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‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Firing Is Latest in Long Line of Director Exits

21 June 2017 2:40 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were dumped from the Han Solo spinoff film this week after more than four months of production, an unusually late date to make a shift behind the camera. That leaves the “Star Wars” production scrambling to find a replacement with weeks left of shooting and a scheduled five weeks of reshoots coming later this summer, an unenviable position for one of the biggest franchises in the entertainment industry and all involved.

The film, which is still untitled, isn’t the first to change its director in midstream. Classics such as “Gone With the Wind” and “Wizard of Oz” cycled through filmmakers, while duds like “The 13th Warrior” and “The Island of Dr. Moreau” also brought in fresh blood in the middle of shooting. But despite plenty of precedents, Lord and Miller’s firing is setting tongues wagging.

“It has certainly happened on a number of occasions, but not under such scrutiny and not usually this far into production,” said Leonard Maltin, a film critic and historian.

Frequently, a director is dropped after he finds himself on the losing end of a power struggle. During “Gone With the Wind,” Clark Gable pushed to have George Cukor replaced with Victor Fleming because Gable felt that the filmmaker was paying too much attention to his co-star, Vivien Leigh. While shooting “Spartacus,” Kirk Douglas used his clout to have Anthony Mann replaced with Stanley Kubrick because he believe that his hand-picked substitute could better handle the film’s epic scope. And in “Waterworld” it was Kevin Costner, and not credited director Kevin Reynolds, who handled the film’s final cut after the two clashed on the notoriously troubled and costly production.


Why Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever

More recently, Steven Soderbergh left “Moneyball” due to his desire to shoot documentary-style, while Pixar parted ways with the the directors of several of its films, from “Ratatouille” to the “Brave” to “The Good Dinosaur,” over differing creative ideas about the animated offerings. In most cases, these movies survived their filmmaking shuffles to succeed financially and artistically, proving that a rocky path to the big screen does not necessarily foretell doom.

That’s to say nothing of the pictures whose financial backers probably wished in retrospect that they’d pulled the plug on a director. Costly overruns on “Heaven’s Gate,” Michael Cimino’s brooding Western epic, essentially bankrupted United Artists, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “Cleopatra” went so egregiously over budget that it brought Fox to the brink of financial ruin. Perhaps another filmmaker would have been able to rein in some of the spending?

But there are reasons why studios have historically been loathe to make a change after cameras start rolling.

“Once a film begins production it’s a runaway train and the backers of the film are reluctant to remove the conductor from the train for fear of it being even more of a disaster,” said Howard Suber, a professor of film history at UCLA. “It becomes a decision between cutting your losses and possibly starting all over again or hoping that things somehow are able to get better.”

It’s harder to overhaul a project without drawing a lot of scrutiny. In the days of “The Wizard of Oz” or “Gone With the Wind,” the public wasn’t as versed in film production — studios might expect a report of a production shakeup in a trade paper such as Variety, but it rarely filtered out across the mass media. That’s no longer the case. From Entertainment Tonight to the New York Times to Twitter, news of Lord and Miller’s ouster was ubiquitous this week.

“The public is now reading about controversies on films and who gets hired here and who gets fired there,” said Dana Polan, professor of cinema studies at Nyu. “That was not a thing before.”

In the case of the Han Solo spinoff shakeup, insiders say that Lord and Miller clashed with Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and writer and executive producer Lawrence Kasdan over their vision for the film and its execution. Lord and Miller wanted to inject more cheekiness into the “Star Wars” universe and encouraged improvisation on set. Kasdan and Kennedy believed in adhering more tightly to the script and were concerned that the directors were deviating too far from the franchise’s “house style.” They preferred something that was more reverent, which they might get if Ron Howard or Joe Johnston, both rumored to be in the running for the gig, take over as director.

The Lord and Miller firing is also a reminder of a new cinematic reality. Auteur theory, a popular school of thought in film criticism, once held that the director is the true author of a film because he or she makes the key audio and visual decisions. That view was given so much credence that 1980’s “The Stunt Man” offered up Peter O’Toole as a God-like film director, an artistic zealot willing to trample over anyone and everyone in order to get the perfect shot.

