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The Hollywood Reporter — February 07, 2018

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February 7, 2018
Oscars
IN THE HOMESTRETCH
WILLEM DAFOE Triumph
of a Hollywood nomad
● High stakes for the studios
● From Mary J. to Chalamet:
The nominee class photo
●
#METOO HITS
MOVIE DEALS
Battle over morality clauses
R.I.P. OFFICE
ROMANCE
Dating post-Harvey
SONY SHAKE-UP
New CEO, new sale buzz
HOLLYWOOD’S
MOST TOXIC
BROMANCE
EMBRACE LIFE
EMBRACE STRENGTH
EMBRACE E A
ACH OTHER
F O R Y O U R C O N S I D E R AT I O N
THESHAPEOFWATERFYC.COM
Issue No. 6, February 7, 2018
FEATURES
54 Willem Dafoe: Triumph
of a Hollywood Nomad
64 The Doomed Bromance
of Lenny and Charlie
Despite a hundred credits
and three Oscar nominations
— the most recent for The
Florida Project — the actor
remains a shape-shifting
enigma who eschews fame
and comfort: “I remember
my life by my movies.”
60 Back to Basics in Berlin
With Netflix and Amazon
lying low in Sundance, this
year’s European Film
Market may continue a return
to more traditional sales
models — and dealmakers
couldn’t be happier.
He’s a burnout major
leaguer and an ex-con, but
that didn’t prepare Lenny
Dykstra for his friendship
with Charlie Sheen, a man
he alleges is a dangerous
criminal about to be taken
down by the Feds.
70 ‘Simplistic but
Complicated’
Animated feature Oscar
contenders introduced
audiences to female characters who could tame a
bull and handle a bossy,
suit-wearing infant.
54
“I never thought acting
could be a profession,”
says Dafoe, photographed Feb. 2 at Siren
Studios Orange in Los
Angeles. He looks back at
some of his iconic roles
(and the time he played
Marilyn Monroe in a
Super Bowl commercial)
at THR.com/video.
Ralph Lauren sweater,
Dolce & Gabbana pants,
Jimmy Choo sneakers.
Photographed here and for the cover by Martha Galvan
2
CONGRATULATIONS TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET
WINNER
BEST AC TOR
LONDON FILM CRITICS’ CIRCLE
Issue No. 6, February 7, 2018
THE REPORT
11 The Morality Dilemma
In a post-Weinstein landscape, studios are adding
language to talent contracts
to protect themselves
if claims hit the media.
ABOUT TOWN
23 Who Does Whitney
Cummings Think She Is?
The prolific TV star/creator
helms her first feature, The
Female Brain.
and the surprisingly
most profitable division
at Sony.
STYLE
49 That Touch of Pink
Just in time for Valentine’s
Day, new blush-hued
scents hit all the right notes
— from seductive woods
to feminine florals.
REVIEWS
74 Black Panther
Ryan Coogler’s Marvel
entry dazzles with smartly
staged action, magnetic
performances and a bracing
sense of novelty.
THE BUSINESS
38 Executive Suite:
Steve Bersch
The acquisitions executive on
the state of indie filmmaking
BACKLOT
77 How Canada Became
a Springboard
for Female Directors
Multiple government
initiatives are pushing for
gender parity in the
film business by 2020.
THIS WEEK ON THR VIDEO
CORRECTION Sufjan Stevens received
a best song Oscar nomination for “Mystery
of Love” (THR 1/31).
23
“I still have a bit of shame around being
the boss,” says Cummings, photographed
Jan. 26 at Harlowe in West Hollywood.
49
Chloe Nomade
with plum,
freesia and oak
moss notes;
$132, at Sephora
“I am not a saint,”
says Lenny Dykstra,
photographed Nov. 8
in New York City.
Cummings photographed by Coral von Zumwalt
64
DYKSTRA: WESLEY MANN. FRAGRANCE: WILL DELEON.
Watch Cummings rave about
her comedic hero, Paul Reiser.
Matthew Belloni
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REBECCA SUN
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L.A. headquarters
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showrunner Laeta
Kalogridis and actors
Will Yun Lee, Byron
Mann and Dichen
Lachman following a
screening co-hosted
by the Coalition
of Asian Pacifics in
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SCOTT FEINBERG
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Robbie and Allison
Janney — recipients of
the Santa Barbara Film
Festival’s performer
of the year award — at
the fest Feb. 8.
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F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
VICTORIA MCKILLOP
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T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
8
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
BAFTA
WINNER
NOMINEE
DOCUMENTARY
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
“
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
(THE ORWELL AWARD)
WINNER
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
LONDON
WINNER
CRITICS’ CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARDS
AUDIENCE AWARD
BEST SPORTS
DOCUMENTARY
DGA
NOMINEE
BEST DIRECTOR
BRYAN FOGEL
THERE WERE INSTANCES
OF DOPING USE, TRUE.
BUT NO ONE IS MAKING
”
A BIG SHOW OF IT.
– VLADIMIR PUTIN
JANUARY 30, 2018
“A TRULY ABSORBING PIECE OF FILMMAKING.
COULDN’T BE MORE TIMELY.”
INDIEWIRE
CONSIDER T UTH
T H E T H R I L L E R T H AT T O O K D O W N A N E M P I R E
↑ Moguls
Sony Shake-Up
Does the new CEO care
about Hollywood? p. 12
The Re ort
Film
Behind the Headlines
Clint’s Casting
Eastwood on why he hired
non-actors for 15:17 p. 14
Heat Index
David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
The Game of Thrones creators
jump to light speed with
Lucasfilm to write and produce
new Star Wars films (separate
from the Rian Johnson trilogy).
YOSHIDA: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES. BENIOFF: JEFF KRAVITZ/FILMMAGIC FOR HBO. HARDER: COURTESY OF SUBJECT. WALDEN: GREG DOHERTY/GETTY IMAGES. CIRRINCIONE: JOHNNY NUNEZ/WIREIMAGE.
Charles Harder
The litigator for Donald
Trump, Harvey Weinstein and
Hulk Hogan sees partner
Douglas Mirell quit, saying
he was “uncomfortable” with
the firm’s client list.
Dana Walden &
Gary Newman
The Fox TV co-CEOs
preside over a robust launch
for Ryan Murphy’s 911 and
see the broadcaster hit No. 1
for the first month of 2018
— before the Super Bowl put
NBC back on top.
‘Everyone Is Trying to Cover
Their Asses as Much as Possible’
Sex abuse insurance? It could happen, as studios race to include broad morality clauses in contracts
and dealmakers now must protect against unearthed misconduct claims BY TATIANA SIEGEL
M
Vincent Cirrincione
The producer and manager
of Halle Berry and Taraji P.
Henson shutters his company
after nine claims of sexual
harassment are reported by
The Washington Post.
Showbiz Stocks
$220.88 (+2.9%)
THE MADISON SQUARE
GARDEN CO. (MSG)
The venue owner posts strong
quarterly earnings thanks to
robust ticket sales.
$1,005.80 (-10.2%)
ALPHABET (GOOG)
Google’s parent loses
$3 billion in the latest quarter
after taking a one-time
tax charge of $9.9 billion to
account for recent changes
in the U.S. tax code.
oral turpitude? It’s a
concept that showbiz
talent soon will be wellacquainted with. The term, which
means “an act or behavior that
gravely violates the sentiment or
accepted standard of the community,” is popping up in contracts of
actors and filmmakers in the
wake of the #MeToo movement
that has rocked Hollywood.
Fox is just one of the studios
that is trying to insert broad
morality clauses into its talent deals, giving it the ability to
terminate any contract “if the
talent engages in conduct that
results in adverse publicity or
notoriety or risks bringing the
talent into public disrepute,
contempt, scandal or ridicule.”
A Paramount source says it long
has had standards of conduct
that it asks employees and talent
to adhere to and that it’s reviewing its approach in the new
era. At the same time, several
smaller distributors have begun
to add a clause in their longform contracts that gives them
an out if a key individual in a
film — whether during or before
the term of the contract — committed or is charged with an act
considered under state or federal
laws to be a felony or crime of
moral turpitude.
Studios and buyers are
responding to the real financial
losses incurred in the aftermath
of a flurry of sexual harassment
and assault accusations and
admissions that have enveloped
everyone from Kevin Spacey
to Brett Ratner to Jeremy Piven
since October, when Harvey
Weinstein first was outed as a
predator. Netflix took a $39 million write-down following
numerous assault accusations
involving House of Cards’ Spacey,
who also was poised to play
Gore Vidal in a movie for the
streamer. CFO David Wells didn’t
name Spacey or The Ranch star
Danny Masterson, who left the
Netflix series following rape
accusations, but said the writedown was “related to the societal
reset around sexual harassment.”
Similarly, All the Money in
the World financier Imperative
Entertainment had to pony
up $10 million to replace Spacey
with Christopher Plummer for
eleventh-hour reshoots on the
Illustration by Zohar Lazar
Jan. 29-Feb. 5
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
11
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
The Report
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Elem ent fr om
Behind the Headlines
Sony film. Spacey did not have a
morality clause in his contracts,
according to sources, and was
paid for the entire final season
of House of Cards — even though
he won’t appear in any of the
episodes — and for All the Money
in the World.
Lawyer Schuyler Moore has
begun to add a morality clause to
contracts in an effort to protect
his distributor clients from being
saddled with the next #MeTootainted film. “Any distributor
can say, ‘I’m not picking up this
film if somebody involved in the
film has some charge like that.’
Absolutely. I’m doing it, and
[these clauses] are enforceable,”
says the Greenberg Glusker partner. “And it’s just a question of
drafting it in a way that works.”
As such, there’s a new version
of liability affecting Hollywood,
and studios and buyers are
scrambling to figure out how to
handle it. Naturally, talent reps
are balking.
“I’m all for [#MeToo]. I totally
support it. But I think [broad
morality clauses] create a bad
precedent,” says attorney Linda
Lichter. “It’s one thing to say
someone is a criminal. It’s another
thing to say someone has been
accused by someone and you can
fire them and not pay them.”
Others claim studios and buyers are hypocritical if they are
unwilling to include a morality
clause covering their own executives. Directors and talent endure
economic hardship when their
films are bought by a company
whose top execs, like Weinstein,
become synonymous with sexual
“Everyone is trying to cover
their asses as much as possible,”
says one distribution exec whose
company recently began adding
morality clauses to its contracts.
One producer insists that
restrictive clauses will spark an
inability to finance movies.
“If there is anything downstream
that impedes the ability of a financier to recoup his investment, the
financier will not invest,” says this
producer, adding that bond companies do not currently address
the potential of a key figure negatively impacting a film because
of a sex scandal. Film Finances
Inc., the top bond completion
company working in Hollywood,
declined to comment.
“There’s definitely an opportunity for a company to come
up with some sort of sex abuse
insurance,” says the producer.
That’s a point echoed by Lichter.
“The studios should start thinking about whether there’s some
kind of insurance for this type of
thing,” she says. “This is a whole
new territory.”
Lacey Rose contributed to
this report.
What Does Sony’s New CEO Have Planned?
Kenichiro Yoshida may not offload the film studio (just yet), say analysts BY GAVIN J. BLAIR
ill Sony’s incoming CEO finally cut the cord
W
on Hollywood? On Feb. 1, the conglomerate said top exec Kaz Hirai, 57, would hand over
the reins to CFO Kenichiro Yoshida, 58, on April 1.
The move ignited new speculation that Sony’s
entertainment assets could end up auctioned.
Hirai has been a passionate advocate for Sony
Pictures Entertainment, while Yoshida, a veteran
of corporate strategy who joined Sony in 1983,
not as much. But despite Yoshida’s reputation for
paring underperforming units, many Sony watchers say he’s unlikely to unload SPE right away. “I
credit [Yoshida] with a big part of the turnaround
of the past few years,” says Eric Jackson of EMJ
Capital, which owns Sony stock. “He’s forced transparency on the different business units.”
Yoshida and Hirai led Sony from huge losses to
forecasting a record $6.6 billion profit for 2017 with
such film hits as Jumanji ($857 million globally)
and Spider-Man: Homecoming ($880 million). On
Feb. 2, Yoshida identified movie production,
along with semiconductors, as areas the company
must be “very careful” with because of large
investments required. (And on Feb. 6, worldwide
networks president Andy Kaplan, home entertainment chief Man Jit Singh and president/CMO
Sheraton Kalouria exited in a restructuring.)
Damian Thong, Sony analyst at Macquarie
Capital in Tokyo, notes that “SPE is not a monolithic movie business” but includes a studio,
postproduction facilities and cable channels. “One
Spider-Man: Homecoming (left) and Jumanji
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
12
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Hirai (left), the president and CEO of Sony Corp. since 2012,
will be succeeded in April by Yoshida, now the company’s CFO.
reason Sony has remained relevant is an understanding that electronics is linked to content,”
he adds. But in this era of M&A, Jackson thinks
Sony should consider expanding its entertainment
assets, perhaps by acquiring Lionsgate or MGM: “I
would guess it’s more likely they sell their mobile
phone and financial services units rather than their
pictures unit.” But one Tokyo-based Sony analyst
says a creative deal could lead to a sale: “If they can
form some kind of alliance and sell maybe 30 to
40 percent of SPE, then that is a possibility.”
YOSHIDA: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES. SPIDER-MAN: CHUCK ZLOTNICK/SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT. JUMANJI: FRANK MASI/SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT. MOORE: COURTESY OF SUBJECT.
One film distributor recently began adding this “morality clause” language to its contracts.
ignominy. On the flip side, Fox
Searchlight lost millions on the
release of The Birth of a Nation
after revelations that star-filmmaker Nate Parker had stood trial
for rape when he was a college
student (Parker was acquitted)
and that his accuser later took
her own life.
In the post-Weinstein landscape, a number of distributors
have been left in vulnerable
positions. YouTube Red dropped
Morgan Spurlock ’s Super Size
Me 2: Holy Chicken! following the
filmmaker’s admission of sexual
misconduct, but
not before paying
$3.5 million that
sources say it likely
won’t get back.
Moore
The Orchard dodged
a bullet when its $5 million
acquisition of Louis C.K.’s I Love
You, Daddy became unreleasable after a wave of harassment
accusations were leveled at the
comedian. Though C.K. was not
legally obliged to take back the
film, he wrote The Orchard a
check to reimburse the company
for what it had paid toward the
film’s release.
6
A C A D E M Y A WA R D N O M I N A T I O N S
®
INCLUDING
BEST PICTURE
OF THE YEAR
BEST ACTOR GARY OLDMAN
The Report
Behind the Headlines
MOVIE
How Clint Handled Non-Actors:
‘Massive Improvisation’
Eastwood says if Warner Bros. execs questioned his decision to cast real-life
heroes in the terrorism thriller 15:17 to Paris, ‘nobody expressed it to me’ BY TATIANA SIEGEL
T
his past spring, Clint Eastwood was
grilling Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos
and Anthony Sadler about their takedown of an armed Islamic State recruit on
a train heading from Amsterdam to Paris.
Eastwood was mulling actors to portray the
real-life trio whose story informed his new
film, The 15:17 to Paris, when it hit him: “I just
thought, ‘I wonder if they could do it?’ ” says
Eastwood, 87. “The faces just fit,” he added.
The idea isn’t unprecedented, even if talent
might not love being replaced by real people.
Steven Soderbergh has done it more than once,
with the indies The Girlfriend Experience (led
by porn star Sasha Grey) and Haywire (toplined
by MMA fighter Gina Carano). Gus Van Sant
took a similar route with Elephant as well as
with another angst pic, Paranoid Park, each
costing $3 million. But with a $30 million
↑ From left: Skarlatos, Stone and Sadler were lauded for
their bravery by President Obama in 2015. They play themselves
in the action thriller The 15:17 to Paris.
budget, Warner Bros.’ 15:17, which
opens Feb. 9, marks the first time
in decades that a major studio has
taken a risk on real-life protagonists leading a moderately
Eastwood
budgeted film.
Eastwood has used nonprofessionals before,
albeit in supporting roles (in Gran Torino). Given
that film’s box-office performance ($270 million worldwide on a $33 million budget),
Warners wasn’t about to raise any objections.
“There might’ve been a little discussion as
to whether they thought it was a good idea, but
nobody expressed it to me,” says Eastwood.
In earlier times, studios groomed reallife celebrities like figure skater Sonja Henie
— once the highest-paid actress in Hollywood
— to essentially play themselves in movies
like 20th Century Fox’s My Lucky Star. More
recently, Paramount had mixed results when
gambling on real-life characters, scoring
a modest success with 1997’s Howard Stern
comedy Private Parts and its $41 million
haul. Six years later, it endured a bomb with
The Real Cancun, which took in $5 million.
And Relativity’s 2012 thriller Act of Valor, which
earned $81 million worldwide off a $12 million budget, starred Navy SEALs whose last
names did not appear in the credits and were
not revealed in initial marketing of the film.
In the case of 15:17, Eastwood made up for
the lack of professional actors by doing “a massive amount of improvisation.” Now Stone, 25,
is hanging on tight to his SAG-AFTRA card
and has signed with UTA for all areas, with
Jason Heyman representing him for acting.
“I would love to make it a long career,” Stone
says. For Eastwood’s next film, which he
hasn’t yet determined, he likely will return to
employing pros. “I’m not deserting my Screen
Actors Guild,” he says. “The Screen Actors
Guild just has three new members.”
Howard Stern, Video Star? SiriusXM Hopes So
The satellite service plans a new add-on in its latest subscriber search BY PAUL BOND AND GEORG SZALAI
ideo will embrace the radio star
V
this summer as 64-year-old
Howard Stern will become a multimedia play for SiriusXM.
In plans outlined during a Jan. 30
earnings call, CEO Jim Meyer cautioned that “we are not
going into the Netflix
business” but will be
“wading into the video
pool” before July. The
Meyer
satellite radio provider will draw on 30 years of Stern
interviews as a blueprint to launch
video of other talk hosts, comedians
and musicians. The video product
will be part of SiriusXM All Access,
which at $20.99 a month is about a
$5 premium to the regular service.
“Management isn’t planning to
launch the video product as a separate package but expects it to drive
higher take rates of the All Access
package,” says Evercore ISI analyst
Vijay Jayant.
SiriusXM isn’t the only subscription audio-based company to dabble
in video. Spotify began streaming
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
videos from such partners as
Comedy Central and ESPN in early
2016, paving the way for the music
service to greenlight a batch of
original shortform videos. That effort
struggled to gain traction. Apple,
of course, is launching a video service to complement Apple Music.
SiriusXM has nearly 33 million U.S.
subscribers. Stern, who hasn’t had
a headlining video presence since
pay channel Howard TV shuttered in
late 2013, is signed through 2020.
Says Steven Birenberg, founder
14
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Stern’s SiriusXM show attracts an estimated
9 million listeners each week.
of Northlake Capital Management:
“If they establish video within the
current customer bases — and
attract some new customers with
it — eventually it could be a standalone product.”
OBAMA: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES. 15:17: COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES. STERN: L. BUSACCA/WIREIMAGE FOR SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO. MEYER: KEVIN MAZUR/GETTY IMAGES FOR SIRIUSXM. EASTWOOD: STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE.
REAL
LIFE
The Report
Behind the Headlines
Domestic
International
Gross Cume % Chg Gross Cume
The pic made a surprise Super Bowl
comeback, reclaiming the top spot in its seventh
weekend, the first time since Titanic that a
wide December release has won in February.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure FOX
10.5 40(2) -57 35.5*81 143.2 183.2
2.
Winchester CBS FILMS/LIONSGATE
9.3 9.3(1)
N/A N/A
3.
Cable TV
18-49
Live+3
Viewership
Live+3
Total
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle SONY
10.9 352.6(7) -32 12.6*94 503.1 856.7
1.
Broadcast TV
9.3
The supernatural thriller sports a dismal
13 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the worst
score on the site for a feature starring Helen
Mirren after 2010’s Love Ranch (12 percent).
Audience
Live+3
1.
Grammy Awards CBS
6.3
20.8M
1.
Vikings HISTORY
3.7
2.
This Is Us NBC
4.5
14.9M
2.
The Alienist TNT
3.1
3.
Grey’s Anatomy ABC
3.3
11.3M
4.
The Good Doctor ABC
3.1
14.99M
5.
911 FOX
2.7
6.
The Bachelor ABC
2.2
7.4M
7.
NCIS CBS
2.1
8.
Ellen’s Game of Games NBC
2.1
8.4M
3.
ACS: Versace FX
2.98
9.
The Goldbergs ABC
2.1
7.1M
4.
Haves and the Have Nots OWN
2.87
5.
Shameless SHOWTIME
2.82
6.
The Librarians TNT
2.2
7.
Knightfall HISTORY
2.1
8.
If Loving You Is Wrong OWN
2.0
9.
Waco PARAMOUNT
1.9
Turner cites a whopping 13 million
viewers (with linear encores and digital
lifts) for its adaptation of the Caleb
Carr best-seller. It’s cable’s No. 1 drama
launch of the young year.
10.1M
The Greatest Showman FOX
7.7 137.4(7) -19 16.2*62 153.1 290.5
5.
The Post FOX
5.2 67.2(7) -43 10.3*29 37.2 104.4
6.
Hostiles ENTERTAINMENT STUDIOS
5.1 20.8(7) -50 N/A N/A
17.1M
7.
8.
20.8
2.0
1.6
Med NBC
10M
12 Strong WARNER BROS.
4.7 37.3(3) -46 2.9*38
8.7
46
11.
Den of Thieves STX
4.6 36.2(3) -47 6.5*32
9.1
45.3
12.
Chicago Fire NBC
1.9
9.4M
13.
Scandal ABC
1.9
14.
American Housewife (1/24) ABC
1.8
6.6M
15.
How to … Murder ABC
1.8
5.9M
The Shape of Water FOX SEARCHLIGHT
4.4 44.7(10) -25 4.4*23 19.5 64.2
9.
10. Nashville CMT
10. Chicago
Director Guillermo del Toro continues to rack
up wins on the awards circuit, but the film
fell 25 percent domestically despite upping
its theater count to 2,341.
Bull CBS
1.9
Closer
Look
One to Watch
14.3M
7.0M
Waco PARAMOUNT
The miniseries’ Jan. 24 debut, which
earned a solid 1.1 rating in the key
demo, coincided with the launch of the
Paramount Network.
Oscar Best Picture Scorecard
The nominees’ worldwide grosses so far
10. Paddington
3.3
2 WARNER BROS./STUDIOCANAL
36.5(4) -42 2*31 155.8 192.3
1.
2.
11.
Three Billboards … FOX SEARCHLIGHT
3 41.8(13) -22 8.3*41 46.3 88.1
3.
12.
I, Tonya NEON/VARIOUS
2.5 22.6(9) -19 1.6*7
5.
4.5
27.1
Padmaavat VIVA ENTERTAINMENT
2.4 8.9(2) -46 2.2*11 8.7
17.6
Darkest Hour FOCUS FEATURES
2.36 48.8(11) -18 7.1*59 65.8
114.6
13.
4.
6.
7.
Dunkirk nabbed
eight nominations.
8.
9.
Dunkirk WARNER BROS.
$525.6M
Get Out UNIVERSAL
$255M
Darkest Hour FOCUS
$114.6M
The Post FOX
$104.4M
Three Billboards … FOX S. $88.1M
Shape of Water FOX S.
$64.2M
Lady Bird A24
$43.7M
Call Me by … SONY CLASSICS
$22M
Phantom Thread FOCUS
$17.4M
14.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi DISNEY
2.34 614.5(8) -45 2.8*29 706 1.32B
TV Ads Enlist
More Female
Directors
Advertising agencies, spurred
by a pledge campaign, are
picking more women for highly
coveted (and paid) ‘feeder’ gigs
BY MIA GALUPPO
Good news for Sony: When ABC aired
its passed-over pilot for the proposed
Goldbergs spinoff, the episode topped
broadcast and was the No. 1 comedy of
the week — reigniting interest.
4.
Alma Har’el
on the set of
Coca-Cola’s
“The Wonder
of Us” ad.
Source: ComScore
An ongoing effort to get advertising agencies to book more female
directors for big-budget TV spots
is starting to pay off thanks to
Free the Bid, a campaign started in
September 2016 by director Alma
Har’el, who is responsible for this
year’s Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad.
Susan Credle, chief creative
officer at FCB Global, whose clients
include Clorox and Levi’s, says the
proportion of FCB’s ads directed
by women has risen from 10 percent
to 30 percent since the agency
took the pledge last year to consider
hiring female directors. Ad giant
BBDO has doubled the number of
female directors hired on commercials, while CP+B has seen a fourfold
increase. Airbnb, Visa and Twitter
are among brands that have joined
the campaign.
“Advertising has always been a
feeder to Hollywood,” Har’el says.
She notes that commercial work for
up-and-coming female directors —
Reed Morano and Ava DuVernay
have helmed TV ads — boosts their
careers in two ways: They gain
filmmaking experience (“They
get to argue with ad agencies and
brands [in ways] that are similar to
working with studios and financiers”)
and financial security (“Right now,
[women] can’t sustain their careers
long enough to be competitive”).
The campaign hopes to spur
similar action for moviemaking. “A lot
of great directors spend time coming
through advertising as their university before going on to conquer
the film world,” says Credle, adding: “[Alma’s] theory is that if more
women get into advertising, we can
change the game in film.”
15.
Box-office source: comScore; estimates in $ millions; ( )Weekends in release; *Territories. Broadcast source: Nielsen, live-plus-3, week of Jan. 21. Cable TV source: Nielsen, live-plus-3 scripted series, week of Jan. 21.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
16
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
HAR’EL: COURTESY OF SUBJECT. JUMANJI: FRANK MASI/COLUMBIA PICTURES. WINCHESTER: BEN KING/CBS FILMS. SHAPE: KERRY HAYES/TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX.
ALIENIST: KATA VERMES/TNT. GOLDBERGS: ABC/RON TOM. WACO: PARAMOUNT NETWORK/URSULA COYOTE. DUNKIRK: COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.
Box Office
ARE OSCAR FRONTRUNNERS
STARTING TO EMERGE?
IS NOW
The action isn’t slowing down yet: The Directors Guild has
weighed in, and the writers are next up on Feb. 11 as the Academy’s
day of judgment draws ever closer By Scott Feinberg
DIRECTOR
The Golden Globe and Producers Guild
of America winner added the DGA’s top
award to his mantelpiece Feb. 3. Only
seven times in 69 years has the top DGA
Award winner not gone on to win the
best director Oscar.
Jordan Peele, Get Out
He may have lost the DGA Award for
film directing to Guillermo del Toro, but
he remains in play after scoring the next
best thing — the DGA’s prize for feature
directorial debut — and earning a standing ovation at the ceremony as he headed
to the stage.
ACTOR
SUPPORTING ACTOR
ONE OF THE WORLD’S
PRE-EMINENT INTERNATIONAL
CO-PRODUCTION MARKETS
FOR FEATURE FILM, TV AND
DIGITAL MEDIA.
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Christopher Plummer,
All the Money in the World
The prohibitive frontrunner to win
the Oscar — his portrayal of Winston
Churchill has earned Globe and
SAG awards — was feted at the Santa
Barbara International Film Festival,
where received the fest’s Maltin Master
Award on Feb. 2.
