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Studio Film

Antoine Fuqua: My First Big Break

So what happens when you take a kid from Pittsburgh, PA, put him in the wrong place at the wrong time, sprinkle in some college basketball, a little Caravaggio, some Akira Kurosawa and a few rap music videos?

Antoine Fuqua, director of the new action film Olympus Has Fallen, recently sat down with mediabistroTV and told the crew how the odd mix of bad luck, athletics, an acclaimed Japanese director and the influence of a 16th century bad boy Italian painter led him to a career as one of Hollywood’s premiere action film directors.

Fuqua’s latest movie, Olympus Has Fallen, opens in theaters March 22.

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The Dude Gets Some Big LA Weekly Love

For fans of The Big Lebowski, it’s Christmas in March thanks to today’s LA Weekly cover package of stories tied to the movie’s 15th anniversary and upcoming local Lebowski Fest. Our personal favorite is the item about the LA home used for scenes involving Ben Gazzara’s pornographer character Jackie Treehorn.

Writer Sam Bloch spoke with James Goldstein, the seventy-ish owner of the Beverly Hills John Lautner spread that doubled as Treehorn’s beachfront party HQ:

For Treehorn’s encounter with the Dude, the crew set up for a three-night shoot. Goldstein “wasn’t thrilled” about a big black sheet being thrown over a glass, which would obscure a view of the Century City skyline. “I am proud of the way the house looks now,” Goldstein says. “I don’t like it when a set designer makes changes just to justify his pay.”

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Harrison Ford Tapped for Anchorman Sequel

Nice little scooplet for Tatiana Siegel, the one-time Hollywood Reporter staffer who recently returned to the publication’s fold.

According to her sources, it’s not just Kristen Wiig who will be stacking the Anchorman 2 deck, set to begin shooting later this month in Atlanta. Also joining the fray is none other than Harrison Ford:

Ford will play a legendary newscaster a la Tom Brokaw in the Adam McKay-helmed comedy… He previously played an anchorman in the film Morning Glory.

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Writing Advice from Producer of The Tudors, History Channel’s Vikings

Just in time for the upcoming premier of Vikings on the History Channel, Michael Hirst, the show’s writer and producer, talks about his writing process in the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do? series.

“The key for me with historical characters is they’re interesting because they’re human beings,” he said. ”A little bit of Hemingway goes a long way here, but journalists and writers should honestly look at their material and have a real interest, a real passion in what they want to write, and they should also have a lot of knowledge, as well.”

“You don’t write police procedural stuff unless you really know that beat, but it’s ultimately not the procedure that makes the show work — it’s the people. The more real they are, the better.”

Read more in:
So What Do You Do, Michael Hirst, Creator of The Tudors and Vikings?

Todd McCarthy Uncorks the Mother of All Rhetorical Questions

We agree with Variety film editor Josh Dickey. The opening sentence of THR critic Todd McCarthy’s review of the Warner Bros. fantasy film Jack the Giant Slayer is one for the ages:

When will all the dead-serious $200 million battle-centered giant-infested similarly cast rousingly scored fabulously rendered 3D fairy-tale reimaginings all finally merge together into one enormous Anglophilic fantasmagoria of monarchical order and virtue so we can all be done with this for the time being?

We’re talking: 44 glorious words, four of them hyphenated; a French-leaning spelling of phantasmagoria (for le extra oomph?); and an audacious disregard of the comma. In this brief moment, McCarthy has recast himself as Todd the Run-On Sentence Slayer. Bravo.

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Is Focus Features Giving Schenectady the Shaft?

There’s a really ugly Hollywood PR storm brewing in Schenectady, New York. One that Focus Features would do well to quell asap.

Per an article by Paul Grondahl in Albany’s Times-Union newspaper, city officials, locals and at least one area native prominently associated with The Place Beyond the Pines are all mystified by the apparent lack of any plans for a promised spring premiere at Proctors. The Ryan Gosling-Bradley Cooper drama was filmed all over Schenectady in the summer of 2011; the building on the poster crop at right for example is a Trustco bank branch at the corner of State Street and Brandywine Avenue. From Grondahl’s report:

“I’m annoyed with these guys,” said Philip Morris, CEO of Proctors. He said the producers and distributor are not returning his calls, even though his staff assisted the production…

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MTV News Article Fails to Deliver the Entourage Movie Goods

Following Mike Fleming‘s Tuesday night Deadline scoop about Warner Bros. giving the green light for an Entourage movie, other media outlets are playing catch-up. One of the more tantalizing headlines of this nature crossed the wire tonight:

Unfortunately, the MTV.com Q&A with Wahlberg that sits under this banner fails to live up to the tease. When reporter Josh Horowitz asked the show’s inspiration via telephone where the plot will take the beloved HBO series characters, he got this reply:

Wahlberg: You know what, I don’t know if I can give anything away. I haven’t really spoken to anybody about that particular thing. I think I can certainly get back to you about that.

MTV: OK, no worries.

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Aaron Sorkin Thinks Matt Damon’s New Movie is Fracking Great

Via EW staffer Anthony Breznican‘s great awards season column “Prize Fighting,” Sorkin has shared some thoughts about the new Gus Van Sant drama starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski.

Sorkin suggests that the December 28-January 4 release is no more about fracking than Jaws was about fishing. Instead, he writes, the screenplay – written by the film’s nauseatingly talented two stars – is anchored to a nifty narrative chassis:

Promised Land is so deft in its storytelling that it manages to dramatize one of the more compelling ANTI-environmental messages you’re likely to see. Forget you just read the words “environmental” and “messages” — you’ll be completely taken in by the con game, the humor, the stakes, the absence of easy answers and the typically detailed, subtle and charismatic performances…

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Judd Apatow Understands if Some Find This Is 40 Line Offensive

Is this taking the post-Newtown massacre media climate a little too far? Some, like Variety film reporter Jeff Sneider, certainly think so.

Sneider is referring to a December 19 article on TheWrap by Greg Gilman. The site sought (and received) comment from This Is 40 writer-director Judd Apatow about whether a line of dialogue that has the grandfather character played by Albert Brooks joking about “murdering” his triplet sons will/should have been removed:

“I wrote this script two years ago. That line is spoken by a sarcastic father kidding with his children,” the director said in a statement to TheWrap. “In light of recent events, I understand if some people might make an unfortunate association or put it in a context in which it was not intended.”

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Vulture Debate Club, Holiday Edition: Les Miz or Les Mis?

We can safely predict that no review of Les Misérables will be as entertaining a read as today’s hilarious mock debate on Vulture between staffers Kyle Buchanan and Amanda Dobbins. Apparently, he kicked off the website’s house-style preference for the abbreviation Les Miz while she, despite being in the clear Vulture minority, continues to steadfastly cling to Les Mis.

Their back-and-forth transcribed conversation is good for a half-dozen memorable zingers. Here for example is Buchanan’s retort to Dobbins’ observation that Universal Pictures has the URL lesmiz.com redirecting readers straight to lesmis.com:

“But just look at those URLs! Which is more fun to read, and more pleasing to the eye? It certainly is not “Lesmis,” which sounds like a short-lived sapphic club founded at Radcliffe College in the late fifties.”

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