Miller and Lord’s ouster, however, demonstrates the limitations of a director’s power in a rapidly changing movie landscape. It’s a caste structure in which brands, be they costumed heroes or robots,  are the true stars in Hollywood. As Lord and Miller discovered, no filmmaker is more important than the Jedi mythology that lies at the heart of the “Star Wars” universe. With billions of dollars in box office and merchandising at stake, studios aren’t as receptive to a director who wants to take an iconoclastic approach to the material.


12 Directors Who Were Pushed from the Director’s Chair

As studios have grown more corporate and more dependent on a few major franchises, productions have become more bureaucratic. It’s Kennedy and her team at Lucasfilm who are making most of the major decisions about where to take the “Star Wars” universe, just as executive teams at DC (Geoff Johns and Jon Berg) and Marvel (Kevin Feige) are exerting enormous control over the gestations of the various sequels and spinoffs that they churn out annually. In the old days, the first move would be to hire a director. Now, a filmmaker is often brought onto a project after a script has been written and even storyboarded.

Whether it’s Lord and Miller on the Han Solo film or Rian Johnson on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the directors aren’t generals marshaling their film crews and casts into battle. They’re hired guns.

There’s a lot less job stability when you’re a mercenary.

Related storiesRon Howard to Take Over as Director of 'Star Wars' Han Solo SpinoffWhy Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive) »

- Brent Lang

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Lord and Miller: 12 other directors who left/got fired from movies during production

21 June 2017 5:52 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Luke Owen looks at directors who left/got fired from movies during production…

With the shocking news that Phil Lord and Chris Miller have vacated the director’s chairs for the yet-to-be-titled Han Solo movie over “creative differences” (some sources say they were forced out), I thought it was time to look at some other directors who faced similar issues.

It’s no secret that making a tentpole movie for a studio is tricky. Duncan Jones has been very vocal as of late about the issues he had with last year’s Warcraft, and it was rumoured a few years ago that Gareth Edwards faced an uphill battle with Warner Bros. and Legendary on 2014’s Godzilla reboot. The 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie had its script re-written the weekend before production started with no input from the directors, who were then locked out of the editing room during post-production (they were eventually let back in).

Most of the time directors leave before production actually starts, and someone new is brought in. Edgar Wright left Ant-Man, Patty Jenkins left Thor: The Dark World, Rick Famuyiwa and Seth Grahame-Smith both left The Flash, Ben Affleck stepped down from The Batman, Stephen Herrick left Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; the list goes on. But very rarely does a director leave (or get fired) while the movie is in production. Usually if a studio loses faith in the director at that point, they would bring in someone else to “oversee” the movie and get it over the finish line. The aforementioned Godzilla saw this very occurrence, as did Mission: Impossible II when the legendary Stuart Baird was brought in to “fix” the movie Jon Woo originally helmed. Baird in fact has a long history with this, being a fixer on titles such as Superman: The Motion Picture, The Omen and Lethal Weapon.

There are still four or so weeks left on the Han Solo movie (plus the already planned reshoots), so let’s look back at a few other directors who left/got fired from their films.

The Wizard of Oz, 1939

It seems crazy to think that one of the most beloved movies of all-time had such a tumultuous production, but The Wizard of Oz in fact saw six different directors helm the movie. Norman Taurog originally shot test footage, but was quickly replaced with Richard Thorpe who shot for around two weeks when Taurog was moved to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Producer Mervyn LeRoy felt that Thorpe was rushing the production, and his short time on the film was probably not helped when original Tin Man Buddy Epsen was hospitalised after the metal make-up coated his lungs and left him on an Iron Lung.

None of Thorpe’s footage made it into the final cut (although he did shoot Dorothy’s first meeting Scarecrow and several scenes at The Wicked Witch’s castle), and George Cucker came in after Thorpe was fired. However, Cucker didn’t actually shoot any footage, and was there to simply oversee the plans to re-shoot all of Thorpe’s work until Victor Fleming came in. Although he was eventually the only credited director, Fleming left before production ended to film Gone with the Wind, and the shooting was finished by King Vidor and LeRoy.

