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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Entries in Adaptations (138)

Wednesday
Aug192015

HMWYBS: Angels in America (2003)

What follows is a republishing of a piece I'm proud of from our very first season of Hit Me With Your Best Shot (you can see the index of all six seasons here) when I was somehow far more concise with "Best Shot" despite feeling like I was overdoing it. I've added in notes and links for contributions from other Best Shot participants and I'd like to thank Manuel heartily before we begin for his fascinating contextual work on HBO's long history of LGBT films and series this summer and for sharing this week's HBO LGBT episode with us for our redo episode of this Great Work. Read that piece before you read this. Ready? Let's begin...

Tony Kushner's extraordinary two part stage epic Angels in America centers around two overlapping young couples in the mid 80s, struggling married Mormons, pill popping Harper and her closeted husband Joe and the gay couple Louis and Prior they become connected spiritually (Harper befriends Prior... in her dreams) and physically (Joe becomes Louis's other lover). But it's also about politics, immigration, religion, identity, and evolution and encompasses multiple other characters from Louis's outspoken gay friend Belize, to Joe's mother, to the evil lawyer Roy Cohn, the dead Communist Ethel Rosenberg, and a frequently orgasmic Angel who descends on many of the players. This masterpiece was adapted for the screen in 2003 by Oscar winner Mike Nichols. Along its journey it won 7 Tonys, The Pulitzer, and later 5 Golden Globes and 11 Emmys and here's the thing: it deserved every single prize. If you haven't seen it drop everything (seriously everything) because it is unmissable. I've seen it performed on stage three times in three different states with wildly different budgets and casts and seen the miniseries a few times too... and every single time it's a fascinating prismatic living thing, like it will always be teaching you, entertaining you, and provoking you.

Rather than limit myself to one shot I'm picking one from each of its chapter. This I can manage!

Chapter 1 "Bad News"

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug112015

Cast This: Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe in "Just Kids"

Surprising news broke today that John Logan (Penny Dreadful) has successfully won a behind the scenes battle to adapt the best-selling memoir "Just Kids" as a limited series for Showtime. Why is the news surprising? Well, right here at The Film Experience, as you may recall, Patti Smith was horrified by the idea of this happening in our 2014 interview.

Our exchange went like this...

She appears to have had quite a change of heart as she was emphatic on this point when we spoke and she is still very much among the living!

So since she's changed her mind, it's time for CAST THIS!
Who should play these two iconic American artists in their twenty-something years for the miniseries? You'll need actors who can play raw emotion, uninhibited sexuality and bohemian charisma (For extra credit you can also cast playwright/actor/ex-partner of Jessica Lange Sam Shepard since he was also Patti's lover in the early 1970s and Sam Wagstaff who became Robert's older lover around the same time and his devoted mentor/patron/lover until his death.)

Both Smith and Mapplethorpe were poor 21 year-old transplants to NYC in 1967 (they were the exact same age) and lived together as roommates and lovers and later, he was homosexual after all, as devoted friends until 1974. Their fates were tied together and they both became famous, she as a musician with the release of her debut album "Horses" in 1975. His fame built more gradually as the fame of photographers and artists, tends to. 

Photos from the early 70s after the jump... (NSFW)

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug112015

Scorsese + Leo: With Six You Get Body Counts...

We knew they would work together again and now we have confirmation:  Leonardo DiCaprio will headline Martin Scorsese's adaptation of Erik Larson's bestseller The Devil and the White City. That's a true crime novel about serial killer Dr. HH Holmes who murdered dozens or possibly hundreds in Chicago in the late 19th century. H.H. Holmes was born just a couple of years before the events in Gangs of New York so they're returning to roughly the same time frame of their first collaboration (hello Oscar nominations in craft categories) 

This will be Leo's first serial killer role (if not his first villain) though it's always amusing to remember that Hollywood intended him to be our Patrick Bateman in American Psycho before history course-corrected and gave us the one we needed: Christian Bale. But let's not get sidetracked.

The Devil in the White City will be the sixth collaboration between the director and star. DiCaprio is still well behind Robert De Niro as Scorsese's foremost muse both in number of films and quality of films, but maybe some day he'll catch up to him? Scorsese turns 73 in November. Though he's definitely not Clint (85) or Woody (79) with the indefatigable prolificness neither is he all that slow. He averages about 5 movies a decade and Silence, currently in post, will be his fourth this decade already. By the time they release this one (2018?), we'll have our five for the decade unless Marty squeezes one more in somehow. But don't hold your breath. We first heard about this project way back in 2011 when they hired a screenwriter so there's finally a little bit of movement on it (presumably the script is written now) 

In honor of Marty & Leo's partnership, their five movies together ranked in four ways just because...

