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The Hollywood Reporter September 6 2017

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September 6, 2017
Where’s the Line
on Whitewashing?
An actor’s Hellboy exit
could be a tipping point
FOOTBALL KI LLS .
LO N G LIVE FOOTBALL
by gav i n p o lo n e
Summer Box Office:
All the Grim Numbers
From left: Matt Damon,
Julianne Moore
and George Clooney
in Venice, Italy.
FILM
O
T
N
O
TO R
2017
L
A
V
I
F EST
Clooney & Co.
George invites THR to Lake Como for lunch with Amal and the twins as the Suburbicon filmmaker
reveals a new life off-camera (‘I’m a very good diaper guy’), his texts with Obama, a $200M tequila payday
and clues to a post-Hollywood career: ‘The worst thing you can do in life is be satisfied’
P L U S 10 hottest titles for sale ● Will Apple take a bite out of the market?
Meet Aaron Sorkin, director ● The best ‘worst’ movie ever made
Inspired by Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, who became
the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline
when she joined American, this award seeks to honor
the innovative vision and breakthrough work of female
directors in the entertainment industry. As Hollywood’s
preferred airline, we’re out to empower female voices
American Airlines and the Flight Symbol logo are marks of American Airlines, Inc.
world Alliance, LLC. © 2017 American Airlines, Inc. All rights reserved.
and give them a platform on which to shine.
In partnership with Film Independent, we can bring
more women to the forefront of filmmaking. The first
annual Bonnie Award winner will be announced at the
Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch in
January 2018. Stay updated at TheBonnieAward.com
33
Issue No. 27, September 6, 2017
“Fashion has always
been dominated
in a global sense by
Hollywood,”
says Jeremy Scott,
photographed Aug. 17
in his new studio
at Hollywood’s Film
Exchange Building.
Katzenberg (left) and
Grahame-Smith were
photographed Aug. 17 in
their Beverly Hills offices.
28
FEATURES
ABOUT TOWN
38 ‘The Worst Thing You Can
Do in Life Is Be Satisfied’
17 Downsizing’s Guide to
the Dark Side of Life
48 Toronto 2017
Oscar buzz, market titles,
the best “worst” movie and
Canada’s King of Poutine in
THR’s preview of the most
frenzied (and friendliest)
film fest in the world.
56 No One Can Say,
‘You’re Fired’
Steve Harvey, once homeless,
now has six shows, including
a new daytime talker he
owns, plus surprising
opinions on his pal Cosby and
that leaked memo: “I’m not
going to apologize.”
THE REPORT
9 Will an Actor’s Hellboy Exit
Change Hollywood?
Ed Skrein’s decision to
withdraw from a role
conceived as Asian-American
has invoked a new debate on
whitewashing.
Actress Hong Chau schools
Matt Damon in Alexander
Payne’s social satire.
THE BUSINESS
28 Executive Suite:
Seth Grahame-Smith and
David Katzenberg
The It producing duo on
bypassing a studio deal,
’80s nostalgia and the
Stranger Things effect.
17
STYLE
33 Hollywood’s Pop
Provocateur
“I had been trained
to think so small
in regards to how
I look and what I
can play,” says
Chau, photographed
Aug. 22 at The
Doheny Room
West Hollywood.
Fifteen years after a bold
move to L.A., Jeremy Scott
celebrates two decades of
his namesake label with
a nostalgic collection
at New York Fashion Week.
Tommy Hilfiger dress,
Yael Sonia earrings.
BACKLOT
66 Looking for Some Fresh
Talent, Eh?
Canada’s 15 rising stars build
a career north of the border.
70 Creative Arts Emmys
Preview
ON THE COVER
Clooney, Matt Damon and Julianne Moore
were photographed Sept. 1 by Miller Mobley
at the Hotel Excelsior in Venice, Italy.
Scott photographed by Adam Amengual
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
2
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
KATZSMITH: CHRISTOPHER PATEY. CHAU: RAMONA ROSALES.
On a long August afternoon
at his Lake Como retreat,
megastar and Suburbicon
helmer George Clooney
reveals a profound private
contentment with marriage
and fatherhood that only
fuels his continuing public
restlessness about art, race
and justice.
Celebrating 25 years of making the cut.
Thanks to everyone who’s made Premiere Pro the world’s most popular digital
editing tool. And to the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers —
we can’t wait to see where Premiere Pro will take you.
adobe.com/go/video
© 2017 Adobe Systems Incorporated. Adobe, the Adobe logo, and Adobe Premiere are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.
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SEPT 15
The Re ort
Film
Think Bond
Apple joins the auction for
007 movie rights. p. 10
↑Box Office
Behind the Headlines
Summer Shrapnel
Inside the worst season in
a decade p. 12
← Actor Skrein and the Japanese-American
Hellboy character he was cast as, Ben Daimio.
Heat Index
David Madden
The Fox entertainment chief
lands the programmer
job at AMC and SundanceTV,
putting him in charge of
Walking Dead and the home
of 10 straight years of drama
series Emmy noms.
Colin Trevorrow
The Star Wars: Episode IX
filmmaker exits amid rumors
of dysfunction (Lucasfilm
says, “Our visions for the
project differ”).
‘Where’s the Line?’
Whitewashing Hits
a Tipping Point
Ed Skrein’s move to exit a Hellboy reboot may be a seminal
moment for racial authenticity in casting. Says one director:
‘I thought things would change four movies ago’
SKREIN: KARWAI TANG/WIREIMAGE. LEWIS: KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE. B.P.R.D. COURTESY OF DARKHORSE COMICS. BAYWATCH: FRANK MASI/PARAMOUNT PICTURES.
MADDEN: TODD WILLIAMSON/GETTY IMAGES. ROSE: JOE ROBBINS/GETTY IMAGES. SWIFT: LARRY BUSACCA/GETTY IMAGES. TREVORROW: GREGG DEGUIRE/WIREIMAGE.
Taylor Swift
The pop star’s edgier “Look
What You Made Me Do” leaps
to the top of Billboard’s
Hot 100 chart with the highest
weekly sales and stream
numbers of the year.
Pete Rose
The Fox Sports baseball
analyst won’t appear on
playoff broadcasts in the wake
of a claim he had a sexual
relationship with a 15-year-old
girl during the 1970s.
Showbiz Stocks
$15.49 (+6.9%)
REGAL ENT. (RGC)
The movie exhibition chain
will buy up to $50 million of
its own stock, the price of
which has sunk 40 percent in
the past 10 months.
$18.67 (-3.8%)
GAMESTOP (GME)
The seller of video games
says earnings plunged
44 percent in the recent
quarter as sales of pre-owned
titles fell 8 percent.
BY REBECCA SUN
B
ritish actor Ed Skrein’s
Aug. 28 decision
to quit Lionsgate and
Millennium’s Hellboy reboot
— after criticism over a white
actor playing a character who is
Japanese-American in the comics — has many in the industry
wondering whether the unprecedented move is a tipping point
for Hollywood’s practice of
“whitewashing” roles.
Some see Skrein, 34, as caving
to pressure from a social mediafueled mob of PC police. “No one
knows where the line is,” says a
studio publicity head, “and every
movie now is controversial for
any reason.” In addition, there are
concerns that an overcorrective
backlash against whitewashing
will cause filmmakers to decide
against making movies about
diverse characters altogether.
Already, Sony’s adaptation of
Michael Lewis’ 2014 best-seller
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
is effectively dead because it no
longer would be the default to
cast real-life protagonist Bradley
Katsuyama with a white actor. “A
decade ago they would have just
done that,” Lewis said Sept. 2 at
the National Book Festival. “There
were emails back and forth about
how impossible it was to make a
movie with an Asian lead.”
But that conventional wisdom,
and the assumption that there
aren’t enough qualified nonwhite
actors to cast big-budget projects in a culturally accurate way,
is misguided, says
Russell Boast, vp at
the Casting Society
of America. “They
do exist, but because
Lewis
our focus has been
on star power, which in the past
has very often been a white male
actor, there hasn’t been the need
to have that list of the top 10 or
100 Asian actors that mean something financially to the studios,”
he says. “It’s our duty to stop using
that as an excuse. Ed’s move is
making our jobs easier.”
Out of the top 900 films since
2007, just 5.7 percent of named or
speaking characters were Asian,
according to a July 2017 study
from USC’s Media, Diversity &
Social Change Initiative. “The
issue is not that actors shouldn’t
be allowed to play across racial
borders,” says Boast. “It’s that
there are so few minority characters that when these roles do
come along, we shouldn’t be
taking away these rare opportunities from minority actors.”
Although instances of white
actors playing characters of
color date back to the dawn of
cinema — “We were shouting to
the wind because nobody would
listen,” says Japanese-American
Clyde Kusatsu, who has been an
actor since the 1970s — social
media has intensified and amplified the issue, with Doctor Strange,
Death Note and Ghost in the Shell
three prominent examples in the
past year. Ghost was perceived to
be hurt by the controversy. Still,
“nobody anticipated the backlash,” says a Hellboy production
source, adding that what fellow
executives thought might fade
instead has shown staying power.
Crazy Rich Asians director
Jon M. Chu tells THR, “I thought
things would change four movies
ago.” He says whitewashing may
still occur unless there is more
diversity behind the scenes. “If
there’s not someone in the room
to say, ‘Hey, you know all those
things that have been online in
the last couple of years? This is
what they’re talking about,’ I can
see [awareness] getting lost.”
Where Skrein’s decision may
have the biggest impact is in
putting the onus on actors who
find themselves in hot water after
Aug. 25-Sept. 1
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
9
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
The Report
Behind the Headlines
accepting a whitewashed role.
Whereas Emma Stone and Rooney
Mara offered apologies for their
respective Aloha and Pan characters after those movies were
released, Skrein is the first actor
to address whitewashing criticisms by stepping aside. “Skrein
could’ve taken the role like the
hundreds of others who have
taken those roles, but he didn’t,
and he went public about it,” says
Leonard Chang, co-executive
producer of FX’s Snowfall. “Now
others will have to contend with
this precedent.” Adds Chu, “His
actions also opened the doors
for other people in the industry
to support this and say this isn’t
Bond Auction Shaken (and Stirred) by Apple
Two streamers join the race to nab rights to an underdeveloped franchise
with the potential to be a TV and merchandising game-changer
BY TATIANA SIEGEL AND BORYS KIT
he James Bond sweepstakes has taken an
T
unexpected turn. While Warner Bros. remains
in the lead to land the coveted film distribution
just an Asian-American issue.”
A-listers including Jessica
Chastain, Mark Ruffalo and Ava
DuVernay have praised Skrein’s
decision, as has Guillermo del
Toro. “What he did was remarkable and laudable. It was very
brave,” says del Toro. (In addition
to losing a payday for himself
and commissions for his agents
and reps, Skrein also risked
“the blowback of a giant studio saying, ‘You’re screwing us
by admitting we were naive or
wrong in doing this,’ ” says Chu.
“That risks future jobs. It’s real
consequences.”)
But the definitive, immediate
impact of Skrein’s choice is that
Hellboy’s producers have vowed
to recast his part with an actor
“more consistent with the character in the source material,” and
multiple actors of Asian descent
confirm to THR they now are
being considered.
Aaron Couch, Rebecca Ford and
Borys Kit contributed to this report.
$1.1B
$881M
$599M
$586M
Illustration by Guy Shield
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
10
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
GHOST: COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT.
Scarlett Johansson played Major Motoko
Kusanagi in Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell.
underdeveloped,” says a person familiar with the
bidding. Sources say that, along with the tech
giants, a Chinese media company could come in
rights to the megafranchise — whose deal with
to pursue not just film rights but a massive licensSony expired after 2015’s Spectre — a couple of
ing deal that could push the value into the billions.
unlikely suitors have emerged that also are in hot
Other sources insist that, at this stage, Eon propursuit: Apple and Amazon Studios.
ducers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson
The streaming giants are willing to spend in the — who control the franchise with MGM and
same ballpark as Warners, if not much more, for
produce the films — remain traditional in their
the rights, sources tell THR. MGM, which controls outlook and that theatrical movies are their main
film rights, has been looking for a distribution deal concern. Spectre was the last in a two-picture
for more than two years, and Sony, Universal and
deal that Sony struck in 2011 with MGM, which
Fox also have been pursuing the property, with
controls the rights to Bond along with Eon.
Warners and Sony the most aggressive.
The moves arrive on the heels of MGM locking
But the emergence of Apple — which has a
in Daniel Craig to return for another Bond outing
war chest so deep that Warners is now pressing
and setting a release date of Nov. 8, 2019, with
MGM hard to close a deal — and Amazon shows
Yann Demange, who helmed the 2014 movie ’71,
that the digital giants consider Bond one of the
and Blade Runner 2049’s Denis Villeneuve said
last underexploited brands (like a Marvel, Pixar or
to be frontrunners for the directing job.
Lucasfilm) that could act as a game-changer in the
Even if Apple and Amazon walk away from
content space. Apple’s and Amazon’s inclusion in
Bond empty-handed, both are already disrupting
the chase also would indicate that more is on the
the tentpole movie business paradigm. In July,
table than just film rights, including the future of
Amazon closed a deal to self-distribute its first
the franchise if MGM would sell or license it out for
film: Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel. Apple has
the right price.
been expected to make a major move
Bond at the in the content space. It’s conceivable
Sources say newly arrived executives
Box Office Warners could be involved theatrically
Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht
are spearheading the effort on Apple’s
with Bond in either scenario.
behalf. Given their background (they were
The Bond movies, while hits, are miniSkyfall (2012)
co-presidents of Sony Pictures TV and
mal sources of profit for any studio that
shocked many when they said in June that
makes them, at least under the most
they were leaving for Apple), this would
recent terms. In an email leaked durSpectre (2015)
ing the Sony hack, Andrew Gumpert,
suggest that Apple is interested in cutting
former head of Sony’s business affairs,
a larger rights deal or acquiring full ownerpredicted that if Spectre grossed $1.1 bilship to exploit Bond’s largely unmined TV
Casino Royale
(2006)
lion, with a budget of $250 million to
and merchandising potential. Valuation
$275 million, the studio would earn just
of the franchise may be anywhere from
$35 million. Sony presumably lost money
$2 billion to $5 billion, says an insider
Quantum of Solace
on Spectre, which grossed $200 millionwho works in branded IP. “In the world of
(2008)
Source: Box Office Mojo
plus shy of that estimate.
Lucasfilm and Marvel, Bond feels really
The Report
Behind the Headlines
2
Welcome to Grim Reality:
2018 Could Be Worse
Even as attendance hits a 25-year low domestically May 5 through Labor Day,
studios are still — shocker! — committed to pumping out more of the same
1
Here we go again! If this
Summer
summer — the worst
Box Office
since 2006 at the domestic box office — has left
Hollywood studios worried about their
reliance on relentless sequels and revivals of long-dormant properties, it’s too
late to change course.
The calendar for the next 12 months
is packed with more of the same: Blade
Runner 2049, Daddy’s Home 2 (which
opens opposite a return to Murder on
the Orient Express), Jumanji: Welcome to
the Jungle, Pitch Perfect 3, Tomb Raider,
Pacific Rim: Uprising, etc., etc.
Given that the North American
box office between May 5 and Sept. 4
amounted to an estimated $3.83 billion — down a steep 14.7 percent from
summer 2016 as attendance tumbled
17.3 percent — that should be a disquieting roster. Year-to-date, domestic
revenue is off 6.5 percent, making it
nearly impossible to catch up to 2016’s
record $11.4 billion. True, overseas has
helped compensate, but its growth is
slowing, with year-to-date international
box office up by roughly 4 percent.
Only two summer tentpoles managed
to outshine their immediate predecessors on a domestic and global basis:
Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
and Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming,
while Despicable Me 3 is the No. 1 film
globally. Pirates of the Caribbean 5
(Disney), Transformers 5 (Paramount),
Title STUDIO
Release
date
1
Despicable Me 3* UNIVERSAL
June 30
2
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 DISNEY
May 5
3
Wolf Warrior II* BEIJING CULTURE
July 27
4
Wonder Woman WARNER BROS.
June 2
5
Pirates of the Caribbean 5 DISNEY
May 26
6
Spider-Man: Homecoming* SONY
July 7
7
Transformers: The Last Knight PARAMOUNT
June 21
8
Dunkirk* WARNER BROS.
July 21
9
The Mummy UNIVERSAL
June 9
10
War for the Planet of the Apes* FOX
July 14
11
Cars 3* DISNEY
June 16
12
Annabelle: Creation* WARNER BROS .
Aug. 11
13
Alien: Covenant FOX
May 19
14
Valerian … Thousand Planets* EUROPACORP
July 21
15
Baby Driver* SONY
June 28
16
Baywatch PARAMOUNT
May 25
17
The Emoji Movie* SONY
July 28
18
King Arthur WARNER BROS .
May 12
19
Girls Trip* UNIVERSAL
July 21
20
Captain Underpants FOX
June 2
Rank
BY PAMELA MCCLINTOCK
Cars 3 (Disney/Pixar), The Mummy
reboot (Universal) and threequel War
for the Planet of the Apes (Fox) all vastly
underperformed domestically.
“We have to get creative and give
audiences fresh IP,” says Fox domestic
distribution president Chris Aronson,
noting that sequelitis typically sets in
after the second or third installment.
Paramount president of worldwide
marketing and distribution Megan
Colligan says the geopolitical climate
may be playing a role. “We are living in
such a chaotic time when the rules feel
broken,” she says. “There is a real trend
toward lightness and hope. Darker storylines could help to explain why titles
like Transformers and The Mummy suffered. “Look at Dunkirk, it was sold very
much as a story of people doing incredible things,” Colligan adds. “And Wonder
Woman is the lightest of the DC superhero movies, with a great message.”
While the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok
and Star Wars: The Last Jedi might
deliver, will next summer’s lineup be
any more upbeat? It includes Avengers:
Infinity War, the untitled Han Solo film,
Deadpool 2, The Incredibles 2, Jurassic
World: Fallen Kingdom, Ocean’s 8,
Sicario 2: Soldado and Mamma Mia!
Here We Go Again. “It looks like a great
summer, but I said this summer would
be a record,” says comScore box-office
analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “I won’t be
saying that again.”
Summer ended
without a film
crossing
$1 billion for the
first time in nine
years, though
Illumination’s
animated
threequel could
still make it over
the line.
Spidey is back.
The Sony and
Marvel Studios
reboot, like War
for the Planet of
the Apes, has
yet to open in
China, where it
looks to gross
another
$100 million.
King Arthur and
Valerian — both
intended to
launch
franchises — are
the biggest
misfires of the
summer, losing
upward of
$100 million
each.
Summer Weekend by Weekend: A Slow Start Goes From Bad to Worse
2017
Of 18 frames, a mere three were up from 2016 in revenue (a fourth weekend was a tie), all capped by the worst August in modern times
2016
Wonder Woman’s debut
fueled the only weekend
to see a dramatic
revenue gain over 2016.
$250M
200M
150M
Transformers 5’s dismal $44.7 million
domestic debut came in 56 percent behind
the previous film in the franchise.
100M
50M
MAY
5-7 | 6-8
MAY
12-14 | 13-15
MAY
19-21 | 20-22
MAY
26-29 | 27-30
JUNE
2-4 | 3-5
JUNE
9-11 | 10-12
JUNE
16-18 | 17-19
JUNE
23-25 | 24-26
Source: comScore
Valerian
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
12
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
JULY
30-4 | 1-4
JULY
7-9 | 8-10
JULY
14-16 | 15-17
JULY
21-23 | 22-24
19
7
Market Share: Warners Narrows Disney Lead
Though it lost the domestic market share crown to the Wonder Woman studio,
Disney remained the worldwide champ and Sony posted the biggest gains
4
Domestic
Est.
budget
Rotten
Tomatoes %
Domestic gross
(% of total)
Foreign gross
(% of total)
% change from
last film in series
Global
gross
$80M
61%
$258.8M (26%)
$738.4M (74%)
-14%
$997.2M
$200M
82%
$389.7M (45%)
$473.6M (55%)
+12%
$863.3M
$30M
67%
$2.6M (0.3%)
$851M (99.7%)
+859%
$853.6M
$150M
92%
$409.5M (50%)
$403.7M (50%)
—
$813.2M
$230M
29%
$172.3M (22%)
$620.78 (78%)
-24%
$793.1M
$175M
92%
$325.1M (44%)
$422.1M (56%)
+5%
$747.2M
International
Total
Disney
Warner Bros.
Universal
Sony
Fox
Paramount
3
6
3
7
5
3
Thanks to a diverse and busy schedule, Sony’s
global revenue was up 56 percent — enough to
put it ahead of Fox, which suffered a 43 percent
decline compared with summer 2016. Universal
and Paramount held relatively steady.
$2.07B
$1.79B
$1.33B
$2B
$1.64B
$1.02B
$783M
$680M
1B
$591M
$770M
$740M
500M
$475M
$130.2M (22%)
$473.9M (78%)
-45%
$604.1M
$100M
93%
$180.3M (39%)
$281.3M (61%)
—
$461.6M
$125M
16%
$80.1M (20%)
$327.7M (80%)
—
$407.8M
Domestic revenue
$150M
93%
$144.7M (39%)
$222M (61%)
-48%
$366.7M
$3.83B
2017
431M
$175M
68%
$151.5M (44%)
$192.9M (56%)
-39%
$344.4M
$4.49B
2016
521M
$15M
67%
$91M (36%)
$167.1M (64%)
+.4%
$258.1M
↓14.7%
DECLINE
↓17.3%
$97M
71%
$74.3M (32%)
$158.5M (68%)
-42%
$232.8M
$177M
51%
$39.8M (23%)
$171.1M (77%)
—
$210.9M
$105.9M (51%)
$102.2M (49%)
—
$208.1M
$58.1M (33%)
$119.6M (67%)
—
$177.7M
$50M
8%
$81.2M (51%)
$79.2M (49%)
—
$160.4M
$175M
26%
$39.2M (27%)
$107M (73%)
—
$146.2M
$20M
88%
$112.1M (89%)
$14.5M (11%)
—
$126.6M
$38M
86%
$73.5M (71%)
$29.6M (29%)
—
$103.1M
WORST!
*Still in theaters. Source: comScore, May 5-Sept. 4
The Dark Tower, intended to anchor
August, crumbled in its $19.2 million
launch — a year earlier, Suicide Squad
debuted to $133.7 million.
JULY
28-30 | 29-31
The Dark Tower
AUG.
4-6 | 5-7
AUG.
11-13 | 12-14
AUG.
18-20 | 19-21
AUG.
25-27 | 26-28
SEPT.
1-4 | 2-5
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
13
Attendance
$192M
The domestic slump
was offset by revenue
from overseas. While
international grosses
aren’t broken down by
season, foreign is up
nearly 4 percent
year-to-date, thanks in
large measure to China.
Source: comScore
Top 5 Indies: Art House Crowd Takes Another Vacation
1 The Big Sick*
Lionsgate/Amazon (June 23)
2 Wind River*
$41.4M
$20.4M
Weinstein (Aug. 4)
3 Detroit* ►
$16.6M
Annapurna (July 28)
4 The Beguiled
$10.6M
Focus (July 23)
5 Beatriz at Dinner
$7.1M
Roadside (June 9)
*Still in theaters. Source: comScore, May 5-Sept. 4
Bigelow
While Michael Showalter’s
The Big Sick — with the highest
Rotten Tomatoes score of the
season (98 percent) — ruled,
other high-profile specialty
films hit a wall. Those included
Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit,
Annapurna’s inaugural release;
Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled;
and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient
Sequel, which has grossed
$3.5 million, far below the first
film’s $50 million in 2006. The
most recent fatality: Patti Cake$.
Fox Searchlight paid $9.5 million
for the Sundance hit, which has
only collected about $600,000.
Surprise Winners and Losers
TIFFANY HADDISH
Girls Trip
The breakout star of
summer’s biggest — make
that only — comedy hit
already has been cast in
Kevin Hart’s Night School.
WINNERS
19%
$383M
WU JING
Wolf Warrior II
The Chinese actor and
director delivered a record
hit in his home country,
where it has made more
than $810 million.
LOSERS
$70M
$575M
Source: Studios
VALERIAN: VIKRAM GOUNASSEGARIN/EUROPACORP. ARTHUR: DANIEL SMITH/WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT. DARK: JESSICA MIGLIO/SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT. CARS, GUARDIANS: COURTESY OF DISNEY. TRANSFORMERS:
PARAMOUNT PICTURES/BAY FILMS. WONDER: CLAY ENOS/WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT. GIRLS: MICHELE K. SHORT/UNIVERSAL PICTURES. MINIONS: ILLUMINATION AND U/UNIVERSAL PICTURES. DETROIT: FRANCOIS DUHAMEL.
94%
$1.06B
$880M
15%
$34M
$1.46B
$1.16B
1.5B
$217M
BEST!
# Films released
DANE DEHAAN
STEVEN
Valerian and the City
SODERBERGH
of a Thousand Planets
Logan Lucky
Critics complained he didn’t
He wanted to rewrite the
hold his own amid all the
rules for an indie release,
sci-fi eye candy, and his
but its $26 million gross
starring role in late entry
paled against that of his last
Tulip Fever didn’t help.
studio film, Magic Mike.
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
JAMES WAN
AND PETER SAFRAN
Annabelle: Creation
The producing duo
saw their low-budget
Conjuring franchise cross
$1.1 billion worldwide.
ALEX KURTZMAN
The Mummy
Directing his first
big-budget action movie,
the prolific writer-producer
didn’t get Universal’s
monster mashup off to an
auspicious start.
Cars 3
The Report
7 Days of DEALS
Who’s inking on the dotted line this week
MILLENNIUM’S CHINA DEBACLE:
DOW N BU T M AY BE NOT OU T
Don’t cry for Avi Lerner just yet.
Although Chinese conglomerate Recon Group announced
Aug. 30 that it was aborting its
$100 million plan to acquire
51 percent of his Millennium
Films, Lerner isn’t fazed. “The
company’s richer by $20 million,” he tells THR, suggesting
that Recon’s only installment
Lerner
payment — received in May
and followed by repeated delays
— now becomes a breakup fee.
Because of the difficulty
of closing deals in China’s
increasingly strict regulatory
Xia
climate, U.S. negotiators have
sought hefty breakup fees when engaging in
M&A activity with Chinese firms. But even by
current standards, Lerner’s return is steep.
Dalian Wanda Group, for example, paid out
$50 million when its $1 billion buyout of Dick
Clark Productions went south in March.
Recon owner Tony Xia tweeted that reports
that the deal was dead were “not accurate,”
noting he’s using another nonpublicly traded
Recon entity to work around regulators.
Deal
of the
Week
“Tony Xia is a great guy; I trust him,” says
Lerner, adding that he’s taking Millennium
off the market for now. “Maybe they’ll come
back in October when all this sorts itself out.”
Lerner is assuming that China’s foreign
dealmaking clampdown may relax after the
19th Party Congress convenes Oct. 18,
but others are skeptical. “This crackdown
is cloaked in financial necessity terms and
also seems driven by internal political considerations, so it’s anyone’s guess how long
it will continue,” says one veteran American
banker based in Beijing. Adds Akin Gump
attorney Christopher Spicer, “I don’t see the
regulatory climate changing that soon.”
Delevingne
and Alex Walton’s
film finance and sales
company Bloom.
— PATRICK BRZESKI AND STEPHEN GALLOWAY
More good
news for
Millennium:
The
Hitman’s
Bodyguard
opened
at No. 1 in
the U.S.
on Aug. 18.
Doc Director Pivots to Narrative Dramas
Big
Deal
Gibney
Alex Gibney can’t escape the truth. The Oscar-winning documentarian (UTA) will direct
the dramatic feature American Hero, based on the true story of U.S. Army Capt. Hugh
Thompson, who defied orders and saved a number of civilians during the Vietnam War’s
infamous My Lai massacre and eventually was awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the highest
honor for bravery not involving direct combat. It’s Gibney’s second narrative attachment
after historical FBI thriller The Action, which was announced last year. Oscar-nominated
screenwriter Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) — who most recently
penned the Telluride debut Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill
— is writing the original screenplay for American Hero, and production is slated to begin
next year with Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf (both of Big Beach), Will Clarke (Altitude
Film Entertainment) and Paul Higgins producing and Big Beach’s Leah Holzer executive
producing. Says McCarten: “Hugh Thompson, by challenging the Army and country he
loved in order to uphold his own principles, risked national vilification, ostracization by his
comrades, his life and a life behind bars.” — GREGG KILDAY
FILM
Sam Rockwell (Gersh,
Untitled) will play George
W. Bush in Adam McKay’s
Dick Cheney biopic Cheney.
Paul Bettany (UTA, the
U.K.’s Independent,
Affirmative) has joined the
Ron Howard-directed Star
Wars Han Solo standalone.
Fauda co-creator Lior
Raz (UTA, Principato
Young, Israel’s Rinat Ilan)
will join Oscar Isaac in
MGM’s Nazi hunter drama
Operation Finale.
Cynthia Erivo (UTA,
the U.K.’s Claire Hoath,
Authentic, Peikoff Mahan)
is attached to star in Drew
Goddard’s Fox action movie
Bad Times at the El Royale.