Gone with the Wind, 1939

Speaking of Gone with the Wind, George Cucker had been developing the movie with producer David O. Selznick for around two years, but was removed from the project three weeks into production. According to reports, the decision to remove Cucker was Clark Gable’s and it angered fellow co-stars Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland who went to Selznick’s office to demand he be re-hired. In Cucker’s place was Victor Fleming, who shot the majority of the movie over ninety-three days (although Cucker was secretly coaching Leigh and Havilland behind the scenes). Fleming wasn’t the final name on the movie however, as he had to take a short break due to exhaustion and Sam Wood shot for around twenty-three days.

Spartacus, 1960

Although considered a Stanley Kubrick movie, he wasn’t the first name attached to Spartacus. After David Lean turned down the movie, it was offered to Anthony Mann who was then fired by star Kirk Douglas after just one week of production. According to Douglas in his autobiography, Mann was “scared” of the size and scope of Spartacus and wasn’t capable of finishing the film.

Superman II, 1980

Shooting for Superman II was done alongside Superman: The Motion Picture in 1977 with Richard Donner doing both films. However the film was under a lot of pressure, with overrunning schedules and budget, which producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler attributed to Donner. After everything was shot for Superman: The Motion Picture, Superman II was placed on hiatus. Once Superman: The Motion Picture was an instant hit, the producers brought in Richard Lester to replace Donner on Superman II and shoot around the footage already filmed. Why Lester replaced Donner is still up for debate. Spengler has claimed that Donner was asked to come back but refused, while Donner claims he only found out Superman II was getting underway when he received a fax from the Salkinds telling him his services weren’t required.

The cast and crew did not take the replacement lightly, with creative consultants Tom Mankiewicz and editor Stuart Baird refusing to return for the sequel, along with Gene Hackman who was replaced with a body double. Although Marlon Brando had already shot everything for both movies, he successfully sued the Salkinds who then cut him out of the sequel. Years later, Warner Bros. released the Richard Donner cut of Superman II on home video as Superman II: The Donner Cut.

Piranha II: The Spawning, 1981

Piranha II was originally set to be directed by Roger Corman graduate Miller Drake, who envisioned a version of the movie which saw the return of Kevin McCarthy (who died in the original film). Drake was then replaced with James Cameron who was working on the film’s special effects department, and he then re-wrote the script under the pseudonym H.A. Milton. However around two weeks into production, Cameron was fired by producer Ovidio G. Assonitis who felt he wasn’t doing a good enough job. Assonitis wouldn’t let Cameron review any of the footage he’d shot during his time on the movie, and was even making all of the day-to-day decisions.

A regularly reported story was that Cameron broke into the editing room while the producers were in Cannes to cut his version of the movie, which was then re-cut by Assonitis. “Then the producer wouldn’t take my name off the picture because [contractually] they couldn’t deliver it with an Italian name,” Cameron said in a 1991 La Times interview. “So they left me on, no matter what I did. I had no legal power to influence him from Pomona, California, where I was sleeping on a friend’s couch. I didn’t even know an attorney. In actual fact, I did some directing on the film, but I don’t feel it was my first movie.”

WarGames, 1983

WarGames began life as a very different movie titled The Genius in 1979 about a much older gentlemen, but this changed when writers Walter F. Parkes and Lawrence Lasker discovered a large youth-movement in the computer world, who would later be known as hackers. The character of David Lightman (played by Matthew Broderick) was even modeled after hacking enthusiast David Scott Lewis.

