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joe & chris's columns

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  • Dan Eggleston
    Film News BY JOE O CONNELL Pepe Serna s name may not be familiar, but his face is. Think Angel in Scarface, Mundo in American Me, and most definitely Reno
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2005
      Film News


      Pepe Serna's name may not be familiar, but his face is. Think Angel in
      Scarface, Mundo in American Me, and most definitely Reno Nevada in The
      Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. The Corpus
      Christi native has hundreds of film and television credits, but he's
      never played the lead. Leon Rodriguez is setting out to remedy that with
      Clean Sweep, a low-budget, noirish "cloak and dagger" film that is set
      to go before the lens in Austin in October. The story has Serna as a CIA
      agent being forced into retirement and hunting the guy who caused his
      wife's death. On the agent's trail is another agent played by Fabian
      Carrillo, an actor/martial arts pro who starred with Serna in Latin
      Dragon. Rodriguez sees the script as paralleling Serna's own story: that
      of a respected journeyman actor recognized with a lifetime achievement
      award from the Screen Actors Guild, but still falling just outside the
      limelight. "He's just such a brilliant actor," he said. "This is his
      chance to shine." Rodriguez is still completing the script and has had
      to make changes to add fight scenes that will be choreographed by
      Tsuyoshi Abe, who has organized wire stunts for films including
      Collateral, Daredevil, and The Replacement Killers. If Rodriguez's name
      is familiar, you might remember his illustrious music career, including
      stints as road manager for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and sound engineer
      for Frank Zappa, Delbert McClinton, and Asleep at the Wheel.

      Fall film fills fast

      Look for the lazy days of summer to end for the Austin film industry by
      October, when shooting is expected to be in full swing on a Jonathan
      Liebesman-directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel (the Platinum
      Dunes folks have been scouting locations), Richard Linklater's Coyote,
      Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse, and perhaps another
      project from Burnt Orange Productions.
      Dallas does movies

      The Metroplex isn't content to let Austin take the Texas filmmaking
      crown. Just completed is Amy Talkington's The Night of the White Pants,
      featuring Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom) as a Big D powerbroker whose
      wife (Janine Turner of Northern Exposure) kicks him out with an empty
      wallet. He falls in with his daughter (Selma Blair of Hellboy) and her
      punk rocker boyfriend (Nick Stahl of Sin City) for a wild night. On deck
      is Jon Keeyes' action/adventure film Living & Dying, with a cast said to
      include Michael Madsen and Edward Furlong. And expect cheerleading
      feature The Team to shoot for a couple of weeks in Dallas soon.
      And the rest

      The How to Eat Fried Worms kids have been escaping the heat in Wimberley
      recently by jumping into Blue Hole during breaks. Kimberly
      Williams-Paisley of According to Jim and Father of the Bride, has signed
      to play the mom, while Tom Cavanagh, star of TV's Ed, has joined the
      cast as the dad... An I Dream of Jeannie movie? They've made Austin
      inquiries recently… Tommy Lee Jones' Texas-shot The Three Burials of
      Melquiades Estrada, which was honored at Cannes, will have its North
      American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
      Send tips to filmnews@....


      Inside Movies

      Sept. 1, 2005
      • The 'Chainsaw' keeps buzzing: An unnamed prequel to 'The Texas
      Chainsaw Massacre' will start a nine-week shoot in the Austin area Oct.
      10. It follows the 2004 Austin-area filming of the grisly remake of Tobe
      Hooper's 1974 horror classic. Big-shot Michael Bay, who produced the
      remake, is producing. Jonathan Liebesman, the under-30 director of
      'Darkness Falls,' is directing and Sheldon Turner, who wrote this
      summer's remake of 'The Longest Yard,' is writing the prequel. Jordana
      Brewster, who made her film debut in Robert Rodriguez's Austin-made
      horror-thriller 'The Faculty,' stars. Andrew Bryniarski and gruff R. Lee
      Ermey, as Leatherface and Sheriff Hoyt respectively, return from the
      remake. The film is eyeing a 2006 release. -- Chris Garcia

      • Like most major productions in town, the 'Chainsaw' show has set up
      shop at the Austin Studios at the old airport, renting office space and
      a stage, where sets will begin construction next week.

