May 19, 2013 11:23am EST
At the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, director James Toback and actor Alec Baldwin arrived with a team of cameramen set to chronicle their attempt to find financing for a new film project. One year later, the finished product Seduced and Abandoned debuts at Cannes, and the sardonic effort is a mixed bag.
The duo are naturally entertaining as they traverse the French Riviera, pitching their concept to production companies and yacht-riding billionaires. Peppered throughout are interviews with recognizable talent who are either waxing poetic on the sad state of the entertainment industry or are being courted by Toback and Baldwin to star in the proposed film, a $25 million riff on Last Tango in Paris set in Iraq. Martin Scorsese, Jessica Chastain, Ryan Gosling, Francis Ford Coppola, and every studio exec in town appear in the film, and they're insightful in a totally-inside-baseball way.
For those outside the Hollywood scene, Seduced and Abandoned may make little to no sense. With little context into what it actually takes to get a major film project off the ground and an echoed point that anything between $5 million and $100 million stands little chance of being made, the documentary's appeal to non-biz folks is mostly for the sightseeing tour of Cannes. Even that's hard to enjoy — perhaps because of its off-the-cuff nature, the technical qualities of Seduced and Abandoned are often rough and jarring.
HBO picked up the film for airing later this year, and if there's one reason to tune in, it's for Baldwin's vulgar musings. The man can turn a profane phrase like no other. Seduced and Abandoned is chock full of Baldwin one-liners.
To give you a taste, here are a few of the winners:
1. While explaining to Toback that he's had the unpleasant experience of working with clueless directors, Baldwin drops this metaphor on why you still have to listen to what they say: "Sidestepping a director is like sidestepping the birth canal when you're coming out of your mother."
2. Baldwin is blunt about success in Hollywood: "The way you make it is by being a really selfish motherf**ker."
3. A romantic at heart, Baldwin says of the laborious process of courting investors, "The movie biz is like the worst lover. You go back and back hoping to recreate the magic."
4. Considered by many of their potential backers as a "TV actor," Baldwin has a moment of sarcastic self-examination: "I'm going to reenter filmmaking as a career."
5. And circling back to his varied relationships with directors, Baldwin says of the legendary Woody Allen, "[He] has more talent in a toenail clipping than most of those motherf**kers have in their whole bodies."
So if anything, Seduced and Abandoned taught us Baldwin's favorite swear word.
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May 16, 2013 9:50am EST
The 2013 Cannes Film Festival — the world's premiere fest for stars, world debuts, and Oscar buzz — is now in full swing and Hollywood.com is on the ground to catch a glimpse of the the movie world's vacation to the French Riviera. With famous faces like Leonardo DiCaprio, Emma Watson, Justin Timberlake, and Ryan Gosling, and new films by maestros like The Coen Bros., Nicolas Windig Refn (Drive), Sofia Coppola, and Alexander Payne (The Descendents), Cannes is a packed house of A-Lister talent (see the full list of prestigious films here). Ready to dive in?
We'll be updating live from the Cannes for the next two weeks. Follow along as the reactions and reviews come flickering off the projection screen:
RYAN GOSLING HAS ONLY 17 LINES IN 'ONLY GOD FORGIVES' Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn keeps his star contemplative but dangerous, while Kristen Scott Thomas is an absolute riot.
CANNES FASHION: SEE THE LOOKS! Stars from Isla Fisher to Nicole Kidman and Leonardo DiCaprio show off the latest looks on the red carpet.
'BEHIND THE CANDELABRA' IS TAME DESPITE MATT DAMON Steven Soderbergh's last hurrah is HBO's Liberace biopic, a straightforward affair offering amazing performances by Damon and Douglas.
'SHIELD OF STRAW' IS MARK WALHBERG STYLE ACTION FLICK... ... without Mark Wahlberg. The Audition director debuts a new crime thriller at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, in the vein of every Wahlberg movie ever. The only thing missing is Wahlberg himself.
THE 'HELI' MOMENT THAT IS JUST WAITING TO GO VIRAL Amat Escalante's Mexican drama Heli is hyper-violent and stunningly beautiful. We predict one scene could blow up on the Internet.
