Tuesday, February 26, 2008

David Mackenzie's "Spread" Hits a Small Snag?

Well it would seem that fate and possibly erroneous tabloid gossip are the order of the day with an update on the upcoming David Mackenzie/Ashton Kutcher film "Spread." Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh was announced to co-star in the new film, which I thought was due to begin production this week. However if the longtime US gossip column PageSix.com is to be believed,  rumor has it that Jennifer actually dropped out of the film last week, as she is apparently expecting and will be unable to take part in this movie. 

The part, which is described as a lawyer who is a 'jilted lover' of Ashton Kutcher's womanizer character in the romantic comedy, is now apparently going to be played by the awesome Laura Linney. Perhaps this is an active agent at work trying to subtly work some hype into the film (and take the focus off the tabloidesque hepatititus A story involving Ashton's bday party in New York) but if true, then I say  WOOHOO.

Laura Linney is a SUPERB actress, one of the finest "independent" actresses working today imo,(along with the always superb Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand, Shirley Henderson, Kathy Bates, Tilda Swinton, Julie Walters, Fiona Shaw, and to some extent the amazing Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett-dunno if you can include Emma Thompson in this category too but she surely is one of the finest actresses EVER) , so I hope this part is true. Nothing against JJL and its quite possible she can film of course while pregnant, but that should be her personal decision and I applaud her either way. Anyway if this rumor proves correct, and gives director David Mackenzie the opportunity to work with the calibre of actress that Linney is, she would totally both give Ashton some credibility that frankly is lacking, as well as surely deliver a good performance at the guiding hand of David. Yay!

ps-Laura Linney for the win on the red carpet at the Oscars when a clearly wacked out (ok more than normal) Gary Busey sandbagged her and Jennifer Garner during Seacrests interview on E. 

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sigma's Red Road Sequel Begins Production

In a departure from the norm, there is actually quite a bit of good news for a Monday.

First, Sigma Films of Glasgow, Scotland has issued a press release regarding the beginning of the sequel to the critically acclaimed "Red Road." The second film in the "Advance Party" trilogy, the "Rounding Up Donkeys" movie will see the return of the wonderful Katie Dickie and Martin Compston, as well as the arrival of two new actors to the series: James Cosmo, and Brian Pettifer. While I am not very familiar with Mr. Pettifer's work (seems like a lot of UK TV series that I never get to see), I am familiar with Cosmo who is a pretty good character actor, having great turns in hits like Narnia , and of course Braveheart. And ooh look- another installment for the six degrees of Sigma separation game lol: they both starred together in One Last Chance with my fave Jamie Sives -wOOt! :)

The plot of Rounding Up Donkeys is described thusly: "Alfred Patterson - played by Cosmo - learns of his impending death and decides it’s time to make amends with his estranged daughter and her precocious 12 year-old."
Not much to go on, but it will be interesting to see how they tie this into the previous films. Is he related to Tony Curran's character or prob Martin Compston (and no work yet alas if Tony C will be back)? Not sure how this will work, but I cant wait. I had to watch Red Road twice to really get a handle on what I thought of this film.

For me, I identified too strongly, too painfully to the character of Jackie, as I often feel part of me is like her; surely functional yet all frozen on the inside and locked away from real life and avoiding matters of the heart, just detachedly keeping an eye on the world via the net -or in her case the cameras as life goes on around her. (plus, the scene where she gets out her child's clothes and makes them into her little shape and sits and hugs and rocks it just devastated me. That was so real so honest so true, because if you've ever lost anyone you've loved, you know that scene intimately, the smells the way they feel are still there and I could barely finish watching the movie after that. The ending of the film gave me hope though, so I am hopeful then that the sequel will have more positive and joy for Jackie.

This is possible because details on what type of film the second Advance Party will be is "“a bittersweet, tragicomic, tale of making amends, as well as an arse of things." I so hope this is true; I could do with a laugh these days.

One last piece of good news: Congratulations go to Tilda Swinton for her Oscar win for supporting actress in Michael Clayton (hilarious speech too) Well done!

Bonus Video:You can say what you want about ole wacko Mel, and the Scots may hate this film (I'm adopted but my family is Scottish and they love this) Braveheart is a hella good movie, and it also contains imo one of the top ten scores ever done for a film. Here is a clip from the otherwise very brutal movie, where James Cosmo is seen briefly at the beginning-most of his scenes are fighting or making jokes- anyway it is just so lovely, I may need to go watch this whole film again tonight. Edit: They yanked the clip I had here originally, so here is one close (not so much Cosmos alas) but such a lovely scene worth adding anyway.

