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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Haggis’

Big Hollywood Contributor Screeches Away from LA’s ‘Fascist Ghetto’

After eight years in LA as an independent filmmaker and editor-in-chief of Andrew Breitbart‘s Big Hollywood, John Nolte (pictured) is thrilled to be heading back home to Boone, North Carolina. He has kind words for the people of LA, but says he will not miss the city itself, which he describes as “a dump with a 10% sales tax” and a “big, fascist, one-story ghetto.”

Nolte is also no fan of Paul Haggis, headlining and ending his farewell-to-LA piece with the wish that the Oscar winning filmmaker “go to hell.”  He writes that it was while attending mass last year as one of only two white guys in the pews that he finally came to realize just how “defamatory” an attack Haggis’ 2005 Best Picture is on the people of LA:

Crash would have you believe that the marvelous American melting pot known as Los Angeles is filled with racists and racial strife and racial tension and race, race race, race race. Well, that’s a damned lie. My hand to God, in eight years I have personally never seen, been involved in, or known anyone involved in any kind of racial incident.

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Journalist Lunches at Church of Scientology Celebrity Center

Author Maria Bustillos takes a long, fascinating look back today via Awl.com at a groundbreaking 1990 LA Times series by Joel Sappell and Robert Welkos. She righly points out that the pair’s June 24-29 investigation into the Church of Scientology, the product of five years of old-school newspaper footwork, was far more courageous and substantive than the recent New Yorker-Paul Haggis piece.

As part of her report, Bustillos decided to take a late lunch at the Renaissance restaurant at the Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Center on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood. She gives the establishment an admirably objective thumbs up.

I asked to see a wine list, and the head waiter (whose French accent was so rich I thought he might be kidding, or practicing for an acting class) goes, “Red or white?”

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Russell Crowe Gets Way Better Press Down Under

It seems rather strange that the latest Russell Crowe movie Three Days Later is only just now opening in Australia, two months after its U.S. bow and roll out in dozens of international territories.

To mark the occasion, Sydney Morning Herald reporter Greg Truman rounds up the North American media bashing the actor suffered in connection with the poor-performing Lionsgate thriller ($21 million domestic). There’s the insinuation in a Toronto newspaper that Crowe drove writer-director Paul Haggis back to chain smoking; a cantankerous New York City press conference during which Crowe dismissed one question with the reply, “Oh dude, c’mon.” And there’s the LA Times piece that unfavorably compared Crowe to the likes of Johnny Depp.

Don’t they get it? It’s Russell; our Russ. Actor, chameleon, action guy, footy lover, phone thrower, charitable fella, thoughtful father, Aussie bloke…

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Scientology Defector Paul Haggis Tells All in Upcoming Book

Hollywood’s favorite cult isn’t going to be happy about this. Scientology‘s most famous defector, Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Paul Haggis, is breaking his silence in an upcoming book. The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs. The Church of Scientology is being written by the well-respected Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright, and according to his agency is, “The most profound reckoning to date with this powerful and secretive organization.”

Haggis publicly renounced the Church of Scientology in 2009, after thirty five years as a member, but has stayed largely mum on the subject since. Not for much longer. The book will serve as both a chronicle of Haggis’ personal experiences and an in-depth investigation of the cult — including the human rights abuses of its members, which the authors allege includes violence, conditions approaching enslavement, and forced abortions.

Full description of the book from the Wylie Agency catalog after the jump.
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Time to Meet a Scientologist

With Tom Cruise having gone off the rails and Paul Haggis now a million dollar PR bust, it appears that the Church of Scientology has decided it’s time to put the “normal” back in volcano-based religion marketing.

L.A. point person Linda Wieland and others have been busy this month promoting a slick portion of the Church’s official website called “Meet a Scientologist“, where video profiles of 150 believers can be viewed. While infamous Team Dianetics NASCAR driver Kenton Gray is cued up at the top of the page to welcome visitors, there is not a single famous face among the 35 “Arts” profiles. These are everyday musicians, event planners, artists and F/X specialists.

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Paul Haggis Leaves Scientology

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Director of Crash Paul Haggis penned a break up letter with Scientology and their current national spokesperson Tommy Davis. The Village Voice published it. What will get all the ink is that Haggis is upset at the San Diego chapter endorsing Prop. 8. But Haggis is also miffed, after 35 years, of the policy of “disconnection,” which is the Scientology version of ex-communication. Davis denied the policy exists on CNN and this is suddenly outrageous to the Oscar winner.