REVIEW: ALEC BALDWIN'S 'SEDUCED AND ABANDONED' Baldwin teams with director James Toback to pull back the curtain on the Cannes Film Festival, Hollywood, and the hardships of movie making.
HEAR THE SONGS IN THE 'INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS' SOUNDTRACK The Coen Bros. recruit Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and Oscar Issac to cover classic '60s folk songs in their Cannes Film Festival debut — here are a few of them.
'THE PAST' ALREADY BOASTS BEST PERFORMANCES OF 2013Asghar Farhadi's Paris-set Le passe recruits Academy Award-nominated actress Berenice Bejo for a heartpounding family drama.
ROBIN WRIGHT IN 'THE CONGRESS' PREDICTS YOUR DEMISEWaltz with Bashir director Ari Folman delights with his latest film starring Robin Wright, The Congress.
WHY DO WE STILL CRUSH ON LEO DICAPRIO LIKE IT'S 1997? Leonardo DiCaprio wins hearts in this month's The Great Gatsby, but there's a part of us that still swoons they way we did when we saw Titanic.
WHAT CAN '50 SHADES' LEARN FROM 'YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL'? Swimming Pool director Francois Ozon returns to Cannes with Jeune et Jolie, an erotic coming of age story starring model-turned-actress Marine Vacth.
REAL JEWEL HEIST AS 'BLING RING' PREMIERED AT CANNESPolice say that thieves robbed $1 million worth of jewels out of a Chopard employee's hotel room. These jewels were meant to be worn by celebs.
EMMA WATSON IS HILARIOUS IN 'THE BLING RING' Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola goes after gossip culture with a ripped-from-the-headlines story of teenagers stealing from Paris Hilton.
'GATSBY' OPENS CANNES: REVIEWBaz Luhrmann's latest is full of color and Jay-Z curated tracks, but it falls flat in comparison to DiCaprio's Gatsby and Carey Mulligan's jazz age ingenue.
EMMA WATSON GOES BAD IN FIRST 'BLING RING' TRAILER Sofia Coppola's newest film about the true events surrounding several celebrity robberies
BIG SUNDANCE WINNER HEADS TO CANNESFruitvale lives up to award hype thanks to Michael B. Jordan's stunning performance.
6 REASONS 'LLEWYN DAVIS' IS QUINTESSENTIAL COEN BROS.How does the Coen Bros. collaboration with Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and Oscar Isaac compare to their other beloved films?
RYAN GOSLING GETS HIS A** KICKED IN NEW TRAILERIf you enjoyed Drive but wished it had more eastern influence, look no further than Only God Forgives, the latest team-up between Gosling and Drive helmer Nicolas Winding Refn.
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April 18, 2013 9:56am EST
The Cannes Film Festival: where big name Hollywood stars and renowned American directors rub shoulders with the global elite. It's like moviedom's version of the Olympics, filmmakers and performers from around the world spend a week along the beaches of France, showing off their latest work in hopes of generating buzz and finding breakout success.
This year's slate of films sports plenty of recognizable faces: Ryan Gosling reteams with his Drive director Nicolas Winding-Refn for Only God Forgives; the Coen Bros. will show their loose Dave Van Ronk biopic starring Oscar Isaacs, Carey Mulligan, and Justin Timberlake; Steven Soderbergh's HBO movie Behind The Candelabra touts Matt Damon and Michael Douglas; and the "Out of Competition" category boasts Emma Watson's bad girl crime pic Bling Ring and the James Franco-directed Faulkner adaptation, As I Lay Dying. A packed roster.
On top of that, Cannes 2013 also has an eclectic collection of foreign films that look equally fascinating — if they can live side by side with the Hollywood elite, that means something.
