News from February 26, 2001

Good morning campers.

What could possibly be scarier than a tenth “Friday the 13th” film, or an eighth “Halloween” frightfest?

Tiffani Thiessen has been cast in a Woody Allen movie.

The currently shooting film, which also features Tea Leoni, Debra Messing, Treat Williams and Allen himself, has no title and no details about the film are forthcoming, as is typical of most of Woody’s movies.

One can only wonder what the hell he’s thinking.

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” took home four BAFTA awards last night, taking home directing kudos for Ang Lee, as well as Best Film Not In English, Best Music and Best Costume Design.

Other BAFTA winners include “Billy Elliot” star Jamie Bell as Best Actor, Benecio Del Toro for Best Supporting Actor and Stephen Gaghan for Best Screenplay for their work in “Traffic” and Pawel Pawlikowski as Most Promising Newcomer for his film “Last Resort,” which just opened in the US on Friday.

Meanwhile, the French handed out their Cesar awards this weekend. “The Taste Of Others,” recently nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, took home four awards, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay. The other big winner was “Harry, He’s Here To Help” (to be called “With A Friend Like Harry” when released in the US later this spring), which won for Best Director and Best Actor. Wong Kar-Wai’s “In The Mood For Love” took home the Cesar for Best Foreign Language Film.

David Cronenberg, fresh out of bowing out of the bomb-in-the-making “Basic Instinct 2,” has set up “Spider” with MM Media Capital Partners and MCP International, who is selling international rights at the currently in progress American Film Market. Ralph Fiennes has signed on to play the lead role, a man who descends into madness as he searches for the truth about his mother’s death and his own mysterious past. The film beings shooting in June after Fiennes finishes his work on “Fear Itself,” about a paranoid schizophrenic who uncovers a White House conspiracy, which is aiming for an April start date even though it has yet to sign a director or distributor.

Remember that brouhaha a couple of years back about that little indie black and white film Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire made, then helped to squelch its distribution when they decided they never really agreed to make anything more than a short subjectr

Well, “Don’s Plum” is the hot new film on the world market. The film, banned from being distributed in North American, was shot four years ago, before Leo became LEO! Now, the $100,000 project has already sold in over 20 international markets, including Germany, Spain, Greece, Japan, Poland and Russia, after showing at the recent Berlin Film Festival.

In 1987, the Norwegian film “Pathfinder” was nominated the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. Nils Gaup’s film was set in the early part of the second millennium, where a teenage boy witnesses the murder of his family by a group of marauders.

14 years later, Phoenix Pictures has tapped Gaup to remake his film. No word on who will be cast, or how the story will be changed, or why they just didn’t release the original film in the first place, since no one has seen it.

Recently departed New Line marketing chief Mitch Goldman isn’t sitting on his ass worrying about what went wrong. Nope, Goldman went out and started Premiere Market and Distribution, which will solve the problem of having too much product in the pipeline by not producing its own films, but instead being a distribution only house. Goldman indicated he has found enough backing to fund a number of releases with a minimum 2000 prints and $15M in P&A, on a scale comparable to a major studio. No word yet on if they are going to pounce on any Destination Films.

Matt Dillon started production on his directorial debut, “Beneath The Banyan Tree,” this past Thursday. The United Artists feature stars James Caan, Gerard Depardieu and Natashca McElhone, and will shoot in LA, NYC and Thailand.

Let’s say you were a somewhat promising actor/director. Your debut took Park City by surprise and took home the top prize. Distributors were promising you the moon. Steven Spielberg called to you to ask if you might consider acting in someone else’s movie. You dumped your long time girlfriend, who was with you when you were nothing and acted in your first movie because you needed warm bodies, for a series of high profile escorts. You may have even ended a marriage or two. And next week, you’re starring alongside Robert DeNiro and get higher billing than your more talented costars Avery Brooks, Melena Kanakaredes and Kelsey Grammer. And you’re about to marry a supermodel.

Life couldn’t be any better if your name was Edward Burns.

Or can itr Your hear the rumblings behind your back. How you’ve sold out, thinking your some kind of star. So you go back to your roots by writing, directing and starring in your next two films. The first, with the oft-used title “Sidewalks of New York,” features yourself, your former girlfriend Heather Graham and Flavor of the Month Brittany Murphy. And next month, you start your mini- Scorsese epic “Ash Wednesday,” which chronicles the lives of two brothers trying to escape their Irish gang past in 1980s New York.

Best of luck, Eddie. The four of us who still care you have a career are waiting to go wherever you take us next.

Think about this for a moment… Christian Slater, Stephen Dorff and Jennifer Love Hewitt are in negotiations to star in “The I Inside,” a $10M thriller about a guy with amnesia who discovers he can travel back in time and stop his brother’s murder. Does it matter if the guy has amnesia, he probably doesn’t remember he has a brotherr Apparently not.

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