In 1957, Jack Kerouac wrote to Marlon Brando, imploring him to buy his novel On the Road and make a movie out of it. Kerouac saw Brando in the role of Dean and himself (of course, who else?) as Sal, chatting behind the windshield as they drove across the country together. Kerouac assured Brando that he already knew how to make the novel’s chaotic structure work for film, and proclaimed that he sought to “re-do” American cinema, which he called “an outmoded dinosaur that ain’t mutated along with the best in American Literature.” Sadly, since we’d love to have a film version of On the Road starring Marlon Brando and Jack Kerouac to drool over, Brando turned the project down, and it is only now, some 55 years later, that a film is being released, with Garrett Hedlund starring as Dean and Sam Riley as Sal. Whether they’ll be as good as Brando and Kerouac would have been, who can say. The single-page letter, discovered in 2005 and recently sold at Christie’s was originally estimated to sell for $5,000 — $7,000, but went for a whopping $33,600. Click through to see the original letter and read the text in full. … Read More
Now that the ever-so-eagerly anticipated David Fincher adaptation of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is out in theaters, fans of Stieg Larsson’s trilogy have had the chance to see how Fincher’s take stacks up — not just against the books, but against the previous Swedish film version, and more specifically in the representation of iconic heroine Lisbeth Salander. The role was played in the original films by Noomi Rapace (currently appearing in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows); for the American films, Rooney Mara takes over.
Who’s better in the role? It’s a tricky question — and one that comes up every time multiple actors take their turns playing a beloved literary character. The critics have weighed in on who plays Lisbeth better, but after the jump, we’ll take a look at ten previous cases of “different actor, same role.” … Read More
Hollywood stars make getting naked on camera look easy, but many will confess how incredibly uncomfortable or even boring it is to bare all on screen. There are tricks to overcoming this, of course, but for those who haven’t stripped for their audiences before things can get a little tricky. If you’re starring in a hotly anticipated film — like the one that spent three installments pretending their lead stars didn’t actually have genitals — the pressure is really on. This got us thinking about the most awkward nude scenes in cinema. How did the actors and actresses handle being in the buff? Some stars used awkward nudity for comedic effect, while others looked flawless, but felt terrible — and in a few cases, the unpleasant feelings we had were all in our own heads. Still, we wanted to know: did they find the experience as strange to shoot as we did to watch? Find out past the break where we revisit a few naked nightmares. … Read More
Last week we had one of our periodic Flavorwire editorial meetings, and the conversation turned to Zooey Deschanel. Contrary to whatever direction you might presume we’d lean on her, there were a wide variety of opinions in the room, from indifferent to stubbornly affectionate (yours truly) to exhausted (“I’m about up to here with her”). While everyone basically agrees that her new show New Girl is nothing to write home about, there is a divergence as to why — some say it’s ill-conceived and mediocre, while others place the blame squarely on Ms. Deschanel. When I heard the phrase “She always just plays herself,” my ears perked up. Here’s a favorite topic that I’d not had the chance to engage in for a while: the question of persona vs. versatility in acting. … Read More
We don’t know about you, but we’ve already got our tickets for Killer Elite, which hits theaters — presumably with a roundhouse kick — this Friday. See Jason Statham kicking ass while tied to a chair! Thrill to the most ill-advised facial hair of Clive Owen’s career! Groove to the straight-faced use of Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane!” (I know we’ve harped on this, but seriously, that’s what makes it the year’s funniest trailer.) And, most of all, calculate how much coin once-respected “actor’s actor” Robert DeNiro pocketed for appearing in this swill!
Actors make movies for many reasons: to stretch their skills, to work with admired co-stars or filmmakers, to help tell a story that they believe has value. And, sometimes, they make a movie for a nice chunk of cheddar. Mr. DeNiro, for one, has certainly had no qualms — particularly over the last decade or so — with lending his well-regarded talents to several projects that were in no danger of contributing to his Oscar shelf; in honor of his latest payday performance, let’s take a look at ten of his fellow thespians, and the depths to which they’ve traveled for a few extra zeros. … Read More
Sometimes, in this age of gratuitously 3D movies, third-time-around remakes, and Saw IV, we look back with longing at the Golden Age of Hollywood, when the stars were glamorous, talented and tiger blood-free and studios were willing to take a chance on films that were more art than blockbuster. As far as we’re concerned, nothing’s better than a peek behind the scenes at an industry and time period we love, so we’ve been thrilled to see a lot of classic Hollywood screen tests pop up recently (especially over at Open Culture). In the interest of amateur film study and thinking about the good old days, we thought we’d compile a few of the best here for your old Hollywood dreaming and black and white swooning. So without any further ado, we present ten classic Hollywood screen tests, from Brando to Hepburn to Garland. … Read More
In the days before the paparazzi was hunting down the famous with telephoto lenses and celebrity blogging empires were built upon up-shots of pantyless Britney Spears, a special breed of photographers thrived. Hollywood’s greatest actors were expertly lit with a sensuous haze and encouraged in their most stunning pose. Then, tens of thousands of prints were sent of to fans and media outlets. That’s how a mass of these vintage movie star portraits ended up in the hands of the collector John Kobal. Now through October 23rd, 70 classics from the 1920s through the 1960s are on view at the London’s National Portrait Gallery exhibit Glamour of the Gods: Hollywood Portraits. See Marlin Brando’s brooding mid a seductive slump, Elizabeth Taylor looking smokin’ on the beach, and Jean Harlow’s radiating extreme looks in our gallery. … Read More
Critics have been raving about Mike Mills’ new comedy, Beginners, about a man (Ewan McGregor) who learns that his elderly father has cancer — and is gay. But Amanda Marcotte at Slate has a problem with the film: 40-year-old McGregor’s love interest is played by Mélanie Laurent, who’s 28. As she points out, it’s pretty much the norm for middle-aged men to date women in their 20s on the big screen, to the extent that it’s rare to see a couple who are the same age. Marcotte’s solution: “no more movies or shows where the hero is a decade or more older than his love interest. And if she’s under 25, the time span gets shortened to five years. Exceptions will be made for anti-heroes whose attraction to younger women helps establish how deeply flawed they are as people (see: Don Draper).” So, with her caveat in mind, we’ve put together a list of cinema’s best May-December romances — movies we’d never ever want to boycott, from The Big Sleep to Ghost World. … Read More
We were saddened to hear the news that Elizabeth Taylor died overnight at the age of 79. While she was known as much in recent years for her private life and questionable marriage record as she was for her films, Taylor was one of the best actors of her generation, and her performances in the 1950s and 1960s defined a string of the era’s finest films. In celebration of a fine career, here’s a selection of her best roles. … Read More
We love us some Anthony Bourdain, but we’ve gotta say this: the list of his five favorite foodie films that he offered up to Entertainment Weekly is about as spontaneous as a Domino’s Pizza delivery capping off a long night of weed smoking. Yes, Big Night, of course. And Eat Drink Man Woman, yawn. In Bourdain’s defense, we couldn’t think up that many other ones — maybe there just aren’t that many rhapsodically hunger-inducing movies. More often than not, movies use food for a more insidious reason: to gross us out. So we’ve compiled something of a reverse to the Bourdain list — ten movies that put us off of the foodstuffs in question. Take a look (hopefully on an empty stomach) after the jump. … Read More