He was one of only five acting nominees
who couldn’t make it to the Nominees
Luncheon on Feb. 5 (along with Daniel
Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington, Woody
Harrelson and Lesley Manville), missing
an opportunity for glad-handing voters.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
SONG
SEPTEMBER 13-15, 2018
HALIFAX
NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA
FINPARTNERS.CA
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
“This Is Me”
The Greatest Showman
Acclaimed filmmaker Steve James
(Hoop Dreams) got his first doc nomination for this look at a small bank that
fell victim to the financial crisis. But at
the DGA Awards, he lost the doc prize
to Matthew Heineman’s City of Ghosts,
which isn’t Oscar-nominated.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s Golden
Globe-winning tune, sung by Keala
Settle, is getting lots of primetime exposure in NBC advertisements for the
Winter Olympics, including one featured
during the Super Bowl.
18
DEL TORO: FREDERICK M. BROWN/GETTY IMAGES. PEELE: KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/GETTY IMAGES FOR DGA. DARKEST: COURTESY OF FOCUS FEATURES. MONEY: FABIO LOVINO/FOCUS FEATURES. ABACUS: SEAN LYNESS/PBS. SHOWMAN: NIKO TAVERNISE/TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX.
Guillermo del Toro,
The Shape of Water
FOX SEARCHLIGHT WARMLY CONGRATULATES
FRANCES McDORMAND
WINNER OF THE 9TH ANNUAL
AFRICAN AMERICAN FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION’S
AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS
The Report
7 Days of DEALS
Who’s inking on the dotted line this week
HOW PAR A MOUNT AND NETFLIX PU LLED
OFF TH AT CLOVERFIELD SU PER BOW L J U K E
Stuber
Super Bowl viewers were shocked when Netflix
dropped an ad for The Cloverfield Paradox, revealing
that the J.J. Abrams-produced movie heretofore known as God Particle would forgo a theatrical
release and instead debut on the streaming service immediately following the big game Feb. 4.
The marketing stunt capped a rescue plan
hatched by Abrams, Paramount chairman-CEO Jim
Gianopulos, Netflix chief Ted Sarandos and head
of original films Scott Stuber, among others. Worried
that Paradox would perish at the box office — it
was set to hit theaters April 20 after several delays
— Paramount and Abrams handed it to Netflix,
which is willing to shell out big bucks for high-profile
content. Sources say the deal, broached over the
holidays and finalized in January, is worth north of
Paradox is
the third film
in Abrams’
sci-fi horror
anthology
franchise
Cloverfield.
$50 million, with Paramount retaining rights for
China and home entertainment. It makes the movie
instantly profitable for the studio, which avoids a
(likely) misfire and costly marketing campaign.
And Netflix got what it was looking for, regardless
of withering reviews (18 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
at press time): buzz. “It gets them attention and
captures some viewing right off the bat,” says
eMarketer’s Paul Vern. And even if the streamer
doesn’t ultimately get the viewership it hoped for
Paradox, “they still got a brand jolt,” he adds.
Paradox, which finished principal photography in
September 2016, was part of the successful and popular Cloverfield series, but sources say Gianopulos,
who joined the studio six months later, was worried.
Despite additions to clarify character beats and
tie the film to the franchise’s universe, it was ultimately deemed unsalvageable despite a cast led by
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Elizabeth Debicki, David Oyelowo
and Daniel Bruhl. Netflix was an obvious destination, having already taken over international rights
to the Natalie Portman starrer Annihilation, which
Paramount will release domestically Feb. 23.
Paramount retains rights to future Cloverfield
films. Overlord, a World War II zombie pic from
Abrams that has scored high in test screenings, could
be a contender, although sources say that its fate is
undetermined. — BORYS KIT AND PAMELA MCCLINTOCK
Lane
FILM
Suki Waterhouse (CAA,
the U.K.’s Independent,
Untitled, Jackoway
Tyerman) has joined
Legendary’s Detective
Pikachu movie along
with Bill Nighy and You’re
the Worst’s Chris Geere.
Jim Parsons (CAA,
Gang Tyre) has joined Zac
Efron in the Ted Bundy
biopic Extremely Wicked,
Shockingly Evil and Vile.
HGTV Lays New Foundation With Property Brothers
Amid the looming departure of Fixer Upper stars
Big
Chip and Joanna Gaines,
Deal
HGTV is not risking losing
any more top-tier talent.
Cable’s fifth-most-watched network has
inked a multiyear extension with Property
Brothers’ Drew and Jonathan Scott (CAA,
Canada’s Stohn Hay), who first came
to the Scripps Interactive-owned network in
2011. The twins, 39, are responsible for an
atypical share of HGTV output: the original
Property Brothers, the spinoffs Buying
& Selling and At Home and the competition series Brother vs. Brother — which,
with a reach of 13 million cross-platform
viewers per episode, is Scott Brothers
Entertainment’s top series. “They can
produce and star in an incredible amount
of content in a very short period of time,”
says Scripps U.S. programming GM Allison
Page. “It’s a scale we haven’t achieved
with anyone else.”
The exclusive pact comes as the
Canadian imports become an increasingly
mainstream presence. Drew placed fourth
on the most recent season of ABC’s Dancing
With the Stars, and both frequently appear
on NBC’s Today to promote their series and
licensed products.
HGTV is aggressively fortifying its slate
amid Scripps’ pending $11.9 billion sale to
Discovery Communications. New siblingcentric series Restored by the Fords is
retaining 60 percent of its Fixer Upper leadin, and the network has another 50-odd
pilots (some with the Scotts) in development. — MICHAEL O’CONNELL
Riverdale star Cole
Sprouse (WME, Authentic,
Greenberg Traurig) is
in talks to topline the CBS
Films romantic drama Five
Feet Apart.
Jonathan
(left) and
Drew Scott
have been
spending
more time
in L.A. and
onscreen.
Rights Available! Hot new books with Hollywood appeal
Big Boi (UTA, Career
Artists) has joined Sony’s
Superfly remake.
Michelle MacLaren (ICM,
Stone Genow) will direct
Chris Pratt in Universal’s
Cowboy Ninja Viking.
BY ANDY LEWIS AND TATIANA SIEGEL
Everything Happens for a Reason:
And Other Lies I’ve Loved (RANDOM HOUSE, FEB. 6)
Lone Stars (PHILOMEL BOOKS, SEPT. 12, 2017)
BY Kate Bowler AGENCY Gotham Group
Shopped as Friday Night Lights meets Concussion, this YA
novel from the best-selling sports columnist follows a middle
schooler who suspects his beloved football coach, a former pro
player, is suffering from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).
BY Mike Lupica AGENCY ICM Partners
The Duke Divinity School professor chronicles her stage 4
colon cancer diagnosis at age 35 and how it upended her beliefs.
Her Jan. 26 New York Times op-ed furthered the conversation.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
20
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
CLOVERFIELD: SCOTT GARFIELD/NETFLIX. STUBER: ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES. PROPERTY: GILLES MINGASSON/VERBATIM PHOTO AGENCY/HGTV. BOOK: COURTESY OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE. SPROUSE: MONICA SCHIPPER/WIREIMAGE. MACLAREN: FRAZER
HARRISON/GETTY IMAGES FOR ELLE. GRAY: PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN/GETTY IMAGES. SUTTER: TASIA WELLS/FILMMAGIC. IGER: COURTESY OF STRIBLING. DAVIS: COURTESY OF SUBJECT. WATERHOUSE: JIM SPELLMAN/WIREIMAGE. SMOLLETT: ARAYA DIAZ/GETTY IMAGES.
Deal
of the
Week
103.4M
People who watched the Feb. 4
Super Bowl on NBC (106 million with
Big
Number streaming), down 3 percent from
last year and the fewest since 2009.
Waterhouse
Sutter
Gray
MacLaren
Hannibal’s Jesse
Alexander (CAA,
Kleinberg Lange) will
showrun season two
of Starz’s American Gods
alongside Neil Gaiman.
Sprouse
Iger and Bay’s Fifth Avenue co-op features Central Park views.
China’s CMC Capital
Partners has taken
full ownership of Oriental
DreamWorks from
NBCUniversal and will
rename it Pearl Studio.
IFC Films has picked
up North American rights
to the gender-identity
drama A Kid Like Jake.
F. Gary Gray (UTA,
Principato Young, Del
Shaw) is in talks to direct
Sony’s Men in Black spinoff.
Octavia Spencer (WME,
Jackoway Tyerman)
and The Help director
Tate Taylor (CAA, Lichter
Grossman) will reteam
for Blumhouse horror thriller
Ma, also starring Luke
Evans and Juliette Lewis.
James Mangold (WME,
Management 360)
will direct Fox’s untitled
drama about the rivalry
between automakers Ford
and Ferrari.
Adam Shankman (UTA,
Bloom Hergott) will
direct Taraji P. Henson in
Paramount Players’ What
Men Want.
Jim Caviezel (ICM, Frank
Stewart) is in talks to
reprise his role as Jesus in
Mel Gibson’s sequel to
The Passion of the Christ.
Drew Barrymore (CAA,
Hansen Jacobson) will
play two starring roles in
Jamie Babbit’s romantic
comedy The Stand-In.
This Is Us’ Chrissy Metz
(CAA, Luber Roklin,
Meyers & Downs) will star
in Fox 2000’s faith-based
drama The Impossible.
Riverdale’s K.J. Apa
(UTA, Luber Roklin,
Jackoway Tyerman) will
topline Gulfstream Pictures’
ensemble romantic
comedy The Last Summer.
TELEVISION
The NFL and Fox
have reached a five-year,
$3.3 billion deal for
Thursday Night Football.
Willem Dafoe (CAA, the
U.K.’s Artists Partnership,
Circle of Confusion)
has joined Edward Norton’s
adaptation of Jonathan
Lethem’s detective novel
Motherless Brooklyn
along with Bruce Willis and
Alec Baldwin.
Spectre’s John
Logan (CAA) will adapt
Walter Isaacson’s
Leonardo da Vinci biography for Paramount
and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Dwayne Johnson (WME,
The Garcia Co., Gang Tyre)
will host and executive
produce NBC’s competition
series The Titan Games.
Lionsgate and Roadside
Attractions have acquired
U.S. rights to the Rose
Byrne starrer Juliet, Naked.
TriStar Pictures has
acquired the rights to
Kristin Hannah’s upcoming
novel The Great Alone.
Leslie Jones (Integral,
Hansen Jacobson)
will join NBC’s coverage of
the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Katherine Heigl (Zero
Gravity, Morris Yorn)
will be a series regular on
Suits, which USA has
renewed for season eight.
Kurt Sutter (WME,
Gendler & Kelly) has
renewed his overall
deal with 20th Century
Fox Television, Fox 21
Television Studios and
FX Productions.
Zachary Quinto (CAA,
Untitled, Jackoway
Tyerman) will host History’s
revival of In Search Of,
whose original iteration was
hosted by Leonard Nimoy.
The Leftovers’ Nicole
Kassell (WME, Washington
Square, Frankfurt
Kurnit) will direct HBO’s
Watchmen pilot.
HBO has ordered
J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi drama
Demimonde straight to
series. … NBC has picked
up Julian Fellowes’
The Gilded Age to series.
DIGITAL
Warner Bros. Digital
Networks has ordered
the drama Metropolis
straight to series
for the upcoming DC
Digital Service.
THE PLACE YOU’RE LOOKING FOR.
RIGHT HERE.
OldPortofMontreal.com/movie-shoots
Rep
Sheet
Next
Big
Thing
Empire’s Jussie Smollett
has signed with UTA .
Ayanna Floyd Davis
Billions’ David Costabile,
who also is in The Post,
has signed with ICM
Partners, as has Politico.
WHY SHE MATTERS
REP ICM Partners
Comedian Tony Rock has
signed with E2W PR.
Davis will replace
Elwood Reid as showrunner of critically
acclaimed new drama
The Chi, which
Showtime has renewed
for a second season.
Davis is a veteran
television writer with
credits on Private
Practice, Hannibal and
Empire, but the Lena
Waithe-created series
will mark her first turn
as an executive producer and head of the
writers room.
Diane Lane (UTA,
Weintraub Tobin) and
Greg Kinnear (WME,
Stone Genow) will play
siblings on the final season
of Netflix’s House of Cards.
Creative Partners,
Hirsch Wallerstein) will
co-star in Netflix’s
untitled Riverdale spinoff about Sabrina the
Teenage Witch.
Tony winner Ben Platt
(CAA, One Entertainment,
Jackoway Tyerman) will
topline Ryan Murphy’s musical series The Politician,
which received a twoseason order from Netflix,
with Barbra Streisand and
Gwyneth Paltrow in talks to
co-star.
BOOKS
Rogue One writer
Gary Whitta (UTA, Circle
of Confusion, Behr
Abramson) will pen
Marvel’s comic book series
adaptation of The Last Jedi.
Rectify alum Aden
Young has signed with
Anonymous Content,
as has The New York
Times Co.
This Is Us co-showrunners Isaac Aptaker
and Elizabeth Berger
have signed with CAA .
The Vampire Diaries’
Jaz Sinclair (UTA,
REAL ESTATE
Bob Iger and wife Willow
Bay (Stribling) have sold
a New York City co-op for
$18.75 million.
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About Town
People, Places, Preoccupations
PERSON OF INTER EST
Who Does
Whitney
Cummings
Think She Is?
The prolific TV star/creator helms
her first feature, The Female Brain
By Lacey Rose • Photographed by Coral von Zumwalt
hitney Cummings was right around
30 when her mother and father suffered strokes within two years of
each other. Desperate to understand
what went wrong, she began devouring neurology books, which led her to Louann Brizendine’s
The Female Brain. While it would do little to aid
her parents, the book profoundly changed the
comedian’s understanding of herself. “I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of relief,” she
says, “and a lot less crazy.” Now Cummings, 35
and a prolific TV creator (2 Broke Girls, Whitney),
has spun the tome into a rom-com (out Feb. 9 via
IFC Films), enlisting Neal Brennan (Chappelle’s
Show) to co-write and lining up Sofia Vergara,
James Marsden and the NBA’s Blake Griffin to join
her onscreen. That her directorial debut, a film
centering on empathy between the sexes, arrives
in the heat of the Time’s Up moment isn’t lost on
the D.C.-reared Ivy Leaguer, also a showrunner
on ABC’s Roseanne revival. Though the movement
has Cummings reconsidering some of her early
experiences in comedy (“Because of the rejection you get and how tough you have to be … I
didn’t realize some sexual harassment I had dealt
with”), she says stand-up remains “the only place
I’m comfortable. It’s where I oxygenate.”
HAIR BY DAVID STANWELL FOR DOVE HAIRCARE AT THE WALL GROUP, MAKEUP BY KATHLEEN KARRIDENE.
W
Your financier, Black Bicycle’s Erika Olde, had to
persuade you to direct The Female Brain. Why?
There are tectonic plates moving in our business
“One of the big conversations I’m trying
to have onstage right now is that to be
pro-woman, you don’t have to be anti-man.
Saying all men suck makes you look like
an idiot,” says Cummings, photographed
Jan. 26 at Harlowe in West Hollywood.
Styling by George Kotsiopoulos
Wolk Morais jacket, vest, trousers,
shirt and tie, Christian Louboutin shoes.
Hear about Cummings’ tsunami experience on set at THR.COM/VIDEO
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
23
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
About Town
People, Places,
Preoccupations
but — and this is my shit that
I need to work on — I still have
a bit of shame around raising my hand and being the boss.
Our society has this way of going,
“Don’t shine too bright, know
your place.” So the idea of being
in a position of domination made
me [uncomfortable].
By 28, you had already created
two TV shows. You didn’t get
comfortable then?
I definitely learned, but there
was also a bit of, “She’s doing too
much and we don’t like it.”
I Was Wrongly Accused of
Harassment. This Is What I Did
Who’s the “we”?
My @ replies on Twitter? (Laughs.)
There was a bit of, “Who does she
think she is?” And people get mad
at you. I thought my dreams were
coming true, then someone was
like, “Don’t listen to them.” I’m all,
“Who’s them?” I had no idea. I do
think things have changed, even
in the last six months, but there’s
this idea of, you don’t get to
achieve too much [as a woman]
without losing friends and
people not liking it. And I’ve definitely had male counterparts [for
You got your start writing for
Comedy Central roasts. In 2011,
you roasted Donald Trump.
With every roast, it’s all fun and
games until you’re up there, and
then people’s feelings always end
up getting hurt. But his feelings
did not get hurt. I remember being
like, “Wow, he’s loving this.”
And net-worth jokes were off-limits?
Oh yeah. At every roast, something’s off-limits. I love that it
wasn’t his daughter or his wife,
it was his money.
↑ Seacrest appeared on E!’s Live From the Red Carpet before the
do not take things for granted. Every day I
Grammy Awards on Jan. 28.
am living my childhood dream because of the
efforts of so many other people. I do my best
independent third party found the claims to be
to show and express my gratitude to my co-hosts, unsubstantiated and that there was no evidence
producers, guests, audiences, executives, partof wrongdoing on my part.
ners and fans for the privilege of their collaboration
Most of us agree that the presumption of innoand participation, and for the unwavering support cence is an important standard. We are taught
of my loved ones and team.
early on that it’s essential to see all sides, to give
In November, I received a letter from a lawyer
everyone a chance to explain and to check for
representing a former show stylist. She claimed
exculpatory evidence that may have been missed.
that I mistreated her more than a decade ago
At a time when improper interactions between
when we worked together. This arrived
men and women, particularly in the workduring an unprecedented public reckonplace, are part of a national conversation,
Guest
Column
ing by women in our industry and beyond,
we must find a way to ensure that everycourageously coming forward to share
one — the public, private and public
their stories, many of them heartbreaking. These institutions, accusers and accused — is given the
women sought to bring attention to the systemic
opportunity for a swift and fair review.
gender inequality that has occurred for decades. I
My job is to listen. Beyond listening, which I will
was — and am — amazed at their bravery.
continue in earnest, I also will ask questions and
To have my workplace conduct questioned
try to help voices be heard. It isn’t lost on me that
was gut-wrenching. I’ve always aimed to treat all
my platforms — radio, TV, social media — can be
of my colleagues with honesty, respect, kindpowerful conduits for change.
ness and compassion. Yet I knew, regardless of the
We all have the right to be treated equally,
confidence I had that there was no merit to the
regardless of our gender, race, faith, ethnicallegations, my name would likely soon appear on
ity, sexual orientation, gender identity or other
the lists of those suspected of despicable words
status. We find ourselves in extraordinary times
and deeds. The pressures of our overflowing news- in American culture. We live with near-constant
feeds would insist on it.
change, disruption and public discourse. I realize
I absolutely want to be part of the change,
the morals and values, the decency, we’ve perhaps
the progress, that is coming. I did not want to be taken for granted, individually and as citizens of
a postscript of evidence of its cause.
the world, are in question. Worse, at risk. I do not
After sharing the letter with the network, I pub- take these things for granted.
licly denied the claims against me and agreed
to participate in any inquiry the network deemed Seacrest is an award-winning TV/radio host and
appropriate. On Feb. 1, I received notice that an
producer and creative entrepreneur.
I
Griffin
with Cecily
Strong in
The Female
Brain.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
24
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
FEMALE: COURTESY OF IFC FILMS. SEACREST: TIMOTHY KURATEK/CBS (2).
whom] people were like, “Fucking
awesome, dude, that’s so cool.
You’re killing it.” There’s not a lot
of, “Who does he think he is?”
‘To have my workplace conduct questioned was gut-wrenching,’ writes
the E! News star of allegations recently found to be unsubstantiated,
as he pledges ‘to help voices be heard’ By Ryan Seacrest
AC A D E M Y AWA R D N O M I N AT I O N S
®
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
MARY J. BLIGE
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
RACHEL MORRISON
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
VIRGIL WILLIAMS AND DEE
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
REES “MIGHTY RIVER”
“HISTORY-MAKING.”
THE FIRST PERSON NOMINATED FOR ACTING AND MUSIC IN THE SAME YEAR
MARY J. BLIGE
TH E FI RS T B L AC K WO MAN N O M INATE D FO R A DAP TE D S C RE E N PL AY
DEE REES
TH E FI RS T WO MAN N O M INATE D FO R CIN E MATO G R APH Y
RACHEL MORRISON
TO E X P E R I E N CE MARY J. B L IGE'S S ONG, “ M IGHT Y RI VE R ,” V I S I T:
GUI LDS.NE TFLI X.COM/MUDBOUND/MUSIC
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
About Town
Yes, I Did Say That!
Quotes
A look at who’s saying what in entertainment
Compiled by Brian Porreca
“ ‘Hit 40 miles per hour
or your hair won’t
blow the right way and I’ll
make you do it again.’ ”
UMA THURMAN
The actress, revealing to The New York Times what
Quentin Tarantino told her on the set of Kill Bill before
a dangerous driving stunt led to a violent crash.
MACAULAY CULKIN
The grown-up child star, revealing
on Reddit why he preferred
the first Home Alone movie
over the sequel, which featured
a cameo by the president.
“I am canceling
upcoming public
appearances
because I have
given enough.”
“How you gonna call
me, but Oprah
ain’t called me? Isn’t
Oprah your friend?”
TIFFANY HADDISH
ROSE MCGOWAN
The Girls Trip star, joking to Vanity
Fair about begging Tyler Perry to
introduce her to Oprah Winfrey.
The activist, tweeting at Barnes &
Noble after she was “verbally
assaulted” by a transgender woman
during her Brave book tour.
“Woefully out of
touch with today’s
music, the music
business, and even
more significantly,
society.”
“Everybody,
this is not the pilot
speaking. This is
Jennifer Lawrence.”
JENNIFER LAWRENCE
MICHELE ANTHONY
The actress, using an
airplane intercom on her flight
to celebrate the Philadelphia
Eagles’ Super Bowl win.
The Universal Music Group
executive vp, co-signing a
letter to the Recording Academy
with five top female music
execs in response to president
Neil Portnow’s comments
about women needing to “step up.”
J.T.’S
HALFTIME
SUPER
FUMBLE
Twitter didn’t enjoy Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl
halftime performance. Kathy Griffin brought up
Janet Jackson, Billy Eichner critiqued his wardrobe
(“wow he’s wearing fringe”), while Anthony
Bourdain snarked: “I find myself spiraling into
a deep dark hole of rage and depression.”
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
JORDAN PEELE
The Get Out director, revealing
at the DGA Awards that
The Emoji Movie helped convince
him to retire from acting.
26
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
“No tripping.”
PATTON OSWALT
The comedian, speaking at
the Oscar nominees lunch,
offering advice to potential
winners. “Jennifer [Lawrence]
owns it. That’s her thing now.”
LAWRENCE: JON KOPALOFF/FILMMAGIC. HADDISH: GABRIEL OLSEN/FILMMAGIC. THURMAN: WALTER MCBRIDE/WIREIMAGE. TIMBERLAKE: CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES. OSWALT: MATT WINKELMEYER/WIREIMAGE.
“100% less Trump.”
“I was offered
the role of Poop;
I was like,
‘That’s fucked up.’ ”
ACADEMY AWARD
NOMINATION
®
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Shot for shot, line for line, it’s an
extravagant and witty follow-up, made
with the same friendly virtuosic dazzle.”
VARIETY | OWEN GLEIBERMAN
170 nominated filmmakers — and one
cardboard cutout — gathered for lunch
Feb. 5 at the Beverly Hilton By Gregg Kilday
Oscars: The 2018 Class Photo
When The Shape of Water’s
Guillermo del Toro passed
Steven Spielberg and Greta
Gerwig’s table, he insisted
on taking a selfie with them.
First Row
1
2
Mike Meinardus
Kong: Skull Island
Visual Effects
152
148
Evelyn O’Neill
Lady Bird
Best Picture
146
145
149
Glen Gauthier
The Shape of Water
Sound Mixing
147
120
118
143
5
6
85
114
84
111
139
109
Katja Benrath
Watu Wote/All of Us
Live Action Short
77
58
80
81
78
56
53
Lou Sheppard
Victoria & Abdul
Makeup and Hairstyling
75
Marco Morabito
Call Me by Your Name
Best Picture
57
55
54
52
76
51
74
107
86
83
82
79
110
108
106
7
87
113
112
140
121
116
115
142
Ziad Doueiri
The Insult
Foreign-Language Film
119
117
141
4
155
151
150
144
3
154
153
50
49
73
32
31
29
48
105
30
28
8
Brad Zoern
The Shape of Water
Sound Mixing
9
Scott Neustadter
The Disaster Artist
Adapted Screenplay
46
Kobe Bryant
Dear Basketball
Animated Short
12
Ildiko Enyedi
On Body and Soul
Foreign-Language Film
13
24
22
25
10
8
104
10 Laura Checkoway
Edith+Eddie
Documentary Short
11
27
26
47
9
7
6
45
23
5
21
4
3
2
Raphael Saadiq
Mudbound
Original Song
1
14 Paul Denham Austerberry
The Shape of Water
Production Design
15 Josh Lawson
The Eleven O’Clock
Live Action Short
As supporting actress
nominee Laurie Metcalf
took her place beside
Oscar, she got a big
shoutout from nominated
co-star Saoirse Ronan.
16 Michael Green
Logan
Adapted Screenplay
17
Vanessa Taylor
The Shape of Water
Original Screenplay
18 James Mangold
Logan
Adapted Screenplay
19 Richard King
Dunkirk
Sound Editing
20 Reed Van Dyk
DeKalb Elementary
Live Action Short
30 Gary A. Rizzo
Dunkirk
Sound Mixing
31
Daniel Phillips
Victoria & Abdul
Makeup and Hairstyling
42 Joel Whist
War for the Planet of the Apes
Visual Effects
53 David Heilbroner
Traffic Stop
Documentary Short
65 Dan Laustsen
The Shape of Water
Cinematography
76 Lisa Bruce
Darkest Hour
Best Picture
43 Emily V. Gordon
The Big Sick
Original Screenplay
54 Feras Fayyad
Last Men in Aleppo
Documentary Feature
66 Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Heroin(e)
Documentary Short
77 Kazuhiro Tsuji
Darkest Hour
Makeup and Hairstyling
Second Row
32 Laurie Metcalf
Lady Bird
Supporting Actress
44 Kumail Nanjiani
The Big Sick
Original Screenplay
55 Kate Davis
Traffic Stop
Documentary Short
67 Kerrin James Sheldon
Heroin(e)
Documentary Short
78 Julie Goldman
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Documentary Feature
21 Thomas Lennon
Knife Skills
Documentary Short
33 Nora Twomey
The Breadwinner
Animated Feature
Third Row
56 Eli Bush
Lady Bird
Best Picture
68 Dave Mullins
LOU
Animated Short
79 Nathan Robitaille
The Shape of Water
Sound Editing
22 Peter Spears
Call Me by Your Name
Best Picture
34 David Malinowski
Darkest Hour
Makeup and Hairstyling
57 Paul Machliss
Baby Driver
Film Editing
69 Rachel Shenton
The Silent Child
Live Action Short
80 Bruno Delbonnel
Darkest Hour
Cinematography
23 Sidney Wolinsky
The Shape of Water
Film Editing
35 Luis Sequeira
The Shape of Water
Costume Design
58 Eric Fellner
Darkest Hour
Best Picture
70 Mark Mangini
Blade Runner 2049
Sound Editing
81 Victor Caire
Garden Party
Animated Short
24 Jakob Schuh
Revolting Rhymes
Animated Short
36 Christopher Townsend
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Visual Effects
59 Megan Ellison
Phantom Thread
Best Picture
71
25 Scott Frank
Logan
Adapted Screenplay
37 Daniel Barrett
War for the Planet of the Apes
Visual Effects
60 Richard Jenkins
The Shape of Water
Supporting Actor
72 Mark Weingarten
Dunkirk
Sound Mixing
83 Diane Warren
Marshall
Original Song
26 Jan Lachauer
Revolting Rhymes
Animated Short
38 Stephen Rosenbaum
Kong: Skull Island
Visual Effects
61 Ren Klyce
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Sound Editing, Sound Mixing
Fourth Row
84 Bryan Fogel
Icarus
Documentary Feature
27 Scott Benza
Kong: Skull Island
Visual Effects
39 Jeff White
Kong: Skull Island
Visual Effects
28 Darla K. Anderson
Coco
Animated Feature
40 Mark Bridges
Phantom Thread
Costume Design
29 Alex Gibson
Dunkirk
Sound Editing
41 Tobias Rosen
Watu Wote/All of Us
Live Action Short
45 Ru Kuwahata
Negative Space
Animated Short
46 Jonathan Amos
Baby Driver
Film Editing
47 Douglas Urbanski
Darkest Hour
Best Picture
48 Dana Murray
LOU
Animated Short
49 Justin Paul
The Greatest Showman
Original Song
50 Richard R. Hoover
Blade Runner 2049
Visual Effects
51
Carter Burwell
Three Billboards Outside
Ebbing, Missouri
Original Score
52 Matthew Wood
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Sound Editing
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
62 Timothee Chalamet
Call Me by Your Name
Best Actor
63 Ruben Ostlund
The Square
Foreign-Language Film
64 Shane Vieau
The Shape of Water
Production Design
28
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Anthony Leo
The Breadwinner
Animated Feature
73 Michael Semanick
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Sound Mixing
74 Michael Mulholland
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Visual Effects
75 Gabriel Grapperon
Garden Party
Animated Short
82 Sally Hawkins
The Shape of Water
Best Actress
85 Lee Smith
Dunkirk
Film Editing
86 Kevin Wilson Jr.
My Nephew Emmett
Live Action Short
87 Arjen Tuiten
Wonder
Makeup and Hairstyling
About Town
The French artist JR, nominated
for the documentary Faces
Places, brought a life-size
cutout of his co-director, Agnes
Varda, 89, planting it beside
Greta Gerwig and Meryl Streep.