Friday, February 22, 2008

To Open Script on Sigma or Not, That is the Question...

To reveal or not, that is the eternal question, and the thought of the day.

It's so ironic that we are still struggling with this question, here in this extraordinary technologically advanced day and age, anyone can literally tell the whole world anything you want, and anyone can learn and read about it. We have texting, twittering, skyping, mass blogging, google mapping and surely don't forget youtubing: all things you can do to your heart's content to spread the word on whatever you want.

It is true of course that we all seek to communicate reach out share with others our emotions, ideas, connect -no man is truly an island despite our best efforts at seeking a life of solitude and privacy that we all need from time to time. I would have never found out more about things like Sigma had it not been for the technology (ie the ubiquitous google search)that helped me find my way to the original getyourpeople blog heh well almost 2 years ago now.

The question seems to be whether to reveal the working script for I Love Luci whether now or at any time in the future, and frankly I hope the author does NOT publish in advance of the film's release. Freaky and weird and probably the minority opinion I know, esp given that I write this blog, I work in news where I always have to KNOW and then SHARE. True enough, I believe in honesty, transparency, candor and truthfulness in my life, whether its in my work, the way I conduct myself and in the manner I interact with people. I've also had to learn the hard way many many times over if you dont say something, don't embrace the moment, then its gone and that opportunity just wont come again. It is to my great strength but often enough my own folly and detracting that I say how I feel, share my emotions and wear my heart out there, but this is who I am, so I always want to know what others are feeling thinking doing.

Having said all this, I most sincerely hope Colin doesn't give too much away too soon. I never read David Mackenzie's Hallam Foe script before it got yanked, didn't read the entire book by Peter Jinks before I saw the film, and I think it worked to my benefit. I know enough about the disappointments in the translation of words to screen (Harry Potter, even to some extent, LOTR), but imagination should be your own-thats something that no marketing, no spin, no filter can take away from you. I can not possibly begin to describe then my emotions after having followed that HF blog for so long, sitting the dark by myself watching Hallam Foe for the first time, what a joy it was-I almost cried lol when the opening titles played at the beginning, just overwhelming for me, and it was like Christmas the birthday and getting a huge hug all at once. Plainly speaking, I want to have this same thing happen again with Luci.

Writing is such an intimate personal thing anyway, even for a script. There are scores and scores of classes, blogs and websites for learning scriptwriting, and even though I've tried writing a script twice before (and failed miserably ), I just don't know what the honest benefits are to having the entire thing out there for the world to dissect and judge before the finished product. I think you should listen to the few you share it with, those that care the most, but at the end of the day, follow your gut your instincts. After all these films and scripts are a reflection of YOU and that is what I want to see, not some 'well this is the majority opinion, so that is what Im giving you then' type of movie. Sure enough you can always benefit from others critiques, opinions and improve for the better, but still.... Give me honest and sincere (if not 100% perfect)any day than a glossy pre-approved piece of work. Flaws and bumps are all part of the package of life; you can still have a great great great film , even with a few rough patches.

I often wonder what Shakespeare or writers like Dickens or Hemingway or even like Agatha Christie would have said if their publishers would have told them 'hey lets have a forum and reveal all the endings to your works BEFORE the audience reads them and if someone doesn't like say Iago or the murder should have been committed in the bedroom and not the study, we'll change them because a poll told us so! " Oy! On the Sigma website, it reads "Sigma focuses on identifying, nurturing and developing creative talent in order to produce work of the highest artistic value." While I appreciate this stance immensely, I think you can achieve this without having to tip your entire hand before, save some of the best for last!

Anyway, I enjoy the process of learning and chatting and the slow reveal and joy in getting to know people over a period of time. I also enjoy a surprise now and then, and part of the enjoyment of discovering and enjoying a film is NOT knowing every single thing before hand. What was that great line from Forrest Gump?..."Life's like a box of chocolates Forrest, you never know what you're gonna get." Just because you know the mechanical workings of a process, there is still great joy in discovering that final package, that seduction of the story and journey a film can take you on, so I for one just would rather know only tidbits. I'm more keen on learning and hearing about HOW you do this process, what thought patterns are behind the decision making than learning the entire script before hand. The learning and blogging of the journey is the package, the present is the film completed unopened and waiting for me in the theater at the end, and that's one present Im willing to wait for.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Jump and Kiss the Sky with Jamie Bell