THE MARTY & LEO FILMS

In Order of Release Quality 
(Best to Worst)
Global Box Office Success
According to Oscar (Most Loved to Least)
Gangs of New York (2002) The Departed
great 
Wolf of Wall Street
$392 million 
The Aviator 
(11 noms | 5 wins)
The Aviator
(2004)
The Aviator
underappreciated at this point
Shutter Island
$294 million 
The Departed
(5 noms | 4 wins incl BP so really it's #1)
The Departed
(2006)
Wolf of Wall Street
divisive for a reason
The Departed
$289 million
Gangs of New York
(10 noms | 0 wins)
Shutter Island
(2010)
Shutter Island
meh
The Aviator
$213 million 
Wolf of Wall Street
(5 noms | 0 wins)
Wolf of Wall Street
(2013)
Gangs of New York
ugh
Gangs of New York
$193 million 
Shutter Island
(zero noms)

 

Have you read this novel? Do you look forward to a Marty/Leo reunion or do you wish they would move on?

Monday
Aug102015

Ingrid's First Oscar Nomination

We continue our Ingrid Bergman Centennial with Andrew Kendall on For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

It's difficult to speak of Ingrid Bergman without consider her place in Oscar history. She's one of the few people to win three acting Oscars. And, she's fourth (only to Kate, Meryl and Bette) when it comes to Oscar's Actress Hierarchy. For modern fans, then, the celebrity of that first nomination is a curio regardless of its quality. When did Oscar first bite? For Ingrid it came four years (and five films) after her Hollywood debut. Not for that year's best picture winner Casablanca, but for the adaptation of For Whom the Bell TollsCasablanca, and Ingrid's "Ilsa," have endured as such integral parts of film culture that her work in For Whom the Bell Tolls immediately faces the scrunity of living up to it. Why the vote for this over her work there? 

But, it’s essential to remember that films and awards as creatures of their time. At the time of its production Casablanca was merely a minor World War II drama and literary adaptations were all the rage (from 1937 through 1942 every Best Picture winner was an adaptation of a recently pubished text). The adaptation of the literary triumph of 1940 was the bigger ticket. Ingrid was desperate for the role and Hemingway also loved the idea.  In a 1971 interview Bergman revealed that Hemingway, a writer typically averse to being too involved in adaptations of his work, lobbied significantly for Bergman to get the role even reportedly sending her a copy of the novel with the inscription

You are the Maria in the book”.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul242015

This Week in WTF: "King of Comedy", the Musical

Dancin' Dan popping in for a weekend dose of WTF.

There's no sense in burying the lede: Composer Stephen Trask (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and writer Chris D'Arienzo (Rock of Agesare on board to make a musical out of Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy.

My head is spinning. This has to be the weirdest screen-to-stage transfer ever. Even American Psycho made slightly more sense, since music was so important to that film. While it's true that King of Comedy has only proven more and more timely as the years have gone on, it still doesn't scream "MAKE ME A MUSICAL!!!" the way some films do. And the team of Trask and D'Arienzo could not be more mismatched on paper: The man behind the music of Hedwig, one of the most unique musicals ever written, and the man behind the words of one of the weaker jukebox musicals in recent memory (at least book-wise) working on one of the darkest satires of modern culture? Weird. Weirder. Weirdest.

Knowing not what to make of this news, we drift to a future pressing question: WHO WOULD THEY EVEN CAST? I can personally see the great Alan Cumming in either the DeNiro or Lewis roles, but there isn't a single person I can think of who I'd want to see in the Sandra Bernhard role. What other triple threat (you know she's gonna have at least one big dance number) has that acidic, caustic sense of humor? Who would even want to step into those shoes? 

Are you amply confused by this announcement, too? Who would you cast as the leads? 

Wednesday
Jul222015

1995: The Year Jane Austen Came to the Movies

Our look back at 1995 continues with Lynn Lee on an unexpected breakout...

Clueless turned 20 this week, but as the Internet has constantly reminded us, it hasn’t aged a day.  At once timeless ("a classic," as Cher would say) and delightfully dated, it’s a modern riff on a period piece – Jane Austen’s Emma – that's become something of a period piece itself. The latter aspect tends to draw attention away from the former, but I happened to see the movie again at a recent party and was reminded not just how perfectly it captures the ’90s, but also (1) how brilliantly it adapts Emma, and (2) how 1995 really was the breakout year for Jane Austen in film. 

Keep in mind that prior to 1995, the only film version of a Jane Austen novel was the 1940 B&W “Pride & Prejudice” starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier.  1995 changed all that...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul142015

Yes No Maybe So: Kate Winslet IS The Dressmaker 

This is dedicated to the patient among you, those who don't badger me about things they KNOW are coming. (Like we're not going to cover this trailer, at TFE! It's like you've never been here before). Most importantly this is dedicated to the die-hard Kate Winslet fans who will sit through Labor Day, Divergent, and A Little Chaos to be there her true return to form whenever it happens. By the looks of this trailer for The Dressmaker, the wait may soon be over.

The Yes No Maybe So breakdown, which is crazy overstuffed with screencaps since this diva murderess fashionista Oscar winner demands them, is after the jump with the trailer... 

Click to read more ...