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Posts Tagged ‘George Lucas’

George Lucas and Joan Hamburg’s Next Act I David Zaslav at The Mirror Awards

LunchAtMichaelsOur weekly lunches at Michael’s always deliver plenty of star power and today was no exception. When I arrived a little before noon, I was followed in the door by none other than George Lucas, who, I’m told, happened to be walking by the restaurant yesterday with his new baby daughter and her nanny in tow when he inquired if there might be a way to “squeeze him in” today. I kid you not. He’s always seemed incredibly low key on his many visits to 55th and Fifth any time I’ve seen him here. Today, the multiple Academy Award winner showed up casually clad in his signature look: a sport short, jeans and sneakers and headed right for his table, forsaking the glad handing that is favored by his fellow West Coast brethren. Despite being the first one there, he was one of the last to leave, spending the entire time deep in conversation with an elegant white-haired lady we didn’t recognize. Talking about the joys of fatherhood, perhaps?

George Lucas with a friend at Michael's

George Lucas with a friend at Michael’s

The room filled up quickly with plenty of familiar faces, including social types and publishing big wigs (Kerry Kennedy, Jay FieldenJay McInerney, Jack Kliger) as well as a fair number of fashionable folks (Joe Zee, Tomas Maier, Fern Mallis). Unfortunately my date was under the weather, so after I made my rounds I hightailed it over to Cipriani 42nd Street, where there were plenty of Michael’s regulars on hand to salute Discovery Communications president and CEO David Zaslav, who was honored with the Fred Dressler Leadership Award at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University’s Mirror Awards. In attendance: Gayle King (mistress of ceremonies), Discovery ID’s Henry Scleiff and Tom Freston, who came back from a trip to Afghanistan so he could present the award to his longtime pal “The Zas.” Tom affectionately called David “a colorful cowboy” and reminisced of David’s earliest days in cable when he “kicked some ass!”

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Willie Geist’s Parenting Advice to Kanye West; Star Jones Celebrates a Birthday

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After the last few head-spinning Wednesdays at Michael’s kept me ricocheting between Hollywood A-listers (Meg Ryan) and tabloid targets (Rachel Uchitel), it was something of a relief to turn my attention to the restaurant’s core constituency of authors and their agents (remember books?) who have always viewed the dining room at 55th & Fifth as a de facto company cafeteria. When I arrived a few minutes before noon and overheard Tom Connor telling L’Oreal Sherman he was meeting Gretchen Young for lunch, I just had to go over and introduce myself. Gretchen was my editor at Hyperion, and we worked together on two bestsellers: I Love You, Mom! a collection of celebrity essays I edited and Objection! which I co-wrote with Nancy Grace. Like I always say, in certain circles, all roads lead to Michael’s.

Now vice president and executive editor at Grand Central Publishing, Gretchen recently signed Tom’s clients Willie Geist and his father Bill Geist to write a father-son book scheduled for publication next year to coincide with Father’s Day. When Willie (who, it should be noted, is quite the snappy dresser) arrived, I asked him if the dapper duo had ever worked together before. “Aside from some yard work, no,” he told me. The yet-to-be-titled tome does have a subtitle: Birds, Bees and Other Conversations We Never Had. “It’s not going to be one of those super earnest father-son books,” says Willie. Bill describes the book as something “born out of our experiences and what we’ve learned from each other.”

“It’s really our humorous take on things,” says Willie, which seems only fitting since his first book, the bestselling American Freak Show, was a send-up of our tabloid culture featuring imagined conversations with characters like ’President’ Sarah Palin. The upcoming title will chronicle life growing up in the Geist household through a mix of essays and interviews. “I think we’ll both write things and then bounce it off each other,” says Bill. Sounds like there’s no shortage of material. “There’s the time the Christmas presents were accidentally locked in the trunk of dad’s company car and a sledgehammer was wielded,” recalls Willie. “And then there was the summer I was sent off to what was supposed to be an idyllic summer camp in New Hampshire, and I’m not exaggerating when I say the counselors were fresh-out-of-rehab juvenile delinquents, and there were literally knife fights going on around me. We’ll basically write about what not to do.”

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In This Star Wars Reporting Episode, Much of the Deserved Credit Gets Lost

The biggest Hollywood film scoop of this young year was posted Thursday at 1:33 p.m PT on TheWrap. While a number of Lucas Shaw‘s peers were immediate and effusive with Twitter praise, large chunks of the pick-up coverage about J.J. Abrams being tapped to direct the next-generation installment of Star Wars failed to credit TheWrap and this hard-working media reporter.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the trenches of THR, Variety, TheWrap and Deadline, with each being guilty at various times of co-opting film scoops by “confirming,” referencing same-subsequent “documents obtained”, slapping on a questionable EXCLUSIVE and so on. But a scoop of the magnitude of Shaw’s should have been exempt from the usual ticky-tack catch-up tricks.

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Kathryn Bigelow Joins Rarefied TIME Cover Group

At the recent Golden Globes, Kathryn Bigelow and Jodie Foster commingled on stage and off; Bigelow as a Best Director nominee, Foster as the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award.

