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The Badass Cinema Rundown for October 21st, 2011

tn_karensiscoI hope everybody, or most people, or a couple people are enjoying all the horror reviews this month. I’m happy that I’ve found time to watch a healthy amount of them, plus throw in the occasional TREE OF LIFE or LAWRENCE OF ARABIA when it comes up. But of course the Badass Arts are never far from my mind, so once again I’ve compiled some links and comments on various news from the past couple weeks related to some of my favorite ass-kicking authors and actors, etc. This one includes theatrical releases, DTV, TV, one book, and ballet. Well, all except the last one. Sorry Telf. But I think there’s alot of things to be excited about here.

UNDISPUTED 4, MOTHERFUCKERS

DATELINE, SCOTT ADKINS’ TWITTER ACCOUNT: The UNDISPUTED 2-3 star reports, “For those asking Undisputed 4 is coming.” He doesn’t elaborate except to answer a fan’s question of whether or not Michael Jai White will be in it (he won’t). Adkins has alot of movies in the can and coming up but the one he seems most excited about is the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER which he has said “will blow ur mind.”

PARKER UPDATE

Jason Statham was on a web-exclusive episode of The Treatment podcast with Elvis Mitchell, talking about THE KILLER ELITE, and he said something I had never heard reported about the PARKER movie: “It’s funny, we talk about ’70s movies, the original script that we were talking about doing was written 30 years ago, so it was like, do we want to make it a period piece or do we want to modernize it and make it up to date? So we discussed that and Taylor was right in making a modern version of it, I feel.”

On IMDb the script is credited to John J. McLaughlin, writer of BLACK SWAN, so either they heavily rewrote it or he’s saying they had a different Parker script they considered but made an all new one. Whatever he means it brings up the question of what the 30 year old script is that he’s talking about, and I have a theory. This would be more than 30 years old, but Brian Garfield (author of the novel Death Wish and friend of Donald Westlake) wrote an adaptation of Butcher’s Moon for Charles Bronson and Michael Winner to do (discussed in this interview). That was while the duo were filming DEATH WISH, which neither Garfield or Westlake ended up thinking was well directed, so Bronson and Winner ended up leaving and it never happened. Too bad, Bronson would’ve been a better Parker than most.

Anyway, as far as PARKER, some of the character names on IMDb seem to match up with a later Parker novel, Flashfire, so the prevailing theory is that it’s loosely based on that one.

LAST STAND UPDATE

I’m happy to read that Schwarzenegger has actually begun filming that movie with the great Kim Jee-Woon (I SAW THE DEVIL). So it’s actually gonna happen, looks like. Good choice. The cast includes Ghost Dog (GHOST DOG), Harry Dean Stanton (COCKFIGHTER) and Luis Guzman (THE LIMEY). And Johnny Knoxville and Peter Stormare.

CARLA GUGINO ON JUSTIFIED

Did any of you fellas watch that show Karen Sisco when it was on back in ’03? That was a show I really dug based on the federal marshal character from Elmore Leonard’s Out of Sight, played by Jennifer Lopez in the movie. I love that movie and wasn’t sure about accepting another actress as Karen, but Carla Gugino was so good she replaced J-Lo in my mind as the character.

Like Justified the show did a good job of capturing Leonard’s tone, with a charismatic lead, imperfect heroes, a sense of humor and interesting guest-criminals that sometimes became the focus of the episodes. The same director, Michael Dinner, did the pilots for both shows. Although critics loved it Karen Sisco only lasted 10 episodes and for some fuckin reason has never made it to DVD.

Well, that hasn’t changed, but Gugino’s gonna be on Justified in season 3.

The article on tvline.com that broke the news says she plays “Karen Goodall, a Washington, D.C.-based assistant director of the U.S. Marshals Service who used to work with Raylan back in Miami — and as such shares a history with our favorite trigger-happy lawman. Goodall, who is twice-divorced and described as ‘tough, smart and funny,’ comes to Kentucky to help safeguard hidden witnesses who have become vulnerable after the murder of a U.S. Marshal.”

Is that sort of a re-named Karen Sisco, due to rights issues or some shit? I don’t remember Sisco having any ex-husbands, but I guess it’s been a while since we’ve seen her. She was a federal marshal working in Miami and I don’t think they’d give her the same first name if they didn’t want us to think that. I guess if Robert Forster shows up as her dad we’ll know for sure.

