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Posts Tagged ‘Steven Spielberg’

Zachary Quinto on Gershwin, LA Farmer’s Market and Coming Out

Actor Zachary Quinto is the real deal. This was evident when he blogged about his personal life on Sunday, October 16, and it remains so today via a crisp Rebecca Keegan interview feature in the LA Times.

Of George Gershwin, the man he may or may not enact for Steven Spielberg, Quinto muses that the project celebrates an era “when celebrity was associated with people who were actually good at something.” The actor also explains how his latest film, Margin Call, took shape at Farmer’s Market and re-frames his headline-grabbing decision to publicly announce his sexual orientation:

“This decision was made with a tremendous amount of thought and introspection –in my own time, on my own terms and with my own words. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the scores of men and women who have preceded me to this action–both within the industry and in more intimate personal journeys throughout the world. Momentum builds in waves–and I am so grateful to be riding this wave of equality with more openness and integrity than I was ever able to embrace before making this declaration.”

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Tavis Smiley Visits Beijing’s Famed 101 Middle School

This week, there may be no better way to get a sense of why China is taking it to the U.S. than Thursday’s edition of Tavis Smiley‘s PBS talk show. As part of a special “China Week” of programs that begins tonight, Smiley sits down on July 14 with students from Beijing’s Middle School 101, consistently ranked as one of the top two high schools in China.

Smiley spent two weeks in Beijing and Shanghai to put together his special string of programs. The Thursday show is actually something that was synced up as well with his NPR radio show “Smiley & West.”

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LA Commercial Director Shakes Up Some Lowrider Fruit

The official biography of commercial director Frank Borin is fabulous. It describes how, beginning at age 12, his parents would drop him off after school at the Universal Studios backlot, so he could wander around and soak up the action (“no one thought of stopping a kid sailing through the gates”). Actually, Borin did occasionally get bounced off the premises, but he kept at it all the way through high school and even at one point ran into Steven Spielberg, heeding the director’s advice to attend film school (Loyola Marymount).

Borin shoots all sorts of high-profile music videos and TV commercials. His latest spot, debuting today on Facebook and scheduled to begin airing overseas Friday, is a cute 30-second locally filmed spot for UK soft drink Vimto:

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Minority Report Company Thriving in Downtown LA

There was a great little piece Friday in MIT’s Technology Review about Oblong Industries, the downtown LA headquartered maker of very high-end computer interface systems.

It makes sense that MIT would be the source of a write-up. The firm’s uber-cool touch-screen products, first showcased in Steven Spielberg‘s 2002 movie Minority Report, are the brainchild of one-time MIT Media Lab researcher John Underkoffler. Check out just how far Underkoffler’s mind-bending technologies have come:

Oblong’s newest offering, Mezzanine, wraps a standard office conference room in high-res displays and a digital whiteboard. Meeting attendees can move things around with a wand that’s tracked in three dimensions. They point at something on one wall, click, and then pull back with their arm to lift it from one screen and deposit it on another…

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Vanity Fair Names James Cameron as Hollywood’s Biggest Earner

The March “Hollywood Issue” for Vanity Fair contains a number of interesting things, including a piece about how it might be more trendy to be fat than buff (we said interesting, not correct!). The real meat of the issue, however, is in its list of the highest-earning people in the industry. Number one is James Cameron, who garnered a whopping $257 million last year, mostly because of that movie about blue people who aren’t really people but are controlled by people or whatever.

Cameron getting a lot of money is nothing surprising, but as FishbowlNY perused the list, a few things caught our eye.

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Critic Lets Loose with Rip-Roaring (Nicolas) Cage Match

There’s a wonderful essay in the February 2011 issue of GQ Magazine by Tom Carson. Titled “National Treasure”, it tackles the amorphous legacy of actor Nicolas Cage. Or, as the sub-headline more aptly puts it: “As Drive Angry arrives in theaters, the question must be asked: Can anything explain the lunatic career of Nicolas Cage?”

This is just flat out great writing. From the opening sentence referencing Xanax to the closing challenge of naming a truly boring Cage movie, Carson careens through the actor’s career at a gonzo pace in keeping with his manic subject’s on-screen demeanor. It’s tough to pick a favorite paragraph, as there are so many. But here’s one highlight:

Actors clutching a new Oscar acquire not only artistic clout but market value; the question is which bent they’ll indulge. Cage zeroed in on the second with a single-mindedness exceeded only by Denzel Washington‘s treatment of dumb thrillers as acting sinecures.

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Memphis Reporter Bemoans Absence of Definitive MLK Biopic

In journalism class, the topic of how to write a great “lede” is endlessly discussed, analyzed and rehearsed. Today, Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter John Beifuss shares a shining example of this art form in connection with rumblings of a new Hollywood project about the life of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Writes Beifuss:

Judging from Hollywood’s success rate, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of brotherhood and racial equality might be achieved before the first definitive King biopic gets to the screen.

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Character Actor Pete Postlethwaite Dead at 64

The great character actor Pete Postlewaite has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 64. Postlethwaite broke into Hollywood in 1993, starring alongside Daniel Day-Lewis in “In the Name of the Father.” Postlethwaite was nominated for an Academy Award for “best supporting actor” for his performance. He also appeared in the “The Usual Suspects” and was once called “probably the best actor in the world” by Steven Spielberg.

Postlethwaite was most recently in the much-acclaimed Christopher Nolan movie “Inception,” as well as Ben Affleck‘s “The Town.”

Not bad, sir.

Postlethwaite was one of the few actors out there who could actually pull off playing working class characters. No tattoos necessary. The guy was legit.

When Tron Met E.T.

As today’s blog reminiscence by Baltimore Sun movie critic Mike Sragow reconfirms, some things never change. Magazine editors place their bets on certain cover story allegiances, subsequent buzz be damned.

Skragow recalls how his editors at Rolling Stone in 1982 were initially resistant to the idea of going big with feature coverage of Steven Spielberg‘s E.T. But he soon figured out why:

A week or two later, I discovered the editors’ underlying rationale. “There’s only room for one sci-fi smash per summer. This summer it’s going to be Tron.” And they had already locked up special cover art with Jeff Bridges in his Tron outfit.

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The Evil Laugh of Justin Lutsky

Ever wonder what happened to all those contestants on the 2007 Mark Burnett-Steven Spielberg reality show On the Lot? In the case of Justin Lutsky, the answer is he’s gone viral.

First, he made a trailer for the Quirk Books entry Night of the Living Trekkies, which at press time is at over 138,000 views on YouTube. Now comes the very funny Epic Evil Laugh, his entry in a Sprint sponsored competition to be judged after November 15th by Michael Bay. Actor Sean Naughton of Captain Morgan Lime Bite fame plays the part of Destructo.

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