9 items from 2002
"Full Frontal" finds filmmaker Steven Soderbergh in an experimental mood. Think of Jean-Luc Godard, Luigi Pirandello and Soderbergh himself, playing with stylistic elements and actors from previous movies. It's the kind of self-indulgent movie you get to make if your last five pictures were "Ocean's Eleven", "Traffic", "Erin Brockovich", "The Limey" and "Out of Sight". He has earned the right to play around with levels of movie realities and characters searching for their director in an 18-day shoot featuring some of the town's top -- and very adventurous -- actors.
Audiences for "Full Frontal" will not be vast. A few will read great things into the slim material concocted by Soderbergh and writer Coleman Hough. Most admirers, though, will shrug this one off. The film is clearly both a labor of love and the least expensive movie imaginable with such a cast and director. Miramax will not have to see a huge boxoffice, and ancillary business could be brisk.
To begin with, there is a movie within a movie and, unless I missed something, at least one more movie within that movie. A collection of psychologically complicated characters -- or actors playing characters who are also sometimes actors -- move about Los Angeles within a 24-hour period with everyone and everything winding up at the 40th birthday party of David Duchovny's Hollywood producer.
Julia Roberts plays Catherine, a journalist writing a profile of Blair Underwood's Nicholas, who is playing a sidekick to Brad Pitt in a movie directed by David Fincher, only ... Francesca (also Roberts) is actually playing Catherine and Calvin (again Underwood) is actually playing Nicholas in a movie. Follow that?
Don't feel bad if you don't, but we have to move on to explain that David Hyde Pierce's Carl, a screen and magazine writer, is experiencing marital problems with his wife, Catherine Keener's Lee, an unhappy corporate executive whose lovelorn sister Linda (Mary McCormack) is a hotel masseuse. Meanwhile, Carl has written a play with Enrico Colantoni's Arty -- or is it Ed? -- about Hitler that is being rehearsed by a temperamental actor played by Nicky Katt.
According to press notes, all actors are responsible for their own wardrobe, hair and makeup. Everything is shot at practical locations without a production designer or conventional music score.
Each scene within this complex arrangement is reduced to two actors in lengthy dialogue exchanges. Hough's dialogue is often clever and biting, but much of its look-how-shallow-and-neurotic-people-in-L.A.-are undertone as been put to better use in such movies as "The Player", "Time Code" and "Magnolia".
The cinematography -- Soderbergh shoots under his usual nom-de-camera of Peter Andrews -- switches from sleek-looking film to grainy, contrasty digital video. Interviews with the actors speaking of themselves in character occur frequently on the soundtrack, much of which is improvised.
The whole movie is a riff on movie reality and unreality. Nothing is truly new here, though. OK, so movies are not reality, but a movie pointing that out doesn't make it any less so. Sometimes such existential cleverness is a mere disguise for a lack of imagination. In "Full Frontal", it's the director who wears a fig leaf.
Director/director of photography: Steven Soderbergh
Screenwriter: Coleman Hough
Producers: Scott Kramer, Gregory Jacobs
Editor: Sarah Flack
Gus: David Duchovny
Hitler: Nicky Katt
Lee: Catherine Keener
Carl: David Hyde Pierce
Francesca/Catherine: Julia Roberts
Calvin/Nicholas: Blair Underwood
Arty/Ed: Enrico Colantonni
Running time -- 106 minutes
MPAA rating: R
Movie maker Steven Soderbergh's strict rules on the set of his new movie Full Frontal almost cost Julia Roberts her punctual reputation - because she got lost trying to find the set. The Traffic director sent his stars, including Roberts, Brad Pitt, David Duchovny and Catherine Keener, a list of rules with their scripts - to make sure they all knew what was expected of them. Soderbergh's reasons for the strictness were to make sure the movie cost no more than $2 million to make. The rules stipulated that all the actors had to provide their own wardrobe, maintain their own hair and make-up and drive themselves to and from the set every day. And it was the latter that had Roberts in a mess on the first day in Downtown Los Angeles. She says, "I got lost. I mean, who knows where Flower Street is? But I was on time. I'm always on time." Soderbergh admits he picked actors he knew wouldn't be bothered about the lack of on-set comforts, which even included the lack of a trailer. He explains, "I chose people who I knew were going to get with the program. Take Julia, for instance. She likes the process. She's not one of those people who likes to isolate herself. She doesn't stay in her trailer all day. She likes being around people." »
Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh is enjoying good laugh at the expense of the media, thanks to a naked David Duchovny. The Traffic director has released to America's top entertainment TV shows a steamy trailer of his much-anticipated new movie Full Frontal--but they can't show it. The R-rated clip features Duchovny's character trying to persuade a masseuse, played by Mary McCormack, to add an extra sexual service while he lies naked on a bench. Duchovny's film producer character suggestively asks his unwilling masseuse, "What's your philosophy on release? When was the last time you made $500 for 30 seconds of work? I need a release." But the saucy clip isn't the only thing that has upset censors in America - even the film's advertising campaign had to be reworked after the tagline 'Expose Yourself on August 2' on posters was deemed too suggestive. Studio bosses at Miramax changed the line to simply 'Coming August 2,' and issued a statement saying, "We were disappointed that we couldn't fully 'expose' our film, but we're happy to say it's still coming out on August 2nd." The film also features Julia Roberts, Catherine Keener and David Hyde-Pierce. »
Fans of former X-Files star David Duchovny may see lots more of the hunky star in his new movie. The actor will star alongside Julia Roberts, Blair Underwood and Catherine Keener in new Steven Soderbergh flick Full Frontal, and in one scene, Duchovny will be in a state of what the New York Post describes as "heightened awareness." Even though David reportedly used a fake member for the shot, and most of it allegedly takes place under a sheet, censors fought for the scene to be cut. But Soderbergh reportedly insisted on it staying in the finished film. »
David Duchovny and Tea Leoni have become parents for the second time. Former "X-Files" star Duchovny, 41, and Leoni, 36, his actress wife of five years, celebrated the birth of their new baby boy on Saturday. The child, whose name wasn't disclosed by the couple, was born in Los Angeles, weighing in at a healthy seven pounds, 10 ounces. The baby is the second in the Duchovny-Leoni clan, joining three-year-old sister Madelaine West. Duchovny has some time to play dad now that he's officially wrapped "The X-Files," reprising his role as alien-seeking Agent Fox Mulder one last time for the series' finale last month. »
Stunning actress Téa Leoni has lashed out at spoiled rich kids in Hollywood. The sexy star, who is married to actor David Duchovny is sick of Los Angeles, and doesn't want to raise her children there. She says, "David and I have been talking about returning to New York because we don't want to raise our children in L.A. Something is missing there. We'd feel better if they could grow up around normal kids, not just around a bunch of rich Hollywood kids." »
Actress Tea Leoni spent hours on the set of her new film Hollywood Ending trying to steal passionate moments with director Woody Allen - after hearing he is a great kisser. Leoni, who is married to David Duchovny, was initially terrified when she learned she had to lock lips with her movie mogul idol, but after doing her research she couldn't wait to get started. She explains, "I called Elisabeth Shue and she told me, 'He's a great kisser, do you get to kiss him?' It was scripted at least twice and she said, 'Throw in another.' It's really the truth. He's very sexy. I'm not surprised by that. I have sort of a thing for really, really bright men who are funny. Of course, I've got one." »
Actress Renée Zellweger is number one in the music charts - as the subject of Ariel Horovitz' hit song! The singer/songwriter is currently at the top of the Israeli single charts with his ode to the Bridget Jones's Diary beauty. The lyrics are, "I was at an American movie and fell in love with the actress/My love still doesn't suspect that I, determined by inevitable fate, am closing the distance and I have an address and a picture/Renée, your life will change from one end to another because I'm on my way/Restaurant, black dress, confusing cleavage - good thing I prepared the speech back in Israel./Touch me, Renée, look - I'm not made of plastic./You'll have a real life with me." Zellweger is not the first star to hit the pop charts like this in recent years. Popster Bree Sharp hit the American charts in the '90s with an ode to David Duchovny. »
X-Files star David Duchovny is set to return to help wrap up the hit sci-fi series at the end of this season. Series creator Chris Carter says his desire to have Duchovny return to reprise his character, Special Agent Fox Mulder, for the show's finale, has moved closer to reality. He says, "David was open to it and now the legal and logistical complication of trying to get it done comes." The legal problems are Duchovny's law suit against the series, which is related to his share of revenues from the series. Carter adds, "I just have to make the show as interesting as possible, not just for David but for the fans." If Duchovny does return, it will represent a reversal of his previous stand on the series. As late as in November, he maintained he would not return to the TV series, but was open to possibly appearing in a second film spun off from the X-Files. Before Duchovny departed the show last year, Carter introduced new characters played by Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish, but ratings have slumped this season. »
9 items from 2002
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