" or even "Bridget Jones' Diary"?  Because we know that the person we're looking at onscreen has done something to themselves, transformed themselves externally in a way that takes acting past the act of mere pretend?  I think this is very interesting footage, but I sort of hate the notion of some computer jockey suddenly being able to do something that used to be the strict purview of the performer.  To me, this goes beyond special effects and just plain feels like cheating.

Having said that, I do plan to buy this software so we can use it on all of my video interviews from now on.  Right now, I see myself on-camera and I look like I'm filled with nacho cheese.  Good lord.  I'm gonna give myself the full "300" ab treatment when I get the software.  I may do all my interviews shirtless.  Try and stop me.

You reeeeeeeally should have Reid Rosefelt bookmarked at this point.  He's a completely honest publicist.  I can't believe I just typed all three of those words in one sentence in that order, but it's true.  You want some honesty?  Here's some of the most unfiltered and delicious honesty you'll get all day.

Quint crushed this one.  Amazing interview.  And it helps that Ernest Borgnine is just as great at 93 as he's ever been.

If you didn't see Adam Rifkin's film "Look," you should have, and now there's a Showtime series version of the idea as well.  Rifkin has tapped something really potent here, shooting only from the POV of surveillance cameras, using that idea to really get at how little privacy we have in modern life.  I find the whole thing almost unspeakably creepy, and it's one of my biggest concerns about modern life.  A whole series about this?  I can't wait to check it out.

If I wasn't already looking forward to Joe Wright's "Hanna," I am now.

Episodes 111 and 112… listen to them.  Now.

Both Marc Maron and Louis CK are comics I respect and enjoy, and I feel blessed to live in LA, where there's such a great strong comedy scene.  One of the guys who helps nurture and promote that scene on a regular basis is the great and often unsung Scott Aukerman, and this is a really sharp profile of the role that Aukerman plays as a sort of curator of LA comedy.

You want to know how dedicated Sacha Baron Cohen is to that Freddy Mercury picture he's starring in?  It was his idea, says super-screenwriter Peter Morgan, and it sounds like Cohen's going to throw himself into this with the same passion that he brings his own creations.  I have a feeling this is going to be something special, and I can't wait to see it.  I have faith that Cohen and Morgan are going to treat Mercury with the proper respect, and that we'll get something great as an end result.

And with that, I need to finish this bacon, take a shower, and head out to the set.  I'll make sure to tell Vin Diesel and The Rock that you guys said hello, and I'll have more for you this evening, including my review of the new films "Conviction" and "RED."

 

 

 

The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Except when it doesn't.

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