      This means the studios are going to have a busy fall. Richard
      Linklater's feature adaptation of Eric Schlosser's bestselling
      nonfiction book 'Fast Food Nation' is opening offices at the studio next
      week and will use stages when it starts filming in mid-to-late October.
      Much of the movie -- an indictment of fast food practices, from farm to
      plate -- will be shot on location in Austin, Colorado and Mexico.
      Casting continues, but Oscar-nominated actress Catalina Sandino Moreno
      ('Maria Full of Grace') has a major role. The film's working title
      'Coyote' is designed to throw fast food joints off the scent when crews
      set up near the fat factories, which presumably aren't big fans of the
      muckraking book.

      Also in October at Austin Studios: Robert Rodriguez and Quentin
      Tarantino's horror duet 'Grind House,' which has each filmmaker shooting
      an hourlong splatter flick. Rodriguez persuaded QT to shoot in high-def
      digital video for the first time (not counting the one scene QT shot in
      'Sin City'). QT agreed on the basis that Rodriguez serve as his
      cinematographer/camera operator. If all this activity isn't enough,
      Rodriguez will be shooting 'Sin City' parts II and III back-to-back at
      the studios, either late this year or in early 2006. He hopes to have
      both sequels in the can by spring. -- C.G.

      • Austin filmmaker Mari Marchbanks' feature debut 'Fall to Grace'
      premiered at South by Southwest in March, reaping good reviews. Now it's
      won Best Narrative Feature at the New Orleans Film Festival, which runs
      Oct. 6 through 13. (The jury elects fest winners before the event.) Shot
      in Austin and filled with music by local bands, the teen-family drama is
      cruising the festival circuit, hitting the Rome International Film
      Festival in Georgia on Sept. 10. -- C.G.

      • Cinematexas is just around the bend -- Sept. 14-18 -- and its
      socio-politico arm Parallax View has a killer lineup, with films by
      Fernando Solanas, a rare screening of the 1972 Vietnam War doc 'Winter
      Soldier' and a wealth of shorts and filmmaker discussions. But the
      mostly free program needs cash to continue, so it's throwing the
      prismatic bash Resuscitate Resistance III from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sept. 10
      at the American Youthworks Warehouse (216 E. Fourth St.). It features a
      silent art auction, offbeat multimedia fashion show, international short
      films, live music and dancing. www.cinematexas.org. -- C.G.

      • Another Cinematexas event: The festival's youth component Cinemakids
      happens all weekend Sept. 17 and 18 at the University of Texas. Films by
      kids and moviemaking workshops for kids ages 6-12 are slated.
      Reservations for the workshops required. 475-8648. Info at
      www.cinematexas.org. -- C.G.

      • We like Alison Macor, the film aficionado who for years was a
      freelance movie critic for the American-Statesman. Her cinema knowledge
      is abundant, varied and deep -- she earned a doctorate in film from UT
      -- making her a perfect film-class instructor. Macor is teaching two
      courses at the Austin Museum of Art's Art School: 'Movie Lovers'
      Weekend: Made in Austin,' which covers our homegrown movie scene, runs
      Sept. 17 and 18; and 'Movie Lovers' Sundays: Scream Gems!,' a look at
      the machinery of classic, cult and new horror movies, is Oct. 2 and 9.
      We also like Martin Thomas, co-host of popular cable access movie show
      'Reel Deal,' who will teach 'Movie Lovers' Sundays: From Comic Book to
      Super Heroes,' which explores the leap from page to cineplex Dec. 4 and
      11. 323-6380 or theartschool.amoa.org. -- C.G.

      • Script doctor extraordinaire Aubrey M. Horton presents another one of
      his popular screenwriting workshops -- an eight-week whopper beginning
      Sept. 25 at St. Edward's University. The class runs Sundays and costs
      $380. Several of Horton's students have gone on to make good, including
      a young alum who recently signed a two-picture deal with Paramount, says
      teach. 249-6501. www.ScriptDoctor911.com. -- C.G.
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