Father Geek here in 104 degree (offical) Austin, actually when I got in my car to leave Harry's "Fortress of Solitude" at 6pm yesterday the reading of the OUTSIDE temp was 107, annnnd I was parked in the shade. That's quite a change from the temps in Minn.-St.Paul where Harry, Annette Kellerman, and I attended the ConVerence fest the 29th-4th, highs there were sitting around 77 degrees. Had a great time downing local brews and visiting with the area geeks till 5am each morn, picked up some astounding vintage lobby cards from GREEN MANSIONS, INVISIBLE BOY, I WAS A TEENAGED WEREWOLF, and the Tracy-Bergman DR.JEKELL MR.HYDE among others, and feasted on fantastic German, Greek, Cuban, and Brazilian food. Well enough of that, here's Latauro and the Downunder report...
That is so weird. The wind is blowing *toward* the storm.
After the editorial last week (http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=20572), I received the following letter from "Clown Shoes":
Having just read this week's column, I thought I'd weigh in on Project Greenlight's "Solo".
I was a contestant in PG Australia. I was also lucky enough to attend the screening of the three minute scenes that the top ten contestants made (there were about 20 tickets given out to "prominent community members", being those who had listed in the top 50, read lots of scripts in the review process, or contribute heavily to the message boards, unfortunately I only qualify for the last two).
I've also read Solo, as well as several other scripts that made the top 10, 50, and 100 (not surprising, since I think I read the second most scripts in the review section of the comp).
Was Solo the best script submitted to PG Australia? NO. IT WAS NOT.
So, was there any kind of interference in the competition? NO. MORGAN DESERVED TO WIN.
The judges clearly judged on all the information presented to them; the three minute video bio the top 50 made of themselves, the scene the top 10 directed, and of course the script.
Morgan O'Neill's three minute scene KICKED ARSE. It was absolutely breathtaking. Having seen this gives me more confidence in the film than the script does.
At the end of the top ten screening, they announced the top three, with the winner to be declared two days later. Speaking to my fellow contestants afterwards (again, about 20 of us) I think there was exactly one person who didn't take Morgan's winning as a foregone conclusion. No disrespect to the other nine (one has become a good friend) but most of us probably thought that as soon as we saw "Solo". Yes, it was that good.
As far as the Morgan O'Neill/Sam Worthington connection goes, it's unfortunate but not damning. Morgan has had a fairly good run as an actor, and has probably gotten to know all sorts of people (the three minute scene of "Solo" starred Jacek Koman from Moulin Rogue). Check out IMDB for some of Morgan's credits. There are probably plenty of people who could have been chosen for the judging panel who know Morgan. And hell, if an Australian actor was going to weight Project Greenlight in their favour, don't you think they'd pick a film that might have a role for them? (Solo doesn't have a role for an actor Worthington's age).
Two final thoughts:
-Yes, there have been some problems with disgruntled contestants, including one top 50 who didn't make the top ten being banned from the website under very murky circumstances, and
-You'll understand the selection of Solo when you see the show. Definitely.
If you use this, please call me "Clown Shoes."
It's important to note that I'm not begrudging Morgan O'Neill his win. I've not read his script or seen his video, and that my sincerest hope is that it kicks arse, cleans up at the box office, and puts some life into the barely-on-life-support Australian film industry.
The point (which I made last week) is that the connection between O'Neill and Worthington isn't fleeting; they made a film together! And not in the sense that they both got hired to work on a film, they got together and actively made it happen. There is a definite and undeniable connection that can be found by anyone with a passing knowledge of imdb.com.
Project Greenlight Australia made a serious error in not removing Worthington from the judging panel, and now there's an unnecessary cloud hanging over SOLO.
Still, the film is now in pre-production and will be hopefully be better than, say, STOLEN SUMMER.
* The cryptically-named "AICN Fan" wrote in with a first person Luthor, SUPERMAN, sighting. Here's what she said: "I had the pleasure of meeting the one and only Kevin Spacey this morning in Sydney. He was grabbing a coffee in Elizabeth Street. I don't know what to scoop first? 1) he's bald - so yes, Lex Luthor will be BALD! 2) He told the waitress (who was a bit nosey I thought - but I listened, saves me from pestering) that he mightn't be the "only villain in the movie". She then said something about 'The Joker'? (dumb woman!!). 3) After this he said he's going back to his live theatre and then he's talking to Sony Pictures about a sequel to The Usual Suspects. 4) He likes his coffee "milky". There you have it. Luthor sighting!" We keep hearing about this USUAL SUSPECTS sequel, but this is as close to a confirmation as I've heard. Spacey thinks this is a good idea? Seriously? Regardless, I think we're overlooking the big scoop here: he likes his coffee milky!
