An author and poet fascinated with the dark underbelly of the American dream, Charles Bukowski is renowned for his blunt, scrappy work. He had a rough working-class childhood in Los Angeles and found...
(from novel: "Factotum," with excerpts from his books "The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses over the Hills," "What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire," "The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken over the Ship.")
James Franco has asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit over his film about legendary writer Charles Bukowski. Cyril Humphris claims Franco's biopic, titled Bukowski, is closely based on the author's semi-autobiographical novel Ham on Rye, which Humphris claims he owns the film rights to.
In the suit, filed in April (14), Humphris alleges the film "borrows the novel's themes of childhood loneliness; adolescent self-consciousness; the failures, hypocrisy, and cruelty of adults; and, in an unflinching depiction, the crude interest teenage boys take in sex".
He also claims several scenes in the movie are taken directly from the book.
However, Franco is adamant his biopic is not based on Ham on Rye but was instead inspired by the author's writings in general, and in new legal documents he is asking a judge to throw out the case, according to TMZ.com.
Humphris is suing for damages and an injunction to block the film's production.
James Franco is at the centre of a new legal spat over his plans to make a new movie about literary legend Charles Bukowski. Cyril Humphris, who claims he owns the film rights to the author's semi-autobiographical novel Ham on Rye, insists the 127 Hours star lacks the necessary permission to make the movie and he is suing Franco in a bid to halt production.
According to his lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday (24Apr14), Humphris maintains Franco had an agreement to develop Ham on Rye, but the rights expired in 2010, and his plans to make a film about the author infringe on the former agreement. In his suit, Humphris maintains Franco's current Bukowski film "borrows the Novel's themes of childhood loneliness; adolescent self-consciousness; the failures, hypocrisy, and cruelty of adults; and, in an unflinching depiction, the crude interest teenage boys take in sex."
He adds, "The Film incorporates entire scenes, including substantially their dialogue, from the Novel." Franco has previously stated his film is not an adaptation of the novel, but focuses on Bukowski's childhood. But Humphris is far from convinced.
His lawsuit reads: "By producing, marketing, displaying, and/or distributing the Film, Mr. Franco... and those involved... have infringed on Mr. Humphris' exclusive motion-picture rights to the Novel."
The plaintiff is seeking an injunction and monetary damages, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Leonardo DiCaprio met literary legend Charles Bukowski as a baby when his father befriended the writer on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Long before The Wolf of Wall Street star had Oscar dreams, he was the infant of an oddball New York couple, who came to Hollywood looking for a land of dreams, and found themselves living with hookers and junkies.
In an online Screen Actors Guild interview on Friday night (21Feb14), the movie star recalled, "I was born in (the old) Cedars Sinai (hospital), which is now the Scientology Center... on Sunset Boulevard (and) I grew up on Hollywood (Boulevard) and Western (Avenue), which is a kind of well-documented area, because it was Bukowski's safe haven, where he would roam around write. My father would carry me around in a crib and (we'd) run into Bukowski.
"My parents both came from New York and they had this postcard image of a Utopian Los Angeles and Hollywood and we kind of moved into the Mecca of prostitution and drug addicts."
The following contains minor spoilers of Beautiful Creatures.
I've never liked the Twilight movies. And I've tried. What turned me off wasn't the romantic lead sparkling in the sun, or the complicated and somewhat creepy concept of imprinting,it wasn't even Edward Cullen's excessive brooding: it was Bella. And upon watching the film billed as the "next Twilight," Warner Bros.'s Beautiful Creatures, I finally found what I was looking for: a fantastic young lead in Lena Ducchane.
On paper, Lena (Alice Englert) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) aren't all that different. They both love to read, they both feel as if they don't belong, and they're both not concerned with wooing the boys at school until the right one arrests their attention. (And that's the reason I never got into Young Adult Fiction: cliches.) But in practice, at least as far as the movies are concerned, Lena is a far better character, especially for a YA audience. Sorry, Twihards.
RELATED: 'Beautiful Creatures' Review
Lena is a bit of a problem child. She's a caster (a more humane word for "witch") and she's got powers she can't quite control that get her in trouble from time to time. It's these growing pains that make her an actual outcast at school, fielding constant cruel jokes about devil worship from her Southern belle classmates. Bella constantly feels she's not like her classmates, and as such, is withdrawn, even when the girls at school befriend her. She mumbles, she broods, she goes after a man who behaves like 30 year-old from the 19th century like a lovestruck little girl. She’s convinced no one understands her, but it’s her own barriers that are keeping her from making connections.
