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Thompson on Hollywood

Soderbergh and Mann: Too Smart for the Room?

As much as I want to see the Steven Soderbergh/Brad Pitt version of Moneyball, reality needs to return to the movie business. Soderbergh himself occupies a strange nexus within Hollywood. He once told me that he didn't want to direct movies out of the back seat of a limousine. And he is willing to play studio ball or indie ball, as he sees fit. At the same time, like all gifted directors, he wants to push himself, and the art form. But he often loses interest in what movie audiences might want. (UPDATE: On Soderbergh's upcoming Warners' agro-business comedy The Informant!, starring Matt Damon, which is set to debut at September's Toronto Film Fest, the director was eager to be "audience friendly," says co-financeer Groundswell CEO Michael London.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 1, 2009 2:30 AM
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Transformers: ROTF Premiere, LaBeouf's Wild Life

>Here's what I learned on my rounds at the Transformers: ROTF premiere Monday night:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 23, 2009 2:03 AM
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Moneyball Update

It was a bad week for Steven Soderbergh and his $57-million screen version of Michael Lewis's baseball book Moneyball, which Sony shut down as of Friday--with a Monday start-of-production date. (How odd that "producer" Michael DeLuca was on his honeymoon last week and still has not returned. Soderbergh's producer Greg Jacobs was in charge, clearly.) The problem with the Sony spin over the weekend is that it doesn't make sense for Sony chief Amy Pascal to be suddenly discovering that she didn't like a script that had been in circulation--and active pre-production for weeks. Soderbergh was open about his documentary-like approach, and had obtained Major League Baseball cooperation.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 22, 2009 6:40 AM
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Studios Get Tough; Sony Puts Moneyball in Play

In the overall scheme of things, a $57-million budget is pocket change to a studio, especially a big-spender like Sony. So why would Sony chairman Amy Pascal risk alienating a star like Brad Pitt and a director like Steven Soderbergh by pulling the plug on baseball movie Moneyball hours before it was to start shooting? She's sending a message to Hollywood, loud and clear. She's asserting her power to just say no. Finally, in this economy, the studios are spending less on fewer available slots. That's also what Brad Grey is signalling at Paramount by ditching production execs John Lesher and Brad Weston: he's saying, "There's no room for error."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2009 6:57 AM
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Studios Gets Tough; Sony Puts Moneyball in Play

In the overall scheme of things, a $57-million budget is pocket change to a studio, especially a big-spender like Sony. So why would Sony chairman Amy Pascal risk alienating a star like Brad Pitt and a director like Steven Soderbergh by pulling the plug on baseball movie Moneyball hours before it was to start shooting? She's sending a message to Hollywood, loud and clear. She's asserting her power to just say no. Finally, in this economy, the studios are spending less on fewer available slots. That's also what Brad Grey is signalling at Paramount by ditching production execs John Lesher and Brad Weston: he's saying, "There's no room for error."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2009 2:19 AM
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Swedish Trilogy on Tarantino/Pitt Wish-List?

So far, with the exception of Jackie Brown (based on an Elmore Leonard novel) Quentin Tarantino has preferred to direct and write originals. While he has exec-produced a few things and been tempted by the odd Speed Racer or James Bond, he has never rarely succumbed to adaptation temptation.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 8, 2009 7:20 AM
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Cannes: Winners and Losers

Who came out ahead and behind on their Cannes jaunt this year?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 31, 2009 3:02 AM
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Tarantino Update

In my interview with Quentin Tarantino, he admits that he plans to go back to the editing room with Inglourious Basterds this June. He rushed the movie, getting it done in less than a year to make Cannes, and delivered a cinephile's fantasy:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 25, 2009 8:25 AM
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Inglourious Basterds: Tarantino Talks

As Cannes wound down, writer-director Quentin Tarantino sat down for an interview about his long-awaited World War II opus, Inglourious Basterds. We talked about issues of structure, length and purpose:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 23, 2009 7:37 AM
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Cannes: Brangelina, Carrey and Pattinson Hit Croisette

Wednesday night some badly needed star power arrived on the Croisette for the opening night of Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. Brad Pitt did the press rounds during the day, and showed up at the black tie premiere with Angelina Jolie on his arm. Later they had a great time at the Basterds late night beach party, hanging in the jammed VIP corner with Robin Wright Penn, Til Schweiger, Eli Roth, Emile Hirsch, Michael Fassbender (who was grooving to Guns 'n Roses), Daniel Bruhl, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Thierry Fremaux, Bryan Lourd, and Hylda Queally.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 21, 2009 9:07 AM
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