Also if you missed it Neal McDonough (STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI) and Mykelti Williamson (MIRACLE MILE) have signed on to play villains this season. And last season’s villain won an Emmy.

In related news, Leonard’s new novel is about (and called) Raylan, and comes out January 31st.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS

The LA Times is reporting that Justin Lin will film THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS parts 6 and 7 back-to-back next year and that they might connect into one large story. You know, like RED CLIFF, but with fast cars and big neck muscles instead of Chinese history and CGI arrows. In my opinion, ten years ago I would not have guessed that there would be six sequels to that movie and that two would be a 4-hour Furious Epic and that The Rock would be in them and that it would be really exciting.

How the fuck you make a 4-hour street racing heist movie I do not know, but they do have a big enough ensemble now I guess. And I hope Letty teaches Han how to fake his death at the beginning so we can bring Lucas Black into it.

Oh yeah, and there are rumors that Jason Statham will be in them too, but I don’t think that’s been confirmed at all.

DIE HARD 5.0 BETA

In anybody missed it, they’re calling the new DIE HARD picture A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. I’m not really for or against it. It would work best if it’s supposed to be the last John McClane adventure.

I would like to be excited for this. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with the director of MAX PAYNE and the writer of HITMAN you sort of have to lower your expectations. I assumed they would bring on another writer because I mean come on, the best thing he’s done was THE A-TEAM. I have a hard time imagining he came up with a good way to approach a difficult task. But I hope I’m wrong.

DETECTIVE JOHN TAKEN vs. WOLVES

Speaking of THE A-TEAM, director Joe Carnahan has a new one coming out in January called THE GREY, and the trailer came out a while ago so I meant to post it. Liam Neeson and friends are oil drillers who crash their plane in Alaska and have to fight a bunch of wolves or something. Personally I’ve found all of Carnahan’s movies to be mixed bags (yeah, even NARC, but it was pretty good) but this one does sound potentially good.

DJANGO UNCHAINED CASTING UPDATE

Tarantino’s slavery spaghetti western or whatever continues casting. Jamie Foxx is still the title character, trained in bounty hunting by Christoph Waltz. Leonardo DiCaprio is the villain, with Samuel L. Jackson working for him. Kevin Costner unfortunately had a scheduling conflict so he cannot play a slavedriver fight trainer, and has been replaced with Kurt Russell. Of course I generally prefer Russell, but I loved the idea of Costner playing a slimy racist asshole. Michael Kenneth Williams from some TV show has said that Tarantino wrote a role for him. Don Johnson has just been added, which is cool although Robert Rodriguez beat him to it by having him in MACHETE. Maybe Seagal is next.

HERE IS A DRAWING OF CLINT EASTWOOD BY THE LEGENDARY WRESTLER JERRY LAWLER

Here is a drawing of Clint Eastwood by the legendary wrestler Jerry Lawler

lawler_eastwood

A COUPLE OF EXPENDABLES 2 PICTURES

Some Expendablistic behind-the-scenes photos have been posted on Twitter by the various actors. Scott Adkins posted one of him in costume as “Hector”:

expendables2_hector
He reminds me of a guy that would be in MORTAL KOMBAT, or one of those background evil mutant characters from BRETT RATNER’S X-MEN 3, and I mean that as a compliment. A good super villain type of look. For some reason I have a feeling this is gonna be the movie that breaks him through to the next level of action movie success, but I guess that depends on what they give him to do and whether or not they manage to get him in frame when he’s doing it. Which might be unlikely from director Simon West.

And you probly saw this one:

expendables2_trinity
I know it’s foolish to get my hopes up for this movie, but I gotta admit that picture is pulling me in. Yeah, they were in that scene in the first one that I couldn’t hear because the people in the theater wouldn’t shut up, and I couldn’t tell if they actually shot it together because they rarely showed them in one shot. But this makes you hope for something better.