Lily Collins (CAA, LBI,
Definition, Sloane
Offer) is in talks to
join Nicholas Hoult in
Searchlight’s J.R.R.
Tolkien biopic Tolkien.
Marc Webb (CAA,
Anonymous, Lichter
Grossman) will direct
Westboro Baptist Church
defector movie This
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
Above All, with Nick
Hornby to write and Reese
Witherspoon to produce.
Chris McKenna and
Erik Sommers (UTA) will
return to write the SpiderMan: Homecoming sequel
for Sony.
WME-IMG has acquired
a majority stake in Ken Kao
14
TELEVISION
Madam Secretary
showrunner Barbara Hall
(UTA, Brillstein, Ziffren
Brittenham) is teaming
with former CBS head
Glenn Geller to develop
the CIA drama Family
Business for CBS.
Hamilton director Thomas
Kail (WME) and New Girl
duo Dave Finkel and Brett
Baer (Principato-Young,
Ziffren Brittenham) are
teaming for the Fox comedy Immediate Family.
Former TheBlaze personality Tomi Lahren (Michelle
Carter) has joined Fox
News as a contributor.
Fox Sports has signed
former pro quarterback Michael Vick as an
NFL analyst.
Syfy has renewed
The Killjoys for two
final seasons.
DIGITAL
Cara Delevingne (WME,
the U.K.’s United) and
Orlando Bloom (ICM,
the U.K.’s Independent,
Lighthouse, Felker
Toczek) will star in
Amazon’s upcoming drama
series Carnival Row.
John Cena (ICM) and
Kat Dennings (UTA,
Management 360, Sloane
Offer) will star in the animated buddy comedy Dallas
& Robo for YouTube Red.
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Rockwell
Mark Duplass (ICM,
Sloane Offer) is joining the
second season of Amazon’s
Goliath as a series regular.
Guardians of the Galaxy
director James Gunn
(UTA, Safran, Frankfurt
Kurnit) is developing a
Starsky & Hutch TV reboot
for Amazon.
Pirates of the Caribbean
5 star Brenton Thwaites
(UTA, the U.K.’s United,
Industry) will lead Greg
Berlanti’s straight-toseries drama Titans for DC
Comics’ digital platform.
Netflix has picked up
Damien Chazelle’s
drama series The Eddy.
… Amazon has renewed
Fleabag for a second
season and Transparent
for a fifth.
REAL ESTATE
Patton Oswalt (Coldwell
Banker) has sold his Los
Feliz home for $2.6 million.
Game of Thrones star
Lena Headey (John
Aaroe Group) has sold her
home in Sherman Oaks for
$2.05 million.
Oswalt’s two-story
home sold for $101,000
over the asking price.
LERNER: ALLEN BEREZOVSKY/WIREIMAGE. XIA: NEVILLE WILLIAMS/ASTON VILLA FC VIA GETTY IMAGES. BODYGUARD: JACK ENGLISH/SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT. GIBNEY: DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS/GETTY IMAGES. DELEVINGNE: JON KOPALOFF/FILMMAGIC. ERIVO: DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS/GETTY IMAGES FOR JOYFUL HEART FOUNDATION. ROCKWELL: ADELA LOCONTE/WIREIMAGE. HOUSE: GOOGLE MAPS.
Erivo
People, Places, Preoccupations
N E X T BIG T HIN G
Downsizing’s
Guide to
the Dark Side
Hong Chau schools Matt Damon in
Alexander Payne’s social satire
By Rebecca Ford • Photographed by Ramona Rosales
hen Hong Chau learned that
Alexander Payne had been working on a sci-fi script, she figured
there might be a role for her.
“I thought, ‘Oh, maybe there’s a lab tech with
a line or two,’ because I had been trained to
think so small in regards to how I look and
what I can play — or what people will allow
me to play,” says the Asian-American actress.
But there was a much meatier opportunity
in Downsizing, Payne’s social satire (a Dec. 22
Paramount release) starring Matt Damon as
a lower-middle-class man who chooses to be
shrunk in order to live a more affluent life in a
mini-society. Chau’s character introduces him
to the darker side of the downsized world.
Born in Thailand to Vietnamese immigrant
parents and raised in New Orleans, Chau
has a respect for the darker side of seductive
places. Though she’s now
based in L.A., she retains
a glimmer of a Southern
VITAL STATS
accent and still considAGE 38
ers the Big Easy — where
HOMETOWN
she lived until heading to
New Orleans
Boston University to study
BIG BREAK
film — home. “I appreciHBO’s Treme
REPS
ate having grown up there
Silver Lining Entertainment
now because it’s such a
and Stone Genow
melting pot,” says Chau,
who starred on HBO’s New
Orleans-set Treme. “Yes,
there are racial tensions, but if you have good
food and good music, then those things can be
overlooked, and it can bring people together.”
Downsizing is Chau’s second film (after Paul
Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice) and marks
her first festival run: from Venice, where it
premiered Aug. 30 to an opening-night ovation, to Telluride (Sept. 1) and Toronto (Sept. 9).
“She gets to be funny. She gets to be a pain in
the ass. She gets to be heroic,” says the actress
of her role. “You don’t get that all in one character often.”
HAIR BY CREIGHTON BOWMAN FOR ORIBE AT TMG-LA, MAKEUP BY STEPHEN SOLLITO FOR CHANTECAILLE AT TMG-LA.
W
“Matt is funny on set,” says Chau of
her co-star Damon. “He’ll be telling
a story or a joke the second before
we start rolling. He can just pop in
and out, and it’s not a big deal.” She
was photographed Aug. 22 at the
Doheny Room West Hollywood.
Styling by Erica Cloud
Kate Spade jacket, Maje blouse, Valentino
trousers, Eva Fehren earrings.
Watch Chau play a game of “First, Best, Last, Worst” at THR.COM/VIDEO
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
17
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
About Town
Gyllenhaal’s
Double Play on
The Deuce
Why a Simpsons
Writer Is Summer’s
Box-Office Winner
Before joining the HBO porn
drama, the star fought for a
producer role — so ‘that my mind
would be included in the
storytelling process, not just
my body’ By Bryn Elise Sandberg
LaZebnik, a
two-time
champ, gets
this sign on his
parking space
and a banner
in the show’s
Fox bungalow.
U
Just before Memorial
Day weekend, writers
and crew from The
Simpsons commenced their ninth
annual fantasy summer box-office
league. Three months later, they’re
feeling — to borrow a phrase from
Bart — “craptacular” after the worst
domestic season in memory. But not
writer Rob LaZebnik, the league’s
first back-to-back winner, who can
thank his 16-year-old son and dumb
luck (his words) for his $700 firstplace purse. LaZebnik was one of
18 players who put in $80 for $100
in “B.O. bucks”: On the advice of his
kid, he bid $39 for half of Wonder
Woman and $37 for all of Baywatch.
He also bet on smaller
films, including $6
for 47 Meters Down,
a shark movie no one
had heard of — until
LaZebnik
it made $43.8 million.
When Baywatch bombed, LaZebnik
thought he was dead in the water
— but Wonder Woman came to his
rescue. Heading into Labor Day,
his roster’s total hovered around
$413 million, giving him the widest
lead in league history. Last summer,
it was a tighter race, with LaZebnik,
who had all of Suicide Squad and
War Dogs, winning by less than
$10 million. “It was thrilling,” recalls
EP Matt Selman. “This summer, so
much of the branded IP ate it. You
could feel that moviegoers weren’t
excited about these safe sequels.”
D’oh! — PAMELA MCCLINTOCK
Writers
Room
ntil last year, Maggie Gyllenhaal had
never signed on to a project without
knowing its entire story, so she had
some hesitations when she was given only the
first three scripts for The Deuce, HBO’s drama
about the birth of the porn industry in 1970s
New York. It wasn’t until she met with creators
David Simon and George Pelecanos, of The
Wire fame, that the mom of two (with husband
Peter Sarsgaard) began to see herself playing
the prostitute Candy. What ultimately sealed
the deal for Gyllenhaal, 39, was becoming a
producer on the series (debuting Sept. 10). “I
was excited by the world, the
clothes and the ideas,” she
says. “It turned me on — and
I don’t mean sexually.”
Gyllenhaal
Did you have any reservations
about The Deuce?
Playing a prostitute, or a sex
worker I should say, in 2017 is a delicate thing.
I was very aware of that, and I got the feeling George and David and I wanted to tell the
same story, but we’d never worked together
before. So I asked to be a producer on the
project because I thought it would be a kind of
guarantee that my mind would be included in
the storytelling process, not just my body.
↑ “These are not the kind of sex scenes I’ve done before,” says
Gyllenhaal (left) of playing the prostitute Candy on The Deuce.
Was it difficult to attain producer status?
Basically all my agents, my manager and even
my friends were like, “You’re never going to
get that. This is HBO. It’s a project you didn’t
develop, you don’t have any producing credits
… I don’t even know why you’re asking.” But I
just knew it was the right thing to do.
An early criticism of the show is that it
normalizes sexual violence against women.
The show is trying to portray something in a
complicated way that includes all of its gray
areas, and I don’t think you can do that if you
shy away from the reality of the possibility
of violence and the possibility of exploitation.
If we had made something that didn’t include
those things, as David says, we would have
made Pretty Woman, and that’s not what we’re
trying to do.
There seems to be just as much full-frontal male
nudity as female nudity, something we’re seeing
more of on TV. Was that intentional?
I don’t think it’s an algorithm. We’re trying
to tell a story, and we’re using our minds and
our bodies and our hearts to do it. (Laughs.)
I didn’t count one for one, or anything.
HAAS BROTHERS’ SEXY BEASTS
HIT BOYLE HEIGHTS VENUE
UTA Artist Space, the agency’s Boyle
Heights exhibition venue, rings in its first
anniversary Sept. 9 with a survey of the
work of 33-year-old twins Simon and Nikolai Haas (actor
Lukas’ brothers), who’ve collaborated with partners
from Louis Vuitton to Lady Gaga. Haas Angeles features
a site-specific mural, several “Beast” sculptures-cumfurniture and the brothers’ hit experiential piece “Sex
Room” — you exit through a vagina, but “it’s super
nonpornographic,” insists Simon. “It’s to bring positive
vibes to sexuality.” — JORDAN RIEFE
Art
World
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
18
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Fondling the
genitals of works
like King Dong is
encouraged by
the artist duo.
SIGN, LAZEBNIK: BRIANJKAUFMAN.COM. SIMPSONS: COURTESY OF FOX. DEUCE: PAUL SCHIRALDI/HBO. GYLLENHAAL: STEPHANE CARDINALE/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES. BEAST: COURTESY OF R & COMPANY/JOE KRAMM.
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About Town
1
Robert Redford
and Jane Fonda
The Red Carpet
Party
Crawler
Venice Film Festival
2
Venice, Italy, Aug. 30–Sept. 9
Kristen Wiig
3
Octavia
Spencer
4
Jasmine Trinca (left)
and Annette Bening
Matt Damon and wife
Luciana Barroso
5
Guillermo del Toro
and Sally Hawkins
6
Alessandro Borghi
7
Rebecca Hall
8
Hollywood has taken
over the Venice canals
at the 74th annual 11-day
event, marking the start
of the fall film festival
circuit. Director Alexander
Payne’s Downsizing
kicked off opening night
with a world premiere
attended by the film’s Matt
Damon (8) and Kristen
Wiig (2). Festival host
Alessandro Borghi (6)
welcomed the audience,
including Italy’s president
Sergio Mattarella, who
was given a standing
ovation by the crowd of
luminaries. Jury president Annette Bening (4)
took the stage alongside
jury members including
Rebecca Hall (7) and
Italian actress Jasmine
Trinca (4). “I was thrilled
to be asked to be here, so
I didn’t count the number
of films that were accepted
that were directed by
women,” Bening quipped
on the red carpet when
asked about the lack of
female helmers represented in the competition
lineup. “We have a long
way to go in terms of
parity,” she said, adding,
“I think the direction we’re
going is positive.” In addition to the opening film,
this year’s slate — including Darren Aronofsky’s
mother!, George Clooney’s
Suburbicon and Guillermo
del Toro’s (5) The Shape
of Water, which premiered
to roaring applause — has
garnered much buzz.
Already dubbed the king
of Venice, del Toro is following in the footsteps of
his fellow three amigos,
Mexican filmmakers
Alejandro G. Inarritu and
Alfonso Cuaron, who both
found Oscar gold following their Venice debuts.
Adding to the star power,
legends (and Our Souls
at Night co-stars) Jane
Fonda (1) and Robert
Redford (1) were honored
with the Golden Lions for
Lifetime Achievement at
the Palazzo del Cinema.
— RAMONA SAVISS
WIIG, DAMON: COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT PICTURES. BORGHI, BENING: PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN/GETTY IMAGES. FONDA: ALESSANDRA BENEDETTI/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES. HAWKINS: FRANCO ORIGLIA/GETTY IMAGES. HALL: VENTURELLI/WIREIMAGE. SPENCER: FRANCO ORIGLIA/GETTY IMAGES.
Italian Love Affair
About Town
Following MTV’s decision
to change its iconic Moon
Man trophy to a genderneutral Moon Person, the
Video Music Awards likewise trained the spotlight
on issues of equality, with
transgender members
of the military invited to
walk the carpet and join
the show at the Forum.
Host Katy Perry kicked
things off with a political
statement — pulling a
Handmaid’s Tale red dress
costume from a clothing
rack and declaring, “Even in
the apocalypse, we deserve
a great soundtrack.”
Logic’s (5) performance of
“1-800-273-8255” included
suicide survivors in T-shirts
with the National Suicide
Prevention Lifeline number
on the front and “You Are
Not Alone” on the back.
And when Paris Jackson
took the stage to present
best pop video, she spoke
of “Nazi white supremacist
jerks,” adding, “We have
zero tolerance for their
violence, their hatred and
their discrimination. We
must resist.” The show
continued its defiant tone
off-camera as the YG and
Nipsey Hussle song “Fuck
Donald Trump” even blared
during a commercial break.
MTV VMAs
Inglewood, Aug. 27
1
From left: Kendrick
Lamar, DJ Khaled and
Asahd Tuck Khaled
3
Ellen DeGeneres and
Chance the Rapper
2
— RAMONA SAVISS
Gal Gadot
RomCom Redefined
4
5
Miley Cyrus
(left) and Millie
Bobby Brown
Lorde, Logic
and Khalid
Home Again
Los Angeles, Aug. 29
6
From left: Open
Road Films CEO Tom
Ortenberg, Hallie
Meyers-Shyer and
Nancy Meyers
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
22
7
Reese Witherspoon
(left) and Lake Bell
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
“There are a lot of women
who are at a crossroad in
their life wondering if they
made the right choices,”
said Reese Witherspoon
(7) at the DGA premiere
of Home Again, where she
walked the carpet with
daughter Ava Elizabeth
Phillippe. “I had been
talking to Nancy for a long
time about doing a movie
where the woman is just
getting divorced,” the star
said of joining the project
produced by Nancy
Meyers (6) and helmed
by her daughter Hallie
Meyers-Shyer (6). Home
Again tells the story of a
woman who finds herself
empowered rather than
defeated by her divorce. “I
think this movie is encouraging to other people who
are thinking about making
a change and wondering
if they are going to ever
feel good again,” a proud
Meyers said of her daughter’s directorial debut.
— VICTORIA BERGGREN
LAMAR, GADOT: PHIL FARAONE/MTV1617/GETTY IMAGES. DEGENERES: JOHN SHEARER/GETTY IMAGES FOR MTV. LORDE: KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE. CYRUS: CHRISTOPHER POLK/MTV1617/GETTY IMAGES. MEYERS, BELL: ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES.
Moon Person Debut
The Red Carpet
About Town
Yes, I Did Say That!
Quotes
A look at who’s saying what in entertainment
Compiled by Brian Porreca
“Brad Pitt,
if you’re listening,
I fucked that up.”
GWYNETH PALTROW
The actress, apologizing on the podcast Girlboss
to her former boyfriend for being bad at
commitment. “[But] I’m actually a pretty good friend
and a good sister and daughter and mother.”
MATT DAMON
The actor, telling THR that,
in his experience, if a director wanted
to film in one of Donald Trump’s
buildings, he or she was required to
shoot a Trump cameo.
“I am not going to
bullshit you, and
I will ask you not to
bullshit me.”
JOSEPH KAHN
DARA KHOSROWSHAHI
The director, defending Swift
on Twitter from critics who
complained that her new music
video — mocking her feuds with
Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and
Katy Perry — was self-indulgent.
Uber’s new CEO, addressing
employees at the beleaguered
company for the first time.
“They were
looking for drugs
in my ass.”
“We play old
people’s love and
old people’s sex.”
SHAILENE WOODLEY
JANE FONDA
The Big Little Lies star,
telling Marie Claire about being
searched by police after
her 2016 arrest for protesting
the Dakota Access Pipeline.
HARVEY
STIRS
TWEET
STORM
ALF CLAUSEN
The fired Simpsons composer,
answering a fan on Twitter
who asked if, after 27 years
on the show, he had been let
go by phone or in person.
The actress, revealing at the
Venice Film Festival that she
“lives for sex scenes” with Our Souls
at Night co-star Robert Redford.
The hurricane sparked both sympathy and snark
on Twitter. Zach Braff mocked Melania Trump’s
stilettos worn en route to the flood zone as her
“Halloween costume.” Rob Reiner pounced on the
president’s wish for “heeling.” But Sandra Bullock
posted, “There are no politics in eight feet of water.”
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
24
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
“I’m no longer
sorry.”
KATHY GRIFFIN
The comic, telling an Australian
morning show that, in the wake
of Charlottesville, she doesn’t
regret the controversial photo
of her holding the bloody head
of President Trump.
PALTROW: CARLOS ALVAREZ/GETTY IMAGES. KAHN: SGRANITZ/WIREIMAGE. WOODLEY: JB LACROIX/WIREIMAGE. GRIFFIN: JASON LAVERIS/FILMMAGIC. BRAFF: JIM SPELLMAN/GETTY IMAGES.
“You have to waste
an hour of your day
with a bullshit shot.”
“If I plan something
as a man I’m a
‘genius.’ If Taylor
as a woman plans
something she is
‘manipulative.’ ”
“Email …”
C I T Y O F H O P E ’ S M U S I C , F I L M A N D E N T E R TA I N M E N T I N D U S T RY
13TH
ANNUAL
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2017
KIDinaKORNER Kampus
Sherman Oaks, CA | 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
HONOREES OF THIS YEAR’S EVENT INCLUDE:
Clive Davis
“Legend in Songwriting” Award
Electronic Arts
Composer of the Century Award
Martin Bandier
Vanguard Award
Max Martin
Hans Zimmer
Jack Antonoff
Pandora®
"Trendsetter" Award
The Songs of Hope
Beverly & Ben Horowitz Legacy Award
The Chainsmokers
Saul Priceman, Ph.D.
CO-CHAIRS:
David Renzer
Doug Davis
Evan Lamberg
Steve Schnur
Chairman and CEO
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President
Universal Music Publishing
Group, North America
President
Electronic Arts Music Group
S PAC E I S L I M I T E D S O R E S E R V E E A R LY !
For more information, please email mfei@coh.org or call 626-218-6313. Register online at CITYOFHOPE.ORG/MUSIC/SONGS
CityofHope.org
About Town
Heard Around Hollywood
L.A. Mayor Garcetti gets ready for his close-up in Valley Girl.
Producer Eats Nothing But
Popcorn for 10 Days in Toronto
Rambling Reporter
By Chris Gardner
Garcetti’s Big New Job? Movie Star
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s trip to New Hampshire in midAugust — to stump for a local mayoral candidate — had political wags
wondering if he might be considering a run for higher office in 2020.
But it turns out Garcetti, 46, has more ambitious plans: He wants
to be an actor. THR has learned that hizzoner will be playing a high
school principal in MGM’s remake of Valley Girl, the 1983 classic about a
suburban girl who falls for a punk rocker (played by Nicolas Cage). The
remake, directed by Rachel Goldenberg (A Deadly Adoption) and starring newcomers Jessica Rothe and Josh Whitehouse, will be a musical
set in the ’80s. “I’m a Valley boy myself,” says Garcetti (who’s acted
before — well, he’s played mayors — in episodes of The Closer and Major
Crimes). “I felt right at home in the reboot of one of my favorite ’80s
classics — even if Nic Cage’s orange faux-hawk didn’t make it to set.”
Emma Stone Wins Battle of the
Accidental Emails
Email accidents happen — just
ask the poor talent booker at
DirectFire Media who got fired
from an account in July after
inadvertently setting off a “reply
all” avalanche that clogged
A-list inboxes all over town. But
the Aug. 29 email snafu over at
Fox Searchlight may just be the
Stone’s emailed selfie with Fukunaga.
mother of all mess-ups. When an
unnamed assistant blasted out
an email invite to industry VIPs
for the Sept. 16 L.A. premiere of
the Billie Jean King biopic Battle
of the Sexes, he or she made the
error of grouping recipients
under “CC” rather than “BCC,”
accidentally exposing the
addresses of some of the biggest
names in Hollywood. Among
those who may now want to consider an address change: power
agents Ari Emanuel and Bryan
Lourd; uber producers Michael
De Luca, Lucy Fisher, Doug Wick
and Lauren Shuler Donner; and
filmmakers J.J. Abrams, Damien
Chazelle and Darren Aronofsky.
Some nonindustry luminaries, like restaurateur Hannah
An of The District and blogger
Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and
Cashmere, also had their personal email addresses exposed.
So far, it doesn’t appear as if
anybody’s been fired over the
Hacksaw Ridge producer David
Permut, 63, is about to embark on
an ordeal almost as harrowing
as dodging Japanese snipers during the battle of Okinawa: He’ll
attempt to attend no fewer than
54 screenings at the Toronto Film
Festival. “It’s going to be impossible,” says Permut, who managed
to squeeze in only 48
films at 2016’s fest.
By contrast, even
the most ambitious
reviewers make it
Permut
to only about 20 to
30 screenings. But Permut, a
longtime Toronto and Sundance
fixture, has made it his mission
to watch literally everything. “For
me, it’s about discovering the next
generation of filmmakers and
actors,” he says (he cast Andrew
Garfield in Hacksaw after seeing
the actor in a Toronto screening
of Never Let Me Go in 2010). But
54 films? That’s at least five a
day. He says he’ll accomplish his
goal by forgoing parties (“I go to
Wilson
— TATIANA SIEGEL
Lois Smith’s Steamy Screen
Test with James Dean
Actress Lois Smith, 86, is getting
some of the best reviews of her
career for her role in Marjorie
Prime, in which she shares romantically tender screen time with
Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, 46 (Hamm
plays an AI robot programmed
with memories of Smith’s character’s deceased husband). But
Smith is also getting a bit of
attention for a screen test she
did 63 years ago, for her role in
East of Eden. The three-and-ahalf-minute silent clip, showing
Smith and co-star James Dean
dreamily mugging together for
the camera, has been viewed
some 35,000 times since being
uploaded to YouTube. “It was
an improvisation as they tested
which kind of film system they
were going to use,” she recalls
of the scene. “It was an odd
rehearsal. I don’t remember much
about it except that Dean was so
remarkably good. I didn’t know
him before we worked together,
but he was awfully good.” — T.S.
Rita Wilson’s Trouble With
Trump: He’s a Man
It’s hardly shocking that Hillary
Clinton supporter Rita Wilson
would have a problem with Donald
Trump. What is surprising is that
Wilson, who will celebrate 30
years of marriage with Tom Hanks
in 2018, has a problem with the
president’s gender. “When men
have ruled, they’ve achieved the
power that they wanted and then
started killing each other,” she
told THR ahead of her eight-show
run at the Geffen Playhouse for
Liner Notes: Songwriters, Stories
and Music With Rita Wilson and
Friends (Sept. 7 to 17). “There has
to be a shift at some point where
women’s voices are being valued.
Because the way men have been
doing it does not really work.”
— DEBORAH WILKER
Got tips? Email rambling@thr.com
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
parties in L.A.”) and eating on the
run. “I don’t dine at fine restaurants in Toronto,” he says. “Every
meal is popcorn for 10 days.”
26
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
SCHOOL, CAMERA, SUIT: ISTOCK. GARCETTI: MICHAEL KOVAC/GETTY IMAGES. PERMUT: KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/GETTY IMAGES. WILSON: JASON LAVERIS/FILMMAGIC. MIRREN: PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN/GETTY IMAGES. BECKHAM:
NOAM GALAI/WIREIMAGE. CARMENCITA: COURTESY OF THE BRAND AGENCY. WEDDING: REBECCA & JASON WALKER FOR IRA LIPPKE STUDIOS. BABIES: COURTESY OF SUBJECT. ANDERSON: UNIVERSAL TV/PHOTOFEST.
mishap, probably thanks to Battle
of the Sexes star Emma Stone, who
made light of the mistake with a
reply-all of her own. “Hey, this is
Emma,” wrote the actress, sending a selfie with Cary Fukunaga,
who’s directing her next project,
Netflix’s Maniac. “Hope to see all
of you accidentally publicly CC’D
industry folk [at the Battle of the
Sexes premiere]!”
Hitched, Hatched, Hired
Power Dining
Inside the industry’s celebrations and news
Mirren
John Berkley was
named president of
payroll company Cast
& Crew on Aug. 31.
Beckham
Helen Mirren had dinner
at Toscana. Stevie Wonder
sat nearby. … Stan Lee
was at Mr Chow. Lynda
Obst also was in. … David
Beckham had dinner with
his kids at Jon & Vinny’s.
… Josh Brolin had date
night with his wife at Shake
Shack in Hollywood before
seeing Hamilton. … Brian
Grazer sat with Channing
Dungey at The Palm.
Nearby, Jimmy Iovine
lunched with Ari Emanuel.
… Hilary Shor popped by
Laduree in Beverly Hills. …
Adele checked out Barton
G. … Emily Ratajkowski
was at Norah. … Over at
Jean-Georges, Jeffrey
Katzenberg held court.
Corey Moss teamed
with Brad T. Gottfred
to form Bold Soul
Studios on Aug. 30.
Julia Jensen joined
2
Warner Bros.
Entertainment
upped Adam Presser
to senior vp international on Aug. 29.
HO T
RE
NEW
RAN
S TA U
1
The Quick Pitch
This Baja-style Mexican
restaurant across from
Salt’s Cure in southern
Hollywood quietly
opened last fall but was
rebooted over the summer
with a new chef, menu,
hours and design. Now La
Carmencita — owned by
singer and actor Poncho
Herrera (Sense8) — is
drawing a slew of notables,
including Kate del
Castillo, for its ceviches
and tacos, many glutenfree. Save room
for the Oaxaca cacao
brownie with orange and
guajillo marmalade.
The Inside Dish
An interior marquee
features a rotating mix
of clever riffs — most
recently “But First,
Tacos,” an homage to
Alfred Coffee’s muchInstagrammed line.
1156 N. Highland Ave.
— GARY BAUM
3
T
Weddings
La Carmencita
Warner Bros.
Consumer Products
as senior vp publicity
and communications
Aug. 28.
Farrell Rose Ulrich,
a CAA marketing
executive, married
Bobby Hanifin on
July 22 at the Church
of the Good Shepherd
in Beverly Hills. The
reception followed at
the Jonathan Club in
Santa Monica.
1 Ulrich and
Hanifin
2 Rhys
Alexander
(left) and
Fox Lynch
3 Anderson
circa 1970s
Lynch Lanciault at
Ronald Reagan UCLA
Medical Center on
July 25 and Aug. 6,
respectively.
Births
Actress Casey Wilson
and showrunner David Caspe,
alums of TV’s Happy
Endings, welcomed
son Henry Bear
Caspe on Aug. 24.
Makeup artist Toby
Fleischman and
Congrats
partner Lindsay
Lanciault welcomed
sons Rhys Alexander
Lanciault and Fox
Michael Thorn was
named president of
Fox Entertainment
on Aug. 30.
Sharon Levy was
named president
of unscripted and
scripted television
at Endemol Shine
North America on
Aug. 22.
Paramount hired
Jean Chi as executive
vp business affairs
and promoted David
Miercort to the same
position Aug. 24.
Paramount Players
named Ali Bell and
Matt Dines exec vps
production Aug. 28.
EIF on the Hunt for ‘Super Schools’
Project XQ co-founder and CEO Russlynn Ali is on a mission to overhaul U.S. education
e need to flip conventional school design on its head,” says Russlynn Ali,
whose Project XQ works alongside the Laurene Powell Jobs-founded
Emerson Collective to give grants (up to $10 million) to “Super Schools”
that participate in a competition of ideas on how to revolutionize the outdated public
school system. In partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation, more than
60 “cultural influencers,” including J.J. Abrams, Norman Lear and Mahershala Ali,
R. Ali
will come together for EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live, a show with performances
by Jennifer Hudson and Sheryl Crow, among others, broadcasting live Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. PST on
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Says Russlynn Ali, who served in the U.S. Department of Education under
President Obama, “There’s a real need of folks everywhere to be part of something that’s hopeful and
bigger than themselves and in the best interest of our country and young people.” — RAMONA SAVISS
W
To submit, send email to hhh@thr.com
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
27
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Deaths
Richard Anderson,
who portrayed Oscar
Goldman on The
Six Million Dollar
Man and The Bionic
Woman, died Aug. 31
in Beverly Hills. He
was 91.