This has nothing to do with Sigma Films per say, but I quite enjoy Mr. Jamie Bell (and yes he has been in two Sigma films of course, Hallam Foe and Dear Wendy). There has been a slew of new interviews and photos of him online of late, and while reading the Evening Standard Magazine online, I couldn't help but think in this new photo he looks (while handsome) like a young Ralph Fiennes...or maybe not. Anway, Jamie has a new film out I just saw the other day called Jumper. Despite taking the top spot at the box office over the weekend it got just horrible reviews, all except for him which most are saying is the high point of the film. The Times: "Thank goodness for Jamie Bell, playing Griffin, jumper-turned-hunter of the Paladins, a gobby little northerner waging his own private war against his persecutors. Griffin is perfectly happy to drag a double-decker bus through the ether to use as a weapon and he's by far the most entertaining character in the film." I couldnt agree more. It's so cool that he's in another high profile film, and I had SUCH hopes for this ( I mean it even had Samuel Snakes on a Plane cool mofo Jackson!) but eh...such a disappointment overall.

I was talking to some people who work on other movie sites, and as mentioned on the very cool IGN.com Jamie also did voice work for his character in the Jumper video game."It's flattering that someone has seen my character and wanted to make it into a video game," Jamie said about his participation. "Griffin is a unique character and I think if people respond to the movie they'll love the game." Now, I love video games (although my little boy is ten times the better player than I ever will be lolol) and we just got a PS3 for Christmas, but not sure if I will break down and get the Jumper game. I did have quite a laugh when watching this video interview with Jamie as he described Griffin as the JACK SPARROW of the jumper world. YES!!! *loves jamie*

Because I'm so weird, while I was watching that film, I couldn't help but think during some of the well done visual effects high action moments though, of Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix...scuse me while I kiss the sky. Man I wish I could jump like that once!

Idiot Fangirl Strikes Again!

I'm feeling quite the ass yet again as I had another ooops I did it again fangirl moment yesterday, and posted yet another twee and simpering comment that I wish I could delete. It wasn't offensive (I hope!) or anything, yet once again, I sat and typed things without thinking as I have many times before, only later to discover I seem like I'm 16 again without a brain in my head at all.

It's weird for me, reading the various blogs of Sigma Films, that there are all these references to people and places and things that mean a huge amount to people like me hundreds and thousands miles away. Posting about things like this probably don't even register to those that make them, just how cool stuff like this really is. As usual I react with my heart and emotional and not even thinking and ergo resulting blithering who cares comments. Man I wish I was able to not show any emotion or react like such a cheerleader. I mean Im a professional person, and I like to think(sorta) respected in other ventures, but here I act like a complete moron-gah brain freezes suck! Then later as happened before i go re-read posts like this most recent one on the I Love Luci blog, and I think now why the fuck do I even bother try communicating with him or them at wll? These people are clearly in a whole (higher, cooler much more interesting) league than me, what the hell could i say or offer that is any way shape or form interesting...I swear in moments like this, I want to delete this blog and never comment over there again. *hugely embarrassed, bangs stupid idiot fangirl head on the wall* :(

Anyway, before he makes Luci, Colin is taking on a new project by making a music video with an upcoming pop group out of the amazing musical scene in Glasgow called We are The Physics. This group is a bit too Devo-esque for me, although I quite like 2 of the songs Ive heard, but not too keen on the tune hes making the video for. Im not sure how one has much of a script for these things, but sure as heck I'm not a professional filmmaker either. The video below is an example what he's working with, so this will be interesting to learn if for example, do they actually storyboard things like, ear shot, close up of smiling mouth, another ear shot etc etc lol...

What really got me going though was the credit to someone at the bottom of the post. Now I am a HUGE SNOW PATROL fan, and have long loved this offshoot group called The Reindeer Section. This person he thanked was Gill Mills, and she was part of this group. I also remembered her from having DJ'd on the BBC although now I usually listen to XFM Scotland but will still give the various BBC radios and Virgin radio a listen now and then. I attempted to DJ in college before going into cable news, and I know a fair bit about podcasting, so I appreciate the efforts this person is undertaking, striking out on her own with this iCast. What flips me out about all of this is the sinking realization of all the amazing cool influential people Colin hangs with. I suppose they have no idea how awesome this seems to those removed from the situation but it was another cool (and incredibly humbling)thing I learned.

Speaking of making videos, anyone and his uncle can make music videos today, as witnessed of course by YouTube. Here is a video of a slightly weird but fun music video set to one of my favorite Reindeer Section songs.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Score a Soundtrack of Sigma

So I have been seriously weighing whether to go to SWSX to catch the US Premiere of Mister (Hallam) Foe, as I saw it's now scheduled to open March 13. Then, as I was surfing around on the website, to my great delight I saw that not only is Van Morrison playing on my birthday, but even better Sons & Daughters are playing the event as well as part of a Domino Records thing! I couldn't believe it.