Lena would never behave like that. She's truly outcast and a brain, so her feeling otherness is expressed by pouring herself into reading Charles Bukowski novels and multitudes of poetry. It’s something Bella’s character is supposed to do as well, but Lena’s character actually seems to cull meaning and a sense of self from her literary learnings. She's highly educated, and independent, to the point where she's barely even willing to let her suitor Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) give her a ride home... after her car breaks down... in the rain... on a country road. She’s no damsel in distress, like Bella, whose first encounter with Edward is being saved by his brute strength. This is a girl after my own heart.
Yes, Lena eventually falls hard for Ethan, as even bookworms are wont to do, and of course, it's not long before they're in love (this is a YA story, after all). But it's the way they handle themselves that's truly exemplary. In the Twilight books, Edward is unable to be too affectionate with Bella for fear of hurting her. At the surface, it's because he's a vampire, but the underlying meaning is one of extreme chastity and resistance to temptation. It’s a little 1950s. Every time Bella hopes to go a little further with Edward, he makes her wait, promising to consummate their love when they are married, not when they’re older, or when they’re ready. When he puts a ring on it. Without Bella even attempting to go to college. Why would she? She's going to be 18 forever, so who cares, right?
RELATED: Why Is Viola Davis in 'Beautiful Creatures'?
Lena and Ethan, however, are a little more liberal, a little more modern day. The couple doesn't hop into bed together (although they do literally cuddle in a bed, clothed, at one point), but there are no obnoxious metaphors for chastity and restraint. If anything, their story of love in the face of adults who try to keep them apart is a case for young people being more capable of making their own decisions than their elders give them credit for. It's not a PSA for teens to have sex, but it promotes trust in young people to make the right, educated decisions for themselves while acknowledging the potential for teens to feel something as deeply as Lena and Ethan do. It’s a healthier, more modern picture of young love than the one we get in Twilight. And while both youngsters love each other so much, a makeout session could light a roadside sign on fire (and does), college is a constant element of their plans. The future is not just sex in Rio and eternal marital bliss.
And it’s the element of an educated, rational choice that separates Lena’s story from Bella’s. When Miss Swan decides she wants to change her whole life and give up her relationship with her mother to be with Edward, she’s doing so with passion, and a love so consuming that she’ll give up anything for it (we’re assured of that when she pulls daredevil antics in the second movie to induce visions of Edward). Lena, however, is struggling to find herself and her true path, whether that be light or dark magic, and she’s desperate to figure out how Ethan fits into her plan. She's not trying to figure out how her life could change to make her fit into Ethan's.
RELATED: 'Beautiful Creatures' Director Okay With 'Twilight' Comparisons
Even though her love will do anything to help her find a way to ensure she stays on the side of light magic, Lena eventually sends him away so that she can figure out the plan on her own. This is her cross to bear, it’s not something that Ethan or her uncle can be a part of. She spends her days studying a spell book, seeking a way to deny her family’s dark magic curse and the rules of the caster world that dictate that women cannot choose their own fate. When she finds the answer, which requires Ethan to die, she makes the mature, selfless decision to sacrifice her own happiness to save him. She wipes his memory of her and journeys to her magical claiming solo, where she chooses not light or dark, but a combination of the two. She completely rewrites the norm and forges her own path.
It can be argued that Bella breaks the rules too when she not only bears a human-vampire hybrid, but survives the process and becomes a vampire, however, that happening is something of a miracle. At best, she accomplishes the feat through a stubborn sense of hope. Lena, however, accomplishes the change she seeks in the world through hard work and education. It’s a dry message when it’s spelled out so simply, but that’s why we have things like magic and romance to coat it with.
At the heart of Beautiful Creatures is an obstacle that can only be overcome by the willpower, knowledge, and dedication of our strong heroine. Bella becomes a strong mother by the end of her journey, she follows her heart, and she changes her fate, but it’s not the same. Lena is exactly who she is always going to be at the start of Beautiful Creatures, and she strives throughout the film to maintain that sense of self and to find a way in which the person she is fits into the larger world, whether that includes the girls at school and a boyfriend, or not. In the end, it's the fact that Lena is so well-read and so resolute in who she is that attacts Ethan. It's not some cosmic calling, much like the magnetic pull between Edward and Bella. With Ethan and Lena, it's a matter of mutual respect and admiration.