When the film went into production it was being helmed by Martin Brest who was then removed from the movie 12-days into shooting after a disagreement with the producers. In his place was John Badham, whose first act was to lighten the tone of the movie. “[Brest had] taken a somewhat dark approach to the story, and saw Matthew’s character as someone who was rebelling against his parents, and who was just kind of stewing inside,” he told The Hollywood Interview in 2009. “There was that tone to it. I said ‘If I was 16 and could get on a computer and change my grades or my girlfriend’s grades, I would be peeing in my pants with excitement!’ And the way it was shot, it was like they were doing some Nazi undercover thing. So it was my job to make it seem like they were having fun, and that it was exciting, but it wasn’t this dark rebellion.” »

- Luke Owen

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Lgbt Pride Month: TCM Showcases Gay and Lesbian Actors and Directors

1 June 2017 5:40 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Considering everything that's been happening on the planet in the last several months, you'd have thought we're already in November or December – of 2117. But no. It's only June. 2017. And in some parts of the world, that's the month of brides, fathers, graduates, gays, and climate change denial. Beginning this evening, Thursday, June 1, Turner Classic Movies will be focusing on one of these June groups: Lgbt people, specifically those in the American film industry. Following the presentation of about 10 movies featuring Frank Morgan, who would have turned 127 years old today, TCM will set its cinematic sights on the likes of William Haines, James Whale, George Cukor, Mitchell Leisen, Dorothy Arzner, Patsy Kelly, and Ramon Novarro. In addition to, whether or not intentionally, Claudette Colbert, Colin Clive, Katharine Hepburn, Douglass Montgomery (a.k.a. Kent Douglass), Marjorie Main, and Billie Burke, among others. But this is ridiculous! Why should TCM present a »

- Andre Soares

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Today's 5: Hulk out with Joan Crawford, ol' sport!

10 May 2017 6:24 AM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

Good morning film fans. Make today a good one. We'll help with suggestions as to mental memes and mood boosters for the day.

Five showbiz anniversaries of note today (May 10th) and how to honor each of them 

2013 The Great Gatsby opens in movie theaters. It's yet another hit for Baz Luhrmann and yet another Oscar-winning moment for his wife/collaborator Catherine Martin. It's also, to date, your only chance to see Leonardo DiCaprio in a pink suit.

In its honor today: Listen to that great soundtrack and annoy your friends by calling them "ol' sport" all day!

1977 Joan Crawford dies (as just dramatized on Feud's finale). But like all of the great film stars, she's immortal...

with Clark Gable in Chained (1934)

People have been trying to reduce her or count her out since she first became famous but she held on for decades with an iron grip »


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Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Glamorous Actress Was Secretly an Inventor Helping the Military — Before Her Tragic Final Years

28 April 2017 1:48 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

Hedy Lamarr lived the glamorous life of a Golden Age Hollywood actress, starring alongside legends like Clark Gable and Judy Garland in over 18 films during the 1940s. But the Austrian star — widely hailed during her time as the most beautiful woman alive — also had a secret second life: She was a successful wartime inventor.

Lamarr’s intriguing life — and her tragic end as a recluse — is the subject of the new documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. Co-executive-produced by Susan Sarandon and directed by Alexandra Dean, the documentary takes a deep dive into the unknown story behind one of Hollywood’s most alluring stars. »

- Ale Russian

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Tribeca 2017 Women Directors: Meet Alexandra Dean — “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”

22 April 2017 11:01 AM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

Hedy Lamarr in “Ziegfeld Girl”: The Everett Collection

Alexandra Dean is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer. She produced news-magazine documentaries for PBS before becoming a series and documentary producer at Bloomberg television, producing the series “Innovators, Adventures and Pursuits.” She also writes about invention for Businessweek magazine. She is a founding partner at Reframed Pictures.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” will premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival on April 23.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words

Ad: “Bombshell” is a film about a girl who wanted to make her mark in the world, but the world could not see past her face. Hedy Lamarr was considered “the most beautiful girl in the world” in the 1940s. She was a screen legend who starred alongside Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable, but she also had a secret hobby. At night, she invented.

She worked on ideas with Howard Hughes, but her most exciting invention was a “secret communication system” she invented for Allied warships to torpedo Nazi submarines with deadly accuracy. That communication system became the basis for our secure Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Gps, and even some cell phone technology today.

But Hedy was never recognized for this extraordinary invention because she never told the press what she had done. In fact, in her later years she became a recluse and died alone and penniless. Then, in 2016 we found lost tapes of Hedy talking to a reporter in 1990. Now, for the first time, Hedy explains what happened in her own words.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Ad: Who wouldn’t want to make a story about Hedy?! She was a wild child. Some said she was a spy. She was a movie star and later a drug addict and a recluse. Her life was crazy enough before we discovered she came up with a technology we use in our digital devices every day.

