Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Covenant News- The Latest Industry & Social News From the Entertainment & Media Capital of the Universe, HOLLYWOOD, Los Angeles.CA. Wed,25 June 2008

The Case of the (Almost) Disappearing Godfather

( by Peter Bart, editor-in-chief, Variety Magazine, Hollywood )

Hollywood doesn’t give a damn about its past.
I was reminded of this unpleasant fact last week when Kim Aubry of Zoetrope Aubry Productions showed me his two new docs about “The Godfather” --

one dealing with the movie’s angst ridden production, the other with the salvaging of the negative

Here’s the darkest Godfather secret:

The negative was literally turning into dust until Steven Spielberg, upon closing his DreamWorks deal at Paramount, made a personal call to Brad Grey pleading with him to salvage it.

Grey was himself shocked to learn that one of the studio’s major assets was falling apart and he authorized payment of over $1 million for the restoration.

Both of Aubry’s fine docs boast a stellar cast -- Francis Ford Coppola (who doesn’t like to discuss the film), George Lucas, Walter Murch (the postproduction guru), Robert Evans, David Chase (whose Sopranos was inspired by the film) and yes, me.

Coppola himself resents the “Godfather” experience on many levels, even though it made him both rich and venerated.

A man of many moods and interests, Coppola believed that the great success of the movie pulled him away from his career plan to make small, artistically ambitious films along the lines of “The Conversation.”

On at least two occasions, Coppola told me “you ruined my career,” because I’d given him the newly published book and urged and cajoled him into directing it.

The doc’s only flaw is that it falls into the usual trap of depicting “the artist” versus “the studio.”

In the case of “The Godfather,” “the artists” (principally Coppola) fought for all the elements that worked in the film --

Brando, Pacino, Gordon Willis’ darkly moody cinematography, and the 2 hour 20 minute running time, etc.

“The Studio” (in this case, Paramount) fought all these elements relentlessly.

Coppola was allegedly a bad idea, as was the cast and, certainly, Willis.

The flaw in this theory is the assumption that Paramount spoke with one voice --

something that rarely, if ever occurred at the studios of that chaotic period.
In fact the three “supremos” in New York at the time -- Charles Bluhdorn, Stanley Jaffe and Frank Yablans -- were in disagreement about every issue.

Meanwhile Evans and I in Hollywood learned that some of the executives serving under us also disdained Coppola and were trying to disrupt the movie.

Hence the problems surrounding “The Godfather” were never a matter of “us” vs. “them”, it was Coppola’s cacophony vs. Paramount’s cacophony.

There were too many voices -- a problem exacerbated by Coppola’s ‘70s rebel tendency to avoid engaging the studio, and thus cutting himself off from an intelligent dialogue.

Personally, as vice president for production, my attitude was that it was all working my way.

Evans and I favored Brando and the other actors Coppola had cast, though, too many screen tests were mandated, further, despite misunderstandings about the initial contract, Evans had wanted a longer cut.

By the third week we both realized a remarkable movie was being shot at a cost (about $7 million) that, even by ‘70s standards, was rigorously economical.
All the noise and rancor ended up creating a better movie -- indeed, one of history’s greatest.

Meanwhile, Paramount distribution maven, Frank Yablans, was developing a bold plan to open the movie wide, thus defying established formulae for handling “tentpole” movies.
That’s why I still can’t believe that the studio let the negative deteriorate.

The good news:

The new Godfather DVD will shortly be released by the studio, it will also will be available on Blu-Ray.

For those interested in the wonky details of "The Godfather," and its restoration, my colleague David Cohen kindly supplied the following:

The original camera negative was used for striking prints because there was no good stock for making duplicate negatives until the mid-1980s.

Every time the film needed to be printed, the negative had to be sent out.

Printing dissolves, in those days, meant running the film back and forth through the printer (more wear and tear on the negative).

It had tears from the perforations into the image.

It was filthy from having been run through printers so much.

When at the studio, it was properly vaulted but the wear and tear on the negative was “the worst I’ve ever seen in a print from the modern era,” one restoration expert declared.

By the time it came for restoration, the film’s first 5 shots were intact, but everything after that through minute 20 was in terrible shape.