I love how they’re all wearing a different form of action movie adventure gear. Stallone’s got his Expendables uniform, complete with Action Wristwatch and cowboy-style side holsters. Bruce has more of a worldly mercenary look because of the scarf. I don’t think that’s an Ashton Kutcher Hollywood Douchebag Scarf, I think it’s more of an I’ve Been To the Middle East one. And is that a gun on his left side or a glove? I think it’s a glove. All the better to choke you with. Then of course Schwarzenegger has the ’80s Cop Who Plays By His Own Rules look with the Hawaiian shirt with trenchcoat (not pictured: cigar). It’s a look that says I don’t give a fuck about camouflage. No seriously guys, I really really don’t give a fuck. It’s a Hawaiian shirt, fer chrissakes.

And the planes in the background make me think they’re about to fly out to a jungle together and have a violent adventure. We’ll see I guess.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 21st, 2011 at 10:46 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

56 Responses to “The Badass Cinema Rundown for October 21st, 2011”

  1. I like the title of Die Hard 5, never minded the PG-13 of Live Free. What worries me is the February release date. What, they’re not even aiming for summer blockbuster anymore?

    Love the idea of 2 more FastsFuriouses. The two sequels back to back has never amounted to a good whole story though. Back to the Future III loses me, Matrix Revolutions is nonsense and the Pirates sequels are no good. And even when the part twos are good, BTTFII and Matrix Reloaded don’t really climax, they just stop. I just hope these have more racing as part of the plot.

    You forgot about Statham being offered Transformers 4 and 5!

  2. I second the hope that they bring in Lucas Black somehow on the Fast and Furious sequels. I liked the Tokyo Drift sequel a lot. I think it’s the third best movie in the series, and a big part of that was Lucas Black. The other part was the crazy Japanese dancing before one of the races.

    Does anyone else find the title to the new Die Hard to be kind of dirty sounding?

    Oh, and that shirt Arnie has on is the hotness.

  3. Ah this news makes me happy. I think.

    No news about Seagal vern?
    you probably know this already but
    I read that he is going to do some mexican border patrolling for a new tv series if I remember correctly.
    and also, in my little country called the Netherlands they have this new steven seagal commercial!

    check it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clvJ2EherCs

    it’s about soundproof/burglarproof doors or something.

  4. As much as I love to see more Scott Adkins, having him in Undisputed 4 would break that series’ unique formula of having the bad guy in the one movie be the good guy in the next. Kinda sucks.

    I’m also kinda sad to see Costner leave Django Unchained. I mean, I like Russell more and actually think he’d do a better job, but I was really looking forward to see Costner making a comeback. Playing Pa Kent in that new Zack Snyder movie isn’t really gonna do that, I think.

    Also, I think that Joe Carnahan is getting progressively worse as a filmmaker. Narc was good. I really like Smokin’ Aces and actually find myself watching it more than I probably should, but I wouldn’t call it a great action movie. As for A-team, it kinda went in the one ear and out the other. Pretty forgettable. I hope he gets better before he turns into the next Troy Duffy.

    So yeah, I guess the best news here is Carla Gugino in Justified. TV really is kicking cinema’s ass these days.

  5. Adkins looks weird as Hector, but in a good way. Kind of reminds me of Vernon Wells in Commando for some reason.

  6. Love that Seagal commercial btw!

  7. Agreed on Kevin Costner – as much as I like Kurt Russell I think he’s just too inherently awesome to play a dickwad effectively. Costner on the other hand…

    I was just gonna mention that it’d be cool to see DEADWOOD’s Gerald McRaney (George Hearst) in a role like that but having IMDB’d it I find that he does in fact appear in the cast list. No mention of a character name though.

  8. I don’t think Stallone, Bruce and Schwarzenegger are in costume in that pic. That’s just what they were wearing when they turned up for work that day.

  9. Also I think that by including including two guys that played pivotal roles in THE WIRE and DEADWOOD in his new movie, QT is clearly trying to send Vern a message. I’m not gonna say what that message might be, but I think that one would be foolish to ignore it.

  10. How the fuck did I type “including” twice without realising it? I even proofread that post like three times…

  11. I had no idea Bronson almost played Parker. It’s best not to think about what we lost. If it hasn’t been mentioned yet Bronsons movie THE STONE KILLER is on dvd finally. Just use that handy link to the right.