I spent years profiling inventors and innovators for Bloomberg Television and Businessweek, but I never heard a life story that came close to Hedy’s. I suppose it also particularly resonated for me because as a short, quiet woman who always wanted to be a director, I know a little about what it’s like to want to do something that no one expects you to do.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they’re leaving the theater?

Ad: I’d like them to wonder how many people who look wrong for the part actually have the capacity to do extraordinary things they dream of achieving. I think every single one of us has some extraordinary spark. We just need Hedy’s balls of steel to make our dreams happen!

W&H: What was your biggest challenge making this film?

Ad: Definitely the biggest challenge was finding Hedy’s voice. At first we thought we would have to get an actress to read her autobiography, but then I discovered that Hedy sued the ghostwriter for libel, claiming nothing in the autobiography was true! I started desperately looking for other primary sources, but Hedy gave only a handful of short print interviews about her invention and never spoke about it on radio or television.

I was sitting up in bed at night staring at the walls and thinking there must be some tape of her telling her life story. My team and I started calling every person who ever said on the record they talked to Hedy Lamarr and after several months of searching we finally found a reporter who had recorded her 25 years ago and never published the tapes. The day we found the tapes we ripped up our film and started again, letting Hedy dictate the way we told her story.

W&H: How did you get your film funded?

Ad: It was a mix of funds from foundations, individual donors, and investors, as well as funding from “American Masters” on PBS, the program that will air “Bombshell” next fall.

The majority of our funds we raised from the Alfred P. Sloan foundation, which has been an extraordinary supporter of Hedy and her story for many years.

W&H: What does it mean to have your film play at Tribeca?

Ad: It’s an absolute dream come true. Truly. It’s blowing my mind!

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

Ad: The best and worst advice that I get as a filmmaker tends to be all wrapped up in one piece of mixed advice. People tend to tell you what you should fix about your film by explaining how they would change it. What you need to listen to is that something is “bumping” them and may need improvement. You don’t need to listen to their particular diagnosis of how to improve the film. That distinction is so crucial.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female filmmakers?

Ad: Watch out for opinionated people. They may think you need more guidance than you do. Try hard to find your own voice. It’s in there, and all of us have one.

It feels like many young boys are encouraged to speak strongly in their individual voices from birth, and I’m not sure it’s the same for girls. We sometimes have to spend time finding that voice. It’s the one that whispers to you when people try to change your work. Listen to it — it’s trying to tell you something!

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why

Ad: My favorite has to be “The Hurt Locker.” Kathryn Bigelow is a legend. I thought she told that story with exquisite timing and suspense as well as a wonderful sense of perspective about the dullness of civilian life after the macabre thrill of wartime.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

Ad: God, I hope [the numbers improve, but] I have no idea [how optimistic to be]. It seems inevitable that more women will direct because more and more viewers are demanding content that comes from multiple perspectives.

What’s tricky is securing the funding for directors who are female or from minority backgrounds. We just have to wait for more people to have faith in us.

Tribeca 2017 Women Directors: Meet Alexandra Dean — “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Laura Berger

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Trailer Watch: Laurie Simmons Revisits Hollywood’s Past in “My Art”

20 April 2017 2:01 PM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

My Art

A trailer has landed for “My Art,” Laurie Simmons’ feature directorial debut. The spot for the drama kicks off with a scene all-too-familiar to those who have chosen to pursue a career in the arts. Ellie Shine (Simmons), a struggling artist, is shown catching up with another artist significantly younger and more accomplished than she. Meryl, played by Simmons’ daughter, Lena Dunham, says, “I have to be in Europe between my two installations. Then I’ve got the fall show at my New York gallery. I wouldn’t schedule a fall show again. I think it’s brutal.” “Oh, that sounds brutal,” Ellie unconvincingly agrees, clearly envious of the opportunities Meryl is getting.

