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Posts Tagged ‘Meg Ryan’

When a McSweeney’s Writer Meets Tired Rom-Com Cliches

This is the funniest send-up of Hollywood rom-com love scenes we’ve read in a long time. “I Want to Make Love to You Like In the Movies” is the latest offering on McSweeney’s from regular contributor Josh Gondelman and we have to thank THR.com editor Chris Krewson for bringing it to our attention via Twitter.

Gondelman’s piece adopts the format of a love letter to a girlfriend. Filtered through the love scene cliches and other rote formula of modern era studio rom-coms. Here’s just a taste:

I want to take you home to my apartment. Though my living space is unfeasibly large and furnished well beyond my means with Crate & Barrel accouterments, you’ll find it unacceptably messy because men, right? Once we get inside, I’m going to tear your clothes off. But, I’ll leave the bra on…

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Meg Ryan and Judith Regan “Below the Radar” on Table One

1003_mockup.gifThe spring power lunch season has officially begun at Michael’s with plenty of famous faces and talking heads (Charles Grodin, Star Jones, Lawrence O’Donnell) mixed in with the usual suspects today. None other than Meg Ryan turned up with Judith Regan and slipped in practically unnoticed. Ah, but it’s my job to tell you these things.

In the ‘six degrees of separation’ world that is the dining room at 55th and Fifth, Judith and I grew up in the same hometown of Bay Shore on Long Island. Her mother was often my substitute teacher in high school, and we’ve always had interesting chats whenever our paths have crossed. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the famously fiery ex-book publisher and she told me she’s adapted a new approach of “staying well below the radar” while working on her Sirius XM show. “No one even knows where I live,” she said. I knew better than to question the strategy of staying out of the limelight by sitting at Table One on a Wednesday at Michael’s, so we talked about mutual friends and exchanged pleasantries about our families. When Meg showed up, she couldn’t have been nicer as we chatted about our daughters who we adopted from China the same year, are the same age and both wear glasses. (Sorry, but it’s all OTR.) Later, on the way out, we talked a bit more and I suspected she had plenty more to say on the subject but didn’t want to get caught it the crush of folks lining up for their coats. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

I was joined today by Stu Zakim, public relations vet and “transformational executive” (How’s that for a title?) Mike Berman. Stu, a veteran marketing guru who has helped shaped the image of Showtime, Universal Pictures and Wenner Media, struck out on his own in 2010 with his own firm, Bridge Strategic Communications. His current clients include the Montclair Film Festival, now in its second year, and Mike, a turnaround specialist and business blogger who dispenses straightforward strategies on his blog, Berman Means Business. Stu has been working with Mike since last fall to extend the reach of his no-nonsense messaging espousing a holistic approach to building businesses. With recent headlines on media mash-ups and corporate meltdowns, we had plenty to talk about. Since Mike penned his first piece for CNBC’s website entitled “Five Turnaround Tips for Ron Johnson, JC Penney and Others” earlier this week, I thought a discussion about JCP’s embattled CEO was a good place to start. In a nutshell, says Mike, Johnson “was set up to fail — he can’t fix Penney’s.”

Mike Berman, Diane Clehane and Stu Zakim

He explains, “What’s happening with Ron Johnson is a metaphor for what’s wrong with business today. You can’t hire a rock star as if he’s just come down from the mountain top with the solution to every problem. No one person is able to do what he’s saying he can do.” According to Mike, Johnson’s first mistake was expecting an already beaten down team to buy into widespread change without first stabilizing the organization and clearly articulating a long term vision for the future. Letting 10,000 people go among a shell-shocked workforce didn’t help matters, either. “In the classic turnaround, you can be a hero by coming in and reducing staff, closing under performing stores or factories for the short-term, but in the long-term that doesn’t create value and kills the economy. Executives have to ask themselves, ‘How can I make sacrifices for the benefit of the entity?” Because so many companies rely on the slash-and-burn strategy as an immediate solution to stem the bleeding of their bottom line, Mike tells me he no longer works on “classic turnarounds” because he finds them “totally souless.” Now there’s something you don’t hear every day.

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Tom Hanks Celebrates Nora Ephron’s Journalistic Curiosity

The guaranteed-to-be-wonderful essay by Tom Hanks about working with the late Nora Ephron has arrived, courtesy of TIME magazine. It’s as bouncy as their various movie collaborations.

The two-time Oscar winner suggests that what made Ephron such a good director was her “journalist’s curiosity.” For example, here are a few things he remembers from the shoot for 1993′s Sleepless in Seattle:

Notice as Rosie O’Donnell and Meg Ryan talk about the guy with the shop that sells only soup, but it’s so good, people line up for it. That was Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi years before Seinfeld discovered him. Nora’s sharp eye helped her in more prosaic ways as well. While shooting in Seattle, the crew found this great new place for coffee called Starbucks. As we bought lattes, Nora bought stock in the company.

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Coming Soon to Audible: Dustin Hoffman Reading Jerzy Kosinski

The A-List Collection is off to a great start at audible.com, with $14.95 offerings ready by Susan Sarandon, Samuel L. Jackson, Anne Hathaway and Kate Winslet. Intriguingly, Hathaway’s rendering of The Wizard of Oz has the reader-reviews edge so far, ahead of her fellow celebs by a half star.

As with all things Hollywood related, the coming attractions are as important a part of the package as the feature presentation. And in that respect, audible has got it going on.

Nine more tantalizing titles are currently teased. Everything from Colin Firth reading Graham Greene to Meg Ryan dropping into William Saroyan‘s The Human Comedy.

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East Coast High Schooler Profiles Marvel Entertainment Relative

Every once in a while, a Hollywood job description comes across the wire that inspires a mixture of admiration and envy. Such is the case with Kevin Feige (pictured), president of production for Marvel Entertainment and, as such, a key overseer of this summer’s blockbusters Thor and Captain America.

His Pennsylvania suburbs teenage cousin writes today at regional newspaper hub PhillyBurbs.com that Feige is a most down-to-earth big-time relative. Feige advises any would-be moguls out there that getting today’s Hollywood lunch order right can lead to tomorrow’s better opportunities, and explains how he got his start:

When I was in college, I saw a listing for an internship at the production company of the director of Superman: The Movie and I worked very hard to get hired there. I was lucky enough to get the job and ended up working there for six years.

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‘When Harry Met Sally’ Actress Michelle Nicastro Dead at 50

Actress Michelle Nicastro died in her Toluca Lake home last Thursday after a 10 year battle with breast cancer. Nicastro was best known for her small role in the Billy Crystal/Meg Ryan film “When Harry Met Sally.” She also starred as Eponine in the original LA production of “Les Miserables.” She leaves behind her husband, television producer Steve Stark and two daughters.

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.

Betty Thomas to Helm Dallas, the Funny Version

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William Goldman famously wrote that “in Hollywood, nobody knows anything”. Ain’t it the truth.

Betty Thomas will direct the big screen version of Dallas–as a rib-ticking comedy, with John Travolta as J. R. Ewing. (In which case, why not a musical?) Variety reminds us of previous casting hilarity:

When the movie was derailed late last year, Gurinder Chadha (“Bend It Like Beckham”) was directing. Luke Wilson was attached to play Bobby Ewing with Shirley MacLaine to play Miss Ellie, while producers were talking with Meg Ryan to play Sue Ellen after Jennifer Lopez dropped out.

Meg Ryan = Jennifer Lopez = Linda Gray. Well, they all have lips.