  12. I’m actually wary of the proposed FAST AND/OR FURIOUS sequels. I think the last one was way too bloated with unnecessary bromance, questioned loyalties, sunsets and lunkheaded family bonding. They could have easily chopped half an hour out of that fucker. Filming two sequels back to back will probably only encourage similar indulgent attempts at substance. No one involved in these films does substance particularly well.

    Mode7: I remember having doubts that Major Dad would be able to keep up with the tremendous cast of DEADWOOD. He did way better than I expected and was genuinely scary at times.

    Also, I think we’ll all forget the Costner casting pretty quick when we see how awesome Russell is in that film (assuming the film isn’t awful like DUSK TO DAWN). I’d be willing to argue that not only is Russell better suited to Tarantino’s style and to genre film in general, but that Russell is in every way a better actor than Costner. I don’t think Costner has a Robert Forster performance left in him.

  13. The “Justified” news is best.

    Not “is the best”, spoken like East European mobster.

  14. I just assume when you talk it all sounds like Eihi Shiina. Kikiri-kiri-kiri.

  15. Jareth, your problems with Fast Five were mine too! I’m fine with the male bonding in principal but it dragged out a plot that should have been pretty smooth and simple. It’s like they had all the right elements but not in the right order. But I wrote about this in April. So yeah, the sequels will probably go that way anyway. Although the post-credits tag in Fast Five already indicates that the plot of 6+ are headed in the right direction, more about the family unit than some random Brazilian bad guy. And somebody please stop Han from going to Tokyo!

  16. Flashfire could make a pretty good reintroduction to Parker if they’re not doing another Hunter adaptation. It’s got him being betrayed at the start by his partners in a job and left broke, and then shows him pulling a series of smaller jobs just to fund his plan to get them back. The fact the money he raises for that is more than what was stolen from shows how he’s got principles and is driven, and there’s other stuff in it like a hit squad after him and a civillian he reluctantly lets help him…which I hope to god isn’t turned into a romantic subplot.
    Gugino is JUSTIFIED’s good to hear, and actually weird because when the show first started I hadn’t seen it and for some reason had misheard that she was in it as Raylan’s ex-wife. The powers of wishfull thinking, gentlemen.

  17. Off-topic, but in the bad ass department…has anyone bought BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY?

    Jesus its practically the ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK video game we never got.

  18. Scott Adkins is one single day younger than me. Every time I see his handsome face and muscular torso I feel a little bit more depressed

    Also as much as I love Boyka, I can’t see how there could be a new movie with him fighting that wouldn’t undermine the end of Undisputed 3.

    You know how ladies sometimes go all teary-eyed about some part in some girly flick like Dirty Dancing?
    I feel the same way about the bit where he starts to laugh at the end of U3

    It’s just something in my eye! Again!

  19. RRA

    I like it too but weirdly I sometimes kind of feel sorry for bad guys who are just minding their own business when suddenly I swoop down and stomp the shit out of them

    Especially when they’re saying things like Why is Batman here? Ain’t we in prison already??

    I almost leave them be but then they start calling me a pussy so I feel Ok about my unprovoked violence

  20. The only downside of ARKHAM CITY is that it makes you confront the cold hard reality of the fact that in real life you will never be able to just Batman the shit out of a bunch of armed thugs on any given day. Best beat-downs this side of IP MAN.

    In fact, the only time I will Batman the shit out of anyone is if they disagree with my use of Batman as a Verb, and that may be a tad excessive.

  21. Jareth: Have you seen MR. BROOKS? Costner was great in it. I think he has an essential aloofness that lends itself well to psychos, but he’s got enough of that leading man charisma left over to still be sympathetic. Obviously I’m not complaining about Russell, but I was looking forward to seeing Costner in that role. I think he’d have been really good in it.

  22. Jareth- I’ve just recently rewatched DEADWOOD and I can say with absolute certainty that Gerald McRaney was fucking perfect in that part. I dunno if it was the lighting or the make-up or whatever, but to me it’s one of those times when actor and character just come together in such a way that it seems they were just born to do it.

    I dunno what it is about QT but that motherfucker has an eye for casting like no one else. It’s verging on supernatural.

  23. Not that QT cast DEADWOOD, but he’s obviously taking a few cues from that show.

  24. What’s up with the Mr. Brooks resurgence?

    When the movie came out all I heard about it was how bad it was. Lately though (online and in real life) there seems to be alot of people bringing that movie up saying how good it is. I always meant to check it out but maybe I’ll do it sooner rather than later.

