A silent film star named Dorothy Gibson co-wrote and acted in Etienne Arnaud’s one-reeler, Saved from the Titanic (1912), twenty-nine days after surviving the sinking herself, according to The A.V. Club. Gibson’s character in the film wears the same clothes the actress wore the night of the disaster, and even though the picture was an international hit, the only known prints were lost in a fire two years into its release, in one of the worst cinematic tragedies of the era. Gibson had been part of movie history since “Hollywood” was located in Fort Lee, New Jersey – indeed, she was one of the first performers to reach stardom – and only one of her flicks still exists.
Film school founder discusses former student Chadwick Boseman
Digital Film Academy founder Patrick DiRenna sat down with reporter Travis Bean to discuss the success of alumnus Chadwick Boseman, star of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (2018), according to Forbes. DiRenna says Boseman is as chameleonic as Gary Oldman and as charismatic as Keanu Reeves, citing his performances as diverse historical figures like Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall in Brian Helgeland’s 42 (2013), Tate Taylor’s Get On Up (2014), and Reginald Hudlin’s Marshall (2017), respectively. The Digital Film Academy operates under the thesis that great film performances are the result of great filmmaking, and DiRenna says Boseman’s student mentality equipped him to succeed in the collaborative medium that is the cinematic arts.
UK independent filmmakers could be casualty of US streaming wars
Insiders say the United Kingdom could lose its independent film industry in the war between American streaming services like Netflix, Disney, and other competing studios launching their own subscription platforms, according to The Guardian. Indeed, Netflix is opening a permanent production base in Shepperton Studios worth more than ten billion pounds, compared to the eleven million-pound budget at BBC Films and the British Film Institute’s fifteen million pounds. Andy Paterson, co-producer of Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man (2013), predicts that the streamers will act as something of a new classical Hollywood studio system, conquering world cinema from the United States.
“Midsommar” actor says cast was speechless at first screening
Leading man Jack Reynor is quoted as saying the cast of Ari Aster’s Midsommar (2019) sat thunderstruck through their first viewing of the horror film in New York earlier this month, despite knowing everything about the narrative, according to Entertainment Weekly. Reynor says the first two acts of the follow-up to Hereditary (2018) are brimming with gallows humor, but the final third is artfully crafted to overwhelm the audience a la Nagisa Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses (1976). Reynor co-stars alongside Florence Pugh as an American couple who visit a secluded Swedish commune while travelling across Scandinavia, where a cult awaits them.
The making of Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday” (2019)
Danny Boyle’s Beatles jukebox musical, Yesterday (2019), originally began as a screenplay titled Cover Version by Jack Barth and Mackenzie Crook, with Crook slated to direct, according to The New York Times. After approaching executive producer Nick Angel for his connections in the music industry, Angel asked Richard Curtis, writer of Mike Newell’s Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and his own Love Actually (2003), to rewrite the script, sharing a story credit with Barth. Curtis’s production deal at Working Title and Universal got Boyle involved, and Apple Corps and Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the copyright holders behind most of the band’s discography, were persuaded the film would be prestigious and lucrative enough to share the rights.
Inside New Jersey’s filmmaking renaissance
After the New Jersey Legislature approved tax credits for film and television production and Governor Phil Murphy signed it into law in July 2018, industry revenue could double and local businesses could expect hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Asbury Park Press. Todd Phillips’s Batman flick, Joker (2019), Alan Taylor’s prequel to HBO’s The Sopranos (1999-2007), The Many Saints of Newark (2020), and Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic musical, West Side Story (2020), are all shooting in the state. Former Governor Chris Christie, in an effort to curb the budget, suspended the film and TV program in 2010 and allowed it to expire in 2015, blocking the 2009 incentive for MTV’s Jersey Shore (2009-2012).
Disney recruits top Netflix executive for new streaming service
Walt Disney announced Tuesday they had hired Matt Brodlie, the director of the original film division at Netflix, to lead international content development for their forthcoming family-friendly steaming service, Disney+, according to CNBC. Under Brodlie’s leadership, Netflix released Susan Johnson’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) as well as Alex Richanbach’s Ibiza (2018), and it also picked up Academy Award darlings like Dee Rees’s Mudbound (2017) and Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma (2018). As part of his new position with Disney, Brodlie will arbitrate which properties need to be produced or acquired for Disney+ customers outside the United States.
New tax credit for filmmakers to go into effect in Montana
The Montana Economic Industry Advancement Act goes into effect July 1, offering a production expenditure tax credit of up to thirty-five percent of filmmakers’ total base film production investment for films shot in the state, according to the Montana Standard. Filmmakers must incentivize the hiring of local crews, employ students, or film in impoverished counties, with a budget of at least $350,000, a Montana promotion featured in the final product, and a total claim for tax credits of less than ten million dollars a year. Fly-fishing tourists still visit Montana because of Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through It (1992), and filmmaking encourages economic stimulation for many communities through money spent on housing, food, and supplies.
Will Gluck’s “Easy A” (2010) will get a spin-off
A spinoff of Will Gluck’s Easy A (2010) is in the works, with screenwriter Bert Royal returning to draft the script as well as direct the film, which will also take place at Ojai North High School and will be about similar themes with a new cast of characters, according to /Film. With Easy A serving as a loose adaptation of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Royal was quoted in an interview as saying he planned to set similar interpretations of Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand and The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens in Ojai, California. The follow-up still has yet to be written, so no details are known yet as to whether Emma Stone, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, or Malcolm McDowell will reprise their parts, or when it will be released.
“Final Destination” star accuses Christian film actor of sexual misconduct
Filmmaker, actress, and progressive Haley Webb accused co-star Kevin Sorbo of sexually harassing her whilst filming Alejandro Itkin and Hunter Carson’s Single in South Beach (2015) on Thursday over Twitter, according to The Daily Dot. The thirty-three-year-old Webb alleges that the sixty-year-old Sorbo openly shamed her on set when she turned down his advances, then insisted on shooting a gratuitous sex scene between their two characters. Webb’s claim was a response to a tweet Sorbo posted Tuesday in defense of Sarah Huckabee Sanders; Sorbo, who has yet to reply to Webb, is a Christian film staple, starring in Harold Cronk’s God’s Not Dead (2014).