By gracing the cover of the February 4 issue of TIME magazine, Bigelow joins Foster once again, this time as only the second female film director to adorn the publication. Foster did so back in October 1991.

The cover shot was taken by Paola Kudacki, the accompanying interview-profile conducted by Jessica Winter with help from Lily Rothman. Female power all around for this one.

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LA Weekly Film Critic Karina Longworth Decides to Go Freelance

This is both a surprise and a reversal of the usual currents underlying the departure of a full-time print film critic. Today is Karina Longworth‘s last day as an LA Weekly full-time film editor writer and former film editor. She will continue to contribute as a freelancer and explains the decision was entirely hers:

For some time I’ve been itching to try new things, to write for additional venues and in formats I’m not practiced in… Then, a book project came along that I couldn’t turn down, and I decided it was time to make the leap. Said book will be my priority for the next couple of months…

This is not Longworth’s first book. Earlier this fall, Phaidon Press published the English-language version of an overview of the career of Star Wars maestro George Lucas that Longworth completed in 2011 for Cahiers du Cinema. ”The new book is on Meryl Streep,” Longworth tells FishbowlLA via email. “It’s again for Cahiers du Cinema. This one is longer, more in depth; it’s the story of her career and craft via critical analysis of ten performances.”

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Disney-Lucasfilm Deal Enlarges Vivid’s X-Rated Parody Plans

A year after the original trilogy of Star Wars films was in the books, a different kind of film endeavor was launched in the San Fernando Valley in 1984. Since that time, Vivid Entertainment and the porn industry have both come a long way. Today, in the face of the Internet threat, Vivid and other SFVx purveyors have resorted among other things to big-budget, X-rated movie parodies.


Earlier this year, Vivid released Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody, its biggest budgeted flick yet. The company already has two sequels planned and now, feeding off this week’s Disney-Lucasfilm deal, say they are planning a fourth Lucas homme-age. A quadrilogy?

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Disney Buys Lucasfilm, Will Probably Ruin Star Wars Even More

This isn’t really New York centric, but it’s definitely big news. Disney has agreed to buy Lucasfilm — and the entire Star Wars franchise — for $4.05 billion in stock and cash. Half of the payment will be in cash, and 40 million shares will be distributed at closing.

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, CEO of Lucasfilm, in a statement. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.”

If the acquisition wasn’t big enough news for you, Disney also announced plans to release more Star Wars movies, starting with Star Wars Episode 7, in 2015.

Should you find yourself upset that Disney bought the beloved Star Wars franchise and is adding more movies to it, remember that Lucas already ruined everything with Jar Jar Binks. It can’t get any worse than that.

George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy Explain the Disney-Lucasfilm Deal

Who better to frame today’s Disney mega-deal than George Lucas? Via starwars.com late this afternoon comes a brief roundtable discussion featuring Lucas and his Lucasfilm co-chair Kathleen Kennedy:

Kennedy points to Disney’s prior success with Pixar and Marvel as a key influencer for the $4.05 billion deal. She also says that Lucas, “her Yoda,” will most definitely be involved in the pass-the-lightsaber process of meeting with screenwriters and determining a basic storyline for the next Star Wars film.

The funniest part of the video conversation occurs at the very end, when Kennedy jokes that a retired Lucas can blog about how his gatekeeper-successors are messing it all up.

Randal Kleiser Still Singing the Praises of Late USC Teacher Nina Foch

USC grad Randal Kleiser (Grease, The Blue Lagoon) continues to spread the word about the phenomenal instructional DVD he put together a few years ago about his late teacher Nina Foch. As well he should.

Underwritten by George Lucas, the DVD was culled from around 100 hours of footage shot by Kleiser during Foch’s USC course about acting and filmmaking. Following a recent speech at Athens’ Michael Cacoyannis Foundation that focused heavily on the DVD, Kleiser talked to greekreporter.com about the Oscar nominee for Executive Suite and Emmy nominee for Lou Grant:

“Nina Foch was the best teacher I ever had and I knew her teachings had to be recorded for future generations. Even as she continued acting in film and television, her passion for teaching lasted for over forty years.”

“Her course was immensely popular because she developed her own unique style drawing from her experiences studying with Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler and Uta Hagen, as well as, the directors, Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Kubrick, Cecil B. DeMille and Otto Preminger. She taught a generation of filmmakers including John McTiernan, Amy Heckerling, Ed Zwick, Ron Underwood and many others. Nina went from being my teacher, to my mentor, to my good friend.”

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East Coast Critic: Have Oscars Jumped the Shark?

Far from the madding, furiously handicapping Oscar blogger crowd, the view of the AMPAS membership’s elderly tendencies is a little different. This morning, New York Post film critic Kyle Smith rips the ratings prospects for the upcoming ABC telecast, and really, it’s hard to argue with him.

For the first time since 1929, a silent film is not just in the Best Picture Oscar mix but also the presumed winner. For Smith, this translates into the sound of crickets:

The Oscar nominations spoke yesterday, and they said, “Shh!” ABC’s response? “Sh – - !” The list made it clear that the February 26 ceremony will be among the least-watched editions of the collapsing telecast.

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