One of the great delights I've found in reading the getyourpeople blog has been all the references to music. While Colin is modest about his own musical talent , he has a clear love of music as do all at Sigma it would seem. Colin played on a few of his movies for the always awesome Hugh Macleod of Gaping Void and his fun big Love tour for Stormhoek wine last year..which was actually about at this time lol. Side note: I just went and more of this wine, which I've grown to truly enjoy after last year I wrote the fine people at Stormhoek, and they took time out to help me, just one lone customer, track down wine near where I live in the States... absolutely superb customer friendly and a true class act they are!

Anyway, I most appreciate that over the last year or so, there are always new posts now and then saying check this band out. Not being hip to all the goings on in Glasgow (I think one of my most favorite bands, the wonderful Snow Patrol , calls Glasgow home) its been really cool frankly to give these groups a listen, and even better see just how many great groups are coming out of that part of Scotland.Thats how I found out about Sons & Daughters, which I now just love-freak I know but word of mouth (or blog) in this case worked I guess

As soundtracks are so vital anymore in contributing to the bottom line financial success of films, (yes they are I mean, how many people say-when does the soundtrack come out? loads!) I am wondering if DM will continue to use indy music in his next movie. I love soundtracks to be honest and they help capture my attention sometimes to movies I wouldnt have otherwise seen. Perhaps its the frustrated musician in me, but I own countless soundtracks anymore than many pop cds personally and think that some scores are an art form themselves. Now its weird given Sigma has a bit of the Dogme thing happening in their movies as I thought that music wasn't to be a key factor, but honestly their films have usually had some frankly WONDERFUL music, including David Byrne on Young Adam, most especially the soundtrack for Hallam Foe which was just aces. I just hope David has some cool tracks for the upcoming "Spread." Not sure how much influence he will have over Ashton and the other production companies involved (I gather Sigma isnt involved in this too much if at all,) but there is always hope.

Bonus Video: I had to chuckle over the irony that Control, the film about Joy Division often beat out Hallam unfortunately at some of the awards, when at the end of Sigma's Red Road, is one of the loveliest (and melancholy) covers of a song I've ever heard.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hallam Foe and Hobbes, Weirdos from Planet Scotland

Huzzah! I've found my favorite review of Hallam Foe to date I think, but not because its great writing or anything, rather it says what I suspected all along: Hallam Foe=Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, my all time most favorite cartoon!Talk about weirdos from Planet Scotland...Wheee!

Mister Foe

[GREAT BRITAIN] Evoking a grown-up—and supremely disturbed—version of Hobbes’ comic-strip pal Calvin, Hallam Foe (Jamie Bell) is a truly unique creation. Obsessed with his mother’s death, Hallam spends his days in a tree house, spying on neighbors. But at the prodding of his wicked stepmother, Hallam heads to Edinburgh in a bid to grow up—only to all but stalk a hottie who bears a resemblance to mum. Voyeuristic and oedipal, David Mackenzie’s oddball film is also lighthearted and surprisingly romantic, with Bell giving a charismatic turn as the troubled man-boy. AP KRYZA. WH, 8:45 pm Thursday, Feb. 14. BW, 3:30 pm Saturday, Feb. 16.

Not going to even get into the fact that the film is screening in the States YET AGAIN before the US premiere at SWSX in March lol.*gives up on hope for a proper roll out*

Side note: While I strongly suspect David Mackenzie and his brother Alistair Mackenzie (Monarch of the Glen fame) were quite the handful when they were little,
the one who I think is probably most closely like a Calvin all grown up is COLIN


Besides being drop dead gorgeous and drown worthy blue in color, look at his eyes... the expression is nothing but pure trouble, just like Calvin...yep! :)))

Sexy "Spread" Time

Although I'm certain in the future the tabs will have a tacky field day with the title "Spread," word is getting out regarding the new David Mackenzie film, as its being described now as a "sexy comedy." Variety cites "I am exceptionally excited to be shooting in Hollywood, but with an outsider's eye," MacKenzie said. Heh yea, well I am just glad that he is going to be filming here in the States. I swear I wanted to mail and beg him to be a runner or something on the film, but one less wacko around him the better I guess, so I didnt. With principal photography to start start like Feb 25 or something, I was really hopeful that may be he will get over to Texas in March for the US premiere of Mister (Hallam) Foe at SWSX, but probably not. I figured it might be the only chance I would get to meet him, just once to shake his hand or something but dunno if I should go at this point.

