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Thompson on Hollywood

Lena Dunham Talks Tiny Furniture, Writing for Hollywood, Rudin, HBO

Lena Dunham Talks Tiny Furniture, Writing for Hollywood, Rudin, HBO
The discovery of this year's SXSW (and best narrative feature winner) was 24-year-old New York writer-director Lena Dunham, who shot her semi-autobiographical micro-budget film Tiny Furniture at her family's Tribeca loft with herself, her sister Grace and her artist mom Laurie Simmons (The Music of Regret) in leading roles, along with indie professionals Jemima Kirke, Alex Karpovsky and Merritt Wever, who she met at SXSW when she debuted her first film Creative Nonfiction there. Dunham's painter father Carroll didn't want to be in the film, she admits during our flip cam interview during LAFF at L.A.'s Four Seasons (below, with trailer). "I was exploring a more female-centric thing." Her family worked their butts off during fifteen days of filming (Jody Lee Lipes is her cinematographer) and are "quite proud of it. We all went through that artistic process together."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 30, 2010 2:02 AM
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  • 5 Comments

MGM Lenders Approve Spyglass Takeover Bid

The MGM lion has had many lives--the fabled studio has run through many chiefs over the decades, but Carl Icahn is not going to be one of them. Mary Parent is gone, and so is Harry Sloan, as well as UA's Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner. Finally, we know, the newest chieftans are the Spyglass duo Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber; their plan to take over the studio after it emerges from bankruptcy has been approved by MGM's lenders, reports the LAT. The vote was delayed when Lionsgate's largest shareholder, agitator Carl Icahn, tried to mount a rival bid to buy MGM's debt for 53 cents on the dollar. Icahn also owns about 12% of MGM's debt, or $500 million.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 29, 2010 10:28 AM
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More: News, Hollywood

Michael Moore Writes A Boot to the Head Election Memo

Michael Moore is worried--as are many Democrats--about the midterm elections Tuesday, which could return control of the House (if not the Senate) to Republicans (many of them right of center) and bring on true governmental paralysis. He'll be on Rachel Maddow Friday night on MSNBC, at 9:00pm ET/PT. Here's his latest missive:A Boot to the Head ...from Michael MooreFriends,
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 29, 2010 9:27 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Nicholson, DeVito, Glee Stars in Rocky Horror Picture Show

- A star-packed rendition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, held Thursday night at LA's Wiltern Theatre, marked the famed film's 35th Anniversary with a combo of film and live musical performances.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 29, 2010 8:03 AM
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The Horror, The Horror: Seven Rules for Success at the Box Office

With Halloween upon us, TOH box office analyst Anthony D'Alessandro looks at what's working--and what isn't--among horror genre titles. He finds seven often counter-intuitive rules to follow for horror success.The Paranormal Activity franchise stands as a pillar of success for horror films over the last year, reviving the genre after a recent spate of bombs (i.e. Devil, Case 39, My Soul to Take, Let Me In). What makes a horror title live or die at the B.O.? Here's a primer for horror success: 1. Realism rules: “When you touch death or visceral things like the other world, it makes people feel more alive," says Scream exec producer Harvey Weinstein. "That’s the allure of something like horror.”  Paranormal Activity producer Oren Peli is agreeing all the way to the bank: “What made Paranormal a success is that it feels small and intimate and it was important to stay true to this with the sequel,” he says. “While there are different types of horror films out there, i.e. gore, slasher, the slow psychological build of Paranormal scares people in a different way than being slashed apart.”  
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • October 29, 2010 7:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekly Wrap: Oscar Contenders Big and Small, Production News, Lawrence and Morgan Talk

Weekly Wrap: Oscar Contenders Big and Small, Production News, Lawrence and Morgan Talk
AWARDS
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 29, 2010 6:06 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Gender Watch: Theron for Snow, Cholodenko Talks, Lisbeth Salander and Hollywood's Woman Problem

-Charlize Theron could be in, and Angelina Jolie out for director Rupert Sanders' Snow White and The Huntsman, according to ThePlaylist. It was always a hopeful stretch to think that Jolie would sign up (get in line) but Theron's schedule has opened up thanks to the Mad Max postponement. That makes her an attractive candidate for evil queen Ravenna, who hires a bounty hunter (Inception Brit Tom Hardy, also starring in Mad Max) to chase down Snow White after her escape. Theron is currently shooting Jason Reitman's Young Adult with Patrick Wilson. While not as established as an action star as Jolie, Theron is one of the few actresses who can legitimately be considered alongside Jolie in the action sphere (as much for Monster and In The Valley of Elah as "actioners" Æon Flux and Hancock). Plot details are murky, but we like the thought of watching Theron boss around Hardy.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 29, 2010 5:55 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Columbia's Tolmach and Belgrad Split; Tolmach Goes Indie Prod with Spider-Man, Belgrad Solo Prexy

The seven-year Columbia tenure of Matt Tolmach and Doug Belgrad has come to an end. Co-president since 2008, Tolmach is moving on to launch a new production company--he has a three-year contract-- and starting in December, will join with Marvel and Laura Ziskin on the next iteration of Spider-Man, a series he has shepherded since 2002. (Not a bad way to launch a solo career.) At the end of November, Belgrad will take over the solo reins at Columbia. He is bringing on Hannah Minghella as his new president of production. She has been president of Sony Pictures Animation since 2008, where she supervised Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the upcoming Arthur Christmas, The Pirates!, and Hotel Transylvania>
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 29, 2010 5:22 AM
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Oscar Talk: Love & Other Drugs, Lead and Supporting Actor Races, Favorite Horror Films

Oscar Talk: Love & Other Drugs, Lead and Supporting Actor Races, Favorite Horror Films
Kris Tapley of In Contention and I talk about Love & Other Drugs; the supporting actor race (which might include Sean Penn's Fair Game performance); Jennifer Lawrence, who breezed into town promoting Winter's Bone, as did the 127 Hours gang; favorite horror films on the eve of Halloween; Jacki Weaver's Oscar chances for Australia's Animal Kingdom; and why the Academy tends to recognize young actresses more than young actors.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 29, 2010 4:48 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Oscar Rear-View: Youngest Best Actress Nominees

Oscar Rear-View: Youngest Best Actress Nominees
Film Experience has decided (sight unseen) that True Grit gal Hailee Steinfeld has Best Actress potential rather than the usual supporting-actress default accorded to young actresses. Why? In order to include her in their investigation of the youngest Best Actress nominees. Here is their list (winners are in bold):1. Keisha Castle Hughes, Whale Rider (2003) was 13.
(Wow, well would you look at this? Either Jennifer Lawrence or Steinfeld would become #2 if nominated for Best Actress.) 2. Isabelle Adjani, The Story of Adele H (1975) was 20. 3. Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice (2005) was 20 going on 21.  4. Ellen Page, Juno (2007) was about to turn 21. 5. Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God (1986) was 21 (She's the youngest winner of all time in this category.) 6. Elizabeth Hartman, A Patch of Blue  (1965) was 22. 7. Kate Winslet, Titanic (1997) was 22 and 4 months. 8. Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven/Sunrise/Street Angel (1927/1928) was just a few days older than Winslet. 9. Leslie Caron, Lili (1953) was 22½ 10. TIE! Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman(1990) and Winona Ryder, Little Women (1994).
They were both 23 years and 108 days old when they were nominated. And here's another twin moment: it was the second nomination for both as they'd been previously honored in Best Supporting Actress.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 28, 2010 8:08 AM
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  • 3 Comments

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