Bieber-mania! Paramount Pictures has made a deal to turn Justin Bieber’s life story into a 3D feature biopic. Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” is negotiating to direct, and though the film doesn’t have a title, Bieber is set to play himself in the film. The film will come out February 11, 2011 on Valentine’s Day weekend (for all you ladies out there).
Jason Reitman and Charlize Theron are in talks to direct and star in, respectively, YOUNG ADULT, from a script by Reitman’s “Juno” scribe Diablo Cody. The story is a dark comedy that follows a thirtysomething, divorced, young-adult fiction writer (Theron) in Minneapolis who returns to her hometown to chase the ex-boyfriend, who’s now married with a kid, that got away, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Yes! The long-in-gestation ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT MOVIE now has half a script, and is very likely to get made, according to the show’s creator Mitch Hurwitz.
Life is good for Old Spice man Isaiah Mustafa these days. Not only is he causing sales in the company’s bodywash products to soar courtesy of an ingenious ad campaign, but the muscle-bound ladies man ahs been cast in the upcoming Jennifer Aniston/Jason Bateman comedy film HORRIBLE BOSSES, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Sony has picked up MOMMY & ME, the comedy package featuring Meryl Streep and Tina Fey as a mother-and-daughter duo to be directed by Streep’s “The Devil Wears Prada” co-star Stanley Tucci, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Woody Allen’s currently filming MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, and probably regrets casting French first lady Carla Bruni in a cameo. Why, might you ask? She appears in one scene – where she walks into a grocery store and walks out with a baguette – and it took Sarkozy’s stunning wife 35 TAKES to nail it.
Walt Disney Co. finally brokered it’s sale of the Weinstein-created independent film company Miramax Films for $660 million to an investment group led by real estate mogul Ron Tutor, according to Variety.
Frank Bruni wrote an absolutely brilliant profile of celebrated indie actress and three-time Oscar nominee Laura Linney in the most recent issue of The New York Times Magazine. Read it for yourself.
And on the funnier side, you should read Dan Fierman’s Q&A interview with legendary funnyman Bill Murray, where he addresses “Ghostbusters 3,” Barack Obama, “Garfield” and his infamous rumored gags on unsuspecting Union Square bystanders.
Len Wiseman, the filmmaker behind the “Underworld” flicks and that silly fourth “Die Hard” movie where John McClane is dead sober and flies a car into a helicopter, will apparently direct a remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi cult classic TOTAL RECALL, according to Heat Vision. Too soon in my book.
Before Paul Rudd starred in “Clueless,” “Knocked Up,” “I Love You, Man,” and the recent “Dinner For Schmucks,” he had a different job: Bar Mitzvah DJ. Check out this incredibly clip of Rudd DJing a Bar Mitzvah in 1992.
“Titanic II?” YES. Please stop whatever you’re doing and watch the unintentionally hilarious trailer for the straight-to-video sequel to the James Cameron classic. The trailer actually contains the line, “It looks like history is repeating itself.” Must-see TV.
Watch the equally hilarious (fake) trailer for a movie version of the famous computer game we all played as kids, “Oregon Trail.”
Thespian Kevin Kline recently stopped by Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report” while doing the promotional rounds for his latest film, “The Extra Man.” There, Kline and Colbert engaged in a battle for the ages. Prepare yourself for… Enunciation throwdown!
The greatest talk show of our time returns. Check out Steve Carell’s appearance on “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.”
A new entry in the lexicon of truly awful trailers: “Yogi Bear,” a 3D adaptation featuring Anna Faris (as the real person), Dan Aykroyd voicing Yogi and Justin Timberlake doing Boo-Boo.
“Charlie St. Cloud” and “High School Musical” star Zac Efron recently attended Flashdancers strip club in New York City, where the boyish actor reportedly spent $2,000 on vodka and strippers…
Chris Tucker apparently hires the same accountants as Wesley Snipes. Tucker, who hasn’t acted since 2007’s “Rush Hour 3,” for which he reportedly raked in $25 million, owes $11 million in federal taxes to the IRS, according to TMZ.
