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Thompson on Hollywood

Hollywood Publicist Ronni Chasen Found Shot to Death

On Saturday night, press agent Ronni Chasen came up to me at the Governor's Ball, kissed me on the cheek, asked me if I had greeted producers Dick and Lili Zanuck and Inception's Hans Zimmer and Chris Nolan, reminded me that she wanted me to interview composer Eliot Goldenthal for Julie Taymor's The Tempest, and told me to save the date for her Christmas party. I've known Chasen since she was a senior press agent at Rogers & Cowan in the 80s. She went on to run her own firm, Chasen & Co., which reps filmmakers and composers. Chasen, who was a diminutive but forceful blonde, kindly tutored me in the ways of Hollywood when I was fresh from New York. Her brother, director Larry Cohen, once shot a film in my upper West Side apartment. Chasen was one of those publicists who knew her job, loved her clients, and was able to suggest without being a nudge. She was, in short, a mensch. I am, like everyone else who knew her, in shock.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 16, 2010 6:32 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Production Watch: Cooper's Carancho Remake, Mulligan is Daisy, Jane Eyre Trailer, Wuthering Heights

- The success of Scott Cooper's first film as writer-director, Crazy Heart---an Oscar vehicle for Jeff Bridges---gave him license to play with the big kids. While David Fincher gets flack for remaking the Swedish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (he's actually adapting the Stieg Larsson novel), Cooper is attached to direct a remake of Argentina's foreign language Oscar submission, Carancho (meaning Vulture, pictured), which played at Cannes and AFI Fest. Ricardo Darin (who starred in last year's Oscar-winning The Secret In Their Eyes) plays a personal injury attorney who helps as well as exploits his clients, and gets embroiled in a larger scheme. Cooper is shopping the rights to remake the film with an adaptation already written by Aaron Stockard (The Town, Gone Baby Gone). The original won't hit American screens until spring.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 16, 2010 5:27 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Academy Accepts 15 Submissions for Animation Race: Only Three Nomination Slots

Academy Accepts 15 Submissions for Animation Race: Only Three Nomination Slots
Bad news for contenders in the Oscar animation race--unless you happen to be Toy Story 3 or How to Train Your Dragon--now all the 15 submissions accepted by the Academy will be vying for three slots. If there had been 16, there would have been five slots. That did not happen, so the likes of Tangled, Despicable Me, The Illusionist and Megamind will compete for that third slot. Who will land it?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 15, 2010 8:11 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Celeb Watch: Pitt's Plan B for Chilean Miners, Celeb Salaries, Harry Potter's Stars

- Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B Entertainment may bring the recent Chilean miners story to the big screen. Plan B has reportedly made a multi-million dollar offer for the film rights, and several of the rescued miners may negotiate roles for themselves to play. The miners' lawyer confirms that some ten offers come in each day for the miners to consider, but they are holding off on signing a deal until a holding company is established to deal with any proceeds from their harrowing story.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 15, 2010 6:44 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Producers Guild To Honor Scott Rudin with David O. Selznick Achievement Award

Producers Guild To Honor Scott Rudin with David O. Selznick Achievement Award
Love him or hate him, but producer Scott Rudin is fighting the good fight for good movies--at a time when very few have the will or power to win that battle--and thus the 2011 Producers Guild of America's David O. Selznick achievement award for motion pictures is well-deserved.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 15, 2010 5:50 AM
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Christina Aguilera Sings in Burlesque Extended Musical Number Clip

Shooting the strip-tease musical Burlesque was no picnic, according to this LAT expose. Check out this extended number from the film starring Cher, Christina Aguilera, Stanley Tucci, Kristen Bell, Julianne Hough and Eric Dane, which hits theaters November 24:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 15, 2010 5:37 AM
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  • 0 Comments

AFI Fest Scores Again with Free Screenings and Awards Contenders King's Speech, Fighter, Black Swan

The AFI Fest closed November 11 with the jammed L.A. premiere of Darren Aronofsky's ballet-world thriller Black Swan attended by the director and his cast, Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder and Vincent Cassel. Here's a fest wrap-up from Justin Lowe (the Fest posted videos from some of the galas): Playing to a capacity crowd at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with all the principal cast attending, Black Swan is a dramatic tour de force, underpinned by Natalie Portman’s staggering portrayal of a lead ballerina battling for her emotional and professional survival.
  • By Justin Lowe
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  • November 15, 2010 4:23 AM
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Starry Night at Governors Awards Fete: Coppola, Wallach, Brownlow and Controversial Godard

Starry Night at Governors Awards Fete: Coppola, Wallach, Brownlow and Controversial Godard
Walking into the second annual Academy Governors Awards reception, I was gobsmacked by who was milling in front of the photographers at the entrance. 12-year-old Elle Fanning posed with her Somewhere co-star Stephen Dorff and The Ghost Writer's Olivia Williams; George Lucas was chatting up Godfather stars Robert Duvall and James Caan, as Sofia, Francis Ford Coppola and his wife of 48 years, Eleanor, greeted Peter Fonda.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 14, 2010 11:18 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Scorsese and DiCaprio Talk Shutter Island, Aviator, Gangs of New York, Sinatra, Hugo Cabret

Scorsese and DiCaprio Talk Shutter Island, Aviator, Gangs of New York, Sinatra, Hugo Cabret
While Shutter Island is likely to earn several technical Oscar nominations, the fact that Paramount wrangled Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio for a satellite interview at L.A.'s Egyptian Theatre for award season promo purposes is news. Academy voters always take Oscar-winner Scorsese (The Departed) seriously, and the movie is a gorgeous exercise in period style. DiCaprio, who has three noms under his belt and no wins, probably has a better shot at a best actor nom for contender Inception, although that too is a stretch, partly because the actor makes these roles look too easy.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 14, 2010 9:47 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Weekend Box Office: Megamind Slows Unstoppable; Morning Glory Stalls in Fourth Place

Mighty Megamind held off all takers with an estimated $30-million on its second weekend, while well-reviewed Denzel Washington actioner Unstoppable followed behind with $23.5 million, and newsroom comedy Morning Glory took a miserable fourth place--after raunch-fest holdover Due Date and VFX-crammed newcomer Skyline. Anthony D'Alessandro reports:Superhero toon Megamind put the brakes on runaway train movie Unstoppable at the weekend box office.  The Paramount/DreamWorks animated title remained more powerful than a locomotive in its second session, maintaining first place with $30.1 million at 3,949 theaters while Tony Scott’s choo-choo actioner arrived in second with estimates of $23.5 million at 3,207 whistle stops – the director’s second highest three-day take, behind 1987’s Beverly Hills Cop II ($26.3 million).  Despite the competition from a speeding-bullet train, Rogue Pictures’ alien invasion feature Skyline, released through Universal, was able to chip $11.7 million at 2,880 while crowds failed to wake up to Paramount’s Morning Glory with $9.6 million at 2,518. 
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • November 14, 2010 5:11 AM
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  • 5 Comments

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