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Posts Tagged ‘Lynda Obst’

Lynda Obst Decries Hollywood’s ‘New Abnormal’

Twenty years after shepherding the classic 1993 rom-com Sleepless in Seattle, producer Lynda Obst is sharing something called Sleepless in Hollywood. Her second book arrives Tuesday and, befitting a treatise that regularly references gargantuan tentpole productions, has a prominent main pillar of its own.

Obst’s thesis is capitalized in the sub-title and solidly contextualized in the first chapter. The author uses the short-form of Scene rather than Chapter; so, from Scene One: The New Abnormal:

How did this happen? How did it become easier for someone who knows no one to make a movie for $150,000 than for someone who knows everyone to make one for $20 million? Or for a guy who made a movie for $100,000 to make his next movie a superhero tentpole for $100 million? Nothing makes any sense…

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Elle’s Women in Hollywood Roundtable

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Salon’s Rebecca Traister sits in on Elle’s Women in Hollywood round table discussion on the state of show biz, why there aren’t more women directors, and so on. The group wonders why women don’t go to opening weekends, forgetting that people watch movies lots of other ways than at the multiplex, not than any of them ever see films with the public. While distinguished and credible, the ten are sort of randomly chosen. At the table are:

Moderator/producer Lynda Obst (called one of Tinseltown’s great brains, which is a frightening thought)
Claims Kate Hudson has same power as Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon in getting girly movies green-lit. Because the audience is clamoring for more.

Writer/director Nora Ephron
Thinks Transformers had a great emotional theme, sucks up to Spielberg. Claims to meet only timid girls at film schools. Ever wonder if she still takes calls from Meg Ryan?

Writer/producer Laura Ziskin
Discussing the lack of female directors, drops a bomb,

Our children watched their mothers and said, “Oh, no thank you. I don’t want my life to be like that.”

Writer/director Callie Khouri
Claims she wanted to make a NASCAR movie. So she directed Ya-Ya Sisterhood instead? Just made indie movie with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes and wonders why no studio wanted it. Then complains about the lack of wish fulfillment in Judd Apatow movies.

Writer/director Patty Jenkins
Liked Spiderman. Admits to concentrating on personal life after making Monster.

Producer Cathy Konrad
Has small child, married to business partner Jim Mangold, admits to scaling back work for family.

Writer/director/producer Kimberly Piece
Loves blowing things up, just made second film.

Writer/producer Andrea Berloff
Has little kid, wonders why more women aren’t in film biz. But she’s fairly new to the business, as World Trade Center was her first produced script.

Writer/producer Margaret Nagle
Breaks away from approved party line by believing babe/nerd hookup in Knocked Up.

Universal president of production Donna Langley (called “that rarest of Hollywood breeds, a female studio head”, as Amy Pascal, wasn’t in the room.)
Points out that despite Jodie Foster’s tiny cameo, lots of women went to see Inside Man starring Denzel Washington. See Queen Latifah, wish fulfillment above.

The discussion was held in August, so Jeff Robinov’s foot hadn’t entered his mouth yet.

These women don’t pay attention to the few women working as TV directors and that reality TV could be a training ground for women (who are usually credited as field producers). Michael Apted started in documentary, after all.

But there’s a big snob factor in features, and never underestimate the insularity of Hollywood. Directors who came from TV, like Dennie Gordon, Betty Thomas, and Mimi Leder, and those who go back and forth, like Nicole Holofcener tend to not get called for big tentpole pictures.

Nikki Finke picks out some high points, but think how lively the discussion could have been, had she sat at the table.

Elle hosts the 14th annual Women in Hollywood Tribute at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on Oct. 15, when it will honor actresses Lauren Bacall, Scarlett Johansson, Diane Lane, Kate Bosworth, Jennifer Connelly, Amy Adams and director Julie Taymor.

In The Trades: New Movies, New Shows, New Titles

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Francis Ford Coppola’s first film since 1997, Youth Without Youth, might be acquired by Tom Cruise’s United Artists. The film is based on a novel by Romanian anthropologist/historian Mircea Eliade. Coppola shot the film in Romania in 2006 for around $5 million. It’s said to be an “arty Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Pride, while following the script for inspirational sports movies, is better than most. First timer Sunu Gonera (he’d been a commercial director in Cape Town)directs Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac in the story of an African-American swim team that beats the odds.

National Geographic re-ups the Dog Whisperer and schedules Dino Autopsy, Fight Schience II, Naked Science and Taboo.

Preternaturally perky producer Lynda Obst re-teams with Marc Rosen for a new production company, housed at Paramount. While the usual Kate Hudson chick-flix are on the roster, they’re also doing Interstellar, a Spielberg-directed sci-fi movie.

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Apple will release the entire new season of The Andy Milonakis Show on iTunes, before the show airs on MTV. This time, Milonakis cavorts in LA.

Deanna Brown leaves Yahoo for Scripps where she’ll oversee the HGTV and Food Network sites as the president of the Interactive Group. She was another of those Yahoo hires who couldn’t seem to get anything really innovative greenlit. Is anyone left at Yahoo?
Stan Lee vs. Marvel in Super Hero Legal Battle.

Peter Bogdonovich and his biz manager are sued by some guy who claims he paid $100,000 to get his kid a PA job with the director. You’d think 100K would buy some sort of producer credit.

Breaking: Someone In the Country Expresses Surprise By Oscar Noms List

oscarproduction.jpgNew Yorkers are so damn cute, what with their crappy weather and lack of decent grocery stores and genuine surprise that Dreamgirls got “shut out.” (Nevermind that nobody in L.A. thinks it was “shut out.” The only noms they were ever going to get were for the supporting categories. Duh.)

Here’s a little taste (from the NY Daily Intelligencer) of the breathless e-mail exchanges between New York film critic David Edelstein and Hollywood producer Lynda Obst about the Oscar nominations by e-mail each year.

Unbelievable! Incredible! Astonishing! The absolute shoo-in, Dreamgirls, has been dealt a devastating blow. Nothing for Best Picture, nothing for Best Director (Bill Condon) — not even that consolation nom, Adapted Screenplay! (The unkindest cut?) I thought Dreamgirls was thoroughly mediocre (with one song, “We Are Family,” among the most eardrum-lacerating things I’ve ever heard), but the dis is stunning. Did anyone see this coming?

Whew. Deep breath.

Either Edelstein is adorablely easy to astonish or he deserves an Oscar nom.