Until next week!
Two veteran actors sporting wildly divergent backgrounds.
One: Bill Murray. After starting on “Saturday Night Live,” he built a reputation as one of the most celebrated comedic actors with hits like “Caddyshack,” “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day” and much more. Following a few less than stellar choices in the mid-90s (“Larger than Life,” “The Man Who Knew Too Little,” “Wild Things”), he reemerged stronger than ever as a midlife crisis-suffering rich father in Wes Anderson’s 1998 film “Rushmore.” From there, he reinvented himself as a multi-dimensional actor with dramatic roles as the disillusioned movie star in “Lost in Translation,” which garnered him an Oscar nod, and a nostalgic bachelor in Jim Jarmusch’s “Broken Flowers.” He’s also reteamed with Anderson on “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”
The other: Sissy Spacek. A cutesy Texas native, Spacek made an early splash in film as the murderous Holly in the Terrence Malick 1973 classic “Badlands.” She followed this landmark film with a star making and Oscar nominated performance in the 1976 horror flick “Carrie,” in which she played a humiliated prom queen coming to grips with puberty and her telekinetic powers. Spacek would win a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of country music singer Loretta Lynn in the 1980 biopic “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Although she continued to appear in film and television during the late 1980s and 1990s, Spacek devoted most of that time to her family. Then, in 2001, she returned to the big screen with a powerful performance as the grieving mother of a murdered son in 2001’s “In the Bedroom,” which earned her a sixth Best Actress Oscar nomination.
Their latest film is GET LOW. Directed by Aaron Schneider, the films centers around Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), a bearded hermit living deep in the backwoods of 1930s Tennessee. Rumors surround him, and the locals think he’s a killer. The town is thrown into disarray when Felix suddenly shows up one day, demanding a “living funeral” for himself. Frank Quinn (Bill Murray), the owner of the local Funeral Parlor, sees an opportunity for some money, and agrees to Felix’s terms: letting the townsfolk tell Felix Bush the stories they’ve heard about him at his “living funeral.” Things get messy when an old mystery is brought back by Quinn’s protégé, Buddy Robinson (Lucas Black), involving a local widow named Mattie Darrow (Sissy Spacek).
MMM sat down with Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek during the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival for a long chat about GET LOW, their first loves, their storied careers and, last but not least, all those “Ghostbusters III” rumors.
MANHATTAN MOVIE MAGAZINE: I was just talking to the film’s producer, Dean Zanuck, about the way you do business – solely through your lawyer, as opposed to having a manager and/or agent. What are the advantages of doing it that way?
BILL MURRAY: Well when I had an agent they have people there whose job is to reach you on the telephone. I never had an answering machine in my house or anything like that so if someone would say, “Get me Bill Murray on the phone,” and that person would dial your number and let the phone ring 90, 100 times.
SISSY SPACEK: During dinner?
MURRAY: During any hour of the day. You think I’m not getting that and the phone would just keep ringing for minutes. And you’d think why would I ever want to talk to anyone that would let the phone ring that long? So first I got this 800 number and that was really the key to it; it just eliminated that completely. And then getting rid of the agents, that was like…
MMM: Can you talk about your process of actually signing on to “Get Low?” I’d be interested to hear your version of the story.
MURRAY: It gets more boring each time I say it. I got a message that this fellow was going to write me a letter, and it was a letter from Dean. And I thought that’s kind of interesting. Zanuck. I know who their family is but I don’t know this guy. So I call him on the phone and had a wonderful talk with the guy. He’s not like other people in show business. He’s a really real, genuine, wonderful guy. He turned out to be a fantastic producer – just consistent and constant, didn’t get emotional. But then they slowly get you pregnant like they do. I got a letter from Aaron.
SPACEK: Did you get my letter?
