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Harper Lee disses “Capote”

To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee, who was played by Catherine Keener in ‘Capote,’ apparently didn’t like the movie very much. From the letters column of the current New Yorker:

Of the screenwriter’s many inventions for the film “Capote,” his concept of William Shawn’s activities during the creation of “In Cold Blood” is weirdly off… While his imagination produced a personality unrecognizable to me, I can contribute two small facts about Mr. Shawn’s professional involvement: the film has me talk to Mr. Shawn on the telephone– I didn’t. And, at any time Truman Capote was in Kansas, Mr. Shawn wasn’t.

Harper Lee
Monroeville, Ala.

Of course, to anyone who’s seen more than a couple Hollywood based-on-fact movies, those don’t seem like particularly huge liberties to take in the name of dramatic expediency. On the other hand, there’s a meta-question here in that Philip Semyour Hoffman’s performance was widely praised for its seeming authenticity, and yet, Harper Lee finds his Capote to be ‘unrecognizable.’ Anyway, feh. I still liked the movie.

Ann Coulter visits LA, offends everyone

In case you don’t already dislike Ann Coulter, here’s what he had to say during her recent visit to LA– which coincided with the immigration bill protest march– according to Al Franken writing in the HuPo today:

“It was fascinating being here for the demonstrations this weekend,” she said with a snotty Darien sneer. “I guess that’s why I didn’t get clean towels in my hotel room this morning.”


Ann continued: “I haven’t seen so many agitated Mexicans since the World Cup Soccer Games were in L.A.” As offended as the diners were, the waiters were pissed. Ann was actually dumb enough to drink her coffee afterwards.

Coulter’s venue of choice for these remarks was a dinner before a debate with Franken sponsored by the University of Judaism. Offending Latinos in front of Jews– a great way to make friends in LA.

LAT in 90 seconds

- Two days after the indictment, and still nobody has a clue as to why Pellicano was apparently bugging Charles Roven on behalf of John McTiernan. However, various embarrassing details of McTiernan’s personal life have been drudged up.

- YAs are writing YA novels. Funny, I would think they were too busy having rainbow parties to get any writing done.

- Even after paying off claims from Katrina and so forth, the insurance industry last year made a record profit. Odd how that works.

‘Syriana’ gets touched by a suit de law en France

Stephanie Vergniault, a Jordan-based French writer, has sued Section Eight and Warner Bros. in French court for alleged plagiarism, claiming that ‘Syriana’ lifts entire scenes and characters from a script of hers. Which makes sense, because I often felt like ‘Syriana’ seemed like it was translated from a foreign language.

By the way, if you’re keeping track, I think the scorecard of successful-to-frivolous suits of this nature is something like 383 to 2. FishbowlLA bonus feature: here’s a comment posted by Vergniault at about the alleged plagiarism. Note that nothing is said alleging how WB/Section Eight may have gotten hold of the script.

* stephanie vergniault says:

Dear Sir ,
I just read an article in the web about Syriana /interesting ..
I am a French lawyer but also a screenplay writer
/ chairman of a company in Jordan doing movie location.
Few days ago , I passed by LA and I had the chance to see SYRIANA /
It was a big shock / I just realized that Mr Gaghan stole many of my sceneries of a screenplay that I registered 14 months before him in the US Copyright.

“OVERSIGHT “ / US COPYRIGHT registered under the number PAU -2-903 – 968 ( Library of the congress )
After examination by a comity of screenplay experts , they are very formal /
90 % of the political intrigue of OVERSIGHT has been stolen by Mr Gaghan .
/Many of the sceneries , characters , creative elements can be found in my script .
I am more than furious about it !
My story is about a former CIA agent that is requested by the CIA to reactivate an undergound network in Afghnistan , for thebenefit of an american oil company /Kazakh oil …
The protagonists are the CIA , oil companies , top official governements guys ( Henry = HENRY K …) , Islamists students …
Entiendo ?……………….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I requested yesterday my lawyer to send a formal notification to the CEO of Warner and to sue the company /
If you have any remark , or advise , do not hesitate to reach me
00 962 777 8533 73

Stephanie Vergniault
March 5th, 2006 at 1:30 pm

Personally, I’d like to see a Jack Bauer blog

USA Today looks at the phenomenon of blogs associated with television shows, often written in the voices of the show’s characters. So, basically it’s fan-fiction, except it’s written by the staff of the show. (‘Staff-fiction?’)

I’m looking forward to the first show-related blog that continues to be maintained after the show is canceled.

Will shorter ad breaks make us buy more stuff?

That’s what NBC/Universal is wondering. The company is experimenting this week with one-minute ad breaks on its USA cable network. The idea is that maybe without the typical clutter of a a two-to-four minute break, each of the two 30-second ads might stand out more. From the WSJ:

The outcome of the test could lead to changes in the decades-old advertising model. If the test shows that viewers remember the remaining ads more clearly, it could give advertisers the ammunition they need to ask TV networks to cut back the number of ads they air.

Networks likely would recoup the lost revenue by charging higher prices. A reduction in the number of ads would reverse the trend of the past decade, a period in which broadcast networks and cable channels alike have squeezed more ads into each hour of TV programming.

If nothing else, it’s a lot harder to skip over a 60-second break on one’s Tivo.

Tesh + Bush + Starbucks + blog

Billy Bush ran into John Tesh outside a Starbucks. It sounds like a set-up for some sort of priest-walks-into-a-bar joke, or a metaphor for the vapidity of mass culture, but no, it really did happen, and Bush blogged about it. Excerpt after the jump. (Excerpt from the excerpt: “ET was good when he was at the helm. If they got him back, I’d quit in fear.”)

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Been upfront so long it looks like down to me

For years now, ad buyers have grumbled about the prices set by television networks for the annual upfront sales in May, but nonetheless each year the upfront market has grown. Now, finally, what with YouTube and iTunes and so forth, will the chickens of the upfront come home to roost? THR thinks they just might.

At a time when advertisers are shifting so much spending to the Web and to Internet-connected devices and platforms, there exists the promise of sure impact for the first time in this year’s television upfront market. It’s not a question of whether the Internet and other new media will begin to noticeably cut into conventional media spending but by how much.

In fact, these new factors at work in the marketplace could contribute to the first indisputable decline (of about 2% by some estimates) from broadcast network television’s $9 billion upfront ad spending in 2005. Even the cable networks were off by about $120 million from what they collectively expected to write in last year’s upfront.

The article is worth reading in its entirety, even if it stretches your math skills to the breaking point, as it did mine. Anyway, what to look for in the upfronts after the jump:

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McTiernan-Roven: What was the beef?

That’s the big question in the wake of yesterday’s surprise announcement that director John McTiernan has been indicted for lying about whether he knew that Anthony Pellicano was wiretapping Charles Roven on his behalf. The NYT and LAT coverage offers not a clue; over at her non-blog, even Nikki Finke admits to being stumped, though she does talk to McTiernan’s ex-wife Donna Dubrow, who believes she was wiretapped by Pellicano.

The funny, and scary, possibility is that maybe there was no substantial argument between Roven and McTiernan, and that Roven was being wiretapped for no particular reason at all.

Sumner Redstone gets philosophical

Sumner Redstone on Brad Grey’s involvement/lack thereof with Anthony Pellicano, per the LAT:

I have the utmost faith in the integrity of Brad Grey,… I’m going out on a limb here. We have investigated this to the fullest. But can anybody be certain of anything but life and death?