Mudbound’s Rachel Morrison,
the first woman nominated for
cinematography, got one of the
biggest rounds of applause.
Best picture nominee Steven Spielberg
brought as his guest Daniel Ellsberg,
whose leaking of the Pentagon Papers is
dramatized in The Post. Ellsberg chatted
it up with writer-director Aaron Sorkin
and his guest, poker queen Molly Bloom.
Most in the crowd didn’t
recognize the name when
Lonnie Lynn, a best song
nominee for Marshall, was
asked to take his place —
until they realized that, of
course, that’s Common.
144 Guillermo del Toro
The Shape of Water
Directing,
Original Screenplay,
Best Picture
156
157
161
162
160
158
159
163
166
168
167
169
124
125
127
129
92
91
90
171
131
130
89
147 Kristie Macosko Krieger
The Post
Best Picture
133
132
93
94
134
95
135
96
60
61
148 Jeffrey A. Melvin
The Shape of Water
Production Design
97
62
98
63
64
100
99
66
34
33
146 Aaron Sorkin
Molly’s Game
Adapted Screenplay
170
128
88
59
145 Ben Morris
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Visual Effects
165
164
126
123
122
149 Hoyte van Hoytema
Dunkirk
Cinematography
136
65
67
36
35
68
150 Andrey Zvyagintsev
Loveless
Foreign-Language Film
137
101
37
38
39
40
151 Sarah Greenwood
Beauty and the Beast,
Darkest Hour
Production Design
69
102
11
70
41
12
13
People, Places,
Preoccupations
138
14
42
15
103
16
43
71
152 Jason Blum
Get Out
Best Picture
153 Christopher Nolan
Dunkirk
Directing, Best Picture
17
44
18
72
154 Sam Rockwell
Three Billboards Outside
Ebbing, Missouri
Supporting Actor
19
155 Emma Thomas
Dunkirk
Best Picture
20
156 Steve James
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Documentary Feature
157 Joe Letteri
War for the Planet of the Apes
Visual Effects
158 Carlos Saldanha
Ferdinand
Animated Feature
Most were starstruck around
Lakers legend Kobe Bryant,
nominated for the animated
short Dear Basketball. Allison
Janney approached him, saying,
“I never ask for photos, but …”
Kumail Nanjiani, an original
screenplay nominee with his
wife, Emily V. Gordon, took a
selfie of the group shot.
159 Meryl Streep
The Post
Best Actress
160 Greta Gerwig
Lady Bird
Directing,
Original Screenplay
88 Daniel Lupi
Phantom Thread
Best Picture
99 Gregg Landaker
Dunkirk
Sound Mixing
110 Glen Keane
Dear Basketball
Animated Short
122 Taura Stinson
Mudbound
Original Song
133 Joslyn Barnes
Strong Island
Documentary Feature
89 Saoirse Ronan
Lady Bird
Best Actress
100 Christian T. Cooke
The Shape of Water
Sound Mixing
111 Chris Corbould
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Visual Effects
123 Jacqueline Durran
Beauty and the Beast,
Darkest Hour
Costume Design
134 Sean McKittrick
Get Out
Best Picture
90 JoAnne Sellar
Phantom Thread
Best Picture
101 Graham Broadbent
Three Billboards Outside
Ebbing, Missouri
Best Picture
112 John Nelson
Blade Runner 2049
Visual Effects
91 Nelson Ferreira
The Shape of Water
Sound Editing
92 Ivan Mactaggart
Loving Vincent
Animated Feature
93 Emilie Georges
Call Me by Your Name
Best Picture
94 Doug Hemphill
Blade Runner 2049
Sound Mixing
95 Katie Spencer
Beauty and the Beast,
Darkest Hour
Production Design
96 Daniel Kaluuya
Get Out
Best Actor
TODD WAWRYCHUK/©A.M.P.A.S.
97 Dennis Gassner
Blade Runner 2049
Production Design
98 Lucy Sibbick
Darkest Hour
Makeup and Hairstyling
102 Max Porter
Negative Space
Animated Short
103 Stuart Wilson
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Sound Mixing
124 Yance Ford
Strong Island
Documentary Feature
113 Dee Rees
Mudbound
Adapted Screenplay
125 Willem Dafoe
The Florida Project
Supporting Actor
114 Lee Unkrich
Coco
Animated Feature
126 Allison Janney
I, Tonya
Supporting Actress
115 Margot Robbie
I, Tonya
Best Actress
Fifth Row
104 Virgil Williams
Mudbound
Adapted Screenplay
105 Mark Mitten
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Documentary Feature
127 Sebastian Lelio
A Fantastic Woman
Foreign-Language Film
136 Benj Pasek
The Greatest Showman
Original Song
137 Dan Sudick
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Visual Effects
138 David Parker
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Sound Mixing
162 JR
Faces Places
Documentary Feature
163 Tatiana S. Riegel
I, Tonya
Film Editing
164 Steven Spielberg
The Post
Best Picture
165 Luca Guadagnino
Call Me by Your Name
Best Picture
166 Ramsey Naito
The Boss Baby
Animated Feature
Sixth Row
116 Dan Cogan
Icarus
Documentary Feature
139 Alexandre Desplat
The Shape of Water
Original Score
167 Julian Slater
Baby Driver
Sound Editing,
Sound Mixing
129 Jordan Peele
Get Out
Directing,
Original Screenplay,
Best Picture
140 Mary J. Blige
Mudbound
Supporting Actress,
Original Song
168 Common
Marshall
Original Song
130 Kristen Anderson-Lopez
Coco
Original Song
141 Amy Pascal
The Post
Best Picture
131 Robert Lopez
Coco
Original Song
142 Gary Fettis
Dunkirk
Production Design
170 Pete Czernin
Three Billboards Outside
Ebbing, Missouri
Best Picture
132 Michael H. Weber
The Disaster Artist
Adapted Screenplay
143 Octavia Spencer
The Shape of Water
Supporting Actress
171 Theo Green
Blade Runner 2049
Sound Editing
128 Rachel Morrison
Mudbound
Cinematography
117 Paul Thomas Anderson
Phantom Thread
Directing, Best Picture
106 Frank Stiefel
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam
on the 405
Documentary Short
118 Hugh Welchman
Loving Vincent
Animated Feature
107 Lori Forte
Ferdinand
Animated Feature
119 Gary Oldman
Darkest Hour
Best Actor
108 Chris Overton
The Silent Child
Live Action Short
120 Dan Lemmon
War for the Planet of the Apes
Visual Effects
109 Tom McGrath
The Boss Baby
Animated Feature
121 J. Miles Dale
The Shape of Water
Best Picture
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
135 Thomas Lee Wright
Edith+Eddie
Documentary Short
161 Agnes Varda (cutout)
Faces Places
Documentary Feature
29
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
169 Ron Bartlett
Blade Runner 2049
Sound Mixing
About Town
The Red Carpet
THR Nominees Night
Beverly Hills, Feb. 5
2
Allison Janney
and Willem Dafoe
1
From left: Bria Vinaite,
Kumail Nanjiani
and Emily V. Gordon
7
Gary Oldman with
wife Gisele Schmidt
5
6
THR’s Matthew
Belloni (left)
and Jordan Peele
Greta Gerwig
(left) and
Laurie Metcalf
12
From left: Guillermo del
Toro, Doug Jones,
Agnes Varda’s cardboard
cutout and J. Miles Dale
13
Luca Guadagnino
(left) and
Timothee Chalamet
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
30
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
14
From left: Michael Gracey,
Keala Settle, Benj Pasek
and Justin Paul
Party
Crawler
3
Bryan Fogel
(left) and
Frank Marshall
Oscar Contenders
Out in Force
3
First LastName, First
LastName, First LastName
4
From left:
Tim Zajaros, Dee Rees
and Sarah M. Broom
8
11
10
David Bar Katz
(left) and
Sam Rockwell
Diane Warren (left)
and Frances Fisher
16
From left: THR’s
Lynne Segall,
Aaron Sorkin and
Molly Bloom
9
Disney Studios’ Alan Horn
(left) and Sony Pictures
Classics’ Michael Barker
15
Betty
Gabriel
17
Miguel
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
31
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
18
Adrian Molina
GORDON, DAFOE, MOLINA, SORKIN, OLDMAN, ROCKWELL: ALEX J. BERLINER/ABIMAGES. BELLONI, GERWIG, CHALAMET, WARREN: EMMA MCINTYRE/GETTY IMAGES. SORKIN, DEL TORO, PAUL, COMMON, HORN, PIMENTAL: NEILSON BARNARD/GETTY IMAGES.
Common, Goldie
and Kyle Townsend
THR’s sixth annual
Nominees Night got a jolt
from two Oscar-contending
songs when Miguel (17)
and Common (8)
took the stage for surprise
sets. Miguel performed
“Remember Me” from
Coco. Common and singer
Goldie (8) belted out
“Stand Up for Something”
from Marshall as songwriter Diane Warren (10)
stood by the stage singing
along at Wolfgang Puck’s
Cut at the Beverly Wilshire.
Hosted by THR editorial director Matthew
Belloni (5), the starstudded event drew Oscar
nominees Jordan Peele (5)
(Get Out); Greta Gerwig
and Laurie Metcalf (6)
(Lady Bird); Timothee
Chalamet and Luca
Guadagnino (13) (Call
Me by Your Name); Gary
Oldman (7) (Darkest Hour);
Guillermo del Toro (12)
and Richard Jenkins (The
Shape of Water); Willem
Dafoe (2) (The Florida
Project); Sam Rockwell (11)
(Three Billboards Outside
Ebbing, Missouri); Kumail
Nanjiani and Emily V.
Gordon (1) (The Big Sick);
Aaron Sorkin (16) (Molly’s
Game); Dee Rees (4)
(Mudbound); and Allison
Janney (2) (I, Tonya),
among others. Inside,
Guadagnino and Chalamet
made a beeline for the raw
bar, Star Wars’ Kelly Marie
Tran chatted with Get Out’s
Betty Gabriel (15), and
The Greatest Showman
breakout Keala Settle (14)
joked of her upcoming
Oscars performance: “I
want to melt Meryl Streep’s
face off.” While honorary
Oscar winner and doc
feature nominee Agnes
Varda (Faces Places) was
not in attendance, her
co-nominee, JR, squired
a cardboard cutout of the
legendary director and her
cat. The Shape of Water
director del Toro posed
with the Varda stand-in,
while Doug Jones (12)
pretended to eat the cat.
“It’s just like the movie,”
joked del Toro, referring
to a scene from his film
featuring Jones’ amphibian
creature and an unlucky
feline. — MIA GALUPPO
About Town
The Red Carpet
2
From left: Warner Bros.
Entertainment’s Kevin Tsujihara,
Christopher Nolan and Nolan’s
wife, producer Emma Thomas
1
Jordan Peele and
Greta Gerwig
70th DGA Awards
3
Judd Apatow and
Angela Lansbury
Beverly Hills, Feb. 3
5
6
Kyra Sedgwick
and Kevin Bacon
From left: Directors
Guillermo del Toro,
Norman Jewison
and Jeremy Kagan
4
Sally Hawkins
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Santa Barbara, Jan. 31–Feb. 10
8
7
From left: Emilio Estevez, Alec Baldwin
and Che “Rhymefest” Smith
Gary Oldman
9
Saoirse
Ronan
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
32
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
With Guillermo del
Toro’s (6) win for directorial achievement in
feature film at the DGA’s
annual ceremony, his
sci-fi fantasy The Shape
of Water — having also
earned the Producers Guild
of America’s top honor
in January — has consolidated its status as Oscar
frontrunner. Accepting
his award at The Beverly
Hilton, del Toro acknowledged that his film doesn’t
fit the awards-season
mold and thanked his fellow directors for “allowing
us as a genre to come
into the conversation.”
Jordan Peele’s (1) Get Out,
another genre entry, also
was recognized when the
guild honored its helmer for
first-time feature film
directing. “I truly believe
these things we put out
into the world, these stories
of our love and passion,
are the greatest weapons
against the hate and the
bigotry,” said Peele at the
podium. The event, hosted
by Judd Apatow (3), also
saw such television winners
as The Handmaid’s Tale’s
Reed Morano, Veep’s Beth
McCarthy-Miller and
Big Little Lies’ Jean-Marc
Vallee. — GREGG KILDAY
The Santa Barbara
Show Must Go On
Following the deadly
Montecito mudslides,
the 33rd annual festival
powered through with
its opening-night gala
Jan. 31 featuring Emilio
Estevez’s (8) The Public.
The first two days of
the fest, which runs
through Feb. 10, bestowed
Willem Dafoe with the
Cinema Vanguard Award
and Gary Oldman (7) —
who received a standing
ovation — with the Maltin
Modern Master Award
on Feb. 1 at the Arlington
Theatre. Other highlights included Saoirse
Ronan’s (9) Santa Barbara
Award win Feb. 4 and a
THR-led Feb. 6 panel with
Oscar-nominated helmers Greta Gerwig (1), Peele,
del Toro, Christopher
Nolan (2) and Paul Thomas
Anderson. — SCOTT FEINBERG
PEELE, TSUJIHARA, JUDD, DEL TORO: KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/GETTY IMAGES FOR DGA. HAWKINS: FREDERICK M. BROWN/GETTY IMAGES. BACON: JB LACROIX/WIREIMAGE. OLDMAN, ESTEVEZ, RONAN: REBECCA SAPP/ SAPP/GETTY IMAGES FOR SBIFF.
Helmers Honored
About Town
Heard Around Hollywood
Rambling Reporter
By Chris Gardner
How an NBC Exec’s Son Got Personal With the Lombardi Trophy
A Super Bowl that saw the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England
Patriots was a real family affair for the Salkes. Like the Eagles, Fox 21 TV
Studios’ Bert Salke hails from Philly; the game aired on NBC, home to
NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke; and the couple’s son Henry,
now 18, “had an Eagles jersey on in diapers,” Jennifer tells THR. “Henry’s
biggest dream was for the Eagles to win a championship, though prior to
this it was never really close,” she says via email Feb. 5 while on a flight
back to L.A. “When the impossible happened, [NBC Entertainment chair]
Bob Greenblatt invited Henry as his guest.” How’d that Instagram post
happen with Henry kissing the Vince Lombardi Trophy? “We were lucky
enough to be invited to the postgame celebration, where Henry made
a beeline for the trophy and asked if he could hold it,” she writes. “As of
now, it is his favorite moment in his life.”
Brian Grazer’s Headshots
Habit Rides Again?
Is Brian Grazer up to his old tricks?
During a stop at power lunch
hangout The Palm in Beverly Hills,
THR clocked two heart-framed
photographs of the uber-producer
atop the host stand. The pics seem
to be evidence of Grazer doing a
cutesy variation on a prior hobby
of dropping off headshots of
himself all over town. THR first
reported on his quirky custom
of depositing photos at colleagues’
homes and in the lobby bathroom at Chateau Marmont in 2012,
but sightings then tapered off. The
Palm and Grazer, who dined with
outgoing Teen Vogue editor Elaine
Welteroth the day his pictures were
spotted, did not return requests
for comment.
PETA ‘Veg’-ucates Spielberg
Not everyone is impressed
with Steven Spielberg’s gracious
Blair
Two photos of Grazer at The Palm.
Sherry Lansing held
court at Mr Chow.
Ben Harper sat with
WME agent Will Ward.
… James Franco,
Harry Styles, Jeremy
Piven and Dev Patel
were at Croft Alley. …
Henry Winkler and
wife Stacey had lunch
with Terry Bradshaw
at Farmshop. Director
Bryan Gordon was
nearby. … Ben Affleck
lunched at Tavern. …
Over at Bottega Louie,
Helen Hunt broke
bread with Jodi Foster.
… Malcolm Gladwell
sat at Brentwood
Country Mart’s Caffe
Luxxe. … Keanu Reeves
stopped by Polo
Lounge. … Christian
Bale was at Tallula’s
with Hostiles director
Scott Cooper. Shawn
Levy sat nearby.
Lansing
Bale
How Avengers Helmers Helped
Selma Blair Come Forward
When Selma Blair weighed the
decision of whether to share
her claims that filmmaker James
Toback sexually assaulted her
in 1999, she received support
from Rachel McAdams, Jessica
Chastain and two others. “Really,
it was two men who were the
most comforting to me in saying, ‘You’ll be safe, you’ll be
OK,’ ” Blair tells THR. “That was
[Guardians of the Galaxy director]
James Gunn and [Doctor Strange
writer-helmer] Scott Derrickson.
They reached out and said how
important it was to be on this
side of history.” (Gunn praised
Blair on Facebook in October,
calling her “a hero,” adding that
he knew she in no way “WANTED
to have to come forward with
this story, but she still did it.
Most of these women (and, yes,
some men) have nothing to
gain by telling their stories ...
They do it for ... the sake of others, the future …”) Adds Blair:
“The women have taken it so far,
but it’s been men, too, who have
been supportive, and I have felt
that. I’m really in admiration of
women and men.”
Got tips? Email rambling@thr.com
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
Power
Dining
34
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
HO T
REST
NEW
AU R A
NT
The NoMad
Mezzanine
The Quick Pitch
Daniel Humm and
Will Guidara (of NYC’s
designated “World’s
Best Restaurant”
Eleven Madison Park)
are responsible for
the dining options at
the new NoMad Hotel.
Try the duo’s $98
signature black truffle
roast chicken for two
with brioche stuffing.
The Inside Dish
Clearly intent on luring a certain clientele,
the hotel poached
Phil Pavel as its
managing director
after his two-decade
stint as the wellconnected prince of
the Chateau Marmont.
649 S. Olive St.
— GARY BAUM
SALKE: DAVID LIVINGSTON/GETTY IMAGES. TROPHY: COURTESY OF JENNIFER SALKE. BLAIR: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC. NOMAD: COURTESY OF BENOIT LINERO. LANSING: FREDERICK M. BROWN/GETTY IMAGES. BALE: JON KOPALOFF/FILMMAGIC.
NBC’s Salke (inset) and her Eagles fan son Henry’s “favorite moment in his life.”
gesture of sending all five
Oscar-nominated best directors
a gift basket of champagne and
caviar. PETA’s Andrew Bernstein
responded to the news in THR
by sending Spielberg a note that
opened with a compliment: PETA
activists are “big fans of yours” —
but not fans of real caviar. “Our
favorite caviar is vegan — it’s
sustainable and cruelty-free, and
it’s the only one that we think
E.T. and the BFG would approve
of,” Bernstein wrote, citing
Spielberg’s films. “We wanted to
get you started with this awardwinning vegan Cavi-art that we
hope you’ll sink your Jaws into.”
PETA’s parting movie pun: “As
more information about the food
industry’s treatment of animals
is revealed, consuming meat
and dairy ‘products’ is becoming
much like the Jurassic period — a
thing of the past.”
About Town
Mileposts
The Adventures of
Tom Sawyer, died
Jan. 31 in England.
She was 90.
Ezra Swerdlow, the
2
producer and production manager who
worked on The King of
Comedy, Zombieland
and five Woody Allen
films, died Jan. 23 in
Boston of pancreatic
cancer. He was 64.
Jeff Hunter, the
3
Hitched, Hatched, Hired
Inside the industry’s celebrations and news
Weddings
Jeffrey Kopp, supervising producer for
The Late Late Show
With James Corden,
married Pamela
Gibson on Dec. 23 in
Kenilworth, Illinois.
The couple first
met while attending New Trier
East High School
in 1977 and found
each other again
while cheering for
the Cubs in the
2016 World Series.
Marissa Berman
welcomed daughter
Tovah Juliette Chasin
on Jan. 6 at CedarsSinai Medical Center
in Los Angeles.
Farhana Pargac, head
of strategy for UTA
marketing, and husband Brian Pargac,
co-executive producer
on Bravo’s Flipping
Out, welcomed son
James August Pargac
on Dec. 13 at Cedars.
Jay Curtis, who
development; Megan
Sleeper to senior
vp casting; and Ben
Salter to senior
vp development; and
named Russell Jay
vp entertainment and
development Feb. 1.
Deaths
Nick Pepper will
Louis Zorich, the
Cyrus Yavneh,
a producer on 24,
Supernatural and
It’s Pat: The Movie,
died Jan. 25 of lung
cancer in Santa
Monica. He was 76.
head Legendary TV
when his contract
with The Mark Gordon
Co. ends May 31.
husband of Olympia
Dukakis who
played Paul Reiser’s
dad on Mad About
Ann Gillis, the former
child star who starred
in David O. Selznick’s
John Mahoney,
who played Kelsey
Grammer and
David Hyde Pierce’s
irascible father on
Frasier, died Feb. 4 in
Chicago. He was 77.
agent who discovered and then repped
Morgan Freeman
for more than four
decades, died Jan. 27 in
New York. He was 91.
You, died Jan. 30 in
New York. He was 93.
produced promo campaigns and managed
CBS’ brand for more
than 20 years, died
Jan. 25 in San Diego of
ALS. He was 67.
Marge Rowland,
a longtime accountant at Paramount
and Warner Bros.,
died Jan. 8 in Laguna
Woods, California,
of a heart attack. She
was 68.
Congrats
Births
Tammy Golihew was
Yale Chasin, an agent
named director of
publicity at Amazon
Studios on Feb. 5.
in UTA’s Independent
Film Group, and wife
Bunim/Murray
Productions promoted Julie Pizzi
to president of
entertainment
and development;
Farnaz Farjam
Chazan to senior vp
The Pargac family
entertainment and
development; Sasha
Alpert to executive vp
entertainment and
1982-2018
Mark Salling
The Glee actor, 35, facing
years in jail for child pornography,
hanged himself Jan. 30
he death of Glee star Mark
Salling — which came ahead
of a March 7 sentencing
date for pleading guilty Sept. 29 to
keeping a vast trove of child pornography — will go down as one of
the darkest downfalls in Hollywood
history. Salling, who for six seasons
played the bully turned glee club
member Puck on the Fox show, was
expected to get between four and
seven years for his crimes, discovered after a December 2015 raid on
T
his Sunland home recovered more
than 50,000 digital photos and
videos depicting child rape, some
of the victims as young as 3. Salling
also was to to pay $50,000 in
restitution to any victim who came
forward. (Now a lawsuit might be
required to get a piece of Salling’s
$1.91 million estate.) There are
questions as to why the actor was
left unattended — especially after
he had attempted suicide Aug. 22,
To submit, send email to hhh@thr.com
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
36
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
cutting his wrists, according to
TMZ, before being discovered by a
roommate and rushed to a hospital.
L.A.-based criminal attorney Mike
Cavalluzzi, however, says “the court
doesn’t have an affirmative duty” to
safeguard a defendant from himself.
Family members reported Salling
missing the morning of Jan. 30 after
they hadn’t heard from him since
11:30 p.m. the previous day. Six
hours later, after spotting his 2007
Infiniti M35 parked on a roadside,
police found his body hanging from
a tree in Big Tujunga Creek, a
remote riverbed in the San Gabriel
Mountains. — SETH ABRAMOVITCH
← Salling died of “asphyxia by hanging,
suicide,” the L.A. coroner said Feb. 1.
KOPP: ANGELA GARBOT PHOTOGRAPHY. CHASIN: COURTESY OF SUBJECT. SWERDLOW: COURTESY OF ICM PARTNERS. PARGAC: ANGELICA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY. SALLING: C. FLANIGAN/GETTY IMAGES.
1
1 Kopp
and Gibson
2 Tovah
Juliette
3 Swerdlow
COMPETITIVE
FINANCIAL
INCENTIVES
THE SHAPE OF WATER — 13 OSCAR® NOMINATIONS
INDIAN HORSE
MOLLY’S GAME — OSCAR® NOMINEE
THE BREADWINNER — OSCAR® NOMINEE
ONTARIO
PRODUCERS
MAKE GREAT
PARTNERS
GRIZZLIES
LITTLE ITALY
SHOOT IN ONTARIO
“We shot most of Molly’s Game right here on stages in Toronto. I have to say, I’ve never worked
with a better crew. They are phenomenally talented.”
—Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game, Director & Writer
#ONcreates
@OMDCtweets
OMDConline
OMDConline
The Business
Executive Suite
Steve Bersch
The veteran film exec sounds off on the
state of indie moviemaking, taking over
Screen Gems and the surprising most
profitable division at Sony By Tatiana Siegel
RÉSUMÉ
CURRENT TITLE
President of Screen
Gems and president
of Sony Pictures
Worldwide Acquisitions
PREVIOUS JOB
COO, 20th Century Fox
Home Entertainment
BIG HIT
The Insidious
horror franchise’s four
films have grossed
$517 million worldwide
Greyhound. On Jan. 19, Bersch’s
purview expanded even further
when he took the reins of Screen
Gems following the announcement that Clint Culpepper was
exiting after a 28-year run at the
genre label.
There was little time to
celebrate considering that Bersch
was busy negotiating a slew of
deals on the ground at Sundance,
where he acquired worldwide
rights to the John Cho internet
thriller Search for $5 million, and
all international rights to Debra
Granik’s drama Leave No Trace and
Photographed by Michele Thomas
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
38
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
↑ Bersch, photographed Feb. 1 at his
Culver City office on the Sony lot, says,
“The job of acquisitions when you’re
buying at the script stage is twofold: to
predict execution and marketability.”
the Nick Offerman-led Hearts
Beat Loud. The company had previously nabbed a wide swath
of international territories for
Paul Dano’s directorial debut,
Wildlife, which was well reviewed
after its Sundance premiere.
Bersch, a Berkeley grad (“I’m a longsuffering Cal fan”) and father of
two, talked to THR about his busy
festival, the most profitable SPWA
film and Screen Gems’ future.
GROOMING BY SU HAN AT DEW BEAUTY
I
t’s an impressive stat that
comes with a small asterisk: Sony Pictures Worldwide
Acquisitions president Steve
Bersch, 61, runs the most profitable division within the studio.