And Ellie doesn’t just have to hear about Meryl’s successes — she has to tell the wunderkind what she’s up to. While Meryl travels around the world showing her art, Ellie will be housesitting. She’s been offered the summer home of a famous friend and “seizes the opportunity to hit the reset button on her life and work,” the film’s official synopsis details. “She unwittingly finds inspiration in two out-of-work actors who maintain the gardens at her summer retreat: Frank (Robert Clohessy), a recent widower trying to reassemble his life, and Tom (Josh Safdie), a hungry young actor whose wife (Parker Posey) has a less ambitious vision for their idyllic country life. Joining them is John (John Rothman), a divorced lawyer looking for a summer distraction. This unlikely trio accompanies Ellie on an odd and delightful journey toward finding her late-blooming artistic momentum.”

The trailer shows Ellie pursuing a new project. She and her pals re-create iconic film scenes. “You can never be Clark Gable,” Ellie tells Frank. “I can never be Marilyn Monroe. I just want to see what it looks like.”

My Art” premiered at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and will make its North American debut at the Tribeca Film Festival April 22.

“I’d imagined the character of Ellie for a long time and at a certain point I would say she started telling me her story,” Simmons told us in a soon-to-be published interview. She explained, “I’ve spent a lot of time observing both portrayals of artists and representations of women my age on-screen and feel that both often fall short of what I feel to be accurate and true to the life I’ve experienced.”

Simmons previously helmed the 2006 short “The Music of Regret,” a musical starring Meryl Streep. Her career as a photographer and artist spans over 40 years.

No word on when “My Art” will hit theaters or VOD. Check out the trailer below.

Trailer Watch: Laurie Simmons Revisits Hollywood’s Past in “My Art” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Laura Berger

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Entertainment News: ‘Mr. Warmth’ Don Rickles Dies at 90

7 April 2017 7:24 AM, PDT | | See recent news »

Los Angeles – With the flourish of trumpets in “The Bullfighter’s Song,” a pugnacious man would strut on stage and launch a volley of hilarious insults on some unsuspecting targets. That act was Don Rickles, whose show business nicknames included “The King of Zing,” “The Merchant of Venom” and the magnificently ironic “Mr. Warmth.” Rickles died in Los Angeles on April 6th, 2017. He was 90.

In his early career, Rickles was a throwback to the cocktail and burlesque joints of the 1950s and ‘60s, where a burgeoning stand up comic would do anything to engage the audience and keep a gig. With a quick wit and rat-a-tat delivery, Rickles developed a persona that would keep him working virtually all the way to the end. He went from the “Rat Pack” era, through comedy roasts of the 1970s, to the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” series, and never »

- (Adam Fendelman)

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Insult comic Don Rickles dies aged 90

6 April 2017 8:11 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Martin Scorsese pays tribute: “It was like listening to a great jazz musician wail.”

Don Rickles, legendary comedian and actor, died on Thursday in Los Angeles of kidney failure. He was 90.

Born in New York City, Rickles began his career in nightclubs where he earned his reputation as an insult comic after his manner of responding to hecklers became as popular as the material itself. 

Rickles’ career spanned more than six decades and included continued stand-up routines, acting in television and film, as well as regular appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Show with David Letterman.

The comedian may be best known to contemporary audiences as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in Pixar’s Toy Story films, including the latest instalment, Toy Story 4, due to hit theatres in 2019. 

He got his break in the 1958 war film Run Silent Run Deep alongside Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster, followed by dramatic »

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Taylor Swift’s Beverly Hills Mansion Is Officially a Historic City Landmark

6 April 2017 6:59 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.

Taylor Swift is officially historic. Well, at least her Beverly Hills mansion is.

On Tuesday evening, the five-member Beverly Hills City Council approved Swift’s request to designate her home in Los Angeles as a historic city landmark. It was a swift and unanimous vote.

Swift bought the 11,000-square-foot, four-bedroom estate from the heirs of Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn — co-founder of Goldwyn Pictures, which later became MGM — in 2015 for $25 million, according to property records. The house, originally built in 1934, sits just behind the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“I think this is a true community »

- People Staff

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Don Rickles, 'insult comic', dies aged 90

6 April 2017 4:11 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Legendary comedian had roles in Toy Story and Casino.