Lena's story is what young girls should be yearning for: the ability to truly understand themselves, their goals, and their desires, the dedication to make those goals a reality, and if they're really lucky, they'll stumble upon a charismatic, funny, cheerful young man to keep them company along the way.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros. (2); Summit Entertainment]
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"My star is right next to The Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry and I'm right across the street from Musso & Frank's, where (writer, Charles) Bukowski got drunk and where F. Scott Fitzgerald got drunk." John Cusacklikes the placement of his new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
America's favorite Charles Bukowski who's not actually Charles Bukowski will be in our living rooms for at least one more season. After its best series premiere ever with 848,000 viewers, Showtime has renewed Californication. Thank god, because we can't ever have enough of David Duchovny punching dudes, fucking girls and just generally living the life that we all wish existed but doesn't actually, outside of television. Cheers!
An author and poet fascinated with the dark underbelly of the American dream, Charles Bukowski is renowned for his blunt, scrappy work. He had a rough working-class childhood in Los Angeles and found a series of mundane jobs as a young adult. When Bukowski started writing in earnest during the 1950s, it was mostly in the form of poetry that dwelt on the subjects of women, alcohol and daily drudgery. In 1971, Bukowski's first novel, Post Office, was published by Black Sparrow Press, introducing readers to his thinly veiled alcoholic alter ego Henry Chinaski, who would carry most of his subsequent novels, including Factotum (1975) and Ham on Rye (1982). Embraced as a rebellious literary crank in his later years, Bukowski had his moment of widest appeal in 1987 when his autobiographical script "Barfly" became a lauded movie starring Mickey Rourke as Chinaski. Bukowski died in 1994 of leukemia, with his posthumous reputation only growing larger and heightened by the well-received documentary "Bukowski: Born into This" (2003) and the 2005 indie adaptation of Factotum, starring Matt Dillon as Chinaski.
Born in Germany but raised in California, Bukowski seemed to be at odds with life from an early age. Brought up in an abusive household, he displayed shy loner tendencies, which were only exacerbated in his teenage years by serious acne and its subsequent facial scars. Far from a conventionally handsome guy, Bukowski shaped his writing persona around the image of the shunned outsider. During World War II, he was briefly jailed for draft dodging and later found to be unfit for service. Bukowski began writing short stories, but he soon became discouraged with the literary world, and entered a period where work, drinking and a series of failed relationships largely defined his life. He returned to these themes when he began writing again in the late 1950s, this time initially focusing on poetry. Drawing on his long stint with the postal service, Bukowski finally completed his debut novel, Post Office, which saw the light of day in 1971 and marked the first of many books that he would publish under the small company Black Sparrow Press.
Gaining notoriety for his transgressive writing, Bukowski became a cult hero in more rebellious literary circles, due to his simple, bleak and heartbreaking poems and semi-autobiographical novels such as Factotum, Women and Ham on Rye. A serial womanizer, Bukowski finally settled down with restaurant owner Linda Lee Beighle, and they were married in 1985. During the early 1980s, "Tales of Ordinary Madness," an Italian-produced film loosely based on the writer's stories surfaced, with Ben Gazzara as the Bukowski stand-in. Later, the writer had a banner year in 1987, with director Barbet Schroeder's "Barfly" arriving in movie theaters to much acclaim and another film, "Crazy Love," offering up a Belgian perspective on Bukowski's down-and-out aesthetic. In 1989, his novel Hollywood was published, with the book largely informed by his experience of bringing "Barfly" to the silver screen. Shortly after finishing the novel's follow-up, Pulp, in 1994, Bukowski died from leukemia at age 73.
Though derided by some critics as vulgar and simplistic, Bukowski was discovered by a new generation of readers and aspiring writers following his death, becoming a notable counter-culture figure. In 2003, "Bukowski: Born into This" was released, with the documentary featuring his widow, Linda, and a number of his most famous admirers, including Sean Penn, Tom Waits and U2's Bono. Two years later, the feature "Factotum" was released, working from the namesake novel, along with various non-fiction and poetry by Bukowski. Forever a pop-culture underdog, Bukowski left behind a legacy that is felt most heavily on the page. However, in 2013, restless Renaissance man James Franco started production on an movie adaptation of the coming-of-age novel Ham on Rye, signaling that the late writer may still receive occasional cinematic odes.
Sean Penn and Dennis Hopper wanted to make a film based on Bukowski's writings, but Barbet Schroeder had already begun work on "Barfly."
U2's 1993 song "Dirty Day" is dedicated to Bukowski.
All of Bukowski's novels except for Pulp focus on the character of Henry Chinaski.
Penn was a friend of Bukowski's, and his 1995 drama, "The Crossing Guard," is dedicated to the late writer.