8 items from 2016
The agonies of screenwriting were on full view Thursday night at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, where 11 scribes nominated for WGA Awards took part in the guild’s Beyond Words program.
One of the biggest laughs from the full house came when “Spotlight” writer Josh Singer admitted that he and writer-director Tom McCarthy spent several years going through the Boston Globe’s investigation of pedophile priests.
“We did research for a long time,” Singer said. “Anything to put off writing.”
McCarthy admitted that interviews with the victims of the scandal was a turning point. “The story really came together once we talked with survivors,” he added.
Both “Spotlight” writers were effusive in their praise of the Boston Globe journalists portrayed in the film, noting that editor Martin “Marty” Baron (portrayed by Liev Schreiber) even supplied them with extensive emails to keep the timeline straight. They also credited the initial producers, »
- Dave McNary
Xan Brooks, Henry Barnes and Peter Bradshaw review Trumbo, a biopic about the 1950s screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted by Hollywood for his communist beliefs. The film, which stars Bryan Cranston as the writer of Roman Holiday and Spartacus, follows Trumbo through his 11-month imprisonment and subsequent vindication, which was spurred in part by Spatacus star Kirk Douglas. Trumbo, which also stars Helen Mirren and Elle Fanning, is release in the UK on 5 February
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- Xan Brooks, Henry Barnes, Peter Bradshaw, Dan Susman, Adam Sich and Joan Portillo
Oscar-nominated Bryan Cranston toys theatrically with the role of a persecuted screenwriter in a heartfelt account of the anticommunist witch-hunts of the 50s
It falls to Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers movies, to make this heartfelt, stolid picture about an important period in American history: the petty Maoism of 1950s Hollywood, when studios voluntarily submitted to their own self-purifying “blacklist” to appease anti-communist witch-hunters in Congress on the House Un-American Activities Committee, or Huac. The movie business wouldn’t hire communists and encouraged Washington’s grisly new public theatre of denunciation and shame, with witnesses permitted to save their skins by identifying reds under the Tinseltown bed – naming names.
The most famous Hollywood victim was the productive, talented and wealthy Dalton Trumbo, played here by Bryan Cranston. Once the best-paid screenwriter in the business, and also the most prominent Communist party member, Trumbo refused to cooperate with the committee. »
- Peter Bradshaw
February may be the shortest month of the year, but the major streaming sites certainly haven't used that as an excuse to slack off. Perhaps motivated by the imminent Leap Day, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are unleashing an absolute blizzard of new titles over the next four weeks — from a martial-arts sequel 16 years in the making, to a note-perfect new comedy series that's arriving just in time to cure (or inflame) those post-Valentine's Day blues. Here are our top 10 picks for what to watch in the next 29 days.
11.22.63 (Hulu, »
McNamara, who is also a producer on “Trumbo,” will be recognized at the Writers Guild Awards L.A. ceremony on Feb. 13, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. He recently received a WGA Adapted Screenplay nomination for his script.
“The Paul Selvin Award honors ‘that member whose work best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties that are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere,’” said WGA West President Howard A. Rodman. “Though we’ve given it since 1989, it might as well have been purpose-built for John McNamara’s ‘Trumbo.’ In shining light on a dark corner of our history, »
- Dave McNary
Sara Hemrajani on Hollywood’s love affair with its Golden Age…
Since there’s no business like show business, it’s unsurprising that one of Hollywood’s favourite topics is itself. The recent wave of award nominations for Trumbo, including a best actor Oscar nod for Bryan Cranston, is fresh evidence of the industry’s fascination with the so-called Golden Age.
In Trumbo, Cranston plays real-life writer Dalton Trumbo who was jailed and blacklisted for his ties to the American Communist Party. Despite the ban, Trumbo and his peers managed to flout the system using pseudonyms and support from eager filmmakers. He went on to write screenplays for classics such as Roman Holiday and Spartacus.
Following swiftly in its steps is Hail, Caesar!, the Coen brothers’ throwback to the glossy studio pictures of the 1940s. The trailer reveals characters reminiscent of Gene Kelly and Esther Williams, as well as producer »
- Sara Hemrajani
When Mitzi Trumbo was 15, she opened her front door to find one of Hollywood’s most famous actors standing outside. It was Kirk Douglas. A few days later, Laurence Olivier turned up. “He outstretched his hand for me to shake and the dog got in the way and he tripped over.”
Fifty-five years later, she still remembers how starstruck she felt. But besides the excitement, what Mitzi most recalls from those encounters was a feeling of frustration that she couldn’t brag about it to her high-school friends. Her father, Dalton Trumbo, was one of the most famous Hollywood screenwriters of his generation, both for his work (he wrote the Oscar-winning Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, and several novels) and for his leftwing politics.
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- Elizabeth Day
We’ve reached the near mid-point of this Definitive List; 20 down, 30 to go. As we move forward, the story of “boy meets girl” becomes more complicated, as plenty of stumbling blocks stand in the way: lack of experience, insecurity, unsupportive parents, and, as in most cases, ego. So, when we watch all these films, what do we learn? Hundreds of romantic comedies end happily, but none end in the same way. Perhaps there’s a method to the madness, but the more we tread through these highlights, the more it’s clear that to make an impact, you have to change the game or perfect the existing one.
#30. Bull Durham (1988)
Baseball movies had worn out their welcome a bit in the mid-80s and audiences weren’t clamoring for a romantic comedy based around the national pastime. Enter writer/director Ron Shelton, who decided to write a film based on »
- Joshua Gaul
8 items from 2016
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