casualty of war
- Now we know why Malick was recently in Morocco.
Two things about this article (which I post excerpts of) interest me:
1) It says when the U.S. will go to war with Iraq
2) It says Malick has been "telling people." Malick talks?
Title: Hollywood maps battle plans
By: Jonathan Bing
Date: February 3, 2003
Studios have committed more than $ 1 billion to a thicket of tentpoles
scheduled to shoot in Morocco in the next two years. But the drums of war
reverberating from Washington to Baghdad are giving Hollywood an epic
The Muslim nation on the northwest coast of Africa has long been a mecca
for Hollywood filmmakers. But not since the 1950s --- the golden age of
sword-and-sandal sagas --- have so many producers descended on the desert
to build casbahs and coliseums, marshal herds of camels and elephants, and
costume thousands of extras in scabbards and loincloths.
The caravan of pics being mulled for Moroccan lensing includes "Troy" from
Warner Bros.; "Tripoli" from Fox; "Alexander the Great" and "Gladiator 2"
from DreamWorks and Universal; another "Alexander the Great" from
Intermedia and Warner Bros.; and the next installments of "Star Wars" and
But there are storm clouds on the horizon, with a U.S. invasion of Iraq
possible in the next two months.
At a fundraiser at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Los Angeles on Jan. 29,
former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke delivered a sobering message to
an audience of talent agency toppers and film studio heads.
"We have to assume that within eight to 10 weeks," Holbrooke said, "we'll
be at war."
Holbrooke's speech capped weeks of military buildup in the Persian Gulf
and rising war rhetoric from Washington that is spooking the industry.
The financiers, execs and talent behind pics set to shoot in North Africa
are confronting the possibility that a conflagration in the region could
spread across the Middle East --- inflaming tensions even in a moderate
state like Morocco.
While Morocco is seven hours by plane from Iraq, a war could have a
disruptive effect on regional filming everywhere. Given the complex
production logistics and climate constraints in the region --- the mercury
in the Sahara climbs above 110 degrees after March --- even a few months
of production delays could create severe problems.
"Troy," the Wolfgang Petersen Trojan War epic starring Brad Pitt, is
scheduled to start production in Europe in April, traveling to Morocco in
the scorching summer months of July and August.
The studio has staked out turf near Ouarzazate where execs say they hope
to build a set for the pic, which being made under the auspices of its
U.K.-based Warner Bros. Productions subsid.
But it has also considered moving the pic out of Africa to locations in
Spain or Mexico.
"Whenever we undertake a production on location, we always explore
alternate locations," a studio spokesperson said. "Should our planned
locations become unfeasible for any reasons, we have other options."
Fox's "Tripoli," originally scheduled to shoot this spring, has been
pushed back. Producer Branco Lustig says the threat of war hasn't yet
affected the schedule, and the pic, helmed by Ridley Scott and starring
Russell Crowe, could start shooting on the coast of Morocco in August.
But Lustig says that war insurance could add weight to the budget. In the
1991 Gulf War, he says, war insurance cost $ 3.5 million.
Insurance troubles could torpedo smaller productions set to shoot in
Director Terrence Malick, who was recently in the region scouting
locations for his next feature --- an as-yet untitled desert adventure ---
has been telling people that he couldn't get the film bonded.
- Here's an excerpt of an interview with Nick Nolte, who's got a new film
out called The Good Thief. He talks about his experience working on The
Thin Red Line.
Title: "Success is so insidious you become greedy"
By: Tom Charity
Publication: TIme Out
Date: January 29, 2003
'The Thin Red Line'(1998)
'Terrence Malick is oblique. As I got into that role, Terry would come
tome and show me a few pages he'd written, and I'd read this wonderful
poem. I'd say: "That's great, Terry, but it's six pages." He said: "Yes,
take those six pages and edit it down to what you would say." So I would
edit it down, show it to Terry and he'd say "It's a bit long " I'd end up
with one or two lines out of six pages.
'My first day on set, the actors had called a meeting and he asked me to
come along. So I watched all the actors talk about why they felt so
One complaint was that he didn't finish scenes.
Terry listened to everything, and at the end said: "Thank you, this has
been a wonderful meeting, you're absolutely right, and we must do what
we've talked about." They're all looking at Terry like, "We do it? What
can we do?" I've never seen a guy defuse a situation like that.
'So I watched Terry.