MURRAY: I don’t know if I got your letter. I don’t think so. Then there’s a letter from him and then he sent this DVD of his movie that he made that he won an Oscar for. He made a short called “Two Soldiers” that’s a really great thing. I thought it was going to be five minutes long. It’s 40 minutes and you go, “This guy’s good, this is good.” The key was I watched on this DVD, they have the making of, behind the scenes stuff, and that’s really interesting because then you can see what these people are really like.
SPACEK: Was he eating?
MURRAY: [Aaron] has a gargantuan appetite. It’s insane. He eats like for four people every meal. But watching him behind the scenes with all these people he made this little movie with. He was really kind and genuine and I thought, “Well, alright.”
SPACEK: How bad could it be?
MURRAY: How bad could it be? And then I didn’t know Sissy was on until after I was already doing it. I figured, “Well, no one ever asked me to work with Robert Duvall before. That would be swell.” And then I said okay and then they said, “Okay, and Sissy’s going to do it too.”
SPACEK: Well I was waiting to hear if you were going to do it.
MURRAY: They didn’t tell me anything about casting. They didn’t say anything. So then I was like, “Sissy?” Because we did ‘Saturday Night Live’ together.
MMM: What about these characters that you’re both playing? They seem to be like the proverbial fit like a custom made leather glove or something. It just seems shaped and I understand they weren’t.
MURRAY: Well, that’s the deal. I think I speak for any good actor, or one that thinks that he is or she is, and you get the script and your job is to do it every day and make it better than the script. So that’s what you do. It’s like a winning streak: you do it every single day. But the writer, this Charlie Mitchell, and Chris Provenzano did the original. [Chris] was there every day, always really encouraging. His writing is really, really fine.
MMM: Did you guys enjoy working in that period and investigating that period in various ways? And of course the music must have touched a note for you.
SPACEK: All of us were wild about the music. I liked the 1930s, I mean I loved investigating the 1930s, but women wore so many undergarments then. In that respect it was a real bummer.
MURRAY: And that was a bummer for me too, baby.
MMM: You were pretty dapper there.
MURRAY: We had a great costumer on this movie, one of the best I’ve ever worked with, named Julie Weiss. Everyone’s clothes – Bob’s clothes are unbelievable. Everyone had amazing clothes. And you had amazing hair too.
SPACEK: Yeah my hair took them four hours. But I like to point out, every time I would come out of makeup after four hours of sitting under a hairdryer [Bill] would say, “Hey Grandma!”
MURRAY: Well she had my grandmother’s hairdo. [Laughs]
MMM: The movie is about true love in a way so can you tell us about your first loves and what you remember about that experience?
SPACEK: I have a great story about my first love. His name was Clifford Zack Cane. He was just the cutest boy. We were boyfriend and girlfriend from like five years old on. In fourth grade a new girl moved to town. In the meantime his mother, Imogen, who was a friend of my mother, said, “What’s Sissy’s ring size? Cliff wants to give her a little ring.” So she measured my finger. A week later Cliff presented me with this beautiful sterling silver signet ring with his initials on it. I was just thrilled to death! Well, several weeks pass, and a new girl moves to town and she’s got breasts. I can’t remember her name but he quickly broke up with me, wanted his ring back, and next thing I knew his girl had the ring on her finger. There’s a moral to this story: never give a ring that you’ve measured for one girl to another girl. Because it got stuck on her finger and so her dad cut if off with metal clippers and gave it back to him in two pieces when she broke up with him. I would cut my finger off before I’d cut the ring off. That’s the story of my first love. Heartbreak. Isn’t that sad? Men.
MURRAY: Can we move on?
MMM: I don’t get to hear about your first love?
MURRAY: No I can’t top that. Forget it. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got nothing.
MMM: You’ve never done standup comedy.
MURRAY: No. When I lose my mind I will do standup comedy.
MMM: Why is that?
MURRAY: Because they all just seem so unhappy. They seem miserable. We used to go to the clubs and see them and they all just seem miserable. It was like golly, I’m glad I don’t do this. But I mean if you were at the end of your life and you couldn’t move or you were immobile, they could roll you out in Vegas and you could do a show. I don’t think it’s that impossible. But it’s really about hating the audience. It’s weird. It doesn’t suit me.