Haggis writes:

This was my state of mind when I was online doing research and chanced upon an interview clip with you on CNN. The interview lasted maybe ten minutes – it was just you and the newscaster. And in it I saw you deny the church’s policy of disconnection. You said straight-out there was no such policy, that it did not exist.

I was shocked. We all know this policy exists. I didn’t have to search for verification – I didn’t have to look any further than my own home.

Yeah, after a couple of months figuring out the church lies, we get it. After 35 years?

This reminds us of the scene in Casablanca where Captain Renault declares, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

Your winnings, Sir.

Photo Credit: Alexandra Gibson

‘An Ordinary Spy’ Goes Hollywood

me3_tmp.jpgFormer CIA agent-turned novelist, Joseph Weisberg recently had his exciting, unusual spy novel optioned by Paul Haggis and Michael Nozik with Hwy61 Films, based at Paramount.

The LAT calls An Ordinary Spy “a modern spy novel that doesn’t tell the reader who the characters are, where the story takes place or even the kind of food they eat.”

“All of these details are heavily redacted, marked by extensive blacked-out sections of type in the book, which switches back and forth in time. … The author didn’t delete all these facts as a writer’s trick. As a former CIA officer, Weisberg would have been required to submit his novel to the agency, and he solved this literary dilemma by creatively censoring his own material.”

FBLA talks with Weisberg, a John le Carre fan, about the CIA and Hollywood and everything in between. Here is the part of the interview that we’re allowed to show you:

1. When did you work for the CIA? 1990-1994.

2. Why would you have had to submit a novel to the CIA for approval? Or is this work more fact than fiction? When you join the CIA, you’re required to sign a secrecy agreement. Among other things, this agreement obligates you to submit anything you write about intelligence matters to the CIA for review. The CIA then determines if what you’ve written contains any classified information, and if it does, you have to take it out.

Fiction and non-fiction both have to be submitted. Non-fiction is held to a tougher standard, meaning they’ll let you write some things in a novel that you cannot write in a memoir or an editorial. But a fair number of things can’t be written about in any form.

What constitutes classified material is in itself a complicated question, and I think the best answer is, nobody really knows. Classified does not mean secret. In fact, most of what the CIA had me take out of my book was information that is widely known. It’s classified not because it’s secret, but because they don’t want the information confirmed by an ex-Agency employee.

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Scott Collins Unreal on Reality TV

Tabloid Baby schools clueless LAT columnist Scott Collins in the true meaning of reality TV buzzword Frankenbite. Collins wrote:

Editors routinely use “frankenbites,” out-of-context quotes that illustrate points the speakers never intended to make…

Collins is just plain wrong, as TB explains:

A Frankenbite is not an out-of-context quote. It’s a line of audio that is cobbled, stitched and patched together with words and phrases from different unrelated sentences. Just as Frankenstein was assembled from parts of different bodies.

There’s plenty of other misinformation about reality TV and writers, as well. Collins quotes a blithely uninformed Paul Haggis about reality TV workers, who make a “few hundred dollars a week”, which isn’t accurate. The WGA might not like to think about the members who toil in reality, but there’s not enough work on scripted shows to go around. Where does collins think HGTV, Food Network and Discovery get their programming?

WGA 07 Strike Week 3: It’s All About Nikki

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Second Life avatars are striking, too. Kiwini Oe alerted us to their presence.

Nikki Finke’s got some hot news about a naughty, naughty showrunner, but banned any speculation by commenters. He was ratted out by an assistant which is a strategy that could so easily backfire.

And Finke’s site will host video shorts by bold-faced names such as Paul Haggis, Rod Lurie, William H. Macy and Sean Penn and many more.

ABC is set to run some webisodes of Lost. Was the network saving these for the “deleted scenes” feature of the DVD?

Alex Epstein is looking for someone to work for free.

Barbara Hall runs a TV quotes quiz.

Ken Levine lacerates more holiday films.

Some woman in Minneapolis finds the silver lining of the strike cloud.

Nora Ephron posts about cooking, but she’s sure been quiet about the strike. A commenter smacks her for talking trash about Mom.

WGA 07 Strike Blogs

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Strike blogs are the samizdat of the 07 WGA Strike.

Ken Levine:

Honk If You Love Writers!

And Paul Haggis shows up to comment, too.

Writers Strike is rumored to be the work of a Daily Show writer.

United Hollywood sorts the rumors.

Variety’s Scribe Vibe gathers various bits and pieces.

And the Huffington Post unwisely opens up to non-writers. One actually suggests that the picket signs use famous movie lines–without permission or pay!

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