Don Rickles, legendary comedian and actor, died on Thursday in Los Angeles of kidney failure. He was 90.

Born in New York City, Rickles began his career in nightclubs where he earned his reputation as an insult comic after his manner of responding to hecklers became as popular as the material itself. 

Rickles’ career spanned more than six decades and included continued stand-up routines, acting in television and film, as well as regular appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Show with David Letterman.

The comedian may be best known to contemporary audiences as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in Pixar’s Toy Story films, including the latest instalment, Toy Story 4, due to hit theatres in 2019. 

He got his break in the 1958 war film Run Silent Run Deep alongside Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster, followed by dramatic turns in The Rabbit Trap and X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes »

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Don Rickles Remembered as Hollywood Mourns the Loss of a Comedy Genius

6 April 2017 3:53 PM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

Earlier today, we reportedly the sad news that Hollywood has lost another legend, with comedian Don Rickles passing away at the age of 90. His publicist confirmed that the iconic insult comic passed in his Los Angeles home, from kidney failure. As word of his passing spread, Hollywood icons left and right paid tribute to the late comedian through social media, to honor this late legend.

While most sent out their tributes through Twitter, others released lengthier tributes elsewhere. Rolling Stone caught up with Gilbert Gottfried, who summed up the the late comedian's legacy with a heartfelt statement that explained why Rickles will go down in history as one of the best comedians ever. Here's what Gilbert Gottfried had to say.

"Don Rickles was never politically correct, and he would never apologize for any of it. He was totally unapologetic about his comedy. So I admired that and looked at him »

- MovieWeb

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Don Rickles, Legendary Comedian, Passes Away at 90

6 April 2017 12:46 PM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

The Hollywood community is in morning once again, with another iconic performer passing away. Don Rickles, the legendary insult comedian and actor, died at the age of 90, in his Los Angeles home. The actor/comedian's publicist, Paul Shefrin, confirmed that his client had succumbed to kidney failure earlier today.

The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the funeral services will be private, and that donations can be made in the late comedian's name to his son's organization, the Larry Rickles Endowment Fund at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Don Rickles was born May 8, 1926 in New York City, raised in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. He graduated from Newtown High School and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, after which, he returned home and graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Don Rickles got his start in the entertainment business by performing as a stand-up comedian for several years. »

- MovieWeb

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Legendary Comedian Don Rickles Dies at 90

6 April 2017 11:12 AM, PDT | E! Online | See recent E! Online news »

Legendary comedian Don Rickles passed away at home from kidney failure, his publicist confirmed. He was 90.  Rickles, who would've turned 91 on May 8, was best known for his comedy, but also became a best-selling author and dramatic actor. He made his mark alongside Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster in Run Silent, Run Deep. Rickles also served as an honorary member of the Rat Pack and appeared as an abrasive celebrity roast comic. Throughout his career, Rickles also appeared on various sitcoms and dramatic series, including Get Smart and Run for Your Life. Perhaps one of his best known film roles was voicing the role of Mr. Potato Head in Pixar's Toy Story »

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Surprise! Doris Day Celebrates Her 95th (not 93rd) Birthday — See the Exclusive Portrait

2 April 2017 4:03 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

Hollywood legend Doris Day‘s actual birthday may be Monday, but that doesn’t mean she can’t get the party started a little early.

The Pajama Game star and animal rights activist released a special birthday portrait exclusively to People ahead of her 95th birthday on Monday. (Yes, that’s right, Day will actually turn 95 — not 93 as it was previously believed — but who can blame a Hollywood legend for shaving a few years off?) The actress is planning on spending her actual birthday with a low-key affair at her home in Carmel, California.