MMM: So you just went right into improv? That was your start, improv comedy?
MURRAY: It wasn’t just comedy. You learned how to improvise in any sense. Even comedy’s playing straight so you learned how to exchange and you learned a lot about rhythm. You always had to be available and don’t try to do the same thing twice.
MMM: Were there improvisational opportunities or moments in this film that you guys were able to employ at one time or another?
SPACEK: Occasionally that would happen when they would rewrite the scene and forget to give us the new pages. So after we shot the scene, we did a little improvising then.
MURRAY: The script is in two dimensions and it doesn’t take into account the third dimension, so when you actually do it in space there’s a different thing that happens that you can’t write on a page. So that’s what being trained in improvisation does for you. It enables you to go from this is happening in space now, how do I get from this moment to this moment? And it’s physical as much as anything else and it’s being able to go, “Now this is how we resolve this scene.” It’s usually audio, it’s usually a word or something, but most scenes end on a noise, on a sound. You just have to figure out the sound, the pitch, that ends that scene.
MMM: While you were shooting the film did you realize it would be a good one?
MURRAY: I’ve developed this mantra where I say I’m not a worrier so I don’t worry about it. As far as the jobs go, I sort of realized a long time ago that I’m just going to do the ones I like and one of them is going to hit. People feel like I’ve got to have great success to pay for my house or whatever, you’ve got to have this success thing rolling, and I just said, “I’m going to do the ones that I like and something’s going to hit,” and they do. You always know it’s pretty good. I don’t think we do bad ones anymore. We’re sort of through the reef in a way. Now, whether or not a movie is financially successful you can’t have any control over, and that makes a career. You make a movie that’s a good movie and no one sees it. It happens all the time. You make a movie with a studio and everyone quits or gets fired six weeks before it gets out, so the movie doesn’t happen. Or you can make something that everything goes well and it’s a big, big thing. But as far as knowing it was good, we knew the script was really good and we knew the other guy, the old guy [Duvall], his thing was ridiculous.
SPACEK: The hardest part was doing a scene with him and not just kind of thinking, “Oh! I’ve got the next line.” Unbelievable.
MURRAY: Yeah it’s really kind of mesmerizing because he’s so powerfully present. It really touches the walls. It’s really powerful; it passes through your body.
SPACEK: But what he [Bill Murray] did was equally powerful on the other side.
MURRAY: Even better.
SPACEK: Because it balanced it out. It gave it buoyancy.
MMM: Your character is surprised when he realizes that this kooky hermit has hatched this plan.
MURRAY: Well it’s really good writing and [Duvall] is so good. He really has that effect because he knows what the intention of every line is. He knows that script inside out. It’s like a radiant heat. You just get this heat of it all in your body and he really informs you and you really get the information physically. It’s a really powerful thing working with the nut.
MMM: Did you guys talk about it or did you just go in and do it?
MURRAY: Talk is for losers. Shut up and work. Turn the camera on, let’s go.
SPACEK: Hit your mark and speak.
MURRAY: Just hit your mark and show up on time.
MMM: What was it like driving those old cars?
MURRAY: Driving the old car was really fun. It’s about an 8,000 pound Hearse and when you got going 40 it was like a train. It would take you 300 yards to stop the thing. It was kind of scary. We did a little stunt driving and the guy who owned the car would run after us. He’d really say, “Not through the woods!” He thought we were going to go really just into the woods.
MMM: There was an interesting point made by Zanuck that you’re superstitious about signing things, especially contracts. How did you handle that earlier in your career? Now that you’re who you are I can understand how people would go along with you. But when you’re just starting out how do you get people to agree to you not signing stuff?
MURRAY: They just want you to work. It’s not superstitious, there’s just a bunch a bureaucrats going “sign your contract,” and I’m like “Sign your contract? You have me confused with your mother or something like that okay. I’ve got to go to work tomorrow. I don’t have time to be reading this stuff.” I just show up and work. My word is my contract.