  25. Maybe people finally got over the Dane Cook bashing and saw the movie for what it was.

  26. Fuck this, I’m going to watch Mr. Brooks NOW!

  27. My problem with MR. BROOKS was this: the storyline of Costner and his (imaginary) sidekick Hurt and that whole deal with the daughter and Dane Cook…a very good, fascinating movie where you are intrigued enough to follow a genuine psychopath with his own problems. A polished solid movie.

    Too bad that movie is just fucked by the useless stupid unnecessary Demi Moore subplot, which reeks like it escaped from a bad DTV action/thriller and raped itself into BROOKS like facehuggers or something. Thus dragging it into a skippable movie. Pity really, but the filmmakers did it and there fault.

    (In short, Ashton was right to sling dick outside home.)

  28. The new Statham Parker adaptation is indeed based on Flashfire, fairly closely from what I’ve been able to discern from various reports and set photos.

    Best,

    Trent
    The Violent World of Parker

  29. Hey, thanks for the verification, Trent. I love your websight. Good to hear from you. Do you have any insights into the 30 year old script thing?

  30. Vern, I guess you have no idea who Michael K Williams is, then? Because you need to rectify that. His Omar (from The Wire) is easily one of the baddest-assed characters in film and television history. Both literally and figuratively.

    If you catch my drift.

  31. Majestyk: I thought MR. BROOKS was probably Costner’s best work that I’ve seen (not being a sports fan, there’s a lot of his stuff I’ll probably never see), but I still think he only has two modes: wooden or hambone. It didn’t hurt that he was sharing a film with Demi Moore, who is always going to make you look good, a strategy everyone from Burt Reynolds to Ashton Kutcher seems to have benefitted from. I guess I prefer the more modest kind of psychos like those that William Hurt and Ed Harris played in A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. Costner just seemed like Lector Lite to me, but I agree with you that he probably would have been fine in Tarantino’s film, much in the way that Alec Baldwin would have been fine (though not transcendent) in Robert Forster’s role in JACKIE BROWN.

    But way to kill Dane Cook, Mr. Brooks. That was great.

    Mode7: One of the problems I’m finding as I get older is that the accumulated baggage of some actors can really work against them when the try something different or when the re-invention is more about spin and publicity than it is about the integrity of the project. Some succeed (like Jeffrey Tambor and Elizabeth Perkins) while others don’t (like Alan Alda, Bob Saget, David Duchovney or Bea Arthur). McRaney in particular had a real uphill battle for me with not one but two extremely mediocre t.v. shows under his belt that I was familiar with. But I agree that he was really good on DEADWOOD.

    You hear than, die hard SIMON & SIMON fans: I’m calling your show mediocre. Whaddya gonna do about it?

    As much as Tarantino is rightfully praised for his casting, I’d also say that he must have some sort of gift with working with actors. You can pretty much rely on most of his actors to know what they’re doing – Pam Grier, Buscemi, Roth, Jackson, de Niro, Forster. But it also seems to me that there’s heaps of work that was done to get certain performances up to snuff – like the physicality of Thurman and Hannah in KILL BILL, or the non-mugging of Chris Tucker. Bridget Fonda, a passable actor who is far too susceptible to pouting her way through movies, was exceptional in JACKIE BROWN; I’m inclined to credit Tarantino for that.

    Fred: I don’t want to bash FAST FIVE too much because it has some good stuff going for it and should be encouraged. But the bro stuff works better for me in comedies. HORRIBLE BOSSES was almost a broner. And PINEAPPLE EXPRESS was pretty much a bro job as far as I’m concerned.

  32. We don’t get “Justified” over here unfortunately, but “Karen Sisco” was a surprise late-night hit for Channel 4. Personally I liked it a lot more than the movie, but I’m on record as not having “got” “Out of Sight”. Maybe the one-hour serial format just works better for the material, for me.

    Other than that, I got nothing except… that photo of Adkins… the arm HAS to be photoshopped, right? Nobody’s arms are that bulgy.

  33. Arnold looks about ten years younger in that picture than in other photos we’ve seen him. Politics and messy divorces can grind a man down, but hopefully he’s back now.