Shelley Berman, a
popular comic of the
1950s and ’60s who
played Larry David’s
father on Curb Your
Enthusiasm, died
Sept. 1 in Bell Canyon,
California. He was 92.
J.D. Disalvatore, a top
producer of LGBT
films, died Aug. 24 of
cancer in Sherman
Oaks. She was 51.
Bernie Styles, a
New York-based
casting director, died
Aug. 23 in Rancho
Mirage, California.
He was 99.
Larry Sherman, an
actor and Donald
Trump’s first publicist, died Aug. 26 in
New York. He was 94.
The Business
Executive Suite
3
2
1
Seth Grahame-Smith
and David Katzenberg
The It producing duo on bypassing a studio deal,
’80s nostalgia, Stranger Things, creepy clowns and (for
Katzenberg) growing up in the heart of Hollywood
By Gregg Kilday
S
eth Grahame-Smith and
David Katzenberg first met
in 2006 when they were
working at CBS Digital, where
together they produced one of
the first web series, Clark and
Michael, starring Michael Cera
and Clark Duke. They followed
that up in 2010 with MTV’s first
scripted comedy, The Hard Times
of RJ Berger, and made their
partnership formal with the
launch of KatzSmith Productions
in 2011.
Katzenberg, son of former
DreamWorks mogul and current
WndrCo chief Jeffrey Katzenberg,
has become an in-demand TV
director (The Goldbergs, Ballers),
while Grahame-Smith, who grew
up in Connecticut and moved
to Los Angeles after graduating from Emerson College, has
proved adept as a writer of genrebusting books (Pride & Prejudice
& Zombies) and movies (Abraham
Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Their
first film production, director
Andy Muschietti’s $35 millionplus adaptation of Stephen King’s
seminal kids-battling-evil novel,
It, hits theaters Sept. 8 via Warner
Bros.’ New Line. They’re also
developing a Beetlejuice sequel at
Warners and just signed an overall TV deal with Fox.
1 Grahame-Smith (left) keeps this poster featuring the vampire Nosferatu, in his KatzSmith office
in Beverly Hills, where he and Katzenberg were photographed Aug. 17. 2 A sailboat from It sits atop
a first edition of the novel. 3 A vintage 16mm U.S. Army field camera.
RÉSUMÉ
CURRENT TITLES
Partners, KatzSmith
Productions
OTHER JOBS
Katzenberg directs The
Goldbergs and Ballers;
Grahame-Smith wrote
2012’s Dark Shadows.
BIG HIT
The Lego Batman Movie,
on which Grahame-Smith
was a screenwriter,
grossed $311.8 million
worldwide.
Photographed by Christopher Patey
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
28
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Grahame-Smith, 41, and his
wife, Erin, raise two sons, ages
8 and 5, in Cheviot Hills, while
Katzenberg, 34, who married
Stellina Bickers in 2016, has a
home in West Hollywood, where
the couple welcomed their first
child, a daughter, a few months
ago — which is why Katzenberg,
who usually attends Burning Man
with his dad, decided to forgo the
desert trip this year.
Why are so many of your current
projects rooted in the ’80s?
GRAHAME-SMITH I came of age
watching Steven Spielberg movies
and reading Stephen King books.
KATZENBERG We don’t set out to
find this stuff. I just think we’re
drawn to it.
As you were filming It, Stranger
Things hit big on Netflix. Do you
worry that it has infringed on
your territory?
GRAHAME-SMITH First of all, there’s
never been a show that was
tailored more to my interests. It’s
like King and Spielberg karaoke,
that show. And it was fun watching Finn [Wolfhard, who stars
in both Stranger Things and It] go
from 70 Instagram followers to
over 1 million in the time we were
shooting the movie.
KATZENBERG We welcome the
comparison. It’s definitely funny
because some people will think
we copied Stranger Things, but this
movie has been in the works for a
very long time.
KATZENBERG We felt we were get-
ting a lot more attention.
You have a new TV deal with Fox,
but you don’t have a first-look deal
for films. Why not?
The movie was developed at
Warners but then moved over
to New Line. Did that make a
difference on the project?
GRAHAME-SMITH We were at Warner
Bros. for two years [for film] and
then decided we wanted to be
flexible because we were forging
relationships with other studios
and we wanted to have maneuverability and be able to work in a lot
of different places.
KATZENBERG Also, rather than
being put on these movies that
we were not extremely passionate
about, we recognized that if material that we were passionate about
was elsewhere, then we couldn’t
do it because of our deal.
GRAHAME-SMITH We started paying
for the company out of pocket,
and in the four years we’ve been
doing that, David’s become a very
GRAHAME-SMITH There are two big,
immediate things that happened.
One, now you’re making a movie
that is the very outer edges of
what a horror movie is [budgeted]
for at New Line. It feels like a big
swing in their minds. The second
thing is, you’re working with
execs who really specialize in horror day in and day out. Especially
in [production execs] Walter
Hamada and Dave Neustadter,
who have a tried-and-true, timetested process for how these
movies get put together. For David
and me, it was a great learning
What did you think of the weird
clown sightings last summer while
you were filming It? Warners even
had to deny it was a publicity stunt.
GRAHAME-SMITH We were all kind of
mortified when that started happening, because God forbid it goes
beyond a prank and somebody
gets hurt. But that said, there’s
clearly a resurgence of some kind
with clowns that has nothing to
do with It. I’ve learned that you
cannot plan around the zeitgeist.
The zeitgeist happens by itself.
KATZENBERG People either love
clowns, hate them or are terrified
of them. To me, it made people see
clowns in a different way. Clowns
are probably the most popular
Halloween costume.
GRAHAME-SMITH Well, we’ll see
about that this year.
experience for us as producers.
sit here. In the age of “nothing is
for certain,” we can’t take anything for granted. We haven’t been
greenlighted yet for a sequel, but I
feel pretty good about that.
4
5
KATZENBERG Movies used to be
events, and now there’s this oversaturation of films and people
don’t always trust what they’re
being sold. Because there’s so
much of it, there are weekends
that are massive misses.
GRAHAME-SMITH I don’t get on
the bandwagon of, “Movies are
doomed; people won’t go to the
movies anymore.” If people have
a reason to come, they’ll come.
Why has the box office been
depressed? Because the movies haven’t been as good. Plain
and simple. But there have been
some that have shined through
— Get Out and Baby Driver and
Wonder Woman and Dunkirk and
Annabelle. Make better movies
and people will come to see them.
KATZENBERG I was fascinated with
6
7
10
9
GRAHAME-SMITH It’s a roughly
GROOMING BY JESSICA ORTIZ AT THE WALL GROUP.
Why do you think the box office has
been down so much this summer?
Growing up in Hollywood, David,
did you know you wanted to go into
the business?
In your It, you only show the
younger versions of the characters.
What’s the status of the sequel that
will follow the older versions?
1,200-page book that examines the
adult and the kid personalities of
six, seven, eight very complicated
individuals. You’re either going
to make a four-and-a-half-hour
movie that’s going to be insufferably long, or you’re going to have to
split it into two movies. The script
for part two is being written as we
eclectic and prolific TV director,
and I’ve been lucky enough to keep
busy writing movies for studios.
That let us pay for the company.
Our philosophy was, if we’re creating these things, it’s not that we
have to dictate every single step,
that David has to direct or I have
to write every single adaptation,
but we preserve our seat at the
table so at least we have influence
over how it gets made.
8
it from a very young age. I was
one of those guys running around
with my friends with a camera, trying to make movies and
stuff. We visited the set of Saving
Private Ryan. My dad used to come
home every night and watch dailies, and I was fascinated by the
process, but I didn’t know exactly
what I wanted to do until after
I went to film school at Boston
University. But I knew I wanted to
be involved in storytelling.
How did your dad react to you
wanting to go into the business?
KATZENBERG He was reluctant
4 Katzenberg got this Shaquille O’Neal jersey at a Lakers giveaway as a kid.
5 Grahame-Smith considers producer Richard Zanuck (pictured), with whom he
worked on Dark Shadows, a mentor. 6 A Cine-Kodak Special camera in
Katzenberg’s office. 7 A helmet autographed by racer Randy Mamola, who once
took Katzenberg around the Laguna Seca track on his motorcycle at “insane
speeds.” 8 The It cast and crew on the set in Oshawa, Ontario, outside Toronto.
9 A gift from Grahame-Smith’s mom, which he didn’t question. 10 GrahameSmith keeps, and occasionally plays, this Ibanez electric guitar in his office.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
29
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
at first, but once I figured out I
wanted to be more a part of the
creative world, he was definitely
supportive. He was going to be
supportive no matter what I did.
But I definitely got, “Are you
sure?” a couple of times.
The Business
Television
Confessions of an
NFL Football Hypocrite
TV’s most popular sport kills its players, we all know now (including at the networks that sell
$3.5 billion in ads a year), so how can an intelligent fan rationalize a deadly game? By Gavin Polone
W
hen I was a boy, a
period that I feel ended
when I was in my late
30s or, maybe, early 40s, I did
many things not in keeping with
the values I hold to now, as a man.
I no longer drive an asshole-ish
sports car, I think about whom
I may be offending when I say
something publicly, I don’t eat
animals, I rerack my weights and
wipe off the bench at the gym, I
let the water run only when necessary while shaving, and I don’t
watch pornography … almost
ever. I am unconflicted about
whom I have become except for
one thing: I still love and watch
NFL football.
If you have beheld even one
football game, you know that
it is a brutal sport. And, most
likely, you are aware that there
is clear statistical proof of the
grave results attached to having
had a football career. While the
average life span of Americans is
76.5 years, researchers at Harvard
determined that the average NFL
player will live only to his mid- to
late-50s; the average NBA player
has a life expectancy of 81 years.
A recent study published in JAMA
During my second match, I was
showed that of 111 former NFL
TKO’d and suffered a mild conplayers who donated their brains
cussion. I never boxed again, but I
for research, 110, or 99 percontinued to follow the sport and
cent, showed signs of Chronic
attended many fights in L.A. and
Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
Las Vegas. But in my early 30s,
This disease is associated with
my interest in boxing
high incidence of
waned; or, rather,
behavioral problems,
I should say that it
cognitive issues and
NFL
turned to revulsion.
dementia. Obviously,
Ratings
No one thing changed
those numbers make
Average viewers
per game
my mind, though I
the more mundane but
2015
did attend a match at
also common health
The Forum where a
issues suffered by
2016
boxer died. I stopped
former players seem
watching boxing
quaint. Joe Montana,
because I came to
61, has a knee he can’t
Super Bowl
see myself as somestraighten, a neck on
total viewers
one who eschewed
which he’s had three
2016
violence in all its
fusions and nerve
forms, so I could no
damage in his left eye.
2017
longer find enjoyment
Of course, many
watching a sport that
sports present risks.
Source: Nielsen
was only about injurBoxing has similar
ing another person.
CTE rates to football
Though letting go of boxing
but with even higher percentages
came easily to me, doing so with
of those who will suffer severe
football has not. Approaching the
brain issues like Parkinson’s disstart of the regular NFL season
ease and immediate death. In my
on Sept. 7, I began asking friends
youth, I watched a lot of televised
and people I met who were footboxing and was enamored of it.
ball fans if they thought about
In college, I joined the boxing
how bad the game was for those
team for intercollegiate matches.
17.9M
16.5M
111.9M
111.3M
Illustration by Clay Rodery
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
30
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
who played it and whether that
made them question their fanship of this ethically challenged
product. Uniformly, everyone said
they didn’t think about it, nor did
they want to. All were aware of the
dangers. Some then went into an
explanation of why “football is the
greatest sport ever,” avoiding the
point of the question. Others said
it wasn’t on their mind because
you don’t see the true effects of
playing the game, as those manifest decades later. Troy Aikman
looks OK now sitting in front of
the camera giving commentary,
and the ramifications of his
back injuries and seven or eight
concussions will probably be conspicuous only when he isn’t. Since
ad revenue for NFL broadcasts
was up 3 percent to $3.5 billion
last year, with viewership averaging 16.5 million, networks have an
incentive to not dishearten their
audience by exhibiting the longterm effects of the game.
As I pressed further on the
morality issue, the responses were
consistent: “It’s their choice to
play.” “They know the risks.” When
I brought up that, as with boxing,
many players came from circumstances where they would be able
to earn a great living only through
football, the consensus was that
there still was a choice, even if the
two outcomes had very disparate
financial realities.
Finally, I asked if any of them
would allow their children to
play tackle football at any level.
Again, uniformity prevailed.
All but one said “no way,” with
the other telling me that her son
was currently playing middleschool ball and that it terrified
her. She also said that she might
not let him play in high school.
This wasn’t a surprise, as many
former and current NFL players
agree with Hall of Famer Terry
Bradshaw, who said that if he
had a son today, “I would not let
him play football.” ESPN football
announcer and former NFL player
Ed Cunningham recently quit,
citing his moral quandary over
player head injuries.
I get why few admirers of
CUNNINGHAM: ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES FOR SUNDANCE.
football want to consider its
consequences. None of us thinks
much about the dangers of being
a fireman, either; but we all want
there to be firemen. Still, having
one fewer entertainment option
is very different from dying in an
inferno. And once you do know
that something destructive is
part of a given activity, it becomes
unethical to not contemplate your
decision to patronize that activity, just as it would be if you knew
a business used slave labor in
Bangladesh to make its product.
At the same time, I do believe
that people should be able to make
their own choices.
Alcohol is involved in
a high percentage of
the world’s tragedies,
and I don’t partake,
Cunningham
but I think the rational use of liquor and recreational
drugs should be legal. I’m not
saying there shouldn’t be limits
on choices in our society when it
comes to risk-taking for economic
benefit. It’s clear to me that selling one’s organs and gladiatorial
combat to the death are over the
line. We, collectively, have to
weigh the relative risks with what
the risk-takers are getting. And in
doing so, we have to acknowledge
that we all come from different
circumstances and appreciate
different things. Just because I
would not want to hazard giving
up years of my life in exchange for
fame and fortune, it’s reasonable
that someone from a different
background with a different
perspective might think it makes
sense to gamble for the opportunity to live the kind of life very few
ever get to experience.
Given the extreme peril proved
with boxing, I think it is over the
line of what should be allowed.
But I can say football, with its
higher rewards for a greater
number of athletes — and slightly
lesser level of danger — is not.
Close but not over. And if it isn’t
over my moral line, I guess I
should not feel bad about patronizing a truly unique, beautiful and
strategically complex sport. Sure,
that might be a slight convenience
in order to rationalize my suspect
ethical lapse, but if so, I can live
with myself making football my
only vice … that and occasional
internet porn.
Three Days in the Swamp
of Fox News’ Trumpman Show
‘Everything will be OK; Trump is not crazy’ seems to be the message when a THR
columnist tunes in to TV’s most toxic presidential reality show By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
onald Trump has made no secret that
“leftist”), they’d probably say yes. Yet, stick on
his most trusted source of media
that “leftist” label, which most conservatives (a
information is Fox News. So I decided to
group that makes up the majority of Fox News
immerse myself with various shows on the netviewers) see as a synonym for radical revoluwork to better understand how their influence
tionaries, and you’ve biased the audience. Why
maketh the president. And after three days, I
not say “social advocacy groups like Black Lives
did better understand Trump’s obsession with
Matter,” which is more accurate?
Fox News — and why his dependency on it is so
On MediaBuzz, a news ticker claimed “Media
dangerous for the country.
Trumpet Bannon’s Ouster,” suggesting the
Fox News and Trump are in sync when they
“fake,” “mainstream” media were gleefully
complain about “mainstream media” and “fake
reporting Steve Bannon’s dismissal, unlike
news,” yet Fox News is the opposite of an
Fox News, whose headline was “Bannon Out
outsider. As of Aug. 17, Sean Hannity had the
at White House.” Here are the actual online
No. 1 show of the night, and Fox News was the
headlines: CNBC: “Steve Bannon Out at White
top cable news channel. And nothing is more
House”; NPR: “Steve Bannon Out as Chief
mainstream than a news organization lavishly
Strategist, White House Says”; CBS: “Steve
endorsed by the president of the United States.
Bannon Out at White House.” No trumpeting.
Other countries — like China, Russia and North
No cackling. Just reporting. I thought there
Korea — call that state-run news. While I found
might be some ray of hope when I saw James
much of the reporting
Murdoch, CEO of 21st
to be straightforward
Century Fox and son
and professional, there
of Fox owner Rupert
were enough biased
Murdoch, pledged
comments to show a
$1 million to the Antidistorted and inaccurate
Defamation League in
view of the U.S. Fox’s
response to Trump’s failmantra seems to be,
ure to condemn Nazis
“Your enemy is anyand white supremacists
The Aug. 30 edition of Fox & Friends, one of
one who doesn’t make
after the Aug. 12 protest
President Trump’s favorite shows on Fox News.
you feel good about
in Charlottesville. I was
your beliefs,” and the underlying message is,
also heartened by Fox correspondent Kat Timpf,
“Everything will be OK; Trump is not crazy.”
whose reaction to Trump’s limp non-condemIf you worry that systemic racism might be a
nation was, “I have too much eye makeup on to
problem in America because of the hundreds
cry right now.” Naturally, she received a tweet
of studies that say it is, stop worrying. They’re
calling her “a disgrace to the white race.” But
all wrong. That’s what I learned on Fox News
my glow of hope was snuffed when I tuned in to
when they showed anti-racism demonstrators
The Specialists gleefully agreeing with Trump’s
marching in Boston. To which the female corpledge in Phoenix to shut down the government
respondent assured us: “America is not a racist
unless it funds his border wall with Mexico.
country, absolutely not. We have moved so far
The Trump presidency is like The Truman
and will continue moving forward. That is what
Show, the 1998 Jim Carrey movie about a man
we do as Americans.” This knee-jerk flag-waving who doesn’t realize he’s being raised by a
shows such a fundamental lack of understandcorporation entirely inside a TV show. In The
ing in a journalist of what systemic racism is
Trumpman Show, Fox gives Trump misinforthat it’s shocking. It’s to the country’s credit that mation that makes him think his world is real:
most people recognize our ingrained legacy
that he won the popular vote, that people don’t
of racism and are working hard to eliminate it.
think he’s a racist, misogynist xenophobe. It’s
But pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t move us
been reported that twice a day Trump is given
forward; it moves us backward.
a folder of only good news about himself, which
A few minutes into America’s News HQ,
some in the White House refer to as “the proanchor Leland Vittert reported that the counpaganda document.” When those folders aren’t
terprotesters marching in Boston were made up
enough, he can tune in to Fox. For those of us
of “leftist groups like Black Lives Matter.” If the
who live in the real world and have to deal with
average Fox viewer were asked if they would
the consequences of his distorted perception,
like to see those who are disadvantaged get
The Trumpman Show is one show that needs
a fair shake (the basic dictionary definition of
to be canceled.
D
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
31
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
HIGH SCHOOL WILL NEVER BE THE SAME
SEPT 8
8 7C
Join some of the biggest names in entertainment for an unforgettable,
live special, as we come together to rethink American high schools. Visit
XQSuperSchool.org/live to get a sneak peek at the future of education.
XQ Institute and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) are 501(c)(3) organizations.
Style
Fall Fashion Flicks
Look Sharp
Fashion
Hollywood’s Pop Provocateur
Fifteen years after a bold move to L.A., Jeremy Scott celebrates two decades of his
namesake label with a nostalgic collection at New York Fashion Week By Booth Moore
hen designer Jeremy
Scott moved from Paris
to L.A. in 2002, “people
thought I was throwing away my
career,” he recalls, adding that
Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s reaction was particularly steely.
Fast forward 15 years, and
Scott, 43, is having the last laugh.
On Sept. 8, at New York Fashion
Week, he’ll mark two decades of
his label (he’s also been creative
director of Moschino since 2013)
with a spring 2018 collection that
pays homage to his journey from
GROOMING BY MIRA CHAI HYDE FOR NARS AND R&CO HAIR PRODUCTS AT THE WALL GROUP. WOODLEY: STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE. KIDMAN: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC. WITHERSPOON: FREDERICK
M. BROWN/GETTY IMAGES. MANOLO: COURTESY OF MUSIC BOX FILMS (2). KINGSMAN: GILES KEYTE/TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX. GOSPEL: COURTESY OF TIFF. WOODSHOCK: MERRICK MORTON/A24.
W
bullied farm kid in Kansas City,
Missouri, to pop provocateur.
“He doesn’t take everything so
seriously,” says Katy Perry of
Scott, whose designs play with
cartoons, cowboys and other
kitsch themes. The new show
will be a retrospective touching
on his streetwear influences
and includes a capsule of tees
and other pieces with signature
Jeremy Scott logos and sayings
like “Keep Fashion Weird.”
“Fashion has always been
dominated in a global sense by
Hollywood,” says Scott of
his industry’s growing
L.A. presence. (Tom
Ford, who shows
Sept. 6, recently
moved his atelier from London
to West Hollywood). “Even in
the ’80s, there was Montana and
Mugler on the Paris runways, but
there was Nolan Miller showing
big shoulder pads on everyone’s
TV every week on Dynasty.”
Scott, repped by WME-IMG,
has ambitions to design costumes or direct a film. In 2016,
he paid $7.7 million for the John
Lautner-designed Elrod house in
Palm Springs that was featured
in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever. “I
remember seeing the Bond film
as a kid,” he says. “Bambi and
Thumper were these exotic, powerful, sexual women who were
beating this man to a pulp — and
now that’s my living room!”
MANOLO: THE BOY WHO MADE
SHOES FOR LIZARDS
(Music Box Films)
Helmed by fashion illustrator and
former New Yorker fashion director
Michael Roberts, this portrait of shoe
innovator Blahnik features Rihanna,
Naomi Campbell and more. Opens
Sept. 15 in L.A. and New York City.
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
(20th Century Fox)
The dapper crime fighters head
to the U.S., opening up a world of
new wardrobe opportunities that
costume designer Arianne Phillips
has channeled into a high-fashion
collection for Mr. Porter. Premieres
Sept. 7 in New York; opens Sept. 22.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
ANDRE (Magnolia Pictures)
Director Kate Novack chronicles
the life and career of Andre
Leon Talley, from Andy Warhol’s
Factory to editor-at-large at
Vogue, with commentary from Marc
Jacobs, Tom Ford and Valentino.
Premieres Sept. 8 at Toronto.
Prestige TV Stars Up Emmy Carpet Game
→ ALTHOUGH IT HASN’T always had the same red carpet clout as the Globes or Oscars,
TV’s big night this year is sparking interest among top European houses from Chanel and
Dior to Giorgio Armani thanks to such nominees as Big Little Lies’ Nicole Kidman and
Reese Witherspoon. The Emmys “have definitely picked up fashion stride,” says stylist
Petra Flannery, who is working with Witherspoon, noting that the Sept. 17 telecast is the
From left:
first major awards red carpet since July’s couture runways in Paris. Julia Haart, creative
Woodley,
Kidman and director of La Perla, adds that Shailene Woodley and Handmaid’s Tale’s Elisabeth Moss
Witherspoon. also are on designers’ wish lists: “TV is so good now, everyone in the world is watching.”
WOODSHOCK (A24)
This trippy Humboldt, California-set
drama, the directorial debut of
Rodarte designer sisters Kate and
Laura Mulleavy, stars their friend
and muse Kirsten Dunst alongside
Lorelei Linklater (daughter of helmer
Richard). Premiered Sept. 3 at the
Venice Film Festival; opens Sept. 22.
Scott was photographed by Adam Amengual on Aug. 17 in his new studio at Hollywood’s Film Exchange Building.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
33
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Style
Fashion
CHILL
CLASSIC
HIP
ROCKER
GENIUS
L.A.’s Back-to-School ‘Mom-iforms’
all is nearly here, and
school is in full swing. For
new enrollees at L.A. private schools, that means anxious
weeks of sussing out the scene
and angling to fit in — not just for
students but moms, too. As with
any tribe, the mom crew at an L.A.
private school has its own set of
unspoken signposts, especially
dress. Call it the “mom-iform” —
an unofficial dress code that can
tell you as much about a school’s
real ethos as any official mission
statement or tour.
“One mom came back from an
open house at Buckley and said,
‘I like the school, but honestly,
I don’t own a pair of stilettos,’ ”
says Sandy Eiges, who advises
parents as the L.A. School Scout.
Fellow school consultant Christina
Simon, co-author of Beyond the
Brochure: An Insider’s Guide to
Private Elementary Schools in Los
Angeles, admits, “I totally fell
victim to it — including a Stella
McCartney bag I bought when my
kids were at The Willows.”
F
The Scene
Each campus has its own “look.”
More conservative schools like
Harvard-Westlake, Marlborough,
John Thomas Dye and Buckley
attract buttoned-up moms toting
$2,500 Chanel bags and wearing
$750 Hermes “H” belts with Gucci
Princetown slides that start at
$650. At the progressive outposts
like Crossroads and The Willows,
the fashion is decidedly less
logo-centric. Think of drop-off as
an Isabel Marant runway show.
One wild card? Mirman School
for Highly Gifted Children in Bel
Air, where the power-mom look
is work-issued wear: “They’re
all doctors and come to school
in scrubs,” says one
Mirman parent.
At The Oaks,
a liberal school in
Hollywood, cool
Stefani
moms opt for
deconstructed “architectural but still
shapeless” labels like
COS, Black Crane
Beyonce
and Rachel Comey,
with Repetto shoes
and bags by A.P.C.
($450) and Chloe
(starting at $1,650).
Downplaying wealth
Vivier
is key. “Everything
is a high price point with low style
and no logos. What you’re wearing could be Gap, but it’s probably
Isabel Marant,” says costume
designer Julia Caston (Bad Moms).
At North Hollywood’s Oakwood,
the look is similarly understated,
with moms showing up in Ulla
Johnson drawstring pants with
casually structural Nili Lotan
tops ($295). “No one is going for
gold here,” says Naomi Scott,
a producer of Fun Mom Dinner.
“Women are almost apologetic
when they’re dressed up, and say
‘I have a meeting’ because they
want to qualify it.”
The Clothes
No matter how insouciant the
style, the clothes are expensive.
At Laurence, where mothers are
literally rockers, “you strive to
look like you don’t have money,”
says one parent of the scruffy
look, which includes shredded,
tie-dyed dresses by Raquel Allegra.
“But everyone is wearing those
MadeWorn rock ’n’ roll T-shirts
that sell for $200 at Jill Roberts.”
Overall, the L.A. aesthetic for
women (non-moms included)
is an effortless, tousled look —
kind of like you got dressed and
did your hair in the passenger
seat of a convertible. When it
comes to makeup, apply artfully
to look fresh-faced. Obvious foundation or triple coats of mascara
imply that you spent more than
four minutes in front of the mirror; a red lip draws double takes.
Except, of course, when it’s on
Gwen Stefani. “You always see
her with her hair perfect and that
bright red lipstick,” says one of
her fellow school moms. “Even
when she’s out on the field.”
Generally, though, celebrities get a pass from the fashion
police: At The Center for Early
Illustrations by Amanda Lanzone
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
34
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Education, where working moms
stand out for their corporate
clothes, the biggest star has been
spotted in denim cutoffs and a
T-shirt. “One mom thought she
was a teenager from behind.
Then she turned around, and it
was Beyonce,” says a parent who
swears that the scene is hardly a
catwalk. “Not everyone here is a
celebrity or rich.”
In many cases, moms are the
designers themselves, and their
wares become school must-haves.
Jewelry designers Jeet Sohal of
Bare Collection, known for the
wildly popular diamond constellation pendant ($675 to $8,125),
and Marni Finkel of Wilkens
Studio have kids at St. James and
The Oaks, respectively. Clare
Vivier of the chic, mom staple
Clare V. foldover clutch ($235 and
up) is a mom at the public L.A.
County High School for the Arts.
The Pressure
School consultants often hear
moms overcome with anxiety
to fit in from day one. Simon’s
suggestion for anyone deciding between schools? “It’s most
important that it mesh with your
values. If you’re seeing status
symbols — bags or shoes or even
cars — that you can’t get your
head around, it’s not the right
school for you. Look at another
one to find your people.”
STEFANI: MARK SAGLIOCCO/FILMMAGIC. BEYONCE: ANTHONY HARVEY/GETTY IMAGES. VIVIER: STEFANIE KEENAN/GETTY IMAGES FOR P.S. ARTS.
At elite private campuses favored by the industry, the dress code for daily drop-offs, sporting events and parent
nights has its own set of (unspoken) rules — and reveals plenty about a school’s true culture By Monica Corcoran Harel
VISIT OUR BOOTH AT THE AMERICAN FILM MARKET, NOV. 1-7, 2017
For Sponsorship opportunities and further information contact Meir Fenigstein, Founder/Executive Director
at: 213.948.8800 (US) I 052.245.0303 (Israel) I info@israelfilmfestival.org
Style
Real Estate
Towers of Toronto:
A Building Boom to
Rival N.Y. and L.A.