He would start shooting the scene, but watch the sky. And about six, when
the sky was just right, he'd say "That's enough of this scene, let's
revisit the scene we shot the other day. Nothing will match, but that's
fine " He was finishing the scenes in golden light. He couldn't tell the
studio he was only going to shoot in golden light, they would have
freaked, so he would hold these scenes off. The actor didn't get to do
what he wanted to do, John Toll didn't get to photograph it the way he
wanted to, and Terry didn't get to shoot it as he'd written it. All those
elements were thrown out, and the only new element was this light that's
what it was about.'
- Hi all,
Terribly quiet list. Is it the impending war? Economy? Or the aftermath of
a world without Joe Millionaire?
Please feel free to chat about Malick, movies, whatever.
Here I go with my recent trip to the movies.
The Touch stars Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) as a
traveling acrobat who turns into a female Indiana Jones when a man from
her past (Ben Chaplin) shows up. A loony plot ensues featuring an ancient
relic stolen by Chaplin, a quest for hidden treasures and of course a
pommie English villain. This is yet another role where he plays second
fiddle to an actress with a bigger name, bigger part and bigger, um,
brawn. Note to Ben: get new agent. Avoid being typecast.
It's also the movie where when it's time for the fight scene, everyone
knows kung fu. Just like on Walker Texas Ranger! Even Ben displays some
kung fu by skilfully kicking people in the shins. It's exactly like Walker
Still, I was not bored. I had higher expectations--after hearing that
Chaplin would be in it and Crouching Tiger's director of photography Peter
Pau would direct it, I was surprised to see this had gone straight to DVD
in the US. The story's derivative but there are some good bits, like
stunning vistas of the Gobi desert and Buddhist monastery in Lhasa.
The Cinerama festival recently ended here at Seattle's, where else,
Cinerama theatre. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to see How the West
Was Won--not just on the big screen but in the three-camera Cinerama
format it was shot in! Cinerama was not only shot using three cameras
yoked together but shown using three projectors, each projecting a third
of the cinema screen. Didn't last, which is why there are so few Cinerama
theatres left in the world (3). I also got to see the first movie shot in
Cinerama called This Is Cinerama, where the narrator talks about how
Cinerama brought wide screens and stereo sound to the movies for the very
first time. Amazing stuff!
I also saw The Quiet American yesterday. It has a similar feel to a film
that I love, The Killing Fields. Both centre on Western journalists trying
to get the story on conflicts related to the Vietnam war. But The Killing
Fields is great, and The Quiet American uneven. Half of the story in The
Killing Fields deals with photojournalist Dith Pran's struggle to survive
after the Khmer Rouge take power in Cambodia. The Vietnamese characters in
The Quiet American are paper-thin, in contrast, especially the Vietnamese
mistress of English journalist Michael Caine. Maybe the film isn't
intended to be about Vietnam but about Westerners in Vietnam, so it's okay
to have Vietnamese characters who could easily be replaced by cardboard
cutouts. Then again, isn't the similar lack of understanding about
Vietnamese people one of the reasons why the war went so poorly for the
French and later the Americans?
And critiquing reasons for involvement is one of the film's aims,
unsurprisingly. At those moments, the film transcends its 1950s setting.
When Brendan Fraser's earnest American medical worker says he wants to
save Vietnam for democracy, it's like hearing the current administration's
plan to democratize Iraq. There are some genius moments in this film, like
its opening scene, and some moments so heavy-handed they're laugh-out-loud
funny. But the performances by Caine and Fraser are excellent.
Anyone else got a movie trip report?
- Hi everyone,
Last night I saw a wonderful movie called Tully. Go see this movie! (You
can check out showtimes at www.tullythemovie.com) If only because the
filmmakers say that Malick is one of their favourites! The film's producer
attended last night's screening and told me that yes, they were thinking
of Days of Heaven when they filmed Tully's magic hour shots.
It's not surprising they would look to Days of Heaven. Tully is set on a
farm in the midwest and has a small cast of characters. It's not poetic in
the same way as Malick's films, but then, it has an immediacy and realness
that I find lacking in Badlands and Days.
There are two men named Tully, one son, one father, on a Nebraska farm.
Tully Jr. is the local heartthrob who sleeps with women without taking
them seriously. He has yet to grow up, but he yearns for more
responsibility from his father, who's keeping secrets from him, including
the possibility that the family farm could be foreclosed. There's a good
dose of melodrama to this yarn, but it's so lovingly made that it doesn't
matter. Everything's so real. The incredibly accelerated way the two
brothers Tully Jr. and Earl eat. The way they dress. The way they wear the
same clothes, gasp, in the film. The way the father and son take turns
talking without ever really talking to each other.