The caveat is that with just 20
employees, SPWA doesn’t carry
the same overhead as, say,
Columbia Pictures, given that it is
not a releasing entity. Still, during his 10-year stint, SPWA boasts
films such as Arrival, the Insidious
franchise, Spotlight, Whiplash,
Foxcatcher, Don’t Breathe and the
upcoming Tom Hanks-starring
SPINVFX
CREATING VISUAL EFFECTS
AND ANIMATION FOR
OVER 30 YEARS
The Business
Christian movies, as opposed to
biblical movies, might be more
American. Sports movies don’t
play, baseball movies especially.
A lot of dialogue-driven comedies don’t play because it’s more
American in the humor. So I
think to the extent that AfricanAmerican movies speak to a
more Americanized experience,
they won’t play. But I’m sure
you can find numerous movies
with largely African-American
casts that have played big. Get Out
played well overseas, because I
don’t think it spoke to a uniquely
American experience.
Executive Suite
Now that you are in charge of both
Screen Gems and SPWA, will they
remain autonomous?
Yeah. They’ll remain autonomous
divisions. I don’t look at SPWA
as a releasing label. SPWA does
operate under the Stage 6 label
for our higher-profile stuff, only
because we didn’t think “Sony
Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions”
was a very good label to put on a
movie to consumers. Screen Gems
obviously will be more focused
on development and production
— SPWA being more of an indiefocused label, working with
independent producers on either
productions or acquisitions.
1
2
3
How will Screen Gems change
under your leadership?
I think that’s going to evolve,
but I’m not sure it will change.
Screen Gems will fill a valuable
role as a lower- and modestly
budgeted production division
for targeted audiences. We’re
not going to try to be Columbia,
pursuing large tentpole movies for a wide, wide audience.
TriStar is more of a dramatic,
adult-oriented, literatureoriented division. There’s a great
space for Screen Gems to operate, not only in the horror and
urban spaces where it has been
successful, but Clint had success in other modestly budgeted
targeted movies, from Easy A
to The Vow to other movies that
might not feel like big Columbia/
TriStar movies. Certainly,
I’m not looking to make $100 million movies.
How will SPWA and Stage 6 be
distinct from Screen Gems?
Stage 6 operates within SPWA.
I think SPWA’s going to continue
doing what it’s doing, making
and acquiring interesting and
adventurous movies. There is
some overlap with Screen Gems
product, be it Insidious or Don’t
Breathe or The Call — many of
which could be released under
the Screen Gems banner. But it’s
a different group of executives
who’ve had great success, and
I think will continue to pursue
4
1 A scoresheet from Game 5 of the 1965 World Series, which Dodgers fan Bersch
attended with his father. 2 Original Porky’s poster “given to me by writer-director
Bob Clark after we discussed a potential sequel idea.” 3 Bobbleheads
“representing a pet project I want to make about the 1948 [Harlem] Globetrotters.”
4 A box-office chart from the weekend Insidious: Chapter 2 debuted at No. 1.
Alvarez to the studio. He’s now
doing the Girl in the Spider’s Web
movie [for Columbia]. That picture
was a success all the way around.
what they’ve been doing. As an
acquisition entity, SPWA has
branched out to higher-budget
[fare] by acquiring most of the
international rights to Arrival,
which is certainly not a genre
movie, and we’ll continue to do
things like that.
How would you characterize the
state of indie filmmaking right now?
Arrival made more money overseas
than it did domestically. Why didn’t
Paramount take that gamble?
I have no idea. We were circling
the movie at Cannes several years
ago. We were looking to take the
world on the movie, and then
we heard Paramount had stepped
up and bought U.S., Canada and
China. By the time we moved, we
took everything off the table that
we could.
What has been the most profitable
SPWA film to date for you?
Recently, Don’t Breathe [2016] was
extremely profitable for us. It was
a sub-$10 million movie, which
did about $160 million at the box
office. It also helped bring Fede
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
It’s as robust as I’ve ever seen it.
There has been a huge infusion
of capital and high-net-worth individuals coming into the space.
There’s some great independent
pictures being made. It feels like
it’s very healthy. We’re all challenged by the market economics,
the streaming services and
people not going to theaters as
much, but the state of the industry from a production and a
creative perspective is probably
at an all-time high.
Does the old adage that so-called
“black” movies don’t play overseas
still hold?
I don’t think that’s consistently
true. Movies that speak to a
uniquely American experience
don’t play overseas. Evangelical
40
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Do you ever trade notes or wind up
competing with Sony Pictures
Classics’ Michael Barker and Tom
Bernard at festivals?
We wouldn’t compete, but we
certainly talk to them and coordinate with them all the time.
Whiplash was an example where
[pre-Sundance] we had bought a
significant percentage of international, and then they came in at
the festival and bought domestic
rights and most of the remaining international rights. They’ve
released a number of movies
that we’ve bought either at festivals or otherwise, like Austenland,
which we bought at Sundance.
Sometimes we buy pictures
in concert with them, sometimes
buying international where they
then stepped up for domestic,
and sometimes buying pictures
that they then agreed to distribute
for us. There’s a wide variety
of ways we can work with our
sister division.
You are one of the only high-level
executives to survive the Sony
hack. What was the fallout for you?
I don’t know how much of my
personal information was out
there because I didn’t want to
know. I signed up for the Cadillac
version of LifeLock for myself
and my kids. I think everybody’s
more careful with what they put
in writing. Doing less by email
and more by phone is far more
efficient anyway. We have a great
workspace here where we’re all
contained on a floor, and I’m on my
feet all the time in other people’s
offices because I find face-to-face
communication far more effective
in getting things done.
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The Business
Who Owns That Instagram Pic?
As stars and web influencers use unlicensed paparazzi shots to monetize social media accounts,
photographers now are filing six-figure lawsuits: ‘This is a form of trolling’ By Ashley Cullins
P
aparazzi long have
built lucrative careers on
capturing candids of
Hollywood stars, but now they’re
exploring a new source of revenue: suing those same stars for
posting their pics on social media
without permission.
Khloe Kardashian, Jessica
Simpson and Gigi Hadid have each
recently been sued for copyright
infringement after paparazzi
photos of themselves were shared
on their official social media
accounts. On Feb. 1, NFL star Odell
Beckham Jr. sued Splash News
for extortion after
reportedly receiving
a $40,000 demand
for sharing an
image of himself on
Reynolds
Instagram.
Typically, paparazzi
pics can easily be
licensed for a couple
of hundred bucks
Keenan
a pop. But if a star
sees a photo online and shares it
without permission, the move
could lead to six-figure damages if
it was willful.
“These lawsuits are ironic and
unfair,” says Neel Chatterjee, a
Silicon Valley-based intellectual
property litigator who has handled big-ticket suits for Facebook.
↑ From left: Simpson, Hadid and Kardashian
have been sued for posting paparazzi
photographs on their social media accounts.
“Paparazzi take pictures of them
without authorization but then
get irritated when the people they
took pictures of use the pictures.
This is a form of trolling — where
paparazzi see a new medium
to try to monetize their work.”
Dan Taylor, a spokesman for
BackGrid, a celebrity photo agency
formed in 2016 when Xposure,
AKM-GSI and FameFlynet USA
merged, says his company outsources its copyright enforcement
to a Beverly Hills-based outfit
called Okularity, which scans the
internet and print publications
for clients’ photographs. Okularity
then determines whether taking action is appropriate or if an
unauthorized use qualifies for
an exception under copyright laws.
Xposure is the company suing
Kardashian, and Taylor says
unlicensed sharing shouldn’t
be tolerated.
“It always hurts the licensing
market because it’s rarely transformative and it’s displayed to the
same audience and with the same
purpose as BackGrid’s paying clients,” says Taylor. “Unauthorized
distribution virtually destroys
the licensing value of an image.”
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
While neither celebrity photography nor social media is
new, experts say the ability for
influencers to now monetize
their posts is most likely what’s
driving the legal clashes. “Social
media is actually a business for
celebrities,” says attorney Jeffrey
Greenbaum, who specializes
in advertising and intellectual
property law. “It’s not surprising
that photographers are saying,
‘If you’re going to make money off
your social media feed, it’s not
fair that you’re going to take my
photograph and not pay for a
license to use it.’ ”
While the suits have been geared
toward street photos, awards-season red carpet images could spark
the next wave of lawsuits.
Sharing a photo registered
with the U.S. Copyright Office
could trigger damages of as
much as $30,000, even absent a
finding that the infringement
42
was willful. But without that
registration, a photographer
would have to prove that he or
she was damaged by the use
— and entertainment litigator
Jeremiah Reynolds says proving significant damages would
be difficult with red carpet
pics because of the sheer volume
of nearly identical images.
“One could argue there are
20 sets of the same photo floating
around, so your damages are zero,”
says Reynolds. “You’d subpoena
the photo agencies and see what
they sold for and offer to pay
the guy 200 bucks to go away.”
Stefanie Keenan, a notable
Hollywood events and fashion
photographer who shoots for
Getty, tells THR she doesn’t mind
if stars share her images with
watermarks that credit her. “I
would rather have that happen
than see stars using my images
without a watermark after not
having purchased the image or
giving any credit to the photographers — or major publications
reposting it from the star’s social
media, again, without financial
compensation,” she says.
While other photographers
may share Keenan’s outlook, attorneys still recommend caution.
“This is an area where celebrities and their representatives
should be extremely careful,” says
Greenbaum. “Giving credit might
in some circumstances make the
photographer less aggravated by
the use, but it’s unlikely to change
the analysis that using someone’s
photograph without consent most
of the time is going to be copyright infringement in this kind
of situation.”
Natalie Jarvey and Chris Gardner
contributed to this report.
What a Following Is Worth
A sponsored post can be very lucrative — if you’re popular
Khloe Kardashian
72.1 M followers
$406,700 estimated value
Gigi Hadid
38.1 M followers
$215,000 estimated value
Jessica Simpson
4.1 M followers
$23,400 estimated value
Source: Inkifi; based on $5.70 per every 1,000 followers on Instagram
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
SIMPSON, HADID: SPLASH NEWS. KARDASHIAN: AKM-GSI. KEENAN: JESSE GRANT/WIREIMAGE. REYNOLDS: TODD WILLIAMSON/GETTY IMAGES FOR THR.
Legal
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WHAT’S AT
STAKE IN
CATCHING
OSCAR
Forget about the talent:
It’s the execs running the specialty
labels who’ll really be sweating
this year at the Dolby Theatre
By Stephen Galloway and Gregg Kilday
T
he Oscars won’t just determine
the future of individual winners
and losers this year. They could also
have a real impact on the future
of specialty-film distributors. After stealing
the luster from studios when it comes to the
awards, they’re now fighting for their lives
in a radically changing media landscape, with
streaming giants Netflix and Amazon threatening to gobble up the talent they’ve relied on
to make a splash in awards season.
Such studio subsidiaries as Fox Searchlight,
Universal’s Focus Features and Sony Pictures
Classics were set up in the 1990s with three
goals: (1) develop the kind of filmmakers who
could then be assigned bigger-budget films;
(2) win back some of the box-office gold that
had been siphoned away by indie challengers
like Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax Films, which
defined the game in the ’90s; and (3) add a
touch of class to an otherwise crass business.
None of these factors matters much today.
With directors like Colin Trevorrow going
straight from shoestring releases (Safety Not
Guaranteed) to blockbusters (Jurassic World),
the specialty divisions no longer function as
breeding grounds for filmmakers; with corporations such as Disney aiming bigger and
bigger in terms of theme parks and merchandising, as well as box office, there’s little need
for the paltry sums most Oscar winners bring;
and with the studios led by corporate players
increasingly removed from the day-to-day filmmaking process, Oscar’s sheen has become all
but irrelevant to the bottom line.
Under pressure for their survival, the
specialty labels need every bit of help they can
get, and so do their art house rivals. Each is
playing for high stakes:
FOX SEARCHLIGHT With the two frontrun-
ners for best picture (The Shape of Water and
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri),
Searchlight, led by longtime heads Stephen
Gilula and Nancy Utley, has proved its uncanny
eye for promising material. But will that matter once Disney absorbs Fox? In terms of box
office, no. Shape has earned $55 million worldwide and Billboards $75 million, but those hits
have to be balanced against such flops as Battle
of the Sexes, with its $12.6 million to date. On
the other hand, Disney’s planned streaming
service will need high-visibility content, and
Oscar wins (along with the box-office boost
they bring) could provide a healthy rationale
for not just retaining Searchlight but bolstering its resources.
FOCUS FEATURES Two years ago, after experi-
menting with genre movies with middling
success, Focus underwent a course correction
under then-new chairman Peter Kujawski,
who promised to return Focus to its prestigelabel roots. It bounced back this season with
Darkest Hour ($46.4 million at the domestic
box office, more than $100 million overall).
An Oscar for Gary Oldman could add further lucre and counterbalance the financial
disappointment of The Beguiled and The Book
of Henry.
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS Amid the ups and
downs of their rivals, the veteran duo of Tom
Bernard and Michael Barker has maintained
a remarkably consistent course, relying on
shrewd acquisitions rather than sinking money
in pricey productions. They enter the Oscars
with six nominations: four for Call Me by Your
Name and two for foreign-language nominees
Loveless and A Fantastic Woman. With parent
Sony Pictures Entertainment looking like a
Illustration by Læmeur
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
44
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
prime target for acquisition by an internet
giant, especially after Kaz Hirai’s departure as
CEO, they’ll need to prove that their modest
returns have added dividends.
ANNAPURNA Megan Ellison’s stand-alone indie,
which has gone from financing films to distributing them, had a box-office dud in Detroit
(a non-contender this awards season). But even
though it declined to finance Phantom Thread
itself, it produced the film for Focus. Should
the movie prove an unlikely best picture or best
actor winner, that would burnish the credentials of the self-financed company and perhaps
help it lure still more A-list talent away from
burgeoning Amazon and Netflix.
A24 Post-Moonlight, the producer-distributor,
founded by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John
Hodges, is seeking to maintain momentum as
the hippest indie label around with awards for
Lady Bird. It might need them given that The
Florida Project was shut out of the best picture
race and The Disaster Artist’s James Franco
was snubbed amid an avalanche of allegations
about his past.
NEON Launched early last year by Tom
Quinn and Tim League, the company is eager
to prove itself as the hot new kid on the block
and, along with 30West, is betting on I, Tonya,
which has earned more than $20 million
and multiple awards for Allison Janney. Having
gone on an acquisition spree at Sundance —
its $10 million buy of Assassination Nation was
the fest’s biggest deal — Neon could do with
an Oscar victory to prove it’s in the same class
as its more established rivals.
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HOW THE GUARDIANS TEAM
MADE KURT RUSSELL BLEED BLUE
The visual effects in the final battle of this summer’s hit Marvel
sequel were a complex undertaking involving mathematics: ‘We had
to destroy a human body then rebuild it’ By Carolyn Giardina
W
hen it comes to superform of actor Kurt Russell. The
hero movies, visual effects
sequence’s visuals, with Weta
don’t always get a lot of respect.
serving as lead VFX house, were
The last time one of these films
inspired by the comics, and the
won a VFX Oscar was in 2004, for
unique visual style was created
Spider-Man 2. And this year,
with fractals — mathematonly one superhero movie,
ically generated patterns
Marvel’s Guardians of the
— influenced by the work of
Galaxy Vol. 2, fielded a VFX
fractal artist Hal Tenny,
team that earned a ticket to
who served as a consultant.
Townsend
the Dolby Theatre. They’re
“To get the computer-crehoping to beat the odds thanks to
ated and mathematically derived
the film’s complex effects created
aesthetic, we used the algoby a dozen vendors.
rithms and had to translate them
The degree of difficulty they
into a VFX pipeline,” explains
embraced is evident in the moveffects supervisor Christopher
ie’s final battle, which pits the
Townsend. “The final model build
Guardians against Ego, a “Living
for planet Ego was about half a
Planet” that also takes the human
trillion polygons.”
Within this CG world —
Townsend says it’s the most
complex he has ever created — the
team staged an epic battle that
included live-action characters
such as Chris Pratt’s Peter
Quill and fully CG creations like
Rocket and Baby Groot.
In order for Ego to morph into
different forms, delicate digital
double work was required. “Weta
created a digital version of Kurt,
down to matching individual
pores and hairs,” says Townsend.
“When Ego creates his human
form around his celestial framework over a sequence of shots,
Weta mocked up Ego’s physiology
with multiple passes — his
skeleton, organs, muscles, skin
and finally clothes and hair. We
experimented with the timing
and nature of the reveal of each of
these building blocks, often overlapping them and playing them
to the framing of each shot. As
Ego was speaking throughout the
reveal, we played with the delivery of dialogue via a skull only or
by half skin/half muscle.”
When Quill finally blasts Ego
apart, only to see him regenerate, Townsend says, “We had to
figure out how to destroy a human
body, then rebuild it, inside of a
PG-13 rating. We landed on a true
representation of all the organs,
bones, muscles, veins and nerves.
But as the cells were getting
destroyed by the energy blast,
they would mutate back using the
same 3D fractals that were seen
elsewhere in Ego the planet; this
added an alien element, an almost
mathematically derived aspect
to what could have been very gory.
Instead of blood, the celestial
framework’s blue energy was flung
from the destruction points.”
Fractals, mathematically constructed geometric forms (inset),
were used to construct the “living planet” known as Ego.
•
•
•
•
•
•
GUARDIANS: WETA/MARVEL (6). TOWNSEND: FRAZER HARRISON/GETTY IMAGES FOR BRITISH CONSULATE GENERAL LOS ANGELES.
← As Ego takes human form, the VFX team
used a model of Russell, added layers of bone
and muscle, and blue lightning in lieu of blood.
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T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
49
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Style
Relationships
Trump, I answered: Maybe — if they deeply
regretted it now. When they asked if I’d date a
guy who was bald, I said: Fuck no. Who knew
I was the worst?!) There are no guarantees on
how many dates they get you — they just let
you know when they find a good match (i.e., a
hairy, regretful Republican).
A week after I met them, they emailed me
my first match. I got his first name, age, religion, job, and a sentence about his personality
and looks. No picture. No way to google him.
Jaydi and Lauren asked me: Was I interested
in meeting him? Was I free on one of three
nights? Yes and yes. Jaydi and Lauren made us
a reservation. All I had to do was show up.
My first match was with a guy we’ll call
“Tom.” Tom was 10 years older, a successful
writer. We had a nice time drinking margaritas and talking about harassers, and after two
hours, he drove me home. But the best part
was that afterwards, I didn’t hear from him. I
heard from my matchmakers. They checked in
the next morning: “How did it go?”
It felt amazing — this was like having an
A TV comedy writer turns to two industry matchmakers who help singles
agent for your love life. You can leave a staffing
navigate in the #MeToo age: It’s ‘like having an agent for your love life’
meeting thinking everyone loved/hated you,
By Ari Berkowitz
but your agent always gets the real story. I told
Jaydi and Lauren that I was interested in seeing
Over the past few months, I’ve heard of
nce, on my way to the bathroom in
companies in Hollywood instituting open-door Tom again. He wanted to see me, too! There
a West Hollywood restaurant, a guy
were no Mad Libs about it: We had gone on a
policies, or sending female execs into meetasked if I was his waitress. “Excuse
clearly defined date and wanted to do it again.
ings to chaperone powerful men when they
me?” I said, genuinely shocked. “You think I’m
Then Tom flaked on me twice in a row, and I
meet with women. There are many political
pretty enough to be a waitress in L.A.?”
and business ramifications, but, honestly, I’m pulled the plug. I’m not saying matchmakers
Dating in this town has always been hard.
fix all your dating problems in Hollywood. Just,
about to spend another Valentine’s Day alone,
Aside from having the highest concentralike, a dozen of them.
so I’m just gonna focus on the dating ramification of beautiful people on Earth,
My second match was with “Josh.” Josh spent
tions. In Hollywood, the office romance is dead.
Hollywood is a small world where
the first hour of our date mansplaining
General meetings will never again bleed into
being successful often means
American foreign policy. When he segued to a
late-night drinks. The blurred lines are focusbeing social. Most of the people
football player who had been (very mildly)
ing.
And
I’m
glad.
But
Hollywood
singles
are
you
meet
—
and
date
—
are
in
the
Berkowitz
slandered in an article about campus sexual
facing a totally new era of dating.
biz. And that means most of the
assault, I interjected: “Cry me a fucking river.”
Enter matchmakers Jaydi Samuels and
people you meet — and date — know everyone
The next day, I told my matchmakers it was
you’ve ever met and dated.
Lauren Rosenberg. I learned about them the
a bad fit. They were surprised — he wanted to
But in a post-MeToo world, dating in
way I learn about everything — in a general
see me again.
Hollywood has grown even harder. Let me say
meeting. When the female
What?! I got clammy
this: I am a militant #MeToo/#TimesUp femiexec I was meeting with casuthinking of how I was going
nist. I think a spotlight on unwanted advances
ally mentioned she had just
to extricate myself. The one
is incredibly positive ... but it does make it
started using a matchmaker,
time Josh had asked a quesharder to navigate the wanted ones.
I casually mentioned that
LJMatchmaking
tion about me, I told him
In November, I went out with a friend-of-ashe had to fucking tell me all
membership increase in
January compared with
about the pilot I was writing
friend in the industry. He bought me drinks
the details immediately.
an average month in 2017.
and he deftly brought the
until the bar closed, but after that, he left every
LJMatchmaking, which
conversation back to him by
move up to me. It wasn’t just the “yes-meansstarted three years ago, costs
listing all the powerful
yes” standard that I expect, it was like Mad
$199 a year for women. Men
people he knew who could help me. If I offended
Libs Dating. He presented every decision and
pay nothing upfront, but are expected to
him now, was there a chance he’d ask those
left me to fill in the blanks: What should we do
pay for the first date. Members, who are referpowerful people to hurt my pilot? With a rush
now? Where should we go? Even after I got him
ral only, answer a questionnaire, and then
of relief, I realized I needn’t worry. My love
home, got him another drink, sat him on my
Jaydi, a comedy writer, and Lauren, a reality
agents would extricate me! I’m holding out
couch and intertwined our legs, I still couldn’t
TV producer, follow up in person, sussing out
hope that by next Valentine’s Day, they’ll find
get him to make a move. Neither one of us knew dealbreakers you didn’t know you had. (When
me someone who thinks I’m smart, funny
how to navigate this new post-Weinstein world.
they asked if I’d date someone who voted for
and — just maybe — pretty enough to be an
L.A. waitress.
Illustration by Eleanor Taylor
L.A. Dating Post-Weinstein:
‘The Office Romance Is Dead’
O
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
50
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
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200%
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KIdman
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CONVERSE
Winners of the New Woke Red Carpet
ith Time’s Up pins
outshining diamond
jewelry and designer
name-dropping on the red carpet at a minimum, is fashion this
awards season’s biggest loser?
“After the mad dash for black at
the Golden Globes and media
conversations directed toward
the #MeToo movement, designer
brands are not the winners,” says
Stacy Jones, CEO of entertainment and fashion marketing firm
Hollywood Branded Inc.
The cancellation of E!’s Fashion
Police in November — then
Beyonce and Lorde skipping the
Grammy carpet in response to
an antiwage inequality petition
calling for an E! News boycott —
may signal the end of an era for
preshow fashion commentary.
W
“I don’t think it will return to
being a one-dimensional conversation about fashion on the red
carpet,” says Time’s Up founding
member Amanda de Cadenet.
Although most designers
understand why the gender equality message takes precedence,
even feminists like Prabal Gurung
are “wish[ing] actresses got asked
why they chose to wear the particular designer.” Luxury brands,
of course, still are moving heaven
and earth to dress stars. “We’re
seeing the fashion discussion
moving more to the digital space,
where designers, publicists or
stars themselves are pushing out
info about styles,” says Jones.
British house Ralph & Russo
may have gone unnamed during
preshows (as did Nicole Kidman’s
Armani at the SAG Awards), but
it still stacks up as a big winner,
dressing such “woke” A-listers as
Lupita Nyong’o. Her gray gown at
the SAG Awards reached 713.5 million readers, at a PR value of
$13,084,612, says Jones. Notes CEO
Michael Russo, “Time’s Up has
added a new dimension to the red
carpet for brands.”
Gurung received multiple
inquiries from potential customers about Issa Rae’s dramatic
black gown at the Golden Globes.
According to retail analytics
company EDITED, sales of black
dresses increased by 225 percent from Jan. 1 to 18 compared
with the same period last year.
With all-black at the Globes —
also planned for the Feb. 18
BAFTAs — and all-white onstage
at the Grammys making headlines, unlikely faves have
emerged, including Lingua
Franca, Rachelle Hruska
MacPherson’s New York label
of hand-embroidered cashmere. After Connie Britton wore
a “Poverty Is Sexist” sweater at
the Globes (Tessa Thompson
later wore a version with first
names of female directors), “we
got hundreds of emails,” says
MacPherson. Reese Witherspoon
ordered 20 Lingua Franca “Time’s
Up” sweaters for Eva Longoria
and other supporters. Converse
enjoyed the rare shout-out at
the SAG Awards by Millie Bobby
Brown, who wore Chuck Taylors
with her pink Calvin Klein dress.
“Converse are cool!” says Jones.
Now, even more so.
Runways and Hollywood: A Long Love Affair
FROM ITS SLEEPY BEGINNINGS to today’s star-laden productions, New York Fashion Week and its
evolution are chronicled in American Runway (Abrams, $65), by THR style and fashion news direcTHR
tor Booth Moore. “Once [publicist Eleanor Lambert] launched Press Week in 1943, the era of the
Read
American designer started,” writes Council of Fashion Designers of America board chair Diane
von Furstenberg in the foreword (Moore worked with CFDA on the book). Celebrating its 75th anniversary, NYFW has had its fair share of Hollywood moments on its way to becoming a globally live-streamed event.
“I underestimated the interest in fashion and how people are intrigued by the alchemy of something,” says Michael
Kors of his early reticence about doing Project Runway, which debuted in 2004 and is now on its 16th season. As did
exec producer Harvey Weinstein, recalls producer Desiree Gruber: “He didn’t [initially] understand the excitement
of bringing an idea from a designer’s sketch to fabrication onto a model’s body to the runway.” — LAURIE BROOKINS
Bottega Veneta just
moved its show and
store from Milan
to NYC. Bag, $2,800.
“You are literally being manhandled until they push you out on the runway … it’s a live performance,” says Cindy Crawford of NYFW in American Runway.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
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BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC. BROWN: JOHN SHEARER/GETTY IMAGES. AMERICAN: COURTESY OF ABRAMS BOOKS (2). PURSE: COURTESY OF 18008456790.
As ‘Who are you wearing?’ is phased out of preshows, fashion labels feel the burn, but savvy brands
attached to feminist stars are reaping the benefits: ‘Time’s Up has added a new dimension’ By Booth Moore
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T H E
N
O
W ILLEM DAFOE made six films last year,
has 100 screen credits and three Oscar nominations (including for
this awards season’s on-the-cheap underdog The Florida Project)
in an enigmatic career that has resisted fame and routine:
‘I remember my life by my movies’
By Benjamin Svetkey
Photographed by Martha Galvan
M
“He’s not a movie star,”
says director Oliver Stone
of Dafoe, who was
photographed Feb. 2 at Siren
Orange in Los Angeles.
“He hasn’t fallen into the
movie star trap. That’s why
he’s still working.”
Styling by George Kotsiopoulos
Left: Ralph Lauren sweater
Right: Prada tuxedo, COS shirt,
Christian Louboutin shoes.