Dive in to the full lineup below and watch out for Hollywood.com's coverage of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival when the debuts begin in mid-May:
Opening film: The Great Gatsby, dir: Baz Luhrmann
Closing film: Zulu, dir: Jérôme Salle
CompetitionOnly God Forgives, dir: Nicolas Winding-RefnLa Grande Bellezza, dir: Paolo SorrentinoBehind The Candelabra, Steven SoderberghThe Immigrant, dir: James GrayVenus In Fur, dir: Roman PolanskiStraw Shield, dir: Takashi MiikeNebraska, dir: Alexander PayneJeune Et Jolie, dir: Francois OzonThe Past, dir: Asghar FarhadiInside Llewyn Davis, dir: Joel & Ethan CoenJimmy P., dir: Arnaud DesplechinHeli, dir: Amat EscalanteGrisgris, dir: Mahamat-Saleh HarounLike Father Like Son, dir: Hirokazu Kore-EdaLa Vie D’Adèle, dir: Abdellatif KechicheBorgman, dir: Alex Vann WarmerdamA Touch Of Sin, dir: Zhangke JiaMichael Kohlhaas, dir: Arnaud DespallièresUn Château En Italie, dir: Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi
Out of CompetitionBlood Ties, dir: Guillaume CanetAll Is Lost, dir: J.C. Chandor
Un Certain RegardThe Bling Ring, dir: Sofia Coppola (Opening film)Omar, dir: Hany Abu-AssadDeath March, dir: Adolfo Alix, JrFruitvale: dir: Ryan Coogler*The Bastards, dir: Claire DenisNorte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan, dir: Lav DiazAs I Lay Dying, dir: James FrancoMiele, dir: Valeria Golino*L’Inconnu Du Lac, dir: Alain GuiraudieBends, dir: Flora Lau*L’Image Manquante, dir: Rithy PanhLa Jaula De Oro, dir: Diego Quemada-Diez*Anonymousv, dir: Mohammad RasoulofSarah Préfère La Course, dir: Chloé Robichaud*Grand Central, dir: Rebecca Zlotowski
Midnight ScreeningsBlind Detective, dir: Johnnie ToMonsoon Shootout, dir: Amit Kumar*
Homage To Jerry LewisMax Rose, dir: Daniel Noah
Special ScreeningsSeduced And Abandoned, dir: James TobackWeekend Of A Champion, dir: Roman PolanskiMuhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, dir: Stephen FrearsStop The Pounding Heart, dir: Roberto MinerviniBite The Dust, dir: Taisia Igumentseva (Cinéfondation)*
Gala Screening in honor of IndiaBombay Talkies, dirs: Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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May 16, 2012 7:15am EST
The 30 Rock star is currently working on an untitled political drama with director James Toback, and they have teamed up to make a film about pitching the idea to movie bosses at the famed French film event, which kicks off this week (beg14May12).
The documentary, titled Seduced and Abandoned, will give fans a glimpse into the inner workings of Cannes and will reportedly include interviews with movie legends including Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski.
The pair has also been given permission to film at some of the festival's most exclusive events, including Eva Longoria's charity dinner onboard a yacht and the star-studded amfAR AIDS research fundraiser, according to New York Post gossip column Page Six.