SPACEK: It used to be we never signed contracts and they wrote them up, but you never signed them. Your word was your bind. But now it’s different.
MMM: What do you think the most significant motivation is for his quest? Is it about life and death?
SPACEK: Felix Bush? I think he was riddled with guilt. I think he wanted to punish himself and to listen to people tell horrible stories about him so he could cleanse his soul before he really died. I think it was just another form of more punishment. But maybe I’m wrong.
MURRAY: I’d say that’s right. He didn’t know how to do penance; he couldn’t get it out of himself, he couldn’t speak the words. So he went off and became a hermit for 40 years. And now that anger and that toughness about him, he was so angry that even flagellating himself like this and doing his penance, it still didn’t feel good. He wasn’t over it yet and all he could think of was what if everybody said horrible things to him. As far as my guy goes, well, Frank gets to see, and I think all the characters in the film and even the audience get to see, what if this were myself? This is me. I’m going to be there, he’s just ahead of me in the row. What have I done with my life and what about my regrets and how can I change the sort of behavior that’s made me the kind of guy or girl who would take a long car ride with all the money in the car and think about maybe not coming back, and yet I can’t up on myself yet, I’m going to come back and try again.
MMM: So he does change? Frank really becomes a nice guy due to this?
MURRAY: Well I think everyone is affected by this. I think Felix is affected and I’m affected. Certainly Sissy’s character has this staggering revelation, which is really the news, and is probably most devastating to her more than anyone else. And to have to come to some sort of peace with that, even though the pain of it is jarring and disturbing and everything, the idea that some mystery, some question that you never had answered was answered.
MMM: Bill, what’s going on with “Ghostbusters III?”
MURRAY: This started, and it’s really the studio starts this stuff. They start saying “Ghostbusters,” they want to do it. And it’s really the world of sequels and bringing these things back again. And then some wiseacre said, “Hey, we’ve got a couple of new writers that are going to write something. And I thought, “Well, maybe there will be some writers, and there was always this joke, half-truth, half-joke thing of well I’ll do it if you kill me off in the first reel.” That was my joke. So, supposedly, someone was writing a script where I actually got killed in the first reel and became a ghost, and I thought that’s kind of clever anyway. But then these guys [Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupinsky from NBC’s “The Office”] that were supposedly to be the writers who were going to do it, they wrote a film [“Year One”] that came out and people saw the film and went, “We’re not going to do it after all, are we?” So it’s just kind of a dreamy thing. They want to create a new generation of Ghostbusters. They’d just like us to pass the torch.
MMM: If it happened it wouldn’t actually be a nightmare for you right? It’s a great thing in your past.
MURRAY: Well, it’s true. We made a great movie and then… we made another one. We went to the well twice and it’s almost impossible to do the second movie as well. Only horror movies get better as they go along, because they have more money to spend on crazy effects. I actually thought the other day, it’s become so irritating, but I actually heard young people that saw the movie when they were kids, and I thought maybe I should just do it, maybe it would be fun. Because the guys are funny and I miss Moranis and Annie and Danny. I miss Moranis. He was a really big part of it.
MMM: The two of you seem to be in a mutual admiration society. Do you have a favorite Sissy Spacek movie and do you have a favorite Bill Murray movie?
MURRAY: Sissy does this thing in this TV show called “Big Love” that I find is so different than anything I’ve ever see her do. She’s this really scary dame. She’s really scary and she scares the scary Mormon people on the scary Mormon show. So it’s really a big time creepy performance and I’ve never really seen that out of her.
SPACEK: I’ve tried to protect you from that side of me.
MURRAY: Well, there are glimpses. I love lots of things that she does, and she can sing really well. She really is a good singer. I just think that “Carrie” was such a misunderstood young girl.
SPACEK: Poor girl. I love “What About Bob?”
GET LOW opens on July 30th in select theaters.