Tag Archives: actors

R.I.P. Pete Postlethwaite…

Oh man, I always get bummed out when actors we really love die before their time, but, this one took me totally by surprise. Apparently, Postlethwaite (who was 64) had been battling cancer for a number of years — which you could kind of see in his craggier-than-usual face in his recent films — but, I had no idea he had taken a turn for the worst…until tonight.

Strangely enough, Christine and I had literally just finished watching Ben Affleck’s “The Town”, which featured another totally unforgettable turn by Mr. Postlethwaite, when we heard the sad news.

Postlethwaite’s character was so vile and loathsome in the movie that we actually cheered when he very-deservedly got (SPOILER ALERT) his balls shot off by Ben Affleck at the end. I’m sorry, but the dude totally deserved it!

Always humble and a total gentlemen in interviews and such, Postlethwaite may have considered himself just another average bloke who got lucky in the movies, but, to me, he was one of the greatest character actors of all time. Seriously. If you need proof, pull up his IMDB page and randomly watch any movie he was in (even “The Shipping News”!) and I guarantee you that Postlethwaite’s performance will totally elevate the material.

And if that ain’t classically great acting, I don’t know what is. Rest in peace, Pete Postlethwaite, you will be greatly missed…

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Heather Graham’s best work in years…

If I posted every cool video I got from Moveon.org, our blog would be nothing but videos. But this one, a commercial that Heather Graham taped recently in favor of keeping the controversial public health insurance option on the table, was just too awesome not to share with you guys.

And hello, I don’t care what side of the public option fence you stand on, if it looks as good as the shockingly-limber Miss Graham does in this clip, then pass that freaking bill already! Jeez…

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“The Mentalist” goes mental!

OK, I am so not the “leaker” on this one, but someone leaked this super-cool, super-gory scene from our movie, “Not Forgotten”, to YouTube today and it’s been popping up on cool horror movie sites ever since.

So, seeing as you can already watch the scene in all it’s blood-soaked glory online, I thought I’d post a few of my favorite behind-the-scenes pics from this awesome fight scene exclusively for you.

Oh, and, don’t worry, amigos, nothing you’ll see below is as gory as the clip. The first couple of shots are of mi buen amigo, badass actor Zahn McLarnon (Calvo) rehearsing his fight with an unseen Simon Baker.

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #1

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #2

These pics were taken from my cushy co-writer/associate producer chair behind the monitor in “video village”, so, forgive the quality…

The next couple of pics are of the amazing set designed by our Production Designer Craig Stearns and his top-notch team. We shot this scene in a former high school gym in Santa Fe and as you can see, there is the fake mirror Zahn is so memorably thrown up against before having his head smashed against the filthy toilet pictured below. Cool, huh?

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #3

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #4

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #5

And yes, that is fake grime on that toilet…I checked. The final three shots are of the stuntman who pinch hit for Zahn, complete with his rocking, full-chest Santa Muerte tattoo. Zahn himself in his gore makeup and myself with Zahn just before he left for the night.

If you look real close in the picture with me, Zahn still has fake blood stains around his eyes and oozing from his ear. Now, if that shit doesn’t get people in the theatre, I don’t know what will…

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #6

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #7

“Not Forgotten” is now playing in Austin and Phoenix and opens on May 15th-17th in Los Angeles at the Mann’s Chinese in Hollywood and the Mann’s Plant 16 in Van Nuys. Check it out!

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Greta Garbo in color!

This past Thursday, September 18th, would have been Greta Garbo’s 103rd birthday. And seeing as my brother Ryan and I are both huge, lifelong fans of “the Swedish Sphinx”, I thought it only appropriate to celebrate this monumental occasion by posting this super-cool, super-rare color photo of the woman of the hour herself.

Taken during GG’s last photo shoot at MGM — during production of her final film, the virtually unwatchable “Two-Faced Woman” (1941) — the photo is one of only a handful of color photos ever taken of “the face of the century” and as such, is considered very rare.

The picture was taken by legendary Hollywood photographer Clarence Sinclair Bull, whose iconic work includes not just some of the most famous pics of Garbo, but also scads of other classic shots of Hollywood greats from the golden age.

As luck would have it, Ryan, Laura, my stepmom, Wendy, Christine and I had a chance to see this print in person at the incredible “Made in Hollywood: Photographs from the John Kobal Collection” exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art a few weeks back.

If you get a chance I encourage anyone within driving distance to head up (or down!) to Santa Barbara to catch this amazing show before it closes on October 5th. For although the gallery space dedicated to the show is very small, the photos there are almost breathtakingly beautiful.

Seriously, you could lose yourself for hours in some of those inky, velvety blacks in the B&W prints. Just really top notch stuff all around…and if you go on Sundays, admission to the entire Museum is free! Yay!

So, check it out while you can. And in the meantime, Happy Birthday, Greta!

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SAG readies for war…

The leadership of the Screen Actors Guild might be saying publicly that talk of an impending actor’s strike is a “distraction” during their difficult ongoing negotiations with the AMPTP, but if you ask me, SAG created this distraction on their own, and they are loving every minute of it.

But if the rumors are true, and SAG truly is readying their troops for war, then why not just call a spade a spade and get on with it. Ain’t no shame in your game, SAG, just come out with it already!

Sure, another major strike right now would suck, but if you ask me, I say burn that mutha down, actors! After watching the DGA, my beloved WGA and even SAG’s crazy-eyed sister-union, AFTRA literally take it up the ass from the studios, I’m aching for someone to take a real stand against those greedy bastards.