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May 16, 2012 6:14am EST
The 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival is officially in full swing, with nearly everyone in Hollywood transported to the prestigious French fest for a week and a half of wheeling and dealing. Catch up on all the goings-on with Cannes Chatter.Continuing his worldwide publicity trek for his new movie The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen arrived Wednesday morning to the Cannes Film Festival riding a camel and decked out in his over-the-top costume. In character as the tyrannical (and goofy) Admiral General Aladeen, Cohen rode the animal (named "Osama," of course) up to the Croisette beachfront, ordering his beauty queen body guards to stick up the onlooking press with assault rifles while Cohen made his way into a cafe. Cohen's stunt mirrors his last Cannes-inspired act of public defiance — in 2006, he walked the beach in a skimpy bathing suit in anticipation of Borat. [The Telegraph]
Alec Baldwin is reportedly teaming with director James Toback (Tyson) on a documentary film that will follow the duo as they attempt to raise money for another movie at Cannes. The meta non-fiction flick, running with the title Seduced and Abandoned, will chronicle the duo's attempts to secure funds for another vague project they hope to make in the future, while integrating interviews with famous faces like Martin Scorsese. Speaking to Deadline, Toback explains, "“We will talk to every billionaire financier in Cannes, to a few directors and movie stars to get a sense of where film is today and how it is changing as a business, and the whole evolution of Cannes from a pure festival to this bizarre mix of wildly diverse elements. It still clings to the pure notion of film, with all sorts of other ramifications from financial to maritime implications that make it so complex.” [Deadline]
Outside of the competition films, producers and talent are flocking to the festival to pitch and sell their latest projects. Among the movies in need of distributors are Ashton Kutcher's Steve Jobs biopic JOBS, Guillermo del Toro's 3D Pinnochio, Terrance Malick's two in-the-works films, Sophia Coppola's Bling Ring (which sports Emma Watson with a tramp stamp), the porn star biopic Lovelace and the latest from the Coen Bros., Inside Llewyn Davis. Who will take them home? Only time will tell… [Deadline]
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: WENN.com]
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May 10, 2011 8:28am EST
Al Pacino has officially joined Gotti: Three Generations, and in turn, is actually making us take this film seriously. He'll play the Gambino crime family underboss Neil Dellacroce, an "associate and mentor to Gotti Sr.," according to The Hollywood Reporter. John Travolta is already set to star as John Gotti Sr. and Barry Levinson -- who Pacino won Emmys with for their HBO telefilm You Don't Know Jack -- will direct the inevitably critically-acclaimed film. James Toback has also signed on to rewrite the script, originally penned by Leo Rossi. Others cast: Kelly Preston (Travolta's real-life wife), Ella Bleu Travolta (Travolta's real-life daughter), Lindsay Lohan (not related to Travolta as far as we know) and of course Joe Pesci because, well, he's Joe Pesci and this is a mob movie.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
May 10, 2011 5:00am EST
The filmmaker and the writer teamed up on Bugsy in 1991; Toback is also the acclaimed director of When Will I Be Loved and documentary Tyson.
Gotti: Three Generations producer Marc Fiore tells WENN, "Everyone involved with the film is very excited to have James Toback onboard. His work with Barry Levinson on Bugsy resulted in a highly acclaimed film that was widely recognised for its original screenplay."
Travolta will play mob boss John Gotti in the film, which will also feature Lindsay Lohan and Joe Pesci.
November 20, 2009 3:49am EST
The shortlist for the best documentary Oscar, which came out on Wednesday, has caused quite a bit of comment in the blogosphere, with such films as Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Capitalism: A Love Story and Tyson being left off the roster.
The New York Times caught up with Tyson director James Toback, who, the paper says, is fighting mad. Toback, without giving details, suggested to the Times that an irregularity in the process had contributed to what he saw as a snub.
At a time when the validity of even presidential elections is questioned, Toback said, "How is some tiny, dirty, covert, weirdly protective little group within the Academy going to be immune?"
Pressed for details, Toback said only that he had experienced something connected with the selections process, "which I put fully in the category of extortion that I did not go along with."
He added that he was "furious" at himself for "having chosen to be passive and quiet in the face of that extortion."
Vincent Maraval of Wild Bunch, which handled Tyson internationally, told Wiretap he was surprised by the omission. "I was expecting at least to be on the shortlist. The film played well in Cannes and had great reviews, but you never know. It all depends on who the voters are."
Maraval bears no bitterness, however, and said he also expected films he didn't represent, like The September Issue and Capitalism, to be included. Then again, he says, "It's different with Michael Moore. Documentary directors don't like him; they don't consider him a documentary filmmaker."
He should know from experience, having handled Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.
Regarding Toback's extortion comments to the Times, Maraval said he had no idea what the director was talking about.
Asked about that same claim by the NYT, Rob Epstein, a filmmaker who is chairman of the executive committee of the documentary branch, told the Times: "I have no idea. It certainly hasn’t come before me."