I had to chuckle of course, because I was talking about this new film with one of my film friends, and he was like what IS IT with Mackenzie and sex?lol. True enough, you can argue that sex is certainly a backdrop in David's films, and often serve as a catalyst for the drama, but I don't think they are the entire basis of the films, in fact rather just enhance some of what he is trying to show in these movies. He's stated before he intrigued by the character, the outside, and often the sex turns out to be used as a weapon -such as Alastair in Hallam Foe-that last scene with him and Kate, he USED her to try and humiliate Hallam, and actually was not some sort of erotic passion filled encounter. You can argue the same in Asylum-sure they first encounters with Natasha Richardson's character and Marton Csokas showed their mad lust, but it was the passionate relationship that lead to the tragic downfall, and true enough it was an incredibly depressing film, it was more heartbreaking because of the death of the child imo than a love lost (and general wacko turn of events and incredibly depressing ending-not my favorite of David's work at all, despite some great actors, and scenery)

Sure, every one of his films have had candid sex scenes but that is just part of life and I would rather have a film with a few of those scenes, than films filled with violence. (I say candid-not Porn!- because that is how people have sex, although its been way too long for me I doubt if I remember how lol and no I've never once had any inclination to fling products from the frig on to a lover, I guess that makes me a prude lol) Anyway, I am certain the papers will all hype this as Ashton Kutcher goes Basic Instinct, or some sort of drivel. I am keen to find out more about the sexy comedy part, because David clearly exhibited his skill in creating a funny, sexy and original movie in Hallam, lets hope it continues with "Spread." Sexy time :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

David Mackenzie to Direct First US Film, Will Star Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Great news today as Screen Daily is reporting that as his "Hallam Foe" follow-up, David will direct his first US film "Spread" starring Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Jason Leigh. According to the article

"Ashton Kutcher will play a serial LA womanizer," with Jennifer Jason Leigh to portray "a lawyer who is ditched by Kutcher’s character."

The screenplay is by Jason Dean Hall (noted by Variety as a screenwriter to watch). "Jason Goldberg serves as producer and Aaron Kaufman of Barbarian Films is financing the project.This is the second Kutcher project on Voltage's slate after the romance Personal Effects, which also stars Michelle Pfeiffer and is currently in post-production." More casting announcements are due at Berlin film festival this week.

So this verifies what David told Ted late January about trying to set up a film in LA. Indeed! NO idea if Sigma will be involved in much more of a fashion with this project, but production is set to begin in LA February 25....Wonder if David needs any runners for the shoot..hmmm....Road trip! :D

Bonus Links:
Ashton MySpace

Monday, February 4, 2008

Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' Luci

Happy Hallam Foe DVD Day! I've yet to order mine yet, but I hope to soon. In the meantime I was thrilled today to see there was fun new blog entry on the I Love Luci production blog written by Colin Kennedy of Sigma Films.

I Love Luci is the name of a new short written and directed by the man who is the primary author of the Hallam Foe/Sigma Films blog, and Colin is currently off in France to secure funds for this new film. While I am uncertain if this is backed completely by Sigma, I am anxious to follow this new cinematic journey, for I am certain it will be as fascinating, varied and often hilarious as the Hallam blog was, ergo today's entry.

Arriving in France our hero is met with a loopy experience on the train to the famous Clermont short film festival. Anyway I had such a chuckle over the fact that the always awesome Colin,on his way to get money for a film that has the word LOVE in it, has a loopy serenade to start things off with a musical bang, or in this case...squeeze wheee! :)

I love random light and silly posts mixed in with the more intelligent insightful things, the slice of life posts and events that give not just an insight but a means that the reader can actually relate to experiences such as the one they had in France.

Speaking of musical events on the subways, while I suppose you would only find an accordion serenade in France lol -figures- I was reminded of one true story involving one of my favorite musicians. I make no secret of my great love of both pop music and classical, and I adore the work of Joshua Bell (no relation to Jamie I do not believe) Joshua is considered a violin virtuoso, one of my country's true musical standouts at the moment. Last year, he undertook a very thought provoking experiment (detailed in this fine piece in the wonderful Washington Post) and shared his talents with the world...as a random musician just playing in the subways of DC. Armed with an extraordinary talent and musical equipment (a Stradivari valued at 3.5 MILLION ) he played in the Metro and earned about 59 dollars. The mind boggles.

Bonus video of lovely metro music from Mr. Bell