And who better to do it than the biggest guild out there? SAG has 120,000-plus members, which is like ten times the size of the WGA. That is some serious union muscle, baby! And while the studios are always quick to undercut writers and directors, if they skimp on actors, well, they’re gonna feel that burn pretty quick.

With the ratings for last year’s TV season pretty much demolished by the WGA strike, I’m guessing the AMPTP might actually give this guild what they want this time. And, if it takes a strike to do it, then strike away, amigos. Like I’ve said before, I know a lot of writers who will be out there supporting your pretty faces on the picket lines every day, and, trust me, we have plenty of red t-shirts.

So, do what you gotta do when that deadline hits, Mr. Rosenberg — SAG’s current deal ends at midnight tonight — and know that whatever happens, we got your back! Go, union!

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Countdown to “Indiana Jones 4”

Reviews be damned…I am literally counting down the hours and minutes till we get to see “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” tonight at the Arclight. By my last count, I have 5 hours and 46 minutes to go…and even though that sounds like a short time frame, when you’re really excited about something…it kinda seems live FOREVER!

Christine keeps telling me not to get too excited as I might be in for another bout of soul-crushing, post-“Phantom Menace” depression if the movie sucks…but you know what, I don’t care. I mean, sure “Menace” sucked, and I did weep openly for days afterwards, but I lived through it — even seeing it twice on opening weekend! — so nothing Lucas pumps out can ever burn me that bad again.

Of course, I haven’t seen “Crystal Skull” yet, so, that might change come Saturday morning…but either way, I’m just excited about the fact that the movie is finally coming out! So, back the breathless waiting…

I guess the best thing about the wait this week is that it did give me time to watch some of the previous Indiana Jones movies on DVD. I’m about half-way through “Temple of Doom” right now, and even though I know most people hate this one, I gotta say that is the one I probably watched the most as a kid.

Even then I knew it was kind of racially insensitive and downright lame in parts — especially the God-awful Kate Capshaw, who never could hold a candle to Karen Allen in my book — but I still loved it! Hell, even that annoying little Shortround kid even grew on me after a while…

So, as I try and finish up the trilogy before we head out tonight in our dusty fedoras and whips — just kidding about the whip part, I do have a fedora, but I doubt Christine will let me sit next to her if I wear it! — I’ll leave you with some of the super cool pics from Sunday’s world premiere of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” at Cannes…enjoy!

Oh yeah, and if anyone out there knows who the hot African-American chick (pictured above and bellow in yellow) with George Lucas is…drop me a line.

I’m not sure who she is, but any way you look at it, that fetching young lady is a huge upgrade from Lucas’s first wife, Oscar-winning “Star Wars” editor Marcia Lucas, so…rock on, Jedi Master George!

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Confessions of a Cannes nerd…

Judging from my last couple of posts, you’ve probably already figured this out, but, for the record…yes, I am a total Cannes Film Festival nerd. Sure, I get excited about Sundance and Toronto and even the Los Angeles Film Festival — the only one I’ve ever actually attended! — but nothing for me is as exciting as Cannes.

I don’t know, maybe it’s because those cinema-mad Frenchies are such big fans of some of my favorite writers and directors.

Only a handful of American films have ever won the Palm d’or, and almost across the board, they were made by some of the coolest, most idiosyncratic filmmakers in Hollywood. Robert Altman (“Mash”), Martin Scorcese (“Taxi Driver”), Francis Ford Coppolla (“Apocalypse Now”), Bob Fosse (“All That Jazz”), the Coen Brothers (“Barton Fink”), Quentin Tarrantino (“Pulp Fiction”) and David Lynch (“Wild at Heart”) are just a few of the American winners to date, and the list of cool foreign films that snagged the top prize is even more impressive.

Unlike the Oscars, who’s crusty old members will throw a Best Picture Award at bloated schlock like “Crash”, Cannes juries are more discriminating and the movies they screen and honor with awards at the festival are much more interesting because of it.

For instance, aside from a Best Original Song nomination for Bjork, Oscar voters totally ignored modern classics like “Paris, Texas” and “Dancer in the Dark”, but not Cannes, baby. “Texas” and “Dancer” both won the Palm in their respective years and the Cannes jury even gave Björk a well-deserved Best Actress award.

And one of my all-time favorite writer/directors, Jim Jarmusch — who shockingly, has never even been nominated for an Oscar! — has been in the running for the Palm d’Or a whopping six times. And that’s just the nominations, Jarmusch’s list of Cannes wins could fill books.

Aside from taking home the lesser, but still prestigious, Camera d’or for his seminal “Stranger Than Paradise”, Jarmusch also won a Grand Jury award for “Broken Flowers”, a short-film Palm d’or for “Coffee and Cigarettes III” and a special award for “Best Artistic Contribution” for his seriously-underrated “Mystery Train”. As my French friends would say…incroyable!

And the writing awards at Cannes are even more eclectic. They doesn’t give out a screenplay award every year, but when they do, the juries at Cannes pick some really amazing scripts…stuff that is often totally overlooked by other festivals, the Academy and hell, even the WGA.

Genre-bending classics like “Nurse Betty”, “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada”, “Henry Fool”, “Volver” and even James Schamus’s pitch-dark swinger dramedy “The Ice Storm” are just a few of the rocking good screenplays to win at the Cannes Film Festival.

So, while I haven’t ever climbed the grand staircase at the Palais du Cinema in real life, I have followed the festival for years from abroad, and man alive, what a nerdtastic trip it’s been!

Vive le cinema! Vive le Festival de Cannes!

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