April 23, 2009 3:58pm EST
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Filmmaker James Toback uses his longtime friendship with controversial boxing legend Mike Tyson to get the heavyweight to sit down and talk with open unfiltered frankness about his life and career in and out of the ring. Incorporating lots of vintage boxing footage and other archival materials the main thrust of this compelling documentary is Tyson himself interviewed in various settings and seemingly willing to talk about everything including his tattered childhood his early fights his mentors his detractors his sexual prowess his brief marriage to Robin Givens his notorious encounter with Evander Holyfield’s ear and so much more. Only the rape charge that resulted in a three-year prison stay — an issue about which he’s clearly still in denial — seems to make Tyson angry. What ultimately emerges is a full-bodied portrait of a man who may be more complex and human than we ever could have imagined.
WHO’S IN IT?
Although there are interviews with others this is Tyson’s show and on the subject he knows best — himself — he’s utterly fascinating. The former heavyweight champ brings a lot of baggage and contradictory revelations to the table and Toback an acclaimed screenwriter (Bugsy Fingers) and director expertly shapes this story into a cohesive feature that’s alternately surprising informative amusing and frustrating — all courtesy of the man in the hot seat Mike Tyson.
Toback who has only made one previous documentary (1990’s The Big Bang) may have found his filmmaking niche. With Tyson he proves adept at getting the most out of a very complicated man weaving it all into a compelling portrait with the skill of a true craftsman. It’s the unexpected candor and different colors we get from Tyson that make this effort all worthwhile. While sports fans will surely love it the film’s appeal goes beyond that. This is a richly human story in the end warts and all.
Toback’s film fails just once when he gets stonewalled by Tyson on the single most explosive element of his story the rape conviction and subsequent three-year prison term. The director doesn’t seem able to explore it in much depth burning a hole in an otherwise admirable picture of a man not easy to categorize.
SCENE THAT PACKS THE BIGGEST PUNCH:
It’s hard to whittle this film’s many highlights down but easily the most touching moment comes as an emotional Tyson talks about his close relationship with his mentor trainer and father figure Cus D’Amato. D’Amato died in 1985 just a year before Mike became the youngest boxer ever to win the heavyweight championship. You have to wonder how the wise and influential D’Amato might have changed the course of Tyson’s checkered career if he hadn’t passed away so early on.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
This film is a must even if you have to watch it on your key ring.
August 15, 2001 11:35am EST
NEW YANKED MAGAZINE? New York Magazine is a very popular read in Los Angeles, especially because so many homesick ex-New Yorkers have relocated to the Left Coast.
So it came as quite a blow when the native sons and daughters couldn't find their weekly Gotham fix — the Nov. 29 issue of New York Magazine -- on L.A. newsstands.
What makes it doubly annoying is the fact that the issue carried a highly unusual L.A.-centric article, a scathing profile by Nikki Finke of ex-CAA superagent, drug addict and Mike Ovitz protege Jay Moloney, whose recent suicide shocked the entertainment community.
Finke's allegations were stinging: Dubbing Moloney a "gangsta" agent, she also suggested that the former CAA "Young Turk" was a racketeer whose death may have been more karma than tragic. She recounted his rise in the Biz, thanks to mentor Ovitz, who had him do double duty as nanny and driver on the Ovitz homestead before moving Moloney into the CAA mailroom.
In no particular order, Moloney, alleged Finke, snitched on fellow workers as Ovitz's spy, spread vicious and harmful rumors about competitors, probably stole at least one screenplay idea from friends, lied to at least one major client (Sean Connery), used Ovitz's name to get perks (a lounge chair at the posh Hotel du Cap in Antibes, France) and flaunted his drug usage in hip clubs, etc.
Not completely certain that there was no hanky-panky involved in the curious absence of the Nov. 29 issue of New York Magazine in L.A., we made some calls. Alex, who manages the popular Santa Monica World News newsstand in West Hollywood, said that this was the first time that New York Magazine didn't show up. At Anderson News, New York Magazine's L.A. distributor Robin Dorn said that the issues arrived on time. But Nat Dortch, Anderson's assistant operations manager, said that the magazine went out late, that "something got messed up with the ground carrier" also known as the "break-up agent.'
Mike Gural, director of newsstand sales for the magazine, is investigating the matter. He said that, according to New York's production director, "everything went out fine and on schedule" from the printing plant in Illinois to Anderson News in L.A.
