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EXCLUSIVE: How 'Talhotblond' Went from Sexy Doc to Courteney Cox's TV Movie Directing Debut

Thompson on Hollywood By Valentina Valentini | Thompson on Hollywood March 30, 2012 at 1:37PM

What do Courteney Cox, an online love triangle and Lifetime movies have in common? "Talhotblond" -- a Lifetime movie about an online love triangle directed by Courteney Cox, making her TV movie debut.
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It was only a matter of time before this juicy drama went before the cameras. “It was probably one of the best stories I’ve come across in my career as a journalist,” Schroeder admits. “I thought it was surprising that no one had optioned it yet, so I pursued it and started writing Montgomery in prison and got him to agree to do an interview with us.”

Montgomery had avoided a media-covered trial by coming up with a plea deal for 20 years to life. “Even though it was this salacious story and there was a fantasy with this teenage vixen luring men and making one kill the other over a girl they’ve never met,” she says, “I felt it was so profound that the master puppeteer in all of this never was held accountable in any way.”

Motion Picture Corporation of America approached Schroeder and bought the rights to the documentary. They shopped it around to a few studios and eventually ended up with Lifetime and Cox attached as director.

“I didn’t want to make a typical TV movie,” says Cox between set-ups on the Los Angeles set. She is going for an "American Beauty" feel and look that will resonate with a wide range of viewers. "John from CIncinatti" and "Deadwood" star Garret Dillahunt plays Montgomery.  That was a key factor in hiring New York cinematographer-on-the-rise Doug Emmett. “I wanted to work with someone who was hungry and excited,” she says. “Our ideas were completely in sync.”

On set the "Friends" and "Scream" veteran, who directed two episodes of her hit show "Cougar Town" (one of several TV series she has exec produced) as well as the short "The Monday Before Thanksgiving," is focused and collaborative. Her OCD attention to detail -- which she claims she’s had forever--only helps with this gig. “I’m such a detailed person anyway," she says. "It’s kind of perfect for my personality -- my brain can’t help but see the aesthetics. I notice every single thing in every corner when I walk into a room, and I’ve always been that way. It’s a great place to be able to translate that to directing. Knowing that that part is taken care of, I can focus on the characters and story.”

"Talhotblond" will appear on Lifetime later this year.

This article is related to: Documentary, Courteney Cox, Barbara Schroeder, Television, TV, Interviews


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.