    Also in other Statham news: they want him for the next two TRANSFORMERS movies, which are supposedly shooting back to back. I’m okay with the Bay films, but don’t really have the need to see two more. Like with the Pirates films, I feel that when they hit number four, they’ve *really* ran out of ideas and everything is just tired and purely going for the dollars. Not that the previous films weren’t about making money, but still.

  34. Both Michael Bay and Jason Statham have denied the rumors about Transformers 4, 5 and Stat’s involvement a few days ago.

  35. Okay then. Never mind.

    I did read about Bay not being on board, other than maybe producing it. But didn’t know about Statham.

    Maybe it was all just fan casting. Statham would be a pretty good fit for a summer blockbuster about fighting giant robots. And it’s not like he hasn’t been involved lesser projects before.

  36. One of the performances in a Tarantino movie that really impressed and surprised me was Lucy Lui in Volume 1. She handled that character so well. Something about her voice. I get kinda turned on every time I hear her speak in that role. Apparently Asian girls that don’t appear meek turn me on. Well, not that the other Asian girls don’t turn me on as well. Okay, I have a thing for Asian girls.

    As for Statham, if I was him I absolutely would not deny my possible involvement in the new Transformers movies. In fact, I’d start spreading the news. Would be interesting to see who they replace Bay with. Probably someone mediocre as hell, like Stephen Sommers.

  37. I presume that Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, will be taking over for Michael Bay.

  38. Knox: There are good films out there with really competent casts, like THE USUAL SUSPECTS or LA CONFIDENTIAL, but sometimes a film comes along where the cast and crew all seem so atuned to the material and so committed to the film’s tone that it’s as if we’re peeking into a different world. KILL BILL is like that.

    I assume the success of this kind of film has something to do with the pep talk that the director gives before shooting.

  39. Jareth said: I assume the success of this kind of film has something to do with the pep talk that the director gives before shooting.

    You’re probably right, Jareth. The director really sets the tone for the whole cast. I always promised myself if I ever direct a movie I would workshop the cast as a group but also meet with the actors individually to hone their characters. By the time they go to rehearsal they should know their characters intimately and have all their questions answered. They should also be really well acquainted with their relationships with the other characters. It’ll go a long ways to making everything gel smoothly when shooting.

    And for the record, I think LA CONFIDENTIAL is one of the finest ensemble movies ever. It was robbed at the oscars that year.

  40. I like TRANSFORMERS and I like Statham, but I don’t think they’d be doing each other any favors. As badass as Statham is, what the fuck is he gonna do against a 50-foot-tall robot from outer space? He’d just end up like Tyrese and Whatsisdick from the other movies, yelling “Go, go, go, gogogogo!” while firing hundreds of ineffectual bullets. You can get anybody to do that.

    Unless they were planning to have him play the Chevzilla version of himself from CRANK 2. In which case, fuck yeah, do that shit up.

  41. Darryll: Actors who have worked with David Lynch tend to credit their success on the kind of attentiveness that you describe in your post. Except for Balthazar Getty. David Foster Wallace wrote an acticle about the filming of LOST HIGHWAY that depicts Getty as doing “disrespectful and mean” impressions of Lynch on the set. He describes Getty as: “uninteresting and puerile and narcissistic as only an oil heir who’s a movie star just out of puberty can be.”

    Also, as a fan of LA CONFIDENTIAL, I’d be curious to read your take on Kim Bassinger’s performance in that film. I’ve never quite known what to think of it.

  42. Darryll, just remember not to over-rehearse. I’ve fallen for that trap a few times in the past, where I’ve exhausted my actors in rehearsals and ended up getting the best takes before the camera has even rolled.

    It’s a really tough line to walk, since different actors reach a scene’s peak at different times. I know, for instance, that Daniel Day-Lewis isn’t a big fan of rehearsals and prefers to just prepare on his own and do it on the day (of course, most actors can’t get away with that). If you’re a fan of the extensive rehearsal process, get classically trained actors. They live on that stuff. Also have a look at what someone like Mike Leigh does. He’s the king when it comes to creating characters with the actors, often months and months before shooting.