“The #DorisBirthdayWish video and photo campaign »

- Liz McNeil and Mike Miller

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Let Us Now Praise The Mad Genius Of Richard Harland Smith

2 April 2017 3:09 PM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

A few years ago, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the death of influential film critic Pauline Kael, I wrote the following:

“I think (Kael) did a lot to expose the truth… that directors, writers and actors who often work awfully close to the surface may still have subterranean levels of achievement or purpose or commentary that they themselves may be least qualified to articulate. It’s what’s behind her disdain for Antonioni’s pontificating at the Cannes film festival; it’s what behind the high percentage of uselessness of proliferating DVD commentaries in which we get to hear every dull anecdote, redundant explication of plot development and any other inanity that strikes the director of the latest Jennifer Aniston rom-com to blurt out breathlessly; and it is what’s behind a director like Eli Roth, who tailors the subtext of something like Hostel Part II almost as »

- Dennis Cozzalio

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How Doris Day Plans to Celebrate Her 93rd Birthday (Hint: Keep an Eye Out for Her Home Balcony)

24 March 2017 12:58 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

She was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and remains one of the most beloved, but for her upcoming 93rd birthday on April 3, Doris Day will spend the day quietly at her home in Carmel, California, surrounded by close friends and her beloved dogs.

“Doris has never been one for celebrating her own birthday,” her publicist Charley Cullen Walters tells People, “but she’s very excited to visit with friends and family throughout the day, certainly to spend time with her beloved animals, and now to see photos from all over the world via the #DorisBirthdayWish campaign, through which we »

- Liz McNeil

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The Most Visible Star: Marilyn Monroe’s Acting Talent

15 March 2017 7:52 AM, PDT | | See recent FilmSchoolRejects news »

The actress is mostly remembered for her good looks, but what about her impressive performances?

In Richard Dyer’s book Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society, he writes that Marilyn Monroe was “the most visible star”: an actress whose life was put on display, and remains so over 50 years after her death. She is one of the most iconic Hollywood stars of all time, her face instantly recognizable to even those who have never seen any of her movies. She is a symbol of beauty, glamor, cinema, femininity, blondness, sexuality, and tragedy. While the world speculates about her personal life — who was she romantically involved with? How did she die? What was she really like? — her career as an actress is overshadowed by her fame.

While she may not have been the greatest actress of all time, she certainly had her fair share of talent and intelligence, and always worked incredibly hard to bring her »

- Angela Morrison

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Watch Jeff Bridges Revive ‘Big Lebowski’ Character ‘The Dude’ at John Goodman’s Walk of Fame Ceremony

10 March 2017 2:45 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski was brought back to life on Hollywood Boulevard, but this time, he was the one who delivered a eulogy for a friend, and it ended with “Good afternoon, sweet prince,” rather than good night.

At John Goodman’s Walk of Fame ceremony, Jeff Bridges donned “The Dude’s” signature, quirky, knit sweater, and delivered a typically rambling and hilarious rendition of the eulogy that Walter gives before scattering Donny’s ashes in the 1998 Coen Brothers cult classic “The Big Lebowski.”


Roseanne’ Reunion: John Goodman and Sara Gilbert Play Dan and Darlene for First Time in 20 Years

Bridges asked Goodman to hold his suit and bag for him, and as he drew out “The Dude’s” poncho-like garment, a loud cheer erupted from the crowd when they realized one of cinema’s most iconic slackers was about to be reincarnated in front of them.

“He’s a good actor, »

- Will Thorne

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‘Moonlight’ is the Most Frugal Best Picture Ever: See Analysis of the 10 Lowest-Budget Winners of all Time

1 March 2017 8:00 AM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

With a budget of $1.5 million, 2017 Best Picture winner “Moonlight” cost less than a 30-second ad during the Oscars (reported price: $2.2 million). And, among the category’s 89 winners, it stands as the lowest-budgeted film in the Academy Awards’ history.

To determine the 10 least expensive Best Picture winners, we looked back at each year, researched reported budgets, and then calculated them at 2017 dollar values. Although independent films have dominated the Oscars for the last decade, the only indie to make the cut from that period was “Crash.” Nor did Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall,” or some black-and-white studio classics like “Casablanca” or “The Lost Weekend.”

The 10 straddle almost every decade of the Oscars and come from either independent producers or smaller distributors (four of the 10 were released by United Artists).

For comparison, the most expensive film to win remains “Titanic;” its adjusted budget was $300 million more than “Moonlight.” That total dwarfs the »

- Tom Brueggemann

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