GIRLS, ERUPTED: How to explain the amazing number of strong female characters and even stronger female performances hitting screens this fall and winter. Already, even wise old King Solomon wouldn't be able to choose between Hilary Swank, star of Fox Searchlight's "Boys Don't Cry," and Janet McTeer, star of Fine Line Features' "Tumbleweeds," for the upcoming Best Actress Oscar award.
Even their co-stars are being touted for nominations: Chloe Sevigny for her role as Brandon Teena's girlfriend in "Boys Don't Cry" and the debuting Kimberly J. Brown as McTeer's daughter in "Tumbleweeds." And let's not forget the strong performances of Annette Bening and even Thora Birch and Mena Suvari in "American Beauty."
This week will find Julianne Moore, sporting a very acceptable British accent, as the hypotenuse of a love triangle in Columbia's period romance "The End of the Affair." On Dec. 17 and also speaking veddy British, Jodie Foster, as the eponymous Anna in 20th Century Fox's extravagant epic "Anna and the King," portrays an awfully upright English teacher to the royal family in 1860s Siam (now Thailand).
And there are already whispers of Oscar nominations for Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, co-stars in the psychological drama "Girl, Interrupted," which opens Dec. 21.
Two-time Oscar nominee Kate Winslet has won some boosters and Oscar whispers for "Holy Smoke!" and Gwyneth Paltrow, for the upcoming "The Talented Mr. Ripley," might turn out to be the actress to beat. You go, girls!
SUNDAY IN NEW YORK: It was unseasonably balmy Sunday in New York, with spring and more than a little love in the air. So maybe we should forgive writer/director/boulevardier James Toback, appropriately known for films such as "The Pick-Up Artist," for taking to the streets and doing what he does best.
On Sunday, moviedom's second most infamous womanizer (Warren Beatty retains the No. 1 position in an emeritus capacity) did some picking up on New York's tony Upper West Side hub at 72nd Street and Broadway, chatting up at least one surprised young woman and taking her to a nearby coffee shop in an effort to get her to commit to a date.
Of course, it wasn't just the springlike weather that drove Toback into pick-up mode. His conversation, aiming to get the woman to commit to a rendezvous, oftentimes returned to the word "testosterone." But the "girl, interrupted" turned down Toback, who sported casual clothes, topped off by a Yankees cap and enough beard for two St. Nicks (it's that testosterone, he told her).
Because of action and motives so brazen, it occurred to us that Toback, with appropriately titled films under his belt such as "Fingers," "Love and Money," "Two Girls and a Guy" and "The Big Bang" might also have been trolling for ink. On that front, we're happy to accommodate by also reminding that Toback's "Black and White," which Screen Gems will release in March, opens with what one journalist calls a "filthy" Central Park scene involving two high school girls and a hip-hop artist.
Meanwhile, Friday in New York, at a much more formal evening gathering on the much more formal Upper East Side, a group of TV news biggies, including Peter Jennings and Dan Rather, downed caviar and other delicacies with their drinks. The lavish food offerings were no doubt given careful scrutiny by restaurant guide mogul Tim Zagat, also in attendance.
BUZZ CUTS ...
Tragic and Lowdown: Two tremendously disparate events that happened Friday are nonetheless related. Woody Allen's latest film "Sweet and Lowdown," a mockumentary starring Sean Penn as a flawed 1930s jazz guitarist, opened nicely in three New York theaters. This and Allen's other recent films probably would not have been possible without the fortune generated by the Safra banking family. Allen's producing partner, Jean Doumanian, is the longtime companion of Jaqui Safra, nephew of Edmond Safra, the billionaire banker and scion of the financial dynasty. Last Friday, Edmond Safra died in a mysterious fire in his Monte Carlo penthouse, where two hooded men apparently were attempting a burglary ...
Sharon a New Formula: Don't ever say Sharon Stone doesn't know how to promote a movie. Talking to journalists about her upcoming HBO movie "If These Walls Could Talk 2," Stone, who co-stars with Ellen DeGeneres in a segment about a lesbian couple who become moms, says that she's never experienced greater on-screen chemistry with a co-star than she did with DeGeneres.