Once famed for its quaint European vibe, the city will soon
boast Canada’s second-tallest skyscraper as piles of new
ultra-luxe condos lure Hollywood buyers north By Peter Kiefer
ongtime Toronto film fest attendees have seen the city boom
skyward in recent years, with 65 new condo towers hitting the
market in the past year alone. More than 100 cranes currently
dot the skyline, servicing residential high-rises in various phases
of development. Since 2010, 165,000 condo units have been built, with
approximately 18,000 more added in 2016 and another 83,000 under
construction, according to condo tracking consulting group Urbanation.
Sotheby’s agent Rizwan Malik notes that the majority of these units
are being bought in presales. “The condo market is absolutely insane,”
he says. With similar — if slightly less frenetic — booms still going in
L.A. and New York, and more Hollywood buyers eyeing a Toronto pied-aterre outside Trump’s America, THR looks at what you can get for under
$4 million in each of the industry-favored cities.
L
Los Angeles
↑ The one, an 80-story gem rising at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor in Yorkville,
will be the city’s second-tallest building (after the CN Tower) when it’s completed
in 2022. The Foster and Partners-designed tower (rendering above) from developer
Sam Mizrahi will see some retail openings, including an Apple store, as soon as 2020,
and more than 3,000 people reportedly have preregistered for 416 residential units.
$3 .5M
→ Atop Hollywood’s W Hotel soar
the loftily (and oddly) named Above
the Penthouses, a collection of
ultraluxury residences by developer
Ron Barnes. The south-facing Axiom
Suite, listed by Vine Street Realty’s
Michelle Montany, clocks in at 2,395
square feet (plus a 900-square-foot
deck) and comes with access to
a rooftop park, lap pool, screening
room and 24-hour concierge.
Toronto
W H AT
YO U
G ET
New York
← The city’s top supertowers
on 57th Street don’t offer much
at this price, but a few blocks
closer to the Hudson River,
Corcoran’s Ben Garama has
the listing on a 2,000-squarefoot, four-bedroom at The
Dillon (a seven-floor doorman
building with 83 units at 425 W.
53rd St.). This duplex features
a balcony, wide-plank oak
flooring and an open kitchen
with white quartz countertops.
GOOD
IN MY
HOOD
J. Miles Dale
producer,
The Shape of Water
$3 . 8M
↑ This onetime film studio at 176 Bedford Road in Yorkville, the swank
neighborhood where Mark Wahlberg has a home, is now a 5,000-square-foot, twobedroom, three-bath condo (listed by Elise Kalles of Harvey Kalles Real Estate)
with 20-foot ceilings, concrete floors, custom steel cabinetry and a two-car garage.
Yorkville,
Toronto
◄ The
Pilot Tavern
“Beautiful rooftop patio steps from
Yonge and Bloor, and great Saturday
afternoon jazz with no cover charge.”
22 Cumberland St.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
36
Opus
Thomas Hinds Tobacconist
“Sauteed mushrooms aren’t on the
menu anymore, but ask Tony nicely
and the chef will make them for you.”
37 Prince Arthur Ave.
“Not many places left to enjoy cigars,
one of my worst habits, but this is my
go-to spot for all kinds of Cubans.”
8 Cumberland St.
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
ONE: © FOSTER + PARTNERS. PENTHOUSES, 53RD, BEDFORD, PILOT: COURTESY OF SUBJECT.
$3 . 8M
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“I have an incredible
appreciation for where I
am, and a thought that
where I am always will feel
temporary to me,” says
Clooney at his Lake Como
estate. “I am always
thinking, ‘Well, if everything
goes wrong, we can sell
the house and buy a
three-bedroom apartment.’
I still have that in me.” He
was photographed Sept. 1
at the Hotel Excelsior in
Venice, Italy.
‘THE WORST
THING YOU
CAN DO
IN LIFE IS BE
SATISFIED’
At home on Lake Como with
George Clooney, Amal and
the twins as the Suburbicon
director revels in a new life
off-camera (‘I’m a very good
diaper guy’), swaps texts
with Obama and grapples with
restlessness about art, race and
justice that may hold the clues
to his career after Hollywood
By Stephen Galloway
Photographed by Miller Mobley
lawn of his Lake Como home and points
toward a cluster of trees, the only barrier that
separates
eparates him and this 18th ccentury
entury Italian
villa from
world.
m an increasingly invasive worl
“That’s where he got in,” he says, more matterof-fact than angry. “The guy climbed the fence
and got up into the trees there.”
The “he” in question is a paparazzo. Less
than 24 hours earlier, news was tearing across
the internet that a photographer — one of
hordes that swarm around Clooney like the
mosquitoes on the nearby lake — had slipped
past the guardhouse, crept through the
bushes, crawled up a tree and snapped pictures of the star and his wife, Amal, cradling
their 7-week-old twins. Clooney vowed to sue.
The fact that a stranger could penetrate his
sanctum sanctorum — the one place where,
for a few brief weeks each summer, he can
flee the pressures of his almost unparalleled
celebrity — infuriated him. That the interloper would also exploit his babies tapped into
the peculiar nexus where Clooney’s sense of
private rights and public wrongs collide, adding fuel to both. He long ago abandoned hope
of maintaining any part of himself for him
alone, but now he’s thinking about his wife
and children.
“Every single day there’s some crazy sort of
infringement,” he says. “And you go, ‘OK, we’ll
eat it. That’s what we have to do.’ But when
someone breaks the law, that’s beyond what
we bargained for, beyond the pact I made: that
when you’re famous, you’re going to be followed. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t
be furious.”
His words linger, and then he waves them
away, and they dissolve in the heat and humidity of this sweltering late July afternoon, as if
Clooney, calmer and apparently more content
than ever before — and even contemplating a new career — refuses to let anything
unwanted trouble his mind.
He started coming to Lake Como 16 years
He’s still tight with the former executive, but,
looking back, he acknowledges: “They didn’t
do a whole lot right. They’d say that, too — I’m
not speaking out of school. They should have
been more on top of the idea of hacking earlier
on. The response initially was good but needed
to be better, and then Amy was caught making
a dumb, bad joke in an email.” That joke made
fun of Obama, speculating about the AfricanAmerican films he was watching. For Clooney,
it’s all water under the bridge. “I hate to think
that any one of us could have made dumb, bad
jokes,” he says, shrugging. “It’s unfortunate
that it was also racist, about the president, and
that’s not a very smooth maneuver.”
RACISM IS AT THE HEART OF CLOONEY’S NEW
film, Suburbicon, a drama set in the late 1950s
that he directed and co-wrote with Heslov,
starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore.
“The difference between Black Lives Matter and the KKK and
the skinheads and the alt-right is this: Black Lives Matter
was protesting in support of racial equality. Period.”
Baron Cohen that’s some of the filthiest stuff,
honestly. Amal will be on the chain and she’ll
be upstairs and I’ll hear her scream, ‘No!’
because it’s just foul, and you think, ‘Well, that
would probably not be great if it came out.’ ”
Clooney understands these risks better than
anyone. He knows the pitfalls of fame, alert
to all the dangers; whatever naivete might
once have been part of him has long gone in
the glare of public scrutiny. He was among the
first people to receive a middle-of-the-night
call from his friend Amy Pascal, the embattled
Sony Pictures chairman, in the heat of the
now-famous North Korean hack of November
2014. She and her colleague Michael Lynton
turned to him for advice. “Amy felt with all
that stuff, there were only a couple of people
that really stood by her side,” he says. “Grant
[Heslov, his producing partner] and I were
among them.”
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
40
The movie, which debuted Sept. 2 at the
Venice Film Festival, interweaves two stories: a family drama, as a seemingly ordinary
husband and father (Damon) becomes
increasingly off-kilter; and a racial conflict,
as a white neighborhood turns against a
black family that has just moved in, whose
superficial “abnormality” masks the genuine
abnormality of the white family. It’s Clooney’s
most dyspeptic take yet on the state of
his country.
“I wanted it to be violent, I wanted it to
be angry, and I think it’s a very angry film,”
he says, fixing me a coffee as we sit at a long,
wooden table in his dark, country-style
kitchen, three dogs loping around at our feet.
“We’re at a time when we need to address
these issues, and unfortunately they’re issues
that we have never completely exorcised.”
The project originated with the Coen
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
CLOONEY: VENTURELLI/WIREIMAGE. VILLA: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES. SUBURBICON: HILARY BRONWYN GAYLE/PARAMOUNT PICTURES.
GEORGE CLOONEY STRIDES ACROSS THE LUSH
Rande Gerber
ago, when he and his
h friend
f
stumbled on the Vil
Villa Oleandra while crisscrossing Italy on their
the motorbikes. After one
of the bikes broke down
dow outside its gates,
them in and proceeded
the owners ushered th
for $7.5 million.
to sell Clooney their house
h
bought an adjacent
Since then, he’s also b
Margarita, partly to keep
property, the Villa Ma
becoming a viper’s nest for
that building from bec
enquiring minds.
Each summer, this prince
p
of the New World
exiles himself to the heart
h
of the Old, an
and aristocrats. It’s
ancient
ncient terrain of artists
artis
art
invites friends, family and a
here that Clooney invit
inv
(Charlie Rose, David
few chosen acquaintances
acquaintan
acquain
Power, among others)
Gergen and Samantha
Saman
Algonquin
to join him for a contemporary
cconte
Round Table, one
on of th
the few remnants of the
maestro of the present still
past for which this ma
hankers. “I was
w always enamored of that idea,”
he says. “All
“ these really
real interesting, smart
people, sitting around having conversations.”
people
Barack Obama might
migh soon be one of them.
Clooney is hoping Oba
Obama will visit his
Lombardian estate, ju
just as he did Clooney’s
home in Sonning, England, where the former
president spent a night in early June (along
with a squadron of Secret Service), remaining
for a five-hour meal, bantering and playing
hoops. “I shot the lights out that day,” Clooney
smiles. “I think it really bothered him.”
He and Obama have a jocular relationship
that at times teeters into the risque. I glimpse
a text from the former president on the actor’s
phone. “What a jerk!” Obama teases. Has
Clooney ever been racy with him? “Sometimes,
sure,” he says. “A little bit. Not Scaramucciracy, but … you know, I have over the years
with my friends said a lot of really [outrageous
things]. I’ve had an email exchange with Sacha
1
1 Clooney’s Lake
Como estate,
Villa Oleandra.
2 With Amal on
Sept. 2 at the
Venice Film Festival
screening of
Suburbicon.
2
brothers, who wrote the first drafts of a
screenplay they planned to film and then in
the late 1990s approached Clooney to star. But
their script depicted only the white family’s
tale. When Clooney and Heslov contemplated
the race issues that had simmered during
Donald Trump’s run for the White House,
they decided to include a second plot element,
drawing inspiration from the real-life drama
of Levittown, Pennsylvania, in 1957, when
a housing project of cookie-cutter homes
erupted in violence after the arrival of an
African-American family named Myers.
“What I found fascinating, growing up in
Kentucky, was that whenever you’d see these
movies about any form of bigotry, they were
always with a Southern accent,” says Clooney.
“Those in the North love to think they had
nothing to do with it. They love to wash their
hands and say, ‘Actually, we were the liberals.
We were against slavery and [for] civil rights.’
And the truth of the matter is much more
complicated. There were a lot of problems,
particularly in places like Levittown. They
built a fence around the people’s homes; they
hung confederate flags around it; they named
their dog ‘Nigger.’ They got instruments and
played all night, 24 hours a day, just to try to
get these people to leave.”
Clooney showed news footage of Levittown
to his cast, who were only vaguely aware of
what had happened there. “I didn’t know about
that before George told me,” says Damon, who
slashed his usual fee and then shot Suburbicon
after wrapping four others that he’d made
back-to-back. “I was floored. It’s that incredible
thing where people are like: ‘Well, we’re not
racist; we just don’t want them to live here.’ ”
The Paramount release, filmed in Los
Angeles last year on a budget of $24 million,
blends the political awareness that inspired
Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
with the satirical vision of the Coen brothers,
though neither was involved beyond writing
the original script.
“Grant and I felt an incredible responsibility to the Coens,” says Clooney. “The tone of
their film was very, very dark, and we thought
that was a good thing. But we have some big
plot switches and a couple of good twists that
people won’t know from the trailer.”
There was a different kind of twist during
the shoot, when Trump was elected president,
shocking many of the cast and crew. “We were
home by 4 p.m., waiting for the returns,” says
Moore. “Everybody was pretty devastated.
[Then] as we were working on the movie, we
felt the tone shift. The realization of the film
became much darker than we’d thought.”
It’s become even darker following the
explosive events of Aug. 12 in Charlottesville,
Virginia, and Paramount is clearly aware
of that, shifting its marketing to tout the
picture’s new relevance. “I don’t think anyone
thought George was prescient in what we
were shooting; we all felt we were talking
about things that had happened in the past,”
notes Moore. “But what’s happened recently
has been absolutely shocking.”
Trump himself mentioned William Levitt,
the builder who created multiple Levittowns,
in a July 24 speech to the Boy Scouts of
America. “He talks in his speech about this
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
incredible builder and how he sold his properties and made a huge profit and then fell down
on his luck because he didn’t keep going,”
says Clooney. “And Trump’s point was always,
‘Don’t quit. Keep going.’ But the reality was:
William Levitt was a bigot. And William
Levitt wouldn’t let blacks move into his
homes and was taken to court and ordered to
integrate. And rather than integrate, he sold
his property. That’s what really happened.”
Clooney is no fan of the president’s, to state
the obvious; he’s met Trump only once in
person. “I was sitting down at a restaurant
in New York [several years ago] and he came
in and we talked for a while,” he recalls. “I’d
had neck surgery, and he said, ‘I’ll give you
the name of a doctor,’ and he wrote me a
couple of times with the name. Then he went
on Larry King Live and told him I was very
short. I’m 5-foot-11 — I’m not the tallest actor
in the world, but I’m not short. That made
me laugh.”
But Clooney hasn’t laughed about politics
since the election; his horror will only grow
in the weeks after our Lake Como meeting,
especially following Trump’s post-Charlottesville comments suggesting an equivalence
between white supremacists and those who
oppose them. “It would be best for the country
if some of these Republicans — and some
of them I’m very good friends with, actually
— stood up [to him],” Clooney says in a late
August phone call. “There’s an important distinction that doesn’t get said enough — the
difference between Black Lives Matter and
the KKK and the skinheads and the alt-right
is this: Black Lives Matter was protesting in
support of racial equality. Period. Sometimes
it got out of hand, absolutely. But that’s what
they were doing. You can never say, ‘Well,
those guys were bad and these guys were
bad.’ And to hear those words come out of
the president of the United States, that is a
great crime.”
FIVE YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE I LAST SAT DOWN
with Clooney for any length of time. Back then,
as we lounged in the informally masculine
“Sadly, I think this movie
was made at the right
time,” says Damon, with
Moore in Suburbicon.
41
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Inside the Real-Life Racial Battle
That Inspired Suburbicon
people know the real-life
behind Suburbicon
Fbetterewstorythan
Lynda Myers. After
all, it was her parents who moved
into the home at 43 Deepgreen
Lane in Levittown, Pennsylvania,
in August 1957, setting off a
violent racial conflict that lasted
for months.
William and Daisy Myers
had no dreams of becoming leaders in the civil rights
movement and no idea that
Daisy would one day be called
the Rosa Parks of the North.
And yet that’s what happened
when locals began to harass
the planned community’s first
African-American family.
“My father was an electrical
engineer and my mother was an
educator,” says Lynda, a baby at
the time. “She was a guidance
counselor, a teacher and then a
principal. They were very wellliked and respected.”
Within days of their moving in,
an organized campaign began
to try to force them out. Dozens
of neighbors gathered outside
the house day and night, blaring
music and banging loudly. Once,
a rock was thrown through their
window; another time, an 8-foot
cross on a lawn was set on fire.
“[Daisy] would relay some
of the stories,” recalls Lynda.
“About how the crowds gathered
outside and how they were
making a lot of noise and ruckus,
saying nasty things, throwing cigarettes against the house,
burning crosses in the yard.“
Despite the hateful pressure,
the Myers refused to give in,
nor did they ever focus on their
antagonists when they spoke
about it afterward. “[Daisy]
talked about the help she got,
to be honest,” says Lynda,
“the help that she received,
the people that she met.”
Most striking of all, despite his legions of
friends, Clooney revealed that he, like most
everyone else, experienced bouts of loneliness. “Anyone would be lying if they said they
didn’t,” he observed. “The loneliest you will
get is in the most public of arenas: You will go
to a place and end up in the smallest compartment possible, because [your presence is]
a distraction to everybody.”
Today, the insomnia has gone and so has
most of the pain, following the latest of
several operations, three years ago — “a blood
patch, where they take your blood and shoot
it into your spine and get the blood to coagulate to plug up the holes,” he explains. “I still
get headaches sometimes. But even the doctor, when I had surgery in 2005, said, ‘Listen,
this pain is going to go away with a whimper,
not a bang.’ And there’s some truth there. It
took years to slowly diminish and diminish
and diminish to where now anything I get
is negligible. It’s like having a hangover: You
know when you get it, and you can handle it.
It’s been much, much better.”
As for loneliness, with a wife and kids and
the constant presence of family and friends,
that’s just a distant memory. One even wonders whether Clooney occasionally pines
for the aloneness of the past. “I sure don’t,”
he says. “That seems like a lifetime ago. Now
my house is filled with the warm sounds of
babies crying. You should see when my friends
show up and see me change a diaper, the
laughter that comes from them. I go, ‘I know,
I know.’ I’ve given them so much shit for so
many years, I deserve every bit of it.”
AN HOUR LATER, SEVEN OF US ARE GATHERED FOR
ambiance of his Studio City living room,
his cocker spaniel Einstein padding around
us (just as he does here in Lake Como, at
the ripe age of 15), I was surprised that this
coolest of leading men, who radiated confidence and well-being, who seemed devoid
of the angst that devours so many of his peers,
was in fact full of it. Perhaps I’d caught him
at a low ebb, but it was obvious that layers
of complexity lurked under his smoothest
of surfaces.
A self-professed insomniac, he told me
he rarely enjoyed a proper night’s rest and
loathed going to bed without the reassuring
presence of the TV. “Turning off the television causes me to think, and once I start
that vision roaring, I have a very tough time
getting to sleep,” he admitted. Even then, he
noted, “Without question, I wake every night
five times.” He also lived with constant pain
and debilitating headaches, the result of a
bad fall during the making of 2005’s Syriana,
the movie that won him a best supporting
actor Oscar. “I had a two-and-a-half-inch
tear in the middle of my back and a half-inch
tear in my neck,” he explained, adding that he
was only beginning to come to terms with
a chronic condition. “I thought I was going to
die, [but] I’ve gone from where I can’t function, where ‘I just can’t live like this,’ to ‘I’ve
got a bad headache.’ ” The effects of the pain
continued, regardless of his efforts. “It’s
called ‘positional,’ meaning the longer you sit
upright or stand upright, the worse it gets,”
he said back then. “That’s how it is. As the day
goes on, it gets worse. My ears will literally
pop and my head goes ape-shit.”
1
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
a late lunch, huddled around a table at the
other end of the garden, hidden by a few
trees from the ferries that slide languorously
across the lake, their passengers aiming their
iPhones in our direction and snapping shots
of the house, oblivious to the fact that their
true target is in residence. We help ourselves
to a delicious summer buffet: roast chicken,
two kinds of pasta, a salad, plums and pears.
“Try this,” says Clooney, offering me a peach
that’s impossibly sweet.
Amal is here, of course, tall and slender in a
simple black dress, without evident makeup.
(“I’ve put on 10 pounds,” quips Clooney. “She
2
42
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
1 Clooney, with Anthony
Edwards in 1994, first
achieved fame on ER.
2 With his father, Nick,
and his mother, Nina, in
2006 in New York.
MOORE STYLING BY LESLIE FREMAR AT THE WALL GROUP, HAIR BY GEORGE NORTHWOOD, MAKEUP BY KAY MONTANO AT THE WALL GROUP. MYERS: SAM MYERS/AP PHOTO. ER: PHOTOFEST/NBC. CLOONEY: KMAZUR/WIREIMAGE.
Daisy
and William
Myers
in their new
kitchen on
Aug. 19, 1957,
right before
all hell
broke loose.
After two weeks of jeers,
screams and stone-throwing,
the opposition subsided,
and the Myers family remained
in the house for four years
despite continued threats,
including phone calls warning
that William would be killed.
They left Levittown when his
work took them to Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania.
Years later, Daisy (she died
in 2011, 15 years after her husband) returned to the scene of
the conflict. “Levittown invited
her to come back [in 1999] to
offer her an official apology for
the situation that happened,”
says Lynda. “And they planted
a tree in front of city hall and
called it ‘Ms. Daisy’ and had
a big banquet and everything.
They made her feel very welcome, very welcome.”
But that welcome, her
daughter says, belies the strife
she now sees in the country.
Until recently, she believed
racism had diminished, if not
disappeared — but not now.
“I thought that race relations had improved quite a bit
until, unfortunately, President
Trump became president,”
she explains. “People felt they
could now say out loud what
they really felt and not hide it.
Now they feel open and free to
do what they want to do and
hate the way they want to hate.
It’s almost like there was a bandage on it, and now it’s been
ripped off.”
“It’s actually like a true noir, with a
darkness that starts to envelop
you,” says Moore of Suburbicon.
“It ends up being really
shocking, really surprising.”
“When you show up on a Clooney set, the caliber of the
talent, in front of and behind the camera, is incredibly
high. Everyone wants to work for him.” MOORE
IT WAS HERE IN LAKE COMO THAT CLOONEY MET
the then-Amal Alamuddin when she was passing through in July 2013, on her way to Cannes
with a mutual friend.
“I thought she was beautiful, and I thought
she was funny and obviously smart,” he says.
Did she think the same of him? He laughs. “I
don’t know. She probably thought I was old.
Then she sent some pictures from when she
was here, and we were writing each other,
emailing, talking, mostly about what was
going on in each other’s lives, and over a
period of time it became clear we were more
than just friends.”
In October 2013, Clooney invited Amal to
visit him at London’s historic Abbey Road
Studios, where he was supervising the
recording of the score for his 2014 release
Monuments Men. “That was a good first date,”
he says. “Then we went for dinner. She said,
‘Let’s go to this place.’ It was one of those
places that was incredibly hip and chic. And
when we came out, there were 50 paparazzi
there. But she handled it like a champ. And
pretty quickly, things escalated once I was
in London.”
Clooney remained there for six weeks.
Afterward, “we spent Christmas together in
Cabo San Lucas,” he continues. “Then we
went on a safari in Kenya. Amal loves giraffes;
they’re her favorite animal. She went to this
place called Giraffe Manor, where the giraffes
stick their heads through the windows and
kiss you.”
When he returned to L.A., he showed a
photo of her to his actor friend Ben Weiss. “I
had a picture of her, looking back, smiling at
these giraffes,” he recalls, “and I said, ‘I think
I’m going to ask her to marry me.’ ”
That was February 2014, and Clooney
started planning his proposal. Like any director worth his salt, he figured everything out,
down to the background music. He bought
a ring and never breathed a word to Amal.
“Nothing,” he says. “It was a full-on leap of
faith. She was in England, coming back [to
Los Angeles], and she’d had a conversation with
her parents, who were like, ‘What are George’s
intentions?’ And she was saying, ‘Take it easy.
We’ve been going out for six months.’ And then
she showed up.”
The evening of April 28, 2014, Clooney
made them dinner. “I’m the cook in the family,” he says with a smile. “Believe me, Amal
makes reservations. I did pasta of some form,
not that impressive. And then over champagne, after dinner, I told her there was a
lighter to light the candle in the drawer, and
she reached back and pulled out a ring. And I
did all the stuff, got down on my knee and did
all the things you’re supposed to do. I had a
playlist with my Rosemary songs on it [his late
aunt was the singer Rosemary Clooney], and I
was waiting for this song, ‘Why Shouldn’t I?’
‘Why shouldn’t I take a chance when romance
passes by? / Why shouldn’t I know of love?’ It’s
a really good song about why can’t I be in love?
And it played, and she’s like, ‘Holy shit!’ And
she just kept staring at the ring, going, ‘Oh,
my God.’ It was 20 minutes of me on my knee,
waiting for her to say yes, because she was
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
44
so shocked. She only said yes when ‘Goody,
Goody’ came on, which isn’t very romantic —
it’s kind of mean: ‘So you met someone who
set you back on your heels, goody, goody.’ ”
Clooney harbored few serious doubts about
Amal’s response. “My only doubt was if she
thought maybe it was too soon,” he says.
“But there was no doubt that we were the
right couple and that we were the right team.
And we were a team from right off the bat.
Immediately, we felt we were just happy, and
we have been happy ever since.”
This is a man who still seems stunned
by his good fortune. “It changes you in every
way that every person who’s fallen madly in
love changes,” he continues. “Suddenly, the
other person’s life becomes more important
1 At the Kodak Theatre in March 2006, Clooney accepted
his Oscar for his role in Syriana.
2 Clooney, pictured in 2011, has traveled to Sudan more
than a dozen times since his first visit in 2006.
1
than your own. That’s not unique to us; that’s
[unique to] all people who are lucky enough
to find the perfect partner. I’m sorry I was
50-something when it happened, but only
because I could have spent even more time
with her.”
In September 2014, the couple married in
Venice, with some 100 family and friends
in attendance. Rome’s former mayor, Walter
Zeltroni, presided over the nondenominational wedding. (While Amal’s father is
a Druze, “she’s nondenominational,” says
Clooney. “She’s not religious at all.”)
“We didn’t tell anybody else that we were
going to do it,” recalls Clooney, “but eventually
somebody figured it out. Oh, my God! Once
people got wind of it, it became an event. We
took a bus from here to Venice, then we got
on a boat, and once we got on the boat, there
were so many paparazzi and so many people
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
CLOONEY WITH OSCAR: MICHAEL CAULFIELD/WIREIMAGE. CLOONEY IN SOUTH SUDAN: LYNSEY ADDARIO/GETTY IMAGES REPORTAGE.
looks great.”) There’s also Samantha Barry, an
English friend of Amal’s, who recently moved
to New York to work for CNN; Clooney’s elder
sister, Ada Zeidler, 57, a thoughtful and distinctly un-Hollywood woman whose life, she
tells me, took a turbulent turn after her husband’s premature death more than a decade
ago; and Clooney’s longtime head of security, Giovanni Zeqireya. George’s petite and
charming mother, Nina, 78, sits at my side;
her husband, Nick, is still in the U.S. as he
recuperates from a bout with pneumonia and
a subsequent case of edema. Suddenly, Nina
swats my arm. “A mosquito!” she says, laughing. “You don’t want to be bitten, do you?”
Oh, and the twins, Alexander and Ella, are
here, too, lying in cribs at the head of the table,
Clooney on one side of them, Amal on the
other. It must be said, even by a reporter who
has no special fondness for babies, that they
are particularly adorable. It feels almost surreal, having read so much about their birth,
to be the first journalist to see them up close.
“They’re lovely, aren’t they?” I mention to
Clooney’s mother. “They’re very special,” she
says, nodding with knowing pride.
“Amoula …” calls Clooney, using the term
of affection Amal’s parents employ for their
daughter. He hands her their infant son and
she starts rocking him.
“My sister Tala has twins, and they’re
wonderful,” she says, then asks me, as a twin,
for any advice. I counsel against encouraging
them to compete with each other. “Don’t be
competitive,” she murmurs, seeming to weigh
my words — as if she needs guidance from me
or anyone else. I ask if she’d like more children, and she shakes her head. “I’m 39,” she
says. “I already had them quite late.”
Throughout the day, she stays largely quiet,
reserved and naturally elegant, focused on
the children except for a few brief moments
when the conversation turns to her work as a
human rights lawyer. (Julian Assange was her
highest-profile client.) We touch on her time
as a student at Oxford (“I loved it,” she says),
then shift gears to that old chestnut: whether
it’s easier to date in London or Los Angeles or
New York. Samantha jumps in, and so do I,
and soon everyone’s chattering.
At one point, Clooney rises to massage his
wife’s shoulders. When he moves out of hearing, I ask what has most surprised her in their
four years together.
“What a great father he is,” she says.
Later, when I mention this to Clooney, he
seems caught unawares. “She said that?” he
asks. “Really?”
standing there waiting. We were sitting down
in the boat, and I was like, ‘You know what?
Why are we hiding? Why are we ducking? We
shouldn’t be ashamed of this.’ And we got up
and waved.”
The transition from being a private figure
to a very public one has posed challenges for
Amal. They’ve added visibility for a woman
whose legal work would often better be served
by anonymity. “There were moments that were
surprises,” acknowledges Clooney. “When
we were at the Carlyle Hotel in New York, her
brother Ziad lives down the street on Fifth
Avenue. He’s a stock trader. And she goes, ‘I’m
just going to walk down there,’ and I was like,
‘I don’t think you’re going to be able to.’ She
goes, ‘Don’t be ridiculous. It’s just me.’ And she
Throughout their courtship, neither he nor
Amal ever discussed children, nor had Clooney
exhibited any particular desire to have them.
“It had never been part of my DNA,” he says.
“We didn’t plan on it. We never talked about it
until after we were married, which is funny.