A
D
“It’s one of my great pleasures,” he says, dead
serious. “I love it so much, I have to resist the
urge to do a lot of hand washing when I’m in
hotels. Sometimes, when I’m in a strange
city, I go to laundromats. I did that in France
recently — I was shooting a movie there —
and it was a beautiful experience. For some
reason, people are really nice to me in laundromats and I have these great encounters.
Talk about fun and sexy …”
Of course, what makes Dafoe different from
most people — aside from enjoying laundry
— is that in his life there’s really no such thing
as a typical day. Every one of them is pretty
unusual. Today, for instance, the 62-year-old
Oscar nominee — he’s up for best supporting
actor for his role in The Florida Project, A24’s
$2 million slice of life about kids from lowincome families living in cheap motels near
Orlando’s Disney World — lounges on a shady
terrace at a hotel overlooking downtown
Santa Barbara, where he’s about to take another
lap around the awards season circuit as it
hurtles toward the finish line. He’s dressed
With Brooklynn Prince in The Florida Project.
in hipster casual — black jeans, white T-shirt
and a scruffy graying beard (a remnant from
his recent turn as Vincent Van Gogh in Julian
Schnabel’s upcoming biopic, At Eternity’s Gate)
— but in a few hours he’ll spruce himself up,
slip into a suit and step onto a stage to accept
the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Vanguard
Award, honoring what the program calls his
“unique contributions to film.”
In Dafoe’s case, unique is putting it mildly.
He has played everybody from Jesus (in Martin
Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ) to
a tropical fish (in Finding Nemo). He shared a
foxhole with Charlie Sheen in Oliver Stone’s
1986 Vietnam War epic Platoon (which got
him his first Oscar nomination), wore 6-inchlong fingernails and a prosthetic pointy head
to play silent film star Max Schreck in 2000’s
Shadow of the Vampire (which got him his
second) and zoomed around New York on a
flying hoverboard as the Green Goblin in
2002’s Spider-Man (and its two sequels). And
that’s just scratching the surface of his résumé
— there’s also his lesser-applauded performances in 1993’s Body of Evidence (in which
Madonna dripped hot wax onto his naked
body) and in Lars von Trier’s 2009 drama
Antichrist (in which Charlotte Gainsbourg
crushed his testicles), along with a slew of
other roles big, small and occasionally completely overlooked. Over the past 37 years,
Dafoe has racked up credits on more than 100
films, churning out two, three or sometimes
even four or more a year (last year, he did six,
a personal best, plus voiceover narrations on
two documentaries).
But here’s the thing about Willem Dafoe.
Despite his prodigious output and nearubiquitous onscreen presence during the past
four decades, he’s never quite popped as a
full-fledged movie star. He’s gotten plenty of
nominations, and the critics adore him. But
nobody gossips about him. Photographers
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
56
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
1
3
don’t camp outside his home (or even know
where it is). Fans let him wash his underpants in peace at laundromats. Dafoe insists
he doesn’t want to be a bigger star than he
already is and prefers that nobody know about
his offscreen life. He says it makes it easier to
“disappear into roles.”
Still, disappearing isn’t exactly a winning
strategy when you’re up for an Academy Award.
So he slouches into his chair on his hotel terrace, gives his gray beard a couple of tugs and,
for a few of hours anyway, lets a stranger rummage in his laundry bag.
FOR STARTERS, HIS REAL NAME IS NOT WILLEM.
It’s William. As a teenager in Appleton,
Wisconsin, he was called Bill, or sometimes
Billy, and there was a period during his early
childhood when his older brothers teased him
with the nickname “Bleeblob” (for reasons
no family member will reveal but which they
hint are hugely embarrassing).
He was the seventh of eight children, all
crammed into an overstuffed colonial where
there was almost zero adult supervision.
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Here is a typical day in the life
of Willem Dafoe: He wakes up
early, usually around 5 or 6. He
meditates, has a cup of coffee and
writes in his journal for a while.
Then he checks his email, does
some yoga and makes breakfast.
If he’s prepping for a film, which
he almost always is, he’ll go over
his lines for a couple of hours.
If he’s not, he’ll read a book, take
a walk around his West Village
neighborhood or — his favorite
activity of all — do some laundry.
2
4
1 From left: Dafoe with
Sheen and Tom Berenger.
2 As Max Schreck in
Shadow of the Vampire.
3 The Green Goblin in
Spider-Man.
4 On the set of The
Last Temptation of Christ
with Scorsese.
Dafoe’s dad was a doctor and his mom
a nurse, and because they were seldom at
home, he was raised mostly by his five sisters. “My parents started out as Eisenhower
Republicans,” he says, “but by the time I
came around they had loosened up.” Luckily,
he thrived on the chaos. Once, when he was
8 years old, he shut himself into a closet
for two days. He wasn’t hiding or depressed.
He just wanted to feel what it was like to
be confined in a small space for a long period
of time, like the astronauts in the Gemini
rockets on the news. “Nobody in my family
noticed,” he remembers.
“He was always a performer,” says his
brother Don, 67, a transplant surgeon in
“He got ahold of
a gorilla suit and climbed
the side of a building.”
Laguna Beach who drove up to Santa Barbara
for the film festival. “He was always doing
crazy stuff to create a stir. I remember once
when he was 10 or 12 years old, he got ahold
of a gorilla costume and climbed the side of
a building in downtown Appleton, like King
Kong.” Adds brother Richard, 65, a commercial
litigation attorney in Dallas who also attended
the Santa Barbara ceremony, “He was always
doing creative things. If he got a term paper
assignment, he’d find a way to act it out in class
instead of writing it.”
Occasionally, Dafoe’s creative spirit landed
him in hot water, like the time he borrowed
his high school’s video camera to shoot
a documentary and got expelled for making
what the principal called “pornography” (“There was a bare bottom in it,”
Dafoe says). But he didn’t want to stick
around Appleton, anyway, so he bolted
for Milwaukee, where he camped out
on a friend’s sofa, started sitting in on
drama classes at the university and
eventually fell in with a small theater
troupe where he first began learning
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
57
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
to act. “But I never thought acting could be a
profession,” he says. “I didn’t know anybody
that made their living in the entertainment industry. It was just something I liked
to do, something I had fun with, a social
thing. I thought maybe I’d end up joining the
Merchant Marines or the Army.”
He started taking acting more seriously
when he came to New York in the mid-1970s.
That’s around the time he gave his name
a Dutch makeover, dropping the “ia” and
adding an “e” (although “William” is still on
his driver’s license and passport). “It’s not
like I was looking around for a stage name,”
he says, “But I knew that I didn’t want to be a
William or a Bill or a Billy.” It turned out to
be a smart move; the new cool moniker helped
him fit in with the downtown crowd he was
hanging with. Before long, he was the youngest
actor in the Wooster Group, a theater company in an old metal stamp factory in SoHo
that mounted wacky experimental productions, like a version of Our Town with all the
actors in blackface while sex videos played
on monitors on the stage. The critics weren’t
always kind, and money was always a problem (Dafoe made extra bucks by doing figure
modeling for art classes), but it was here that
he met his mentor and muse — and, for a long
time, his partner. Theater director Elizabeth
LeCompte was 33 and Dafoe was 22 when they
began a relationship that lasted for nearly
three decades (their child, Jack Dafoe, is now
a 34-year-old public policy researcher) until
they parted in 2004, after Dafoe met Italian
director Giada Colagrande, 42, while shooting
The Life Aquatic in Rome. “I wasn’t looking for
anything, but I fell in love,” he says matter-offactly. “And so my life changed.”
After the breakup, Dafoe was “excommunicated” from the Wooster Group, where
LeCompte remains as director. But for
many years, that small theater was Dafoe’s
center of gravity, even as Hollywood beckoned. Technically, the first film he shot, in
1980, was The Loveless, a low-budget biker
drama co-directed by Monty Montgomery
and a young first-time auteur named Kathryn
Bigelow. But that film’s release was delayed
for two years, so Dafoe’s first appearance in
movie theaters ended up being a small part
in Michael Cimino’s much more high-profile
Heaven’s Gate. Dafoe spent three months
on the set of that infamous train wreck as a
“glorified extra” before getting fired. “We
were standing on the set in full costume and
makeup and they were adjusting the lights,
and the woman next to me whispered a joke,”
he says. “I laughed too loud. Cimino whirled
around, looked at me and said, ‘Willem,
step out!’ and he sent me back to my hotel
room. An hour later, I was presented with a
plane ticket and told to go home.” He can’t
recall what the joke was but remembers “it
was something dirty.”
“I never thought
acting could be a
profession. I thought
I’d end up joining the
Merchant Marines.”
Valentino coat, Frame Denim jeans, Rag & Bone shoes.
WOOSTER: NANCY CAMPBELL/COURTESY OF SUBJECT. COLAGRANDE: MICHAEL KOVAC/GETTY IMAGES FOR MOET & CHANDON.
1
Dafoe never had the face of
a leading man — “I’m like the
boy next door, if you live next
door to a mausoleum,” he once
said of himself — but even
in his 20s and 30s he had the
right bone structure and wild
intensity to play villains, like
the counterfeiter in William
Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A.
He was even talked about for the
Joker in 1989’s Batman, until Jack Nicholson
snagged the role. “[Screenwriter Sam] Hamm
said something about how physically I would
be perfect for the part,” Dafoe recalls, “but they
never offered it to me.”
It was a much more angelic character
that would put him on Hollywood’s radar.
“Originally, the part was supposed to be
for a Native American,” says Oliver Stone of
Sgt. Gordon Elias, the kindly G.I. who gets
riddled with machine gun fire in a rice paddy
at the end of Platoon. “But we couldn’t find
a Native American actor for the part. So we
changed the character to white and looked
around for an actor who had a different sort
of face. We didn’t want to cast a classically
handsome actor.” Stone, who later cast Dafoe
in Born on the Fourth of July opposite classically handsome Tom Cruise, believes it’s
precisely because of Dafoe’s unusual features
(The New York Times once described his face
as looking like a “demiurge as rendered by a
cubist”) that he’s had such a durable career.
“He’s not a movie star,” Stone says. “He’s not
good looking in that way. But that’s why he’s
still working. He hasn’t fallen into the movie
star trap. He’s stayed an actor.”
After his nomination for Platoon, Dafoe
was offered just about everything — and, judging from his rambling credits, he didn’t turn
much away. Dafoe gives lots of reasons for why
he picks the projects he does — “Sometimes
it can be a very simple thing, like, ‘Wow, I
want to ride that motorcycle and wear those
clothes’ ” — but in truth it’s not always easy
to discern a guiding logic behind his choices.
He’s the kind of actor who can shoot a highbrow drama like 1997’s Affliction one month
and turn around and make Speed 2: Cruise
Control the next. “Oh, I turn down things,” he
insists. “I won’t say which ones, because that’s
not nice to the people I’ve turned down.”
As he’s grown older, Dafoe’s pace hasn’t
slowed. In the past year, he’s starred in Kenneth
Branagh’s remake of Murder on the Orient
Express; done a dystopian thriller called What
Happened to Monday; nearly appeared in Justice
League (his underwater scenes as Nuidis
Vulko got cut from the final print, but he’ll be
back as the character this year in Aquaman);
learned to paint like Van Gogh (Schnabel was
his personal tutor); and, of course, performed
his nominated turn as the father-figure motel
manager who looks after his downwardly
1 Dafoe (left) with
Spalding Gray and
other Wooster Group
actors in 1979.
2 With his wife,
director Giada
Colagrande, in 2018.
2
were announcing the nominations. My son’s
babysitter called to tell me I was nominated.”
One change he particularly likes, though, is
the rise of the #MeToo movement. “I’ve worked
with a lot of women directors,” he points out.
“My wife is a female director. I see the inequalities. I see how difficult it is. And it’s having an
effect on me because I can see how things are
shifting. When I read scripts now, red flags
go off sometimes. Like, if I’m reading a script
and all the women are taking off their clothes,
I’m like, ‘OK, what is this?’ What can I say? I’m
being educated.”
“I LIVE A NOMADIC LIFE,” DAFOE OBSERVES,
mobile tenants in The Florida Project, a film
that had him practicing his craft with a
parking lot full of 6-year-olds and first-time
actors. “When I cast Willem, everyone was
like, ‘Oh no, he’s a villain, he’s a bad guy,’ ”
says director Sean Baker, whose most famous
previous work was his 2015 iPhone-shot
Tangerine. “But Willem made the character
his own. He came down to Florida a week
early and picked out his wardrobe — he’s the
one who came up with the sunglasses —
and met with actual hotel managers around
the area, looking for inspiration. And he was
great with the kids. Very casual with everyone.
Very approachable. He never played the diva.”
For Dafoe, working with children was a bit
like experimental theater. “Since the movie is
from the kids’ point of view, you have to invite
the chaos,” he says. “The biggest challenge
was to stay calm and be patient. I was ready to
grab the wheel if we were going to crash, but [I]
had to let the kids drive [the movie].”
Dafoe doesn’t chew any scenery or have
any over-the-top outbursts in The Florida
Project — on the contrary, he gives such a
quiet, low-key performance that his acting is
practically invisible. That makes it a surprising choice for the Academy, which usually
nominates more robust roles. Dafoe himself
seems a little taken aback by all the attention.
Or maybe it’s just that it’s been a while since
his last go-around on the awards circuit and
he’s feeling out of practice. “It’s changed so
much since my first nomination,” he says of
this year’s race. “It’s so much more developed
and sophisticated, with a lot more outlets. My
first nomination for Platoon, I didn’t even have
a publicist. I didn’t even know what day they
nodding at the leafy surroundings of the
hotel terrace. “Last year it was five months
in Australia, two months in England, three
months in France …”
He and his wife have homes in New York
and Rome, but he rarely spends more than a
month or two at either. For most of the year,
he’s on the road, hopping from one film set
to the next. Sometimes his wife travels with
him, sometimes not (“She is my home,” he
says). But the constant movement has given
Dafoe a unique sense of continuity. While
the rest of the world measures their lives in
moments — birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, deaths — he measures his in film
productions. “I remember my life by my movies,” he says.
Later in the day, at the Arlington Theater in
Santa Barbara, a couple hundred people turn
out — including his two brothers, who don’t
have nearly as fantastic hair but do bear a family resemblance around the eyes — to watch
Dafoe get his Vanguard Award. Just before he
steps onstage, Dafoe gets to watch his whole
life-slash-movie-career flash before his eyes.
There’s a five-minute pre-ceremony clip reel
of his greatest moments. Or at least what
somebody thought were his greatest moments.
“They mostly showed my studio movies,” Dafoe
points out afterward, a little disappointed.
“They left out a lot of other films.”
Of course, a more complete reel would last
longer than one of von Trier’s movies. And
Dafoe is constantly adding titles. He reportedly
has signed on for an adaptation of Jonathan
Lethem’s crime novel Motherless Brooklyn, about
a 1950s detective with Tourette’s syndrome,
that Edward Norton (who’ll be directing as well
as starring in the lead role, with Dafoe playing his brother) has been trying to get made
for years. “I’m always working on something,” Dafoe says, demonstrating his gift for
understatement. “I don’t always know what’s
right for me, but I know what turns me on and
what makes me happy.”
It turns out there’s not much in Dafoe’s
anything-but-typical, laundry-loving life that
makes him unhappy these days.
“To tell you the truth,” he admits, “I’m not
crazy about folding.”
Find out what Dafoe’s 7-year-old co-star Brooklynn Prince taught him at THR.COM/VIDEO
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
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W
IE
V
L
IN
After several shaky movie markets in an industry plagued by
seemingly constant transition,
distributors and sales outfits
are heading to Berlin’s European
Film Market on Feb. 15 in an
upbeat mood after Sundance. In
Park City, newer buyers (Neon,
30West, MoviePass, Annapurna)
snatched up titles, and the studios
returned in force to the indiepickup business, with Sony taking
worldwide rights on the John
Cho starrer Search, its SPC label
nabbing Puzzle and Lionsgate
boarding the Sundance opener
Blindspotting. “There is some real
breadth in the market,” says
Protagonist Pictures CEO Dave
Bishop. “That’s encouraging
because it’s not just focused on
two players.” He’s referring to
Amazon and Netflix, neither of
which bought a film at Sundance.
Alison Thompson of Brit sales
outfit Cornerstone Films also
sees an ongoing shift away from
the traditional presales market
“toward what the business was
like when I started in the 1990s,
where buyers wait to bid on finished movies.” Her Cornerstone
partner Mark Gooder agrees: “The
presale market isn’t dead, but it’s
getting harder to hit that bull’seye.” Several days out, new Berlin
projects are thin on the ground,
though most expect a handful of
big-name titles to come together
just before the EFM opens.
THR’s 11 titles to watch:
BACK TO BASICS
IN BERLIN
With Netflix and Amazon lying low in Sundance, this year’s European
Film Market may continue a return to more traditional sales models —
and dealmakers couldn’t be happier BY SCOTT ROXBOROUGH
GREEN BOOK
HER SMELL
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3
SALES
FilmNation
DIRECTOR Peter Farrelly
CAST Viggo Mortensen ,
Mahershala Ali
SALES
SALES
Moonlight’s Oscar winner Ali
plays a virtuoso jazz pianist
who forges an unlikely friendship
with his blue-collar ItalianAmerican chauffeur (Mortensen)
during a 1962 tour of the racially
segregated South. The film’s
dramatic tone is a departure for
comedy specialist Farrelly
(Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin).
The Handmaid’s Tale star Moss
has signed on to play Becky
Something, a maniacally destructive punk rock star engaged
in a yearslong war against
sobriety in this new drama from
Golden Exit director Perry.
STATUS
SALES
Endeavor Content/Bow
and Arrow
DIRECTOR Alex Ross Perry
CAST Elisabeth Moss
Filming
STATUS
Shooting later this year
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
The third entry in the shoot’em-up franchise, starring
Reeves as the assassin who just
can’t quit the life, is about the
closest thing possible to a bull’seye in the action movie space.
STATUS
Preproduction
A MILLION LITTLE PIECES
SALES
DIRECTOR
Sierra/Affinity
Sam Taylor-Johnson
CAST Aaron Taylor-Johnson,
Billy Bob Thornton, Giovanni Ribisi
German helmer Stuber follows up his award-winning
Hubert (2015) with this lowkey romantic drama featuring
Toni Erdmann’s Huller and
up-and-coming German actor
Rogowski, who will make his
U.S. debut in Terrence Malick’s
Radegund next year.
Fifty Shades of Grey director
Taylor-Johnson teams up with
her husband, Aaron (Nocturnal
Animals), to take on James
Frey’s rehab memoir, which was
the source of a literary scandal
back in 2003 when it emerged
that Frey invented many of the
events described in his struggles
with alcohol and crack addiction.
STATUS
STATUS
IN THE AISLES
Beta Cinema
Thomas Stuber
CAST Sandra Huller, Franz Rogowski
Rogowski
and Toni
Erdmann’s
Huller in In
the Aisles.
Filmnation
Chad Stahelski
CAST Keanu Reeves
DIRECTOR
60
Finished
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
DIRECTOR
Preproduction
TAYLOR-JOHNSON: SLAVEN VLASIC/GETTY IMAGES. ALI: CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR TNT. PORTMAN: JUN SATO/WIREIMAGE. REEVES: BENNETT RAGLIN/WIREIMAGE. BELLUCCI: ERNESTO RUSCIO/GETTY
IMAGES. MOSS: CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR TURNER. WEDEL: ISA FOLTIN/WIREIMAGE. KNOL: DAVE BEDROSIAN/GEISLER-FOTOPRESS/PICTURE ALLIANCE/NEWSCOM. AISLES: COURTESY OF BETA CINEMA.
P
R
R
E
E
B
A
Wishbones, an ordinary family
who transform into monsters
to save their friends and the world
from an evil Monster Huntress.
STATUS
Preproduction
Berlin Rolls Out the
Red Carpet for Diversity
MRS LOWRY & SON
SALES
The Little Film Co.
DIRECTOR Adrian Noble
CAST Timothy Spall,
Vanessa Redgrave
From an anti-harassment ‘safe space policy’ to
industry panels on gender equality, the Berlinale
is getting woke for the #MeToo era
British acting treasures Spall
and Redgrave headline this
biopic about the relationship
between early 20th century
British painter L.S. Lowry and
his mother, Elizabeth.
STATUS
B
Filming
ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE US
SALES
Global Screen
Ozgur Yildirim
CAST Moritz Bleibtreu
DIRECTOR
The crossover success of Fatih
Akin’s In the Fade could bode
well for this German thriller, set
on the mean streets of Frankfurt
and featuring Bleibtreu (Run Lola
Run) as a gangster trying to
make a final score in order to
escape his life of crime.
Clockwise from top left: A Million Little
Pieces star Aaron Taylor-Johnson; Vox
Lux’s Portman; Reeves, returning for John
Wick: Chapter 3; Moss, who will play a
self-destructive punk rocker in Her Smell;
Spider in the Web star Bellucci; and Ali,
who plays a jazz musician in Green Book.
THE MISEDUCATION OF
CAMERON POST
SALES
Elle Driver
DIRECTOR Desiree Akhavan
CAST Chloe Grace Moretz,
Jennifer Ehle, Quinn Shephard
Akhavan’s comic drama, about
Christian teens wrestling with
gay-conversion therapy, picked up
the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance
and won acclaim for its delicate
treatment of a hot-button topic.
STATUS
Finished
STATUS
Finished
SPIDER IN THE WEB
SALES
Film Constellation
Eran Riklis
CAST Ben Kingsley, Monica Bellucci,
Itay Tiran
DIRECTOR
This espionage thriller from the
award-winning Israeli director
of The Lemon Tree centers on an
aging spy (Kingsley) on the trail
of a supposed chemical weapons
sale to a Middle East dictatorship
while being followed by an ambitious Mossad agent (Tiran).
STATUS
Shoots in the spring
VOX LUX
SALES
Sierra/Affinity
Brady Corbet
CAST Natalie Portman, Jude Law
DIRECTOR
M O N S TE R FA M I LY 2
SALES
Timeless Films
DIRECTOR
Holger Tappe
The sequel to the 2017 animated movie, which featured the
voice talents of Emily Watson,
Nick Frost and Jason Isaacs and
grossed more than $26 million
internationally, returns with the
Corbet’s drama about the rise
of a singer from national tragedy
to pop superstar is back on
track, with Oscar winner Portman
replacing Rooney Mara in the
leading role. Sia provided original
songs for the soundtrack.
STATUS
Filming
erlin wears its politics on its sleeve. In 2002, his first year
as Berlinale director, Dieter Kosslick made “Accept
Diversity” the festival motto. “And we meant it,” Kosslick
tells THR. “Diversity of all sorts: all colors, all sexualities, all cultures.”
This year, in the wake of Harvey Weinstein, #MeToo and Time’s
Up, Berlin is trying to live up to that pledge. The fight for equality,
whether based on gender, race or sexuality, will be in focus at both
the festival and Berlin’s European Film Market (EFM).
At the festival, Berlin will introduce what it calls a “safe space
policy” that will include coordinating a hotline for visitors to report
cases of discrimination or harassment they experience or witness.
Sundance took a similar tack this year, updating its code of conduct to try and prevent any inappropriate behavior and introducing
a new 24-hour hotline to report offenses.
The policy’s urgency was brought home by the recent case of
German director Dieter Wedel. Several women have accused the
famed film and TV helmer of abuse — ranging from harassment
to assault — going back decades. Wedel denied the initial charges
brought forth by three women but since has gone
silent and has resigned from his job as artistic director of the Bad Hersfeld Theater Festival, citing health
concerns resulting from excessive media attention
on his case.
Wedel
At the EFM, the focus will be on analyzing the
problem of discrimination and presenting workable
solutions for the industry. Vivian Yvonne Hunt of
consulting firm McKinsey & Co. will present the latest
finding of her study “Delivering Through Diversity,”
Wouter Knol
originally unveiled in late January at the Davos World
Economic Forum in Switzerland. In a debate hosted by THR on
Feb. 17, Hunt will break down her analysis of the diversity gap and
what it means for the global film business.
At Berlin’s Co-Production Market, the Austrian Film Institute
will present a case study of its remarkably successful initiative to
address the gender gap among film producers by boosting subsidy
support for projects with higher female participation.
The Swedish Film Institute, a leader in the push for gender
equality, will also present in Berlin the latest findings in its 50-50
initiative, which, in just three years, achieved gender parity in terms
of film funding between men and women directors.
“We are a market — we are interested in the business, not
the politics,” says EFM director Matthijs Wouter Knol. “And when
it comes to audiences, there are a lot of people out there, a lot
of groups, who see themselves underrepresented in the content
onscreen. What’s changed is that these groups are becoming more
outspoken and, most importantly, have shown they are willing to
pay for more diverse content.” — S.R.
Illustration by Wren McDonald
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
61
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
W
IE
V
L
P
R
R
E
E
B
“It’s hard to read
bad reviews, but it’s
also hard to read
really good reviews,”
says Van Sant,
photographed
Jan. 19 at Sky Strada
in Park City, Utah.
IN
hen it comes to making a European debut,
director Gus Van Sant
has experienced the
highs, taking home the
Palme d’Or at Cannes
for the Columbineesque school massacre drama Elephant in
2003. And then there were the lows, like 2015’s
Sea of Trees unveiling at Cannes, where it
was savaged by critics. Based on the Sundance
reaction to his latest, the Joaquin Phoenix
starrer Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,
the 65-year-old filmmaker should receive
a warm reception when the movie screens in
competition at the Berlin Film Festival. The
Amazon Studios title, which centers on a
paraplegic cartoonist struggling with sobriety, is based on John Callahan’s memoir. The
two-time Oscar nominee spoke to THR from
his home in Palm Springs about his film
and his relationship with the Phoenix family,
which began when he directed the late River
Phoenix in 1991’s My Own Private Idaho.
W
‘IT’S A
REALLY
POLARIZING
MOMENT’
You directed Joaquin early in his career in
To Die For and now in Don’t Worry. How would
you describe his evolution as an actor?
It’s very similar, but he’s 20-something years
older, so he had has so much more experience
in creating a role, all the experiences from
the past. But otherwise, he seemed to do it in
a similar way. He just gets very involved in
the role — to the point where he’s kind of living the role — and then he shoots it.
Gus Van Sant on his Berlin entry Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,
the #MeToo movement and why working with Weinstein was ‘great’
BY TATIANA SIEGEL
What was the Phoenix family’s reaction to
your documentary My Own Private River
[which recontextualized footage from My Own
Private Idaho]?
You co-directed that film with Franco. Do you
think he’s being unfairly treated as he has been
swept up in the #MeToo movement?
Well, it was James Franco’s creation. I gave
him permission. They were very upset by it. It
was something that I probably should never
have done because I love the family so much. I
wasn’t intending on a bad reaction, and I just
handled it incorrectly.
I didn’t really co-direct. I allowed him to use
the footage. I think that he gave me that codirector distinction. ... I don’t necessarily have
a way to differentiate James’ situation with
anyone else’s. There’s been accusations, and I
don’t know. I’m not close enough to him.
A 9/11 Drama and 3 More Fest Standouts
ISLE OF DOGS ►
Eight years after bringing his idiosyncratic wit
to stop-motion animation with Fantastic
Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson
returns to the form
with this original story
set in a dystopian
future Japan, where
a boy must venture
into a canine quarantine area to rescue his
beloved pet.
THE LOOMING TOWER
Dan Futterman and
Alex Gibney are among
the creators of this Hulu
limited series based
on Lawrence Wright’s
Pulitzer Prize-winning
book about the escalating threat of Osama
bin Laden during the late
1990s and the events
that led to 9/11.
MUSEO
Mexican director
Alonso Ruizpalacios
follows his distinctive look at restless
youth, Gueros, with
this true-crime thriller
based on the 1985
robbery of 140 priceless
Photographed by Austin Hargrave
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
62
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
In general, what do you think of the avalanche
of accusations hitting Hollywood?
