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Thompson on Hollywood

Avatar Novel and Sequel: Fran Drescher's Audition

Avatar Novel and Sequel: Fran Drescher's Audition
Last June producer Jon Landau gave me the flip cam interview below (for a Popular Mechanics Avatar feature I was writing) in the Lightstorm screening room the day he and James Cameron made their big videogame presentation at E3. I was about to see about fifteen minutes of 3-D footage from Avatar--which blew me away. It's hard to recall how nervous and concerned Landau and Fox and Cameron were about selling this unbranded original movie. Remember how badly the first online trailers played on Avatar Day, August 21? The rest, shall we say, is history.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 5, 2010 12:31 AM
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Avatar vs. Pocahontas: Trailer Mash

While the similarities between Avatar and Pocahontas are not news, this inevitable mash-up is entertaining. The only question is, did Harvey Weinstein have anything to do with it?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 26, 2010 10:11 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Sherlock Holmes Music Video: Discombobulate Features Zimmer, Downey

Sherlock Holmes Music Video: Discombobulate Features Zimmer, Downey
As the Oscar voting heads toward the final days (ballots are due March 2), Oscar campaigners are still throwing new things into the mix: here's a music video for Hans Zimmer's score for Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey Jr. on piano. It's fun--they basically got the musicians to send in video from all over the world. One guy's riding an elephant.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 26, 2010 12:11 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Talk 22: Dueling Oscar Producers, Weinstein's Inglourious Basterds Push, Bullock Talks

Oscar Talk 22: Dueling Oscar Producers, Weinstein's Inglourious Basterds Push, Bullock Talks
Kris Tapley and I dig into the meat of the matter this week as the Oscar season goes into overdrive. Are voters trying to rig the top ten? What has a better shot of winning, The Hurt Locker, Avatar or Inglourious Basterds, which Harvey Weinstein has been relentlessly flogging? Are Oscar producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic (who aren't getting along) going to be able to put together a strong show with ten best picture nominees and no Oscar-nominated songs?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2010 10:04 AM
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Penn Charged in Paparazzi Battery Crime, Could Face Jail

TMZ strikes again: the site reports that Sean Penn has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery and vandalism for an October encounter in Brentwood with paparazzi (deja vu). TMZ posts video of the fracas (on the jump). He could face 18 months in jail if convicted.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2010 9:07 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Video, News

Olympic Men's Figure Skater Evan Lysacek Wins Gold

Here's video of American Evan Lysacek's intense, exhilarating winning performance Thursday in the figure-skating men's free. Thanks to tape delay, the online media delivered the news of the win before NBC aired his finale. He's the first American to win the men's figure-skating gold since Brian Boitano in 1988.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2010 6:40 AM
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  • 3 Comments
More: Video, TV

Oscar Watch: Nick Hornby's Hollywood Education

Oscar Watch: Nick Hornby's Hollywood Education
Brit author Nick Hornby discovered the Lynn Barber memoir An Education and showed it to his producer wife, Amanda Posey, as a possible movie. He liked it so much he adapted it for the screen himself, something he has avoided doing with his own novels, three of which--High Fidelity, Fever Pitch, About a Boy--have been turned by other writers into damned good Hollywood movies. He did adapt his first novel Fever Pitch into a British movie starring Colin Firth. But otherwise he has kept some distance from Hollywood adaptations of his novels.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2010 5:55 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Oscar Watch: T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham Talk Crazy Heart

Oscar Watch: T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham Talk Crazy Heart
After the Academy Nominees luncheon Monday at the Beverly Hilton, I repaired downstairs to do a couple of interviews pool side--along with a few other media. I flip-cammed Crazy Heart's T Bone Burnett, the tall and famous music supervisor who was instrumental in making the movie as good as it is. First, the movie wouldn't have been made without him. Burnett told old pal and jam-mate Jeff Bridges that if he would make Scott Cooper's movie, so would he. Second, Burnett insisted that the movie's backers raise enough money to do the music properly. The hand-crafted songs that fit Bridges' Bad Blake persona like a glove are what make Crazy Heart work so well. Burnett brought along songwriter Ryan Bingham, who wrote Oscar best original song front-runner "The Weary Kind."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 16, 2010 9:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Sandra Bullock Talks Blind Side, Oscars, Career Choices

After the Oscar nominees' lunch at the Beverly Hilton, I went down by the pool to interview The Blind Side best actress nominee Sandra Bullock with my flip cam. She didn't know at the start of her career, she said, that "being funny was going to be my greatest joy." She learned as she went along that comedy parts for men were better written than the ones for women, so she'd transcribe Jerry Lewis and Carol Burnett skits and perform them in front of her own home video camera. If you want women to come to box office, she warns, you have to make the movies good. "We're not going to the movie on the first weekend if they're crap," she says. "That's the difference between men and women."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 16, 2010 5:21 AM
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Art Directors Go with Avatar, Hurt Locker, Sherlock Holmes, Beatty

One thing I love about this year's Oscar race is the way lower-budget movies like The Hurt Locker hold their own against the big-budget behemoths. At the crystal-themed Art Director's Guild awards on Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton, The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow, taller than ever in high high heels, presented the period film award to Sherlock Holmes, which beat out best-picture Oscar nominee Inglourious Basterds.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 14, 2010 10:19 AM
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