There was an assumption that we didn’t want
them. And then, after the wedding, Amal
and I were talking and we just felt we’d gotten
very lucky, both of us, and we should share
whatever good luck we’ve got. It would seem
self-centered to just have that belong to us.”
Amal soon became pregnant — without the
help of fertility drugs, says Clooney, who was
with her in London when they went to the doctor for an ultrasound. “He goes, ‘Well, there’s
one.’ And I said, ‘Great.’ And then he goes,
2
Since then, the former insomniac has experienced a new kind of sleep deprivation. “We
are unrested — we’re both unrested, and she’s
more unrested than me, obviously,” he says.
“But I’m a very good diaper guy, which I didn’t
know I would be.”
Now this eternal bachelor — this man who
professed to have abandoned all thoughts
of marriage following his youthful divorce
from actress Talia Balsam, this world-class
commitment-phobe, this romantic dilettante known for dating models and even, for
a while, a professional wrestler — is mapping out his family’s future, envisioning his
children in public schools, whether in Studio
City or England or both. (The twins have
dual British and American nationality.) He’s
been asking other binational friends, such as
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, for tips on
how to pull off a delicate balancing act.
Fatherhood is both emotional and scary,
“all of those things,” he grants. “The first
thing you think is, ‘I hope I don’t screw this
up.’ I mean, look, we are all responsible for
things in life, and Amal and I are responsible
for each other in a way — we look out for
one another and we care about one another.
But you are really responsible for two kids. I
want them to be happy. I want them to have a
sense of humor. I want them to be interested
in things. I want them to be compassionate
about other people’s plights. Because that’s
the thing, you know? You have to have some
sort of empathy.”
TWELVE YEARS AGO, CLOONEY WAS READING
“The simple truth is that we have failed [in Sudan] and we
continue to fail. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop.”
walked out and there were 30, 40 [paparazzi
that] surrounded her. You know, people say,
‘Just put a hat on,’ but that doesn’t work for
us. It’s a little like being in a parade, and it’s
not easy — particularly for her — because, in
general, we live a very private life.”
That privacy came under attack in England
recently when the couple looked out of their
window and saw a drone, outfitted with a
camera, hovering outside. “You see a red light
outside your bedroom window at night and
you look outside and realize a camera is looking inside your bedroom,” says Clooney. “We
caught the guy. We literally took a picture of
the guy and he put his hands up and said, ‘You
can’t take a picture of me.’ I said, ‘You’ve got to
be fucking kidding.’ ”
‘And there’s the second one.’ And I was like,
‘What?’ We just sat there, staring at that piece
of paper they give you, and I kept thinking
there was a mistake.”
On June 6, a month premature, Amal gave
birth to the five-and-a-half-pound Alexander
and, one minute and 49 seconds later, the
four-and-a-half-pound Ella in St. Mary’s
Hospital, the same hospital where Prince
William and Kate Middleton’s children were
born. Suddenly, at 56 years old, the very age
when some people might be contemplating
retirement, Clooney was a father.
“It was wild,” he says. “You know, everything
is conceptual until it’s real. It’s like, ‘Yeah,
we’re going to be parents, yeah.’ And all of a
sudden you go: ‘Holy shit. I’m a parent!’ ”
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
45
The New York Times when he learned that the
Sudanese government was carrying out a
program of ethnic cleansing in its western
region, Darfur. (President Omar al-Bashir
would later be indicted for war crimes.)
“[Times columnist] Nick Kristof was writing
pieces about the slow-rolling genocide,” says
Clooney. “And I remembered that my dad
[a reporter and anchorman] had gone somewhere and covered a story where there was
some bad shit going on, and it got bumped for
one about Elizabeth Taylor. So I told my pop,
‘Why don’t we go? You’ll be the journalist, and
I’ll be Elizabeth Taylor.’ ”
In 2006, right after his Oscar win, he and
his father flew to N’Djamena, Chad, and then
“snuck across the border, which we weren’t
allowed to do.” Facing 115-degree heat,
malaria, kids with rifles pointed straight at
them and a host of other dangers, the Clooneys
“got into some pretty hairy places with the
Janjaweed militia around and snuck out with
the pictures. Afterward, we took a tiny prop
plane and landed it in N’Djamena, which was
literally in the middle of a military coup that
was just as bad as it could get; a lot of people
were getting killed.”
Clooney looked down at the corpses lying
on the ground, the dead bodies beginning to
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
begun to track the politicians’ and military
leaders’ personal revenue, hiring forensic
accountants formerly with the FBI, who have
already unearthed some $4 billion in misappropriated funds. He’s also contacted the
heads of several major banks to warn them
against supporting South Sudan’s leadership
and believes he has had some success in persuading them, though he won’t name names.
Taking on such issues has often placed him
in personal danger, and yet he says whatever
he has faced pales beside the dangers that have
confronted Amal. “I only get in trouble in the
places I go to,” he notes, only half-joking. “She
gets in trouble all the time.”
Three years ago, he says, “she had to go to
Egypt to try to get a journalist [CanadianEgyptian citizen Mohamed Fahmy] out of jail.
She got there and it was really a bad scene,
and [president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi] and
those guys were not thrilled.” Worse still, in
September 2015, “Amal went to the Maldives
to try to get President Mohamed Nasheed
out of jail” — that’s the former leader, imprisoned on terrorism charges that were deemed
bogus by the U.S. State Department. “The
Maldives has the highest per-capita rate of
recruiting ISIS, so it was a very nerve-racking
time, and as Amal was coming into town,
her co-counsel [Mahfooz Saeed] was pulled
off a motorcycle and stabbed in the head as
a warning.”
Such actions have made his wife, even more
than Clooney, a target for enemies, including
ISIS. “We’ve had a lot of real threats, and we
take them very seriously,” he says.
After Amal’s trip to the Maldives, however,
the couple had a long talk about how much
they should put themselves on the line, given
that they are now parents. “When she finally
got out of there, she had another client in jail in
Azerbaijan,” adds Clooney, “and I said, ‘I’ll tell
you what, let’s make a deal: I won’t go to South
Sudan and you don’t go to Azerbaijan. How is
that?’ And she said, ‘For now, fine.’ ”
He smiles wryly. “I don’t know that she’ll
stick it out.”
“Films don’t change
how people think,”
says Clooney. “What
they do best is
record where we were
at a place in history.”
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
46
“When George
called me, I was
like ‘I’d rather
be waterboarded
than turn
you down, but I
have to be
with my family,”
says Damon,
explaining why
Suburbicon
ultimately was
filmed in L.A.
WEEKS BEFORE OUR MEETING, CLOONEY’S
bank balance ballooned when Casamigos
Tequila, the company he created with
two friends (Gerber and entrepreneur
Mike Meldman) was sold to the beverage
giant Diageo for $700 million, with the possibility of another $300 million down the
pike. Clooney’s share was about $200 million,
he says. With that — and $100 million that
he could potentially make as a spokesman for
Nespresso — he has a pot of money he never
imagined possible in the days when he was
struggling to earn a living, cutting tobacco,
working in a liquor store and selling men’s
suits and women’s shoes. “I think we’re getting paid in a couple of weeks,” he notes of the
Casamigos deal.
He and Amal will take some of that money
and use it to support the causes they hold
most dear. Days after our interview, the
Clooneys will announce a $1 million grant to
the Southern Poverty Law Center, and that’s
just the start. “Amal and I are going to take
$20 million and put it directly into our foundation [the Clooney Foundation for Justice],”
he says. “It will go toward educating refugees,
it will go toward housing, it will go to all the
things that we want to work on.” That includes
aid for the settlement of refugees in the U.S.,
building schools where refugees are based and
creating a trial watch to monitor courts that
advance governmental repression.
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
DAMON STYLING BY ANNIE JAGGER AT THE ONLY AGENCY, HAIR BY TORSTEN WITTE AT THE ONLY AGENCY, MAKEUP BY CHRISSIE BEVERIDGE. SUBURBICON: HILARY BROWYN GAYLE/PARAMOUNT PICTURES.
putrefy without any indication they would
ever be moved, evaluated the hundreds of
men around him, all armed to the teeth, and
knew he had to get out. But there was no sign
of the Gulfstream G4 jet he’d chartered to
take him to safety. “We landed in this airport
in N’Djamena, and there was no plane,” he
says. “We’d already been told that the Muslim
Brotherhood had directed [its soldiers] to
shoot us out of the air, and my dad and I were
like, ‘Where the hell is the plane?’ And then,
from behind this sort of hangar, there was
a dirt track, and this G4 pulls up. Drops the
stairs down. And a Marine comes out and says,
‘Let’s get the fuck out of here.’ And we’re like,
‘Yes, let’s get the fuck out of here!’ ”
Since then, along with his ongoing commitment to Darfur, Clooney has raised millions of
dollars to back South Sudan’s independence,
finally won from Sudan in 2011. But to his
dismay, things have only soured. The new
country’s president and vice president have
waged war for control of the land and its rich
oil resources, decimating their country and
its people. “Within a year, it had devolved into
the two being at war with each other,” says
Clooney. “It’s a man-made disaster of epic,
epic proportions.”
Just like the paparazzi, he tries not to let
this weigh on him. But the stakes are so much
greater, the remedy so infinitely further away
that he has trouble pushing it aside. His star
power may have helped create a nation-state,
but that wasn’t enough to salvage it.
“The simple truth is that we have failed and
we continue to fail at all of the things we’re
trying,” he concedes. “But that doesn’t mean
we’re going to stop. There are always these
moments when you think, ‘Great, we’ve taken
a real step forward,’ and you end up taking a
couple of steps back. But we needed to take
those steps forward, or we’d have taken a lot
more steps back. It’s very seldom we’re going
to find a great victory; it’s just going to be
incremental. But that’s OK; that’s our job. The
job is to go in and fail and keep trying.”
Now Clooney is taking a new approach. He’s
from 1999’s Three Kings to 2000’s O Brother,
Where Art Thou? to 2007’s Michael Clayton to
the Ocean’s Eleven series, and yet he yearns for
something more.
His drive is greater than ever — “like crazy,”
he admits. Only now it seems more outwardbound, less oriented toward Clooney himself,
less about individual success than the success
of society. He claims to have no aspiration to
run for office, and yet other, less accomplished
men have run — even for the highest office
in the land — and won. It’s impossible not to
imagine him moving in that direction.
“I’d like to not think I would be in politics,”
he says when asked about his aspiration for
elected office, his tortured syntax making this
declaration so much less convincing than his
other comments. “I’d like to think that would
make my life miserable. I don’t really think
about that. But I do think you always have to
participate, in your town and your country and
the world.”
IT’S THE END OF THE AFTERNOON, AND AMAL AND
“We made the movie last year and it’s incredible to see what’s
happened in Charlottesville. It’s horrible.” DAMON
Quietly, the Clooneys have also taken a
Yazidi refugee from Iraq into their home.
Now a student at the University of Chicago,
he lives in a house the actor maintains in
Augusta, Kentucky. “He was on this bus to
Mosul, and ISIS shot the two bus drivers and
said, ‘Anybody who wants to go to college, we
will shoot them,’ ” says Clooney. “He survived
and came to America. He got through all the
checks, and once he got through those, it was
like, ‘Listen, we got your back. You want to
get an education? You want to move your life
forward? This is something that we can do.’ ”
Clooney’s passion for such matters is so
intense, his sense of injustice so profound,
one can’t help but wonder if he’ll ultimately
abandon movies for politics. Acting, once
the be-all and end-all of his life, no longer
holds the same allure, he says, and he hasn’t
appeared onscreen since 2016’s Money Monster.
“I haven’t acted in almost two years,” he
observes, “and I am not really sure when the
next version of that would be. If somebody
brought me The Verdict, I’d jump. But I’m not
going to do movies just to be in front of the
camera. I did that for a long time and I had a
good run. And as you get older, the parts aren’t
as interesting. I’m not a leading man anymore. Nobody wants to see me kiss the girl.”
While he still has the urge to make his mark
as a writer and director, and his enthusiasm
for Suburbicon is clear, he has yet to commit
to anything after that. “I still have some game
left in filmmaking,” he says, adding that he’s
spent his time in Lake Como working on two
new projects and has read some 80 scripts
that have been submitted to him as a director
over the past year by his agent, CAA’s Bryan
Lourd. “That excites me, because I learn all the
time and I’m invested in it, and I like the art
of storytelling, so I’m going to keep doing that
for now. But at some point — which happens
with everyone — they take the toys away, put
them in the box and take it away. And I know
it will go away. I know how this works. I know
how it ends. And when [it does], I will have
another act.”
Precisely what that act will be remains
unclear. It could mean running his foundation, leaving his day job to do so, just as Bill
Gates left Microsoft to run his. “I’d imagine
that the third act will be more foundationoriented,” he says. But perhaps it will mean
something else, on a larger stage — on the
largest stage of all.
More than two decades have passed since
Clooney first came to fame with NBC’s ER.
He has amassed a memorable body of work,
the twins have retreated into the house,
vanishing somewhere inside its cavernous
confines, as we sit in the garden under a white
gazebo, briefly alone. Citrus and pink and lime
houses, sprinkled like confetti on the hills all
around us, tremble in the half light. A foghorn
moans, and then there’s nothing, only the
lapping of the waves and the cries of the birds.
Everything is silent, just as it must have been
centuries ago when the Romans first discovered this greatest of Italian lakes and when
the grandest of Italian grandees chose to find
refuge here, as Clooney is doing now.
Sitting in the shadow of the house that
locals still call by its historic name, the Villa of
the Oleanders, a place where past and present
intermingle, Clooney reflects on his own past
and the miracles it has brought him.
“Every single day of my life, I just feel lucky,”
he says. “Lucky in my career. Lucky enough to
have found the perfect partner. Sometimes
in life it doesn’t happen on your schedule, but
you find the person that you were always supposed to be with. That’s how I feel, and I know
that’s how Amal feels.”
He speaks of luck and coincidence, but
more than any star I can think of, Clooney is
the master of his fate, the captain of his soul.
Unmoored from his life as a single man and
from the ambition that dominated his youth,
he’s at a pivot point, newly embarked on a
voyage as a husband and father and philanthropist. He could afford to pause, and yet
it’s not remotely in his nature. The itch for
something more remains.
“I am restless, always,” he confesses. “Fiftysix years have come and gone very quickly,
and if I get hit by a bus, I want everybody to
say, ‘Well, you jammed a whole lot in.’ The
worst thing you can do in life is be satisfied
with where you are.”
Hear Clooney discuss the effect fatherhood has had on his prank game at THR.COM/VIDEO
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
47
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
THE HOT LIST
KeNNEdY, COwBOYS
AnD CONtROVeRSY IN
ToP 10 MARKeT TiTLES
A Christian Bale Western, an Eminem rap
comedy and Tonya Harding (!) are among a
handful of hot projects tempting buyers
By Tatiana Siegel and Rebecca Ford
U
Bodied ICM
DIRECTOR
Joseph Kahn
Calum Worthy, Jackie Long,
Dizaster, Anthony Michael Hall
BUZZ Kahn is one of the most
successful music video directors
of the past two decades (everything from Eminem’s “Without
Me” to Taylor Swift’s new “Look
What You Made Me Do”). His
controversial satire centers on a
progressive grad student who
finds success and sparks outrage
in the battle rap world. Expect lots
of politically incorrect language
in this Eminem-produced film.
STARS
Chappaquiddick
WME, SIERRA/AFFINITY
John Curran
Jason Clarke, Kate Mara,
Ed Helms
BUZZ Back when political
scandals were neatly covered
up, Sen. Ted Kennedy
(Clarke) accidentally drove
off a bridge, resulting
in the death of campaign
worker Mary Jo Kopechne
(Mara). This drama examines the 1969 incident.
DIRECTOR
STARS
Will the Streaming Giants Be Replaced by a Bigger Monster?
As Netflix and Amazon pivot away from high-priced acquisitions to focus on original content,
deep-pocketed disrupters like Apple and Facebook line up to take their place By Tatiana Siegel
all it the ultimate catch-22.
When it comes to the most in-demand festival films, traditional
C
distributors are being forced to overspend in order to compete with
streaming giants Amazon and Netflix. Then, months later, they watch their
prized film’s box office get cannibalized by the very streamers they were
pitted against in the first place. Take the case of Sundance darling Patti
Cake$, which Amazon chased but Fox Searchlight ultimately landed in
January for $9.5 million — a mammoth price tag for a tiny hip-hop drama
fronted by an unknown actress. Earning just $206,941 after two weekends
in theaters, the flop illustrates how theatrical-focused buyers are being
squeezed more than ever as they try to recoup their investments.
“We always love a Moonlight story — the little film that could and did,”
says ICM Partners’ Jessica Lacy. “With Patti Cake$, it’s unfortunate that
it didn’t do better, but it doesn’t surprise me. Outside-of-the-box and
discovery-driven films always have the potential to not work.”
In a similar scenario, Searchlight also overpaid for the Sundance feelgood dance documentary Step, which opened Aug. 4 and has earned
just $1 million — a respectable number for a doc about inner-city kids but
not at the $4 million-plus purchase price that was driven up by Amazon.
And Searchlight wasn’t alone. Sony Pictures Classics also fell into the trap,
paying $5 million for the offbeat Sundance comedy Brigsby Bear, which
has earned just $459,295 since opening July 28.
Perhaps the only saving grace for veteran buyers heading into
Toronto is that Amazon and Netflix — both voracious at festivals in
recent years — are expected to be more muted as they move away
from finished film acquisitions and into homegrown fare. Under new film
division chief Scott Stuber, Netflix plans to make as many as 50 films
a year. And in the fall, Amazon will move full force into the distribution
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
48
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
PATTI: ANDREW BOYLE/TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX. COLLAGE STILLS: COURTESY OF TIFF (4).
nlike Berlin, Cannes or
AFM, Toronto never was
designed to be a presales
market. As such, the vast
majority of films up for grabs this
year are finished. And even among
finished films, domestic buyers
will find relatively slim pickings.
“We’re in a moment in time
where an awful lot of films have
already been sold before the
fest,” says Sony Pictures Classics’
Michael Barker, who is taking
nine films to Toronto but doesn’t
expect to be on a buying spree.
Even the festival’s hottest
available titles saw distributors
try to swoop in and take them
off the market with aggressive
offers in August, including CBS
Films for I, Tonya and Byron
Allen’s Entertainment Studios
for Chappaquiddick. Similarly, the
James McAvoy-Alicia Vikander
starrer Submergence has multiple
bids lined up. In all three cases,
the sales agents decided to wait
to see how the films would be
received in Toronto.
“Toronto is a great place to do
business,” says Sierra/Affinity’s
Nick Meyer, who is bringing six
films to the market — his biggest
slate ever — including Molly’s
Game and Brad’s Status (both of
which already have domestic
distribution). “It’s a great way to
come out of the summer, where
everyone was talking doom and
gloom about the movie business.”
Privately, domestic sellers say
they don’t anticipate any of the
titles to hit the eight-figure range.
Still, a robust market is expected.
These 10 films are among those
that should make a splash.
2⁰17
Oscar buzz, market titles, the best
‘worst’ movie and Canada’s King of Poutine
in THR’s preview of the most frenzied
(and friendliest) film fest in the world
Edited by Kevin Cassidy
Kodachrome
CAA/WME, THE SOLUTION
Mark Raso
Jason Sudeikis,
Elizabeth Olsen, Ed Harris
BUZZ A road movie centering
on the strained relationship
between a father and son
doubles as a nostalgic requiem
for the days when photos
were shot on celluloid and life
wasn’t lived through the camera on a cellphone.
DIRECTOR
STARS
Mary Shelley
UTA, HANWAY FILMS
Haifaa Al-Mansour
Elle Fanning,
Douglas Booth, Bel Powley
BUZZ Fanning stars in the biopic
of the Frankenstein author,
chronicling her stormy marriage to poet Percy Bysshe Shelley
and the fateful night at a Swiss
chateau that inspired her most
famous creation. The film marks
Al-Mansour’s follow-up to her
debut feature, Wadjda, the first
film directed by a Saudi woman.
DIRECTOR
STARS
The Children Act
Disobedience
Hostiles CAA/WME,
CAA, FILMNATION
WME, FILMNATION
DIRECTOR
DIRECTOR
Richard Eyre
Emma Thompson,
Stanley Tucci
BUZZ Eyre, whose 2006 thriller
Notes on a Scandal earned Oscar
nominations for Judi Dench
and Cate Blanchett, has created
another promising vehicle for
Thompson as a judge facing a case
of strict religious practices
that could endanger the life of a
teenage boy.
DIRECTOR
STARS
STARS
Sebastian Lelio
Rachel Weisz,
Rachel McAdams
BUZZ The director of A Fantastic
Woman (which won the Silver
Bear for screenplay at Berlin)
makes his most star-heavy film
yet, with Weisz and McAdams
playing ex-lovers reunited when
Weisz’s character’s estranged
father dies, bringing her back to
her Orthodox Jewish community.
business, releasing its first original movie, Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel.
But just as one monster retreats, others loom. Apple, Facebook and
other tech giants are poised to step up to the plate. The stage has been
set, with YouTube Red picking up Nick Cannon’s King of the Dancehall out
of Toronto in 2016, while Google Play nabbed the Peter Dinklage starrer
Rememory at Sundance in January. Both were seven-figure deals.
With $1 billion earmarked for content, Apple would seem the most promising new buyer. “They’re moving in that direction. We can all sense it,”
says UTA’s Yale Chasin. “Whether it happens now or later is an unknown.”
But other sellers are skeptical that Toronto 2017 will see any major
movement from the tech giants. “All of these people have been active
in varying forms. Is it now expanding? Are they going to put up $10 million and buy a movie at this festival like Amazon does? No,” says WME
Global’s Graham Taylor. “They’re at these festivals to sit with filmmakers
and say, ‘Come into a long-term film and television deal.’ ” And if the tech
giants remain dormant at Toronto, that would be welcome news for the
traditional buyers.
BLOOM
Scott Cooper
STARS Christian Bale, Rosamund
Pike, Jesse Plemons
BUZZ Cooper knows how to get a
great performance from his leading men (his Crazy Heart star Jeff
Bridges won a best actor Oscar).
This 1892-set Western about a legendary Army captain who agrees
to escort a Cheyenne chief and his
family through dangerous territory reunites Bale with his Out of
the Furnace director.
LOTUS
Jeffrey Nachmanoff
STARS Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve
BUZZ The Matrix star Reeves
beams back into the sci-fi genre
for this thriller about a neuroscientist who is determined to
bring his family back to life after
they’re killed in a car accident.
DIRECTOR
I, Tonya
Submergence
CAA/UTA, SIERRA/AFFINITY
UTA, EMBANKMENT
Craig Gillespie
STARS Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan
BUZZ Buyers say there’s enough
heat surrounding this project
to melt one of the skating rinks
featured in this ripped-fromthe-headlines story. A few bids
already have been swirling
around this drama from the Lars
and the Real Girl filmmaker. The
tragicomedy tells the tale of how
figure skater Tonya Harding
landed at the center of the attack
on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
DIRECTOR
DIRECTOR
← Fox Searchlight paid $9.5 million for Patti Cake$ in Sundance only to see the rap
comedy take in a dismal $206,941 at the box office.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
Replicas CAA,
49
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Wim Wenders
James McAvoy,
Alicia Vikander, Celyn Jones
BUZZ This globe-trotting romance
revolves around a water engineer (McAvoy) and a deep-sea
researcher (Vikander) striving
to reconnect despite being separated by continents. Wenders
has plenty of recent heat after
convincing Pope Francis to
participate in an upcoming documentary that was announced
at Cannes.
STARS
Q &A
Sex, Lies and Celluloid: Secret History Doc
Shines Stark Light on Picture-Perfect Hollywood
‘I’m NOT
GoING TO DiSH
ON AnY OF
THEsE GuYS’
Director Matt Tyrnauer chronicles the double life of former Marine
Scotty Bowers: gas station attendant by day, pimp to the stars by night
Aaron Sorkin on why he made
his directorial debut on an
adaptation of Molly’s Game,
the 2014 tell-all about
a star-studded underground
poker game By Rebecca Ford
Left: Bowers circa 1954, flanked by two
unidentified women. Above: The Marine
settled in L.A. after World War II.
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood director Matt Tyrnauer spent
years documenting pimp to the stars Scotty Bowers, now 94. Bowers, a Marine,
settled in post-World War II Los Angeles and led a double life as a gas station
attendant by day and a Hollywood fixer by night, indulging in sexual liaisons
and arranging “dates” for some of the biggest stars of the day, including Rock
Tyrnauer
Hudson, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Tyrnauer says Secret History,
which is seeking distribution and premieres Sept. 9 at TIFF, examines why Bowers’ story is
more than lurid sex gossip and what it reveals about the evolution of Hollywood.
T
his film is a counternarrative of
Hollywood. Scotty was the major sex
worker in Los Angeles in the post-World
War II period. He knew these movie stars, and
he kept their secrets at the time because it
was necessary: Due to the morals clauses in
their contracts, exposure would have ended
their careers. He facilitated their pleasure.
The studios were committed to a heterosexual, white-picket-fence vision of American
life. It was a big lie. So the narrative takes this
post-World War II period, which is oversimplified — now seen as this Turner Classic
Movies genre, a compilation of oldies and
greatest hits — and humanizes it.
There are a lot of sex stories about celebrities in the film, but it’s not a tell-all in the
sense that it’s not a film that turns on gossip.
It’s a cinema verite project about the evolution of sexuality, particularly homosexuality,
told through this firsthand account.
As many stories as we share — I knew from
Film Festivals’
New Reality:
Hacking Threats
After the disruption
of Sundance, culture
events like TIFF
are now on high alert
for cyberattacks
By Tatiana Siegel
and Etan Vlessing
the beginning we would have Cary Grant and
Tracy and Hepburn in it — there are so many
that didn’t make it. How Scotty facilitated
women for Desi Arnaz. His own assignation
with Alan Ladd.
Sex stories only get you so far. A little
goes a long way. I aim to have 90-minute
films; films that don’t bore people. I would’ve
anticipated Tyrone Power being in the movie.
However, we showed early cuts to test audiences and found, sadly, that younger viewers
had no idea who he was. So any conversation
about him — he was Scotty’s first movie star
client! — was pretty damn uninteresting.
Scotty was tireless: turning tricks and setting up liaisons and being a handyman and
working in a gas station. His life, and the lives
he affected, tell us what Kinsey, who studied
him, told us: that nothing is cut and dried,
everything is complex, along a scale. The
counternarrative is a story of human nature.
aron Sorkin, the prolific and critically acclaimed screenwriter (A Few
Good Men, Moneyball, The Social
Network) and showrunner (The West
Wing, The Newsroom), needs no introduction.
But now meet Aaron Sorkin the director. With
his latest project, Molly’s Game, the Emmy
and Oscar winner is behind the camera for
the first time. The estimated $30 million STX
film, starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba,
is based on the tell-all book by Molly Bloom, a
former competitive skier who ran high-stakes,
star-filled poker games in L.A. and New York
that eventually placed her at the center of an
FBI investigation. Sorkin’s screenplay expands
Bloom’s story beyond the memoir, but he also
chose not to use the real names of the A-list
actors (including Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey
Maguire and Ben Affleck) chronicled in her
book, instead combining them into one composite character called Player X.
Ahead of its world premiere at the Toronto
Film Festival (Molly’s Game hits theaters
Nov. 22), Sorkin, 56, spoke to THR about making his directorial debut and what advice he’d
give another newbie director.
A
How did you decide to write this script?
I was sent [Bloom’s] book by a lawyer I know
— AS TOLD TO GARY BAUM
the January
cyberattack that brought
Fdownollowing
Sundance’s box office and
at Hollywood law firm Greenberg
Glusker. “They could want to get
access to the intellectual property. They may have a personal or
political grudge.”
Toronto Film Festival organizers wouldn’t divulge exact details
of its cybersecurity, but they say
the fest will continue to adapt to
evolving threats. “Our IT team has
worked on improving protocols
around online security, including
consulting with other international
crippled Park City Wi-Fi access
for several days, Toronto organizers are facing the grim reality
that festivals have become just
as attractive a target as studios
and networks.
“Think of all the possible motivations for people bringing down
a festival,” says Tim Toohey, who
heads the cybersecurity practice
Illustration by Katie Carey
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
50
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
← “When you’re writing, you spend a lot of days not writing,” says
Sorkin (with Chastain). “At least when you’re directing, at the end
of the day you’ve done a day’s work, and that’s satisfying.”
who wouldn’t have a name and who would do
everything plotwise that I needed that character to do.
Is it true that Tobey Maguire, who is named in
Bloom’s book, wanted to be in the film?
I think Tobey was joking around when he
was telling people that he wanted to be in
the movie.
Michael Cera plays Player X, a charming actor
who first befriends Molly but later causes her
trouble. Why him?
Because he’s such a sweet guy, with those
apple cheeks, and he’s always playing the nice
guy that he would be perfect to play this guy.
MOLLY'S: MICHAEL GIBSON/STX ENTERTAINMENT. SCOTTY, TYRNAUER: COURTESY OF ALTIMETER FILMS (3).