A wonderful film! *** 1/2 (worth driving to another city just to see it if
it's not playing in your town)
The Core, on the other hand, is not so hot. That's not the fault of its
actors, led by Hilary Swank, Aaron Eckhart, Bruce Greenwood and Delroy
Lindo as a bunch of terranauts who make their journey to the centre of the
earth to jumpstart the earth's core, which has somehow stopped spinning.
Why? You're at the wrong movie if you want petty things like details! I
must say that The Core is honest like Tully. The Core knows it's
completely implausible. It doesn't take itself seriously so it makes fun
of itself and that becomes fun for the audience, too. (**1/2 or pay
Last weekend, I saw Dreamcatcher. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, co-scripted
by William Goldman, a cast that includes Morgan Freeman, Tom Sizemore and
Thin Red Line alum Thomas Jane, and it still goes all horribly wrong.
First, it's about four friends (The Big Chill) with flashbacks to their
childhood (Stand By Me) where they acquired psychic powers (kinda like
Jean Grey on the X-Men) from their developmentally disabled pal. I'm lost
on that last one, and the movie gets even more convoluted and laboured.
Fast forward to the reunion of the four friends at their wintry cabin,
where they encounter other people who are apparently sick, but who later
turn out to be infected by a parasite from outer space (Alien). Much fake
blood is spilled, and one of the four friends ends up in an internment
camp (The Siege) run by a loony general who intends to kill the alien
invaders by killing any humans who may be infected by them. I'm sure this
all sounded great when they were back in the studio hatching up this
mutated hybrid. *1/2 (watch it on TV only if the only other thing on is
I also saw the Brazilian film City of God, which is very good, very
violent, and something I don't like. It's not that I dislike this film.
Set in the 60s and 70s in a slum cruelly named City of God, it tells the
story of its famous inhabitants--its criminals. Living with poverty,
corrupt cops and few ways out, it's no wonder that the young boys named
Little Dice and Benny first seen in the film grow up to be criminals. And
yet the film doesn't exonerate them, either, instead recording every
brutal, violent choice they gleefully make. It's a hard film to watch.
Some members of the audience walked out. It's not film that I feel
affection for. Yet it's told exhiliratingly, propelled by rapidfire
editing and revolving, herky-jerky handheld camera shots. ***1/2 (worth
seeing if it's in town)
That's what I've seen lately. Anyone else?
- Ahh, don't forget that Dreamcatcher is based on a 900 page Stephen King
novel. That goes a long way towards explaining a lot of things about the
movie, particularly the genre-mixing and the complicated plot.
<<Last weekend, I saw Dreamcatcher. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, co-scripted
<<by William Goldman, a cast that includes Morgan Freeman, Tom Sizemore and
<<Thin Red Line alum Thomas Jane, and it still goes all horribly wrong.
<<I'm sure this
<<all sounded great when they were back in the studio hatching up this
<<mutated hybrid. *1/2 (watch it on TV only if the only other thing on is
- I saw Tully a few months ago and really enjoyed it. I work at in Indie movie theater, and we got it in either November or December of last year. I remember thinking there was an obvious Malick influence on the filmaker, and felt the story and acting were very genuine. I was also suprised that many people who saw it did not like it, and it lasted only a week. No accounting for taste...
- --- In email@example.com, jrosenberg012@a... wrote:
> I saw Tully a few months ago and really enjoyed it. I work at inIndie movie theater, and we got it in either November or December of
last year. I remember thinking there was an obvious Malick influence
on the filmaker, and felt the story and acting were very genuine. I
was also suprised that many people who saw it did not like it, and it
lasted only a week. No accounting for taste...
>I'm glad someone else saw it, too! It'll probably only last a week
here in Seattle. :( Most reviews I've read have been positive. Some
have criticised the pacing and story. I think the changes the
characters experience are ones that aren't from the wide world of
possibility, but within their grasp. It reminds me of David Morse's
father in Contact: "Small moves. It's all about small moves."
I hadn't seen Anson Mount before, but he's very good. I thought at
times he looked like Tom Welling, who plays Superboy on TV. Very
cornfed and all-American. The producer who was at the screening said
that Maggie Gyllenhaal wanted the role of Ella and Ashton Kutcher (!)
wanted to play Tully.