* Shockingly, there seems to be no end to the BATMAN sequel rumours. The latest, sent in to AICN-D by "The Stapler", is that Aussie actress Isla Fisher will play the next love interest. "Stapler" says "She'd fill the void left by Katie Holmes". I'd argue she'd fill the void *created* by Katie Holmes. Look, I was a big critic of Holmes in BEGINS, but if you're going to set up the character, at least follow through with it! The weakest part of all the BATMAN films has been the love interest, the need to pair Bruce Wayne up with some chick because, well, that's what films do. We just spent a film setting up the relationship between Wayne and Dawes. It'll make Holmes even more annoying if that plotline doesn't go anywhere! Isla Fisher was seen by eight-year-olds in one of the SCOOBY DOO films, and will next be seen in WEDDING CRASHERS.
* Hidden away in an interview with The Age, Oscar winner Adam Elliot (who apparently, before becoming a media whore, used to be an animator) admitted to turning down a bunch of projects. This isn't new; he's been mentioning how he's waved his hand dismissively at DreamWorks and the like who wanted to pour piles of gold into his pockets. What's interesting is the projects he named. Disney allegedly asked him if he'd like to come have a chat about directing FINDING NEMO 2, or MONSTERS INC 2. I guess this indicates there's been some serious talk on the matter. Disney: stop fooling yourself, get down on your hands and knees, and beg Lasseter & Co. to come back.
* Mary Murphy, curator of the Clive Owen News Page (http://www.murphsplace.com/owen/conews.html) wrote to chime in our report of Shekar Kapur's ELISABETH II: THE QUICKENING. "Latauro: Apparently there are THREE versions of the story being filmed. we have one version with Helen Mirren as Elizabeth (this is the version that Irons and Dancy are in), one version with Anne Marie Duff as Elizabeth, and one version with Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth (co-starring Clive Owen).ContactMusic is often unreliable because they rarely list sources for their information. I'd say they got their stories crossed again this time..." Phew. What's to bet Lorenza Di Bonaventura is behind at least two of these? Big shout out to Mary.
* Derek Luke (ANTWONE FISHER, SPARTAN) has just joined Tim Robbins in Phillip Noyce's South African drama HOT STUFF. As we've reported in the past, the film is based on the life of Patrick Chamusso.
* British TVC director Ringan Ledwidge's directorial debut will lens in Australia this September. MIDDLE OF NOWHERE is described as a "psychological thriller", in which two Brit backpackers come across an American with "ulterior motives". The script was inked up by James Watkins (MY LITTLE EYE) and Andrew Upton (Cate Blanchett).
* Australian filmmaker William Mather-Brown had just made his first feature documentary. One hundred minutes long, co-written and co-directed with Aaran Creece, narrated by Ewan Macgregor, TROY'S STORY was a biographical look at the life of Troy Bayliss, the Australian motorcyclist. The film recently took out the grand jury prize at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. Two weeks ago, William Mather-Brown jumped into the Le Var river in St Laurent du Val (in the south of France) to save his son Nicolas, 11. Nicolas survived, but his father did not. William Mather-Brown drowned at the age of 41. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends.
AWARDS AND FESTIVALS
2005 SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
New Zealand film IN MY FATHER'S DEN (directed by Brad McGann) took out Best Cinematography for DP Stuart Dryburgh.
TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
LOOK BOTH WAYS (directed by Sarah Watt) has been selected to play at the Toronto festival. It will play alongside John Hillcoat's THE PROPOSITION, and, reportedly, LITTLE FISH.
What's the big item for next year's festival? What must all entries include? A bubble. So, start adapting that fifteen page script about the hapless bank robbers to include a pivotal scene involving a kid blowing bubbles, and get your entry in by January 19, 2006.
3RD ANGRY FILM FESTIVAL
Submissions are now open for the third AFF. To enter, download a form at www.angryproductions.org. Details are up on the website, and the deadline for entries is August 12th.
The best film of the year opened at number one, despite Cruise's strange behaviour turning away, well, most of the people I've spoken to. It'd be nice to see it hold onto top spot against CRAPTASTIC FOUR, but people keep telling me how hot Jessica Alba is, so who knows?
1. WAR OF THE WORLDS
3. BATMAN BEGINS
4. HERBIE: FULLY LOADED
5. MR AND MRS SMITH
RELEASED THESE PAST TWO WEEKS
An about-time remake of James Toback's FINGERS is done in French, the Ephrons cleverly come up with a dull spin on a novel idea, a group of seventeen-year-olds play at astronauts, South Africa gives us another blockbuster on female circumcision, I was a teenage lesbian, an Australian film briefly slips onto a screen somewhere, life imitates art, a Thetan takes on a Martian, and we see the results of a Michael Moore-Ashton Kutcher birth.
THE BEAT MY HEART SKIPPED
MY SUMMER OF LOVE
WAR OF THE WORLDS
- Michael Moore returns to fiction, signing Mario Van Peebles to SWEET SWEETBUSH'S BAAGDADDDDD SONG
- Jack White and Meg White to play Santa and Mrs Claus in John Pasquin's GET BEHIND ME SANTA
- George Lucas returns to his character-based routes whilst remaining in the STAR WARS universe, penning a script about a fatherless Gungan discovering just who knocked up her mother all those years ago in DIVINE SECRETS OF THE JAR-JAR SISTERHOOD