What advice would you give to a screenwriter
who wants to direct a feature?
socially. I thought it was a really fun story,
but I really wanted to meet the writer of
the book. I thought she was a good writer
and really witty. Once I met her and started
hearing the real story — what wasn’t in the
book — I became fascinated with her and the
reasons why she left a lot of stuff out of the
book. That first meeting was an hour long,
but I just started getting ideas. Ideas for the
opening scene, to make the book a character
in the movie and to make the reason why
certain things weren’t in the book part of the
story in the movie. I found her to be a unique
movie heroine that I’d never seen before.
There was an opportunity to write about the
things I like to write about. The romantic
and idealistic quality of doing the right thing
appeared to me in an area where you wouldn’t
really find those things: underground poker
games. It all seemed unusual and like a
terrific story.
festivals that have experienced
challenges in this area,” a TIFF
spokesperson tells THR.
In the case of Sundance, the FBI
jumped in after the festival was hit
by multiple attacks that targeted
its box office and IT infrastructure.
Simultaneously, Sundance was hit
with widespread Wi-Fi outages.
Though the two events never were
publicly revealed to be connected,
sources say they were.
At the time, everyone from
Did you ever debate using the actors’ names?
I would tell them you’re going to need a lot of
physical energy. Start eating right and exercising months before shooting begins. I would
talk to them about morale because I think
morale is important. And I would tell them
about the “suicide cut.” That’s the first time
you see the movie assembled together, and you
think, “My God, did I do anything right?” But
if you’re lucky enough to work with the editors
that I worked with, you start to want to live
again. And I would say to do everything you
can to ensure that you are the least talented
person on this movie.
I was never going to do that. One of the first
things I said to Molly at our first meeting was
that I’m not going to dish on any of these guys.
I wouldn’t have wanted to under any circumstances, but in a movie where the hero is the
hero because she doesn’t dish
on anybody, you can’t either
“IN A MoVIE WHERe ThE HERO IS ThE HeRO BECaUSE
as the filmmaker. I kept bopSHE DoESN’T DiSH ON ANYbODY, YOu CAN’T EiTHER
ping around as to how I was
AS ThE FILmMAKER. I KePT BOPPiNG AROuND AS TO
going to handle that visuHoW I WAs GOING TO HANdLE THAT ViSUALLY. WaS
I GOING TO PiXELATE THEIR FaCES?” Sorkin
ally. When these guys came
in, was I going to pixelate
their faces? There was a time
where I thought, “OK, we’ll
never really see their faces. We’ll just see
Has Molly seen the finished film?
hands and chips and cards, or they’ll always
She hasn’t. I didn’t think she would want to
be in shadow.” But I didn’t like that, either. It
see it for the first time with other people,
was around then that I thought maybe there
especially with her family. I offered to set up a
should be an experienced director doing this.
screening room for her, so she could watch it
Then I landed on Player X, this one player
by herself. But she wants to see it for the first
time with an audience, like it’s a real movie,
and with her family. I’m bringing Molly and
her family to Toronto. It’s not easy because
Ultimately, TIFF will need
Vladimir Putin to China’s
— as it says in the movie — she’s not allowed
to treat its firewall with as much
Communist Party was fingered
to go to Canada [because of her felony conviccaution as its red carpet. As
as suspects (the Sundance
tion associated with the poker games]. We
with physical threats, however,
lineup included docs critical of
have hired a lawyer in Toronto to work with
there is only so much that can
the Russian government and fare
be done.
certain to anger China). But a
their equivalent of the state department and
Says Toohey, “There are limitaknowledgeable source says the
immigration to get her a 48-hour pass. The
tions to what you can do in terms
attack likely was carried out by a
interesting thing is, for some crazy reason,
of preventing a DDoS attack
pro-Donald Trump local, given
she won’t know if they’re allowing her to go
[which floods the bandwidth or
that the worst outages took place
until she gets into customs at the airport in
resources of a targeted server]
on the same day that thousands
marched on Main Street in protest if there is enough firepower from
Canada. She and her family are going to fly to
the other side.”
of the new president.
Toronto, and who knows what’s going to happen when she steps up to the booth.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
51
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Left: Dave and James Franco (as Wiseau)
in The Disaster Artist. Above, from left:
Karen Kramer, Wiseau and Lozzi at the 2003
Los Angeles premiere of The Room.
‘It WaS ONe OF ThE MOsT EMbARRAsSING
EVeNINGS Of MY LiFE’
The inspiration for James Franco’s Disaster Artist had possibly the worst premiere in
Hollywood history — only to become one of the most enduring cult films ever By Alex Ritman
ine? What is line?”
In the TIFF feature
dramedy The Disaster
Artist, James Franco
struggles with his script on the
set of 2003’s The Room, widely
regarded as the best “worst”
film of all time. With Franco
directing and playing the movie’s
eccentric writer-directorproducer-star Tommy Wiseau,
The Disaster Artist — based on
the book by fellow castmember
Greg Sestero (portrayed by James’
brother Dave Franco) — dramatizes the comically shambolic
“making of” story behind The
Room. The film, which chronicles
a love triangle involving Wiseau’s
character Johnny, his fiancee and
his best friend, landed with a
near-silent thud 14 years ago.
But while Franco’s film recounts
the The Room’s production,
L
Attendees
of the first
screening
were given
a glossy
booklet
about the
making
of the film.
culminating with the world
premiere at the Laemmle Fairfax
theater on June 27, 2003, it still
may leave one question unanswered: How did a movie deemed
so unbelievably awful that one of
the few early reviews said watching it was “like being stabbed in
the head” make the dramatic leap
to laugh-out-loud, crowd-pleasing
cult phenomenon?
The Los Angeles publicist hired
to promote the film’s premiere
says it all started with that
disastrous first screening. “It was
one of the most embarrassing
evenings of my life,” says Edward
Lozzi, who saw his reputation go
up in flames as The Room bowed to
the 500-seat theater he had filled
with clients and friends (most of
whom he claims had “hightailed
it” before the end).
Among the eclectic audience
members were Martin Landau,
Rod Steiger, Karen Kramer (director Stanley Kramer’s wife), Lou
Ferrigno and THR’s own former
columnist George Christy.
After the screening, Karen
Kramer approached a visibly
worried Lozzi. “She could see the
look on my face. She goes, ‘We
gotta fix this. We’ve got to come
up with a spin on this thing,’ ”
he recalls.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
So they approached Wiseau
at the afterparty, down the road
from the theater at the nowclosed Mimosa Restaurant (a path
Wiseau reportedly had insisted
be red-carpeted all the way). “We
told him, ‘We’re going to make
this a campy comedy, make it
where the joke is on the audience, an almost slapstick kind of
thing,’ ” says Lozzi. “And he looked
at me and said, ‘You’re fired.’ ”
Within days, however, Lozzi
was rehired and began a new
marketing approach: to ditch the
lofty comparisons (early promos
had described The Room as having “all the passion of Tennessee
he describes as a “bombardment of drama.” Driving past
the Fallbrook Laemmle with two
friends days later, Rousselet saw
that the film was screening and
gave it a go (despite a “no refunds
after 15 minutes” sign).
An obsession had begun. “Before
the film was over, we were on our
phones telling our friends they
had to see this movie,” he says.
After The Room left the
Laemmle in the summer of 2003,
Rousselet and his friends took
their new love to the internet,
writing gushing reviews on IMDb
(and creating fake accounts so
they could hit it multiple times).
“It WaS MUcH MOrE FUN ThAN I EXPEcTED. EvEN THoUGH
IT WAS A TERRiBLE, TeRRIBLE FiLM.” Actor-comedian
David Cross, on his reaction after first viewing The Room
Williams”) and head in a more
self-deprecating direction aimed
at film students and midnight
movie enthusiasts.
Around the same time, help
already was at hand in the form
of Michael Rousselet, director of
2015’s Dude Bro Party Massacre
III. Then just 20, Rousselet had
seen a trailer for The Room and
was instantly drawn by what
52
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Under pressure from his
growing cohort of fans, Wiseau
eventually began hosting
free screenings at the Fairfax
Laemmle in 2004. As the film’s
popularity grew, the most
dedicated attended repeatedly,
sometimes in costume and often
with spoons on hand (the film
features a number of unexplained
references to spoons). Wiseau, by
DISASTER: COURTESY OF TIFF. WISEAU: COURTESY OF GREG SESTERO. ROOM: WISEAU-FILMS/KOBAL/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK. MAGNITSKY: HERMITAGE CAPITAL/POLARIS/NEWSCOM. BOOK:
COURTESY OF SIMON & SCHUSTER. BREATHE: BLEECKER STREET/PARTICIPANT MEDIA. BROWDER: ROGER ASKEW/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK. NICHOLSON: HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES.
now convinced he had a genuine
phenomenon on his hands, began
presenting monthly midnight
screenings. But this time there
was a catch: You had to pay.
“It was genius,” says Rousselet.
“He was like a drug dealer who
had given us a taste.”
The number of fans needing
a hit grew exponentially. One
booked screening room eventually became all five available at
the theater, with lines snaking
around the block. Wiseau began
to capitalize on his growing
cult infamy with lines of merchandise (T-shirts, posters,
watches and even his own line
of underwear).
Hollywood fans like Paul Rudd,
Jonah Hill and Kristen Bell joined
the fun. “I went fairly early on
in the whole process,” recalls
actor-comedian David Cross,
who used to share YouTube clips
of The Room with his Arrested
Development co-star Will Arnett.
“It was much more fun than I
expected. Even though it’s a terrible, terrible film.”
When it comes to the financial
rewards of The Room, box-office
figures alone don’t do it justice.
Its two-week run in 2003 produced a haul of only $1,800 (off
the back of an estimated budget
of $6 million, financed entirely by
Wiseau). Rick Harper, who made
the doc Room Full of Spoons about
the making of The Room, estimates that Wiseau, who declined
to comment for this story, is
generating about “$20,000 to
$25,000 per month” from the
film, which is still a midnight
movie staple around the world.
Seth Rogen acquired the
rights to The Disaster Artist for
an undisclosed sum through his
company Point Grey Pictures
in February 2014, announcing
that Franco would direct. With
A24 now having set an awardsseason-friendly December
release following a well-received
screening at SXSW and a Toronto
premiere, The Disaster Artist
looks poised to spawn a whole new
generation of The Room fanatics.
“To me, it’s total vindication,”
says Lozzi. “Wiseau had the brilliance to finally get the gist, and
I give him tremendous credit for
the strength to make it go this
different way.”
RuSSIA
Why a Hedge
Funder Hired an Oscar
Nominee to Write a
Putin Takedown Movie
Browder's book chronicles his experience with
Sergei Magnitsky (above left) who died in a
Russian prison after being hired by Browder
to investigate corruption. Above: Toronto title
Breathe was written by Nicholson.
Bill Browder passed up interest from George Clooney and Mark Boal to team with
William Nicholson for an adaptation of his book about Russian corruption — putting
them both in the crosshairs of the Kremlin By Tatiana Siegel
A
s the screenwriter of Andy Serkis’ polio drama
Breathe, William Nicholson can boast one of
the most anticipated films debuting at the Toronto
Film Festival. But for the past year, the 69-year-old
Brit and two-time Oscar nominee clandestinely
wrote perhaps the most dangerous project to hit
Hollywood in some time.
Just as the Andrew Garfield-Claire Foy starrer
kicked off production in summer 2016, Nicholson
began adapting Bill Browder’s Red Notice: A True
Story of High Finance, Murder, and
One Man’s Fight for Justice. Why
Browder’s story is so lethal stems from
the 53-year-old American financier’s
quest to bring down Vladimir Putin.
Browder
In that pursuit, Browder spearheaded
the now-famous Magnitsky Act — a
2012 U.S. law that punishes Russian
human rights violators and landed him
atop Putin’s enemy list (it also was
Nicholson
the focus of that damaging meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer
Natalia Veselnitskaya).
Even before Russiagate swept Washington, Red
Notice was a red-hot property in Hollywood. When
the 2015 book still was in manuscript form, several
in-demand writers, producers and directors chased
the material, including George Clooney, Mark Boal,
Steve Golin, Josh Singer and Charles Randolph.
Clooney had the inside track given that his wife,
human rights attorney Amal Clooney, represents
Browder. George Clooney tried to set the film up at
Sony, but Browder opted to go an unconventional
route, retaining the rights and hiring Nicholson on
his own dime.
“The message of this story is so important that
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
53
I didn’t want to hand it over to somebody to do
nothing with it or to do something that in any way
compromised it,” says Browder, acknowledging the
project’s existence for the first time. “I decided to
keep control of the story and intellectual property.”
In spring 2016, a mutual friend introduced
Nicholson to Browder. They met over lunch in
London to discuss their compatible visions for the
adaptation. Soon after, Nicholson began writing
the chronicle of Browder’s ouster from Russia
in 2006 after a decade as the top American investor in the country, where his Hermitage Capital
Management was then worth billions. More significantly, Nicholson would tackle head-on the death of
Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who Browder
insists was working to expose Kremlin corruption.
Red Notice puts Nicholson in risky terrain as it will
portray Putin as a straight-up villain. Still, he says,
he harbors “no fear. Perhaps there’s a risk, but it’s an
important story, and I’m willing to take it.”
Browder, on the other hand, lives directly in the
crosshairs: In late August, Russia reportedly issued
a “red notice” request to Interpol for his arrest and
extradition. “I’m already in the furthest jeopardy I
could possibly be in,” he says, adding that he’s speaking to THR via a burner phone.
Nicholson is currently doing final revisions, and
Browder, who is financing the project himself,
will next try to try attach a director and producer
(Browder is still in talks with Clooney and Golin).
Ultimately, Nicholson sees Red Notice as a hero’s
journey. “We need heroes who can represent to
us the possibilities of how we can live,” he says.
“Because it’s easy to slip back into a belief that the
bad guys always win, that selfishness is the only
way to run your life.”
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Want to Become a Canadian Citizen?
It Helps If You Have Entertainment Cred
Thanks to Canada’s film and TV tax credits, a Hollywood résumé could be
your ticket to dual citizenship By Etan Vlessing and Tatiana Siegel
you’re one of the
Americans
Iwhofanxious
googled “how to
become a Canadian
citizen” on election
night, experience
in Hollywood could
help grease the
wheels. First, the
bad news: It won’t be
easy. “For those with
the right skill sets,
they can come,” says
Vancouver immigration lawyer Zool
Suleman. “Canada is
very selective about
who they take.”
The first step is
to determine your
eligibility according
to Canada’s point
system. There’s
actually a calculator on the Canadian
citizenship and
immigration website
that offers an at-aglance estimate of
your score based
on the following
criteria: age, education level, whether
you have studied in
Canada, English- and
French-language
proficiency, whether
you have family
already in Canada
and your overall work
experience.
The best way to
jump to the head
of the line? Have a
Canadian partner
(that includes samesex and common-law
marriages). You’ll
immediately qualify
for up to 100 points,
moving you closer
to the 450-point
threshold that gets
you on the fast
track. But even if
you get past that
threshold, it still
won’t ensure citizenship. Ultimately,
your chances will
hinge on work
experience, and this
is where being in
the entertainment
industry helps.
NAiL THE VeNICE-TELLuRiDE-TORoNtO
TRaVEL TRiFEcTA
Hitting all three fests in 10 days can help a film
land firmly on the awards map, but it takes some packing
strategy (and a really good blowout) By Rebecca Ford
“On top of it being a fun and
tiring experience, it was also
a very educational one,” says
producer Jordan Horowitz, who
took the journey with La La Land
in 2016. “Because we went to all
three festivals, we were able to
get a really good read on how the
movie was playing.”
As in years past, there are
multiple films screening at all
three fests this year, including
Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape
of Water, Paul Schrader’s First
Reformed and Alexander Payne’s
Downsizing. Insiders say the first
very year, only a handful
of industry vets attempt
to accomplish the film
festival triple-play of
attending Venice, Telluride and
Toronto. It’s a daunting journey
for even the most experienced fest
regular, requiring the stamina to
hit three cities in three different
countries — covering roughly
16,000 miles — in less than 10
days. But, according to most who
have done it, it’s worth it.
E
Recharge During the Screening
Low-battery alert after all that fest hopping?
These portable chargers deliver extra juice to
jet-lagged devices By Carol McColgin
1 Jackery Mini lipsticksized battery pack holds
one full iPhone charge;
$30, jackery.com
2 Mophie PowerStation
XXL adds up to 100 hours
of smartphone battery
and can power three
devices simultaneously;
$100, mophie.com
3 Kado boasts the world’s
thinnest wall charger
— it’s the size of a credit
card — that’s both
iOS and Android friendly;
$59 to $69, preorder at
kado.tech
4 Anker PowerCore
+26800 PD quickly
recharges a laptop or
tablet and holds up to
seven phone charges;
$110, amazon.com
2
1
4
trick to pulling off the trifecta is
scheduling. “The biggest challenge
is to get from Venice to Telluride,
because the festivals are almost
at the same time,” says producer
Ehud Bleiberg, who did the triple
with The Iceman in 2012. “We had
to ask a favor from the Venice Film
Festival to put us in the first two
days, or we wouldn’t have made it.”
Talent is often flown private,
with their clothing shipped
ahead. But for executives and
other awards-season players,
commercial flights come with
the usual beyond-your-control
snafus. Producer Shawn Levy,
who pulled off the three-fer in
2016 with Arrival, suffered several
flight hiccups, including getting
stuck in the Frankfurt airport
on the way to Venice for several
hours. “I literally ended up in the
airport massage spa with several
agents, and it turned into a very
bonding experience,” says Levy.
He also had an issue on his way
to Telluride from Venice when,
halfway over the Atlantic Ocean,
the captain announced that they
were returning to Germany due
to an engine issue. His advice:
“Bring almonds, Handi-Wipes,
noise-canceling headphones and
an iPad loaded with classic movies you should have already seen.”
3
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
54
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Travel vets say the most important thing to do on the Venice
to Telluride leg is to make every
attempt to get everything into
a carry-on, so there’s no risk of
lost luggage.
When it comes to packing,
Horowitz says that because Venice
and Telluride are such short
stops (often just 48 hours), the
best strategy is to keep it simple:
Bring a handful of formal clothes
for Venice and casual togs for
the Colorado-based fest. Adds
Thanks to
Canada’s many
tax credits, the
government provides
incentives for producers to hire local talent.
So, in short, if you
work in the entertainment industry and
have dual citizenship,
the benefits are twofold: The government
covets your skills, and
you could help producers save money.
For those lucky
enough to have at
least one Canadian
parent or who were
born in Canada, the
EaTS
process is much easier. New York-based
attorney Jodi Peikoff,
who reps Felicity
Jones and Tilda
Swinton, applied for
a Canadian passport
post-election and
registered her children to be Canadian
citizens. Altogether,
the process cost
Peikoff $4,206. “I
looked into moving to
Vancouver and opening up a branch of
our office there,” she
says, “but [decided]
to stay and fight
for change.”
3 New
Eateries Near
TIFF’s HQ
Hungry and tired after
that screening?
You won’t have to walk
far to grab a bite
MeET ToROnTO’S
KiNG OF POuTINE
If you’re looking for an imaginative
variation on Canada’s artery-clogging
signature dish (sushi? gummy bears?),
don’t miss Smoke’s By Etan Vlessing
A
FARMR
140 ESPLANADE
416-901-8676
Around the corner from the Elgin
and Winter Garden theaters, this
new eatery could be your next
TIFF lunch spot. The Farmr Plate,
with one protein (like
hay-roasted chicken), a base
and two sides (try Ontario
mushrooms & kale), costs $10.
Schrader: “You just stick to one
color, and then you’re all right.”
As is usually the case, there are
two days between Telluride and
Toronto this year, which offers
time for a stop home to repack.
According to one female studio
exec, the real challenge is hair
care: “Honestly, the key is finding a
really good place to get a blowout.
If you can figure out how to get
somebody to do your hair so that
it will hold for a couple days while
you’re running around, that’s key.”
CHARGERS: COURTESY OF BRAND (4). SMOKE'S, FARMR, CANIS, BARO: COURTESY OF SUBJECT (5).
CANIS
746 QUEEN ST. WEST
416-203-3317
A 10-minute walk from Bell
Lightbox, this intimate, minimalist
bistro offers an indulgent
take on classic Canadian dishes.
Try the seven-course tasting menu
for $68, which includes
salmon, gooseberry and cucumber;
kohlrabi and beef short rib.
BARO
485 KING ST. WEST
416-363-8388
Two blocks from Scotiabank
Theatre, Steve Gonzalez’s Latin
eatery specializes in signature
dishes like Nikkei Ceviche ($21), OG
Duck Chaufa ($28) and a bone-in
branzino fish ($34). “We are all
about big flavors,” says Gonzalez.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
55
nyone who has spent even a small amount of time in the
Great White North knows that if there’s one thing Canadians
love more than beer, hockey and hospitality, it’s probably poutine.
Canada’s signature dish, which, for the uninitiated, is essentially
French fries and cheese curds covered in gravy, is about as far
as possible from current healthy eating trends, yet it remains
wildly popular with locals. While debate rages about the poutine
origin story — the dish is said to have made its first appearance
in Quebec some time in the 1950s — there is one clear leader in
the field of contemporary Canadian poutine: Ryan Smolkin, the
44-year-old CEO of Smoke’s Poutinerie.
A former Toronto ad exec, Smolkin found his true calling when,
during a hiatus from work after the birth of his twin sons in 2008,
he decided to try his hand at the restaurant business by opening
his first poutinerie on Adelaide
Street, just around the corner
from TIFF headquarters at Bell
Lightbox. Smolkin is now a bona
fide Canadian folk hero who
oversees a vast poutine empire
encompassing roughly 150
stores in Canada, as well as five
U.S. outlets, including a Smoke’s
on Cahuenga Boulevard in Los
From top: Smolkin; Trudeau
(second from left) with Smolkin and
Angeles that opened in 2015. He
his twin sons, Sam (left) and Nate.
has hosted everyone from Seth
Rogen (who once told The Toronto Star that Smoke’s poutine
would be his last meal on earth if he had to choose) to Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau at his various Toronto locations (Ryan
Gosling has been spotted at the L.A. outlet).
The gregarious Smolkin, who is rarely seen in anything other
than his signature flannel lumberjack shirt and fur trappers hat,
says the secret to his success is an inventive approach to toppings:
“Load it on top, baby, smother those fries and gravy!” he declares.
“We’ll throw on steak and lobster, gummy bears and bananas.
Deep-fried sushi. … We’ll give it a shot!”
The Smoke’s boss is well aware that his carb-heavy concoctions
aren’t exactly in line with Hollywood’s obsession with everything
organic and fresh, so he’s quick to admit that Smoke’s is aimed at a
less discerning 18-to-25-year-old market and that it can also be the
perfect meal to combat a hangover (which is a distinct possibility
during TIFF).
If you’re watching your waistline, he has some practical advice:
“Share a poutine with a friend — it’s half the calories.”
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Steve Harvey, once homeless, now has six shows,
including a new daytime talker he owns, plus surprising
opinions on his pal Cosby, a private Trump meeting
and that leaked memo: ‘I’m not going to apologize’
No One Can Say
‘YOU’RE
FIRED’
By LACEY ROSE
T
he last time Steve Harvey called
Los Angeles home, he was in what
he calls the “pick me” phase of his
career. “Back then, I was trying to
make it,” he says, fiddling with a cigar on the
table. “I was trying to get picked. ‘Hope I get on
this.’ ‘Hope I get on that.’ This trip back is very
different.” Indeed, the 60-year-old Harvey,
who has lived in Chicago for the last five years,
is here in Hollywood to add a new daytime talk
show to a vast empire that includes five game
shows, four books, a clothing line, a foundation and a popular syndicated radio show. In
the last year alone, the married father of seven
hauled in $42.5 million, according to Forbes.
Harvey’s new midday entry, Steve, rolled
out via IMG and NBC distribution Sept. 5 and
promises to bring “late night to daytime” —
which is to say it’s comedy-based and will
lean on celebrity guests. (Atop his wish list:
Beyonce and Jay Z.) Even with its highly bankable star, however, Steve isn’t without hurdles.
Not only is the daytime landscape increasingly
fractured — his last daytime program, which
recently wrapped after five seasons, was a topfive show with just 1.8 million viewers — but
Harvey, who is the majority stakeholder, also
is still dealing with fallout from the leak of a
scorching memo he sent to his former staff. It
showed a side of the man that was distinctly at
odds with his affable public persona. Sample
line: “IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE
REMOVED.”
On an afternoon in late August, he opened
up about the blowback from that memo as well
as the barriers black talent faces in Hollywood,
the advice Oprah offered and what came of his
infamous meeting with Donald Trump.
With at least six shows, why keep adding more?
I was homeless once, and I guess I’m running
from that. I just don’t want any one person
to be able to say, “You’re fired,” and then it’s
all ruined for me. So now if one of them says,
“You’re fired,” I’m still OK. If two of them
say I’m fired, I’m OK. If three of them say I’m
fired, I’m OK.
When does that end?
Harvey says
he still
dreams of
snagging a
late-night
show: “It’d
be great. I
could really
take the
gloves off.”
I’d love to build one of the greatest media
empires of all time. Oprah’s done it. Dick
Clark, Ryan Seacrest; Tyler Perry just sold his
deal for several hundred million dollars. So,
I’ve got a lot of targets to shoot for, and I’m
getting closer because a lot of my shows I have
ownership in. That’s what Oprah taught me.
She said, “Steve, no matter what, get 51 percent ownership.” So, when I was approaching
Photographed by Tim Klein
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
56
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
the end of my deal with NBC [for The Steve
Harvey Show], IMG came along and said, “Hey,
we want to play in the sandbox with you, but
we’ll let you own the bulk of it,” I called Oprah.
And said what?
“Oprah, does this make sense to you?” She
called Ari [Emanuel] at WME-IMG and said,
“Is this real?” And they laughed. Of course,
they laugh differently. I call it the billionaire’s
chuckle. And then Oprah called me back and
said, “Steve, the key to your success is ownership.” She’s taught me a lot about business.
What else?
She talks to me about organization and what
to look out for and what not to mind. She said
she and Dr. Phil were calling each other every
day talking about, “Hey, I’m on the cover
of the Enquirer today.” “I got you.” She said,
“Never mind that. You do not have time to
address it, so just keep moving.” That’s much
easier said than done because I have relatives
who are in the grocery store. My aunt calls
and goes, “Lord, we’re going to pray for you.
You’re trafficking drugs. Are you going to have
to do time?” And I’m sitting there going, “No,
Aunt, I’m not going to have to do time. It’s not
true.” “Well, they’re saying it.” “You’re in the
grocery store. If it’s on CNN, your little nephew’s got some problems. If it’s in the grocery
store next to the candy, I’m going to be OK.”
When you launched your last daytime show,
you were adamant that you didn’t want to do a
celebrity show. What changed?
I was in Chicago! No need to crave celebrities
when I know they’re not going to be there. So I
made the focus everyday people. But daytime
TV has changed. The [focus] used to be “takeaway” — the woman who’s at home wants to
learn things. Well, digital has become so big, no
woman has to sit there and wait on you to talk
about coupon clipping or making linguine or
how to change your dresser into a fancy front,
because they have YouTube for that. So, the
value of takeaway in daytime is gone, and I was
saying it and nobody was listening. And after
you try to fix the world’s worst dater 10 times,
you’ve done it. And I’m not Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz.
I’m not Oprah. I have a unique sense of humor,
and sometimes that sense of humor wasn’t
allowed to play out because of the subject matter. I’m sitting there in my head writing 100
jokes, but I can’t say any of them.
So this time you’ll focus on celebrity and
comedy, much as Ellen DeGeneres has done?
Yeah, but I have a different brand. Ellen’s very
entertaining, very likable. I like to say stuff
57
a little bit over there by the edge. Ellen don’t
go by the edge. I like the edge. I want to say to
somebody [who comes in struggling to discipline an abusive child], “Have you thought
about kicking her ass?” Ellen won’t do that.
Has that edge moved in today’s climate?
Oh, yeah. Jerry Seinfeld was right when he said
political correctness is killing comedy. You
can’t do anything anymore. I may have to put
everything in the form of a question going forward, as opposed to statements. “Do you think
Donald Trump is crazy?” (Laughs.)
You once said that Hollywood is more racist than
America. Still true?
(Nods his head.) ’Cause they don’t get it. And
it’s not that they’re racist. It’s that they, the
people who greenlight shows, sit in an office
in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Studio City, and
they make decisions about America and none
of them live there. And they’ve got to put
everything in a category. “Blacks would like
this. This is a black show.” I think Black-ish is
the first black show that hasn’t had to put a
white character on it. It’s amazing how they
think out here. And America’s not that way
at all.
How political do you intend to be on your show?
What would that have looked like?
It’s, “Look, I’m OK with you loving the
Confederate flag. I’m OK with you loving them
statues. Maybe people had great grandfathers
who fought in the Civil War and they want to
continue to honor them. Well, that’s great. But
see, I pay taxes, and I don’t want to pay taxes
to raise the flag every morning and then cut
the grass around it and wipe the pigeon poop
off the statue. So take all them statues and
that flag and put it in your own museum. Then
all the hillbillies can go there and cry in front
of the flag at the feet of General Lee and howl
and just have a great time. But it can’t be at the
park. You can’t have the Confederate flag waving when I’m outside trying to have a picnic.”