It’s a really polarizing moment in especially Hollywood but [also] in many
different communities. And the relationship between men and women and power
and influence extends to so many things.
It’s a very interesting moment, and it can
be very difficult as well.
The Best Veggie
Bowls in Berlin
The city of curry wurst has discovered
its inner lust for quinoa and beetroot
Vollbluth
Vollbluth, which just opened in September, takes
the veggie bowl to the next level with its seasonally
adjusted selection of salads topped off with millet,
black lentils or hulled wheat. Non-vegans can add a
portion of pork belly, duck sausage or salmon marinated in maple syrup. Welserstrasse 10-12
Daluma
Just a short cab ride from the festival center, this
is the spot to get your superfood fix in Berlin. Try the
legendary acai bowl or a breakfast chia pudding.
Top it all off with a guilt-free cold-pressed smoothie.
Weinbergsweg 3
To keep things from getting stale,
My Goodness rotates its menu daily.
My Goodness
Also a short trip from Potsdamer Platz, this brandnew power-food spot with an adjunct yoga and
spinning studio (Becycle) in the same building lets
you pack in a workout and a detox meal in one go.
Everything — from the breakfast sweet bowls to the
lunch salads of kale, quinoa and artichoke — is fresh,
surprising and delicious. Brunnenstrasse 24 — S.R.
Phoenix (left) plays cartoonist John Callahan, who became
a paraplegic at age 21 following a car accident.
You worked with Harvey Weinstein on 1997’s
Good Will Hunting. How was your experience?
KOSSLICK: PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN/GETTY IMAGES. WORRY, ISLE: COURTESY OF BERLINALE. GOODNESS: COURTESY OF SUBJECT (2).
It was great. He was always very hands-off.
The amount of interaction was quite small. He
came to the set one day, then I saw him at the
screening, and then I saw him at the premiere.
You’ve tackled several films featuring real
people, from John Callahan to Harvey Milk, and
some loosely based on real people. What’s the
biggest challenge in portraying real people?
Harvey Milk was a well-known person, but
he’s not as well known as some [film subjects],
so we had a certain amount of leeway. The
same with John Callahan. I still haven’t done,
say, Churchill. To me, they’re the same dramatically. They’re all directly connected to the
reality, whether or not we’re using real names.
You played Dr. Campbell in The Canyons, among
other roles. Why do you take on these parts?
The Entourage one was [supposedly me], but
I don’t think they knew me very well, so they
just invented a character that was more like
James Cameron. I’ve accepted roles generally
to see if I could actually pull it off. They’ve
always been very instructional as to how actors
feel on my own set. If your costume isn’t ready,
it interrupts the whole flow. So I do acting as
an experiment.
pre-Hispanic artifacts from the
National Museum
of Anthropology in
Mexico City. Gael
Garcia Bernal stars.
UNSANE
After breaking his hiatus
from features with
2017’s heist comedy
Logan Lucky, Steven
Soderbergh takes a more
experimental turn with
this claustrophobic psycho-thriller shot entirely
on an iPhone. Claire
Foy loses her crown
as a woman convinced
she’s being pursued
by a stalker, even after
she’s involuntarily
committed to a mental
institution. — DAVID ROONEY
The Knives Come Out for
a Festival Director
WITH DIETER KOSSLICK’S CONTRACT RUNNING OUT AFTER 17 YEARS, INSIDERS
ARE DEBATING HIS LEGACY AND SCRAMBLING TO FIND A SUCCESSOR
D
ieter Kosslick,
with his black
fedora and bright
red scarf, has been the
enduring symbol of the
Berlin International
Film Festival for the 17
years he has served as
festival director.
But with his contract
up in May 2019, he only
has two festivals left —
including the one that
kicks off Feb. 15. And
already a battle has
erupted over his legacy
and what comes next.
In late November, 79
directors — including
art house stars Fatih
Akin (In the Fade), Maren
Ade (Toni Erdmann)
and Oscar winner Volker
Schlondorff (The Tin
Drum) signed an open
letter calling for a postKosslick transformation.
When he steps down,
the directors wrote, the
Berlinale should “refresh
and renew” the festival and think about its
“fundamental direction.”
Innocuous enough.
But the letter, published
by Spiegel magazine,
has set off a wave of
Dieter bashing.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
63
In November, 79 directors
signed a letter calling for the
Berlinale to change its focus.
“The Berlinale has
gotten bigger and bigger
[under Kosslick], but
its profile continues to
diminish,” says German
director Christoph
Hochhausler, a signatory
to the letter and, Kosslick
has suggested, a driving
force behind it.
Kosslick dismisses his
critics as “the same small
group of people with
the same old complaints:
No American films or
no European films, too
big or too whatever.”
But he admits that his
Berlinale is less studioheavy. This year features
a solitary studio title:
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Wes Anderson’s fest
opener, Isle of Dogs,
from Fox Searchlight.
In his defense,
Kosslick cites a poll
of more than 1,000
festivalgoers by German
survey group the Forsa
Institute, which found
nearly all were “satisfied” with the Berlinale
and more than half
“very satisfied” or “overwhelmingly satisfied.”
“They want more
films, not fewer,” says
Kosslick. “They live in an
entirely different world
than some critics live
in. … If people want a
different type of festival,
a smaller festival with
12 films to watch over a
week, they can go somewhere else. The Berlinale
isn’t a small, sweet little
festival for five people.”
Indeed, under
Kosslick, Berlin’s oncetiny European Film
Market has become the
second largest film market in the world, after
Cannes. The critics may
complain, but the market remains robust, with
no signs of companies
pulling up stakes. — S.R.
Speaking of the sweep
of his relationship with
Sheen, Dykstra grasps
for words. “It can be
described as a tragedy,
a meltdown, a calamity,
a cataclysm,” he says.
He was photographed
Nov. 8 in New York City.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
64
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
THE DOOMED
HOLLYWOOD
BROMANCE
OF LENNY AND
CHARLIE
He’s a burnout
major leaguer
nicknamed ‘Nails’
and an ex-con
hustler who made
(and lost)
millions, but
none of that could
have prepared
LENNY DYKSTRA for
his friendship
with wild man
Charlie Sheen,
who he alleges is
a dangerous
criminal about
to be taken down
by the Feds
By GARY BAUM
Photographed by
WESLEY MANN
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
65
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Like his ex-pal, Dykstra has a public reputation so sullied that Newsweek referred to him
as a “scumbag” after he had a Twitter dustup
with Lena Dunham. Yet Nails, who speaks
with a lisp due to a jailhouse beating that left
him with many missing teeth, is self-aware
enough of his notoriety (and so eager to instill
confidence in his tale) that he insists on providing the password to his personal email
account for full disclosure. “Look at whatever
you want,” he says. “I’ve got nothing to hide.”
Press Dykstra about his rationalization for
selling out his former friend, and he’ll tell you
that Sheen took his wise counsel for granted,
ignored it and left him with nothing to show
for it. No surprise, Dykstra is hoping to drum
up interest in a possible stand-alone Sheen
documentary project as well as a multipart
docuseries about his own over-the-top life —
he envisions it in the sweeping, kaleidoscopic
terms of O.J.: Made in America. “There are so
1
2
many people to interview, from prison guards
to my [private plane] pilots to pussy,” he says.
If Dykstra’s actions mean Sheen gets
burned, so be it. “Charlie is getting what he
deserves,” he says. Sheen declined to speak
for this story. But Dykstra doesn’t appear at
all conflicted about publicly crossing his
ex-friend, even one who once warned him to
“watch your front side, watch your backside,
watch both sides.” Dykstra takes a swig of
Irish coffee, settles into his booth and alludes
to his time at the federal penitentiary in
Victorville, California. “When you’ve been
where I’ve been, I’m not afraid of anything.”
T
he bad-boy pair first hung out when
Dykstra’s Phillies were in Los Angeles
playing the Dodgers during the 1993
season. Sheen — who dreamed of being
a big leaguer as a kid and was then reprising
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
his role as reliever Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn
for Major League II — cold called him at the
clubhouse with an invitation to his Malibu
home. “I was a huge fan of Wall Street,” says
Dykstra. “Turns out he’s a serious baseball guy:
He has a cage lit up like a pro stadium. I told
him, ‘Dude, you can hit!’ He could.”
That first evening, Sheen uncorked a $3,000
bottle of red wine (“I spilled half”) and then,
once “hammered,” showed off what Dykstra
describes as his “legitimate fucking gunnery” and suggested they fire off automatic
weapons together. Dykstra passed, but the two
became buddies. “He’s funny, he’s smart,
he knows about everything,” says Dykstra.
Dykstra, who last played in the majors
in 1996, retired at age 33 to a notoriously
checkered business career. He was involved
in car-wash dealerships, quick-lube centers,
jet charters and stock picking. By 2008, he
was worth $58 million. The following year, he
66
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
had filed for Chapter 11 and was reportedly
forced to sell his Mets 1986 World Series ring
to help pay off more than $31 million in debt.
His problems weren’t merely financial.
Between 2009 and 2011, Dykstra was accused
by a former employee of making racist and
homophobic remarks, writing a bad check to an
escort and sexually assaulting his housekeeper.
He also was charged with indecent exposure,
drug possession, grand theft auto, identity theft
and filing false financial statements — and
eventually sentenced to three years.
Before going to prison, Dykstra reconnected
with Sheen in February 2011 after having
lost touch for some time. Fittingly, they ran
into each other at the UCLA baseball field, as
Dykstra helped his son Cutter, then a minor
league player (and husband of Sopranos actress
Jamie-Lynn Sigler), practice for the upcoming season. “Charlie came running up to me,
DYKSTRA GROOMING BY LAURA COSTA AT ENNIS INC. SHEEN: GEORGE PIMENTEL/WIREIMAGE. HOUSE:
SPLASH NEWS. COURTHOUSE: MICHAEL ROBINSON CHAVEZ/LA TIMES/GETTY IMAGES. METS: AP PHOTO.
L
Lenny Dykstra, the ex-con and former major
league center fielder, relishes his wild man
reputation, and relishes running his mouth
about it even more. With roughly Pete Rose’s
chance of making it to Cooperstown, he’ll talk
about gobbling Human Growth Hormone with
his cereal during his playing days just as easily
as he’ll open up about how, in his mid-50s,
he’s developed a post-prison side gig as a silverhaired gigolo to Beverly Hills grandmothers.
But over lunch in a corner booth at The Beverly
Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge, it’s another wild man,
more famous and even more hard living, once
his best buddy but with whom he no longer
speaks, who has him gabbing. Dykstra explains
that he believes his onetime friend Charlie
Sheen is on the verge of being prosecuted, in
a roundabout way, for knowingly spreading
his HIV — and that the actor is under federal
investigation for tax and wire fraud. What’s
more, Dykstra claims to know this because it
was his own semi-accidental whistle-blowing
to the government that got the Internal Revenue
Service sniffing around in the first place. “I
don’t know why Charlie doesn’t try to leave the
country,” he says.
Dykstra, 54, nicknamed “Nails” decades ago
for his relentlessness on the field — parts of five
seasons with the New York Mets and eight with
the Philadelphia Phillies — isn’t done. He goes
on to float that Sheen was involved in the sudden death of a member of his own inner circle
and beat his pregnant ex-fiancee. The 52-yearold Sheen, says Dykstra, is not simply the
drug-addled clown the tabloids have been feasting on for years but is truly dangerous.
Dykstra is going public now with this new
info about Sheen, he says, because he’s genuinely sickened by the worst of the actor’s
behavior. “I am not a saint, but I will not tolerate a man beating a woman,” he says. Still,
under questioning, another motive emerges.
Dykstra was friendly with Sheen for more
than two decades, eventually joining his core
clique. Now he’s excommunicated. His allegations against Sheen are telling; his willingness
to share them even more so. The doomed bromance of Lenny and Charlie is a glimpse into the
hedonistic lure of a real-life Entourage, only sadder, more desperate and ultimately damned — a
cautionary tale about Hollywood alpha-male
bonding at its most decadent and damaging.
The industry has always been a magnet for
guys like Dykstra: confident outsider-hustlers
who see opportunity in its chaos, imagining that their accomplishments in other fields
mean they must have the wits, guts and guile
to conquer the gilded mayhem. But with Sheen
and his all-star team of professional handlers,
Nails met his match.
hugging me, telling me how much he missed
me,” explains Dykstra. “I could tell he was lit
up but in good spirits.”
Over just a few frenzied months that spring,
before being taken into custody in June,
Dykstra found himself operating as a Thomas
Cromwell-style fixer in the erratic Beverly
Hills court of King Charles. When the actor
ended up in an embarrassing cash crunch
while attempting to purchase film producer
Mike Medavoy’s Mulholland Estate house
for nearly $7 million, Dykstra claims to have
secured a hard-money lender at the last minute. After Sheen went on Alex Jones’ Infowars
radio show and disparaged his Two and a Half
Men showrunner Chuck Lorre as “Chaim
Levine,” Dykstra begged him to apologize.
Sheen didn’t, and Warner Bros. Television fired
him soon after.
Despite his best intentions, Dykstra
says most of his efforts to act as the star’s
did not respond to requests for comment.
In a March 21 email to Dykstra reviewed by
THR, the actor pulled the plug on Planet
Sheen: “The pressure I’m under from my business team to NOT pursue this with you, is
tsunami-esque.”
Dykstra’s tussles with Sheen’s circle continued after he returned from serving out
his three-year stint. He asserts that Burg,
Klarberg and Sheen’s then-attorney Marty
Singer put the brakes on Dykstra’s most
audacious gambit of all: a complex $85 million play to sell the note on what remained
of the actor’s Warner Bros. financial package
to solve Sheen’s cash crunch. He insists it
was sabotaged late in the game when they
realized what the document-review process
might expose. Before he could bring anyone
in on the details, “Marty put an NDA together
that was so vicious, so stacked, that no one
would sign it,” explains Dykstra, still fuming.
1 Sheen and his ex-fiancee, porn star Scottine Rossi,
in 2014. 2 The actor bought this estate from Medavoy
in 2011. 3 Dykstra was arraigned June 6, 2011, at the
San Fernando Courthouse on felony charges, including
grand theft auto and possession of a controlled
substance. 4 Dykstra played center field and hit leadoff
for the world champion Mets.
4
3
unofficial manager were met with resistance.
He says Sheen, despite his urging, snubbed
a $2 million cameo on the Australian iteration of Big Brother and could not be persuaded
to perform his infamous “Violent Torpedo
of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option” speaking
spectacle as a Las Vegas residency. “He turns
it down to go play a bunch of fucking rinkydink cities. It was crazy.”
Dykstra also cooked up a series of licensing
deals, including a vaping product called NicoSheen and a caffeinated liquor, Sheen Vodka,
which were to be hawked on an umbrella web
portal titled Planet Sheen. He says that Sheen’s
personal manager at the time, Mark Burg,
and former business manager, Barry Klarberg,
kiboshed the whole thing.
“Lenny was a friend of Charlie’s who tried to
get more involved in his life, and I don’t think
he ever wanted that,” explains Burg. Klarberg
“I finally get one [potential investor] to sign
it and what do they send him? Dick. Nothing
relevant.”
Singer disputes the claim as “absurd and
ridiculous. The NDAs were appropriate,” adding, “As far as I understand it, Lenny likely
had an NDA, too, and I don’t believe he’s living
up to it.” Dykstra responds that he doesn’t
“give a shit” about breaking its terms “because
I was saving Charlie’s fucking life.”
All of this time, Sheen’s drug use was worsening. During the manically loquacious interview
spree in early 2011 that bequeathed pop
culture the catchphrase “Winning!” Dykstra
claims the actor was high on OxyContin:
“When [the pills] are at their peak, it’s a euphoria, where you’re smart and you’re creative
and you’re quick and you’re invincible.” But by
summer 2014, Sheen had locked himself in a
crack den hidden in his mansion for nine days.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
67
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Sheen warned
Dykstra to
“watch your
front side,
watch your
backside,
watch both
sides.”
“It was right out of a mystery spy thriller, with
a sliding bookcase,” says Dykstra. “I walked
in and Charlie was standing there with a glass
dick — a crack pipe — in one hand and his
phone in the other. I took one look around,
there’s all this stuff, cool paintings and Babe
Ruth’s ring, and I said, ‘Charlie, I have to
admit, if you’re going to smoke crack, this has
got to be the best crack den on the planet!’ That
broke the ice.”
By Dykstra’s account, Sheen soon confessed to him that he had HIV, which
he believed he’d contracted from a transsexual partner, and that he was being extorted
for millions over the secret. Dykstra urged
the star to go public about his health,
as Sheen’s parents, Martin and Janet, had
already been urging. “I said, ‘You can’t live
like this anymore — this isn’t even living.’ ”
Dykstra contends that he was crushed
by Sheen’s last-minute decision to pull out
of a news conference he’d helped arrange
that November for his friend to get out in
front of the diagnosis — a full year before
the National Enquirer would finally force
the issue. It was to be held at Sheen’s parents’ house, with Hollywood publicist Larry
Winokur brought in by Dykstra to orchestrate the crisis management. Winokur,
whose casting-director wife had hired Sheen
on Major League and Lucas, confirms Dykstra
and Sheen reached out to him about the plan,
noting the sincerity with which Dykstra
approached the endeavor. “Lenny played team
sports very successfully, and if you’re on
Lenny’s team, I think he’d give you the shirt
off his back,” he says.
By the end of that year, Dykstra had come
to believe Sheen was suicidal. Dykstra was
reduced to attempting to rein in his buddy
via desperate, all-caps-laden text messages.
“Charlie, you are a fucking winner!” Dykstra
typed during an exchange on the evening of
Dec. 21. “Do not quit on me bro! I KNOW YOU
ARE NOT A PUSSY!” Sheen replied, “I’m too
tired bro going away now where no one can
hurt me ever again fuk tv fuk media fuk the
public fuk cutting deals fuk getting rolled I
own my truth forever adios senior….. x”
D
ykstra appears most solemn when
discussing the summer 2012 death of
Rick Calamaro, Sheen’s recently fired
assistant, as well as the alleged violence
perpetrated against Sheen’s ex-fiancee,
Scottine “Brett” Rossi.
L.A. native Calamaro — known for his years
as the phone-glued-to-his-ear partner at
A-list velvet rope clubs like Holly’s and Ivar —
was discovered July 1 by his maid, lying face
up in his bed beside a bottle of Jack Daniel’s,
in his longtime Fairfax district apartment.
The autopsy report listed “very high” levels of
Fentanyl, the powerful opioid, and noted that
Calamaro, 50, had suffered from depression
and had been taking a mixture of prescription
medication for pain and anxiety. “Based on
the history and circumstances, as currently
“I have her in my car,
driving to Cedars, flying
down the 405, shaking
her: ‘Don’t die on me!’”
known,” the autopsy concluded, “the manner
of death is accident.”
Calamaro extended his gatekeeping instinct
at times to Sheen’s social circle, eventually
earning the enmity of Dykstra, who grew convinced that Calamaro was working on a tell-all.
“Before I went [to jail], I said, ‘Dude, this guy, he
is writing a fucking book, you got to fire him,’ ”
recalls Dykstra (while freely admitting he
himself later served as an unnamed source for
the Enquirer).
After he got out of jail, says Dykstra, he asked
Sheen, “What the fuck happened to Calamaro?”
who had overdosed while Dykstra was in
prison. “He said, ‘You mean Dead Rick? What
fucking happened is the motherfucker tried
to blackmail me just like you said — wanted
$5 million. I had him fucking iced.’ He said he
had a hot dose put in there,” using slang for a
lethal intravenous injection prepared for an
unsuspecting victim. (Dykstra again offers no
proof his recollection is accurate, and Sheen’s
current lawyer, Shane Bernard, issued a denial
of the allegations, noting Dykstra’s “laundry
list of crimes” and asserting that his “disturbing, vile and outright ridiculous claims” are
unreliable.)
Sheen’s close friend, Tony Todd, who lived
with the actor during this period and has
known him since the two attended Santa
Monica High School, laughingly scoffs at the
charge, adding that even if Sheen were to
have done such a thing, “Charlie’s not going
to tell it to Lenny Dykstra!”
Rossi says that while she is unaware of such
an admission pertaining to Calamaro specifically, it’s certainly possible given her own
history with the actor, which she outlined
in a 2015 lawsuit. According to her filing,
Sheen said “he wanted to murder people that
he was angry with.” The suit also refers to
a “hit” Sheen allegedly took out on Rossi’s
ex-husband. The following year, she obtained
a restraining order against Sheen after the
LAPD began investigating an alleged recording in which he threatened to pay someone
$20,000 to “kick her head in.”
Since Sheen himself won’t comment, the
likelihood of another scenario — that the star,
while high, simply made a distasteful joke
about having Calamaro killed — is unclear.
Dykstra has a complicated relationship with
Rossi, a porn star who says she met Sheen on
a $10,000 escort date. Early on, as a favor to
Sheen, Dykstra hired “an Armenian buddy to
follow [Rossi] for a few days” to confirm she
wasn’t cheating on him. (Dykstra says he used
to hire private eyes to dig up dirt on umpires,
noting “it wasn’t a coincidence” that he led the
league in walks in 1993.) Dykstra eventually
became Rossi’s confidant, and she divulged
details of Sheen’s sexual kinks. Rossi tells THR:
“He would look at transsexual porn when he
was high and [ask her], ‘Which one is hot?’ ”
Dykstra claims to have seen further proof of
Sheen’s lifestyle. He says that attorney Keith
Davidson, recently in the news for orchestrating
porn actress Stormy Daniels’ alleged $130,000
payment to stay quiet about a 2006 affair with
President Trump, showed him a copy of the
tape that media outlets have reported was circulating in which Sheen participated in gay
sex. (Over email, Davidson asserts, “This just
never happened.”)
Rossi confirms that once Sheen kicked
her out, it was Dykstra who helped her free up
money by selling off her pricey gifted watch
collection to underground buyers and listened
Dykstra, who last played in the majors in 1986, once served three years for indecent exposure, grand theft auto and filing false financial statements.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
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F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
acting out the maneuver. “It was out of Pulp
Fiction. Soon I have her in my car, driving to
Cedars, flying down the 405, shaking her:
‘Don’t fucking die on me, bitch!’ ” He pauses,
shakes his head. “I was on probation, dude!”
He’s still irritated that “no one knows I
saved her life.” Worse, he adds, getting worked
up, Rossi never acknowledged his heroism.
“The amount of times she thanked me is zero.
Can you believe it?”
Rossi confirms the pill incident but says
that Dykstra — whose ditching of her at the
hospital was so abrupt, she was forced to submit to a rape kit (“That’s what happens when
some guy just drops you off and goes, ‘Bye!’ ”)
— should be gallant enough not to ask to be
recognized as her “knight in shining armor.”
She laughs. “He’s still talking about that?”
D
as she told stories of domestic abuse by Sheen,
including battery, false imprisonment and
that he knowingly exposed her to HIV (all of
which she alleged in a December 2013 lawsuit).
Rossi told Dykstra and confirmed to THR
that Sheen, concerned over how his crack use
would affect the fetus, pressured her to get
an abortion. “Right now,” says Rossi, “I would
have a 3-year-old running around.”
Dykstra shakes his head in repudiation. He
is bothered less by the possibility of Sheen’s
involvement in Calamaro’s death than what
allegedly happened to Rossi. “Killing the guy
that fucking tried to extort him: That’s his
business,” he says. But what Rossi alleges happened to her is too much for him. “Men, they
get in rages. But no pummeling.”
Dykstra’s evident frustration with how things
always seemed to go for him when it came
to Sheen — sideways, to his mind, with him
playing the good guy but getting no recognition to show for it — reaches a crescendo as he
recalls another grim episode involving Rossi
in November 2014. As he has it, she dialed him
in tears, having overdosed on Valium in her
Encino home, which she’d moved into after her
breakup with Sheen.
“Scottine says, ‘I’m dying.’ I say, ‘There’s a
number for that: 9-1-1.’ ‘No, Charlie won’t like
that.’ I go over there, she says she needs to go
to the bathroom. It hits me. I run in and she’s
swallowing a handful of pills. I tackle her
and they go all over, but she gets a lot down.”
Dykstra is an often-demonstrative raconteur,
ykstra began to lose favor in the court of
King Charles — all of those gone-nowhere
deals, all of that advice not taken. And
what he considered his one, momentarily
satisfying victory was, in hindsight, the thing
he’s sure will be Sheen’s ultimate demise.
Dykstra long suspected that another mansion nemesis, Sheen’s head of security, was
ripping off the boss — charging personal
expenses, including getaways and real estate
taxes, back to Sheen. And he believes he has
the AmEx bills (shared with THR) to back it up.
The military veteran insists zero embezzlement took place and that any and all charges
“were made with Charlie’s permission.”
In any case, it wasn’t any purported theft
that led to the employee’s firing. “What did it
is that Charlie went to check his guns,” recalls
Dykstra. “He calls me drunk, freaking out:
‘He took the fucking pins outta my guns! He
put my family in danger!’ He went the most
nuclear I’ve ever seen him.” Dykstra laughs,
observing that in spite of his feelings about
the security chief, “I would’ve taken those pins
out too, the way Charlie was [behaving].”
Still, Dykstra worried that the terminated
employee would seek retribution and sought
to neutralize him. Given Dykstra’s probationary status, he figured his best bet would
be to pass on documents that he believed
incriminated the man to the IRS. On Oct. 8,
Dykstra got an email from an IRS agent, asking for a follow-up call. But the investigator
wasn’t interested in talking more about the
security chief. He had turned his attention
to Sheen. “[The IRS agent] says, ‘What do you
know about these $20,000 cash payments
for “women of the night”?’ That’s when I
knew they’re going to come at him with tax
fraud, wire fraud — everything.” (The IRS
will not comment on particular tax cases.)
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F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Dykstra knows from experience what it’s like
when the government, patient and powerful,
zeroes in on you. “It was a felony if you didn’t
tell a woman you have HIV when you know
it. Nothing has happened to him since all of
those women went public. Think about it,” he
says, proffering his own legal analysis. “This
is how he is going to go down.”
D
ykstra and Sheen haven’t spoken since
Dec. 21, 2014 — a final two-hour call
initiated by the actor, whom Dykstra characterizes as downbeat. “He kept on saying
how sorry he was,” he recalls. “Charlie said,
‘Everything you told me was right, they all lied
to me.’ ”
Dykstra believes that although they reconciled during the conversation, Sheen couldn’t
bring himself to ever hang out with his old
buddy again, since during a heated argument
weeks earlier, Dykstra had revealed he had
seen Sheen’s allegedly compromising sex tapes.
“He couldn’t face me. He knows what I saw.
He’s humiliated.”
Yet livid texts sent by Sheen to Dykstra
on Sept. 9 and obtained by THR from another
source point to betrayal, not shame, as the
actor’s reason for cutting off his friend. Sheen
discovered that Dykstra planned to pocket
5 percent of that Warner Bros. payout deal — a
cut the star felt had been arranged behind his
back. Sheen typed: “bro – I repeatedly asked
you, (and DO NOT CHALLENGE MY MEMORY)
‘Hey Len, what’s in this for you?’ and you
always said; QUOTE: ‘Oh hey man, we’ll figure
out something fair later on …’ well now I have
to re invent what later on means between us.
Newsflash GasLighter; You FUCKING KNEW
FROM JUMP STREET WHAT IT WAS … you
came in here to clean house and also clean my
HARD EARNED CLOCK!”