Hilary Duff Stays Cool

Published by Carolina on June 24th, 2008 (6 hours ago)

For her next project, Hilary Duff, will portray a sexy high school senior who flirts with the visiting author and invites him to the prom in “Stay Cool”.

Duff co-stars with Winona Ryder, Sean Astin, Chevy Chase and Jon Cryer.
The project comes from filmmakers Mark and Michael Polish, and begins shooting next month.

It is described as a “knowing-your-age comedy,” and Reuters describes it as the story of a successful author (Mark Polish) who is forced to

confront an unrequited high school crush (Ryder) when he returns home to deliver a commencement address to graduating seniors

Published by Carolina on June 24th, 2008 (10 hours ago)

After 82 full years of life, Hugh Hefner’s body is finally feeling the side effects of rustling around inside his sheets for decades.

He said,

I have some aches and pains and I have had lower back problems since the ’80s.
Too much time in bed rustling around with friends.

On the recent movement in California that allows gay couples to legally wed.

I’m thrilled.
Playboy has been [a] proponent of free choice, and that includes homosexual freedom as well.
We have to change the laws related to all of that.

On pursuing his dreams:

I’ve pursued my own personal dreams from the very beginning;
I’m a romantic and always have been that way.
I dreamed impossible dreams when I was a kid.
I was raised in a very typical Midwestern Methodist home with a lot of repression.
There weren’t a lot of hugs and kisses in my home, and I charted my own course.

On whether there is any truth to all those rumors that Hef’s three leading ladies bicker much more than what we see in their E! reality show “Girls Next Door.”

Girls will be girls, and there are moments where they will disagree.
The amazing thing, quite frankly, is that we’re all together after six years.
Fancy Pants - AVE MARIA

Women's tennis star Maria Sharapova will be rocking a unique look at this year's Wimbeldon in London town.

She's ditching her famous figure hugging tennis dresses for 'tuxedo' ensembles of shorts and sleeveless tops.

The new look will reflect London's 'history in bespoke tailoring'.

Maria's shorts will feature gold stitching and a subtle pin stripe.

Bucking tradition in style.

"I've never worn shorts at a Grand Slam," says Maria.
"I'm going to be debuting that.

Call it menswear, obviously.
It's kind of like a tuxedo look, very simple lines, classic."

Do U like Sharapova's new look?

It's getting harder and harder for bands to make a splash with album releases these days.

So….musicians are thinking outside the box!

British pop punk band McFly is going the Prince route and teaming up with the UK's Daily Mail to give away its new music in the paper's Sunday, July 20th edition.

McFly's super dreamy singer/guitarist Tom Fletcher says, “We want to get our music out to the widest audience possible and working with a massive paper like The Mail On Sunday will definitely help us achieve that.

We’re very excited about this great opportunity."

This partnership will give the band access to the Sunday Mail's reported 5.8 million readers.

Are you Brits excited about the giveaway?


She's still striking!

Demi Moore made an appearance at the launch of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Dubai at The Park Avenue Plaza in New York City on Monday.

Potato Head's mummy looks gorgeous at FIFTY

Kanye is not on team Ice!

Mr. West has taken to his blog to come out in support of marginally talented and incredibly annoying rapper Soulja Boy.

Says Kanye:

"Soulja boy is fresh ass hell and is actually the true meaning of what hip hop is sposed to be.

He came from the hood, made his own beats, made up a new saying, new sound and a new dance with one song.

He had all of America rapping this summer.

If that ain't Hip Hop then what is?

A bunch of wannabe keep it real rappers that ain't even relevant, recycling samples trying to act like it's 96 again and all they do is hate on new shit?

Niggas always talk about the golden age but for a 13 year old kid, this is the golden age!!!

That song was so dope cause everything he said had a hidden meaning… that's Nas level shit…

he just put it over some steel drums which is also some Nas shit if you had the 2nd album

cassette with the bonus track "Silent Murder" on it.

In closing… new niggas get ya money$$$$$$$$$$

Keep this shit fresh and original….

ain't no fuckin' rules to this shit and that's what real hip hop is to me."

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