Archives: March 2006
So Randy Quaid is suing over his alleged underpayment for his bit part in ‘Brokeback Mountain’ as the surly rancher who unwittingly brought Jack and Ennis together. His argument, in a nutshell, is that he was duped into working for near-scale because he was told that ‘Brokeback’ was going to be a small art-house film, as opposed to a small art-house film which was buoyed by millions of dollars worth of promotion.
Funny, actors usually like being cast in movies that give them more exposure than they expected. And Quaid’s implicit argument that marketing costs should be considered as part of a movie’s production budget when actor’s fees are negotiated is kind of suspect, since, as the Times notes, studios often shift marketing strategies in mid-release.
Maybe if Quaid can demonstrate some sort of opportunity cost for his role in ‘Brokeback’– for instance if he turned down a more lucrative role to do what couldn’t have been more than a couple days of work — then he’d have some sort of case. Otherwise, no no no.
Nikki Finke reveals that Hollywood Reporter reporter Anne Thompson has been un-banned by Universal Studios after sending studio president Ron Meyer a handwritten letter apologizing for putting allegedly off-the-record remarks of his on-the-record. (Though Thompson reportedly claimed to Finke that the remarks were on the record to begin with).
Anyway, it’s like my grandmother always said: a handwritten note can fix anything. She also said that I should get some fresh air and stand up straighter, so maybe she was right about everything after all.
- I’m so glad the headline for this story isn’t ‘True Grit.’
- Michael Hitzlik goes after Hugh Hewitt again, and as usual, he’s right.
- Most Emailed Stories analysis: the shocking trend of latimes.com readers actually being interested in serious issues continues. Of course, it took half a million demonstrators to do it.
Pellicano minutiae: I’m resisting the temptation to claim it’s like an Elmore Leonard novel, but it kind of is
The tale of Pellicano-case minor character Seth Ersoff includes: a dog possibly killed as an intimidation device, FBI agents allegedly working for a shady lawyer, and Sugar Ray Leonard. Read all about it at The Recorder, a California legal industry paper.
Seriously, when is someone going to start developing the Pellicano cable mini-series? No need to wait for a verdict, I don’t think. Just start writing as it goes along, and get it on the air as soon as he’s vindicated and/or sentenced.
The Columbia Journalism Review looks askance at the time-honored practice of local affiliate news shilling for their network’s prime-time line-up. Sample excerpt from Fox 5 News:
Twenty-one minutes into the broadcast, Senecal’s bright visage appeared to tell Fox’s viewers what was in store: “It’s [the] fifth season, the ratings have surged. So why is 24 the hottest show on TV? We’ve got the secrets of its success coming up.”
Those viewers were then forced to wait until 10:43 to hear Senecal’s breathless report. “Hit is right, and there are lots of reasons the show is such a huge success,” said one of that evening’s anchors, Dari Alexander. Senecal introduced her piece by explaining that her own family members are some of the biggest fans of the show: “So for all of you 24 fanatics out there, no, you are not alone. In fact, there are more and more of you each and every day.”
Anyway, I’ll miss this kind of banter when all of prime-time shifts to video on demand in a few years. How will local newscasts fill the time?
- CBS NCAA webcasts were a massive hit. Of course, once people start posting amateur basketball footage for free on YouTube, who’s going to care about college ball? Oh, wait, maybe that argument only works for things like ‘Lazy Muncie.’
Sure, ‘Snakes on a Plane’ is an easy movie to promote, thanks to internet chatter and so forth, but is that the kind of publicity that actually sells tickets? Or is it the kind of publicity that makes people feel that they don’t really have to see the movie? (Cf. Affleck/Lopez/’Gigli’)
If, as Edward Jay Epstein suggests in his always-prescient Slate column, product placement will become crucial to movie financing, what does that mean for movie genres that don’t lend themselves to product placement? Not many products can be promoted in a movie set in 1776 or 3048 or, for that matter, 1941. Does more product placement = more movies set in contemporary consumer-driven middle class America?