More than anything, Dykstra wants to present himself as the ultimate cleanup hitter, an
unsung hero (OK, antihero) who in selfless
service of a buddy went up against Hollywood’s
most sordid retinue. He can’t countenance
the prospect that he might not have been trustworthy, that maybe he was just out to extract
his piece like all the rest of them.
Or perhaps his initial motive for joining
Sheen’s team truly was as simple as friendship.
This just wasn’t his sport.
Following that final call on Dec. 21, 2014,
Dykstra texted Sheen once more. “It makes
me feel so good that you know ‘I AM WHO
I AM’ and the fact that you know I am your
REAL FRIEND!” And continued, “FYI — I
deleted everything on this phone and nobody
knows we spoke tonight.”
His signoff: “NAILS OUT!”
‘Simplistic but
Complicated’
These nominated animated films introduced audiences to five
female characters who could tame a bull, protect their families
and handle a bossy, suit-wearing infant By Carolyn Giardina
T
he five nominees for animated feature have a slew of memorable characters, and, it
turns out, many are female. They range from a brave 11-year-old girl living under
Taliban rule in Afghanistan to an intimidating Mexican great-great-grandmother and
a bossy therapy goat. When it came to creating this band of colorful characters, the
filmmakers had to decide how they would look (including expressive eyes and lovable underbites),
dress (such as a buttoned-up mom and a matriarch with an affinity for Victorian-era clothing)
and sound (thanks to voice cameos by an Oscar-nominated actress and a Saturday Night Live comedy queen). Creators reveal how they built these characters from the blank page up.
I
’m here to calm you now so you
can maim and gore things later,”
Lupe the Calming Goat tells the bull
Ferdinand when they meet in Fox/
Blue Sky’s Ferdinand, an animated
tale about a pacifist bull who’d
rather smell the flowers
than fight in the ring.
Director Carlos
Saldanha says the
quirky goat started out
Saldanha
as a male character, but
the filmmakers changed direction
to create a strong female character
who could stand up to the bulls.
(They kept the big eyes, underbite
and exposed teeth.) “We didn’t
want a ‘princess’ goat,” he says.
“We wanted her to be sharp, edgy
and confident. We gave her an inyour-face, explosive personality.”
Saturday Night Live’s Kate
McKinnon was cast to voice the
character because she “could
be strong, funny and warm at the
same time. I met with her, and I felt
she was a perfect match.”
In the film, Ferdinand is sweet and
earnest, but based on his size, he’s
considered a fighter. Ferdinand’s and
Lupe’s storylines tie into the film’s
“don’t judge a book by its cover”
theme. Says Saldanha: “Lupe’s a goat
that people don’t care about; she’s a
companion to a bull, but she wanted
more. She needed to be the opposite
of a calming goat.”
The Boss
Baby
A
s in many real-life households,
the mother of Boss Baby
(the suit-wearing infant voiced by
Alec Baldwin) is the foundation
of her family and as such “has her
head on straight. She’s soft and
sweet but also firm and authoritative,” says director Tom McGrath,
who adds that for this character, he
“wanted to do something very stylized and
be more cartoony”
to fit the film’s style
yet give her enough
McGrath
range so that the
animators could create an emotive
performance. “Simplistic but complicated,” he says.
Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s
The Boss Baby is a period film that
merges aspects of the ’60s, ’70s
and ’80s, but McGrath didn’t want
to overdo trendy clothing. “We kept
her in pants and with her hair up
because she’s a working parent,”
he notes. “When we were designing the family, we also created a sort
of ‘Sears portrait’ to see how the
[characters] play off of each other.”
Lisa Kudrow completed the
picture by voicing the character.
“The goal was to be charming,
not ruthless. We wanted her voice
to feel real,” McGrath says, adding
that sometimes the actress would
improv the lines: “She has great
comedic timing and can play the
serious bits just as well.”
Ferdinand
Loving
Vincent
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FERDINAND: COURTESY OF BLUE SKY STUDIOS. BOSS: COURTESY OF DREAMWORKS ANIMATION. BREADWINNER: COURTESY OF GKIDS (2). VINCENT: COURTESY OF GOOD DEED ENTERTAINMENT. COCO: DISNEY/PIXAR. SALDANHA: STUART C.
WILSON/GETTY IMAGES. MCGRATH: FREDERICK M. BROWN/GETTY IMAGES. WELCHMAN: JEFF SPICER/GETTY IMAGES FOR BFI. TWOMEY: JON KOPALOFF/FILMMAGIC. UNKRICH: MICHAEL KOVAC/GETTY IMAGES FOR MOET & CHANDON.
A N I M AT E D F E AT U R E
1
I
n creating Parvana, an 11-year-old girl
growing up under the Taliban regime in
Afghanistan who disguises herself as a boy so
she can work to support her family, Ireland’s
Cartoon Saloon and director Nora Twomey
wanted to work “from the eyes out, with very
few lines,” says Twomey. “The fewer lines with
a hand-drawn character, the more you can
identify with the character because she’s less
specific and more universal.”
Indeed, in the GKIDS feature The
Breadwinner, Parvana’s eyes reveal much of
her emotion. For instance, when Parvana
goes to the market with her father, it can be a
1 Parvana in disguise.
2 Parvana with her father, Nurullah, voiced by Ali Badshah.
frightening experience for a girl. She stands
out with her long hair and bright scarf, but her
body language shows that she doesn’t want to
be seen — her shoulders are drawn in to take
up a small space, and she keeps
her eyes down. When she returns,
dressed as a boy, she blends in,
and with her body language she
takes up more space.
Twomey
“There’s a warmth and
earthiness to her personality,” says Twomey
of Parvana, who is voiced by Saara Chaudry.
“She has flaws, she has humor — she’s fully
rounded. We wanted a character that was
relatable, even when she does something
incredibly brave.”
The
Breadwinner
Coco
2
I
T
o examine the life of Dutch
post-impressionist painter
Vincent van Gogh, writer-directors
Hugh Welchman and Dorota
Kobiela developed a story that
follows fictional character Armand
Roulin (Douglas Booth) on a journey to van Gogh’s final destination,
the quiet village of Auvers-surOise just outside Paris, where
Roulin hears conflicting stories
about the artist’s life.
Saoirse Ronan (nominated for
a best actress Oscar for Lady
Bird) plays Marguerite Gachet,
the daughter of van Gogh’s
physician and the subject of
his works Marguerite Gachet at
the Piano and Marguerite Gachet
in the Garden. “We wanted her
to look like the paintings,” says
Welchman, though they gave
Marguerite the face
of Ronan, who is
about the same age
(23) as Gachet was.
The drama, proWelchman
duced by Poland’s
BreakThru Films and the U.K.’s
Trademark Films, was made using
a frame-by-frame animation
technique (like stop-motion) with
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
roughly 65,000 oil paintings on
canvas. The filmmakers started by
shooting the performances of
the actors, including Ronan, on a
greenscreen at 12 fps, edited as
if it were a live-action film and then
broke it up into images that were
painted in van Gogh’s style.
As to Marguerite’s role in the
story, Welchman says: “There
was speculation that something
was going on between [her and
van Gogh]. We used that speculation as part of the dramatic
development of the story. She’s an
enigma to us.”
71
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
n Pixar’s Coco, Mama Imelda
is the matriarch of young
Miguel’s family in Mexico. As such,
“she had to be a character that you
could believably see the rest of the
family cowering at her feet,” says
director Lee Unkrich. “We needed
somebody with a real sense of gravitas so you would buy that she has
such sway over the family.”
She was designed to look similar
to Maria Felix and other formidable
Mexican actresses from the ’30s
and ’40s. “We have the
white shock in her hair.
We wanted her dress to
be corseted so that she
feels tightly wound,”
Unkrich
Unkrich says. “We gave
her big shoulder pads so that she
would be physically formidable and
also have a sense of history.”
The team behind the film,
which is based on the Dia de los
Muertos (Day of the Dead) tradition, also centered Mama’s look
on a Victorian aesthetic, using the
works of Mexican engraver Jose
Guadalupe Posada, including his
famous La Catrina, which featured a
skeleton woman in period garb.
Alanna Ubach (Girlfriends’ Guide
to Divorce) was cast to voice
Mama. “There’s such a richness to
the sound of Alanna’s voice,” adds
Unkrich. When she was cast, the
director didn’t know the part would
require singing, but, luckily, “it
turns out she’s a great singer.”
Kobe came over, and we downloaded YouTube’s “Top 20 Kobe
Bryant Plays” and stop-framed
through every one while Kobe
talked about what was happening
on the court. My mentor — one
of Disney’s Nine Old Men — Ollie
Johnston told me, “Glen, don’t
animate what the character is
doing — animate what the character is thinking.” So we talked
‘I NEVER IMAGINED I
COULD BE KOBE BRYANT’
Two men in transition — a 38-year Disney animator who’d worked on The Little Mermaid and
Beauty and the Beast and an NBA great — found common ground and a shared new purpose
with animated short nominee Dear Basketball By Glen Keane, as told to Mia Galuppo
I
had left Disney after nearly
40 years there, and since
then I had been focusing on
personal, expressive films.
Kobe had seen this film I did for
Google, Duet, and he contacted one
of the executive producers, and she
set up a meeting. He came in to
our tiny studio in West Hollywood,
which is just in a duplex, and it
was so surreal. He drives up in a
big black Suburban, and he is just
in our neighborhood. Kobe Bryant!
Kobe loves animation; he is an
animation geek. So he walked
in and was standing in our little
dining room — but it is actually
our story room — and he looked
around at the drawings and storyboards
and little things
on the wall, and I’m
thinking, “Oh boy,
Keane
here it comes.” And
he says, “This is perfect. This
is what I want.” We crowded into
my little office in the back and
connected over things we had in
common. For me, it was leaving
a career at Disney, which was so
much a part of me, and for Kobe it
was leaving behind the Lakers.
We talked about doing something together but didn’t know
exactly what it would be. Before
Kobe retired, he wrote this
letter, “Dear Basketball,” and he
called me and asked me if I
would be interested in animating
it. He goes, “I have my friend John
Williams who is going to do the
music.” And I go, “Oh, that would
be really wonderful.”
Right after his last game [in
2016], where he scored 60 points
and my son and I were in our little
studio screaming our heads off,
he texted and said, “Let’s do this.”
I told Kobe, “You’ve got the worst
basketball player on earth animating you.” He said that it was
OK because everything I would
learn about basketball was going
to come through studying him. So
GARDEN PARTY
LOU
A gang of frogs
at a luxurious
villa uncover the
human owner’s
whereabouts.
In this Pixar short,
a creature made
of lost-and-found
items attempts
to mentor a bully.
NEGATIVE SPACE
REVOLTING RHYMES
An often-away
father bonds
with his son by
teaching him
how to pack.
Roald Dahl’s
darker take on
Snow White, Red
Riding Hood and
more fairy tales.
about what was going on on the
inside. Kobe has an incredible
emotional memory of how he was
feeling during the plays. Any time
you are animating, you are living in the skin of your character.
For me, I’ve been a mermaid
and a beast, but I never imagined
I could be Kobe Bryant.
Real-Life
Action
Several of this
year’s live-action
short nominees
were inspired by true
events, while others
tackle complicated
relationships
By Rebecca Ford
DEKALB ELEMENTARY
THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK
MY NEPHEW EMMETT
Inspired by a real 911 call during a school shooting
in Atlanta, the film follows a man who enters an
elementary school with a semiautomatic rifle.
This Australian short is set during a session
between a psychiatrist and a patient (who is
convinced he is the doctor).
A 64-year-old African-American man tries to
protect his 14-year-old nephew, Emmett Till, from
two white men who invade his home.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
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DEAR: COURTESY OF GUNPOWDER & SKY. KEANE: THEO WARGO/GETTY IMAGES FOR TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL. GARDEN: COURTESY OF MOPA. LOU: DISNEY/PIXAR. NEGATIVE: COURTESY OF IKKI FILMS &
MANUEL CAM STUDIO. RHYMES: COURTESY OF GKIDS. DEKALB: COURTESY OF REED VAN DYK. ELEVEN: COURTESY OF FINCH COMPANY. NEPHEW: COURTESY OF JOE ZAKKO. HOUSTON: AP PHOTO/GEORGE
BRICH. ERLAND: VALERIE MACON/GETTY IMAGES. LORD: PIERRE VINET/NEW LINE CINEMA/PHOTOFEST. LETTERI: DIA DIPASUPIL/GETTY IMAGES FOR SCAD. SILENT, WATU: COURTESY OF LONDON FLAIR PR.
Toon Contenders
HOW DINOSAURS LED
TO CREATING GOLLUM
The wizardly Joe Letteri, busy with all those
Avatar sequels, will be honored with the
Visual Effects Society’s George Melies Award
Academy
Sci-Tech
Awards
Fresh off Star
Wars in 1977,
Erland (center)
and fellow
model makers
Paul Houston
(left) and
Lorne Peterson
created
spaceships for
TV’s Space
Academy.
Feb. 10
Beverly
Wilshire Hotel
A VFX MASTER ISSUES A WARNING
Jonathan Erland, this year’s recipient of the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, worries that
the overuse of visual effects doesn’t always serve storytellers By Carolyn Giardina
C
inema is going through massive
changes,” acknowledges visual
effects technologist Jonathan Erland, who
will receive the Gordon E. Sawyer Award,
an Oscar statuette, at the Academy’s
Scientific and Technical Awards on Feb. 10
at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. “But then,
100 years ago things were technically in a
state of chaos, and it’s interesting that
100 years later they are in a state of chaos.”
The innovator himself personally
has witnessed many of those changes. The
U.K.-born Erland, 78, initially trained as an
actor — he appeared in the 1965 pilot for
TV’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. — but soon
transferred into effects work. He was part of
the team that created the Charles Eamesdesigned audio animatronic puppet theaters
for the I.B.M. Pavilion at the 1964 New York
World’s Fair, and he also worked as a miniatures model-builder during production of
1977’s Star Wars.
In addition to serving on the Academy’s
board of governors, he was a founding
member of the Academy Science and
Technology Council and has been honored
with two previous Sci-Tech awards.
Erland welcomes the newest technologies, citing developing laser projectors that
enable high-dynamic-range imagery as
well as the potential for variable frame rates
that give the cinematographer a broader
range of creative tools. But
he also issues a warning —
today’s movies use too many
razzle-dazzle visual effects
too indiscriminately. “The
Erland
VFX world, which is capable
of some quite extraordinary accomplishments in terms of putting images on the
screen, is suffering somewhat from what
I would call the commodification of VFX,” he
says. “So you see films with a lot of VFX in
which the VFX are not necessarily advancing the storytelling. That’s a shame. It’s
more effective when a very powerful art
form like VFX is being used to enhance the
storytelling process.”
King Kong. The Lord of the Rings’ Gollum. Avatar’s
Neytiri. The Planet of the Apes’ Caesar. These are just
some of the iconic digitally created characters that have
been brought to the screen with the help of Joe Letteri,
four-time Oscar winner, Weta Digital’s senior VFX supervisor and 2018’s recipient of the Visual Effects Society’s
Georges Melies Award.
In fact, it was the opportunity to play a role in creating
the tragic Gollum that brought Letteri, 60, to Peter
Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. He had worked as a CG
artist on 1993’s Jurassic Park, where, he explains, “I became
interested in what made something like a dinosaur look
realistic — some of that was the detail that you see in the
dinosaur skin. I also started learning about cinematography
and lighting.” Seeing those creatures come alive onscreen,
he realized the next step was to use similar techniques
to create a character, and “Gollum was the
perfect opportunity to do that.”
While Gollum started with Andy Serkis’
performance capture, the challenge for Letteri
was “creating a facial performance that would
believably convey human expressions. I had
never had to work with a character that was so
humanlike, delivering a compelling performance
16th Visual
onscreen right next to other actors.”
Effects
His work on Avatar took it all one step further,
Society
since performance capture was combined
Awards
with virtual production while the actors were
Feb. 13
effectively working with digital sets, allowing
The Beverly
director James Cameron to shoot as if he were
Hilton
filming a live-action movie. On the upcoming
Lifetime
Avatar sequels, the process has become “more
Achievement
integrated than anything we have been able
Award
Jon Favreau
to do in the past and is a much more realistic
representation of being in that world,” says
Letteri. “That’s great for the actors, great for the director,
and it’s great for us because we know what the film is
that we’re trying to make.”
Having set the bar more than once, Letteri admits that
it now keeps getting raised higher. “If you could do one
Gollum, you must be able to do a whole planet full,” he
notes. “Figure out how to do something new, and it quickly
expands into having to do lots of them. That’s still hard to
do; it’s still a very artist-dependent medium.” — C.G.
Letteri
THE SILENT CHILD
WATU WOTE: ALL OF US
A deaf 4-year-old, isolated from the world
and her hearing family, is taught sign language
by a caring social worker.
The Kenya-set tale follows bus passengers who
are attacked by a terrorist group demanding the
Muslim passengers identify the Christian onboard.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
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F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Film
Black Panther
Ryan Coogler’s Marvel Comics entry
dazzles with smartly staged action, magnetic
performances, genuine suspense and
a bracing sense of novelty By Todd McCarthy
With uncanny timing, Marvel has taken its
superheroes into a domain they’ve never inhabited before — and is all the better for it.
There’s no mistaking you’re still in the
Marvel universe here, but Black Panther sweeps
you off to a part of it you’ve never seen: a
hidden lost world in Africa defined by royal
traditions and technological wonders that
open up refreshing dramatic, visual and casting possibilities. Getting it right where other
studios and franchises — they know who they
are — get it wrong, Marvel and Disney have
another commercial leviathan, although it’ll be
interesting to see how it plays in certain overseas markets where industry traditionalists say
black-dominated fare underperforms.
Producer Kevin Feige and the Marvel brain
trust introduced Black Panther into their
superhero mix in 2016’s Civil War: Captain
America with the intention of spinning yet
another franchise around him. This seems
like a natural idea now, but in July 1966, when
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby birthed the character
in Fantastic Four No. 52, he was the first black
superhero to appear in American comics.
Although director/co-writer Ryan Coogler
(Fruitvale Station, Creed) sets his framing action in Oakland, California, the film’s
heart lies in Africa. In one of the tale’s
beguiling inventions, the land of Wakanda
keeps the world away by posing as one of
the planet’s poorest countries and restricting visitors. In fact, it possesses advanced
technology and has a gleaming metropolis that coexists with natural wonders on
par with anything in the world. What makes
this possible is a mined substance called
OPENS Friday, Feb. 16 (Disney)
CAST Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan,
Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright
DIRECTOR Ryan Coogler
Rated PG-13, 135 minutes
vibranium, a source of power akin to nuclear
that Wakanda keeps to itself.
The novelties of the society are fun to behold,
the streets full of life, the inhabitants happy.
But this enlightened land remains a monarchy,
and, with his father’s death, T’Challa (Chadwick
Boseman) becomes king in a spectacular
coronation ceremony. There to support him are
his mother, Ramonda (Angela Bassett); sister
Shuri (Letitia Wright), a scientist who’s next
in line for the throne; chief counsel W’Kabi
(Daniel Kaluuya), head of security for a tough
border tribe; mentor Zuri (Forest Whitaker),
the king’s spiritual leader; and the Dora Milaje,
an independent-minded security force comprising shaven-headed women, notably its best
fighter Okoye (Danai Gurira) and rebellious
Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o).
Then there’s M’Baku (Winston Duke), who
is opposed to T’Challa’s technological beliefs
and challenges him to a mano-a-mano slugfest
PANTHER: COURTESY OF MARVEL STUDIOS. JOHNSON: JB LACROIX/WIREIMAGE. NANJIANI:TAYLOR HILL/GETTY
IMAGES. DESCHANEL: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/GETTY IMAGES. FALLON: NOAM GALAI/WIREIMAGE.
Boseman’s
Black Panther
defends
Wakanda from
adversaries
seeking its
most precious
natural
resource.
that takes place in a lagoon located between
towering brown rocks and a cliff you don’t want
to fall off.
Does this sound like your everyday Marvel
film so far?
It certainly doesn’t look like one. Along
with the color of nearly everyone’s skin, there
are vistas, costumes and settings that keep
the images popping off the screen, even though
this Marvel offering is not in 3D.
Black Panther also sets itself apart via an
ideological divide between two camps within
the Wakandan leadership. The royals and
traditionalists, including T’Challa, insist that
vibranium must remain exclusively in their
own possession, as it’s been the secret of their
success since time immemorial. A minority believes that this extraordinary substance
should be shared with the world, or at least
with their struggling African neighbors, in
the interest of the common good. It’s a potent
political dispute that will presumably continue
to inform the series in further episodes.
In the meantime, a deliciously nasty bad
guy, a white South African gangster named
Klaw (Andy Serkis, in a role he introduced three
years ago in Avengers: Age of Ultron), is keen to
get his hands on some vibranium himself. That
leads the story to South Korea for a prolonged
sequence heavy on chases and tough-guy action
but rather more conventional than the rest of
the film.
But the most challenging threat to
Wakandian stability comes from another mercenary, an imposing African named Erik
Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). Convinced
that vibranium should be available to all people
(and that he should profit by dispensing it),
this intimidating wannabe usurper challenges
the king to a duel in the watery arena — one for
which he cannot wear his Black Panther armor.
Much intense drama and action follow;
there’s a real and sustained sense of jeopardy
for the kingdom, and the fighting significantly involves the female warriors, who are
very cool indeed. Just as he staged the boxing
in Creed with intensity and invention, Coogler
handles the more extensive physical faceoffs here with freshness and brio, building to
a tensely stirring climax. For such an actionpacked modern film, it’s surprising how little
blood figures into this combat epic. A brief
return to Oakland at the end brings things
full circle, while the usual Marvel post-credits
teaser reminds us that its next offering will
be Avengers: Infinity War (coming May 4), in
which T’Challa/Black Panther also appears.
The actors are all seen to very good advantage. Boseman certainly holds his own, but
there are quite a few charismatic supporting
players here eager to steal every scene they can
— and they do, notably the physically imposing Jordan, the radiant Nyong’o and especially
Wright, who gives each of her scenes extra
punch and humor.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
THR’S SOCIAL CLIMBERS
A ranking of the week’s top actors, comedians
and personalities based on social media engagement
across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and more
This
Week
1
Last
Week
↑ I
2
I
Dwayne Johnson
A week after Millie Bobby
Brown ended Johnson’s
nine-week run at No. 1, he
regains the top spot with
the week’s most liked
Instagram post by an actor:
A Jan. 28 video of him
playing “The Entertainer”
on a floor piano with his feet
got 3 million favorites.
2
↑ I
4
I
Kevin Hart
3
↑ I
8
I
Deepika Padukone
4
↓ I
1
I
Millie Bobby Brown
5
↑ I
7
I
Will Smith
6
↓ I
3
I
Dove Cameron
7
↓ I
6
I
Jennifer Lopez
8
↓ I
5
I
Priyanka Chopra
9
↑ I
11
I
Gal Gadot
10
↓ I
9
I
Noah Schnapp
11
↑ I
13
I
Finn Wolfhard
12
↑ I
16
I
Zendaya
13
↑ I
-
I
Chris Hemsworth
14
↑ I
-
I
Tom Holland
15
↓ I
12
I
Hugh Jackman
16
↑ I
18
I
Cara Delevingne
17 ↑
I
Last
Week
Comedians
1
←
→ I
1
I
Kevin Hart
2
←
→ I
2
I
D.L. Hughley
3
←
→ I
3
I
Joe Rogan
4
↑ I
6
I
Colleen Ballinger
5
↑ I
-
I
Adam Sandler
6
↑ I
-
I
Martin Lawrence
7
↓ I
4
I
Marlon Wayans
8
↓ I
5
I
Mike Epps
9
↑ I
-
I
Kumail Nanjiani
Nanjiani’s Jan. 29 tweet
that art, music, movies and
books “have always been
political. Keep your ‘Keep
your politics out of BLANK’
bs outta my face” garnered
him a 16 percent increase
in retweets and was the
week’s most-engaged-with
tweet by a comedian.
10
↓ I
This
Week
1
↑ I
7
I
Last
Week
10
18
↑ I
-
I
Bella Thorne
19
↑ I
-
I
Reese Witherspoon
20
↑ I
-
I
Vanessa Hudgens
21
↓ I
19
I
Ansel Elgort
22
↑ I
23
I
Lily Collins
23
↓ I
10
I
Jack Dylan Grazer
24
↑ I
-
I
Shay Mitchell
25
↑ I
-
I
Hailee Steinfeld
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Bill Maher
TV Personalities
I
Jimmy Fallon
A 406 percent gain in
Facebook post likes allows
the Tonight Show host to
reach No. 1 on the chart for
the first time. One of his top
posts was a clip of Fallon,
as the character Peter,
singing Journey’s “Don’t
Stop Believin’ ” while
heckled by Will Ferrell.
25 I Zooey Deschanel
Deschanel follows her
chart debut (No. 25, Jan. 31)
by jumping to No. 17 with a
654 percent boost in
Facebook shares (mostly
reshares of videos, photos
and memes she had already
posted). She added 413,000
Instagram favorites after
showing off her new haircut.
75
This
Week
Actors
2
↑ I
6
I
Gordon Ramsay
3
↑ I
5
I
Mike Rowe
4
↑ I
9
I
Jake Tapper
5
↓ I
3
I
Mike Huckabee
6
↓ I
4
I
Tamera Mowry
7
↑ I
-
I
Tyra Banks
8
↓ I
2
I
Joanna Gaines
9
↓ I
7
I
Chris Hayes
10
↓ I
1
I
Chelsea Handler
Data Compiled By
Source: The week’s most active and talked-about entertainers on
leading social networking sites Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram,
Twitter and YouTube for the week ending Jan. 31. Rankings are based
on a formula blending weekly additions of fans as well as cumulative
weekly reactions and conversations, as tracked by MVP Index.
Making Her Directorial Debut and
Winner of the NEXT Innovator Prize at Sundance!
Congratulations to our Friend and Client
Jordana Spiro
and the entire Night Comes On cast and crew
We can’t wait to see what’s NEXT
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UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM
25th ANNIVERSARY LOS ANGELES DINNER
THURSDAY, MARCH 1
PLEASE JOIN US TO COMMEMORATE the Museum’s 25th anniversary and
to honor VERA and PAUL GUERIN, their family, and the memory of LILLY and
NATHAN SHAPELL Z”L as they receive the National Leadership Award.
RECEPTION 6 p.m. DINNER 7 p.m.
The Beverly Hilton
Media Sponsor
Tickets are $500 per person and sponsorship and tribute opportunities are
available. For more information, contact the Museum’s Western Regional Office
at 310.556.3222 or western@ushmm.org.
RSVP at ushmm.org/events/2018-la-dinner.
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW Washington, DC 20024-2126 ushmm.org/campaign
Backlot
Innovators, Events, Honors
Canada
Spotlight
How Canada Became a Springboard for Female
Directors Multiple government initiatives are pushing for
gender parity in the film business by 2020 By Etan Vlessing
JOLY: AMANDA EDWARDS/GETTY IMAGES.
C
anadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau proudly displayed his pro-
gressive bona fides three years
ago when he announced that his 30-member Cabinet would be the country’s first
to represent men and women equally, 5050. When asked by a journalist why, he
made global headlines with his blunt reply:
“Because it’s 2015.”
Roughly a year later — and well before
the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements —
Telefilm Canada, the powerful, well-funded
film financing arm of the Canadian government, followed Trudeau’s lead and unveiled
its own ambitious drive to achieve gender
parity in the film sector by 2020. The goal
was clear: The agency would choose which
films to finance based on whether projects
were directed by, or revolved around, women
(among other criteria).
The initiative already is having an effect:
A 2017 Telefilm study shows a 27 percent
increase in agency-backed projects directed by
women since 2015.