And you handle it that way because I’m OK
with people preserving history, for whatever
their reason. It may not be the right reason for
me, but if it’s right for them, cool. But put it in
a museum. Black people got museums. Jewish
people got a museum. Get your ass a museum.
So how do you change it?
Black-ish has got to be successful at it. The
Carmichaels have got to go and be successful at it. There was The Cosby Show, but the
problem there was that they could never find
another Bill, a guy that was that likable on TV.
Now they’re knocking statues down, peeling
names off of walls. They’re doing everything
but giving money back.
1
Do you still talk to Cosby?
See what coming?
I haven’t talked to him in a few months, but
when I’m your friend, I’m your friend. And
Bill Cosby helped my sons at Morehouse
[College], and he didn’t even know me and he
taught me how to do this business. When I
heard all the trouble he was in, I called and
asked him how he was doing. You know what
he says to me? “Hey, man, I appreciate you
calling, but just stay away from me right now.
Whatever happens to me, happens to me, but
don’t you get none of this on you.” That’s an
amazing thing for a guy to say.
The backlash. It was so vicious that it really
threw me. I was being called names that I’ve
never been called: Uncle Tom. A coon. A sellout. Because I went to see this man?! Which
only happened because my business partner
got a call from the Obama transition team,
who said that the Trump transition team
would like to set up a meeting. The Obama
team said they thought it would be a good idea
because the president is encouraging dialogue. And I have a relationship with Obama.
We’re friends. So I say, “OK, cool.” Now, here’s
the crazy thing: I’m supposed to be on a boat
for my 60th birthday, so my wife says, “Steve,
just take off [and skip the meeting]. You’ll
meet with him some other time.” God, I
should’ve listened.
Earlier this year, you met with then Presidentelect Donald Trump. (Contorts his face.) Why are
you making that face?
I didn’t see that coming. Jesus.
THE STEVE HARVEY UNIVERSE
↓ RADIO
↓ DAYTIME
He can be heard for four
hours daily on his The
Steve Harvey Morning
Show, which draws
9 million-plus weekly.
Harvey wrapped his Chicago-based show this spring;
his new show, Steve, is more star-focused and tapes in
L.A. His version of Family Feud, produced via Freemantle,
reaches more than 10 million per day and is the No. 1
game show in syndication.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
↑ PRIMETIME
↑ MERCHANDISING
He is broadcast’s go-to host, with shows across three
nets. At NBC, Little Big Shots was the most watched new
reality show in six years, and has spawned a spinoff. ABC
has two Harvey game shows (Funderdome, Celebrity
Family Feud) and Fox will revive Showtime at the Apollo.
Fans can dress like Harvey,
too: His eponymous
clothing and accessories
line is sold at such stores
as JCPenney and Kohls.
58
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
TRUMP: DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES. UNIVERSE: STEVE MARCUS/REUTERS/NEWSCOM. WINFREY: TIM HIATT/
NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA GETTY IMAGES. RADIO: ERIK LESSER/ZUMA PRESS/NEWSCOM. FEUD: ABC/ERIC
MCCANDLESS. LITTLE: EVANS VESTAL WARD/NBC. FUNDERDOME: ABC/LISA ROSE. MERCHANDISE: MOSES
ROBINSON/WIREIMAGE. BOOK: COURTESY OF HARPERCOLLINS. FOUNDATION: NEILSON BARNARD/GETTY IMAGES.
Now, when I tape the show, it airs tomorrow.
So the advantage for me is I get to be current.
I would talk about [the recent violence in]
Charlottesville. I mean, how can you not? But
I’d do it in the Steve Harvey way.
2
3
so in year five I can just walk from backstage
to my dressing room.” ’Cause other celebrities, trust and believe, you can’t bother them.
You better not even be in the hallway when
they’re walking. So, I sent the memo at the
beginning of the year. Then the year is over,
we’re about to do the wrap party, and one
very angry guy — and he’s angry because my
new producer came up there and interviewed
some people and he wasn’t one that was
picked — sends it to [media writer] Robert
Feder in Chicago. I was OK with it until I saw
it on CNN.
That’s not the grocery store …
1 Harvey, who met with then President-elect Trump in January, hasn’t spoken to him
since: “It’s a disaster up there.” 2 He famously announced the wrong winner at the
2015 Miss Universe pageant. 3 Harvey counts Winfrey as a friend and mentor. Like
she has, he hopes to help up-and-coming talent get deals and shows.
What did you and Trump discuss?
We talked about golf for 20 minutes. And
then I told him, “Mr. President, I’m going
to be honest with you, I didn’t vote for you. I
campaigned very hard for Hillary Clinton.”
And I said, “The problem was that we made a
lot of mistakes in the campaign. We were playing checkers and y’all was playing chess. But
now that you’re here, you’re the 45th president
and I’m going to help you.” He wants to know
how, so I say, “You’ve appointed Ben Carson as
the head of Housing and Urban Development,
and I’ve got keys to a lot of cities around this
country from the years of performing that I’ve
done. I can get an ear to them really quick and
find out what their real needs are. Y’all keep
closing schools in the cities. Why don’t we take
those schools that are closing, put some HUD
money in them, and reopen them as vision
centers and teach STEM and computers and
coding? If you connect me with Ben Carson, I
can help him with that.” A few minutes later,
he had Ben Carson on the phone.
Anything come of it?
I’ve been to HUD twice. I’ve met with
Dr. Carson and we’re actually trying to get it
started. We’ve had meetings, and now we’re
just waiting on the final notes. We have several teams in place. Hopefully before the year
goes out, we’ll be making the announcement
about the first vision center.
With his wife, he founded
The Steve & Marjorie
Harvey Foundation, which
supports mentoring
programs. In partnership
with Walt Disney World, he’s
also created the Disney’s
Dreamers Academy.
← BOOKS
A No. 1 best-selling author,
Harvey has published four
books, including Act Like a
Lady, Think Like a Man, which
inspired the 2012 Screen Gems
movie Think Like a Man —
and, yes, he appeared in it, too.
What does that mean?
I write like I talk. So hell, obviously that ain’t
good. And I didn’t know if you put it in capital
letters that meant you were hollering at
people. My kids told me that after they got the
memo. “Dad, why were you yelling at them?”
I said, “What are you talking about?” My kids
are going, “What they’re mad about, Dad,
is you yelled at them.” I said, “I was putting
emphasis on it. I wasn’t yelling in no damn
type.” My kids were just laughing. And so the
memo, it just got out of hand.
Do you worry it’s damaged your reputation?
Have you kept in touch with Trump?
No, I haven’t talked to him since.
It seemed as though the backlash to the leaked
memo you wrote threw you, too. Fair?
→ PHILANTHROPY
No, that ain’t the grocery store. (Laughs.) Now
we’re in trouble. This is way bigger. And I got a
call from Gayle King, “Would you come on CBS
and explain the memo?” And I said, “I’m going
to text you my statement,” and I did. Then she
said, “Don’t you want to apologize to somebody? Because it just seems so mean.” That’s
when I stopped texting because I’m not going
to apologize because I wasn’t being mean. I did
learn that I don’t know how to write.
Yeah. (Laughs.) I’ve got six shows! My time is
consumed. For four years, I tried to be congenial. I’ll talk to people. “Hey, how you doing?”
But I started watching them take advantage
of me, so now I come onstage, here they are.
I go to my dressing room, here they are. I go
down the hallway, there they are. I’m sitting
in my makeup chair getting makeup done.
“You didn’t hear me knock. Can I talk to you?”
Boom, they’re in my dressing room. I put
doorbells up. They quit ringing the doorbells.
I put signs on my door, “Knock before you
enter.” “You didn’t hear the knock, so I came
on in.” So I said, “Wait a minute, man. Let me
send a memo out at the beginning of the year
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
59
Absolutely. But I’ll do jokes about it on the
show. Look, if you never turn around and
face the problem, it swells and becomes this
big, uncontrollable monster. So as soon as
something happens to me, I immediately go,
“Let’s dance with it a little bit and see what it
really is.” Like the Miss Universe thing [where
Harvey announced the wrong winner].
When Warren Beatty had his mix-up at the
Oscars, you leaned in and tweeted, “Call me.”
He was shell-shocked. He’s old Hollywood. He
don’t do negativity. Social media is not in his
world. He couldn’t believe the backlash. So I
go, “Come here, boy. I can get you through this
thing. Matter of fact, if you handle it right, you
can get a Super Bowl commercial out the deal
like I did. And they’ll pay you enough money
where you’ll go and say the wrong damn movie
next year, too.” (Laughs.)
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
The filmseries TRIO is supportet by
Meetthe
Norwegians
at
nordmedia in Toronto at TIFF 2017:
MESSI AND MAUD, NL/DE, Directed by Marleen Jonkman
WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY, NO/DE, Directed by Iram Haq
Reviews
Film
Venice Film
Festival
mother!
Jennifer Lawrence grippingly
anchors Darren Aronofsky’s vivid and
accomplished — if over-the-top —
domestic horror thriller By Todd McCarthy
OPENS Friday, Sept. 15
(Paramount)
CAST Jennifer Lawrence,
Javier Bardem,
Ed Harris,
Michelle Pfeiffer,
Domhnall Gleeson,
Brian Gleeson
DIRECTOR
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Darren Aronofsky
Rated R, 115 minutes
Writer-director Darren
Aronofsky wants to have
his commercial cake and
chomp down on some vexing personal issues, too,
in mother!, a Rosemary’s
Baby-like horror film
that grabs your attention
— and eventually makes
the bold statement that,
for some creators, art is
more important than life.
Starring a compelling
Jennifer Lawrence, this is a
tale that, like any number
of genre outings, both pulls
you in with its intriguing central situation and
pushes you out with some
mightily far-fetched plot
contrivances. Aesthetically
resembling Black Swan
more than any of the director’s other work but with
touches of Requiem for a
Dream, this Paramount
release could score solidly
with the public after bows
at the Venice and Toronto
film festivals.
An isolated country
house, occupied by a childless couple, establishes
the physical and psychological setting for a movie
predicated on the presumption that these two
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
61
↑ Lawrence is the troubled wife
of a famous poet (Bardem).
people want to live apart
from the tumult of civilization. But no matter how
much love they profess for
each other, this relationship is fraught; “mother,”
as Lawrence’s character
is called, is content rehabilitating their gorgeous
Victorian house, while Him
(Javier Bardem), a celebrated
poet, is suffering a prolonged stretch of creative
constipation. (No character
in the film is blessed with
an actual name, although
Him is privileged to have
his name capitalized.)
Matthew Libatique’s
mood-unsettling handheld camerawork dials up
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
the disquieting vibe before
much of anything has
happened; half the compositions are close-ups,
and there are very few still
shots in the entire picture.
Before long, the duo’s
solitude is interrupted by
the arrival of strangers,
and you feel that for Him,
the intrusion is a relief.
Turning up unannounced
at the front door is “man”
(Ed Harris), who, with his
spasmodic coughing fits,
comes off like an old-fashioned consumptive. But he’s
a massive fan of Him and is
followed shortly by his wife,
named “woman” (Michelle
Pfeiffer), a brittle alcoholic
with an instantly disdainful
attitude toward Lawrence’s
Reviews
seems above all a portrait
of an artist (Bardem’s character) who has untethered
himself from any and all
moral responsibility — a
man so consumed by his
own ego and sense of creative importance that he’s
come to believe that nothing and no one competes
with the value of his work.
To be sure, readings of
the film will vary. Some
critics will try to decipher its writer-director’s
attitude, while the public
mostly will respond to the
ghoulish twists and kicks,
of which there are plenty.
From a dramatic point
of view, there are several
gaping holes, notably the
unexplained disappearances of certain characters
and such cheap dramaturgical conveniences as the
willingness of mother to go
along with what’s happening for far too long.
With the exception of
the excellent and always
engaging Lawrence, all the
actors trigger a significant measure of creepiness
— though Bardem is
warm and winning enough
to almost convince you
that Him’s wife would
stick around despite all the
warning signs.
Top contributions
are made by production
designer Philip Messina
and visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker, whose
work evokes several levels
of hell.
Film
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
Last
Week
1
←
→ I
1
I
Dwayne Johnson
2
↑ I
17
I
Vanessa Hudgens
3
↑ I
8
I
Gal Gadot
4
↑ I
12
I
Kevin Hart
5
↑ I
-
I
Josh Peck
Peck reunited with Drake &
Josh co-star Drake Bell at
the Aug. 27 VMAs following
their public spat, which
stemmed from Bell not
being invited to Peck’s
wedding. Peck leaped
968 percent in social media
engagement, driven by a
photo of the duo hugging.
Last
Week
Comedians
1
←
→ I
1
I
Kevin Hart
2
↑ I
-
I
Marlon Wayans
Wayans promoted his
new NBC comedy, Marlon,
which premiered Aug. 16,
while thanking viewers for
making episode two the
most watched week two for
a summer comedy in a
decade, drawing 889,000
Facebook likes and 617,000
Instagram favorites.
3
←
→ I
3
I
Joe Rogan
4
↓ I
2
I
D.L. Hughley
5
↑ I
7
I
Ricky Gervais
6
↓ I
2
I
Jennifer Lopez
6
←
→ I
6
I
Bill Maher
7
↑ I
11
I
Priyanka Chopra
7
↓ I
5
I
Mike Epps
8
↑ I
13
I
Nina Dobrev
8
↑ I
-
I
George Lopez
9
↑ I
20
I
Lucy Hale
9
←
→ I
9
I
Amy Schumer
10
←
→ I
10
I
Sabrina Carpenter
10
↓ I
4
I
Kumail Nanjiani
11
↓ I
7
I
Shay Mitchell
12
↑ I
21
I
Jared Leto
13
↑ I
-
I
Ryan Reynolds
14
↓ I
6
I
Ansel Elgort
15
←
→ I
15
I
Lily Collins
16
↑ I
-
I
Blake Lively
The actress celebrated the
big 3-0 on Aug. 25, enjoying
her birthday with family
and friends, including Anna
Kendrick. The festivities
helped drive 3.9 million
favorites to her Instagram
page — a 175 percent boost
— and 135,000 new
Instagram followers.
Lawrence’s character wonders whether the isolated country house she and her
husband have moved into is haunted.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
This
Week
Actors
17
↓ I
14
I
Vin Diesel
18
↑ I
-
I
Marlon Wayans
19
↑ I
25
I
Bella Thorne
20
↑ I
-
I
Robert Downey Jr.
21
↓ I
3
I
Zendaya
22
↓ I
16
I
Cara Delevingne
23
↑ I
-
I
Sofia Vergara
24
↑ I
-
I
Zac Efron
25
↑ I
-
I
Jensen Ackles
62
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
This
Week
Last
Week
TV Personalities
1
↑ I
3
I
Tyra Banks
2
↓ I
1
I
Gordon Ramsay
3
↑ I
7
I
Joanna Gaines
Gaines and husband
Chip announced Aug. 28
that proceeds from online
sales of their “Texas
Forever” shirts through
Sept. 30 will be donated to
Hurricane Harvey relief,
gaining her 684,000
Instagram favorites and
82,000 Facebook likes.
4
↑ I
-
I
Chris Hayes
5
←
→ I
5
I
Steve Harvey
6
↓ I
4
I
Bill Maher
7
↑ I
-
I
Mike Rowe
8
↑ I
-
I
Martha Stewart
9
↓ I
6
I
Stephen Colbert
10
↓ I
9
I
Jimmy Fallon
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 Aug. 29. Rankings are based
on a formula blending weekly additions of fans as well as cumulative
weekly reactions and conversations, as tracked by MVP Index.
MOTHER!, DOWNSIZING: PARAMOUNT PICTURES. PECK: JON KOPALOFF/FILMMAGIC. WAYANS: ERIKA GOLDRING/GETTY IMAGES FOR NETFLIX. LIVELY: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES. GAINES: MIREYA ACIERTO/FILMMAGIC.
patient, mild-mannered
character. Him invites the
couple to stay as long as they
want, and when his wife
reproaches him for bringing
strangers under their roof,
he responds, “I didn’t think
it was a big deal.”
Things go from awful
to worse with the arrival
of the guests’ two brawling sons (real-life
brothers Domhnall and
Brian Gleeson) and then
with weird breakages
and bloody leaks that
suggest nothing short of
a haunted house. Finally,
halfway through the
film, Him apologizes to
his wife and kicks out the
loathsome guests.
For a moment, all is well.
But the seeds of evil planted
in the first hour begin to
bear strange fruit in ways
you know cannot end well.
The film’s demented final
stretch is a madhouse
bacchanal, a quasi-hallucinatory, disco inferno-ish
climax multilayered and
ambiguous enough to
accommodate multiple
interpretations: It’s a mother’s worst nightmare; a
vision of the contemporary
world coming apart while
the oblivious masses treat
it as the ultimate party;
a view of primitive hedonism trumping educated
civilization; the destructive
mob prevailing over the
constructive individual.
But beyond the climactic
free-for-all lunacy, mother!
Venice Film
Festival
Wiig and
Damon
(center)
are a married
couple who
choose to be
made small for
financial and
environmental
reasons.
Downsizing
Starring Matt Damon as a man who goes miniature,
Alexander Payne’s latest is a bold, beautiful blend of
sci-fi, satire and human comedy By Todd McCarthy
Downsizing is a wonderfully
outsized movie for these times.
Alexander Payne has taken a
conceit heretofore used for gagoriented sci-fi and comedy — that
of shrinking humans down to
the size of a finger — and breathtakingly transformed it into a
way of addressing the planet’s
overriding long-term issue.
Captivating, funny and possessed
of a surprise-filled zigzag structure, this is a deeply humane film
that hits the creative jackpot.
The rare director who never
has made a bad film, Payne now
arguably has created his best one
yet with a work that easily accommodates many moods, flavors,
intentions and ambitions. At its
core, Downsizing grapples headon with the long-term viability
of humanity’s existence on Earth
— but with no pretension or
preachiness at all — while on a
moment-to-moment basis it’s a
character-driven comedy dominated by personal foibles and
people just trying to get by. It’s
also a science fiction film that not
for a second feels like one.
At an international conference,
Norwegian Dr. Jorgen AsbJornsen
(Rolf Lassgard) stuns the crowd
by announcing that his project of
shrinking human beings now is
a reality. This marks the revolution; citizens are not coerced into
going small but make the decision for themselves, albeit with
plenty of persuasive promotion
that stresses the financial upside,
improved lifestyle and environmental benefit.
Ten years on, the film settles
on Omaha Steaks occupational
therapist Paul Safranek (Matt
Damon, playing a hero not unlike
those in Frank Capra or Preston
Sturges films) and his wife,
Audrey (Kristen Wiig). Fortyish
and childless, the couple attend a
high school reunion, where they
chat with friends (Jason Sudeikis
and Maribeth Monroe) who have
gone small and rave about life
at Leisureland, a planned community for the teeny. Seduced by
the lure of this ready-made easy
street, the central duo decides
to take the plunge. The reduction procedure is hypnotically
presented as a mass-production
affair in a pristine facility accompanied by official reassurances.
This is the point where the
story veers off into unexpected
territory that best remains a
surprise. But it can be revealed
that, a year later, Paul’s existence
is amusingly infringed upon
by two aging Eurotrash party
boys (played by Christoph Waltz
and Udo Kier) and dissident
Vietnamese refugee Ngoc Lan
(Hong Chau), a maid who resides
in a part of the downsized world
that’s essentially a vast tenement
filled with poor immigrants.
There scarcely could be a better
stand-in for a regular Joe than
Damon, while Chau, seen in
Inherent Vice and HBO’s Treme, is
sensational in this unlikely part.
Waltz and Kier, meanwhile, have
a field day.
The film had to be flawless
from a technical point of view
to be convincing, and so it is:
The perspectives involving fullsized and miniaturized humans
together in the same frame
always look just right. As usual,
Payne and his longtime writing
partner, Jim Taylor, inject droll
humor whenever possible, which
helps keep the human story
vibrant within the futuristic
technical framework.
Craft contributions — notably Stefania Cella’s production
design, James E. Price’s visual
effects and Phedon Papamichael’s
cinematography — are immaculate, while Rolfe Kent’s score is
discreetly supportive of this moving and beautiful film.
OPENS Friday, Dec. 22 (Paramount)
CAST Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig,
Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Udo Kier,
Rolf Lassgard, Jason Sudeikis
DIRECTOR Alexander Payne
Rated PG-13, 135 minutes
Reviews
Fall Book Bounty
Hillary’s tell-all, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner’s
debut novel and Ta-Nehesi Coates’ take on Obama
are among the season’s must-reads By Andy Lewis
A LEGACY OF SPIES
By John le Carre
(Sept. 5, Viking, 275 pages, $28)
LOGLINE In the first new George
Smiley story in 25 years, retired
Cold War spies rejoin “the Circus.”
WHY READ IT? With the success of
AMC/BBC’s miniseries The Night
Manager in 2016 (plus three other
films in development) and the
re-emergence of a Russian threat,
le Carre is hot and relevant again.
Ohio — and specifically a landlord and her mysterious tenant,
single mother Mia.
WHY READ IT? The follow-up novel
to Everything I Never Told You
(optioned by Relativity) received
stellar prepublication reviews,
positioning Ng as a potential
household literary name.
WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER:
AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
WHAT HAPPENED
By Hillary Rodham Clinton
(Sept. 12, Simon & Schuster,
512 pages, $30)
LOGLINE Clinton has promised she
“let her guard down” to give her
side of the 2016 election.
WHY READ IT? It’s likely the biggest
release in a season filled with
anxiously awaited books about
the current political landscape.
Early excerpts, including one in
which Clinton describes how her
“skin crawled” during a debate
with Donald Trump, suggest it’ll
be a riveting read.
(Oct. 3, One World, 400 pages, $28)
LOGLINE Mixing memoir and
political commentary in eight
new essays — one for each year of
Obama’s presidency — interwoven
with some of his most influential
earlier writing, Coates reflects on
his own rise, the accomplishments
of the first black president and the
backlash that produced Trump.
WHY READ IT? It’s a deep dive into the
past eight years and a cautiously
optimistic look at the future from
the country’s most prominent
African-American commentator.
TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN
UNBELIEVABLE: MY FRONT-ROW
SEAT TO THE CRAZIEST CAMPAIGN
IN AMERICAN HISTORY
By Katy Tur
(Sept. 12, Dey Street Books,
304 pages, $27)
LOGLINE A first-person account of
covering Trump from the NBC
News journalist who was there
from day one.
WHY READ IT? Promises of a “darkly
comic” and “fascinatingly
bizarre” story, plus an ironclad
embargo until publication, foreshadow a juicy tale.
By John Green
(Oct. 10, Dutton Books for Young
Readers, 304 pages, $20)
LOGLINE Little is known about this
one other than that it centers on a
16-year-old OCD sufferer (loosely
inspired by Green’s own mental
illness) and her search for a fugitive billionaire (plus plot points
involving Star Wars fan fiction and
tuatara, New Zealand lizards).
WHY READ IT? This is Green’s first
novel since 2012’s The Fault in Our
Stars, and expectations are high.
To reward fans, he personally
signed 200,000 copies.
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
By Celeste Ng
(Sept. 12, Penguin Press, 352 pages, $27)
LOGLINE The controversial adoption of a Chinese-American baby
divides wealthy Shaker Heights,
WAYNE AND FORD: THE FILMS,
THE FRIENDSHIP, AND THE
FORGING OF AN AMERICAN HERO
By Nancy Schoenberger
(Oct. 24, Nan A. Talese, 256 pages, $28)
64
LOGLINE Using overlooked
letters and documents, the
William & Mary professor
illuminates the personal and
professional relationship
between director John Ford and
star John Wayne.
WHY READ IT? It’s a wide-ranging
exploration of Westerns,
the evolution of the film
business and the meaning of
masculinity that never loses
sight of its central theme: the
making and unmaking of a
great partnership.
HEATHER, THE TOTALITY
PROMISE ME, DAD: A YEAR OF HOPE,
HARDSHIP, AND PURPOSE
By Joe Biden
(Nov. 14, Flatiron, 272 pages, $27)
LOGLINE How the former vice president balanced the demands of
office and caring for his terminally ill son while wrestling with
the decision of whether to run for
president in 2016.
WHY READ IT? It looks to be a moving
and probably funny (it’s Biden,
after all) alternative to the drumbeat of Trump stories from one of
America’s most beloved political figures (and a possible 2020
White House contender).
By Matthew Weiner
(Nov. 7, Little Brown, 144 pages, $25)
LOGLINE In this noirish thriller,
the worlds of a beautiful,
wealthy teen girl and a construction worker with violent
fantasies collide.
WHY READ IT? Can the celebrated TV
visionary whose Mad Men often
was described as “novelistic”
actually write a novel? Early critical buzz implies yes. (But $25 for
144 pages — really?)
ARTEMIS
By Andy Weir
(Nov. 14, Crown, 320 pages, $27)
LOGLINE In the moon’s first city, a
hustler plots the perfect heist,
only to get caught up in a shadowy conspiracy.
WHY READ IT? There’s already a Fox
movie deal, but the follow-up to
The Martian will prove whether
Weir is a perennial best-seller or
one-hit wonder.
UNBELIEVABLE: COURTESY OF HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHING. TURTLES: COURTESY OF DUTTON BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS. EIGHT: COURTESY OF ONE WORLD. WHAT: COURTESY OF SIMON & SCHUSTER. LITTLE: COURTESY OF PENGUIN PRESS. LEAVES: ISTOCK.
Book Preview
On Aug. 16, The Hollywood Reporter partnered with Beverly Center to host “Candidly Costumes,” a talk with seven Emmynominated costume designers from Big Little Lies, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, Feud: Bette and Joan, Transparent and
RuPaul’s Drag Race led by THR’s Booth Moore. After an intimate cocktail reception, the panel filled with design pros,
discussed their inspirations and challenges with dressing some of the year’s most notable onscreen characters.
The stylish event was held at the future site of THE STREET: A Michael Mina Social House located on Level 8 of Beverly
Center. THE STREET, scheduled to open in 2018, is part of the center’s ongoing $500-million re-imagination that
is transforming every aspect of the iconic fashion destination.
3
6
1. THR’s Booth Moore, moderating the “Candidly Costumes” panel at Beverly Center.
2. Left to Right: “Candidly Costumes” panelists, Perry Meek, Zaldy Goco, Ane Crabtree,
Lou Eyrich, Alix Friedberg, Trish Summerville, and Marie Schley.
3. From left: Beverly Center’s Susan Vance, Ralph Barnes, and THR’s Lynne Segall.
4. President of the CDG Salvador Perez.
5. President of MPC Local 705 Nickolaus Brown.
6. Cocktail reception in the soon-to-be, THE STREET: A Michael Mina Social House.
7. The panelist’s nominated work on display around the event space.
4
5
7
Innovators, Events, Honors
Looking for Some
Fresh Talent, Eh?
Canada’s 15 rising stars
talk building a career north
of the border By Etan Vlessing
S
omewhere on these pages could be the next William Shatner.
Or Avril Lavigne. Or Lorne Michaels. Canada has long been
Hollywood’s great talent farm to the north, as famous for
exporting movie and TV stars as it is for its maple syrup. So THR
reached over the border — where business is booming, with foreign
production spending up 28 percent (to $698 million) in Ontario alone
last year — to ask some of the buzziest young Canadian performers
about their goals, mentors, the best advice they’ve been given about
the entertainment biz and, of course, what’s great about (aboot?)
being Canadian: “Everybody thinks you’re friendly, eh?”
ACTOR
William
Ainscough | 13
The Vancouver-born
Ainscough shined opposite Donald
Sutherland in the Canadian indie
Milton’s Secret, had a breakout
role in The CW comedy Seed and
voices a character in the animated
PBS kids series Ready Jet Go.
The best thing about being Canadian is
My country is awesome and full
of amazing people that are free
to do and express themselves
and their feelings however and
whenever they want. Canada is
inclusive, full of possibility and
my home.
When I’m not working, I’m Playing
drums, listening to rock on vinyl,
hanging with friends and being
a normal teenager — whatever
that means.
ACTOR
Jakob Davies | 14
In addition to landing the
role of Pinocchio in ABC’s
Once Upon a Time, Vancouver-born
Davies will soon be seen opposite
Nicolas Cage in the dystopian indie
thriller The Humanity Bureau.
Biggest 2017 accomplishment The
Humanity Bureau. I can’t wait for
people to see it! A close second
would be passing grade-eight math.
10 years ago, I was 4 years old and
unemployed.
Big break Being cast as Chloe Grace
Moretz’s brother in the movie
If I Stay. I had no idea about the
popularity of the book and Chloe
until the Los Angeles premiere.
The crowd’s reaction was exciting
and a little overwhelming.
ACTOR
Strange Empire and has a recurring
role on Syfy’s The Expanse.
Alexia Fast | 24
Biggest 2017 accomplishment
After making an impression opposite Tom Cruise
in 2012’s Jack Reacher, Vancouverborn Fast landed roles on A&E’s
Bates Motel and The CW’s iZombie.
Big break I have a feeling my
big break is in the process of
being created.
The best thing about being Canadian
is We have the most beautiful
rainforests. It’s like stepping into
a medieval timeline.