  43. Jareth – That doesn’t surprise me about Lynch. He’d have to work extra hard to get his actors to an organic place where everyone gets (or at least trusts) the weirdness. I’d imagine without extensive prep an actor for Lynch would get lost as to why they are doing certain things. I wonder if he shoots sequentially? Getty is a douche.

    Knox – I’m sure you’re right about over rehearsing. But what I’m talking about is just talking with the actors about the character, about relationships, certain scenes, answering any questions they may have, etc. All this before actual rehearsal. Rehearsal should be about performance. These creative meetings are about exploration. The director will have been with the material longer than the actors and should be a resource of information and ideas for actors to tap into.

    Especially when, like both Lynch and Tarantino, they are also the writers.

  44. I mean, you look at the performances in the STAR WARS prequels (yeah, I’m going there). Some great actors across the board without a single great performance out of any of them. Then you see the behind the scenes footage with Lucas sitting like fifty feet away (sometimes in another room) watching the performances dispassionately on a monitor. He insulated himself and made himself unavailable to the actors who were obviously starved for direction. And it showed in the films.

  45. Darryll, absolutely correct. I think writer/directors have a major advantage over directors who don’t have a hand in the writing process.

    As for Lucas, I guess nobody told him that performances can’t be “fixed in post”. Funny that he hasn’t embraced mo-cap the same way Zemeckis has. He’s probably waiting for the technology to catch up with his “vision”.

  46. He just seemed way more concerned with blocking the actor’s movements than with actual performance. I wonder if he realized this in hindsight?

    Everything I’ve seen regarding mo-cap seems to involve a highly immersive and physical relationship between actor and director. They have to really work hard together on that green stage to imagine the environment that will be added later. The director quite often goes toe to toe with an actor while they try to find the pace and tone and project the emotional content of a scene. Everyone is exhausted after a day of green screen work (Check out Jim Carrey’s brilliant performance as Scrooge. The BTS footage really attests to the amount of work he put into that) I don’t think this would be Lucas’s style at all. I think he finds actors an unwanted distraction from his toys.

  47. There’s also the ego problem, or the branding problem. Directing a bunch of unknown actors or actors with stage experience is probably a real pleasure for a director. But it must be a living hell for a sensitive director to be saddled with some prima dona star who wants to dominate the whole project, or to be confronted with a bunch of PR toadies who want to ensure that their star is “situated” properly in the project so that their marketability isn’t compromised.

    I wish I had a better example of a film than LIVING IN OBLIVION to give as an example. I suspect that that film is quaint compared to what really goes on.

  48. I will say this for Lucas: he can be quite good at blocking action. Attack of the Clones has some of the best blocking that year.

    I guess that’s why I think he’d like mo-cap, because it allows him to play to one of his strengths and because of the degree of performance manipulation allowed in post.

  49. You could be right about that, Knox. Are you being serious about the “best blocking of the year?” Can you elaborate on what you feel is effective blocking? I’d like to know.

    Jareth – Yeah, it would be hell, I’m sure, but don’t you think an actor would be labelled a dick early on (Balthazar Getty again) if they can’t get along with any directors? I just wonder how much of that bullshit a director is expected to put up with. “Get off my set you Marketeer Douche nozzles! Bruce, you can stay.” I guess a newb director would be considered easier to push around, though. Gotta take control of that set early on.

  50. “We don’t get “Justified” over here unfortunately,”
    Yeah we do. On Five or Five USA.

    I will also lend my endorsement to Batman: Arkham City.

    Speaking of Mo-Cap, I saw the TINTIN movie today. It’s a lot of fun, with some of the better cg mocap effects I’ve seen in a movie. Lots of cool, elaborate, clear action set pieces in it, though perhaps they get a bit exhausting towards the end and a bit of a crutch, but still a really well done movie, and Bell and Serkis make an excellent duo as Tintin and Haddock.

  51. Tobin Bell?

  52. I have been meaning to talk to you about the lack of Ballet around here.

  53. Good interview with Walter Hill, including a lot about his thoughts on “Drive” vs his “The Driver”:

    http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-10-26/film/night-and-the-city-walter-hill-on-the-warriors-and-the-driver/

  54. This was a great, lovingly crafted update Vern, that makes me excited for some of these new movies. Detective John Taken is a pretty funny name.

  55. I’ve said that least 2770117 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

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