And it’s not just Telefilm: The National Film
Board of Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting
Corp. and the Canada Media Fund also have
unveiled plans to achieve gender parity by 2020.
But with its deep pockets — the agency
invests around $100 million annually in homegrown filmmaking
— Telefilm is leading the way.
“There are systemic barriers to
funding,”
says Federal Heritage
Joly
Minister Melanie Joly, a close ally
of Trudeau. “We believe that we should, as a
feminist government, have a clear commitment to overcome these barriers.”
The practical initiatives from Telefilm
include its Talent to Watch program, formerly
Illustration by Dan Woodger
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
77
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
the Micro-Budget Production Program.
Telefilm renamed and revamped the 5-yearold micro-budget program in November
with a mandate to back 50 first-time and,
where possible, female-led features annually, with investments capped at $120,000 for
each movie.
That in turn led organizers to consider
how they could help maintain a young filmmaker’s momentum in the industry after
completion of that all-important first project.
So, also in late 2017, Telefilm unveiled its
Fast Track program, which assures $500,000
in second-feature financing for filmmakers producing internationally recognized
first features.
To promote female voices and visions,
Telefilm, when considering funding for projects of equal value — determined by such
factors as the script, talent attached and the
Backlot
production team — between a male or female
applicant, is favoring projects directed and/or
written by women.
“We want to create a path to success,” says
Telefilm executive director Carolle Brabant.
“We want to reward the success of the first
features by having emerging directors make
their second film.”
Take Werewolf, writer-director Ashley
McKenzie’s debut feature about youth and drug
addiction in a small Nova Scotia mining town.
The indie received microbudget financing
from Telefilm and became a critical hit on the
film festival circuit after bowing at Toronto
and screening at Berlin.
Now McKenzie is eyeing possible Fast Track
financing as she develops her second feature.
“There’s a gap for filmmakers to take
the next step after their first feature,” she
says, adding that Telefilm has helped to
shorten the time she and her producer Nelson
MacDonald need to secure financing for their
sophomore effort.
Brabant says Canada’s push for gender parity
has helped alter long-standing perceptions
in an industry where female filmmakers have
become accustomed to discouraging barriers to the industry. “It has made women realize,
‘Well, it can happen,’ ” she says.
“It’s comforting to know you can get your
foot in the door,” adds Sonia Boileau, who
leveraged Telefilm investment for her debut
feature, Le Dep, to develop her second film,
Rustic Oracle, about an 8-year-old Mohawk girl
searching for a missing sister.
The push for gender parity has implications beyond Canada. Jordan Canning, who
HOW CANADA’S GENDEREQUALITY INITIATIVES
ALREADY ARE PAYING OFF
In a little over a year, female-led projects
backed by Telefilm have more than doubled
50
45
44%
46%
2017
2015
40
35
30
25
20
15
22%
17%
10
In November
2016, Telefilm
introduced
its initiative
to improve
gender parity.
5
Films directed
by women
Films written
by women
Source: Telefilm
Canada, Women in
View on Screen
directed more than a dozen short films before
completing her first and second features, We
Were Wolves and Suck It Up, respectively, says
Telefilm’s Talent to Watch and Fast Track
programs can help open doors in the U.S. and
other foreign markets.
“Once you have two features, you’re hopefully at a level where you can access funding
in different countries and team up with international co-producers,” she says.
With the various gender-parity initiatives
gaining steam, insiders say the lure of financing is also leading filmmakers to rethink
projects from the conception point. “In the
general community at large, people are just
hungry to attach women to projects and slates,
because it’s smart from a tactical viewpoint.
I’d do the same,” says Molly McGlynn, whose
debut feature, Mary Goes Round, was produced
through Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program.
Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer says
the initiatives help female filmmakers avoid
“going up against the old guard.” After the
success of her documentary short film Nucca,
which screened at Sundance and Toronto,
Latimer nabbed a yearlong filmmaking
fellowship with Laura Poitras’ (Citizenfour)
documentary unit Field of Vision.
“[Telefilm] is democratizing the way we
secure film financing, and it’s particularly
good for younger filmmakers who can’t go
the regular financing route,” Latimer says.
The Canadian film sector is also focusing on hiring more women in key positions
throughout the industry. Jane Tattersall,
senior vp at Sim Post Toronto, who supervised the sound editing on Hulu’s The
Handmaid’s Tale, says she’s hiring more women
as mixers and editors in a traditionally maledominated business.
“I’m not being idealistic or doing favors,”
she says. “It’s much more selfish — the workplace is more interesting and more normal
when you have a mix of women and men.”
Marjolaine Tremblay, VFX producer and
supervisor at Rodeo FX, insists that the
Canadian industry needs to allow women to
move from management and backroom jobs
to active creative roles, including overcoming
technical VFX challenges.
“I have a great employer now that believes
in all of my skill sets and supports me all the
way,” says Tremblay.
Another point of emphasis for Minister
Joly is creating a healthy environment in
the Time’s Up era. To that end, she says the
Canadian industry now has a zero-tolerance
policy for workplace harassment.
“The #MeToo movement for us is clearly a
fundamental change of culture,” she says. “It’s
changing the way people will interact with
each other and make sure there’s more respect
between men and women, and ensuring the
entertainment-sector workplace, as all workplaces, is much safer.”
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
78
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
T
he Baltimore of 1962 is
meticulously re-created
in Guillermo del Toro’s
multi-Oscar-nominated sci-fi
romance The Shape of Water.
From an iconic, neon-lit diner
to an ornate movie theater, the
film revels in Americana from
another age, making the fact
that it was shot in and around
Toronto all the more
impressive. The film
marks del Toro’s
third collaboration
with producer —
Dale
and Toronto native
— J. Miles Dale and is the director’s fourth consecutive feature
to be shot in Canada. Dale talked
to THR about why the Mexican
auteur now calls Toronto home
and the Oscar odds for Shape
of Water.
Toronto hosted shoots for earlier
Oscar best picture winners like
TURNING A
TORONTO SUBURB
INTO STOCKHOLM
he Ethan Hawke thriller Stockholm
chronicles the real-life 1973 bank heist
in the Swedish capital that produced the
term “Stockholm Syndrome” — shorthand
to describe when captors and captives
form an unusual bond.
With a modest budget of $10.5 million,
Canadian co-producer Nicholas Tabarrok
effectively cobbled together numerous
T
BTS: COURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES. SHAPE: KERRY HAYES/TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX. DALE: BARRY
KING/GETTY IMAGES. STOCKHOLM: COURTESY OF DARIUS FILMS. WAPEEMUKWA, FOROUGHI: COURTESY OF
SUBJECT. MCLEOD: COURTESY OF JIVE PR + DIGITAL. ENGLISH: COURTESY OF GAT PR. SANCHEZ: LAURENT GUERIN.
Canada
Spotlight
CANADIAN
DIRECTORS TO
WATCH
WAYNE
WAPEEMUKWA
Left: Dale (left) on the set of Shape of Water
with del Toro. Above: the film’s stars, Richard
Jenkins and Sally Hawkins.
American city or some generic
countryside like the Midwest, you
can definitely do it here.
Why has Toronto become del Toro’s
filmmaking base?
‘You Don’t Have to Go
Anywhere Else’
Shape of Water producer
J. Miles Dale on why
del Toro shoots in Canada
Chicago and Spotlight. What’s
different with The Shape of Water?
With Chicago, there were no
Canadian designers on that. And
even Spotlight, it wasn’t a heavy
design movie. On The Shape of
Water, other than the cinematographer and a couple of special
effects and makeup artists, every
single person from the production and costume designers, the
sound team, the editor — they’re
all Canadian. It tells the world:
“We can play with anybody now.
Our top people are right up
there. You don’t have to go anywhere else.”
Ever since he did Pacific Rim,
Guillermo has been here. He lives
here and his family lives here.
He’s really embraced the community, and he really feels
he’s found a filmmaking home
in Toronto. I think he likes the
Canadian sensibility.
Any word on your next project
with him?
I think he’d like to take a short
break from directing. We have
a couple of feature projects that
we’re producing together. He’s
also writing something for himself to direct, maybe next year.
He’s going to stay prolific. He can’t
really slow down.
How do you feel as the Oscars
approach?
The script will always tell you
what it needs to be. If you need to
do something on a mountain,
you can’t do that here. If you’re
stranded in the Pacific, you
can’t do that here. But for anything that’s set in an East Coast
We’ve had a nice run so far. If it
ended today, that would be fine.
We’re going to the BAFTA Awards
in London, where we led the nominations. And two weeks after that,
there’s the Oscars. So these last
couple of laps should be very interesting. We’re definitely feeling a
lot of love right now, so hopefully
that continues. — E.V.
subsidies and incentives available north of
the border to make the film happen.
The heist flick was shot mostly in
Hamilton, Ontario, allowing the producers
to nab the province’s 10 percent tax credit.
That’s in addition to a separate incentive that refunds 21.5 percent of qualified
Ontario production expenditures.
As a co-production with Sweden, the
film tapped subsidies in both countries
thanks to the casting of Swedish actors,
including Noomi Rapace. Tabarrok won’t
say how much financing came from
Sweden, but Ontario Media Development
Corp. chipped in $440,000. Telefilm
Canada also invested at the script stage.
The Hamilton locations were so effective that Hawke was the only actor to
travel to the real Stockholm to capture
exterior shots.
“Stockholm would not have been possible without the support of Telefilm,
provincial and federal tax credits and the
OMDC,” Tabarrok says. “It’s nearly impossible to finance a film this size without the
support of government incentives.” — E.V.
Does that mean you and del Toro
will make all your future movies
in Toronto?
← Hawke was the only castmember to shoot scenes in the real city of Stockholm.
79
Wapeemukwa,
27, won the
best Canadian
first feature
prize at the 2017 Toronto
film fest with his debut,
Luk’Luk’I. “Walking away
from TIFF with the best
first feature prize confirmed for my cast, crew
and me that we were
on the right track,” he says.
SADAF
FOROUGHI
Born in Iran,
Foroughi,
41, studied in
France and
settled in Montreal before
writing and directing Ava,
a coming-of-age drama
that won the FIPRESCI
critics prize at Toronto
in 2017.
SHELAGH
MCLEOD
After
establishing a
career as an
actress on U.K.
TV, McLeod, 57, recently
wrapped production on
her debut feature,
the Richard Dreyfuss- and
Colm Feore-starring
thriller Astronaut, shot just
north of Toronto.
JACKIE
ENGLISH
After a string
of acting
credits,
including CBS’
Beauty and the Beast,
English broke into the
feature world with
Becoming Burlesque, a
Toronto-set drama about
a young Muslim woman
who embraces the world
of burlesque dancing.
JASON AND CARLOS
SANCHEZ
Allure, the debut feature
written and directed by
Jason, 36, and Carlos, 41,
Montreal-based still
photographers turned
filmmakers, stars Evan
Rachel Wood as a house
cleaner with a dark past.
Samuel Goldwyn Films
plans a mid-March U.S.
release. — E.V.
Backlot
SO HOW IS THREE
BILLBOARDS BRITISH?
BAFTA
Martin McDonagh’s Midwestern
drama is up for a best Brit BAFTA
W
Stephen is a huge friend of
mine. I shall do my level best to
fit into those huge shoes. He’s
such a consummate, easy, welcoming, darling host, but we’re
different. So I shan’t copy him,
because you can’t do that. I’ll just
do my best to be me and make
everyone welcome.
Has he given you any tips?
He said something terribly funny
but very true: Nobody has ever
complained that an awards ceremony is too short. He also told
me to remember that our job is as
host. We’re not the main entertainment; we are literally the host.
We’re the silken strands that join
people together.
‘My Part Is to Be
Quite Dignified’
Joanna Lumley plans her
BAFTA takeover By Alex Ritman
was the [only] night of wearing black to protest. I’ll just see
whether people are still feeling
enough of it to warrant it going
on or feeling that we’ve got to
look to the future. We all
British
know … it’s all out in the
Academy Film
open now. The Golden
Awards
Globes have made everyFeb. 18
one so aware of it.
Royal Albert Hall
comic. I’m not a satirist. I’m not
a political commentator. People
know me because I’ve been banging around the block for 100
years, so why would I be someone
completely different?
You’ve already said you
won’t be pulling out any
Weinstein gags. How
about Trump? Brexit?
I’m not really going to do any
heavy political commentary,
because for people who do come
up and have something to say, it’s
absolutely up to them. It’s their
night, it’s not mine. My part is to
be quite dignified, but if everyone
else wants to put their pants on
their head and scream, that’s fine
by me.
How about yourself, will you be
wearing black?
Any particular hosting style you
like and might try to emulate?
How do you think the #MeToo
movement seen at the Golden
Globes will translate to the BAFTAs?
I do a lot of awards ceremonies, so
I’m used to the whole easing people on, easing people off, mopping
their tears. But I’m not a stand-up
It’s going to be so interesting. I
noticed at the SAG Awards all
the girls were in gorgeous dresses.
So maybe the Golden Globes
Well, I know I won’t be allowed a
glass of Bolly onstage, but sometimes Patsy creeps through. She
doesn’t mean to, but sometimes
she just has to have a word. I’ll
try to keep her under control for
the night!
Do you think this will be a newer,
revamped BAFTAs with you at
the helm?
I don’t really want it to change.
There’s something quite serious
about all this. We’re the British
academy, and the Oscars are the
American academy, so this is the
senior prefects’ table.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
I don’t think so. But let’s put it like
this: I won’t be wearing shocking
pink. I want to look like a dignified host. But I do think I’m going
to look pretty fab, not showy.
Any temptations to give Patsy a
brief whirl onstage, perhaps brandishing a glass of champagne?
80
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
Woody Harrelson (left) and Sam Rockwell in
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
LUMLEY: MATT HOLYOAK/BAFTA/CAMERA PRESS/REDUX. THREE: MERRICK MORTON/TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX.
Do you have any nerves about
stepping into Stephen Fry’s welltrodden BAFTA shoes?
t the 2017 BAFTA Awards, the outstanding British film honor went
to Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, a gritty
human tale about a carpenter from
the north of England and his nearexcruciating struggle to navigate the
U.K.’s bureaucratic benefits system
after having a heart attack. In other
words, extremely British.
This year, among a crop of equally
British titles sits a rather unusual entry.
The nomination of Three Billboards
Outside Ebbing, Missouri, despite
director Martin McDonagh’s burgundy
British passport, has caused a little confusion in the U.S. Not only is the film’s
main cast almost exclusively American,
but it also was shot in North Carolina,
is based on a real-life American story
and even includes the words “Ebbing,
Missouri” right there in the title. How,
exactly, is this film British?
The answer can be found in BAFTA’s
myriad list of rules and regulations.
To qualify for the outstanding
British film category, the rules state
that a film must “have significant
creative involvement by individuals
who are British (U.K. passport holders
or permanent resident in the U.K. for
at least 10 years up to and including
the eligibility period).”
Alongside McDonagh, Three
Billboards was produced by the British
duo of Graham Broadbent and Peter
Czernin for their Blueprint Pictures
(headquartered on London’s Great
Portland Street), with half the funding
coming from Film4, the movie arm of
U.K. network Channel 4.
“A film like this — which doesn’t
look remotely British — does seem
to crop up each year,” admits one
industry insider.
As it happens, last year there were
two: American Honey (backed by
Film4 and the British Film Institute) and
Under the Shadow (which was in Farsi
but produced by U.K.-based Wigwam
Films). And in 2016, the winner was
Brooklyn, named after the borough but
produced by Brits, written by a Brit and
backed by BBC Films. — A.R.
A
ith Stephen Fry having given up his hosting
duties after a record
12 editions, BAFTA has turned
to arguably an even bigger British
national treasure for its latest
awards ceremony: Joanna Lumley,
who will be taking the reins
Feb. 18 at London’s famed Royal
Albert Hall. Ahead of the biggest
film awards outside the U.S.,
Lumley explains why she won’t be
making any political gags, how
the British equivalent of #MeToo
might look on the night and
whether her most famous onscreen
character — Absolutely Fabulous’
champers-guzzling Patsy — will
be making an appearance.
SJIWFF29 • OCTOBER 17–21, 2018
ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA
WOMENSFILMFESTIVAL.COM
Backlot
Awards
Watch
What is your worst habit as
a writer?
HANNAH Procrastination. I think
‘I Found My Voice While She Found
Hers’ Liz Hannah and Josh Singer on
penning Katharine Graham’s story By Rebecca Ford
it’s every writer’s worst habit.
But when you’re procrastinating,
you’re still thinking about it.
SINGER My wife, who is a novelist, makes fun of me for this all
the time: I tend to get lost in
the research. I go on really deep
dives. Lawrence O’Donnell told
me early on that the word
“author” comes from authority.
I am not a huge risk taker, so I
really don’t like writing about
something unless I feel like I’m
quite knowledgeable about it.
L
iz Hannah wrote the screenplay for The Post with the hope that
she’d get an agent. Instead, the 32-year-old screenwriter saw
her spec script turned into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg
and starring Meryl Streep as The Washington Post publisher Katharine
Graham. The timely ’70s-set drama has been nominated for the best picture Oscar, and Hannah and her co-writer, Josh Singer (who won the
original screenplay Oscar in 2016 for Spotlight), will receive the Writers
Guild of America West’s Paul Selvin Award at the Feb. 11 ceremony.
Both writers spoke to THR about their process and the “high bar” set by
working with Spielberg.
draft. With these fact-based dramas, you want to vet them — send
them out to the world and get
HANNAH I only had vaguely heard
lots of notes, because you want
about her, but I didn’t know
to get it right. With Spotlight, I
anything about her life. And she
had terrible fear of not getting the
lived one that I felt deserved to be
journalism part right.
out in the world. For me
Plus, the needs of a spec
personally, it was about
WGA West
Awards
script and the needs of
a woman finding her
a Steven Spielberg film
voice, finally ignoring all
Feb. 11
Beverly Hilton
are slightly different.
the naysayers — and even
Because with a Steven
herself — telling her she
Spielberg film, you’re going to
couldn’t do it and standing on her
get the highest degree of scrutiny
own two feet. The irony is not lost
you can possibly get. Fairly or
on me that this is the script I got
noticed on. I found my voice while unfairly, you get held to a pretty
high bar. We had to make this
she found hers.
as accurate as possible within the
How did the two of you collaborate? context of telling a good story.
SINGER Liz wrote an incredible spec
HANNAH I had never written a
script, but it wasn’t a shooting
movie that had been produced
What was it about Graham’s story
that made you want to adapt it?
GOLD STAR SCRIBES
A comic book icon, an LGBTQ
activist and two veteran
writers land WGA honors
↑ From left: Singer, Spielberg, Hannah,
Tom Hanks and Streep on Jan. 4
at the Palm Springs Film Festival.
before, let alone written a movie
produced and directed by Steven
Spielberg. The thing about Josh
is that he’s not only an incredibly
talented writer, he also has an
enormous amount of experience in
the journalism world and in the
political world with Spotlight and
The West Wing. We really tackled
it more like a writers room; it was
a very collaborative experience.
Because of the quick timeline, he
was used to working under the
gun and under the pressure that
the first choice is the best choice
and the only choice.
HANNAH Because I’m 90 years old
in a 32-year-old’s body, I have
a heating pad on the back of my
chair. When you’re sitting there
for hours at a time, I don’t care
how comfortable that chair is,
it can get pretty gnarly. So a heating pad kind of wakes me up.
SINGER I need headphones and
music. I tend to love classical,
but it can be any kind. It really
depends on what I’m working on. There’s a trick I learned
from my wife: I’ll listen to the
same thing over and over again.
So good Bose headphones with
music to drown out the world.
And then I must have a baseball
cap, because I need blinders.
“There’s an
immediate
connection as
a woman,
knowing what
it’s like to be
in a room full
of men and
not have your
voice heard,”
says Hannah
of Graham’s
story (Streep,
center).
◄ DUSTIN LANCE BLACK
JAMES L. BROOKS
ALISON CROSS
LEN WEIN
The Valentine Davies
Award will recognize the
Milk writer’s work for
the LGBTQ community.
The Mary Tyler Moore
Show co-creator
gets the Laurel Award
for screenwriting.
The Paddy Chayefsky
Laurel Award goes to the
writer-producer (Roe vs.
Wade, Murder in the First).
The late comic book icon,
co-creator of Wolverine,
will be honored with the
Animation Writing Award.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
82
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
SINGER: VIVIEN KILLILEA/GETTY IMAGES FOR PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. POST: NIKO TAVERNISE/20TH CENTURY FOX. BLACK: DAVE BENETT/GETTY IMAGES.
Is there one thing you must have
in order to write?
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Jim was a member of the Producers Guild of America.
James H. Rich, Jr., age 70, of Tarzana, CA, died peaceHe was the executive vice president of Cable and Synfully from the complications of cancer on January 20,
dication at Centerpoint Productions, where he worked
2018 with his loving and devoted wife of almost 44
for Tom Tannenbaum with production partners Guberyears, Abigail Crow Rich, by his side.
Peters, Blake Edwards, and Grasso-Jacobson. He won
Jim was born in Pittsburgh, PA, on December 24, 1947,
an ACE award in 1983 for Sweeney Todd, which won
to James H. Rich and the late Idamae Brody Rich. The
date of his birth, he would tell everyone, was the result
seven Emmys. In the early 2000s, he produced three
of his mother falling off a ladder while trying to put a
two-hour specials to promote the opening of Universtar on the Christmas tree.
sal’s theme park in Osaka. The specials featured top
He attended an all-boys prep school, Shadyside AcadJapanese television stars and Universal stars Meryl
emy, where, among other activities, he was a member
Streep, Gene Hackman and Steven Spielberg.
of the honorary Sargon Society,
After retiring, he co-founded
and played on the varsity tenThe Great Beer Company,
nis and football teams. Sumbrewers of the award-winning
mers he hung out at WAMO,
kölsch-style ale, Hollywood
his father’s radio station. After
Blonde. He was a practicing
graduation in 1965, he went to
Buddhist, worked on the camSyracuse University to study
paign to elect Obama, and volCommunications, where he
unteered with an organization
lived in the football dorm and
for troubled teens.
thought he was going to play
Jim loved many things, not
until he was positioned in front
the least of which was walking
of Larry Csonka and Floyd Little
the dogs at his beach house
at a practice game and was
in Ventura, CA, watching
flattened.
Pittsburgh Steeler games, goAlways resilient and practiing to the symphony and the
cal, he looked around and realHollywood Bowl with his wife,
ized that not only was it safer
talking to his father, and bragto go into the theater departging about his children and
ment, but there were real-live
grandchildren.
girls there. And so his show
His life was marked by an
business career was born.
electric spirit, an extraordinary
He transferred to New York
ability to persevere, a goofy
1947-2018
University’s Film School, where
sense of humor, a quest for
Martin Scorsese was his instructor, and where he crespiritual knowledge, and a generous soul. He is rememated his award-winning student film, Ginkgo. After
bered by friends and admirers as someone who lifted
film school, he worked on Sesame Street shorts, comthem up when they needed it, and encouraged them to
mercials, and industrials in New York, and created his
be their best and truest selves.
documentary Earth Day, starring Rod Serling and Pete
In addition to his wife, Jim is survived by his father,
Seeger.
James H. Rich, of Pittsburgh, PA; his son, Nicholas
In the mid-1970s, he headed to Los Angeles to work
James Rich, and daughter-in-law, Cara Delizia Rich of
for Bob Stivers Productions and began a career that
Tarzana, CA; his daughter, Kit Rich, of Santa Monica, CA;
spanned almost 50 years. As he advanced from young
three grandsons, Hunter Rich, Lucas Rich, and Crosby
production manager to executive producer, he worked
Rich; his sister, Kathryn Rich Sherman of Pittsburgh,
on hundreds of television shows, including Circus of the
PA; and numerous brothers/sisters-in-law, nieces,
Stars, People’s Choice Awards, People’s Court, Superior
nephews and cousins.
Court, Vincent with Leonard Nimoy, John Denver and
His memorial will be held in Tarzana, CA on March 3,
the Muppets, Kid Songs, Monty Python Live at the Hol2018 from noon to 4:00. Family members will commit
lywood Bowl, Red Skelton’s Funny Faces, George Burns
his ashes to the sea the following day.
in Concert, Enchanted Musical Playhouse with the OsIn lieu of flowers, please donate to his favorite charmonds, Straight to the Heart, A Talent for Murder with
ity, “No Kid Hungry,” (https://www.nokidhungry.org/)
the campaign of the national anti-hunger organization
Sir Lawrence Olivier and Angela Lansbury and many,
Share Our Strength.
many others.
James H. Rich
89 Years of THR
Memorable moments from a storied history
1 9 833
199 84
4
19
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1 988 6
19
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25 Years Ago, Cool Runnings Was a Gold Medal Hit
Jamaicans to make it to Canada,
so it was for the film to get made.
When Dawn Steel became head
of Columbia Pictures in 1987, she
became aware of the Runnings
script because TriStar was a sister
company. After she left in 1990,
Steel made it the first film she did
under her new production deal
at Disney. “To me, it was Rocky,”
said Steel, who died in 1997. The
$15 million production ($25 million today) went on to earn
$155 million worldwide ($263 million). Along the way, the script
went from a drama at TriStar to a
family comedy at Disney. Hiring
John Candy as the team’s coach
was a key piece of casting. “[Studio
chief] Jeffrey Katzenberg was
the one who said we were going
with John,” says Turteltaub. “Up
until then, we were thinking
‘Olympic coach? Kurt Russell.’
And Kurt ended up playing [Herb
Brooks] in Miracle. I guess he
was born to be an Olympic coach.”
Turteltaub’s most vivid memory
of the shoot was being awakened
at 1 a.m. on location in Calgary
and told by Katzenberg that he’d
be fired unless he could get the
cast to speak in an understandable Jamaican accent. “He said, ‘If
you can’t make them sound like
Sebastian the Crab in The Little
Mermaid, I’ll find a director who
will.’ So the next day I told the
cast I’d be fired if they didn’t start
sounding like Sebastian the Crab.
And they laughed and found the
in-between.” — BILL HIGGINS
↑ From left: Leon (as Derice Bannock), Rawle D. Lewis (as Junior Bevil), Malik Yoba (as Yul Brenner) and Doug E. Doug (as Sanka Coffie) in Cool Runnings.
The Hollywood Reporter, Vol. CDXXIV, No. 6 (ISSN 0018-3660; USPS 247-580) is published weekly; 39 issues — two issues in April, July, October and December; three issues in January and June; four issues in February, March, May, August and September; and five issues in November — with 15 special issues:
Jan. (1), Feb. (2), June (4), Aug. (4), Nov. (3) and Dec. (3) by Prometheus Global Media LLC, 5700 Wilshire Blvd., 5th floor, Los Angeles CA 90036. Subscription rates: Weekly print only, $199; weekly print and online, including daily edition PDF only, $249; online only, $199; digital replica of weekly print, $199.
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T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
84
F E B R U A R Y 7, 2 01 8
BUENA VISTA PICTURES/PHOTOFEST
For The Hollywood Reporter, 1993’s
Cool Runnings was a “near-perfectly executed tale” that centered
on “one of the nuttiest and most
inspiring modern sports stories.” The Jon Turteltaub film is
the loosely factual tale of the
Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Calgary Winter
Olympics. (Three decades later,
the Pyeongchang Games begin
Feb. 9, and there’s a 25th anniversary screening of Cool Runnings
a day earlier at the El Capitan in
Hollywood.) “It’s the timeless
story of the underdog,” says Jeff
Sagansky, who acquired the
script in 1989 when he headed
TriStar Pictures. “And here, the
underdog was going to the Winter
Olympics from a country with
no snow.” As difficult as it was for
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