Beginning season three of The
Expanse and shooting an episode
of [Canadian sitcom] Letterkenny
in the same week. I was going
back and forth between two cities,
two wildly different characters
and 200 years.
Big break Getting kicked out of
the uptight high school with the
gifted program and ending up at
the high school with the fantastic
arts program.
The best thing about being Canadian is
Health care.
ACTOR
outing, mother!, Haq, born in
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Pakistani
parents, has a role on ABC’s
Quantico and stars in Xavier
Dolan’s indie The Death and Life
of John F. Donovan.
10 years ago, I was Attending
Carleton University, getting my
degree in film studies and law.
Best advice Lead with love.
The best thing about being Canadian is The
ability to call myself a Canadian
proudly without having to negate
or deny Pakistani heritage.
The first thing I do in the morning is
Definitely not check my Instagram
account.
Cara Gee | 33
Born in Calgary, Gee
made her big-screen debut
in the 2013 Toronto Film Festival
entry Empire of Dirt, starred
in the Canadian period drama
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
ACTOR
ACTOR AND FILMMAKER
Hamza Haq | 26
Devery Jacobs | 23
In addition to an
appearance in Darren
Aronofsky’s upcoming horror
66
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
Of Mohawk decent, Jacobs,
raised in Kahnawake,
Quebec, landed a Canadian Screen
drama Rogue] has been a huge
mentor for me from the start of
my acting career. I’ve learned so
much from her and continue to
learn by watching her work.
Big break Mayor of Munchkin City
in a local Wizard of Oz production
circa 2005 … kidding. Or playing
the incomparable Jennifer Lopez’s
daughter on NBC’s Shades of Blue.
It’s really a toss-up.
Oscar contender Arrival and can
currently be seen opposite Kyra
Sedgwick on the ABC drama Ten
Days in the Valley.
Best advice If you work hard, your
dreams can come true. Also,
make sure you go to the bathroom
before filming a long scene (I
learned that one the hard way).
The best thing about being Canadian
is Everybody thinks you are
friendly, eh!
ACTOR
Mena Massoud | 25
Born in Egypt but raised
in Ontario, Massoud
landed the role of Aladdin in Guy
Ritchie’s upcoming live-action
remake of the animated Disney title
after breaking out on TeenNick’s
mystery drama Open Heart.
Best advice Imagine where you
want to be, work hard, laugh
unapologetically and be yourself.
The best thing about being Canadian is
I get to call Toronto home.
10 years ago, I was In high school,
figuring out who I was, who I
wanted to be and how to get there.
ACTOR AND FILMMAKER
Mark O’Brien | 33
Following his breakout
role on the Canadian
comedy-drama series Republic of
Doyle, O’Brien, who is also an awardwinning director of shorts, has been
featured on AMC’s Halt and Catch
Fire and Amazon’s The Last Tycoon.
MASSOUD: DENISE GRANT. AINSCOUGH: PHILLIP CHIN/WIREIMAGE. RUSSELL: MICHAEL KOVAC/GETTY IMAGES FOR MISS ME (2). HAQ: JASON LAVERIS/
FILMMAGIC (2). JACOBS, GEE: GEORGE PIMENTEL/WIREIMAGE (3). O’BRIEN: BARRY KING/GETTY IMAGES. JEFFERY, O’BRIEN MUG: JIM SPELLMAN/
WIREIMAGE (3). SARANGA: VIPOOSITHA GNANENTHRA. FAST, DAVIES MUG: FREDERICK M. BROWN/GETTY IMAGES (3). DAVIES, FAST MUG: ANDREW CHIN/
GETTY IMAGES. JACOBS: MARK BINKS. FLAG: ISTOCK. PNIOWSKY: TAYLOR HILL/FILMMAGIC. RACHPAUL: COURTESY OF BELL MEDIA.
↑ Clockwise from left: Russell, Haq, Jacobs, O’Brien, Jeffery, Gee, Saranga, Fast, Davies.
Awards nomination for her role in the
2013 indie Rhymes for Young Ghouls
and co-stars on the Canadian TV
drama Mohawk Girls.
Biggest 2017 accomplishment I wrote,
directed, produced and acted in
my short film, Rae.
Mentors My mom. I’ve yet to meet
a person who works harder than
she does.
Best advice Don’t post anything on
social media that you wouldn’t
want your Tota to see. Tota
means grandma.
The best thing about being Canadian
is The deep-rooted connection
I have to this territory. While
Canada just celebrated its 150th
anniversary, my people have been
here for 15,000-plus years. I am
literally of this land.
When I’m not working, I’m Feeling
restless and jumping to conclusions that I’ll never book a role
again, so I usually take the opportunity to focus on creating my
own work.
ACTOR
Sarah Jeffery | 21
Following roles on Fox’s
Wayward Pines and
Disney’s Descendants, Vancouverborn Jeffery now stars with Jennifer
Lopez on NBC’s Shades of Blue.
Biggest 2017 accomplishment This!
And recording on an album for
the first time.
10 years ago, I was An 11-year-old
dancer who loved being onstage.
Mentors Thandie Newton [with
whom Jeffery starred on DirecTV
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
Biggest 2017 accomplishment My wife
is due with our firstborn later this
year. Nothing will top that.
10 years ago, I was Moving from
Newfoundland to Toronto, where
I got my first agent.
Mentors All the directors and
actors I’ve been inspired by —
Brando, Clift, Hackman, Bale,
Scorsese, Hitchcock.
Big break Halt and Catch Fire was
a big break for me in the U.S.
industry. I learned so much about
myself, my work and how to be a
professional during that time.
The best thing about being Canadian is
People love hockey as much as
I do!
ACTOR
Abigail
Pniowsky | 9
Winnipeg, Manitobaborn Pniowsky was one of three
young actresses who portrayed
Amy Adams’ daughter in 2016’s
67
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
I wake up at 6:30, except in the sum-
mer, then it’s more like 8.
The first thing I do in the morning is Text
my friends.
SENIOR PRODUCER
Agatha
Rachpaul | 35
Rachpaul has made a name
for herself by tackling breaking
news for Discovery Canada’s awardwinning science magazine TV series
Daily Planet.
Biggest 2017 accomplishment Winning
the 2017 CSA for best news or
information series with the Daily
Planet team. Winning was sweet
and so was the champagne!
Best advice One: It’s a marathon,
not a sprint. Two: If you’re not
happy with your job, you have two
choices — leave [or] find a way to
get over what’s bugging you. With
both scenarios, you’re in control
of your happiness. Three: French
fries should always be salty.
Big break April 2010 — I’ll never
forget the day I was called into
my executive producer’s office
and told that I would be going to
Louisiana the next day to find
science and tech stories relating
to the BP oil spill. It was at that
moment I knew I was making my
mark and my bosses trusted me
with a major assignment.
The best thing about being Canadian is
Diversity. On Easter, I have mushroom-stuffed pancakes with my
Polish family and then have oxtail
with my Trinidadian in-laws.
When I’m not working, I’m Eating,
doing cardio, playing Candy
Crush, watching MasterChef with
my husband, watching cartoons
with my daughter, giving my
Yorkie belly rubs and planning my
next family vacation.
ACTOR
Taylor Russell | 22
Vancouver-born Russell
landed the role of Judy
Backlot
Robinson on Netflix’s upcoming
remake of the sci-fi series Lost in
Space and will star opposite Uma
Thurman in the Lionsgate thriller
Down a Dark Hall.
10 years ago, I was Most likely get-
ting in trouble in school for
daydreaming.
Mentors My little brother. My uncle
Christopher. My friend Chiara and
Parker Posey, whom I met this
year while filming [Lost in Space].
When I’m not working, I’m Walking
everywhere I can, painting, practicing photography and searching
for new parks to read in.
I wake up at I’m not very consistent
in this department.
The first thing I do in the morning is
Make tea and probably listen to
the Bee Gees.
ACTOR AND FILMMAKER
Vas Saranga | 32
Calgary-born Saranga had
a banner year playing Amar
on the final season of Orphan Black,
a Pentagon specialist on CBS’
Salvation and will appear in the
indie Little Italy alongside Hayden
Christensen and Emma Roberts.
TORONTO: HOLLYWOOD’S NEW
VISUAL EFFECTS INCUBATOR
Skilled local talent and generous digital tax
incentives are helping the major studios make
movie magic in Ontario
hen audiences
inevitably marvel at
the computer-generated
worlds in Guillermo del
Toro’s The Shape of Water
and the Angelina Jolieproduced animated drama
The Breadwinner, both
screening at this year’s
Toronto Film Festival, it
will be thanks in large part
to Ontario’s thriving visual
effects community.
With pristine CG creatures and environments
now commonplace in movies and TV, Toronto has
become one of Hollywood’s
leading go-to spots when
it comes to movie magic.
Del Toro, who shot much
of his effects-heavy sci-fi
TV series The Strain in
Toronto, even moved there.
“He likes it here, and I like
to stay here,” says J. Miles
Dale, a longtime producer
for del Toro.
The duo shot The Shape
of Water, an otherworldly
fairy tale, at Pinewood
Toronto Studios, between
seasons of The Strain
W
and del Toro directing the
Fantastic Voyage remake
for James Cameron there.
The city and its colony
of VFX and animation
shops is driven by larger,
full-service players
like Mr. X, a division of
Technicolor; Spin VFX;
and Soho VFX, which
created Boyd Holbrook’s
robotic hand in Marvel
Entertainment’s Logan.
“We’re definitely widening the skills and always
trying to add new tools to
the toolbox,” says Soho VFX
visual effects supervisor
Berj Bannayan. “It allows us
to attack different projects
when we might have been
more timid in the past.”
Toronto also has smaller
FX outlets that producers
turn to when they have too
much to do, too little time
and a tight budget.
John Wunder’s shingle
The Coalition Group shot
the indie thriller Huntsville,
starring Game of Thrones’
Sophie Turner, in Los
Angeles, then handed
The Shape of Water
postproduction on the project to Toronto’s Eggplant
Picture & Sound. Wunder
recalls Eggplant saving the
day with a tight turnaround
on a very difficult VFX shot.
“They delivered the shot
one week later, and it was
perfect,” says Wunder. “It’s
not that people in L.A. can’t
do that, but it was done
quickly and perfectly.”
Ontario, as elsewhere
in a crowded and competitive global industry,
is supported by digital
tax breaks to entice L.A.
studios to bring work there.
The Ontario Computer
Animation and Special
Effects Tax Credit is an
18 percent refundable tax
credit on eligible Ontario
labor expenditures for
digital animation and visual
effects for film and TV.
But Karen ThorneStone, president and
The Breadwinner
10 years ago, I was Dreaming of
where I’d be now.
Best advice Overcome the notion
that you must be regular. It
robs you of the chance to be
extraordinary.
Big break Getting cast in the
Disney XD TV series Aaron Stone.
That put me on the map and gave
me traction. They also named my
character after me!
CEO of the Ontario Media
Development Corp.,
which markets Ontario to
Hollywood, recommends
looking at the creativity and customer service
of Toronto digital artists
and technicians, not the
tax incentives and skill
sets that, all things being
equal, are found in rival
jurisdictions like Vancouver,
Montreal and L.A.
“It’s a bottom-line-driven
industry, but no one wants
to make poor quality,” she
says. “So quality first, price
second.”
An emphasis on quality and efficiency is also
driving Ontario’s digital
animation sector to new
heights. The OMDC’s last
sector report in 2014 points
to the VFX and animation
industries in Ontario earning $397.8 million in 2014,
up sharply from $156.3 million in 2010.
Director Nora Twomey
(Oscar-nominated film The
Secret of Kells) and executive producer Jolie chose
Toronto’s Guru Studio to
help design the stylized animation in The Breadwinner.
“I had no idea it was
possible to get such a
beautiful result,” Twomey
tells THR. “Guru’s commitment to finding the best
artistic solutions to every
problem we encountered
makes the animation quite
special.” — E.V.
The best thing about being Canadian is
The collective pride that we feel
when a fellow Canadian is internationally recognized for their
talent and positive contribution
to the world.
ACTOR
Erica Tremblay | 7
The younger sister of
11-year-old Room star Jacob
Tremblay, she recently starred
opposite Jenna Elfman on ABC’s
Imaginary Mary and will next be
seen alongside Lizzy Caplan in the
thriller Extinction.
Mentors I really like Emma Watson
first, then my brother, Jacob.
The best thing about being Canadian is
ACTOR
You’re always kind, and we get
free health care!
When I’m not working, I’m Cleaning my
room, because I love cleaning. Or
I play on my trampoline with my
uncle.
I wake up at Way before everyone
else in the house.
Best advice You have to be in character all the time. Like, when you
do a scene and they have to cut
and reset the cameras, you can’t
get out of character, because it’s
hard to get back into character.
Finn
Wolfhard | 14
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
The Vancouver-born
Wolfhard, who plays the plucky
Mike Wheeler on Netflix’s Emmy
contender Stranger Things, will
next be seen in the big-screen
reimagining of Stephen King’s horror classic It.
Biggest 2017 accomplishment A cast
SAG Award for Stranger Things.
10 years ago, I was Laughing
at cartoons with my brother.
Now we both voice them, and
68
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
we laugh harder than ever.
Mentors Matt and Ross Duffer,
Shawn Levy, David Harbour,
Andy Muschietti.
Best advice It was from Shawn, and
it’s private.
The best thing about being Canadian is
Health care for all at either no or a
reasonable cost.
When I’m not working, I’m Playing with
my band, Calpurnia.
I wake up at No more than 10 minutes before I have to leave.
The first thing I do in the morning is Go
back to sleep.
WOLFHARD: DAVID LIVINGSTON/GETTY IMAGES. SARANGA: VIPOOSITHA GNANENTHRA. TREMBLAY: ANDREW CHIN/GETTY IMAGES. BREADWINNER: COURTESY OF TIFF. WATER: COURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT.
Canada’s
Rising
Stars
Rising Stars of Canada
ABIGAIL PNIOWSKY
VAS SARANGA
MARK O’BRIEN
ALEXIA FAST
THE CHARACTERS
TA L E N T A G E N C Y
PHOTO: ROBERT I MESA
MENA MASSOUD
DEVERY JACOBS
PROMOTION
Corinth
TODAY IN
EN TE RTAI NM EN T
NEWSLETTER
Get an early brief of what matters
in entertainment now.
Sign up at THR.COM/NEWSLETTERS
Right Story (1947 Mississippi thriller)
Right For the times
Right For the appropriate Director
By Gene Lassers steamtrn@aol.com
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON/KINDLE BOOKS
Backlot
Creative
Arts
Emmys
2
1 The Simpsons’ VR Emmy contender, Planet of the Couches,
gives users different views of the opening-sequence couch gag.
2 Mission: ISS provides an immersive tour of the space station.
laugh. “The meaning of [VR] as entertainment is still very much up for grabs,” he says.
“Education is a slam dunk. VR for museums,
travel — that should be taking off right now.”
1
In fact, two of the other three VR projects
nominated this year are in the original interactive program category, and they definitely
educate. (The third is Dear Angelica, described
as a short story illustrated with VR.)
Mission: ISS, a collaboration among NASA,
Oculus and Magnopus, puts the viewer aboard
the space station, where users can “float” in
By Carolyn Giardina
zero gravity. “NASA has a 3D model of the ISS,
and we were able to get access to [it],” says
TV Academy governor of the interactive media Magnopus partner Ben Grossmann. Several
peer group.
former NASA astronauts tested the experience
Six VR projects were nominated, including
and provided feedback during production. The
three in the creative achievement in
European and Canadian space agenCreative Arts
interactive media within a scripted
cies also contributed.
Emmys
program category. They’re all based
The People’s House — Inside the
Sept. 9-10
on popular series, including The Mr.
White House With Barack and Michelle
Microsoft
Robot Virtual Reality Experience (USA),
Obama, from Felix & Paul Studios,
Theater, L.A.
Stranger Things VR Experience (Netflix)
along with Oculus and Samsung, was
and The Simpsons’ Planet of the Couches (Gracie
shot after the 2016 election and includes a sitFilms, Google Spotlight Stories).
down with the Obamas as they reflect on their
“If it’s a twinkly object, we are there,” says
time in the residence.
Simpsons executive producer James L. Brooks,
“We wanted to create the feeling that you
are experiencing this environment in a very
adding that he realized VR’s potential after
personal way — feeling the emotion and conit allowed him to have “a connection like you
nection between them and the environment,”
have in real life. That was thrilling.” When his
team talked about how to apply the technology says co-director Felix Lajeunesse. “You could
to the show, they went with the iconic openfeel the sense of legacy — that you are there at
ing sequence couch gag because it made them
the end of an era.”
S
ome of this year’s Emmy nominees can
put you aboard the International Space
Station, beside former President Barack
Obama in the Oval Office or in a Simpsons couch
gag — all thanks to virtual reality.
Projects using VR technology were first
eligible for the Creative Arts Emmys in 2015,
when Fox’s Sleepy Hollow Virtual Reality
Experience became the first VR vehicle to win
an award for creative achievement in interactive media. In 2016, Oculus Story Studio’s
animated short Henry nabbed an Emmy for
original interactive program. This year, there
was a broader range of VR contenders for the
awards, which will be presented Sept. 9 and 10
(a show highlighting both nights’ honors will
air Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. on FXX).“We are seeing
VR as a creative platform that is speaking to
the full range of genres,” says Seth Shapiro, a
OTHER
NOTABLE
NOMINEES
The interactive
media categories
bring increasing
ingenuity to the
Creative Arts Emmys
SCRIPTED INTERACTIVE MEDIA PROGRAM
RESISTANCE RADIO CAMPAIGN FOR
THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE (AMAZON)
UNSCRIPTED INTERACTIVE MEDIA PROGRAM
STAND FOR RIGHTS
A BENEFIT FOR THE ACLU WITH TOM HANKS
For the series’ alternate-post World War II
world, this radio show gave voice to a revolutionary movement. The unique multimedia
campaign included a live event at SXSW.
The nomination marks a first for
Facebook Live for live-streaming a
fundraiser that aired April 1 and featured
Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey and others.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
70
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
UNSCRIPTED INTERACTIVE MEDIA PROGRAM
THE VOICE ON SNAPCHAT (NBC)
This is the first nomination for an
original show on the popular social media
app. As a companion to NBC’s hit singing
competition, it will return to Snapchat when
the new season begins Sept. 25.
SIMPSONS: COURTESY OF THE PR KITCHEN. MISSION: COURTESY OF MAGNOPUS. HANKS: DANA EDELSON/ACLU VIA GETTY IMAGES. VOICE: TRAE PATTON/NBC. RESISTANCE: COURTESY OF AMAZON STUDIOS.
Tux? Check. Virtual Reality
Goggles? Got ’Em New tricks in VR
hit the Creative Arts Emmys
C HE
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VA L 5 T H Y E AR
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RON BURKLE
KENNETH COLE
JASON WEINBERG
MERT ALAS & MARCUS PIGGOTT
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PROMOTION
2
3
1
4
Ontario’s
Diverse Talent on Display at Canadian Music Café
BY KAREN BLISS
In the heart of the Toronto International
Film Festival® (TIFF) this year, one of
the highlights for music supervisors and
filmmakers is The Canadian Music Café,
a two-day, industry-only afternoon
music showcase that has resulted in
syncs for film, TV, advertising and video
games. Held at the xoTO Filmmakers
Lounge (270 King Street W.) Sept. 11-12,
it is open to TIFF badge holders and
by invitation.
“The idea is to create a music environment where
the film and music industries can collide and talk
to each other, with the focus being on 10 up-andcoming, semi-established artists that most people
outside of Canada have not heard yet,” says music
supervisor Michael Perlmutter (Degrassi, The
Handmaid’s Tale), Instinct Entertainment founder
and president of the Guild of Music Supervisors
Canada, who curates and books the Music Café.
“We’ve had some supervisors say that it’s the
best work-play music event they’ve ever been to.”
“The Music Café is a unique opportunity to
showcase the diverse talent Ontario has to offer
and create meaningful business opportunities for
everyone involved,” adds Marina Adam, manager
of the Ontario Music Fund (OMF) at the Ontario
Media Development Corporation (OMDC), a
principal supporter of the Music Café.
Half of the 10 acts at this year’s Music Café are
Ontario-based or born, including former BET 106
& Park host and R&B singer Keshia Chanté, indie
rock band Fast Romantics, Polaris Music Prize
2017 short-listed Latina singer Lido Pimienta,
soulful pianist JP Saxe and electro-pop singer
Lowell. The other five are rock band Walrus
from Nova Scotia; ambient pop singer KROY
and electro-folk artist Geoffroy from Quebec;
and rock duo The Pack A.D. and singer-songwriter
Luca Fogale from British Columbia.
Now in its ninth year, each day five acts will
perform a 20-25-minute set capped by a unique
song-to-scene performance, for which one of
their songs has been matched by Perlmutter with
a film clip that is projected behind them while
they play. “Supervisors haven’t seen that
before,” says Perlmutter.
Canadian music publishers generate $280 million
a year ($221M USD) in revenues, according to
Statistics Canada, growing annually, and the
majority of these companies are based in Ontario,
home to recent global chart-toppers Justin Bieber,
The Weeknd, Drake, Alessia Cara and Shawn
5
Mendes. Music is a major part of the province’s
cultural industries which contribute $17 billion
($13.5B USD) annually to the economy.
“Through direct funding and industry events
such as this, the Ontario Music Fund has supported
Ontario artists of all levels, like A Tribe Called
Red, Walk Off the Earth, Jazz Cartier and Serena
Ryder, who are top draws at home and increasingly
making strides outside the country,” notes Adam.
Since its inception in 2013, the Ontario Music
Fund has invested $60M ($47.5M USD) in Ontario’s
music industry, resulting in sales of more than 5.6
million recordings domestically and over 7 million
internationally; 4 million in attendance at live music
events, featuring over 4000 performances by
Ontario artists; and $14M ($11M USD) in business
deals from export missions and B2B meetings.
“It might take a while for a placement, but the
fact that these supervisors, film executives and
directors are in the room and get to hear the
music — and they walk away with a USB stick and
contact info — allows them to stay in touch with
the labels and the managers and the publishers,”
says Perlmutter. “It’s an important part of what
the Café does. We are a meet and greet hub to
create the relationships for future business.”
In addition to the OMDC, the OMF and the City of
Toronto, the Music Café is also made possible by
the Government of Canada, through the Canada
Music Fund.
1/ Keshia Chanté 2/ Fast Romantics
3/ Lido Pimienta 4/ Lowell 5/ JP Saxe
Backlot
Oldenburg
Film
Festival
IN PRAISE OF
ED PRESSMAN
The producing
legend weighs in on
three of his titles
that will screen as
part of a multiday
fest retrospective
1
Rebel Cinema
Finds a Home in
Germany The
Oldenburg fest even
holds screenings
for inmates By Scott Roxborough
Matthew Berkowitz that stars NFL running back turned
actor Thomas Q. Jones (Straight Outta Compton); Dan
Mirvish’s dark comedy Bernard and Huey, featuring
Anchorman’s David Koechner; Crowhurst, a biopic from
Simon Rumley about Donald Crowhurst, the British busi-
nessman who died in 1969 while trying to sail around
the world solo (Rumley’s thriller Fashionista, a hit on this
year’s genre-focused Fantastic Fest circuit, also will be
making its German premiere at Oldenburg); and Quest,
an inspirational tale from Santiago Rizzo, based on the
teacher and mentor who saved the first-time director from
a life of crime.
Quest has been picked for Oldenburg’s sought-after
prison slot. It will be screened Sept. 16 for a group of festival attendees and inmates at the city’s maximum security
orsten Neumann has a thing for the underdog.
prison, JVA Oldenburg. The prison screenings, far from
When he co-founded the Oldenburg Film Festival
being a gimmick, are an integral part of the festival: In
24 years ago, Neumann wanted to create a show2016, Amanda Plummer attended a screening of Pulp Fiction
case, and an industry platform, for the kind of movie that
gets made against the odds.
to a packed (and yes, captive) audience.
“The film that takes risks, that’s driven by passion, not
And, like every year, Oldenburg’s 2017 lineup includes
by the market,” he says.
several passion projects that embody the term “indepenWhile most second-tier festivals content themselves
dent” — perhaps none more than Junk Head, the Japanese
with a selection of the year’s greatest hits from Cannes,
sci-fi film that will have its European premiere. Artist
Venice and Toronto, Oldenburg, free from the
Takahide Hori spent seven years meticulously
pressure of studio politics, has put the focus on
designing every aspect of the stop-motion feaOldenburg
discovery. It’s a lineup that is carefully curated,
ture that is centered on a postapocalyptic battle
Film Festival
not market-tested.
between humans and clones. He wrote, directed,
Sept. 13-17
Oldenburgisches
“It’s become extremely hard for independent
shot and scored Junk Head, did the animation
Staatstheater
distributors to take chances on films that don’t
and provided all the voice work. Hori’s name is,
have a built-in audience,” says Neumann. “We
literally, the only one on the credits. “He takes the
want to give those films a platform, especially for smaller concept of indie to a whole other level,” says Neumann.
distributors who can really use us to generate attention.”
While Oldenburg remains primarily a “pure” film
American cinema is a lifelong obsession for Neumann,
festival, with no official market or industry screenings,
and Oldenburg has been a haven for U.S. genre fare
Neumann last year introduced an industry-friendly
since the beginning. This year, the festival features four
element, the Matchbox co-production lounge, to bring
world premieres from American directors: A Violent
together experienced filmmakers and emerging talents to
Man, a mixed martial arts drama from writer-director
help make impossible projects happen.
This year’s slate of films seeking backing includes Fake
Oxygen, a modern-day retelling of Madame Bovary from
2
3
Dunja Kusturica, the daughter of two-time Palme d’Or winner Emir Kusturica, and The Seventh Magpie, a new project
from 1970s directing legend Nicolas Roeg (Don’t Look Now,
The Man Who Fell to Earth).
Says Neumann, “We want to provide a place where these
passion projects can be made and seen, hopefully at a
future Oldenberg festival.”
AMERICAN PSYCHO
(2000)
“Christian Bale,
who wasn’t yet a big
star, wanted to do it.
Then Titanic opened
and Lionsgate sent
Leonardo DiCaprio the
script and he wanted
to do it. But [director]
Mary Harron told
me: ‘Leo will never do
the movie,’ so wait it
out. She was right.”
T
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
74
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
“Badlands was made
like a Broadway play,
we got $25,000 in
financing here, $50,000
there. My mother
invested in the movie
… It took a long time to
edit. [My mom] called
[director] Terry Malick
and told him to finish
the film.”
PHANTOM OF THE
PARADISE (1974)
“We sold the film to
Fox but, like Badlands,
it had an unsuccessful
initial release. So we
did it ourselves. We
took the film to Little
Rock, to Memphis, to
Dallas. It did really well
and the studio came
back on board and did
a second release.”
STILLS: COURTESY OF OLDENBURG FILM FESTIVAL (6). PRESSMAN: EMMA MCINTYRE/GETTY IMAGES.
1 Hori’s Junk Head. 2 Rumley’s Fashionista. 3 Berkowitz’s A Violent Man.
BADLANDS (1973)
EXCAVATING FUTURE CULTURE ON THE MIRACLE MILE
88 Years of THR
Memorable moments from a storied history
1980
1981
1982
199 8 3
19
9 84
19855
1988 6
19887
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
19933
199
94
1999 5
1 99
96
1997
1 999 8
199 99
20
0 00
0
In ’90, Tim Curry Embodied It’s Scary Clown on TV
The old showbiz adage “a Bond film
is only as good as its villain” also
applies to movies made from Stephen
King novels. In 1990, ABC hit the
jackpot when it cast Tim Curry as the
evil, wisecracking clown Pennywise
in It, based on King’s 1,138-page
book. The Hollywood Reporter called
the two-part, four-hour epic “one
big kicky ride thanks to the charismatic acting of Curry as savage,
sneering malevolence.” Director
Tommy Lee Wallace tells THR, “My
job was to give Tim the stage and
not get in his way too much. He was
like Robin Williams in the way he
brought a spontaneous improvisation to the part.” The British actor
originally had made a name for
himself in 1973’s stage production
(and later in the film) The Rocky
Horror Picture Show. He was a hit as
the fishnet-stockings-wearing mad
scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter, who
was, as the show’s lyrics described
him, “just a sweet transvestite
from Transsexual, Transylvania.”
Though Roddy McDowall, Alice
Cooper and Malcolm McDowell were
all considered for the Pennywise
part, Curry won out with, he says,
“the idea of turning what a clown is
upside-down, so he’s not particularly lovable.” He gave Pennywise
a gravelly Bronx accent, like an
old-time Catskills comic. “I just let
it happen,” he says. “Clowns are your
worst fear realized. I think I scared
a lot of children.” The $12 million
production ($22 million today) was
a ratings blockbuster, watched by
more than 37 million households.
New Line’s version
(out Sept. 8) stars
Bill Skarsgard,
27, son of Stellan
and brother to
Alexander, in the
Pennywise role.
— BILL HIGGINS
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T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
76
SE P T E M BE R 6, 2017
BOB D’AMICO/ABC/GETTY IMAGES.
↑ Curry played the epitome of evil in ABC’s adaptation of the 1986 King novel, which premiered on Nov. 18, 1990.
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